Sirian's Great Library - Strategies for Civilization III
Apolyton Tournament, Game Two

Civilization: English
Difficulty: Monarch
World Size: Standard
Opponents: Six
Climate: Normal
Rainfall: Normal
Mountains: Rugged
Land Mass: Large
Land Shape: Archipelago
Barbarians: Raging
Version: 1.07f
Special: Huts Removed via Editor
SPECIAL NOTE: this game was played on the original release version. In the wake of the first patch, version 1.16f, game elements have changed, rendering much of what I used to win here obsolete.
I achieved a Domination Victory in 1880. Final Score, 3573.
This game had a very healthy starting location: on a river, with a grassland wheat within the outer limits (available after ten turns, when borders expanded). I made it my first priority to irrigate to there, to increase food from four to five (losing one to despotism, but still, going from three to four food, that's as good as a granary) and I built a settler first, before anything else. The rest of the nearby land was proceedingly less hospitable. One more grassland city to the south, one plains/desert/forest city to the north, which would need irrigation quickly to grow.
With Raging barbarians, I knew it would not take long for a camp to pop up, so I had to get some military going. I built a warrior next, and I used my new second city to pop out warriors and workers in alternation, for quite some time to come. The capital went back to building settlers, and by this time, my scout had made a counterclockwise exploration of my island, which was quite large but mostly mountainous. A few plots of grassland in the far north looked decent, but so far from the capital as to be slaves to corruption, so I intended to have a look around nearby islands, which might be closer and thus more worthy, before settling the far north.
Barbarians did indeed pop up after my scout returned home. I had him positioned on a mountain to be a lookout over a wider area (camps won't pop up on any land you can directly see) and I used him for this duty on a continual basis for millenia.
I had to take out a camp IN the mountains at one point, and lost a warrior on the attack, but had a second one there waiting to clean it up. I then stationed my warriors around, spaced out such as to "see" all the land but the far north end of the island. Up there, I stationed a warrior, fortified on a mountain, and never again worried about barbarians on my main continent. Oh some popped up, at the far north, but I left their camps undisturbed and let them suicide against my fortified warrior for centuries, without concerns.
I played expansionist style. Rushed to Map Making at 32 turns each, then rushed out bronze working and ceremonial burial at max tech rate, and whipped all my useless new colonies into producing a temple at the first chance via rush building. I concentrated on settlers (no granary) with London. Once I got to bronze working, I built the granary in London and alternated between settlers and spearmen there, while my third city built a barracks and built nothing else but veteran spearmen. The Iroquois landed one city on the northwest corner of the west isle. I had control of the rest of "my" land, plus I had landed two colonies at the luxury sites on the northeast coast of the Indian continent to the south. (Didn't actually SEE the dyes at the first site until I landed. I chose it because it was so close to my capital!) The southern city, next to the gems, was too far away, so I purposely planned never to grow it beyond six, as it was on a hill and I would use walls to help defend it. (Silly me, at the time I didn't realize yet that walls only offer the same protection to a city that it's automatically afforded at size 7+, so while the walls were quite useful, I needn't have purposely kept the city at size 6. In fact, if I'd gone to size 7, I could later have used the draft there. Oh well.) I spotted ivory as yet unclaimed on the west end of the Iroquois continent but did not believe I could hold that, so I didn't bother to go for it.
Wise choice, as it was all I could do to hold off the extremely aggressive Indians on their own continent through two different major wars. Sweating bullets there, reinforcements repeatedly arriving with at most one turn to spare before the cities might have fallen without them. Took some hefty losses and spent a lot of gold on rushing barracks, artillery (catapults) and troops. Had to trade for better tech in BOTH wars to upgrade my defensive units, to be able to hold on.
I've figured out what makes the AI turn highly aggressive at times. It is especially fond of attacking cities that have within their radius, a special resource that that civ does not possess. In some instances, it may behoove a player to build a city three spaces away from a resource and use colonies, or wait for high culture to expand the borders -- but this would only work in a situation where the AI's couldn't build a city closer to the resource. Still, it's something to be aware of, that any city you found with a resource within its immediate range may become a prime target of the AI and must be well defended, and then some. Usually, you're just going to have to suck it up and hold on, as it may be too wasteful trying to contort your empire to avoid having certain resources within a city radius. I'm talking here of a special situation, where you've reached out beyond your means to grab a resource in a distant location.
