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Civilization 5 Game Diary: Ode to Oda Nobunaga Part 4: Turns 301-400

No High Scores

Hey, look! It’s part 4 of the Civ 5 diary! When we left off, mighty Japan had eliminated the Babylonians and had turned its attention back to the homeland where the Americans were staking out increasing amounts of turf. The goal was to refresh military strength, drive them out and very likely pursue Washington back to his American homeland. Ahh, the best laid plans.

Before I begin, though, a couple quick housekeeping notes. Last week I said I found the Happiness numbers for AI empires to be suspect (some were highly inflated and none were flirting with below zero penalties). A couple of good folks in the comments pointed out I had no idea what I was talking about (but, you know, nicer than that), noting that building up extremely high empire happiness (30+) is eminently doable for human and AI alike. The moral? I’m bad at this. This is why I’m a Prince level player. Take any “insight” I offer with a suitably sized grain of salt. Next, after popular demand, I’ve made the screenshots after the break clickable to bring up higher rez versions. I’ve also moved the past entries index up before the break just so it’s more visible. The other bit is to note that with Deus Ex sitting on my hard drive, the chances for disruption in finishing up this series increase. I absolutely will keep it going, but if I miss next week or turn the next entry into a 50 turn summary, don’t be surprised. A lot will depend on how much time I end up waging war, which slows down progress in the game just a tad. And now, on with the show…

Past Entries:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

1866 AD, Turn 303:
Just as we were starting to shift military resources and focus back to our mainland in anticipation of war with Washington, Montezuma, the treacherous cur, has declared war on us. On me! His hetero lifemate! I will tear his eyeballs from their very sockets! I will flay every finger and toe down to his feeble bones. Children will weep when they see what I’ve done to this flea-bitten mongrel. I will refuse no other ally. Make any concession. This slight can only be repaid in blood! We were rated as Friendly up to this point. Multiple trade deals, etc. On the other hand, we had outdated units in all our cities, and only one unit per city. The advantage was certainly there for him, but goddam what a douchebag.

For this opening salvo, a force of rifles gathers outside his city of Tlacopan, nearest to Babylon. Another, smaller, force is already near the gates of Sippar (taking advantage of the encroached border there; had I not taken Sippar, I wonder if he’d still attempt this gambit). We are caught unaware and ill-prepared, with valiant but behind the times units in nearly every city. Fortunately, our treasury offers instant aid in the form of unit upgrades. Our policy of Professional Armies has made it much cheaper (33%) to upgrade our melee units to rifles. He’ll certainly bleed us, but the cursed fool has no idea what awaits him.

No High Scores

Fortunately rifles were already in place in Sippar, though the unit of cannon we held there was exposed. We used city bombardment to weaken the nearby Aztec rifles and then decimated them to all but the last man with our own, at the same time moving our cannon safely within Sippar’s walls where I immediately ordered them upgraded to Artillery units. I don’t think Monty has any of those. I hope he likes them. I’ll probably lose my rifle unit to the cavalry, but it can’t be helped. I needed those cannon upgraded and I could hardly leave them outside the city walls. I had thought I could garrison one unit and put the other there too, but despite lack of a garrisoned units, the game wouldn’t let me put the cannon and rifles in the city. I ran into this issue over and over again throughout this set of turns where a city that has a unit specifically garrisoned in it, won’t accept another unit on the tile. Weird. Bug?

In the meantime I have dispatched rifles from our mainland, but it will take time for them to reinforce Babylon and I leave myself open to reprisals from Washington.

On the foreign policy front, only Genghis Kahn and Napoleon treat with me with anything resembling a friendly demeanor anymore. I’m officially ally hunting. Sadly, they have nothing to offer me beyond their worthless moral support. Gandhi, Washington, and Bismark cannot be troubled for so much as an open borders agreement or trade of luxury goods. You’d think it was something I said. Aside from Washington, none of these guys has reason to have issue with me. There were denunciations for eliminating the Babylonians, but come on now. I’ve read the AI loves you so long as you’re not winning the game and then they all turn on a dime when you are. As my demographics improve, good relations have not just been tougher, but nigh impossible. Regardless, despite some fun leader tough-talk, if Monty has any clue what he’s doing I’m going to lose at least two cities – Babylon and Sippar.

