In the Industrial Age, I researched Steam Power, Medicine, Sanitation, Industrialization, Electricity, Replaceable Parts. I parked two infantry and an artillery in each city, and by now it was obvious that I would win. The first leader rushed Madrid's factory as soon as I got the tech, and I shortly popped another that I held onto.
And I did have coal nearby, just outside my borders. I colonized the northern one long enough to get my territory fully railroaded before that Japanese city expanded to claim it, and spread out my workers one per square just in case I lost it early.
With hospitals built and my cities growing, I actually realized that I must have had war weariness in my cities for quite some time and never thought to actually check on that. Korea was now thoroughly gutted - they still lacked Polytheism and weren't even in the middle ages! - so I relented and made peace with them in 1415 AD.
I decided *not* to build Universal Suffrage, because its benefit would be inconsequential to me, and it was actually useful to have available as an 800-shield prebuild item. I did build Bach's Cathedral very quickly with 80-shield-per-turn Barcelona after somebody researched Music Theory.
The Byzantines researched Printing Press -- and still didn't even have contact with the rest of the world! I swapped Chemistry at monopoly to them for it, then resold PP for cash thrice including a monopoly sale.
Here's Madrid maxed out on size and commerce production:
HOPELESS? I'm ahead by half an age and you call me hopeless?!
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