This is a continuing feature for Season Five 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. We start as always with an overview of the map:
Game Five looked like it might have the weakest field of leaders in the opening round, a setup which also served to make the competition wide open for anyone to win. The seeded leaders here were the uninspired pairing of Charlemagne and Shaka, neither one inspiring the fear and respect of characters like Justinian or Huayna Capac. Charlemagne was the extremely unlikely champion from Season Four whereas Shaka's incredible militarism had somehow managed to accumulate enough points to sneak into 16th place in the overall rankings. This was a chance for them to demonstrate that they deserved their unlikely rankings. Elsewhere, this game managed to draw a peaceful and religious duo in Asoka and Hatshepsut, and the two of them were also lucky enough to start next to one another. They would need to work together against the warmongering Napoleon (not to mention Shaka!) along with the perpetually underwhelming Bismarck. Was this finally the game where a German leader would serve as something more than roadkill for another more successful leader?
Charlemagne of the Holy Roman Empire
Traits: Imperialistic, Protective
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mysticism
Peace Weight: 6
Past Finishes: 2 First Place Finishes, 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Four "Champion"
Total Kills: 6
Overall Power Ranking: 20 points, 7th place (out of 52 leaders)
Personality: Charlemagne (aka The Burger King) gets Imperialistic and Protective, the best and worst trait respectively in AI Survivor. He also gets the mediocre Landsknecht and the amazing Rathaus, and starts with Hunting and Mysticism techs. He�s able to found a religion straight away, if not much else. Charlemagne is a pretty good template of the average aggression/religion focused leader. He gets military and religion flavours, like the rest of his bunch. He has a higher than average aggression rating (7/10) and a neutral peace weight of 6, so his diplomacy tends to fall along the line of religious spread. His unit build preference (6/10) is slightly above average, while his wonder build preference (3/10) is below average. Other than that, Charlemagne has average numbers in basically every other category, and he�s actually a fairly bland AI.
Past Performance: While Charlemagne has one of the shorter personality sections, the past performance of the Season Four Champion is a real doozy. Charlie achieved literally nothing in the first two Seasons of AI Survivor, and looked to be just another stupid religious leader. In Season Three, that didn�t change much, as his only real achievement was throwing away a certain victory in the last minute of Game Seven, before dying quickly in the playoffs. However, everything changed in Season Four. In his opening game, Charlemagne played a solid, if not spectacular, game which largely involved him riding Justinian�s coattails on the right side of a religious coalition. The playoff game was the closest thing Charlemagne had to an actual dominant game, where he scored three kills following an extremely early conquest of Suryavarman. Even then, he only won because game-leader Darius decided to pursue a faraway cultural victory instead of, you know, win the game. Then, in the Championship, Charlemagne won even less deservedly, as he spent most of the game in third or fourth place before runaway Kublai Khan did the exact same thing as Darius! That�s right, both of Charlie�s victories, including the Championship, weren�t from actually playing the game well; they were from other, better AIs screwing up even worse! Needless to say, Charlemagne is one of the less popular leaders among the viewers these days. Yet to score a victory off of his own merit, Charlemagne is probably the best case of a leader having a far better Power Ranking than they actually deserve. The other AIs in this game have caught a huge break; instead of Justinian, Mansa, or Huayna Capac as their game�s protected seed, they get this joker. Expect Charlemagne�s outcome to fall closely in line with religious diplomacy, and to hear a chorus of satisfaction from the Livestream if that goes badly. Sullla thinks that this guy is a total fraud and doubts he'll be able to repeat his flukish Season Four result.
