Civ4 AI Survivor Season 3: Game Five 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 fifth game. This game features a series of sharp contrasts between leaders with very high peace weights (Mansa Musa, Lincoln, Hammurabi) and leaders with very low peace weights (Alexander, Gilgamesh). The lines will be drawn in the sand early on between these competing teams of leaders, and Suleiman - the only leader with a neutral peace weight - may play a huge role in deciding which group comes out on top. Let's look at the individual competitors.

Alexander of Greece
Season One Opening Round: Second Place in Game Three
Season One Playoffs: Eliminated in Game Two
Season Two Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Six
Total Kills: 0
Past Finishes: Season One (14), Season Two (49), Overall (35)

AI Summary from Season One: Alexander is among the most warlike of the AI leaders in Civ4. He has Aggressive and Philosophical traits, an odd pairing that doesn't lend itself to much synergy. As a Greek leader, he brings the Phalanx and Odeon, with the unique unit axe that doesn't die to chariots being the stronger of the pair by far. Alexander the AI has military and growth flavors, with a heavy emphasis on training units (8/10). He also has a very high aggression rating at 8.6 out of 10, putting him amongst the most militaristic leaders we've seen thus far. Alexander is likely to go to war early and often. Whether that will be a successful strategy is hard to say. In past years of this competition, it hasn't been too successful.

Gilgamesh of Sumeria
Season One Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Four
Season Two Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Three
Total Kills: 0
Past Finishes: Season One (34), Season Two (39), Overall (42)

AI Summary from Season One: We rarely see Gilgamesh in our Multiplayer events, although his Sumerian civ is one of the most popular choices. Gilgamesh himself is Creative and Protective, that second trait being the main reason why he's persona non grata. (Protective is hands down the worst trait in Civ4.) His Sumerian civilization has the underwhelming Vulture as a unique unit, and the very nice Ziggurat as a unique building. Sumeria also has the nice benefit of starting with Agriculture and Wheel techs, sadly not really a factor for the Deity AIs and their free starting techs. Since everyone begins with Agriculture and Wheel techs (and Hunting and Archery), Gilgamesh is actually disadvantaged in this situation. Gilgamesh AI is another highly aggressive leader. He has military and culture flavors, and stands out a bit in this group of leaders for having a major preference for wonders (8/10 rating). That said, Gilgamesh AI still prioritizes units and has an aggression rating of 8/10. He's listed as the eighth most violent leader overall out of the full 52 leaders. He has a dead zero peace weight rating and will not like the other southern leaders in this game (who both have peace weights of 9/10) at all.

Hammurabi of Babylon
Season One Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Five
Season Two Opening Round: Third Place in Game One
Season Two Wildcard: Seventh Place in Wildcard
Total Kills: 0
Past Finishes: Season One (44), Season Two (23), Overall (37)

AI Summary from Season One: Hammurabi was one of the few leaders included in the original Civilization game, and I always thought it was unusual that he didn't reappear in Civ4 until the Beyond the Sword expansion. Hammurabi has Aggressive and Organized traits, a decent second-tier pairing, particularly in the hands of the AI. Hammurabi is the only Babylonian leader, and makes use of the Bowman unique unit archer, and the Gardens unique unit colosseum. These are both pretty bad, and the only reason anyone ever picks Babylon in our events is for their awesome starting techs (Agriculture and The Wheel). Hammurabi AI is another one of the rare leaders with only one flavor: CULTURE. He'll heavily emphasize researching techs with a cultural bent to them. Hammurabi's AI otherwise looks like a carbon copy of Augustus, with the same heavy wonder focus (8/10) and a slightly higher aggression rating (5.5 out of 10). He also shares the identical peace weight as a "Good" leader. Basically, the Hammurabi AI will hope to win through peaceful or cultural means without being attacked by anyone else. Not one of the more interesting AIs.

Lincoln of America
Season One Opening Round: Winner of Game Five
Season One Playoffs: Fourth Place in Game Two
Season Two Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Seven
Total Kills: 2
Past Finishes: Season One (8), Season Two (49), Overall (27)

AI Summary from Season One: Abraham Lincoln is the last of the three American leaders to make an appearance this year. Lincoln has Charismatic and Philosophical traits, a pairing that's not particularly impressive. He is also tied to the terrible American civilization, with its too-late-to-matter Navy SEAL and Mall unique items. Maybe this will be the rare game where we get to see them in action. Lincoln the AI has science and growth flavors for his research. You're never going to believe this, but his favorite civic is Emancipation. That one was probably a little too easy! Lincoln AI is extremely peaceful in this game, pacifistic even. His aggression rating stands at 0.8 out of 10, the second lowest in the game behind Gandhi. It's easy to get on Lincoln's good side and hard to get on his bad side. Lincoln AI has a sainty peace weight as another "Good" leader, which will inspire love from some of our competitors and hatred from others. He has had a very binary performance in past years, either rolling peaceful neighbors and doing well or drawing warlike neighbors and getting crushed. Gilgamesh may pose problems in this match.

Mansa Musa of Mali
Season One Opening Round: Winner of Game Two
Season One Playoffs: Winner of Game Two
Season One Championship: Eliminated in Championship
Season Two Opening Round: Winner of Game Six
Season Two Playoffs: Eliminated in Game Three
Total Kills: 4
Past Finishes: Season One (5), Season Two (17), Overall (6)

AI Summary from Season One: Mansa Musa is one of the game's economic powerhouses, with Spiritual and Financial traits. His Malinese civ brings an excellent unit in the Skirmisher, and a decent building in the Mint. I once dubbed Mansa Musa as having the "winner" AI in the same sense as Tokugawa has the "loser" AI, since he favors trading and peaceful development. Mansa AI has gold and religious flavors, the latter of which you might not expect. He actually founds his own religion pretty frequently, despite not starting with Mysticism tech. Mansa Musa has a very low aggression rating of 1.6 out of 10; basically, this guy wants to be left alone to tech in peace. Mansa will be reigned in slightly by turning off tech trading (where he swaps techs like crazy), but he's still one to watch.

