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Freeciv LongTurn (LT57 report)

I recently got sucked into a "Long Turn" game, which is basically FreeCiv's answer to PitBoss games, but with their own homebrew ruleset.

Initially I went on the FreeCiv forums hoping to find a utility that could convert some of Civ2's old scenarios to be playable in FreeCiv.  I had had an urge to play them but was bothered by my knowledge of how fundamentally broken Civ2's AI is, so I thought I'd see if their AI could provide some improvement.  I failed in this quest, but in discussion on the forums, I got invited to join one of their "LongTurn" games that was just starting up.

LongTurn is a "Turn-a-day" multiplayer game using the highly flexible FreeCiv client.  Whatever FreeCiv lacks in approachability or aesthetics, it more than makes up for in it's modularity and flexibility.  Entire rulesets can be swapped out and replaced with the flick of a wrist.  And that's what LongTurn uses.  Over the years they've refined a ruleset that is a bastard offspring of Civilization 2 and 3, and adjusted to for multiplayer.  It was quite interesting to try to learn the game all over again.

Everybody started with 5 Settlers, 5 Workers, and 2 Explorers, and all movement points were Tripled.  Explorers ran around the map at 9 squares per turn seeing with a 3 square radius.  Settlers founded cities that encompassed 45 tiles (7x7 with corners missing, as produced by a sqrt(13) radius), workers worked at 3x normal speed (as befitted the accelerated pace), and cities were founded with a "Free Granary" effect that lasted until size 5.  This was a ruleset designed to skip the bullshit and get straight to the action.

For this game they were attempting a Two-Team game, and if you know anything about the snowballing nature of Civ, it is not surprising that this ended up being its undoing.  But I was oblivious to any imbalances at first, since there wasn't a lot of communication between Blue and Red teams.  Besides, what did I care?  We had a whole world to explore!  182x182 squares on an X/Y wrapping world.  Two stripes of 18 players each across a weird snaky continent.

Also, I ended up making my own set of terrain graphics, because the existing ones either showed too little of the map (tiles too big), distorted the view (isometric perspective on a rectangular map? Maybe that works out fine with X/Y wrapping, but I didn't want to wrap my head around it), or were just too ugly.  So I took an ugly tileset, and made it 43% less ugly!
Here's are Before/After pictures:
[Image: H4UFQn9.png][Image: 9jElNCQ.png]
Here you can see the lands of the Hanseatic League (get it?) with the LT ruleset's large city-radii and my workers wandering about the countryside making improvements.  You can also witness my smoother, more distinct terrain, and the pip-based tile yield graphics.  Your retinas will appreciate the reduced visual clutter. shades

Bronswiek is displaying enhanced tile-yields, because it was where I built the Pyramids(+1 production/tile) and Colossus(+1 trade/tile), both of which are Small Wonders that are available for each nation.  Pyramids also lift the penalty to tile yields of 3+ for the governments of both Despotism and Tribalism, basically launching you into an early Monarchy (but without the reduced corruption)  Did I mention this is a custom ruleset?  crazyeye

So, for the last month and a half, I've been playing away at this game, one turn a day (technically a 23 hour clock so as not to show time-zone favoritism), and enjoying chatting with my team on our own Discord server.  Arguing over research policies, discussing city placement patterns, coordinating military efforts on our 3 fronts (Russian Front, Foothold, and Panama), and delegating control of nations when players have to go on vacation.  As happens in any large long-term commitment, a number of players dropped out, and we ended up with about 20 players controlling 36 nations.  I'm currently controlling the Hansa, the Kashmiri (neighbors to the NE), and the Ottomans (who control a strategically vital isthmus).

It was only last week though that I realized "Hey, this is the sort of thing that the PitBoss players on the RB forums are interested in.  Wait a minute, I joined a PitBoss game without realizing it!", so I thought I'd come share some of my adventures with another strange and different Civ-Playing community.  If anybody has accused RealmsBeyond of being stuck in the past, they've got nothing on the FreeCiv people!

