|RBCiv Epic Five|
World Size: Tiny
Land Mass: 30%
Land Shape: Archipelago
Victory: Conquest only
These are my results from Epic Five 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.
There is one primary "variant" rule to this event: No Ships. None, of any kind, ever. With an island map, that means waiting for flight to be able to cross bodies of water: fighters, bombers, paratroops, and helicopters carrying infantry or marines, to be able to take that first city on any landmass. Once a city is taken, an airport can allow airdrop of heavier units like tanks or cavalry. Of course, there may be other ways to "capture" cities across water: culture flips, settlements obtained in peace treaties, etc. Should be interesting.
As game sponsor, I had the duty of providing a suitable start. Since I'm also playing, I can't make the map in the editor, nor can I have a peek around. So I had to playtest, and unfortunately, my first several attempts to start met with various unsuitable conditions. Mostly this meant an AI rival too close. With the Aztecs, and those Jaguar warriors, the military prowess of your Unique Unit quickly hits obsolescence, so this often means building barracks and rushing Jags with one, two, maybe three cities, tops. You really have to hurry, and this event was not meant to be a pure excercise in the most ancient of ancient warfare gambits. So I rejected three or four maps that had somebody right next door. In one case, after ten turns, borders were already touching! Too close. In another start, there were no AI's on the same island, and that was just as bad in a different way. I DID want the ancient combat option to mean something here, to be at least a temptation if not a path to certain advantage. So after half a dozen tries or so, I finally got a map with some promise to it.
So here we go. Dry start, lots of mountains nearby, and the start point not on the coast. Coast may not matter as far as ships, since we aren't allowed to build any ships, but it will matter to the Colossus, which value is magnified at a dry start. A river start ALONE is practically like a free Colossus wonder. (Think about it). And on a tiny map with rampant corruption, the capital is THE place to build that wonder. I wasn't certain I'd go for it or get it, but it was high on my list of options. Also, the food in the area looked scarce while shields looked plentiful, so I moved south onto a hill, by the sea, and founded on the second turn. I decided to go with warrior-granary-settler, and research Pottery first, as that seems to be the best way to start when there are shield grasslands and no food bonuses around. I used that first warrior to scout around a bit and found no nearby neighbors. I was growing concerned that I might be the only one on the island, which would mean another restart. *sigh*
I did not yet know about the huts and settlers, so I hit that goody hut with a settler active, and it gave me a tech. (If anybody gets a settler out of there, they might do very well indeed).
Wow what rough terrain here. Room for two half-city fishing villages along the south and east coasts, but those would be closer to the capital than the fertile cities. That would boost trade and research at the cost of shield output. I am looking forward to comparing to those who do not build such cities, and go with fewer, stronger cities, to see how they fare. I opted for the fishing villages, but I would not build them early. Instead, I would build the fertile cities first. My second city went three tiles due north of my capital, my third five tiles NW, no overlap with the capital, but eight total overlap on city two with the other two, and more to come with the fishing villages. Bottom line here, the capital would be large, but my other cities all pretty much maxed out at size 12. Beyond this narrow core of five locations, there was jungle to the north. NW of city three, enough room for a jungle fishing village there, and room for a potentially strong city north of city two, deep in the jungle. Not a very big jungle, though. Beyond it, a wide desert, incense, and the Greeks.
Ah, so we're not alone! And lo and behold, the Greeks! What a tough draw that will be for those pursuing the Jag Rush. Have to cross a jungle and a desert to reach the Greeks, whose lands are poor, and fight off (effectively) their pikemen with warriors. Ouchie. Well, that should be interesting. For me, I've done too much settling and spreading out (or trying to) and I don't want any piece of those Greeks just yet. One of my warriors slips past them, finds India, and I eventually have to BUY contact with England. Pricey, too.
I did manage to beeline my sixth settler past the Greek city of Sparta and grab a dry fishing spot along the east coast, east of Sparta. This turned out to secure both horses and iron! I built walls and then a third of a temple, and rushed the rest, at that far northern city. It got a slow slow food start, but a solid defensive and cultural start, and as it turns out, I would never lose control of it.
I did not do a farmer's gambit, but I did go light on military to push expansion, and as it turns out, managed to peaceably grab all the early resources I needed. Also lands. So I finally turned to beefing my military, and went straight for Republic, planning to take it to the Greeks as soon as I had a force of knights.
It turned out that all four civs started on one big continent, and again I thought I had a loser situation on my hands. Good grief, what a mess. I hung on a bit longer, though. Such a rough start with the Greeks next door, and that terrain, and resources in short supply, that it seemed unlikely that a Jag Rush could roll over everybody. (I may be wrong, but I was also growing weary of restarting and testing and restarting and testing. So this one landed in the "close enough" category).
