The Let's Play Archive

Civilization 2

by Melth

Part 19: 1760 AD - 1808 AD (Victory!)

Last update ended midway through crushing the loathsome Greeks and finally starting on the Sioux. From my embassy I know they have at least 13 (mostly big) cities. Their uncharted continent is much larger than mine and also harder to access by water. Nonetheless, I think I can win within 20 turns.

Here’s the Greek front as last seen. I have a respectable army and the Greeks are on the ropes. They have 2 as yet unseen cities though.

There’s reason to believe one is southwest of Delphi. I’ve been preparing to open a second front there with troops caraveled from Viminalis.

Meanwhile, I’ve finally broken through the mountains into Sioux lands. The terrain here is almost impenetrable, so there's no way to do a big land war from this direction.

What I CAN do is produce Alpine Troopers here. At 5/5 they’re the strongest infantry units around, but more importantly they move through ALL land as if it had roads on it. Thus they can charge 3 squares a turn through this mess and go scouting.

I’m trying to open another Sioux front here. I’ll drop in some more troops to help out. So that's the military status update, now what about the economy?

As it turns out, I had some wrong ideas of how to manage a Fundamentalist economy because the game leaves out a lot of really critical information.

This screen is where I first began to suspect something was wrong, though I wasn’t sure for a while. Afterall, that total income was enormous for only 20% Taxes, but I expected that since the tithe mechanic of Fundamentalism gives you massive income at any tax rate if you have J.S. Bach’s Cathedral and Michaelangelo’s Chapel.

Time for a clever and counterintuitive little strategy. Fundamentalism causes all unhappy/angry citizens to instead be content no matter what. So there’s no point in wasting your trade on Luxuries right? Wrong, as I’ll soon demonstrate.

First note 2 more clues that I saw but didn’t investigate yet: my total income fell by way too much and my discovery rate didn’t go down when my Science dropped.

Now some city management. My 50% Luxury rate is enough to get most cities to have at least 50% happy citizens due to all my existing Marketplaces and Harbors. This place is one of few exceptions.

Note that, unlike as a Republic/Democracy where I get +1 Trade from every tile that gives any Trade, as a Fundamentalism I just get the baseline amount. Thus even with 0% Corruption my max Trade here is a sucky 6 or so.

To make the city celebrate I need 3 happy citizens. Hanging Gardens is still in effect and thus creates 1 for free. To get 2 more I need 4 Luxuries. With 6 trade, that means a 70% luxury rate. Or I could just make one guy an Entertainer with 50%.

Every single city now celebrates.

Which gives me enough bonus points that I now get to make my final throne room decoration. Yay!

Same city next turn. I set the Luxury rate down to 30%, but now I can maintain the critical 4 Luxuries in this city without even using an Entertainer!

Why? Well when I talked about the details of the various governments, I mentioned that every government gets some kind of bonus when its cities celebrate. Republic/Democracy get the one that will win you the game if used right: growth every turn as long as you maintain celebration, positive Food surplus, etc.

Despotism gets to eliminate the crippling Despotism penalty. Which lets their cities act like… a Monarchy with higher Corruption and Waste and other penalties. So still worthless.

Monarchy, Communism, and Fundamentalism cities that celebrate all get to enjoy the Republic/Democracy Trade bonus. So +1 Trade in every tile that grants at least 1 Trade already. That’s between a 50% and a 100% Trade bonus generally. So a 50% to 100% bonus to your economy. In theory this lets you have your cake and eat it too by playing a war-ready government while having exactly as much Science and gold as a Democracy can get.

But this is garbage for a Monarchy because Monarchies still have high Corruption and thus lose a lot of that Trade; plus they’d have to spend nearly their whole economy on luxuries to achieve Celebration in the first place.

It’s not really that worthwhile for a Communism either because of that second problem. Maintaining celebration isn’t just about 50% happy citizens, it’s also about 0 unhappy ones. The commies are bad at that. Even their super martial law is a very limited stopgap measure and would need to be constantly maintained at the maximum level in every city. Plus their Cathedrals (and Michaelangelo’s Chapel) don’t work well.

But Fundamentalism is different. Like Communism they have nearly 0 Corruption, so they have a decent amount of base Trade to work with and can reap the full benefits of the bonus. Unlike Communism, they never have any unhappiness to deal with. So a single turn of highish Luxuries and some city micromanagement should create celebrations everywhere, giving 50-100% more total Trade for your whole economy.

