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The Art of Cascade Management

You can see my Forbidden Palace under construction in that picture. This map turned out to have absolutely no good place to put the FP; that's about the best I can do. Note that it actually helps Niagara not insignificantly; Niagara is the third city away from the capital, but it'll be the first city away from the FP.

Here's a shot of the replay from this time, for everyone else who played the game to compare what civs grabbed what lands in their game. Although I don't think it'll vary much, with each civ being on its own island.

I don't remember exactly what the Great Library gave me immediately, but it wasn't much: just Construction, I think.

My sneaky galley-scout pair score their fourth hut from an island, and the second with a technology:

I sell Currency around for enough cash to rush Salamanca's colosseum. That brings the civs into the Middle Ages; the scientific civs pick up Monotheism, which the Great Library gives to me. Two turns after Sala's colosseum, I rush its cathedral, then of course start building yet another wonder, placeholding with a marketplace until the Great Library soon brought in Monarchy and the Hanging Gardens became available.

Salamanca was at size 9 and couldn't afford to optimize away from shields for food to grow, so I merged in a settler and a worker to take it to 12.

Awhile later, in 350 AD, the Forbidden Palace completes. The cities are following a usual economic build: aqueducts, granaries, marketplaces. I'm running pretty thin on military, but that's perfectly fine with the world at peace and me alone on my island.

In 400 AD, Salamanca is one turn away from the Hanging Gardens. I have to decide whether to take that wonder, or swap to Sun Tzu's until Theology gets here for the Sistine Chapel.

I take the HG, knowing that everybody will cascade to Sun Tzu's; now I have to hope that only one AI city will be powerful enough to build a 600-shield wonder before Salamanca can build another 600. Basically, Sala is trying to build 900 shields faster than two different AI cities can each build 480. It's possible, with Sala producing 19 shields/turn...

The Hanging Gardens put Salamanca at 1542 culture, generating 33/turn, in 400 AD.

The AIs surprise me by researching Engineering and Invention before Theology, leaving a chance that they'll cascade from Sun Tzu's to Leonardo's instead of Sistine.

In 630 AD, somebody does complete Sun Tzu's. Half of the cascade goes to Leonardo's and half to Sistine. Berlin is the only capital now building Sistine. I pay the 130 gold to investigate it; if it's going to get Sistine before me, I need to know NOW so that I can slam to full research on Education and Music Theory. (Heh, how often do you want to research Education when you've got the Great Library?! Although I did so back in Epic Three.)

Berlin's due for the Chapel in 14 turns, with city growth in 6. But Salamanca's due for it in only 9.

The AIs actually researched Gunpowder before Education, very rare and silly in a peaceful game. Well, I'll certainly take it for free from the GL.

Salamanca gets the Sistine Chapel in 710 AD. Before that, though, an Aztec city completed Leonardo's. Phew; I got lucky on that cascade. (I wonder how the AIs decide which wonder to cascade to? I suppose the civ attributes might play a factor, but the religious and militaristic Aztecs would then prefer Sistine and Leonardo's equally...)

A turn later, I rush the university in Salamanca for a lot of gold, and start in again on -- oops, no more available wonders. But that means the cascade is dead! The AIs just researched Chemistry instead of either Astronomy or Music Theory. Well, Salamanca starts a marketplace, and somebody does get Astronomy in time for me to buy it and swap to Copernicus's.

Rome and the Aztecs sign an alliance against Greece, breaking up the worldwide peaceful game.

I buy Banking and trade it to someone for Metallurgy in a 2-for-1, and swap a bunch of cities over to banks. I decide not to build Wall Street anywhere besides Salamanca, though, sacrificing earlier interest income for more culture when Salamanca can get around to it.

Then Music Theory shows up from everyone. Hmm, to take Copernicus's or to go for Bach's instead? (Getting both isn't going to happen this time, heh.) Given that I've got plenty of luxuries and Sistine already, Bach's isn't going to help me much, and building the cheaper Copernicus's should leave me time for one more medieval wonder.

Or I might have to turn this wonder into Shakespeare's. Somebody just researched Printing Press and traded it around.

