At the end of the previous section, oledavy had managed to trap and sink the core of Woden's navy in the Battle of Beija-Flor Bay. This had broken apart the long-standing equilibrium in the game, which had been based upon TheArchduke and Woden combining their navies together to face off against oledavy. With the sinking of five Minas Geraes battleships, oledavy had pulled off a tactical coup that left him in complete control of the waters surrounding Brazil. From this point, he could launch further raids against Woden, or peel off to attack TheArchduke, or do practically anything that he wanted. There was no other naval force in position to contest the Japanese ships.
Oledavy took advantage of the newly changed situation:
oledavy: As expected, lost 2 ironclads. Fair enough, 3 MGs [Minas Geraeses] and 1 MG fleet for three (unpromoted) ironclads is an awesome trade. I finished off his fleet with one of my next frigate fleets. I detailed 5 ships to take Lisbon. It was a coinflip to win. Thankfully I won it and burned the city to the ground. That should put some hurt on the economies of the alliance. Additionally, a couple of my subs promoted to get 50 gold from each coastal raid, and I'm using them to burn down Brazil's east coast. Slowly earning money for battleships....
Anyway, other than the Lisbon force, all of my ships are headed for Lysithea. A knight and scout go ashore next turn to prepare to take Tijuca. I added two more frigates to my fleet this turn. Two more ironclads and two more frigates are being added next turn. I continue to consolidate some of my units into fleets. I'll finish reforming and healing the fleet in the next turn or two, then we can start slowly, cautiously, moving towards Salgueiro. I don't know if Archduke's fleet is currently in transit or defending his homeland, but I have to be ready for either possibility. Here is the final deployment:
Though Woden is largely neutered at this point, Archduke's power remains concerning. I think most of it is land-based military though.
The razing of Lisbon was a huge deal because both Woden and TheArchduke had routed most of their trade routes to the city state. Oledavy had done the same thing with his own trade routes, repeatedly shifting them around to different city states throughout the game, since the gold that they provided was critical for maintaining each nation's economy. Woden also had the full six envoys invested in Lisbon to buff up his Commercial districts, and losing the +8 gold/turn benefit in all of those districts was a harsh blow to absorb. This was an effective form of economic warfare on the part of the Japanese. Elsewhere, oledavy blasted the city of Tijuca down to near-death status and prepared for a Japanese knight to capture it. The fact that Woden had placed it one tile off the coast was enough to protect Tijuca from immediate capture, but not enough to stop the defenses from being leveled. It fell on Turn 169 even as the Japanese navy continued to swell in size:
That was an awful lot of Japanese ships. The number of turns until Steel tech arrived continued to drop, and no one else in the game was in shouting distance of oledavy's 160 beakers/turn research rate. If anything, the science output of the other players was dropping as they lost cities and suffered under the ravages of war weariness. About ten more turns until Japan could begin upgrading frigates into battleships.
A couple turns later, oledavy managed to catch another Minas Geraes out in the open:
Woden was escorting a settler up into the northern tundra where he was hoping to set up another hidden base. Oledavy spotted this little operation though, sinking the Brazilian unique unit battleship and destroying the helpless crossbows embarked upon the seas. The Brazilian settler was captured, and oledavy brought it with him as the core of his navy sailed to the west. This would allow him to set up a city near the English home continent and upgrade his frigates into battleships when Steel tech arrived. (Remember, ships must be within your own borders to be upgraded in Civ6.) With Woden's power largely broken at this point, oledavy was focused on TheArchduke now, and his latest plan was to start attacking and razing cities on the English home island. That might be enough to crush TheArchduke's morale and induce a concession to end the game.
For his part, TheArchduke was still concentrating on Germany where Singaboy fought like a cornered ridgecat. Kiel had fallen to TheArchduke on Turn 171, which brought the English to the gates of the German capital:
Singaboy: More turns have passed, Archduke managed to take Kiel as expected due to his navy. His is now trying to take Aachen but hits a much bigger roadblock there, I have a camp and the capital with medieval walls. They can hit a punch or two. I have successfully gotten my spy in a Brazilian city and am supposed to get 240 gold for that, though I am not too sure how that plays out as my gpt doesn't seem to improve. On T173, I actually get a Great Merchant, that gives 500 gold and two envoys.
