Sirian's Great Library - Strategies for Civilization III
The Kobaiyashi Maru

Civilization: France
Difficulty: Deity
World Size: Small
Opponents: Five
Climate: Cold
Rainfall: Normal
Mountains: Normal
Land Mass: 30%
Land Shape: Continents
Barbarians: Roaming
Version: 1.29f
So I got the latest patch. I heard about the improvements to Commercial civ trait and wanted to try it out, so I decided to play France: commercial and industrious. Wouldn't you know, the game would decide to saddle me with the Kobaiyashi Maru: the No Win Scenerio.
I drew a very dry start, with my capital on the pointy end of a peninsula. That's never good. I drew a northern location on a cold map. Not good. I drew close neighbors. On Deity, mind you. Never have I had less with which to work. Never. This became obvious within forty turns. Here's a shot from the replay, forty turns into the game. (Can you guess who's going to win?)
You can see I'm just starting writing. This after researching Pottery and Ceremonial Burial and trading Alphabet to England for Bronze Working. This is a late start for writing which would cost me. I built warrior-granary-settler in the capital, which is now my standard for a dry start with bonus grasslands on hand. My capital was the only good land I had. My second city was a half city with mostly mountains and sea in range, one plains cattle, one grass forest, very low food. England is already crowding me, and I managed to pull down a grand total of (count them) THREE fishing villages in the hilly/icy areas north of Canterbury. And that's it for me for what amounts to the whole game (the parts that matter). I get one city, two VERY dry half cities and two fishing villages. And with this, I am taking on Deity opponents. Does it make sense that I would call this a No Win Scenerio?
To make matters worse, even though the barb setting was only on Roaming, two camps plagued me just outside Orleans, wiping out some of my warriors and hampering my expansion a bit.
I still didn't have mapmaking, nor the means to trade for it, at 650BC, and watched helplessly as a German then Babylonian galley sailed past my capital, on the way to claim the tiny ball-of-ice island above Paris. So where I should rightfully have had two more fishing villages to add to my collection (and the ability, then, to build an FP), I was denied that by five or eight turns, and truly and wholly relegated to my one garden spot and tiny area of rugged, barren lands.
When I did get mapmaking I built a galley and took a settler and spearman exploring, hoping to find some bit of unclaimed land. Well, they sailed and sailed and finally did find a niche with overlap, on a large isle east of my France. I settled, and whipped twice and built a temple, but before its borders could expand, it flipped to the English. So my one colony was a failure. All I got back out of it was one worker. ALL the rest of the land on the planet was claimed. My little area was just too feeble to get it together in time to seize any opportunities.
There had even been a narrow window of opportunity earlyish. England came under multiple attack, lost two cities to the Germans. They were so busy, I could have taken Canterbury, maybe even held it. I just didn't realize at the time that that city would have both iron and saltpeter, and that my chances to grab other lands would be nil. I should have pressed ANY kind of attack vs England's pikes, with archers, horses, whatever I could muster. I didn't, and the window was narrow. I wasn't well enough prepared and then it was too late, peace broke out again.
So I sat there with my five cities. And I did manage one success. I paid a few gold pieces for Right of Passage with Germany and renewed that all game long. I sent my workers all the way down to LONDON and irrigated from there back to my territory, ignoring Lizzie's demands for me to leave. (Saying Yes, but then not leaving). I got water back to my territory and was able to irrigate the half-dozen plains tiles shared by Orleans and Tours. That aided Orleans a bit, and turned Tours from a fishing village into a much-overlapped half-city of some note.
There was constant war in this game. Russia and Germany warred practically the whole game, while Greece in isolation expanded across its whole continent and then some. They had nobody in their way, and way more land available, then it was too late for anyone to oppose them. I realized I was going to lose, just TOO LITTLE on hand. But... they were going to have beat me. I wasn't going to give up. This was hardly a fair or even useful game for testing out the new patch, except in one regard: by and large, things overall seemed to be about the same. Biggest change I noticed was the HUGE value the AI's put on Nationalism. Wow. Like double its old value if not more.
I struggled with my economy, so I concentrated on markets and then banks. All I could do. I rushed a bank in my worse fishing village rather quickly, so I could get five banks and build Wall Street. That could give me the commerce of two more mature fishing villages. It definitely helped. Yet for a Deity game, the tech pace was SO slow. Too much war, while Greece had no equals to share research paths and trade back and forth. They had to carry the FULL load for the rest of us, me too small and everyone else too warlike.
