Jarenth Plays Civilization: Beyond Earth — Episode 21: Forever Alone

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays Beyond Earth, I scared Vadim Kozlov into submission. And by ‘submission’ I mean ‘paying me a large stipend of Energy and resources to stave off an unnecessary war that neither of us were really looking forward to in the first place’. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have engaged in any actual fighting anyway… but it was good to see that, as much as I’ve been fretting over Vadim, he’s apparently at least as afraid of me as I am of him.

Now, with Vadim’s… I’m tempted to call it ‘surrender’, I’m now officially the toughest guy around. Big man on campus, as I said last episode. It’s a good feeling! I can basically strut around and do whatever the hell I want without anyone interfering. I mean, who would dare? So I’m pretty sure this development means that nothing bad will ever happen to me again, ever, until the end of recorded time.

Alright. I guess we’re all done with war, then. Soldiers, you guys can all pack it in and go home. You guys right next to Vadim’s territory can make landfall for a bit, see if we can actually confirm where his borders are. But the rest of you: go home. Enjoy some R&R.

Stop this incredibly important business of… guarding a field, or whatever it is you’re doing, and go see your family.

Time to focus on other, non-war-related stuff! For instance — and you’ll be thrilled to hear about this development after all the episodes of intrigue, plotting, fighting, and the inexorable destiny of mankind — I just completed building a road!

It was harder than it sounds, okay! I somehow couldn’t figure out that this road tile here was actually already constructed, so I kept building it over and over.

I’ve been building map improvements everywhere, as a matter of fact. I don’t tend to spend a lot of time explaining this, because… well, because of how incredibly boring it is. But for those of you wondering if I’m actually keeping my Workers busy in-between getting snacked on by Siege Worms, I give you this:

A whole bunch of map-placed cool things.

The two building directly to the right and the lower left of Aintza are Academies, a Science-boosting improvement. Aren’t they rad? I particularly like the incredible waste of space that their gardens represent, an area of land on par with the actual city the Academy improves. And those turquoise, Harmony-colored stack towers are Biowells, improvements that boost both Food production and Health. I’ve been constructing these all across the map, in a ‘valiant’ effort to patch up my atrocious bad Health. It’s… not really working, so far, but I’m keeping on it! I don’t actually know if my city governors are even working these Biowell tiles, given that most of them don’t have Food as a particularly high priority. But if I just spam the map with these things, I figure, they’ll eventually run out of other places to put their citizens to work.

Oh, and that giant dish up north? That’s an Array, which improves Science and expands orbital coverage around the city. Yeah, I’m basically using Aintza as a what-does-this-button-do testing ground at this point.

Working and trading, trading and working… and Science! And Virtues! One turn before completing Hypercomputing, the expensive high-tier technology that unlocks Supremacy’s end game, I finally manage to fill out the entire Knowledge Virtue tree. That’s right, I got the whole thing. And while I partially did this because some of the remaining Knowledge Virtues were pretty alright in their own right…

For instance, this one is *pretty rad*.

…the real kicker for developing every Virtue related to science and culture is… you guessed it, another free Technology!

I’ll save you the following five minute Tech Web planning spree. In the end, I opt for the equally high-tier Biometallurgy technology, which boosts Energy yield from Mines — I have two of those, so yay — and nets me a normally-expensive-to-obtain Supremacy point.

And another cool quote by Élodie, who is me.

Except that, as I’ve slowly come to understand…

(Future Jarenth’s Note: And as commenters on earlier episodes have very clearly pointed out as this point…)

…Affinity level doesn’t work on discrete points as much as it works on some sort of vague, half-defined experience system. I’ve already seen evidence of this in the Affinity-related Quests, which directly pay out in Affinity Experience. But for some reason, I was still thinking of Technology-related Affinity gains as… well, ‘Affinity points’, basically. So far, the structure has always been that 1 Affinity Tech Leads To 1 Affinity Level Upgrade, so I feel I could be forgiven for thinking that’s how it worked all the timn.

But the Supremacy experience captured inside Biometallurgy just rocketed me from Supremacy level 7 to Supremacy level 9, so I guess that old misconception can finally be laid to rest.

