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Early Landing Games Strategy Guide

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  • Early Landing Games Strategy Guide

    Early Landing Games Strategy Guide


    1. About Early Landing Games (ELG)

    1.1 Origins
    1.2 Comparison Games
    1.3 Rules

    2. Strategy

    2.1 Types of Cities Used and Their Roles

    2.1.1 Super Science City (SSC)
    2.1.2 Helper Cities
    2.1.3 Colonies
    2.1.4 Station City
    2.1.5 Tech Trigger City
    2.1.6 Space Ship Contractors

    2.2 Dealing with the Artificial Intelligence (AI)

    2.2.1 AI Diplomacy
    2.2.2 First Contact
    2.2.3 Trading Technology with the AI
    2.2.4 Trading Commodities with the AI
    2.2.5 The Importance of the Key Civ
    2.2.6 Space Flight and AI Attitudes
    2.2.7 Dealing with Barbarians

    2.3 Wonders used in ELG

    2.3.1 Apollo Program
    2.3.2 Colossus
    2.3.3 Copernicus’s Observatory
    2.3.4 Darwin’s Voyage
    2.3.5 Hanging Gardens
    2.3.6 Sir Isaac Newton’s College
    2.3.7 Leonardo’s Workshop
    2.3.8 Marco Polo’s Embassy
    2.3.9 Michaelangelo’s Chapel
    2.3.10 SETI Program
    2.3.11 Shakespeare’s Theater

    2.4 Governments used in ELG

    2.4.1 Anarchy
    2.4.2 Despotism
    2.4.3 Monarchy
    2.4.4 Republic
    2.4.5 Democracy
    2.4.6 Communism and Fundamentalism

    2.5 Acquiring Technology

    2.5.1 Science Beakers
    2.5.2 Technology Carrying Costs
    2.5.3 Research Choices
    2.5.4 Research Priorities
    2.5.5 Scientific Improvements and Wonders
    2.5.6 Using Scientists
    2.5.7 Commodity Delivery Beakers
    2.5.8 One Turn Advances
    2.5.9 Turns with Two Advances
    2.5.10 Using Zoom to City

    2.6 Trade

    2.6.1 Base Trade
    2.6.2 Trade Routes
    2.6.3 Demand Bonuses
    2.6.4 Maximizing Delivery Payments
    2.6.5 Importance of Quick Deliveries
    2.6.6 Alternating Trade System
    2.6.7 Commodity Supply and Demand Basics
    2.6.8 Sixteen Turn City Cycles
    2.6.9 Commodity Overview
    2.6.10 Techs Affecting Supply and Demand
    2.6.11 Supply and Demand List Wildcards
    2.6.12 Predicting Commodity Supply and Demand Lists
    2.6.13 Manipulating Commodity Supply and Demand

    2.7 Stages of Development

    2.7.1 The Opening
    2.7.2 Early Expansion and Exploration
    2.7.3 Early Trade and Colonization
    2.7.4 SSC Expansion and Development
    2.7.5 Helper and Colony Expansion
    2.7.6 Hyper Trade and Accelerated Research
    2.7.7 Space Ship Construction and the Launch
    2.7.8 Waiting to Land

    3.0 A Sample Game and Log

    4.0 References

  • #2
    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.

    1.1 Origins

    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.

    1.3 Rules

    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.


    • #3
      2.1 Types of Cities Used and Their Roles

      2.1.1 Super Science City (SSC)

      The key to making early landings is to acquire techs as quickly as possible. A full sized SSC, located on a site with good trade specials and including all of the scientific improvements and wonders, can easily produce enough science to sustain an advance every two turns. In comparison, it would take 12 or more size 8 cities, each with a library, university and research lab, to produce the same amount of science. An SSC can be very efficient since adding the Shakespeare’s Theater wonder to it also makes it possible to keep all those extra citizens content without having to use any luxuries. SSCs are an economic force, too. With the addition of a marketplace, bank, stock exchange, and superhighways, they can add 50 or more gold to tax revenues for each 10% increase in taxes. Adding the Colossus wonder allows them to do even better. Caravans and freights built in an SSC and delivered to cities on other continents demanding SSC commodities usually produce maximum payoffs.

      Following are some ideas for getting the most out of SSCs.

      a) If there is a choice of SSC sites, pick the one that will end up giving you the maximum number of trade arrows. This may not necessarily be the site with the best trade specials, since the potential trade of all city tiles must be considered. The amount of extra food the SSC will produce is another factor, since extra citizens can be put to work as scientists or taxmen. Don’t give a second thought to shields, as a total of 10 or so will be plenty when the SSC reaches full size. At that time almost every build will be rushed, and only 10 shields are needed to finish off the last row for freights when they are being built.

      b) There are two reasons you may not want to use your capital as the SSC. Later on during Democracy, the SSC can build a cheap courthouse to celebrate beyond size 21 and since a helper is now the capital, it can add an extra citizen for free because of the palace. It can also be useful to have a few helpers contribute their beakers towards the next advance being learned after the SSC has added its own to the one currently being researched. These helper beakers often allow one to get a good jump on learning the next advance, when SSC beakers have provided enough to trigger the first one. (The order of processing cities and their beakers at the beginning of each turn is the reverse of the order in which the cities were founded, so the capital is always processed last).

      c) When convenient, triremes and caravels should be homed to the SSC, so that they are free to travel about later during Democracy. As with any other units, it is better to use helpers to produce them, since any unit except caravans and freights can be re-homed to the SSC later, if necessary. The SSC should not have to be wasting its time building units.

      d) Since SSC growth is a priority, so is the timely acquisition of techs such as Construction and Sanitation. SSC growth should never have to be interrupted because you lack the tech needed to build an aqueduct or sewer. Similarly, learning Medicine should be an early priority, and if the SSC has many ocean tiles, Seafaring becomes important, too. After the first group of cities has been established, early settlers should concentrate almost entirely on the SSC’s tiles by adding roads and irrigation to them.

      e) The fewer luxuries needed to sustain the SSC’s celebration while it grows to size 21, the better. Significantly fewer luxuries are needed by adding trade routes, roads, a harbor, a marketplace, a bank, and the Colossus wonder.

      f) The best order of adding improvements and wonders to the SSC mostly depends on the trade specials it has to work with. For example, an SSC having gold specials might make the most out of this heavy concentration of trade arrows by adding a library, university and the Copernicus wonder before adding Shakespeare’s Theater and celebrating up to size 21. A city with weaker trade specials will do better by adding more citizens sooner. In this case, economic improvements, Shakespeare’s Theater and the Colossus should probably precede the addition of some or all scientific improvements and wonders.

      g) Once it has reached full size, the SSC no longer needs an aqueduct or sewer and both may be sold. When I first learned that this could be done, this exploit rubbed me the wrong way, because a full-sized city needs a source of water supply and the ability to dispose of sewage more than it ever did while it was growing. Then I learned that others had an equal distaste for ploys I had no qualms about using on a regular basis. Ultimately, the appropriateness of any exploit, trick or ploy is a matter of personal opinions, which will always differ. Rather than try to arbitrate or pass judgment, it was decided to allow all exploits in these comparison games in order to give individual players more tactical choices. I still choose to keep SSC aqueducts and sewers around unless an urgent need for some extra gold arises. Alas, at some point during most games, this usually happens! Oh well.

      h) Generally, caravans and freights produced by the SSC should be used for trades instead of for wonders. An exception can be made for a vital wonder needing just one more caravan immediately or in cases where SSC can only make food.

      i) Each turn of SSC production is precious, so the SSC should rush buy as much as finances permit. Especially in the second half of the game, the SSC should be building something new on every turn, if possible. The speedy delivery of SSC freights to demanding cities on other continents will cover the extra expense of rushing all SSC builds from scratch.

      j) If an AI city is close enough (within 22 tiles on the same continent), the SSC should establish trade routes with it early, to take advantage of the road and rail trade route bonuses. If these are established in time, SSC supply commodities will have changed by the time it reaches full size. If these bonus routes established with obsolete commodities “stick”, then supply commodities appearing later can be traded repetitively, using the wonder bread ploy. In addition, deliveries to the SSC from colonies will not block SSC demands.

      k) If no AI cities are close enough for establishing the route bonuses, there is a possibility that a helper city can be given up to an AI or barbarian attack. Afterwards, this new AI or barb city will be within range and the bonuses obtained with roaded and railed routes should make sacrificing a helper worthwhile.

      l) Adding improvements such as factories and power plants to boost SSC shields is probably not a good idea. In the second half of the game, most builds are rushed and more shields increases the chances of pollution, which can divert engineers from doing more vital tasks. The appearance of pollution can sometimes interrupt the acquisition of technology, too. On the other hand, pollution due to having many citizens can be eliminated by building mass transit and this probably should be done if the SSC population grows much beyond size 21.

      m) Mastering the techniques used to unblock supply commodities is vital in making the most out of the huge trading potential of the SSC in early landing games. Since most of these techniques could not be implemented in OCC games, SSC trading opportunities in them were more limited. However, for early landing games, it might more appropriate to rename this key city the “Super Science and Trade City”, but the familiar SSC abbreviation is close enough and will be retained, just so long as we don’t forget to trade.

      2.1.2 Helper Cities

      Helper cities are those located near the SSC. Their main job is to produce caravans and freights. They are also used to produce ships and other units, as needed. Later in the game, the best helpers may have to build scientific improvements to provide enough extra city science to sustain one advance per turn. For most of the game, helpers will stay at size 3, having temples as the only city improvement. Once freights become available helpers will start trading as actively as the SSC, and will celebrate up to size 7 or 8 while adding harbors, colosseums, and superhighways.

      When playing on a standard sized map, happiness is adversely affected when the number of cities exceeds 4 under Despotism, 6 under Monarchy, 8 under Republic and 10 under Democracy. Since more cities are not needed for successful early landing games, and because of the time needed to build a new settler to found each new city, it’s a good idea to stick to these limits, with the possible exception of Democracy, where it might be tactically prudent to add few extra cities late in the game. Because the number of helpers is limited, it’s a good idea to find the best helper locations in proximity to the SSC. Helper city sites should be based on the following criteria:

      a) Shields are important for helpers in order to produce caravans more quickly. Locations providing 5 or more shields for size three helpers are best. Specials to look for when locating helpers are oil, buffalos, pheasants, silk, iron, peat and whales. Coal and wine need mines and there may not be enough time to build these. If shield specials are not available, forested tiles are the best free source of extra shields.

      b) Enough food is important for rapid growth. At least two extra food will be needed to support the settlers and engineers used to build roads, mines, etc. A food special is desirable (especially if it is a pheasant since it will also produces shields), but if no food specials are available, preference should be given to founding helpers on grassland tiles, to ensure an adequate amount of free food, since irrigation takes a lot of time.

      c) If possible, helpers should be located on a coast. This allows them to build ships and allows them to take advantage of all of the free trade arrows provided by ocean tiles later in the game, when they grow to full size and shift their emphasis to trade. Coastal access is also needed to build harbors to feed citizens located on ocean tiles. Finally, these locations often allow access to whales, one of the most useful specials for size three cities. Whales offer an excellent combination of shields and trade, while providing adequate food.

      d) A total of five helper cities are probably best, allowing for the addition of 4 colonies later on. A mix of 6 helpers and three colonies will work well, too, but it may be best to add the 6th helper later, having it double as a station city, if one is needed.

      In the early part of the game helpers will be devoted to producing caravans needed to construct SSC wonders. However, the first caravan or two produced by each helper should probably be traded to an AI city on a nearby continent. Gold is in short supply early in the game, and early trades will help provide enough of it to be able to rush SSC city improvements that are needed, such as harbors, marketplaces, aqueducts and libraries. There’s no use in getting Shakespeare’s Theater built earlier if the SSC’s subsequent growth is delayed while it waits to finish an aqueduct that can’t be rushed for lack of gold. Early trades are also an effective way to acquire techs quickly. So, if in doubt as to how to use a helper caravan, send it off for a trade.

      Not much rush buying will be happening in helper cities early in the game, hence the emphasis on shields in order to produce caravans quickly. However, there should be enough gold to afford partial rushes, which will get the most out of the number of shields a helper has to work with. For example, a helper producing 6 shields should rush two more after the first three turns are used to produce 18. The remaining 30 shields needed to finish the caravan will only take 5 more turns. Similarly, a helper producing 7 shields will want to rush two more to add to the first 28, so that the 20 that remain will only take three more turns to build. Similar mini-rushes can save a turn here and there when producing caravans, and when all these saved turns are added together, a better landing date will result.

      Once helpers have built enough caravans to finish Sir Isaac’s, which is usually the last wonder built in the SSC, they can shift to building harbors, colosseums and transports, while waiting for freights to become available. Any extra caravans produced by helpers after the discovery of Invention or Navigation, will not bring in much gold from trades. If 8 of these extra caravans happen to be around, they might be put to better use building Darwin’s, in order to speed up the discovery of Corporation.

      Later in the game, when the trading of freights is in full swing, there will be enough income to rush freights in helper cities, but it’s probably best to do this in two turns, to avoid the penalties involved in rushing freights from scratch. Most helper citizens will now be best off working ocean tiles and trade specials, and you’ll want to add superhighways to maximize their trade arrows and to make 50% more on their trades. As more beakers are required to cover rising tech costs, the best helpers will add libraries and universities, too.


      • #4
        2.1 Types of Cities Used and Their Roles (cont)

        2.1.3 Colonies

        Colonies are cities located on a different continent(s) than that of the SSC. Their main job is to build caravans and freights for trade with the SSC and its surrounding helpers. In the second half of the game, a system of alternating trade can be set up using ship chains. On the first turn of each pair, SSC and helper freights are shipped out to the colonies and AI cities located nearby. On the second turn, freights built by the colonies can be shipped back home. This system allows each helper and colony to build and deliver a freight every other turn.

        The first colony or two should be started during early Republic, and the final two can be set up after the switch is made to Democracy. Since there will be a wide choice of possible colony sites, the criteria for selecting where it would be best to put them can be quite specific. Here is a list of things to consider, in order of importance:

        a) Strategic locations, such as an isthmus separating two bodies of water can allow a colony to act as a shortcut to AI cities that are hard to reach. Plan colony placements in a way so that future freights coming from the SSC and helpers can be delivered to overseas AI targets in one turn by using ship chains, coastal cities and connecting railroads. Clustering colonies together can be a good idea, especially if connecting roads and railroads can be built in time to facilitate the shipment of freights.

        b) Colonies should be located far enough away to ensure good payoffs for their freights which are sent home, but not so far that it will end up taking more than one turn to
        complete these shipments. A distance of over 15 tiles from the SSC to the closest colony is far enough away. Probably no more than 4 or 5 transports should be required to bridge the distance between the colonies and a home port. The idea is to maximize the number of trades and not the size of the fleet that carries them.

        c) Hopefully, a good strategic location can be found that is also rich in food and trade. Most colonies probably need food specials, in order to grow to size three in time to join all other colonies and helpers when they celebrate up to size 7 or 8. Access to trade specials help fulfill the primary purpose of colonies, which is building freights for trade. In the absence of trade specials, coastal helpers will do very well by building harbors and placing most citizens on ocean tiles.

        d) Another important factor to consider for colonies, are the type of commodities they will be supplying and demanding. If you want to get the most out of their trades, it is worthwhile calculating the supply and demand wildcards of several potential sites, to identify those with commodities matching those that will appear in the SSC when the trading of freights is well underway. The most dedicated colonists may even want to work out the complete supply and demand lists, but the necessary calculations are extensive. A good estimate, based on terrain and grid coordinates, will probably suffice here. A one tile move in one direction or another can often make a big difference in commodity supplies and demands.

        e) A good way of establishing colonies may be to bribe AI cities that already occupy suitable locations. This may be the best option for adding the final one or two colonies after the switch is made to Democracy. Inciting revolts is not that expensive, and can produce instant size three colonies without going to the bother of producing settlers and founding and developing them yourself. The number of suitable candidates for bribery may be limited, but this may be the only option if a size three colony is needed in a hurry.

        f) Another idea to consider is shipping settlers who have been working at home to prime colony sites just before Explosives are acquired. The settlers can found and join new colonies, building them up to size three rapidly, while new engineers are produced in existing cities to replace the settlers previously used as terrain workers. Colonies founded during Democracy may not grow to size three quickly enough without getting such a quick boost in population.

