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Epic Twenty-eight: The Dutch Maze-ters

This is the story of my game of Civilization IV Epic Twenty-eight from Realms Beyond Civilization.

The whole idea of this scenario can be summed up in the three words of Real Deity Victory. A couple years ago, I realized that I'd never won a normal game on Deity without extra cheaty setup. Fortune Favors the Bold was a game on Deity that I lost. Starfall was a victory, but started us with an extra settler and two great people. And I experimented with the concept that became Holiday Wishlist on Deity, which also turned into a win, but thanks to the majorly cheated map terrain.

So I was determined to record a real Deity win, a feat that a Civ 4 expert should have on his resumé. Real in my mind meant a completely unmodified map and start, no cheap culture wins to steal a victory from far behind, and no additional easy-mode options like Always Peace or marathon speed quechuas or teaming with an AI. In looking over the map scripts, I hit on the idea of Maze with 1-tile spacing as a way to retard the AIs with a situation they couldn't handle well. I played that on Deity and won by space with a lead of about six techs. Boat management and city placement turned out to be pretty interesting puzzles, and I always had in the back of my mind to run it as an RBCiv event, and now was the time.

Willem obviously qualifies as the monstrously powerful leader for the setup. Half your tiles are water so Financial is super good and Dikes are even better. Creative is also big because this map makes border expansions extremely critical; a new city might have as few as two land tiles in the initial 8-radius before it can reach the next land strand over the waterways.

As for the map, part of the idea of a real Deity victory was to use exactly what the map script produced. I rerolled about 40 maps until finding this one. My targets were at least one seafood (Fishing start), one land food, one early happy resource, reachable copper (Colossus), nearby food for more cities, and sufficient space between the player and AI civs.

meridian.jpg - 67kb

There's a key subtlety on the Maze map that I'm curious to see if players will notice. There's an "international date line" at the left/right edge of the map, a meridian of all water tiles with no land crossings. The AI simply won't cross this gap with cargo ships, it will always try to walk instead because the land is on the same continent, not considering that the walking would take up to a hundred turns. I intentionally sought and chose a map that placed the player with a "backyard" of uncontested land between him and this meridian to allow for healthy expansion room.

The opponents I did select although didn't put a ton of thought into it, just chose some leaders who won't declare at Pleased and with mediocre traits. Philosophical is much weaker in AI hands than a human's, since they don't know how to bulb and trade for big leverage, or time Golden Ages for civic revolts.

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