Civ4 AI Survivor Season 3: Game Four 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.

Catherine of Russia
Season One Opening Round: Winner of Game Seven
Season One Playoffs: Third Place in Game One
Season Two Opening Round: Winner of Game Four
Season Two Playoffs: Fourth Place in Game One
Total Kills: 5
Past Finishes: Season One (9), Season Two (8), Overall (3)

AI Summary from Season One: Catherine has one of the most recognizable AI personalities in Civ4. She is the flirt, the tease, the constantly-demanding-something high maintenance girlfriend. Catherine's traits are Creative and Imperialistic, one of the best pairs at claiming land and spreading out rapidly across the map. Her Russian civilization brings the Cossack unique unit and the Research Institute unique building. Catherine was significantly stronger back in pre-expansion days (when she was Financial / Creative and before the cossack nerfs), but she's still a reasonably strong leader to this date. Catherine the AI has culture and military flavors, as well as the "flirty" personality that I mentioned above. Catherine loves to ask for help (10/10 rating) and issue demands for tribute (8/10), and if you refuse any of these things, you receive a special -2 diplo penalty not present for any other leader. She's always badgering her neighbors about something. Catherine AI otherwise has mostly middling scores, although her aggression rating is slightly higher than average at 6.7 out of 10. She's considered an "Evil" leader in peace weight, the goodly AIs will not like Catherine. Finally, there's one other thing that makes her unique: Catherine AI is the only leader in the game who can be bought into a war against someone with whom she has "Friendly" relations. She can be bribed into a war against anyone, regardless of diplomatic rating. Catherine is one of the very rare AIs who has never been killed in either past year of AI Survivor. All in all, she's quite the package.

Darius of Persia
Season One Opening Round: Third Place in Game Six
Season One Wildcard: Third Place in Wildcard
Season Two Opening Round: Fifth Place in Game Three
Season Two Wildcard: Second Place in Wildcard
Season Two Playoffs: Eliminated in Game Two
Total Kills: 1
Past Finishes: Season One (19), Season Two (16), Overall (10)

AI Summary from Season One: Darius has Financial and Organized traits, possibly the best pure economic traits in the game. This pairing is one of the most popular for our Multiplayer games, and is reigned in only by having no advantages in the early game. As a leader of the Persians, Darius brings the Immortal unique unit and the Apothecary unique building, neither one considered to be especially good. Then again, the immortal might actually be useful here given the number of archers that the AI likes to train. Darius the AI has gold and growth flavors for his research. He has a heavy wonder focus for a non-Industrious leader (8/10), along with an above average preference given to units. Darius AI is otherwise fairly average across the board, with an aggression rating in the middle of the scale (5.2 out of 10). He's considered to be a "Good" leader in peace weight. Darius is pretty easy to keep on good terms as a neighbor, and generally wants to be left alone to tech in peace. If he would manage to acquire a lot of land somehow, his traits make him a serious danger to run away with the game.

Justinian of the Byzantines
Season One Opening Round: Second Place in Game Two
Season One Playoffs: Winner of Game One
Season One Championship: Winner of Season One Championship
Season Two Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Four
Total Kills: 2
Past Finishes: Season One (1), Season Two (36), Overall (12)

AI Summary from Season One: Here's the wildcard player for this particular round. Justinian has Spiritual and Imperialistic traits, and as the only Byzantine leader is renowned for bringing the mighty Cataphract as his unique unit. (He also has the unimpressive Hippodrome unique building.) We generally don't favor the Byzantines anymore due to their awful starting techs of Mysticism and The Wheel, but this doesn't matter for the Deity AIs, who all start with Agriculture, Wheel, Hunting, and Archery. Justinian AI has religious and military flavors, and heavily emphasizes building units (8/10 rating). He's well above average on the aggression rating at 7.6 out of 10, which is modest only in comparison with his eastern neighbor. Justinian also has Theocracy as his favorite civic, which means he will never go to Free Religion. In short, Justinian is likely to found his own religion, and then hate everyone else who doesn't have it for the rest of the game. Expect him to dominate the game or get swiftly crushed depending on how diplomacy shakes out.