Shaka of the Zulus
Traits: Aggressive, Expansive
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Hunting
Peace Weight: 2
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish, 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two, Three, and Four Playoffs
Total Kills: 4
Overall Power Ranking: 13 points, tied 16th place (out of 52 leaders)
Personality: Shaka gets the Aggressive and Expansive traits to play around with, two middling traits that create a roughly average combination, if well-fitted for conquest. He also has the below average (in AI hands) Impi, and the extremely strong Ikhanda for his unique items, an above average pairing that, again, works well for militaristic play. Lastly, Shaka has the Agriculture and Hunting pair for his starting techs, which allow him to get out to a fast start. If you haven�t picked up on it yet, Shaka is all about the military. He�s one of the "Crazies" who cross the threshold from "aggressive" to "nuts", and his aggression rating (9.2/10) is the fourth highest in the game. Like most of the other Crazies, Shaka�s only flavour is Military, and he builds units at a frenetic pace (10/10) while ignoring wonders (2/10). Surprisingly, Shaka is quite unlikely to demand tribute (1/10), but other than that, he�s a fairly standard hyper-aggressive leader. Shaka�s traits, unique items and flavour are all pretty unhelpful in constructing an economy, and usually he doesn�t even try. Expect Shaka to spend his entire game warring on the high peace weight pacifists (or anyone else, for that matter!), and his success to largely depend on whether those wars are successful or stall out.
Past Performance: So far, Shaka is undeniably the most successful of the Crazies in AI Survivor, ranked nearly within the top quartile of all AIs (for reference, Ragnar, Temujin and Montezuma are all within the bottom third). Perhaps his lack of demands helps after all, making him less likely to become a global pariah, or maybe the Ikhanda is just that good. After a terrible first season, Shaka has made the playoffs every season since. His most successful game was a Season Two romp in, admittedly, a below average field, but Shaka has achieved second place in two more games since. In Season Three, Shaka did this by largely staying out of the way of De Gaulle, but in Season Four he played another strong game, scoring himself three kills to boot, following an impressive zerg rush of Joao. Like many other middle-tier leaders however, Shaka has consistently struggled against the stiffer competition of the playoffs, where he typically gets outteched by more balanced (i.e less insane) leaders, probably best displayed in his Season Three Playoff Game, where he ballooned to an enormous size, but was so far behind in tech that he also popped like a balloon when confronted by Stalin and Justinian. Shaka is a complete lunatic but he's actually going to be a seeded leader for Season Five - there must be a method to the madness.
Asoka of India
Traits: Spiritual, Organized
Starting Techs: Mysticism, Mining
Peace Weight: 8
Past Finishes: 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish:Season Two and Three Playoffs
Total Kills: 1
Overall Power Ranking: 5 points, 32nd place (out of 52 leaders)
Personality: Asoka plays with Spiritual and Organized for his traits, a decent pairing with strong economic benefit but of no use militarily. As an Indian leader, Asoka gets the above average Fast Worker and Mausoleum combo, and his starting techs are Mining and Mysticism, a pair good for chasing religions and not much else; Asoka can struggle with improving his land in the early game, though the Fast Worker at least helps him catch up. Asoka is a generally peaceful leader, but is less polarised than his counterpart Gandhi. He�s got a pretty low aggression rating (3.7/10), unit build (2/10) and tribute demand (1/10) preferences, but a high wonder (8/10) build rate. With religion and science flavours, you can count on Asoka to consistently build up a strong economy as long as he�s left alone. Asoka places a strong emphasis on faith, but unlike a lot of the other religious zealots, he�s actually pretty easy to get along with, with a minor penalty for differing religion but a huge bonus for shared faith. In theory, Asoka should find it easy to make friends and he�s unlikely to get involved in too many wars unless he finds himself in a particularly hostile world.
Past Performance: Asoka has given us a good depiction of a middle-tier economic leader. Weirdly, in his best game so far Asoka scored zero points, in a rare case where the power rankings were pretty unfair. This was Season One Game Eight, in which Asoka used the Apostolic Palace to full effect, throwing Hannibal under the bus and forcing peace after peace to delay his own demise. Asoka was within a whisker of an underdog cultural victory that game despite being short on land, and was beaten to the punch by Mao�s diplomatic victory a mere five turns before he would have won. In the two following seasons, Asoka has drawn largely weak, peaceful fields, and proved himself proficient enough economically to at least draw second place both times, behind Big Brother Gandhi. Both seasons though, Asoka found himself in far more aggressive playoff games and collapsed to the aggression in rapid fashion, being first or second to die each game. Asoka�s most recent appearance, opening Game Four of Season Four, played out similarly, as Asoka made himself a bunch of religious enemies and was quickly wiped out. Overall, Asoka�s middling power ranking likely places him about where he should be, as when playing amongst a weak field he�s certainly competent enough to advance, but like many of the other peaceful leaders his main weakness is an inability to stand up for himself in conflicts. In an unfriendly environment, Asoka is historically very unlikely to make it out alive.
