Sea Level: High
Areas Per Player: 1 Per Player
Land Shape: Solid
Neutral Territory: Natural
Isthmus Width: 3 Plots Wide
World Wrap: Flat
No Technology Trading
No Tribal Villages (Goody Huts)
No Random Events
All Victories Conditions Enabled
Beyond the Sword 3.19
BUG Mod 4.5 [Build 2221]
BULL 1.4 [Build 243]
BAT Mod 4.1
I intend to fight a war and a full war this game. The Hub style map (each player starts on their own private peninsula) prevents any (or certainly more than one) rushes. Aggressive AI and Raging Barbarians will keep the pressure high. And No Tech Trading will force every Civilization to stand on its own.
I know the game options. I do not think the AI does. Hence, a major Human Player advantage in this game is knowing what to expect. And since I am expecting Raging Barbarians I am going to prioritize the Great Wall. And since I know the map layout, I am going to prioritize expansion towards the middle.
Late in my last game, automated workers built Water Wheels, which I never do. And those Water Wheels turned out to be quite nice. So this game, I'm going to give the workers complete autonomy from the start. I might micro manage here and there if I need a road to the front or something, but for the most, it's whatever the automated workers feel like doing.
Originally, I had wanted to discover a few religions in my capitol. But after running a few test scenarios, the AI kept beating me out. I guess, I still might beeline a single religion. But, no. I am much better off getting the Great Wall and calling it a day.
Strategies & Spoilers
So don't read beyond this point, if you don't want to know.
A Quick Debriefing
I lost this game.
I got trounced thoroughly and completely.
In fourteen odd goes at it, my best best result was having a Cultural Victory lined up for a dozen or so turns after someone else's Spaceship landed.
I will confess, it's probably a bit arrogant to include my finished games and logs. But one never knows. Besides, I think one of my next projects (before I play the next game) will be to try and extract more succinct information from the logs. So either that will be a success... or the logs may be a thing of the past.
Now, on to the more interesting analysis.
Auto Workers Suck
Automated workers suck. It is as simple as that. I watched as an automated worked changed a mine (a perfectly good mine, mind you) into a cottage; and then, back into a mine. So, my workers were running around in circles. And meanwhile, I had unconnected iron.
So, never again!
Now, that said, I am still more than happy to automate workers later in the game, as long as they leave old improvements in place.
Without a doubt, one of the best pieces of advice I heard about (on the web, in forums and elsewhere) was to stack workers together, giving orders to two or more at once. But for the most, I didn't even bother with this.
Either way, micro managing workers (in the early game) cannot be avoided, assuming one wants to win.
I have no strong opinions about automated missionaries. These seemed to work fine enough. But the effort involved in deciding where they go is not that great (or was not, for me). So, I didn't see the point.
Spreading the Faith
On Religion and Such
I do not have the religion thing down, not as well as I would like, so I will only mention a few things.
First, I found it helpful to send a missionary (or two) along with my settlers, so that when founding a new city, I would get that first border pop in ten turns, as having the State Religion in a city gives that city +1 culture per turn.
Second, back in Calm Center (my highly religious capitol), I was running multiple priest specialist. Each priest gets +3 Great Person points, so I was likely to get a Great Prophet that I could use to build each religion's Holy Shrine.
I mean, it's not much detail into specialization. But clearly, this city is specializing in the production of Great Prophets... along with Wonders, military units, settlers, and everything else a burgeoning civilization requires. So, maybe specialization is an overstatement. Point is, I decided to run three priests (and not whip) for a reason. And that reason was I wanted Great Prophets.
Before & After Views from Stacking Religions in the City of Iron Star
Third, I like founding as many religions as possible in the same city (not that this is necessarily a good strategy, but I do tend to do it). So if I know I'll be going for several of the early religions, I do not found a second city until after those early religions are discovered. And then, if I am going for the later religions (Islam and Taoism), I put a hiatus on city creation in between the two, so both religions land in the same city.