Season Three Addition: Justinian was our champion from Season One with a very impressive showing. He was unable to follow up that performance in Season Two, eliminated immediately in his first game. We'll see if he can get back to his earlier winning ways this year.

Louis XIV of France
Season One Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Three
Season Two Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Four
Total Kills: 0
Past Finishes: Season One (52), Season Two (29), Overall (46)

AI Summary from Season One: Louis has a very distinct AI personality. He brings Creative and Industrious traits, along with the Musketeer and the Salon from the excellent French civilization. Louis is well known in the Civ4 community for being obsessed with wonders, as he has a 10/10 rating in that category. His AI flavors are culture and military, with more of a lean towards the former. Despite his wonder-whoring ways, Louis can be quite formidable in military endeavors as well, since he has a solid unit emphasis rating and above average aggression (6.3 out of 10). Louis has suffered in past years from this combination, which doesn't seem to work that well in practice. He spends too much production building wonders, then goes ahead and picks fights with his neighbors anyway despite being in no position to fight. Perhaps this year will go better.

Montezuma of the Aztecs
Season One Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Four
Season Two Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Two
Total Kills: 0
Past Finishes: Season One (42), Season Two (47), Overall (50)

AI Summary from Season One: If you've played Civ4 for any length of time, then you probably already know that Montezuma AI is completely and utterly insane. He's like a rabid dog let loose in the streets to cause as much trouble as possible before being put down. Montezuma has Aggressive and Spiritual traits, a pair that often seems to work well for the AI. His Aztec civilization has the Jaguar Warrior and the Sacrificial Altar, neither of which comes off as overly scary. It's not the traits or the civ that makes Montezuma dangerous - it's the man himself. Monty the AI has polarizing numbers all over the place. His flavors are military and religious, and along with the Mysticism starting tech of the Aztecs, this usually causes Montezuma to found his own religion and defend it to the death. Monty has a 0/10 rating for wonders - he won't waste time building them. Instead, he'll concentrate on training units (8/10), demanding tribute (10/10), and fighting wars of conquest. Montezuma's aggression rating sits at a perfect 10/10: he is the leader most likely to declare war in the entire game. With Monty around, life is always an adventure. Sure, he often falls behind technologically and gets dogpiled, but it's never a dull game with Montezuma in the field. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Franklin Roosevelt of America
Season One Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Two
Season Two Opening Round: Third Place in Game Three
Season Two Wildcard: Third Place in Wildcard
Total Kills: 1
Past Finishes: Season One (47), Season Two (19), Overall (36)

AI Summary from Season One: Roosevelt brings along Industrious and Organized traits, another pair geared more towards economic development. He is unfortunately chained to the American civilization, which means the Navy SEAL and Mall unique items. Still, this game may go long enough for those to come into play at some point. Roosevelt AI has production and gold flavors. Despite his traits, he's not programmed to emphasize wonders that much (only 4/10), which is somewhat of a surprise. Roosevelt AI is quite peaceful overall, with a low focus on training units and an aggression rating of only 2.6 out of 10. He's even easy to get along with when sharing a different religion, as Roosevelt places little emphasis on faith. This guy is fairly uninteresting, I don't quite know what to make of him.

Saladin of America
Season One Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Seven
Season Two Opening Round: Fourth Place in Game Three
Season Two Wildcard: Fourth Place in Wildcard
Total Kills: 1
Past Finishes: Season One (47), Season Two (19), Overall (36)

AI Summary from Season One: Saladin was another leader who was gutted by the Civ4 expansions, when his traits were changed to their current pairing of Spiritual and Protective. That Protective trait is the kiss of death for leaders. He is the only Arabian leader, and brings the Camel Archer and Madrassa unique items. Arabia has arguably the worst pair of starting techs in the game, the combination of Mysticism and The Wheel, neither of which are tied to improving any food resources. Needless to say, Arabia isn't exactly a popular civilization for our Multiplayer events. Saladin the AI has military and religious flavors, and he's another personality who places a lot of focus on religion. Saladin likes to demand that other leaders convert to his religion (8/10), and he places a major penalty on leaders with rival faiths. His favorite civic is also Theocracy. Saladin is otherwise average in aggression rating (5.5 out of 10) and in the middle of the peace weight scales as a "Neutral" figure in alignment. He'll try to found his own religion, then like anyone who has it, and hate anyone who doesn't. Pretty easy to understand.

