A Picture Farewell to Civ3

Most of my pictures from Civ3 were wiped out in Sirp's server crash in October of 2005. I did have a few of my favorite pictures stored on my own computer, which I've put together here in a scrapbook of kind. Here then is my farewell to Civ3, looking back it from the perspective of having helped develop its successor.

Epic 9: Rising Sun

This is my only picture from Epic 9, which I will always remember as my "Lost Epic", due to the fact that I regrettably lost the savegame file when I had reached a winning position. Lest you wonder how that could happen, it involved the incredibly unlikely event of accidentally saving over my Epic 9 game file, AS WELL AS playing a succession game in which the SG autosave dates coincided exactly with my autosave dates from the Epic. Heh. The odds of that happening had to be a thousand to one. But this is one of my favorite pictures ever, illustrating what life on Deity was like. My spearmen huddle in my cities as gigantic AI armies wander back and forth, doing battle with one another in my lands. Yes, China (blue) and Persia (green) are at war, and they aimlessly wander through my lands occasionally fighting each other, but mostly heading north to attack uselessly corrupt cities in the north. The Deity AIs got tons of production in Civ3, but they were absolutely clueless as to how to use it. Sirian termed this phenomenon the "Deity Right of Passage (ROP)", where the Deity AI civs trample right through your borders whenever they feel like it, and it's an apt term. This is the classic picture of a Deity ROP, and it was actually featured on the front page of CivFanatics.com as the first-ever Picture of the Day. One of my favorites. (Careful readers may note that I write out the numbers for the Civ4 Epics to tell them apart from the Civ3 ones; compare Epic 1 and Epic One, for example. Yes, I nitpick details like this.)

Epic 12: The Gauntlet

This was my empire at its greatest extent during Epic 12, "The Gauntlet", a brutally difficult game played on Deity with a dreadful starting position and some variant restrictions. Basically, we were never allowed to upgrade units or swap production, which were both integral features of Civ3. The starting position was in a horrible tundra spot, with very little good land available. I played a pretty good game in this one, surviving the destruction of Rome and Azteca while poaching a major second core across the water to the west. My Forbidden Palace is over there in Ngore, if I remember correctly. One thing I did screw up on here was some pretty terrible city spacing on the initial peninsula, argh. In poor land like that, you've got to squeeze everything possible out of the sea (as I did in Civ4 Adventure Two). Games like this were where I learned about the importance of the ocean.

At the time of this picture, I had just gotten Industrialization and was building factories all over the place. The beginnings of a railnet are under way. In another 30 turns, I'll have Replaceable Parts for infantry and artillery, and will be totally safe against English aggression (orange on minimap). Well, unfortunately for me, Elizabeth attacked and wiped me out a few turns after I took this screenshot for my only Conquest loss ever in Civ3. If I had to do it over again, I would have given an arm and a leg to England for a Mutual Protection Pact, reprising the move Sirian made in Epic 30, which I think could have brought me the time I needed to survive. That wasn't even something I was thinking about at the time, of course. The only one who managed to win this game was Urugharakh, who ICSed the starting position (putting THREE cities on the tundra lake, each two tiles apart) and rode that on to victory. Just a brutally tough variant.

Epic 14: Alexander the Great

A couple of different pictures follow from Epic 14, my first Always War game. I enjoyed this one a lot, so I saved several different pictures from it. This game is famous for two reasons: first of all, almost all of the AI civs received horrendous starting positions, so terribly bad that to this day we refer to a bad start as an Epic 14 Dud Start (TM). (In contrast to this, the player had a ridiculous FIVE COW starting position. Did the Civ3 Map Generator stink or what?) Secondly, LKendter had famously said that the Greeks would be one of the worst civs for Always War, due to their defensive unique unit. Well, our top players blew that out of the water by pillaging the AI civs back to the stone age using the 1/3/1 Greek hoplites, which the AI refused to attack due to the odds being bad (or, when they did attack, suicided their warriors against). As a result, we had one of the easiest and oddest Always War games of all times; T-Hawk even ran a Republic government for the majority of the game! Insanity.

