And enough has changed to warrant another overview. So here's my seven cities. Time to select the third legendary. I wanted it to be Alexandria, to use the legendary culture to control this central area, but the city just isn't strong enough. Giza and Pi-Ramesses both have several more cottages and two hammer resources.
So it's a tossup between Giza and Pi, and I picked Giza, because it does have slightly better terrain, and more neighborhood to control with the culture. And my first Great Engineer is going to get this city started, by whacking down the Parthenon right here.
Memphis is doing the Statue of Zeus purely for the culture value and Great Artist points. It's so cheap with ivory and I built the obelisks anyway. (This was my first game in a while where popping borders was an actual task. In about my last five games in a row, I've either been Creative or built Stonehenge or jumped to Caste System artists early.)
It's going against every instinct, but I must force myself to LEAVE MYCENIAN ALONE. I WANT that barbarian city to stay there. It's no threat to me, with an archer and axeman parked next to it on 75% defense tiles. But it's a brick wall to block AI settlement, essentially controlling territory for me by proxy, and in the long run I'll have the culture strength to secure the dyes for myself. So that's a way to mildly circumvent the seven-city limit - keep a barbarian city around to hold land. :)
The other barbarian city to the west is fair game. Giza could easily wipe it out by flip, but instead I sent a sword to use it for Heroic Epic target practice.
Two wars broke out, involving everybody except Sitting Bull. Fine with me!
In medieval news, I finally got access to a religion! It took forever, but Victoria actually sent me a Jewish missionary. Would I like to share a religion with three leaders including my highly aggressive neighboYES REVOLT NOW!
In economic news, I'm running probably the most thorough specialist economy that I ever have. Yes, that's a 5 turn research rate at 10% science. With gobs of food and Repyresentation, but the cities still constrained by the happy cap, a bunch of scientists more or less just hired themselves.
Thanks to those scientists, Great Persons #2 and #3 both spawned as scientists, and academies in the top two cities were obvious. I intentionally passed on the Great Library, since scientists drop quickly in value after the key academies, and artists are now needed for the culture win.
I risked pausing Music to knock out Meditation and Priesthood to build the Jewish buildings. Getting them done now, at 700 AD, qualifies the Sistine bonus to double at the time slowdown at 1700 AD. Plus I just need SOMETHING to build! I've built several WALLS just for lack of anything else. Not yet available are courthouses, forges, markets, theaters.
I did get Music first, at the late date of 880 AD, and chopped out the Sistine Chapel at the capital. The free artist settled in Giza. (FIVE Great People worldwide in a single turn?)
I'm still stuck at 10% research, and I honestly can't figure out why. By now, I haven't overexpanded - 7 cities on a large map should be par or even under by 900 AD. I haven't neglected cottages, with several villages per city developed by now. I do lack courthouses, but my top city maintenance is still only 8/turn. Thanks to all the scientist specialists, I'm virtually at about 50% research and my science rate isn't suffering, but that slider is still curious. Maybe the problem is the unit costs, but 15/turn isn't out of line, and would only account for another 10% research anyway.
I guess we need just a bit of everything to solve this. Yet more cottages (now on plains too), finally the Currency trade route, then courthouses, and in a little while Bureaucracy. Plus I made an intentional miss bid on Shwed Paya with an idle city, with the resource and industrious bonuses, netting 250 gold off 100 base hammers.
Including culture in the GNP graph makes the Sistine Chapel do some very silly things.
And I stole the Apostolic Palace election after Charley built it for Judaism. I love doing that. Why yes I would like +4 free hammers at every city, thank you very much.
As I had been expecting, Ragnar requested help in his war against England. This would be worth a net of at least +3 diplo, and I had to do it, trusting that Ragnar's bulk would keep the war phony on my part. And I do have my Heroic Epic up, and access to longbows and elephants coming, so I expect no trouble.
Yah, Victoria breaking through Ragnar to reach me is not going to be a problem. :)
Actually, that triggers another plan. Ragnar is running away on the power graph bigtime. His favorite civic is Hereditary Rule. With HR, I can get and keep him Friendly, and that is literally the only threat now to my cultural victory. So I had my Heroic Epic city crank out a few archers for each city to make up for changing from Representation. This also got me some serious extra cash, since the city easily broke past the overflow cap for each archer, over 20 gold per turn!
Huayna sent me a Buddhist missionary - great, the idea of a cultural victory with just one religion did not appeal. Any other religions looked slim. Monty the Hindu was way too far away and wouldn't open borders. Christianity actually got killed, England founded it but Ragnar must have razed it. Hannibal the Confucian was my only other chance, but he's also pretty far away and does not have open borders with England.
So it was a culture cruise for a while. Lightbulbed Education with another scientist, picked up Sankore along the way, and Angkor Wat just for the culture value (with Ind + Stone, why not), and Great Engineered the Taj.
I pondered the question of whether to research to Democracy. It would cost about 6000 beakers, the costs of Nationalism and Constitution. (I'll use Liberalism to Democracy itself, as compared to Libbing Nationalism as usual.) 6000 final beakers at +100% science is 3000 base commerce, of which about 2000 would be from the three culture cities, which would translate at +200% culture back into 6000 slider culture. I have ~100 turns to culture victory. Will Democracy pay back 60 culture/turn? Yes. It'll give 18/turn with multipliers from the Statue of Liberty artist, times three cities, and Emancipation will make up the rest. Democracy it is.
So I did all of the above, but mistimed a civic change. I went to Pacifism when the Taj golden age started, which left me locked out of Free Speech for an extra 3 turns. So rather than run culture slider at half effectivity, I used those turns to research Gunpowder.
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