Civilization – Autocracy and the Pursuit of Happiness

We had something of a small turnout for our game last Friday.  It was just Potshot and I, with Mattman still on vacation and Loghound busy until late that evening.  Still, part of the idea behind this epic length game was that people could drop out from one week to another and have the AI take over for them so the game could continue to progress.  And, if it had to be two players on, then Potshot and I were probably a good pair, as we had been working together on our continent, unlike Loghound and Mattman, who went to war about as early as they possibly could, leaving at least Mattman somewhat weak in a neighborhood of hostile AI players.

We started off the game, wondering what might happen now that both Loghound’s Celts and Mattman’s Chinese empires were being run by AI players.  The AI players tend to be somewhat bizarro world in their behavior, and the AI did not waste any time getting straight to it.

The Celts, with whom Loghound had been mercilessly hounding Russia last week, taking city after city, launched almost immediately into a public denunciation of the Chinese because… I don’t know… eff Mattman?  The Russians then forms a mutual admiration society with the Chinese…


and then with the Assyrians…


and then… I don’t know.  They all sat around and glared at each other I guess.  China advanced far enough to choose an ideology and went with Freedom… and then the people of China overthrew the Freedom ideology and demanded Autocracy, or so reported the People’s Daily.


Freedom just isn’t in the cards for everybody I gather.

More after the cut.

Meanwhile, last time around Potshot and I successfully campaigned against Morocco, taking three of its cities and leaving it just its capital of Marrakech.  However, this also left both of our empires in a state of severe unhappiness, leading to revolts.  I had gotten my own chance to choose an ideology at the end of the last session and, failing to make the same mistake that the Chinese did, went straight for Autocracy in the hope that it would help me keep a lit on my population while pursuing my militarily expansionist policies.

Instead I spent half the evening trying to swing the happiness meter in the right direction while dealing with insurrections.  Every time I seemed to be getting a handle on the situation, another issue would crop up.

Clean up around Hamsterdam

Clean up around Hamsterdam

Potshot, who was suffering from similar problems on the happiness front, was quick to agree to continuations of luxury good trade agreements, but the AIs were not so agreeable.  I had excess luxury items that I could have traded with several of the AI civs, but they were not having it.  I had two such deals going with the Celts, a remnant of the end of the previous session when Loghound was at the helm, which clearly benefited both of us.  But the  AI suffers from a Soviet-esque need to put principles ahead of pragmatism (though I am not sure what principles, as the Celts held as many captured cities as I did by that time) and refused to trade with me except at the most ruinous rate of exchange in its favor; The Celts offered to trade me one luxury good in return for all of my luxury goods, all of my strategic materials, and some additional gold each turn.

I had just finished trying to get some sort of semi-reasonable deal out of the Chinese on the luxury good front when their ideology was overthrown.  They literally needed luxury goods to maintain their ideology, but would rather go down in flames than enter into any sort of deal which might benefit me.

Potshot, who started deeper in the happiness hole than I did managed to get himself to the point where there was light at the end of the tunnel, even as I suffered a surge in unhappiness that put me 11 points in the red… more uprisings… when the Aztecs declared war on him.  I am not sure how that came about, except via AI lunacy.  One turn Potshot was telling me that the Aztecs were open to trading and seemed to be his pal, the next turn they declared war.

That looked like it could be an issue.

When we took on Spain, the two of us combined were more than enough to handle Isabella, while we were much bigger than Morocco and hadn’t quite finished him off.  The Aztecs though, they had a lot of cities and my military advisor seemed worried about them.  However, being in the midst of yet another uprising, I had to beg off joining Potshot in this war.  That was disappointing, as I was pretty sure I could jump in, threaten a bit, and walk away with a peace agreement and one of the Aztec cities on a platter.  But I was not sure I could survive the drop in happiness it would cause.  So I did what I could for Potshot.  I couldn’t afford to part with any ground forces, but I transferred some warships to him, which helped him hold the straights between him and the Aztec’s continent.