        2.1.4 Station City

        The value of trade routes is boosted 50% each by road and rail connections between trading cities. However, if these connections are only made to an intervening station city along the “go to” route from one trading partner to the other, this is far enough to earn these ongoing bonuses. This is because game’s algorithm for determining the bonuses stops at the first city encountered without verifying the rest of the route. If the SSC can establish these bonuses with an AI city that is within 22 tiles on the same continent, the huge increase in trade route values can translate into a 25% increase in its beaker capacity. This is well worth doing.

        In some games, a helper city may already have been founded along the “go to” route from the SSC to its AI trading partner. In that case, it can double as a station city as soon as it is connected by a road, and later by rail to the SSC. However, most helpers are founded before AI city locations have been discovered, making these coincidental and fortuitous helper placements unlikely. Usually, a station city has to be founded just outside of the SSC’s city radius to establish the connection along the proper route. Often this route is not at all obvious, so if there is any doubt, a good way to check it is to use the “go to” command, using a settler or another unit sitting in the SSC, and picking the AI trading partner as the destination of the “go to” order. The tile where this unit exits the SSC’s radius is where the station city should be founded.

        A station city may also function as an additional helper city, but if there is a lack of suitable terrain, it may be more convenient to keep it at a minimal size, having the station start accumulating shields in an unused wonder, acting as the recipient of the “wonder bread” food freights that the SSC will be producing to unblock its supply commodities. Later, when Space Flight is discovered, a good part of the Apollo Program will have been completed by the station. This dual role is probably the most efficient way of using this special city type. One should note that the station need not be adjacent to the SSC, but proximity does allow quicker road and rail connections and may allow the station to serve more than one AI city. For those interested in more details or examples, here is a link to Samson’s thread on the topic:

        Finally, if a station city is the last city founded, it can perform the additional function of a tech trigger city, which will be discussed next.

        2.1.5 Tech Trigger City

        When enough freights have been delivered to fulfill the beaker requirements of a tech being learned, the tech will still require 1 beaker from a city in order to trigger the advance. This beaker will come from the last city which was founded, since at the beginning of each turn when the game processes cities, it does so in order from last to first. If the last city founded is producing many beakers, all of these except one will be wasted whenever this triggering function is performed. Since a second advance may be possible from city science on turns where the first is provided by freights, available beakers can be used more efficiently by adding one more city to perform this tech triggering function.

        Having a tech trigger city may become a necessity late in the game, when total city science barely exceeds mounting tech costs. It may be more efficient to quickly add a small trigger city than to continue adding scientific improvements to other cities. However, its addition to the game may bring the total number of cities over 10, causing some unhappiness in others, so doing this should be delayed until all other cities have finished celebrating to full size. A tech trigger city can also be used as a space ship contractor.

        2.1.6 Space Ship Contractors

        Before Space Flight is discovered an inventory of resources should be made to determine how quickly a ship can be built and how many components one can afford. A minimal space ship will need 15 structurals, 2 components and 3 modules. Ten cities are enough to build a minimal ship in two turns, since a total of 20 parts will be needed. If there are enough resources, faster ships may be built by adding 1 or 2 more sets of components. However, when 20 years separate each game turn, faster ships will not arrive any sooner, unless they can be built in the same number of turns as slower ones. It may be necessary to add one or two more cities as space ship contractors, so that there are enough cities to handle all of the space ships parts which will be needed.


        • #5
          2.2 Dealing with the Artificial Intelligence (AI)

          2.2.1 AI Diplomacy

          The AI's attitude and actions towards the human player are largely determined by relative power ratings. Power ratings are computed by a mathematical formula based on the number of citizens, number of techs and amount of gold belonging to each civilization in the game. It is important to note that the number or quality of military units is NOT a part of this formula, and that the AI haven't a clue about the size of your military. The AI can not "see" city flags, either, to tell if there are any defenders waiting to repel their attacks. Their attitude towards you is shaped only by your power rating, your conduct towards them, and by specific game situations.

          If the human player has a low power rating, the AI will be friendly, will often offer to trade techs, and will want to form alliances. If the human player's power rating is pathetic enough, the AI will become like doting grandparents, bestowing generous gifts whenever asked. OCC players often take advantage of this fact in their games, because their power rating is limited by having only one city. AI generosity reached surprising proportions in OCC games played with a limited number of citizens.

          If the human player has a high power rating, the AI is apt to be more abrupt and demanding, but will cower and offer tribute when confronted with an immediate threat. In early landing games, a human player will become Supreme, but will lack the time to produce the military might needed to enforce his or her will. Since the AI will become petulant, it will be necessary to control their attitudes using technology gifts, in order to prevent wars and sneak attacks.

          This policy of appeasement may go against the grain of players used to dealing more aggressively with the AI, but it works. It may be satisfying to intimidate the AI and prove that your knowledge of military tactics is superior, but doing this will delay your arrival on Alpha Centauri. Let the AI fight each other.

          2.2.2 First Contact

          If you still want to stand up to the AI, the first contact is the best time to refuse to give into their demands for tech or gold. If they have something useful to trade they are more likely to do this when relations are on the rebound after making peace, and a peace treaty is often possible on the very next turn! Since early wars are most often just a war of words, no damage will be done, and you will have eliminated the risk of being branded the spineless appeaser you intend to become until your space ship is launched.

          Some exceptions to this general advice to start early wars are when the AI is an aggressive neighbor posing an immediate threat, or if you want to keep that caravan or other unit they can easily kill on their next turn. Use common sense and if in doubt, appease.

          If the first contact is friendlier, there's no point in provoking a war. You're better off trading for a useful tech, gifting enough more to make them worshipful, and getting some more information about their cities by trading maps.

          2.2.3 Trading Technology with the AI

          Early in the game, the AI may help provide several techs through trade. Early ones that are almost always available from one or more AI are Pottery, Alphabet, Warrior Code, Horseback Riding, Bronze Working, Masonry and Ceremonial Burial, but the trick is meeting the AI with the tech(s) you need before having to learn it yourself. In our games, this becomes a problem due to a lack of NON horsemen and chariots which would usually be available for early exploration after being tipped from huts.

          A good plan then, is to research techs on the path to those offering a better government and postponing research of others commonly available through trades. Another viable option is to research Trade quickly and to build Marco Polo's Embassy, which will probably result in your obtaining 5 or more techs from the AI than would have been possible without possession of this wonder.

          If you are patient, techs such as Seafaring, Map Making, Mathematics, The Wheel, Iron Working, Currency, and Mysticism are often acquired by an AI in time to make trades. Later in the game, the AI will not be much help, only acquiring an odd tech here or there that is of use. Often these later techs come from huts normally tipped by the human player instead. By keeping track of techs being fed to one or more AI and postponing the gift of Invention, one can increase the chances of beneficial AI hut technology. A few techs such as Feudalism, Chivalry, and Conscription can be deferred for quite a while, and may actually be learned in time for trades by AI research.

          One more way of acquiring an extra tech or two from the AI is to give them all Railroad when it is discovered. One or more will start building Darwin's Voyage, and when its imminent completion is announced, give all of your techs to the AI about to complete the wonder. This will produce two techs you can trade for later, and one or both might even be on the path towards Space Flight. When this happens, you'll be getting the full benefit of Darwin's without having to pay for its construction.

          In our early landing games without huts, it might be of some benefit to delay meeting most of the AI. The vast majority of techs they are able to research will have been acquired by the time contact is established. Waiting will also give you time to obtain some leverage by establishing a bit of a tech lead, too. Once your tech gifts begin, it doesn't take many to substantially reduce their pace of research. In fact, once contact is made and tech gifts begin to the key civ, it can be counted on NOT to learn anything new for the rest of the game!

          Once gifts begin, make sure each AI gets Republic and Democracy as soon as possible, as these governments allow them to become more peaceful and studious. Remember that Democracy is a prerequisite of Conscription, which is a tech an AI may have time to learn before you need it, yourself.

          Of course, trade for off path techs should be deferred for as long as possible to reduce tech carrying costs. When one is offered by an AI for trade, it is most likely that they will not have anything better, so it's best to decline the offer. The acquisition of needed techs should also be deferred until their possession becomes more vital, unless a wonder tech, such as Astronomy, is available. Later on, you don't want to hear about AI "brilliant minds" building Copernicus and refusing to part with Astronomy.

          Finally, tech gifts made to the AI are the best way to keep them peaceful and to prevent sneak attacks. Each AI session should end with enough gifts to make them worshipful and end with an exchange of maps to keep city information up to date.

          2.2.4 Trading Commodities with the AI

          In early landing games opportunities for acquiring gold are limited, especially in the earliest part of the game. Gold from huts is unavailable and the amount of gold available from the AI in the form of gifts and/or tribute is limited, too. Since the human player quickly becomes Supreme, this power rating will soon shut off gifts of gold from any alliances that can be formed. Although the Supreme rating increases the chances of extracting tribute, this can not be done as a Republic and later, as a Democracy. If the switch is not made to these higher forms of government when they become available, research will be delayed and so will any chances for a good landing date.

          Luckily, caravans provide an excellent and reliable source of income. Delivery payments can vary considerably, but if most trades can be made to demanding AI cities on a different continent, you can take full advantage of the bonuses that are built into the payment system. Each caravan is a considerable investment at 50 shields, and since they take time to produce when they can not be rushed, it pays to use them to make these more profitable deliveries. An added bonus of higher payoffs is that foreign trade speeds up research considerably, since an amount of beakers equal to the gold payment received on each delivery will be counted towards the advance currently being researched.

          Although internal trading of caravans is faster and will establish ongoing trade routes for your own cities more quickly, the cash payoffs (and beakers) obtained are minimal. Internal trade also blocks supply commodities more quickly, since a free one will be blocked in a city on the receiving end of a trade whenever a new route is established. The pool of available supply commodities will be reduced twice as fast.

          Therefore two early priorities should be the discovery of Trade and the discovery of a nearby AI-infested continent. If this can be done quickly enough, the earliest trades may result in some 1 turn advances. Triremes can be used to ferry these early caravans to AI cities quickly, and tech gifts can keep a testy AI from hacking caravans to death before they are delivered. Deliveries should be timed to make the most out of the beakers that are earned, too. The best time to deliver is right after a new advance has been earned.

          Later in the game, after freights have replaced caravans, will be a better time for some internal trading. Colonies will do well by trading with the SSC, and when superhighways are built, the trade bonuses provided by this improvement will end up canceling the same civ trading penalty. It is also later in the game that internal trades are needed to unblock supply commodities. Profitable trades with the AI will still continue, with the target of most trades being the most remote, but easily reachable, demanding city.

          2.2.5 The Importance of the Key Civ

          There is another important relationship with the AI that depends on power ratings, that affects the cost of techs being researched. For a long time players knew that if they gifted all their techs to one of the AI (known then as the "6th civ") they could reduce their own research costs. However, it mattered which AI civ received the gifts and things were further complicated by the fact that this special civ was not always the same one throughout a game. So most players ended up gifting techs to all of the AI all of the time, just to make sure that key civ was included. Samson's key civ discovery allowed players to easily identify the AI civ they needed to give their techs to in order to minimize research costs.

          It turns out that every civ in a game, including the AI, have their own key civ. The key civ assigned to any player is based on that player's power rating, and the civ colors are used to determine who the key civs will be. Here is a summary:

          Power Rating - Key civ color

          Pathetic - white
          Weak - green
          Inadequate - dark blue
          Moderate - yellow
          Strong - light blue
          Mighty - orange
          Supreme - purple

          For example, the human player rated as Supreme will use the purple civ as his or her key civ. Other civs in the game will have a different civ to key on, and which one it is depends on their own power rating. Key civ assignments can change whenever there is a change of power rating assignments, a frequent occurrence in Civ II games, especially in the early years. It is also possible for a civ to become its own key civ. In this case no research penalties or bonuses apply.

          Anyways, the point of all this is that human players will want to gift all techs they acquire to their key civ, in order to reduce their own research costs, since the penalties for not doing so can be quite substantial. In early landing games, the human player is likely to become rated as Supreme, so it's important to find the purple civ quickly and gift to them any and all techs that are acquired.

          Since each AI has a key civ of its own, the human player can influence their rates of research somewhat by presenting gifts to key civ's of the AI they want to help and by presenting gifts to any AI civs they wish to slow down. Doing this may help certain AI acquire a tech you may want to trade for. The most can be made of these opportunities if embassies have been established or if Marco Polo's has been built, so that tech research choices can be monitored.

          Finally, you can find out what your own power rating is by invoking the Foreign Minister option, where your power and reputation will be displayed. AI power ratings can be surmised when they are contacted by counting the weapons on the left side of their diplomacy screens. No weapons means pathetic, one weapon means weak, and so on up to the higher ratings.

          2.2.6 Space Flight and AI Attitudes

          The discovery of Space Flight can have an adverse affect on AI attitudes. Previous to this, their attitudes could be monitored and shored up, whenever necessary, by presenting tech gifts. However, the AI attitudes displayed by the Foreign Advisor mean little at this point, but it's still nice to know that sneak attacks and other treachery can still be delayed by gifting tech in a timely way. One must be especially vigilant with cities neighboring the AI, such as colonies, so that they can build their space ship parts without any nasty interruptions. As with all other AI contact, spend what you can before ringing them up to give away techs, for it's likely they'll be wanting some gold, too. Appease one more time, to buy time to for your launch.

          After you launch, the AI will go bonkers, but as long as your capital and SSC are quickly protected, it doesn't matter. While waiting for the space ship to arrive, there will be plenty of time to build some nifty weapons and join in on all the mayhem and fun.

          2.2.7 Dealing with Barbarians

          Since AI behavior can be controlled with tech gifts, the only reason for protecting cities is to repel barbarian attacks. The best way to do this is with a diplomat, which can be used to bribe one attacker and use it to kill off the other. If cities are defended with phalanxes and the like, this will use up precious shields during Republic and Democracy, and building up such bulletproof defenses will take time and resources away from the primary task of making an early landing. Players more used to conquest games may not feel comfortable playing with defenseless cities, but some chances must be taken. Barbarians usually signal their arrival well in advance, anyways. This gives you time to decide how to deal with them.

          The worst that barbarians can do is capture the SSC, so if any defenders are built, they might as well all be stationed there. However, the SSC is really only vulnerable during the early years, when there may not be enough gold or any diplomats around to spend it. One can survive the loss of a helper or colony, and its better not to spend all kinds of resources defending one that is threatened. If considered precious, a captured city can be repurchased later with a bribe, and before that, it might even become a good trading partner or a source of cheap NON units.

          If you are lucky, barb leaders may provide extra gold. Diplomats can bribe cheap barb units such as horsemen, which may end up paying for themselves by capturing a leader. Triremes that are exploring or delivering caravans often can pick off barb leaders rebounding to coastal tiles after unsuccessful attacks against AI cities. Although always welcome, this source of income is so unpredictable, it's better to depend on a better one such as trade.
          Last edited by solo; March 31, 2003, 10:06.


          • #6
            2.3 Wonders used in ELG

            Various wonders are commonly used in Early Landing Games. Some are necessary for a decent result and others may fit a particular game situation or individual strategy. Only wonders that may be of some real use will be discussed below. One may make some arguments for including others such as the Pyramids, Magellan’s, the Oracle, etc., in this list, but in a successful game there will probably not be enough time to build any of these, in addition to all of the ones that are essential.

            2.3.1 Apollo Program

            The Apollo Program is a requirement to build space ship parts, so there is not much else to say about it, except that shields used to produce it may be accumulated in another wonder while awaiting the discovery of Space Flight. Players making use of the “wonder bread” ploy will want to be doing this, but in games where this unblocking technique will not be used, it still might be a good idea to get an early start on Apollo, since this wonder is expensive and building it gradually will provide more resources later when space ship parts have to be built quickly.

