Civ4 AI Survivor Season 6: Game Two 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




Huayna Capac of the Incas
Traits: Financial, Industrious
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Mysticism
Peace Weight: 2
Declares War at Pleased Relations? YES
Past Finishes: 6 First Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two Champion
Total Kills: 12
Overall Power Ranking: 42 points, 1st place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Huyna Capac is one of the strongest leaders in Civ4 and brings a frighteningly powerful total package to the competition. He has the always-excellent Financial trait and hasn't seemed to suffer overmuch despite having to pair it with the typically weak Industious trait. More importantly, Huayna Capac is the only leader who gets to take advantage of the overpowered Incan civilization, with the single best building in the game coming in the form of the "granary that also produces culture" Terrace. The unique unit Quechua is also surprisingly useful for AI Survivor purposes, as the AI leaders often struggle with barbarian archers and this unit allows Huayna Capac to roll over them without issue. Huyna is one of the rare AI leaders who joins together outstanding economic abilities with an aggressive streak, and that tends to be the most dangerous setup possible for these games. Huayna has a fairly high aggression rating (6.7/10), a low peace weight, and he's willing to plot war at "Pleased" relations. His weaknesses are an excessive love of wonder-building (8/10), although he's better able to afford this thanks to the Industrious trait, and a heavy emphasis on religion. On the rare occasions where Huayna falters, it's due to tieing up too many cities on wonders and getting stuck in destructive religious conflicts. More often than not though, Huayna Capac will found his own religion and use it to dominate the diplomacy while scoring every wonder on the map and running over a series of poor fools who can't keep up with his teching prowess.

Past Performance: There's a strong argument to be made that Huayna Capac has been the most consistent and overall best performing AI leader over the first five seasons. He has appeared in ten total matches thus far and won six of them, also scoring at least one victory in every season other than Season Three. Huayna Capac has shown the capability of winning in multiple different fashions, with Spaceship, Domination, and multiple Cultural victories under his belt. He was also the overall winner of the whole competition in Season Two, and while it's true that this was somewhat of a flukish result, the victory was dramatic in the extreme and an impressive way of pulling out a win despite being far behind in land and technology. Huayna Capac has also scored an impressive dozen kills to date and remains one of the most ruthless individuals in the competition. There's basically nothing that Huayna Capac has failed to accomplish at this point, smashing his rivals again and again with seeming ease. He will be a favorite to win in every single match in which he appears.

Pool Two Leader




Pacal of the Mayans
Traits: Financial, Expansive
Starting Techs: Mysticism, Mining
Peace Weight: 2
Declares War at Pleased Relations? YES
Past Finishes: 2 First Place Finishes, 3 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two and Three Championship Game
Total Kills: 5
Overall Power Ranking: 21 points, 12th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Pacal has a top tier trait combination, with the amazing Financial and the good Expansive, allowing him to get those Financial cottages up and running even faster. He also gets the bad Holkan unique unit and the good Ball Court, which adds a nice boost to happiness in the midgame. Lastly, Pacal gets Mysticism and Mining for his starting techs, a pretty crappy pair only useful for chasing a religion out of the gate. Pacal is a pretty standard economic AI in most ways, with a low aggression rating (2.8/10), though his unit preference (4/10) isn't as suicidally low as some of the leaders like him. His flavours are Culture and Growth, and you can usually expect Pacal to pursue an early religion right out of the gate. Pacal is one of the two leaders (along with Huayna Capac) who combine a low peace weight with a heavily economic style of play. With a peaceweight of 2, an ideal Pacal game probably sees the warmongers and peaceniks fight it out amongst each other while he sits back and builds an insurmountable tech lead.