The AI may also turn aggressive if it detects military weakness, such as a colony far from your capital that is too lightly defended.
I spent ages and ages building settlers at my capital, building military there and also my third city, and workers from the second city. No other cities were productive for quite a long time. I stayed in despotism for an extended period, whipping temples with forced labor at almost every colony. A couple of the last ones were too new for that, though I did get one new colony under the wire (my silk city, on my main island) by chopping down a forest to speed it up, then whipping. The use of forced labor is (I have found, for me) the best tool for bringing along distant colonies torn by corruption. They are just too slow, otherwise, to build much of anything. Getting a temple going in this manner should be possible for ANY settlement after at most twenty turns, as they reach size two or three and have the remaining production down to 39 shields or less. Scientific civs can whip a library out, militaristic civs can whip a harbor, while nonmilitaristic civs can whip a barracks. Any civ can whip a granary, with some shields prebuilt. In a few cases, whipping a courthouse out sooner may also be worthwhile.
The thing about forced labor is that you get the best bang for your buck with the first population unit consumed. You get up to 39 shields from such an act. You only get 20 extra shields for each extra population after that, and the DURATION as well as the intensity of unhappiness from whipping appears to be increased with each extra whipping, thus whipping more than once or twice will have lasting negative consequences. I've since learned that forced labor to rush a number of buildings, like aqueducts and harbors and courthouses, adding up to six or eight or ten citizens whipped, is just too much, it actually slows you down in the long run. Moderation seems to be the key, and in most cases, whipping only one population at a time seems best, to get that last 39 shields quickly. That is usually worth it (except perhaps at your capital) but after that it's quite debatable.
I have three packs of saved games for downloading. If you would like to have a look at my English Empire in the ancient era, CLICK HERE to download. Included are my saves from 1375BC, 550 where I met the Indians, 470 where I met the Iroquois, plus the point at which I made world contact and brokered my way to riches selling everyone the world map and contact with one another, and a save at 370AD right after I finished settling.
I had four galleys by the time I made world contact, two exploring to the south, where I had found the Indians and Germans, but missed an early chance to find the French, and the one that found the Iroquois, plus one that shuttled settlers and military to the eastern island, then explored around it.
With that last galley, I spotted the cultural borders of Japan across a narrow strait of ocean. I didn't yet see the coastal-sea connection to French lands (tsk tsk, not paying close attention to the patterns of the water) so I thought this was a prime opportunity to take a risk. I'd sail out to the sea and possibly make contact with the Japanese, or at worst, have to survive one turn in risky waters. If the ship went down, no biggie, since it had nothing else left to be doing. So I went out there, and luck was with me. The galley survived one turn at sea, then it was next to Japanese coast and that's all she wrote. Chancy, but this was far from my only ship so what the hey. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I DID wait until I could afford to take such a risk, or rather, hadn't even gone exploring with that ship until it had nothing else left to be doing.
The early world contact put me in a good position, I think. I continued to make more cash exploring the map and selling my findings to all six other civs every few turns. Went to Republic here, soon, and settled in to growing and consolidating my empire.
Just as I'm getting to Feudalism, I spotted massive troop movements across the border in India. In fact, I was lucky to spot them, just off the corner of my southern city. I realized right away that the ONE spearman in each of my two cities down there was just inviting invasion. I had had two at the northern city, but I'd disbanded one to be able to rush a harbor right before I went into revolt. I had only ONE ship in the area, the one that had found the Iroquois, then returned home. I immediately began ferrying every available spare unit to the Indian continent. I rushed walls, then a barracks, with gold, at the north city. At the south, I rushed barracks and three more spearmen, then two catapults. Oh my, here come the Indian hordes, mostly archers, warriors and spearmen in the first two waves, all attacking the north city. I did not even have the luxuries online yet in either city. They had slow going moving through the jungle and mountains. I had to weather the first two turns of attacks with spearmen! I lost two, and that really scared me, despite the heavy Indian losses. Rush more troops there, even leaving my capital undefended for a few turns. Wow, this was cutting it close. Here come a ton of swordsmen!
