I didn't quite stop at the planned 10 cities, but went one more beyond that, making sure to grab both some jungle at Dover for future resource possibilities and the open land in the west at Liverpool. Now in Republic, London became an every-turn worker farm, and would crank out nearly a hundred workers total over time. York kept building its wonder, and the rest of the cities did their own things. With things going well at home, it's time to turn my attention abroad.
The last-place Ottomans did manage to build a wonder in their city.
Yeah, good for them.
The more important news was my capturing of Istanbul from Prussia. Now what do I do with it? Keeping it will increase my own already-high score to no real useful end. Giving it back to the Turks would be the honorable thing to do, but that's verboten by the variant rules. Abandoning it would both be dastardly and run afoul of the "no self-destruction" clause in the Epic rules.
I guess I'll have to keep Istanbul. It does have horses and is useful as a strategic base in this area, and if I don't build culture in it, maybe it'll flip back to the Turks eventually.
Anyway, also in 510 BC, France had come up with Currency. I compared the worldwide scores from last turn and this, and it was apparent that the balance ratio was slowly tipping away from my favor, because Spain and Turkey were still so weak compared to strong Prussia, Russia, and myself. So it was time to enter the middle ages and lock in that score. I traded my monopoly on Republic to France for Currency plus Construction, and here's the scoring for my ancient age.
407 average for the top four civs, 300.25 average for the bottom four. Balance ratio of 73.77% for a score of 14.75 points. Prussia capturing Istanbul was probably good for something like a 100-point swing between the Turks and Germans, costing me a good 3 or 4 points right here.
Now, one of the surest ways for one AI civ to outrun another on the score curve is to be in Republic while the other one isn't. So I gifted Republic around to everyone.
Presently I got a chance to take honorable war to the other score leader of the game:
I eagerly refused the demand, but Catherine thought better of it and didn't declare war. :( Her time will come, one way or another...
And I got the Pyramids in my wonder city in 350 BC. I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've ever been into the middle ages when I built that wonder. The effects wouldn't even be that helpful for me, because I was limiting my cities at size 6-7 to restrict my score; denial was the real reason I built it.
Literature showed up just before the Pyramids were built, though, so my chances at the Great Library were nil. York now took a few turns to build (with some help from cash-rushing) its aqueduct, barracks, temple, library, and colosseum. It's fun to be building a city for 20k culture while for once being able to play the rest of the game fairly normally rather than bending absolutely everything towards speeding the culture finish date.
An army of ancient cavalry is exactly what I need to knock out a couple more Prussian cities, then crazy-go-nuts pillaging on the rest. Once again, the Status of Zeus all by itself is handling this entire war for me. If the wonder said "Eliminate target civ", it'd be overpowered, right? Well, that's basically what it does.
Italy declares war?! What brought that on? Fortunately, though, I had also been building some normal military of my own, as well as stationing a couple of the Ancient Cavalry over in this direction. I don't know what Italy was trying to do, but I handled them easily enough and made peace without any major happenings.
Back over in Prussia, a second GL soon popped, and he rushed the Heroic Epic in York, after the city had just built the Forbidden Palace the normal way.
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