Sirian's Great Library - Strategies for Civilization III
To The Bitter End

Civilization: Germany
Difficulty: Deity
World Size: Large
Opponents: Seven
Climate: Hot
Rainfall: Arid
Mountains: Rugged
Land Mass: Large
Land Shape: Pangaea
Barbarians: Roaming
Victory Conditions: Conquest (all else disabled). Version: 1.17f
So... I finally decided to play Deity. I've avoided playing it until now for a number of reasons. 1) As shown in First World, I needed to learn the game and was not immediately ready for Deity play anyway. 2) Every "strategy" or "advice" bit I've read about succeeding on Deity has focused on exploiting some flaw in the rules, to shortcut the disadvantages and "make up for it somehow" -- as opposed to playing the traditional "found cities, build stuff, work the land" approach. 3) Prior to the current patch, I was thoroughly enjoying the game on Emperor, and I play for fun primarily, so I was content to avoid Deity. So what finally made me decide to give this a go? That's hard to say, or... at least it's tough to sum up in a few sentences.
I made a few decisions regarding my Deity game. First, it would be a pure conquest game. I did this for two reasons: 1) It would be harder to lose. I vowed that I would play it out, come what may, To The Bitter End. The AI's would have to wipe my civ off the face of the planet, as I would take on the Winston Churchill motto, "Never Never Never Never Give Up." 2) It would be harder to win. As proven even on Emperor, in Civ3, once you survive to rails and tanks, the AI can no longer compete militarily. This arises from a number of factors: their production edge slips away as they overdraft and overwhip their cities, as the player's use of rails and factories comes to the fore, and most of all, in regard to corruption management. A wise FP placement and dedicated courthouse/police structures, along with We Love the King Day on borderline cities to make them useful... the player can not only erase the deficits on Emperor or lower, but outright blow past them. But... what about on Deity? The AI's get a 40% discount, and a free extra settler to start, plus the benefits of higher growth curve that result with building units, settlers, worker, improvements and wonders in half the time it takes for the player. I simply had to pit myself against that to see how it would go.
I decided on a Large map. This is because every story I've read about players on Deity, it's involved small maps. Maybe somebody out there is playing Deity on large or huge maps, but I've not heard about it, at least not since they closed out the "take over virtually undefended size 1 AI cities" loophole with the autoraze function. A large map with conquest as the only option means the game would either reach the end of the tech tree, or I would be eliminated before it did so. Thus, Modern Warfare, something I haven't seen since my very first Emperor game (on which I still haven't written a report!)
I decided on less than maximum opponents. This would spread out the AI's more, ensure that I'd have a chance to build at least a few cities without being trampled, and also ensure that the AI's would be too far away for me to be able to pull any effective ancient era tricks. They'd be building universities by the time I could send half a dozen vet archers toward them. Also, fewer players would likely mean none of the AI's would swallow weak rivals with poor lands. They'd all have time enough to expand to a point of all still being alive for the modern age. (Well, that was the THEORY, at least).
Pangaea to ensure early contact with all opponents, more than anything else. This for several reasons, but mainly because it would be the easiest path. (I'll get more into this later). So yes, the Wimpy Choice. But hey, my first Deity game, cut me some slack here. :)
Hot, Dry, Mountainous for a number of reasons. Firstly, to slow AI expansion a bit. (Possibly in vain, but worth a shot). Less food means less rapid growth for the AI's (well, that was the THEORY, at least). Also, with "poor" lands in terms of food, city placement and wise tile management are crucial. The AI's take no special care with mountains or deserts or tundras or very hilly regions, so they'd likely end up with numerous cities halted at very small size, while I could design settlement plans to take fullest advantage of the lands, whatever they might be. Plus I'd also have cities with some high production, somewhere, to be cranking those military units eventually.
Finally, my Civ choice. Clearly, for my FIRST Deity Conquest-Only game, I wanted to play a Militaristic civ. That narrows the selection down to six. I also expected to get no ancient or middle age wonders -- as I intended to concentrate my all onto expansionism: grab as much land as I could, and get my cities going asap -- so I wanted a civ with a legit shot at a military golden age. That eliminated Zulus, Rome, and Aztecs, with their ancient era Unique Units. I've been playing China in recent Succession games, and also an Emperor solo game I started just before patch 1.17f (and may never finish now), so that left Japan or Germany. I wimped out and chose Germany. Sue me. :)
I started on a river in a wide plain. A couple grassland, a couple hills, two forest (on plains), all else plains. Plains and more plains, two of them with cattle on them. Cattle are a great bonus to have at your capital. Each would provide two shields per turn, and once irrigated, three food even under despotism. This was good news for my expansionistic plans!
Unfortunately, there wasn't much fertile land nearby. To my dismay I found my capital was on the north point of triangular landform, meaning lots and lots of water in areas where I would have hoped to be able to put more cities. Not great, but I intended to play this one out to the bitter end. I'd either win, or they'd have to pry my cold, dead fingers off my throne!
To the north, a few more plots of grass, some under forest. To the east, water, but room for one city on the coast with a cattle, a game forest, and a couple grass, in with the plains and hills. To the west, hills and more hills, very rugged. I'd have to put a low-food coastal city there and it would never be able to reach size 20. So it goes. To the south, hard mountain range, so bad I couldn't do anything with it. Right next to the capital? That's brutal. There was one niche to the southeast, on the river, with one flood plains, one cattle, mostly hills and mountains, but max irrigation on plains, plus rails, would one day let the site reach the upper teens on size, with tons of shields, and there was an incense here.
That was it for the "inner ring" around my capital: four more cities, two not able to reach size 20, but lots of shields everywhere (once mines were dug). Beyond this to the north, northeast and northwest, all water. West and southwest and south, nothing but hills and mountains! I really had no choice: I would have to concentrate on expanding to the east and southeast. So that became my plan.
After one settler, I decided to take time to build a granary in Berlin, with the intent of then churning out settlers in rapid fashion. As a result, even with the cattle irrigated, I got a slowish-looking start in the first two millenia. In fact, I settled my third city, Hamburg, at the incense site, in 2030BC, the last turn before the change of millenium. I didn't know at the time exactly what the AI's were up to (I'd only met one, the English, to my south), but I did know that I was behind. WAY behind. You can see how quickly the AI's branch out and expand on the highest difficulty. They all start with two settlers and a dozen free military units. That's just how it goes. Welcome to Deity.
More details to come...

- Sirian

| To the Bitter End - Part Two |

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