Just as the swords close in on my city, I traded for Feudalism with the Germans AND completed a road to my only source of iron at the far north tip of my main island, upgraded ten units (six in the north, four in the south) to pikemen, and again I weathered the storm. Whew! The Indians made peace, but I had to pay them a token gold fee, despite their massive losses.
I didn't touch any wonders and didn't plan to. Magellan's was the one I wanted, and I made sure to grab it, sparking a golden age that boosted me to first place, from which I never looked back. I hunkered down in a consolidation and building phase. Lack of horses left me with scant offensive options anyway. I took that chance to start my Forbidden Palace in the north, getting quite the jump on building it thanks to extra shields (plus a rush-bought a courthouse in that city, to get the max shields per turn going on the palace) and also to grab Newton's University at my capital. I would ultimately end up with every industrial and modern wonder, as I got the tech lead here for keeps, and would not trade any tech to anybody, keeping them locked in obsolescence.
To download my middle ages saved game pack, CLICK HERE to download. Included are my saves from the start and then the end of my Golden Age, the point at which I switched to Democracy, and the completion of my Forbidden Palace (just LOOK at the difference it made! Getting your FP built in the right location can make all the difference. I'll even go as far as to call it my Winning Move, in this game).
Near the end of my Golden Age, the Indians came again for Round Two: the second rendition of the English-Indian wars. They brought packaderms, in large numbers. I grew to hate the sound of elephants on the attack. Good grief! I had already upgraded all my defenders here to muskets, but these elephants killed one of those in the south, leaving me with just THREE down there, and I was rushing reinforcements to there as quickly as I could, but I could see it was not going to be enough. The Indians bought help from the Iroquois, Russians, and French, all allying against me. I was in DIRE straits and could not afford the whole world going against me, so I paid through the nose to get the Germans and Japanese on my side. This alliance would hold until the end of the game, as these two nations were my friends, and the other four my enemies. From the Germans, I acquired Nationalism, and upgraded all my muskets to rifles. Whew! Just in the nick of time, and I STILL had to deliver boatload after boatload of reinforcements to that southern city. This was by far the hairiest war I've been in and the closest I've yet come to being overrun in a major engagement.
My defense was pressed against those elephants. Had to counterattack against the wounded elephants and cavalry with bowmen and riflemen, to finish some of them off (at some nasty cost), in the second war, or they'd have just recycled them endlessly and wore me down.
The AI's really went nuts attacking one another. One after the other after the next went to Communism. The Germans and Japanese were perpetually at war with Russia, and thus never did get hold of any coal, either of them. They sat with roads instead of railroads for the rest of the game, as I had unwittingly deprived them of access to surplus Russian coal. Hey, blame Ghandi, not me. He's the one who forced my hand.
Unfortunately, war weariness reached such oppressive levels -- and despite my counterattacks killing off many elephants, and then even cavalry, I still had no horses and my forces were also thinning out -- I had to sue for peace before the alliances could expire. Thus I got a bad reputation, and no civ would trade with me again thereafter except on a per-turn basis. No more lump sum transactions for my goods. Arrgh. I kind of hate that, in that it's a nasty penalty for breaking a military alliance, when there ARE NO OPTIONS shorter than twenty turns, plus the game fails to penalize much worse abuses and betrayals. The diplomatic system is quite good, but still has some room for improvement, I think.
As all the AI's except the French went to Communist (and them, too, eventually) while I stayed in democracy, I opened up a simply HUGE tech lead on them, growing by the turn. They were mostly all at war, spending gold on who knows what, using the draft and the whip to get more military going, slowing choking off their growth rates. I got Hoover Dam and, on my islands, coal plants going. When I got to motorized transport, I started building tanks, and two turns later I had eight of them. I began my campaign for world conquest by capturing an Indian city on the first turn, then another and razing a third on the second turn, then a fourth city on the third turn, as I also landed a transport full of units on Iroquois shores and began to attack them. My target in both cases? Their sources of rubber! BEFORE they could start to build any infantry! It would be so much easier to take them both out, fighting tanks against rifles, muskets, pikes and bows. In both cases, I secured their rubber on the first attack, the FIRST city I took from each of them, their rubber was all gone. Mine all mine! Mine mine mine. Mine I say. Not yours, mine. These guys were in bad bad shape from there on, as I built more and more tanks, and more tanks, then also additional tanks, plus reinforcements of extra tanks. Ooh, and mech infantry now, too.
