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 Post Posted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:10 am 
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Fall from Heaven is a mod for Civilization IV. Though as a mod, it is a total conversion and undoubtedly adds more assets than the original game had. Civilization IV was historical in theme. Fall from Heaven is based in the dark fantasy world of Erebus. Gods, Vampires, Golems, Demons, Mages and the most mythical of creatures Ninja-Pirates take the place of tanks and riflemen. And Dragons...

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So, here is the deal. I'm going to play a game of FfH2, and essentially blog about if from a strategic perspective. Think of this as an After Action Review, complete with screenshots. However, I will occassionally ask for the readers' opinion on what course of action I should take. The focus of the write up will be on strategy and won't be written "in character," though I do plan on including flavor exerpts. Since not everyone will be familiar with FfH or even CIv4, I'll discuss relevant points as we go on.

To get me started, please pick from one of the following nations.

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First nation to get 3 votes will be the chosen one. However, I am not interested in playing Kuriotates, Mercurians, Sidar, Grigori, or Infernals. So, please pick a different nation.

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     Post Posted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:19 am 
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    Awww, pity for the ban on Sidar 'cause they look like something you don't see often- not-evil Undead!

    Okey-dokey then, how about Luchuirp?

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     Post Posted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:59 am 
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    I vote for the Clan of Embers.

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    There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare.
    -Sun-tzu, The Art of War

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     Post Posted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:05 am 
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    Second on Clan of Embers

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     Post Posted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:36 pm 
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    I say Amurites.

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     Post Posted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:51 pm 
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    And Clan of Embers takes the cake.

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     Post subject: Background
     Post Posted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:25 am 
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    How'd I know this forum would pick an "evil" civ?

    Well, alright. He's the flavor for the Clan of Embers:

    Quote:
    Are the numberless orcs of Erebus shunned because of their viciousness and cruelty, or are they cruel and vicious because they are shunned? A riddle which troubles sages and priests, perhaps, but battlefield commanders have little time for such thoughts when the Clan of Embers is upon them. Quick and harsh like the fallen goddess they serve, orcs and goblins have menaced civilizations since the end of the Age of Magic. In the Age of Rebirth, however, they pose a more dire threat as uncontrolled hordes have been shaped into one mighty clan under Jonas the War-Priest. Sheelba, their queen, brings the advances of civilization but none of its civility.

    Hero: Rantine
    World Spell: For the Horde
    Starting Mana: Body, Fire, Nature


    Strengths: Hmmm... I haven't played CoE very often. They are basically a playable barbarian faction. As a consequence of this, they start at peace with all Orce, Goblin, and Lizardman Barbarians... which is a big deal in FfH. Barbarians can seriously mess you up. Beyond that, they can build the Warrens, a building that DOUBLES unit production. Instead of one unit, they get two. Doesn't work for heroes, though. Finally, their Hero, Rantine, can convert Barbarian cities to the nation, and their once per game "World Spell" converts half of all Barbarian units (except animals) to their side.

    Cons: They have a permanent -10% to their research. This is made worse by their inability to build Libraries, an important early research improvement. In Civilization (and Fall from Heaven), Research isn't everything, but it is a great deal.

    Now, the Civilization Basics. The game takes place on a square grid. All players start with a Settler and a few military units. The Settler is used to create a new 1 Population CIty (loosing the unit in the process). Cities use their population to "work" the surrounding tiles for food, hammers, and trade. Food is needed to create more population so more tiles can be worked. Hammers let the city build units (including new Settlers) and building improvements (forges, walls, temples, etc.). One of the new units that can be built is the worker which can improve the surrounding tiles to give more food or production or trade. Now trade, you might think generates wealth (gold) for the nation. You'd be partially right. However, the player gets to set a percentage for where trade goes. It can go to wealth, but this is also how the nation generates research. Hence, most of the time the majority of trade will be going to research to learn new technologies.

