|Rumble in the Jungle|
World Size: Standard
Land Mass: Normal
Land Shape: Continents
My first game after completing the Apolyton Tourament Two and upgrading to the 1.16f patch, came as the Zulu on Monarch. I got a settler out of a nearby goody hut in 3900BC (first time with such luck) and went on to dominate the game so badly I didn't bother to finish it. In that game, I learned that some of my initial impressions of the patch were only part of the story. Buying tech for gold was still an option, just not as good an option as before. The price had been raised for buying state-of-the-art technologies, but was still quite affordable for buying obsoleted or widely known techs. The price is very much dependent on how many other civs have the knowledge already.
So with this half-game of experience under my belt, I felt I was ready to step it back up to Emperor. I have considered the Germans to be one of the strongest civs in the game ever since my first game, watching them build almost every wonder, get about an eight tech lead compared to where my smallish, impoverished civ was, and roll over the other AI's and actually beat me. I decided it was finally time to try my hand at playing them.
So I got an odd looking start location: four flood plains on a river -- two with wheat! -- in the middle of what was otherwise all hills and mountains, with one jungle peeking over from the other side of the ridge. I'm looking at this and thinking long term: I can build here, on a flood plain where I started, and lose one of my very few food-producing squares, or I can cross the river onto a hill, get a free food out of that AND preserve an eventual five-food square, increasing my total food ceiling by four units, get the defensive bonus for the hills, and possible grab more jungle, which would eventually be grass and perhaps even offer me enough food to turn my capital into an overwhelming powerhouse of production. If Iron and Coal were both on hand, I might get to 200 shields per turn! (With Iron Works).
I moved onto the hill. This did pull two more jungle into range, giving me seven food squares and thirteen hills/mountains. Sadly, the early years of production were just brutal. I mean BREW-TULL, as in agonizingly slow. Berlin is cranking one shield per turn. On the up side, it's growing like dandelions. My worker irrigated first the one wheat, then the other, and built roads on them, with each offering up five food per turn in despotism. Amazing. Then I started in on mining one of the hills (to get a square with two shields going). Twelve turns is a long time to wait, though, and this after two irrigation and a couple of roads. So the entire early game was spent on minimal shield, with food to spare. I ended up having no choice but to two build two axe warriors in a row to start the game, as Emperor level gives you unhappy people starting at size 2.
Even with the early warriors, I was stuck with more population than I could control. It was in this game that Civ III forced me to discover the extreme worth of spending gold on luxuries in the early game, rather than rapid food growth or turn population into entertainers. Managing the luxury rate like this requires micromanagement and a keen eye, but it really can speed your whole growth curve, as food and shields mean SO much more than gold in almost all cases. So there I am, stuck with two warriors in my capital, must leave them there or the people will riot, running luxuries on top of this, with my city cranking just ONE shield at size 3, and just three shields at size 5! Building settlers at size 5 and even size SIX, in the early game, because my land here is just so unusual. As a result, after two warriors, and watching Aztecs and Indians popping through my lands ALREADY, on the way north past me to attack barbarian camps, I haven't explored a single lick of territory, and yet I had to get another city going and soon. What to do?
I took my chances. I figured that if I just followed the river, that I'd come upon a suitable site. So there I am, building settlers at a snail's pace with a size 4 to 6 city that has too much food and not enough shields, and sending them blindly out, unescorted, into the darkness. I found spices just to the north of Berlin, and founded Leipzig in range of them, on the river, where a couple of grassland and a forest or two peeked out of what surely looked like the King of the Jungles. Nothing jungle and more jungle, as far as the eye could see, with maybe a hill or two peeking out of the growth.
What a patch of land! The Rumble in the Jungle. Impoverished start, despite the two flood plain wheat, yet with so much long term potential. I hoped to find better lands to the south, but that was not to be.