            2.3.2 Colossus

            The Colossus wonder is a good one to add to the SSC, since it provides the city with many additional trade arrows, increasing SSC income and beaker capacity. When added early enough, the extra trade provided will reduce the percentage of luxuries needed to start and maintain “we love” celebrations used for SSC growth. Another good reason for building the Colossus early is because if you don’t, one of the AI may beat you to it, since most will have knowledge of Bronze Working early on.

            Although very beneficial, having the Colossus in the SSC is not essential. If the SSC site has good trade specials and some rivers, it can get along quite well without this wonder. It could be that a helper or colony site will be found having some trade specials as good, if not better, than those in the SSC. With the addition of the Colossus and other city improvements, this other city may become a mini-SSC in its own right, adding significant amounts of income and research capacity.

            There may also be some good reasons for not building this wonder at all, the main one being that its benefits expire with the discovery of Flight. While it’s true that Flight can be postponed for a long time to avoid this loss of trade arrows, it’s necessary to acquire quite a few off path techs to take this route through the tech tree.

            In some games, it’s possible that airports will work better than ship chains for conducting trade between the colonies and the home cities. Since the Radio and Flight techs are needed before airports can be built, a player planning to use airports will research Flight as early as possible, and may decide to skip building the Colossus for this reason. Although such a strategy may suit small map games better than the ones we play on medium maps, it should be noted that it was used with much success in Samson’s record 16 AD game.

            2.3.3 Copernicus’s Observatory

            Copernicus’s Observatory is an essential SSC wonder. While all other scientific improvements and wonders only increase SSC science by 50%, Copernicus stands alone, since it doubles SSC beakers. If Copernicus is not added to the SSC, it will only be half as effective for research.

            2.3.4 Darwin’s Voyage

            Since the discovery of Railroad decreases caravan payoffs by 1/3 and allows the construction of Darwin’s Voyage, this might be a smart thing to do if there are a bunch of caravans still sitting around. Darwin’s will help speed the way to Corporation, just when such a boost in research is most useful. An argument against building Darwin’s is that it is quite costly and there are probably better things for helper cities to be building than caravans, after they have helped complete SSC wonders. If an advance per turn can be maintained until freights are available, Darwin’s can be skipped without losing much time. If Railroad is gifted to all of the AI, one or more of them will start building this wonder. Gifting all techs to a civ about to complete Darwin’s may allow you to reap its benefits without having to pay its costs.

            2.3.5 Hanging Gardens

            The Hanging Gardens is so well suited to the early game, that investing in it may prove to be well worth while. It certainly simplifies early SSC celebrations and may allow helpers and colonies to grow to size 5 or 6 much earlier in the game. Since size 5 allows “Xinning”, a strategy developed by Xin Yu making extensive use of scientists, research may get a very welcome boost while the SSC continues to grow and develop. (For more details, please consult Xin Yu’s Five Size Strategy in the Great Library).

            The main problem with the Hanging Gardens is that it expires when Railroad is discovered, which is fairly early in the game. This can be a difficult transition at a time when funds may not be too plentiful. Many players may end up having to use some entertainers and/or luxuries to keep extra citizens happy until the happiness problem can be solved in a more permanent way.

            Another problem with the Hanging Gardens is that it requires the knowledge of Pottery, an off path tech. Pottery also triples the chances of your cities being suppliers of salt, which will probably not be the commodity of choice when trading freights later in the game.

            A final argument against building the Hanging Gardens is that when used, it is usually the first wonder built. Using early resources on this wonder may delay the construction of others that are more essential, such as Copernicus.

            2.3.6 Sir Isaac Newton’s College

            This wonder is much less effective than Copernicus, so it may seem unfair that it costs 100 more shields to build Sir Isaac Newton’s College. However, Newton’s College is just as essential, because it is the combination of having all scientific improvements and wonders in one place, that allows the SSC to live up to its name. Because it costs so much, build it last, but still add it as quickly as you can.

            Players should also realize that Newton’s is ineffective unless there are scientific improvements such as libraries and universities already in place, so make sure these are built before completing this wonder. When Newton’s is added, it improves these improvements by 50%. In contrast, Copernicus doubles a city’s beakers under all conditions.

            2.3.7 Leonardo’s Workshop

            If there are a lot of caravans, small ships, settlers, and military units hanging around when Invention is discovered, it might be most efficient to build Leonardo’s Workshop. However, this wonder will be of most benefit to poor planners or to those who are just not comfortable using a strategy of AI appeasement. It could be that aggressive players may be compensated by collecting enough tribute, but each non-essential wonder that is built leaves fewer resources that might have come in handy later when there is rush to build a space ship.

            Spare caravans can be used for another wonder such as Darwin’s, or may start pre-building Apollo. New ships can be half way built by disbanding old ones. Spare settlers may found new cities, join existing ones, or be disbanded to speed engineer builds. If you have a lot of military units, ask yourself why? So, before building Leo’s consider whether its cost justifies the instant upgrades it may provide. I doubt it, but that’s just my opinion.

            2.3.8 Marco Polo’s Embassy

            Without huts that produce fast explorers, it may take a long time to contact the AI in Early Landing games. This wonder can be built when Trade is discovered, and since Trade is as much an early priority as AI contact, Marco Polo’s may be the best wonder to build first. Those who build it will probably average 5 or more useful tech trades with the AI, than those who don’t. A big advantage provided by this wonder is the knowledge of the techs currently being researched by each AI. This allows precise gifting of techs, which increases the odds that some useful ones will be learned in time for trades later in the game.

            There are some good reasons for not building Marco Polo’s. One is that Map Making permits triremes and Writing permits diplomats, and that this combination is a good one to use for contacting the AI quickly. Trade is usually discovered a bit later, and by this time some contacts may have already been established. Also consider that an embassy with each civ is probably not needed, and that diplomats can establish embassies with civs judged to be good researchers, and that embassies created with diplomats do not expire with the discovery of Communism.

            Since the resources needed to build Marco Polo’s may be put to better use, and its main benefit is the immediacy of contact it provides with all the AI, it may be best to only build this wonder in games where there has been early difficulty in locating the AI, or in games where the key civ’s location remains elusive. If two or three civs have already been found by the time Trade is discovered, it’s probably not worth building MPE.

            2.3.9 Michaelangelo’s Chapel

            This is the best wonder for controlling happiness, but two off path techs must be acquired in order to build it. This may be worth doing in games where the SSC location is weak and when it might be beneficial to add more cities than are usual in early landing games. If the total number of cities does not exceed 10, it is probably better to use colosseums, so that Polytheism and Monotheism can be bypassed. Colosseums are easy to rush and maintain if helpers and colonies wait until after freights are in the game before beginning their own growth.

            If the AI are able to research the techs needed for Michaelangelo’s in time, trading for Monotheism might be a good idea, since building this wonder would use fewer resources. Players starting off the game with the Hanging Gardens are apt to need Michaelangelo’s later, when Railroad is discovered.

            2.3.10 SETI Program

            Usually the only city that will need a research lab is the SSC. By the time this wonder is available, there is not that much more research that has to be done, and there probably will not be enough resources on hand to build the SETI Program and still be able to build a fast ship quickly. SETI is probably for those games where the SSC is quite weak and where all helpers and colonies already have libraries and universities, and when there is more cash around than is needed.

            2.3.11 Shakespeare’s Theater

            This is the wonder that makes the SSC work so efficiently. The main advantage is that Shakespeare’s allows the research slider to be set at 100% during Democracy, something that has to be done frequently in the second half of the game. The other big advantage is that triremes, caravels and other military units can be homed to the SSC once Shakespeare’s has been built, eliminating happiness problems during Republic and Democracy.

            Almost every SSC will need Shakespeare’s Theater, but in games where SSC site has poor terrain accompanying its four great trade specials, the SSC population may be limited, and it may be more efficient to control its happiness in another way. So let’s call ST almost always essential.


            • #7
              2.4 Governments used in ELG

              2.4.1 Anarchy

              Anarchy is actually lack of government, and for a long time players had to endure unpredictable durations of it when changing government types. Then Oedo discovered that the length of Anarchy was governed by a simple 4 year cycle. Ever since, the year of 3850 BC, and every fourth year that followed during any game became known as “Oedo years”, and players were able to minimize Anarchy by starting revolutions on the turns preceding these years.

              It wasn’t long before players added another refinement of timing the discovery of techs like Republic and Democracy, so that these discoveries would coincide with Oedo years, since this eliminated Anarchy altogether, saving a turn of research. However, when doing this, the switch of governments had to be made immediately after discovering the tech for the new government type. Waiting until later on that same turn to make the switch did not work.

              Once knowledge of Oedo years was widespread and tables of these years compiled, they could be consulted whenever a new government type was discovered. Since odds were best this would happen on bad turns for starting revolutions, players had to make a mental note of when to begin a revolution and then would usually be distracted by other things and end up forgetting to do this! In one OCC game, I cruised along in Despotism for about 25 turns before realizing I had forgotten to switch to Monarchy, but the game had been so interesting, I hadn’t even noticed.

              Though generally scorned, Anarchy may have a limited use for players with a high power rating, who are currently using Republic or Democracy. If some extra gold is desperately needed, a one turn revolution will provide the opportunity to demand some tribute from the AI. Another good time for trying this is when the switch is made up to Democracy from Republic.

              Below is a table listing Oedo years at the deity level. Every sixteenth turn is highlighted for two reasons.

              1) The first time barbarians spontaneously appear in the game is in 3250 BC, the sixteenth turn of the game. Following that, they are spawned like clockwork, every sixteen turns, appearing on a ship at a random location on an ocean tile. Barbarians can also appear spontaneously on other Oedo years.

              2) 3250 BC is also the first cycle turn of the first city created in the game. City cycle turns are when their commodity supply and demand lists are automatically updated and these will be discussed in more detail in the section about trade.

              BC Oedo years

              3850, 3650, 3450, 3250,
              3050, 2850, 2650, 2450,
              2250, 2050, 1850, 1650,
              1450, 1250, 1050, 925,
              825, 725, 625, 525,
              425, 325, 225, 125,

              AD Oedo years

              60, 140, 220,
              300, 380, 460, 540,
              620, 700, 780, 860,
              940, 1020, 1100, 1180,
              1260, 1340, 1420, 1500,
              1540, 1580, 1620, 1660,
              1700, 1740, 1756, 1764,
              1772, 1780, 1788, 1796,
              1804, 1812, 1820, 1828,
              1836, 1844, 1851, 1855,
              1859, 1863, 1867, 1871,
              1875, 1879, 1883, 1887,
              1891, 1895, 1899, 1903,
              1907, 1911, 1915, 1919,
              1923, 1927, 1931, 1935,
              1939, 1943, 1947, 1951, etc.

              Remember that the worse time to declare a revolution is during an Oedo year. It’s the turn before that you want to do this, so that the following Oedo year can be used to make the switch in governments.

              2.4.2 Despotism

              Despotism is the worst government type, which is the reason why players try to acquire Monarchy or Republic as soon as possible. Need more be said?

              2.4.3 Monarchy

              For many players the discovery of Monarchy is the first priority in the game. Monarchy can be researched quickly, and it is well suited for small cities, since it’s easier to maintain units and because martial law can be used to enforce happiness. Monarchy also allows one to demand tribute, an option not available under Republic or Democracy. Without huts, sources of early income are so limited that this benefit of Monarchy may be enough in itself to decide to go with it until trade gets underway, or even until Republic is needed for we love celebrations.

              A disadvantage of Monarchy, is that it lacks the extra trade arrows available under Republic and Democracy, resulting in a slower rate of research and lower profits from early trades. A slower research rate may not end up being a bad thing, since this allows the AI more time to learn techs that one can trade for, but taking this approach entails the assumption that one will benefit from some good luck.

              An advantage of skipping Monarchy is that the carrying costs of another off path tech can be delayed. In fact, chances are good that an AI may discover Feudalism in time for a trade, making it possible to complete a game without ever having to acquire Monarchy.

              2.4.4 Republic

              Research speed is so much faster in Republic than in Monarchy, it is often a good idea to bypass Monarchy in order to get to Republic a bit sooner. It does take a few more turns to get to this government, since Writing and Literacy are pre-requisites, but the carrying costs of Monarchy, and the delay in researching that tech can be avoided by going straight for Republic. Another advantage of making an early switch to Republic is that two more cities may be added without inducing any extra unhappiness. This will allow one to get a jump on founding some colonies, with the idea of adding two of them during early Republic. Finally, if Republic is given to the AI right after it is discovered, most will make the shift, become more peaceful, and start learning new techs twice as fast.

              Although Republic is not well suited for tiny empires having small cities, various accommodations can be made to make things easier to manage. Temples in all cities need to be an early priority, so that when Republic is available, city happiness can be controlled without using any luxuries. There should be enough time to get these temples in place. Another requirement for playing early Republic with success, is realizing that tech gifts can be used to control AI attitudes and prevent their sneak attacks. Therefore only a few diplomats will be needed to guard against barbarians, the only real threat. After the switch to Republic is made, very few (or even no) city shields should be wasted supporting military units. Another requirement for early Republic is to locate enough cities in areas having enough food to support the needs of settlers working on roads and other jobs. Finally, the early use of Republic entails a commitment to set up for and to do a lot of early trading, since delivery payoffs will become the main (and possibly only) source of income.

              There can be some good reasons for not going to Republic early. Small cities can grow larger without luxuries and may contribute more towards the overall cause during a prolonged stay in Monarchy. Much depends on available resources and specials. If Republic can be delayed, techs such as Writing and Literacy may be learned by the AI in time to make trades for them, avoiding duplication of research during the part of the game when the AI are still able to learn techs at a reasonable speed. One may become lucky, taking advantage of other techs the AI happen to tip from huts. Although speedy human research is vital later on, purposely going a bit slower early on may even result in netting more techs than were possible in early Republic.

              Don’t count on so much good fortune, though. In most cases, better progress through the tech tree will result by using early Republic. Most important to remember is that the situation presented in each game is unique. Success will be more likely when strategies are flexible enough to adapt to specific situations. Forcing a situation to conform to a favorite strategy may be a recipe for failure.

              2.4.5 Democracy

              It’s obvious that Democracy is the best form of government. Income improves and the science slider can be set to 100% when needed for those 1 turn advances. This is the main reason why the total number of cities has been limited and why helpers and colonies have been kept at size three. It’s important NOT to be using any luxuries to control happiness, in order to allow this 100% science setting. When 100% science is not needed, more gold always is, and under Democracy, an SSC with all economic improvements can start to contribute considerable income through taxes.

              Democracy is so much better than Republic that the shift in governments should be made as soon as possible. SSC growth and development is usually almost complete by the time Democracy becomes available, and if the switch can be made early enough, the SSC will have enough science to sustain 1 turn advances for a number of turns. With the help of SSC caravans, this pace of research can often be maintained until freights become available. Democracy should be gifted to all of the AI. Many will shift to it and become even more agreeable and one or more may be able to research Conscription in time for a trade.

              The only problem with Democracy is that any triremes or caravels not homed to the SSC must do so or be disbanded. Good planners will think of doing this when opportunities arise earlier in the game. Going to Magnetism before Democracy to allow galleons will probably delay the benefits of being in Democracy too long. Since trade comes almost to a standstill during the Renaissance, the only good thing about this age is Democracy, which helps speed the way to Industrialization and Corporation. Since Democracy allows two more cities, they should be added soon, so they can get to size three in time for the helper and colony celebrations.

              2.4.6 Communism and Fundamentalism

              After a space ship is launched, it may be more convenient to switch to Communism or Fundamentalism, in order to mix it up with the AI. These governments allow more freedom to express aggressive impulses and to unleash any latent hostility felt towards any or all of the AI. Doing this may relieve the boredom of waiting for the space ship to arrive.
              Last edited by solo; March 31, 2003, 20:40.


