But... with all the Financial AIs on the map busy in wars, do I have a shot at Liberalism? Nobody has Paper yet and only Mansa has Philosophy. Let's go for it!
To this end, I rushed the National Epic at the capital, by way of Bureaucracy bonus on forest chops and whip overflow from a Ball Court. Hired two scientists to get a Great one for the Education lightbulb.
WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHAT? WHAT?? Mansa is going to hand me Liberalism on a silver platter?! And trading my free Philosophy along with Paper turned into a haul of Engineering, Guilds, and Compass!
!!! ! Hah, the game DEFINITELY wants me to get Liberalism! Also Mansa just wasted time on Theology and that probably means he's going to Divine Right next.
Surprisingly, he didn't. Mansa went for Education and got it on the same turn I lightbulbed it.
Here goes nothin. MAX possible research across the board. Every city on Research and hiring scientists. 7 turns to Liberalism. Got one turn shaved off a moment later with cities growing onto new cottages. Three turns to Liberalism...
... and the "zhee-hosh" sound effect plays.
But it was just circumnavigation! And...
Mansa went for Economics! I've got the Big L!
But now what? Civfanatics says that one should never lose after winning Liberalism, but how the hell am I going to do that? I now have no illusions about military victories on Deity, even with drafting. Six cities - six draftees every 10 turns - isn't going to pull that off. And I also have no fantasies of beating Mansa-plus-two-vassals to a space race. Mansa-plus-two-vassals also controls enough population to shut me out of a diplomatic win.
That leaves, of course, culture. On Deity difficulty. With no Sistine Chapel (in fact, no wonders at all) and no Great Artist farm. I've even got only two religions.
I've got no good third culture city. Mutal and Lakamha are sure things, but the only halfway decent third spot is Uxmal just for its decent cottage count.
Free Speech can wait for the moment. Bureaucracy's more important at the moment to play for the Taj Mahal and Statue of Liberty. I did double-revolt to Free Religion (definitely better than No Religion!) and Free Market (need Mansa's civic favor!)
Liberalism took Nationalism, which traded all around for Printing Press, Economics, Music, and Gunpowder. Beeline to Democracy next. I need Universal Suffrage for any sort of muscle to get cathedrals up, and Emancipation too for the cottages. Got another surprising brokerage when Caesar was willing to trade his monopoly on Rep Parts. I traded Liberalism + Music + cash for that, and brokered Lib + RP for Constitution.
Mansa beat me to the Taj by plenty, then to Democracy by 10 turns so no chance at the Statue. Mansa then jumped into war on Mehmed.
After Democracy, research went to OFF. That's all, folks. Nothing that helps culture is within reach. Sid's Sushi is five techs away and I have no resources for it. However, it's not correct to run the culture slider yet. I should and shall go 100% cash until all the culture multipliers are in place. Only then run 100% culture slider.
Ragnar had been trailing in tech (he's easily the worst Financial AI at economy, with all his units and war proclivity), but he actually researched Rifling and traded it to me for a package of three techs. Not sure if that's going to help anything but at least I can pretend to have a chance if somebody attacks me.
So I just built temples and cathedrals and theaters and all the usual culture stuff. Mutal built Globe Theater just for the artist slots and settled in as a lemon-cum-lemonade Artist farm running five of them. The next GP (#3) was a Scientist, who went for a Golden Age to save the anarchy to Univ Suff / Free Speech / Emancipation.
Since Mehmed was still under a dogpile, I had the idea of a 5-turn hop to Nationhood and attacking him with six drafted rifles (he was locked out of the trade loop and stuck on longbow defenders.) But Mehmed vassalized to Ragnar before that could happen.
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