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Thread: Letting Vox Live

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    nbarclay
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    Letting Vox Live

    With how close together we and Vox are, there are only three possible outcomes:

    1) We conquer them.
    2) We consign ourselves to a position of mediocrity because we don't have enough territory.
    3) We find a way to work with Vox such that they're worth at least as much to us alive as dead.

    If Vox keeps behaving in a way that fosters mistrust, they're almost certainly toast once we're ready for a quick and decisive war. But if they mend their ways to a point where we are willing to view them as an honorable and trustworthy partner, and if they are willing to accept a secondary role in what could be an extremely successful partnership, I think there's a way we could let them live.

    My basic concept is that if two nations work together closely enough, they could research almost as one. The larger nation would do the researching for both, and the smaller one would buy those techs at a reduced cost, thereby providing gold to bolster the larger nation's research. As a result, the larger nation would be freed from maintenance and unit upkeep costs, and could channel 100% of its domestic income into techs and whatever luxury spending is needed. And it would probably have gold left over for rush buying that would help improve future income.

    Similarly, in such an arrangement, the two nations would also behave as a single entity with respect to tech trading. Techs received in an exchange by one civ would be given to the other (or equal value provided if the other doesn't have the prerequisites), and any profits or costs in tech sales would be shared equally.

    Further, because the two nations function as a single entity, they can make deals with still other nations to pursue different paths of the tech tree and exchange results. Thus, the deal with Vox would not inherently stand in the way of other deals in the future.

    If such an arrangement could be made to work, it could be extremely powerful - especially if accompanied by a military partnership. (Imagine immortals and knights upgraded from war chariots fighting side by side.) And arranging such a relationship with a relatively weak civ would probably be much easier than arranging one with a stronger civ. So there may actually be a way we could let Vox live if they stop doing things that irritate us.

    Nathan

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    DeepO
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    You're absolutely right to start this discussion now, however, for the moment we are not yet the strongest party. This will only come after we can actually do something with all the cities we are going to build.

    For the moment, I would rather keep Vox around to split research, in that we can both research different paths of the tree. After that, a lot depends on exactly how weak they are going to become, and how much we can trust them.

    One remark, though, I can hardly imagine that Vox does want to get such a submissive role, as our weaker brother. Because of that, I imagine that in a few dozens turns, Vox will be even less trustworthy than they are now. We should keep prepared for a surprise attack.

    DeepO

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    nbarclay
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    I'm definitely thinking long-term here. Right now we don't have enough expenses for gold from Vox to make much difference in our research speed, but later, especially under Republic (where no units are free), it could make an enormous difference.

    I wish I knew more about the personalities of the people who have the strongest influence over their team's actions. The kind of close partnership I'm suggesting here would require a lot of trust, and I have no idea how honor-bound their leaders would feel to keep an agreement once it is made (and especially to honor the spirit of the agreement rather than just its letter).

    Nathan

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    Arrian
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    Local Date
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    You're talking about trying to convince Vox to voluntarily become our vassal state.

    I see the benifits for us, surely, but I don't see the incentive for Vox to do it, rather than taking a shot at us with their Immortals.

    They are going to want to try and win the game, and if their info about their terrain is correct, they are going to have to hit somebody.

    -Arrian
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    Theseus
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    Agreed... nice idea, and very sophisticated, but I can't see it happening. Vox is, hmmm, a bit unstable, and the power of Immortals will beckon strongly.

    There can be only one.
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    DeepO
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    So, Arrian and Theseus, what do you want to do, in the long term, with Vox? Build up enough force, after which we take them out?

    I think that them becoming a Vasal state is indeed unrealistic, or we should surprise them with a sudden rush in military strength, so they don't dare to attack us anymore. I like the idea, though.

    OTOH, I definately propose we play along for the moment, at least until we have other contacts so can wage war, and gain techs at the same time. If we would start to attack our only contact, there is no option to stay at the front in world ranking, we would get behind too much.

    DeepO

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    Arrian
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    Local Date
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    I think we should concentrate on our expansion for the moment. We have a lot of that to do.

    We're not going to be in a position to deliver a strong attack anytime soon.

    That being said... I think it depends (I'll explain). I think there is a strong possibility of war between us and Vox, but I'm not totally convinced it will happen. If it does, I think they will start it.

    A major factor here is where the border ends up after the REX phase. If we can settle in behind a reasonably well-defended border north of the mountains, we may not have a good reason to attack them. If their terrain is as poor as it sounds (it's possible they deliberately made Estonia sound like a shithole, of course), we may really not want it. Then again, they may feel they have no choice but to hit us if the REX phase ends and they see themselves as disadvantaged.