I was never in the running for the game's scoring, because I did not adopt the pillage-and-park hoplite strategy (it never crossed my mind) and secondly because I didn't realize the water tile next to the start was a freshwater lake, thus founding on the starting tile and being stuck at size 6 while everyone else got onto the freshwater and had capitals roaring along at size 12 with 5 cows in range. Oops. Nevertheless, despite fighting non-crippled AI civs and with a weak start, I actually had the third-fastest finish, behind Sirian and Urugharak. Of course, I wasn't competitive in the overall scoring, but I was quite proud of how that turned out. And besides, I think I had more fun playing a real Always War game than most of the others did.

Above you see one of my early Great Leaders rushing the Great Library. My first one was used on the Pyramids, but I lost that photo. I'm putting the wonder in the captured AI capital of Washington; my own capital is just south of Sparta, which was my third city. I always liked the way that the Ancient Great Leaders looked in Civ3; can you guess where the artwork for Civ4's Great Prophet comes from?

Here's an overview shot of my civ in 750AD, with most of the starting continent under my control. The Romans in the south would still give me one heck of a fight before this game was done though, and I wouldn't complete the conquest of this island until about 1200AD. I also famously remember in this game having a battle where I had 50/50 odds to win each round of combat (it was strength 4 knights against strength 3 legions with a slight defensive bonus) and losing 13 consecutive rounds of combat in a row, killing an entire attack force of mine with not a single injury to the defenders. Come on! The odds of that are about one in ten thousand - don't try to tell me Civ3's number generator wasn't streaky. One of the reasons why I love Civ4's combat is due to the fact that we got rid of that insanity.

Notice that I was self-researching here in this picture, even though I have the Great Library. One of the best decisions I ever made in this game; AI civs were so pathetic, I would have ended up waiting forever for techs to pop. Also note the self-built Forbidden Palace, due to long leader drought, and the endless jungles in the north. The map scripts in Civ4 go out of their way to avoid creating gigantic stretches of homogenous terrain, which I feel is a good thing. In restrospect, the terrain in Civ3 looks very bland and boring to my eyes now.

And this is a shot just for humor. What to do with this Great Leader born on a tiny two-tile island? Why not rush Wall Street - right here! Priceless stuff.

This is a blown up version of the minimap from 1525, showing that I had revealed every fog tile. It also shows how I have control over most of the world; I would complete the conquest in 1600, a mere 15 turns later. Persia was in the northeast corner, China/France shared an island in the southwest, Egypt (yellow) is being chewed up as we speak, and Japan (northwest) and Azteca (southeast) were the last two targets. I had cavs, they had no better than pikes, and that was always a horrendous slaughter in Civ3. This game (along with Epic 7), proved convincingly that the AI civs needed one another to be competitive. Isolate them, prevent them from getting contact and trading each other techs/luxuries, and they faltered - badly. (In fact, most of the Civ3 Conquests "Sid" difficulty strategies were based on exploiting this with Seafaring civs and 80% water archipelagoes). T-Hawk once stated this as "we all know how well the AI doesn't do" in a one-on-one scenario, and the results of this game certainly bore that out.

Epic 17: The Middle East

Ah, Epic 17. Certainly not one of my favorite games, but one with an ending I'll always remember. This was another Deity game, one where we were playing under the Honorable variant ruleset. I had kept my head down and avoided conflict with the AI civs all through the Ancient and Medieval ages, and was cruising along in the Industrial Age. Rome and Persia had both been wiped out by this point, and Egypt (via building the super combo of Pyramids and Sun Tzu) had become the Runaway AI (TM). The only civs left worth mentioning were Greece and Egypt; India also existed on a small offshore island, but they were an also-ran. Well, at this point I was hoping to exit with a peaceful Diplo victory, or barring that, get out via spaceship.

Instead, Greece attacked me out of the blue. I was not at all afraid, as I could easily defend myself. Now, standard practice in Civ3 was to sign Egypt up to fight Greece, BUT Cleo was rapidly approaching the Domination threshhold, so I held off, not wanting her to swallow up Alex. On the very next turn, Egypt declares war on me and starts moving enormous stacks of cavs into my territory. Ah crap. I could have fought either Egypt OR Greece, but not both at the same time. I was doomed; that's when the above picture was taken. Those are STACKS of cavs moving after me, about a dozen in each one of those. Help! Did make for a good picture though.