Thus (in the above images), we have three Settlers in position and ready to found new cities once Islam is discovered.
Sadly, having all these Religions on Monarch level made no difference, as I had more religions than I knew what to do with. I mean, it was fun. But I did not have the resources to capitalize upon my religious monopoly. I needed way more Missionaries. So, it was nice having multiple religions, but I doubt it gave me a meaningful advantage.
In later games, I was happy with just Buddhism.
Though (per the above), if I got a religion from a neighbor or two, that was great.
Here, I founded Buddhism and got Confucianism and Taoism from my neighbors.
In my opinion, it's a much more solid Religion Advisor's screen than those shown above (even though in those, while playing the Aztecs, I founded six out of the seven religions).
Paying the Price
Finally, bee-lining all those religions (spending the bulk of the game teching six of the world's religions), left me with considerable holes in my research, holes the AI promptly exploited by declaring war on my non-existent and outdated army.
In short, the play-through from which these images are taken, ended a few hundred years later.
Using units to clear the fog of war.
In the above, the two warriors at bottom center are placed so there is no fog of war. Without fog of war, barbarians cannot spawn; and the worker building the road to the un-garrisoned city and the un-garrisoned city, itself, are both protected.
Top center, is another unit on a hill, holding a position vacant for a future city. Once again, there is no fog of war, so barbarians cannot spawn. And where barbarians cannot spawn, no barbarian city will settle.
Based on my research (forums, etc), I am led to believe:
Barbs attack at CT = 2*N + 1
Barbs settle cities at CT = 3*N + 1
Where N is Number of Players
And CT is Cities Total
Counting all Civilizations
Since I only seem to lose my scouts, I do not care much for exploring. And will only do enough to locate the position of my next city or two. This game did not have any Goodie Huts. But if it did, I would have sacrificed my scout for a hut or two more.
Anyway, I played this map enough that I got to know the flow of the game. Barbs travelled (game after game) along the arc of the red line (above). And if no unit was present, a Barbarian City would be founded where the warrior is keeping vigil in the top green circle. Failing settlement there (in this most choice of spots, pigs, rice, and two gems in the fat cross), the barbarians often (but not always, so it was a secondary location to be sure) settled at the lower red circle. The green circle to the left is a future (desired) city site.
I know not where the barbarians were going. But a Skirmisher reached me pretty early-on one game, indicating the Barbarians were not attacking the AI as vigorously as they were me... otherwise, that skirmisher would have never stood a chance.
Fun in Devious Places
I lost this series of games.
In the final game (the one in which my cultural victory would have come a short dozen turns after Ethiopia's spaceship landed), I had a huge stack of outdated troops at the border.
Oh, if anyone would have attacked, I would have lost each and every battle. But it might take the AI a few dozen turns to work its way up the peninsula, which might have given me enough time to sue for peace or win the game.
As it was, the stack looked big enough, so no one ever attacked.
But building up all those troops (never to use them) was a grind and not very much fun, at all.
However, the scenario illustrated by the above screen shots was fun.
I planted a city (Spear Head), but too aggressively, so I was anxious about it's borders popping.
Hannibal moved in and tried to sneak a settler past.
But I moved out my troops (and/or Hannibal saw that the way was partially blocked by another city of mine) and backed down.
Then, my borders finally popped, cutting off Hannibal's access to my peninsula.
Which is when Hannibal sent off a Culture Bomb (i.e. he settled a Great Artist) in Onoba.
But not to worry, I hunkered down, producing culture, and finally beat Carthage back, once again, closing off the peninsula... and regain control of that all important wheat (as shown, in the last image).
And then, not to be outdone and being so much more technologically advanced than I, Hannibal held a UN Election proposing Open Borders for all, which forced my hand, as it was not worth the -10 happiness in all cities to defy the resolution.
Anyhow, the back and forth was fun... very fun.
Next up? I think some Inland Sea action with a heavy hitting Wonder Builder, maybe Egypt.