Civ4 AI Survivor Season 3: Game Two Preview

This is a new feature for Season Three of Civ4 AI Survivor: a preview of each game before it begins, providing a quick summary of the leaders involved and how the community expects the game to shake out.

This is the overview map for the second game. This map ended up with all seven leaders grouped around the outer edges of a blobby pangaea. This was an unusually large group of high peace weight or "good" leaders, which could potentially lead to a more peaceful game. On the other hand, several of these leaders are bigtime religious zealots, and that could lead to some spiritual conflict depending on how the religions shake out. Let's look at the individual leaders.

Churchill of England
Season One Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Eight
Season Two Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Two
Total Kills: 1
Past Finishes: Season One (39), Season Two (30), Overall (39)

AI Summary from Season One: Churchill is another candidate for the worst trait pairing in Civ4. He has the thoroughly awful Charismatic and Protective duo, a combination that offers no economic advantages and very little in the way of direct combat power either. It's not exactly a power combo. Churchill is one of three English leaders, bringing once more the powerful Redcoat and Stock Exchange. As an AI personality, Churchill has military and gold flavors. His numbers are fairly average for the most part, although it's worth noting that Churchill disdains wonders (2/10 rating) and likes to spend on espionage (7/10). He has a moderate aggression rating at 4.3 out of 10, and a neutral standing in peace weight. Churchill is fairly bland as an AI leader, there isn't a whole lot that makes him stand out from the crowd. He'll have to play a strong game to overcome the weakness of those pathetic traits.

Joao of Portugal
Season One Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Three
Season Two Opening Round: Third Place in Game Seven
Season Two Wildcard: Winner of Wildcard
Season Two Playoffs: Third Place in Game Three
Total Kills: 1
Past Finishes: Season One (34), Season Two (10), Overall (19)

AI Summary from Season One: Joao has the most expansion-focused trait pairing in the game, with Expansive and Imperialistic traits. This has made him a desirable pick in some of our Multiplayer games when the goal is to spread out across the map like the plague. I'm uncertain if Joao the AI will be able to do the same thing, this will largely determine his success or failure. Joao's Portuguese civ brings along the Carrack and Feitoria, water-based unique tools that have limited success on a Pangaea map. Joao AI gets science and military flavors, along with average numbers for virtually everything across the board. He has a 4, 5, or 6 out of 10 in almost every category, with the one exception that he likes to make a lot of tribute and religious demands in diplomacy. Joao is pretty much your average AI, rather bland in how he's set up. Not too much going on here.

Asoka of India
Season One Opening Round: Third Place in Game Eight
Season One Wildcard: Eliminated in Wildcard
Season Two Opening Round: Second Place in Game Three
Season Two Playoffs: Eliminated in Game Two
Total Kills: 0
Past Finishes: Season One (24), Season Two (13), Overall (12)

AI Summary from Season One: Asoka is the less famous of the two Indian leaders, also probably the leader most commonly thought to be a member of the opposite sex. I can't even remember how many people on the CivFanatics forums thought that Asoka was a woman, it must be the long hair. Anyway, Asoka has Spiritual and Organized traits, a pretty nice pairing with good economic benefit. He has the Fast Worker unique unit and the Mausoleum unique building, both of them well above average for unique replacements. When played as an AI, Asoka heavily favors religion and culture. He has religion and science flavors for his research, and with Mysticism as a starting tech, Asoka will very commonly found his own faith at the start of the game. Asoka AI also likes to demand that others convert to his religion (8/10 rating), loves to build wonders (8/10), and doesn't hold much interest in units (2/10). Asoka has a low aggression rating at 3.7 out of 10, and he's considered to be a "Good" leader on the peace weight alignment scale. Asoka is another one of those AIs who will do very well if left alone, but has a tendency to get run over by more militaristic leaders when he focuses too much on religions and wonders. Either case could play out here.

