So after moving my military units, here's the lay of the 4000 BC land:
Wow, there's about a million different options already. (Lots of those resources were clearly edited in. Marble doesn't come on grassland. Sugar doesn't come in forests. That combination makes for a 3F 1H tile, which is stronger than you're supposed to get before a worker.)
Well, the leading option seems to be 1N of the start. Moving north doesn't lose any important resources (incense is junk), grabs four strong food resources and two weak ones, plus coastal access and gems for commerce. I don't agree with that blue circle; picking up spices is not close to worth losing gems and wheat. I'm a bit worried that moving north loses some hammer tiles for the Pyramids, but there's still three hills, two plains forests, and marble from that location.
Research to Hunting first, because the strongest tile is actually the deer forest, 4F 2H once improved. Also I like Hunting early to scout with, well, scouts.
A hut east of the start popped Sailing! Not the greatest tech, but certainly welcome.
I wasn't sure what to put hammers into after the starting worker. Usually I'd do a warrior or scout, but the warrior isn't possible here and a scout is unnecessary with the Machine Guns handling that job. Work Boat seemed like the productive option.
Those scouting units quickly revealed how crowded this map is. Looks like we have ten civs total, on a Small-size pangaea. Now, my strategy for the land grab has become a bit canned lately. Worker first, then scouts and warriors while growing to the happy cap, then settlers. But here we have to change that a bit. With this crowded map, there could be absolutely no time lost in land grabbing, and Rome started a settler right now at size 3. To help with settler production, my worker's second job was to mine the gems.
The settler came out on turn 34, and Rome started right in on another.
And here's my city:
It secured stone and gold in first-ring, plus two food bonuses available immediately. (The longer-term resources of spices and pigs and sugar are hardly even on my radar right now. Yeah, these packed-in resources are crazy, obviously done to ensure that each corporation would have ample supply chains.) Antium had to build a worker first; Rome was going to be too busy on settlers for too long.
I researched all the first-level worker techs, then Masonry to quarry the wonder resources, then to Priesthood to start the Oracle in Antium. Then Bronze Working, which can wait for last on the Metal Casting slingshot plan. As always, you can't do everything at once, something has to give. In this case, it was military units. I parked the two machine guns in my two cities (later moving Rome's to the third city), and trusted them for defense. I built no military units at all until after 1 AD.
Cumae, my third city, disappointed me slightly in its location. I wanted more resources, but Greece had gotten Sparta there first and I had to concede the cow, corn, and ivory.
But now Cumae pulled a very unusual move: it built a SETTLER right off the bat. With the 3H forest hill right next to it, it could make 4H/turn, boosted to 6 by the Imperialistic trait. I thought that this city could build my fifth settler quickly enough to claim some more land while Rome started on the Pyramids.
Guess I'm doing OK on the land grab. And check out the dichotomy in that screenshot: I'm in last place on the score graph despite being the largest civ!
On the next turn, Gandhi popped up offering me a tech trade. This is 1920 BC. Holy crap, how did he get Alphabet already - must have popped it from a hut! Possibly Writing too - how often does the AI skip two first-level worker techs in favor of Writing? Well, I took Writing in that trade, and signed Open Borders all around.
Also, I notice that the Open Borders gave me not one but two trade routes per city. Heh, thanks Corporation tech. :) That's actually a considerable boost - more cities will return profit almost immediately rather than crashing the economy.
Rome trained my settler for city #4 which went in the northeast area, then built its granary while Antium's worker quarried the stone, then started on the Pyramids. Antium started right on the Oracle as soon as its worker was done.
At this time of gameplay, with the land grab nearly exhausted, the most pressing priority is usually the happy cap, demanding a beeline to Monarchy or Calendar or Drama depending on the situation and resources available. But not this game: we've got lots of happy headroom with gold and gems and a religion and Repyrsentation coming. After Bronze Working, the next research goal had to be Aesthetics to get started on Shwedagon Paya as soon as the Oracle was done. (That early Writing trade helped a LOT towards my corporation plan!)