I got my very first Great Leader on the FIRST attack against the Indians, at their rubber city. I used it to immediately make a one-tank Army, to get the Heroic Epic into play. You can only have one leader at a time, and knowing how much war I was planning to make, I believed I could get another leader in time to rush-build the United Nations here shortly. I had a nice defensive location all picked out. :)
Well, after taking a fifth Indian city, I made peace with them and gave them a rest. Their next target (Bombay) was on a hill, and I needed more units down there, as losses had thinned me out a bit. I did not fear their defensive buildup as they had no rubber and no one else on their side had extra to trade them. They wasted their cavalry uselessly charging past my attacking forces to get a city in my back lines. This AI really needs less A and more I. Good grief. And what LENGTHS they will go to to grab a worker! Like, the AI seems to hold those at the top of its target list. Definitely a flaw in the program there.
To download my modern saved game pack, CLICK HERE to download. Included are my saves from the start of the war, as my eight tanks stand ready to roll, and also later from the point where I stood poised to invade Germany. (More on that later). If you roll those tanks out yourself, you'll see you can grab that one city easily and move into position to attack the one with the iron and coal. Fun times. Let the conquest begin!
Now a word about conquest management. I consider this another flaw in the game design: the game PENALIZES YOU for playing nice, and rewards you for being a butcher. If you let the conquered citizens live, they are likely to revolt on you. If you starve them to death by turning them all into taxmen turn after turn, until only one is left, then repopulate from there, all the new citizens will be your nationality and the city will never revolt on you with just one foreign national in it. Kind of silly, but if you are going to go all out conquest, you have three choices: burn the city down and turn the survivors into slave labor, or capture the city and starve them to death and repopulate from there (Longevity Wonder helps a lot with that plan), or thirdly, play it the correct way, historically speaking, in terms of managing the conquered population instead of REPEATEDLY butchering them one way or another, and watch several of your key cities revolt away on you, obliterating all your units in that city with no chance to quell the rebellion. This part of the game, too, is flawed, where what works makes no sense, and you are rewarded for being evil, the more evil, the more the reward. *sigh*
But I tell you straight up, I don't honor this "revolt" system or consider it realistic. Something about it needs more work, so I have no qualms about exploiting a loophole to get around it, for the time being. That being the most UNrealistic course of action in that the people happily sit there and let you starve them to death. THAT is actually when they SHOULD be revolting, not when you are peacefully managing them and treating them decently. Oh well. Maybe Firaxis can work on that in future patches. There is certainly room for improvement left across the board for the game figuring out how to reward goodness and penalize evil, at least to a more realistic degree. Too many areas of the game are just the opposite now.
I also believe that if you "liberate" an allied city, that it should automatically revert to control of your ally, not to you. That's how it was done in Axis and Allies (the board game, not the computer version, which I've never played). Problem is, Civ III doesn't have any contingencies for allowing allied units to share the same square of territory at ANY time, thus they would have to revise quite a bit to make this work, and that may be an unrealistic demand. Still, I'd think it would be nice. Right now, you can almost exploit the game by allying with a weak partner, and taking control of all their cities from the enemy once the enemy takes them. That just wouldn't happen in real life, though.
