Brett's Games

Holy Cow

Massive Fire Fight!

Or so, I hope.

Beyond The Sword
Game Save Files
For Entire Page

Not bad, not only do I get the floodplains I was hoping for, but cows and rock, to boot, things are looking good
Holy Cow Map Start

It doesn't look like much, but I am excited about this game.


Difficulty: Noble
Rivals: 13

Huge World Size
Medium Sea Level
Ancient Starting Era
Normal Game Speed

Unrestricted Leaders
Random Personalities
No Technology Brokering
No Random Events


Holy Roman Empire

Starting Technologies
Unique Building
Unique Unit

Mods & Such
Beyond the Sword 3.19
BUG Mod 4.5 [Build 2221]
BULL 1.4 [Build 243]
BAT Mod 4.1

Final First Words

I anticipate this will be the last normal game of CIV IV that I play for awhile, as I intend to hit the mods next year. Originally, I was planning on playing an Arboreal Map, but since the Arboreal Maps are so close to the Rainforest Maps (and the Rainforest Maps look better), well, here I am playing a Rainforest Map.

The intent is to fight early and fight often. Along with that, I anticipate developing a Monk Economy (because it's just a powerhouse) and get a Corporation or two if the game lasts that long (Cereal Mills and Mining Inc or Creative Construction, seeming very likely).

As per usual, the In Game Notes will hold the main strategic discussion. But I will say that settling on the Plains Hills is looking like a good first move to me. Of course, that may depend upon what the Scout reveals first. And with that, I will leave you (or at least, myself) to it.

Strategies & Spoilers

So don't read beyond this point, if you don't want to know.

The Eternal Reboot

An astonishingly crappy start, rice on a one tile island, good luck with that
Rice Island

Things did not go well for me in the first game (played on the Holy Cow map). I wasn't paying enough attention. {Excuses. Excuses.} And as such, a Barbarian killed one of my cities early on. Also, my strategy was all wrong. On a map this large (Huge), one of the limiting factors (i.e. important strategic considerations) will be the extent of one's Early Expansion. An early Religion or two is meaningless. Which is to say, Confucianism will work just as well as Hinduism. Besides, as it's WAR!, I expect to be taking over a shrine or two.

Anyhow, after losing a city, it was (clearly) time to reboot and try again... only, I did not want to replay the same map (Holy Cow) regardless of how little I knew about that map. So (after reloading the initial Holy Cow game save file), I started hitting Regenerate Map. Ironically, I think the seed stays the same. So, say, if you (me, or anyone) were to hit Regenerate Map prior to moving, you (me, and/or everyone) would cycle through the same map choices. I maybe cycled through a hundred different Map Regenerations with the above Rice Island being near the end. It's an amazingly poor start.

These next two maps (come before this Rice Island Seed) and are way better.

of these two, this is the stronger start, in my opinion, wheat, three pigs, two hills, it is pretty solid, and it is at the edge of the board, so easier to defend
Three Pigs Landing
Lots of flood plains, a single cow, and some water, which may or may not be helpful in the long run, it is not as strong, but the post is called Holy Cow, so it works better
Lone Cow River

I will be playing the Lone Cow River map (on the right), but I figure any map in the first hundred regenerations or so (prior to the Rice Island Seed) is fair game (assuming you want to play against me posthumously, if you catch my drift). Of course, if you (are a masochist and) really want a handicap (so as to prove your mettle) go with the Rice Island start. It sucks!

All of these saves are included in the zip file... and should be derivable from the first game save, if nothing else.

Now, time to be a bit more expansive and aggressive.


Um, I didn't get very far on Lone Cow, as my health sucked.

So, I quickly altered course and tried Three Pigs, instead.

Three cities outlined in yellow territory, blocking off the red bordered Russian lands below, the cities are surrounded by rainforest and are completely undeveloped; and as such, are complete dead weight
Three Pigs Ends With A Whimper

The above shows part of my ending position on the Three Pigs Map. While playing Three Pigs, I was too expansive... and maybe not aggressive enough. But my real downfall (well, not so much a downfall, but a clear mistake) was in over-expanding into land that I did not have the workers to clear. In the above image, my land (The Holy Roman Empire) is outlined in yellow and is full of unimproved Rainforest, which is only slightly better than a Desert or Mountain tile (and not really even that, since although Rainforest provides +1 Food, it also yields -1 Health).

