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Let’s Play Civ V – England Vs. Ethiopia, BNW + Communitas Mod – Deity

Let’s Play Civ V – England Vs. Ethiopia, BNW + Communitas Mod – Deity published on 2 Comments on Let’s Play Civ V – England Vs. Ethiopia, BNW + Communitas Mod – Deity

Because Civ V can’t handle mods in online multiplayer (because it’s still 1990 and that’s just how things work; our 56k modems would slow turns down a lot, anyway,) Zach and I rolled up a hotseat game with the Communitas mod (version 15.1). The game doesn’t actually support multiplayer hotseat, either–but the Custom Advanced Setup Screen mod fixes that.

Communitas styles itself as an expansion pack instead of a mod; Since 2K Games is reportedly done releasing new content for Civ V, I expect that Communitas is going to be a great place to look for new content, and that the mod will become tenfold more stable than its previous iterations, both in terms of bugs (version 14 broke the Sistine Chapel; version 15 fixed it.) and in terms of altered game concepts not changing radically because of content released through official channels. Communitas has always been our favorite mod, and now it’s likely to be our default mode of play. This is both a test of the mods deity difficulty, and a measurement of size of Zach and I’s respective Civ wangs.

Without further ado, then, Let’s Play.

Speed: Normal
Map: We Have No Idea
Size: Normal
Player One (Bart): Ethiopia
Player Two (Zach): England
Difficulty: Deity

No Food, No Production, Just Elephants
Bart is underwhelmed by his start. He planned to play Ethiopia tall, so he wanted high food yields. Those aren’t here. The continent promises to have desert to the north and jungle to the east, though, giving the potential for a strong religion or a strong science game with universities. Lamenting a lack of production, he okays his starting location.
Tundra, Deer, Whales, and a Mountain
Mountain! Zach plunges into the civilopedia to see if the mod has changed how observatories work before he decides whether or not to move his settler. Observatories are reduced to a 10% science increase, but cities can be one hex further from a mountain to build them. That seems like a fairly balanced change; vanilla observatories are insane. Despite the Tundra and Snow, Zach’s start is arguably superior. He okays his start, and the game officially begins.
Chopping forests in Communitas has a much higher production yield, so he decides to try for both The Great Library and The Great Lighthouse. Diety AI’s grab wonders quickly, though, so it’s a huge gamble.
I miss the rains down in Africa!
Zach and his horde of vile Brits find Mt. Kilmanjaro; it’s new yields, highlighted above, are sexy, and it’s next to both salt and an Oasis. Zach decides he needs to delay being a wonder whore to get out an early settlement.
Stele
Ethiopa’s Stele, a monument replacement, promises faith per pop and therefore a powerful religion. Coupled with having Sweden’s old bonus of 10% great people generation for declarations of friendship, the prospects of being well-liked and being rewarded for it are immense. Those plains tiles are going to a lot sexier when they’re covered in manufactories and academies.A ruin yielded 80 gold, so Bart buys his stele. This is potentially an opportunity cost. The Communitas mod is littered with random events that, in exchange for about 150 gold, can supply resources and military units to their recipients. 

 

India
Bart meets India early. Gandhi typically dips into Piety and founds Hinduism. This might throw a kink in his plans. Since we’re only four turns in, this amazingly sexy bay is probably very close to the Indian capital, making any future settlement risky, if the goal is to be well-liked by the AI. Ethiopia in Communitas maintains its combat bonus against civs with more cities. Additionally, the combat bonuses in religion have been rolled into a single belief, making them good for offense and defense. Bart is now deciding between an attempt at a domination victory instead of an attempt at spaceships.
Scout
Zach’s Warrior has been pinned against a barbarian horde for 400 years. Since hotseat turns takes considerably more time than online turns, the production of his scout is instant relief.
Holy Faith
Bart’s pantheon pops at turn 11. Since faith production doesn’t seem like it’ll be as much of a problem as terrible starting hexes, he uses his pantheon to add two food to his elephants.
MOHR FAITHS
And if faith generation does turn into a problem, there’s a handy religious city state rammed up Bart’s ass.
Writing
Zach hits writing and then starts on Sailing. Worker is 7 turns away, but he can’t chop yet. Work boats only cost 100 gold, though. He’s going to try to enhance his sea tiles while still getting both wonders, and sees having the techs and the ability to start on The Great Lighthouse if the AI gets the Great Library first as a better tradeoff.
That, or he was outside smoking and Bart hijacked his turn. BWAHAH.
MOHR FAITHS :D
Bart’s colon develops more more faith generation.
First Random Event
The first random event goes to Zach. He bought a monument the turn before, though, and cannot afford to either upgrade his scout to an archer or duplicate it. Five free experience and full health isn’t anything to sneeze at, though, and the monument is arguably more valuable.
Political Summary
Turn 25 – Political Summary
Zach (England), despite having explored more than Bart (Ethiopia), has only met one civ – Portugal. If she expands heavily, he’s like to conquer her early for the leg room. Portugal is to England’s south, where the tundra isn’t.Bart is sandwiched between China, Assyria, Celtia, and India. He may shit out a religion of combat bonuses in self defense. 