Past Performance: Pacal's previous performances have been a real mixed bag, and he's a difficult AI to figure out. In Season One, Pacal played one of the worst games of the season, executing a poor landgrab and successfully aggravating nearly everyone else in the game until his final, inevitable, thankful demise at the hands of Elizabeth in the closing stages. Then, in Season Two, Pacal played a strong opening round game, followed by a near disastrous Playoff Game where he just squeezed into second place, and then a championship where he scored a strong third. Whew, bit of a mixed bag there. Next, Pacal again barely eked out a second place in the Wildcard Game of Season Three, narrowly beating out Suleiman of all people, and again he made it past the playoffs in second place, largely by screwing up less than the leaders not named Mansa Musa. He finished Season Three with an unremarkable championship showing in which he was torn apart late in the game after not really doing anything. Later, Pacal one-upped his performance in Season One by scoring one of the earliest eliminations ever in AI Survivor during his Season Four game. Though this was admittedly an unlucky tactical situation, Pacal didn't lose because he didn't have strategic resources: he lost because he refused to research the techs necessary to connect the damn things! Pacal's Season Five performance mixed a strong opening round showing with a disappointing elimination in the playoffs. With two terrible seasons and two Championship appearances, Pacal is one of the hardest leaders to judge. One thing is worth noting though: Pacal has only had one truly dominant game, and even then, Cyrus was a strong second place finisher. Meanwhile, all three of his second-place finishes were distant at best, near-death at worst, and in particular his successive failures to conquer Peter during his Season Three playoff game were a true display of incompetence. His non-playoff seasons have both been disasters of the highest order, and it's possible Pacal has somehow lucked his way into a higher power ranking than he deserves. Something to keep in mind, at least.

Unseeded Leaders




Hatshepsut of Egypt
Traits: Creative, Spiritual
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 9
Declares War at Pleased Relations? NO
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 0
Overall Power Ranking: 0 points, tied 49th place (out of 52 leaders - dead last place)

Personality: Hatshepsut is a great leader for a Single Player game of Civ4 and a horrible leader for AI Survivor purposes. She has good traits in the Creative/Spiritual combo and a great civ in Egypt with Agriculture/Wheel starting techs and the War Chariot unique unit. The problem comes in the form of Hatshepsut's AI personality which is little short of suicidal for these matches. Hatty is almost as pacifistic as Gandhi, with a low aggression rating (3.7/10), a high peace weight, and a dangerously low build unit preference (2/10). She loves to build wonders (8/10) and heavily emphasizes religion in her diplomacy, with a big shared faith bonus and a major differing religions malus. Hatshepsut favors Culture and Religion for her research flavors, neither of which tends to contain much in the way of units, and Hatshepsut often finds herself an era behind in military tech despite good overall research. She will typically find herself serving as the "worst enemy" of all the low peace weight leaders and overrun with invasions from hostile neighbors. Hatshepsut needs to draw a field of high peace weight leaders where she can leverage her religious and cultural sensibilities to good effect.

Past Performance: In a word: terrible. Hatshepsut does little to defend herself against attackers and she's been punished for that weakness in game after game. Hatshepsut has been eliminated in her opening round match in four out of five seasons of AI Survivor, and the one time that she survived to reach the Wildcard game in Season Two, it was due to a situation that bordered on the absurd. Two different competitors were at war with Hatshepsut and she was down to a single city remaining, but that city was surrounded by the culture of Augustus and he wouldn't sign Open Borders with those leaders. Thus Hatty lived on to the Wildcard game with a single city, where she once again survived to the finish without ever being in contention for one of the top spots. Hatshepsut's only realistic options for a victory are through the Culture or Diplomatic options, and unfortunately there are other leaders who are simply better at the economic side of the gameplay.




Louis XIV of France
Traits: Creative, Industrious
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 1
Declares War at Pleased Relations? YES
Past Finishes: 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Three and Five Playoffs
Total Kills: 3
Overall Power Ranking: 7 points, tied 33rd place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Louis XIV has a strange AI personality that mixes together a heavy emphasis on wonders together with military aggression. It's not a winning combination. Louis has the Creative and Industrious pairing of traits, a setup that's good for claiming land and then developing cities upwards with additional infrastructure. He also gets to benefit from the strong French civilization, with its excellent starting techs and the useful Musketeer unique unit. However, Louis largely wastes these positive features with a destructive AI personality that pulls in too many directions at once. He's obsessed with building wonders, sporting the rare 10/10 rating in that category, and too often ties up his cities on world wonders with questionable benefits. Louis also has a Culture flavor for his research and tends to spend a lot of time at the top of the tech tree grabbing stuff along the Aesthetics line. These are poor choices for a leader who also has a Military tech flavor, a fairly high aggression rating (6.3/10), and a very low peace weight. Louis tends to make for a bad neighbor as his borders are always intruding on the other empires and he demands tribute constantly (8/10). Needless to say, the guy who likes to pick fights with his rivals while simultaneously locking up his cities on long wonder builds hasn't had a ton of success to date.