Yeah, unit upgrades! My foot soldiers have all long since converted to awesome robot-hood, but my tanks and artillery vehicles are still clinging to their Old Earth aesthetic of ages past. Time to correct this. My Armor upgrades into a unit class called ‘Prophet’, which looks a little like a Halo Warthog with the aesthetic qualities of a Halo Wraith. Yes, it’s a very Halo-esque vehicle, as if the name didn’t already send my mind that way.

Its upgrades are either ‘+30% damage against wounded units’, which is nice, or ‘+20% strength when adjacent to friendly units’, which I like better.

And my Artillery upgrades into the Educator, a rad robot tanks that bears only the most passing resemblance to a Halo Spectre. I’m not sure what the Educator will be educating about, but I assume it has something to do with the unstoppable glory of Franco-Iberia.

As far as I can tell, the Educator has the same possible perks as the Prophet. This seems… strange? Am I reading this right?

Man, these new tanks look rad as shit. I can’t wait to try them out sometime! I mean, nominally, I’d prefer it if I didn’t have go to war again just yet… I’m just saying that, if that happens, I look forward to seeing what my new robot tanks can do.

On the spy front, operations are proceeding at a rapidly increasing rate. Now that I understand the principal benefit of low-tier spy activities — getting me more free stuff at the cost of nothing, to no-one — I’m making sure to keep all my spies as active as I can get them. Agent Nanine is still running Le Coeur, because I’m not losing my capital city a second time, but every other operative I have is out in the field somewhere. Stealing Technology, stealing Science, stealing Energy…

I’d feel bad about running covert ops on Kavitha, but then again, she’s made it *pretty clear* that we’re not close friends.

It’s partially because of this science-stealing that I get done with Hypercomputing so quickly. And hey, look at that! Hypercomputing offers a rad Supremacy-only building that boosts Science by a whole lot! It’s basically a match made in heaven. Heaven Laboratories Incorporated, Le Coeur’s prime provider of research and development services.

I can’t actually *build* a Hypercore yet, mind. And they cost a pretty penny in Firaxite. But still!

Crucially, Hypercomputing is also the second step in the Emancipation victory track. Much like Nanotechnology opens up the ‘Exodus Gate’ for high-level Purity players, Hypercomputing will eventually — once I reach Supremacy level 13 — allow me to construct an ‘Emancipation Gate’. Which will… be an important step towards me winning this game. Somehow. We’ll see how that works, once it works.

I need a lot of Supremacy points before I’m at that level, though. So guess what the common element of my next set of technological breakthroughs is going to be? That’s right: upgrading the Culture output of my Academies.

Academies are rad, yo. And remember: Culture helps me get Virtues, which help me get free Technologies!

Wheeling and dealing, wahey. Favours to Rejinaldo, resources to Kavitha… Oh, come on, Samatar, you know I can’t give you my Science.

I need that Science! I’d love to help you, I really would, but… not like this.

And hey, look, my Alliance to Suzanne has expired. Again. I’m honestly getting a little tired of this silly system, with all the functionally-endless deals I have to manually refresh every handful of turns. Why can’t we just automate this? I mean, sure, for trade deals and the like, I can see why you’d build in some recurring evaluation points. ‘Am I sure I still want to do this’, stuff like that. But to do this for Alliances as well? Come on, Suzanne and I have been friends for ages at this point! She helped me during my wars, I’ve helped her during hers, I’ve done her favors, and we still have excellent Trade Routes going. I can’t think of a single reason why she’d suddenly decide to… decide to no longer… be friends with…

I mean… what I’m saying is…

Suzanne, what… what are you saying? You don’t want to be allies anymore? Just like that? Not even a ‘I’ll be your friend if you help me out financially‘ kind of thing? You’re saying that, going forward, our amazing three-way Alliance Of Pals is over?

Suzanne, I just… why?

“You really want to know? Okay, here.”

Wow. I’ve been angry at this game before, sure, but I think this is the first time I actually feel hurt. Suzanne and I have been allies for so long, and I really thought we had a good thing going. I was just telling a real-life friend how much I liked the persistent nature of friendships in Beyond Earth, too! And now… Sure, I called that our Affinities were going to be a stumbling block in the future, but… I thought that that would mean, like, me having to sweeten the Alliance deals a little. Not a direct and immediate end to all cooperation.

