And now it was time for a crossroads. ¿Cuál es su plan? Well, a diplomatic win wouldn't be anywhere near reliable enough, as the fallback of space would be way too late to score well. So do I go for domination or culture? Military's going to be even harder than I thought. There's definitely no way I'm ever going to have a tech advantage over my off-continent rivals. And on Monarch difficulty, they've got plenty of production to keep up with me. The only chance for military is the Sirian Doctrine, which when racing against space is certainly iffy.
But culture certainly presents its own problems. I've only got access to one religion. And what three sites do I use? Mecca and Medina are certainly very strong, but the third is going to have to be Najran. Damascus has virtually zero shields, Baghdad is needed as my military factory, Kufah is an awkward fishing town, and Basra's got some mediocre terrain. (BTW, there's two food resources plus Horses in Najran's fat cross. The game doesn't show resource indicators in the space where the interface would be, even if it's turned off.)
Well, since I'm a builder at heart, I'm goin' for culture.
I now shelved Metal Casting in favor of Music in hopes for the Great Artist. Which I did get first, and he settled in Najran. Natural leader five came as an Artist from Medina, at something like 2% odds from a single artist specialist the game had just stupidly auto-assigned. Well, thanks! For the cultural victory, that's fine by me. Better to be lucky. He joined the first artist in Najran.
The picture above shows Mecca building the Hanging Gardens. It's a natural wonder for the cultural game plan. Legendary cities-to-be get so much religious stuff that happiness is rarely a problem, and health is a much more limiting factor. Also, its Great Engineer points would dovetail nicely with the Pyramids already in the city. In fact, I played around with the specialist assignments in Mecca and Medina to make sure the next leader (#6) would come from Mecca, and thus an Engineer at 90%+ odds. He was, and I timed my research to Theology to complete just in time for him to rush the Sistine Chapel. The Chapel went in Medina too because it would contribute to that city's developing Great Artist pool, along with the National Epic and soon Globe Theater.
Man, there sure are an amazing number of puzzle pieces to fit together when developing a game plan in this game.
One puzzle piece that I was mostly ignoring was the AIs. A team of three leaders had shown up and made contact, but there wasn't much to do with them. They were all several techs ahead of me, but I knew I was probably several ahead of them as well, having lightbulbed Philosophy and with a very good research economy from the Representation-powered Great Library. Just like in Civ 3, the most pervasively productive ancient wonder is the Pyramids. Not just for its own effect, but also because the guaranteed Great Engineer will usually get you the Great Library for free as well, and the synergy between the two wonders is astounding.
Back to the AIs. I desperately craved solid diplomatic relations with my on-continent peers Catherine and Alexander. I did what I could in signing Open Borders and gifting some spare resources. But they'd picked up some Buddhism from somewhere and wouldn't share it with me, while I was stuck with my own Taoism. All I could do was hope they'd continue to look the other way.
Leader Seven out of Medina a short time later was another Scientist; I held onto him to lightbulb Education after I got around to Paper. (Better to get full 1500+ lightbulb credit towards a tech than only ~800 on Paper.) But more important than that branch at the moment was Divine Right to gamble on Islam, since I *really* needed a second religion for culture.
And after this Leader, I decided to swap out of Pacifism. Medina needed to grow a few sizes now so it wouldn't be running specialists, and also it was already at +200% from civics and National Epic so adding more to that was hardly necessary. I went to good old Organized Religion, along with Bureaucracy. In addition to the building bonus, I also needed to spread Taoist missionaries to try and lock in some friends.
Round about 740 AD, lots of stuff was happening.
First, I'd rushed the Sistine Chapel. But more importantly, my Taoist missionaries had done their job in getting Catherine to convert to my religion. And perhaps even more importantly than that, the team had declared war on Catherine. That had the potential to reshape the global landscape significantly, but didn't. Catherine lost one off-continent city to India, then made peace.
Here's another overview shot:
My score was outpacing each of the AIs handily, even on Monarch difficulty. I guess I'm just that good at the builder game.
I'd just founded that city in the north, Khurasan. All of that tundra was really barren for food, except for that one location. Since that spot had coastal access, it could get 3 food from the lake tiles. That plus the crab made for plenty of food in the city (it'd reach size 15 by the end of the game.) So that city would be more than self-supporting on economy, and it'd provide me some very important Silver and less important but still helpful crabs.
The cultural cities were doing their usual deal of temples and cathedrals, though the only cathedrals I had access to just yet were two Taoist ones. Nine cities are of course required to build all three cathedrals for a particular religion. I only had eight, but couldn't find a spot worthwhile to build a ninth.
