|RBCiv Epic Eight|
Civilization: Random (I drew America)
World Size: Standard
Land Mass: 20%
Land Shape: Pangaea
These are my results from Epic Eight 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.
As sponsor for this Epic, I generated all of the random starts. Whatever the game put out, that's what the next player in line was assigned, based on the order of who signed up for this event. A unique start file was randomly generated for each player. Thus, I had no impact or control over who received which games. I sent all the games on to Griselda prior to people signing up for them, and she mailed them out to each individual player.
I'm Player Zero, the game sponsor. I took the first random start, and I drew America. More starts drew the Zulus than any other, including half of the first batch of six. I don't remember exactly how many Zulus there were, but you'll see with the reports, there are a lot of them. Also a lot of English and Chinese. There was only one Egypt start generated. Two for Japan (one of which T-hawk drew, then rejected), two for Rome, two for America including me (my SG bud Carbon Copy drew the other American start, I believe), and a few Babylon. I only noticed the other American start because it was my civ. The first Roman start was not generated until the 25th game! Players 24 and 25 both got Rome, but back when I thought there might only be a dozen to sign up for this game, it looked like there wouldn't be any games reported from the Roman point of view. I'm glad now that each civ will be represented at least once. It will also be interesting to see how all those Zulu and English games compare to one another!
Because of the climate, the four "southern" start points all drew fertile temperate zone climates, some food bonuses and lots of potential. The four "equatorial" starts drew hot climates and rougher situations. Truth to tell, I wish I had drawn one of those, for a stiffer game, but this was all about playing the hand you were dealt, regardless what it is, so I am happy to have played the one I got to the best of my ability, even though it was among the "easier half" of the situations. Some of those who drew the hot climate should have some really interesting reports, though!
With two food bonuses in immediate sight, I decided to settle right there. There were also a wine within my city range, on a plains tile to the west. Wow, three food bonuses at my capital! I sent my scout to the hut, popped 25g, then went on an exploration spree northwest toward my nearest neighbor. The minimap was posted with the game information, and shows the eight start points marked with small x's, so I knew approximately where the next civ was. America is the easternmost of the eight civs on the east-west running sliver of pangaea. Even so, I was kind of shocked by how close Babylon really was! I forgot how crammed the 20% pangaeas can get. This should be interesting.
I trained a second scout and used him to scout out my back lines while the first one beelined westward. Since I drew one of the expansionistic civs, it was my intent to send the scout all the way to the other end of the continent and make contact with all eight civs myself. My second scout popped another hut, my second, and pulled a tech. Turns out, that would be all the huts I would find. Not sure if the AI's grabbed others if there were no others near me.
Check out all those food bonuses! Wow! A game, a wheat, three cattle and a whole pack of wines all in the first ring around my capital! And yet, almost all plains tiles. Very little grass. For all that it looks awesome and was strong, it turns out some of other starts had even better food situations. More on that later. All in all, though, I definitely drew one of the stronger start points: good food AND good shields, two huts, a river, and being on the end of the continent meant few neighbors competing for my land. I had only really two to race against, while most others would would have three or more. One thing about all my food bonuses, though: except for one cattle, they are all on plains tiles, which means 3 food under despotism, if irrigated. The wines were ALL on plains, no hills or grass, so they turned into the equivalent of bonus grassland tiles and I mostly mined them in the early game.
Now when I first met the Babs, I traded for Bronze Working. If I remember correctly, I traded Pottery and Warrior Code and some of my cash for Bronze Working and Ceremonial Burial. Or something like that. Then I started on Iron Working research at min science.
After my second scout, I started right on a settler, going farmer's gambit. But then here comes a Bab regular spear marching toward my undefended home city. Um... I didn't like that AT ALL. I swapped to spearman and completed him JUST IN TIME to have him stand in the way of the Bab spear walking into my city and ending my game! I fortified my new spear unit, lamenting the delay this would put in my expansion curve. The Bab spearman unit did not then attack my capital, but diverted his attention toward my only worker, who was trying to hook up the wines.
I did not like this AT ALL! I had heard horror stories about farmer's gambits gone horribly wrong under the new patch from some players at CivFanatics, and this certainly looked bad. I decided to demand that the Bab spear leave my territory and they declared war on me! In 3300BC!!!
I had to pick up my worker and move him to the safety of the back lines, without connecting the wines. I moved him behind cover of my city and starting building roads out the back. My expansion now had to proceed more carefully, but I hoped to get a second city going, behind my capital, and simply wait for a chance to make peace without diverting my precious ancient age production into units that would not be enough to wipe out Babylon anyway!
Meanwhile, my original scout has made his way past the middle of the continent and is now exploring the western side. I made contact with the English (!) in 3200BC! My seventh contact, just Rome left to go in the far west. The AI's were contacting one another rapidly, and I made this trade with techs that Liz would be getting from the other AI's any minute now anyway. Her and Rome were the only Commercial civs, so I stole her thunder, trading for alphabet, then brokering it to all the civs she had yet to contact.
