Civ4 AI Survivor Season 5: Game Seven Preview

This is a continuing feature for Season Five 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. We start as always with an overview of the map:

The field in Game Seven appeared to be an uninspiring lot aside from the seeded leaders. The standout in this group was Pool 1 leader Justinian, winner of Season One of AI Survivor and nearly a repeat winner at the conclusion of Season Three. Justinian combines together strong expansion with his Imperialistic trait and a tendency to form enduring alliances via shared religious faith. He would likely be opposed in the religious race by the Pool 2 seeded leader Zara Yacob, another AI leader with an unusually high emphasis on faith. Zara had a fantastic showing in Season One of AI Survivor yet struggled to make much headway in the years since then. The unseeded leaders were a mixed assortment with a little bit of everything, from Alexander's militarism to Churchill's defensive turtling to Qin's wonder building. Outside of Justinian and Zara this was a pretty lifeless group of leaders. We'd have to see if any of them could make a name for themselves in this match.

Pool One Leader

Justinian of the Byzantines
Traits: Imperialistic, Spiritual
Starting Techs: Mysticism, Wheel
Peace Weight: 4
Past Finishes: 4 First Place Finishes, 3 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One Champion
Total Kills: 9
Overall Power Ranking: 35 points, tied 1st place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Justinian is the Civ4 leader that best combines religious and military pursuits together into a dominant total package. Justinian benefits from a strong trait pairing in the Spiritual + Imperialistic combination, routinely securing a larger-than-average share of the available land. He is tied to the Byzantine civilization, which suffers from terrible starting techs but benefits from one of the game's most overpowered units in the form of the Cataphract. Knights with 12 strength are enough to win many games of their own accord and Justinian has put them to good use in many of his victories. (He's also sometimes refused to research Guilds until a very late date, as it doesn't correspond with his Religious + Military tech flavors.) There's no question that Justinian is an aggressive leader who leans towards conquest, with a high aggression rating (7.6/10), heavy unit emphasis (8/10), and a somewhat low peace weight. Unlike the game's most insane warmongers, however, Justinian largely limits his aggression to competitors outside of his religious bloc. He will strongly favor leaders who share his religion and hate those who don't. Justinian also will not plot war at "Pleased" relations, which simultaneously keeps him from backstabbing his allies but also sometimes limits the gains that the Byzantines could be making with more decisive action. Justinian will typically found an early religion and use it to make some friends, then go on the attack against those who are outside his religious bloc. He does this well enough to make up for his lackluster performance on the economic side of the game. Research doesn't matter if everyone else has been crushed to death beneath cataphract hooves.

Past Performance: Justinian has more combined first and second place finishes than anyone else through four seasons of AI Survivor. He's taken part in a ton of AI Survivor games as well, appearing in ten different matches while scoring four victories and three runner-up finishes. Justinian's best season was his initial foray, as he took a second place finish in a difficult opening round game and then won his playoff game and the eventual championship. This was seen as an unusual result at the time since Justinian is not a popular choice for human Multiplayer matches. However, additional seasons have proven that Justinian's victory was no accident and his traits are well suited to AI Survivor. Justinian had a poor showing in Season Two but then bounced back in Season Three by making it all the way back to the championship game. He came close to taking home a second crown before finishing in second place behind Stalin. Even though Season Four was less kind to Justinian, he still won his opening round game in runaway fashion via religious diplomacy before bowing out in the playoff round. Justinian is another top AI leader who always poses a threat to add to his immpressive medal collection.

Pool Two Leader

Zara Yacob of Ethiopia
Traits: Creative, Organized
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mining
Peace Weight: 6
Past Finishes: 2 First Place Finishes, 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season One Championship Runner-Up
Total Kills: 3
Overall Power Ranking: 15 points, tied 13th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Zara plays with the Creative and Organized traits, combining to push a landgrab style of play and giving production discounts on a huge variety of buildings. For his unique items Zara plays with the Oromo Warrior, a slightly better musketman, and the Stele, useful for a cultural victory and not much else. Lastly, Zara gets the Hunting/Mining combo for his starting techs, which means he can be slow to connect his food resources, especially if he goes for a religion. Zara�s numbers tend to be in roughly the middle of the board, including his aggression rating (5.6/10), unit build preference (6/10), wonder build preference (4/10) and even his peace weight, at a neutral 6. His flavours are Growth and Religion, an unusual combination that could lead to healthy and happy cities, while the last unusual thing about Zara is the huge diplomatic emphasis he places on faith. The diplomatic bonus for sharing a religion with Zara can go up to +8, and the penalty for religious differences is nothing to sneeze at either. Expect Zara�s diplomacy to follow religious alignment to a tee, and when he finds himself on the wrong side of a coalition, Zara had better watch out.