No other civ made it into the modern era. None of them got past combustion. The Iroquois were fighting with longbowmen and swordsmen, with a few leftover infantry in a couple of cities, but mostly riflemen. The AI has further flaws, in sending some of its units around the map in the offensive-defensive pairing. A rifle protecting a longbow, for example. Nice simple strategy, but that rifleman ought to be in a city protecting it if the AI isn't going to USE the longbow to attack invaders. Does the AI no good for them to dramatically weaken city defenses just so some archer can pillage a useless grassland square while all their cities are falling to stacks of cavalry or tanks. *sigh*
After a period of rest, Round Two came along in about 1780. I rolled over Bombay (all it had was some muskets, so the hill it sat on didn't save it), then from there, the rest of the heart of the Indian Empire. They HAD secured another source of rubber from their colonies (took over a Japanese colonial city, arrgh) but they were rush-building infantry instead of drafting, and totally slamming their own cities in the process -- plus they could only get one unit out of three population that way, instead of three conscript units. Silly AI. And WHY don't they upgrade their obsolete units? Like... what is the point of rushbuilding a couple units at such great cost, when they could just pay to upgrade existing units? The AI ought to place priority on paying for unit upgrades, as they are just easy to conquer when they leave obsolete units guarding back line cities, which too quickly become front line cities, and then MY newly conquered cities. Heh. At the very least, when the AI is IN A WAR and has LOST CITIES, it ought to do everything in its power to upgrade as many units as it can, and not worry about a single lick of science until every unit it has can be upgraded. And obviously, once SunTzu's has been built by someone else, the AI ought to be smart enough to build a barracks in virtually every city it owns, so it CAN upgrade troops when it needs to. ... Oh well. Maybe they will improve the AI as time goes on. From Bombay, I launched forces after four other cities and swept them all in one turn, albeit barely, in two of those cases. In the north, I lined up to take the rest of the Iroquois major cities. I had slightly more forces in play up there, with a full eight-stack in each case, instead of five to six (which really was thin) that I had down in India.
Attacking one of the few Iroquois infantry, fortified on a hill, with an elite tank that barely survived, I produced a second great leader from this brutal engagement. I shipped him home immediately, as I was two turns from starting research on Fission, and he came along just in time for that.
I was too slow on the draw to get a screenshot of my first leader, but I reacted quickly this time. I'd say you have about three seconds to reach up and hit the PrintScrn key, which saves the screen to the windows clipboard, from which it can be pasted into an image program (I like L-View). I've since gotten better at reacting quickly when a leader is produced. I enjoy taking those shots. :) Victory is always entertaining. :)
Notice the location of those two mech inf. I moved them there on one turn, from my front line city, last turn, in striking distance of these cities, one large stack heading for each city. Now take a look at the following shot.
You usually can't afford to bring workers to the beachheads, but once you have some kind of foothold, it's always a good idea to have workers along to build railroads for you ON THE SAME TURN that you're attacking the enemy. Look what these rails did for me, with just one transport load of workers, I built four squares of rails, and was able thereby to move unused troops into place to take a third city on the SAME turn, secure all three gains, and move leftover units into place to attack Mauch Chunk and Kahnawake, including ships to bombard Kahnawake to soften it up. Blitzkrieg is the name of the game here. Shock warfare. The AI is just NOT adept at defending against this kind of attack, as it leaves back cities too lightly defended, unable to trace how you can reach them -- but often you can, if not on the same turn, with the help of workers and newly secured cultural borders, certainly more quickly than the AI is prepared to handle.
Observe the Powell Doctrine: bring DECISIVE force to the engagement, cut off the enemy and then kill it. No mercy, no hesitation, and no lack of preparation. Go to war meaning business, and take care of that business with crushing determination once you start firing shots.
That the AI will go to any lengths to capture or kill your engineers (that's what workers are called when they are building stuff in direct support of military activity) is just bonus. You can exploit it into the dirt by parading workers in front of the enemy and daring them to charge into your territory to capture them, but I don't. However, I'm NOT going to go to any lengths to protect all my engineers, when there are priority actions to be taken. If the AI wants to run its defenders out of the cities to go capture some expendable and unimportant engineers, well, they're going to lose the war that much more quickly. I can raze a city or two to replace lost workers, you know, if they decide to butcher them (disband them?) instead of keeping them. Silly AI.
