So, back on the research path to space.
Somebody else had grabbed the Liberalism slingshot, but nobody had Printing Press yet, which seemed a fine choice as both trade bait and economic boost. Saladin got it before I did, but didn't trade it to anybody before I got to. Fortunately, the game let me parley a few trades: Banking and Optics from England, and Liberalism from Mali, both kicking in cash too. OK, I'm still pulling four-for-one deals with the research despite Qin stuck in WFYABTA mode. I revolted right to Free Speech, but had to stay in Organized Religion to preserve a whopping +7 modifier with Hatty!
Next research was Replaceable Parts, and the same thing happened: Hatty got it before I did but held onto it, so I got to trade it twice to Lizzie and Mansa for Economics and Gunpowder. Now I was all caught up again except for Nationalism. So I guess the "We fear you are becoming too advanced" limit behaves very differently for the different AIs? Qin hit that limit long ago, but nobody else has.
My Great People farm had gotten set back quite a bit in that war by pillagers, but was now back up to speed. It popped my third GP as a Great Artist. Nuts again. I decided to just hang onto him in hopes of a golden age, but a little while later decided to culture bomb him in Damascus, which really didn't do a whole lot. Wow, it's tough to move cultural borders if you don't go all the way to wiping out the target civ.
I researched Astronomy and Chemistry, trading the latter to England for Nationalism, both to Mansa for Rifling, and a turn later the former to England for Constitution. Mansa got Democracy and Emancipation but wouldn't trade it. I beelined research to Biology as usual, and Elizabeth was kind enough to swap me Democracy for it, and Hatty also swapped Steel. Thus in 1690 AD it was time to update to Universal Suffrage and Emancipation. I still stayed with Organized Religion to keep Hatty on my side.
I should comment some on the city building, as I haven't yet. I'm finally starting to learn how to manage city growth in Civ 4. You can't expect a city to instantly worker-boom to size 12 and leave it there, but neither can you push the growth with huge food surpluses as you'll lack sorely for hammers and commerce. The best path seems to keep most cities at around 4 food surplus, where they'll grow every eight turns or so, roughly in concert as you add happiness and health sources.
As far as buildings, obviously the first priorities were all the research buildings, then the cash buildings, except in Salamanca and Toledo that kept putting out a few of each newfangled military unit. I'd gotten Oxford and an Academy in the capital by now and would do Wall Street shortly too. Toledo would build the Iron Works as my top shield producer. Cordoba the GP farm had built Globe Theater and National Epic as usual and was now running a half-dozen specialists, though it was *way* over the health limit. With Biology having just brought huge food surpluses, I needed to get the religions spread around so the cities could take care of their happiness needs (you can see that going in in the picture above.) I'd had Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Confucianism in my cities for quite some time, and capturing Damascus gave me a source of Hinduism.
So the next research target was Electricity, to go for Broadway and for the commerce boosts as I'd built several windmills and watermills. Then I decided to just beeline Mass Media and try to land the easy diplo win. Unfortunately, my best friend Hatty would be my election opponent, but Mansa Musa, Qin, and Elizabeth were all friendly to me all game (with a +4 civics boost now from Mansa, almost as good as sharing a religion) and the exit looked pretty easy. Especially since my GP city finally coughed up a Scientist after three Artists in a row, so I fired off the Golden Age!
While that's going on, here's some unexpected news:
Saladin captured Rome! Wow, that war I'd started between Rome and Arabia was still going, and going badly for Rome at that. Hey, anything to occupy Saladin's attention away from me is fine.
Well, more time and technologies pass, and finally lots of wonders (you can see them there) after I'd been shut out of them all in the early going. Elizabeth is refused a demand of Electricity; it's a monopoly for me and she's at +7 so it's okay. Saladin demands Steel that everybody else has, and I know we're in for another war if I refuse, so he can have it. And here's a look at that GP farm.
So Mass Media and the United Nations arrive, but it doesn't go well:
Hatty beats me by just 13 votes. Qin is still on my side as I've got nothing but positives with him, but relations had become slightly strained with Mansa (down to +5 total thanks to -4 religion and -4 trade with worst enemy) and Elizabeth (+4 total thanks to -3 worst enemy.) Nuts, I thought I could count on at least one of them.
And I'm not going to manage the diplomatic victory either. Without Hatty, I'd need to curry the votes of *all* of Elizabeth, Qin, and Mansa to actually get that win, which isn't going to happen. So it's space.
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