Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Brute force diplomacy

Sometimes things don't go quite as planned.  Going into this King level game, my initial thought was to build up a solid economy, and then shower gold on all of the City States to earn a diplomatic victory.  To this end, I decided to avoid the majority of the cultural buildings and all faith-related buildings, and simply focus on production, research, and wealth.

Fairly early on it was apparent that real estate would come at a premium on the map for this challenge; with the Poles to the east and the Indonesians and Assyrians to the west, I had to act quickly to carve out three nice cities.

My base of operations - 50AD

As my economy ramped up I took an early lead in all of the important growth indicators (Technology, GDP, Crops), but something changed around the year 1200AD, and the Indonesians started pulling ahead.

Worried that I'd be in jeopardy later on if I didn't act quickly, I amassed a fleet of two Frigates, a Galleas, and a Privateer and sprung a sneak attack on Indonesia just as they were ferrying ground units west.  I easily dispatched the vulnerable embarked units, and then took control of the enemy navy using the Ottomans' crazily overpowered Barbary Cosairs civilization perk.  My beefed up navy then proceeded to lay waste to Jakarta, which fell quickly.

Capital #1 - Jakarta - 1310AD

At this point I realized that I had a significant advantage over the remaining Civilizations if I acted rapidly, and a domination victory wouldn't be difficult if I could find enough Iron on the map to build more Frigates.  To this end I invested heavily in the City States that had Iron to offer, and built up a fleet of eight Frigates and two Privateers.

Navy in hand, it was time to do my dirty work.  First on my list was the Assyrians:

Capital #2 - Assur - 1460AD

Next came the Polish:

Capital #3 - Warsaw - 1550AD

The poor English:

Capital #4 - London (plus York) - 1585AD

And last but not least, the Celts:

Capital #5 - Edinburgh - 1610AD
This whirlwind blitz was completed before I'd ever reached the Industrial era, which is when naval warfare really gets fun, however I was not about to risk my first King-level difficulty victory just to play around with Battleships and Ironclads in a few hundreds years.

For posterity, here is the final score that I wracked up at the end of my reign of terror.

Final score: 3419 

Apparently it pays to turn the seas red with blood!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Challenge #6: Return of the King

Bill and I have tried a King difficulty game only once before - during our single-city challenge.  In retrospect, that was a bad place to start since all of the other Civs could run amok while we were artificially constraining ourselves.

I'm not sure why we dropped back to Prince difficulty after that debacle, but it's time to ramp things back up.

Challenge creator: Andrew

Culture: Ottoman Empire
Map size: Small
Map type: Archipelagos
Difficulty level: King

Link to the game start:  Suleiman_0000 BC-4000.Civ5Save

Admittedly, this set up is a little like having training wheels, since the AIs are generally crappy naval officers, but we have to start somewhere, and this seems the best way to get our feet wet with the idea of King difficulty.

Too Little Too Late

In our latest challenge, I wasn't sure how I was going to try and win until I saw in the early game that there was a lot of unclaimed land around my starting area except for the Greeks to the north who I had inadvertently stunted with one of my early cities. So I decided to build a big empire and try and win on pure aggression, a decision that was reinforced by the two large continents (due to the lower sea level I picked in creating the map) and the mistaken impression I got from somewhere that I needed only 6 of 10 capitals to win the game. Doh.

I easily rolled the Greek capital in a surprise attack, and after a botched attack on Paris through a jungle I dismantled the French empire from the south up, and then marched south in an unstoppable column through the Babylonians and Celts. With 5 capitals secure (including my own) I thought I needed only to pick off the weakest adversary on the second continent to win... and then I found out I needed ALL capitals to win.

Having built my strategy on a false assumption, I gamely tried to invade the second continent but allowing these other empires time to develop on their own found my requiring a bigger and updated military to made headway, especially after I attack Washington without air cover and found my Grand Army smashed to smithereens.

My second attack made better headway but with only 60 turns left and four capitals to conquer in modern warfare and really long supply lines, I knew it was a hopeless case.

Making Headway.

The heart of my empire.