    If we are going to have to fight them, I think we will need to do a cost-benifit anaylsis regarding the two ways in which we can deliver force to their homeland:

    1) Attack through "the Neck." This is the most straightforward method. It is guaranteed to be bloody, but once (if) we punch through, we're in good shape.

    2) Galley end-around. This requires multiple galleys and runs the risk of our landing forces being massacred w/o being able to retreat. On the other hand, a couple of raiding parties (say 3 spearmen & 1 WC, for move+pillage in same turn ability) might succeed in breaking some key infrastructure as we assault "the Neck" normally, thus paving the way for a more successful conquest.

    Either approach is a long way off. We need cities, roads, barracks and units. Only when we start mass producing the last of those (units), will we have to really work out our strategy.

    -Arrian
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    DeepO
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    Arrian, I agree completely.

    Re: where the borders will be: If Vox doesn't have too many bonusses (and seems that that isn't the case, or they would grow faster), their next city on the Isthmus is going to be settled in some 10 turns, and the one after that in some 30 turns. If we race for it, we should be able to settle #12 (next to the the wheat and fish, above the mountains) before that time... but it will be hard to settle both that one, and #13... if they decide to risk it, and push their settlers first, they will be able to settle on of the two sites.

    ... which is way I would really push them to start on the quaduct thing, it will cost them exactly that city we need to be protected.

    DeepO

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    Dominae
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    Vox will never allow themselves to become a vassal state, no matter how to we approach the idea ("Look! We can give you fresh water!", "Hey, we'll protect you against the real big bad civs of the world!", "You guys are just so cute when you prance around with your Immortals!"). Pride stands in the way. But, assuming they put this aside, they must realise that becoming our vassal means an at-best second-place future for them. If ever they wanted to get more powerful, they would either have to deal with us, or leave our continent, both of which would be a nightmare scenario.

    Their best plan right now (assuming the description of North Estonia is accurate) is to play weak and friendly while building up strength for an eventual grab at power (i.e. conquest of our cities). What else would you do in their situation?


    Dominae

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    nbarclay
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    There are two ways people might react when faced with a weak position and offered the kind of deal I suggested:

    1) No way. I'm going to win this game or go down fighting.

    2) Hmm, there's almost no chance I'll win if I do this, but I'll do better this way than I would with any other approach. Sounds good.

    Personally, I'd probably be inclined to go the second route, but I have no idea how Vox would view the matter. The biggest danger to us, of course, would be if Vox goes along with it but keeps looking for a way to stab us in the back, so Vox had better behave in an honorable and trustworthy way if they want any chance at all of survival.

    By the way, if we don't have a strong partnership with Vox, there's no way I want Vox in a position to attack us when (and assuming) we engage in overseas adventures. I see no viable middle ground between full partnership (with them as the junior partners) and conquest.

    Nathan

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    Dominae
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    Originally posted by nbarclay
    There are two ways people might react when faced with a weak position and offered the kind of deal I suggested:

    1) No way. I'm going to win this game or go down fighting.

    2) Hmm, there's almost no chance I'll win if I do this, but I'll do better this way than I would with any other approach. Sounds good.
    There is a third option, which you mention yourself:

    The biggest danger to us, of course, would be if Vox goes along with it but keeps looking for a way to stab us in the back,
    My point is that they can realistically expect to want to destroy us without being suicidal.

    so Vox had better behave in an honorable and trustworthy way if they want any chance at all of survival.
    Yes. Their (apparent) lack of power is all the more reason to not trust them.

    By the way, if we don't have a strong partnership with Vox, there's no way I want Vox in a position to attack us when (and assuming) we engage in overseas adventures. I see no viable middle ground between full partnership (with them as the junior partners) and conquest.
    Well, you've brought up a nice Voxian "backstab" scenario. The fact that there is no middle ground for us given our long-term plans does not mean there is no middle ground for them.


    Dominae

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    nbarclay
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    Local Date
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    I think going for the wheat/fish north of the Spinebreaker Mountains would be a decidedly bad idea at this point. For either of us to settle that far away from our other cities would be to simultaneously deliver a slap in the face to the other and weaken our own growth by founding a highly corrupt city rather than a more productive one. Further, the terrain in that area very heavily favors immortals. I think we're better off settling in areas less likely to stir up trouble first, and if they make a grab for that spot with the idea of backfilling later, they've bought themselves a death sentence.