Meanwhile, a war was in the offing, which I feel I would have won, but my economy was going to take a long time to recover from all that early over-expansion, so I quit, loaded the Rice Island Seed, and proceeded to Regenerate more Maps until I found a satisfactory starting position.

Still, playing this map for 155-Turns is all I did yesterday. And I had fun. Hopefully, I'll have as much fun today... and wind up in a position I actually want to continue on from tomorrow.

Also, it should be easier to differentiate the four Maps that follow (three more false starts, then a winning game), as I break the different Maps up into different sections, with a big old header... just like the Pig Flats centered title bar below.

Pig Flats

one pig, two flood plains, one stone, the rest plains, the first three, pigs and flood, yeilding five extra food, maybe six, allowing me to spam cottages
Pig Flats Start

My first inclination is remark that this map (Pig Flats) has a mediocre starting position. And my second is to brag that it is the second auto-regenerated map after Rice Island, so I'm not being as picky. Still, it's got stone, which is good for the early wonders, and enough food with the pigs (and two floodplains) to allow cottaging everything else. Also, I am (currently) of the opinion that those plains cottages (with their 1/1 food/hammers) are better than grasslands (at 2/0).

We'll see, of course.

I guess the real lesson to be learned here is that those mammoth scores (that I sometimes log) come courtesy of a diverse array of discarded games. After all, practice does make perfect.

I, also, like the fact that the seeds are consistent, so those playing at home can select their own perfect start given the limitation of the map.

And now, let's play... once again.

Poor Play

I did not play this map well... not well at all. I played as a builder, when I should not have. So, at Turn 150, I had exactly two cities. Oh, I was the points leader... or close to it. But I'm going to say, I should have had at least ten if not twenty cities at this point in the game. Instead, I had a handful of wonders. So, I'm going to try again and switch it around, attempting to trade wonders for more cities.

Goodie Huts

I had fabulous luck with the Goodie Huts; so much so, I intend to build an extra Scout or two next game. After multiplying my Scout by getting more free Scouts (that I ultimately lost), Warriors (that I ultimately lost), and Experience (which fortuitously was gifted to my lone surviving Scout), I wound up with:

    +301 in Gold


    +/- 1,300
It's quite the haul for one 15 Hammer Scout (that I didn't even build, since I started the game with it). Hence (on huge maps, at least), I'm thinking it might be wise to build a Scout or two, while my Capitol City grows.

And that's exactly what I'll do on this next map: the third possible auto-regeneration in the series after this last.

Pig Haven

The start is food rich and with the river has some extra commerce, but it lacks any production, at least, no production in the visible area, for all I know, a bank of hills lies just beyond the fog
Pig Haven Start

The Pig Haven Start is food rich and (astonishingly, to me anyway) hammer poor, but I think I can work with that. I'd hold out for cows, instead, to give myself a few hammers. But experience has shown me that this map is loaded to the gils with pig, not cow.

The (cut and paste) Strategy Plan (from the 015-in-game-notes) is:
    Polytheism, Monotheism
    Agriculture, Animal Husbandry
    Bronze Working
    Code of Laws
      -> Landsknecht Techs
      -> Monk Wonders Techs

    10-20 Cities by T150
    50-70% Slider
    Consistent Spacing
        c - - c - - c
        - - - - - - -
        - - - - - - -
        c - - c - - c

    Only the Monk Economy Wonders
        University of Sankore
        The Spiral Minaret
        The Sistine Chapel
    Late Game Wonders Allowed
        Starting with
            The Statue of Liberty

Unit Discipline
        Ties to the Units  
And that about covers it. I don't know if it is a winning strategy... well, I do. It is. The key is having the discipline to keep to the plan.

Thus, Confucianism shall be the State Religion, assuming I get it. It's rigidity a reminder of the need for discipline.

And no, I do not know if Confucianism is a particularly rigid religion. But my in-game interpretation of it shall be.