Past Performance: Zara is one of the AIs with a pile of laurels for one season and literally nothing to show for himself since. All 15 of Zara�s points were scored in Season One, as he clawed his way from the Wildcard Game all the way to second place in the Championship, in true underdog fashion. His path to victory usually involved staying out of fights pre-catapults, gobbling up a religious rival or two once they were unlocked, and then using the extra land to launch a spaceship (or straight up claim domination) before his allies. It proved to be a very effective strategy. However, since then Zara has struggled to make anything of himself. He played a weak opening game in Season Two and was unable to advance in another Wildcard game, and then in Seasons Three and Four Zara was outright eliminated by more aggressive AIs, first Caesar, then Kublai Khan. Each of these games displayed the downside of a heavily religious gameplan, as Zara threw away a midgame lead with a few unsuccessful cross-map crusades in Season Three, and in Season Four he ardently practiced a minority Christianity in a very angry, very Buddhist world. You can probably guess how that ended. To find more success and repeat his Season One magic, Zara will need to be a lot smarter about both which faith he chooses to follow, and also which religious enemies he decides to attack.

Unseeded Leaders

Alexander of the Greeks
Traits: Aggressive, Philosophical
Starting Techs: Fishing, Hunting
Peace Weight: 0
Past Finishes: 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season One Playoffs
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 2 points, tied 40th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Alex is another of the �warmongers� in Civ 4. He plays with the Aggressive and Philosophical traits, a weak pairing that doesn�t offer much in the way of synergy or individual power. He also gets the phalanx, a powerful unit in the hands of a human but not especially useful in that of the AI (Alex will build plenty of spears anyway), and the Odeon, a nice happiness boost for the midgame. Lastly, Alex has a pair of average starting techs in Fishing and Hunting, and like all Fishing leaders is much stronger when he starts on the coast. With one of the highest aggression ratings in the game (8.6/10), a high unit build preference (8/10) and the military/growth flavour pairing, Alex is likely to go to war early and often. He�s also one of the leaders with the "demonic evil" peace weight of 0, which makes any cooperation with the "good" leaders essentially impossible. Like the other warmongers though, Alex is so aggressive that if there aren�t any good leaders around, he�s pretty likely to just attack one of his buddies anyway. Other than the key aggressive stats, Alex is a pretty generic leader. He has middling numbers in just about everything else, including tribute demands (4/10) and wonder building (4/10), and he cares an average amount about religion too. Look for Alex to be one of the driving forces of this game. He can�t get off the warpath until everyone else � or himself - is dead.

Past Performance: Alex is another of the sad warmongers with zero kills to his name after four seasons. Alex�s only notable placing so far was in Season One, where he placed an extremely distant � we�re talking lightyears here � second to Boudica in Game Three after fighting a series of unsuccessful wars; it wasn�t an impressive game. Since then, Alex has struggled mightily, the first player to die in both his Season Two and Three games. The closest Alex has come to success so far was in his Season Four Opening Game, where he played a genuinely strong first 250 turns. Alex�s downfall in that game was less his own incompetence and more Kublai�s determined defence (and then Tokugawa's lethal invasion) and having played a major part in the death of nearly every other leader and topping the scoreboard for ages, Alex was unlucky not to score at least a kill point or two. Despite this, it�s worth acknowledging that Alex has displayed incompetence more often than not, and his games are yet another pile of evidence that unadulterated aggression is just not the best strategy for this kind of setup.

Churchill of England
Traits: Charismatic, Protective
Starting Techs: Fishing, Mining
Peace Weight: 6
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Four Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 1
Overall Power Ranking: 1 point, tied 44th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Churchill has arguably the second-worst trait pairing in the game, with the below-average Charismatic and the terrible Protective. His English civilization is much nicer though, with the powerful Redcoat and Stock Exchange, which might help to make up for his traits. Lastly, he starts with Fishing and Mining, a weak pairing unless his capital is on the coast. Churchill is a little interesting in the sense that he has a low score in basically every category. He doesn�t build a lot of wonders (2/10) or units (4/10). He doesn�t demand tribute (1/10) and he has a pretty low aggression rating (4.3/10) too. In fact, the only thing this guy does is spend espionage (7/10); that�s literally the only number above a 5/10 in his personality. He also has a neutral peaceweight, so Churchill is fair game for attack from the good or evil leaders. Lastly, his flavours are Military and Gold. It all makes for an uninteresting personality that�s more likely to sit in a corner plotting than anything else.