1878 AD, Turn 309:
With his first attack wave lying in ashes, Montezuma has come looking for peace. His terms? That I give him nearly 600 gold, 22 more per turn, furs, dyes, iron, horses and access to our borders. How about the fillings from my teeth? His foolish pride will be his undoing. Does he not know what the name Oda Nobunaga stands for? Did he miss the memo we delivered to Nebuchadnezzar? I sent his emissary back with a politely worded letter of declination stuffed between the teeth of his severed head. Seriously. This guy’s first wave accomplished absolutely nothing and he’s offering terms as if I were losing? Delusional much?

Evidently my considerate words of warning were not heeded as his second wave approaches Sippar and Babylon. Had he combined his forces from the outset we might have been overrun. Now three new units of reinforcement rifleman are reaching the coast as I write this. We’ve repositioned our artillery outside Dur-Kurigalzu where they can fire on units attacking both fronts. Monty will know no victory here. This, I swear in the name of my ancestors! Really, he still ought to be able to take Sippar, but it probably won’t happen.

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No High Scores

1890 AD, Turn 315:
Evidently our rejection of Monty’s generous offer was not taken in the spirit with which it was dispatched, as he delivered a massive force swarming around both sides of the isthmus southwest of Babylon. We lost three units of riflemen in the fighting thanks to an overagressive counterassault, but that was nothing compared to Monty’s losses. Regiment after regiment of rifles and cannon fell to our mighty military, bathing our empire in glory and honor as they defend our rightfully conquered lands.

Back home we’ve completed our first frigate, which now speeds its way across the ocean to improve out ability to bombard Aztec units from off the coastline. Also of note, Monty embarked a cannon literally right next one of my caravels. I didn’t sink it, but it took a lot more damage than it would have had it remained on land.

With his attack forces broken and smashed I now face the choice of whether to seek a peace accord or gather our forces to move into Aztec territory. The risk of aggressive invasion is great in the short term. I have an army to rebuild and Washington creates still more problems on the homefront, having established a third city, St. Louis, in our lands. His borders now threaten to sever the connection between Tokyo and Satsuma. I’m not sure which of them disgusts me more.

No High Scores

1898 AD, Turn 319:
Monty continues to offer the most ridiculous peace terms one can imagine. Perhaps he thinks me so desperate for a reprieve that I will counter with a lesser offer that he’ll be all too eager to accept? If so, he’ll be disappointed. The parade of Aztec military unit incursions into our borders has ceased. He has nothing left to throw at us. I still have have enough units, however, to cause him concern. Akkad is in my sights and it will fall!

On the homefront, I am ready to move on the American cities on our continent. Let Washington deal with that.

1904 AD, Turn 324:
Akkad has fallen. Washington’s fledgling cities of St. Louis and Portland lie smoking ruins, littered with the bones of innocent and guilty alike. Such is the price of crossing Japan. Our pound of flesh extracted, I met with Montezuma to discuss peace. He started the conversation saying it was time for the war to end, yet when I offered him Japan’s mercy he refused. Douchebag. The AI personalities in this game still need work. If he doesn’t want peace that’s fine. But don’t start the conversation off by saying, “Hey, let’s make peace,” and then find no terms acceptable for it, even those that favor him.

I could see why he desires furthered hostilities, though, as a new army of cannon, riflemen, cavalry, and a new type of solider, infantry, moved on Akkad. The surprise is on Montezuma, however. We threw back the initial cavalry rush and decimated their rifles and infantry. Our own researchers, too, have unlocked the secrets of Replaceable Parts (and infantry with it). Our treasury restored, it’s been only a small task to upgrade our rifles to infantry. With them in place and two artillery units racking Aztec forces, they will be hard-pressed to take Akkad back from my grasp. At home I prepare my forces to move on Houston. The time of filthy American citizens desecrating my turf is nearing its end.

No High Scores

1919 AD, Turn 339:
Montezuma and I have found our way to peace at last and we are, once again the bestest of besties. Seriously, we go from 20+ turns of war to Friendly relations with favorable trade deals. If I didn’t need the luxury trade so much I’d be annoyed at the illogic of it. But my happiness rating is in the tank and my gold per turn went from a comfortable plus to a significant negative (-13). I need the peace deal. I will redistribute our forces on the continent to garrison our cities once more and await his future treachery. Thank god. I need those cities garrisoned in order to get my happiness back to 0+.

