Civ4 AI Survivor Season 6: Game One Preview

This is a continuing feature for Season Six 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:

We've had requests in past seasons for an overview screenshot of the map with the resource icon turned on:

It's hard for me to see much of anything with all of those little icons but you guys asked for it, you've got it! Now for a look at our individual leaders:

Pool One Leader

Julius Caesar of the Romans
Traits: Imperialistic, Organized
Starting Techs: Fishing, Mining
Peace Weight: 4
Declares War at Pleased Relations? YES
Past Finishes: 4 First Place Finishes, 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Three Championship Game
Total Kills: 15
Overall Power Ranking: 37 points, 2nd place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Caesar gets access to the Imperialistic and Organized traits, the former being top-tier and the latter being below average. Imperialistic is so strong that it makes this pair powerful, however, as more land = more everything in AI Survivor. His unique items are the busted Praetorian unique unit, as well as the significantly less useful Forum, again the praetorian being so good that this pair is still well above average. Lastly, Caesar has the Fishing and Mining starting techs, a generally weak pair that becomes significantly stronger with seafood at the capital, as with all fishing starts. Caesar, more than most leaders, depends on having the right starting resources, as seafood, iron, and metal luxuries all greatly speed up his snowball, as in his dominant opening game of Season Four. And make no mistake, Caesar's game plan is to snowball. With an above average aggression rating (7.6/10), unit preference (6/10) and military/production flavours, Caesar is far more likely than not to start an early war, and with a neutral peaceweight (4), all opponents are fair game for an attack. However, in early wars Caesar has a serious ace up his sleeve: praetorians. These guys are so strong that they almost break the game, often barging their way through city walls like no other unit can. Caesar depends heavily on an extremely successful landgrab using Imperialistic, an early conquest using praetorians, or both. From there, Caesar's gameplay looks similar to many other militaristic AIs, using his extra land to out-produce everyone else. If Caesar is unable to get his snowball rolling, his poor economic traits and aggressive personality usually mean he will fall behind and get himself killed, making him another feast-or-famine type leader.

Past Performance: Caesar has achieved a high level of success thus far in AI Survivor. In Season One, he successfully managed to murder De Gaulle, but instead of pausing for breath, immediately declared war on a stronger and more advanced Pericles. He did not make it out alive. This was the first of a series of displays of Caesar's biggest weakness: he is bad at building an economy. Like, really bad. In Season Two, Caesar was able to come out on top of an extremely close game, before floundering in the playoffs in an unremarkable performance. Season Three was Caesar's big year, as he won an opening "game of death" and displayed his ideal game, using praetorians to outmuscle Pericles early in the game (vengeance for Season One?), fighting a series of wars to annex Ethiopia, and preventing Elizabeth's cultural win in an extremely climactic showdown. He was also able to win his playoff game in similar snowball fashion, before finally placing third in the championship. In Season Four, Caesar was able to repeat the magic in his opening game, but performed miserably in his playoff game, stuck in a jungle heavy start and eliminated by Charlemagne. He somehow managed to achieve a second place finish in a very difficult opening round game of Season Five and then couldn't quite make the top two in his playoff match. It's also noteworthy that Caesar has repeatedly bathed in the blood of his enemies and currently stands atop the leaderboard with 15 kills, three more than second-place Huayna Capac at 12. Overall, Caesar is another leader likely to either win a game or perform miserably. Thus far, Caesar has been one of the leaders most likely to feast rather than starve.

