I definitely didn't have any particular gameplan going in; all I could do is see what the game threw at us and roll with it.
Moving the scout to pop the hut gives maps, revealing cattle to the north. Founding right on the starting square would get cattle, ivory, and the river. Seems like a fine choice. (I'm quite curious as to why the game suggests that eastern hill as an alternate recommended settling location. Turned out it would pull in a different cow -- does the game take that into consideration?)
Research goes to Animal Husbandry to get that cattle improved. My scout explores southeast and finds 40 gold from a hut.
My next research order is Pottery for the all-important early granary, but then I realize early granaries aren't so necessary in Civ 4. Instead of needing two city growths to put out every settler, the capital just remains static without growing at all. And it tends to level off at the food or happiness cap during the initial settler rush, so the capital doesn't need a granary until quite a bit later. However, newly founded cities do benefit immensely from building the granary as their first build.
After Pottery, I researched to Monotheism and got Judaism. With the much-ballyhooed religion system in Civ 4, I wanted to make sure to get one in my first game to play around with.
My initial build order was a scout (the starting one died to barbs), warrior, worker, warrior, settler. One warrior set out to escort the settler, but soon encountered a bear to which he wouldn't likely be able to stand up. I dance the settler around the bear while the escort moves out to sacrifice himself to lure the bear away from my settling spot. (I had a bit of trouble working the screenshot procedure in the beginning, so I've only got a few early screenshots here, which were gleaned later from the saves that I'd kept.)
Now, I know the paradigm in Civ 4 is to build fewer, stronger cities as compared to Civ 3. So for the city of Pasargadae, I picked a spot that wasn't on the coast and really didn't have very good spacing with my capital, but did pull in a bunch of resources: stone, corn, and cattle. The location had four desert tiles; I didn't yet realize that desert *never* becomes workable land in Civ 4.
Pasargadae starts building an obelisk... then five turns later its borders automatically expand thanks to the Creative civ trait. Riiight. OK, I shelve the plans for the obelisk and a vague consideration I'd been making for Stonehenge, since its effects would be quite redundant. It builds a granary instead (cheap with our Expansive trait.)
Now, I've also read that city specialization is highly encouraged in Civ 4. So I decided that Pasargadae would be my military factory (it's got good hammer production with the stone and forests), so it built a barracks while my capital did another settler. Meanwhile, my capital was being groomed as an economic engine, with my workers mostly planting cottages there.
I failed to take notes on my research path, but Bronze Working and Iron Working were involved in some sequence, along with Archery and Masonry. I also made a civic swap to Slavery + Organized Religion + Judaism sometime.
My third city went over to the west, in a similar location for Pasargadae for the same reasons: to grab lots of resources. Here they are in their glory, and you can also see the progress being made by my three workers.
Persepolis is starving in that picture because there's a barbarian standing on the cow tile. The archer it's building would take care of that. Persepolis would build one more settler to claim the northwestern river area with copper and gold, then start on the Pyramids just because I wanted to build a wonder. :) Well, it seemed like a pretty good wonder; by enabling Representation for two happy faces per city, it's essentially like JS Bach's Cathedral from Civ 3.
Presently, Judaism spreads to Japan and he converts to it. Great - I might have a good friend!
Or not, as four turns later he up and declares war on me!! We were only at -1 relations for close borders, but I guess that was enough to make him mad somehow.
Tokugawa has two chariots threatening Pasargadae which has only one archer defending. The archer miraculously survives the first attack with barely a scratch (2.8/3) and the second chariot declines to attack in favor of pillaging instead. (At least I thought it was miraculous. I didn't yet grok the archer city defense bonus. Also, the city was on a hill and the archer fully fortified, so it was actually defending at 6 strength plus 1 first strike, so it's not too surprising that it won well.)
Fortunately, I was _just_ getting the copper in the NW hooked up with my fourth city, so I can start building axemen to turn the tide. I also researched Iron Working now to add swords to the mix; turned out to have iron right at the capital too.
I capture one Japanese city (Edo) with a stack of three axemen and some archers, and move to attack a second. My attack falls just short, though, and meanwhile Tokugawa landed four chariots by galley right next to Pasargadae. Well, one aspect of the AI still hasn't improved from Civ 3. Tokugawa has me over a barrel for peace since my city is doomed, but instead he cedes me Fishing and Priesthood to make peace.
In the war, one of my archers got to 15 exp, well enough for the Heroic Epic. As the war wound down, I went back to building the Pyramids in the capital and used them to switch to Representation. Persepolis then starts on the Great Library, because the free specialists will be essentially twice as good with the extra science from Representation.
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