So I have one good city, which grows rapidly but has modest production, another city that can grow at a normal clip, and several "future projects". Konigsberg would be stuck at size 5, then be able to grow to a max of size 8 with rails. That's pretty sad, but it was nevertheless a vital city for me, providing a strong early defense and a number of units, and despite its size, producing good production throughout the game. The city about to founded on that second iron, in the screenshot, would be my only port city with more than one shield going for simply ages. So there were those two cities in the mountains, one to the west on the border between mountain and jungle, and everything else in the jungle, several requiring the clearing of jungle to be able to grow beyond size 2! As such, Berlin had to do EVERYTHING in the early game, from building settlers to building military to protect new towns, while all of those eked out enough population to rush a temple, maybe a library, or in one or two cases, a harbor. As such, I had less than zero hope of building any wonders, and would not, in fact, get any up through the middle ages.
You can see the Aztecs already encroaching on my southeast, and the Indians to the south and southwest. They were both a bit near for my taste, and my mountainous front line was a double-edged sword, since it not only provided my cities defense, but also some protection to any invaders, especially those not targetting cities directly. Just building enough defense to barely protect myself, and settlers from Berlin as fast as I could manage, had me racing to grab all the jungle to the north before the Aztecs and Indians swept past me to grab it, as they were expanding like rabbits. Even so, the Indians got to the lone dye in the northeast before I could, and also secured the horse up there, too. Luckily for me, there was another horse in my area. I was in NO position to get into an early war: no hope of poprushing troops because none of my cities had any food except Berlin, and not enough shields to build much of anything either. I was all but a sitting duck.
Once all the lands to my north were settled, I spotted a hole in border between my lands and India and thought I might seize the chance to build an aggressive settlement and eat into some of their land, by building in a forward location, too close to their cities, thus grabbing land away from them, and leaving some behind my city for it to be able to grow to at least size 12, if not larger. Plus, it would better secure the iron at Konigsberg. So I went for it.
Slowly, I added more and more workers and started to carve my way through the endless jungles, concentrating on bringing irrigation to Hamburg first, then chopping a few squares out around each city so each could grow at least a bit, and I could get a road network going. I had to continuously run Luxuries, as Berlin was size 12 with all my other cities at size 2 to 5 and all but Leipzig and one other needing aqueducts. Games like this can really hammer home the survivability of poor or rugged lands. Your cities only need a few good squares to reach size 6, and by then you can start improving and using other squares. Hills and mountains aren't all that bad, since they do make for good production. You simply MUST grab all the land within six to eight squares of your capital, because those are the least corrupt, and any city there, any at all, will be more than worth the settler spent to found it.
To my dismay, this Continents game turned out to have one large landmass, with eventually a few islands out in the ocean. All the other civs made rapid contact and traded their way into tech prominence. I was the most backward civ on the planet, and got a stark reminder of how painful it can be to have to buy my way into the world map and some of the techs, instead of the bounty of being able to broker these things to other civs by being the middle man, the one who makes first contact. Turns out that the landmass was like one giant crescent, and I was at the far end of things, yet still exposed to potential aggressors on all fronts, as the Greeks, at the far other end of the loop, were just across a narrow chanel from me to the north. I found this out when my only port city finally built a galley and I sailed it around the huge harbor, making contact on my own (as opposed to paying the Aztecs/Indians) with most of the other civs. This lone galley had to fight off barbarian ships that had built up over time, rising from regular to veteran to elite, and sinking EIGHT such barbarian ships, before its luck ran out just ONE TURN AWAY from a new port city at the far northeast tip of my land, beyond the Indian Dyes outpost.
Then the wars began. India demanded something or other, I told them to take a hike, they declared war. This was the start of the middle ages and I had some pikes by now. Pikes in the mountains are just not impressed with warriors and archers, and not much with swordsmen. The Indians had grabbed that horse, but never brought it online, the silly AI pausing to clear jungle squares first, and that city so far from their capital, it had to be running just one shield per turn. Still, I lacked the force to capture it, and was actually pressed just to hold on in the south. Lost a few land improvements and some troops, arrgh.
Then the Indians ran dry of spare troops and I sent forth my spares to attack their silk city, and managed to raze it to the ground. They sent another settler over to replace it immediately and I captured him, so this netted me several slave labor. I was then able to secure peace, and fortify a bunch of units in all the eligible settlement squares to hold on to them, while I built a settler then moved him on down there and founded a second aggressive settlement, this one securing the silks for me. What a boon! Now more luxuries, and soon I would have a road to connect to begin trading.