That war went one for several years, with the Aztecs assaulting Potshot’s city on the tip of their continent in dribs and drabs, only to have them destroyed piecemeal.  Again, the AI is not so brilliant.  Eventually both side got bored just consuming resources for no gain and peace was declare, status quo ante bellum.

I chugged along, trying to solve the happiness issue when I finally earned enough culture points to purchase the second tier Autocracy tenet called “militarism.”  This generates +2 happiness for each barracks, armory, and military academy in your empire.  Since I had already built barracks in all my cities up to that point, my happiness problem… lingering 7 points into the red… suddenly went away.  I put some production in armories and was soon past 20 points into the happy side of the meter.  It was time to spring into action.

I had been lining up some units to finish off Morocco.

Troops on the border

Troops on the border

Technologically I had been able to upgrade my cannons to artillery, which are very effective at beating down an enemy city.  Once I had a small force ready, I declared war and pushed into Morocco’s territory.  His army came out to meet me and I was able to sweep them aside with artillery support, putting me at the gates of Marrakech.

Marrakech under siege

Marrakech under siege

At that point the writing was on the wall for Morocco.  Not being worried about happiness, I annexed the city at turn 569.

Marrakech taken

Marrakech taken

That left us with what I will call the “Spanish problem.”  Morocco still had some units running around, and since we had selected the option to forestall defeat until every single unit has been captured or destroyed, so while I managed to chase down and capture a couple of his workers, some got away so Morocco remained on the scoreboard and in the diplomatic mix, managing to hook up with Assyria.


There was even a bit more comedy as the vote for hosting the world congress came up.  I, like every other empire, voted for myself.  Potshot though threw in his lot with Morocco, giving them the nod to continue hosting.


The question, of course, is where will a civilization with no cities actually host a world congress?  And what will happen when I track down and destroy or capture his last few units?  That last question has a possibility of being answered, as on the last turn I managed to get a couple of them in sight.

Moroccan units

Moroccan units

We will have to wait and see what happens with that, as we were coming up to turn 580, which sounded like a good stopping point.  That put us at July 1965 in time frame, as we are now in the stage of the epic timeline where there are multiple turns per game year.

There was a significant change in the score board by turn 580, with my Dutch empire jumping to the top of the chart.


Again, since we disabled score as a victory condition, that isn’t meaningful when as a measure of “winning,” but it does give some indication as to how people are doing.  My spies stole a couple of technologies and I have been investing production in some science building to keep me competitive militarily.  Autocracy isn’t good if you want a science victory, none of its tenets boost that, so I have to keep up the hard way.  I have to think that cities, population, and number of controlled tiles is helping me a lot as well.

Russia, previously beaten like a dog by the Celts, is down near the bottom, as is China, who had a run-in with Assyria early on when Mattman and Loghound went to war.  And Morocco, with no cities, is at the bottom of the list.  And that is reflected on the demographics chart.

Demographics - Turn 580

Demographics – Turn 580

Morocco and I are heavily represented on that chart, Morocco at the bottom of every list save approval, and me at the top of every list except soldiers.  Oddly, the Aztecs fill in the only two slots.

It might be time for Potshot and I to visit the Aztec empire next time around.  They are already hostile to him, and I can come up from Marrakech and hit the Aztec southern flank.  And then, somewhere out there, is Babylon.  The map so far looks like this:

Turn 580

Map – Turn 580

My orange empire and Potshot’s lime green are at the center of the map, with the Aztec brick red  lands to the west of Potshots main concentration.  Then the Arabs and the Babylonians to the north of the Aztecs.  To our east, the Russians in yellow, the Assyrians in cream, the Celts in dark green, and the Chinese in a lighter green are still mostly shrouded in the fog of war.  We shall see if we can change any of that next time around.  If nothing else, we should start focusing in on various possible victory conditions left to us, which include:

  • Domination – Be the last one still holding their original capital
  • Science – Build the Apollo Program and launch a spaceship
  • Culture – Gain influence over all other cultures through tourism
  • Diplomacy – Get elected world leader

I suspect that moves towards a domination victory will become more pronounced, as Spain, Morocco, and Russia have already lost their original capitals, and Autocracy seems to be the ideology of choice in the world so far, Brazil having picked it up as well.  But there is still room for somebody to go with Freedom and sprint for a science victory.

