The following turns are somewhat uneventful. Mecca is building a worker, which will take a while, and my exploring warrior is healing after the mauling he took from that lion. Let me take this opportunity therefore to show you what the land around my capital looks like, and also to demonstrate the extremely useful resource pointer:
You can see Mecca in the bottom left, along with my healing warrior in the top right. Egypt is just north of my scouting warrior. I've arrowed the button that turns on the resource display (the hotkey is Ctrl-R). As you can see, it's extremely useful at pointing out where the resources are located on the map. I have cows and horses in Mecca's range, and a nice little cluster of resources to my east as well. That's where my first couple settlers will be heading, to make sure that I get those resources and not Hatshepsut. I've marked out a tentative location for my first settler with a red dot (the infamous dot maps of Succession Game fame, which some will recognize). That would claim wheat, fish, and clams - all health resources that add lots of food to the city site. Again, I have plans for that site down the road...
On the next turn, an English scout wanders by and I am put into contact with Victoria:
Victoria is one of the two English leaders in this game, with Elizabeth being the other one. There's not much I can do at the moment diplomatically other than agree to peace, so I do that and send Vicky away. One odd thing to mention though - the English warrior came up and met me from the south, not the north. Ack! Is there a civ down there? I'll have to build another scout at some point and go find out what's down there. I was assuming that the land down there would go uncontested and be mine, hmmm...
By the way, the icons at the top of the diplomatic screen (I circled one in yellow) tell you what civics the AI civs are running. This early in the game, we're all using the default starting ones, so nothing of interest to report there.
Next turn (3360BC), my warrior is healed to full and starts moving again. I could of course have kept him moving while he was hurt, but I didn't want to risk it. The Hunting research comes due the following turn, and since I skipped the tech screen for the first tech (there was a lot going on when I discovered Polytheism), let me show you what it looks like for Hunting:
This screen nicely lets me know exactly what the tech does and what other techs it leads to. A camp is a worker action that hooks up certain resources (elephants provide ivory, beavers provide furs, and deer provide game). I don't have any in my immediate territory, but there are some elephants nearby that I'll grab soon. This tech also lets me build scouts and spearmen (although I need either copper or iron to build the spears). I would normally be prompted to pick another tech to research, but I already queued up Animal Husbandry earlier. I should also mention that all of the little tech quotes are read by Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame.
A half-dozen turns pass where I'm just exploring more of the terrain with my warrior. Hatty is surrounded by jungle; looks like she's near the equator up there. It will be interesting to see how well the AI handles that start. As my warrior wanders further north through the jungle, he kills another lion and then contacts one of Gandhi's units:
The diplo options are the same as with the other leaders, but now look at the religious icon in the top right corner. Gandhi is the one who founded Buddhism! And it's already having a negative effect on our relationship; we have a -2 penalty due to religious differences. As a result, I actually have the worst relations with ultrapacifist Gandhi, heh. Heathen dog! (By the way - it's very ironic that "Buddhist" Gandhi hates me for my Hindu religion!) I can probably improve those relations later on with trade, but if things go sour, there's always the chance to open up some religious whoopass on G-man.
Religion adds a whole new layer of strategy to Civ4. It's great fun.
Shockingly, my warrior has again taken a lot of damage from the lions he ran into and is again at 1.0/2 strength. Geeze, I do have Woodsman II here, right? Getting some very unlikely results... I move him onto a jungle hill tile and set him to heal again. The next turn (3040BC), my worker finishes in Mecca and I set the city back onto a scout to go see what's located down in the south. I want to get Mecca to a larger size before it starts building settlers, and I don't have the techs to start building some real military units yet. Now take a look at what my worker can do:
What I want to do is build a pasture on the horses; this will add 2 shields and 1 commerce to the tile and also hook up horses so that Mecca can build horse units. But I can't do it yet because I don't have the tech; Animal Husbandry won't be due for 4 more turns! Therefore, the only thing I can do at the moment is have my worker build a road on the tile, and if I didn't have The Wheel, I couldn't even do that! I can't build mines or farms yet either, hehe, although I don't need them immediately. So my worker builds a road first on the horses, then moves over and builds one on the cows as well. It's all he can do at the moment!
Also notice that the borders of Mecca have expanded again; this is due to the fact that it's the Hindu holy city, and that's producing 5 culture per turn. Higher levels of culture grants a defensive bonus in Civ4 as well, so that's what the +40% means next to the city's name.
Animal Husbandry comes due in 2880BC, and now I have the choice of what tech to go after next. Since I'm unsure at the moment, let me show you the popup help that appears when you move over the list of techs:
As you can see, it gives a pretty good indication of what each tech does. After thinking for a minute or two, I decide to grab Mining next - not because I need to build any mines immediately, but because I want to go for Bronze Working, and Mining is the pre-requisite for that. Now that I have Animal Husbandry, I can also set my worker to build a pasture, so I do that.