Now is that worth it? Well at first glance no. Let’s say you only need to use 50% luxuries because, like me, you built all your cities near Oceans and didn’t go over size 12 and have Marketplaces and possibly Banks EVERYWHERE. Let’s say you get the best-case 100% Trade bonus overall somehow. Well relative to 0% Luxuries and no celebration your economy is doubled in size… but 50% of it is wasted on Luxuries and thus you get no net extra trade to devote to Taxes or Science. 1 x 2 x 0.5 = 1. And if your Trade increase is closer to 50% or you needed to use, say, 60% Luxuries, then you could be eating a net loss of something like 40%. 1 x 1.5 x 0.4 = 0.6!

However, the critical thing to understand is that you only need high Luxuries for a single turn. After that you can easily drop off to something like 30% or 20% Luxuries depending on number of Banks. Why? Because the target number of Luxuries per city you must generate to maintain the same number of happy citizens never changes, but an equal % of a higher Trade total being devoted to Luxuries means more Luxuries produced. So at even the worst case scenario 50% Trade increase and needing to maintain 30% Luxuries thereafter, you end up with 1 x 1.5 x 0.7 = 1.05. A 5% increase in Trade available for Science and Taxes forever. In the best case scenario it’s more like 1 x 2 x 0.8 = 1.6. A 60% permanent increase. Sweet!

Now a couple of caveats and considerations. First of all, Fundamentalisms still eat a crippling Science penalty and furthermore a 60% increase over a terrible base is still nothing great, so don’t go thinking that celebration Fundamentalism is an unbeatable strategy on its own. It’s all about the Republic/Democracy setup to give you a massive base economy and technology lead to begin with.

Second, this is an unstable equilibrium. If anything causes a city to drop out of celebration for even a single turn, that city’s trade falls back down to sucky levels and thus it produces nearly no Luxuries and thus it can be very hard or impossible to get back into celebration without cranking up the Luxuries to 50 or 60% again for the whole economy for a turn. That’s massively wasteful. So be careful that, say, enemy units don’t walk onto tiles your cities are using and make them automatically switch to things that give 0 Trade instead. And watch out when you do something like develop Railroad and thus expire your Hanging Gardens. Constant vigilance!

So here’s the new outcome. Faster Science and more cash at the same Tax rate. Now it would have been great if I could get Luxuries down to 20%, and in retrospect I could have. But at this point I was still just noticing oddities and clues but not really investigating them yet.

I start dropping in troops all along the Sioux coast and exploring as fast as I can. This Wood Lake place is going to be a doozy. It’s a size 12 monster with City Walls and I have like 2 units in the area, only one of them a good attacker, to take it with.

Pharsalos will be easier since it’s coastal, so I can drop in mountains of soldiers. Oh and note that it’s the city that the Sioux captured from the Greeks eons ago. The only one the Sioux ever took intact from anyone in fact. I never did learn where the Americans or the Vikings had been because they were completely exterminated.

As a final note, the stack of Elephants that apparently just appeared inside a fortress in the wilderness is a sign of things to come.

Ah ha, found another big Greek city. It’s unwalled so it’s an easy target.

Now I mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying again because it’s so fundamental. THE tactic for taking cities in this game is to take a single good defensive soldier, put it on powerful defensive terrain near an enemy city, order it to fortify, and THEN start piling an enormous stack of strong attackers on that tile. Once you’ve got absolutely overwhelming force, take the city in a single massive attack.

You can see I’m starting that right now with both Wood Lake and Pharsalos. The Jungle is a decent 50% Defense bonus and the Hill by Pharsalos is a much nicer 100%. Once fortification is done, the Rifleman and Cavalier will both have 9 defense.

Another important thing is to not stop building Roads. Once the big war begins there’s really not much point in building new cities and Irrigation and whatnot. If you play well, the game will end much too soon for those to turn a profit. But Roads are critical for getting your troops around efficiently. If I can get these roads around Carthage and In Omnia Paratus done, I can actually get good land troops in here.

I’m preparing an assault on Killdeer, the first Sioux city I ever found. You can still see the path my Diplomat took exploring the continent.

I’m very far away from my mainland here and have no land route to this city, so I have to ferry troops back and forth from just 2 cities (one small and the other with almost no production) by Caravel. Fortunately, a Democracy or Fundamentalism at this stage in the game can afford to rush-buy absolutely massive numbers of troops, so natural production rate doesn’t matter.

3 cities left.

These guys frantically phone me up every time I take a city, though they never have anything useful to say at all.