Archduke has three muskets near Aachen, I need to remove them first as only they can take Aachen. The rest is just wearing down city defenses. Hence, I use both muskets to attack, followed by city defenses. The result is one musket dead and the other barely survives. The next turn, he can only use the bombard to attack my city, not both. And if he uses the bombard, the crossbows can't move and hit at the same time. The healthy musket, of course, will be able to attack. However, I can use my upgraded field cannon and most likely, both city defenses to counter. I still have knights and horseman behind the front for emergency attacks, in order to prevent a meltdown of Aachen. It does seem though, as if Archduke's eastern navy has moved away to help defend his Island against Japan.
T174: Archduke had both bombards in position and only those two can really bring my walls down, the rest would take a while without a battering ram or other support. Hence, this turn it is time to take those bombards out Notably he has a new musket landed on the shores from the west. It is not promoted, hence it would be a good idea to take it out in one shot before it can get promoted. But that has to wait. First, city defenses redline both bombards, the eastern of the two is taken care of by my newly minted field cannon, which earns a promotion too. I decide to go all out, defeat the second bombard with a horseman and then attack one of the crossbows with a knight that takes hardly a scratch.
It will open both units for counter attacks, but I hope he can't kill both of them and doing so, will delay his attack and expose more troops to counter attacks.
Aachen was where TheArchduke's previous offensive had stopped some three dozen turns earlier, albeit by his choice, and Singaboy was doing everything possible to stop the English outside the gates of his capital once again. By killing both bombard siege units, Singaboy had made it all but impossible for TheArchduke to remove the city defenses at Aachen. The English ships had been pulled away due to a need to defend against oledavy, and that left the land-based offensive in Germany sitting in limbo. Singaboy's strong walled defenses, Encampment districts, and field gun technology meant that he was no easy mark. Even with only three cities remaining, it was going to require more hard slogging to eliminate his civilization.
Meanwhile, oledavy's fleet was steaming directly towards TheArchduke's home continent, with only four turns remaining on Steel research. However, the game was denied a further confrontation outside the English capital city of Bohemian Rhapsody. Singaboy's valiant defense of his capital seemed to have been the final straw, and TheArchduke decided that he could no longer win this game:
TheArchduke: What do the lurkers think? I think a concession is in order, I can´t win this with Woden as an ally, he wasted his perfectly good fleet rather nicely and Singaboy which would be a competent ally is of no help whatsoever since 20 turns. I am not seeing how I can win this or prevent a Oledavy win. Also what is the convention, play it out till someone wins? Concede if the maths look impossible. Basically without a german conquest augmenting my strength this is over. Woden is now only a speedbump winning me 15-20 turns more to play this.
Which meant that the game ended on the round number of Turn 175, and oledavy's Japan was the winner!
oledavy: Welp, that's that. Everyone has conceded, and as much as I would like to end this game with Bohemian Rhapsody in my hands, it's probably better that it ends here. Time to survey the Japanese Empire/Outer Islands Alliance One Last Time. And, with little else to do, founded Cantebury and moved my fleet forward, revealing the lead elements of Archduke's fleet to the southwest. Archduke will not see this when he opens the last save, as when I played again to send the save to him, I basically left everything in place (besides sinking that caravel again).
What a wild ride of a game! I've just begun to look through others' threads. I suspect there is quite a bit left to be said. For my part, I will soon be writing up what I thought were my best moves and biggest errors this game. After so many stressful turns (basically since t86), it feels good to prevail and legitimately win one of these things (I'm discounting PBEM17 here). The ghosts of PBEM2 and my near miss there have been put to rest.
This was such a magnificent game from start to finish. The archipelago setup made it a completely unique game, where naval units completely overshadowed land units to a degree that we'd never seen before. Given that the vast majority of Multiplayer games are 1 vs 1 duels played on Pangaea maps, this game featured what was almost certainly the biggest fleet on fleet engagement in Civ6 Multiplayer history. The Battle of the North Sea was incredible to watch from a tactical perspective, with the ships of three nations blasting away at one another over the course of several real-world days of updates. This must have been what it felt like to sit on the General Staff of the Admiralty or the Kriegsmarine receiving hour by hour updates during the Battle of Jutland. We had multiple different players top the board over the course of this game, first Singaboy threatening to become an unstoppable runaway, then TheArchduke roaring out of nowhere to take the game by storm, and finally oledavy emerging from the long rounds of conflict to emerge victorious through, what else, an unbeatable navy. Much of oledavy's victory was due to the overpowered Venetian Arsenal, true, but everyone else in the game also had the opportunity to construct the wonder and no one else tried. Japan's meticulous city planning and smart use of religion gave oledavy a narrow edge that resulted in a well-deserved victory in the end.