I finish the scout the next turn and have Mecca go back to putting some shields into a barracks (I don't intend to finish the barracks now, but I have nothing better to build and want Mecca to be size 3 before it starts producing settlers). Scouts have 2 movement but are only strength 1, so they are quite weak. They do get a +100% bonus against animals though, so they stand a good chance of winning any battles against those lions. I send him south to try and find where Vicky is located.
My warrior in the north has managed to find Gandhi's start; he's a good distance to the north on the other side of the jungle. Looks like we won't have too much contact early on. My worker completes the pasture on the cows in 2760BC, and wow look at what that has done to the yield of the cow tile:
The cow tile is now producing 3 food and 3 shields. Wow! That's certainly a big improvement over the 2 food/1 shield it was getting before. I arrowed the tile in red to show the change. Hooking up the resources you have outside your cities is thus a huge impetus to growth in the early game. I'll see a similar benefit from building a pasture on those horses. I also circled the culture of Mecca in red (bottom left corner) to show that it's pumping a robust 7 culture/turn here in the early game, thanks to 2 culture from the palace and 5 from being the Hindu holy city. It's already hit the 100 culture border expansion and is well on its way to the 500 culture level.
On the right side of the city screen, note that there's now a cow icon in the top corner (I have a yellow arrow pointing to it). This shows that the cows are now connected to Mecca, and they are providing one extra health point to the city. I circled that in yellow; whereas before the city had 7 health points, now it has 8. That means that the city can grow another size before it becomes unhealthy and starts requiring extra food; I'll talk more about health and happiness later on when they become an issue (I'm not even close to the limits at the moment, as you can see). With the cows hooked up, my worker skedaddles over to the horses and starts building a pasture there as well.
In 2600BC, Mecca hits size 3 and my worker finishes the pasture on the horses (I can now build chariots, yay!) I swap Mecca over to building a settler, which will take 10 turns currently. That seems like forever in Civ3 terms, but it's pretty standard for Civ4. Research comes in on Mining and I head after Agriculture next; going to need some more food for the capital than I initially planned (yes, I did change my mind about heading for Bronze Working).
Meanwhile, my scout has found Vitoria's start position. Wow, did she ever get shafted by the map generator or what?!
That's some rough land down there, a lot of tundra and ice. Not much food. Also note that Vicky is entirely blocked in by my borders; if I don't sign Open Borders with her, she CANNOT get past my civ and expand further to the north. How convenient for me. It will be interesting to see how well she manages down there; Vicky does have Marble which will help her build some wonders, so we'll see how she does. She's welcome to have pretty much all of the land down there.
My worker goes to mine the hills tile near Mecca; he actually can't mine the tiles with trees on them, since I don't have Bronze Working yet and that's need to cut down forests! Other units continue exploring... Then I run into Mansa Musa in the north.
Must be quite a crowded continent here; this is not a pangaea map, and yet 5 civs are all on the same landmass. Not too much I can do with Mansa Musa other than say "hi" and go on about my business. And as if that wasn't enough, I run into Caesar on the following turn!
That's six out of seven civs on the Continents map starting on the same landmass, hmm... Now I really like Civ4, but whoever wrote that line of dialog should be beaten with some kind of blunt instrument. Seriously now... You can also see the Roman scout that met my warrior in the picture above. That lets me demonstrate something else new in Civ4, the ability for units of different civs to share the same tile without fighting. Take a look:
I go to move onto the same tile and am prompted as to whether or not I want to declare war. I pick "no" and voila! My warrior and Caesar's scout share the same tile without killing each other. After playing Civ4, you start to wonder "hey, why wasn't it always like this?" One of the nice effects of this is that you can defend your teammates' cities in MP games along with their own units. Anyway, continuing on with the walkthrough...
Completing the mine on a hill near Mecca allows me to swap to that tile and shave another turn off my settler build (the time dropped from 5 turns to 4). Now my worker is going to road that tile and start building roads towards the location where the second city will be founded. Only one problem: I currently don't have a defender for that second city, and I'd really rather not leave it completely unguarded for barbs to ransack or for the AI to walk into and capture. Therefore, I'm going to use my SCOUT as a defender temporarily until Mecca can build a chariot and provide some real defense.
Don't ever try this in a MP game, unless you're REAL sure that you're not going to be attacked.
Medina is founded in 2200BC. This is what my little civ looks like now that it's expanded to two cities:
The cities have three tiles of overlap, which I would have preferred not to have, but I wanted to make use of the horses and ivory (elephants) that Mecca just missed out on. Medina is building a barracks but only until I finish researching Fishing; then I will have it switch to a Work Boat, the most basic naval unit that hooks up water-based resources (more on this in a little bit). Now one other thing I'd like to point out: see the little hut-things circled in red? Those are indicators of what tiles are being worked by cities; Mecca is using the grassland forest and Medina is using the horses tile. For tiles that workers have already built improvements on, the presence of smoke coming out of the little pasture chimneys tells you which tiles are being used; I have yellow arrows pointing to them. You can thus see what tiles a city is using right from the main game screen, although it's not the easiest thing in the world to spot. But you can always zoom in real close when in doubt too.
Continued on the next page...