That is the end of week 8.  Previous updates to the game are listed below.

6 thoughts on “Civilization – Autocracy and the Pursuit of Happiness

  1. sleepysam

    I’m enjoying these updates. I am partial to a bloodbath at the end, and the reporting that might ensue.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    It was easy to stay buddies with Potshot when we were way down the scoreboard and demographics chart. Now that I have bubbled to the top, well, that puts a big target on my back. I think we can stick together at least until the Aztecs fall and maybe the Babylonians have the wind taken out of their sails.

    I suppose, for a domination win, our best course is to cooperate until nobody else holds their original capitals besides us. Then we turn on each other. Our capitals are fairly close to the border between our empires, so it will be a bloodbath.


  3. Doone

    Id love to get in on the next epic match you have. These sound like interesting games and I need an excuse to play Civ this summer.


  4. pkudude99

    With 4 human players, a diplomatic victory is unlikely since unless the humans simply want to end it, they’ll keep their votes to themselves and . . yeah.

    Cultural could happen, but you’ve never mentioned your status from your culture overview in any of these updates that I recall, so I assume you aren’t doing anything toward it, so for you, at least, I find it an unlikely victory, unless you’re secretly doing very well with it and not putting it in the updates so that nobody else will know you’ve got a secret win in the bag you sneaky bastard…. well except they can check how any civ is doing culturally at any time in the culture window, so…. I’m thinking you’re not mentioning it becuz you’re not thinking about it, which would indicate you aren’t pursuing it.

    Science is kinda rough without capping out the Rationalism tree, going Order, possibly also adding in Patronage and having all the City-States allied with you for their science boost, and then of course focusing on getting the science-boosting techs and city upgrades too. Since in this update you mention that you’re “keeping up the hard way” this is again not looking likely.

    Which really only leaves military conquest. And what you describe in your comment above sounds most likely — you and Potshot ally against all others then the 2 giants duke it out.

    Question if that happens though — will Mattman and Loghound stick around or let you two duke it out on your own? Or once it gets that far and Mattman and Loghound are out would you just call it a game?


  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @pkudude99 – Well, when I speak of victory conditions, I am not speaking only for myself. Mattman or Loghound haven’t yet gone for an ideology yet. Plus, I don’t necessarily want to lay all my cards on the table. I have pointed out in the past that at least two of the other three people in the group read my updates.

    And projecting enough power, plus buying enough city states, could get somebody the world leader vote. I’ve done that against the AI when not a one of them would spare me a vote.


  6. pkudude99

    Latest update has made that harder though. When the latest expansion came out, it was fairly easy to get a diplomatic win if you had all the City-States. Heck, I did a game as the Autocratic Zulu and was in a constant state of war most of the game (and I’d turned city-states off for that game so I didn’t have their votes) and I still won a diplomatic victory. Of course I’d eliminated all but 1 other civ by that point so it actually reduced the number of votes I needed and thus I was robbed of my world domination, but. . whatever ;-)

    Since the latest update the number of votes required has increased, so even when I’ve been allied with all City-States I’ve never had enough to do it on my own — I always needed the votes of at least 1 NPC civ, which they’ve never been willing to give to me, so I’ve not gotten a diplomatic victory since. Of course, I’ve never played higher than difficulty 4, nor in a multiplayer setup, so I don’t know how it would shake out in your game either. Add in that you and Potshot have eliminated some civs and that might reduce the number of votes needed, so…. yeah, I guess I can see it for you, if it comes to that.


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