Screenshot and Gameplay Experiences from a Returning Player

I decided on a whim to share a screenshot of my main town in my current game as my favorite civilization, the Spanish. I actually planned it out in the scenario editor before starting the game, as I was trying to pack as much into as small of an area as I could, while leaving one grid unit’s width between every building to make it easy for villagers to move around and gather around a building in the event of repair. The only exceptions were farms, which can be immediately adjacent to anything, and towers, which can be adjacent to walls (and, in fact, must be for maximum range radiating from the town). It may not be the best idea from a strategic standpoint to plan my town(s) with this kind of precision and aesthetic eye, but I just can’t resist!

I’m also trying, slowly but surely, to get comfortable with Moderate AI Difficulty. My first several attempts reached a point where it became hopeless, so I decided to tinker with a few other settings to ease myself into it. This is the first game where I actually feel like victory is reasonably within my grasp, though it’s with Medium starting resources and a full hour of initial peace treaty, so it’s a baby step, I suppose.

I find it virtually impossible to keep up with the Moderate AI in age-ups, though I can come close with respect to Feudal. One of the “Advanced Techniques” tutorial campaigns offers a figurative gold medal for going Feudal within 7 minutes. I tried several times in multiple ways. It ain’t happening. I’m lucky to make it by 11 minutes, and 12 - 13 has become typical for me in Moderate games. This is even after I begrudingly gave up my habit of never advancing to the next age until I’d researched every single tech from the current one. Seriously, not researching at least most of them just feels wrong to me, like I haven’t really earned it.

I’m tempted to blame my cerebral-palsy-inhibited reflexes. Being a consistent first-advancer may require lightning-quick moves that I just can’t quite muster. Or maybe that’s just an excuse that enough practice would dispel. I’m not sure. My below-average dexterity does often cause me to overshoot my scrolling when I’m trying to get around on the map, especially when I’m in a hurry, like when I’m being attacked. I’m learning to combat problems like that with hotkeys, though, like the one that takes you to the site of the latest notification.

Strangely, I find that in both Standard and Moderate difficulty, I seem to consistently reach a stage (if I survive long enough in the latter, that is) that I’m starting to call the “PCD,” or “Period of Constant Defense.” This is when, for a few hours of gameplay, the AI just seems determined to keep you busy on defense. Alarm bells every 3 – 5 seconds is not uncommon, and I’m often just shy of fully replenishing that army or repairing that wall when somebody attacks the same area again. In Standard difficulty games and, for the first time, in this particular Moderate one, it’s rarely if ever a serious threat. It just feels like harassment! I want to start mining a new source of gold or stone, repair that castle, start a second town, or maybe even go on the offensive. But I can’t, because I’m being kept just busy enough trying to fend off and then recover from the latest round of often quite lame attempts to get through my fortifications.

Ironically, at least in the current game, it seems like, for all its skill at advancing rapidly, the Moderate AI almost seems to get dumber in the late game. After a few attempts with trebuchets and rams, which I defeated, whoever the red guys are just took to sending regular bands of light cavalry. Seriously, what does the AI think is gonna happen when a half-dozen Hussars and/or unique camel-mounted archers go up against a castle guarded by five bombard cannons with knowledge of Ballistics? They’re gonna get slaughtered, and they do, over and over again! Plus, when they do bring seige equipment, they sometimes use it to attack…houses! They do attack walls, towers, and castles too, but they go after less valuable stuff just often enough to make me wonder what the algorithm is trying to accomplish. Keep me from spawning more soldiers by making me run out of housing? But at this late stage in the game, that’s usually too easy to fix.

I mean, after barely scraping by in several earlier confrontations, I’m certainly not complaining about these seemingly ineffective tactics. I’m just curious and perhaps a bit confused as to what caused the albeit welcome change. In any case, if I was getting in the mood for a challenge, I got one in another enemy who’s decided it’s his turn, and they actually seem a bit more competent. They’ve been sending wave after wave of cavaliers or paladins and cavalry archers against my main army of 30 Paladins and 30 Elite Conquistadors. So far, I’ve been able to beat them off, but they leave me with just enough casualties to make near-constant replenishment necessary. I have 10 Bombard Cannons and 10 Trebuchets now, though my navy needs rebuilding (and Cannon Galleons never seem available to me for some reason, even when I’m Imperial and my civ’s tech tree says I should be able to build them). It may finally be time for some offense! It’ll be my first time in Moderate difficulty.

Wow! That turned out to be a deeper dive than I intended! Here’s hoping at least some of you find it interesting. I’ve spent the past week or so getting re-acquainted with the game after about a decade and a half at least, so I have no idea how my little town measures up, and I’m almost certainly a relative novice in actual strategy, but I thought it might be worth sharing anyway.

Uploading: Madrid.jpg…

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The game is pretty hard to get into if you dont really know what you are doing. I pretty much recommened the following guide from Survivalist:

It is really about the fundamentals and the basisc to improve. I think this is a much watch if you want to improve in the game.

