Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Civ V: The Suleiman Strategy- Zerg Em.

I wondered, in my last post, how long it would take to win a domination victory if I focused on using (abusing) the changes to the naval warfare system coupled with the Ottoman ability to capture defeated ships. The answer, to that, my friends, is 173, or at least it was in this case. I tweaked the game options and played on a tiny island map, with four civs on difficulty level five, and in order to save a bit of time skipped the ancient portion of the technology race and started on turn 50.

The result was much as I expected but I did discover an interesting way to get ships, culture, and some much needed extra gold. Maybe I've been playing MMO's too long but I found a way to 'farm' barbarians. I selected raging barbarians in the set-up, and then took the Social Policies which provide both culture for kills, and the 33% bonus for fighting barbarians. I was lucky enough to come across the barbarian encampment on a small island just off my territory. The encampment, cleared so I could use the nearby iron resource, spawned 1-2 ships every other turn.... which I dutifully captured. Each one provided 7 culture, and any that couldn't fit into my zerg navy were sold for 3-7 gold each. Huzzah!

The Barbarian Ship/Culture/Gold Farm
My strategy then, was to use the horde of captured triremes to batter down the defences of the port cities of my opponents with the help of a few ranged melee naval ships some of which I constructed, and others I captured as the barbarian encampment eventually spawns better ships. I took Japan with nothing but triremes and a single ranged ship. Spain proved harder as they had built a wall and the trireme strategy failed miserably here. I had to wait until I had a couple ranged ships as support, but the poor AI made my task too easy. No matter that the ranged ships are the real danger, the AI consistently targets whatever is put in front of them- even if it's a worthless trireme. This happened across the board with all my opponents.

Also, frustratingly, the AI would do extremely stupid things like embark land units into the middle of my (hostile) fleet. At one stage Spain built a new city while we at war, and with my entire fleet sitting off their coast. It was a great gift for me as it served as a fine staging area for taking their capital.

Another example of the poor decisions of the AI
By the time I maneuvered to the far side of the map to take the last remaining civilization I had Frigates in tow. I used three of them, from rage, screened with the suicide Triremes, and it only took two turns of off-shore battery to ninja their capital and win the game.

Three Frigates and a handful of crappy suicide ships is all it takes

I am enjoying these games, despite my criticism of the AI. Maybe I should look at it another way and think of it as my superior intellect, and that of all humans, ensuring we will never be enslaved by machines. In any case, I have noticed that the Egyptians start with a 15% bonus to wonder construction, and there are two separate in-game bonuses that supply the same. I'm off to see how quickly I can get a cultural victory with a 45% bonus to wonder-construction!

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