Bismarck of Germany
Traits: Expansive, Industrious
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mining
Peace Weight: 6
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: None, Eliminated in all four opening round games
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 0 points, tied 47th place (out of 52 leaders - dead last place)
Personality: Bismarck has the Expansive and Industrious traits, a below average combination probably most useful for the half-cost granaries and forges. As a German leader he gets the Panzer and Assembly Plant unique items, both of which are fairly strong on paper but come so late in the game that they may as well not exist, excluding very fringe circumstances. Lastly, Bismarck gets Hunting and Mining, which can make him slow to improve his food resources early in the game. Bismarck�s main quirk is that he�s a rare leader with only a single flavour: Military. Unlike most of the other leaders with just one flavour though, Bismarck�s other preferences aren�t particularly geared around it; he�s otherwise a pretty standard AI. Bismarck has an average aggression rating (5.6/10), unit (6/10) and wonder (6/10) build preference, and a neutral peaceweight at 6. He�s basically a generic AI that�s more likely to be ahead instead of behind in military tech, but a little slower on the economic front.
Past Performance: Bismarck, along with Sitting Bull, shares the honour of statistically being the worst performing leader in AI Survivor history. At least the other leaders with zero points have made the Wildcard Game, and the German leader hasn�t just died in all his games; he�s been first or second to die in every single appearance! While it�s easy to deduce Sitting Bull�s weaknesses, Bismarck is a little more inexplicable on the surface. Part of it is likely due to a high preference on military; while Bismarck is often ahead in military tech early on, he tends to fall behind in most other areas in the game. For example, Bismarck is a rare leader that will sometimes research archery tech first, despite being unable to connect any food resources, putting him in the same slow-start category as religious leaders without the upside of founding a religion. He�s also been surprisingly feeble in military conflict, usually rolling up to die underneath a stronger neighbour. For whatever reason, Bismarck has been utterly incapable thus far in AI Survivor, and even optimistically he�d be described as �only the second-worst leader.� Try to expect nothing from the Chancellor; you�re likely to be disappointed.
Hatshepsut of Egypt
Traits: Creative, Spiritual
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 9
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 0 points, tied 47th place (out of 52 leaders - dead last place)
Personality: Hatshepsut is a great leader for a Single Player game of Civ4 and a horrible leader for AI Survivor purposes. She has good traits in the Creative/Spiritual combo and a great civ in Egypt with Agriculture/Wheel starting techs and the War Chariot unique unit. The problem comes in the form of Hatshepsut's AI personality which is little short of suicidal for these matches. Hatty is almost as pacifistic as Gandhi, with a low aggression rating (3.7/10), a high peace weight, and a dangerously low build unit preference (2/10). She loves to build wonders (8/10) and heavily emphasizes religion in her diplomacy, with a big shared faith bonus and a major differing religions malus. Hatshepsut favors Culture and Religion for her research flavors, neither of which tends to contain much in the way of units, and Hatshepsut often finds herself an era behind in military tech despite good overall research. She will typically find herself serving as the "worst enemy" of all the low peace weight leaders and overrun with invasions from hostile neighbors. Hatshepsut needs to draw a field of high peace weight leaders where she can leverage her religious and cultural sensibilities to good effect.