              • #8
                2.5 Acquiring Technology

                Acquiring technology quickly is the name of the early landing game. Trading with the AI is the quickest way to acquire new techs, and gifting techs to one’s key civ, as detailed in section 2.2.5, is the best way of keep tech costs at a minimum. However, an understanding of the basics underlying technology costs is essential, as well as knowing how to chart an optimal path through the tech tree. These topics, as well as some specific techniques and tips used to speed up research, will be discussed here.

                2.5.1 Science Beakers

                Science beakers are used to acquire technology and the cost of each new tech can be precisely stated as a number of beakers. There are two ways of finding out how many beakers are needed for the advance currently being researched.

                One way is by temporarily setting the science slider all the way to zero per cent in the Tax Rate Menu. The number of turns displayed for “Discoveries:” will be the same as the number of beakers needed. To avoid an inaccurate reading, make sure none of the specialists in any of your cities are being used as scientists when checking a tech cost this way. Any scientists should be taken off duty temporarily, before the Tax Menu method is used to get beaker amounts.

                The other way of determining beaker costs is by calculating them directly, using Samson’s formula. Full details on how this is done are in his “Cost of Research Explained” thread. Here is the link:

                It is well worth knowing how tech costs are calculated, because it is often useful to know how much more future techs will cost than the one being researched at the moment. The thread also explains how your research costs are affected by your key civ and by starting techs. Although the human player in early landing games will not receive any free starting techs, it’s possible that AI civs may get some, and one of these may be your key civ.

                Tech costs constantly climb higher as the game progresses. The first tech only costs 10 beakers, but ones towards the end of an early landing game can cost up to 2000 beakers or more. For the first 19 techs that are learned, the average increase for each new tech is about 15 beakers. The 20th tech is an important threshold, because it will cost about 200 more beakers than the 19th, making this a major one-time jump in costs. After that you’ll average 26 beakers more for each new tech. This major shift upwards in beaker costs that begins with the 20th tech means that the first 19 you choose to acquire should include each early one you consider to be vital. Remember that any techs acquired through trades with the AI count as part of these 19.

                2.5.2 Technology Carrying Costs

                In early landing games, there is no such thing as a free tech. It is true that any tech from a trade with the AI is acquired immediately, but every tech added to the total ends up costing you about 26 beakers more for EVERY advance researched afterwards. It pays to be very selective when acquiring new techs, so that research costs can be kept low for as long as possible. Remember that once you possess a tech, it may become like an incurable disease because you can never get rid of it. Ideally, no tech should be acquired until it becomes vital.

                It is often possible to skip over many techs while playing a game and to benefit by avoiding their carrying costs. For example, if an AI is able to learn Seafaring, we can trade for it and can bypass Pottery entirely. If the AI are able to learn one or more of the techs along the military part of the tech path, such as Feudalism or Chivalry, we are relieved of the need to acquire techs like Warrior Code. If only 4 techs can be bypassed in this way, over 100 beakers can be trimmed off the cost of each new tech.

                To get a proper perspective on this, consider that 100 beakers are at least 1/12th of what a good SSC will produce. A good helper or colony needs all of the scientific improvements to have a chance of producing this many beakers. It’s much easier to limit carrying costs in the first place by avoiding unneeded techs, than to try and make up for having them later on in the game by adding more science. In the second half of the game, there will be many more chances of earning an advance per turn if carrying costs have been minimized as much as possible by avoiding unnecessary techs.

                Extra carrying costs may also be incurred by making detours through off path techs such as Theology or Monotheism in order to build a wonder such as Michaelangelo’s Chapel. Is the detour made to build this wonder worth the carrying costs of these extra techs?

                Carrying costs impact the AI civs much more than the human player because they are such lousy researchers. It also pays to be selective in the techs which are gifted to them, so that they have a better chance of learning useful techs you can trade for later.

                2.5.3 Research Choices

                Whenever a tech is learned a new tech list is presented, from which the next tech to be researched must be chosen. Sometimes none of the techs on the list are along the early landing path. All players already know from experience that these research lists do not include all of the techs they have the pre-requisites for. These omissions are explained by Oedo’s discovery that all of the Civ II techs have been split into three arbitrary groups, and that all eligible techs from one of these groups will be omitted each time a list of choices is presented.

                These three tech groups can be identified by the numbers 0, 1 and 2. Oedo discovered that techs belonging to group 0 will not appear in first list presented at the beginning of the game. The second list will omit techs belonging to group 1. The third list will not contain any techs from group 2. Subsequent lists will repeat this sequence for as long as the game lasts.

                There is an exception to this general rule above. Oedo also discovered that the first tech on each list could belong to any of the three groups, so he called this first tech a “joker” tech. For example, even though the Alphabet tech is in group 0, it does appear at the top of the very first list, whose other members must come from groups 1 or 2. Therefore Alphabet was the “joker” tech on the first list.

                Since techs are always presented in alphabetical order, the joker tech always ends up being the eligible one that is closest to the beginning of the alphabet. For example, after Alphabet has been researched, it no longer appears on research lists and will be replaced by a new joker tech, such as Bronze Working. Other techs starting with letters near the beginning of the alphabet, such as Automobile, Atomic Theory and Banking, commonly appear as joker techs. Joker techs are used a programming safeguard, to ensure that each research list will contain at least one tech to pick from.

                Another important thing to realize about these research lists is that the sequence of their appearance can be interrupted whenever a tech is acquired from a trade, a hut, or by any other means, such as the extra one that can come with Philosophy. For example, an uninterrupted sequence of tech lists would be 0, 1, 2, 0, 1, 2, 0, 1, 2, etc., with the number representing the group number of techs being omitted. But suppose that one trades for a tech while learning another that came from the first list that omits group 0. Once research is complete, the new list of choices will omit techs belonging to group 2. The trade caused the list omitting group 1 techs to be skipped. Here the sequence of tech lists would be 0, 2, before resuming in normal sequence with 0, 1, 2, etc. Now suppose that one trades for 2 techs while learning another that came from the first list that omits group 0. Doing this will make the game skip the next two lists that were expected, the ones omitting techs from groups 1 and 2. In this case, the sequence would be 0, 0, 1, 2, etc. Finally, suppose that one trades for the same tech that is being researched. In this case, the normal sequence will not be interrupted.

                A handy way of finding out the group number of the techs that will be omitted in the next list is to total up the number of techs acquired so far during the game. (This total must NOT include any free techs that came with the start). Add 1 to this amount to include the tech currently being researched. Then divide this total by 3. If there is no remainder after this division, then the next tech list will be the one omitting group 0 techs. If the remainder is 1, then group 1 techs will be the ones omitted, and finally, if the remainder is 2, it will be the group 2 techs, instead. For example, suppose that a tech has just been learned. If 3 techs are known already, it will be the 4th one that has been acquired. When 4 is divided by 3, the remainder is 1. This means that techs from group 1 will not appear on the next list of choices.

                Here is a list of all the techs used in the game, with each one identified by its group number:

                2 Advanced Flight,
                0 Alphabet,
                1 Amphibious Warfare,
                2 Astronomy,
                0 Atomic Theory,
                1 Automobile,
                2 Banking,
                0 Bridge Building,
                1 Bronze Working,
                2 Ceremonial Burial,
                0 Chemistry,
                1 Chivalry,
                2 Code of Laws,
                0 Combined Arms,
                1 Combustion,
                2 Communism,
                0 Computers,
                1 Conscription,
                2 Construction,
                0 The Corporation,
                1 Currency,
                2 Democracy,
                0 Economics,
                1 Electricity,
                2 Electronics,
                0 Engineering,
                1 Environmentalism,
                2 Espionage,
                0 Explosives,
                1 Feudalism,
                2 Flight,
                0 Fundamentalism,
                1 Fusion Power,
                2 Genetic Engineering,
                0 Guerrilla Warfare,
                1 Gunpowder,
                2 Horseback Riding,
                0 Industrialization,
                1 Invention,
                2 Iron Working,
                0 Labor Union,
                1 The Laser,
                2 Leadership,
                0 Literacy,
                1 Machine Tools,
                2 Magnetism,
                0 Map Making,
                1 Masonry,
                2 Mass Production,
                0 Mathematics,
                1 Medicine,
                2 Metallurgy,
                0 Miniaturization,
                1 Mobile Warfare,
                2 Monarchy,
                0 Monotheism,
                1 Mysticism,
                2 Navigation,
                0 Nuclear Fission,
                1 Nuclear Power,
                2 Philosophy,
                0 Physics,
                1 Plastics,
                2 Plumbing, (just ignore Plumbing, which was dropped from the game)
                0 Polytheism,
                1 Pottery,
                2 Radio,
                0 Railroad,
                1 Recycling,
                2 Refining,
                0 Refrigeration,
                1 The Republic,
                2 Robotics,
                0 Rocketry,
                1 Sanitation,
                2 Seafaring,
                0 Space Flight,
                1 Stealth,
                2 Steam Engine,
                0 Steel,
                1 Superconductor,
                2 Tactics,
                0 Theology,
                1 Theory of Gravity,
                2 Trade,
                0 University,
                1 Warrior Code,
                2 The Wheel,
                0 Writing

                Now let’s use an example from a game to see how this all works. After founding a capital, the first list of research choices is presented:

                0 Alphabet
                1 Bronze Working
                2 Ceremonial Burial
                2 Horseback Riding
                1 Masonry
                1 Pottery
                1 Warrior Code

                Notice that only techs from groups 1 and 2 are included in the list, and that all group 0 techs are omitted except for Alphabet, which is the joker tech. In this game, Alphabet was chosen to research first, and after it was learned, the following list was presented:

                1 Bronze Working
                2 Ceremonial Burial
                2 Code of Laws
                2 Horseback Riding
                0 Map Making
                0 Writing

                Since the total number of techs now is 1, the remainder after dividing this total by 3 is 1, which means techs in group 1 have been omitted from this list, with the exception of Bronze Working, the new joker replacing Alphabet. Suppose Code of Laws is chosen from this list. After it is learned the next list will be:

                1 Bronze Working
                0 Map Making
                1 Masonry
                1 Pottery
                1 Warrior Code
                0 Writing

                A total of two techs have been acquired, Alphabet and Code of Laws, and when this total is divided by 3, the remainder is 2. This means none of the group 2 techs will appear in this list, and none of them do. Bronze Working is still the joker tech, and this time it happens to be in one of the groups that were included in this list.

                Many players are used to starting off their games in this sequence, and would rather that the third list included Ceremonial Burial, allowing them to research Monarchy a bit sooner. Many are also aware, that if a tech is acquired from a hut or by trade while researching Code of Laws, the third list of choices will be different. Let’s suppose that this actually did happen in this game, and that Horseback Riding was acquired from an AI while researching Code of Laws. In that case, when Code of Laws is learned, the tech total will be 3, instead of 2, and when this total is divided by 3, there is no remainder. Sure enough, the third list will be different:

                1 Bronze Working
                2 Ceremonial Burial
                1 Masonry
                1 Pottery
                1 Warrior Code
                2 Wheel

                As expected, no group 0 techs appeared, and Ceremonial Burial can be researched immediately, so it is chosen. After it is learned, the new tech total will be 4, which when divided by 3, gives a remainder of 1. The next list will be:

                1 Bronze Working
                0 Map Making
                2 Monarchy
                0 Polytheism
                2 Wheel
                0 Writing

                Only group 0 and 2 techs appear, except for the joker tech, Bronze Working. Now Monarchy can be chosen for research earlier than usual. The tech trade that was made while researching Code of Laws changed the sequence of research lists, allowing the research of three group 2 techs in a row.

                Hopefully this example will demonstrate how important the timing of tech trades can be, since they can be used to hasten the appearance of desired techs on research lists. If trades are made without understanding the consequences, one’s progress towards desired techs will often be delayed, instead.

                Once understood, this technique is quite simple and becomes very useful throughout an early landing game. One can keep research lists along the track towards desirable techs. This information can be used to predict tech lists well into the future, allowing one to plan and predict the order of tech acquisitions without having to learn more unwanted techs than is necessary.

                A good way of keeping track of tech totals while playing an early landing game is to keep a running count of your tech total. As each tech is acquired, I’ll write the new tech total next to it in my game log. This total has other uses, too, such as telling me when I’m nearing the 20th and 32nd tech barriers, which are important milestones.

                For those not wanting to keep track of tech totals and who don’t mind marking up their tech tree posters, there is another simple way of predicting the next list of tech choices. Using the list above, you can write down the group number of each tech somewhere inside its box on your tech tree poster. Whenever a list of research choices is presented during a game, check to see which group of techs has been omitted. If there are not any group 0 techs on the list, then group 1 techs will not be on the next list. If group 1 techs are missing now, group 2 techs will not appear next, and finally, if group 2 techs have been omitted, group 0 techs will be absent next time.

                Here is an example from one of my own games. The list below was presented to me right after I discovered Space Flight:

                1 Amphibious Warfare
                2 Communism
                2 Genetic Engineering
                1 Mobile Warfare
                2 Monarchy
                1 Plastics
                1 Recycling
                2 The Wheel

                I wanted to research Plastics next so I chose it, but I also noticed that group 1 techs would be omitted from the next list because none of the group 0 techs were appearing on this one. I also knew, by looking at the group numbers on my tech chart, that the two remaining techs I wanted to research, Super Conductor and Fusion Power were both in group 1. Since I wanted to skip this group when the next research list was presented, I traded for The Wheel during this turn. This trade allowed me to pick Super Conductor from the next list, and Fusion Power from the one that followed. I was able to avoid learning an off path tech I didn’t want by timing this tech trade correctly.
                Last edited by solo; March 31, 2003, 10:08.


                • #9
                  2.5 Acquiring Technology (cont)

                  2.5.4 Research Priorities

                  Research priorities should be fairly obvious, and mostly depend on the unique situation presented by each game. For example, if we have a game where we start off on a small island, almost every Civ II player will announce how important a strategic decision it was to research Map Making quickly! Need more be said?

                  2.5.5 Scientific Improvements and Wonders

                  The SSC deserves all scientific improvements and wonders, so add them quickly. As noted earlier, Isaac Newton’s College is useless unless there is at least a library in place, and since it costs the most, too, it should be added dead last. Copernicus doubles city science whenever it is built, so this wonder can never be added quickly enough in order to give that SSC its first good boost in beakers. Once all scientific improvements and wonders are in place in an SSC, its beaker output in Democracy at 100% science will be 8 times the number of trade arrows being produced. It’s this cumulative effect of scientific improvements and wonders that make SSC science so powerful.

                  As tech costs mount later in the game, it will be necessary to add scientific improvements to some helpers and colonies. When doing this, pick the ones with the most trade arrows and finish off improvements in one city first, before moving on to the next. Since exact tech costs can be determined, don’t overdo these improvements by supplying more beakers than are needed for timely advances. It’s easy to get carried away with researching quickly and then finding out later that you have to scrounge around for resources a few extra turns in order to build a space ship. When research is no longer the priority, sell off helper and colony scientific improvements, making sure there are enough turns left before the launch to sell them all.

                  2.5.6 Using Scientists

                  Scientists can add a surprising amount of beakers to the total produced by an SSC. After all scientific improvements and wonders are in place, a scientist adds as much science as any citizen working an ocean tile, since each scientist will be producing 24 beakers. Because of this, the food potential of an SSC should be maximized before it celebrates up to its final size. For example, irrigate SSC wheat tiles to get maximum SSC growth first. This gains a few more citizens before the wheat is converted to silk to increase trade arrows. SSC sites with excellent food specials can reach sizes well above 30 citizens. Lots of grassland in the SSC site may make Refrigeration a useful early landing tech. A huge SSC population is almost like getting two super science cities for the price of one.