Never, under any circumstances, let any civilization get Gunpowder if you have the means to prevent it. In fact, I recommend not even learning it yourself until you’re ready to make heavy use of it in order to reduce the chance of it being stolen by a Diplomat/acquired in a surprise city conquest.

This kind of message is what kills alliances with the AI. AI allies can be quite handy for early-game gold gifts and for map reveals, but they expect you to join in wars with people you’ve never met and can’t reach and will get mad at you when you don’t. And when you start doing well, they will expect you to shower them in dozens of free techs. If you don’t, they’ll soon break the alliance. If you DO give them what they want, they’ll eventually start to hate you anyway because all AIs will band together against the person in the lead. But now they’ll have Gunpowder or whatever. Their short-term friendship isn’t worth making them stronger in the long term. A bit of gold now and then or some junk techs are an ok thing to give to an ally when you want them to like you enough to do a map update, but never give them anything that lets them fight more effectively or is a prereq for something that will let them fight more effectively.

It wasn’t even an offer!

Got their capital again.

The last attempt to take Delphi ended in disaster when it turned out to have like 6 Catapults. But I'm safe out here on this more distant Hill because the Catapults would have to walk out of the city and then attack at only 2/3 strength vs my much tougher units.

Wait, what? It’s the same turn as the last talk! It’s impossible to talk to someone twice on the same turn. Oh well, just more AI cheating I guess.

You’ll note that he’s finally gone from enraged to receptive. This is the friendliest he’s been all game. Too late, Al, there’s no senate to protect you this time!

I do love how the AI will put WAR in caps. But the best part about diplomacy in this game is how every conversation, even with close allies, will begin with “OUR WORDS ARE BACKED WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS” if you ever screw up enough to let them get those. When I’m president, I am going to say this every single time I meet a foreign dignitary.

So this city is where I decided I had to actually figure out what was going on with my Tax and Science numbers. I didn’t look into it until I finished the game, but then I reloaded from here and started experimenting and checking numbers everywhere and found some very interesting stuff.

First off, the final straw that convinced me that something strange was happening was that in the Tax distribution menu I noticed that my gold income went up when I lowered my Luxuries while holding Taxes constant. That made no sense, but the pattern definitely held.

It was while looking at this city that I realized it wasn’t that decreased Luxuries somehow created gold, it was that decreasing Luxuries while holding Taxes constant meant raising Science and raising Science created gold. That was the critical clue that solved the whole puzzle.

It’s math time! First, look at Luxuries. This city has 40 Trade and I have a 30% Luxury rate while 24 Luxuries are produced. But those numbers check out perfectly. 40 x 0.3 makes 12 even. The Marketplace and Bank each grant an additively stacking +50% Luxuries. So a total of 100% extra. 12 x 2 = 24, perfectly matching the displayed number. This pattern holds across all cities.

But look at Science. 40 Trade x 70% Science rate should give 28 science. Now Fundamentalism should halve this to 14. But instead I have 10. What gives? Well the most obvious answer is that perhaps the true Fundamentalism penalty is x 35% or perhaps x 50% and minus 4 instead of just x 50%. But neither of those patterns holds with other cities.

Guess what though? Those 10 beakers stays unchanged whether I set the Science rate to 80% or 70% or 60% or 50%. At 40% it drops to 8. 40 x 40% Science rate x 50% Fundamentalism penalty gives 8. And 10 is how many you should indeed get at Science rate 50%. It turns out that there is a hidden 50% Science rate cap as Fundamentalism. You can set your rate above that, but it won’t actually increase your Science. The game doesn’t mention this anywhere.

But that’s not all. That extra % you try to dedicate to Science isn’t wasted, instead it’s secretly put into Taxes. So in this picture my 70% Science rate is actually 50% and my 0% Tax rate is actually 20%. That explains why my income went higher when Luxuries went lower. My supposed Science rate went up, which actually increased my true Tax rate.

However, the Tax numbers still don’t shape up right. Afterall, 20% of 40 is just 8. And even with the Marketplace + Bank 100% bonus, the total should still just be 16 instead of 32. What gives? Well increasing Taxes and decreasing Luxuries by 10% increases the 32 to 40. That’s exactly as the normal math suggests it should. So what we have here is a fixed +16 which comparison with other cities (which don’t have Banks or Marketplaces or Temples or the like) reveals comes from “tithes”.

I said before that “tithes’ are bonus gold that Fundamentalisms get from buildings like Temples and Colosseums and Cathedrals and wonders like J.S. Bach’s Cathedral that SHOULD be making unhappy citizens content but can’t because they’re all content anyway. A Temple should make 2 unhappy people content but instead it gives 2 gold. So possessing Michaelangelo’s Chapel + J.S. Bach’s Cathedral gives 6 gold per turn per city. That’s where a Fundamentalism really gets its money.