I gifted most of my cities to India and just tried to survive, holing up in the city of Uruk. I actually sent a transport with a settler out of the city, but it was sunk by an AI destroyer before it could reach safe ground somewhere in the west. Actually, I'll just post here what I wrote at the time about this last stand:

Every one of those stacks has at least 10 units in it, and there are two cavalry ARMIES in there as well. But Cleo failed to attack with all of her units at once, allowing my defenders time to heal between turns. The turns kept going by, 1230AD, 1235AD, 1240AD... still my brave defenders held out. Uruk went into rioting, and I couldn't take it out of city disorder without starving it and going below size 13. My battered and broken riflemen, almost all former conscripts promoted to veterans or even elite status, fighting from building to building in the flaming ruins of a once-glorious city, continued to hold out turn after turn. Things were not going so well out at sea, as a Greek destroyer appeared out of the fog and sank once of my 4 troop ships. I drew the destroyer away with a second troop ship, sacrificing it to save the other one and the final one with a settler on board. But then disaster struck in 1245AD: a second Greek destroyer appeared out of the fog and sank my last two ships. Stupid AI ability to see the map at all times! No human would ever have been able to do that. Now how was I going to get out of this...

The turns kept passing with no end to the fighting. My defenders were slowly dying, but they were leaving their mark on the enemy, that's for sure. The three cavalry I had in the city sallied forth again and again, killing 1hp Egyptian cavs that had retreated from my rifles every turn but never getting a chance to heal themselves. 1250AD, 1255AD... how long could I last at this rate? I was running out of defenders, and despite the unbelievable heroism displayed by my forces they were not going to be able to prevent the inevitable much longer. I expected the above to be the final picture of the game when I snapped it in 1255AD

Uruk is being pounded every turn by multiple Greek destroyers. Greek bombers had just begun flying sorties over my poor cities to harass the defenders further. About twenty Egyptian units are in range to attack, and a stack of another dozen Greek units will be arriving to attack next turn. "What did I ever do to deserve this?" was my thought at the time. There actually is another cavalry army under that right Egyptian stack, which actually died to a veteran rifle on the next turn. I was going down, but they were going to suffer too. There were about 10 rifles left in Uruk at this point, down from over 25 at the start. It was too much; I just couldn't hold out any longer.

But then a ray of hope appeared: Alex was willing to talk to me in 1260AD!!! Despite the fact that he finally had units in range to attack me, he was willing to conclude peace for only 200g! I signed gladly. And, what was even better, now his units were in the way of Egypt attacking me. I survived another brutal rounds of attacks and in 1265AD Cleo was willing to talk to me too!!! Peace achieved in 1265AD for 80g. I survived. Barely. Uruk was ruined from bombardment and the draft, and contained all of 5 rifles, 1 cavalry, and 1 artillery at the time of peace. Ironically, it was the fact that Egypt had converted over from fast cavs to slow infantry on the attack that allowed me to survive. But I was alive damn it, and it felt really really good indeed. One city with a handful of defenders survived for almost 10 turns against two Deity AI civs that stretched across the entire map. And they did - not - pass through the gates of Uruk.

Fun stuff. Still, after the game when I thought about it, I realized that I really hadn't built enough defense. I had had plenty of time to get a huge stack of artillery, and I hadn't done it, instead running wealth in some cities to get additional trading cash. That was certainly a foolish move on my part, and I probably deserved to lose for neglecting my defense. Since this time, I've been much less trusting of the AI civs, and I've generally been much better prepared to fight off AI sneak attacks. Lesson learned, I hope.

Oh, the icing on the cake: INDIA won this game by launching the spaceship. I may have lost, but Cleo and Alex were losers too. HA!

Epic 18: Potluck Duet

Epic 18 was a Potluck game where everyone actually had to play two games with their respective civs, winning a different victory type in each that corresponded to their civ traits. For example, as Greece (Commercial/Scientific), I had to win by Diplomacy in one game and Spaceship in the other game. Out of all the civs in the Potluck game, the one that I did NOT want to draw was Greece (after just playing as them in two different games), but hey - you play the hand you are dealt. Here in the "A" game, the one where I went for space, I played a fairly pedestrian game where I took out Rome in the Middle Ages with cavalry. Standard stuff for Emperor. The only reason I saved the above photo was so it could be compared to the following one. What you have above is the "before" picture, as I just acquired coal and have started the railing process.