HAHAHA
The Ethiopian people have doves the way the rest of the world has rats. People open cupboards and shoo the critters away from their reserves of dried elephant meat. They annoyed constantly, but also inspired.
Islam
Bart founds Islam on turn 39. The AI’s have founded three pantheons so far.
He’s been careful about not giving out embassies, so no one covets his lands yet, and he’s got three declarations of friendship; only Assyria does not melt at the sight of an Ethiopian smile. With this in mind, Bart doubles down on a peaceful game. He can still transition to full war mode if he has to when he enhances, but for now, Islam is a religion of peace in a non-sarcastic way.
2014-03-14_00020
With almost no production, this worker is the first thing Ethopia has built. No random events yet, so the 200 gold is quickly becoming an opportunity cost for an archer or a work boat.
More Glory for Ethiopia
Bart finds Lake Victoria. As Zach’s turns involve fighting barbarians and rushing through a settler (still intent on his early wonders, amazingly!) he has become incredibly frustrated. These turns take longer than they should, and all the fun stuff has been happening for Ethiopia. We take a long smoke break.
2014-03-14_00024
Zach takes happiness per 10 population and a wonder production buff out of Tradition. These aren’t linked to the free cultural buildings anymore, allowing him to better cherry pick his buffs.As frustrating as his turns are, his capital is population 6, thanks to sea resources and lucky population ruins, and he’s almost got his settler out. He’s behind in social policies by one (Ethopia has taken Monarchy, Growth, and Free Cultural Buildings, and is slightly ahead because of the Stele) but ahead in science. The AI’s have finished The Great Wall, so there’s still some sort of hope for his wonderlust. 

2014-03-14_00023
Second random event also goes to Zach. The AI have had a few, too. He’s still broke, though, so instead of getting either 100 culture or a unit upgrade, he gets 30 culture for free. This closes the gap for him a bit in early policies, saving him four turns.
2014-03-14_00026
Holy Shit, he did it. Zach gets The Great Library on deity. This would never have happened in vanilla. Part of the charm of the Communitas mod is that the AI’s bonuses snowball at the later parts of the game, rather than in the early game.
Portugal must also have been building this; they covet wonders he built, and they covet it with bright red letters.
2014-03-14_00027
Apparently, Lake Victoria is made out of Jello.
2014-03-14_00028
Bart gets down his second city. His warrior has been standing guard for a thousand years, and getting pelted by a barbarian archer. While Lake Victoria is tempting, Bart is bypassing attempts at early wonders to get out two trade ships–one to ship food to his capital, and one to farm gold and beakers off of India. Also, China’s capital is 5 or 6 hexes north of Lake Victoria, across the water, making it a riskier forward settlement. Surprisingly, Gandhi does not yell at Bart for settling here.
2014-03-14_00029
Two Turns later, Zach reaches Kilmanjaro with a settler.
2014-03-14_00033
Ethiopia gets its first random event; for 150 gold, Bart turns dissidents in Harar into a slave labor force, getting a cheap worker unit. Blessings upon their fiery spirits; surely they will be rewarded in the after life.
2014-03-14_00034
Zach gets his third random event, but still can’t afford it. Instead of 5 science or five culture on a mountain tile, he gets two gold. Fortunately, the event didn’t spawn on Kilmanjaro, meaning that if he saves money from this point on, there’s a decent chance of the game giving his natural wonder a big boost.
2014-03-14_00035
Celtia asks for 100 gold. Ethiopia wants friends. It’s not the worst trade. Besides, there’s 50 gold in that camp up there, and after thousands of years, the mighty Ethiopians have produced an archer. It fires doves, blessings upon it.

We decide to call it a night here, so we can get onto our Fiverr gigs for the night. We also started downloading Diablo III, to give it a second chance. More on that later.

Big Versions of the Disney Panels

Big Versions of the Disney Panels published on No Comments on Big Versions of the Disney Panels

The Disney Princesses in Civ comic did really well; to thank all the folks coming and visiting us, I figured I’d share the high-res versions of the princess panels.