That's when the Aztecs got aggressive. They saw me with the silks, and with a couple of thinly defended iron towns (because my extra forces were at silk town), and here comes simply wave after wave after wave of Jags into my territory, and I had a Right of Passage with these bastards! Arrgh. I cancelled that as soon as I could, two turns I think, all the while shuffling troops into the mountains to try to block their access to the cities they were moving toward. Finally the hostilities began, but not before I mustered a few knights. It was touch and go for a while there, but from this mess emerged my first Great Leader!
With him I believed I had to build an army of knights, because this war was iffy in these mountains, and it looked to me like there was going to be a lot more war going on before it was all said and done, so best to get the Epic going asap, to get more total leaders. With the help of this army (pre-cavalry, when they are the most useful), I fought off the Aztecs, then pushed on to raze their closest city. During this time, with the last unit in the area and as an afterthought, I attacked an Aztec swordsman moving to pillage my lands. Out pops leader #2! I sent him to Berlin to rush Newton's. Tenochtitlan was right behind that destroyed city, but I had no hope of taking that down, so I made peace at the first opportunity. I also vowed to repeat my success after the Indian war by fortifying a bunch of units in the no man's land and moving a settler in there to push my border forward. I could afford to built near Konigsberg because that city could not grow past 5, or (with rails), ever past 8, so I could afford more overlap.
Newton's was the first wonder I built. I was hopelessly behind on not only wonders, but tech. Well, not "hopelessly", perhaps, but the AI's had all met up early, traded to a huge lead, and catching up had taken me a long time. I was only now getting more than Berlin online as a decent city. Konigsberg and my port town had basically put up lots of cardboard cutouts and posters of defenders on the walls, in lieu of real troops. Those two cities had been cranking pikes for some time, and Berlin had produced horsies/knights. Everything else was struggling to build basic infrastructure, and the going had been really slow, mostly due to terrain so poor. Slowly, I carved paths through the jungle and roads across mountains, but the AI's had ALL had easier lands to manage and were just leaps and bounds ahead. If not for my general isolation, and a small front border compared to my total territory, I might have been in trouble.
Now I got into it with India again, and this time, I had cavalry on hand! Woe is them. Here goes another leader, as I attack troops in the mountains already wounded by my catapults.
Since that leader could reach Bonn on the same turn, while Konigsberg was almost done with a bank, Bonn is where I rushed Smith's Trading Company, the only available wonder. I then had to rush something else -- more troops up to the front to defend Bonn!
This was the beginning of the end for the Indians. The AI's are just not adept at fighting off units with 3 movement (They ONLY recognize a threat if you move units within two squares of an AI city. You can park a stack of 100 cavalry, IN ENEMY TERRITORY EVEN, three squares from a city, and that city will not draft, rushbuild, or do anything else to bolster its defense. THIS IS A FLAW, but it's there, and unless/until it's patched, I'm going to exploit it. So even though I had only a handful of units, I blitzed my way across India a little at a time, using my army of knights in tough spots. China joined in the war on my side, and I thought nothing of it, but they did actually get troops down there as India had one city left, and stole it out from under my nose! I had a Chinese city on my doorstep for a long time.
India had ONE teensy little island fishing village off the cost of the Roman Empire. Rome, as it turned out, had no coal, and were thus doomed, as I had all the excess and refused to trade them any. :) Since I knew it would be some time before I could get to that last Indian town, I opted to raze ALL of India's biggest cities and replant my own cities in the area in better location. The few Indian cities I kept were all stacked a mile high with garrison troops. India was finished.
While I was mopping up India, however, I had left some cities in my back lines thinly defended, and left a couple wide open. That was too tempting to the Greeks, who made their intentions clear by moving ships toward me. When they landed a cavalry on my land, right next to an empty city, I KNEW they were in "attack the resource city" mode, as the AI had already done several times this game, and they would attack me on the next turn. So... I moved defenders into place with my newly finished military rail network, signed Mutual Protection Pacts with Rome, Russia, and Zululand, and grinned as Greece attacked on the next turn.
What I did NOT expect was how quickly Greece, the world's superpower, would disintegrate! WOW! Like, all their spare units must have been on ships coming toward me, or else scattered, or perhaps just too thin to take on three whole nations. First one, then another Greek front line city was captured or razed. The next thing I know, half of Greece has been wiped out, and I decide the time was ripe for my own military gambit, so I landed two galleons full of cavalry on the end of the Greek continent and attacked them! I nabbed four cities and razed a fifth, resettling it. One of my captures was a former Russian city with gems in range!
