I've also quietly been building up military as I've been able. I built warriors before hooking up my iron (thank the gods we have it), and then upgraded a total of twelve of them. Curiously, I had to upgrade them to Legionaries first, and then upgrade most of the Legionaries to Medieval Infantry as I desired. I did, of course, keep enough Legionaries to start my Golden Age.
Tugela had three impi (no pikemen or muskets), and falls with no losses. It takes me a few turns to take Ibabanago, because the Zulu keep reinforcing it with galleys full of impi. It does eventually fall, as does Isipezi. I kept Tugela, but after two turns brought no drop in the resistance, I decided to raze and replace the other two cities. Ravenna there could hit +10 food surplus and give me settlers really quickly.
This was the first time I'd seriously used Medieval Infantry in a war. With the short distance that I wanted to cover, I had no need for the mobility of knights (not that I could afford Chivalry anyway), and covering them with Legionaries provided defense. The Medieval Infantry are pretty cool, and quite cost effective especially when upgraded from warriors. 40 gold to upgrade a warrior to sword is quite a lot in the early going, but 60 for a MDI isn't all that much once in Republic with the cash flowing in. I wonder if I can make that a common part of my game plans, like a mass Cavalry upgrade and swarm but much earlier.
I even get some unsolicited help in this war. Carthage declares war on the Zulu and then signs Germany to an alliance, without any prompting from me.
Anyway, conquering those three cities with the slow MDI took eight turns. At this time, there are two Zulu galleys sailing around my island; I'd like them to land whatever they're carrying so I can try for Leaders, but they just keep going. So, with no need for further war, I make peace with the Zulu in 540 AD. With the treaty, I pay 500 gold for Invention and Theology; the former is free and it's about a 150 gold discount on the latter.
Unfortunately, no further brokerages can be seen: everybody's got Printing Press, Education, and Gunpowder except Germany who has none of those. Well, I can buy Education from Carthage for 800 gold (some of it per-turn), which reveals that nobody has any of the techs beyond Education yet.
So, with my Forbidden Palace completed, land for two rings of cities around it secured, and in Golden Age, I'm, amazingly enough, right up there in power with my rivals. It's all about the land; get enough of it, manage it well, and you will catch up to your rivals in time. I decide I could even take a try at applying the Golden Age production towards a wonder, and Cumae starts a Palace prebuild.
A few turns later, my next brokerage opportunity has arrived. 1250 to Carthage (they've always got the best prices, being the only Commercial civ in this game) for Astronomy. Astronomy gets me Gunpowder and Spices from the Ottomans, Gems from the Zulu. Gunpowder gets me Chivalry and the World Map from Germany. This is the first time I've gotten to see the entire world map.
I traded Gunpowder to Germany, not Astronomy, because I want to keep them farther away from Navigation, so that I can trade Astronomy or Navigation to them for luxuries when I can get the tech. That didn't actually work out later, but it was worth it to make the attempt.
Luxuries drop to 10% (they've been at 20% for a long time), and my income is still over 200/turn.
In 630 AD, Banking shows up, as I was hoping it would soon. I buy it from Carthage and resell to Japan for Chemistry, and swap cities to banks.
I was hoping to be able to slam to full research on Economics, and swap Cumae's wonder to Smith's, but it isn't going to happen. I can only run 50% research without going broke, thanks to the payouts to other civs, which means 12 turns to Economics. And my beaker production will drop drastically once out of Golden Age; I can't do it.
But I can pull yet another brokerage only three turns later: Dyes + 740 gold to Scandinavia for Navigation. Navigation, Dyes, 32/turn to Japan for Metallurgy. I also pay 19/turn to Japan for Ivory, which lets me drop the lux tax to 0%. Navigation is worthless as far as technology goes (unless you want Magellan, of course), but I do usually broker for it if it becomes possible. The advantage is that you get trade routes opened up with civs that haven't gotten Navigation yet, and get first crack at trading for their luxuries and trading yours to them.
Shortly thereafter, Economics shows up, and not one turn too soon; Copernicus was completed just one turn prior, killing the cascade except for a couple cities on Magellan's. And I can even get the tech for free, since Arabia got Economics but didn't get Metallurgy.
Wait a tic. What in the world is going on there? Hannibal can't be serious, can he?
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