Here is the "after" picture:

Well that's certainly quite a difference. 1290 to 1400 is a total of just 22 turns in Civ3, but I had also picked up Replaceable Parts and doubled my worker speed, thus making such a drastic change possible. New Veii was built to be one of T-Hawk's patented worker factories, with enough food and shields to build a worker every single turn (it grows to size 7, grabs enough shields to drop the worker build to one turn, then shrinks back down to size 6 again). I had it do this for about 50 or so turns, I should point out. Now note the ridiculous army of workers on the west edge of the above screen; I can't believe that we used to do so much micromanagement, looking back... Once the railing was complete, most of these workers would then be merged into cities to raise the population faster than it could grow naturally. Thank god those micro tricks no longer exist in Civ4. Since the AI doesn't do this stuff in Civ3, once you reached the Industrial Age on any difficulty but Deity, the game was simply over. Just compare the two pictures to see how I exploded past all competitors in a mere 20 turns via railing every tile and building Hoover Dam. Game over, man. The AI just doesn't know that it's beaten yet.

Thermo here is one of the best cities I ever had in Civ3. It was not an Ironworks city, yet it had enough production to get over 110 shields naturally. Here on the final turn of the game, I went into war-time mobilization just for silliness, boosting the shield count over 170/turn. The commerce was pretty good too for an inland city.

And here's a shot from the "B" game, an archipelago map with a pretty horrendous starting position for everyone. Of course I was biased, but I still think Greece got the worst shaft of all (Azteca also had it pretty bad). Most of the starting island was desert, and it was only by colonizing the jungle-choked island to the east that Greece could be competitive (yeah, there's no jungle there NOW, but it was there earlier). I played this into a routine Diplo win, fighting off some pointless attacks from Rome and Azteca in the process. On the tough end for an Emperor game though, just because the start was so weak (and Sirian had actually tweaked this location in the Editor; there was even more desert naturally and no freshwater lake by Athens).

I thought that I would have the fastest finish for Greece, but Kylearan actually edged me out slightly. His AIs ended up researching the techs faster overall. It was about this time that Kylearan shifted from being a loveable loser in our games to a threat to win outright - as he has shown with Civ4 already.

Epic 21: Jack Frost

Epic 21 was one of my favorite games of all time. This was the first game we ran using the Play the World expansion, and it was another Potluck game - always a fun, low-pressure variant. One of the largely-useless features added in the PTW expansion (which was a truly horrible expansion, I have to say) was the winter tile set, which made every terrain type appear to be coated in snow. This is not only the sole Epic to use this tileset, it's also the only game EVER of Civ3 where I saw anyone use this. I always felt that it made this game kind of unique though, and since we played this in January, when it actually was snowing at my home in Baltimore, it seemed appropriate.

Well I drew the Mongols in this game. Temujin was widely regarded as one of the worst leaders in Civ3, but I thoroughly enjoyed playing as the Mongols, quite possibly because they were regarded as being so terrible. In this game, and in Ender's Game 2 succession game that I played with Speaker, I had a total blast roleplaying the despotic khan. (I also had several amazing games with the English too, the perennial doormats of Civ3, so maybe I just liked playing the weak civs.) While it's tough to see in the above shot, this is actually a start buried in jungle and with very little to recommend it. What I did do was make the most of the very little non-jungle terrain around the start by founding Ta-Tu and Kazan, then I pushed a line of cities down to Tabriz, which had iron and horses. By virtue of a warrior to swordsman mass upgrade (I think I upgraded about 8 of them), I smashed Russia and pushed Cathy back into her little starting region. This is just after I signed peace with Russia, getting Odessa and Smolensk in the treaty (and some techs - heh, the Civ3 AI sure was exploitable). From here, the starting island was clearly mine, and I returned later to finish off Cathy. The arrow above is pointing to Korea, who I would meet soon.

Funny thing - I don't even consider the Civ3 Cathy and the Civ4 Cathy to be the same person. Partly because they look so different, partly because their civ traits are totally different (Expansionist/Scientific versus Creative/Financial), partly because the colors for Russia changed from brown to orange... They aren't the same person to me. That's interesting because some of the AI leaders are exactly the same in both traits and personality (such as Montezuma). The Civ4 Cathy is a total, umm, "witch", but the Civ3 Cathy was just insane. Absolutely crazy. I think she actually declared war on me in this game with 3 cities to my 20-something. Just nuts.