I thought Greece was too weak to do anything about it by that time, but I was wrong. A stack of half a dozen Greek cavalry counterattacked, and by then I learned I did not have rubber on my land anywhere, despite the endless jungles. Arrgh. So I had a rougher fight than I wanted, lost some units, but did hold on to the location with the oil. The Russian city flipped back, though, for lack of strong enough garrison, and I lost more units! Eek!
So I had to make peace with Greece, and all I could get was one crappy colony on an island far from my land. That ended my war weariness with Greece, though, and I watched as the AI's picked apart the bones, leaving once-mighty Greece with just a single barren island village. I had no idea my MPP maneuver would completely destroy the Greeks! I just wanted the other AI's to take some of the heat off of me. Whew! Must be careful about military alliances. (I said "target their engines" and my allies blew the targets right out of the skies!)
Now I've got my jungle/mountain homeland, 4/5 of Indian lands (mostly too corrupt to do anything), and the western corner of Greece. I'm now #1 in the world in territory, but I am STILL not yet ahead in the tech race!
In fact, after getting Industrialization, I was totally on parity with the AI's in tech. Just a couple turns behind. I'd be researching a tech, and at my best rate, would take about 10 turns to break through. But along the way, the cost would mysteriously drop to 1 turn somewhere in there, and I'd run a single scientist and zero science for one turn, which did wonders for my treasury. Near the end of the game, I discovered that I could buy the tech from any civ that had it for a single gold piece, in this situation, and save a whole turn of research. Life is very odd when you are right there in the pack with the other civs. I am used to being ahead, or behind, not tied with this strange "too slow to forge ahead, too fast to fall behind" deal, picking up the tech at 3rd-civ-to-get-it cost, down to 6th-civ cost, somewhere in there. The AI's would get it, broker it, then I could "instantly catch up" with my partial investment already made. Very odd indeed.
After getting industrialization, I thought I could outdo the AI's by building a factory, a coal plant, then Suffrage. I lost the wonder by ONE TURN to the Chinese, and had to blow several hundred shields and settle for the Military Acedemy. Arrrrrrrgh. That is the first time I have ever lost Suffrage in any of my games (at least, since that first one in which I lost). I was just in disbelief that I messed that up! Wow. Well, so it goes. (And that's why I call some of these moves "gambits".)
Now that I had factories in half a dozen core cities, I was cranking troops: rifles (no rubber yet), artillery, and a few more cavalry.
I had no source of rubber, so finally I had to trade for some or I wasn't going anywhere. I traded coal and some gold to Rome for rubber. (I also stopped trading them Iron, heh, so they still couldn't build rails!) This only lasted 20 turns, though. It was only a temporary fix and ran out all too quickly. At least I had time to upgrade my existing troops, though.
I knew I would have to get hold of some rubber, but the only option within 3000 miles was sitting on the back side of Tenochtitlan. I would have to take out the Atzec capital, complete with its stacks of vet infantry, with just artillery, a limited number of infantry and cavalry, before I could get rubber to build my panzers. So when I got the tech for Motorized Vehicles, and I had my oil supply ready, it was time to move.
You can see my army of obsolete knights, which almost perished attacking some wounded infantry. (Is there really ANY valid reason why the game won't let us upgrade army components??? Sheesh.) I used this leader to rush my Forbidden Palace, finally (too little too late, to be honest, didn't get much out of it) on the far northern tip of my mainland.
Check out that fortification below the captured city. That's a stack of about 8 infantry on top of every artillery piece I own (about two dozen units), bombarding the Aztec capital. It fell two turns later, and in 1550 I produced my first round of panzers. This leader I saved to rushbuild the UN, in the new city I founded to replace Tenochtitlan after razing it.
In 1550, the first Panzers rolled off the line. As one attacked an advancing Aztec unit, "Our Great Civilization Has Entered a Golden Age!" Four, then five, then six cities had 100+ shields per turn, cranking a new panzer unit EVERY TURN. Several more cities were producing one every other turn.
