The way to manage commerce on this Boreal map actually wasn't much different than on normal maps. Each city had several food resources, so was able to work plenty of cottages on one-food tiles, either plains or freshwater tundra. Farming plains was tempting but ultimately unhelpful. A laborer working a farmed plain produces one single hammer and that's it. Better to cottage that tile and eventually with the right civics reap 7 commerce and an extra hammer anyway.
St Petersburg had a very nice role as my specialized military city. It would build the Heroic Epic before long - I'd gotten several 10 XP units against barbarians - and build all the military for my entire empire for the whole game.
Presently I noticed another interesting opportunity. I definitely wanted to get Civil Service soon, both for Bureaucracy at my strong villaged capital and for the chain irrigation. Lincoln was presently researching it, and I still had that settled Great Spy in my capital churning out espionage. Hold that thought a moment...
I researched to Literature for the Great Library and the Epics, and also built the Parthenon because I could and because it works well with the GL. Then Drama, since I really needed some culture slider to fix the happy cap here. I'd expected the police unit costs to dissipate as the cities grew up to size, but that didn't happen, still saddling me with as much as 20 gold per turn in unit costs. (What is the formula for free unit support anyway?)
And presently came a dramatic shift in my game plan:
Now Lincoln built the Apostolic Palace, but look who won the election! Thanks, Justinian!
So now I'm the Apostolic Palace resident, giving a hammer bonus to religious buildings. And I'm on the doorstep of researching Music. And what's the best way to register a victory condition on a low-commerce slow-teching map?
So that sets my plan: I'm going for the cultural victory. Unfortunately, Victoria beat me to the Great Artist at Music, but I went for and got the Sistine Chapel anyway, and at least got to trade Music for Machinery.
So I had slammed my espionage entirely to Lincoln, and trained a couple spies. Just after Lincoln had finished research on Civil Service, I was there at the ready to steal it. My first attempt failed, but I had a backup spy ready, who succeeded. Yet another way to slingshot Civil Service.
And Civil Service even traded to Pericles for quite a haul! And to Huayna for Feudalism to boot. That's another four for one, thanks to that settled Great Spy! I'm now on par with all the leaders technically, trailing by an odd tech or two like Construction, but nothing serious.
Since Metal Casting came fairly late for both me and the world, I went for Printing Press before Education, since the cities would be busy building forges for a while before universities.
On the wonder front, I wasn't hesitating to make use of the Industrious trait. In addition to the early Great Wall and Oracle, my capital also got the Hanging Gardens. I bid for the Mausoleum but lost it to Lincoln, but I did register both Sistine and Sankore.
These wonders also spawned Great People with time, naturally. Great Person #3 from Moscow was another Great Spy, who I'd save for a Golden Age when the time was right. GP #4 from Moscow's Great Library was a second Scientist who went for a second academy in my second culture city. GP #5 was an Engineer at low odds thanks to the Hanging Gardens in my capital, which I figured I had to save for Creative Constructions.
On the tech front, Pericles opened up a bit of a lead, getting to Engineering and Guilds ahead of everybody else. He stayed about four techs ahead for a while, with everybody else at parity for quite some time. I aimed my research squarely at the Liberalism slingshot, with Paper - Education and Philosophy.
Here's a happy little overview. For the three culture cities, Moscow and Novgorod were obvious choices as clearly my two strongest sites. The last slot took some thinking, but went to Yaroslavl', as that city has more grassland for more cottages, and a river for Levee hammer production to finish off the culture buildings later.
Of course, one can never do everything in a game of Civilization 4. I'd done a great job in the land grab and early wonder race, and followed that up with a bunch of builder techs and more wonders. My military consists of about four units in each city for police, but they're axes and archers while the world has invented macemen and approaching musketmen. And Victoria didn't miss that cue.
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