|RBCiv Epic Eighteen - Game B|
World Size: Small
Opponents: Germany, Greece, Iroquois, Rome, Zulus
Land Mass: 30%
Land Shape: Archipelago
These are my results from Epic Eighteen of the Realms Beyond Civilization tournament. Click Here to visit the Epics home page for the specific rules and goals of this event, or for more information about the Epics. I played Game B first, Game A second. The Game A report is linked from the concluding page of the Game B report. I start now with Game B:
I drew the Aztecs, requiring one conquest victory and one cultural victory from me in the two games of this event. As game sponsor, I set up the concept, generated (and then edited) the maps, and generated all the start files for all the players. (Griselda handled distributing them). I've learned that tailoring the maps takes the risk out of the scenarios. Some of the maps that I have not tailored (so that I could participate fully) have come up with various dud elements: the lack of gem distribution in Epic Two, the unbelievably cramped start to Epic Ten, all the lemon starts for the AI's in Epic Fourteen, and all the civs on one landmass in Epic Five, to name some of the most memorable dud elements. Some of the random maps work out beautifully (Epics Four, Six, Seventeen) but I didn't want to take the chance with this event.
So... my results are tainted by map spoilers, and won't count. I decided to play Game B first, and among the spoiler info that I knew about was that each civ was alone on their own island, and that each capital started on fresh water. I also knew the approximate locations of all the civs, having assigned the start points, and I had had to do a LOT of upgrading to the Greek start to make it fertile and viable, including adding the small island with the furs on it (taking some furs away from the Zulus) and moving the Greek start point to the coast so they could build ships and possibly the Lighthouse out of their capital and have a shot to grab their share of the islands. I added some grassland to the Greek isle, too, so that ought to make all the Greek players happy about their now-fertile territory. I did a few minor tweaks to all six start areas. I added all the rivers on this map except the one that started on the Zulu homeland and I split two chunks off the Iroquois homeland and two chunks off the Zulu homeland to prevent them from running away with the game. There were many details I did not pay particular attention to -- I was surprised at the lack of oil in the tundra regions under my control -- but I knew lots of tidbits about the map, and of course there's no viable way to compartmentalize that data. Once you know spoilers, it's just not possible to ignore them. You either gain advantage, or you suffer penalties bending over backward. In either case, the game just isn't the same, thus... I didn't put any energy into bending over backward. I just played. There was enough I did NOT know about to keep the game interesting for me, but my result cannot be fairly compared to anyone else's.
Even if I didn't know I was starting alone, I would have played things a bit farmer style considering my start position. I opted for the first time ever to train TWO WORKERS as my first action. Here you see the second about to complete, and the incredible food bonuses available that I wanted to get into play asap.
My plan was simple. I was going to play for 20k culture in my capital city. Two workers, one settler, then all culture, with that lone settler responsible for fathering the rest of my civ. (No use playing an OCC and suffering. I could use the support of other towns in terms of economy, defense, and resources). That would leave my capital almost as strong as a full OCC.
I had such poor economy at first (none of the wheat tiles were on the river, nor was my lone forest, and those were the only ones I was working at first), so I ran lone scientist right out of the gate on Mysticism, and planned to skip the granary entirely and go right on to the Oracle after training a few regular jags to fight off the barbarians that would soon come.
Here's my plan progressing on schedule. Also keep in mind, huts cannot pop barbs while you have no military (I benefitted greatly from that with my farmer's gambit in Epic Thirteen, when most other players had to fight off some yokels very early). I was giving serious consideration to popping that hut with a worker, but I wanted to build a road in that hill first, and then that ended up taking too long, as I trained jags right after my lone settler completed.
I sent my settler south, and he spotted a hut. So instead of settling, I kept going, popping the hut while it was still guaranteed to be safe, and I got Bronze Working for free, which changed the whole course of my game plan. Now instead of Oracle, I would build Colossus first.
I also saw that fish and decided I had to keep going with the settler, rather than backtrack. My second city would be sure to seize all the ivory in the area.
