Civ4 AI Survivor Season 4: Game Seven Preview

This is a continuing feature for Season Four of Civ4 AI Survivor: a preview of each game before it begins, providing a quick summary of the leaders involved and how the community expects the game to shake out.

Game Seven featured a map that looked a little bit like the isle of Ireland, with a division between three AIs in the north and three AIs in the south. The Pool 1 seeded leader drawn into this game was Huayna Capac, the champion from Season Two of AI Survivor and one of the biggest heavyweights in the competition. This was a chance for him to have a bounceback game after a disappointing early exit in Season Three. The Pool 2 seeded leader was Boudica, one of the most aggressive leaders in Civ4 and another individual who had made the playoffs multiple times in prior seasons. Joining them was another warmonger in the form of Napoleon, a wonder-obsessed leader in Augustus, a spymaster in the case of Churchill, and someone who didn't seem to fit any particular archetype in the form of Washington. They would be competing for two of the few remaining tickets into the Season Four playoffs.

Pool One Leader

Huayna Capac of the Incas
Traits: Financial, Industrious
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Mysticism
Peace Weight: 2
Past Finishes: 4 First Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two Champion
Total Kills: 8
Overall Power Ranking: 28 points, 3rd place (out of 52 leaders)

AI Summary from Season One: Huayna Capac is the rare economic leader who also sports a low peace weight. Huayna is often viewed as the strongest pick for Single Player games with restricted leaders, due to his excellent Financial and Industrious traits, alongside the Incan civ. The Quechua is very good at abusing the AI love of early game archers, especially on Marathon speed, while the Terrace is the best unique building in the entire game. A granary that also provides culture is overpowered from a design standpoint. Huayna the AI comes off as less formidable though; he has gold and production flavors, and likes to construct wonders (8/10 rating). Everything else is average across the board, right in the middle of the rating system. Predicting Huayna's performance is a bit tricky. He has the best economic setup amongst this group by far, but he needs to be alive to take advantage of it. With this collection of nut cases, that's an open question.

Season Three Addition: Well, we certainly got our answer about the formidability of Huayna Capac the AI. This guy absolutely torched the competition over the first two years, winning four out of the five games in which he appeared, culminating in a miraculous Cultural victory in the Season Two Championship. Huayna Capac also managed to amass eight kills across the two years of AI Survivor, lapping the field in that category as well. Let me put it this way: Huayna Capac has eight kills in his six games... and the other 51 leaders combined only managed 75 kills in the first two seasons. Huayna alone was almost ten percent of the total. His AI personality seems to combine aggressiveness with economic muscle in just about the right amounts, and the Incan unique unit/building are both very powerful for these games. (The quechua helps Huayna a lot against barbarian archers, which tend to give the AI lots of problems.) Huayna made a quick exit in Season Three, and this game could be his big comeback attempt.

Pool Two Leader

Boudica of the Celts
Traits: Aggressive, Charismatic
Starting Techs: Mysticism, Hunting
Peace Weight: 2
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish, 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Playoff Round in Seasons One and Two
Total Kills: 3
Overall Power Ranking: 10 points, 15th place (out of 52 leaders)

AI Summary from Season One: Boudica is one of the rare female leaders. Did you know that only 6 of the 52 leaders in Civ4 are women? It's not very inspiring, we definitely could have done a better job here. (The original Civ4 was notably better, with 5 out of 26 female leaders, but Boudica is literally the only woman included in either expansion, 1 out of the 26 leaders added. Bit of a sausage fest.) Anyway, Boudica has the game's most offensively oriented trait pairing with Aggressive and Charismatic traits. I hope the AI Boudica uses them better than poor Spanish Apolyton did in the Intersite Game. Boudica also brings along the Gallic Warrior and Dun from her Celtic civ. Boudica AI has military and growth flavors, with an aggression rating of 8.8 out of 10. She's very similar to Napoleon AI in nearly every way, with slightly less focus on building units. If the two of them share a religion, it could be a match made in heaven. Boudica has somewhat surprisingly done well in past seasons, making the playoffs in both years of AI Survivor. She seems to be slightly less insane about her aggression than the Shaka/Monty/Ragnar trio.