                  It’s a good idea to be aware of the beaker capacity of scientists under different circumstances, so here is a summary:

                  Your basic scientist – 3 beakers
                  Add a library – 4 beakers
                  Add a university – 6 beakers
                  Add a research lab – 7 beakers

                  Now if Newton’s College is in the city
                  plus a library – 6 beakers
                  plus a university – 9 beakers
                  plus a research lab – 12 beakers

                  Now if Copernicus is in the city, double ALL of the amounts above.

                  One neat thing about scientists is that when they are done thinking, they can be recruited immediately as tax men. The IRS will add significant amounts to the treasury if the SSC’s owner has remembered to give the city a marketplace, bank and stock exchange.

                  2.5.7 Commodity Delivery Beakers

                  Each time a commodity is delivered the payoff in gold is matched by as many beakers, which are credited towards the tech currently being researched. This means trade can become a major contributor in the quest to acquire techs as quickly as possible. It’s important to realize that if a trade produces more beakers than are needed to complete the advance currently being researched, any extra beakers will NOT be carried over and will not be applied towards the next tech chosen for research. This means that it is usually not a good idea to deliver a commodity when a tech discovery is imminent, since many of the delivery beakers will be wasted.

                  In the earliest part of the game, caravan deliveries are the only way of getting one turn advances. If caravans could be produced and delivered quickly enough, it would probably be most effective to use them only for trades and to use the cash payoffs to help build the improvements and wonders needed in the SSC. In any event, caravans delivered to demanding AI cities on other continents will be a better source of beakers than city science for quite some time, so it pays to trade as many caravans as possible before payoffs and beakers are cut by the discovery of Invention or Navigation, and cut again later by the discovery of Railroad.

                  When freights appear trade can resume with a vengeance, since transports and railroads allow them to be delivered very quickly. Freight deliveries will provide half of the science and most of the gold needed in the second half of the game. In OCC games, the number of freights that the SSC could produce was limited when supplies became blocked. This put more emphasis on developing the SSC more fully, by using extra citizens gained by adding farmland and by boosting SSC shields by building factories, power plants and offshore platforms. However, in early landing games, the unblocking techniques which are enabled by having more than one city has led to strategies where trade plays a more central role.

                  2.5.8 One Turn Advances

                  Once the SSC is full sized and has all of the scientific improvements and wonders, it will be producing enough beakers to learn each tech every two turns, but in successful early landing games, an advance per turn is more desirable, since this is twice as good. Some extra beakers will be provided by helpers and colonies. Another good boost to SSC beakers may come from trade routes established to a nearby AI city that have connecting roads and rails. Most often though, caravan and freight deliveries can be timed to add just enough extra beakers to make the difference. The goal of maintaining one turn advances will probably be a struggle until the discovery of Automobile.

                  2.5.9 Turns with Two Advances

                  Once Automobile has been discovered, and superhighways have been added to the SSC, city science may start producing enough beakers to earn an advance per turn. As helpers and colonies reach full size and begin adding superhighways and scientific improvements, this capacity can be sustained and usually maintained until the discovery of Space Flight. During this period, there will be several turns where enough freights can be delivered to secure the first advance, allowing city science to earn the second of a pair. If a good system of alternating trade has been established in time, it’s even possible to sustain 2 advances per turn for most of the turns following the discovery of Automobile.

                  However, in most games the opportunities for two advances per turn are usually limited, so it’s best to plan for them in advance. This involves choosing turns where you will not be faced with a bad list of techs to choose from when selecting the second advance of a pair. The two techs should both be along the paths towards Space Flight. If not, the effort put into getting two advances per turn instead of one may be wasted. This is another good reason to learn and understand the system of rotating tech lists described in detail earlier.

                  Another point about two advances per turn is realizing when enough is enough. Progress through the tech tree can be so rapid that one arrives at Space Flight without enough resources to build a ship quickly. Another mistake would to be use up freights for one last opportunity of two advances and then be caught without enough city science to learn the remaining techs at a reasonable pace. Sometimes it’s better to spread out those final freight deliveries to enable many 1 turn advances instead using them all up on a final two-bagger. Two advances per turn are a thrill, but this euphoria fades quickly when it takes city science two turns for each necessary tech that follows.

                  2.5.10 Using Zoom to Home City

                  By using the “zoom to home city” trick discovered by Samson, you may be able to complete some SSC builds a turn earlier than is usually possible, and benefit by getting extra beakers sooner. Here is an example of how it works.

                  Suppose Automobile is the tech currently being researched and will be learned very early on the next turn, before the SSC and some other cities are processed. If an SSC unit is placed in another city which is processed before the SSC, and this city completes its own build after the discovery of Automobile, you can enter that city, click on the SSC unit stationed there and use the “zoom to home city” feature to sneak over to the SSC before it is processed. While there, whatever is being built can be changed to superhighways, which is now allowed by the discovery of Automobile. Superhighways could be rushed to completion a turn earlier than usual by doing this.

                  In this way, a city improvement or wonder can be sometimes be completed on the turn of the discovery of its enabling tech. Samson exploited the use of this trick to finish a spaceship that landed in 16 AD, by creating a “zoom to” chain involving many cities. For those wanting more complete details about this trick, here is the link to Samson’s thread:

                  Last edited by solo; March 30, 2003, 22:34.


                  • #10
                    2.6 Trade

                    The system of trade developed for Civilization II is arguably one of the best ever designed for a computer game. Although the game has been around for many years, the depth and complexity of the underlying mechanisms governing trade have remained a mystery to players longer than any other aspect of the game. Many discoveries concerning the properties of commodity supply and demand lists are quite recent, and will be covered here in detail. Players need an excellent understanding of how trade works, if they hope to become competitive in early landing games.

                    2.6.1 Base Trade

                    Trade arrows are the unit used to measure trade. Base trade is defined as the total number of trade arrows being produced in a city by its citizens who are working city tiles.

                    One aspect of managing trade is selecting city sites with tiles conducive to trade. Ocean tiles promote trade and produce 2 trade arrows each. Rivers produce one. When deserts, plains and grassland tiles are improved with roads, they will each produce 1 trade arrow. Eight of the special tiles produce varying amounts of trade arrows, and here is a list, in descending order of trade arrow potential:

                    Gold – 6 arrows
                    Wine, Gems, Ivory, and Spice – 4 arrows each
                    Furs, Silk, and Whales – 3 arrows each

                    An additional benefit of these specials (except whales) is that any roads built through them will add an additional trade arrow, even if their terrain type does not ordinarily provide an arrow for adding roads. Bridges (roads built on rivers) always add 1 trade arrow too, irrespective of the underlying terrain.

                    Others ways of increasing trade arrows are:

                    1) Improving the government type. In Despotism, tiles with 3 or more trade arrows will produce one arrow less than their potential. There is no such penalty in Monarchy, Communism and Fundamentalism. In Republic and Democracy, one extra trade arrow will be added to any tile already producing one or more. Higher forms of government limit or eliminate corruption, too, resulting in more usable trade arrows.

                    2) An extra trade arrow will be added to any tile already producing one or more in a city if it builds the Colossus wonder. This benefit will last until the Colossus is cancelled by the discovery of Flight.

                    3) Superhighways will increase trade arrows by 50% in tiles having roads. This boost in trade arrows can be quite substantial.

                    4) Finally, a city can produce more trade arrows by adding more citizens or by moving existing citizens to city tiles with the highest trade.

                    An SSC priority is locating it on a site having the most potential base trade. Using the criteria above, the maximum amount of base trade for any site can be calculated in advance. This is a good way of comparing the usefulness of potential SSC sites.

                    When a city’s caravans and/or freights are used to establish trade routes, these routes will provide additional trade arrows which are added to the city’s base trade. The resulting total is the one that appears in the city display.

                    The value of trade routes and delivery payoffs are derived from the base trade of the cities involved. Because of this, it is important to remember that a city’s base trade is equal to its total trade minus the arrows being earned from all of its trade routes. For larger cities it may be much easier to make this calculation than to try and count up all the trade arrows being produced by every city tile.

                    2.6.2 Trade Routes

                    Trade routes can be established when commodities are delivered from one city to another. Once established in a city, each trade route provides an ongoing trade bonus in the form of extra trade arrows. Establishing good ongoing routes in all cities should be a priority, especially in the SSC. Cities with trade routes require far fewer luxuries to sustain “we love” celebrations, and trade routes provide a permanent boost to income and science.

                    The number of arrows generated by any route is calculated from the base trade of the two cities involved in the route, and the resulting route in both cities will usually have the same number of trade arrows. I am not sure of the exact formula used, but this approximation might suffice:

                    1) Get the total base trade by combining the base trade of both cities involved in the route. If this total is less than 8, just make it 8.
                    2) Divide this total by 8, for a route with an AI city.
                    3) Divide again by 2, for a route with one of your own cities. (This result might be zero).
                    4) Now add 50% if there is a connecting road.
                    5) Add another 50% if there is a connecting railroad.

                    It can be seen that trades made to AI cities will provide about twice as many trade arrows for the same amounts of base trade. A connecting road and rail will allow an internal trade to make up this difference. However, roaded and railed routes to AI cities yield the most trade arrows, especially when these kinds of routes are established with the SSC, where the benefits are magnified.

                    Some other characteristics of trade routes are worth noting. When a city produces a commodity caravan or freight, its supply of that commodity is blocked. In the city display, this is shown by placing parentheses around this commodity. When this caravan or freight is delivered to another city, a new trade route is usually established. When this happens, the city receiving the caravan will have one of its own supply commodities blocked, too. If the delivery is made to an AI city, this is not a problem, but if the destination is one of your own cities, you can end up blocking the supply of a commodity you might have intended to build there. So, as a general rule, it’s probably best to trade with AI cities until your own cities have finished producing all the commodities on their own supply lists.

                    Another characteristic of trade routes is that only 3 are allowed per city. When additional trades are made, the existing routes of any city will not be replaced unless the base trade of its newest trading partner is greater than that of the base trade of one or more of the cities used to establish the existing routes. This is something to keep in mind when delivering commodities, because the base trade in your own cities can be changed temporarily to control route replacement or route retention. This control over trade route replacement can be exploited to unblock your own supply commodities or to keep demanded commodities unblocked in AI cities. Techniques for doing this will be discussed later.

                    2.6.3 Demand Bonuses

                    A policy of delivering commodities to cities that demand them will pay off in a big way since the demand bonuses received can be quite substantial. Even for the commodities having the smallest demand bonus, the amount of gold (and beakers) received will be doubled, so it is well worth learning how to maximize the chances of earning delivery bonuses. Here is a list of the commodities grouped by the size of their bonus multipliers:

                    Hides, Salt, Wool, Beads, Copper, Dye 2
                    Cloth, Coal, Wine, Silver 5/2
                    Silk, Spice, Gems, Gold 3
                    Oil 7/2
                    Uranium 4

                    It’s important to realize that the delivery of any demanded commodity to one city by another will always do better than a delivery of a higher quality commodity which is not currently in demand. Demands depend on a lot of factors, and can even be manipulated, but when given a choice of commodities when building a caravan or freight, it will be the commodities that are currently in demand that should be built. So always check this out with the trade advisor.

                    For example, it’s of no use building an oil caravan early in the game, since demand for oil will not appear for a long time. Oil’s great multiplier will be useless unless there is a city somewhere wanting it now. Following sections will provide more information on factors affecting demand for the various commodities.

                    Now that a strong case has been made for delivering commodities to cities that demand them, it’s a good time to list some exceptions to this general rule.

                    One exception would be when you are establishing SSC trade routes with a nearby AI city from which you are planning to receive the road and rail bonuses. These routes should be established fairly early in the game, using commodities likely to become obsolete later on. Very often, this AI city will not be demanding any or all of the commodities that your SSC may be supplying. However, the continuing bonuses received are so high, that this is more than enough compensation for establishing the routes using commodities that may not have been in demand.

                    There is another situation where the delivery of a cargo not in demand may be the best choice, and this is when that delivery unblocks the supply or demand of another commodity in the targeted city. For example, a delivery of coal from a helper to an SSC not demanding coal may trigger a new demand in the SSC for oil at a time when there happens to be an oil freight coming in from a colony. Oil pays extremely well when it is in demand and its bonus will more than compensate for the puny amount brought in by undemanded coal.

                    A third situation is when deliveries are being made to the SSC from colonies. Since the SSC has so much more base trade than the other cities in the game, an undemanded delivery there may bring in more than a delivery to a smaller helper or neighboring AI city that does demand the goods. This is because anything that is multiplied by next to nothing still comes out pretty close to next to nothing. Fortunately, payoffs can be estimated before deliveries are attempted, to see when it’s best to choose the SSC as the delivery target for arriving cargos the SSC does not demand.

                    Finally, commodities built by helpers that are not in demand are probably best used in building SSC wonders, and later on, spaceship parts.
                    Last edited by solo; April 1, 2003, 16:54.


                    • #11
                      Trade (cont)

                      2.6.4 Maximizing Delivery Payments

                      The demand bonuses, detailed in the previous section, are the best way to maximize delivery payments, but there are other things that can be done to ensure the highest possible payments. Samson’s thread “Calculating Caravan and Freight Delivery Payments”, discusses all of the factors involved in the calculation of these gold (and beaker) payoffs. It is certainly useful to have a good idea of how much will be received for imminent deliveries, especially on those turns when a combination of commodities is being used to secure the first of two advances. For the specific details about payoff calculations, here is the link to Samson’s thread:

                      For those just wanting know what they should do to maximize their payments, here is a summary of the base payment and its modifiers:

                      a) The base payment is roughly equal to the total base trade of the two cities times the distance between them. Thus, more base trade and greater distances increase payments, but it is usually the factors that modify the base payment that influence the final payment the most. In any event, citizens in your own city(s) should be temporarily placed on city tiles generating the most trade just before making a delivery.

                      b) It’s worth repeating again, that delivering demanded commodities increases payments the most.

                      c) If delivery is made to a city on another continent, the payment is doubled.

                      d) If delivery is made to one of your own cities the payment is halved.

                      e) Freights receive a bonus multiplier of 3/2.

                      f) There will be a road (50%) or railroad (100%) bonus for valid connections of these types between the two cities. The “go to” path leading from the Destination to the Source city is used to determine the connection’s validity

                      g) If both cities have an airport, the bonus is 50% if the cities are on the same continent, and 100% if they are on different continents.

                      h) Superhighways in one city provides a 50% bonus, and superhighways in both cities provides a 100% bonus.

                      i) Payments are cut when entering into each new age. The discovery of Invention or Navigation signals entry into the Renaissance and cuts payments by 1/2. Railroad signals a transition to the Industrial Age, and Flight signals the Modern Age, and the discovery of each cuts payments by 1/3.

                      j) Finally, a science cap can limit the total payment. This cap is always 2/3 of the total number of beakers needed for the next advance, whenever this total happens to be 300 or more beakers. Prior to that, the cap is 200 or a little bit over that.

                      From this summary, it’s evident that the most can be made from caravans by delivering them to a demanding AI city on another continent, and to do most caravan trading before reaching the Renaissance.

                      Later on when freights are available, superhighways and airports can be used to increase payments. Superhighways are especially effective because they also increase a city’s overall trade by adding trade arrows to its base trade in addition to supplying a 50% delivery bonus. With superhighways one can neutralize the penalty on trades made to your own cities.

                      Payoffs for trades involving the SSC are often limited by the science cap. Since the science cap is lowered whenever you lower your tech costs by gifting techs to your key civ, the timing of these tech gifts is important. In the period preceding one or more SSC trades it might be a good idea to build up a tech lead over the key civ. This will increase the payoffs (and beakers) received for SSC trades. Afterwards, the key civ can be gifted techs to lower the cost of the current tech being researched. Since beakers received during the trade were 2/3 of the higher tech costs, they will actually end up contributing a good bit more than 2/3 once tech gifting is complete.

                      Another good reason for building up these temporary tech leads over the key civ, is to avoid being shunned for being too chatty. A lead of 6 or so techs before bringing the key civ up to date is not unreasonable.

