Old World (pka Ten Crowns) from Soren Johnson

I’ve started the new Game of the Week. It’s an interesting starting location, and more of a challenge than last week’s game.

I’ve recently become grossly incompetent leading my empire. And yet as a testament to how much I enjoy this game even while sometimes being a tad incompetent at it I’d still have to call this easily my leading contender for my GOTY.

Had a wave of I don’t know, 50 Roman units roll at me from one side and then the barbarians and Assyria decided to roll at me from another direction.

I had probably something like 30 or 40 units myself.

When the battles get this large it starts to feel like attrition wins as there are only so many turns at your disposal (some of which are then also used to get reinforcements to the front from across the map).

I threw in the towel, when the screen is filled with army units some of the charm of this one wears off for me.

Started new one as Carthage, tried to keep Romans on side, they simply aren’t having it and declared on me, fortunately this is earlier in the game and each side is only fielding like 20 units and other than barbarians sniping at me Egypt is in an allliance and I paid Assyria to attack Rome as well. So far so good, we’ll see if my marginal military skills doom us once again.

There is one thing I’d like to know: is there any way to verify if the other empires you basically bribed to attack someone are actually doing anything? I can’t afford burning turns to send a scout over there to look and probably get killed for his trouble.

How does anyone know if this is actually accomplishing anything?

Well, this is 1700BC or so. I think it’s fine if we have to spend money / other currency on a scout or two to tell us what’s going on in a far away part of the world.

Then let me know what you find out as I’m going to check myself. I’ve no way I can easily tell even from the part of the map that’s visible if the empires I’ve recruited to go to war are doing anything.

Edit: it would be interesting if putting your generals in the field and getting them dead gave some kind of negative impact to your empire. The Roman AI in this campaign thinks nothing of killing off generals left and right with no apparent consequence to them.

I’ve done this a couple times, with mixed results. Once my ally saved my bacon. The other time it didn’t seem to do much. But when I was allied, I could see what they were doing – during AI teams, the camera would move over to the ally’s territory and show me a few battles. I don’t think I had scouts there. Are you formally allied, or did you just get your friends to declare war on a common enemy?

So, after fighting the Romans to a standstill over the course of the better part of two decades, which I’m finding a pretty common military outcome, I offer a truce and they accept. As an aside, for a game that appears to really want me to mix it up militarily, I’m finding it rather difficult to do anything other than grind to stalemates.

I kept the units scattered about where they stopped fighting and watched what happened next, and it’s what didn’t happen I found interesting. In light of the fact I paid handsomely for alliances with Assyria and Egypt and spent still more money asking them to go to war with Rome. It was more than a little curious to see the Roman units not move anywhere at all for the most part and I didn’t see any Egyptian or Assyrian armies engaging them.

The only engagement I’ve seen by either ally is with barbarians.

edit: hold the phone, the very next year after posting this the assyrians show up and attack Roman city north of my closest city to them for a couple turns. I wonder if the other empires hold off attacking when you enlist them to join a war until you’re not fighting them?!

New observation (possibly only to myself as it appears everyone has already run off to the next new thing).

I’m at turn 155, so fairly far along. I spent all my time except when I was at war with Rome focusing on making decisions that increased science wherever they came up.

And yet it looks to me like there will be a decent chunk of content I’ll never see in tech and laws:

Same; I’ve never figured out how to run out (was always a fan of hitting Singularity 2,3,4… in SMAC.) It makes sense thematically as we’re just playing a slice of history, but I’m also wondering if I’m overlooking something.

The the extent I find myself thinking up little backstories for events that occur in AI games that I play, I am a role-player. To wit:

Las night, news reached her highness, Queen Audata, concerning her long lost grandfather, Alexander the Hero. Gone missing early in the game, Alexander was believed kidnapped by a member of his own council. An apparent plot by the Assyrians which precipitated the war against them still being fought today. That Bold, Romantic Hero is now dead at the age of 71. Long live the king.

There are some good stories that develop, being more than a little inefficient in managing my empire I gave my line of kings and queens lots of time to succeed or fail. When I completed this one I looked back and Queen Quanar II was “the glorious” and gained 40 points during her 35 year reign. Killed 59 units, lost 13 under her command while also making 75 improvements, so she was a queen of both guns and butter.

This campaign saw an early engagement with Rome I mentioned further above that was a meat grinder that ended in a stalemate when I decided we were not going to win and other empires were pulling ahead.

The period of peace that followed turned into an arms race of development the Egyptians who stayed to themselves off in the east were winning so I groomed some family members for diplomacy and threw wads of cash at the other empires and got them to declare on Egypt to slow them down.

Meanwhile I finished off completing my army and getting them to the front (this latter part is no mean feat as it takes time to move across the map).