Try as I might, Suzanne will not be swayed. We are Allies No More. Saddened, I console myself by sending soldiers across Vadim’s borders, safe in the knowledge that we’re still in Enforced Truce for a few more turns and that there’s nothing he can do to take his Open Borders back.

I guess this entertains me a little.

And then, two turns after breaking off the alliance, Suzanne completes the Nanothermite Wonder I’d been working on before my capital fell. She probably would’ve completed it before me no matter what way the chips fell on that one, then. Was she planning this all along? Wow. Not even stealing a large quantity of Energy right from under Hutama’s nose cheers me up much, now.

At the very least I finally got another Worker operational in Gran Éxito, though.

Maybe finally getting this city off the ground will make me feel better.

And I guess this new Dome map improvement looks pretty rad.

It grants Culture! For… some reason. And City Hit Points.

At least Samatar is still my friend. Poor guy, it must be hard on him to see his happen. I can tell he’s trying to mediate between me and Suzanne. It’s just… not working.

“Maybe the two of you should be friends again?”

You want to know how much it’s not working? First, Suzanne declines to renew our Alliance. Then, she rejects a new Cooperation Agreement too. Which, given that a Cooperation Agreement is the basis for Alliances, means she’s basically shutting the door on any future military partnership once and for all. And that’s pretty harsh as far as indictments go, but not as much as…

…well, I’ll let Suzanne say it for herself.

I’m genuinely upset by this.

That’s right: Suzanne just condemned me. We went from allies, to trade partners, to acquaintances, to apparently enemies, all in the span of a handful of turns. And I’m just… sitting here, I guess. Blinking. Being incredibly confused. Suzanne, what happened? Is this about the spy I sent to your city? That was for a Quest, I swear! It meant nothing to me! Or are you still mad I got Daoming’s cities from those two wars, and you got nothing? Because you could’ve just said something.

Well, I mean, I guess you said something now. I wish it could’ve been a little less drastic. But I suppose there’s no taking back a condemnation, is there? From here on out, our friendship is effectively over.

I… don’t really know how I should deal with this. If Suzanne condemned me, does that mean she’s planning to attack me? Given that the grievance that tipped the scale seems to have been ‘I’m building new cities too aggressively’, I can’t help but worry she’s intending to take some of those cities for herself. They are pretty close to her, after all.

What do I do? Do I pull my armies back for defense? Most of my soldiers are already back home, but I have a couple of them scouting around Vadim’s territory. I’m making full use of the Open Borders to get an update on what kind of cities and troops he’s sporting, and hellooooo.

Yeah, okay. Let’s just pretend this never happened.

I don’t know. I’m honestly not feeling a very dangerous vibe from Suzanne, her anger notwithstanding. I could pull my troops back, and I probably shouldn’t let them hang around Vadim’s areas for too long. But all that stress I’m feeling is probably just an overreaction. I think I would’ve noticed if Suzanne was planning on attacking me. I mean, where’s her army? I know she has a whole bunch of soldiers, it’s how I won that first war against Daoming. But I haven’t seen them anywhere, neither near PAC lands nor near my own. And if Suzanne plans did actually involve declaring war on me, I’m pretty sure I would have seen her soldiers massing around my borders.

You know, like what Hutama appears to be doing right now.

Oh come the fuck *on*.

Next episode: Hutama is bad at giving gifts. Hutama is also bad at judging situations.


  1. Ouch!

    One(The one?) thing I like about the AI System in Warlock 2, as opposed to this, is one of the things that can degrade a relationship is “Envy of the Leader”. If you’re doing the best, they will be envious of you. It’s very honest for a computer game.

    I have a feeling Civ games have something like this too, but it never shows in actual text.

  2. “I thought that in order to survive in this harsh new world. I thought that I needed to become a monster to protect my people. And I succeeded. In doing so, however, have I become what all monsters become?”

    “What, Overseer Elodie?”

    “Alone, Corporal Bayle. Alone.”

        1. It’s a modified version of Batman’s monologue from chapter 3 of the Hush Saga. I felt it was appropriate.

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