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Friday, May 30, 2014

Relaxing with an Old Favorite - Part One

There are just some games that never get old. And The Ancient Gaming Noob's exploits in multi-player Civilization V gave me an itch I just had to scratch. And last Friday, with a long holiday weekend approaching, I decided to scratch. Also, I was heading to eastern Oregon where there is Internet, but it's cellular in nature and thus not terribly fast. And I was warned before leaving the LTE radio was out on the local tower there, so connection speeds would be even slower than normal. That ruled out any strictly online game.

But Civilization V via Steam supports saving games to the Steam Cloud. If you've never used it, it's an awesome feature. I was able to start a game on my home system and continue to play it on the laptop while away. When I returned to the game last night (Yea, I know, I said I'd be logging into TESO. But my unfinished game kept calling me...,) I just grabbed the save game off the cloud and got back to it.

[caption id="attachment_2650" align="alignleft" width="266"]Civ V May 2014 Civ V May 2014[/caption]

I've never tried multi-player mode, and I don't have the tight little group of friends TAGN has, so I just stuck with the tried and true single player mode. I didn't want to undertake anything terribly difficult. I was looking for relaxation more than achievement. I kept the difficulty on Chieftain level. But I did want a nice, long, detailed game. So I selected a marathon session on the largest map I could get and stuck eleven AIs on it. Then I went down the list of rulers I could play and picked one I'd never played. I ended up playing the British under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I.

As you can see, I've come a goodly way from the beginning of the game. I've put 20 hours into the game since last Saturday! My opponents are an odd mix of AIs I'd not played against much, with the exception of just a couple. The computer gave me the Shoshone,  Zulus,  Assyrians,  Chinese, Greeks, Americans, Japanese, Iroquois, Brazilians, Siamese and Egyptians. The only one of those overtly hostile were the Zulus. It was par for the course that they were on my northern border, along with the Shoshone.

I tend to play the long game in Civilization, that's literal and figurative. As soon as my capital gets to three population, I start producing settlers. I found as many cities as I possibly can, trying to create a defensible border. I plan ahead of time where I'll place each city so they are in mutually defensible locations. In this game, I was lucky that my southern border is a large desert with MOUNTAINS. :o I didn't need to worry about anyone settling there right away. I began by building a line of cities across a river running through the center of my continent well north of London, the capital. The south bank was lined in Jungle covered hills. It was a perfect line of defense. I pushed out York and Nottingham without much trouble. I then founded Hastings and Canterbury to complete the line and secure some inner territory for later cities (Coventry, Newcastle and Warwick.)

However, before I could get my defenses fully into place, Shaka decided I looked too juicy to let alone. He declared war and besieged Hastings and York with nearly two dozen warriors and archers. I responded by throwing everything I had at him. That consisted mainly of Archers at this stage of the game, but also my initial warrior. :D I managed to beat off the attack using my cities and archers in tandem to eliminate his strongest units. The one-two punch of a city barrage and a garrisoned archer is fairly potent. Even though Shaka outnumber me two to one, he took heavy losses and only managed to destroy Hastings, not capture it. The only unit I lost, other than the archer garrisoning Hastings, was my warrior. After Shaka razed Hastings, since I outnumbered the Zulu troops at this juncture, he withdrew.

I licked my wounds, resettled Hastings, and continued my planned eight city expansion. I made one concession to reality: I invested heavily in defense. Because of this, Shaka turned his attention to the Shoshone and Assyrians. That gave me time to solidify my territory and start ramping up production with an aim of scientific dominance. I was nearly the last empire to enter the medieval era. I was the first to reach the renaissance. I forewent building wonders and poured everything into defense (I actually started the Honor Social Policy, something I almost never do) and science. In the mean time, Shaka was busy conquering the Shoshone capital and making life difficult for the Assyrians. Soon my empire was thriving, and Shaka was my best buddy because I had more sugar than Brazil. Who knew Shaka had a sweet tooth? Here was the state of The Empire in 1450 AD, about ten hours into the game.

[caption id="attachment_2653" align="aligncenter" width="800"]British Empire in 1450 AD British Empire in 1450 AD[/caption]

I had a good laugh about the area of unclaimed territory just south of Nottingham. I took to referring to it as Sherwood Forest. :mrgreen: As you can see, The Empire is very healthy. My cities are well defended with English longbows, and I've discovered muskets long before anyone else. That is why I tend to play a very science oriented game. Once I am unassailable through superior firepower (not merely more firepower,) the options really open up. I can easily go commerce, culture or faith as a means to world domination. And should I so choose, I can also conquer. In some games I do a bit of all of them. For instance, sooner or later Shaka will take out the Shoshone and the Assyrians and will have no choice but to attack me. I would be prudent to attack him before that happens, at a time of my choosing, when my military far surpasses his technologically. I then have a choice to raze his cities or occupy them. Occupying cities brings its own issues. I'm also curious if I can return the Shoshone and Assyrian capitals back to them and thus make them beholding to me. Taking this route would probably eliminate any chance of a science victory, since one needs to maintain their lead to win such a victory, and I'd have to refocus on placating unhappy citizens. But if I did occupy the cities, I could then achieve a diplomatic victory. By getting the City States to align with me, I could drive my World Congress delegates through the roof. I've done it before. Then I just vote myself the winner. Those are the best wins of all!

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