The players themselves once again saved me the hard work of summing things up by providing their own retrospectives. First here's Singaboy, the initial favorite to win:
Singaboy: In hindsight, it's easy to look at my decisions and scrutinizing them. I had obviously misjudged the power that England would have with two/three Great Admirals and what devastation frigates can cause to coastal cities. Unfortunately, in order to pack districts tightly, I had to build all the coastal cities in the north. The proved to be a big mistake. Looking back, what I should have done was:
1. Attack England instead of Norway. I overestimated Japper's capability to raid my coasts. Norway's cities were pretty much garbage without a single district by the time I conquered them. The only thing they added, was population and a few amenities. I am sure, England had much better developed cities and would have been a better target. A conquest of England would have left a buffer zone (Norway) between me and oledavy too. Of course, the conquest of England would have been a lot tougher than Norway, but with sufficient production and willpower, I might have succeeded and be in a much better position. The way it ended, everyone saw me as the biggest contender for a win when I had merely conquered junk cities.
2. How to counter England? In my mind, it has to be attacked early to prevent all the harbors from generating GA [Great Admiral] points and the massive gold/turn. The problem is that coastal cities have very poor production. England can counter that by building lots of cheap galleys and quadriremes and upgrade them later. Not too sure how to counter that.
3. Open diplomacy did not do me any favors in the game, I think as everyone bar Jester dogpiled me. With AI diplo I might have been able to form an alliance with either England or Japan earlier on.
This was a brilliant game from Singaboy, with his initial attack against Norway executed almost perfectly. I agree that his biggest problem was the nature of the game itself, with the public diplomacy thread making it much easier for the other players to gang up against the player who took the early lead. In an AI Diplomacy game, I think Singaboy would have had a good chance of winning. It's also interesting to think about how the game would have been different if Singaboy had targeted TheArchduke instead of Japper, or if TheArchduke had kept attacking Singaboy rather than offering the big peace treaty on Turn 130. It would have been a very different game in either case.
Next up, TheArchduke had his own summary of England's history in this game:
TheArchduke: This is not going to be as good or as exhaustive as Oledavy´s report, but I will try to fill in the gaps of my reporting and how I saw and experienced the game. First off I want to thank all other players for providing a hell of a ride of a game.
Initial Phase. Turn 1-50
So I drew a rather picturesque and nice start, nothing at all like the mediocre PBEM #2 situation. My capital was decent, placed rather securely in the northeast of my continent. I had a nice CS [city state] next to me, Carthage, but it turned out a waste as I was way more likely to build harbours instead of encampments as England. My plan pretty much worked out as I wanted it to do, I wanted to expand quickly over my continent, explore with 2 galleys and avoid an early war if possible.
# What went right
# What went wrong
Catchup Phase. Turn 50-100
Very low amount of reporting during this time. Basically I slogged through turn after turn trying to make my cities more productive.
# What went right
# What went wrong
Expansion phase Phase. Turn 100-125
Norway´s demise dominated the game and lead myself to an ill advised alliance with Oledavy. I would have been MUCH better off sticking with Singaboy, attacking Woden and afterwards Oledavy together with Singaboy. But the conquest of Norway blinded me to Oledavy's strength like it would do later to Singaboy himself and nearly Woden. I am happy and proud about Operation Sudden Strike. I had exactly the right amount of army and navy to quickly conquer both CS and that coupled with having a suzerain bonus which provided fresh water to my waterless cities and population expansion saw me rise from the last spot to the second spot.
# What went right
# What went wrong
Conquest, Pride and Stagnation Phase. Turn 125-145
Except for my mistake in not building cheaper and older ships before going for Square Rigging, my fleet, tactics and planning of the Conquest of Germany went a lot better then I expected. Singaboy was overstretched, unprepared, had 2 coasts to defend and was poised to attack Oledavy with his army. But Pride comes before the fall, agreeing to the norwegian peace was a HUGE mistake imo. I should have kept going for the german core and let Oledavy go for Norway, I would have gotten the only 2 good cities, the norwegian capital and old Midgard very easily. 2 Reasons persuaded me, being nice to Singaboy and keep him in the game (well that did not work out as you can see from the diplomacy thread). And the damn, damn, stupid occupation mechanics of CIV VI. I perfectly knew that the Venetian Arsenal would be a monster on such a map, but my poor science rate meant I was always chasing behind the pack, barely snatching key techs in time like Navigation, Square Rigging and Steam Power. If not for my timely recruitment of Darwin, Oledavy's fleet would have massacred me. So it only hurt me, and whilst Oledavy could throw away ships with abandon (like 4 subs after the battle) I could not.
