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I'm in Second Place?

I slam research to 100% on Steam Power. I don't expect to get it first, but if I do, I'll be quite happy. Then Greece gets it first, unsurprisingly, but I'm not paying monopoly price. Persia gets it and I buy @3rd-civ when I have 3 turns left on the research, and then start Electricity at max.

This is a fairly unusual situation for me to be in - second place. I'm used to being far behind, or looking for brokerage deals from just behind, or being ahead and selling techs; but never before have I had one AI decisively ahead of the others with me in second place. This is an interesting set of decisions - when do I buy in at monopoly price and when do I let such a tech wait?

Unsurprisingly, I lack coal. Looking at the map, only Rome has any to trade, so I have to trade them Steam for only 18gpt, so that I can buy coal from them for 27gpt. Also, here's one of their sources:

Don't know how long I'll have Roman coal before that city flips back to Egypt...

I build lots of rails while researching Electricity, concentrating on Ellipi to speed its building of Bach's.

I get Bach's, as expected. (That's what happens, AIs, when you research to Free Artistry and Military Tradition before Music Theory.)

Then I have an interesting conundrum. I researched Electricity as Greece researched both Industrialization and Medicine. Ur had been building a Palace, which is now up to 319 shields total. Should I trade Electricity for Industrialization, and swap to factory and a coal plant before building ToE; should I trade for Medicine, research Scientific Method, and just turn this Palace directly into ToE; or should I refuse to pay monopoly price for Greece's techs and keep researching myself?

If I trade for Industrialization now, the other three civs will likely get it too, start building Suffrage, and threaten a cascade to ToE (but Hoover should be safe.) Also, ToE might be delayed a little bit while I research Medicine first (can't buy it at monopoly and can't count on anyone else getting it) before Sci Meth.

But trading for Indust now means that my other cities can get started on their factories. I decide...

that I can't risk a cascade eating ToE, and I don't particularly want to speed the other three civs to factories. I trade for Medicine (both techs at monopoly, and I get 1050 gold too), and set research to Sci Meth at max, due in 7.

However, what about getting the best of both worlds? I could do a safe STEAL of Industrialization from Greece, for 2480 gold, but that would be dastardly. :) I had scoffed a bit at the scenario setup, thinking that honorable play wouldn't matter and that I can probably outbuild even Deity AIs to victory, but it actually made a difference here.

Sci Meth and that Palace approach completion, and here's how it was set up:

I will discover Sci Meth this turn, and Babylon will build a bowman to let me jump into the production cycle and change that Palace to ToE.

But when I hit End Turn, Babylon doesn't do anything, and Ur completes the Palace? What the heck?

The game CHANGED MY BUILD from Bowman to Longbowman in Babylon. WHAT? But Babylon CAN STILL build a bowman if it wants. WHAT?!

Well, I guess that answers a question I had - when does the game auto-upgrade your build orders? Seems to be whenever you discover ANY tech, it checks all your cities and upgrades the unit build if possible. Since the bowman has one better stat than the longbow, the game does let you continue building 2.2.1 bowmen instead of 4.1.1 longbows if you want, but it'll still upgrade the unit build automatically.

I confess to reloading the game here and changing that Bowman to an Explorer, which then behaved as expected. I think this reload was justified...

Meanwhile, Greece researched Replaceable Parts. Do I trade my Scientific Method for Industrialization, or for Rep Parts... well, it's gonna have to be neither, because he wants at least 3600 gold with Sci Meth for either tech (he must be researching it.)

After swapping from the 500-shield Palace, the 600-shield ToE is due in 4. But I have to delay the wonder construction in Ur (again), to get in another research of my own before the wonder completes. The fastest I can do is Sanitation in 6 turns, and so I slow the ToE build to match that. There is no danger of cascade taking the wonder, since only Greece has Industrialization, so nobody can cascade from Suffrage.

Why am I worried about running a fast science pace? This game isn't a competition for fastest finish. No, this is why:

I have about 8500 culture, and Greece has slightly less than 4 times mine; that's 32k culture already. I'm getting scared of a cultural win by them! They're well ahead of twice anybody else's culture. Sirian lost his first 1.29 Deity game this way, having an AI sneak up on a cultural victory.

14 core Greek cities producing 25/turn each is 350/turn; that's about 180 turns to victory. I'm 23 techs away from launching; subtract two for ToE, two for Industrialization and Rep Parts that I will eventually trade from Greece, and one for free in the modern age, and that's 18 techs away. At 10 turns per tech, it could get scaringly close.

