Sirian's Great Library - Strategies for Civilization III
RBCiv Epic Thirty

Civilization: Japan
Difficulty: Deity
World Size: Standard
Opponents: Seven
Climate: Random
Land Mass: 40%
Land Shape: Continents
Barbarians: Roaming
Version: PTW 1.21f
These are my results from Epic Thirty 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 began this game with what I will always think of as the Arathorn Opening: three warriors and a granary, all three warriors sent exploring. Arathorn tried that opening in my first SG with him, LOTR1, and gained substantial trade value. I did fair with it, trading away my Wheel monopoly for Bronze, Alphabet and Warrior Code.
This crowded start reminded me of my second-ever Deity game, a standard map continents in which I got crammed into a small space and barely eked out enough cities to build an FP. I liked the map immediately.
I pulled a minimal food start here. After pumping out my first settler, I dropped into the situation of pumping out a new settler at the first possible moment, AS the capital reached size 3, dropping it to size 1 with no food beyond the granary. You can train a regular warrior in four turns, then build a settler in six, with ten turns needed to grow the food for one settler. The same equilibrium can be reached with spear production instead of warriors, but then each of your new cities is delayed by three turns. Is losing three turns apiece on all of those cities worth turning a few warriors into spears? I do not think so for most situations.
When Korea settled the furs, I decided I needed to settle defensively in cultural terms. My second city would go to a spot with no two-food tiles, but my worker was moving in that direction to bring irrigation soon. With AI units wandering around, I decided to park a warrior on my intended spot to make sure they did not block me. Then more bad news! Korea was settling toward me! They had just grabbed the lake to my north in 2550BC with their fifth city! ARRGH!
Then, two turns later in 2470BC, that new Korean city turned into a ruin? Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good!
Korea and China are at war! Wow, very early. Still trying to settle defensively, I decided to send my third settler forward to the same tile where the Korean town was autorazed. That was the farthest I could go without making cultural overlap with that fur city, which I did not want to do. (Most long time readers know I am loathe to expose myself to much cultural pressure at Deity level. Although the game mechanics have changed, old habits die hard!)
With my third city about to be founded, India makes contact with me and offers me Writing for a tech and ALL of my gold! Knowing that AI's who make offers tend to offer bargain prices, and having seen some offers where the price goes UP if the initial offer is turned down, I decide not to risk losing a chance to make a sweet deal and I accept the offer as-is.
Now that I could establish embassies, my income for the next period of time went to paying for embassies with all the civs on my continent. That turned out to include the Mongols. I was shocked to find India almost directly to my south. They HAD TO BE on the same land mass, so there must be a dogleg to the east of China.
Korea founded the city of Hyangsen by the horses on the west coast, dictating the dotmap site of my fourth city: no overlap allowed!
Yikes, I barely beat a Korean pair to that site, and even as I managed that, China poached a first ring site to my east, the exact tile where I intended to send my next settler. What a sardine can. Apparently, all players are destined to lose at least one of the four first ring sites I had aimed for, unless perhaps they pull an Urugharakh and train extra warriors and run successful blockades. (Speaking of Urug, he said this would be his comeback game. I am looking forward to his report).
Now I have a new problem. I have only one warrior with which to blockade the Korean settler. I also have my new town, but I would need a third unit to make a moving blockade work out. The Koreans will poach one of my towns. Hmm. Unless... You know I never did pop the two huts in the jungle. That is only an archer guarding that settler. Worth a shot? Perhaps.
In desperation, I pop one of the huts when the Korean settler moves next to it!
My warrior is attacked by one of the three yokels and survives in the red! Another attacks the Korean but does no damage. (That's the one advantage I begrudge the Deity AI's: that for all their other bonuses, they still treat barbarians like they were playing on Regent, with HUGE bonuses. Thus barbs are deadly to the player while all but irrelevant to the AI's. To the AI, barbs are cash cows. Blah. The AI's have so many units and so much production advantage, they shouldn't need this crutch vs the barbarians!)
The third barbarian wanders off toward my city of Edo. Blah again. Well, it was worth a shot, right?
I thought the Koreans would settle, but no, they were being greedy and heading for that last gem. As such, I did get another settler out in time to get there first, BUT... I was one turn too late to put the city where I wanted, and it being unescorted, I could not pop the hut with the settler, so I had no choice but to put the city in a bad spot just to get a city at all. At least the hut would vanish without popping more pests.
There goes my widely-spaced dotmap. To that point, I had had only one tile of overlap per city and none with any AI cities. Where I could have pulled three more cities off the southern coast with maximum spread, I will now get only one (with overlap with my capital!) and Korea will plug up the rest of the space with its poaching? Blah.
Now see that Korean settler pair moving past Tokyo. I expect them to settle in overlap range, plugging that gap. There's enough gap for a cramped city in the hole above my capital. That one will have some overlap with the Chinese city, but China is a weak civ, culturally, in Civ3, so I should be able to hold out. And that's going to be about it, unless I can get mapmaking and get over to that island to the southwest... or... if I gear up for war. That's going to be hard to do, though, without any horses or iron. Sheesh.
After watching the AI's grab all the land on the "island" (which turned out to be the far end of the horseshoe continent), I got fed up. I had six cities but needed eight for an FP. How could I get to eight cities? Inch'on was a thorn in my side. If I could take it over, I would have eight cities. I decided to do something bold here, something I don't normally do on Deity. I decided to pull a Charis and try to flip the thing with an aggressive settlement. Then, needing only one more town to qualify for an FP, I decided to go ahead and plop down a half-city in the tiny gap of wasted tiles north of Tokyo. That city would have three tiles of overlap from Korea and two from China, but I could pile it full of cheap units, and it could get to nine tiles without even affecting Tokyo, and get to twelve if it borrowed three tiles. Yeah, that seemed worth doing, even if it was highly dense settlement. After grabbing four cities widely spaced, I had grabbed a fifth in a bad spot and crammed three half-cities into the gaps in what would look like a mini-ICS. Blah. Yet what else was I supposed to do with the AI's dictating so much of what I could or could not do!
My eighth city, Nagoya, was founded in 570BC. Here is a picture of ancient Japan.
Because I had settled so aggressively, creating all this overlap, I had only two options: make war to try to clear out the pressure, or puruse culture whole hog to contain the flip risks. I decided to play it safe and went for the culture. I was not really hungering for another early war anyway.
Unfortunately, I could see by the shape of the land that Mongolia would rise to become a monster. Look at poor India's exposed borders and poorly defensible shape. Perhaps if the whole continent united against them, they could be beaten down, but I did not intend to count on it. No resources, terrible lands, cramped situation... yeah. This was the point at which I decided this map would fit this Epic just fine, and I shipped it off to Griselda several days in advance. Then I decided I had better play on while my interest level was still high.

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