Timelines for 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

One of the major objectives of quick start challenge games is to foster discussion and comparison of opening move sequences. Timelines submitted a text file format of your choice and submitted with the required last turn save game establish the basis for this comparison.

Creativity and fun?

Remember to do what you want to do in this process and make your timeline a reflection of your playing personality. Role play if you want to. Give pet names to things if that makes it more exciting for you.

If you want to dress up your timelines with graphics and other stuff, then go right ahead and live it up. Bear in mind that you will need to zip your final save game file and your timeline text file into a single zip folder in order to submit it for scoring. If you want to include other stuff beyond a text timeline and the save file, you will need to follow some format and style guidelines listed at the end of this page.

Required stuff

You can go into lots of detail or you can just hit the minimum information that will help people follow your great examples of management and leadership skills. If you go into detail, try to follow an example that includes the required information up at the front of your timeline entry for any given year and then expand on that information in subsequent sentences, paragraphs, or cells.

Six events are so important to understanding the game, that we wish to label them as required elements in any timeline:

 When you locate a goody hut report its location, when you open it, and what you get out of the hut.
Example:  “3950 BC – popped hut on mountain east of town and got a settler.”

When you meet another civilization, describe the encounter and what you learn about your rival.
Example:  “3750 BC – Our scout caught sight of a Chinese warrior and we met Mao.
Holy crap! Mao already has five cities, knows Abe, Libby, and Joan and is ahead of us by six techs.”

When you engage in >any trade event, describe the exchange whether it succeeds or fails.
Example:  “3600 BC – contacted a polite Mao and bought Pottery for 45 gold leaving 15 gold in our treasury.”

If you establish embassy/conduct diplomacy describe the events, the costs, and anything you learn.
Example:  “3700 BC – established an embassy in Beijing for 25 gold & revealed that Mao has Silks near his capital.
Plus the town is already at pop 3 and Mao is building the Pyramids. How’d he do that?”

Describe any adjustments you make to research or luxury spending rates.
Example:  “3450 BC – turned research down to 0% to build cash
3200 BC – treasury is now up to 52 gold so turned research up to 100% for Alphabet in 6 turns.”

Describe any technology research decisions.
Example:  “3900 BC – popped alphabet out of a goody hut, so switched research from the Wheel to Writing.”

Tips that help demonstrate you know what you are doing

Directions – describe directions of movement based on the compass; N, S, E, W will be preferred to up, down, right, and left. If you adopt the practice fairly religiously you will find that the using the direction for a units current position is usually all that will be required to pinpoint the new location. Including the terrain type helps people to follow your decision process.

Units – describe units in a way that recognizes their strength and health.
Example:  Two vet English warriors plus 2 conscripts emerge east of our capital, implies all unit are at full health
A group of English warriors (4/4, 3/4, 4/4, 4/4) emerges east of our capital. (tells us one vet was wounded)

Workers –vs– Citizens – Workers are units you move around on the map and can build roads, mines, etc.
Citizens are people that work squares of land in your towns and produce food, shields, and/or gold.
Pop points are a count of manageable citizens in your towns. Population numbers mean nothing.

You will want to track worker assignments in fairly good detail because experience has shown that these tasks are what make the difference in the cumulative success of various start positions.

Governor Settings

If you say nothing, then most people will take that to mean that you have the governor settings for your cities left at the defaults for the civilization you are playing and the game in general. If you say something in your timeline like “emphasize food”, “emphasize production”, or “emphasize commerce” this will indicate that you change the governor settings to emphasize the items you listed and set all other items to NO.

If you need to temporarily force citizens to do things other than what the governor would select using your current settings this is called “micromanagement”. Micromanagement sounds like it would tedious and bad, but with experience you will find that micromanaging just a couple of turns out of a twenty or thirty turn sequence is all you really need to do to have a big effect. If you need to micromanage to increase food you can do that (can be abbreviated as “mmf”) or you could indicate what citizen you micromanaged from and to in terms of terrain. Micromanaging to increase shields (“mms”) and/or gold (“mmg”) is also something that may need to be described. Remember that whenever the town grows a pop point or completes a production task, the governor will revert back to what he/she thinks the citizens should be doing and this will upset any micromanagement choices you may have implemented.

Worker Tasking

Where and what your workers are doing is one of the most important aspects to understanding the early game. Things like “move east” or “move E”, “build road”, and “complete road” are examples of keeping track of worker tasks. You can develop quickie shorthand for most common tasks. Remember that most terra forming tasks actually complete as the very last activity in the turn before you see them appear on the map. When you see a road appear, that road was available from the very first nanosecond of the current year.

This can be more complex when you get multiple workers working, but hey, we welcome challenges.

Refer to captured and purchased workers as “slaves” or some other term to help avoid confusing them with your workers.

How to submit Timelines

You can compile your timeline in any standard word processing or spreadsheet program. When you get ready to submit your result then you just zip the timeline file and the save game file together into one zip folder and email it in to the submission mailbox. If you submit a functional timeline, you will get a 25% bonus added to your score for this QSC game. If you forget your timeline, no one will contact you or hassle you, you just won’t get the scoring bonus. Really crappy timelines like: “4000 BC started – 1000 BC finished” and other examples of not grasping the concept of how this game supports self improvement, will not qualify for the 25% scoring bonus.

Really Elaborate Timelines

Go For It !! Have Fun !!

… but we need you to do this in a way that lets you still submit the text file version of the timeline and save game file in one zip folder. This requirement is basically the backup to make sure nothing gets lost in the process and to make sure you get a score for the game.

Then you can choose how we do your more elaborate timeline. Whatever you choose, include instructions on how to find your more elaborate version and make sure these instructions are right at the top of your submitted text timeline file and/or in your submission email message.

You may zip your elaborate timeline file and any graphics or images into packets of files and upload them using the easy upload system on CivFanatics and then just tell us where to find the files. If you do this, try not to upload the files too many days before the submission closing date.

Keep all the externally linked image files together and in a single file folder that resides in the same folder as your timeline file. This image file storage folder should be named to begin with a character version of your CFC username without any spaces. If your CFC username is long or has cutesy little characters in it, then clean it up to be just a straight alphanumeric filename with no spaces. Example: “I’m A Big Dog #$%” should be something like “big_dog_graphics”. Do what you want, but recognize that if you make it hard to access your information via standard html conversion, then we will probably just run out of time and never get to your cool stuff.

If you want to upload your elaborate timeline to your own website and then just provide a URL link, Great Idea!! Please do not upload this type of website before the submission closing date for the QSC challenge.

Graphics screenshots should be cropped and resized to speed download and viewing. We find that 80% size with a slight sharpening enhancement really works great for most map shots. When you embed images in a webpage, error to the small and tightly cropped side of the choices you may have. Then provide an image link to a larger and more detailed image if that will help to clarify things. You want your timeline pages to load as quickly as possible and this means that most graphics need to be aggressively small and properly compressed in the appropriate .jpg or .gif format.

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