The Bab spear then proceeded to pillage most of the work I'd already done! I'm hurriedly training a second spearman, wondering just how bad this is going to get!
After the second spearman was done, I realized that I was being delayed so much here, that I'd better get a granary now. It would be impossible to secure another city yet anyway, so the only way to put this time to good use was to stay holed up in my capital, build the granary now, and keep my lone worker safe.
A few turns later, the Babs were willing to talk to me, but they wanted a free tech AND gold for peace! You gotta be kidding me. I told them to kiss off, as their spear unit was wandering around now, not doing much that was threatening. After the granary was done, my worker had managed to build some roads out the back side of town and it seemed a good bet to try a settler next. I COULD buy peace if I had to, and I could get the settler ahead of any Bab units into position behind my capital. This is definitely the most hostile start I've faced since RBD SG2 when Egypt attacked us early, and even that game the war had not come this early. What's worse here, the Babs aggressively settled their second city in my direction, threating to cut me off from making use of those cattle just north of my capital! Good grief.
It took until 2590BC, even with my rich lands, to have built a scout, two spears, a granary and then a settler. My settler scooted out the back as planned and headed for the coast, near the one cattle on grass. My worker was in position to bring irrigation to the cows tile. And here comes Babylon with two regular warriors.
The Bab warriors attacked my capital across the river, from the game tile. They lost six straight, promoting one of my regular warriors to veteran, and the Bab spear once again declined to attack, moving away onto the mountain. Meanwhile, my second scout had long since explored the east coast and slipped past Babylon proper, pillaging one of their tiles on the way. (Scouts can pillage!) Some more Bab warriors chased him around a bit, and now all of a sudden the peace terms were in MY favor. I accepted peace, got a tech and some gold for it. I also swapped my orders to build an archer over to settler.
Well, all in all I wasn't slowed too awfully much, but it felt rough at the time. I'm not used to scrambling for my life at a game start. Not sure yet either what I think of this change. It MAY add unwanted luck factors to the game, as a bad streak of luck in combat there, my game could even theoretically be over now. (Two spears losing to two warriors is rare, but has happened). If the WHOLE GAME is going to hinge on combat THAT early, time after time, I may have a problem with that. Need more data to figure out the real deal on this, though.
My third city was build on the coast at the mouth of the river, securing that big batch of wines west of my capital. Fourth city went onto the small lake, moving toward the other wines. Then, in 2030BC, I got myself into a sweet trading deal, one of the best in the ancient age I've pulled off that didn't involve trading monopolized maps and contact info, but was a pure middle-man trade arrangement that netted me multiple gains. It began with buying mathematics from the English (and you can see I've just barely missed learning Iron Working via min sci gambit in time to broker it, arrgh).
You can also see the minimap and my four cities. Step two netted me writing from the Zulus.
Step three got me horseback riding from China.
And the last trade got my cash back from the Zulus.
One good thing for me, also. Zululand declared war on Babylon shortly after I made peace with them! This kept Babylon in war-making mode and slowed THEIR growth. Turns out their early war on me, unsuccessful as it was, slowed their growth so much, they were left in a weak position! And the Zulus went after them!
There turned out to be iron directly north of my capital. My fifth city went to claim it and the cattle, but because of the position of Ur, the second Bab city, I was forced to place my city in an undesirable spot, to get the iron, the cattle, fresh water AND minimize overlap with Ur! Arrgh, what a mess!
My sixth city went on the back corner of the continent, from a settler trained out of New York. I had to build this one ON a cows tile, but I had no choice, as it would have wasted even more to build it anywhere else. My seventh city went westward and was founded on a hills tile. The land grab was already in the final phase, with civs scrambling to grab whatever remained, and I had gotten my fair share so far, but was prevented from further expansion up the east coast because of an inconvenient barb camp and a total lack of military in the area. After the early war, I was busy trying to catch up and was going thin on military to rush the expansion phase while I could. And while the Babs were still tied up with Shaka (bless him!)
This is what my ancient civ looked like, the turn I founded my seventh city. There are two more sites I hope to get: that little peninsula west of Boston, with the fish, and the rest of the world's wines being guarded by barbarians above Philly. If I got both of those, that would give me the largest territory in the world, as the other civs had about six cities each. Well I had six and a half (poor Atlanta, though at least for a half-city, it was a STRONG half-city, not a fishing villa).
1500BC is a bit late on Emperor to start thinking about great wonders, BUT, so far only one had been started: the English started the Colossus early and were almost done. Pyramids had NOT been in my early plans, not after that war messed things up, but now I started to get visions in my head, and I knew I could get some kind of ancient wonder if I tried. Unfortunately, my only candidate site at the moment was... my capital. I hate building ancient wonders in the capital on high difficulty: if you lose the race, you can lose all the shields, too. Arrgh. But if I got it...! Well, I had to try.
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