Civ4 AI Survivor Season 6: Game Seven 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




Mansa Musa of Mali
Traits: Financial, Spiritual
Starting Techs: Mining, Wheel
Peace Weight: 9
Declares War at Pleased Relations? YES
Past Finishes: 5 First Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season One and Three Championship Game
Total Kills: 6
Overall Power Ranking: 31 points, 5th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Mansa Moneybags is the best AI leader in the game when it comes to pure economy and it's not a close comparison. He is an absolute fiend when it comes to research, even under our settings where Mansa's well known propensity to engage in tech trading gets disabled. Mansa Musa benefits from an amazing pair of economic traits, Financial for endless cottage cheese and Spiritual to avoid ever wasting turns with the AI's frequent civics shifts. The Malinese civ has an excellent unique unit in the Skirmisher and a passable unique building in the Mint. The biggest downside here comes from the poor starting techs, and if Mansa chooses to chase after an early religion, he can lock himself out of connecting early food bonuses for quite some time. On that note, Mansa has a surprisingly heavy religious preference including a lesser Religion tech preference paired along with his dominant Gold flavor. He's one of the most likely leaders to found a religion despite not starting with Mysticism tech. Mansa's strategy otherwise tends to be predictable: blanket the landscape in cottages and tech like a banshee. He's extraordinarily good at doing this even on a limited number of cities; we've repeatedly seen a Malinese empire with five cities still leading the pack in tech. If Mansa ever manages to amass a large amount of territory, may god have mercy on your soul, because he will plot war at "Pleased" and isn't afraid to lay the smack down despite his 1.6/10 aggression rating. Mansa Musa is always a dangerous opponent and will usually win the game if he doesn't get roughed up by his neighbors.

Past Performance: Mansa Musa has been dominant in game after game, repeatedly teching out in front of the rest of the field and then ruthlessly crushing all challengers. He's won five times in ten total matches, all of them first place finishes. Mansa won his opening round match each of the first three years before finally breaking his streak in Season Four with a poor showing. It was the rare game where Mansa failed to connect his resources and found himself caught off-guard by an enemy attack. Most of the time, however, Mansa has been able to secure enough breathing space to open up a tech lead and swat away his opponents. His performance in Season Three's opening round match is one of the most dominant that we've ever seen, winning by Spaceship as early as Turn 282 while also being within one or two cities of triggering Domination. Mansa has made it to the championship game twice at the end of Seasons One and Three, only to run into low peace weight fields of opponents and find himself the odd man out each time. All of the other AI leaders with extremely high peace weights have fared far worse in AI Survivor, a testament to the strength of Mansa. It is important to note that Mansa seems to have been hurt more than just about any other AI leader by removing the default Deity starting techs, as his Season Four and Five performances were notably worse than in the first three season. Mansa still crushed an AI Survivor friendly match that we ran, however, and he may just be biding his time until the next dominant showing.

Pool Two Leader




Mao Zedong of China
Traits: Expansive, Protective
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Mining
Peace Weight: 1
Declares War at Pleased Relations? YES
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish, 4 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Two Championship Game
Total Kills: 9
Overall Power Ranking: 22 points, tied 10th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Mao Zedong has been surprisingly successful at AI Survivor despite working with relatively few resources. His trait combination is simply bad, with the terrible Protective trait combined together with the AI's poor handling of the Expansive trait. Mao does get to take advantage of the Chinese civilization though, with the best starting techs in the game (Agriculture/Mining) and the strong Cho-Ko-Nu unique crossbow. Mao's AI personality is best known for placing very little emphasis on religion. He doesn't gain much of a benefit from shared religion and attaches little penalty to practicing a different faith. Mao will almost never demand that someone convert to his religion (0/10) but he will make civics-based demands on a frequent basis (10/10). Most of Mao's ratings are fairly average aside from his hefty emphasis on espionage spending (8/10). He's only average in terms of aggression but has a low peace weight and will happily plot war at "Pleased" relations. Mao's middle-of-the-road ratings reflect a leader who often seems to lurk under the radar until catching others by surprise.