# What went right
# What went wrong
Downfall Phase. Turn 145 to the end
Oh boy, after the dust had settled on the Battle in the Northern Sea, I never truly recovered my strength or my intiative. I knew my only chance was a quick conquest of Germany, but Singaboy's stubborn Great General fueled defense proved to my undoing, I could not make headway quick enough against his inland settled cities. This game was over after my pyrrhic victory as whilst Oledavy could easily replace his losses, I could not.
# What went right
# What went wrong
This was another outstanding summary of TheArchduke's game. I thought it was very interesting how both he and oledavy thought that discovering Electricity tech (and obsoleting privateers) was a mistake. One of the reasons why I wanted to put together a long report about the PBEM4 game was to highlight how much TheArchduke managed to improve from the PBEM1 game. No one else has been more active in our community's Civ6 Multiplayer games than TheArchduke, and he's become a terrifying competitor in the time since that initial PBEM game.
Finally, the winning Japanese team had their own summary of the game's events. Oledavy's dedicated lurker Chevalier Mal Fet put together this lengthy and excellent history of their team's path through the game:
Chevalier Mal Fet: Okay, so what worked here, and what didn't? I think by and large you did more things right than not (duh), and there were some really inspired plays that I wanna highlight. There were a few blunders, too, or suboptimal plays, but definitely overshadowed by the good stuff.
The first 50 turns:
The Jovian megacity concept worked beyond my expectations. The cheap districts let you get it down fast, then fueling the scientific infrastructure via faith generation - which also served to turtle you - was what pushed this from a solid move to a great one. Japan surged to an early science lead, and I think it stayed there. Norway was never able to develop, since it was a blasted, war-torn hellscape by the end of the game, and so no one was ever able to acquire enough land to overcome your superior scientific core. Fueled by this, you hit the major techs well in advance of the others - whether it was for buildings like the VA or units like subs and battleships, Japan was never behind in the scientific race.
Culture generation was solid, as well - not as spectacular as the Brazilian carnival, but enough to keep you close. Scouting was good - you met more than your share of city states (getting out galleys early was key here - I think that was Jester's main mistake this game), and had a good feel for your neighbors early. Not much to say here.
The megacity was priority 1, and you had to sacrifice some other things to do it. I think expansion lagged a bit in the early game, especially compared to Singaboy, and you had a skeleton military. This didn't matter much - the navy was more than enough to keep the other empires away, and you caught up in number of cities eventually - but it did make intervention in the Norwegian war ineffectual and it seriously slowed the settlement of the island belt between you, Norway, and Spain. I wonder if there was some way to better balance infrastructure with military? Keeping Norway crippled but alive (perhaps by winning the battle at the capital?) would have made this game totally unrecognizable.
Anyway, after Norway fell, it seemed like you were always swinging from crisis to crisis, so the game picked up pace after that.
Norway and What Came After
Around the same time Singaboy invaded Norway, you were starting your own war with Spain. I opposed the Sack of Pizarro at the time, but ultimately you were right here. Jesterfool was basically removed as a competitive force in the game (particularly after the settler cost increase), and his weak empire ultimately became fodder for Japan. Knowing what we know now, I think it might have been a better move to preserve your troops and use them to more quickly settle the intermediate islands. As it was, they were mostly caught up in the rout in Norway and failed to accomplish much. However, at the time it was impossible to know how thinly defended Norway really was, and letting Singaboy absorb another player unopposed was unthinkable. Intervening was the right call given the information you had.
Diplomacy following Germany's conquest was effective - England and Brazil both quickly came on board for an anti-German alliance, and rather than surge across the narrow seas and come after your core (which, apart from the navy, was fairly unprotected) Singaboy instead found himself a pariah and forced to defend on too many fronts. I think the diplomatic moves here - the friendships with Woden and Archduke - were effective, as was your settlement of Jerusalem with Woden. It contained Singaboy, and but for a couple of factors would have had you well set up for the remainder of the game.
Best move here was unquestionably the laying down of the Venetian Arsenal - with two players locked in friendship, another ineffective, and the last being harried by the first two, there was no one who could stop you by force, and your tech lead let you comfortable win the race for this key wonder. Without the Arsenal, Archduke could probably have rolled over the rest of the world with his unstoppable navy.
Worst move? Not sure. Maybe intervening in Norway? But at the time it didn't seem like a mistake, so I can't criticize.