Also many pro players have their own guides on how to improve. Just to give you an recent guide of a pro player on how to improve:

These are available at the second page of the dock menu and you need to get a tech to unlock the unit.

Thanks for that! The first video was helpful, especially regarding how to crank out units fast, and I’ll probably wtatch the second one later! I didn’t know you could queue up units in multiple buildings simultaneously like that, though I suppose I should’ve expected some mechanism like that from a game like this. I was also surprised at the number of villagers the narrator recommended as well as his advice for constant spending and against any idle villagers. My approach has always been to have 10 villagers gathering each type of resource and 10 extra always standing by for building and/or repair on demand. I might at least start on a whole other set of 50 villagers if I get to the point in the game where I feel secure enough to build a whole second base on the ruins of a recently vanquished enemy’s territory, but that doesn’t always happen. In my experience, 10 villagers per resource has always been enough to get an economy that leaves you rarely if ever running short for whatever you want to research or build. Hell, with a Market and the surpluses in the thousands of Food and/or Wood that I almost inevitably end up with, I can afford to turn my miners into extra builders/repairers at that stage in the game when actual Gold and Stone become thin in the ground within safe territory. So for me, huge stockpiles and a limited number of idle villagers have always been more of a feature than a bug!

Also (insert self-slap on the forehead here), I didn’t even know there was a second page to the Dock menu…or any building’s menu, for that matter. Or if at one point long ago I knew it, I forgot. Thanks again!

The lower level AI gets weaker late game because it’s programmed to have a low number of villagers so that their economy remains weak. I also suppose they waste what little units they have in frequent assaults because if they could just wait to get a bigger army, their low villager count would let them eventually amass quite a huge army, and I don’t think most people who want to play the moderate AI want to see that.

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Both videos are part of a serie. If you watch the videos on youtube, then you go the full series (i linked to the full series). I suggest first watching the first full serie, before moving on to the 2K guide of Hera.

Your town looks pretty. Never change.

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Research chemestry in university.

Research chemestry in university.

I always do. The problem was that I didn’t know the Dock menu had a second page. Thanks!

Jajajaja, every day you learn something :stuck_out_tongue:

I suspect that I did watch the whole first series in one go, since the narrator went through all levels he mentioned at the outset, with clear transitions. I think it might have been a playlist on auto-play.

I’m watching at least the first segment of the second one now.

In any case, I clamored my way up to top score yesterday, I think, and I just won my first game on Moderate difficulty today! Though again, that’s with a whole hour of initial peace. Note to self: as soon as the second-to-last guy standing resigns, the one remaining enemy gets desperate and unleashes a new wave of attacks, even after he’s left you alone for a while.

It wasnt clear to me what you watched, but you could have watched all. I linked to the full play list, so you could watch them on auto play.

Before watching everything, i think it is better to try the tips and tricks in your own game. Otherwise it will be to much info at once. I would suggest watching 1 segment of the second serie each week. In the mean time try to apply the info to your own games.

Great to see some progression!

Regarding scrolling, you might want to try disabling scroll inertia in the settings menu. That might help? I don’t like the inertia, personally, so think I have it either very low or off (likely off)

I seem to be making slow but steady progress. I’m getting better at advancing through the ages more quickly, though I still tend to rely on a lengthy initial peace treaty (this one was 90 minutes) to build up all the defenses I like to have before even thinking about any offensive moves.

This new game is probably my best yet, perhaps because it’s on a Green Arabia map and/or I decided to break a bit from my habit of keeping my town(s) as tightly packed as possible. You see, I like to build walls around my town(s), but I hate how they look when traversing different elevations (hills, etc). Plus, denser towns just look more impressively urban and stately. So the smaller I can make my town(s) and still have at least all of the essentials, the more likely I am to find myself in an area of flat, unobstructed land in which it can fit. I’ve previously tended to expand my territory not by growing the town I already have but by building a whole new one on the nearest suitable land.

I’m not sure yet, but the Green Arabia map style seems to be much better for building expansive and yet neatly walled towns. It’s much easier to find enough flat land around a larger area. The result is a town that’s attractively dense and yet so large I can’t fit it all into a single screenshot anymore! This one is centered around the inner sanctum, so you’re only seeing the inner walls. I have another layer in the same vein beyond what’s seen here.

I’m shocked at how little I’ve been attacked so far! In all previous games, the end of the initial peace treaty brought on an almost immediate stream of invasions, one after the other at a rate that kept me from doing hardly anything else besides fending off attacks and healing or replacing what I lost in that process. Here, there’s been virtually nothing yet, to the point that I’m actually preparing to go on the offensive! I’m still on Moderate difficulty, so my best guess is that it’s the map type that made the difference.

And yes, I know the number of idle villagers here would probably be considered unconscionable, but I’m at that point where all my gold and stone miners have run out of safe sources of their respective quarry, and I haven’t yet gotten the hang of efficiently figuring out what to do with them all. I’ve put 20 former miners them on extra food and wood duty already. That may be the one downside to this map type. There seem to be a bit fewer resources. Next time, I think I’ll use the 3x resource mod I’ve subscribed to.

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