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Adventure One: Declaration of Independence

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As we approached the calendar change, I approached the top of the scoreboard. I guess I'm not doing badly, although three cities by 320 BC is pathetic by Civ 4 standards.

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City four came up this way, in a wonderful valley of resources. I'm still not quite sure how to bootstrap cities quickly, since there's no automatic move like granary first in Civ 4. I guess a Watermill might be the best start?

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In the social policy department, I began by adopting everything in Liberty except for Representation (the Golden Age starter), because Chichen Itza (Golden Age lengthener) was in progress. I picked up the Tradition opener, then filled in Representation on the next policy.

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I built Chichen Itza, then Hagia Sophia. Now I was thinking about the scenario's scoring system, which encourages us to spread out the Great People and get two of each type. (I quite like that, nice way to tour the mechanics of a new game.) What should I take from the Sophia? I had Engineer and Artist points already from wonders and a Scientist coming from the Porcelain Tower, which meant Merchant was the scarcest. Since the scoring calls for one Great Tile Improvement and one Trade Mission, we should first do the one of those with the longer term payoff, meaning the Customs House. Score my first scenario point.

Also now I did finish the Liberty tree, and this time picked an Artist as the great person... for this.

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I wanted a city in this spot, but it would take quite a while to build up the culture to grab that trio of resources. But the culture bomb got them right away. (I didn't yet grok that a culture bomb is supposed to be for stealing resources. 2 points for Great People so far, but do I lose two points for an uncool move here?)

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A bit later came my 3rd point for using Great People, rushing Notre Dame with an engineer. Notre Dame seems like another no-brainer to always build.

Napoleon declared war sometime around here, and made peace later after a couple skirmishes.

And England declared war. And after a bloodbath of zero combats and unit kills, she came over with this ludicrous offer.

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What the heck? We can have several hundred gold for no reason at all? Wow. Anyway, gold is forbidden by variant rule, but I renegotiated that around to get paid off with a supply of Pearls, plus a Research Agreement. It seems like a good idea to synch a research agreement with a peace treaty, since then the partner can't declare war to break it at least for a little while.

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Over here, I declared my own real war for the first time, on the city-state of Ragusa. Venice wanted me to, and I could use the sugar for myself. I have no idea yet how much force one needs to capture a city in Civ 5. As you can see, my army in the area is two catapults, two horsemen, one archer, one chariot archer, and a sword that's trying to pick his way through the tactical maneuvering. So the stuff started bombarding, spawning a Great General who arrived to help. After several turns of sieging (a return volley killed my sword), a horseman broke through for the win.

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What gives - why can't I raze the city? I didn't want to keep it; the sugar is within reach of Atlanta and the rest of the land is blah. A peek into the city screen answered. Apparently city-states count as capitals and can't ever be razed. I'm not sure why someone thought that was a necessary rule. Fine, we kept it. I had plenty of happiness to spare having just rushed Notre Dame, so directly kept it rather than puppeting.

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So here's an overview after that. Seven cities, though a few are just getting started. Chicago has six jungle tiles; the purpose of this city is to build a University and see if that +2 research per jungle tile makes for anything worthwhile. I'm still not quite sure how to bootstrap such cities; a granary, watermill, or aqueduct are all considerable options.

I gradually began to realize a problem in my approach, which was exceedingly common for new Civ 4 players too. I wasn't playing towards any victory condition. Too much expansion for a proper culture victory. I haven't beelined or planned any military techs for conquering, and haven't gone for the Honor policy tree. Science (space) takes too long, not competitive for the fastest victory scoring goal.

That leaves diplomatic, which is also supposed to be the scenario goal, worth 4 points in the scoring. But I might have screwed that up here too. I'd bought influence with Monaco and kept it renewed, but suddenly the influence was degrading at twice its prior speed. Must be because I attacked Ragusa. I guess that rule kind of makes sense for balance, slowing down a player able to gobble up city-states by fielding many more units than they can. But it's not entirely sensible... even Venice, who ASKED me to kill Ragusa, penalized my influence!

Well, diplomacy still seemed to be the best option here, also because it's the win condition I'm probably least likely to pursue in any solo game. I guess that means we need to do some serious work on gold production. Although the tech for the United Nations is many miles away, which means we also need technology, but there doesn't seem to be much on the tree that really accelerates research. Anyway, the important direction to start heading now was the Patronage social policies; we'll need that for the diplo victory.

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