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A Reverse Experience

There also exists a natural counterpart to the Adventure 43 mod, which is to do the same thing in the opposite direction. Our alien civ will eat commerce, build with food, and our economy is hammers.

I did the coding for the mod separately, which can be found here.

There's also a thread for this reverse mod here. For this mod, I fixed the Palace to give 8 science instead of 8 commerce so the AIs aren't broken. And chopping a forest creates gold; it should create commerce but there really isn't any mechanism to do that, and gold is close enough.

So I set up a game on Monarch difficulty, and rolled a few maps until I liked this start.

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I did found on the wines, +1 food now on the city center is worth missing out on the winery later. In fact +2 health from the river exactly balances out missing 2 commerce from the winery. The move also pulled in more river tiles and brought the marble within 3rd ring (100 culture).

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Definitely both work boats first. Coast commerce-food is self-supporting, and unlike the regular game, one work boat even helps build the next. Then on two seafood we can build the worker really fast and even get the Expansive bonus on the food-production. The flood plain is definitely the right tile to work. Normally for work boat first, it's correct to work a 3-hammer tile at zero growth, this is even better at 3 production and a little growth.

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Yeah, flood plains were bad in the original Adv 43, but here they're crazy good. With a cottage, it's 2 food and 3 production, which doesn't even exist in the regular game until lumbermill railroads. With a grown cottage, it's an absurd 4 to 8 food and 3 production. And yes, it's correct to cottage every single tile that possibly can be, even grass hills and possibly some resources.

There's a ton of broken things to be done here. Great Lighthouse is absurd. So is Oracle for Currency. And the Pyramids are also a must, eating cottage commerce will make our population far higher than even Adventure 43. No particular Great Person plans, we'll just have to take whatever rolls from the mixed pool.

I took a stab on Polytheism first. Mining is clearly the first tile-improvement tech, but we have two work boats to do first so it can wait until a worker is actually coming out. And I want Poly on the way to Priesthood and Monotheism as well (early Org Rel will be key for these wonders.) I might not land Hinduism, but that's okay.

That starting hut popped a scout, as if this game wasn't already going to be easy enough. I think a scout is the best thing to pop from a turn-zero hut, even better than most techs. The value of scouts does decline quickly and I'd rather have a tech by around turn 10 or so.

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Another hut then gave me a map on turn 3. Which revealed another hut, popped by the scout on turn 7, for Mining!

Soon I discovered our first neighbor as Elizabeth all over again! Then Hannibal too! I swear I didn't pick them! :)

I did land Hinduism. After two work boats, built two warriors while Madrid grew to size 2, then the worker. I researched The Wheel second, but that was a mistake. Madrid didn't need the gold happy yet with a religion available. Instead it should have gotten a wonder online ASAP. Third tech was definitely Sailing to start a lighthouse: with two seafood it directly pays back for itself in 30 turns, plus is a prerequisite for the Great Lighthouse.

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Barcelona there will build the Oracle from turn ONE. It says 50 turns to Oracle, but that will drop by researching Pottery now and using plains cottages for growth. Barca would love the Oracle in order to take big cultural command of the middle of the pangaea there. (Then I realized it could have done a granary first and then build the Oracle once marble got connected.)

I can put off Writing for just a moment, because Hannibal got it and signed Open Borders early. I alertly sent a scout back east to unfog both his cities to enable the trade route. Pottery then Masonry, on which Madrid started the Great lighthouse.

My research rate to Alphabet was terrible. I think I screwed up in skipping Bronze Working. Forest chops would easily make up for the tech's research cost, plus expose hills for mining. (Cottages are clearly better for grass hills in the long run, but in the short-term rush to Alphabet, with the happy cap still constrained, mines might be worthwhile.)

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Anyway, Oracle to Currency in 1000 BC.

On the same turn, my Great Merchant from the Great Lighthouse spawned (actually defying the odds against the scientist specialists.) I'm not quite sure what to do with an early Merchant. Could bulb Metal Casting, but forges are actually pretty lousy here - since hammers are bad, I'm not building cities for hammers. Too early for a Golden Age or a trade mission. Just settle him I guess.

I traded for Bronze Working and Monotheism and adopted the civics. Madrid paused the Pyramids to triple-whip a market. Pyramids in 650 BC and immediately to Represention, getting great use from both the happy and beakers.

Religion: Gilgamesh spread Judaism to me and Sury and Hannibal who all converted.

And as usual here's an overview at the calendar change.

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Yes that is a size 22 city in BC TIMES. And I've exploded to eight cities and the top of the scoreboard. But my research is crap. Yes that is -42 gold at 0% science. I am surviving on a brand new type of economy: the Forest Chop Economy. Hacking down forests as fast as I can for the 30 gold each. Letting the cities grow, then will hire merchants. I also just traded for Code of Laws for courthouses.