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    "Those who plot the destruction of others often perish in the attempt." - Thomas Moore

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     Post Posted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:54 am 
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    quite interesting Pro/Con List there. If that 'For the Horde' spell is half of the barbarian units you can see then wait for a while, but if it's half of the barbarians in existence then you could use it early on for some map coverage, cause I find that in regular Civ IV the barbarian population dwindles as the game goes on, if that's not the case in FfH II then go ahead and wait.

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     Post Posted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:45 pm 
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    Pre-Game:

    I went with Jonas as the Civilization leader who gives cities more health (which lets them grow bigger) and he's Spiritual, which lets me change Civics without entering Anarchy, a period of no research, production, or growth. What are Civics? They are nation wide settings that can have drastic effects on an empire. Things like extra research, or more commerce. We'll discuss these more later.

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    Settings:

    Map Type: Continents
    Size: Large
    Difficulty: Noble (4/9, enough to provide a challenge, but keep it easy enough so I can still strive to be entertaining here).
    Speed: Normal

    Turns 1-3:

    Anyway, say hello to my first and capital city. It's not much to look at now, but it borders rivers (provide more commerce, and required for irrigation), flood plains (great food sources), and heavily forrested. Wineries to the north of me, cows to the south. My first order of business is going to be to reaserch Crafting and Mining so I can build improvements on those grapes and clear the forrests.

    Image

    To my south-east there are a lot of desserts. This has me thinking I need to pick up a Water Mana node. When I finally get Adepts, if I have a Water Node they can learn the spell Spring, which a) puts out fires when the occur, and b) more importantly converts desserts (which are useful) into Plain tiles.

    Hmmm... it occurs to me that I'm playing a civilization with Goblins as a recruitable unit and posting on an Erfworld forum. I think a change is called for. Here you go.

    Image

    Edit: For some reason my screen captures are only showingpart of themselves. I'll see if I can figure out why and fix that.

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    "Those who plot the destruction of others often perish in the attempt." - Thomas Moore

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     Post Posted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:46 pm 
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    turbler wrote:
    quite interesting Pro/Con List there. If that 'For the Horde' spell is half of the barbarian units you can see then wait for a while, but if it's half of the barbarians in existence then you could use it early on for some map coverage, cause I find that in regular Civ IV the barbarian population dwindles as the game goes on, if that's not the case in FfH II then go ahead and wait.


    There is a "tide" effect. At the very start there are no barbarians, but as time goes on their numbers begin to increase, as they spawn not only from tiles in the Fog of War, but from various structures on the tiles from the start (barrows, ruins, and lairs). Eventually, these structures are destroyed (along with most Barbarian cities when they spawn), and the total number of Barbarians vanishes to nothing. So, there's a bit of a sweet spot to hit. I make no promises about being able to hit it.

    On another note, I believe the resolution for the pictures is to big. While I could play the game at a lower resolution, I would much rather convert the jpegs into smaller files. If anyone knows a good, free program for that I would be grateful. I'll have the next installment up soon.

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    "Those who plot the destruction of others often perish in the attempt." - Thomas Moore

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     Post Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 6:54 am 
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    Lord Kasavin wrote:
    On another note, I believe the resolution for the pictures is to big. While I could play the game at a lower resolution, I would much rather convert the jpegs into smaller files. If anyone knows a good, free program for that I would be grateful. I'll have the next installment up soon.


    Yeah, I've had the resolution problem too- it seems to mostly be important for width, height can be more or less unlimited.

    Free image-edit software could be IrfanView (it allows, among a few other things, rescaling) or GIMP (a full-fledged image editor, go to Image menu and then pick Scale Image).

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     Post subject: Turns: 4-14
     Post Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:43 pm 
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    BLANDCorporatio wrote:
    Lord Kasavin wrote:
    On another note, I believe the resolution for the pictures is to big. While I could play the game at a lower resolution, I would much rather convert the jpegs into smaller files. If anyone knows a good, free program for that I would be grateful. I'll have the next installment up soon.