Past Performance: Churchill has so far been unable to overcome his weak traits and bland personality. Churchill died in his opening game during the first three seasons of AI Survivor, and was first-to-die twice to boot. Then in Season Four, Churchill played his best game yet: he hid in a corner and got his butt saved by the Apostolic Palace numerous times, until he got to the Wildcard Game and, err, died miserably. Yikes. Yeah, this guy hasn�t just failed to score many points on the power rankings. He�s also just boring, and more than almost any other leader, you should probably expect Churchill to do nothing at all; he never has before.

Peter of Russia
Traits: Expansive, Philosophical
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mining
Peace Weight: 1
Past Finishes: 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Three Playoffs
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 4 points, tied 33rd place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Peter the Great is an AI leader who seems to be pulling in six different directions at once, leaving a bit of a confusing mess as the result. Peter has two traits that lack any clear synergy, with Expansive theoretically being useful for growing outwards while Philosophical develops upwards. Neither of these traits is particularly strong in the hands of the AI and Peter ends up weaker in this setup as compared to when played by a skillful human. Fortunately the Russian civilization is a good choice to have available, with decent starting techs and a powerful unique unit in the form of the Cossack. As for the leader himself, Peter's AI personality is all over the place in terms of what it emphasizes. He has a higher than average unit training preference (6/10) but also an above average desire to build wonders (6/10) and spend on espionage (7/10). This is a leader who doesn't care too much about religion, for whatever that's worth. Peter would appear to be your standard militaristic AI, with a high aggression rating (8/10) and low peace weight and willingness to declare war at "Pleased" relations. However, Peter has tech preference that don't match a conquest gameplan at all, instead using Science and Growth flavors for his research. He also rarely if ever makes any demands of his neighbors: no tribute demands (2/10), no civics changes (1/10), no asking other AI leaders to convert religions (2/10). It's not particularly clear what goal Peter has in mind for any particular game and the AI often seems confused as well.

Past Performance: Peter's performance has been somewhere between mediocre and poor in past seasons of AI Survivor. He's frequently been a popular pick in the viewer contest only to disappoint his backers with aimless, lackluster showings. Peter appeared in the first ever game of AI Survivor and couldn't manage a result better than a third place finish followed by a near-elimination in the subsequent Wildcard game. Peter found his way back to the Wildcard game again in Season Two after another distant last place finish only to suffer the humiliation of being the first leader eliminated in an eleven-nation field. Ouch. Peter's best result was a second-place finish in the opening round of Season Three, although he was again nowhere close to first place as he trailed a long distance behind the winning Hannibal. He was killed in both his playoff round match and his Season Four opening round game, albeit with a much better performance in the latter game that topped the field for the first 200 turns. Thanks to his repeated Wildcard game appearances Peter has been in a lot of total games, seven matches in full. However, he's scored only the single second place finish and never come in first in those seven games. Along with his paltry two kills, Peter has a clear track record of mostly ineffective performances.

Qin Shi Huang
Traits: Industrious, Protective
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Mining
Peace Weight: 2
Past Finishes: 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One and Three Playoffs
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 6 points, tied 29th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Qin Shi Huang has the unfortunate penalty of being saddled with the worst trait combination in Civ4 for AI Survivor purposes. The Industrious trait seems to cause the AI leaders to tie up their cities on wonders in lieu of expanding out across the map, while the Protective trait is well-known for being the weakest of the bunch. Defensive promotions and cheaper walls can help string out a losing game but won't do much of anything to help win a game. Qin's saving grace is the Chinese civilization, with its amazing starting tech combination and powerful Cho-Ko-Nu unique unit. The extra promotions on this unit are about the only useful thing that Qin gets from his traits. Qin's AI personality is mostly that of a peaceful builder, as he has a low aggression rating (3.9/10) and a fairly high wonder emphasis (6/10). Qin generally won't pick a lot of fights as he doesn't make a lot of demands and he has a low train unit emphasis (2/10). This economic setup is oddly paired with a low peace weight and the ability to plot war at "Pleased" relations. This is likely the reason why Qin has outperformed his terrible trait combination, as low peace weight leaders who can successfully pull off economic development tend to be some of the strongest competitors in AI Survivor. It's too bad for Qin that he doesn't get more useful traits to pair with his otherwise promising setup.

