I can't wait any longer to get contacts trading, and I do have that 165 gold saved while doing the one-beaker thing on Writing. I cough up 150 gold plus the world map to Egypt for the cheapest contact, which is England.
Then my world map is enough to get contact with the French from England.
From France, I can afford either ONE technology, or another contact. Well, contact it is. I cough up another C-note (some of it per-turn) for contact with the Iroquois.
Then my map and another 40 bucks (2/turn) gets me contact with America. But now I'm completely broke, and won't be getting contact with India. Part of my problem is that luxuries are stuck at 50%, or Pasargadae will starve and severely delay the Pyramids.
Or not. I still had a warrior yet to move this turn, and he frags a barb camp. My world map and my last 40 bucks gets me Gandhi's phone number, and he pays me back 40 gold for my map.
Now there's only one brokerage opportunity: buy either Mathematics or Literature and resell to England. Well, Literature it is. Problem is, I can't afford it.
Or - I can. To do so, I have to drop luxuries and intentionally throw Pasargadae into disorder for two turns, until my furs get hooked up. (Can't just hire an entertainer in Pasargadae or it'll starve.) So I can afford Literature, and trading it to England gets me Philosophy (Always Move Towards Republic.)
If I drop luxuries all the way to 0%, I can afford Mathematics. After a long agonization, I decide to do so. 6/turn gets me that tech, and that tech plus another 21 gold gets me Code of Laws from England. Minimum research started on Republic (yay!)
That all put my economy pretty close to disaster, though:
And now the mighty Xerxes of Persia has to panhandle, selling his world map every turn to everyone for a penny.
Finally, however, the Pyramids complete. Now I can sell the granary in Persepolis, and that 7 bucks gives me enough cash to stay alive until Pasargadae shrinks by building two workers and I can drop the luxury tax.
During all this, I was of course building settlers, mostly out of Persepolis. I decided I didn't have the patience to go ICSing in the low-food environment, and instead built with fairly standard city spacing. Tarsus and Tyre (a map is below) were founded where they are more to get the luxuries online soon than for strategic placement.
When all the gold-per-turn I paid for the round of contacts trading runs out, I check diplomacy again. There's a brokerage available: Currency from someone and trade it to Hiawatha for both Iron Working and Mysticism.
Expansion proceeds apace, though at a slow pace. Arbela turned out to be too much of a reach; it soon became clear the city couldn't pull more than one shield, though it did get to whip a library and whip towards a courthouse. I did, though, beat two other settler pairs by one turn to pick up my fourth luxury:
Minimum science on Republic finally finishes (believe me, there was no faster way I could've gotten to Republic), and after five turns of anarchy, the Republic of Persia is formed in 50 BC.
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