With peace declared and trade routes open once again, our dwindling treasury has seen a large infusion (from that -13 to +48, just like that).

With two of his three cities on our continent destroyed, Washington came begging for peace, but we refused. Houston needed to fall first. It was a drawn out siege as the city’s mountain protection made it a difficult assault, one that was not helped by Georgie’s piddling stream of reinforcements. In the end, though, it fell, just like all the rest. With the whole of our continent under our own control once again, I have granted Washington his peace. May he use it more wisely this time than he did the last.

We’ve also adopted a policy of Autocracy. This social system decreased our military maintenance costs, a good thing as the cost of building new railroads to speed travel across our empire has been great.

No High Scores

And here’s a look at the demographics page after these acquisitions:
No High Scores

1924AD, Turn 344:
Well, he’s done it again. Barely waiting for the peace treaty he signed to expire, Montezuma has re-defined the word treachery. This time the move was blatantly telegraphed, however. He had forces building up on our border for a handful of turns now: cavalry, riflemen, infantry, and even artillery. I instructed our generals to do their level best to move excess forces over to the continent (infantry and artillery), but we could not get it done in time. Three units each of artillery and infantry are in the middle of the ocean with Aztec caravels prowling. We’ll have to do our best to use our two frigates and a caravel to protect them all the way to the coast, but this will be tricky. It’s frustrating that you can’t really protect embarked units with naval units. With a bombard range of two, caravels and frigates can just shoot over your naval ships.

Complicating matters is the loss of vital luxury trade with Montezuma that sent our happiness plummeting to record depths. I had to rush produce a courthouse in Akkad to get the number low enough to not effect empire production and military success (your combat troops get a penalty if happiness is -10 or worse). Worse, he’s cut off trade from Borsippa, though that will not hold for long as our navy is more than capable of turning back one lousy caravel and a half sunk frigate. The last time Montezuma showed his true colors, he paid for it by losing Akkad. This time I will not stop short of Tlacopan. This is getting beyond annoying. The friendly posture turns immediately to war, back to friendly, and now to war again. He has civs that are actually enemies, wouldn’t it behoove him to attack them? Oh. Right. Civ 5 AI can’t manage a naval invasion so he sticks with the guy next door against all laws of logic. My units are fully updated this time and all cities are garrisoned with roads allowing them to speed to the front.

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No High Scores

1933 AD, Turn 353:
After a long and bloody battle, Montezuma and I have agreed to yet another peace treaty. There are no illusions here. This is a respite. I have plenty of artillery with which to pound away at Tlacopan until it falls, but I’ve lost too many infantry to support invading the city. We will use this time to heal battered forces and produce new units. We have discovered the secrets of oil. With it, and our research into Combustion, we’ll be able to upgrade our navy. The conflict itself was glorious in its scope. Monty charged with countless artillery and infantry and it was only my superior cunning and the valiant bravery of our soldiers that threw them back with no loss of territory. I’ll say this for the AI. It used to just feed units your way one after another. Now it at least tries to overwhelm you with numbers. They’ll also focus on eliminating targets instead of whittling down multiple units. While I’ve lost no ground to the AI, I’ve lost a bunch of units. Monty still seems able to keep a steady stream of fresh troops coming up to the front, but year by year that front has moved closer to his own ground. When next we meet on the field of battle he’ll know what it is to anger the dragon. Totally not meant to invoke Viserys from Game of Thrones.

1947 AD, Turn 367:
Monty had the nerve to request open borders. Rejected. Are you kidding me? What am I? Charlie Brown with the football?

It all but exhausted our ample treasury to do so, but we’ve fully upgraded our most outdated homeland units, some which still thought the bow and arrow was a neat idea. I hear tell that they like these fancy machine gun things. With the discovery of Combustion, we’ve also fully upgraded our caravels and frigates (four in all) to a new type of iron ship called the destroyer. Enjoy our new steel fish, Monty. In fact, with the peace treaty expired, perhaps sooner would be better than later to begin the next chapter of our blood feud. Renewed and reinvigorated soldiers amass on both sides of the border. Better to move first and have the advantage, for once.