Season Three Addition: Mansa has been one of the most dominant AIs in past years of competition, winning three of the five games that he's appeared in. There is arguably no AI in the whole game more terrifying from an economic perspective, and when Mansa Moneybags gets his cottages up and running all across his empire, he can be almost unstoppable. On the other hand, Mansa's also been eliminated completely in the other two games that he appeared in. If he gets roughed up too much by aggressive neighbors, it can all fall apart quickly for him.

Suleiman of the Ottomans
Season One Opening Round: Second Place in Game Four
Season One Playoffs: Second Place in Game Three
Season One Championship: Eliminated in Championship
Season Two Opening Round: Eliminated in Game Eight
Total Kills: 4
Past Finishes: Season One (6), Season Two (31), Overall (12)

AI Summary from Season One: Suleiman is the other Ottoman leader that no one ever plays because Mehmed's traits are so much better. Suleiman gets Imperialistic and Philosophical traits, a far cry from the Expansive and Organized pair of Mehmed. They share the Janissary and Hamman unique stuff by virtue of having the same Ottoman civ. Suleiman AI has culture and military flavors and is otherwise fairly average across the board, with middle of the road numbers in virtually every category. His aggression rating is slightly above average at 7/10, and that's about it. Suleiman is one of the most bland AI leaders in the game, with nothing particularly making him stand out from the crowd. On the other hand, he's been surprisingly successful in past years and even made the Championship in Season One. As the only unaligned leader by peace weight in this game, he'll play a major role in shaping the diplomacy.

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

Mansa Musa emerges as our biggest favorite yet for the overall game winner. There doesn't seem to be any clear frontrunner for the second place category (maybe a slight preference for Suleiman?), while nearly everyone expects Lincoln or Alexander to be making the first exit. We also had one vote for the "None" category in First to Die, which would be the most shocking result of all if it 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!

Japper007: I know everyone will expect Mansa to get the win here as he is easily the strongest leader in this pool, however Gilgamesh's start with lots of space, a defensible peninsula away from the central conflict area, and marble to boot will make it his game to fail, purely judging from starts. Bring on the Warcarts (oh wait those are civ 6 right )

Faded_Outline: There simply isn't enough violence on the board to stop the Mansa Monster. Lots of space to ensure he doesn't get strangled early, and with Lincoln as bait there's less risk of an early Alex/Gilgamesh team up on him.

Eauxps I. Fourgott: Two things are stopping me from picking Mansa: One, the last two obvious choices have both died, and two, his starting position sucks, with less room to expand than anybody else has. Instead, I'm taking Suleiman. He's proven his prowess in Season 1, and I think he should be able to make a decent landgrab and go from there. Gilgamesh will be killed by his high-peace-weight neighbors first, while Suleiman will eventually take over Alex and later Mansa, while being buddies with Lincoln and Hammurabi. Lincoln will advance with a strong second place, and Hammurabi will just kind of slide by to the wildcard game. Now watch as Mansa dominates

JackDRB: If my boy Mansa doesn't win I want a refund I've somehow not managed to pick 1st or 2nd correctly in any game this season thus far, if this doesn't work... I don't even care if I predict everything else wrong Mansa cannot let me (and virtually everyone else) down

ArtDeco: And the Early Rush Victim Medal goes to Lincoln! I expect Lincoln and Hammurabi to find first religions and Mali to get monotheism first. Alexander and Suleiman will share religions, Gilgamesh with his sad starting position and Alexander's fury on mid continent tropical barbaric cities will form close sparking borders with Lincoln eventually making him being dogpiled as Hammurabi sits on his ass wait to be dogpiled later in the game. Suleiman will tech ahead early game and join wars against Hammurabi and Mansa Musa. Let's see what will happen!

Shpoko: Alex gets squeezed early and lashes out, but his neighbors have better land and squash him like a grape. Meanwhile Gil tries to take out Lincoln, but Hammy backs up Abe and the two of them slowly kill Gil. After that, it's a race to space.

Ghostpants: Gilgamesh has a shocking start, as he both in the corner (slightly squeezed) and the resources surrounding him are nothing spectacular (probably below average), thus he will be the first to die when he inevitably attacks one of his high peace-weight neighbours (Mansa or Lincoln) and is slowly crushed by them. The victor of that struggle will likely go on to win the game (as either Lincoln or especially Mansa!) are absolute monsters once they get enough land. Alexander will likely do the same thing as Gilgamesh once he's fully expanded, however his land is much stronger and he should hopefully last a little longer, maybe even take out one of the weaker civs and become a powerhouse in his own right. Suleiman also has quite poor land, so even with his performance from season one (which I generally attribute to luck) I don't think he's going to give us a very impressive performance this game. Lastly, The Hammer is probably just going to chill off by himself in the corner, not getting attacked, attacking, or generally doing anything. I don't think is going to put himself in a strong position though, and he'll probably just get relegated to doing nothing again in the wildcard game

LinkMarioSamus: If Justinian can tap into some of that Season One magic, why can't Mansa Musa and Suleiman?