Past Performance: In a word: terrible. Hatshepsut does little to defend herself against attackers and she's been punished for that weakness in game after game. Hatshepsut has been eliminated in her opening round match in three out of four seasons of AI Survivor, and the one time that she survived to reach the Wildcard game in Season Two, it was due to a situation that bordered on the absurd. Two different competitors were at war with Hatshepsut and she was down to a single city remaining, but that city was surrounded by the culture of Augustus and he wouldn't sign Open Borders with those leaders. Thus Hatty lived on to the Wildcard game with a single city, where she once again survived to the finish without ever being in contention for one of the top spots. Hatshepsut's only realistic options for a victory are through the Culture or Diplomatic options, and unfortunately there are other leaders who are simply better at the economic side of the gameplay.
Napoleon of France
Traits: Charismatic, Organized
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 0
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Three Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 3
Overall Power Ranking: 3 points, tied 37th place (out of 52 leaders)
Personality: Napoleon is a deeply militaristic leader who will emphasize unit production over everything else. His traits are a bit of a mismatch for this setup, and it's unfortunate that he doesn't have the Aggresive trait given how many units that Napoleon churns out. Organized is a misplaced trait for this guy's personality. France is a great civ choice as usual, with excellent starting techs and a useful unique unit in the Musketeer. Napoleon himself has a one-track mind as an AI leader: he loves to start new wars (9.1/10 aggression rating), he will train oodles of units (10/10), and he has the lowest peace weight possible to cause him to hate the "Good" leaders. Napoleon doesn't care about religion and he doesn't waste time building wonders. He does make for an obnoxious neighbor since he will constantly be demanding tribute (10/10) and civics changes (8/10). It should come as no surprise that Napoleon has Military as his primary research flavor along with a lesser Gold emphasis, and of course he will plot war at "Pleased" relations. Overall then Napoleon is pretty similar to Shaka and Ragnar and Boudica, if somewhat less memorable than any of those rivals.
Past Performance: Napoleon has stirred up plenty of trouble in his prior AI Survivor appearances but without having much in the way of success. The best that can be said about Napoleon is that he's managed to score three kills without ever taking a first or second place finish, something that's pretty hard to accomplish. The winning leaders usually monopolize the eliminations in each game and for a weaker individual like Napoleon to score several kills is an impressive feat. On the other hand, Napoleon has appeared in five total games of AI Survivor and found himself getting eliminated in four of them without ever coming close to taking home a victory. He repeatedly crashes his economy with excessive warring only to be taken out by more advanced empires that have reached superior levels of military technology. Napoleon is therefore another example of the "suicidally aggressive" club that approaches every problem by hitting it with an axe. Like Genghis Khan and Montezuma, he's simply too militaristic for his own good. That's not to say that Napoleon can't have a successful game if he manages to snowball ahead off of an early conquest, only that he needs the right conditions to avoid flaming out with pointless invasions.
Here's what the community was thinking based on the prediction contest before the game took place:
Game Five was another content in which there was no clear choice by the community as far as who would win. Asoka had a slight lead over Shaka at the time that this summary was posted, but there was no obvious choice between the two of them and Charlemagne and Napoleon. The same group of four leaders had even tighter odds in the Runner Up category, with all of them sitting between 19-25% of the contest entries. About the only agreement amongst the community was the fact that Hatshepsut would be First to Die and Bismarck wouldn't do much of anything in this game. Domination had a modest lead over Spaceship on the preferred victory type, with a minority of individuals picking Culture thanks to the presence of Asoka in this game.
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!
nabaxo: Charlie will get tied up with nonsense wars in the west with aggressive leaders, giving Asoka plenty of time to tech ahead in peace. Bismarck is gonna act as a good bulwark to the older teutonic nation.