FreeCiv: Still trying to answer the question "What if Civilization 2 had a sequel?"
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That's really cool, I didn't dig the slow start of the only freeciv game I tried, I'll have another look!
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We demand turn reports and State of the Empire updates!
BTS games: PB1, PB3, PBEM2, PBEM4, PBEM5B, PBEM50. RB mod games: PBEM16, PBEM20, PB5, PB15, PB26, PB27, PB37, PB42, PB46, PB71. FFH games: PBEMVII, PBEMXII. Games ded lurked: PBEM17, PB16, PB18
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(August 9th, 2019, 16:10)Krill Wrote: We demand turn reports and State of the Empire updates!

Ask and ye shall receive.  
Um...wait, what year is it?  noidea
Anyways...

I have decided to treat you guys to a blow-by-blow live report of a Freeciv Longturn game starting from Turn 0!!!

Witness the Strategy, Adventures, and Drama of... LT57 (The 57th game in the LongTurn game series)

Important Disclaimer: This is a 7 vs 7 team game.  IF YOU ARE ON THE OPPOSITE TEAM, DO NOT READ THESE POSTS.  
To assist with maintaining your honor, I will put pictures and critical info in spoiler tags. 
Here are some spoilers so that you can practice not looking at them:
You just looked, didn't you?  Fortunately this was just a test.
This was also a test, and you failed.
I'm not sure we're getting off to a good start here.  Just don't read any more ok?
Rosebud was his sled.
Snape kills Dumbledore.
Bruce Willis was dead the whole time.
Darth Vader is Luke's father.
The Wizard of Oz is an illusion.
Verbal Kint is Keyzer Söze.
It was Earth all along.
The Pixar villain was the protagonist's father figure.
Everybody is a Cylon.
It was all just an autistic child's dream.
You were actually adopted.
Thanos wins.
shhh
(update March 5 2021: the game is now over, and everybody is welcome to read the story (if they dare).)

Report Begins

Background:
LT57 is the 3rd game in a series of team-matches between Cgalik and Kevin551 (and their respective team-members).  I participated in LT51 earlier this Spring on Cgalik's team in Match#2.  He recruited me as a replacement player for a team-mate that had dropped out, and I took control of a nation in a rather poor situation, and brought it to greatness.  These games have been played on an Islands map, where each player starts on their own island about ~200 tiles in size.  Scattered around the ocean are numerous smaller islands that get colonized and fought over.

In this 3rd game, I am once again on Cgalik's team.  With his permission, I am bringing you the narrative of my role in the heroic quest for Vectron's Imperial Navy to rule the seas!

The World:
The world is about 200x200 tiles wide, isometrically oriented, and wrapped on the X as well as Y axis.  This removes edges and corners, but creates a somewhat complicated Toroidal topology.
I've decided to denote the regions thusly:
[Image: Hp0FJgj.png]

Our team starts out on islands like this:
[Image: QcutTCf.png]
This view is centered around square (0, 0), which happens to be on my island.  This means that I'm smack in the middle of the Exo-Tropics, and if the map were laid out according to its true grid, our team would be split between four corners.  That will make future cartography annoying.
The viewing area is also angled, because I am using a tileset adapted to the "Overhead Square" orientation, not Isometric, which this world is built from.

The Game
In order to get to the action sooner, Long-Turn games start you off with 5 settlers, giving you a LOT to think about on your first turn.  5 different "Settle in place?" dilemmas that overlap and interfere with each other.  Fortunately, the movement-speed of most units has been increased (doubled or tripled), so with 3MP, your settlers can get to where they need to go fairly quickly.

My starting situation:
[Image: kOhzXgM.png]
My Island, viewed through the lens of my glorious RoundSquare tileset. https://github.com/HansLemurson/RoundSquare
You can see my units clustered near the river valley.  I'll have to expand from there to settle the entire island.

My main concern is with settling high-food tiles ASAP.  These nice early-growth tiles are: Fruit, Wheat, Oasis, and Lake+Fish.  Why?

What I like to say about FreeCiv is that it is dedicaded to the idea of finding out "What if Civilization 2 had a sequel...?".  Thus, the fundamental basis of almost every ruleset in use is Civ2.  Highly mutated Civ2, but Civ2 nonetheless.  Thus, your initial government has the "Despotism Penalty", which costs you one output from every yield that exceeds 3.  So, 1,2,3,4 becomes 1,2,2,3.  Thus, the only way you can get more than 2 food per tile at the beginning of the game, is to find a tile whose yield would be 4.

