Democracy would be all the tech I would ever need. I had considered stopping right at Lib-Nationalism, but still had plenty of research power thanks to Oxford and Rep and the trades from Ramesses. My legendary cities are really still just coming up to speed with baby cottages, and I think Emancipation will make up for the time spent researching.
So I popped the 1-man Golden Age, and took Uni Suffrage / Emancipation / Pacifism. Stayed in Bureaucracy for the moment to work on the Taj Mahal, then the Statue of Liberty, going to Free Speech at the end of the Taj GA.
So what is Phase Two of this plan? Eternal Infrastructure Christmas.
So now I've virtually obsoleted the Kremlin by giving up Slavery... no I haven't. Kremlin also reduces cash rush cost. Now my plan is to run all cash and buy all the religious buildings. I've been extremely intrigued by this idea ever since Olodune's magnificent 1535 AD win in Forbidden Fruit. My strong Financial civ here could make 500 gold per turn, enough to rush several buildings or one cathedral.
And cash rushing doesn't just rush one building. It moves forward everything on the timeline from right now until the end of time. When you're rushing a line of cathedrals, it can be thought of as moving the last cathedral in the line to right now instead, or an acceleration of 50 or more turns on that one cathedral.
Although actually, I tried to rush everything else (mostly temples, also Cothons) and let the cities naturally build the cathedrals by overflowing. I have all the cathedral doubler resources, which means they cost comparatively twice as much to cash rush as to build.
This plan worked splendidly. By 1000 AD, each of the three legendaries was cresting 800 culture/turn. Kerkouane and Hadrumetum finished all five cathedrals by 1100 AD, with Carthage catching up a bit later after building the Statue (still ahead in total culture with all the early wonders.)
Mansa got to Friendly too (Ramesses and I both spread him Hinduism) and traded me monopolies on Banking and Economics. I intentionally did not trade for Astronomy or Corporation or Scientific Method in order to keep my wonders and monasteries.
Culture Victory in...
1360 AD. Heck yeah. Under 200 turns to tri-Legendary. The Kremlin is godly.
(I used a paint program to change the Carthage line from dull invisible orange to white.)
Culture does crazy things to GNP of course. More notable is the production graph. I was never near the production lead, until late Golden Ages and Uni Suffrage. But I out-expanded all the Immortal AIs and built all the religious junk in record time. There is the power of the Kremlin for you. The other lesson was that legions of Great Artists aren't necessary for speedy culture. I got just six including Music.
And I really want to compare this game to the most popular combo, the pure research approach of Oxford/Great Library. My pregame thoughts had that as research overkill. Oxford alone was more than enough to control the tech tree. I pulled off Oracle-Bureaucracy, founded three religions and Music, cleaned up every wonder I wanted, and got Liberalism-Democracy in 680 AD. For GL-Oxford to beat Kremlin-Oxford, you would need some kind of even bigger crazy stunt. (Oracle-Education? Liberalism-Medicine and Sushi by 1000 AD?)
11 hours? That's like a lunch break game for me.
Index | Oh, you know there is more.