                      2.6.5 Importance of Quick Deliveries

                      While it’s a good idea to try for maximum delivery payments, speed of delivery is even more important, since early landing games are a race against time. It’s much more useful to make several rapid deliveries for modest amounts rather than sending just a few commodities all the way to their most profitable destinations. What is needed is a kind of Fed Ex mentality when it comes to getting caravans and freights delivered. One good reason for emphasizing maximum speed is that whenever a city builds a commodity, it can not build it again as long as the first copy is still in transit. (Hides are an exception, and this will be discussed later). Another good reason is that more gold, beakers and decent trade routes are always needed now rather than later on.

                      Now with a little planning, most freights can be delivered on the same turn they are built. This is because a system of railroads, coastal cities and ship chains, can move a freight vast distances without expending any of its movement points, so that when it debarks near an AI city, it will be able to reach it on the same turn to complete a trade.

                      For early landing games, the trick is getting this delivery system in place quickly enough to be of real use. Since transports can be built quickly and railroads take time to construct, it makes sense to maximize the use of ocean tiles when planning trading routes earlier in the game. Colonies should be placed to facilitate the travel of freights to them and/or through them to AI trading partners.

                      Special consideration should be given to the SSC and the cities with which it will be trading with on a continuous basis. Rail and road connections promoting 1 turn SSC deliveries are a top priority. Sometimes this even means exporting engineers to build roads leading up to AI cities. Commodity supply and demand will have to be pre-determined so as to match up the SSC with its future trading partners, and then this list should be pruned to those cities that are within 1 turn’s reach.

                      Another thing to briefly consider is the use of airports, and they would be the preferred means of travel if weren’t for several serious disadvantages. One is that each airport can only be used for one freight on each turn. Another problem is that once a freight lands at its destination its turn immediately ends, even if it had movement points it hadn’t used. So freights must waste a turn of transit while in the air. Airports also require the Flight pre-requisite, which cancels the Colossus and cuts freight delivery payments by 1/3.

                      Perhaps it is a design flaw in Civ II, that allows unlimited sea travel by chaining transports together, since one would expect air travel to be a lot faster, but this exploit is just one of many that exist in the game. It just turns out that ship chains serve the purpose of early landing games very well. So if the opportunity is there, we might as well shamelessly exploit the use of ship chains and make the most we can out of all those free, frequent freighter miles!

                      While consistent 1 turn deliveries for freights is a realistic goal, the slower pace of caravans, makes it important to find the best ways to expedite their travels. The problem is getting them delivered far enough away to make a decent profit and to accomplish this quickly.

                      Again, ocean travel is the best solution. Triremes usually triple the distance that can be traveled in one turn and are the only means of reaching AI cities on separate continents, too. By enabling the AI and separate continent delivery bonuses, these caravans will earn excellent payments for any demanded cargos shipped across a bay. Each one can reach its destination in just a handful of turns, and if commodities with good demand bonuses are in supply, these kinds of trades will often trigger the science cap.

                      For any newcomers unfamiliar with the mechanics of ship chaining, here’s a brief summary of how it is used to ship freights a long, long way:

                      a) When built a freight can move by rail into a port city in which the first transport is located, where it is put to sleep to board the ship.

                      b) Once loaded this transport moves 5 tiles (6 is possible with Nuclear Power) to the tile where the next one is waiting. Now click on the tile holding both transports and click on each freight you want to transfer before clicking on the 2nd transport.

                      c) Now move the 2nd transport (which should now hold the transferred freights) 5 tiles to where the 3rd transport is waiting, and transfer the freights to it. Now the 3rd transport can move on.

                      d) Keep repeating this process for each transport in the chain. Do not forget to transfer each freight during each step along the way or you will experience a wee bit of frustration when noticing an empty transport pull away from another that can no longer move! Things can get a little confusing when making transfers, making it very easy to make this mistake, so don’t forget to concentrate.

                      e) The last transport in the chain can end its turn in a coastal colony. All of the freights will still have all of their movement available to them. They could conceivably move by rail to another colony, board another transport there, and continue farther in another chain used to access an AI trading partner. Once there, the freight will use its own movement to complete a delivery.

                      2.6.6 Alternating Trade System

                      Although ship chaining is the quickest way to move freights long distances in one turn, the transports used in the chain have to move in the reverse direction every other turn to reestablish the position of each link. This is the rationale for having a few colonies, since they can use the turn the chain is being reset to send their own freights home. Once an alternating trade system can be set up, it will become very efficient and quite profitable, too.

                      A side benefit of alternating trade is that if colonies are able to produce commodities demanded by the SSC, this will increase the chances of having two advances per turn more often, since an SSC trade of some sort is usually required to obtain most of the beakers needed for the first advance. In addition, these deliveries by colonies to the SSC often perform the secondary function of unblocking SSC supplies. It’s a very pleasant feeling to be able to do this while earning a maximum delivery bonus. Unblocking in this fashion often works for colonies, too, when SSC or helper freights are delivered to them.

                      This alternation also perfectly suits the rushing of freights in helpers and colonies, too. On the turn freights are headed outbound to the colonies, helpers can start off new freights, with the idea of rushing them to completion the following turn, while freights from colonies are being sent home. This avoids the extra expense incurred when rush buying a freight on one turn. Colonies can also rush their freights using two turns in the same way, with their builds coinciding with the turns when transports head back home.

                      It takes a lot of planning in advance to set up a system of alternating trade that is successful, but when an effective one is up and running, the hyper trade permitted will accelerate the pace of the game and almost guarantee an early launch.


                      • #12
                        Trade (cont)

                        2.6.7 Commodity Supply and Demand Basics

                        For newcomers, many of the terms and techniques related to commodity supply and demand may seem confusing. It might have been a better idea to start off this guide with a bunch of definitions, rather than wait until the middle of it to clear up questions that might have arisen, but here we are now, and before forgetting again, it’s better to do this late rather than never. So, if you are wondering a bit what is meant by references to “triggers”, “wildcards” or “unblocking”, you may not want to skip this section of the guide.

                        Once trade has commenced, each city has a list of three commodities that it can supply and another list of three commodities it demands. Here is an example:

                        Supplies: silver, beads, wool
                        Demands: coal, dye, silk

                        Whenever a caravan (or freight) is built, one can choose to make it a commodity or food. In the example above, one could build silver, beads, wool, or food. Suppose beads were chosen. If so, a parenthesis will be put around beads afterwards, and the list would look like this:

                        Supplies: silver, (beads), wool
                        Demands: coal, dye, silk

                        The parenthesis means the supply of beads has become blocked, since if we were to build another caravan right away, we could no longer pick beads. The list of choices would be limited to silver, wool, or food.

                        Suppose two more caravans were built, and we chose one to be silver and the other to be wool. Then the list would look like this:

                        Supplies: (silver), (beads), (wool)
                        Demands: coal, silk, dye

                        Now all commodities supplied by this city would be blocked and if we were to build another caravan the choice would be limited to food. Now it may seem like that’s it for this city, and that it has used up all the commodities that it can supply, but that is not the case. As the city grows and the game progresses through the various ages, a city’s supply list can change, and one or more of the original commodities on the supply or demand lists may be replaced by others. It is also possible that one of the original commodities that were built may come back into supply later on, which is what we mean when we say it has become unblocked. If, for example, the supply of beads were to become unblocked, the supply list would look like this:

                        Supplies: (silver), beads, (wool)

                        Now another beads caravan can be built, but doing this will block the supply of beads again.

                        The demand list works in the same way. Using the list above, suppose that a silk caravan were delivered to this city. Again, a parenthesis will appear around that commodity and the demand list will look like this:

                        Demands: coal, (silk), dye

                        Now it will still be possible to deliver silk or any other commodity to this city, but for this city the first delivery of silk satisfied the city’s strong desire for fancy clothing, and we can say that the demand for silk has become blocked. What this means is that future deliveries of silk will not earn the demand bonus, and the payoff will not be any more than it would have been for any commodity not in demand by this city. Suppose deliveries of coal and dye followed the silk delivery. Then the list would look like this:

                        Demands: (coal), (silk), (dye)

                        All demanded commodities would become blocked, and any commodity delivered afterwards would only receive the minimum payment, since no demand bonuses are available. However, as with the supply list, the demand list will go through changes, too, and different commodities may appear on it later. It is also possible to reestablish the demand for a commodity that was previously in demand. This is what we mean when we say a demand has become unblocked. If dye were to become unblocked, the demand list would look like this:

                        Demands: (coal), (silk), dye

                        Again, the parentheses are removed and the city will pay the demand bonus again for the next shipment of dye that arrives.

                        As a city grows and as a game progresses, its supply and demand lists may change. New commodities may replace the ones originally appearing on the lists, and commodities that are bumped from their lists can even make a comeback, and reappear later.

                        For example, as a city grows the demand for hides will go down, but the demand for other commodities such as coal might increase. Factors that can influence the supply and demand of commodities in any city include its terrain, location, continent, size, and its improvements. Nationality and tech progress are other factors. Of these factors, city size and tech progress (and to a limited degree, terrain), are dynamic and these along with city improvements will account for changes in the types of commodities appearing on supply and demand lists.

                        As an example, suppose a size 1 city starts out with this list of commodities in supply.

                        Supplies: silver, beads, hides

                        It is the city’s location, terrain and other static factors that made the inherent and initial supply of these three commodities the highest. However, when this city grows beyond size two, its ability to supply hides will be cut in half. As this increase in population lowers the supply of hides it will also raise the supply of wine, perhaps high enough to make wine replace hides on the supply list. While this city grows to size 3, its civ may discover Pottery, which causes the supply of salt to triple. This increase may be enough to make salt replace silver or beads. The relative level of supply of all commodities will be constantly changing as the game progresses.

                        The commodities appearing on supply and demand lists are listed in order of strength. Here is a sample list:

                        Supplies: gold, beads, dye
                        Demands: cloth, copper, hides

                        On this list cloth has the highest demand, followed by copper and hides. Similarly, the supply of gold is highest, followed by beads and dye. When list memberships change during the course of a game, one would usually expect commodities to retain their relative positions. For example, the discovery of Pottery triples the chances of salt being in supply. This may move salt ahead of gold, the former top dog, resulting in a list like this:

                        Supplies: salt, gold, beads

                        Dye was bumped off the list as gold and beads shifted downwards. To disguise these shifts somewhat, the game also uses what we have defined as wildcard commodities. Wildcard commodities are determined from calculations based solely on a city’s map coordinates.

                        For those who may not know, a city’s map coordinates will appear in the game’s status box if you right click on the city’s tile. An example is (8, 64)1. The numbers within the parentheses are the horizontal and vertical map coordinates of the city. The number outside the right hand side parenthesis is the continent number. In this example the horizontal coordinate is 8, the vertical coordinate is 64, and the continent number is 1. The map coordinates of any tile on the map can be checked by right clicking the tile.

                        All other factors normally influencing the appearance of that commodity are ignored when making these wildcard calculations. Each city has a particular supply and demand wildcard that can appear as the middle commodity. Wildcard commodities can also change during the course of a game, but while in play they usually are the dominant commodity on their respective lists. One of the following sections will be all about wildcards.

                        Supply and demand lists are not updated every time a change is enabled by city growth and/or tech acquisition. For a long time, many players believed that changes to supply and demand lists occurred randomly. Other players, including myself, believed that changes in the demand lists of AI cities usually coincided with the turn before attempting deliveries of demanded cargos. Such notions have been disproved by recent research, which has revealed that the game will always use a trigger to signal when it is time to re-evaluate and update a city’s supply and demand lists.

                        There are different kinds of triggers. One of them is the sixteen turn city cycle, by which lists are reevaluated at periodic intervals for each city throughout a game. This trigger will be discussed in the next section.

                        Commodity deliveries can also act as triggers. Players often notice this when the delivery of one demanded commodity causes a change in the city’s demand list, sometimes resulting in the disappearance of another commodity previously in demand.

                        Three other triggers are related to the abnormal behavior of dye and copper in commodity demand lists that can occur during a city’s cycle turn. Not looking at a city during its cycle turn can either trigger or avoid this aberrant behavior, depending on the version of the game being used. In Civ II 2.42, another way to trigger this effect is to temporarily reduce a city’s shields to zero or less. This trigger was discovered by SCG and has become known as the “SCG Shift”. Finally, if a diplomat is used to investigate an AI city during its cycle turn, the effect of the dye or copper bug will be reversed. This is because the AI never “look” at their own cities, causing cycle turns to always implement the bug. These triggers will be discussed some more later on.

                        Food caravans and freights can act as triggers, too. The delivery of food to another city can act as a trigger, or the use of food when building a wonder.

                        Triggers do not always cause city supply and/or demand lists to change. No changes will occur if a city does not grow and/or if its civ’s progression through the tech tree is going too slowly. In addition, the inherent level of supply or demand of certain commodities may be so strong in some cities, that they become permanent fixtures on their respective lists.

                        The term trigger has also been used to describe events that change the status of commodities on supply and demand lists, causing them to become blocked or to become unblocked. List memberships may not be changed by these kinds of triggers, only the status of one or more of the commodities already appearing on them. Techniques for doing this will be discussed in the last section.


                        • #13
                          Trade (cont)

                          2.6.8 Sixteen Turn City Cycles

                          While investigating the behavior of supply and demand lists, I happened to discover that the commodity supply and demand lists for each city are automatically updated every 16 turns. These turns are defined as city cycle turns, and the 16 year spans between them have also been called “solo cycles”, since I noticed their existence first. A city’s cycle turns depend on when the city was founded, and cycle turns are best illustrated by using an example. Below is a table of cities compiled from a multiplayer test game in which I was playing every civ.

                          OOOOOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOOO Delhi
                          OOOOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOOOO Berlin
                          OOOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOOOOO Leipzig
                          OOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOOOOOO Rome
                          OOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOOOOOOO Washington
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Athens
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Thebes
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOX Memphis
                          OOOOXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOXO New York
                          OOOXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOXOO Babylon
                          OOXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOXOOO Bombay
                          OXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOXOOOO Veii
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Sparta
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Ur
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOO Nineveh
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOO Ashur
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOOO Hamburg
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Heliopolis
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Thermopylae
                          OOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOOOOOO Madras
                          OOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOOOOOOO Ellipi
                          OOOOOOOXOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Boston
                          OOOOOOXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Antium
                          OOOOOXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Konigsburg
                          OOOOXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Elephantine
                          OOOXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOXOO Bangalore
                          OOXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Corinth
                          OXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Frankfurt
                          XOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOXOOOOO Alexandria
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Delphi
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOO Akkad
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOO Pi-Rameses
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOOO Calcutta
                          OOOOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOOOO Uruk
                          OOOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOOOOO Pharsalos
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Cumae
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Philadelphia
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Knossus
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Munich
                          OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOX Argos

                          The table spans the period from 2250 BC to 1200 BC, and each “O” represents a turn where there were not any changes to a city’s lists, and each “X” indicates turns when the city’s supply and/or demand lists underwent an update of some sort. From top to bottom, the cities have been listed in the order in which they were founded while playing the game. It can be seen that city cycle turns (“X” turns) form a pattern, allowing one to anticipate all the cycle turns for every city in the game. Note that there are also some gaps where an “expected” X did not appear. These gaps turned out to be cycle turns for some cities whose commodity supply and demand lists were left unchanged by the automatic update. Not enough change or growth had occurred by those turns to warrant any changes in supply or demand for that city at that particular time.

                          Delhi was the first city founded in this game, and it had a cycle turn in 1650 BC, which was also the 48th turn of the game. If the table above were expanded to include additional game turns, the next change for Delhi would be noticed 16 turns later, which would be 925 BC. Delhi’s first cycle turn of the game was 3250 BC, the 16th turn of the game, and its second cycle turn was 2450 BC, 16 turns after that.

                          The second city founded in the game was Berlin, and its cycle turns always precede Delhi’s. In the table above, Berlin’s cycle turn is 1700 BC. Berlin’s next cycle turn will be 16 turns after that, which would be 950 BC. Berlin’s first cycle turn of the game was 3300 BC, the 15th turn of the game, and its second cycle turn was 2500 BC, 16 turns after that.