In 1565, the last Aztec city fell. I captured all but their original capital, razing none, and did not need to starve them down much at all, because the entire nation was gone, and with that, the threat of revolt. The best turn was the third, where a blitz took the final six cities on one turn. "Good, they deserved it."
In 1570, Germany declared war on Russia, captured three of their cities, and advanced a stack of panzers toward Moscow. In 1565 Moscow and Minsk (where all their wonders were) were razed to the ground and replaced with German settlements. These were the last of my territorial acquisitions. I would be razing everything else, except those key locations needed for blitzing, so as not to be slowed by wide-reaching cultural borders of range 4+.
In 1650, the German Golden Age ended. There were two Chinese cities left on the massive gaia continent, both with stacks of elite panzers at their doorstep, and four cities left on islands, with my units approaching by land and sea. And that was it. The rest had been conquered in just twenty turns.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to the relative might of the Panzer in its era. Not even Iroquois riders being poprushed are this dominant. You can park a stack of Panzers 3 spaces from a target city, not alert the AI to boost defense, capture that city and blitz on to several more, raze or capture as you see fit, and simply roll over everything. Infantry cannot stop you, as your units will (almost always) retreat when wounded. Nothing compares to this. Nothing.
Military Victory in 1670, score almost 4000 points. My first game post-patch. I had paused in the middle of the conquest, with just the Chinese left as a major rival, because I had gotten bored, frankly, with the ease of it all, and only recently went back to mop up the final turns. Here I was STRUGGLING through this game with the unproductive terrain, scratching out bare military victories where taking a single enemy city in an entire war was a cause for celebration, unable to take ANY tech lead until I got Theory of Evolution, and then I finally get Panzer tech and a source of rubber, and GAME OVER MAN. Game over. Just roll roll roll your tanks, blitz right through and at such a pace! I had a stack of HUNDREDS of slave workers, so many I just started razing the new ones. After leaving this game unfinished for over a month, I finally did complete the last four turns, during which my civ revolted into anarchy because I was inattentive about the war weariness. I didn't even care, and it didn't slow me down any. I had endless panzers on hand, over half of them elite, despite plenty of losses. Losing some here or there as a defender has one health left is just par for the course. The rest retreat to a central location with barracks and are ready to go again in two more turns.
So much for the rumble in the jungle. Unless and until the AI is patched to go into "defend my city" mode when a player's units move within THREE squares, not just two, the 3-movement units will continue to own everything with blitz warfare. The AI gets sucker punched -- it doesn't even TRY to defend or slow you up, and of course they need to stop chasing down stray workers at all costs. It would also help if they would put more than two units on defense, in some situations. They are hopelessly predictable right now.
In fact, this game is caught in a terrible imbalance: AI's too rabid with expansion on Deity, and too inept after the industrial age in anything less. So Deity games come down too much to luck in your start position, while everything else grows stale once the industrial age hits and the human player can use rails for economy of force, and artillery/cavalry/tanks for blitz warfare. I find myself avoiding deity so I can enjoy the early game (rather than being frustrated), and just accepting that if I survive to the industrial age, that its a foregone conclusion from there. I think this situation CAN be improved upon, however, and I hope Firaxis works to do just that: to sharpen the AI more, make it less predictable and less one-track-expansion, while plugging its holes in dealing with blitzkrieg. It would be interesting if the AI had multiple "priority lists" which switched up from time to time, so there was more "life" to them.
This game sits in second place on my high score list (as of this writing), behind only a Middle-Ages conquest victory from RBD Succession Game 2. Early wins are very heavily weighted in the scoring, and that this game was won in 1655 is part of why it scored so well. The only other way to score that high is to get lots of territory and milk it by clicking Next Turn until 2050 -- and I'm not into that sort of min/maxing just for score. I play for the joy of the game, not the pride of the numbers. :)
If you would like to replay this game, Click Here to download the save file from 4000BC. And best of luck to you with this difficult terrain.
If you would like to check out the start of the Golden Age, or see the last turn, Click Here to download the save game pack, including 1550AD and 1670AD. Also note, you can ctrl-alt-del and shut down CivIII (PC version) or cut the power to your box, after the replay movie, if you want to see the history but don't want the score posted to your own list.
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