I had four gems, a horse, and that was it. That's all I had in my lands. No iron or saltpeter (although both were just one tile outside my borders). No rubber. No oil (although one was on the icy island north of Paris, which I did eventually gain control over). No coal. I traded my gems (especially to Greece, who was so large I got strong value) for techs. I traded cash and gpt. I hung on, but with no iron and not paying for any, I had spearmen for the longest while. I thought I'd go right to riflemen but then the Nationalism surprise where it cost me nearly 4000g at LAST civ prices. Sheesh. Not even Atomic Theory was that much. Is this the new cost of that tech, or a new AI emphasis on it? They were willing to sell me Rep Parts much cheaper, so I have no idea what's going on with that.
I did buy coal, for 20 turns, and my six workers railed up all the food tiles and hills in that time, then I set each one individually onto a DIFFERENT mountain on the last turn of the coal, and thus, I had essentially ALL my land railed up with six workers on one round of coal purchase.
During the middle industrial age, Greece decided it was time for Liz to go. After all of her colonies were swallowed or razed, and Greece was coming for her mainland. I was SHOCKED when his marines made an amphibious assault vs Canterbury. It failed, thank goodness, but then he landed a boatload of troops and I had to act quickly.
I sent all my cavalry but one through German lands and up the side of Canterbury and I took the city. Lost two cavs. I moved muskets and cav into place at York and attacked it two turns later. My muskets beat a longbow and my Golden Age was triggered. Greece was coming from the other side, and just London left, so... I decided to trade my good reputation for Lizzie's techs. I bought Nationalism, Electricity, and Espionage for pure gpt, then Rep Parts for iron and gpt, and traded that to Russia for SciMeth. Big BIG gains, for all my available gpt IN GOLDEN AGE MODE. I knew Lizzie was finished, but... dammit, Alex too long to do it, as the turn before he captured London, some three or so turns after I took York, York flippes back to England, wiping out about ten of my units, including my only elite cav and more than a third of my feeble army. Blah. So it goes.
After that, I had to make all-cash deals for more tech. (Or cash plus tech for tech). It was probably worth it, though. I got a LOT out of just a couple rounds of max gpt to England. More, I'm sure, than the tarnished rep cost me thereafter. I just waited for cash to accumulate before I could but, instead of buying on credit. I had more than made up for it with my other gains from England expiring most of my debts with her demise.
Greece then declared vs Russia and started wiping out all Cathy's colonies. I had two settlers sitting around waiting for just such opportunity, and I built a third. Thus I did grab a spot on the isle above Paris, and on the same turn, two desert city locations on the isle where my colony had flipped, only this time further south. With those, I grabbed a second iron, a second horse, and an oil. The oil dried up eventually, but so it goes. I did get some modern ships out of that oil.
Greece threatened me and I paid. Hammi did it I told him where to stick it. I had bought 20 turns of rubber and I had some infantry now. I was afraid of Greece, but not Babylon. He declared, and I attacked two of his colonies. I captured one, losing three units, and was about to take the other when Greece paid me back by slipping his troops in past me and taking it over himself. Blah. I pulled an obsolete tech out of him in the peace deal. Greece had declared on him after he attacked me (guess Alex had a crush on old Joanie, hmm?) and Hammi had his hands full now. He started losing colonies, and I grabbed one site that got razed, which had rubber. Game's almost over now, though. Greece is on par for a domination win, OR they are adding parts to their ship already (while ALL the other civs are at least ten to twelve techs behind him. I was at tech parity with the rest of the low lifes. Heh). OR he could get a one-city 20k culture win with Athens and its eight thousand world wonders. Pick your poison, no way to win at this point. He had the UN locked down and I had no way to get to the tech.
Babylon homeland started getting wiped out, so I sent a ship with troops and a settler down there to grab a coal resouce. I did manage to do so, but the game ended in 1762AD. Apparently, Greece had more culture than I realized, they went over 100,000 and that was the end of that.

This is my first loss on Deity in half a dozen games, but considering the AWFUL condition of that start location, I'm rather proud of my results. I outlasted two civs, had some successful short wars, eked a living out of the bare ice and rock, and was two techs short of modern age when my time ran out. Very very late ending for a Deity game, in my experience. All in all, a worthy game, and fairly short to play. I need more experience and observation to form an opinion about this new patch, though. This game was so odd, I wasn't able to get a good feel for what, if anything, has really changed.

- Sirian

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