I research the usual drill of Industrialization, Medicine, Sanitation. As I discover Sanitation in 1080 AD, a Chinese galley sails up to me. I do believe China is the most advanced AI - they did snag two ancient wonders. Here's how far behind they are:
I trade him 185 gold to get the world map. I do not trade for contact with Egypt or France. I'm already past the 1000 AD deadline for any points for contacts, and I know I'm not getting any points for fastest to contact all AIs.
Despite controlling the Great Lighthouse - which makes that galley jump perfectly safe - China took millennia to make contact with me. Once again I'm astounded - it's just like in Epic Nine!
I do notice that Beijing controls Furs, and the city would be easy enough for me to take (don't have the tech for cavalry or knights, but longbows and rifles against spears would do it.) Two extra happy faces per city would be nice - but if I took the city I'd have to hold it against Chinese aggression forever, which would eventually lead to war weariness.
France is all the way down to THREE cities, and China owns Paris. That war must've been why China was so slow to research.
No way to make China declare war on me, so I declare on them after establishing the embassy. And we're on, racing against war weariness to Alpha Centauri.
Egypt looks hamstrung by a desert start, and all their cities are under size 7 - they appear to not yet even have aqueducts! I was wondering if I'd get a chance to buy Music Theory from somebody rather than researching it myself, but that, well, doesn't look like it's going to happen. :)
I build a navy to pop off Chinese galleys every now and then - they sent over two dozen in all, trying to explore around my continent. In 1250 AD, I claim the ship promotion to elite status. Definitely not the winner there. :)
I keep researching, easily at 4 turns per tech. After Sanitation, I do make a run back to Music Theory. Bach's, Theory of Evolution, Universal Suffrage, and Hoover Dam all complete on successive turns, the last in 1270.
Meanwhile, China researched Feudalism, completely dashing my plans of a tanks-versus-spearmen military advantage. I also saw Paris change hands another couple times.
No war weariness from the Chinese war has shown up at all. Every time a city riots, I jump a little bit, frantically scrambling to click on an unhappy citizen to see if WW has begun yet, but it never does.
I build a new Palace in Veii, a bit farther south than Athens; it does cut corruption losses by 30/turn out of 190. I've researched almost all through the Industrial Age at 4 turns with a surplus. Hail the power of Republic! Also, after factories and one infantry per city, I set most of the cities on Wealth. That drives the surplus up to 500/turn now while researching Mass Production. (Researching Economics almost paid off more from the double Wealth bonus than from building Smith's!)
I also notice the island out to the east that I can see across the water gap is still vacant. I'll take a shot at the points for being first to found a city on the island, although I won't know for sure until the replay; I don't plan to explore the island in case there is somebody there.
Radio and the Modern Age come in 1400 AD. Still no contact with any AI besides China, and China has never managed to land a unit on my shores.
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