TOE completes as Sanitation finishes, and I take Atomic Theory and Electronics as usual. And that's the Golden Age!

I need Industrialization NOW, to get a factory rushed somewhere before building Hoover. So I trade Atomic Theory to Greece @monopoly for Industrialization @monopoly, 1183 gold, and 81/turn, and also to Persia for Communism. Research set to Radio at max, due in 9 in Golden Age. (How often do you get Electronics before Industrialization?)

Greece ALSO HAS Corporation and Espionage, which none of the others do. One AI got FOUR TECHS ahead of any other, and two techs ahead of me! They aren't even significantly ahead in land, either. Looks like just the combination of Scientific and Commercial got them in the lead, and got everyone else paying monopoly prices to them. The others had to buy Nationalism, too.

Nineveh built its hospital the same turn Sanitation was discovered, and I swap-rush a factory with a police station, and begin the Hoover Dam, due in 13. A coal plant won't really get the dam any sooner.

Then I get two of the best messages I could have expected:

Argh. The same turn I research Radio, just as I was going to trade Electronics to Greece, they research that themselves. Well, I trade them Radio anyway to get Replaceable Parts and a pile of cash (70/turn), since I want RP _now_. I can also trade Electronics to Rome to get Espionage and some cash.

Then the only thing to research is Corporation despite Greece having it already; oh well.

Argh. I don't have any rubber, of course. And suddenly I find myself without coal. The deal wasn't going to expire... Looks like Greece pillaged two of Rome's coals, and now Hieraconpolis has flipped back to Egypt with their third. So Egypt has a spare coal to trade. Well, I've gotta jump on it, lest they trade it to someone else (India has surprisingly clawed their way up to the industrial age) and make it unavailable for me. Fortunately, Egypt is several techs behind and I can pick up the coal by trading Scientific Method.

I research Corporation, and trade it to Rome for some rubber. No idea how long they'll hold on to the rubber that they're trading me, but at least I get a round of infantry upgrades.

Man, I've never had this much trouble with strategic resources before. My own grand total of resources is two horses (and nobody else ever needed to buy that) and one saltpeter. At least India's been a reliable iron supplier for basically free, but all the rest of the world's resources seem to be in the war zone and constantly getting disconnected...

Well, I get the Hoover Dam.

And here's the world in 1000 AD. I'm up to one tech (Refining) behind Greece.

According to the demographics, I'm fifth in land area, as I've been all game, but I'm up to second in population since I have Sanitation and nobody else does. With that, it's time to take the lead...

Well, not just yet. Greece researches Steel one turn before I do, and there's nothing else I can do then but research Refining.

But, Greece's ongoing war with Rome drags them into communism, in 1070 AD. That's all I need.

Rome's rubber lasts until 1080 AD (about ten turns) before they apparently lose it. Persia's got two in their home territory that don't seem to be in danger, so I trade Corporation to get rubber from Persia instead.

Refining finishes, and yay: I have oil, and Greece hasn't gotten Combustion, although he did finally research Sanitation. Now, all I need is to get one tech first, sell it to Greece for a monopoly price of gold-per-turn, and that'll finish off his ability to research and I'll have the economic advantage I need for the rest of the game.

Also, everyone except me has now teamed up on Rome, even puny India. In the fighting, Egypt manages to lose the coal they were trading me, and now NOBODY has a spare coal to sell. There's about three disconnected coals in the big jungle war zone. Sigh...

Somehow, Greece's economy stays strong enough to keep pace with me as we both research Mass Production. Still, all I need is one tech to sell them at monopoly..

Then, In 1240 AD, India and Persia end their war that has lasted since I met India. Heh; don't know why those two hated each other so much for so long...

Finally, I get Motorized Transport. That's the tech I need to sell to Greece to cripple their economy.. or it would be if Greece had any gold-per-turn to offer. Looks like they crippled their own economy for me, although they do somehow still have 2000 cash on hand.

In 1265 AD, Greece researches Flight, which I have half-done; I trade Motorized Transportation for it (and 100 gold; he wouldn't give me any more) and we enter the Modern Age together. Greece and I both get Rocketry for free.

I have no Aluminium. Surprise! But neither does Greece! SHEESH. Two are in the war zone and have no hope of staying connected, and guess where the other three are? All on INDIA's island.

Forget space; I'm building the UN.

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