Pool Two Leader

Gandhi of India
Traits: Spiritual, Philosophical
Starting Techs: Mysticism, Mining
Peace Weight: 10
Declares War at Pleased Relations? NO
Past Finishes: 4 First Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two, Three, Four, and Five Playoffs
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 22 points, tied 10th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Gandhi is without a doubt one of the most unique leaders in Civ4. For traits, he plays with the powerful Spiritual, and the terrible (for AI Survivor) Philosophical, an overall unremarkable pair that lands at about average, the most important point being that Gandhi gets several half-cost cultural buildings. He also has access to the above average Fast Worker and Mausoleum. Lastly, his starting techs are Mysticism and Mining, a generally weak pair useful for pursuing an early religion and not much else; like many religious leaders, Gandhi often takes a long time to improve his tiles and connect his resources. Gandhi is the leader least likely to declare war in the entire game, with an aggression rating of 0/10. He also has the lowest possible rating for building units (0/10) and demanding tribute (0/10), essentially making Gandhi a hyper pacifist who entirely neglects his military and prays it won't come back to bite him in the rear. Surprisingly, Gandhi is also quite unlikely to build wonders (2/10); he doesn't waste time with those either. Rather than units and wonders, Gandhi spends the entire game laser-focused on one thing: cultural buildings. Gandhi is a rare leader with only one flavour in Civ 4: CULTURE. He pursues religions like a man possessed and puts his production bonuses to extremely effective use. It's not uncommon to see Gandhi desperately fighting wars of survival whilst simultaneously building his third or fourth temple in each city. It usually doesn't end well. Gandhi is probably the most feast-or-famine type leader in AI Survivor. If he is not attacked by his neighbours, he can rush out a cultural victory like nobody's business, but if he is, he collapses faster than any other leader in the game. An early war declaration from a neighbour can often ruin any chance of a Gandhi victory on the spot.

Past Performance: Gandhi's all-or-nothing playstyle has been surprisingly effective, and Gandhi has won almost every opening round he's played in thus far. Season One showed the nothing side, as Gandhi rolled a hostile group of neighbours and was devoured early on, attacked by 4/5 of the other players. However, in Seasons Two, Three, and Four, Gandhi has rolled low-skilled, high peaceweight games; in other words, his perfect field. Gandhi won all of these games and it usually wasn't very close. He's even scored a couple of kills! Gandhi has struggled in the playoffs so far, always drawing aggressive fields and being savaged early on, being First to Die in three of his four losses. He drew arguably the most hopeless starting position in playoff history in Season Five and was predictably eliminated despite a game effort at survival. Gandhi's success thus far should likely be viewed skeptically, as three of his wins have been against some of the weakest fields in AI Survivor history, and when he goes up against stronger competitors Gandhi has been thoroughly unable to keep up. Pay particular attention to which other leaders are in Gandhi's games when predicting his performance; it's especially important for him.

Unseeded Leaders

Frederick of Germany
Traits: Philosophical, Organized
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mining
Peace Weight: 8
Declares War at Pleased Relations? NO
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 0 points, tied 49th place (out of 52 leaders - dead last place)

Personality: Frederick is another peaceful AI leader, albeit one lacking most of the tools necessary to be effective. His trait pairing of Philosophical and Organized comes off as underwhelming for a builder game, lacking Financial or Expansive or Creative or even the likes of Spiritual. There's nothing here to help Frederick to get off to a fast start and also nothing to allow him to max out at a higher economic tier after the expansion portion of the game has finished. All of Germany's unique stuff comes far too late in the game to matter and the German starting tech pairing of Hunting + Mining is only mediocre. Frederick's AI ratings are generally average across the board, with scores of 4/10 in seemingly every category. He has a high peace weight, he doesn't train a lot of units (2/10), and he doesn't start many wars (4/10 aggression rating). Frederick is probably most notable for having only one research flavor, Production, a choice which hasn't fared particularly well in practice. He's generally a pretty boring AI overall, trying to pull off one of those pacifistic "sit in the corner and tech to a victory" strategies but without the traits or civ choice to pull it off.