Fjord_73: Less extreme an AI than the tree huggers Asoka and Hatty and not psyco like Shaka who will probably get tangled with Hatty early on. I think Hatty protects Asoka for a while before Shaka gets that far east, but my hope is that Bismark expands well and quietly techs away before landing a hammer blow on Hatty and getting the spoils of war that Shaka started. After that he can snowball and swallow up Asoka. If Hatty and Asoka get religions there may be strife in the south, but my expectation is that even then they wont go to war with one another, being of similar personality and peace weight. My hope is it's Charlemagne as the second major religion and this spreads to the other non peace loving nations in the north. Napoleon from my experience is likely to do his own thing and then get entangled in wars he cant win at inopportune moments. Let's see - I never do well at these predictions, but I love the stream and its always a blast to see who wins out in the end. You never know - even the most mundane looking of matches could be a fire cracker :)
MirrorG: Since the world has decided to stop caring about my predictions, I'm now embracing the only thing I have left to go off of: memes. Shaka is right there to pick off Hatty, with India not far off from that point, I think that he's actually got a decent shot of warmongering his way into snowballing out of control. I place Burger King as 2nd instead of fellow warmonger Napoleon because I think, if France tries anything against the HRE, the latter will have gained a friend or two via their religion they could use to call in an ally and stay alive until Shaka gets around to DoWing them to finish off the domination victory. Long game because we've had just about nothing but, this season, and 16 wars because Napoleon + Shaka means this is likely to be a bloodbath.
ZincAlloy: Who stole all the copper on this map? I bet it was Pacal � he's trying to have someone die even earlier than he did last season. And it could happen; if Shaka grabs the one to his north or Napoleon gets the one to his south, they'd be in a spot to wipe a metal free opponent. I vote Napoleon for the domination win, as he's got the better capital of the two. Shaka's got worse land and too many trees, and we all know how the AIs suffer from horrible hay fever.
RonJenzy: Man, I don't even know anymore. Hatty gets absolutely smoked by Napoleon and Shaka. Let's just say they get a mostly equal share of her. The rest of field is full of such non-entities that Shaka and Napoleon just kinda go on a rampage until... let's just say Shaka wins. Or they kill each other and Asoka just sits around and wins. Or, like, Bismark wins because everyone else kills each other. Burger King's religion might make a difference? He might work with the crazies, or maybe he'll find himself dragged down by them them? I just don't see him winning. Too vulnerable to the Super Murder Bros., and not able to keep up in a tech/culture race with Asoka. But really, these leaders are either pretty bland or have 9+ aggression ratings, how does anyone predict this? I'm just voting mostly based on what I want to see, because the longer the hyper-aggressive leaders stay alive, the longer we get to enjoy their antics.
SpamBot: I will happily accept scoring zero points if Burger King dies in the process.
Mousey_Commander: It's a sad lineup when Charlemagne actually looks like one of the better picks. This game may as well be unpredictable, even by AI survivor standards, but one thing stand out: Charlemagne is the only one bordering Shaka who will bother building a military (and protective at that) which will spare him or at least slow Shaka down. Shaka is going to sweep through the south and win through sheer inertia, Charlemagne survives long enough to get second place.
Kuro: I know Charlemagne isn't too popular in AI Survivor, but I think he's actually somewhat underrated. People talk about his undeserved wins, but Charlemagne also had a win robbed from him in the infamous Wang Kon Troll Job of 2017. On that note, saying the only notable thing about Charlemagne that game was throwing feels a bit out of place when Charlie was so militarily and landgrab successful that game! I feel like this game is great leader-wise for Charlmagne but bad positionally. If he was in Asoka or Napoleon's place it would be obvious: Kill Hatshepsut with inevitable differing faith, expand well, beat ultra-aggro civs who tired themselves out. As-is, Charlemagne is at serious risk of Shaka or Napoleon or both dragging him down hard. If he doesn't have that happen, he will probably either kill Hatshepsut due to religion or a backwards Shaka or Napoleon and win. I feel Charlemagne will therefor likely ally with one of the two warmongers. (Oh, and finally, fun fact: With Mansa dead, a Charlie who advances to the Playoffs could leap frog Mansa and make EVERYONE salty!)
Bobchillingworth: I think this will be a similar match to the one featuring Caesar and Gandhi; it'll come down to whether Shaka can correctly prioritize murdering Hatsheput, opening a path to additional easy conquests against Asoka and Bismark and eventual world domination, or if he mindlessly throws units at Charlie's protective Archers or, worse, Napoleon. I suspect he and/or Nappy will eventually come around to eliminating the Egyptians, but they'll waste a lot of time elsewhere first, allowing Asoka to pull away in tech and become unassailable.