For once, I skipped buying embassies, and got a rare event of someone buying one with me. You can see my six "main" cities here. I got the FP eligibility notice with city six, but none of these sites made suitable candidates. Sparta: that was the location for the FP. I would have to capture or raze-n-replace Sparta, and build my FP there. This is one instance where the early FP wasn't appealing. More important to have two strong cores, for later military production output. I would have take over Greece early enough to make the FP work out though. I hoped to get a leader, that would make a big difference. If I had to build it from scratch, I could be in a for a long haul, that much % of the map away from my capital.
By 750BC, the AI's were in rapid settlement mode, spreading out to the islands. I figured it MAY be possible for somebody to stop them before they do that, or early enough before they spread far, and get some of those settlements for peace deals, but I didn't manage it, that's for sure. So... I decided to keep the map. Hope it works out to be fun for everybody.
After my six "main" cities were underway, and my military position strengthened, and courthouses being built, I grabbed the two fishing villages near my capital. Couldn't wait too long to start them or they'd NOT be worth it. Here is my world situation in 210BC:
All three AI's have settled some islands, and that Greek colony in particular looks nasty. Yet in terms of distance it IS close to Athens, almost as close as Sparta (Civ III playfield is SQUARE, mathematically, while wrapping around east to west. You can never be more than half the map away from something due east or west, while you can be almost twice as far as that from something north to south, near the poles. Just that the tiles are "shown" as parallelograms, not squares, so it fools the eye). That Greek colony could be troubles. I now start planning for a short war to take out Sparta (and I will have to raze it) and take over that land and the incense, but get the Greek colony as a concession. Arrgh, this is getting complicated already! :)
Did I mention that I did build the Colossus? In Tenochtitlan. Even with only three rivals, though, they went heavy on the wonder building. I had, effectively, three cities. Eight settlements, but five of them with a single shield. One shield! I pulled a second shield for one of my close fishing villages by borrowing a tile from my second city (the only one in reach). Even with courthouses, my second and third cities did suffer from some corruption now, so... there was no quick army building. It took a goodly while just to get horses and iron online, and to build basic infrastructures in between troop buildup. Progress seemed to crawl, the centuries to fly on by. It was almost 500AD before I had Chivalry and enough horsemen to do ANYthing. And the clock was ticking. I decided to go for a limited war (more limited than I wanted) and grab my intended FP site. So I did attack and raze Sparta, which was painless enough with a couple of catapults and a pack of veteran knights. I lost one knight in the attack, though. I still had enough forces to hurt the Greeks some more, so I took out one more of their cities -- barely -- and had to use a Jag to score the final blow. That earned me a Golden Age.
Greek counterattack was feeble, too feeble. I had a couple of elite knights, and maybe eight or ten shots at a great leader with them, but none emerged. I was running too thin, having lost another knight or two, and I decided to make peace so I could get my FP started. Unfortunately, I needed a harbor and courthouse at the new FP city before it could start on the FP itself. In terms of being centrally located, this was THE only good site for my FP, yet it was so food poor, it turned out to be a lousy site in terms of building the FP from scratch. I made peace with Greece, gaining their second island in the treaty, but not that richer first island. I figured that I could attack Athens again at almost any time, so I built infra in some places, but I also built a larger force of knights. I ended up using a large chunk of my funds to rushbuy markets and then BANKS at my two core fishing villages, which gave me the ability to start Wall Street before the golden age ended. No other great wonders for me. India swallowed most of them, Athens building some, and every AI working on them in two or more cities at once, cascading brutally. I was going no research, which was not speeding the tech pace, but my shields were low while commerce was high, so I used my cash surplus to rushbuy some things here or there, and bought all my tech, never from India (the leader) but usually from England, to help them keep the tech pace going by then having them buy from India with my money, and lower the costs for me next time around for me to buy from them again.
By the end of my golden age, my economy was flying along and I soon started training many more knights. Greece was going to get some!
UNfortunately, the Great Wall got passed up again and again and again, and then in a cascade twist, Greece got left out in the cold of a chain, and they were behind the rest of us on tech (me having hurt them) so they ended up nabbing the Great Wall very late, but right as I was preparing to go after them. Oucher. So I postponed my attack and started building more catapults.
India was slow to build a harbor, as was England, so I got robbed for a long long time on trade revenues, and also from access to more lux. This was just a very slow game, a lot of turns going by with little progress. Worse even than Epic Two in that category. It really hurt that India was so strong and the other two AI's so weak.
Greece was hardly worth selling to, so I eventually stopped. At one point, Alex decided to sign his own death warrant.
Greece making demands of the "tiny" nation of Azteca? I don't think so!