So I ended up training a jag anyway and using him to pop the hut. I was ready for that on the same turn my settler would plant my city, so that would give me a chance at a settler from the hut. And what do I then go and do? After telling myself three times to settle first, then the hut, I had a brain lapse and forgot to do it that way anyway. Bah. I stared at the screen for ten seconds, rolling my eyes, then reloaded and did it the way I had planned it. I probably have a moment like that about once per game, and mostly I go ahead and reload to correct it (as allowed in the rules) though sometimes if it means redoing more than a few moves I eat the stupidity and keep going. This time there were only two pieces in play, so how could I forget like that? No I don't smoke anything. I've hated ANY kind of smoke anywhere near me since I was one year old and that ain't never going to change. There's no explanation, I just screwed up. :)
OK, so I reloaded and did it the right way. I'd gotten maps the first time, and now I halfway expected to be doubly punished by popping hostiles this time, but the hut was on a hill, so I had some hope of surviving (and promoting to elite) if that happened. (Makes me long for the days of yore when I used to play Monarch at the start of my Civ III playing and I could safely pop huts with regular warriors and count on getting an elite warrior out of it!) Well... nope, there was actually a settler in there after all. Wow is my face red for screwing it up the first time.
One more bit of spoiler info, I already knew half this island was ice, but I also knew there were a few fertile tiles to the west. I would have gone that way anyway, but there's no denying I KNEW it was the right way to go, as opposed to making educated guesses about the amount of land over there and how far I should be exploring with an unescorted settler.
As a result, I now had the effect of training two settlers but only the delay of training one. Ha! If I had only popped the hut sooner, I could have avoided that first settler and run a true OCC as far as my capital building order. Ah well.
I settled on the gold overlooking the few plots of grass. I trained a warrior, then started a worker. In the south, I had no fear of barbs, as there wasn't enough room left down there for camps to pop up. My ivory city had no food in range at first, though, so it was running one food, and I built its temple from scratch. The barbs in the north came out about when I expected them to, and I was ready. My city had its regular jag fortified on the hill (one reason I founded ON the gold). They should fend off conscript warriors easily, especially with the Emperor bonus vs barbs. (Right? Right? Um... no).
The barbs gave me absolute fits at Tlat. Twice it lost population when my jags got beat, and I lost so many jags that that was all I managed to be building over there for the longest while. I also lost a couple HUNDRED gold to pillagings. Here's another one about to take place as the Colossus is completed in 1500BC:
Wow! Amazing enough, my jag won that fight and the town was not pillaged. I lost to warriors several times, but an unfortified jag beats off a barb horsie with no damage. Sometimes this game makes no sense. :) I took out the offending camp (my second) a few turns later, and I made a point of training more jags from my towns in the south and posting guards all over the tundra to keep more camps from popping up. Before I could arrange that, I'd have to fight off two more camps, but I was finally getting the upper hand starting around now:
If you go back and look at the Colossus shot, you'll see that Tenochtitlan has eleven shields. For a size 9 capital city, that's pretty sad. Those hills were like forests while still in despotism, and there were no shields from the wheat tiles. Things would pick up markedly once I changed government, but they weren't all that rosy just yet. The Colossus didn't give me much boost, either: the river tiles' bonus was lost to despotism, so I still had to run high lux taxes, and there was no time for a granary. As a result, my ancient results did not live up to my hopes. I've done better than this in the ancient age with several 20k situations. LK SG7 comes to mind, as do a couple of OCC's.
The Oracle completed in 925BC, just 24 turns later. The shield situation has picked up finally, now at 15spt and feeling stronger, but its been slow going on the growth without a granary, and now so many hills in play. The fifteen shields almost made me cocky. There's a big difference between eleven and fifteen. I decided to build my library next, THEN go for the pyramids. This would end up costing me the Pyramids:
And yet... sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. I swapped to the Great Library instead, and having its stronger culture earlier helped me out a lot in the long run. Note that I am NOT doing min sci on republic. I was losing WAY too much to despotism penalty to stay there a turn longer than necessary.
Also note that I've made contacts. My research order was min sci on Mysticism, popping Bronze from a hut, max sci on alphabet, writing, mapmaking, literature, and philosophy. I sent a ship down the Greek east coast, contacted them, then Rome, then wandered up around that island to the east of Greece, found the Zulus in the north, and you can see the minimap where my first ship is now, soon to reach Iroquois lands. My second ship is ferrying settlers to the islands east of Greece, starting with the small jungle/forest island with the furs.
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