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

Cathy and Justinian look like the big favorites heading into this one. Montezuma, everybody's favorite psychopath, is leading the straw poll in the First to Die category. 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: After last game, I'm thinking that anything could happen. Accordingly, I'm going to guess that this is Monty's time and he'll get the better of his early wars and snowball from there. After Mao's upset I didn't want to take Cathy, but between her being Cathy and starting between Darius and Roosevelt I've got to give her second. Darius was my First to Die prediction - I'm guessing he gets killed by Cathy and Sal, and Louis' isolated start give him enough time to avoid First. Space was my victory condition because I don't see any of the others as very likely this time, at least not with a Monty win. I'm predicting a mess with a fairly high number of wars, finishing sometime right around turn 300.

flare_phoenix: You all thought Darius was a terrible AI personality. You were WRONG. He was simply biding his time until the perfect opportunity presented itself. He's got this.

eggPoison: Justinian and Monty settle right towards each other, leading to immediate religious tension. The real winner is Saladin, who wins the expansion phase and converts Darius and Louis to loyal allies, eventually crushing team North. Cathy is stunted by the nearby desert and folds due to her belligerence toward nearby FDR and Darius. Darius profits from Cathy's demise and uses extensive tundra to fuel a come-from-behind spaceship win.

RefSteel: Yekaterina is perhaps the best AI in this match (and perhaps the best AI in all of Civ 4) and she's one of my very favorites as well, so of course I had to pick her. Yes, Justinian has an amazing start and is also one of the best AIs. Yes, he has scads and scads of room to expand - but he seems to be scouting north toward the tundra instead of south toward the center, and he has Monty for a neighbor, and I'm going to hope those two key items will be enough to hold him in check. For the rest, I'm basically just hoping the Tsarina manages to overrun the map, starting with Roosevelt and working her way East, while the Aztecs drag Justin down into the basement with them. Louis will surely go down in flames - it's only a question of whether the likes of Roosevelt will beat him to the grave - which in my dream scenario leaves Saladin as the next-strongest surviving AI when Russia takes over the world, for no better reason than that his French holdings will put his land and score base farthest away from the juggernaut that I'm hoping Cathy will be!

SilenceoftheClams: All aboard the hype train! Next stop: Washington!

Methoz: Cathy will quickly anger both Rosevelt and Darius with agressive city placement and cultural pressure and will get doulbe teamed. Justinian will attack the rear flank of Rosevelt to finish him off, but Darius will weaken Cathy before getting flanked by Saladin. In the East, Monty will be Monty and because he has his own relegion will eventually die to Louis and Justinian. That leave a large Justinian and Saladin, Louis as Saladin's ally and a weak Cathy as a free agent. Justinian bangs out a cultural victory just before Saladin can make it to space.

Axiis: Monty comes out swinging. We get a religious mess in the east between Justinian, Louis, and Monty. Catherine gets bored and eats Roosevelt, then turns on a curiously underperforming Darius. Then she cleans up whoever is left standing between Louis and Monty.

Brian Shanahan: I think Justinian has a foolproof start, any way he goes is good for quite a long while, even with starting near the tundra. With his Cataphracts he should also be ok war wise for a long time. And I picked Dayrush second because I like Persia's land too. I imagine Cathy will go well in the votes but I actually think she's gimped for good land and won't get strong enough at all unless she piggybacks of early alliances. And Monty's first to die because he's just that crazy, he'll pick a war where he's chariots and axes against Justy's cataphracts.

Fluffball: No comment other than to say I can't wait to see Monty light the eastern side of the continent on fire.