The English Armament
Singaboy folded unexpectedly to Archduke. The double GAs were unstoppable in a fair fight, and Archduke had the first strike on Germany's navy. Most of Singaboy's cities were on the coast, and even one or two sea spaces were more than enough for the Royal Navy frigates to level the walls and send in a caravel to capture. The Norwegian settlement dramatically altered the game, as suddenly Singaboy was left an also-ran with a damaged core while Archduke gained, at a stroke, an entire second empire with a ready-made army, but needing infrastructure investment.
Most of this period was a time of growing tension around the world, as everyone armed up and prepared for the war we all knew would come once you and Archduke's friendship expired. The Arsenal finished and you started to pump out ships. Gold generation started to become an issue here, and I think the Lisbon trade economy was a great move that gave you the gold you needed to finish the game (switching to Toronto and Triton as needed). It was a creative play that will probably become standard in future games. You started the slow conquest of Spain, using what units you could spare, and took care of other housekeeping issues while concentrating the main effort on readying a navy capable of meeting the Royal Navy and winning.
The biggest diplomatic shakeup was Woden unexpectedly allying with Archduke. Now, in my opinion, Woden was doing his usual thing of playing both sides - he would give support, but try to stay out while you and England beat each other to a pulp. He was probably motivated by your VA, thinking you both needed to be cut down. I think your response here was probably the biggest mistake you made in the game. You interpreted Woden's move as a total betrayal (to be fair, he was hanging you out to the wolves, but as it turned out you didn't need Woden anyway), and in turn betrayed him over Jerusalem. I stand by what I said at the time - this was too little reward for pushing Woden firmly into the enemy camp. The final turns would have been much less stressful without Woden's budding MG armada to worry about over your shoulder, and it's hard to quantify how valuable his naval intelligence that he provided Archduke was.
However, you did a great job keeping Singaboy on board and motivated - Germany put up a tremendous fight against great odds in the world war, and did invaluable work keeping English units occupied. That more than compensated for Woden. All told, when the friendship expired and the war started, you were more prepared than any other empire on the map.
The World War
The First Battle of the North Sea
Possibly the largest naval battle in Civ 6 multiplayer history, so that's kinda cool. Anyway, despite a near 2 to 1 advantage in ships, the Axis powers came up just short in this one. Archduke's smaller fleet managed to annihilate in turn the attacking Japanese squadron and the German auxiliaries in support. However, the English navy was left a crippled wreck itself, and Archduke was very cautious with its use thereafter, not risking another full-scale fleet engagement for the rest of the game.
On the whole I stand by my original assessment: Even though you lost more ships, this was a strategic win. Your goals were, in descending priority,
1) To remove the threat England posed to the Japanese homeland, particularly the VA city.
You fulfilled the first two of those goals. Archduke stayed quiet to rebuild his fleet, never reaching the same strength (while almost all your losses were replaced within ten turns), and then slowly ground down Germany. Meanwhile, you were raiding and razing cities all around your strategic perimeter, from Jerusalem in the west and south all the way to Norway in the north and east. England was getting much weaker in both ships and cities, while you were getting stronger.
Tactically, could you have pulled out a win here? The criticism of too many task forces is misplaced - most of the ships mentioned could never have reached the battlefield in time, and just would have been sunk too if they straggled in piecemeal. They did better where they were. However, I think better coordination with Singaboy, both in his initial attack and in, perhaps, a decision to retreat beyond the straits could have seen our side prevail. Better dice rolls swinging a ship here or there might have altered things. But damn, double great Admirals makes every ship a monster, and guarantees first strike to even the odds even more. I think that is the single best bonus, and really emphasizes how important it is to get SOME kind of great person for warfare.
The Campaign in Norway
This was fun side theater to watch. You made good use of your limited ships here to harry Archduke's overextended empire, securing your own waters and bleeding him of resources while driving up his war exhaustion. I particularly enjoyed the back and forth struggle over Toronto, a city which must have changed hands at least 5 times over the course of the game. Ultimately, Archduke's free army here amounted to little - I wonder if he pulled most of his muskets over to Germany, leaving only the stragglers to carry on a low-intensity conflict with you? Overall, this was a cheap way to hurt Archduke and boost you a bit (particularly the brief Toronto economy), but neither side ever devoted resources to this theater, which mostly just simmered away. For all that the fate of Norway precipitated 90% of the conflict in this game, the game was ultimately decided elsewhere.
