1. About Early Landing Games (ELG)
Welcome to the fascinating Civ II world of early landing attempts. This guide will provide details and strategy useful to those interested in joining the quest for earlier AC landing dates while playing on the Deity level. If you decide to join in on the comparison games played in this forum, it’s possible that some of the advice you pick up here will help you set the next record.
Seeing how early one can land a space ship on Alpha Centauri has captured the imagination of Civilization II players for years. In my second Civilization game, played on the Chieftan level, I thought my landing in the 1800’s was pretty hot stuff. Then I found out that others were doing this regularly at Deity level, and that a few players were managing it by playing with only one city!
I had a lot to learn, but was fascinated to read the account of the competition between Ming and Rah (forgive me if I leave other early participants out) to be the first player to manage a landing with just one city. Ming did it first, but as other players joined this competition, it was Paul who perfected the technique. He wrote a comprehensive strategy guide for playing with one city naming it the One City Challenge (OCC) Strategy Guide, and hosted a number of fortnightly comparison games in these forums, during which landing times continued to improve.
Just when it seemed that no more improvements could be made in OCC strategy, a newcomer to the scene started describing OCC games with excellent results, which were being played with less than full-sized OCC cities. This “OCC on a shoestring” approach, introduced by Samson, was soon pushed to the limit, until early landings were being made using just a single citizen. Once this limit in OCC had been attained, interest in this way of playing began to fade.
Although some amazing things had been accomplished using just one city, not much had been done to see just how early a space ship could be landed using a random deity start, and playing without the one city restriction. For a long time, Ari’s record of 1075 AD was the time to beat, holding off some notable attempts to do better. I managed to challenge Ari’s record first, in a game with a 776 AD landing, but this attempt was tainted somewhat by the use of caravan re-homing and by some pre-knowledge of the map. However, Samson soon joined me in exploring new strategies for improving landings times and soon we were both managing landings before 500 AD. The best result was Samson’s 16 AD date using a small map.
This seemed the ultimate accomplishment, since space ship parts were not available for construction in non-scenario games during the BC game years. Improvements could be made to the best times on larger maps, and they came fairly rapidly, benefiting tremendously by the newest research about trade. However, a new kind of early landing challenge was needed to further test player skill, so I came up with the idea of seeing what could be done in games in which the human player is not allowed to tip any huts.
1.2 Comparison Games
Early Landing Comparison Games take place in the Apolyton Civilization II Strategy Forum, and are open to anyone that cares to participate. All games are played at deity level on a medium map, with 7 civs, and a barbarian setting of raging hordes. Although starts with free starting techs and those not having suitable Super Science City (SSC) sites are discarded, comparison games all begin from a random 4000 BC start.
Once generated, a save of this starting position is made. Then a new thread announcing the game is created, where a copy of the start is posted. The start is compatible with, and may be used with, Civ II 2.42 and Civ II MGE. Those wishing to participate may download this start and use it to play their own game, competing with other players to see who will be first to land a space ship on Alpha Centauri.
After the game’s deadline, the player with the best landing date is declared the winner. There is also an ongoing competition to break the “official” record for the best landing date attained so far during comparison play. After each game is completed and results are compared, the next may begin.
The rules are simple:
a) The human player may not tip any huts. What’s a rule without an exception, so in the rare situation where a hut may block a player’s movement, the player must save the game, after which the hut is tipped enough times until it produces a military unit or a nomad, which must then be immediately disbanded. Huts appearing in a radius of any city can be destroyed without reaping any benefit by placing a citizen on the hut’s tile while in the city display.
b) Since the game attempts to prevent caravan and freight re-homing, this exploit is not allowed. Any other ploy or exploit is allowed.
c) As a minimum each player should provide a summary of their game, using the format provided with each game start. Each player is also encouraged to keep a chronological log of their game, listing significant events. The addition of details describing the game and strategic decisions made while playing it add interest, so doing this is very much encouraged. Once a game is completed, a short game summary and the optional log should be posted in the game’s thread. Attached to this post should be a save of the game made showing a completed ship or one on the way to Alpha Centauri.
d) The player posting the best landing date before the deadline will be declared the winner of that game. If the date is the best so far attained in comparison games, it will become the new “official” record.