Scoring Quick Start Challenges

Quick Start Challenge
How to play
Games Index
Revision history

Civ3 Opening Plays
- Improving Terrain
- Forestry operations
- GOTM8 June 2002
- Mixed Terrain - Germany
- Flood Plain - Russia
- GOTM10 August 2002
- Grassland - Iroquois

Civ3 Example Games
- GOTM9 Japan Campaign
(ancient age warfare example)
- Index

Items below this point
are maintained seperately
from this strategy article
and may not always available.

Known Bugs and Glitches

- The Corona Bug
- The Scared2Death Bug

The scoring system outlined below may be updated slightly during the first several quick start challenge events. To help provide a consistent basis of comparison between quick start challenge rounds, we will apply any scoring changes retroactively to existing results. We do not anticipate this having a major impact on the game play and we do not plan to change the scoring formula once we get a reasonable basis for validating the impact of the scoring system.

General Scoring Philosophy

We are striving for a general scoring system that quantifies the Gross Accumulated Power and Productivity that a player can extract from a given start position during the opening move sequences. This is sort of like a measure of gross national product (GNP) Civ3 style.

We want to avoid scoring anomalies that promote people to do stupid and extreme things just to extort points out of the scoring system.

Under ideal conditions, the quick start challenge game with the highest score should represent the game position that is most likely to win the game in the fewest number of turns from that point forward. If this same game were played for maximum points according to the Civ3 scoring system, then the highest scoring QSC game should be able to maximize the Civ3 score by putting the human player in control of the game at an earlier time.


Remember that your QSC score will be based on the status of your game as you have saved the game at the end of the turn for 1000 BC.

Email us with any suggestions or questions that you might have on the QSC scoring system.

Game Element

How points are determined



point value in food units

Each pop point would be 20 points


points for territory and citizens add to this,
these points are just the base points for
owning a city of zero territory and zero pop

20 points


each square listed in Mapstat gives points

3 points per square of territory

most Units

point value in shields

Swordsmen = 30 points,
Warriors = 10 points, etc.

Unique Units (UUs)

5 points added to base shield cost

Jag Warriors = 15 points
War Chariots = 25 points
Immortals = 35 points, etc.


point value in shields + citizens

30 + 2 * 20 = 70 points


point value in shields + citizens

10 + 20 = 30 points


point value in shields for your civ
(you have to gain extra value from your
civs cost advantages by using those
advantages, not just by building more of
the things you get at a cheaper cost.)

Temples = 60 points for most civs
Temples = 30 points for religious civs


point value in shields



no point value – every civ has one


forbidden palace

point value based on distance from Palace

15 points for each full tile of distance that the FP is located away from the Palace.
20 tiles away from palace = 300 points


point value based on cost to research
plus the cost to research all of its
prerequisites in that age.

Bronze Working = 30 points
Masonry = 40 points
Alphabet = 50 points
Pottery = 20 points
Iron Working = 60 + 30 points
Writing = 80 + 50 points

contact with other civs

escalating point value

10 for the 1st , 20, 30 for the 3rd, etc.


flat point value

30 points per embassy

gold in your treasury
food in your food bin
shields in production

1 gold = 1 point
1 food = 1 point
1 shield = 1 point


research in progress

percentage of what the tech would be worth
  (incomplete percentages may only be
    accurate to the nearest 10%)

30 gold spent on researching Iron Working that was not yet completed would be 30 out of 60 for 50%. If completed, Iron working would be worth 90 points, so 50% of Iron Working would be 45 points.

Founding a town example: You start with a settler that was worth 70 points. Founding a town produces the town on the map (20 points) at a starting population of one citizen (20 points) and a territory of nine terrain squares (9 * 3 = 27 points). Founding a town that overlaps your other territory produce less instant points but may produce more point gain in terms of shields, food, and gold.

The one exception to the date submission rule

There will be examples where you will want to upgrade some military units to perform a specific task and it is possible that this task falls right around 1000 BC. In these cases, the upgrades will often consume cash from your treasury and cause your total score to drop temporarily. This drop in score will usually be offset by some sort of strategic or military gain that may take 4 to 8 turns to recover into your score.

We do not want to have a scoring system that forces people to do stupid things just to preserve scoring at the expense of strategic or tactical advantage.

For this reason, you may submit an alternative save game file for scoring that is up to five turns earlier than the 1000 BC required submission date. This earlier date could be as early as the end of the turn of the year 1125 BC. You must still submit the 1000 BC save file with a timeline that covers you play up until the 1000 BC year. The only difference in scoring will be to use your early submitted save file to give you a point credit to account for any upgraded units that you may have processed in the last turns before submission and then not yet moved those units into a position where they could be used to your benefit. You have to be moving the upgraded units to qualify for the scoring increment.

An example of the reason for this rule will help you to understand why it is included for your benefit:

Example: You are playing a game as Persia and have built up a large number of warriors and a big treasury in anticipation of using these two items to conquer a neighbor. In the year 1075BC, you finally have enough units and cash to support your plan and you hook up iron to support upgrading your warriors to immortals. In one turn you upgrade 10 warriors to immortals. This upgrade takes 100 points worth of units (10 * 10 shields each) plus 400 points worth of gold (10 * 40 gold each) and converts it into 350 points worth of units (10 * 30 shields each + 10 * 5 UU bonus points each). SO effectively you lost 150 points of score. This score offset would be balanced by the fact that you are probably getting ready to conquer a town or two and these would increase your score. This example would have a point scoring credit of 150 extra points if all the immortals had not yet been used

If you upgrade units for no imminent reason, then you will not get this scoring offset. The concept here is to encourage you to upgrade units when they serve a use, but to let you balance this need against the potential lose in flexibility and reduction in cash in your treasury that would be reflected in the scoring system under all other circumstances.