    Yeah, I've had the resolution problem too- it seems to mostly be important for width, height can be more or less unlimited.

    Free image-edit software could be IrfanView (it allows, among a few other things, rescaling) or GIMP (a full-fledged image editor, go to Image menu and then pick Scale Image).


    Thanks, just what I was looking for.

    Meet the Neighbors.

    Turns: 4-15, Meet the Neighbors

    Early exploration is conducted through my starting Goblin unit. I must say that it is noticeably inferior to human races starting Scout units, which our Goblin replaces. Why? It only has one move, versus the usual 2. That makes it much harder to explore the early map and plan out development. However, I have run into two other nations already. The Bannor and Kuriotes. Both are aligned as Good, which means the Clan's Evil alignment results in an immediate diplomatic penalty between us. Well, being that I don't have the Cartography tech yet I can't sign Open Border agreements anyways, so the only thing to do is NOT go to war. Or go to war, but with my scanty military and plenty of room to still expand, why bother?

    On another note, my empire borders a "ruin." Which may be bad news. They Spawn Lizardmen, which have a scary strength score of 4, vs. my warriors' strength of 3. To make matters worse, they have a move of 2 and can surprise and eliminate defenseless workers. That may not seem like a lot, but its 33% better. One could get lucky and wipe out my capital unless I build redundant defenses. Yet, for those of you who paid attention, you know the Clan is at peace with Lizardmen... so I don't have to worry about them! When they spawn, they will attack my neighbors, not me.

    But first, lets make some introductions:

    Image
    Background wrote:
    The Bannor Empire is a people forged by unbelievable hardship into a weapon of unrelenting justice. They have the will to take the fight to the enemy no matter the price; the only question is if they will take it too far, but they did not fight their way through fire and ice only to let the world fall to darkness. The Bannor are a pretty generalist, law-oriented civilization.



    Image

    Background wrote:
    Cardith Lorda is a mysterious young boy with a supernatural wisdom and unmatched charisma. His dreams of building a peace and prosperity that can stand the assault of time and calamities draw men and women of all races to his teeming cities, marvels which put even the halls of the Bannor to shame. Will their unity be enough of a shield as the Kuriotates create a lasting haven, or will the savagery of their foes require ferocity in return?

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    "Those who plot the destruction of others often perish in the attempt." - Thomas Moore

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     Post subject: Turns: 15-31
     Post Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:21 pm 
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    Where to expand?
    Not a lot going on. I now have 3 Warriors, all defending the captial, and 2 Goblins out exploring. I have also produced my first worker who will be building Wineries to start. It's time to think about building another Settler to found a second city. From the map below, I'd say I have three options for expansion: West, South, or East. The West has the advantage of a river and gold. It seem to be an ideal location for a "production" city, or a city that specializes in producing units. Plus that Gold when mined could provide a nice boost to my early economy. The South is very appealing because its space that the Kuriotates can fill at any moment. It also has the advantages of a river and Reagents, a useful resource as the game progresses, but no food tiles to boost early population. The East is a bit of a Dark Horse canidate for the second city. It's very hilly and hills cannot be farmed, but it will have access to Wheat insuring early growth at least. It will also be a costal city meaning I can build boats there. It will also give me access to Gold.
    Image


    So, I ask you my readers, where should I expand next? Keep in mind, it will take at least 10 turns to build the Settler for my current capital.

    Edit: Also, happy Easter Everyone.

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    "Act, and God will Act." - Joan of Arc

    "Those who plot the destruction of others often perish in the attempt." - Thomas Moore


    Last edited by Lord Kasavin on Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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     Post Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:32 pm 
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    Well then, it boils down to "how aggressive are we going to be?".

    If aggressive, as in fast expansion, maybe South? Put the pressure on the neighbours?

    But if we want to avoid them for now, West, build up, eventually take the South too but after the buildup.