But it turns out the deal is MUCH better than that. First of all, tithing buildings like Temples and Cathedrals and Colosseums have no upkeep cost under Fundamentalism either. So tithes are pure profit with no costs to cover. A lot of people know that, but it’s not stated in game and is important to make clear.

Second, this tithe gold turns out to be multiplied by Marketplaces, Banks, etc. So now at last all the peculiarities on this city screen can be explained! 24 Luxuries is from 40 Trade x 0.3 Luxury rate x 2 Market and Bank bonus. 10 Science is from 40 Trade x 0.5 true capped Science rate x 0.5 Fundamentalism penalty. 32 Tax is from 40 Trade x 0.2 true Tax rate from unusable science rate x 2 Market and Bank bonus + 8 tithes (4 from MC, 2 from JSBC, 2 from temple) x 2 Market and Bank bonus.

Checking other cities and other combinations of buildings and other rates of Science and Luxury and Tax confirms all of this, so the mystery is well and truly solved. What does this mean (besides that the game designers don't believe in giving people accurate information)?

Well one clear implication of the capped 50% Science rate is that even a celebration Fundamentalism can’t hope to match the Science output of a Democracy. The best you can hope for is to be about 25% as fast, not 50%. If you find yourself in a match with a human player, do NOT go Fundamentalism until you’re certain you have all the tech lead you need and are poised to strike hard and fast. Assuming you both celebrated with equal skill and were completely tied up till that point, you’ll end up getting about 1 tech every 4 turns and he’ll get 1 every turn. Within 12 turns you will be hopelessly outmatched unless you can keep taking his cities and thus stealing his techs.

One initially attractive idea that isn't actually that good is to build lots of improvements like Coloseums just to get more tithe. With a few shields produced normally, a Colosseum costs about 180 gold to rush-buy. If you have Electricity to increase its effect, it will score you 4 gold per turn. So it will take a whole 45 turns for it to even pay for itself. There should not be 45 turns left after you go Fundamentalism. Temples cost less but also give less money, they too take about 40 turns to pay for themselves. Any you have are nice assets but don’t go crazy building more for money’s sake.

Banks and especially Marketplaces are WAY better than they sound though. Arguably even better than for Democracies, which is saying something. See, even if you just have the basic 2 unhappiness wonders and no Temples, every single one of your cities gets 6 tithes. So a Marketplace costs 1 gold (0 with Adam Smith’s Trading Company) and generates 3 per turn from minimum tithes alone. Even Banks, which are iffy except in big cities in Democracies, immediately pay their own costs off of minimum tithes alone. If your city has so much as a Temple, even a Stock exchange can only be profitable. In the case of the shown city (which has large but not matchless Trade), the Marketplace is making me 16 gold in profit per turn for this city. The Bank is 13. Way better than a Colosseum (especially before Electricity), cheaper, and much more useful under a previous Democracy. And that number could go up tremendously if my Tax rate rose. The real reason to build more Marketplaces and Banks though is that the Luxury boost also helps you. That will let you maintain celebrations everywhere at a lower Luxury rate and therefore a higher Tax rate. Do it. The synergy is amazing.

Anyway, all of that stuff means that Fundamentalisms are way more profitable than I thought and can, in fact, always make more money than a Democracy with the exact same cities and buildings as long as they celebrate.

It also means that a Democracy is an even more perfect setup for Fundamentalism than I thought since even more buildings that Democracies love are also wonderful after the government switch. And it means you should build more Banks as a Democracy than I usually do if you plan to make the switch.

Anyway, back to world domination!

The Greeks have just 2 cities left; Delphi and Knossos. Delphi of course I’ve known about for forever, but I’m still looking for Knossos. It has to be somewhere nearish that Legion on the left.

Both a pile of Knights and a pile of Mountains are blocking my army from getting through efficiently, but I think my Cavaliers and Alpine Troops delivered by boat should be able to take Delphi soon. Due to those Mountains though, I don’t want to have to run many more troops toward Sioux lands through this Greek area, so I’m going to stop dropping anyone else off in this area and switch the captured Greek cities to mainly make ships and Alpine Troops.

Oh and as one last note, I just spotted a Gold resource in the southernmost mountain. Gold grants an amazing +6 Trade to the Mountain tile it’s on, which is actually worthwhile to use despite the general suckiness of Mountains. In terms of raw numbers of added stuff, Gold is almost the best resource in the game. Most resources grant +2 total stuff, a few (like Whales) grant as much as +4, and Spice in Swamps also gives +6. Of course, Whale bonuses are stacked onto a good base tile whereas Mountains and Swamps are trash.