But that crash was temporary. The cities exploded in population, and rapidly started hiring Representation-boosted specialists. Although the research slider stayed at 0%, my research rate recovered very quickly. And gradually I ran out of forests but now had enough merchants hired to cover costs.

After the early Oracle-GL-Pyramids gameplan, I researched Aesthetics - Drama right away. Madrid is getting Globe Theater + National Epic with Great Library. Down south I'm building the Parthenon and Mausoleum. Both are cheap with marble, and a border city is the best place for both of them - to use the culture for border clashes, and to hide the Great Artist points. I also got the Hanging Gardens, though lost the Temple of Artemis (that's acceptable.)

Got a point of Spiritual diplomacy: Gilgamesh asked for Hed Rule and I took it. That pushed him to Friendly letting me trade for his Metal Casting monopoly. Then 5 turns later bounced back to Rep.

GP #2 was also a Merchant from a mixed pool. Again the best thing to do was settle. GP #3 artist at tiny odds, did the old bulb Music to replace himself, who then Golden Aged. GP #4 did Madrid's academy. #5 a second academy. #6 a third academy. #7 a fourth academy. #8 fifth academy. #9 sixth academy. #10 seventh academy. #11 eighth academy. :)

I'd intended to play peacefully, but saw too good an opportunity. Elizabeth got declared on by and started losing to Suryavarman. Friendly Jewish friends traded me Machinery and Feudalism, and I found myself just one 2-turn research away from Guilds.

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England still just had archers (got longbows halfway through the war but not many), and fell to me at the cost of 3 knights and one suicide catapult. The last city was surrounded by Sumerian culture so I liberated it to him for the diplo credit.

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760 AD Liberalism to Democracy. I wavered on giving up Caste System (got 5-10 merchants and scientists per city) but did decide to go Emancipation at least for a little while. Free Speech waited just a bit, with Bureaucracy still marginally better with few towns anywhere besides the capital, but I took that too along with Free Market shortly later.

The right thing to do with both Ironworks and Wall Street was to combine them with each other. That's certainly an unusual combination! But here, what Ironworks multiplies is "commerce". And since I'm running high cash slider almost all the time (the preferred specialist being scientists, thanks to my prevalence of academies), the better wonder to pair with Ironworks is Wall Street rather than Oxford.

Oxford wouldn't do anything special (Madrid is full with Globe + Nat Epic), so it just went in Seville, a high population city with little overlap.

Another amusing side effect: the best tech to hit for the next economic bump is Steam Power for levees.

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Corporations - NONE are a good idea. Problem is that corp costs scale up with city size, but the benefit is fixed with number of resources. And they just don't produce the right kind of item (commerce) to be desirable here. Mining and CreateCon are both strictly negative! Ethanol and Jewelers are just about zero. Sushi and Cereal are at least arguably positive, but are not worth the expenditure on executives for 3 production.

And actually, I get the idea. Cottage every tile, grow gigantic cities, balance the budget with merchants, slider for happy, and cruise to space on Representation beakers. I don't particularly feel a need to play this out and manage eleven rhotillion specialists. This game doesn't have the same leap to insanity at factories and power as the eat-hammers game. The growth in this game is even more astronomical, but comes much more gradually. And I think I've seen more than enough variations of this mod by now.

With a massive population of my own, and the entire world Jewish, there's actually a pretty easy exit to victory available. A quick gift to Hannibal up to Economics for his favorite civic, and:

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Religious Victory in 1020 AD.

OK, one last thing I have to try. We realized in the eat-hammers game that an infinitely large city is possible, by getting Citizen hammer output to exceed his sustenance cost, with some combination of Ironworks and Nat Park and Globe and Bureaucracy. I gotta see if that's also possible here via trade routes. (Incidentally, even the regular game can go infinite with settled Great Merchants, though you need either infinite time or infinite Merchant-spawning cities.)

So I did a worldbuilder setup with maximum possible trade routes, which is 8. One base, Currency, Free Market, Great Lighthouse, Great Lighthouse, Carthaginian Cothon, Airport, UN Single Currency resolution.

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Trade route income is quadratic: the size of the partner city (base profit) multiplied by the size of this city (+5% per population). To go infinite, we need:

Base profit * 8 trade routes * 0.05 per population >= 3 commerce per population (over the health cap.)

Solving the equation for base profit gives 7.5. So the cities first must be able to reach size 75, but then they pass the critical point and each population point creates more commerce in trade routes than it consumes. Size 75 requires 225 commerce (ignoring health, assume all citizens are unhealthy.) That is perfectly possible: 20 financial river towns with all boosts (Golden Age) gives 180. And trade routes will produce at least 45 to go over the top. So yes, going infinite on trade route commerce is possible if a civilization were to eat commerce instead of food.