Civilization – From the Halls of Montezuma

You don’t look like you’re having fun.

-My wife, watching me play Civilization V

As I said in a previous post, this is no longer about fun.  This is a grudge match now to prove that we can stick it out and finish our epic game of Civilization V in spite of some poor choices made early on.  Can we see this through until one of us achieves one of the possible victory conditions?

After nearly a month’s hiatus that had us on a variety of real world activities that kept even two of us, the minimum needed to advance this multiplayer match, from meeting up on a Friday night, it was time for a game.  We were back at last.

Or at least three of us were.  Myself, Potshot, and Mattman were able to get on last Friday to continue the struggle.  Loghound was otherwise occupied, so the AI took over for him as the leader of the Celts again.  However, this time around the AI seemed to keep to his past agenda of sticking it to the Russians.


So there was that going on.

Meanwhile, the rest of us spent quite a bit of the first couple of turns trying to remember what was going on nearly a month back.

Mattman was still trying to make his populace unhappy so that he could change ideologies.  Still smarting from rashly declaring war on Loghound early on in the game, the scientific victory seemed like his best bet.

And Potshot and I were assessing our foothold on the Aztec lands.

Springboard to Victory!

Springboard to Victory!

We got that in our smash and grab campaign last time, after which we got Montezuma to accept a peace proposal.  But it was a bloody fight and we both needed some time to build up forces for our next strike.

More after the cut

Of course, my advisers were extremely helpful in that regard.

Never trust Brazil

Never trust Brazil

Yes, because Brazil is our ally in the campaign against the Aztecs.

Anyway, this lead to a long stretch of not much action in the game again, where we were fiddling with production and moving units about and generally being quiet, which is about when my wife walked in and made the comment at the top of the post.  I guess I had my game face on, though not my “deep in thought” expression, where my lower lip juts out, and which always makes her chuckle a bit.

I did manage to secure cultural dominance over another civilization, which put me one step in the right direction for that victory scenario.  Granted, it was the Russians, who were down to two cities and probably grasping at straws at that point.

I am influential in Russia

I am influential in Russia

And I still have a long way to go on most of the other civilizations, but I have been investing in tourism related items.  We shall see if the groundwork I have laid comes to fruition.

Morocco, lacking any cities, was still out there thanks to our selecting the option that no civ could be removed from the game until they lost every last unit.  But they were still acting like they mattered.


At one point I did run across a Moroccan unit on the high seas, so declared war and destroyed it.  It was not his last unit however, and his one city state ally promptly declared war on me, so I have that minor annoyance hanging over my head.  Still, a step closer to elimination.

As the turns moved on, Potshot and I slowly built up forces.  We managed to pass a resolution to boycott trade with the Aztec in the world congress.  Mattman nicely supported us on that.  I spent some time building up a submarine force to counter what seemed like Montezuma’s naval obsession.  Despite being mostly concentrated on a single island, he had naval units all across the map.

The buildup continues

The buildup continues

I had originally planned to start the war in early 1992, but neither Potshot nor I felt ready at that point, so we delayed.   This served us well, as I managed to discover a luxury items that Zurich was interested in, which turned them friendly and I was able to then buy them into ally status.  Eventually, as 1997 dawned, we felt we were about ready t move.

And then Montezuma declared war on the Russians.


That seemed like the perfect opportunity to attack, potentially locking him into a multiple front war.  Maybe.  The Russians were not exactly a threat, and there was a whole series of motley alliances forming and changing amongst the AI players, with Arabia, Russian, and Babylon changing partners like it was some sort of diplomatic square dance.

Potshot and I declared war and were able to each take an Aztec city in fairly short order.

Lunge into Montezuma's territory

Lunge into Montezuma’s territory

However, it was a pretty bloody battle, and somewhat laggy as well, as the game struggled to draw, update, and track multiple operations at once.  I took Calixtlahuaca quickly enough, and annexed it while waiting for unrest to subside.  Fortunately, happiness is no longer an issue in my totalitarian state.  Montezuma was not going to take this lying down and launched all of his local forces at me to recover the city.  He took it from me for one turn, but I took it right back the next.  Interestingly, since I was retaking a city that was “mine” previously, there was no unrest at that capture.  While I lost some units, I ended up with the city producing units much more quickly.