Past Performance: Mao Zedong has been a sneaky-good AI leader, reaching the playoffs in four out of five seasons and making it to the championship game at the end of Season Two. He only has a single first place finish to his name but has stuck around to score a series of runner-up finishes. Mao's single best result was his opening round match in Season One, where he won a Diplomatic victory at the ridiculously late date of Turn 433. That's one of the slowest-finishing games that we've ever had and it reflected the fact that Mao isn't much of a researcher. He managed to sneak into the championship the next season with a pair of runner-up finishes, only to find that he couldn't keep pace with Huayna Capac and Pacal and Cyrus in the finals. Mao then suckered everyone into overrating him in Season Three, when he was heavily favored to win his opening round match and instead found himself taken out by Hannibal. The Chinese leader had a certain win stolen away from him in the United Nations during the Season Five Wildcard game and then wound up First to Die in the following playoff round. Mao isn't one of the best leaders but he's good at hanging around and finding a way to make something out of nothing.

Unseeded Leaders




Isabella of Spain
Traits: Expansive, Spiritual
Starting Techs: Fishing, Mysticism
Peace Weight: 6
Declares War at Pleased Relations? YES
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Four Playoffs
Total Kills: 3
Overall Power Ranking: 8 points, 30th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Religion, religion, religion. Isabella is a religious zealot and cares more about her faith than just about any other AI leader in the game. Her "Spain on a Lake" techs are good for founding one of the first two religions and pretty much nothing else, but they will ensure that she'll get some kind of religion and then defend it to the death. Either you are a treasured practitioner of the one true path or you are heathen scum that must be wiped from the earth; there's little subtlety or nuance to Isabella's diplomacy. Her Expansive/Spiritual traits are decent without being spectacular, although it must be said that the AI doesn't do a great job of leveraging the Expansive trait properly. Spain's Conquistador and Citadel unique items are similarly "OK" without having any sort of game-breaking potential. Isabella can be a difficult neighbor to live alongside since she will constantly demand tribute (8/10), and to no one's surprise, demand that others adopt her religion (10/10). Isabella has exactly one research flavor: Religion. Starting to sense a trend here? This obsessive emphasis on religion tends to lead Isabella into founding more religions than she needs and launching ill-advised crusades against rival faiths. She's a one-dimensional cartoon character who only cares about one thing.

Past Performance: Isabella's religious mania has fared poorly in five out of the six games in which she's appeared. Most of the time Isabella will hog a whole bunch of religions and then self-destruct in spectacular fashion with a series of pointless wars. She's not quite as insane as Montezuma but she's not that far off either. Her cities will spend far too much time building temples and monasteries and more missionaries rather than the infrastructure which would actually be helpful in winning the game. The one exception to this pattern was Isabella's opening round game in Season Four, where she shocked everyone by winning a Domination victory in impressive fashion. This seems to have been a highly unlikely result, with Cyrus and Catherine knocking one another out of contention and allowing Isabella to sweep in and claim the win. It certainly wasn't repeated in the playoff round when Isabella clung to her own unpopular self-founded faith and was eliminated. She seems to have had one lucky game in which she scored all eight of her points, and it's dubious as to whether she can repeat that performance again.




Mehmed of the Ottomans
Traits: Expansive, Organized
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Wheel
Peace Weight: 2
Declares War at Pleased Relations? NO
Past Finishes: 1 First Place Finish, 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Five Champion
Total Kills: 6
Overall Power Ranking: 15 points, tied 18th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Mehmed is a typical member from the group of militaristic AI leaders. He's not quite as crazy as some of his shared rivals in the Montezuma or Shaka mold, but he still acts predictably and starts a lot of trouble for his neighbors. Mehmed does have a pair of good economic traits in the Expansive/Organized combo, albeit both of them traits that the AI doesn't leverage particularly well. His Ottoman civilization also benefits from having excellent starting techs and decent unique features in the Janissary and Hamman. Mehmed's biggest problem is that he's too militaristic for his own good, endlessly picking wars and failing to leverage those economic traits to good effect. He has a maxed out preference for training units (10/10) and a high aggression rating (7.8/10) to go along with his low peace weight. And yet Mehmed also won't plot war at "Pleased" relations for some reason, often causing him to stack up units endlessly to no effect whatsoever. His research flavors are Military and an odd Culture, once again reinforcing how Mehmed tends to neglect economy in favor of more and more units. Mehmed has often been a popular pick from the community because he looks like he should be strong on paper, and yet he traditionally let everyone down over and over again.