I’ve ferried over enough troops from the 7 Hills region to be just about ready to take Pharsalos.

Meanwhile, I’ve found an absolutely massive barbarian army. I don’t know the details of how Civ 2 generates its barbarians, but I’m certain it’s not entirely random. Very often around this point in the game I find there’s one corner of the map where for some reason a wave of barbarians seems to spawn every turn or two. There can be hundreds piled up.

Regrettably, Civ 2 does NOT track large numbers of units moving well. Whenever it’s time for the barbarians and large numbers of enemies to move and fight, the game will often lock up and I’ll just hear noises of battle but not get to actually see who’s fighting and where. This is significantly problematic when my own troops are involved and I have casualties but don’t know where or necessarily why.

Standard play of a game should really not result in there being too many units for the game’s engine to handle.

Due to the Mountains and all, moving in on Wood Lake is taking time. My one Cannon should be able to take out about one defender per turn when I get there.

On the plus side my Alpine Troopers are arriving. They’re no better than Riflemen on offense- and thus pretty useless- but they’re the best defenders in the game for most purposes with a whopping 5 Defense and the ability to scoot onto Hills and Mountains easily.

Ah ha! I deliver a load of Cavaliers to help scout this area and stumble across a major city. I’ve got good terrain here, so I’ll fortify and then start stacking up to take it.

Meanwhile, I realized I’m in trouble around Killdeer. The defenses are too tough to take it immediately, I’ve lost quite a few troops finding that out, and the terrain nearby isn’t that good. I want this Settler to build a fortress where the Alpine Trooper is, then some Roads to my favorite coastal drop-off spot. That will make it much easier to safely and speedily deploy the numbers I need here.

Meet the new barbarians, same as the old barbarians. As the game goes on, you start getting new barbarian-spawn messages like “Peasant uprising near X” or “Guerillas near Y”. But it’s basically the same thing. Same unit types even. And you often still get the old messages mixed in.

So with celebration on I’m teching up pretty fast. Amphibious Warfare is tempting for using Marines to seize cities on the coast, but too much of the Sioux stuff is in the interior. Magnetism would mostly be an unnecessary ship upgrade. Theory of Gravity is basically useless. I could go for Medicine to eventually get Explosives (and thus the awesome Engineer upgrade for Settlers) or Steam Engine to eventually get Railroad. Both of those could be very handy for getting people into the Sioux continent interior faster, but I think I’ll have to go with moving toward Railroad since some other useful techs unlock in that part of the tree.

I still don’t feel like explaining all the intricate details of Civ 2’s true combat system, so let it suffice to say for now that this makes it way easier than normal to beat those ships in a fight. That’s not saying much against these worthless Caravels, but it does mean that Battleships are a lot less good at defending against land units than you might hope.

Got Delphi. Now to find Knossos.

Even more barbarians have spawned in the mysterious barbarian zone there.

Darn. My freshly arrived stack by Slim Buttes were wiped out before they could fortify. That’s bad. I’ll need a real defensive unit like Alpine Troops.

Man, I’m glad I was cautious about taking Pharsalos. It turned out to have TEN strong defenders.

I’m getting emissaries every turn now for completely pointless and repetitive conversations. I won't bother posting most of those here.

I had my Diplomat investigate Wood Lake and it’s surprisingly weak compared to Pharsalos. If I keep blasting away with my Cannon, I should be able to seize it fairly quickly.

Investigating cities makes it really clear that the enemy civs cheat very hard in this game. Even his size 12 cities are only pulling in 3-6 or so Science per turn, so it should take him dozens to hundreds of turns to learn a new tech. But this guy actually picks one up about every 6 turns- just barely slower than me.

Second, note that they do suffer unhappiness, but not the amount deity mode should impose. Without martial law and buildings, this city would have 9/12 unhappy citizens. So it’s kind of like the AI plays on King difficulty but without any penalties for having too many cities or the like.

Oh and they have a weird production box for some reason.

Most noticeably though, this city runs a 10 gold per turn deficit with all its building upkeep. With a 20% Tax rate, even his non-corrupt cities will barely make 3 gold per turn and will all have at least this many structures. So he should lose about a hundred gold every turn. Instead he mysteriously makes a lot. At a guess, the AI just doesn’t pay upkeep costs.

So a second, better prepared wave is setting up around Slim Buttes.