That's OK, though, since that city of Orenburg that Russia had built there was surely cultural dead meat. The thing is three tiles away from my Legendary-to-be city; the inevitable flip will give me my ninth city.
However, I got another chance at a ninth city, in shorter order:
That barbarian city popped up with three archers on defense, so I sent out a squadron of axemen to go take it. Unfortunately, it was insufficient. I'd gotten spoiled by my experience in Epics 5 and 6 where my axemen got to train up on random units before being called on for heavy city combat. These axemen were fresh out of the barracks and bereft of tackling dummies. A City Raider 2 axeman has the advantage over a fortified archer, but a CR1 axeman does not.
Anyway, my gambit on Divine Right works, and I get Islam. Unfortunately, it picked Damascus, which was doubly bad. First, this one isn't one of my cultural cities. But more importantly, Damascus was one of my few remaining religionless cities, thus still with a chance for a foreign religion to spread in, but the arrival of Islam blew that. Well, at least Islam gives me a second set of temples and cathedrals to start building now.
And my Taoist missionaries did their job over in Greece as well, leading him to convert on his own. I don't own the Taoist shrine, and probably never will as I've got no sources of Great Prophets, but I'm still going out of my way to spread the religion.The three civs on my continent aren't officially united as a team, but I've done the best I can to fake it.
Education, assisted by a lightbulb, came in 1140 AD. A pack of monkeys could've told you Liberalism would be next. Leader Eight was my fifth Scientist. The lightbulb choices were unappealing, on the Calendar-Optics path. I didn't need my third Academy yet as Najran was still pretty pathetic in the commerce department. So he settled in Mecca, choosing that city since it was slated for Oxford. That sped Liberalism by a turn, and the slingshot grabbed Nationalism.
I do wish the Liberalism slingshot had a few more real choices. Three times out of four I take Nationalism with it. Nationalism is always immediately available (nobody in their right mind gets to Liberalism without Civil Service), is always more expensive than any other available tech at that moment unless you beeline Astronomy, and presents just as much immediate benefit (Taj Mahal and Nationhood for military emergencies) as any other nearby tech. The rare times I don't take Nationalism, it's Printing Press for economy, and maybe the odd Astronomy on a map that calls for it with a proper beeline set up.
So besides the rare Nationalism alternatives of PP or Astronomy, there really isn't anything else worth taking with Liberalism. There isn't any economic flashpoint tech in the area like Civil Service or Republic (C3C); PP is only a mild help, and this slingshot can't wait long enough for Democracy or Biology. And there's no military slingshot worth taking either; Gunpowder and Chemistry are comparatively cheap, and Rifling and Steel come too late. Military Tradition might be doable and worth it, but you'd better be _extremely_ sure that your cavalry will get their job done before riflemen (or even too many City Garrison grenadiers; cavalry can't get City Raider.)
Liberalism to Nationalism isn't quite the automatic Theory of Evolution to Atomic Theory and Electronics, or Philosophy to Republic in C3C, but it's still more deterministic than I'd like.
Anyway, I also get another important note this turn: Buddhism spread to my tundra backwater, giving me access to a third religion.
And I finally captured Harappan. Most of the work was actually done by a single CR2 axeman, who kept killing one archer and then leaving the city's radius to heal under the cover of a C3 chariot. After three glacially slow rounds of that, the city was down to a single defender -- but then it got upgraded to a longbowman. My CR2 axe made a valiant attack at 7% odds, and lost, but dealt enough damage that the chariot was able to clean it up.
Also, I'd researched Calendar just before in order to get those dyes connected (remember I've built Theaters everywhere.)
While that was going on, Najran had a break between cathedrals, so it went for the Spiral Minaret for a nice shot of culture and cash. It got Hermitage next, since Medina's national wonder slots had Epic + Globe, and the capital's national wonder slots were reserved for Oxford and either Iron Works or Wall Street.
Leader Nine was my third Artist. At 14 + 250% = 49 culture/turn, settling him would still pay off more than a Great Work before the end of the game. He went to Najran like the first two GAs, since that city would have the weakest production from wonders and cottages, but would have the highest culture multiplier thanks to the Hermitage.
The 4-civ team circumnavigated the globe; I hadn't tried at all since I knew I there was no chance against the combined maps of four civs. But more importantly, I also built the Taj Mahal, in Medina to boost the city's Great Artist chances further. Here's an overview shot of the Golden Age.
Index | Next