You’ll note in the following screenshot my infantry are located behind my artillery north of Tlacopan. The idea here was to use the peace to have artillery positioned as close to the city as possible within my own borders. By declaring war ahead of Monty (I played out a couple of turns to see if he would declare, and he did), I can pound the one infantry that threatens them straight off, and then move my infantry units in ahead of the artillery to protect them from any ground-based counterattack.

No High Scores

1955 AD, Turn 375:
Montezuma has paid dearly for his continued aggression. In Aztecs v. Japan Round 3 it was we who played the opening gambit. On the offensive from the start, our armies marched into Aztec land, and conquered the cities of Tlacopan and Xochicalco. It was a flurry of destroyer and artillery bombardments, and infantry in the hills. That maxed out Honor policy tree is really paying off here. We lost a destroyer when Belgrade involved themselves in the conflict, as well as a pair of infantry units in the field. That all pales in comparison to Monty’s losses. Perhaps he’s learned his lesson this time.

Our costs are, unfortunately, not just measured in bodies in the field, we also paid dearly for the acquisitions with an empire unhappiness now at -12. No one will trade luxuries with us and the unhappiness from two puppeted cities is ridiculous. I elected to take the hit annexing Tlacopan. When the rioting quells I will buy the people off with a courthouse that will assuage the rage in that city, if nowhere else. At this point I’ve spent so much time at war and neglecting empire population growth, that it’s unlikely I have much hope of winning any other way than militarily and that’s pretty unlikely. I need peace and trade that I’m simply not getting and with all these acquisitions I can’t bring the happy the way I desperately need to. I’m really starting to resent the fact that every single AI views me as Guarded. Does it really go back to eliminating Babylon? Doesn’t seem like my demographics should cause this consistent a hit. There are still six other civs in the game. Surely one of them could manage to at least be neutral towards me.

No High Scores

1971 AD, Turn 391:
It seems poor Belgrade (city-state) has fallen to the Aztecs. Evidently Monty now desires more easily digested morsels. Belgrade had put out a call for aid that we would certainly answer except for their having sided with the Aztecs before. A shame. More troublesome is that Monty has turned his aggression towards Monaco. Perhaps he wants to replace the cities he has lost? He really should learn to be content with what he’s already got. I can’t very well let them both fall to Monty. No, we don’t like Monaco either, but one look at the positioning of these cities relative to our own makes clear Aztec advances here are a bridge too far. High ho, high ho, it’s off to war we go.

No High Scores

1980 AD, Turn 400:
It must be hard being Montezuma. You stab one ally in the back -twice, no less- and suddenly your well-crafted plans for world domination turn into poorly executed strategies that leave you trying desperately to just not embarrass yourself in the field. Tired of repeatedly losing ground to our military might, Monty’s gambit to capture the city-states of Belgrade and Monaco were dashed as once again the mighty forces of Japan showed them what true will is, doing so with honor and distinction. Monaco still stands proud and a newfound friend to the Japanese after we repelled Monty’s invading forces in short order. Not long after, Monty’s own city of Texcoco fell from a barrage of artillery, while a squadron of zeroes dropped from the sky to decimate Aztec artillery. Decimate is utter hyperbole here. Zeroes are good against other air units, but their ground strike capability is nothing to write home about.

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After puppeting a conquered Texcoco we headed for captive Belgrade. They were never our biggest fans, but the site of our coastal destroyers pelting artillery from the coast and our soldiers moving in from the north was surely a welcome sight. After throwing the Aztecs out I considered puppeting the city into our own empire, but something tells me giving Belgrade back to its “rightful” owners would be that much more an insult to dear, dear Monty.

Belgrade now stands as a firm ally of Japan, although at great cost to our military might. We lost a destroyer, multiple artillery, both our tank divisions, and several infantry units in the fighting. Fortunately, Montezuma is no better off and quickly accepted our offer of peace. I’m under no delusions that it will last, but it will be much easier to hold ground where we now stand. With Monaco and Belgrade at our flanks and firmly on team “Monty is the Suxorz” Monty will face a narrow front from which he would have to push if he were to take any ground from us at all. With a new general, Hamilcar Barca, in our midst, I intend to build a great fortress to stand between Xochicalco and Texcoco. With that in place we’ll have little trouble holding the front if Monty gets frisky again in ten turns. And, hey, if he does, it’s a short walk to Tlatelolco from there.