I found Knossos and took it almost immediately.

Guess what time it is?

I’m really struggling with Killdeer here. For one thing, there turned out to be another massive city in the area, which has been attacking my troops from that side as they try to set up. For another, my Settler is taking forever to build the fort and waves of enemies are coming up from the south to start ripping up my fragile stack defender. And then of course the biggest problem is that even though I’m constantly buying Cavaliers in both Romulus and Remus, that nets out to a rate of 1/turn being ferried over.

Now here’s a tech that changes everything. Railroad expires the amazing Hanging Gardens, but it’s typically well-worth it by this point. It lets your Settlers/Engineers build Railroads and also causes your city tiles to automatically gain them. Railroads must be built on top of Roads, but only take a set amount of time to build on any terrain. Whereas Roads grant bonus Trade on some terrain types, Railroads increase Production on their tiles by 50%. And whereas Roads allowed units to move at triple normal speed regardless of terrain type, Railroads allow units to move at infinite speed. This completely revolutionizes attack, defense, and your economy when you have it properly set up. Of course, I’ll end this game too soon to really show that.

Well with the Greeks gone and Pharsalos taken, I’ve suddenly got absolutely vast armies on the march here. Increasing my numbers even further, I’ve brought in a second Caravel route to this area, so I’m delivering about 6 guys per 3.5 turns overall. Plus more walking in from Carthage and In Omnia Paratus.

However, there are basically no Roads in this area. That will make it REALLY hard to bring this massive force to bear effectively.

… darn. That’s pretty flagrant tech cheating since they were nowhere near this just a few turns ago. With my Embassy I can track exactly how fast they learn new techs and it’s just absurd at this point considering how little Science any of their cities actually produce.

Anyway, them getting Gunpowder is a hugely big deal. Musketeers are about 3x stronger on defense than Archers or Legions, their defenders up to this point. And that 3x will turn them from getting killed by Cavaliers but inflicting heavy damage first to wiping out swarms of Cavaliers for every 1 of them that’s killed. I’ve lost my chance to end this smoothly. Now it’s going to take me 15-40 Cavaliers to safely take any decent city.

Fortunately I’ve got that many, they’re just not in position yet.

Wait, what?

Ok nevermind how in the world a Knight got there, this is critically dangerous. If the Sioux take one of my cities, they can immediately learn something like Tactics. At that point it won’t take 15-40 Cavaliers to take a single city; it will take 200. I’ll have to stop, switch to Democracy, tech up for 40 turns or so to get Bombers, and then resume the war. I do NOT want to waste that much time squashing these people.

Alright, I took Slim Buttes before they could build any Musketeers. And I got the Lighthouse wonder.

Notice, by the way, that this city is landlocked. I can’t actually build ships in it and wouldn’t be allowed to build the Lighthouse. Just another bit of AI cheating, not that it matters at all.

Just in time, the fortress is finished over here. Sitting Bull has become extremely chatty, but I’ll post what he says this time.

He asks for a comically small amount of gold for some reason. I’ve got like 6000 in the bank. He demanded a thousand before. And it’s not like he wasn’t being squashed then.

Also, I note that there are fewer spear things on the left wall now. He once had 6. But that can’t just be a matter of military strength or anything because he will still have 5 at the very end of the game.

… darn it. So after some thought and setup, I put together another Caravel relay to start hauling in way more Cavaliers to the Killdeer area so I can actually take the city. Just as I had that plan going smoothly, this barbarian ship popped up right next to my ship and immediately sank it, destroying a whole load of Cavaliers and sending me back to square one.

I’ve nearly swept this entire section of the Sioux continent. It turns out to be roughly ½ of the overall land mass with a 1-tile-wide isthmus separating the two chunks of it.

Yeah, nothing but dead ends up here.

And Wood Lake is mine at last; there’s nothing else here.

There’s another little isthmus up in Greece. These are GREAT strategic places to build cities. See, ships can sail straight through cities just like ocean tiles even though the city is built on land. Thus if I put a city here, I can save a LOT of sailing to get between these 2 seas. It’s like a canal.

With Slim Buttes captured, I have my troops fan out to scout for more cities.

Meanwhile, the massive army in the east is all getting funneled through the isthmus. It would be great to have Railroads along there to speed things up. I thought of that several turns ago though and started delivering boatloads of Settlers to work on it. But this takes time, unfortunately.

