[Civ] Super micro management saves Baba a critical turn

Civ V NQMod streamer BabaYetu_ saves a turn on the construction of the hotly-contested Hanging Gardens wonder with a beautiful display of expertise. Baba’s micro speaks to intertwined cross-game ideas: pursuing marginal value to pass a threshold of effect and win a contested gamestate. Let’s check out the clip:

It is imperative that Baba push to finish the Hanging Gardens wonder in as few turns as possible. Multiple players are likely to be going for it, but only the first player to complete it will win the race. The others will end up paying the opportunity cost of spending time on the wonder without even earning the reward of completing it in their empires, meaning they will have painfully wasted their city production time for naught.

Accruing little advantages to production can be important, but only helps if it passes the threshold of effect. In this case, that means actually moving up the construction schedule by a full turn. At the start of this clip, Baba realizes that he is tantalizingly close to finishing the wonder in two turns. At that point with his starting trajectory he would have 163.65 of the required 167 production required. Painfully close! Baba strains to find ways to generate the necessary 3.35 prod over the next two turns.

Baba notes at the start “we have two food stored.” One can also see that at the start, the city is growing at a rate of +1.1 food/turn after consumption. Each citizen consumes 1 food/turn to avoid dying to starvation. The city’s stockpiled food allows baba to transfer a citizen from the +2 food +1 hammer buffalo tile the +0 food +2 hammer hill. With these temporary assignments, the city will go to -1 food/turn, which it can sustain for two turns before exhausting the 2 food stockpile.

Baba has cultural policies from the Tradition tree, one of which gives his empire a bonus +15% production to world wonders. This bonus ends up being very important. Moving a citizen from buffalo to hill netted him +1.15 hammers/turn for two turns, a total +2.30. Without the policy, it would only have been an even +2. But he still needs a little more, 3.35-2.30=1.05. Where will it come from? On the second of these two turns, Baba finishes improving a pasture on horses, which gives the tile +1 production, or +1.15 towards wonders. 2.30+1.15=3.45, which is greater than the missing 3.35 by just 0.1 production. There it is! With only one tenth of a production to spare, Baba makes the wonder in the space of two turns instead of three.

[Civ V] Luck favors the prepared

Civilization V streamer BabaYetu uses a time-honored technique to try and milk the most out of an ancient ruin that his warrior (his southeastern unit) finds. Each ancient ruin contains a one time random bonus, which can be an instant extra citizen in the nearest city. Mechanically, this bonus gives the city exactly as much food as it needs to grow to the next size. Thus the free pop is less valuable if your city has stored food for growing the next pop, and more valuable if you’ve just grown and are at 0% towards yet another pop.

On turn 5 at the start of the clip Amsterdam is only one turn away from growing naturally, so getting a pop ruin would not save very much food. By waiting one turn for the city to reach size 2 on its own, Baba gives himself chances for a pop ruin to boost him all the way from from 2 to 3, saving 8 turns.

In this case, the ruin contained “evidence of recent barbarian activity” (the worst of the possible bonuses). Still, Baba played accurately by setting himself to get the most value in case it were a pop ruin. The idea behind the play is related to the concept of “playing to your outs” used in Magic: The Gathering strategy. Luck favors the prepared.