I'd like to decide here on the first turn whether we're going for culture. We start with Mysticism and a river, so we can go for the early religion game if we want culture. But ultimately I decide that that'd stunt our early growth too much. This is a slow start to begin with, because we don't have any food resources available until Animal Husbandry. Also, we might want to avoid founding early religions, in hopes that our continentmates will found one that we can share to make sure we stay on their good side.
So, research set to Hunting first. It's a shorter path than Agriculture to Animal Husbandry, and also I expect we will indeed need Archery soon against barbarians. First build order is a warrior; he'd finish as the city reached size 2, at the perfect time to order up a worker that'd finish along with Animal Husbandry.
My warrior naturally moved SE onto the hill, and spied a hut that he reached two turns later:
Not the best choice of tech, but certainly not complainable.
And Buddhism falls at the insane date of 3760 BC. Well, good thing we didn't try that. Was it a hut pop? Or can a team of civs really research that quickly? Hinduism also went early, in 3200-something BC.
Warrior #1 died to a lousy bear while the worker was trained, so next I built two scouts to continue exploring. Animal Husbandry revealed horses in Mecca's third ring, which meant we didn't need to worry about Archery for barb defense. Next research was Mining on the way to Masonry, as I want to have that latter come in just as Mecca's border expands to the stone.
Warrior #2 contacted Alexander and Catherine soon. Neither of them had gotten Buddhism or Hinduism, so we've still got some work to do if we want to share a religion with them.
1000 years in, here's the lay of the land:
It's time to pick whether to go after any early wonders. The choices are Stonehenge, Oracle, or Pyramids. I felt I likely couldn't land the Oracle: the religious AI civs must be farther along that tech path, and we didn't have Marble reachable soon enough. But the other two were tempting, since we'd have Stone quite soon.
Stonehenge, in addition to its free border pops, would get us a quick Great Prophet. We could avoid Masonry to have the Prophet pop Code of Laws or Civil Service, but that'd mean we wouldn't actually have the stone to build it. If we took the stone, then the Prophet could only pop religious techs.
The Pyramids, in addition to the early Representation (very nice with the tight happy cap on Monarch and with the specialist-encouraging Philosophical civ), would get us a quick Great Engineer, who could land another free wonder as the Parthenon or Great Library.
I finally decided that the Pyramids were just too strong to skip. The clincher was the Philosophical civ trait, which meant we'd likely get at least two Great Engineers out of the wonder and hopefully more, and Philosophical also bears great synergy with the Great Library.
City Two came here, in 2480 BC:
It seemed the strongest site nearby, with the corn and two flood plains. I hadn't gotten Bronze Working yet, so there was no copper to reach for. It built a worker first since improving that corn is priority one over here.
Mecca build a second worker while waiting for the border to expand for the stone. Both its workers pre-roaded the stone tile and quarried it ASAP as construction of the Pyramids started. Meanwhile, I filled in some techs: Pottery, Agriculture, Bronze Working. Writing next, as we need to make our way up towards the Great Library. Medina's first build after the worker was a granary, with an odd warrior or two mixed in.
And I got the Pyramids, and of course revolted immediately to Representation.
Confucianism was founded elsewhere on that date, and after closing the Pyramids popup, the game revealed that the Oracle was just built in a distant land. (Sometimes the order that the interturn popups and notifications stack up is a bit screwy.) So some AI grabbed the Code of Laws slingshot with the Oracle.
Mecca and Medina both started putting out settlers presently.
Baghdad was city number three (I think), there to grab the copper, and there's also corn just offscreen to the east. Baghdad was already slated as my high-shield National Epic military site. The location of Damascus I agonized over for a bit, but eventually decided on that spot, on the fresh water with two food resources and an outside shot of claiming the clams. It'd have jack-all for hammers, but that's what the whip is for.
Also, we had Horses in Mecca's third ring, so one of the workers pastured that up. While the Pyramids went up, Medina built chariots to fend off the barbarian warriors and archers, which surely were numerous but posed no real threat. The stone tile got pillaged once, after the Pyramids were done, so I let it sit idle for a bit. This picture also shows how the workers were prioritizing roads, both to speed the new settlers and to make sure my handful of chariots could play effective zone defense against the barbarians.
Building the Pyramids did set me back on the land-grab a fair bit. Russia had already settled two cities at first and second ring from my capital, and by the variant rules, we can't capture anything back from them. Well, the only thing to do is continue building settlers as fast as possible. One settler went to this general area:
I couldn't make up my mind exactly where to settle, though, and neither could the game. Yes, that's very helpful there Sid, suggesting no fewer than five different sites in the same area. Ultimately I felt the best spot was one NE of where the settler currently is. OK, it misses the oasis tile, but that's really hardly a premium tile. The final spot did overlap with Baghdad a lot, but four of the overlap was water that my military city would never work anyway, one was junk desert, and the last was a food bonus which is the best kind of tile to share. Finally, that location did not at all need an immediate obelisk, so it started right on the granary.
With all that expanding, my reach did outextend my military grasp by a bit. (I apologize for the silly editorials; this was quite late at night ) ...
A barbarian axeman suddenly showed up by my southernmost city, and the only unit I had in Najran was an unpromoted chariot, which doesn't stand up to an axeman. Najran wasn't connected by road or water yet (no Sailing), and I hadn't researched Archery, so the only unit it could whip was a warrior. But fortunately, Medina had on hand a Combat 1 chariot with a promotion available; it took Shock and thanks to those roads, got to Najran _just_ in time to avert disaster.
And my research beelined to Literature through Alphabet, with Polytheism being required as well. Literature finished a few turns after the Pyramids' Great Engineer spawned, which led to this:
I chose Medina for the Great Library rather than the capital. Now, the Great Library goes in lockstep with the National Epic for massive Great Person synergy, and the National Epic goes with the Globe Theater as well. I felt Medina would serve better as my major specialist and Great Person home while my capital focused on classic economy. This also kept the Great Person gene pools in each city pure; I'd likely get at least one more Engineer out of the capital some time later, and could rely on Scientists out of Medina for the near future too.
Now, with the Great Library there, my next GP was guaranteed to be a Scientist in Medina. Since the first five religions had all fallen to civs we hadn't contacted, I *really* wanted to lightbulb Philosophy, to establish a religion for all of us to share on this continent. To do that, I had to knock Mathematics out of the tech priority list by researching it, and also had to research Drama to get to Philosophy itself. Mathematics was useful anyway, but Drama was a bit of a gambit this early. How often do you get to Philosophy via the Drama route rather than Code of Laws?
But the gambit paid off, and I founded Taoism.
Since we're Spiritual and hadn't gotten any other religious civics yet, we might as well just revolt on to Pacifism. How's this for an early Great Person producer?
In fact, I'd have another Scientist in only another 4 turns. What might he lightbulb? Sailing, then Calendar. Bleah. Guess he'll go for the Academy in Medina (which thanks to the Great Library was producing more beakers than Mecca.) The third leader, my second scientist, would come very quickly after and would do the same in Mecca.
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