Past Performance: Frederick is one of the unfortunate four leaders to remain completely locked out of the scoring after five seasons of competition. His best showing was in Season One where he managed to draw a game full of other high peace weight leaders and survived to reach the Wildcard game. Frederick didn't do anything particularly impressive in that game, mind you, and he was decisively outbuilt by Pericles and Elizabeth when it came down to a purely peaceful competition. However, this was far better than the other four seasons of AI Survivor that followed, as Frederick was eliminated in game after game, claiming the dubious First to Die distinction on multiple occasions. In his defense, Frederick has drawn a brutal set of low peace weight neighbors on multiple occasions, but he's also never shown any signs of contending for a victory even in the game where he had a friendlier starting environment. Eternally saddled with the weak German civilization, Frederick shows every sign of being one of the weakest AI leaders in the competition.

Joao of Portugal
Traits: Expansive, Imperialistic
Starting Techs: Fishing, Mining
Peace Weight: 6
Declares War at Pleased Relations? NO
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Two Playoffs
Total Kills: 1
Overall Power Ranking: 6 points, tied 36th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Joao is supposed to be the best leader at rapid expansion in the game, with his combination of Expansive (cheap workers) and Imperialistic (cheap settlers) traits. However, in practice the Deity AIs tend to be more limited by their economies as opposed to their capacity to train more settlers, and Joao hasn't stood out as being especially good at expansion. He hasn't really stood out at all, aside from having a name that's difficult for non-Portuguese speakers to pronounce, and Joao mostly sits in the middling portion of the AI category ratings. He trains units at an average rate, builds wonders at an average rate, cares about religion at an average rate, declares wars at an average rate, and so on. He even has a peace weight right in the middle of the scale. About the only semi-interesting thing about Joao is that he makes a lot of demands, both for tribute (8/10) and to switch to his religion (10/10). This is a boring leader overall with little in the way of a distinct personality.

Past Performance: Joao has similarly failed to distinguish himself as either a strong performer or a memorably bad leader. He was eliminated in a notably weak field in his Season One match, then went on to score his only victory in Season Two with an uninspired effort in the Wildcard game. It was an unusual 11 player setup where Joao didn't pull off any particularly impressive moves, instead largely teching along in a corner of the map until reaching the end of the tree. He made a repeat showing in the Wildcard game in Season Three with less successful results and suffered the fate of being First to Die in his only Season Four appearance. Joao's single kill in eight overall matches is a sign of his passive and generally unsuccessful gameplay style. He's never emerged as a dominant force in any of his games and it's easy to forget that he's even present sometimes. Out of all of the leaders who have won a game, Joao is potentially the most uninteresting.

Pericles of Greece
Traits: Creative, Philosophical
Starting Techs: Fishing, Hunting
Peace Weight: 6
Declares War at Pleased Relations? NO
Past Finishes: 2 First Place Finishes, 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Two Championship Game
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 14 points, 20th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Pericles is one of the best leaders at pursuing a Cultural victory and he's had a good bit of success with that strategy in past seasons. Pericles has the ideal trait combination for chasing after cultural pursuits with the Creative + Philosophical pairing, providing cheap libraries and universities and theatres. The Greek civ doesn't offer too much in this regard, with subpar starting techs and an unrelated Phalanx unique unit, although I suppose that the Odeon unique building comes at half cost and can provide more Artist specialist slots. Pericles the AI leader has a peaceful bent in general, with a low aggression rating (3.3/10) and a modest build unit preference (4/10). Pericles would clearly much rather spend his time building wonders instead (8/10), which he'll do with great frequency in each game. Unlike many of the other peaceful leaders, Pericles doesn't place much of an emphasis on religion and rarely founds one of his own faiths. His research flavors are Production and Science, which also makes him a bit of a strange bird since he doesn't have a Culture or Religion tech preference in there. Overall Pericles is an easy neighbor to live with, as he almost never makes demands and has a middling peace weight that avoids either end of the spectrum. He's a leader who wants to be left alone and can become very dangerous if he gets that wish.