Past Performance: Qin has consistently exceeded expectations in past seasons, managing a pair of trips to the playoffs despite often unpromising circumstances. He's made a living in the Wildcard game in particular, advancing to the playoffs in Season One by taking home a silver medal in that last chance effort. This wasn't enough to overcome a field of mostly high peace weight leaders in the playoffs, losing out to Mansa Musa and Elizabeth in a tight contest. Qin's best outing took place in Season Three, where he finished in second place behind Julius Caesar and nearly advanced to the Championship game before a late era stomping at the hands of Mansa Musa again intervened. On the other hand, Qin has also struggled mightily in other outings, suffering early eliminations in both Season Two and Season Four without accomplishing much of anything. While he's done a good job of punching above his weight, he also doesn't have that much weight to be punching with. There are other leaders who are much better at the economic side of the game and Qin often can't keep pace with them.

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

The community agreed on exactly one thing for Game Seven: that Justinian would likely take home the top prize. Aside from that, there was no consensus at all in any of the other scoring categories. Peter, Zara, and Qin all had significant backing in the Runner Up category without any clear favorite leading the pack. Unlike most of the other games this season, there was also no one standing out from the pack in the First to Die contest. Opinion was divided between Churchill, Alexander, Qin, and Zara. Once again, we saw a nearly-exact division between Domination and Spaceship when it came to the victory condition despite a recent run on Cultural victory outcomes. Whoever could figure out the non-winner categories would be the scoring contest entry that took home the prize.

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!

Mousey_Commander: I think Alexander's aggression is going to ruin any chances of Zara setting up a friendly religious block (and Churchill is a speedbump, not an ally), and both his neighbours are relatively tough to fight through early game. Justinian meanwhile has much more reasonable neighbours, decent land to expand into, and half a continent that is likely to be a different religion, yet not presenting a united front. He'll slowly grind across the map, and it's down to luck to which of his two neighbours get to sit back and ride to second place.

Slashin': I mean, what is there to say? Justinian goes on an imperialistic fueled expansion and lays a catastraphractic smackdown on these doormats when grey touch nongrey borders. Zara comes second simply by being furthest away from Justinian and having the most score when Justinian hits the domination benchmark.

Amicalola: Peter and Justinian out in the west have a) the most potential land, which seems like an even bigger deal on these cold maps, and b) probably the best personalities anyway, so they seem like the easy 1+2 choice here. I guess it's lucky the AI can't remember what happened in previous games, after their last season. First to die is probably Churchill, with his crappy central position and bland personality. Zara will be the next to go, then Alex and Qin will either get wiped out late by the Big Boys or head to the wildcard game.

T K: Justinian & Zara both play the religious game, and Zara looks to be in a better position for that. Justinian's isolation should protect him from getting dogpiled, but when it comes to conquests Zara is more likely to make actual gains.

ZincAlloy: Well this is... bland. As much as I want to support Alex, he's just so bad. What happens here is Justinian founds Christianity, then Zara gets mad that he doesn't get to call his self-founded religion Christianity, and then they fight. Except Justinian gets either Peter or Qin as an okay ally, while all Zara gets is a rabid Alex stabbing at his ankles and a cardboard cutout of Churchill. Honestly, the cardboard cutout might be more interesting than the AI version. Victory type is Domination, but it takes a while as Justinian is bad at research.

Bernn: Going with Justinian is the safe pick, but he's in a position to do excellently as usual. Solid capital, tons of room to expand in the north and a relatively inert neighbor in Qin. I expect his Imperialistic settlers to surge outwards and take control of a vast amount of territory during the landgrab phase, and with this pretty unimpressive field of competitors that could be all he needs. Only questions are who acts as second and the victory type - I'm hedging on Domination because it's his style, but Spaceship is absolutely viable. And I know I'm putting a lot of trust in Peter he doesn't deserve but if he chills out up north and grabs Justy's religion he can probably fill out enough of his backline to land a second place he doesn't deserve.

SpamBot: So, Justinian vs five nobodies? Let's see the AI screw THIS one up.