Unseeded Leaders

Augustus Caesar of Rome
Traits: Industrious, Imperialistic
Starting Techs: Fishing, Mining
Peace Weight: 8
Past Finishes: 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Playoff Round in Season One
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 2 points, tied 36th place (out of 52 leaders)

AI Summary from Season One: Augustus has never attracted that much notoriety as a leader in Civ4, perhaps because of his late inclusion in the second expansion and generally mediocre traits. Augustus brings Imperialistic and Industrious traits, a pair that are generally anti-synergistic with one another. Imperialistic wants a widely spread out empire, while Industrious does better with fewer and smaller cities. As one of the Roman leaders, Augustus is noteworthy for bringing the mighty Praetorian unique unit, along with the unimpressive Forum building. Augustus the AI has production and military flavors, and is best known for heavily emphasizing wonders (8/10 rating). He's mostly average across the board otherwise, below average in aggression rating (4.3 out of 10), but expect to see Augustus focus on building those wonders. He's somewhat surprisingly considered to be a very "Good" leader in terms of peace weight alignment. Augustus will probably hope this game remains peaceful and he can try to win via wonders and culture.

Churchill of England
Traits: Charismatic, Protective
Starting Techs: Fishing, Mining
Peace Weight: 6
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: None, Eliminated in all three opening round games
Total Kills: 1
Overall Power Ranking: 1 point, tied 39th place (out of 52 leaders)

AI Summary from Season One: Churchill is another candidate for the worst trait pairing in Civ4. He has the thoroughly awful Charismatic and Protective duo, a combination that offers no economic advantages and very little in the way of direct combat power either. It's not exactly a power combo. Churchill is one of three English leaders, bringing once more the powerful Redcoat and Stock Exchange. As an AI personality, Churchill has military and gold flavors. His numbers are fairly average for the most part, although it's worth noting that Churchill disdains wonders (2/10 rating) and likes to spend on espionage (7/10). He has a moderate aggression rating at 4.3 out of 10, and a neutral standing in peace weight. Churchill is fairly bland as an AI leader, there isn't a whole lot that makes him stand out from the crowd. He'll have to play a strong game to overcome the weakness of those pathetic traits, something he has not done in past seasons thus far.

Napoleon of France
Traits: Organized, Charismatic
Starting Techs: Agriculture, The Wheel
Peace Weight: 0
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Wildcard Game in Season Three
Total Kills: 3
Overall Power Ranking: 3 points, tied 30th place (out of 52 leaders)

AI Summary from Season One: Napoleon is Organized and Charismatic for traits, with the amazing Musketeer unique unit and the completely not-amazing Salon unique building by virtue of being France. He is one of the most aggressive leaders in the entire game, with a heavy military emphasis and an aggression rating of 9.1 out of 10. Napoleon is also one of the most likely leaders in the game to demand tribute and demand civic changes. He doesn't care about religion though, and he's one of the easiest AIs to keep on good terms when having a different faith. Nevertheless, Napoleon is a scary leader. He builds tons of units and he isn't afraid to use them. Only a couple of leaders are more likely to go to war. He's also managed to pick up three kills in three games despite never finishing better than third place. Napoleon is a simple AI: he's going to build up an army and then attack, attack, attack.