    Not knowing the game or the faction, my default instinct is West.

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     Post Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:23 am 
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    in normal Civ4 you can't really choose which way you expand . . . but I say we avoid the neighbours, move out in the other directions.

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     Post Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:29 am 
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    I say south, put's the pressure on, and if some lizardmen come along and attack them, you're close enough to throw some warriors at them while they're weak. I always enjoy the "kick em when they're down" scenario.

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     Post Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:13 pm 
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    Hmm...... I haven't played any of the Civilization games myself, but my instinct is to go West.

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     Post Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:05 am 
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    I believe a consensus has been achieved. My first expansion will be to the west.

    That being said, I think I should talk about the CIv4/FfH2 early game dynamics and expansion. There is a bit of a Boom/Turtle/Rush balance. To rush, a player devotes his economy to producing Warriors or some other Early game unit. These Warriors are then used to rush another player. To Turtle, a player also builds Warriors, but only enough to stop another's Rush of Warriors and puts the rest into economic expansion. To Boom is to assume the player won't be attacked right away and build only enough Warriors to hold off Barbarians. If the player is attacked, he can expect to loose ground. However, if you can research the next Tier of units, it becomes much easier to defend a city against a much greater number of units.

    Now, the Turtle can work due to some special properties of Warriors, units in general, and cities. Most unit types can "fortify," a type of digging in. In exchange for not moving, the unit gains 5% strength every turn to a ceilling of +25%. Furthermore, Warriors defending cities get an additional +25% strength. Finally, cities as they develop can have their own defensive bonuses that are awarded to almost all units. These include bonsuses from culture and buildings (such as walls). A new city won't have any bonuses, but a capital will almost certainly have a bonus of +20% and may go as high as 40%. Finally, units on a hill (which cities can be built on) will get a +25% bonus when defending.

    All the bonuses are additive. Meaning, a Warrior defending a city will at least have a +50% bonus from fortify and simply defendin the city. The bonus might goes as high as +100%. The math for combat determining combat odds is fairly complex, so suffice to say a stack of at least 1.5xs the defenders are needed to take the city. If the stack fails to in one turn, then the defenders will heal much faster because they are in friendly while the attackers will heal very slowly due to being an enemy territory. This can lead to some nasty reprisals. Also, defenders will likely have earned more XP (and thus levels and promotions) than the attackers making a 2 turn capture of a city unlikely.

    Now, to change gears a bit, Civ4 (and FfH2) is not like most games which rewards rapid expansion. There are maintainence costs associated with Cities and Units that do not increase linearly (i.e. if 2 cities cost 6 gold to maintain, 3 cities will cost 10 or more to maintain). Hence, the real limit on expansion is typically a nation's economy. Thus, going to war early is not about acquiring more limited land. Early on, there's more space to found cities than there is economy to settle the space. It is about acquiring large deposits of gold by pillaging and capturing (or razing) cities. Its also about eliminating (or critically weakening) a rival which later on may compete for map space and allows the player to grow more leisurely. However, elminating a nation also means loosing a potential friend and ally. Be on friendly terms with a nation in Civ/FfH is only occasionally about military assitance. Most the time, its about having a trade partner, both in a behind the scenes commerce mechanic and in an upfront technology trading mechanic. Being isolated on an island (no matter how large) is typically one of the weakest starting positions in the game because the player lacks anyone to trade technology with and has to all his own research.

    That being said, these are two goody two-shoe nations compared to the barbaric Clan of Embers. Unless we all join the same religion (to be discussed later), they are unlikely to get along with me in the long term anyways.

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    "Those who plot the destruction of others often perish in the attempt." - Thomas Moore

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     Post Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:21 am 
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    Kill them. And take their stuff.

    That is all.

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     Post Posted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:20 am 
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    Crovius wrote:
    Kill them. And take their stuff.

    That is all.


    Amen.

    Kill the Kuriotates first.

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