    Nathan

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    zeit
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    Nathan, that second option is simply the logical way for a weaker opponent to play in a typical dilemma which you presented, but, as everyone probably realise, humans are not a sophisticated logical circuits, and that is not the way decisions are made. Especially remember this fact: we are talking about a game- they don't fight for their survival- only for the fun of it, and with a sportive/competitive spirit. If you can't beat someone which will try to beat you, why not take your best shot and throw it all away. In the end, you lose, but you feel you've had your fun and acted in the spirit of the game- what fun there is in accepting your fate as a lowly sidekick?

    Think of these, and you'll find Vox's answer to this proposal. Our best chance is to play along for now, while blocking their advance of cities, while offering them sweet tech and water deals, without making them feel inferior- untill they find the strength within themselves to forego their beneficial cooperation- they are already outnumbered and outsmarted.

    By that time We have ammased an army for a passive agressive role- we will be attacked, sometime, and a proper response will be wiping or conquering them (if their land is that poor, we might as well raze or abandon). The longer they take to realize that war is their only possible outcome, the longer we have to prepare for it (a time we need, the isthmus will be a blooded battlefield, and Vox will have Immortals for sure).
    Save the rainforests!
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    Dominae
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    zeit mirrors my sentiments/thoughts on this matter exactly (or, I mirror his, whatever).


    Dominae

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    DeepO
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    Originally posted by nbarclay
    I think going for the wheat/fish north of the Spinebreaker Mountains would be a decidedly bad idea at this point. For either of us to settle that far away from our other cities would be to simultaneously deliver a slap in the face to the other and weaken our own growth by founding a highly corrupt city rather than a more productive one. Further, the terrain in that area very heavily favors immortals. I think we're better off settling in areas less likely to stir up trouble first, and if they make a grab for that spot with the idea of backfilling later, they've bought themselves a death sentence.
    Don't get me wrong, I wasn't saying we should run our next settler that direction. It wuold be the same as going for the neck... but if we want to claim all the land, we definately will need to secure that position, so that the spinebreaker mountains are in our territory completely, instead of being a bridge between Vox and us. So, after #3 and #7 are founded, I would start settling to our North (#1, followed by #13 or #12), and only then backfill. This should make it possible to get all of the mountain range in our borders.

    Oh, of course, #4 will be needed one time or another, as we both need it to have #3 at full food capacity, and it can be a nice production city. So that should come somewhere in between.

    DeepO

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    zeit
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    zeit mirrors my sentiments/thoughts on this matter exactly (or, I mirror his, whatever).
    I'm really glad to hear that, finnaly someone besides me sees through Vox's new "lets live in peace and prosper" mask. Don't let them fool you- they bullied us until they felt safe enough to stop and were reminded of their preliminary disadvantage.
    Save the rainforests!
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    asleepathewheel
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    I know that I don't trust vox at all, it wouldn't suprise me that even if they agreed to the long term partnership, they would feed data to the other civs in an attempt to throw us off the continent.

    Isn't flash a member of that group? not sure how influential he is, doubtful very much, but thats one guaranteed person against us.

    I would just as soon live in peace for a time, build up a small commando fleet, figure out where the other civ to the north is, then blitz them, severing their iron in the first turn then pounding them from the south.
    they have a severe weakness-one source of iron (supposedly).
    cut that and they will be through.

    I have little tolerance for their shenanigans.

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    asleepathewheel
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    Local Date
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    Originally posted by zeit


    I'm really glad to hear that, finnaly someone besides me sees through Vox's new "lets live in peace and prosper" mask. Don't let them fool you- they bullied us until they felt safe enough to stop and were reminded of their preliminary disadvantage.
    I also agree with you,.

    as has been said, the longer we go without war, they will become more weak relatively, and decide at some point to attack us.

    I daresay the repercussions of us first striking them would be large, as the other groups would surely ally against us and Generals Arrian, Theseus, Velociryx, and Soren. However, a defensive war (which would easily be turned into an offensive war) would save our reputation. the old -They attacked us first.

    A calculated risk, no doubt.

    My bet is, that once they have 7-10 immortals, they will go on the war path. Luckily, that jungle will prove inhospitible to their invasion. (likewise to our chariots, which won't be able to cross unless a jungle)

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    nbarclay
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    Originally posted by DeepO


    Don't get me wrong, I wasn't saying we should run our next settler that direction. It wuold be the same as going for the neck... but if we want to claim all the land, we definately will need to secure that position, so that the spinebreaker mountains are in our territory completely, instead of being a bridge between Vox and us. So, after #3 and #7 are founded, I would start settling to our North (#1, followed by #13 or #12), and only then backfill. This should make it possible to get all of the mountain range in our borders.