Another fun picture. Look under the interface: my colony of Erdenet is about to get raped by a massive barb uprising of some 20 horses. That will cost me all of the gold I've been saving up for the last few dozen turns; I had over 500g in the bank at this time. Rather than lose all that to no purpose (I was still in Despotism and couldn't rush things), I attempted a tech STEAL with my diplomat, and actually lifted The Republic off of the English. What a coup! This was one of the highlights of my game.

And here's my civ in 1000AD, having already taken out Korea (note the island to the southeast on the minimap glowing yellow) and in the process of eliminating backwards Germany to the southwest. I was using keshiks while the AIs teched towards Military Tradition (cavs!), but at the moment I had just gotten Banking so virtually all my cities are tied up on banks in the screenshot. Yakutsk is the Forbidden Palace, by the way. I loved my city spacing for this game, I think it's just about perfect (I refused to go the ICS route with close-packed cities). Now one other thing to point out here - look closely and you'll see that I'm using a graphics mod that puts little smiley faces above the luxuries and letters above the strategic resources to make them easier to identify. We actually had a minor controversy about that in this game, because certain resources turned out to be almost impossible to see on this snowy terrain under the standard graphics. Can you see the saltpeter one tile east of Moscow? It was virtually invisible without my graphics mod. Two things to come out of this game were 1) our no-mods rule for the Civ4 Epics (even graphics ones) and 2) the resource pointer for Civ4. It was so hard to see the danged resources in Civ3, the designers of Civ4 made sure that you could be able to find them quickly in the sequel!

This is the victory shot from the game. To my eternal chagrin, the French have control of Manp'o in this last picture; it was a Korean city that I had captured, which the French took from me in a ridiculous dice roll on the interturn in which I won. Argh. In order, I crushed the Russians, Koreans, Germans, Iroquois, Scandinavians, and I was carving up the French when the game ended. Cavs in Civ3 were serious business! I was the only one to win a non-peaceful victory type in this game, and I finished WAY earlier than anyone else, but Charis played a no-military variant and wrote a fantastic story about it, so my game was always overshadowed by that. Heh. Something like that always seems to happen to me with the Epics.

Epic 22: War Paint

This one was kind of a weird game; Sirian created a mod where all but the earliest units were disabled. We were only allowed to build warriors, archers, spears, workers, catapults, and galleys. Then we were set loose to try and do as much damage as possible before the game ended, which Sirian told us was "less than 200 turns" (it turned out to be 160). This on a Tiny map, with points being scored for killing as many cities and civs as possible. I think I had the right idea with this one, packing in several cities VERY close to the capital and microing them for all they were worth in the early going (one wheat tile got passed back and forth between my capital and second city almost every turn). I knew that everything more than 5 tiles from the capital would be uselessly corrupt on a Tiny map, so I planned accordingly and built only 4 settlers, then nothing but units for the rest of the game. No need for city infrastructure in a game that's not going to last long!

Here you see a massive barb incursion heading after my cities. The game did have Raging barbs, but the situation you see here was of course caused by several AI civs entering the Middle Ages (that's what triggered a mass uprising in Civ3; totally illogical, as much of the game was). Of course barbs couldn't capture cities in Civ3, and my cash is useless in Despotism, so this isn't really all that dangerous - but it made for a fun picture. I did have to preserve my road to the northeast in order to hold onto the luxuries up there (dyes and incense), so there was some pressure here. At this point in time, the game was about 85% over; I had already taken out America and England, and was heading over to the other continent to see how much damage I could do before the time limit ran out.

My final unit count, also showing the victory screen and the final minimap. I managed to kill Spain, but could not get the Aztecs done in time. Also note that it took me almost seven hours to play a 160-turn game that never made it to the Middle Ages, heh. I used archers for the bulk of the attacking, with some spears for guards. That was about it, although I did have a ton of workers too. Don't be fooled by that "five" number; those are the workers that I built. There are more than a dozen slaves not pictured. I did a lot of good stuff with the workers in this game; without roads to speed movement, I never could have managed to capture as many cities. That was probably my favorite part of this game.

As far as the scoring, I ended up finishing second to T-Hawk, who killed all four opposing civs (the only one to do so). He had a lot of help with the AI civs fighting each other, but made good use of that, and did some interesting stuff with catapults too. You can still read about it on his website (as well as many other outstanding efforts); I have a link on my links page for Civ3. I was hurt by America attacking me before I was ready in this game, forcing me to abandon one of my unguarded cities. Bah. Some bad luck there.