The plot thickens! Ok, I kind of assumed that that one Knight I killed earlier was some kind of stray who’d been wandering around and exploring in the hills or Antarctica while the Sioux and Japanese were allies, but these 2 new arrivals show that either the Sioux are making regular boat deliveries down here or they have a city here somewhere. Neither makes much sense at all, but once you’ve discounted the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

Ah ha! My scouts have found their capital at last. The situation here is much worse than I feared though. Pretty much half their continent is Rivers and their cities are built on the things for massive defense bonuses. Just Musketeers with City Walls wouldn’t be much trouble. The extra 50% on top of that everywhere is huge though.

I was prepared for this, of course. I set my Luxuries way up high the turn before this happened so I can preserve my celebration and then find the perfect level of Luxuries to continue it at now that the garden bonus is gone. Plus I already have Settlers delivered and in position to start making Railroads in some places in the Sioux continent. We’ll see if they can finish fast enough to matter.

I start setting up outside these cities too. There isn’t much great terrain around Wounded Knee, but that city seems relatively badly defended anyway.

Ooh. So I’ve mentioned barbarian leaders a few times and even got a picture of one once, but I haven’t been able to capture one yet.

Basically every barbarian wave spawns with one, but they stay permanently stacked with one of the other units. They auto-lose just about any fight if you attack them and will run away and eventually disappear if their bodyguard is killed.

If you can ‘kill’ one, then you get this message. The amount of gold depends on the chosen barbarian mode. Here on the maximum (“Raging Hordes”) it’s 150 gold. That’s fantastic early on and not bad even now. The trouble is just getting them on their own, because you DON’T get that ransom if you kill them in a stack. More or less the only way to do it is to lure their bodyguard into attacking one of your troops and losing. Which is really hard since barbarians are so powerful on offense. And then you need to have an offensive unit like a Horseman to rush out and catch the leader. It’s just not really feasible early on when the gold would help a lot, but it becomes doable now when I have more guys with good enough Defense to survive a barbarian attack.

Some more cities located. They still have 2 mystery ones according to the embassy list.

As you can see, I still hadn’t actually figured out the math on Fundamentalism science rates at this point in playing and I also had to tick Luxuries up after losing the Hanging Gardens, but I’m still doing quite well overall.

Ugh, that was a hard fight. I lost a lot of Cavaliers. It was a silly risk and I should have built up more instead.

Over here by Killdeer I finally have enough. This list is about half my force here. I’ve been chipping away at him over the turns too, so he shouldn’t have that many garrisoned units anyway.

Got it, but it sure cost a lot. I lost about 10 Cavaliers in the taking and many others were badly injured.

My Settlers are hard at work on a Railroad and it’s already helping.


Well the mystery of where those Knights came from has been solved… sort of. Apparently the Sioux just have a city down here. And it’s huge. This is despite having NO good Food around to get started. And no way to get here since I never saw a Sioux ship on the water. Oh who even knows. Anyway, it’s going to be a hassle to take if it gets built up further since I don’t have many troops in this area, but it’s a threat that must be dealt with promptly.

Vast herds of barbarians majestically roam this region too. It’s really becoming a mess all of a sudden. Just after my army moved elsewhere of course.

Time to take Three Forks. I have another 30 guys in other stacks.

And about 15 died. If only I could have squashed these guys before they got Gunpowder.

Alright, I’ve now scouted the entirety of the Sioux coast. Remember how a while back I was remarking that I had WAY too few Whales? My whole continent has 2 around its entire coast. The Sioux have 13. Lucky bums.

They also have a continent that’s pretty much plastered with Rivers. Mine had a single river area near Rome and that was IT.

This place wasn’t even defended. What’s up with that? I’m fighting like 12 Musketeers per city in many of these other cities.

I believe this is the last undiscovered city.

I tried to take Little Bighorn, but it was a WAY harder target than it should have been. I can’t see any reason for that since it doesn’t have any particular terrain bonuses other than Rivers like most of these Sioux cities have. But I lost 18 Cavaliers and failed to take it. Now I’ve got a whole fleet dropping 3 per ship every couple of turns. I’m going to stack up to 40 or 50 or so and completely crush them.

A long time ago someone asked if they’d get to see some naval combat in this game. I said probably since most games turn out to involve some, but actually there was none in this game. The enemies never really made island colonies and never had fleets or anything and never sent landing forces at me. I did build this one Ironclad recently, so here you go. It’s blowing up Elephants every turn.

Yeah, I wasn’t paratus for that one. Quite a few of those are stacks, so you’re looking at something like 15 barbarians that just appeared out of thin air across a massive area in one turn. Without even a message! Only 1 of them is in immediate strike range of In Omnia Paratus… but I just sent out In Omnia Paratus’s troops a turn ago to try to attack the Sioux city. So it’s totally undefended because I just bought a soldier but it hasn’t had time to spawn yet.

