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Epic Nineteen: Arise, Ethiopia

This is the story of my game of Civilization IV Epic Nineteen from Realms Beyond Civilization.

As many players did, I tried a few Advanced Start runs with custom games just to see what's possible. We get 765 points to start off, which is the standard 600, modified by 50% to 900 for Epic speed, modified by -15% for the Emperor difficulty modifier. (Actually, balance in accordance with the standard game should give the player the listed value of points, and the AIs 15% more, but I digress.)

timmy827's observations in the forum info thread are spot on. Techs are overcosted: in the standard game, one gold is usually worth more than one beaker. Units, improvements, and especially cities are undercosted: one hammer is worth far more than one gold. Also, directly buying a city bypasses the additional costs of settler movement time, a military escort against barb risk, and non-growth time while building the settler. And land improvements are a sucker's purchase; for the cost of two tiles you can just buy one worker.

So I think the best thing we can do with 765 points is to buy four cities, a worker, and a scout. Five cities may be possible, but will likely run into constraints of insufficient visibility space, and may be over the line into financial problems. Four cities gives me no worries about running into financial problems: Zara is Organized, and the cities should pay back their maintenance costs as soon as trade routes get linked.

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