Epic 24: Speed Racer

Epic 24 was T-Hawk's creation, and as the name implies, the goal was testing out the Accelerated Production feature introduced in Play the World. T-Hawk also edited the map, putting the player and the AI civs on separate islands and disabling all transport ships to rule out warfare. This was a pure builder game therefore, but one juiced up with the Accelerated Production option. Since I knew I could win by spaceship without much trouble, I tried to build as many wonders as possible in my capital before time ran out and I had to launch. I was hoping to get to 10,000 culture before the end, but as you can see I wasn't even close. Of course, I didn't exactly expect the game to finish quite as fast as it did either! Spaceship launch in 630AD, and that was on the slow side for this Epic (I was not pushing for a fast finish here). It was certainly entertaining, and a unique experience, but I had no desire to try Accelerated Production again. Unlike Quick speed in Civ4, Accelerated Production was very much unbalanced and didn't really make for a good game. Variant land for sure in anything other than a Multiplayer context...

Epic 27: The Ming Dynasty

I probably enjoyed Epic 27 more than any other game of Civ3 that I ever played. This was another Always War game, with the catch that Sirian loaded the map with two extra AI civs, so that we had 9 opponents instead of 7. Unlike the standalone version of Civ3, the AI civs would also trade contact with the player to one another in Play the World, making it impossible for the player to simply avoid contacting the faraway AIs and thus avoiding war. The above picture shows my start, and my first defensive line of the game (Canton, Beijing, and Tsingtao). I loved the scenario we had at the starting position too: not on top of any of the AI civs, and with a safe back line, but both iron and horses were some distance away and the player had to work to get them. I had just hooked up iron for the first time here, and had already generated one Great Leader for the Pyramids. The red arrow points to the Mongols, who I contacted for the first time on this turn.

500AD was about when I began to push forward for the first time in this game; the Iroquois city of Allegheny was the first AI city I captured in this game. My back line cities are finally maturing, and with Riders I can make gains on the opposing civs. Geographically speaking, pushing forward to the northwest will bisect the continent and isolate the three civs to the north from the six civs to the west; that was the main goal of my game at this point. I do have the vitally important wonder combo of Pyramids/Sun Tzu, but I had missed out on the Great Library for lack of a leader. My luck with them was average in this game, but not fantastic. Sirian famously lost his temper with the absurdly streaky random number generator in this game when it failed to give him a Great Leader in time to get ANY of the important early wonders. Looking back now at how so many of these games swung results wildly based on pure dice rolls... it's amazing that we could do competitions at all. Thankfully things are vastly improved in this regard for Civ4, although still not perfect.

Never have I played a game as addictive as Epic 27, before or since. I could - not - stop - playing this game. I even put the game on disk and took it to my parent's house, installing Civ3 just so I could continue playing there. (Notice how the above picture has the default terrain graphics instead of the mod that I usually used.) To describe the action taking place, basically I had cavs and the other side didn't have rifles yet. As anyone who played Civ3 knows, that's a game over situation for the AI. In retrospect, cavs were certainly a horribly unbalanced unit; 6 attack and 3 defense were both bad enough, but the 3 movement was just insane. If cavs had been 6/3/2, the game would have been a lot more balanced. A LOT more.

Notice my obsession with workers again taking place here. I put a road on EVERY tile! And they're at it again in the extreme north, as stacks of workers lay down even more roads across the tundra. I was (am) a little too anal about these things, I guess. Probably spent 90% of my time in Civ3 just moving workers around. Also, notice how the route of conquest follows the roads and easy terrain, snaking in a big clockwise circle. With the small cultural borders in Civ3, along with combat settlers, it was easy to blitz through the AI so long as you followed the path of least resistance. I certainly blitzed in this game once I had cavs on hand. Here was one such description as I rampaged through the AI cores in the west:

The offensive juggernat continued forward the next turn. Thebes was the first city to fall, paralyzing the Egyptians further if they weren't already hopelessly out of luck, and allowing me to drive forward and raze Alexandria. My cavs continued onward with a veangeance and captured Elephantine, which allowed me to plow forward again and raze Byblos. And um, there goes all of Egypt's core, leaving them with two isolated cities scattered across the remaining map. Konya was captured from the Ottomans, allowing me to push forward and take the greatest prize of the turn, the city of Istanbul itself in heavy fighting. I captured the last remaining city on the northern island this turn as well, though the Persian spear in Hamadan killed THREE cavs before dying. It was a good thing I had brought NINE just to be sure (I leave nothing to chance). So after taking six cities the turn before in a blitz, I took seven more on this one. Even better, capturing Istanbul had given me control over the world's last saltpeter source.