                          Similarly, the cycle turns of Leipzig, the third city to appear in the game, always precede the cycle turns of Berlin. This pattern continued for each city that was added to the game, until 16 cities existed. Then when Hamburg was founded as the 17th city in the game, the pattern was repeated, since Hamburg shares the same cycle years as Delhi. The next city sharing the same cycle years as Delhi and Hamburg was Calcutta, the 33rd city to appear in the game.

                          Although the table does not span enough game turns to show more than one of the cycle turns for Delhi, Hamburg or Calcutta, a few cities had cycle turns making more than one appearance. Examples above are New York, Babylon, and Bombay, in which their second cycle turn in the table was 16 turns following their first.

                          From these observations it can be seen that once you notice when a city undergoes an automatic update, you have identified one of its cycle turns, and can predict that the next one will occur 16 turns later, and the following one, 16 turns after that, and so on.

                          Furthermore, if you have a chronological list of all of the cities in the game, you can predict all of the cycle turns for every city, since the first cycle turn of the first city founded in any game is always the 16th turn of the game, 3250 BC. By using 3250 BC and every 16th turn after that as reference points, you can plot X’s on a table of cities vs. game turns, as was done above, easily identifying all of the cycle turns for every city in a game.

                          For players using Civ II version 2.42, such a chronological list is available using the “Find City” command, where cities are listed in the order in which they were founded. If you have managed to contact all of the AI, and have been diligent in sharing maps, so that you know about the existence of all cities, “Find City” will provide the complete list.

                          Players using Civ II MGE have a little more work to do, since their version of “Find City” lists cities alphabetically, instead of in order of appearance. However, cities are listed chronologically by the trade advisor when commodity supply and demands are being checked. Although all of the cities do not appear on each commodity’s lists, the lists can be used to piece together the sequence in which cities were founded. One can also observe updates for individual cities as they occur during a game.

                          At this time astute observers might be asking what happens when a city is destroyed or captured. The answer is that once a set of cycle turns has been assigned to a city, it keeps that set for the remainder of the game. If a city is destroyed, the next new city entering the game will fill its spot in the chronological list, even though it was founded later on. When more than one city has been destroyed, gaps in the list are filled in chronological order until no gaps are left. Then any additional cities are added on to the end of the list in the usual way.

                          This knowledge of city cycle turns can be put to many uses. First of all, one can time the delivery of commodities to targeted cities to occur before their cycle turns, to avoid the disappointment of seeing their demand lists change at the last moment. Since commodity supply and demands are apt to change on cycle turns, one can time the builds of caravans and freights in anticipation of these changes to a city’s lists. Finally, several of the triggers used to manipulate supply and demand lists only work during city cycle turns.

                          One more thing I would like to add is the list of cycle dates (deity level) for the first city leading each group of 16 (cities 1, 17, 33 etc.) on the chronological list:

                          BC years

                          3250, 2450, 1650, 925, 525, 125

                          AD years

                          220, 540, 860, 1180, 1500, 1660, 1764, 1796, 1828, 1855,
                          1871, 1887, 1903, 1919, 1935, 1951, 1967, 1983, 1999, 2015

                          Since cities are processed in reverse order, the year preceding each in the list above would apply to the second city in each group of 16 on the chronological list. For example, on the 1918 turn, cities 2, 18, 34 etc. would be processed. In 1917 it would be cities 3, 19, 34 etc. Moving forward in time from 1919, for the turn 1920, it would be cities 16, 32, 48 etc. and in 1921, it would be cities 15, 31, 47 etc., working down a notch each turn to form the pattern illustrated in table above.

                          For those interested in reading my thread documenting this discovery, here is the link:

                          Last edited by solo; March 30, 2003, 22:30.


                          • #14
                            Trade (cont)

                            2.6.9 Commodity Overview

                            Most of the information to be presented in this section and the three that follow has only recently come to light as a result of Samson’s investigation into how supply and demand lists are determined. The complexities underlying commodity supply and demand, and the depth of insight displayed by Samson in revealing them, probably ranks his achievement as the most remarkable piece of research conducted so far concerning the game. Readers wishing to read Samson’s own thread describing his discoveries can find the link to it below:

                            Even after reading Samson’s thread, many players have been a bit daunted by the complexity of the subject and by all of the calculations that are required to predict individual commodity supplies and demands. Since I assisted Samson, by helping to test his formulas, my sometimes incorrect application of many of them has made me sort of an expert now at using them. This experience has also given me a very good overall understanding of the ebb and flow commodity supplies and demands that occur in a typical early landing game.

                            One thing I hope to do in this section and in the one that follows is to impart a general sense of what is going on, so that those who do not want to get into more detailed calculations can still have a pretty good idea of which factors influence the supply and demand of different commodities. Following that will be two more sections covering all of the calculations involved, using examples from an actual game, so that players wanting to use Samson’s formulas can be confident that they are making the calculations exactly as specified by him.

                            Before discussing individual commodities a few words must be said about terrain, about wildcards, and about tech totals.

                            A city’s terrain plays a significant role in determining which commodities will appear on its lists, and it is the quantity of different terrain types that is important. The terrain specials do not have unique or unusual effects on commodities. All they do is make their underlying terrain count as four of the type rather than just one. For example, a silk or pheasant special have the same effect, making the forest tile they occupy count as 4 forests instead of one.

                            A city’s wildcard commodities are based solely on its grid coordinates, allowing a commodity to appear on a list it ordinarily wouldn’t be qualified to occupy. For example, a city needs at least one hill tile to have a chance of supplying any coal, but if there are not any hills in the city, coal still might appear as the supply wildcard commodity if that city’s grid coordinates happen to be the right ones for coal. Since wildcards almost always show up on their lists, commodities that can not be wildcards will show up less frequently on lists than those that can. Before a civ has learned 32 techs, only hides, beads, salt, copper, wine, silver and gems can be wildcards. This limits the appearances of wool, cloth, coal, silk and spice on early supply and demand lists. After 32 techs have been acquired hides, wool, beads, cloth and salt can not be wildcards, but all the others can.

                            Tech totals should include the tech currently be researched, and should not include any free techs provided at the start. (Early landing comparison games do not include any free starting techs).


                            Hides are most likely to be in supply and demand in tiny cities and by civs having few techs. Tundra, glacier, forest, jungle and rivers increase supply. Tundra, glacier, mountains and forest increase demand. Demand is high for cities far away from the Equator. The discovery of Industrialization decreases demand and the discovery of Mass Production eliminates demand. The demand bonus for hides is 2, the lowest.

                            Hides have a unique quality. Unlike all other commodities, the supply or demand of hides will never become blocked. This allows a city to produce multiple copies of hides caravans, and allows a city demanding hides to keep paying the bonus for repeated hides deliveries. An SSC supplying hides can do a very good repeat business with an AI city where hides is in demand.

                            Hides are a good commodity for trading, since they are repeatable and because demand is usually widespread. Even near the end of an early landing game, small cities belonging to AI that lack Industrialization and Mass Production may still demand hides.


                            A city without any grass, hills, or rivers can not produce wool. Terrain increasing supply is the three types above plus tundra and glacier. Supply increases for cities within 13 tiles of the North or South Pole. A city needs plains or forest for demand and demand is strongest close to the Equator or the Poles. Industrialization doubles demand. The demand bonus for wool is 2, the lowest. Supply and demand for wool tends to be spotty, since it can never be a wildcard.


                            As with hides the supply and demand for beads will decrease as a civ progresses and as its cities grow. Ocean tiles are needed to supply beads, and proximity to the Equator increases supply. Demand is the reverse, increasing with more land tiles and increasing near the Poles. The demand bonus for beads is 2, the lowest, but beads are usually in supply and demand somewhere at most times during a game.


                            A city without desert or plains can not supply cloth. Rivers reduce the supply. Supply increases with Industrialization and as the number of techs increase. A city without forest or hills is very unlikely to demand cloth. Demand increases for every 10 techs acquired and for cities near the Poles. Mountains, tundra, and glacier tiles help increase demand. The demand bonus for cloth is 3/2, which is average, and like wool, its supply and demand can be spotty since cloth can never be a wildcard.


                            Desert, swamp or ocean tiles are needed to supply salt. Every 6 techs acquired reduces supply. Pottery triples supply and supply is increased after an aqueduct is built or if the city is located on continents 1, 3 or 5. A city with a large population demands a lot of salt but the accumulation of techs reduces demand. The demand bonus for salt is 2, the lowest, and it is much easier to find cities supplying salt later in a game than those that want any of it. Trading opportunities are better early in the game.


                            A city without hills will not supply any coal. If hills are present they count a lot, but other terrain including plains, forest, swamp and jungle help increase supply. Supply is higher on odd numbered continents except for #1 and before one acquires 20 techs. Larger cities are more apt to supply coal. Demand is very good for large cities far from the Equator and for civs having many techs. The discoveries of both Industrialization and Electricity both double the demand for coal. The demand bonus for coal is 3/2, which is average.

                            One problem with coal is that it is most likely to be in good supply early in the game, a time when it is unlikely to be in demand, since any city must reach size 5 before it can demand coal. Later on, the demand for coal can grow so much that many cities that could previously supply it end up wanting it even more, leaving a shortage of coal suppliers. Coal caravans, built early in the game can not afford to wait until demand finally appears, and are probably best suited for building wonders. Delivering coal to demanding cities can happen, but not very often.


                            A city needs hills or mountains to supply copper. Supply will double if the continent number is even.

                            Copper demand is problematical, since there is a bug in the game that sometimes creates an abnormally huge demand for copper, and this bug operates differently in 2.42 than it does in the MGE edition of the game. In 2.42, the bug is activated by city cycle turns or be using the “SG switch”, but can be cancelled by looking at a city’s display on a cycle turn or by making a caravan (or freight) delivery. Since the AI never “view” their cities, each cycle turn implements the bug for them. The reverse holds true for human cities, which are usually inspected on cycle turns. In MGE, it’s just the opposite, caravan deliveries and viewing city displays cause the bug to be implemented, and the automatic update on a cycle turn cancels it.

                            When this bug is not in effect, demand for copper requires rivers or roads and increases when Electricity is discovered and as cities grow in size. Marketplaces and banks in a city increase the demand for copper. The discovery of Computers reduces the demand of copper by 1/4.

                            Copper has a demand bonus of 2, the lowest, but because of the demand bug and because copper always has a chance of being a wildcard commodity, cities that supply copper will never have a problem finding others demanding it. The copper bug can often be deliberately invoked or cancelled to suit one’s purposes when trading it or other commodities affected by these manipulations.


                            Grassland increases the supply of dye the most. Rivers also add to supplies, but if a city has too many plains, this may cancel a city’s ability to supply dye. If the continent number is a multiple of 4, supplies double.

                            Dye demand is also problematical. The same bug that affects copper applies to dye. In a game, dye is usually the first of these two commodities to be affected by the bug, but copper comes on strong later supplanting dye as the top demand commodity.

                            When the dye bug is not affecting demand, a city without desert or plains can not demand dye unless there are some roads. Rivers reduce demand. Demand increases with Industrialization and as the number of techs increase, but the techs Chemistry and Mass Production will each cut the demand for dye in half.

                            Dye has a demand bonus of 2, the lowest, but the demand bug almost always insures demand for dye somewhere, so trading opportunities are frequent. As with the copper, the bug allows deliberate manipulations to supply and demand lists.


                            Plains or rivers increase the supply of wine, but grassland reduces it. Large cities far from the zero meridian (0 horizontal coordinate) and in the northern hemisphere are much more likely to produce wine, especially if the civ is French. Demand for wine increases when a city’s grid coordinates differ by a large amount and for larger cities.

                            Wine has a demand bonus of 3/2, which is average, but since it always has a chance of being a wildcard and because many cities will be supplying or demanding wine throughout the game, it is one of the best commodities for making profitable trades.


                            A city needs forest, jungle or hills to supply silk. Supplies increase for cities in the Eastern Hemisphere with a high horizontal coordinate, and supplies double if the civ is the Chinese and if the continent number is a multiple of 5. Terrain types increasing demand are desert, plains, swamp and jungle. Demand increases for large cities close to the Equator and far from the zero meridian (0 horizontal coordinate), and may be higher for cites located on continent #1.

                            Silk has a demand bonus of 3, which is good, but supply is not abundant early in the game. However, the quality of silk’s demand bonus makes it worthwhile to seek out and exploit any opportunities to match silk suppliers with cites demanding it. Silk has better availability in the second half of a game, when it has a chance of being a wildcard commodity.


                            Mountains or hills are needed to supply silver, but mountains boost silver supply much more than hills do. Supplies increase closer to the zero meridian and for continent numbers over 8, but are lower if Iron Working has not been discovered or if the city size is below 5.

                            Demand increases as city size increases. Although any city can supply silver, further qualifiers for silver demand depend on the city’s map coordinates. If the remainder of their sum divided by 3 is zero, Chemistry increases demand, but Economics and Computers lower it. If the civ is Spanish or if the city has a bank or cathedral, demand increases.

                            Silver has a demand bonus of 3/2, which is average, but silver always has a chance to appear as a wildcard, increasing its availability. Demand for silver is much more likely than it will be for gems or gold, so a city supplying silver can usually find a city demanding it. This can more than make up for its lower demand bonus.


                            Spice supply is tricky, in that it depends on having desert, swamp or jungle AND also depends on having ocean or rivers. If a city has at least one tile in both groups and is located near the Equator chances of supplying spice increases. Being on continent #1 will cut supply in half as does being on a continent having over 300 tiles. Small islands under 26 tiles double the chances of producing spice.

                            The larger the continent, the more likely spice will be in demand, but if the sum of the city’s grid coordinates divided by 2 is an even number, demand is zero. Demand is cut in half by the discovery of Refrigeration.

                            Spice has a good demand bonus, but chances are not good of founding a city that supplies spice. Its appearance is fairly spotty, but may pick up in the second half of a game, when Spice has a chance of becoming a wildcard. As with silk, gems and gold, spice pays very well when supplies can be matched with demanding cities.


                            Desert, mountains, swamp or plains are needed to supply gems and supplies increase if the continent number is 7, and as the city grows. Demand for gems is the same as for silver, but with one important exception. Gems will not be in demand in a city unless the remainder is 1 after dividing the sum of the city’s map coordinates by 3. The demand bonus for gems is 3, which is good, and even though demand for gems is rarer than demand for silver, it always has a chance of being a wildcard. Considering their value, gems are in pretty good supply and demand during a game and often provide several opportunities for great trades.


                            Mountains, hills, or rivers will increase the supply gold, even though none of these are a requirement. Lack of mountains cuts potential supplies, but supplies increase as a city grows. Gold is often in supply because a city lacks enough supply commodities, which often happens in the SSC in early landing games, where demands for most commodities outstrip the values of corresponding supplies.

                            The problem with gold is that it is rarely in demand, especially early in the game when gold can not be used as a wildcard. Demand for gold is also the same as for silver and gems, but with one important exception. Gold will not be in demand in a city unless the remainder is 2 after dividing the sum of the city’s map coordinates by 3. The demand bonus for gold is 3, which is good, making it worth checking wildcards to find cities that will demand the gold the SSC is likely to supply late in the game.


                            Desert, tundra, glacier and swamp are needed to supply oil, which makes natural oil suppliers unlikely. Supplies increase on continent #9. Chances of supplying oil increase vastly after Combustion has been discovered. Cities over size 37 double the chances of oil supply.

                            Demand for oil will not occur until after the discovery of Industrialization. The discovery of Automobile triples demand. Demand increases as the tech total grows and for large cities. Factories and superhighways increase demand, but it is reduced by mass transit and by recycling centers. Oil can appear as a secondary wildcard after the discovery of Industrialization, which means it will appear if the normal wildcard is not expressed.

                            Oil has a demand bonus of 7/2, which is excellent, but supplies are most likely to occur as the result of oil being a wildcard rather than by natural means. Many cities will be demanding oil, but only a few lucky ones may find the matching supplies. When oil can be delivered to a demanding city, the payments are often limited by the 2/3 science cap.