Bobchillingworth: I'd like to select Justinian to place, as he has a significant corner of the map to himself and I doubt he'll be eliminated, but his capital is a terrible mismatch for his starting techs and research preferences; he needs Fishing and BW to make anything of it, and it'll take him a good while to get there. He'll be backwards for a long while, and there's a good chance he'll be too Pleased with his neighbors to conquer anyone. Alex would be my favorite, since he's got a perfect setup to kill Zara early and run away with the game, but while I anticipate he'll manage (or heavily assist with) the former he'll tech slowly and inevitably involve himself in disastrous wars of choice which drag him down. Might well make it into the Wildcard game though. Qin has an excellent capital for his ideal starting techs, and can expand in almost any direction and do well. Protective keeps him reasonably safe from a low-odds Alex declaration until he can tech Iron Working; I think he'll be popular, the tech leader, and eventually stumble into a rare Diplo win after Zara and Churchill bite it.

Myth: Justinian and Qin share a river, Justinian doesn't declare @ pleased, so 1/2. Zara is surrounded by enemies without having the good fortune of being Protective. Justinian not declaring at pleased means spaceship. Justinian is the best AI leader in the entire game, in my opinion, so he better put up a good showing...

Greeney: Justinian has performed amazingly in the past seasons and I should probably pick him as winner to make a few points for a change, but I just don't dare to. Never before did he have to grapple with a sea resource only start like this before, given his religious preferences I think he will fall back early in tech and break his economy by settling too many spots too quickly. I don't expect him to do any better than Mao or Boudica in the last game. Choosing a favorite among the other duds is extremely hard of course, I've decided to put my money on Peter since I like his starting position despite lots of forest and because I think he could overpower Chuchill eventually. For second place I've picked Qin as I guess it's somewhat more unlikely for him to get torpedoed by Alex than Zara Yacob. That said, I do think anything is possible in this set-up. Who knows, maybe we'll even witness a shocking Churchill or Alex victory? The only thing I'm confident about is that this going to be a long, drawn out game with a lot of wars.

bellarch: After the last game, I swore to myself to never bet against Huayna again. Well, the same should apply to Justinian, who's almost as competent. And he has a huge amount of land that makes him hard to bet against anyway, especially since he's Imperialistic and so should be able to get most of it. Besides, after the last two games, I'm thinking that The Wheel is a surprisingly good starting tech for the AI . . . The rest is unclear, but I'll nominate Zara as second as the best (and farthest-away) of a blah bunch, and Alex as first to die as he weakens himself in the Classical Era smashing his armies into Protective archers and Creative city defenses. Justinian isn't really aggressive enough to pursue Domination without provocation, which won't be coming from the bland gang, so I'll say the game ends by spaceship. But he could easily pull out one of those head-scratching Culture wins the AIs seem to love so much, or even Diplo like last season!

luddite: I wanted to vote for Justinian, but I just hate his starting capital and nearby terrain. He won't be able to improve anything at all until he finishes researching his religion, and then fishing and building boats, or bronze working to clear out forests. I wouldn't be surprised if he sends his first settler down the coast, since that's the closest spot with resources visible to him. So then? Justinian is crippled out of the gate. Churchill is just a terrible AI. That leaves Peter with a pretty good capital, and the most room to expand, so I'm going with him. Hopefully he'll get some help from the other low-peaceweight leaders attacking and slowing people down.

dreamyeyed: The most interesting part of this game will be Alex's inevitable suicide attack. If he was smart, he would attack Churchill - but he's not, so Zara Yaqob and Qin will take his cities. Peter and Justinian will be stuck fighting each other while Zara Yaqob's culture takes over the world.

RonJenzy: I continue to be more and more lost as the weeks go on, a sentiment I believe will be shared for this game. But, for fun, let's analyze the sheer severity of the situation. Justinian, at least, is competent. So much more competent than anyone else in this field that I am very interested in seeing how people who don't pick him to win will justify their pick. Then we have Zara, who hasn't scored a point since season one and might be a bigger fraud than the Burger King (especially without the AP). We have Alexander, who isn't has hyper-crazy as, say, Montezuma, but is still just as bad. I predict he will tank himself with multiple wars and then get picked apart. Churchill is, uh, yeah, and Peter doesn't inspire much confidence either. The fact that I chose him as second shows how bad this whole farce is. I guess it helps that he has some more space than the others. Finally, Qin sets himself apart in this field by having a redeeming quality in his civ, but he also sucks so ehhhhh. Hopefully our boy Justinian will stomp the field in an exciting fashion, because these other leaders are going to be making us either cringe or fall asleep.

