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Tiny Islands

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I haven't mentioned much about the map or the AIs, so here's a look. The dark red icons are my ships, with the steering wheel icons being my converging Ships of the Line (England's frigate UU.) They each had a dominating 9 movement points, with all the stacked bonuses of England's ability, the Great Lighthouse, and Naval Tradition social policy.

The Netherlands were my first target as the closest logistically. That's a total of seven Ships of the Line, two caravels, one privateer (the skull icon), one horseman to capture the city, and the Great Admiral from the Commerce social policy (the anchor icon.) (Privateers are normal naval combat units here, not hidden nationality. They do get a free promotion that confers the ability to steal gold upon attacking a city.)

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The Ships of the Line turned out to be what the Galleasses weren't, very strong units, able to one-shot those triremes, although that's what you should expect with 1.5 generations of advantage in technology.

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I spent one turn squishing all those triremes, then attacked the city for real. It took only about five Ship of the Line shots to redline it. The caravel then captured it - good, I wasn't sure if that was possible, so brought along that horseman in case a land unit had to do the capturing.

Alas, that bug about skipping the annex/puppet/raze popup occurred AGAIN. I ended up with Amsterdam annexed and no choice otherwise. This would continue happening throughout the game. Over and over. I had Steam reverify the game files several times, and it kept reporting that 2 files were invalid. Sometimes reloading a save game would fix the popup and sometimes it wouldn't. This was EXTREMELY irritating and I am not going to play another conquering game of Civ 5 until that is fixed for real.

BTW, that's a settled Holy Site there west of Amsterdam -- planted on a crappy TUNDRA tile. What the freaking hell idiot nincompoop failure explode?

Anyway, after Amsterdam, I continued to kill off and raze the rest of the Netherlands cities. (On a non-capital, at least you can always click Raze later even if the buggy popup misfires.) The route to fastest finish would have been to ignore the Holland husk and jump into another war right away, but I didn't want to deal with hostile Dutch boats floating around in inconvenient places. For once, I actually wasn't pushing for fast finish, so I took the time to properly kill off the Netherlands and heal and position for the next conquest.

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That next conquest was going to be Siam -- except that my spy showed that capital building a monstrously juicy Forbidden Palace for me. That shot shows me at -6 happy, and happy would continue to be a constraint as always when conquering. I had to push research to Printing Press and build theaters in order to stay out of the combat penalty below -10 anger. And all my religious faith now went into Pagodas for the happy; the offensive missionaries for the Just War belief never materialized.

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So I passed up Sukhothai for the moment to let it build the Forbidden Palace, while I sailed south instead, splitting the fleet to take out a weak Iroquois civ and weaker Huns to their west together. All these conquests went very easily, with a fleet of five Ships of the Line always taking two turns to redline each city before capturing with a caravel or privateer. I took no losses in return.

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Moving along quickly because the game did, next I kept the fleet divided to take out Edinburgh and Mecca, now augmented with a few more ships from the home cities. I didn't bother killing the rest of the Celts and their handful of weak cities. And I had three Great Admirals by now (one from the Commerce policy), and for the first time burned one to repair that entire fleet around Edinburgh. (Surplus Great Admirals really don't have much to do. Surplus Generals can always go Citadel to swipe something, but a surplus Admiral really has nothing to do but save a couple turns of repairing.)

I had slowed construction on Ships of the Line for fear of iron supply, now favoring the resourceless Privateers. Privateers have an ability of a chance of 60 to 80% to capture an enemy ship instead of sinking it. This worked out very well. The best sequence was when the Privateer would capture a Galleass (easy since the Privateer is 50% stronger), then the faceturned Galleass would come upgrade in my port to a new Ship of the Line for the bargain basement price of $150.

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And I discovered that apparently now a militaristic CS can provide unique units. That is an unusual feature. Of course, it helps bupkus here since the Landsknecht's special ability is to be half cheaper than the base unit it replaces.

After the above conquests, I pincered the entire fleet back together to conquer Athens -- that's quite a lot of Galleasses there and would need my whole armada to take out safely. After that, I decided I could now ignore any problems caused by hostile stray Greek boats, so didn't conquer the rest of Greece.

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Instead I sailed directly for Sukhothai, and three turns later that was that.

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Domination Victory in 1380 AD. (I think the Civ 5 domination condition of conquering all the capitals works very well. It clearly demonstrates military superiority while skipping the mop-up busywork. And it yields no false positives as Civ 4's domination occasionally could, where a human player at 40% might still have a chance of beating an AI who reaches 60%.)

So by contrast to my misgivings about the religion system, I have to say that Gods & Kings nailed the naval combat model. This was a lot of fun. I'd been skeptical about the division between melee and ranged naval units, expecting it was adding complexity just for complexity's sake, and remembering how clunky naval artillery units were in Alpha Centauri.

Nope. For the first time, Civilization has brought a good model of combined arms tactics to the naval game. Even though I didn't get to the later stages of naval warfare, I can see how it might go, with the advantage swinging back and forth between ranged and melee units as new models of each type get researched. (Ironclads would have thrashed those beautiful Ships of the Line pretty hard.) I might even someday reprise this game on Immortal or even Deity to get to things like submarine warfare on a competitive playing field. (Assuming that popup bug ever gets fixed.) Naval combat now works much better than land combat in Civ 5. You have the space and mobility to conduct proper tactics like putting strong melee units in front of the shooters, and with so much less tripping over your own congested traffic.

By the way, what exactly are the Kings named by this expansion anyway? It should have been Gods & Ships considering that's what it really introduced to the game. crazyeyes.gif - 1kb