Washington of America
Traits: Charismatic, Expansive
Starting Techs: Fishing, Agriculture
Peace Weight: 8
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Wildcard Game in Seasons One and Three
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 0 points, tied 44th place (out of 52 leaders - dead last place)

AI Summary from Season One: George Washington is one of three American leaders in Civ4. Washington has Charismatic and Expansive traits, which are a bit subpar and a far cry from Washington's original Financial / Organized pairing in the pre-expansion days. Like Lincoln and FDR, Washington is stuck with a weak batch of unique stuff by virtue of playing as the Americans. Washington AI has military and growth flavors, and comes off as more militaristic than the pacifist Lincoln. Washington is very average across the board in his various ratings, with the one exception that he likes to carry out espionage missions. His aggression rating is still low (4.3 out of 10), albeit much higher than Lincoln. Washington AI also has a high peace weight, putting him firmly in the camp of the "Good" leaders. He'll need to draw a good start and use the Expansive trait to get off and rolling quickly if he wants to do well in this game.

Here's what the community was thinking based on the prediction contest before the game took place:

Game Seven ended up with several more large favorites in the picking contest. Perhaps not learning anything from the fate of the previous week's favorite in Mansa Musa, the picking contest once again went all in on the Pool 1 leader with about 75% of the entrants choosing to back Huayna Capac. The Season Two champion was the runaway favorite to emerge victorious and no one else was able to crack much above 10 percent. This was a game where we had a decisive second place selection as well, with about half of the contestant choosing to back Boudica as the runner-up. The logic seemed to be that Huayna would win in the north and Boudica would win in the south, the two of them joining together to rule the world in concert. At the other end of the spectrum, nearly everyone was picking either Washington or Churchill to be the first eliminated from the map. Although Washington had a clear edge here, Churchill was giving it his all and drawing some real support from the fans in being the first to die. Spaceship predominated as the victory type, with Domination as the runner-up and Cultural a darkhorse candidate. For what it's worth, Huayna Capac did win the Season Two championship via an unlikely cultural victory. This could be another chance for him to pull off the same ending.

Finally, here are some of the best/craziest written predictions about what would take place during the game. There were many other excellent entries but I had to pick and choose my favorites to keep this from running on too long. Thanks again for the submissions!

Y3llowSheep: Surely the top seed won't get owned again? Right? Guys?

Joks: Both Churchil and Washington are the most likelly to be target in wars due to aggresive neighbors, different Peace Weight, poor past performaces and bad starts. I'd say Washington is a bit worse, a 65/35 chance. This leaves a world with Low Peace weight Characters+Augustus, but I'd also like to point out that Nap's non-stop attacks and Rome's start may eliminate France and let Aug live. In this scenario HC is a clear favorite to whatever victory he prefers, with Boudica crusing to 2nd, but I really like both Rome's start and the civ itself and I'd really like Aug to go on. I ended picking the safe option anyway. Spaceship and culture are both possible, a 50/50 I'd say.

ZincAlloy: Huayna Capac and his excellent hat win this one, since Washington is a wash like always and becomes an easy kill for the Incans. Not only will Napoleon get his obligatory 1 kill (Boudica), but he even comes second, narrowly avoiding getting shipped off to Elba, er, I mean the Wildcard game.

LinkMarioSamus: Washington. Is. Toast! He has all three of the low-peace weight guys for neighbors and is separated from the other high-peace weight leaders on the other side of the map. This will in time lead to their downfall. I'm picking Boudicca to win because she has the killer instinct, and we just saw how devastating the Celts can be in the early game. Also I don't trust top-seeded leaders this season, but all the same we should return to some semblance of normalcy after last game.

Faded_Outline: The question isn't "Will Huayna Capac win?" but "Who will stop him?". Boudica, maybe, but with identical peace weights even their inevitably conflicting religions might not be sufficient motivation to get that war happening. Augustus perhaps, if he attacks into Praetorians at exactly the wrong time, but that'd be the only outcome where he loses such a fight. The more likely answer, to my mind, is "no-one".