I've, already, changed my mind about both Polytheism and Monotheism. Confucianism is the one true religion of the Rigorous Builds and Dependable Mealtimes. And as such, I can bypass both Polytheism and Monotheism (as in, completely remove them from the strategy guide above) and be upwards of fifty turns to the good in my other research goals.
Long Live the Celestial Timetable and Build Order of the Gods!


Pig Haven
Results in Failure

A spear and a warrior have already killed one of my warriors and severly outgun another, I doubt I will hook up iron easily, it does not help that I conceptually confused the marble with iron
Denied Iron
The start had limited city sites, sure, plenty once iron working is in, but that is a lot of jungle to chop, it is a disadvantage compared to cleared grasslands
Denied Land

Like many of these abandoned games, I may have been able to make a go of it. But being surrounded by jungle and being denied the iron I would need to defend myself against Barbarians the perceived set-back (and, indeed, it would have been a major set back) was too great. It's, also, easy to see being harassed by Barbarians for the next fifty turns; and then (after that), being harassed by either the Dutch (to the right) or the Americans (to the left).

I'll take the loss and reboot.

I think the strategy is solid, however. It felt good, even surrounded by jungle.

Oh, and my one Scout did alright, but not nearly as miraculously as last time:
    + Fishing
    + 100 Gold


Nice food, not as good as food have, a rice, two pigs, so almost there, and three bananas, which is awesome, but I need calendar
Bananas Start

The food is there. And I think I have the strategy. I mean, at some point, the strategy is not there if one has to continually reboot. And I admit that I've played poorly on most of these maps. But the last map (Pig Haven), I think I got a pretty bad draw, so I don't feel like it had anything to do with my strategy. Thus, I'll do the same as before... only throwing Calendar in there somewhere to access the Bananas.

Wish me luck!

By now, it should be clear that I need it.


Holy Cow
Massive Restarts
It's Bananas

And in the end, there is not much to tell about my play on the Bananas Map. I went the standard Bronze Working -> Iron Working route. And by the time I realized I did not have any of either it was too late to bring Horsemen online. Well, actually, it was not too late, but after I had settled two away from Horses rather than with Horses in my inner circle it was too late. I was defenceless when the Barbarians came. And to be honest, I have little desire to replay this map any better. The food was nice, but whipping can be a micro-management nightmare. Besides, with all the jungle on the map, I'd rather have an Iron Defence in place than a Horseman Defence.

So, Game Over!

On the re-roll, I hoped for a few more hills. Um, be careful what you wish for.

Mountain Home

That is ten or so hills in the fat cross, once I move to the east, and enough pigs to work them all, this should be a different sort of game
Mountain Home Start

As they say, the eight time is the charm. I destroyed this map:

Domination Victory
Score: 5,479
Normalized: 51,611

I feel that I destroyed this map, as I pretty much had it wrapped up (unless I messed things up big time, which I've done plenty of times in the past) by the T216 Game Save:
I, suppose, while rationalizing why the game was in the bag at T216, I should evaluate why (in the end) I did not win sooner:
I'm sure more (and better) analysis (about something) will follow.

Notes & Such

In Game Notes

Log File

The Notes include all the notes for all the attempts on this Rainforest Map Seed (i.e. every attempt on this page).

Additional Log Files are included in the Game Save Zip.

Game Save Zip
It's the same as the one at the top of the page.

Graphs & Such

Graph of the Commerce in this game turn by turn, see text below
Graph of the total population of this game turn by turn, its just a simple exponential curve in green, it reveals nothing of interest

I question the utility of the Population Graph on the right, so this might be the last time I include it. Population tends to increase exponentially over time. Devoid of scale, the graph has always looked about the same. On the other hand, if I am going to include a Population Graph, this might just be the time, as a total population in the 1,200 range (sum(city_pop)), indicates this is my largest civilization to date with 138 cities... you know, if I added the number of cities correctly, as that's exactly the sort of thing I'm prone to get wrong.

In regards to the Commerce Graph on the left:
Neither of those two graphs are the most informative for this game. For that, we have to look to the in-game graphing function and our (or my) Crop Yield.