No High Scores

Elsewhere, with half the world hating his everloving Yankee Doodle Guts, Georgie suddenly feels much warmer towards wondrous Japan. We know he’s a tool. He knows he’s a tool. But if he’s willing to share some of his whaling industry with us, then, hey, that’s just Jim Dandy with me. You know what’s amazing? All this territory conquered from Monty, and we’ve not gained access to a single new luxury resource that I didn’t already have 100 turns ago. I’ve got dyes and ivory coming out my ears and everyone hates us so much, nobody will take it in exchange for stuff I actually need. Le sigh.

400 Turn Summary:

So, after 400 turns, here’s where the mighty Japanese empire stands:

No High Scores

In most respects I’m just treading water right now. I’ve made huge gains in land between conquering Babylon and eroding half the Aztec empire, but I haven’t been able to balance empire happiness through most of the last 100 turns so growth hasn’t come back around. I’ve lost ground in manufacturing goods (not really sure what that means in terms of the game, to be honest), and I’m almost certainly behind the curve in tech, based on the number of civs I’ve seen unlocking nuclear tech. This is not a game I’m ripe for winning. That said, if I could just manage enough peace time to get my cities producing and empire happiness balanced out, that picture could change in a hurry. I’m just not sure there’s time left in the game for that to happen.

As noted in the midst of the diary, the AI behavior here is irksome. I’ve not so much as set a boot on anyone’s soil other than Nebuchadnezzar and Montezuma, nor have I messed with a city-state since conquering Tyre in the first 200 turns. Yet, on a dime, virtually every Civ went to “Guarded” relations to me. If it’s the aftermath of removing Neb, I don’t like it. If Neb had allies, sure that should bother them, but not every civ on the globe. The goal is to win, after all. And Montezuma? If he wants to be so utterly deceitful, going from Friendly to War, back to Friendly and War again at the drop of a hat, it needs to be less plastic than it is here. Right now Monty get pushed back, asks for peace, sends units to the front for ten turns, and within three turns of a peace treaty expiring declares war again. It’s the same behavior over and over, which just isn’t very interesting.

I will say I think the mid-game military AI is improved. Yeah, Monty is getting crushed, but he’s at least causing me losses and preventing me from just sweeping in and taking everything from him in short order. I’m having to, from my perspective, earn it. If I played more conservative (and smarter), I could probably go without losing more than a unit or two, but the fact is, if you open the door for the AI to take a unit off the board, it’ll grab it. I’m good with that. Still, it needs more positional awareness. Embarking an artillery unit right next to a caravel, when war is declared already, is just crazy. To be fair, where Monty appeared reckless with his cannon, he did a good job of at least trying to establish spacing with his artillery. I couldn’t just move infantry from a safe distance and attack his artillery in one move. I consistently had to move up multiple units to approach artillery positions so that at least one of them would be healthy enough to both take them out and resist a counterattack. (There’s probably a smarter way to go about it than I did, but whatevs.)

For the next 100 turns I’m going to try, try, try to just hold my ground and get my empire producing buildings, but I have my doubts that Montezuma (let alone the other AIs) will allow that to happen. We’ll see how it goes.

Todd Brakke

Todd was born in Ann Arbor with a Michigan helmet in one hand and a mouse in the other. (Never you mind the logistics of this.) He grew, vertically anyway, and proceeded to spend over 16 years as a development editor for Pearson Education, publishing books, videos, and digital learning products under the Que and Sams Publishing imprints. Because that wasn't enough of a challenge, Todd has also been a 20-year part-time snob about video games, writing reviews, features, and more for multiple outlets. Follow him on Twitter @ubrakto or check it out his website at

14 thoughts to “Civilization 5 Game Diary: Ode to Oda Nobunaga Part 4: Turns 301-400”

  1. I am a huge fan of Civ V (it seems I might like the game a bit more than you do). It is great to see how someone else experiences this game. Thanks for writing this up.

    As you wonder in your write up, the reason everyone turned on you is that you conquered Nebuchadnezzar. You take a large diplomatic penalty if you completely eliminate any other civilization. Also, the AI players in your game may disagree with you about your chances to win. Generally the better you are doing the less likely they are to help/like you.

