[U]Prelude for Apolyton:[/U] Why am I posting an old GotM here? First I hope the challenge might still be tempting for someone to try, without reading the solution beforehand (and if someone is up to it, you can try beating the 41 turns - back then after having seen the other two 41 results, I thought 40 turns was likely possible by combining them).
Second the more interesting part might be, that we provided a detailed very close to optimal video solution + explanation how to approach the challenge.
Unfortunately this never really got of, though we had good feedback, because we were fighting tons of trouble with video software and upload rates, but we plan something similar for CivV, till then hopefully being wiser with the video software.
Credits for inventing the first solution and making the posts goes to Jobe, thus the possible confusion with first and third person :D

have fun everybody


This is the first edition of a new series that is similar in many ways to traditional "Game of the Month" (GotM) games which many civ sites provide regularly. Those set one or many tasks to be completed at all or as fast as possible. Everyone can participate by downloading the save and playing it. There have been many very creative and interesting GotM and there wouldn´t be a good reason to set up yet another one. Consequently the idea behind this one is somewhat different.

First of all the challenges will be played (most of the time) on the usual multiplayer settings of the game, that being quick speed and noble difficulty. Second they will be designed in a way that simulates a scenario which demands a way of playing that follows key game principles but also the laws of certain types of multiplayer games. So for example a challenge could involve expanding as fast as possible while neglecting military units and research till a certain amount of cities has been built. Another could be getting as many specific units as possible till a certain turn. Third they will be quick to play. We´ll try setting up specific goals - not a diverse range of tasks like conquering an opponent (especially if that opponent is an AI). Hopefully this way we can focus the game around a clearly defined topic to be able to compare different results and later on provide a way of how to do it "right" in order to achieve a result close to what´s possible. That then is the fourth aspect that is supposed to make this more than a GotM - a video of "how to do it". We might not always be able to achieve the perfect solution to a task in every single setup, but I´m confident that we can provide an idea of how to tackle certain problems and what to do when you want to achieve something specific, like building as many units as possible in a certain time period or building up research as fast as possible or whatever else is required.

  1. Release of a save with an explanation of the situation and the "tasks" demanded.

  2. Two weeks time for anyone interested to play the save and send the "end save" to [email]challenge@fastmoves.de[/email]

  3. Release of a video showing how to achieve the tasks or achieve them as good as it can be done (or hopefully as close to that as possible ;)).

[B][U][SIZE="3"]Fastmoves Challenge #1: "Robinson Crusoe's thirst for knowledge"[/SIZE][/U][/B]

You are alone on an Island. Your goal is to make 100 or more science research per turn, while not having a negative income. At the same time you need to have built at least four cities and workers each. The Great Library is banned - it is not allowed to build it.

Save: Challenge #1: "Robinson Crusoe's thirst for knowledge" (click to download)

map: small, low sea, tropical Equal_Islands
leader/civ: Elizabeth of Netherlands
goals: 100science per turn without negative income, at least 4 cities, at least 4 workers
rules: Great Library banned, Golden Age is banned, no starving a city to get a "one turn result" which doesn´t represent the real situation, no "building" technology in cities
deadline: January 10th, 2010

I hope you enjoy this. Try it out, takes only about twenty minutes. If you have questions or remarks, send them together with your save to [email]challenge@fastmoves.de[/email]. We´ll probably involve those in the video.

P.S. For clarification a screenshot. On top is the income, it's "positive" at +56. Below is the reserach rate, it is at 100% generating a total of 1575 science.


It´s been two weeks since the release of Fastmoves Challenge #1. The goal circled around building up research as fast as possible. An overall of 73 people sent in 91 saves. Based on the best result of each player, an average of 59,4 turns was needed to achieve the goals. The clearly best result from non-fastmoves staff came from MissLadyLuck, who managed turn 41, the same turn shown in the "How to do it"-Video. The next best sent in result was turn 45 by MookieNJ (and some others from clan [NBK] I think). MLL's approach was different to some degree then the one shown in the video. He didn´t build any cottages, didn´t even research Pottery - it can be calculated from the beginning though that in order to reach 100 beakers you don´t have to necessarily have cottages. His way would be bad if the game continued past the goals of the challenge, but that of course wasn´t a condition. The solution presented by Shizanu is different, closer to a real game - though both planted spots that wouldn´t be optimal for a longer game in order to save a turn or two short-term. MissLadyLuck switched to Caste System together with Bureaucracy when getting Civil Service in order to work two merchants to keep his research level at 100%. Shizanu had somewhat more overall commerce and didn´t require the - in a normal game - at this point rather unusual switch to Caste System instead of Slavery. The key to the challenge was the capital and getting an academy into it while oracling Civil Service - not much difference there between MLL´s save and the solution shown in the video.

Here is MissLadyLuck's turn 41 screenshot - congrats to you for the by far best result, well done!