Past Performance: Pericles has typically done well when he's managed to roll a field of high peace weight AIs and not so well when he hasn't. In Season One, Pericles found himself sharing a game with Elizabeth and Frederick and Darius, and once the low peace weight leaders were gone, it turned into a lovefest where he took home a Diplomatic victory via the United Nations. The playoff round was another story entirely, as Pericles was boxed in by a hostile Suleiman and ruthlessly eliminated in the midgame. He had his best outing in Season Two, with a Cultural victory in the opening round thanks to another group of high peace weight opponents, followed by a surprising second place finish in the playoffs despite starting next to Catherine and Tokugawa. Everyone expected Pericles to die quickly in that one and instead he survived and propsered. It wasn't enough to avoid elimination in the Season Two Championship game, however, as Pericles faced some very tough competition from a group of low peace weight opponents. Pericles has been unable to advance in the most recent seasons of AI Survivor, falling afoul of the "group of death" in Season Three and then sabotaging his chances in Season Four by launching a war against Lincoln (!) instead of a militaristic neighbor. That went as poorly as expected and resulted in another elimination. He was unable to handle Hannibal in Season Five's opening game and found himself suffering an ignominious First to Die fate. Anyway, Pericles plays the cultural game well enough to have a real short of victory if he can draw a suitable field of opponents and avoid obviously destructive moves.

Sitting Bull of the Native Americans
Traits: Philosophical, Protective
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Fishing
Peace Weight: 8
Declares War at Pleased Relations? NO
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: None, Eliminated in all five opening round games
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 0 points, tied 49th place (out of 52 leaders - dead last place)

Personality: Sitting Bull is stuck with the Philosophical and Protective traits; in other words, the two worst performing traits in the entirety of AI Survivor. This immediately puts him in a bit of a hole. Sitting Bull also gets the unimpressive Dog Soldier and Totem Pole for his unique items, neither of which help matters. His only redemptive feature is his starting techs of Agriculture and Fishing, yet even they are merely above average, meaning that Sitting Bull plays the game at a serious disadvantage. As a personality, Sitting Bull the AI is a series of contradictions. He builds a lot of units (8/10) and doesn't bother with wonders (0/10). He is the most likely leader in the game to demand tribute (10/10), and his flavours are Military and Growth. This all sounds like the makings of an aggressive leader in the vein of Ragnar or Alex, and yet, Sitting Bull has a lower than average aggression rating (4.3/10). He simply doesn't attack very often. He also has a high peace weight, preferring the likes of Gandhi and Elizabeth to Montezuma and Shaka. This, along with his traits, largely leads to an AI that constructs a strong military that he doesn't use, and a weak economy to boot, with Sitting Bull struggling to keep up in tech with even the rabid warmongers. It doesn't paint an impressive picture, and as a general rule Sitting Bull doesn't just start in a deep hole; he's unwilling to dig himself out.

Past Performance: Sitting Bull is one of four remaining leaders that have yet to claim a single point, either through kills or placements. In fact, Sitting Bull hasn't even made the Wildcard Game, dying in every single game he's played, and there is a strong argument to be made for him being the worst performing leader in AI Survivor history. Even Frederick made it to the Season One Wildcard Game! Sitting Bull's traits have done him no favours, and although he usually doesn't collapse fast like some of the other peaceniks, instead he always seems to die by a thousand cuts, as aggressive AIs slowly wear him down time after time. To paraphrase Sullla, Sitting Bull is certainly capable of sabotaging someone else's game through a determined defence, but he's probably the least likely leader to actually pull a victory from one of these games. Expect nothing from Sitting Bull, and you're unlikely to be surprised.

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

I was a bit surprised to see just how heavily the community favored Julius Caesar in the picking contest. Apparently there wasn't much support for Gandhi or Pericles or the other peaceniks in this field. Second place picks were a toss up between Pericles and Joao which Gandhi was a heavy favorite to be the initial target of Caesar's wrath. All of the house money on Caesar similarly meant that Domination victories were the preferred outcome in the picking contest, with Cultural edging out Spaceship in second place thanks to the presence of Gandhi and Pericles. If someone other than Caesar ends up winning this game, there will be a lot of sad faces in the picking contest!