Sir Colville of the Dale: Am I missing something here, or is Justinian pretty much a lock?

eyser24: I actually can see multiple ways how Justinian loses this, but I have great respect for him and the skill he brings to this game, so I am rooting for a Byzantine win. He just has to expand moderately well and make use of having a ton of land in his vicinity, as I am not a fan of the resources around him. I think the most interesting event will be whether Alexander attacks Zara early or not. Who Alex attacks will likely determine second place, and Zara will fold immediately if he is attacked first. Since Alexander is usually a disaster, he will likely attack one of the protective civs, suicide his stack, and get wiped out from being hated by everyone. Meanwhile Justinian expands well, has an army to defend himself and overtake one of his neighbors, and techs it out to space in a clear, if not terribly impressive, victory.

smithy: Is there any chance we can have the AP back, please? Just this once? Otherwise this game may mostly be a constant drip of small proxy wars between the two religious blocks run by Justin and Zara, who will mostly get on fine with each other due to their mutual love of the theocracy civic. Justin's start position hits him with a big enough nerf bat to at least make the game competitive, and Zara might just get a surprise visit from a phalanx or two before he has found any metals. Peter and Alex both did well last time out for no reward, and may hold out hope for a storming win- but as ever the best way to survive and prosper is just to be Justin's underling. In the brave new world where mighty Lincoln wages early aggressive wars against poor little Monty, perhaps Qin and WC may actually try to do something this game? In your own time boys...

Anih: The gold resource is closer to Churchill. I put him to the first place. I hope he will destroy Peter, the first to die and snowball then with stone and marble to win by Culture. Justinian will be second because he's far from Churchill and he will only conquer Qin Shi.

Takuan: After last game i thought "i'll never vote against Huyana ever again". Logically speaking i should follow the same course of action with Justinian, who's arguably just as strong as Huyana, one of the best AIs in the game. Needless to say, i won't be voting Justinian, let's be bold! I'm rooting for Peter, because he has a pretty strong land with a lot of resources. My scenario is that he expands well, beats Churchill with some help from Zara, they became buddies and snowball. Peter will be dominant and will eventually win by Domination. Oh, and eventhough this is very ballsy to claim, i can see Justinian being eliminated, by Peter.

Kuro: Justinian HAS to be heavily favored this game, I would be shocked if he isn't a 60%+ pick for first. He has the most land to expand into with his Imperialistic trait and the 2nd best land (Peter has the best imo). He's also facing largely historically ineffective AI. Zara might seem like a natural 2nd place, but his high religious diplo and likelihood of competing against Justinian there marks him for death. Zara, Churchill and Qin all suffer from something dangerous: No copper! That seems a lot more common this year. Churchill has a disputed Tundra Copper but that's it. With Peter (8/10 aggression) and Alexander (8.6/10) with capital/close copper nearby, I feel any of them are a good choice to get whacked first. If there's any game for Alex to snowball to 2nd, this is it. I like Peter more though: His capital is crazy good, with triple food and tons of lush nearby spots and Churchill right there to kill. He also is a lot more likely to be economic than Alex. This makes it natural to pick Churchill as the copperless to die. I think this is gonna be a pretty fast Justinian romp, which also contributes to lower wars.

Agni Neres: So, Justinian's first game without the AP in play finds him as the only AI starting with Mysticism = guaranteed religion. If his first, soon-to-be holy city is planted eastward near the rice, he should have a good game. Unfortunately, the double-food sheep/crab tile to the SW may be hard for the programming to bypass. Churchill is in Vicky's spot; the Vicky who did not have the courtesy to die first for us. Alexander has two Protective neighbors, so his target will likely be Zara. Peter is a solid utility player, neither a strongman nor a doormat. Qin, in Hatty's spot and sporting her colors as well, has the Protective staying power should Alex look his way. All that said, my detailed map analysis has netted me 10 points over the last three games combined, so caveat emptor!

Lightning Roy: But who will control the southern tundra!?!?!?one!eleven

Wyatan: Emperor Justinian was a hard man, who instilled fear far beyond the borders of his city. But he held the belief that one's true mettle could only be unveiled through worthy opposition, which cowering heathens most certainly were not. Unless... He ordered his scouts south. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ King Alexander surveyed the Ethiopian army arrayed on the battlefield. Their war chariots, painted in garish colours, were meant to impress. And truth be told, many a barbarian warleader could attest to their deadly efficiency. He turned back to face his own phalanxes, their heavy pikes more than a match for any gaudy contraption. Alexander smirked. He was no barbarian warleader. He was not impressed.

Game Seven Picking Contest Entry Form