Then in 910 AD, Tenochtitlan completes Copernicus. What is UP with that city? That's something like its fourth wonder - and it beat me to Copernicus despite Salamanca getting a couple turns of prebuilding. I finally take a look at the city's terrain, and drool in envy: THREE WHEATS AND SIX HILLS! Man, I could've scored one of the earliest 20k wins in history if MY city had that kind of land...

Well, I then have to buy Music Theory and swap to JS Bach's. I'm now hoping to turn this into Shakespeare's and then get Newton's, both high-culture wonders of course. I start maximum research on Economics (my first research since Republic), to have one more wonder available for me to swap to if necessary.

Once again, I pay to investigate Berlin, which appears to be the only powerful city still cascading. In 960 AD, it's 31 turns from Bach's; but it works out to only 11 turns away from a 400-shield wonder if it were to cascade.

I keep waiting and waiting for Free Artistry to show up (I bought Democracy sometime), but it didn't. Salamanca had to actually complete Bach's, and the Aztecs cascade to and complete Magellan's on the same turn, killing the cascade dead once again. Nice.

But no! At the end of THAT SAME TURN, Free Artistry shows up among the AIs, and Berlin will surely get Shakespeare's. But no! Germany inexplicably DIDN'T get Free Artistry!

What's up with Otto? Why does he ALWAYS insist on doing his own research? This is something like the tenth game in which I've seen all the other AIs usually have plenty of gold-per-turn to offer for techs, except for Germany who never has any cash available. Weird, and it may have helped me out greatly here...

Well, Salamanca starts Adam Smith's (nobody else has Economics) as a prebuild for Shakespeare's (I don't need to pay for Free Artistry until a turn before I get the wonder.) My competitors for Shakespeare's are Mpondo, cascading since unknown but looks to have only about 10 shields; Athens, also cascading since unknown but also has around 10 shields; and Tenochtitlan, which started just now but has a huge number (25 or so) of shields. Tenoch may beat me before I have any kind of chance.

I apologize for all this boring text, but really there wasn't anything interesting enough to take a picture of. :) Here's a shot of this date in the replay, to break up the monotony a little bit and to compare against your own game.

Meanwhile, Rome - but not anybody else - reached the Industrial Age, judging from the F4 portraits. And it's clear that I can't gain by continuing to hoard Economics. (I've had it to myself for about 20 turns now.) Shakespeare's, Newton's, and Smith's are left; and I'm not getting more than one.

Well, trading Economics around could end up giving somebody a prebuild for Universal Suffrage to steal that from me. I don't want that to happen. But I offer Economics around, and Greece's offer is MUCH lower than everyone else's (much less than their available gpt.) So they're researching it, and I better trade it while I can.

Economics to Rome @2nd-civ monopoly for Physics + 193g + 13/turn.
Wow - only Rome has Theory of Gravity.
Economics + 420g to Aztecs for Magnetism.
Economics to Zulu for 29 + 9/turn.
Economics and Magnetism to Germany for Navigation (whee), and to Greece for Free Artistry.

I wait a couple turns for someone else besides Rome to get Theory of Gravity, and then buy it for 920 gold, putting me into the Industrial Age in 1120 AD. 100% research on Steam Power, but due in 9. Salamanca's still building Shakespeare's.

Allegheny and Niagara are just prebuilding for Factories, of course. Actually, so are all the University cities.

Crappo - Tenochtitlan grabs Shake's 4 turns before me. Egads, that's one heck of a powerhouse. Salamanca, to my great relief, does get Newton's, and several cities cascade on over to Smith's.

So, in 1250 AD, with the last of the great medieval cultural buildings complete, Salamanca is at 5156 culture, producing 66/turn. This includes the 1000-year anniversary of its burst of construction of its Great Library, colosseum, and cathedral. By my count, the win will now be sometime shortly after 1950, which will certainly drop as a few more buildings double and Industrial wonders complete.

Salamanca's total haul is the Colossus, Great Library, Hanging Gardens, Sistine Chapel, Bach's Cathedral, and Newton's University.

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