Victoria of England Denmark
Season One Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Seven
Season Two Opening Round: Eliminated in Game One
Total Kills: 0
Past Finishes: Season One (27), Season Two (41), Overall (38)

AI Summary from Season One: We reversed the colors on the English flag to distinguish Victoria from Churchill, which had the effect of turning her into the reigning monarch of Denmark. Victoria is the only Financial leader in this match, pairing that alongside Imperialistic trait. This is one of the weaker combos involving Financial, but you can't really go wrong with the game's strongest trait. As an English (Danish?) leader, Victoria has the Redcoat unique unit and the Stock Exchange unique building, both of them well above average. Victoria AI has gold and growth flavors for her research emphasis. Her numbers are middle of the table for virtually everything, including her aggression rating of 5.1 out of 10. Victoria AI doesn't appear to get too high or too low in any one category. She's another leader who doesn't care very much about religious issues, and she's considered to be a "Good" leader according to peace weight, if not so high as Gandhi. Victoria is a fairly bland AI, without much in the way of defining characteristics. There's not too much that can be said about her.

Gandhi of India
Season One Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Seven
Season Two Opening Round: Winner of Game Three
Season Two Playoffs: Eliminated in Game Three
Total Kills: 1
Past Finishes: Season One (48), Season Two (13), Overall (33)

AI Summary from Season One: Gandhi is arguably the most unique leader in the entire game, and his AI personality differs in several respects from everyone else. Gandhi has Philosophical and Spiritual traits, a decent second-tier pairing with a pretty good economic boost. He gets the Indian civilization, with the single best unique unit in the entire game in the Fast Worker, although the AI doesn't know how to use them properly. India's unique building is the Mausoleum, a jail replacement which is rather good itself. Gandhi the AI plays the game as a hyper-pacifist, as befitting his historical personality. Gandhi is the AI leader least likely to declare war in the whole game, with a normalized aggression rating of zero out of ten. He's the benchmark upon which all other peacenicks are judged. Gandhi only has one flavor for his research: CULTURE. He can often ignore military techs to an alarming degree. Gandhi's other ratings are a similar story in contrasts. He places no emphasis upon building units (0/10 rating), or espionage spending (0/10), or demanding tribute (0/10). He will ask for help (8/10) and demand civic changes (10/10) at a high rate, but even in those cases, Gandhi has a unique diplomatic mechanic where refusing his demands does not lower his opinion of you. However, Gandhi also has a unique mechanic whereby he places a -2 diplo penalty on anyone who declares war against someone he regards with "Pleased" or "Friendly" ratings. He has the highest peace weight in the entire game, a perfect 10/10, indicating quasi-divine morality. No one else has the same peace weight in the whole game. Overall, Gandhi is about as extreme as it's possible to get on the pacifist scale. He's extremely good at pursuing Cultural victory... but he has to survive to get to that point, and that's quite often his problem.

Washington of America
Season One Opening Round: Third Place in Game Five
Season One Wildcard: Eliminated in Wildcard
Season Two Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Eight
Total Kills: 0
Past Finishes: Season One (22), Season Two (51), Overall (42)

AI Summary from Season One: George Washington one of three American leaders in Civ4. Washington has Charismatic and Expansive traits, which are a bit subpar and a far cry from Washington's original Financial / Organized pairing in the pre-expansion days. Like Lincoln and FDR, Washington is stuck with a weak batch of unique stuff by virtue of playing as the Americans. Washington AI has military and growth flavors, and comes off as more militaristic than the pacifist Lincoln. Washington is very average across the board in his various ratings, with the one exception that he likes to carry out espionage missions. His aggression rating is still low (4.3 out of 10), albeit much higher than Lincoln. Washington AI also has a high peace weight, putting him firmly in the camp of the "Good" leaders. He'll need to draw a good start and use the Expansive trait to get off and rolling quickly if he wants to do well in this game.

Isabella of Spain
Season One Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Three
Season Two Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Five
Total Kills: 0
Past Finishes: Season One (41), Season Two (43), Overall (48)

AI Summary from Season One: One of the other scarce female leaders, Isabella is infamous for being one of the game's most fanatical religious zealots. Isabella has a solid pairing of Spiritual and Expansive traits, and brings the Conquistador and Citadel for unique items. She's better known for starting with Mysticism tech by virtue of playing as Spain, however. Isabella will likely grab a religion of her choice at the start of the game and then defend it to the death against all comers. Unlike nearly every other AI, Isabella only has one flavor: RELIGION. She is obsessed with the true faith, and hates all those who fail to convert. Isabella also has the highest possible rating for "demand that you convert to her religion" (10/10), and her favorite civic is Theocracy. She's one of the easiest AIs to understand, the crusader obsessed with religion above everything else.