My island has 3 wheat and 2 Oases.  You can see that my team-mate to the north (Breton) has 2 wheat right near each other, and my western neighbor (Irish) has a Fruit in view.

So this is the initial setup for the game.  The first turn lasts 70 hours to make sure nobody gets caught off-guard by the beginning of the game, and to allow for the important decision-making of Turn 0.  Subsequent turns will last 23 hours, which gives you about 1 turn/day, but lets the Turn-Change time cycle through the time-zones so as not to favor anybody in particular.

Decisions I need to make: 
-Where to send my 2 Explorers?  I want to uncover as much of the island as possible so I can decide how to pack my cities.
-Where to settle?  I think I can get 2, maybe 3 cities founded this turn, but I need to make sure that they will work harmoniously with the greater plan.
-Where to send my 5 workers?  This one is fairly easy: I need to get my Wheat and Oasis tiles irrigated as quickly as possible.  (The starting workers are "Tribal Workers" and only work at a rate of 2/turn, but this is balanced by their lack of upkeep.  Later workers that I can build will work at 3/turn.)

One final note: The LT ruleset uses enlarged city radiuses, and a larger minimum settling distance.  Cities must have a full 3 squares between them, and cities can work an area that looks like this:
[Image: oGr7VY8.png]
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Turn 0 continues.

Further scouting reveals some Whales by the northern peninsula, and in the south, the glimpse of nearby island waters.
[Image: G0WDgCV.png]

With the island now as scouted as it's going to get, the time comes to plan out the dot-map for my cities.
I plan to settle my island as densely as possible.  The enhanced city radiuses don't really come into play until mid-game, so I want to make sure I make use of as much land as possible as early as possible.  This will put me over the happiness limit for Despotism, but I think I'll be alright.  Once my cities grow large later in the game, then I can pick "winners" and "losers".  Some cities will get to grow to their full size, and others will forsake growth for immediate production.

...

After much deliberation, I settled on the following plan for settling my island:
[Image: 3sRig3y.png]

I've tried to settle as many cities as possible on turn 0, since I know how growth compounds in this sort of game. 3 of the cities have nice resources under them which will help them hit the ground running. My 5th city will be settled to the north of the river to get the Wheat and Oasis and bonus grasslands.

I think I'm off to a good start this 0th turn. Let's see what tomorrow brings.
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Following with interest!
I Think I'm Gwangju Like It Here

A blog about my adventures in Korea, and whatever else I feel like writing about.
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Turn 1 has begun, and most of our team has planted their settlers.

Here's an image I drew for them to help them understand our place in the world:
[Image: nYN6PBV.png]
I don't actually think the world revolves around me (bright green in the middle), I just happen to have coordinate (0, 0) on my island.
This means that the "True" map view has our team annoyingly split across the four corners of the earth. Oh well, whatcha gonna do?
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I've spent the day pondering how to place my 5th city.
[Image: cRjLOXG.png]
The red boxes are the coastal perimeter cities, and I have two main choices for how I want the interior filled.

Option A will place one better-than-average city which will make an excellent place for the Pyramids, and will also relieve crowding on the Northwest coastal cities.

Option B sticks with my "maximum cities" plan, and will allow for faster early-game growth, but the city where I stick my Pyramids won't be quite as wonderful.

...

After mulling over the possibilities for a long time, I've decided to go with option A.  I've already made some minor sacrifices in optimal city placement in the south (settling Lübeck on a wheat, rather than 1 square further south to gather more future ocean tiles, as well as founding the city of Meideborg, which has a very crowded future ahead of it.

However, our scouting shows that there are minimal shallow-water connections to outside our island cluster, which means that there will be very little trireme-based contact between the teams.  This means that there won't be any warfare until the discovery of Magnetism and we get Caravels.  There can be contact before then, but we'll get to that later.