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!

ZincAlloy: Look out, Ghandi's got a sword! Okay, no, Ghandi's iron won't make him a threat, but it will probably make his inevitable invasion by Caesar take a few turns longer. And that's all Pericles will need to get enough of a tech lead to defend himself from anything Rome can throw at him. Assuming they don't buddy up and take over the world together. Sharing both Ghandi's religion and the mutual satisfaction of beating up the poor Indian leader, this looks like the setting for a beautiful Greco-Roman alliance. Because, well, look at the north half. None of those leaders have a habit of doing much of anything.

Duizhang_Lu: Well, this is certainly an interesting setup. Tons of high peaceweight civs, so normally that would make Gandhi the favorite, buuuuut he's next door to JC so I think he's going to get clapped. As for JC, with all of the neighbors who are predisposed not to like him, I don't think he'll last from sheer weight of numbers, but I do think he'll go down swinging. As for who wins, Pericles is the least incompetent, so let's say him.

peanut_gallery: Gandhi 1st, Joao 2nd and Fred FTD. I don't think it's likely but here is my thinking. Maybe Joao out runs Caesar in the land grab (maybe gets his Iron) and stunts him enough for Gandhi to run away with the game. Even then I don't think JC dies first. So first to die is between Pericles Freddy and SB. I feel like Freddy is more likely to get himself in a stupid war so FTD goes to him. Most likely this is a win for JC with runner up being Pericles or Freddy (yay first points) cause they start so far from JC.

Amicalola: This is a really interesting one; the southern half is poorer, but has the stronger leaders. Normally land is more important, but I don't see how Caesar doesn't win here. He has easy access to iron, easy access to Gandhi, and Gandhi has no copper - he's going to die before iron is connected! Caesar then wins domination in a cakewalk if he eats Gandhi. Pericles is the logical 2nd place, with easily a better personality than the northerner's, but unfortunately he's Caesar's next meal (which sucks, because I think Pericles is under-rated). The person to come 2nd will ultimately be whoever can stay out of Caesar's way, and I think that's Frederick. All he needs to do is stay out of the way, do nothing, and be unremarkable; that's basically Frederick's entire MO!

Dewdrops on the Grass: Much as I'd love to believe it's Sitting Bull's time to shine, it really isn't. He'll be gobbled up by Frederick and Joao only to have their victories stolen in turn by Caesar. Pericles will survive thanks to using Gandhi as a shield. Caesar will swing around the north and consume Frederick to send himself over the top.

LinkMarioSamus: Logically you'd think Julius Caesar could team up with Pericles to take down Gandhi in the early game. Thing is, the first game from Season 3 onwards has never went the way we expected. Ragnar was the favorite in S3 and he wound up FTD instead. Ditto Mansa Musa in S5, and then S4 was expected to be a Cyrus/Catherine game which instead became Isabella domination. I'm just picking Gandhi 1st and Sitting Bull 2nd, on the hope that Julius Caesar has a poor early game (which has happened a number of times in the past) and that Gandhi isn't as much of a paper tiger as he might seem. While Gandhi has probably the worst starting position possible on this map this is otherwise a good field for him, and not so much for Caesar - alternate histories for his opening round game last season indicated he was lucky to make it out of that one alive, and that was with another leader with the same peace weight around. And who knows, he might attack Sitting Bull or Joao instead! Sitting Bull was also impressive enough in the alternate histories for his last season opening round game and far enough away from Gandhi for me to feel ever-so-slightly comfortable picking him for 2nd place. Gandhi is also the most economically-proficient leader in this game by far, so I think he can tech and build up well enough to keep his core cities safe at least. I could easily imagine Caesar seemingly having him on the ropes before at least one of Sitting Bull or Joao rides to the rescue! Also Gandhi at least tends not to tie up his cities on wonders. He has never really gone down fast to an early rush - typically he needs to get dogpiled to be eliminated in the early game.