Here's what the community was thinking based on the prediction contest before the game took place:

Finally, here are some of the best/craziest written predictions about what would take place during the game. There were many other excellent entries but I had to pick and choose my favorites to keep this from running on too long. Thanks again for the submissions!

Eauxps I. Fourgott: Asoka's a pretty strong leader in general. His only real problems come when he goes up against multiple warmongers, and even then he holds out pretty well, so I don't see him having any problems with this group. Joao has a decent enough location that won't be crowded out too much and is a fairly good leader so I picked him for second. In this group of peaceniks, Crazy Izzy seems most likely to get into trouble and I could easily see her getting dogpiled again, since that's what Izzy does. Culture is a good bet for this group and I remember that the last peacefest ended pretty early as well. Not many non-Izzy wars, I would imagine, but a few are bound to pop up.

OneShot013: This is a really tough game to try to predict. I see Isabella winning the inevitable religious struggles in the east. Out of all the AI, I like the land that Joao has the most and he has a lot of room to expand. So I'll root for Joao on this one, if for no other reason than to have you try to pronounce his name more in future games :)

XpL: Missionaries. Missionaries everywhere. More missionaries than military. All the wonders belong to Delhi. Asoka also has gold nearby.

Dark Savant: I'm not expecting any of the religious leaders to do well, since Isabella is involved (she'll probably attack one of the other Indias) and we know they're all trying to research Meditation out the gate (a recipe for two of them to get off to a bad start). I think Victoria is ACTUALLY most likely to win, except for metagaming reasons I think other people are likely to guess that, so I'm going with the next most likely winners: they're both Expansive and both have fewer rivals surrounding them.

Simeon: Isabella will attempt an evangelical campaign against Asoka who will then proceed to crush her and capture her portion of the land, giving him the largest empire. Asoka, militarily unchallenged, will simply sit in his large country, spam wonders and win a cultural victory, just beating his bff and Indian counterpart Gandhi to it.

Brian Shanahan: It took me about ten minutes to pick a winner and I finally plumped for Asoka with Vicky of Denmark finishing second. I picked Asoka simply because if he settles to the centre first I think he'll grab the most land this game setting himself up for either culture or spaceship. Vicky has good land around her and might sneak the win, but her expansion has to be just right if she won't get bogged down. I eventually chose Izzy for first to die, I think she's either all or nothing and all too often she goes with a religion in her land only killing her long term chances. Joao is a dark horse if he can out expand Churchill, and Gandhi is very good if he can stay out of war. Churchill and Washington will both survive but do nothing with it due to corner starts and weak personalities. Thinking about this I could very easily see this game with no kills, at all. Izzy is I think the only AI here with the will to go all the way and if she picks wrong on religion she's on the back of a dogpile and if right the number of wars could well be 0.

Dantski: Peacefest, only broken by Isabella's religion insanity. Either someone goes to space or an Indian leader reaches culture.

Ghostpants: I think that Izzy is going to have a religious crusade against one of her neighbours and then either get killed when another takes their side or just get stuck in the stone age. Joao and Churchill just don't have enough land to get much done, which is especially a shame for Joao; if he were in Washington's or Izzy's starting place I think he'd win for sure, since they have so much more available land, which would play to Joao's strengths so much more than his current start. Gandhi and Asoka probably have the best personalities for this round but Asoka is near Izzy and I fear an early war may send him backwards techwise, and Gandhi is just squished between Washington and Victoria. Washington will (hopefully) win because he has a far larger expanse of land to settle than the other peaceniks, and his traits and UU/UB is not that far behind everyone else's. Victoria will get second because she has reasonable land, reasonable traits, and peaceful neighbours and redcoats if anything gets out of hand late game. She just won't have the land to challenge Washington.

flare_phoenix: Izzy does her jihad thing as both Washington and Joao get good landgrabs. As a result, Churchill gets cramped af and becomes irrelevant. Asoka/Gandhi and Churchill/Vicky fight multiple times because THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE. These wars are largely inconclusive, though. Eventually, someone builds the UN and someone wins.