Faded_Outline: It is theoretically possible to be more doomed than Hatty from the outset, but you'd have to specifically engineer a scenario for it. She'll fold faster than the Flash doing laundry, and it's hard to imagine Asoka either NOT being next target or holding out against the storm that blows through Ex-Egypt. Picking Napoleon as the dominant warmonger due to Shaka's sad lack of starting iron. As for Bismarck and Charlie? Even this line gives them more attention than they deserve.
RefSteel: So Egypt's closest horses for War Chariots seem to be in Shaka's BFC. With Shaka and Napoleon for neighbors, leaving her to shield Asoka from them both, and given her survivor history ... I'm picking poor Hatshepsut to win basically out of compassion - because probably nobody else will!
Ochotona: Based on the rivers and leaders with mysticism, I'm kind of expecting a northern religious group and a southern one. I expect the northern group (basically just Charlemagne and Napoleon) to work better together than the southern group, leading them to dominate over the long run. Napoleon I expect to get the lion's share of the spoils due to his position in comparison to Charley. Asoka may be able to win with his isolated position, but I think it could be too isolated for his own good, as the low peace weight civs might run amok over Hatty and Bismarck without him doing anything until it's too late.
Slashin': See that spot 3N of hatty and 3S of napoleon where a city can claim both horses and copper? I believe whether hatty or napoleon claim that spot will largely dictate the course of the game in this copperless world. If napoleon gets it, hatty has no access to horses or metals until iron working, a tech she'll have slowly meander to while her cities are inhaled by the shaka/napoleon tag team. If hatty gets it, hatty still dies but is substantially stronger and delays napoleon's aggression, leading to charly potentially being targetted and buying a substantial amount of time for Asoka to run away with the game. Otherwise... We have a setup where relationships will be heavily dictated by random religious spreads and war probability dice rolls (from both war loonies whom are willing to plot at pleased). I'll take my shot in the dark and go with asoka for space with bismarck as runner up. Asoka has a relatively isolated start with two peaceful neighbors and a silver just begging to be hooked up as soon as Bombay's border expands. If religions spread just right to Napoleon and neighboring peaceniks, Asoka has a real shot of pulling a Gandhi gambit and getting so far in tech that his more bellicose neighbors won't be able to touch him when they set their eyes on him. Bismarck also has an excellent food start that should theoretically be good for expansion, and if it was any other AI leader, I would have strongly considered for first. However, Bismarck's typical weaknesses may actually be a boon for his start. His strong military research preference allows him to hook up iron at an early date on an otherwise metalless and horseless start. Bismarck's early military buildup dissuades Napoleon from attacking him, and since he's unlikely to found his own religion, will hopefully pick up the religion of the most technologically dominant ai. Our warmongerers have a chance to snowball, but they've both consistently shown they are unable to consolidate a land advantage into a meaningful tech lead and end up getting stalled out in wars. Here's rooting for the peaceful civs to maybe help Gandhi get to the championship this year.
BohemianSpoonyBard: As a humble citizen of Prague, I am obliged to express support for our glorious leader Burger Ki... err I mean Charlemagne. His personality would awe other leaders and so they would make mistakes to make him a winner again :)
Fluffball: Bismark seems like he should be a way better leader than he is. I'm going to give him a chance in this game since Hatty will probably draw a lot of fire and he has that weird Eastern side with seemingly a lot more room for expansion than someone like Shaka. Picking the weird leader almost paid off for me last week with Ramesses; Bismark come through for me!
Bernn: Napoleon has a lackluster record in this competition so far, but I think he's in a position to do well here. He's up against a relatively weak field, has a solid central position and neighbors two ineffective leaders in Hatshepsut and Bismarck. If he can roll over one of them early, he'll have a commanding lead and will be able to keep conquering all the way to the end. Shaka has no metal anywhere near his territory and won't even be able to act as a check to the French armies if the diplomacy happens to shake out that way. Asoka lasts to the end by virtue of having a pretty isolated start far, far away from Napoleon's aggression.
