After seeing this layout, I really wish I had gone for that Great Artist plan. Blowing London out of the game early, with no other civs within a thousand miles, would've left unbelievable gobs of land to grab -- with an Imperialistic civ to boot.
In fact, I must wonder if the map and game concept were specifically designed for that plan. In the game info page, the description for the Great Artist bears that telltale note: "weakest, or is he?" The starting position relative to London was just about perfect, able to reach the three-tile distance within four turns. And the culture aggression location was a good site in its own right with two food resources and flood plains. And the approach direction is even right to steal London's food resource to cripple the city.
Back to reality, Isabella founded Christianity (with one of the early techs), and spread it to every one of my cities. Good enough, says I, especially after she researched Theology so I could be pretty sure Christianity would become the AP religion.
I went for the Hanging Gardens, but somehow got beat to it! That's unusual - the AIs don't know to prioritize the aqueduct so they usually build it fairly late. This was my fault, though; Aachen procrastinated by building two or three workers even after I had Mathematics.
In the opponents department, this game is turning out to be the exact opposite of the original Simple Life game and exactly what the Simple Life should have been. We've got quite a roster of builder-ish civs here, with two Financial neighbors in Elizabeth and Mansa. Isabella and Augustus are just medium aggressors, too.Seeing this roster, I did decide to go for a sixth city to solidify a lead in the research race. It went in the west, claiming a location with 18 good tiles, capability for 15 towns.
After losing a race to one barbarian city, I did reach and raze a second. Building three swordsmen was worthwhile enough, since they could stick around as garrison defenders forever. And here's a neat shortcut to save two builds: capture two barb workers.
So at the moment, my cities were mostly building religious buildings. Thanks to all the enhancers, both monasteries and temples pack a great deal of power into a single built item: AP hammers, Sankore science, and Sistine culture, on top of the buildings' base effects. Sistine in particular would help greatly in winning border wars, since I'm not at liberty to build weak cultural junk like theaters and extra monasteries.
So after a trip to Civil Service and revolt to Bur/Org Rel, I headed up to Music, getting it first. Unfortunately the free Great Artist does count as a built item. Well, his best use towards space is clearly a Golden Age, but now is not the time. My cities are growing fast (which is a bad time - wait until they're working more tiles), and I'll wait until I need a civics change (Free Speech and an economics civic).
And of course, wonders pack the most power of all into a single build. I kept building Sistine, Sankore, Taj Mahal, and Notre Dame. That last was Great Engineered in a city that needed some border power. I got somewhat lucky with the Engineer spawning from my capital at 20% odds, though not entirely so -- pretty much all of my first five GPs had that 20% Engineer chance so it paid off once as expected. Taj Mahal also went in a side city, both because I was getting worried about Great Artist points at the capital, and to save the capital to start on Statue of Liberty.
Let's check in on the build count in 1000 AD.
72 builds total so far, already more than halfway to my best-case goal of 133 builds. That's 11 military units, 20 utility units, 36 buildings, 5 wonders. Under 133 might still be possible, but it's quite tight - remember that the spaceship itself is 17 builds including Apollo. Under 150 would be a nice benchmark, exactly half of the actual Simple Life result.
Each city got granary, library, temple, forge, rathaus (except the capital), monastery, university. That was pretty much all I built. Too weak to spend a build slot were markets, theaters, colosseums, cathedrals, any non-Christian religious buildings, and stables. Oxford University came and went in Vienna as my highest town count.
And while we're looking at statistics, let's check out the GNP race. Even though a fraction of that is cheapo Sistine culture, it's a sizable lead.
I beelined Democracy, using the Liberalism slingshot to land the tech itself. With so much jungle and a subpar worker labor force (11, less than two per city), many cottages were still just cottages and hamlets. Emancipation, that's your cue. And of course the Statue of Liberty packs just about the most power possible for a single build item, especially with Representation synergy.
Isabella had been spreading her Christianity like mad, and got everybody in the world to adopt it, except Islamic Mansa and Shwedagon-freed Rome. Elizabeth converted with a little payoff from me. Religious friendship across the planet; now this Life is nice and Simple indeed.
And Mansa Musa doesn't have Theology. The Apostolic Palace dang well BETTER be Christian. :)
@#%$! He didn't even GET Theology until five turns ago! (After finishing, I reloaded a contemporary save to see WTF happened here. Mansa's 4-hill Bureaucratic capital knocked out the wonder in 10 turns at 40 hammers. Isabella got stuck building it in a marginal city at 12 hpt, which must have been going at it forever.) Well, that's annoying, losing out on 4 hammers per city, but not game breaking. It would turn out that the AP would never even vote on a single resolution all game other than Mansa re-elections.
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