I'm picking Pericles FTD but I don't expect it to be a very fast FTD. Mostly just plain unimpressed by his AI personality and think he lucked out completely in the first two seasons. He's a cultural leader without culture or religion tech flavors and nothing better to help him with a cultural victory than, uh, cheap theaters and more Great People? Out of his only two past victories, one had him as very much not the tech leader and the other was at a ridiculously late date in a field with only one low-peace weight leader in Mao (who still advanced to boot!), so he's not even that great at teching. His creative trait and neutral peace weight also cause him to get into border disputes which sometimes lead to him attacking other high-peace weight leaders like Elizabeth in S2 and Lincoln in S4. A bit of a shame since Greece is one of my favorite civilizations in the game historically and I would like for Pericles to be as good as his power ranking suggests, but them's the breaks.

SilenceoftheClams: Will Gandhi's early religion keep him safe from the endless march of the legions? Alea iacta est!

Alhambram: I think this is going be one of strange games where leaders from pool one and two both fail to get top 2 places here. Ceasar got trouble with peaceweight, however he starts very nearby Gandhi and should rough him up to extent that Gandhi is out of competition for top 2. I expect Gandhi survive due better starting spot than Ceasar and Frederick/Sitting Bull riding to save Gandhi from FTD. Meanwhile winners are going be two others who likely isn't involved in war. Joao probably is going grab fertile rive valley west of him and also triple gold resource since Sitting Bull is going found poverty point in tundra region. This would be enough for space victory for Joao. Pericles is going box in Gandhi with creative borders, another reason why I think that Gandhi isn't going to win along Ceasar roughing up Gandhi. Pericles might win well with cultural victory but I am going bet gold upon Joao this time.

Commodore: Sullla really hates poor Gandhi. Wedged in the worst land, between Julius and the only other leader able to find his rear end with both hands Pericles...he's not gonna make it. I don't think taking out iron-at-the-capital Gandhi is going to happen fast enough for Julius to get a snowball going next to Pericles' decent start locale just powering the Greeks to a better position, and Julius/Pericles are *close* in peaceweight, so I think they turn their guns together on the Great Slow Mule race up north. If think we should take side bets for which of that pack of incompetents disappoints observers the most, but all I know for sure is that between Freddie, Sitting, and Joao...I vote for barbs.

Max: Gandhi will spread his religion to Caesar, and they will be buddies the whole game - with Caesar shielding him from other AI's, Gandhi will do what he does best, and win Culture early. Caesar will be peaceful himself, lacking Iron, but may get declared on, and open a can of whoop-ass on the attacker. There's a good chance that all AI's will survive this, but Sitting Bull is likely to die simply because he is neighbours with too many civs, so someone will take a shot at him.

Fluffball: Gandhi only has iron and is right next to Caesar who has copper at his capital. Gandhi ain't makin' it to iron working, folks.

Bernn: Huge shades of Season Five Game Three here - Caesar and Gandhi as the seeded leaders alongside an assortment of generally unimpressive peaceful builder types. The big difference? Rome and India are neighbors this time. I expect Caesar to tear into Gandhi early and keep up the pressure until he gets his kill. There's iron and copper right next to Caesar's capital and India is effectively his only neighbor, so the conflict and Rome's victory are downright inevitable. But I don't think this will fully lock the game for Caesar - last season's alternate histories showed he struggles to make headway when faced with a field of high peace weight leaders and I can absolutely see him crashing his economy to eliminate Gandhi and then burning out in a handful of unproductive wars afterwards. Instead, I'll bet on Pericles as the winner here. I like his start with the wet corn + floodplains + marble, and with the northern leaders being an extremely inert bunch, he'll have plenty of space to tech up and grow while Caesar and Gandhi feud. Pericles may have a spotty overall record, but I really like his position here and I think Greece is gonna take it handily. Here's to a great Season Six!