Past Performance: At least until Season Five, that is. Mehmed initiated a lot of fighting through the first four seasons but without translating those conflicts into a top two finish. He was often a leading figure at various points in time before falling apart and collapsing in the later stages of the gameplay. Mehmed's experience in Season One was typical, as he conquered multiple rivals before getting chopped to bits by a more advanced Mansa Musa. He came close to taking second place in his Season Two match, and eliminated Bismarck in Season Three only to fall apart in a two front war afterwards. Everything changed in Season Five though, as Mehmed finished in second place twice in the opening round and playoffs followed by stunning everyone by winning the outright championship. He was in the right place at the right time and took advantage of his one shining moment to bring home the trophy. While Mehmed clearly isn't one of the best AI leaders, he's a competent military leader who can win games if the conditions break in his favor.




Peter of Russia
Traits: Expansive, Philosophical
Starting Techs: Hunting, Mining
Peace Weight: 1
Declares War at Pleased Relations? YES
Past Finishes: 2 Second Place Finishes
Best Finish: Season Three and Five Playoffs
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 6 points, tied 36th 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. Peter was similarly a distant second in his Season Five showing, although it must be mentioned that the alternate histories revealed that he was actually the top leader on that map. Peter was killed in both his playoff round matches without having any realistic chance at a top finish. Thanks to his repeated Wildcard game appearances Peter has been in a lot of total games, nine matches in full. Along with his paltry two kills, Peter has a clear track record of mostly ineffective performances.




Roosevelt of America
Traits: Industrious, Organized
Starting Techs: Agriculture, Fishing
Peace Weight: 8
Declares War at Pleased Relations? YES
Past Finishes: 1 Second Place Finish
Best Finish: Season Four Playoffs
Total Kills: 2
Overall Power Ranking: 4 points, tied 39th place (out of 52 leaders)

Personality: Roosevelt is a classic example of a peaceful builder that largely wants to stay out of conflicts. He has a solid economic trait pairing with Industrious and Organized, although lacking any of the top-tier grouping of Financial or Creative or Expansive. Roosevelt often tends to struggle with expansion since he lacks any traits or abilities to speed up his early game. The American civilization is doing him no favors here, with decent starting techs but unique features that both come far too late to make a difference. Roosevelt the AI is not very militaristic at all, with an aggression rating of 2.6/10 and a dangerously low train unit emphasis (2/10). Despite his Industrious trait, Roosevelt doesn't particularly emphasize wonder building (4/10) and prefers to focus on espionage spending (7/10). He also has little interest in religion and doesn't stack up much of a shared faith bonus or differing faiths penalty. Roosevelt has unusual tech preferences for his research, emphasizing Production and Gold flavors, and the expected high peace weight for a "good" leader. He will plot war at "Pleased" relations though in a bit of a twist. Generally speaking what you see is what you get with Roosevelt. He's going to try and play the builder game but he lacks the traits and the civ to make him a top competitor for that gameplan.

Past Performance: Roosevelt has been mediocre to poor overall, managing one trip to the playoffs without achieving anything too memorable or interesting. His theoretical best game took place in the opening round of Season Four, where he had a difficult corner start and was widely expected to be the First to Die. Instead, he managed to slip into the playoffs in second place behind Isabella. It wasn't a very impressive finish, mind you, as Roosevelt was 6000 points behind on the scoreboard, but he did survive and that was more than the rest of the field could say. Outside of that single game, Roosevelt has typically been a speed bump on the road to victory for other stronger leaders. He was eliminated in the opening round of Season One, then survived to the Wildcard game in Season Two without accomplishing much. Roosevelt made a truly bad decision in Season Three by converting to a self-founded religion that put him outside Justinian's religious alliance, resulting in a deserved elimination. His playoff game in Season Four also ended in self-inflicted disaster, committing suicide with an invasion of a much stronger Darius (an example of the "plot war at Pleased relations" backfiring). Roosevelt warred endlessly with Louis in Season Five to little effect before finally getting eliminated in the lategame. While Roosevelt is a decent enough leader in overall terms, he's demonstrated some truly awful decision-making in recent years of the competition.

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