A Warlord on Earth

My first game with the Romans on Chieftan had ended before I even reached tanks on the tech tree. I also had wanted to conquer all the civs, and was a bit miffed at getting a domination victory in the previous game. So for my second game, I set out to research as quickly as I possibly could up to tanks and then set out to conquer the world. Thus my first game on Warlord was with the Germans, whose UU panzer I hoped to use to good effect. Just to spice things up, I also played this game on the standard size world map that was packaged along with Civ3.

I started out on the east coast of southern Africa, nowhere near where actual Germany is located. The fact that you couldn't initially set starting locations in Civ3 was a pain; it's probably the main reason why this was the only game I ever played on a historical map of any kind. Random maps are the only truly fair ones anyway. Well, I was in a decent starting location but there was a lot of jungle around me that would takes ages to clean out. When I went back and watched the replay of this game, it became clear that I was again not building enough settlers. What WAS I building? I have no idea, but I sure wasn't building enough settlers. I didn't found my second city until 1700BC, and didn't found my third city until roughly 600BC! Hint to new players: this is way too slow. You should build settlers as soon as you can, unless there is a strong reason not to do so (like building a granary so you can build more settlers faster). But I was really, really slow here.

Good thing it didn't matter in this game. The Americans had started in an awful position in the northwest part of the Sahara, and I started a war with them around 3000BC by walking into an undefended city. (Note: the AI has improved a lot in the patches and does not send out unguarded settlers anymore; this game was played under the original release version.) Between their horrible starting position and the loss of that city, the Americans were probably doomed from then on, but I fought them on and off in a series of wars until around 500BC, when I killed them off. They of course respawned (I REALLY hated that feature, glad it was removable after 1.21f) but did so in the only part of Africa I didn't control. After killing them again I had control over all of Africa. From the picture that I have, it seems that only 7 of the 11 cities that ended up in Africa were built by me; the others were conquests from the Americans. Early on the game, it was even more of a disparity, with about half of my cities being conquests. I quite simply was NOT building enough settlers.

Sometime while I was engaged in killing the Americans I discovered the rest of the world: the Zulus in Europe, the Persians in Asia, the Indians in Australia, the Russians in South America, the Romans in North America, and the Japanese squeezed up against the Pacific rim in North America and Asia. The starting positions were as random as it gets as far as compared to the real world map, but it hardly made a difference in terms of gameplay. I maintained peaceful relations for the most part, fighting a few minor border wars with Persia for a city or two mostly to pass the time, but really focusing on advancing tech as much as possible. Here is what the world looked like for most of the game; the date from this is 1250AD:

It's clear from the histograph that Persia and I were the big dogs in this game. Persia started out in the middle of a ton of open space, so it was inevitable that they would be a strong AI civ. The other civs were unimportant; they weren't strong enough to make any kind of difference either way. The big thing I did in this game though was research techs. Yes, I had discovered that you could trade away techs for huge sums of cash to other civs (this was pre-1.17f, after all) and use that money to fuel your own research. Since I had cheap libraries and universities as a scientific civ, this worked very well indeed. I was able to run 4-turn research times for much of the game after my really lousy start.

It was a peaceful and rather uneventful game until I reached panzers a little before 1800AD. I built up a bunch of them and declared war on Persia in 1804AD. It was panzers against muskets, and Persia didn't have a chance. I razed almost all of their cities (going for conquest victory) and destroyed them in 1822AD. Only 9 turns - you see I was pretty fast even way back when! But these turns lasted forever, and it was becoming more of a chore than fun as I went from city to city razing them all down. I also had to keep moving workers around to build rails everywhere I went, since the AI civs were not in the Industrial Age yet (sigh).

After Persia's fall, I attacked the Iroquois, the Japanese, and the Romans simultaneously. The Zulus had been killed by the Persians, by the way. I also shipped two transports full of modern armor over to South America and conquered the Russians at the same time too. Modern armor against muskets and (in the case of the Iroquois) rifles was just no contest. I blitzed through all of the other civs, but the game just dragged and dragged forever. Having to use ships to reach all of the little islands was a major pain. And the earth map has several 1-tile islands, which had to be assulted by marines - a real pain. As if that wasn't enough, several of the civs respawned (the Romans in Hawaii, of all places) to drag the game out longer. I finally got the last city in 1860AD and put this long game to rest. One conclusion from the game: adding the domination victory to Civ3 was a good idea.

Ahh, but this game was far from perfect. In fact, I cringed quite a bit when looking at the reply from the game. Here's what my cities looked like on the last turn of the game:

OK, let's do a case of "what's wrong with this picture?" Can you tell? Well, for one thing my cities are way too far apart. I shudder when I look back at all of the unusued tiles near Leipzig and New Ulundi. Another problem is the capital; it should have been moved to a better location ASAP. As it is, the corruption fighting effects of the capital are wasted at the end of a penninsula. The only good thing I can say is that the Forbidden Palace was put in Washington, a move that probably won me this game. More problems? How about the fact that I didn't put a city where New Ulundi is AT ALL; that was a Zulu city that flipped to me towards the end of the game. I hadn't put a city there because it was "useless jungle" at the time (and it later turned out to have 2 rubber sources). In Civ3, EVERY tile near your capital has value no matter what the terrain. Not putting enough cities near my capital was a major blunder in the game.

This game was pretty educational as well, teaching me how to trade with other civs to a certain extent and also how to do research intelligently. I also learned the folly of trying to kill everything on the map; it just takes too long and stops being fun for me. But I had nothing more to learn from Warlord, and so it was time to move up to Regent difficulty, where the AI would be unhandicapped and the games would be considerably more difficult.

Conquest Victory
1268 points