    Oh, of course, #4 will be needed one time or another, as we both need it to have #3 at full food capacity, and it can be a nice production city. So that should come somewhere in between.
    I view #1 as something for the distant future. Until we get in a government where flood plains produce four food instead of three, it's a low-value location that would increase corruption in higher-value locations.

    Settling #12 as one of our first few cities has three major problems. First, it undercuts our REX advantage because corruption there will be high. Second, it could easily provoke Vox into starting a war before our production advantage gets a chance to really kick in (especially if we follow a barracks-before-troops strategy to maximize our power later). And third, the city would be difficult to defend if Vox does decide to attack (except maybe if we ruin our research in order to upgrade a bunch of warriors to swordsmen early).

    There may or may not also be a fourth problem. Unless and until we reach a point where Vox stops being useful as a trade partner, we're better off not doing things that would make them angry and cause them to decide they don't want to do business with us anymore.

    Nathan

  20. #20
    Arrian
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    My opinion:

    Vox won't volunteer to be a vassal, and they are unlikely to go for the irrigation proposal, at least not anytime soon (they're not gonna give us workers! Hah! I wouldn't do it, would you?).

    I think Nathan's point about northern expansion is this (tell me if I'm wrong, Nathan): our growth must be defensible. In other words, if for some reason our building a city up north provokes Vox (or if they just decide to roll the dice), can we defend it? If we settle it soon, we probably can't.

    I'm of two minds on this. My first thought is that we need a city up there, sooner rather than later, to stake our claim north of the mountains, thus throwing up a roadblock to an immortal/spearman invasion down the mountains. My second thought is we aren't going to be able to mount a credible defense of that city until we have a city or two with barracks building spears and, more importantly, war chariots (or vet warriors for upgrading). That's a dilemna.

    Let's get a couple more core cities built (spot #3, spot #4 or #7) and reevaluate.

    -Arrian
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  21. #21
    Theseus
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    I think the question is actgually settled fairly simply:

    We MUST prepare defensively for the possibility that Vox intends to come at us with Immortals.

    When the time comes that our defensive force becomes strong enough for offense, we find a way to make SURE that Vox attacks us... then we wipe'em out.
    The greatest delight for man is to inflict defeat on his enemies, to drive them before him, to see those dear to them with their faces bathed in tears, to bestride their horses, to crush in his arms their daughters and wives.

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  22. #22
    Arrian
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    Make sure they attack us? That's not going to be as easy as it is with the AI. If we bully them into it, you better believe that other teams will be informed... and they will know what's going on. If we decide to destroy Vox, IMO, we should not be shy about just going ahead and attacking them.

    Sure, them attacking us at a time or our choosing is the best-case scenario, as we will have the ability to hit their attack forces on our ground and we can also claim "victim" status. But we cannot count on them doing what is good for us.

    In order to properly assess our options, however, we need a couple of things: 1) Ironworking and 2) a galley exploration of their coastline. In any war, we have got to try and cut their iron.

    -Arrian
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  23. #23
    nbarclay
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    Our first three settlers are going to come only four turns apart. Then I'm thinking seven turns to build three workers (the first takes longer because our production will be lower) and then back to settlers for a while at 5 turns each.

    Hurricane will probably be our first city with a barracks (if we start one right after the worker), with completion maybe about 20 turns from now or just a little less (with the exact time depending on how we balance growth and production). That would probably make our fifth settler, maybe our fourth, the first we could provide with a veteran spearman escort. (I or someone else needs to game that out to see exactly how the timing works.) And even then, we couldn't hold the city against a truly serious attack.

    Nathan

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    Arrian
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    True, but that would essentially force them to show up with more than warriors. They would have to either build archers (waste of production) or send in their immortals.

    Three settlers four turns apart? Wow, you are a magician!

    Hurricane isn't exactly a production monster, but if we start right after the worker is built, it can start producing vet spearmen at about the right time. It will produce them every 4-5 turns in the beginning, perhaps getting down to 3 turns (7 uncorrupted shields required). Translation: we will need another barracks town fairly soon. Hurricane can build spears, the second barracks town can build chariots.

    -Arrian
    grog want tank...Grog Want Tank... GROG WANT TANK!