Past Performance: Louis has managed a pair of second place finishes thus far while being surprisingly competitive in many of his appearances. His true performance level is likely stronger than what these numbers suggest. With that said, Louis was quickly eliminated in each of the first two seasons of AI Survivor without serving as much more than a speedbump. And in both of his runner-up finishes, he was an extremely distant finisher with less than half of the score of a runaway Justinian (Season Three) and Suryavarman (Season Five). However, Louis was leading his Season Three playoff game for much of the match before running afoul of a distastrous two-front war against Caesar and Kublai, and he was similarly the leader for the first 200 turns of his opening round game in Season Four. Louis probably would have won that contest if Wang Kon hadn't built the Statue of Zeus to troll him in their lengthy war. In other words, it's clear that there's some potential here even if Louis has a bizarre personality pulling at culture + military cross-purposes.




Napoleon of France
Traits: Charismatic, Organized
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 0
Declares War at Pleased Relations? YES
Past Finishes: No First or Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Three Wildcard Game
Total Kills: 3
Overall Power Ranking: 3 points, tied 43rd place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Napoleon is a deeply militaristic leader who will emphasize unit production over everything else. His traits are a bit of a mismatch for this setup, and it's unfortunate that he doesn't have the Aggresive trait given how many units that Napoleon churns out. Organized is a misplaced trait for this guy's personality. France is a great civ choice as usual, with excellent starting techs and a useful unique unit in the Musketeer. Napoleon himself has a one-track mind as an AI leader: he loves to start new wars (9.1/10 aggression rating), he will train oodles of units (10/10), and he has the lowest peace weight possible to cause him to hate the "Good" leaders. Napoleon doesn't care about religion and he doesn't waste time building wonders. He does make for an obnoxious neighbor since he will constantly be demanding tribute (10/10) and civics changes (8/10). It should come as no surprise that Napoleon has Military as his primary research flavor along with a lesser Gold emphasis, and of course he will plot war at "Pleased" relations. Overall then Napoleon is pretty similar to Shaka and Ragnar and Boudica, if somewhat less memorable than any of those rivals.

Past Performance: Napoleon has stirred up plenty of trouble in his prior AI Survivor appearances but without having much in the way of success. The best that can be said about Napoleon is that he's managed to score three kills without ever taking a first or second place finish, something that's pretty hard to accomplish. The winning leaders usually monopolize the eliminations in each game and for a weaker individual like Napoleon to score several kills is an impressive feat. On the other hand, Napoleon has appeared in six total games of AI Survivor and found himself getting eliminated in five of them without ever coming close to taking home a victory. He repeatedly crashes his economy with excessive warring only to be taken out by more advanced empires that have reached superior levels of military technology. Napoleon is therefore another example of the "suicidally aggressive" club that approaches every problem by hitting it with an axe. Like Genghis Khan and Montezuma, he's simply too militaristic for his own good. That's not to say that Napoleon can't have a successful game if he manages to snowball ahead off of an early conquest, only that he needs the right conditions to avoid flaming out with pointless invasions.




Saladin of Arabia
Traits: Spiritual, Protective
Starting Techs: Mysticism, Wheel
Peace Weight: 4
Declares War at Pleased Relations? NO
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Five Playoffs
Total Kills: 3
Overall Power Ranking: 8 points, tied 30th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Saladin is one of several leaders that focuses on religion and military; unlike most of the other leaders with this combination, he's only middle of the spectrum in terms of aggression and peace weight. Saladin is hurt badly by his leader traits and Arabian civilization, with the useless Protective trait handicapping his performance. He is also penalized by having to start with arguably the worst starting tech pairing in the game in Mysticism and Wheel. Saladin's free starting Deity worker cannot hook up any food resources or build mines, while being stuck two techs away from both Bronze Working and Animal Husbandry. Saladin heavily emphasizes religion and he will therefore always try to found one of the Meditation/Polytheism faiths, leaving him even further in the hole compared to his rivals. This poor starting situation typically leaves Saladin significantly behind the other leaders and makes it hard for him to keep pace with their expansion. Most of his AI ratings are in the middle of the range of available values, such as his aggression rating (5.5/10) and peace weight. Saladin rarely makes demands of his neighbors and will be a good friend when sharing the same faith, though his preferred civic of Theocracy makes it almost impossible for rival religions to get any kind of footing. This is a straightforward AI personality: he's going to try to found a religion and then attack those who don't share it, although not nearly to the same degree as someone like Montezuma or Isabella.