Thanks to everyone for the interest and for the saves you sent in!

*UPDATE* (11th Jan 10)

Due to some E-Mail weirdness I didn´t receive Monster´s very nice attempt, also achieving all goals in 41 turns. I like his buildup the most because all cities are planted in a way that would be fine for a longer game - of course you cannot hold the "weird" way Shizanu and MLL planted against them since that was not part of the challenge in any way. What´s most interesting is that Monster did the Oracle not in his capital. Overall the attempt is pretty similar to Shizanu´s, especially the key elements.

Here the final screenshot - Great effort Monster!

[B][U][SIZE="3"]Fastmoves Challenge #1: How to do it (by Shizanu)[/SIZE][/U][/B]


The first question when facing such challenge with more than one aim is, what are the limiting factors. Often just one goal is the real problem, while other goals can be done on the way. With this challenge it is pretty obvious, that getting the tech is the real problem, while having to expand is just a nuisance, since you can of course expand to 4 cities a lot faster, then the final 41 turns. While even without extra goals you wont be much faster with the tech. If this isn´t obvious, just play the challenge like you would play usually with a few alternations and you should notice soon. Otherwise you will find out in the process of optimizing.

The next problem I had to solve now, is how to get those 100 tech fastest. Because we were allowed to oracle any technology, civil service and a high pop cap with academy was the way to go. The multiple effect of bureaucracy and science building was just to strong, turning 1 commerce into 1*1,5*1,75 = 2,625 science (ignoring the very low maintenance costs). Especially with that gold around.
To get the 100% you needed exactly a capital with population 7 working the gold and at least 3 commerce on all the other tiles and the other cities with pop 2,1,1 all working 3 commerce tiles. Very comfortable about that is, the free availability of 3 commerce tiles with all that water around.

So in general, I had to figure out a way of getting an academy, bureaucracy, pop7 in cap fastest, with still getting the workers and settlers.

[U][SIZE="2"]Worker first vs. Work Boat first.[/SIZE][/U]

I played several tries with work boat first, which is the typical choice on such setup, till I tried worker first. In the end I prefered getting the additional worker turn and slightly more food from my build order compared to more tech from workboat-worker-worker. Anyway I believe turn 41 is also possible with work boat first, not absolutely sure though.

As I said, research is the problem. So I focused on that, even putting the first chops into the library, so I could start working scientists earlier and grow to pop6 before making the first settler. Only this lets me get all the necessary techs fast enough. The tech path in general should be pretty obvious. Fast math is very important of course, so you get enough hammers from chopping forests. Rest is plainly researching everything that is necessary, but nothing more. Still maybe I should explain my unusual first techs: Since I went worker first, that worker needed to be able to do something at all times, so I needed wheel first to build a road on the way to the corn. That road is needed to have a connection between the second city and the capital later on to get the ivory. Then I obviously need mining for the goldmine. Now I went writing before Bronze Working. This is very important, so you can start building the library while growing your cap. Only this way you can get the library fast enough.

[B][U][SIZE="2"]Worker Movement[/SIZE][/U][/B]

The rest of the challenge is all about finding the perfect worker micro. Having Bronze Working so late, resulted in my building unusually many roads early. Anyway those three roads are all needed in the end, so it's not a waste of worker moves. The rest is a matter of chopping forest in the right order. First I get two chops to get the library. Now I have to time the chops simultaneously to get the settler in one turn. Thus I chop the forest in the south by building one of the cottages I need later on. This also saves me a worker turn, because first chopping and then building a cottage costs six worker turns, while directly building a cottage costs five.
Rest are the small things, like timing the fourth worker with connecting marble and researching priesthood, so i can build Oracle. Or chopping the right forest on the second city, so I can move the fourth worker directly into a forest there (another reason why I need the road I build in the beginning).

[U][SIZE="2"]Comparison to a "normal" game[/SIZE][/U]

The big difference of course is, that you cannot oracle civil service in usual games. However the basic approach on an Equal_Islands extra resources game is the same, just you would be researching Civil Service by hand. In a real game, you would have to work some more cottages instead of sea tiles, get Monarchy before Civil Service and start growing your capital more and of course have a worker/settler balance, that enables you to get your new cities going faster (and of course plant those cities more decently for a longer game!). Anyway the basic principles of the challenge: Focus on tech and focus on a super cap are the same.

[U][SIZE="2"]The Video[/SIZE][/U]

tech path
1. Wheel 2. Mining 3. Pottery 4. Writing 5. Bronze Working 6. Mathematics 7. Masonry 8. Hunting 9. Mysticism 10. Meditation 11. Priesthood 12. Code of Laws 13. oracle: Civil Service

build order in capital
1. worker 2. work boat 3. worker 4. library for 2 turns 5. worker 6. library finished 7. work boat to grow 8. settler with 3 chops 9. worker 10. work boat 11. Oracle

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