With 40 years left before the clock ran out and fully convinced I was going to lose I started in earnest the attack on Egypt to gain enough cities and the wonders they’d built to win.

I made it with 5 years to spare! Glorious victory for Carthage.

Sounds like an exciting game!

Yes!! that’s the type of game I want. What level were you playing at?

I’m still playing! I’m playing the current Game of the Week. I’ve also been playing Monster Train, which is also great, but I find Old World more relaxing.

As for the endgame, I did establish all the laws in at least one playthrough. I think I did so in the 195-turn Game of the Week on Magnificent I played a couple weeks ago. I also got one of the final three “reform” techs, I think. I was really pushing tech in that game because I was constantly outclassed by my military opponents. But in my other playthroughs, on lower difficulties, I haven’t gotten so far, perhaps because I turn from science to culture midgame on those difficulty levels.

… fully convinced I was going to lose I started in earnest the attack on Egypt to gain enough cities and the wonders they’d built to win. I made it with 5 years to spare! Glorious victory for Carthage.

That really IS glorious! Tell us more! I too am curious about difficulty level and your other settings.

I am trying my very best to stay away from Old World as I don’t want it to feel old by the time it hits release. I’m not much of one for early access in general, so the fact I’ve played it at all is testament to my trust in Soren and how awesome it looked (and is) already.

I found you can get to the end game techs, but not in all areas. If you’re willing to let some mid-game techs sit there unresearched, you can beeline something later in the tree. Mind you I was playing as Babylon and was largely avoiding wars for a lot of the game. Also I was on an earlier build so perhaps that’s been rebalanced.

Congratulations! Sounds like a great playthrough!

i did hit the end of the tech tree in 1 game. i played as Babylonia, which gets a science boost, and built lots of science buildings and philosophers. but that was one of my longer and slower games,usually the game is over before i get any “reform” techs.

This was the next level up from the easiest (The Just), that’s why I always preface that I’m a tad incompetent. Which turns out is working to my advantage because my campaigns are a hoot.

I suspect the reason my campaigns end up being so interesting is because I embroil myself in wars. Like in this case when Rome started aggressively expanding at me I started to work on boxing them in and got the Law that allows you to buy more territory and grabbed every barb civ near them.

If you get yourself in a war or are dragged into one you effectively stall your economic development because you switch to a war time economy and spend all your turns fighting it instead of developing. Next thing you know it’s a 100 years in, and everyone is in front of you.

Other settings: medium size map (which still felt large enough), 5 other empires so we’re bound to run into each other fairly early and I scout hard initially, there were 3 barbs as I recall.

How does that work though with a deck mechanic? I often find early for example I can’t get forestry even though I need it badly because the path to it is simply not in the cards I was dealt.

It was fun, I really was just playing it out to see how it ended expecting to lose. The settings aren’t hard so I suspect if everyone is looking for the magic sauce on settings to get to a good campaign it’s not in making them harder, it’s in getting a human who loves getting themselves in wars.

On the ones that end early, are you staying to yourself and just taking out barbarians for more cities and then building up? I find I never manage to stay out of wars and that stalls development so I’m interested in hearing how you’ve gone about staying off the radar of other empires. I’d like to at least once play one where I win by achievements and development, haha.

Netting it out, my take is on interesting campaigns: they get the most interesting when you’re juggling war and development. Minor events tip things, like the alliance you had with Egypt ending when their leader dies suddenly throwing you a war on two fronts.

This is one of the many improvements Old World brings to the genre – personality-based diplomacy. It means the game can get away with abrupt yet plausible shifts in diplomatic stance, which makes the game more interesting, without the seemingly arbitrary or deterministic diplomacy of games like Civ. I’m perfectly willing to accept that an alliance may be abruptly terminated if the ally’s leader dies, whereas I find it more annoying in Civ when Gandhi my friend suddenly decides he’s Gandhi my mortal enemy.

There’s a historical flavor to it I like, too. In the old world, there was a king of the Greeks rather than a king of Greece, if you get what I mean – statehood had a more personal quality than in our time.

Yes, I like that aspect of it as well. It does feel like it makes diplomacy work and make a bit more sense than what you usually get stuck with in 4x’s.

And I really like when I have excess cash being able to pay for other empires going to war with someone I’m either at war with or planning on going tow was with and want them softened up a bit.

And in the example of Egypt, until I wanted to go to war with them I had the option when their leader died of being offered up the opportunity by the next leader to buy a continuance of the alliance, like that as well.

One caveat or danger to alliances though, they can and will drag you into wars. ;)

Thanks for the warning on alliances. I’d been wondering about it, because once or twice my ally did not drag me into their war, which pleasantly surprised me. At least, that’s what I recall happening. So maybe it doesn’t happen automatically?