The Spanish Front
Another secondary theater. You did an excellent job here conquering Spain with a bare economy of force - a handful of ships, your tiny land army. Jester refused to defend passively, instead continually striving to strike out with raiding caravels and the like, but Japanese mastery of the oceans doomed all his efforts. His powerful land army slowed the conquest of his island, but this is a good demonstration that all the land power in the world can't save you if you're within 2 tiles of water. Naval power is everything.
Spain never did contribute much, since it was conquered too late, but the growing production and science of Spanish cities I think were a big factor in giving you a decisive edge if the game had continued, and probably played a small role in inducing concedes. The most impressive part of this was the way you managed to strengthen your empire (at a time when most other civs were bleeding cities) with such a small investment of troops. Very satisfied here all around.
The Second Battle of the North Sea
The last open confrontation between English and Japanese fleets. The submarine squadron tried to save Germany's west coast, but a single bad die roll saw the floodgates open and Archduke's surviving squadron was able to pour through and wipe out the Japanese subs. This loss stung, since I don't think you got nearly the compensation for the subs that their hammer investment warranted, and it was all because the sub holding the straits was destroyed. As a result, Archduke was able to press deeper into Germany than he otherwise would have, and you ceased direct cooperation with Singaboy. Nothing really to comment on here. No tactical blunders, and it was the right strategic move if it had worked (and didn't harm you too much when it failed) - just bad luck, I think.
The Brazilian theater
When your friendship with Woden at last expired, the final front of the world war opened. Woden opted to avoid combat until he reached his Minais Gerais, the peak of his power curve, which was sensible. However, I think Woden built too conservatively to protect his cities. His cities were safe enough, but the majority couldn't build ships! His few shipbuilding cities became targets right away as the war came here, and with no navy to defend them, they were easy prey for the OIA. Your campaign of piracy and terror along the coast here went very well, weakening Brazil greatly and taking him out of the running for victory almost without a shot being fired on Woden's part.
Woden's biggest error, though, was Germany, I think. He sent a significant army and navy, and showed us how a navy NOT backed up by double Great Admirals fared against Singaboy's defenses. Singaboy mutilated the naval squadron sent his way (accounting for what, 4 frigates by the end?) and bloodied the army's nose. After a few turns of probing, and with Japanese ships steaming towards him from the opposite direction, Woden was forced to cut his losses and sail home. From then on the war was largely two separate duels.
The Battle of Bahia Bay
At last Woden finished Nationalism and started popping out his uber units. He grouped quite a sizeable squadron, but he crept cautiously along his own coast and failed to closely coordinate with the English navy. Whether he was let down by scouting, surprised by the movement rules, or underestimated your ships, his main squadron of MGs was caught outside the city of Bahia. Japanese ships were able to accept the near-OHKOs [one hit knock outs] and pinned the fleet, then massacred it. In the space of three turns the flower of Brazil's navy and a good fraction of hte Allied naval power vanished.
This was the only clear-cut victory the Japanese had, well, virtually the whole game if you count the failed Norwegian intervention. But it was decisive. Gone was any chance of Woden linking up with Archduke and driving on the Japanese core - in fact, I think the only city you ever lost was Toronto, briefly (and Triton should probably count). Brazil was no longer capable of defending its remaining coastal cities, and you set about cautiously razing his remaining naval production to the ground. Woden was basically finished as an effective fighting force (though I think he still had enough units to bloody your nose) and Archduke was bogged down fighting Germany, so at this point the game was over.
You did some more great moves during the war to prop up the home front. You mentioned Retainers+Scouts as a possibility in PBEM2, and it came into its own here, as your economy shrugged off the staggering war weariness from the North Sea and soldiered on. Rerouting trade to Lisbon and to Toronto and to Triton was inspired - despite a massive war machine you managed to stay in the black for most of the game. I think both tricks will become standard moves in the future. I admit, I got a little worried as your metagame behavior grew erratic, from offering hte VA to Archduke to the "rage quit," but I figured as long as you were having fun and continued to play to your ability level it was harmless. To sum up:
Biggest mistake: Backstabbing Woden
Overall it was a wonderfully entertaining game, perhaps the best that's yet been played in Civ 6. I hope it lays the groundwork for many more to come. Thanks again, Dave. It was a joy to watch. Congrats on the win.