Warclam: Only one thing is clear: Hatshepsut is going to die soon. She's going to get Shaka'd, with a Napoleon for dessert. The big question is, does she hold out long enough for Asoka to get strong? If so, he should do well. This could happen if Asoka can use religion effectively, or if Napoleon gets distracted picking on Bismarck or�best of all�slamming his head against the Protective walls of Burger King. But if Shaka and Napoleon focus fire on Hatshepsut, then all bets are off. It's just a guessing game for who gets the fist next, and whether they'll hold out long enough or end up as fuel for Shaka's war machine. I think the single most likely ending is Asoka barely escaping the World of Shaka on a spaceship, but one thing I've learned this season is that the RNG holds us all in its sway.
Vincarius: I'll be betting on Napoleon this game with Charlemagne second as his religious ally. Why? Well mostly because I dont like the starting locations of the others. Bismarck has been an underwhelming leader so far and while he has drawn a nice food-rich start near the coast, he does lack happiness resources. In my own games Asoka has always been quite a good science leader and he does have lots of room to expand to this time. However, most of it is tundra and the good land to his northwest lacks rivers. He is also likely to start his own religion which will make him hated by Charly and his potential religious allies. Hatsepsut is next to the warmongers and will get eaten first by Napoleon/Charly/Shaka. Shaka's only good route for expansion is going northeast, an area which will likely get gobbled up by Charly's holy city and/or Hatsepsut's creative cities. So I dont see him having a good land grabbing phase, resulting in him being too far behind to win. That leaves Napoleon and Charly. And just because I don't want the burger king to win again, Ill go with France. Plus Napoleon does have a nice starting area and lots of posibilities for conquest. Vive la france!
luddite: Hatty will die quickly. Napoleon, Shaka, and Charlemagne will then fight endlessly with pointless wars that accomplish nothing, while Bismarck does nothing useful and Asoka techs away in the corner to victory.
Amicalola: I can't believe it. Charlemagne has lucked himself into possibly the worst game of AI Survivor in history. It has to be close. Shaka and Napoleon are, weirdly, dead men walking here. All other leaders are going to Hate them, and inevitably their backwardness will be their undoing. Shaka in particular has almost zero food around him, kinda like Catherine in Game One...Meanwhile, Hatshepsut is probably the high peace weight leader most likely to be negatively affected by those ticking time bombs, and Bismarck is, well, bad. So my first place is for Charlie who will capitalize off the aggressors' falls, and second place is Asoka who will stay the hell out of their way beforehand. Burger King strikes again!
c0lors: Arise, children of the Fatherland / Our day of glory has arrived / Against us the bloody flag of tyranny / is raised; the bloody flag is raised. / Do you hear, in the countryside / The roar of those ferocious soldiers? / They�re coming right into your arms / To cut the throats of your sons, your comrades! // To arms, citizens! / Form your battalions/ Let�s march, let�s march / That their impure blood / Should water our fields.
smithy: Bismarck has excellent resources and the chance to get off to a flying start. He will not. It will take til T80 to hook them up, this will still be the most interesting thing he does all game. Hatty loses the stone to Asoka, she doesn't have marble either for her wonders. She cries a bit, her hat falls off, Shaka and Boney come over to give her a hug. Asoka gets a flyer and is miles ahead in land and tech, he then goes for an early culture win. His infantry hold off the medieval doomstacks for ages, but the dogpile breaks through 3T before he gets the win. Shaka and Napoleon do the heavy lifting, Charlie snipes the best cities. Napoleon declares on Charlie- there is much rejoicing. His 100+ unit stack gets lost in the southern tundra due to pathfinding and open borders issues- there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. The war drags on tediously, the peace after is worse. T480 Charlie conquers a tundra barb city. This is the first thing he's done on his own all game. When the borders pop this puts him ahead on score. T499 Sulla ragequits season 5 at the thought of all these bums progressing to later rounds, and the burger king getting yet more undeserved leaderboard points.
Churchie: If only there was an option for no winner...