I had been expecting Niagara to grow quickly and become a settler factory. I had no idea Salamanca would build the freakin Colossus sooner than Niagara would get a granary up. Was the Colossus a good idea? Hard to say. (I had to go for it quickly; losing it to cascade is a real danger on an archipelago map.) It delayed my expansion a good bit, but it is tied with the Great Library for the best culture-per-shield for ancient wonders, and it will provide plenty of cash income.
Yeah, yeah, shaddup already. :)
After Literature (Salamanca prebuilt half its library with a barracks), there can be no other goal than Map Making. Salamanca builds its library, then starts the Great Library. I hope to get the actual GL, but what wonder we actually will get we will yet see. The Great Lighthouse wouldn't be bad to get either, both for its culture and its effects.
The Aztecs complete the Oracle in 610 BC, although the Pyramids aren't yet built so the cascade goes on.
Niagara finally managed to put out settlers quickly. I founded Allegheny on the northeastern tip of the continent, and filled in to the south with yet more settlers.
And there is much rejoicing as I finally have the units to send out to clear the barbarian camps.
As Map Making comes in, Allegheny builds a galley (it prebuilt with a temple), and Grand River whips a galley after building a granary. Code of Laws is the next research target; we're hurtling at full speed towards Republic.
In 490 BC, contact is finally made, with Germany. But Germany has no contacts! That bodes well for us not being terribly behind a bunch of civilizations that had the fortune to start together. But Germany does have Map Making, is building the Lighthouse, and is otherwise six techs ahead of us although lacking Literature.
Also, note the scout I dropped off to go exploring on that island. Luxuries on a landmass where no civ starts are pretty rare; I'm definitely rushing a settler up here now.
I don't dare trade Germany Literature, but I can trade him my world map plus 10 gold for his territory map. As I've mentioned before, the territory map is a very efficiently cheap way of getting information about a newly discovered civilization.
On the next turn, another galley finds the Zulu in the northwest. They also have no other communications.
Berlin and Bapedi are the cities building the Pyramids. I can't trade either civ Literature, since I can't afford either getting to cascade to the Great Library. C'mon, someone please finish the Pyramids already!
I do trade the Zulu my world map plus 2gpt for their territory map + 6g. Bapedi and Ulundi, their two cities building wonders, are both size 2.
With that knowledge, I think I can chance trading the Zulu Literature, for 178 gold. That lets me pay for an embassy with Germany, to see that Berlin has the Pyramids due in 11 turns. So now I have to fervently hope the Zulu remain isolated, unable to trade Literature to Germany, until Berlin finishes the Pyramids.
Then in 410 BC, my galley spots a red border, and meets Rome. They have contact with the two missing civs.
According to F7, Rome city is building the Pyramids. I establish the embassy, to see the city surrounded in tundra and 59 turns away from the Pyramids. No threat.
Of course, I can't afford to trade Literature or contact with the Zulu to Rome, though. I could trade contact with Germany, but he wants that PLUS 100 gold for contact with Greece. Uh-uh. But contact with the Aztecs is surprisingly 50 gold cheaper.
I could trade WM and Contact with Germany to get contact with Aztecs, his territory map, and 15 gold. Tough call... Nope, can't do it.
The trade I do make is my TM + 14g for his TM. Hm, he got a lot of land.
After I research Code of Laws, I trade it to Germany for Philosophy (2nd-civ prices for both of us) and start researching Republic. I also trade CoL to the Zulu (also at 2nd-civ for him) for his 86 gold, WM, Iron Working, and Masonry.
The Zulu have Mathematics, which Rome and Germany somehow lack. So I trade them Philosophy + 110g (ouch) for Mathematics, and that - again at 2nd-civ monopoly price - is enough to pry Contact with the Aztecs from Rome.
The Aztecs are far behind in tech (as I guessed from the cheap price of the contact), and I can trade them Mathematics and Philosophy for Contact with the Greeks, 4g, and their TM.
Time to check out the wonder construction picture: the Aztecs are building the Pyramids in Tenochtitlan, but that just finished the Oracle so can't be very close. And they're building the Lighthouse in a size-3 tundra city.
Greece is building Pyramids in Athens and Great Lighthouse in Delphi. Gotta establish embassy with them: Athens' Pyramids are due in 28 and the city isn't growing. Fine with me.
Alexander trades me WM, Wheel, 6g for Mathematics.
Finally, I can trade Mathematics to Germany for Mysticism, Warrior Code, WM, 112g. Not bad, buying Mathematics at 2nd-civ monopoly cost, but reselling it at monopoly cost TWICE! I like being the contact middleman. :)
And the Aztecs don't have Code of Laws but have Horseback Riding. Traded.
So, with Salamanca building the Great Library, only the Zulu besides me have Literature. Zululand and Germany are alone in the world; the other three AIs have contact with each other. Berlin has the Pyramids due in about five turns. As long as they finish that before Literature gets around, I look pretty safe to get the Great Library.
I pick up Polytheism. Also around this time, I got a harbor built to start trading luxuries. Polytheism gets me Wines and Dyes from Aztecs and Germany, and Silks gets me Ivory from Rome.
And Berlin's Pyramids come to pass as I'd hoped. Now that the other civs won't cascade to the Great Library, I can trade Literature, getting 285 gold + WM from Rome, and maps and pocket change from everyone else. Athens did cascade to and complete the Great Lighthouse, but it didn't look like any other city had enough shields into that to challenge me for the Library.
Then in 10 AD, suddenly the time left to research Republic has plummeted from 5 turns to 1. Ugh - all the contacts have now been traded around, and everyone also somehow got Republic and Construction. Well, we get Republic, and revolt in 10 AD.
Salamanca gets the Great Library, which puts me on track for a very likely cultural win. Someone cascaded and took the Great Wall, but that's okay, since the cascade is now stopped.
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