That... was even longer than what I would have written, and from the perspective of someone who was part of all the events taking place. Thank you Chevalier Mal Fet! The last word goes to oledavy, the winner of this game. Lest we think this was a perfect game, he produced this list of his biggest mistakes, presented in amusing Internet clickbait format:
oledavy: My Top 10 Mistakes (Number 3 Will Shock You)
Clickbait titles aside, I made a fair few mistakes this game that I think are worth noting. Before getting into this, all mistakes are not created equal. Some 'mistakes' simply arise as a result of pursuing other priorities - it's hard to produce guns and butter. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean I don't think I might have been able to balance competing priorities better. Others only became clearly mistakes in hindsight, at the time they were made, things might have developed in a way to make them solid decisions. Most of the one's listed here are just plain bad moves. Here they are so you can avoid them, arranged roughly chronologically.
#10 - Not Building More Military Early
I think one of my better moves this game was prioritizing island plants relatively early. Titan, Eros, and Ceres turned into monster cities by the end of the game, easily on par with some of my mainland cities. Yet, my biggest problem in getting these plants out early was a lack of archers and warriors. Had I this game to play again, I would have gotten a couple more military units out earlier to begin the arduous process of clearing these islands off sooner. This would have meant getting to settle Io in the Titan location instead of a mediocre location on my home island. Early on, my military coverage just didn't quite keep pace with my expansion, and had I sunk a few more hammers into military, I would have been able to get stronger cities online sooner. Additionally, having a bare minimum of military early meant I could not respond forcefully and effectively to the invasion of Norway. More on that in a bit.
#9 - Taking Defender of the Faith
This one is debatable. I don't know how much having this belief dissuaded people from attacking me. I also don't know how much the denial value was worth at the end of the day. If Japper007 was going to take it, I wish I had left it up so he might have been able to more effectively resist Singaboy. If CFCJesterfool was going to get it, I'm very glad I took it instead. The bottomline is that when you're doing all the attacking and basically never fighting on your home turf, DoTF is a pretty meh belief. While I still think its godly on Pangaea, on island plates it was underwhelming. I think it came into play a total of three times, and never in a terribly decisive manner (except perhaps around Enceladus). It might have made a critical difference in my final battle with Archduke and Woden, or might have just as easily been trivial. It's just hard to say. Meanwhile, I can more accurately quantify the benefits Religious Community or Church Property might have given me. At the end of the day, maybe not a mistake, but I do think it would have been stronger to take another economic belief.
#8 - Sending Troops to Norway
This was a move I agonized about at the time, and one that did only become clearly a mistake in hindsight, but was a mistake nonetheless. In Norway, I wanted to stop Singaboy, but without stopping my expansion and running behind to Woden and Archduke. Additionally, I faced the simple reality that I would need to train up troops to fight a real war of reconquest, a long-term and costly venture that had no promise of returns. However, I also wasn't comfortable leaving Japper007 to his own devices to die. With that in mind, I adopted a middle path. I funded him, sent him resources, and sent an expeditionary force of available archers and galleys to try and stem the tide. The archers got there just in time to be routed and made little impact on the final outcome. Moving these archers away from my islands hurt my ability to clear them of barbs, and additionally meant I had little military available to secure Uranus from CFCJesterfool. Had I this game to play over again, I would not have sent any troops to Norway, and instead contented myself to fund and supply him.
#7 - Settling Enceladus
Compared to Eros, Ceres, and Titan, all of which ended up rivaling the best cities on my mainland by the end of the game, Enceladus was just a sub-par plant. I had originally intended this settler for Uranus, but for reasons discussed in my thread, chose not to try and settle the island. With the benefit of hindsight, I think this was a mistake. I was more afraid of Spain at that point than I really needed to be. In reality, I probably could have settled and held the city with little trouble, and had a much more productive plant going into the late game. This can also be thought of as the natural end point of my lack of investment in ground troops early and loss of archers in Norway. I didn't have the military to defend the city where I wanted it, and took a suboptimal city placement as a result. It also ended up being uncomfortably close to Singaboy's army and might have fallen had Singaboy not withdrawn.
#6 - Not Taking a CS Sooner
The secret to Singaboy and Archduke's early leads is that they identified plum city-states in their vicinities and took them early. La Venta by comparison was a pretty sad city, but Toronto - with its double luxuries - was not. Also, given its geographic position, it could have been held from the sea against Singaboy's units. During the mid-game period where I was lagging on expansion, I should have made it my priority to take the city and strengthen my position in that manner. Alternatively, I should have considered taking the isolated and productive Jerusalem earlier in the game, but in the case of that city, there were diplomatic issues.