That’s just humiliating. As usual, the barbarians ask for like 99% of your treasury, however large or small it is. I've got to pay, since otherwise I won't be able to take Dead Buffalo- or InOmniaParatus- for many turns.

Alright, I’ve got 50 Cavaliers ready to go. And I just picked up Magnetism, so now I have piles of Galleons standing by. I’ll use them to immediately ferry any Cavaliers I don’t need to take Little Bighorn off to the other hard-to-reach cities.

17 casualties this time, but I got it. The enemy really had phenomenal luck defending the place.

All the wonders!

Copernicus’s Observatory is hilariously worthless in this low-Trade city. The Pyramids are a great wonder for a bigpox player like these guys. I would say they explain the huge cities, but they really don’t. Several of these Sioux cities were massively large despite not actually having access to enough food to have a surplus of more than 1 per turn ever. Like the mysterious one near In Omnia Paratus. 1 surplus forever if they built a harbor. 0 surplus if they didn’t. But somehow they hit size 10 or so in like 40 turns tops since I last ran troops through that area. Massive cheating.

The other thing on display here is one of the first cities in the world with a Pollution chance, due to the King Richard’s Crusade wonder boosting their Production up over the critical 20 threshold. Pollution otherwise basically never hits before you get the Industrialization tech, so I didn’t talk about it.

12 casualties there.

Actually no casualties at all taking Dead Buffalo. A few close calls, but it worked out alright since they don’t have a River.

My Galleons carrying the Little Bighorn Cavaliers arrive.

So many barbarians! I’m killing them fast, but 10 or 12 more appear every turn. Forget Boatmurdered, THIS is an Elephant war.

Oh, maybe I should talk about Pollution afterall. Well basically Pollution has a small % chance of appearing around each of your cities every turn. That chance is almost always 0 for all cities until you get the Industrialization tech. A few other techs increase or decrease the rate. Anyway, the Pollution chance can be raised both by the city having a large size and by it having massive Production.

Pollution hits a random land tile around the city if it occurs and makes it give less Food, Production, and/or Trade depending. It can quickly become a big problem, especially for post-celebration cities that don’t have much Food surplus to spare.

The bigger issue is that if there’s much Pollution anywhere in the world, then there is a slowly growing % chance every turn of “global warming” occurring. Global warming changes the terrain types of land more or less at random. Generally it creates lots of Desert, Jungles, and Swamps but leaves Hills, Mountains, and Oceans alone. At first glance that’s a catastrophe because Jungles and Swamps and Deserts all suck.

But if you rely on Oceans, you don’t care and your opponents suffer. That’s a big net win.

So here’s the situation in 1808 AD. It’s 24 turns after I guessed I could win within 20. Not bad considering that I didn’t expect the Sioux to suddenly get Gunpowder.

And here’s the situation 10 seconds later, after I take his second-last city. Let’s see what he has to say now.


Out of curiosity, where are you intending to build Railroads to? Your only city is completely surrounded.

Ready maybe, but not mobilized anymore.

And gg.

One more time!


You know, I can’t actually listen to any of the adviser videos, but it would have been cool if they each actually had some kind of congratulatory message on this final limbo turn before you win. Instead they just give normal, now useless advice.

Ooh, I love this part. The little portrait of each ruler gets shown and then a guillotine blade comes down on them and it displays the turn they were wiped out.

Darn. Like most other videos and animations in this game, this one doesn’t seem to work on modern computers. Luckily the game didn’t outright crash, it just did this throughout the whole guillotine sequence. I did get to hear the splattery chopping noises at least.

You can see the never-met Americans here. I still don’t know who wiped them out since I never actually got a message about that.

As the graphs attest, this was a really disappointing game in that only 1 enemy civ ever amounted to anything at all.

Then my score. It’s decent but nothing really high. The trouble is that getting a really high score actually requires playing badly.

And your score gets you a title somewhere on this little chart.

And here’s my mostly empty high scores since I hadn’t played on this computer before starting this LP. Most of these are files I made to test and experiment about various things or are actually this file with me quitting out of the program and that registering as the game ending on that turn.

That’s a wrap! I didn’t play anywhere near optimally, but I think I did manage to demonstrate the mechanics and strategies I wanted to at least.

Here's a final world map picture.

As I said previously, I’ll now start a second play, this time going for a faster victory on a much larger map.