With that out of the way, let's talk about workers!
The way Freeciv is set up, the amount of work that a worker does is proportional to the number of MP it has.  Given that the LongTurn ruleset has enhanced movement speeds, this greatly increases the speed at which land can be developed.  Given that we want a fast game, and there are a lot more tiles per city, this all works out pretty well.

Late game it results in a glut of worker-power, but with the availability of advanced terraforming options and the looming threat of Global Warming, there's always something you can do.

In the latest revision of the LongTurn ruleset, the 6 starting workers are now Tribal Workers
This results in a couple of minor changes:
-They are no longer capturable, so early game raids are no longer as devastating.
-They have 2MP instead of 3, so they work slightly slower, probably to offset this advantage and the fact that you pay no upkeep for them.

I added some unit-specific graphics for them to my tileset to make it easier to tell them apart from the more professional workers that we will be building soon.

One additional quirk is that workers can gain veterancy levels just by working!  This increases their work speed by an amount equal to their combat bonus.  This changes what jobs they can optimally perform and makes worker optimization a constantly evolving puzzle.

Let's take a look at my workers in action:
[Image: Jwn1T1K.png]
In group A, you see two workers paired up irrigating the Wheat.  This will bring its food output to 4, which will become 3 after the despotism penalty.  This will greatly enhance the growth speed of Mount Vectron, which I intend this tile to be worked by.  Note the fragment of road on the grassland to the left of the A.  This was made for two reasons:  one is that Irrigation takes 5 Worker-Points to complete, and so assigning 2 workers for 2 turns would mean spending 8 on this instead of a more optimal 6.  Second is that I wasn't actually considering that at the time, since my second worker couldn't even REACH the wheat on t0 and still do work, so I had him build a road (which I'll need eventually) just to be productive in the meantime.

In group B, you will see a lone worker.  He built a road on the plains the turn before, and will now irrigate it.  at 2 WP/turn, the irrigation will be completed at the beginning of t4.

In group C, you can see that there's a little chevron next to the worker.  He's a veteran!  He got lucky last turn doing some pointless make-work activity as he marched over to the Plains of Lübeck where he will be needed soon.  He gives 3 WP/turn and so will finish the irrigation at the beginning of t3.

In group D, you see a tangle of roads and two workers.  One is irrigating, one is building a road.  The reason they are not BOTH irrigating is the same as was mentioned for group A.  In order to not waste WP, the second worker is building a road.  On the next turn he will join his partner in irrigating the plains, completing it on t3.  These workers have the very important job of chaining irrigation all the way to the Wheat and then the Oasis so that Danzig can be filled with great surpluses of food, glorious food.  I'll probably want to allocate another worker to this job to get it done ASAP, but I may also get lucky and have one of them become a veteran.  2WP + 3WP = 5WP! Enough to irrigate in a single turn.
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(November 29th, 2020, 13:10)Chevalier Mal Fet Wrote: Following with interest!
I hope you enjoy!

Turn 2

Fairly uneventful.  Workers continue to work.
[Image: tWYCkaH.png]
Workers in the north prepare connecting roads as they make their way to the irrigation project.
You can see that the Wheat is now irrigated and is able to give 3 food, which my graphic indicates as giving +1 surplus.

Also happening: Demographics!  Every turn I check to see what my rankings are, and get nice numerical summaries.
The initial report was not that interesting:
[Image: ZjYP1Kg.png]

The summaries show the status of your empire at the beginning of the turn.  I used to be #1 in everything, but it's going to be all down hill for a while.
[Image: g9zzxN3.png]
I am actually #1 in production!  Probably a combination of settling on 2 Buffalo, and then working 3 Pheasants.
The changes in the second report are due to the founding of my 5th city.  The Oasis gives a lot of Trade!
Whenever another Empire is listed for the #1 spot, that's because I have an Embassy with them, which for most of the game will be just my team.

Next turn will feature a wee bit more action, but the beginning of the game is fairly chill. Late game you're managing dozens of cities and armies across the globe, and gets rather hectic, but for now all is calm steady growth.
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(December 1st, 2020, 06:10)HansLemurson Wrote: You can see that the Wheat is now irrigated and is able to give 3 food, which my graphic indicates as giving +1 surplus.

Is that the tile 1SE of Danzig?
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