I still have all my Civ3 reports in html, by the way - just no pictures to go with them. Here was the final victory picture:

Took out the whole world before 1400, on Monarch Always War. I thought for sure that this would prove to be the fastest, and so put an enormous amount of time into a very detailed report, but Sirp had enjoyed more luck with Great Leaders than I did in my game, and thus landed the Great Library where I did not. Therefore, instead of having to research all the Ancient and early Middle Age techs, Sirp saved up several thousand gold and executed a perfect mass horsemen to riders upgrade (25 of them, at 80g each, for a cool 2000 gold). Obviously there was no way I could match that, any more than someone who missed out on the Pyramids could have equaled my game, and Sirp ended up destroying my finish with a 1010AD game. Nevertheless, I enormously enjoyed my game, and I only hope that I get to experience more like it in days to come. I never had a single city captured throughout the entire game, which is quite a feat for Always War.

Epic 29: The Five Pillars of Islam

Another one of T-Hawk's concepts, Epic 29 was a Five City Challenge game with a unique scoring goal: score the most possible culture in the LOWEST of your five cities. Now I've always loved the concept of the Five City Challenge, as it greatly decreased micromanagement while forcing you to think about what to build at all times in each city, so this was a game right up my alley. Cultural value of the lowest of your five cities... that meant that at all times, four out of your five cities were unimportant. You could have four cities with 10,000 culture, and if the fifth city had 10 culture, that was your score. Only the cultural value of that last city mattered! I think I was the only one who played this event that really understood that concept fully, in all due respect to everyone else who participated.

Anyway, my five city locations are detailed above in 1000AD. I snuck Medina out from under the nose of the Ottomans (Istanbul was their capital, and you can see how close it was). Damascus was a strong river site, although it did have to be hacked out of the jungles. Baghdad was another awesome location, with iron, and horses close by, but it lost an annoying amount of shields to corruption until I got into a Republic. Finally, Cairo was the best I could find for my fifth location, a nondescript city that I hacked out of the jungle. Well, Medina went temple/Colossus and landed that, which put it ahead culturally for ages to come. The palace in Mecca and an early temple similarly had that city way out in front too. Damascus took the Great Wall and later on Bach's, while Cairo prebuilt for Sistine's for about a thousand years and eventually landed that. Since it was my last city, I also ended up putting Shakespeare's there too. Baghdad did quite well with Copernicus and Newton's.

Here are the final cultural totals in 1802, the year of the scoring. Amazingly, Cairo has ended up with the most culture overall - my late bloomer indeed! Mecca and Medina are down at the bottom by virtue of getting none of the Middle Age wonders, despite their head starts. Nevertheless, there is only a difference of 289 culture between the highest and lowest cities culturally, and a mere 33 culture difference between Mecca and Medina. I think I managed that pretty well, if I do say so.

Again, I thought this had a good chance of being the best result, but Dark Savant caught a number of, umm, extremely lucky breaks in his game: wandering blindly six tiles southeast before founding the capital to get a perfectly centered palace, archer-rushing the Ottomans while getting phenonmenally fortunate combat results, and landing a Great Leader at exactly the right time to kill the cascade and land all seven medieval wonders. I fought repeatedly in the Middle Ages and could not get a leader to save my life. Them's the breaks, folks. So... another second place finish. The only thing that marred this game was a number of irritating late-game wars by the AIs which stretched things out to no purpose. See Epic 48 for a good example of that in progress.

There you have it, a look back at some of my most memorable moments from Civ3. I'm missing some kind of picture only from Epics 3, 4, and 8 (as well as GOTM10, which I also regret - loved that little One City Challenge game). Between this page and the full reports up on this site, you should have a good idea of my Civ3 experience. And now I think it's time to put this very fun but deeply flawed game to rest for good.