    If I may make one other comment, regarding your happiness you are usually far better off if you just leave puppeted cities as puppeted. They will focus on happiness buildings (and money genereating buildings) if you just leave them as puppeted. That way you don’t get the huge annexation happiness penalty and your costs to gain new policies (many of which increase happiness) stay much more reasonable.

  2. Also, not a bug about the cannon/garrison issue. The game will let you build a new military unit in a city with one already it, but will not let you purchase one or move another unit into the city. It’s all part of their one-unit-per-tile policy. Also, the unit you build into a city with a garrison must be moved by the end of that turn.

    The same goes for trying to stack “civilian” (settler, worker, great people) units as well.

  3. Ah. Good to know. Thank you! It is a bit odd, though, isn’t it? Garrisoned units don’t attack, nor do they do anything beyond strengthen the city defense. Seems like you should be able to garrison one unit, while keeping another active. It is a city after all. It ought to be able to handle a couple divisions of troops, dammit!

  4. Been a pleasure doing these. I’m just glad some of you have been enjoying the long reads.

    Anyway, I do find fault with the diplo penalty. I think Neb’s allies should be upset, sure. And, yeah, maybe the other civs should take notice, but land arrangement and civ personality should be taken into account. I wax a civ on the other side of the world from Ghengis Khan (Khan, who was buddy buddy with both me and Monty), why should he care? More to the point, should he care so much that he’ll no longer enter into negotiations for fair trade or even open borders?

    It’s okay with me that some of the civs were upset about Neb, but I don’t like that all of them appear to act the same exact way. The word that keeps coming back into my head is plastic. I’d like to see more variation in how different civs react and behave. And that goes beyond the Babylon issue. I’d like for trade expectations not be to governed purely by the overall relationship status. It’s boring knowing that as soon as I see a “Guarded” status that you know that civ will not entertain so much as open borders, let along fair trade. I suppose I should try bribery, giving civs some free luxuries, but I’m stubborn and bitter about it, so I don’t.

  5. I agree… thats one of things I miss from IV. Although, in this version I tend to garrison cities with ranged units that can bombard outsiders when needed. That tends to mitigate some of the change.

  6. I realize my title is a bit extreme but I think that is what the diplomatic penalty is referencing. It’s not that you fought a war with them, won, took some concessions and moved on. You removed a sovereign nation from the planet and made its cities and people your own. In history (even you if you go back a ways) this is not a very common thing and nations certainly don’t look kindly upon other nations that act that way (even if they aren’t neighbors).

    I realized that this is a game and not real politics/history. There will always be levels of abstraction and things that play the way they play because, as a game, it makes more sense. This might be one time where the game suffers a bit for the sake of realism. However, if you look at the diplomatic penalty in that way it makes a bit more sense.

    From a game play point of view it is also easily avoidable. Just make sure you leave a weak city that you are not interested in as their last city and you can have everything else you want without any (or much of) a diplomatic hit. I usually don’t worry about it though. As the game moves on the AI players just stop liking you. Eventually you won’t be able to make trades at all (assuming you are winning). The penalty just seems to speed that up.

  7. Oh, yeah, I get that it’s for the final step of extermination for the nation, but as you pointed out, the people are all still there. I didn’t sack a single city, like I eventually did to two of Washington’s. I think in a really inept way, that’s why Montezuma sat there for like ten turns pelting Neb’s final city without invading, but that’s just really silly AI behavior. Shit or get off the pot, as Randal would say.

    Here’s the problem within the framework of the game (as I see it, of course). I’m not a history buff (and will likely be corrected over the following), but I find the notion of a nation being isolated in the international community after conquering another nation thin. Did America lose all trade with other nations over basically wiping out the Indians? Rome basically conquered Europe, but surely they engaged in trade with other nations (Egypt?). Realistically, it seems to me that if there are enough trade partners out there someone will always be willing to engage in trade with you if you have something that benefits them. I think Civ needs to reflect that. Had three or four Civs given me the cold shoulder after Neb, that would have been fine, but it ended up being everyone except for the guy willing to turn around and wage war with me at the drop of a pin.

    The other problem for me is that it is, again, just so rigid. Everybody who lists as guarded adopts the same posture towards any kind of relation, be it trade, borders, whatever. You can be guarded with a nation and still covet their Ivory, can’t you? And for how long should such a penalty last. It’s been a hundred years since Neb’s light went out and only Washington (quite suddenly, now that everyone else thinks he’s a punk) will deal with me, and that’s after rescuing two city-states from the Aztecs. (Also, on Prince shouldn’t foreign relations be a bit more forgiving than if you’re playing Deity?)