From the Graph Demo Screen in Game, the Official Crop Yield, showing a tight pack until the early 1700's when The Holy Roman Empire, my team, takes off like a rocket
Mountain Home
Crop Yield Graph

I founded Sid's Sushi in 1834AD, so that upwards curve (starting 1750AD or so, I'm going to guess) comes from my Infill Settlement Program.

Remember, how I settled:
X - - O - - X
Well, this must have been when I came back and started the infill:
X - - X - - X
And opening up the T262 Game Save File confirms this is the cause. I only had 22 Farms, so the boost could not have come from Biology. But at the time, I only had 34 Cities... or about a fourth of what I would end up with at the end of the game.

So, my mistake, I was going to attribute this sudden increase in Crop Yield to Sid's Sushi (and I am sure a small portion of it is due to Sid's Sushi, say the final 20%), but the overwhelming majority (say 80%) is due to a four-fold increase in the number of cities.

Once again, the military wins out. It's more advantageous to take over (or if you must, build) a bunch of cities than relying on the growth of your infrastructure.

Rainforest Deconstruction

On the Rainforest Maps, there were lots of Pigs, Bananas, and Rice. So, lots of food. And with Rice, Sid's Sushi was still feasible.

On the other hand, production was a real limiting factor. I had well over a hundred cities... but only a half dozen or so with access to more than 25 hammers; and only three, in which I would consider building a Wonder. But by liberal application of The Whip and Drafting, I was able to overcome this limitation. It came at a price, however, as cycling through my Cities to Whip every turn did get tedious.

Also, Iron can be scarce on a Rain Forest Map. And (I do believe) I only had a single copper even at the end.


That last was incorrect:
  5  Copper
 10  Iron
 59  Bananas
 63  Rice
110  Pigs
At the end, nothing else was over ten. And unfortunately, no Corporation relies on either Pigs or Bananas.

On the final turn, I had 109 Workers, which was not enough (to Chop all that Jungle). I mean, it was enough for the end game. But I could have had that many Workers a hundred turns earlier to great effect. I should have build at least two Workers for every Settler. Of course, things like that are easy to say. After all, I could have traded any number of Wonders for more Workers. But that is hardly the trade I am ever going to make. And settling a City early to insure possession is well worth a few dozen turns working unimproved resources.

The change in Resources and a lack of hills was the biggest change in going from a Standard Map to a Rainforest one.

Typically, I tend to like Flood Plains. But Pigs on Grassland with a few hills is better. In this last game (Mountain Home), I never owned a single Flood Plain until the very end. It did not make a difference. I (quite likely) over-value Flood Plains.

Huge Single Continent Map

This game took place on a Huge Single Continent Map.

This was fun in that I did not have to build a navy and all the Wonders that effect a single continent effected my entire 138 City Empire. That's 138 Free Specialists (from The Statue of Liberty), Broadcast Towers (from the Eiffel Tower), and who knows what else (Power from The Three Gorges Dam, if I had ever completed it).

On the other hand, the end game was a bit tedious. My economy relied on The Whip & Drafting, which meant is was taking me 10-15 minutes to cycle through my cities every turn. Also (in order to avoid burnout), Automating Workers was a must. But as we all know, Automated Workers are truly (mind-numbingly) stupid.

In other news, there was plenty of land to expand into. And the early Settlement Race was basically non-existent. Instead of Double Jumping:

X - - O - - X

I might try Triple Jumping:

X - - O - - O - - X

You know, next time... if there is a next time.

Actually, I'm leaning towards Settling the best (highest Resource Rich) sites possible with little regard for the distance. A City that can build Wonders is rare. Those are the Cities I want.

Oh (and finally, having nothing to do with the map size), I played with Random Leaders and Random Personalities, which I doubt I will be doing again, any time soon. The game calls out Civilizations by Leader in the different Strategy Screens. And it really helps to have the same Leader associated with the same Civilization game after game. Ragnar was Khmer. Stalin was Viking. It gets confusing.

Parting Thoughts

I have a note to myself that I might want to add Gold in the Bank to my graphs. But for now, I'm going to play China on a smaller map, as I am sick of managing a large empire. And I want to try out those Cho-Ko-Nu's.