Kida of Atlantis

Mulan of China

Jasmine of Arabia

Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality published on No Comments on Net Neutrality

Zach and I probably represent the average person’s understanding of net neutrality. We’re not experts; don’t take this blog as more than our opinions as they existed when we cobbled it together.

The FCC ruling against Net Neutrality was a direct attack against freedom of speech, and we live in a post-news USA. By this, I mean that we have only shallow infotainment and punditry left to rely on for political information, and even this shriveled ghost has major stipulations about what it can and cannot wail about, handed down from publisher to editor to writer.

Another preface: I do not believe that the decay of journalism in the US is a conspiracy, but rather that cultural and political forces damaged it randomly. I do believe that the article we’re picking on in the comic is a blatant example of yellow journalism, though. The headline implies something wholly different from the contents of the article. The social context around any article about big cable interacting with Netflix is going to be Net Neutrality, and I don’t believe from a minute that the editors of USA Today are oblivious to this. I took classes on journalism and worked in student publications. We’re taught to deliver the crux of the story in the headline and the lead, just in case the reader doesn’t feel like chugging through to the end. This is called the inverted pyramid.

If the college paper I worked at was smart enough to write headlines with a consideration of social context, it seems bizarre that the writers and editors who trickled up into places like USA Today deliberately avoid this practice. There’s an implication here, but I don’t like to think about it.

But I have the flu, and am a vomit-font, so perhaps some of that is writing this post.

published on No Comments on

February 18, 2014 will not, for some reason beyond my ken, live in infamy.

For me, it was a safe and warm night with friends, and I cannot scrape that from my skin. The Amber Alert came, and loudly, like a tornado siren through the living room, and I texted the details to all of my friends. Zach was arting. I was writing. We figured it was a custody battle gone wrong, or an accident. Then the alert repeated–two or three times more as the evening pressed. 2008 gold Ford Ranger. 1YF454. For a single, absurd moment, I consider going out and looking around. Instead, I boot up Civ.

At work the next day, as the shift comes to an end, my supervisor tells us what happened. I’d never gone to the news, and had basically forgotten the alert. A little girl, Hailey Owens, was abducted in broad daylight, with witnesses to see, and then ultimately slain. It sank in very slowly. While I was playing a video game, a child was being tortured. The full extent of my effort against this thing was a handful of text messages.

I hid in the restroom to cry.

The rage I have for this is not a thing that can become words. The tongue and the pen together cannot tread the levels of hellish betrayal that this so-called man biled upon she who should have been his ward.

The effective community involved in this abduction was so large; and that is what truely fuels my despair. The Amber Alert–GOLD FORD RANGER 1YF454–spread to people from hundreds of miles around. Police knew exactly who and what to look for. Neighbors set chase, even, by some accounts.

Nothing.

The combined power of human technology and love and bravery failed, and lost to something small, and which deserves no language but will receive it anyway.

Mark the day. February 18, 2014. That is when darkness won.

Hailey Owens
Requiescat in Pace

no words

It’s happening…!

It’s happening…! published on No Comments on It’s happening…!

Fiverr is an amazing and weird little boon. Zach opened a sort of doodle factory over there and immediately found himself rolling in work, otherworldly requests, thanks mostly to the internet at large. We’re raising our prices on certain aspects of illustration as soon as Fiverr levels us up, so take advantage of the cheap rates now. This is what you might imagine I’m saying, except I’d love for Zach to have time to produce a comic.

If you’re keen, his work is appearing here, where he designed one Beach Mick, and here, where he made an avatar of a man throwing a bomb.  There have been others. Many others. We aren’t sure where they go, honestly. We just know that, occasionally, someone does not think we have rendered their girlfriend sexily enough. Such a thing drains my liberal sensibilities though, and suddenly, thinking about it, I feel faint. Lawdy.

We want to make a long-form comic book.

We want to make a long-form comic book. published on 2 Comments on We want to make a long-form comic book.

Or at the very least, we have other I.P. we want to develop. Take a look at these pictures and drop a comment saying which of these you’d be interested in reading.

The first one is fairly self-explanatory.

VampModelSh

It’s inspired loosely from Paranorman and Invader Zim, as well as conversations Zach and I have about making vampires into properly frightening monsters again.

The other is a buddy-cop story about a sociopath and a psychologist who have to deal with fairies in a psych ward. It’s basically supernatural Sherlock Holmes.

PreviewLet us know below which one of these you’d be interested in seeing; comment below, tweet us, or catch us on Facebook.