Time for a State of the Game report (some of this happened a bit later, I don't remember the exact order):
This game is a three-horse race: me, America, and Babylon. England is hopelessly behind. Babylon got the Pyramids. Iroquois and India are both smaller than the big three but sometimes research something useful. The Iroquois would get the Great Library, so even though they are a small civ, they got to keep up on tech and occasinally researched something themselves to keep the group tech pool speeding along.
We've been at peace with Babylon for a while, and it looks unlikely we'll go to war anytime soon. So we'll have to build the FP the old-fashioned way. I decide on a spot on the large island. It should be close enough to Paris to pull in three shields at size 6 so the FP can be built reasonably quickly. Also, it's reasonably close enough to Babylon's core to support that, if we ever do go to war and conquer them.
Meanwhile, barb huts keep popping up all over the SW tundra region, keeping the swordsman I have there busy. I should have sent one more settler into this area, but I was busy sending them all to the western islands. Eventually, India would found three (!) cities down here, including one blocking the narrow isthmus. I hope that doesn't count as baiting the AI, to leave some land unsettled where it will plunk down cities that are inevitable culture flips?
I have all the local lux: Incense near Lyons, Ivory at Orleans, Furs by Paris, Wines to the SW by Besancon (not yet connected), Silks by Marseilles, Dyes by Avignon to the SE. Couldn't get to the northern Gems before Babylon blocked me.
290 BC: We get the Colossus in Tours (which is on the river SW of Paris). It's probably not all that useful, but I wanted to help kill the wonder cascade. It's Tours' first culture building. I've skipped Temples in most of the central cities -- they really aren't very useful to build for non-religious civs. Libraries are better to get culture going.
Sometime around 0 AD, I start prebuilding a wonder (hopefully Leo's) in Paris, and slightly thereafter more (hopefully Bach's or Sun Tzu's) in Tours and Chartres (which is SSE of Paris.)
250 AD: I decide to pillage the iron so that I can build horsemen, to save for later upgrade to cavalry. Orleans, Lyons, and Rheims are my only cities with barracks. They start cranking military and do so right up until Factory building time. Rheims can build a horseman every other turn.
260: I finally connect the wines by Besancon. I now have six lux, and that means a Marketplace will cover all of a city's happiness needs up to size 12. Ur builds Sistine Chapel, that's fine with me. I want Bach's, which provides 2/3 of the benefit for 160 fewer shields per city.
270: Buy Gunpowder from India for 400. Sell Gunpowder, Silks, Incense, WM, 400 gold to Babylon for Astronomy. Sell Astronomy back to India for the 400 gold. Babylon is by far the tech leader in this game, and is charging me over the nose and through a barrel for every bit of it.
I'm an idiot and had botched settling that western island rather badly.
Cherbourg was founded as the FP site to start building it immediately, while Amiens builds a harbor to get the lux supply online to the island. I would disband Amiens now to move it, but get this: If Amiens moves, that cattle tile falls outside my cultural borders, and I don't want Cherbourg to waste time building anything like a cultural building before the FP. So Amiens stays put for now, but yields the cattle tile to Cherbourg. Here's how the island looked when Cherbourg reached its steady-state at size 6, producing six shields per turn.
Also, I should've rushed a courthouse in Cherbourg first. I'll do it now anyway, which should net the FP faster overall.
Eventually, as the FP comes closer to finishing, I disband cities on the island (always by building a settler, never by Abandon City) and refound in a better location. I wind up with six cities total there, not a bad second core. They aren't all going to generate a ton of shields (especially since they won't have Hoover's benefit), but they will be excellent for commerce.
Here's how the island looked a bit after the FP finished. Notice my HUGE military presence there of one warrior and one spearman. Brest could have been one square NE but I was worried about culture overlap from Babylon's city.
300: Everybody's building Sun Tzu's and Leo's. Hopefully both will be done before anyone gets Music Theory.
310: Research Printing Press on our own. (Had it on min research for about 20 turns, then cranked it up to get it in 4.) Trade it to accumulate all 8 lux. Lots of WLTSD!
340: Cherbourg reaches steady-state at size 6, generating 6 shields, FP in 28 turns. Go Go Go!
440: Washington builds Sun Tzu. But Paris gets Leonardo's!
450: Tours gets Copernicus. DIE CASCADE DIE! Start a Palace to prebuild for another wonder, hopefully Newton's.
470: The only wonders still being built are two instances of Magellan's, both started recently. Chartres will finish Bach's in 13, way sooner than anyone can build it from scratch. So, I can trade around Music Theory, getting Chemistry from Babylon.
480: Babylon demands tribute. Hrmmmm.... Yeah, I'm ready for war, got about 10 horsemen to upgrade to knights. Bring it on!
But they don't declare war.
580: Chartres builds JS Bach's Cathedral. Excellent. Also starts another wonder.
610: I research Military Tradition. Upgrade everything to Cavalry and shut off the research. C'mon Babylon, demand tribute. I dare ya. I'm ITCHING for a fight now.
640 AD: Forbidden Palace finishes in Cherbourg. Income goes from 202 to 274 gpt!
730: The wonder picture is becoming clearer. Switch Paris to Adam Smith's, Tours to Newton's, and Chartres to Shakespeare's as placeholder for ToE.
740: Buy Magnetism for 660, and we're in the Industrial Age. Stoke Research to 80% on Steam Power, due in 6 turns.
Hammi wants 102 gpt for his free Nationalism tech! Uh, NOT. Doh! Now he'll have Riflemen to hold off cavalry, if he ever does get around to declaring war.
790: Start Palace placeholder in Rheims. This one will probably be Smith's, while Paris's will be Hoover.
850: Babylonians build Newton and Shakespeare simultaneously! Ugh. We have four wonder builders and only three wonders to switch to. Let's use the trick of switching to Wealth and cancelling it to see exactly how many shields each city has.
Rhiems has 189 shields.
Chartres has 402.
Tours has 236.
Paris has 278.
Industrialization is due in two. Rhiems can switch to University without a loss. Plus I can take tiles out of production to not finish that until after Indust, so it can switch to a Factory.
Leaves me one wonder short if I want all of Smith's, Wall Street, ToE, and Hoover, though. Which one can wait? Wall Street.
This is a puzzle.
One has to switch to Wall Street, and the only city that won't complete Wall Street immediately is Tours. It'll take 3 turns there, long enough to switch it to Suffrage as placeholder for Hoover. Chartres has to switch to Palace placeholder for ToE, and Paris has to be Smith's, then. If somebody else gets Smith's within 13 (unlikely), Paris will have to drop to Wall Street and take the loss.
Chartres is due for Palace (actually ToE) in 20. Tours due for Suffrage (actually Hoover) in 23. Paris due for Smith's (actually Smith's) in 11. Rhiems will finish a Factory next turn, then build Wall Street.
India demands Coal! Hah. They don't declare war, though.
Hmm... That's a lot of Longbowmen that Babylon is moving up to my border...Continue...