Of course I have to try another possibility. Back on that metagame list (and even specifically mentioned in the info page), there's one very interesting wonder that nobody at all chose.
The United Nations.
So I guess everybody anticipated somebody else trying it. But nobody did, so there won't be any reports or views on playing a diplomatic game from turn zero. This also happened in Mao's Muse: taking Mass Media to build the UN was a possibility that everybody wanted to see but nobody actually played. So here I am to fill this gap.
Now what should the second wonder be? You literally need no other technology to win by UN. So not any of the research options. What we need is population. Some sort of growth or production oriented wonder would be optimal, but there really aren't any in Civ 4. Certainly nothing like the Bulk Matter Transmitter in SMAC (+50% production at every base.) The Kremlin comes the closest but I just did that. Statue of Liberty helps a bit (+1 hammer from citizens) but is uninspiring without and without needing Representation. Too bad we can't have the Civ 3 version of the Pyramids, free granary in every city.
Hey, how about Cristo Redentor? I thought it a fringe option at best, but it achieved a surprising level of popularity among players. Let's see how this goes. Cristo fits perfectly for diplomatic quick-switch acts. I'll try it.
Incidentally, I have a theory that simulating a leader trait boosts the popularity of wonders. The various Statue combos for free culture would not be so popular if that could not be described as "half Creative", and same goes for Cristo and Spiritual. Conversely, if there were a Tyrannical trait that gave -50% hurry cost, the Kremlin would be more popular as "half Tyrannical". It's easy to compartmentalize one's thinking with convenient labels like that. This goes for normal games as well, especially Stonehenge gets lots of attention for behaving like a leader trait.
Hehe, the Muse built Cristo right outside the UN so everybody can see it from their offices.
Now, what's the game plan? We need no tech to win, so actually most of the early wonders won't do much good. I don't need any of the Pyramids, Great Lighthouse, Great Library. Don't need Stonehenge since a quick Caste flip can expand borders. One important wonder might be the Hanging Gardens.
I knew better from pregame experimenting (that JC wins the first election), but voted for myself anyway. And note that the UN makes immediate contact to everybody.
Caesar wasted no time in trying to win, but amusingly he wasn't even a candidate, Alexander was who had gotten his capital to size 2. As you see I voted for Alex for diplo credit. There is no worry yet for any rival actually winning, no relationships can approach +8 until some religion appears and spreads.
Oh right, the UN can make civics votes. But Environmentalism does exactly nothing at this point.
Anyway, this web server isn't big enough to hold screenshots of every single silly UN vote. It would go on to pass Single Currency and Free Speech, and revote on the nuke ban about a dozen times. Just about as usefully bureaucratic as the UN in real life.
Back to reality, I didn't do anything spectacular with the opening. Worker - grow to size 2 and whip a second worker and overflow into work boat. Turn 25 brought my first Great Person as a Merchant (doh, I wanted the 50/50 flip to come on the side of the Engineer.) Settled and the food will help probably even more than the cash.
Tech: Agriculture for corn, Bronze for chopping and whipping, Wheel-Pottery for the granary, Animal Husbandry to build chariots for barb defense and scouting coastal trade routes - Sailing to trade resources - Iron Working to clear pigs jungle.
Build order was worker - worker (whipped) - work boat - work boat (chopped) - settler (chopped and double whipped at size 4) - worker (chopped) - settler (triple whipped) - chariot (overflowed onto).
Been a while since I was ever this careless, but a barbarian warrior appeared right by Hadrumetum with no defender. Here is a tactical puzzle: How do we defend this city? All the pieces are visible in that screenshot. Remember we don't have Construction so rivers block road movement.
Ugh. THAT one I didn't want. I need no tech so Emancipation will only help my rivals grow cottages. And no Slavery curtails my whipping expansion rate. And no Caste kills my plan for border pops. Pity that Cristo Redentor can't override that.
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