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Bob the Builder

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I kept research going at full speed up towards Education. I'm thinking that I want to go for a space victory here, having gotten Monarchy and the Forbidden Palace so early and my economy well boosted. I'm quite curious to see the specialists at work that far into the endgame, and I also haven't done the C3C space race yet at all.

You can see that my city build is definitely less dense than I might've done. I did build farther apart than I would do if I were competing for score. But here in shadowland, I'd rather see all the cities max out way beyond size 20, to really get a good look at the specialists later on. You can also see that I kept all the native forests for shield production.

I built lots of temples, numerous courthouses, a few libraries. One thing I did not need was granaries; I built one in Camulodurum to farm workers, but that was my only one besides the capital. All the other cities grew up to size plenty quickly by themselves. I also had Alesia start a wonder to see what I could get, and it would become the Sistine Chapel (great for a religious civ, of course.) Entremont is prebuilding for whatever else became available and attractive, or could just build its university instead.

And here's a look at my "military" :

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I haven't hooked up my iron, as I'm still building the cheap warriors for police all over the place. I'm counting on hooking that up quickly and upgrading warriors if anyone gets hostile.

The AIs kept pace with me as I researched Theology and Education, Carthage getting each tech on the same turn I did. How the heck are they doing that? They have 10 cities to my 14, and mine are all quite big by now. Even with the Republic trade boost, AI mismanagement shouldn't be able to research as fast as my large cities can. Then I realized that Carthage had the Pyramids. Through all the changes in C3C, that wonder is still by far the single most powerful thing an AI can do.

England demanded Theology, and I handed it over. The civs on the far continent eventually got Engineering and Chivalry for me to trade Education for. That led to this:

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That's probably one of the best middle ages wonders in this variant. With shields quite hard to come by, that's one way to get extra "virtual" shields in the form of free units.

I quite like researching the advance of Banking, as it seems that the other techs available at the same time - Astronomy, Invention, Gunpowder - are prioritized highly over Banking by the AI. In this game, Banking finally got me a resellable tech monopoly, and the trades netted me Invention and Astronomy and luxuries.

With those luxuries and the Sistine Chapel completing, I had enough happiness to drop lux tax to 0% and really start setting up the specialists. Take a look at Lugdunum here:

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Each of those desert tiles is producing one shield and 1.5 beakers (with the library.) There was a real shields-or-scientists tradeoff to make here, but I almost always went to the side of shields. Gaining 1.5 beakers per turn at the cost of a shield (that would eventually build a university) didn't seem worthwhile. And of course it was best to work all the river tiles, since the 2 trade with a library gave as much science as a scientist, and would give more with a university. In Republic or Democracy, every tile with a library would give as much or more science as a scientist, making the decision automatic, so hence the government variant rule for this game.

Other cities, like Gergovia here:

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were quite happy to go nuts hiring specialists. No point to working shieldless one-trade tiles when the food isn't needed at size 12.

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I got served up a scientific Great Leader for researching Economics. The obvious use of him was for Leonardo's Workshop. That ended the cascade, leaving the way clear for me to build Smith's the normal way. Gunpowder soon got around, and I traded my Economics monopoly for it.

With all this research, maybe I was pushing it a bit thin on the military...

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