On the northern prong of our assault, Potshot took Cempoala, but then was held in check as the narrow strip of land between that city and Xochicalco turned into a charnel house of destruction.  I was able to put artillery on a hill that could shell Xochicalco, but the AI took exception to that and went after it mercilessly.

While we were locked in the struggle on land, out naval units swept the seas clear of Aztec vessels.  I had never really used submarines in the game before, but they wrought such destruction on Montezuma that I am sold on them now.  I caught him trying to move units across a bay in order to get the to the front and managed to one-shot them, one after another, seriously weakening his army.

Sailing in Murder Bay

Sailing in Murder Bay

As that was playing out, we got a surprise as Babylon declared war on us.


According to my military adviser Babylon was the only civ in the game with an army to match my own, so perhaps the AI felt it needed to get stuck into me while it still had a chance and while the Aztecs, who were similarly rated in strength until their disaster on the sea, had us engaged.  However, Babylon did not share any common borders with either Potshot or I and was on the far side of most every other civ in the game relative to us.  So I am not sure how this will work.  He did not ally with the Aztecs, and he is not as active on the high seas as Montezuma was, so aside from a couple of angry city states, there was little immediate impact.  I am sure we’ll get to him sooner or later.

About then we started to hit something of a lull.  Montezuma’s counter attack had lost steam and we were building up for further attacks.  I tried to negotiate peace with him to see if I could extract another city as a concession, but he was not having it.  And since we were getting close to midnight, I suggested that we call turn 660, 8 turns away, our save point for the night.  We got there without much change in the status quo.

The only bad point about stopping there is that another world congress had come and gone and the international games resolution had passed, so various civs devoted resources to try to become the host.  The announcement of the winner looked to be just a single turn away when we stopped.  So the result of the international games will have to wait until next time.

And so we saved and I took screen shots of the various metrics available.

Score at Turn 670

Score at Turn 660

I am now pretty secure in the lead when it comes to score.  I have managed to sneak in more wonders than anybody else at this point, which I think is helping a lot.  But we all seem to be stacked in the same order as last time.  However, since score isn’t a victory condition, this remains a barometer of performance rather than a path to victory.

Demographics - Turn 670

Demographics – Turn 660

The demographics chart puts me out in front in everything except approval, where I am tied with Mattman.  After being unable to to change to the freedom ideology, he decided to embrace his inner autocrat and make everybody happy.  The main change here is with soldiers, as when we last ended I was in fourth place, but now my military is unrivaled in the world.

And, finally, there is the world map.

The World - Turn 670

The World – Turn 660

I managed to explore all of the Celtic lands while we still had an open borders agreement.  However, the AI refused to renew that along with every other agreement I had made with Loghound.

You can see Potshot and I have grabbed territory from the Aztecs and how Babylon, the slate blue area in the upper left, really isn’t in a position to strike us.  At least not until we get through the Aztecs or he moves through the Arabs.

So there we stand at the end of week 10.  You can find past weeks here:


3 thoughts on “Civilization – From the Halls of Montezuma

  1. SynCaine

    1980+ is generally when all my games slow down as well, and overall things stop being as fun. A major issue is the long-range artillery that makes city defenses pointless, along with air strikes that making picking off units easy but extremely time-consuming (3-4 bombing runs, repair planes, rinse repeat).

    Then there is the AI, which does a decent job of things before the modern age, but is rather weak when it comes to correctly using artillery and all the other tools of that age (paratroops, ship bombardment, subs, etc).

    Finally, in terms of victory conditions, I feel like the space race is the only ‘viable’ condition to naturally occur. To win via tourism you need to plan from turn one. To win via conquest means you dominated and had to spend the last bunch of turns cleaning up.


  2. Chris

    I agree with SynCaine. Usually if I survive into the 80’s I’m in such a dominant position that I can choose my victory type, and the game loses all it’s tension. I’ve probably abandoned more games than I’ve won, mainly out of boredom.


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