I pulled my catapults up next to Athens and after three rounds of a big mass of them firing, I scored... two hits. Three minor hits out of about fifty shots? SIX percent? Good grief, that's not going to cut it. I had to switch tacks. I decided to try pillaging, then quickly realized that wouldn't do it either. I had to run a full blockade. Greece had THREE of its four remaining cities building wonders, so it couldn't produce new units. They had no spare units, only defenders. (Lots of defenders!) So I parked my units on all their food tiles and surrounded them, and once they began to starve, they lost a pop unit every turn until they got down to size three (which they could support via the water alone).
The round I attacked Athens was just brutal. Full on barrage from the cata's, then all my knights (half died) then all my Jags in the area (there were four defenders down to 1 hp left each, and I HAD to finish them off or my whole offensive might fail). Then... getting really desperate now, I used PIKEMEN to attack. Two of em! Finally, Athens did fall, if barely. What a costly, brutal ordeal, thanks to that damned Great Wall. (It is way more valuable than some seem to understand). What a disaster. I wished I had fought on in the earlier war, but I had mistakenly thought I could mop up the Greeks any time after my GA ended. That was the point at which they nabbed the Wall, and arrgh.
For my troubles I did get the Pyramids and SunTzu. In the mean time, Greeks built Shakespeare in their third city and Magellen's out on that ISLAND. On the island! Which meant they would never surrender that city for peace now. The Greeks would live on, out on their island, and Athens would remain a huge flip risk, with its four wonders and huge cultural memory. Blah. I'd have to leave a lowish garrison there (mainly my obsolete units) and park a "recapture" force in an adjacent tile in case it ever did flip. Well, at least now I had my second core. What remained was to build that up, and build all my infra, and try from here to push the tech pace faster, if possible.
Unfortunately, India had other plans. They attacked England, took London and a second of England's four main cities, crippling her as I had with Alex at first. So it was just India and me, with England falling behind and interfering with my "coat tails" tech buying plans. After buying Steam Power and Nationalism, I started on my own research. Industrial, then Electricity. I had some coal, luckily, and second iron moved into my territory. The coal was on the ONE jungle tile that went to waste with my dotmap scheme, though. *sigh*
My FP just crawled and crawled. I got no great leaders through either Grecian war, so that really slowed me down. It was not until 1300AD that my FP was finally completed: APPALLINGLY late by my usual standard. Still, location was so urgent on this map, I suppose I still have some shot at placing decently in the standing for this Epic. I now had a southern core of five cities (two fishing) and a nothern core starting to get going here, with two strong shield towns and three decent low-land towns, plus the FP site itself, which was starting to improve on shields as desert tiles got rails built and irrigations finally done, with Electricity arriving. There were two more former Greek cities, corrupt, at the far north, plus the one island I had gotten in the peace deal (which was a 1/1 site, but in airdrop range of four islands).
With no rivers anywhere on the map, I also had to build coal plants everywhere I needed power. That took more time, but I would have two strong cores, maybe eight good to decent troop producers, come flight time. I needed flight, amphibious warfare, and advanced flight. I did NOT want Computers, to take away access to foot infantry (which can fly in copters, mechs can't). No use for nukes and no UN with Diplo disabled, so the only modern tech I wanted was Rocketry, to get access to jet fighters (probably not needed) and to cruise missiles (give me a way to destroy ships finally). Ecology I could live without, under these conditions.
India finally decided they wanted Magellan's. Note that Tlaxcala is prebuilding for the Intelligence Agency.
Sadly, even with all that jungle in my land and the forests of Greece, no rubber. India had it all. I had to buy from them. Blah. I would have to buy from them long enough to build enough tanks to secure one of their sources for myself. Fortunately, one was in their heartland, not too far away. I could grab it sooner, but no use slowing tech pace. That would take a TON of artillery and cavalry and foot units, and I had no saltpeter for the cavs anyway. It would probably go slower than waiting for tanks, since I had to have motor tech anyway to get to my precious copters.
The oil was the other thing. I did have one source, but only one. To prevent risk of losing it (if it moved OFF the continent, I'd be in a real pickle, needing the oil to build the units that can get across the waters) I decided to disconnect the oil until time came to actually use it.
After the Intel Agency was built, I made one, and only one, attempt to plant a spy. One was all I needed. (Who cared what poor Lizzie was doing?)
Things were moving along as planned, until Elizabeth ATTACKED India! Eek! Oh yeah, sure, her longbows captured Magellan's for a few turns. Ghandi then visited his full wrath upon her.
Well well well. That saves me from having to worry about her. Not much real work saved, though. India razed a couple of her cities, but mostly captured, and having to take them away from him was just as bad, if not worse.
So time marched on, and on and on. I built tanks, lots of em. Hardly any bombers yet, but I did built a few marines and choppers. Mainly tanks, though. Plenty of time for the other troop types once I had conquered mainland India. I politely waited for my Rubber deal to run out, then it was time to take the stage to perform the last act.
Let's... get ready to... RUMMMMMMMBLE!"
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