#5 - Not Pressing the Attack on Spain
After taking De Soto, I could have sent forces around the western edge of Spain early to begin the attack on the future city of Halimede. However, at this point I was really worried about inviting Archduke's attack, and was simultaneously considering how many forces I would need to protect Singaboy. In the end though, I wound up sending a few ships south of Spain anyway, who were able to efficiently wrap up the Spanish campaign. Had I to do over again, I would have been more aggressive and deployed these forces south sooner. I could have wrapped up Spain a little sooner, and consequently been rid of the war weariness and had the additional yields more quickly going into the end-game.
#4 - Getting the Alliance End Date Wrong
More than anything else, I think the Battle of the North Sea was lost off of me thinking me and Archduke's Declaration of Friendship ran out on t148 instead of t147. I erroneously thought we had an alliance, when any look at the diplo icons would have indicated this was not the case. This was not the sole reason the Axis lost the subsequent battle, but it played a big role. Not much to say here but that I screwed up, big time, and it cost me dearly.
#3 - Losing Darwin
I rather complacently thought that Darwin would just fall into my lap, and Archduke wouldn't try to contest me for him. I was dead wrong here. Archduke was benefiting from a ton of extra Great Scientist points generated from Singaboy's core, and took the opportunity to run 3 GS Projects and steal him from under my nose. What's worse, he used him at a critical moment to finish Steam Power and slingshot into Electricty, upgrading his caravels into ironclads in the nick of time for the Battle of the North Sea. I think this move, more than anything else, is what allowed him to win that battle and came to define many of the following turns. If I had had the foresight to run a couple GS projects and start them sooner, the tables would have been turned, and I would have had a dramatic tech advantage - as opposed to Mendeleev, who benefitted me none by the end of the game.
#2 - Not Prioritizing Gold Production
Throughout the game, one of my biggest weaknesses was gold production. This was a result of my early district prioritization more than anything else, you can't have guns and butter. However, if this game has hit home nothing else to me, it's that gold reigns supreme. You can lack tons of production, cram out a bunch of cheaper older units with a policy card, then finish the tech for the next unit, slip into Professional Army, and upgrade to have the strongest army on the board. I found myself lacking gold at a number of critical moments in this game, and moreover, more gold might have made a big difference in my ability to prop up Germany and Norway. Gold is transferable power, and my lack of it made it hard to affect things outside my sphere of influence. Hurting for gold was one of the primary drivers of my expansion into otherwise unremarkable cities like Jerusalem and Hong Kong. They had harbors. The adjacency bonuses plus the trade route they granted allowed me to use them to up my gold/turn.
The lack of a trade partner at the end of the game prompted a number of interesting and controversial responses, and with all my international trade partners gone by about t170, I was resorting to using submarine pillaging as the primary source of my gold income Had I to do over again, I would have prioritized more gold producing districts early, and maybe left La Venta alive as a safe local trade partner. Not having gold is simply a huge deal in Civ 6, because it directly correlates to military strength in a way it didn't in Civ5.
#1 - Finishing Researching Electricty
I think this was actually my single biggest mistake of the game. It's not that having 8 submarines didn't confer some pretty big advantages to me. But, if I had known submarines were a modern unit and didn't benefit from Press Gangs, I probably would have played this very differently. I would have had to cut Singaboy loose, and I wouldn't have been able to have the successful pillaging campaign east of England that I did. However, had I just sat on the tech for awhile, built up a backlog of 20-30 privateers, and upgraded them as I got the gold.... Man, the terror with which I faced the prospect of MGs would have been immaterial. Instead of the near run horse race that only resolved in my favor after the Battle of Bahia Bay, I could have steamrolled to victory on the backs of a horde of subs. Things ended up working out okay for me, but I think this was just a bad move and if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I strongly advocate building up a backlog of units to upgrade before researching the tech for the next unit. It's just much more efficient than trying to build something like a submarine from scratch without a policy card.
You'll notice I notably don't have back-stabbing Woden as a mistake here. I think Chevalier and I are just going to disagree on this one. I think that regardless of stealing Jerusalem from him, Woden would have been hostile by t160. Even if he hadn't been overtly hostile, I would have faced the dilemma of take him at his word and don't alpha strike him, or alpha strike him to remove him as a threat and end up with him as an enemy anyway. I'm curious to hear Woden's thoughts on this, but from where I stand, this is one of the few decisions I have no regrets over.
Whew, what a game. I have nothing more to add at this point. Thanks to everyone who took part in this event for all of the hard work and excellent reporting along the way, and thanks to you for reading through to the end of this long report.