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  25. #25
    nbarclay
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    Originally posted by Arrian
    True, but that would essentially force them to show up with more than warriors. They would have to either build archers (waste of production) or send in their immortals.
    The tricky thing is that if they use immortals, they get their GA early. That won't be good for them in the long run, but it might make life a bit... interesting for us in the short run. Then again, depending on how good a tiles they're working, the GA might just help their gold, not their production.

    Three settlers four turns apart? Wow, you are a magician!
    More like an alchemist, finding the right formula to turn wood into settlers. Although I never would have caught it if someone else hadn't noticed that building a wonder one place can redirect lumber to another.

    Actually, it's not all that rare for me to have settler pumps that can churn out settlers every four turns or workers every two on a permanent basis. (I even have one in the Euro-PBEM game using an irrigated cow and a mined cow.)

    Hurricane isn't exactly a production monster, but if we start right after the worker is built, it can start producing vet spearmen at about the right time. It will produce them every 4-5 turns in the beginning, perhaps getting down to 3 turns (7 uncorrupted shields required). Translation: we will need another barracks town fairly soon. Hurricane can build spears, the second barracks town can build chariots.
    I'm thinking in terms of going for #3, then #7, and then #4 (or maybe the gold hill site). #3 would get a granary, and #7 and #4 barracks. (I'm less sure about how to get the best return from the gold city.)

  26. #26
    Theseus
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    We need Warriors, Spearmen, and WCs before a second Settler pump.

    Assume the worst... a 4 Immortal attack. That means Spearmen in key defensive positions, WCs for the two 'alleys' east and west of the Spinebreakers, and Swords for the tough spots.

    I haven;t calculated it out, but I reason that the time period for Vox to upgrade 4 Warriors and transit them is relatively short.
    The greatest delight for man is to inflict defeat on his enemies, to drive them before him, to see those dear to them with their faces bathed in tears, to bestride their horses, to crush in his arms their daughters and wives.

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  27. #27
    nbarclay
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    Time for transit alone is 13 turns from the time we see them (once we take up a permanent position on the mountain I call Lookout Ridge) to the time they hit EotS. If Vox can show up there with a good strike force before our next three cities get built, we have something to worry about. Otherwise, we're in pretty good shape.

    (1) Have you thought about what EotS could do if it focused its efforts on production instead of growth? Even with no production saved up from having just finished a settler, it could churn out six regular WCs and/or spearmen, or a barracks and four veterans, between the time the Voxian forces enter our view and the time they strike. Add some production toward a settler and the number could easily go up by one. (This is looking ahead a bit to when it has another chop and irrigation behind it and its lowest size level is at least four and halfway to five.)

    (2) Hurricane should be able to produce another two such units, or a barracks and one veteran if it gets caught just at the "wrong" time.

    (3) #7 could produce at least a unit or two.

    (4) #3 could switch to either units or to a barracks followed by units unless it's over 40 shields, and by the time it's over 40 shields, it will be big enough and productive enough it could finish the granary and still have time for a unit or two to get into the fighting.

    (5) If we have iron or can hook it up in time, we could get enough gold for at least three warrior-to-swordsman upgrades, probably four, between the time we see Vox and the time they can attack.

    Add those together and the defensive value of time and distance can be enormous. That's why I wanted so badly to keep a forward observation post.

    Longer-term, note that in a classic REX, our early potential barracks cities would be expected to interrupt their military operations building settlers (taking both production and population for future production away from military efforts). But a second good settler pump could free a couple military cities to grow larger and more productive and focus their energy on military efforts if we feel the need for them to do so.

    Nathan
    Last edited by nbarclay; January 14, 2003 at 01:36.

  28. #28
    Arrian
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    Nathan,

    I've been thinking more about our next few city builds, and I think we might want to go #3, the gold hill (forget the number), and then either #4 or #7.

    -Arrian
    grog want tank...Grog Want Tank... GROG WANT TANK!

    The trick isn't to break some eggs to make an omelette, it's convincing the eggs to break themselves in order to aspire to omelettehood.

  29. #29
    DeepO
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    Out of safety, I'd rather have #7 before the gold, as it will make instant WC building possible (if we see Vox coming)...

    DeepO

  30. #30
    Arrian
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    Yeah, I suppose you're right. #3, #7, Gold, #4. How does that look?

    -Arrian
    grog want tank...Grog Want Tank... GROG WANT TANK!

    The trick isn't to break some eggs to make an omelette, it's convincing the eggs to break themselves in order to aspire to omelettehood.

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