Past Performance: Saladin was somewhat unfortunate in his past games before managing to break through with a first place finish in Season Five. For all of his weaknesses at the start of the game, Saladin has been in a solid position on multiple occasions coming out of the landgrab phase. Unfortunately he has often found himself on the wrong side of the religious diplomacy and suffered as a result. This was the problem in Season One, as Saladin had a self-founded Hinduism that no one else practiced and it led to his eventual elimination by Catherine. He hung on to the Wildcard game in a very peaceful Season Two opening round match only to finish in the middle of the pack in a large field. Season Three was a replay of Season One for Saladin, with his own self-founded religion that Justinian opposed and eventually stomped out. And in Season Four, Saladin clung to life in both his opening round game and the Wildcard match without ever coming close to a victory. Everything came together in the opening round game of Season Five though, where Saladin took advantage of multiple nearby gold resources and some idiotic neighbors to win a very late Spaceship victory. To his credit, Saladin has been in eight total matches thus far and was only eliminated twice. On the other hand, his sole victory came at the absurdly late date of Turn 421 and the Arabian economy has never been much to write home about. This is the Protective trait at its finest: stalling out losing games while doing nothing to help achieve a win.




Suleiman of the Ottomans
Traits: Imperialistic, Philosophical
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 4
Declares War at Pleased Relations? NO
Past Finishes: 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One Championship Game
Total Kills: 5
Overall Power Ranking: 9 points, tied 26th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Suleiman is a fairly standard militaristic AI leader tied to a good civilization and a bizarre pairing of traits. This might be the least synergistic pairing of traits in Civ4, with Imperialistic favoring rapid expansion across the map while Philosophical works at cross-purposes through the running of specialists. At least Suleiman does get to take advantage of Imperialistic, a consistently successful trait for AI Survivor purposes. He also benefits from the Ottoman civ, which features excellent starting techs and two useful (if not overpowered) unique features in the Janissary and Hamman. Suleiman's AI personality emphasizes military aspects but not to an overwhelming degree. He has a high aggression rating (7/10) and does like to train units (6/10). On the other hand, his peace weight is in the middle of the scale, he doesn't make a lot of demands against other leaders, and he won't declare war at "Pleased" relations. Suleiman surprisingly doesn't care much about religion at all, although he has decent odds to found a later religion because his tech flavors are Culture and Military. His setup is a mixed bag overall, with conflicting leader traits and several different points of emphasis in Suleiman's personality. The various parts can occasionally come together into a larger whole but not on a consistent basis.

Past Performance: Suleiman had by far his best outing in Season One when he made it all the way to the championship game. This was a lucky turn of events since Suleiman was a distant runner-up in both his opening round game (behind Huayna Capac) and his playoff game (trailing Zara). He was the First to Die in the Season One Championship and we speculated at the time that Suleiman might have been fortunate to make it that far. Subsequent seasons have proven that to be true with Suleiman failing to advance back to the playoffs again. He was eliminated in the opening round of Seasons Two and Four and Five, while in Season Three Suleiman survived long enough to make the Wildcard game. He came within a whisker of taking second place in that matchup before falling just short on the scoreboard to Pacal. Suleiman also did manage to pick up two kills in those seasons despite not advancing, a sign that he was at least somewhat competitive in those matches. Overall Suleiman is a decent AI that falls somewhere in the middle of the pack, just not an individual likely to appear again in the championship round.

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Community predictions coming soon - check back later to see what the AI Survivor community thinks about this game!

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