T K: As much as I want Julius to win, I just don't see it, he's diplomatically isolated and low on happiness resources. This is probably going to be a peaceful game, and I believe Pericles has a better chance of a cultural victory than Gandhi, who will likely be squeezed and see some of the few wars of the game from his neighbor Julius. As for second... I really don't want to say Frederick but he's got a lot of room and peaceful neighbors buffering him from his only real threats. What a doozy of a first round!

Ron Jenzy: Haha Praetorians go brrrrrrrrr! But yeah this is a very sad field that Ghandhi would love but Caesar's here so he munches on all these weaklings for an easy W. Or he gets taken out somehow and Ghandhi does his thing. Honestly I'm most excited to see if Sitting Bull can do anything. I'm something of a fan of his, since he is essentially the ultimate underdog (not that I'll ever pick him). If this does end up being a Ghandhi game, maybe he'll finally make it to the Wildcard game! It has to happen eventually... right?

Rev: This game depends on whether Caesar can win a decisive early war and snowball. He may be a very capable leader, but betting on the AI acting effectively and decisively is always a risk, and I remember a game in a recent season where Caesar took an extremely long time to declare a war, so I think it's more likely that he doesn't. Gandhi will found an early religion and spread it to Caesar, who will eventually get worn down in too many wars against high peace weight leaders and slowly be dismantled. This will open room for Pericles, who can also easily conquer the weak civs in the north. Gandhi will win a cultural victory if he's left alone and can manage it before Pericles turns on him. If this rough analysis turns out accurate, I'm also guessing Joao takes a big enough chunk of land from Caesar and the other northern leaders to survive and make it to the wild card game, and distracts Pericles in some indecisive late game wars.

Dagoth Gares: This game features one lion, four sheep, and a tortoise.

Mansa da man: Caesar to win by domination and Gandhi FTD. With Caesar and Gandhi as neighbors, I just can't see Gandhi not dying here. Even if Rome attacks Greece first (historically accurate) India will be boxed in and die to the praetorian rush soon after unless someone else jumps in. The only scenario where the southern civs might survive is if Caesar gets dragged into a long war in the North, very unlikely keeping in mind the higher peace weight of the south and longer shared borders. And Caesar will snowball off the highly developed land of his peaceful builder neighbors. I don't really see the other AIs doing much of anything once Caesar has a single kill under his belt as none of the others have a killer instinct. Long time Civ AI survivor fan but first time in the picking contest :)

Dark Savant: Caesar and Gandhi are the seeded leaders ... but I don't think either will do well. Caesar isn't going to be liked by anyone else, and he'll almost certainly attack Gandhi and wreck his game as well ... especially because Gandhi can easily be attacked before he has any metal connected. Pericles, on the other hand, has a lot of room to wortk with and then do his cultural thing. Maybe he'll even absorb Caesar again, liked happened in Season 1 ... and *this* time, he won't die early for want of early copper. Joao can probably best benefit from the eventual dismantling of Caesar. I don't expect this peacefully-inclined group will give us a lot of wars, either.

smithy: I have no idea at all what direction this season will take, but very amused with the direction Fred has sent both his scouts- with a dreamy start location and lots of land, he has sent both scouts south to the same tile: one can only assume they have seen the runes on the wall and are making a beeline to defect to Pericles asap. This might well save them for a while if JC goes for an anti-clockwise conquest after disposing of poor Gandhi. JC being the only one to declare at pleased is a mighty advantage, and sadly also the most interesting thing to be said about any of the others in this game.

Slashin': This isn't dissimilar to a murder asian hornet finding itself amongst a hive of honeybees. Will the hornet pick them off one by one, starting with gandhi, or will they learn to work together and cooperate to take the dictator down?

Game One Picking Contest Entry Form