After taking the next two cities, I made peace for 20 turns (and honored the agreement) and got two more minor cities for free in the bargain. That left the Iroqois with just four minor cities left. I conquered the rest of the Indian continent, razing their size 15 city (too large even to want to try to starve, and I had a settler ready to settle MY OWN city in its place, to have a fully reliable and revolt-proof city to serve as a base for stationing all my reserve troops. NOT a good idea to station a huge army in a vulnerable revolt-possible city and watch a huge stack vanish on you. Eek. So I have learned to bring a settler along, raze at least one enemy city and put my own people there, and use THAT as the stockpile location of my forces in the area, my main base.) There was one Indian city left on their mainland, at the souther tip, hidden behind a bunch of tundra forests. No threat to me, so I'll get it later.
Now it was time to take out the Russians, just as soon as Modern Armor came on the scene. I sent two transports over there, with six Modern Armor and two MechInf each, plopped each down next to a Russian city, captured each, and used the leftover troops to take Moscow on the same turn. I then carted a few troops from Iroquois lands to the minor island east of Russia and took that over, then made peace. I NEEDED some peace, but this time I WOULD violate the peace before 20 turns was up. Hey, I'm not ALWAYS the most honorable player, you know. But it did say "Lasts until War is Redeclared". I didn't offer any promises for 20 turns this time, you see, nor did I accept cities in the negotiation. (If you accept cities from the enemy, that's on the promise of giving them 20 turns of peace, and you're a scoundrel if you reneg on that.)
After five or so turns of peace, and having secured the Russian cities I'd captured already, and brought two more transports of troops over, I conquered the rest of the Russian homeland. My third leader arrived at this point.
With the Russians beaten, it was time to take on Germany. If you reload the last of my saved games, marked "Transports", you will see that I have cancelled my right of passage with the Germans and declared war on them, and moved two transports full of troops into position. On my next turn, I will land those sixteen units in the square to the left, then go back to the port, load another sixteen, AND ON THE SAME TURN, land them in the square north of that smaller city south of Leipzig. 32 units delivered by two transports on the same turn. Now that's an invasion! Leipzig would be razed and I'd settle a new city there, in my fashion of needing at least one SECURE city to serve as a base in an invasion, to make absolutely certain that I'm not pushed back off the continent by revolts once I have a foothold. As it turned out, Berlin WOULD revolt on me once, but it was the only city all game to do so. Between starvation and my other strategies, I've been able to keep those revolts to an absolute minimum. It's just too costly not to do everything you can to minimize them.
I used lumberjacking to help along some of my cities, who were stuck at 1/1 corruption, to build a few improvements faster. I'm kind of glad that the new patch has ended that, and eased corruption a bit (although it's still a problem). No more temptation to go through the monotony of planting forests and chopping them down, as I did in this game in the latter stages, to help get more cultural borders expanded more quickly. (Takes forever to build stuff at one shield per turn).
I swallowed Germany a bit at a time, razing their other really large cities, capturing the rest. I also took over the rest of Indian lands, and figured that would be enough to reach the domination threshold. I got a total of seven great leaders, and used each of the last four to rush a temple in some captured city (what else was I going to do with them?) I was growing bored, by this time, with the campaign, and wondering how soon it would end. How much more did I have to take over to win? Good grief. It sure would be nice if the game had some way to inform you how much of the world's land you control. In real life, such knowledge would be obtainable at some point in the modern era, perhaps with Advanced Flight? Certainly by the time you get to sattelites. Perhaps each of those ought to offer you the ability to know how much of the land you control.
So I realized I may have to take some of the French over. I left the Japanese alone, even though they would have been an easier target, because all game long they NEVER once provoked, threatened, or double crossed me, and had been staunch allies at every turn, so I refused to betray them. Only... on the last turn, when not even conquering the FRENCH had given me enough land, and I had created a city named "Desperate to Get It Ovr" (not enough chars allowed for the E in over), I attacked Nagasaki. ANYTHING to end the game. I'd long since had it won. And that did the trick. Game over.
To download the game at the start, and on my final turn, CLICK HERE
Had fun with this tourney game. I much enjoyed the rough wars with India, even though the overall game was never much in doubt. Learned a lot of little things from this game. I've not been able to share every nuance with you, but I've shared a lot. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful.

- Sirian

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