    Hopefully this doesn’t sound like I’m arguing with you. It’s a good point for discussion as to how Civ should be behaving and what makes for the best game.

  8. Thanks for replying and don’t worry about arguing I always enjoy a good discussion.

    I will completely agree with you that the diplomatic AI in Civilization is far too rigid and is one of the games key weaknesses. I am playing a game now where I have been extremely friendly with one nation the entire game. We had trade agreements in place for a good two-hundred turns. Then all the sudden I am winning by too much and they refuse to give me the time of day. I even offered them a 4 for 1 trade on luxury resources and they refused. That simply doesn’t make sense, even from their point of view. The diplomatic isolation that is an inevitable (as best I can tell) part of the end game is an unfortunate reality and flaw in the game. My money and resources should be worth something to someone.

    I still believe that while the diplomatic penalty is too rigid and is not implemented perfectly it does has some historical rational. I am not sure I buy your analogy and idea that nations wouldn’t isolate other nations for the destruction of a sovereign state. The key difference is that neither the Native Americans nor the peoples of Europe (at the time of the Romans) were seen as sovereign nations by their contemporaries (or if they were it was as nations of an inferior class and standing). We see the same issue in Africa with, for example, the Berlin Conference. There the major European powers had a meeting to divide up Africa amongst themselves. This was not viewed as the division and destruction of sovereign states but sovereign states bringing more territory under their control.

    I think that this actually exposes a key flaw in strategy games in general. How do we model the many different and non-western ideas of the sovereign state? More difficultly, how do we model the interactions of different types of states and states of different power levels (without reducing everything to military power)? In Civilization all of the states are supposed to function the same way, have the same goal and are designed to pursue power and advancement (more or less). The idea of an alternate construction of the state is not considered or seen as possible. I, personally, have no idea how to do this but I would love to play the game that gets it right.

  9. Power (and potential power) probably has a bigger effect on diplomacy than we’d like…. I think Pjmcnally’s right that the other civs are looking at Todd and saying to themselves “he’s too big, he’ll win if we don’t stop him.” With that much land area and production, even if they just left you alone you’d possibly be able to build your way to a win. From that perspective, it’d actually make sense if some other civs declared war soon, before you became so big that nobody could stop you.

    It’s just a shame they can’t actually convey their thoughts, whatever they may be.

    One of my favourite aspects of Civ IV was that the diplomacy made some kind of sense, and could in some cases forge actual near-friendships with other civs. Especially with the excellent BUG mod (which consolidates the scattered diplomacy information down into one or two places), you could understand the things causing war and peace, and even see things like religious blocs or long-lasting peace develop before they started having any real effects. (And therefore decide whether to help or hinder that process.) But in Civ V it all just seems to be a crapshoot.

    P.S. Thanks for the hi-res screenshots, muchly enjoyed

  10. Well argued, but here’s where you’re wrong: Babylon was by no definition my contemporary. None of them are. All of them – inferior! Japanese exceptionalism for the win!

  11. You can move a naval unit onto the same tile as a hostile embarked unit and kill it outright. I think this uses all its movement.

    And, i think the smartest way to go for artillery at this age is with Lancers, or use aeroplanes to weaken them

  12. The smart way? Clearly you’ve not been paying attention to my play style. Seriously, though, I get hung up on having a bunch of all-purpose grunts because I never quite know what I’m going to do with them. I did build a Zero, but it honestly did pretty paltry damage to artillery. Need to get to bombers!

    And, wow, did not know that about moving onto the tile. Is there any reasonable way to protect embarked units? Seems like there should be some kind of special rule for naval units where you can bank move/attack actions if protecting. An escort status selection or something.

  13. haha okok. i was parroting your words from the game diary!

    um, i havent found anything about how to protect them – except for the Songhai, who can fire back (as part of their trait). if you were launching a convoy that another (human) player knew was coming, i think you could kiss it goodbye. best you can do is try to see them coming, i suppose.

    hypothetically, it would be ideal if they were like civilian units – you could put a naval unit on the same tile.

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