Fjord: Put simply Huayna has a great start - so it will be an huge upset if he doesn't just roll over everyone in this game. Washington is right next to the mad dog Napoleon and likely to be eyed by Huayna too so I expect him to make a rapid exit. Augustus will likely pick up Boudica's or Huayna's religion in the early running, as will Churchill, but eventually one of them will implode by founding their own. At that point though praetorians or protective trait respectively should mean they both outlast poor Washington. He needed a bunch of tree huggers to have any chance of survival ! I think long term Boudica doesn't make it out either - she has aweful starting techs and will be the infidel religion to Huayna despite same peace weights. Likely also her aggression will get her into trouble early on slowing tech pace and ultimately making her also a sitting duck to more tech savvy civs. I pick Churchill as second though, just to add some flavour and because IRL he was an amazing statesman so basically just totally biased! Time I had some luck in this picking contest!

Fluffball: I think Boudica and Napoleon go on a rampage together, sharing the polytheism religion after Boudica founds it. There won't be enough land available for domination, so a slow spaceship win.

UnforcedError: I start feeling that betting on these matches is not much better than buying lottery tickets. I gave this game a thought but if I turn out to be totally wrong again due to wretched starts or AP shenanigans I will probably just use next time. So I think Huyana has a decent cap, some room to expand, and a bunch of low peaceweight AIs he'll likely be friends with. He will probably go for a cultural victory. Boudica for second and Washington for FtD (due to Augustus having iron readily available). I'm also sure Wang Kon is sabotaging these draws. Can't see too many civs advancing to the wildcard game from here either. :)

JackDRB: The more aggressive civs should assert their dominance pretty easily here over the others, so I think it reduces the question of who does well ot of the trio of Huayna/Boudica/Nappy. Huyana and Boudica will be religious rivals most likely, and I think whoever comes out of that matchup on top goes on to win the whole match, with Nappy second. Fingers crossed Huayna doesn't get too locked up in wonders, because I'm going with him. Washington FtD looks like a no brainer to me.

Charriu: There are two things that I'm pretty sure of here. First thing: Who will die first. I would say its Churchill. He's very close to Boudica and has a different peace weight. His land also isn't that great for his starting techs and in general. Boudica will likely show him, who's the real ruler of Britannia. Washington and Augustus are also likely to die, but they are both fairly isolated like Frederic was in game three. Washington in this case by distance and Augustus by a very nice mountain range between him an Huayna. The second thing that I'm sure of is that will have two religion blocks one in the north founded by Huayna and one in the south founded by Boudica. Those two will most likely clash at some point and Boudica will get the upper hand thanks to her friend Napoleon, who will share her religion. Huayna just does not have very good allies up there. So Boudica will win a domination victory with Napoleon second.

Brian Shanahan: Seeing as I know sweet fanny adams about picking a consistent winning lineup, I'll just expand on Sullla's idea of the map being Ireland, by noting the relative start points for each civ. Firstly Churchill starts in the best part, Limerick (where I'm from natch), then onto Boudicca who starts right in the Golden Vale, the town of Clonmel where I work (needs moar cow that start really). Napoleon is next, and he gets to start in the Garden of Ireland (where Adam and Eve really came from), Wicklow though the game's Wicklow has more floodplains than Bray would ever see. Wasington gets Belfast in the north east, and all the religious issues that brings, while over in Derry Huayna gets far more gold than Donegal has ever seen. And to finish it off, Augustus lands himself in Belmullet not far from where General Humbert got by the idiot French navy when he was trying to support the 1798 rebellion, happening in Dublin and Wexford (all the way across the country).

RefSteel: Capac seems poised for success here, but I'm betting on a bloodbath, with the "good" leaders crumbling when they fail to put sufficient pressure on their enemies to prevent one another from being overrun one by one. Churchill's awful traits, proximity to Boudica, and late-blooming civ could help him to the earliest exit, as the first in a long, grinding parade of ruin and destruction. Or, the way this year's AI Survivor competition has been going, Napoleon could lose a culture bid at the last minute when Gus nukes his three culture cities and Washington strolls into one of them with a random exploring Cavalry, setting things up for Boudica to win by diplomacy!

LKendter: I'm starting to feel I should simply roll dice. The season has been so chaotic...

Game Seven Picking Contest Entry Form