Note: We are deliberately not going to include other exceptions to the scoring system if at all possible. This special case just seems to be an appropriate instance where we want to encourage the right strategic choices without having people do stupid things just because the limitations of the scoring system and the date of submission cutoff might conflict with the actual game strategy.


We plan to include some bonus points or bonus score multipliers for completing key tasks that may not otherwise increase other scoring elements.

25% timeline bonus – Your raw final score will be multiplied by 1.25 for submitting a valid timeline with your scoring save game.

Difficulty level bonus – We feel that some sort of scoring bonus for difficulty level will probably be appropriate but we need some data to develop the right bonus structure. In the future your may have the option of playing the same QSC challenge at your choice of different difficulty levels. Deity players will be able to play the same start position on Deity level and Regent level players and below will be able to play the same start position on Regent level. Many of the opening concepts for real success are similar on these difficulty levels but we need to develop a scoring formula that allows us to normalize, compare, and perhaps combine the different sets of results on the different difficulty levels. Initially we hope that players pf all skill levels will bear with us and attempt to play their best possible game efforts from each QSC position even if that game setup may be at a difficulty level that is above or below your typical choice of difficulty levels.

We will open a discussion thread on this issue as soon as we begin to collect some submitted game results to support and informed discussion. This will not be an opinion poll.

Performance normalization

In every round of game submissions there can be a wide variety of player skills and different approaches and strategies to playing the opening positions. Some play choices such as one city challenges (OCC) can distort scoring distribution without implying that the approach is necessarily good or bad. Just using an average of the submitted scores to normalize results would distort the desired results in cases where the submitted games do not include the same balance of really powerful scores versus other scoring types.

For each QSC round we will choose a number of “pacesetter” games that reflect what can be done with the characteristics of the civilization and the start position that are used in the scenario. The scores for the QSC point scores for these pacesetter games will be averaged to determine the average pacesetter score and this average will be used to normalize all scores for comparison between different QSC games.

“Pacesetter” awards

·         Are games that make do a great deal to build a strong strategic position from the given start position.

·         The judge’s decisions on these awards are final and not subject to appeal in the current game.

·         Timeline content can play a major role in choosing pacesetter games.

·         If you feel someone got missed, or that your game included something that got missed, let us know and we will look closely at your next QSC game submission.

·         Pacesetter games may be chosen, at least in part, based on the past performance of the player.

Special Awards

We will add special awards for outstanding and/or creative achievement. We have not decided if these special awards will include bonus points or if they will just rely on the “fame” associated with getting your name listed in the results page. Some suggested special awards that may be included would be:

·         The “Shoot one’s self in the foot award” – (award graphic TBA – perhaps a pistol shooting foot) – for the player that submits the QSC game with the most number of cities lost to your enemies while still being alive.

·         The “Vincent Van Gogh award” – (award graphic TBA – probably a bloody ear or bandaged head) – for the player that submits the most beautiful (in their opinion) city layout pattern that seems to have cut off their ear (strategic value) for the sake of their art work.

·         The “OCC chocolate bonbon” – (award graphic TBA – OCC players to suggest) – for the player that submits the highest scoring QSC game played by One City Challenge rules

·         The “Warmonger’s golden erection award” (award graphic TBA – a gold plated phallic object of some sort) - for the player that submits the QSC game with the highest number of points in military units.

·         The “Techmonger’s Ivory Tower award” – (award graphic TBA – scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz) - for the player that accumulates the highest number of technology points in a QSC game.

·         The “I Cramus Maximus award” – (award graphic TBA – telephone booth with people crammed in it?) -for the player that crams the maximum number of cities into the smallest territory.

·         The Love Canal award” – (award graphic TBA – a drum of toxic waste) – can have multiple winners in any QSC round. Awarded for the crappiest city/town location.

·         The “Dearly Departed award” – (award graphic TBA – probably a headstone) – can have multiple winners in any QSC round. Awarded to any player that gets killed before the 1000 BC submit date and still submits a last turn save file (last turn before year of death) and a timeline. These players will get a chance to play the situation over again with a modified starting scenario that should help prevent death (if they want to).

·         The “I can be taught award” – (award graphic TBA – scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz) – for the most improved player in a sequence of three QSC games. You have to play three QSC games in a row to qualify for this award. Game 1 of the series has to be your first or second QSC game submission. Game 2 of the series has to be a better performance than the first game. Game 3 has to be a better performance than game 2. The improvement difference is the difference between the ranked normalized scores in game 1 versus game 3.

more to come …

Email us if you would like to suggest or sponsor a special award for the QSC gaming rounds.

Other related topics:
Visit the Game of the Month (GOTM) pages - hosted by CivFanatics
Discuss the Quick Start Challenge game rules and scoring system in the forums - hosted by CivFanatics
Email for any Quick Start Challenge related questions
Cracker's unofficial CIV3 skills toolbox - some favorite tips and tricks
Support information - copyrights and usage, link to this site, how images were prepared

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This page was last updated on: September 3, 2002