Problem: stupid India stole my Pyramid-building Stone! Solution: chop that Oracle like crazy and rely on its culture to take it back! Anyway, while the Stone was offline for a few turns, Rome (now grown to size 6) risked pausing the Pyramids to put out one more settler.
Yes, I mentioned a religion. Gandhi had founded Hinduism and spread it to me, and Elizabeth came asking for the conversion. I'd intended to convert on my own once the Oracle was secure, but this forced the issue with still two turns left on the wonder. I still got it, though.
Great, that's part 1 of my carefully choreographed opening. (Oh, it's tempting to take Superconductors, but I think I gotta pass on that. :) )
Also, Aesthetics came in that very same turn, in perfect timing for Antium to begin Shwedagon Paya as well. My workers had been busy, and the gold was hooked up and ready to go.
And Rome paused its Pyramids yet again to build a Forge. I'd originally intended to whip it, but now realized that with our Industrious trait, it'll get built quickly enough anyway. Also, we have gold and gems so the Forge is going to push the happy cap by two more (to 10!), and Rome needs all the growth it can get.
City five - the settler that Cumae trained from its day one - came in the south at a clump of resources. This city would be building work boats for an extremely long time, and would later build Moai Statues.
City six came to fill the space between Ravenna and Rome, locking down my ivory and copper, with extra gems and wheat. Arretium decided to try the same trick Cumae did, build a settler from scratch on turn one.
City seven, my last one, came from that settler from Arretium, eventually speeded three turns by a forest chop. That timing proved perfect, as that settler reached the last remaining jungle area ONE TURN ahead of a settler pair from Lincoln. (BTW, I think that the Machine Guns and lack of barbarians tripped up the AI's expansionism more than a bit and let me get ahead. The AIs don't like sending settlers unescorted, while literally every one of mine went so.)
England demanded Aesthetics from me, and risky as it was for the wonders, I needed all the diplomacy I could get with my military-negligent opening. I then cashed out Aesthetics in trade for Alphabet (they're the same cost so I also bundled Priesthood with it) and Iron Working and later Mathematics. Antium, my wonder city, turned out to have iron right next to it! Peter also demanded Aesthetics a few turns later, and I paid him too. Not bad, four-for-one plus two diplomatic payoffs from one tech researched. (Yes, that early Alphabet pop by India is still drastically speeding my early game.)
After Aesthetics, the final piece of my research puzzle was Code of Laws to enable Caste System. That tech landed on turn 81, 850 BC. Someone else had grabbed Confucianism just a couple turns ahead of me, but that was fine. India, Greece, and England had all adopted Hinduism, quite a happy little religious alliance.
Rome's Big Triangular Cube finally achieved completion, and that's Phase Two complete. Rome's next job was to build a Hindu Monastery so it could spread missionaries. Pacifism does require a religion to work, and of course you can't run Org Rel and Pacifism at the same time.
As Shwedagon Paya neared completion... Civilization crashed. That was almost literally physically painful, slapping me out of total immersion and concentration. This is by far the most careful and deliberate opening I have ever played in this game. I've played the opening to this point in one continuous session, spanning from about 6 PM after work, to 10 PM now. And I'm not done yet.
And Phase Three is complete! Let the Great People flow!
Uh oh, there's a problem there. Peter had birthed a Great Scientist, capable of founding Standard Ethanol, and a couple turns later he did so.
Nuts. Ethanol wasn't in my own plans for before 1 AD, but I had still hoped to get it eventually. I should've realized that it would be the first corporation to fall to the AIs, because the scientist is the first specialist to which they'll get access, via the library. Also, isn't Peter Philosophical? Yes, he is. In fact, only now did I notice that EVERY AI in this game is Philosophical! An interesting call by the game sponsor - there'd be no corporations for a player who dragged his butt too much!
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