This is the story of my game of Civilization IV Epic Twenty-seven from Realms Beyond Civilization.
I had this idea at the back of my mind after Adventure 45. The Internet would be a great item indeed with which to start any game, but I left it out of Hannibal's Muse both on the technicality and for power level. Most of my sponsored games turn into builder fests, especially Pax Americana and Speed Racer. I particularly liked the purity of Speed Racer in being a pure economic builder with no military at all. What would be the opposite of that? Pure military with no need for economy? This.
Japan was obvious for the civ, as the perfect chance to play the leader with pure combat and no economic traits, and fits perfectly on theme too.
After the Ring map for Adventure 45 didn't go over all that well, I decided to put a bit more care into the map selection this time. My vision is a mostly-land map, but not your standard pangaea or fractal, and a bit less rugged than highlands. Lakes like in Pitboss 1 sounds like a good choice, with water and peaks to create choke points and shape the strategic maneuvering.
I rolled a few and liked this one. By the way, I intentionally picked a map that had Japan starting physically in the middle of the map, just to make for easy viewport moving using the minimap, rather than bumping and wrapping across the edges. The opponents I left to random chance, which came up with a good mix of belligerent but not overbearing leaders, and nobody Financial to become a single runaway tech leader. (The Internet doesn't work if just one AI pulls away.)
I did some mild editing to enhance the choke points, adding the mountain ranges towards Maya and Spain and enlarging the lake towards Kublai. Kyoto looks good enough with two food and five hills. I did add a few resources, the south wheat and east cow (by the gold) and north stone for Protective walls. And I placed the copper three tiles west of Kyoto very much on purpose. Being in 3rd ring, you will have it accessible soon, but only as soon as you want it. You can leave it unconnected for a while and build warriors for axemen upgrades.
And once again I had the question of dialing in the difficulty for an event. We know that Always War on Prince is usually winnable straight-up. The Internet should make Monarch pretty winnable as well. I thought about pushing it all the way to Emperor, but decided to at least run a playtest on Monarch first.
One more wild card is the Aggressive AI option. It's not well known, but this option received a total overhaul with Blake's AI improvements around the time of the release of BTS. Previously it simply applied a hidden -4 diplo penalty with all AIs. In BTS, that is gone, and instead Aggressive AI activates a whole new set of AI code for many subsystems. This AI builds more units, declares war aggressively against weak targets, and is considerably smarter about spotting and attacking weak locations. In fact, Blake felt this version of the AI is stronger and more competitive overall, and tried to make it the default AI behavior. He was overruled by higher powers that perceived that more players preferred a more passive AI. We have not yet used this AI in an event, but this is the perfect chance to see how it does. I want the MAXIMUM action you can get without human opponents.