                            Uranium supply and demand is enabled by the discovery of Nuclear Fission. Desert, tundra, glacier, mountains, hills and rivers can increase the supply of uranium. With all these terrain types boosting uranium, you might think that supplies of it might be easy to find, but this is not the case. The reason is because demand for uranium is based on the number of techs squared, which will be a very large number by the time Nuclear Fission is discovered. If this were not enough, Uranium can appear as a demand wildcard, too, but never appears as a supply wildcard.

                            About the only chance a city has of supplying uranium is when it has run out of other supply commodities, which is not too often. This is why uranium’s demand bonus stands alone at 4 as the very best. You hardly ever get to collect it.

                            The appearance of uranium in the game severely limits the variety of commodities on city demand lists afterwards, since most cities will be demanding the stuff. Things you were able to supply may be bumped off demand lists by uranium, which makes it a good idea to delay the discovery of Nuclear Fission for as long as it is convenient.

                            I actually did get a supply of uranium once in my SSC in an early landing game. It was on the turn before the space ship arrived on Alpha Centauri!
                            Last edited by solo; May 21, 2003, 11:12.


                            • #15
                              Trade (cont)

                              2.6.10 Techs Affecting Supply and Demand

                              Tech progress and the acquisition of certain techs can have quite an impact on the supply and demand of many commodities. Although tech influences on each commodity were presented in the previous section, a complete list of the techs affecting supplies and demands can be a handy thing to reference when deciding what path to take through the tech tree or deciding which techs to gift to one or more of the AI.

                              The effect of an off path tech on supplies or demands may be the determining factor when deciding whether or not to acquire the tech. An example of this might be Refrigeration, which you might consider learning to increase the size of your SSC. If acquired, Refrigeration will also cut your cities’ desire for spice in half. Since it’s possible that your SSC may be demanding spice which your colonies can supply, more benefits may be obtained by trading spice than by using Refrigeration to add a few more citizens to the SSC.

                              Tech gifts to the AI can change some of their commodity supplies and demands forever, so it’s important to know if gifting a certain tech might eliminate demand for a commodity you wish you could have continued delivering. It may also be that you have cities producing a commodity having no takers. An example of this might be oil. By including Industrialization and Automobile in a large group of tech gifts to the AI with the largest cities, you can increase their need for oil in a significant way.

                              A major consideration when gifting techs to the AI is tech totals. Once an AI acquires 32 techs, all the wildcards for its cities will change, so it’s a good idea to keep track of what these wildcards are and what they could be if you allow them to change. For example, if you are doing a great business sending gems caravans to a Japanese city having gems as a demand wildcard, you might want to think twice before your tech gifts unintentionally ruin this profitable trade route. Another example might be when your SSC has gold in supply and you notice that the new wildcard for two French cities will be gold once the French obtain 32 techs.

                              A good general piece of advice is to avoid gifting Nuclear Fission to any of the AI you intend to keep trading with. Since you will hardly ever supply Uranium, you don’t want to see it hogging spots on the demand lists of AI cities.

                              AI tech totals do affect which commodities they will be demanding quite a bit. Since you can never take back a tech, or group of techs, once they are gifted, it pays to check out how additional techs will affect certain demands first, so here is a summary:

                              Gifting techs will reduce demand for hides, beads, and salt.

                              Gifting techs will increase demand for cloth, coal, dye, oil and uranium.

                              Below is a list of relevant techs in the order they might be encountered during a game. All techs influencing commodity supply and demand and the techs controlling the amount of delivery payments will be included.


                              Supplies of salt are cut by 1/3 until Pottery is discovered.

                              Iron Working

                              Supplies of silver are cut by 1/2 until Iron Working is discovered.


                              Reduces the demand for dye by 1/2.
                              Increases the demand for silver, gems and gold by 3/2.


                              Reduces the demand for silver, gems and gold by 1/2.

                              Invention or Navigation

                              Cuts caravan payments by 1/2.


                              Doubles the demand for coal.
                              Increases the demand for copper by 3/2.


                              Reduces the demand for spice by 1/2.


                              Cuts caravan payments by 1/3.


                              Cuts demand for hides by 1/3.
                              Doubles the demand for wool.
                              Increases the supply of cloth by 3/2.
                              Doubles the demand for coal.
                              Increases the demand for dye by 3/2.
                              Enables the demand for oil.
                              Enables the use of oil as a secondary wildcard.


                              Supply of oil for all civs is reduced by 1/8 until Combustion is discovered by any civ.


                              Triples the demand for oil.

                              Mass Production

                              Eliminates demand for hides.
                              Reduces demand for dye by 1/3.


                              Cuts freight payments by 1/3.

                              Nuclear Fission

                              Enables the supply and demand of Uranium.
                              Enables Uranium as a secondary demand wildcard.


                              Reduces the demand for copper by 1/4.
                              Reduces the demand for silver, gems and gold by 1/2.

                              2.6.11 Supply and Demand List Wildcards

                              Whenever the supply and demand lists of a city are updated the game calculates new supply quotients and demand quotients for each commodity. If a commodity’s supply quotient is higher than its demand quotient, the commodity goes onto the supply roster. Otherwise the commodity is added to the demand roster. The three commodities of the supply roster having the highest supply quotients are used for the updated supply list of the city. Similarly, the top three commodities in the demand roster are used for the updated demand list. Then these updated lists are checked for the presence of the wildcard commodities. Wildcard commodities not already present on either list are then placed in the middle position of their respective lists. By the way, if the city’s supply and demand wildcard happen to be the same commodity, only the demand wildcard will be placed.

                              It is almost a guarantee that both wildcards will always appear somewhere on their city’s lists, because if they do not appear because of their high quotients, then they must be assigned to the middle position of their respective lists as wildcards. The only exception is when their quotients qualify them to be in the middle position of their opposite member’s list, and end up being replaced by the other wildcard. For example, suppose silver is the demand wildcard, but its supply quotient puts it into second place on the supply roster. Now suppose the supply wildcard is beads, and beads’ quotients are too low for it to appear on either list. Then beads will have to be used as a wildcard, and when it is placed in the middle position of the supply list, it will replace silver and silver will end up being absent from the final lists. Although this is kind of tricky, it does not happen very often.

                              Well the point of this is that you can be pretty sure that the supply and demand wildcard commodities will usually be somewhere on their city’s lists, and it’s usually a good bet that they’ll be appearing in their capacity as wildcards, too. The end result is that city supply and demand lists appear to have a great deal of variety and changes that occur to them seem quite arbitrary and unpredictable. This is because the wildcard commodities tend to mask shifts in lists and the changes that control the quotients of non-wildcard commodities. However, the wildcard commodities are like permanent fixtures, and it’s their staying power that makes them so useful when planning a strategy for trade. Other commodities may come and go in a capricious manner, but you can depend on those wildcards to hang around.

                              Each city does not have one set of wildcards for the whole game, because once a civ has a total of 32 techs, the old set of wildcards is replaced by a new set. In addition, oil and uranium can enter the picture later on as secondary wildcards. The fact that wildcards change and that we have a degree of control over whether they will change for the AI, provides more opportunities to match the wildcards of AI cities with the best commodities available to us for conducting trade. The other great benefit provided by wildcards is that they are determined by a calculation based on a city’s map coordinates, which are static. This is helpful because it allows us to test for wildcards that will appear in colonies before they are founded. The map coordinates of a city can never change, so the same is true for its wildcards.

                              Now an example from an actual game will be used to illustrate how wildcard commodities are calculated and how this information can be used in planning a strategy for trade. At the end of this section a save is attached, named “wild”, which is the position in my first comparison game at the time my tech total reached 32. If you load the save and take a look at Rome, you will see that it has the following lists:

                              Supplies: (coal), (gold), (wool)
                              Demands: silver, beads, salt

                              Now exit the city display and right click on Rome to get its map coordinates, which should be (18,12). The horizontal map coordinate for Rome is 18 and the vertical map coordinate is 12. Using Samson’s formula, let’s calculate the first set of wildcards that were assigned to Rome.

                              Supply Wildcard = RemainderOf((Horizontal x 13 + Vertical x 7)/14))

                              Supply = RemainderOf((18x13 + 12x7)/14))
                              = R((234 + 84)/14))
                              = R(318/14) = 10

                              In this case, when 318 is divided by 14, the result is 22, with a remainder of 10. This can be verified by multiplying 22 by 14, which gives 308. 308 can now be subtracted from 318 to find out that the remainder is 10.

                              Most people will probably want to be using a calculator, though, which will give the following result for the division:

                              318/14 = 22.714285

                              Now subtract 22 from 22.714285 to get .714285, which is the remainder expressed as a fraction. To find the actual remainder multiply .714285 by 14

                              .714285 x 14 = 9.999999, which when rounded off to the nearest whole number is 10, the remainder.

                              Now we can consult Samson’s list, to see which commodity is assigned to this number:

                              0 = Hides
                              1 = Wool
                              2 = Beads
                              3 = Cloth
                              4 = Salt
                              5 = Coal
                              6 = Copper
                              7 = Dye
                              8 = Wine
                              9 = Silk
                              10 = Silver
                              11 = Spice
                              12 = Gems
                              13 = Gold
                              14 = Oil
                              15 = Uranium

                              The remainder of 10 points to silver, so silver is the supply wildcard. Now let’s calculate the demand wildcard.

                              Demand Wildcard = RemainderOf((Horizontal x 3 + Vertical x 5)/14)

                              Demand = R((18x3 + 12x5)/14)
                              = R((54 + 60)/14)
                              = R(114/14) = 2

                              In this case, when 114 is divided by 14, the result is 8, with a remainder of 2. This can be verified by multiplying 8 by 14, which gives 112. 112 can now be subtracted from 114 to find out that the remainder is 2.

                              Again, if using a calculator, the result of the division is 8.1428571. When the fractional part, .1428571 is multiplied by 14, we get 1.999999 which rounds to 2, which is our pointer to the demand wildcard. From Samson’s list we can see that the demand wildcard is beads.

                              Now let’s check Rome’s commodity lists for the presence of these wildcards. The supply wildcard, silver has such a high demand quotient, that it appeared on the demand list. Since it was already on one of the lists, silver was not used as a wildcard and was not placed in the middle position of the supply list. On the other hand, the demand wildcard, beads, was not on either list because its supply and demand quotients were too low. Because of this, beads was used as a wildcard and was placed in the middle position of the demand list.

                              This save was made at the time the Roman tech total reached 32 techs, which means that Roman cities were due to switch to their new set of wildcards. The tech total can be determined by using the Science Advisor. If you use it now, you will see that 31 techs have been acquired so far. Since the game includes the tech currently being researched as part of the tech total, we can add 1 for Physics which is being studied, for a tech total of 32. Since we have reached 32 techs, let’s calculate what the new wildcards will be by using Samson’s formulas.

                              Supply Wildcard = RemainderOf((Horizontal x 13 + Vertical x 7)/9) + 5

                              Notice that the horizontal and vertical calculations are the same as the ones used for the first supply wildcard. Only the divisor has changed, which is 9 instead of 14. Another change is the addition of 5 onto the remainder to get the wildcard pointer. Plugging in Rome’s coordinates we get:

                              Supply = R(318/9) + 5
                              = R(35.333333) + 5
                              = 3 + 5 = 8 wine

                              One handy feature of having a divisor of 9 now instead of 14, is that the digits repeated in the fractional part of the result happen to be the same as the actual remainder. After dividing by 9 with a calculator, all you have to do is look to the right of the decimal point to see what your remainder will be. The second demand wildcard is derived from this formula:

                              Demand Wildcard = RemainderOf((Horizontal x 3 + Vertical x 5)/9) + 5

                              Plugging in Rome’s numbers gives us:

                              Demand = R(114/9) + 5
                              = R(12.666666) + 5
                              = 6 + 5 = 11 spice

                              So now we know that wine will be the supply wildcard and spice will be the demand wildcard in Rome as soon as Rome’s lists are updated by the its next cycle turn or by another triggering event. It just so happens that in this save there is a coal caravan from Rome waiting to be delivered to Samarkand, a Mongol city, so go ahead and complete this trade now. When the coal is delivered, 195 gold will be collected and a new trade route between Rome and Samarkand will be established. This triggering event also activated the new wildcards in Rome, and you can see this by inspecting the city now. The lists have changed, and now they are:

                              Supplies: (coal), wine, wool
                              Demands: (silver), spice, salt

                              Sure enough, both of the new wildcards appear and both are being used as wildcards too, since they are have both been placed in the middle position of their respective lists.

                              Calculating wildcards is pretty easy to do, and knowing what they are in advance is a big advantage when setting up for advantageous trades. To get some more practice you might want to calculate all the wildcards being used for two of the AI cities, Tlatelolco and Isandhlwara. Try this now and compare your results to those listed below:

                              Tlatelolco (31,39)

                              First set of wildcards

                              Supply = R(676/14) = 4 salt
                              Demand = R(288/14) = 8 wine

                              Wildcards after 32 techs

                              Supply = R(676/9) + 5 = 6 copper
                              Demand = R(288/9) + 5 = 5 coal

                              Isandhlwana (68,52)

                              First set of wildcards

                              Supply = R(1248/14) = 2 beads
                              Demand = R(464/14) = 2 beads

                              Wildcards after 32 techs

                              Supply = R(1248/9) + 5 = 11 spice
                              Demand = R(464/9) + 5 = 10 silver

                              Notice that if the Aztecs are kept below 32 techs, then Tlatlelco will keep demanding wine, which Rome will be supplying. In fact, if you click on that city, you’ll see that wine is in its wildcard position. Since I did not want to disturb this demand for wine, I kept gifts to the Aztecs at a minimum.

                              It can also be seen that Isandhlwana will be supplying spice, matching Rome’s demand wildcard. I also noticed that this city was well positioned as a colony, so I made the decision to incite a revolt there later on, to take advantage of these two great opportunities, spice supply and a good colony. Later in the game, when spice was finally delivered from Isandhlwana to Rome, the delivery payoff was the biggest one achieved in the game.

                              Astute observers might notice that Isandhlwana is not demanding beads now, even though it has beads as a supply wildcard and as a demand wildcard. The reason for this is that the city has a high supply quotient for beads, and it just so happens that this quotient was the right amount to place beads in the middle position of the supply list before wildcards were checked. Since beads was already present on a list, beads was not used as a wildcard at all. This placement of beads can be checked by invoking the cheat menu and switching to the Zulu civ long enough to inspect Isandhlwana’s supply list. Tlatlelco’s supplies can be checked in the same way, by becoming the Aztecs long enough to see salt, its supply wildcard, in the middle of the supply list. Of course these supply checks via the cheat menu can not be made while playing an actual game, but doing this serves are purposes here for checking up on the validity of the formulas and the accuracy of our calculations.

                              Hopefully, it can now be seen how valuable this wildcard information can be while playing a game. Since wildcards are easy to calculate, it makes a lot of sense to keep track of all of them for each city while playing the game. The knowledge of wildcards is especially useful during the part of the game when the 32 tech totals start coming into play. Using this knowledge can make a huge difference in how profitable trade will become during the second half of an early landing game.

                              A final thing one should know about wildcards is that not all of the commodities have been treated equally. As Samson noted, the sum of any two map coordinates will always be an even number, which when divided by 14, will always result in an even remainder. This means the first wildcards can only be hides, beads, salt, copper, wine, silver, and gems, the even numbered ones. This also means that wool and cloth can never be wildcards. The second set of wildcards are limited to those numbered from 5 to 13, which are coal, copper, dye, wine, silk, silver, spice, gems, and gold. Only a few commodities can be wildcards in both halves of the game, and these are copper, wine, silver and gems. These discrepancies in wildcard possibilities over a course of a game help explain why experienced players have noticed that some commodities always seem to get a lot more action than others.
                              Attached Files
                              Last edited by solo; September 15, 2003, 11:53.