Computers was the target to research, of course. All the Research Labs completed in 1754 AD, giving me a little boost of extra culture before the reckoning date in 1802 AD.
Looks like Damascus is the weakest Pillar and is going to stay there. Well, I had it start SETI, although next I researched Fission and swapped the city to the Manhattan Project which would complete sooner and actually produce more culture before 1802 AD than SETI. Then I could also put SETI in my capital instead of my lowest-commerce city to help the research push to space. I'm still about three techs ahead of all my rivals, as I have been for quite some time. France and Egypt are just now getting Electronics.
Of course, the two lovely ladies couldn't just let me research my way to space now, could they.
Well, time for the usual drill, sign France to an alliance.... wait, what the hell?
That happened DURING MY PRODUCTION PHASE - you can see the Egyptian artillery pop-up message - before I even got CONTROL of the game after Egypt declared war on me. Not only had I not attacked Egypt, I had not even had control to MOVE A UNIT! I have absolutely no idea how that happened.
Well, here's where my shadow game diverges from what I'd do in a real game. If I were competing for score, I'd use this opportunity to take out Thebes and Paris to claim the entire F11 list for myself. In a shadow, though, I couldn't be bothered. I just fended off invading units - easy with mechs to defend against tanks - and waited to make peace.
Also, there were too few civs left and I couldn't take out both capitals honorably, without razing at least one. I could capture Thebes and gift it to France, or I could capture Paris and gift it to Egypt. Couldn't do both in sequence because it'd require making peace with France, to gift her Thebes, and then capturing France's capital, which requires a state of war. And I couldn't do both simultaneously because the variant rules stipulate no temporarily acquiring a seventh city. So I just let it all pass.
At least I finally got a Great Leader - at the exact cultural reckoning date of 1802 AD, JUST too late for the Heroic Epic to help anything. Ah well. Here's the final cultural results:
Damascus is still the lowest of the Pillars. 5,752 points for culture. What hurt Damascus the most was not getting any doublings on the heavyweight cultural buildings of Bach's, cathedral, and university; they didn't get finished until after 800 AD. Still, for a city that started out choked in jungle with very mediocre shield-producing terrain, it performed quite well overall, only a bit over 1,000 behind my best city.
And look at Mecca's cultural performance. The only wonder the city ever had was the Hanging Gardens! Getting that built so early (and doubling by 1000 AD) along with early dates on all the regular cultural buildings was good for #2 among my cities and #4 on the world's Top Cities list. Man, I wish I'd been able to build more ancient wonders; stupid bloodthirsty Caesar...
In the middle game, I didn't really plan out the cultural builds far enough ahead. I did plan up through Shakespeare's, but after that I kept just giving each wonder to whatever city had the lowest rate, rather than projecting out how I'd fit the pieces together. I kept managing the cities to build culture evenly, rather than target then for 1802 AD evenly. My big error was with Newton's, which I couldn't make myself put in a low-commerce city, even though Damascus needed it in a big way. I kept telling myself that Medina had only a Palace and Smith's which weren't nearly enough, but it had even better performance than Mecca with the regular buildings and so was doing fine.
And I should've had a Heroic Epic in Damascus as well, but the RNG decided to pull a Sirian Epic 27 on me. I also should've built Battlefield Medicine there instead of in Najran, which would have put those two pillars just about on par with each other.
Anyways, in 1806 AD Cleopatra got tired of watching her infantry get torn apart by my artillery and tanks, and settled for peace. France took another several turns, and did quite a bit of damage to my terrain improvements with naval bombardment and a carrier full of bombers. She took out the roads on both of my spices tiles, which I was exporting to Egypt, and that broke a deal. It wasn't dishonorable since it was due to enemy activity beyond my control, but it did ruin my in-game reputation. Joanie did eventually settle for peace as well.
So there was nothing else to do but research towards space. I sold Rocketry to France and researched up to Synthetic Fibers and The Laser in hopes Joanie would reseach Space Flight to speed me up a little bit, but she didn't get there in time. My modest little five-city empire is still outresearching the rest of the world combined. Are the science wonders (I have all three) making that much difference? Or does the AI suck that badly at building productive cities?
I would be ready for another war, though, if one came my way. I built about twenty battleships total, and five Jet Fighters per city to defend against bombers.
And Joanie did declare war on me again with about five turns to go before launch. This time, though, I got Egypt in on the right side. I got to do a bit of neat combined-arms tactics, using Jet Fighters to actually run recon missions out to sea, to spot enemy convoys for my stacks of five battleships to bombard and kill. That was fun for a while, at least until France ran out of boats.
Once again I might've sought to take out Paris to get myself another Top 5 Cities slot, but didn't want to bother.
My launch was actually delayed a turn by Medina polluting its gold tile, which took out enough science production (that city has both Newton's and SETI) to do the trick. Blah.
Space Race win in exactly 1900 AD. A rather low score of 1404, but that's to be expected in a 5CC. Looks like I might have overestimated the tech pace of the game in setting the reckoning date at 1802 AD, since my research went about as fast it could with five cities and still took until 1900. I apologize for the tedious endgame bits after the cultural scoring was done; but you were still playing for the Top Five Cities list and for Honorable play; and 1802 is still plenty of time to compare how everyone built up the culture in their Pillars.
5,752 - Culture
500 - Victory
300 - Honorable Play in all except Industrial age
300 - Three of the Top 5 Cities
After reading the other reports, I see that's a fair bit behind Sirian's and Sulla's excellent performances. I know I could've improved that by at least 300 points if I hadn't brainlocked on Newton's. Average out my five cities and you get 6,220, which would be about 600 points behind Sulla's average. Add up the potential values of the stuff I missed out on - the Colossus, Sistine Chapel, and Heroic Epic - and you come pretty close to a 3,000 (600x5) total culture difference. Still, after losing my capital before I even had the last two cities founded, coming in only 900 culture behind Sulla isn't terribly bad.
Thanks and congratulations to all those who played!
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