Since I was late getting on the Industrialism bandwagon after that Mass Media diversion, I went to Plastics after that to build the Three Gorges Dam instead of the power plants. A second Great Scientist popped, and there's still enough time left in the game that he'll give his biggest payoff as a second Academy in Seville (which is pulling in 40-something commerce from trade routes, as much as from its raw terrain!) Meanwhile, Toledo, my Iron Works + Heroic Epic city, cranked out a tank every turn. I almost built the Pentagon but got beaten to it by Mansa, but the $1000 refund was just fine too, along with a Great Merchant who cashed in for $2700.
The next GP would also be a merchant who did the same thing, and that cash speeded the Dam by a few turns.
And I built spies and poked around for a bit to amuse myself. One wandered over to that ex-barbarian city fighting (losing) the cultural war against Cordoba.
The Dai Miao... This is a *holy city*?! Wow, talk about a backwater religious enclave. And if I'd realized that, I surely would've captured it in that war with Saladin. Just for fun now, Cordoba redoubled its cultural efforts yet again with more religious cathedrals, striving for a flip, but that never came thanks to that ridiculous stack of military units. Also, why in the ever-lovin' world did Saladin build his Heroic Epic here?!
Ran out of names, did we?
Despite lingering religious differences, the world stayed perfectly at peace. The Buddhist bloc of me, Qin, and Hatty all loved each other, though I was very slightly nervous since both leaders had me at +9 but couldn't quite get up to Friendly at +10. Finally they did go back up once Qin asked me to stop trading with his worst enemy Saladin. I hadn't even realized we were trading, but I'd given away Hit Musicals indiscriminately to butter up everyone.
Hatshepsut the Secretary kept ramming through ever more resolutions: no nukes, Emancipation, Single Currency, Open Markets. Fortunately the Free Religion civic failed, keeping the Happy Buddhists happy in their organized religion governments. Environmentalism global civic also failed (I voted for it), which would've been pretty funny since nobody had even researched Medicine yet.
And hey, at the next secrenatorial election, Hatshepsut is no longer my opponent. Saladin finally built his ex-Roman lands into some semblance of civilization and topped Hatty's population. Well, Hatty's support easily hands me control of the UN; I try for a diplo victory at the next chance. Hatty and Qin vote for me, but Elizabeth and Mansa both abstain despite both being at +7 relations.
WTF? If I can't manage a true diplomatic win here after eternal peace, it's just not possible in Civ 4. Backdoor domination is the only way to do it. Vote yourself in.
Then I finally realize I can just get Mansa to convert to Buddhism by tossing him a tech. OK, OK. I could take a diplo victory, but by now I'm 8 turns away from space. I know it's an unscored game, but I'd prefer a spaceship launch date comparable to everyone else's over a very late diplomatic election.
For technology, since I'd gone to Plastics already, I made the short hop to Fiber Optics for the Internet so that I could finally get extra techs without trading mine away. The wonder did give me Fission, Satellites, and Fascism. But that whole plan had put me going pretty deep into the spaceship tech tree before building Apollo, and I'd scheduled my item production badly enough (my two top hammer cities busy on Three Gorges and Internet when Apollo came available), that I was down to two techs remaining when I started building parts!
It's a bit of an adjustment from Civ 3 on the timing of late game wonders. Instead of having the wonder active almost immediately after you research the technology, you need to figure on having it actually completed three or four techs later. Still, I only lost maybe three turns on the actual victory with those production snafus -- really, the deadline for building all the parts isn't when you _research_ the last tech (as in Civ 3), it's when you finish _building_ the last part, and all the other parts can run concurrently with that last one if necessary. And after the last tech, I shut off research just in case I'd need cash to upgrade a pile of renaissance military to mech infantry.
Here's one last look as I began building spaceship parts. The GE from Fusion would speed that Space Elevator.
And so with the entire world save Saladin united as one happy Buddhist bacchanal, we launch in 1936 AD for 15578 points.
Stagnation? Faugh. Although we never really did take first place in GNP except for a brief Golden Age.
Check out Saladin's GNP there! You think we stagnated early on? He dug himself a far worse hole for far longer after swallowing Rome - he was even in negative territory right before eliminating them. But what in the world caused that BIG HUGE jump in his GNP before the end? That's right around the time we started fooling around with the United Nations. Perhaps he was stuck without Emancipation and a giant happiness penalty until the UN resolution?
Well, that's all, folks. Tune in next time for what I hope will be a more challenging scenario...