So my cities started constructing the basics of culture: libraries, temples, theaters. None of the three became particularly specialized on terrain improvements. Each got a mix, with farms to about +5 food surplus, then mine all the hills, and fill the rest with about six cottages per city. It felt like I should've specialized more, but really they did need to do a bit of everything: grow quickly, build wonders, and support my economy. I'd trained only about five workers total, which really wasn't enough, but everything else seemed like a higher priority.
Presently, I observed that Germany had no religion yet (Christianity went to England) and that my Rome had no allies yet. My northern city dropped whatever else it was doing and trained a pair of Confucian Missionaries to send to Germany. Bismarck predictably converted on his own after I spread Confucianism to two of his cities, so he should be in line as a pretty good friend.
I get the Great Library in 8 turns from scratch, and Rome does the National Epic as well. There's no way I'm going to have the capacity for a dedicated GP farm in this game, so Rome will do the best it can with its wonders.
Leader Two is a Prophet, which is excellent to build the Confucian shrine, at least once I'm done almost screwing up by accidentally building the Hindu shrine in my capital instead. A short time later, Leader Three was a Scientist, who with very little thought went for the Academy in Rome.
I researched Monarchy next as we needed both Hereditary Rule and wineries at Rome pretty badly. Next came Drama, though I also wanted Philosophy for Taoism. But Philosophy can still wait (nobody else has Code of Laws yet), partially because Drama would reduce its research cost. I'm not sure if this is widely known, but for a tech that has multiple optional prerequisites (as Philosophy requires Code of Laws or Drama), for each optional prerequisite you have beyond the first, you get a 20% discount on researching the tech. And as with all production modifiers in Civ 4, that's implemented not by actually reducing the item's cost, but rather by granting you a 20% bonus to beaker production (which is not shown in any of the advisor or city screens.)
I traded for Theology, and started Sistine Chapel in my northern city. Gotta spread the wonders around somewhere besides Rome. Next research was Music which I got first for the Great Artist, who would follow the first and settle in Cumae. Then finally time for Philosophy, granting me Taoism, also in Antium.
A barbarian city popped up in the south, and a pair of praetorians were dispatched to handle that.
Here's a shot of what my technology lead looks like presently. And I got the Sistine Chapel, which would be trés useful for civ-wide cultural production.
Paper came in, and I traded it to fill in some missing techs. A Great Scientist popped at the perfect time to lightbulb Education, but I decided to take the long view instead and settle him in Rome. Then I realized he should've gone for a second Academy for the culture along with the research (I'm *still* thinking of Academies too much like the Shrines...) So it's time to go for Education and then Liberalism. I was easily running 100% research at hardly any deficit thanks to the compact empire, religious shrine, and two settled Great Artists.
Oh, like anybody didn't know that.
Hey, popped one!
Anyway, Isabella, whose Buddhists hate my Confucians, comes along demanding Wines, and gets refused. War with her is only a matter of when.
You think she might know it's coming or something?
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