Yeah, you people know that whenever I say maybe about another game, it's going to happen. I recorded 182-turn science wins with both Korea and Babylon, but still saw more room for optimizing, mostly around production of Great Scientists and the endgame spaceship parts.
But I'm rather sick of Korea by now, and the one Babylon game already went close to perfectly. Time for a different civ. The one weak spot in the Babylon tall game plan was cities not really growing enough to be properly tall, reaching only sizes 15 to 18. I know why this happened: running max scientists all the time really depletes the upper end of food production. Is there a civ that can do better for food than Babylon or Korea? Of course there is, along with an early game happy ability, and even extra late game hammers and gold. The good old orange Dutch, also kings of culture.
And this plan gets to fix the one spot I hated in my previous Dutch game. Playing for culture, I had to run to Archaeology asap in the renaissance era, delaying Economics for the maxed Polders for quite some time. A science game will go directly for Economics via Sci Theory.
This report is of my second try at Dutch science. The previous game also finished on exactly turn 182. But I made one major mistake: conquered a city-state (because it was an incredibly juicy target, sporting ten floodplains for polders), which led to the AIs hating my warmongering ass all game thus insufficient hauls of luxury sales and research agreements. Lesson learned, so let's try again.
Here is the starting save.
After I'm-not-going-to-tell-you-how-much map rerolling and restarting, this came up.
Interesting. Somewhat less poldertastic or Petrariffic as some of my other efforts. But there's enough to bootstrap the Folklore to religion. And of course the real star here is TRIPLE SALT. Plus I get to found the city on gems for extra cash and the fastest possible luxury sale. And a mountain for the observatory later.
A culture ruin hit on turn 7, so we're on our way.
This start totally demanded Mining first, not the usual Pottery. Of course that leaves a hole in the religious game plan. I'd need something to break my way - either find two religious city-states to bypass the shrine, or pop a faith ruin, or just hope the AIs don't take Desert Folklore and don't push the pantheon cost too far.
Got my answer when Pottery popped from a ruin on turn 12! Bingo, perfect, start the shrine. It even then did turn out that I met two religious CS early and could have had the pantheon without the shrine, though I wouldn't have known that earlier. T18 Desert Folklore (although Amsterdam actually wasn't even working any desert tiles yet, heh.)
With the high hammers from the salt, the second scout had completed quickly so I'd built a third. That made the build order scout - scout - scout - shrine - granary (bought archer) - settler - settler - (buy settler) - Pyramids. With Mining on turn 11, I sold the gems immediately, making 246 gold on hand. It took until turn 14 to make a second contact and sell the embassy to buy the first worker. I was able to borrow more money for a second worker as soon as turn 17, and then salt sales followed on turns 20, 23, 31, and 33.
Yes, that was four salt sales of three resources. I lost one to pillaging here - which is good as we know. I didn't want to lose any more tiles though, so bought an archer to fend off that barb. (First it moved onto the worker to protect it and not lose farming turns.) Anyway, all the money from these sales went into settlers as usual.
The ruin haul: Culture on turn 7, survivors to 3, Pottery, Writing, 90 gold, late survivors to size 5, The Wheel (after half researching it), extremely late (T75) Bronze Working.
THRICE. You gotta be kidding me.
And check this out in my neighborhood.
That would be the Fountain of Youth, +10 happiness if within your borders.
Who says money can't buy happiness and youth!!
Next I pulled off this audacious move:
Shot the Great Library all the way to GUILDS. Yes, the key tech for the Dutch and their glorious Polders. Plus this move jacked city-state bonuses into the medieval era quickly.
When the various Civ sites and guides talk about "REXing" hard, this is what they mean. I slammed out settlers faster than ever before, reaching my full complement of seven cities by turn 65, each with a luxury to sell towards another settler. This is just about the maximum happiness you can possibly get this fast, with the Dutch UA, Fountain of Youth, and religion jumpstarted quickly by all the faith ruins into missionaries now spreading Ceremonial Burial.
That would be 35 population after the 1000 BC turn roll, smashing my usual mark of 23ish in these games. My previous record was 33 pop, which was in the El Dorado game and also with Liberty not Tradition. 441 on the scoreboard compared to 284 in my last Dutch game and 359 as Babylon. And plenty of growth is yet to come, with 10 Polders already in place and 13 happy headroom.
Amsterdam had built the Pyramids, and added Hanging Gardens. Petra went in the southeast at Utrecht, more desert hills there than the capital.
For a while my money went mostly into buying tiles. Not just resources, also regular flood plains, +5 food pays back the buying cost very quickly. Monuments would be too slow in the non-Legalism cities, faster to buy the tiles for polders now.
Tradition came on this schedule:
That's also the fastest I've ever managed that, Tradition finished on turn 77. That was thanks to a big whack of culture from city states - I lucked via quests into several alliances, all boosted by reaching the medieval era quickly via the Guilds slingshot.
One problem with the Dutch civ is that unlike the science civs, they can't reach the Renaissance in time for the 7th social policy to go into Rationalism. And in fact here, even the 8th policy arrived too quickly as well on turn 99. The best place to dump them was Patronage and Aesthetics for the free CS friendships, even though I already had half of them allied thanks to nailing a silly number of barbarian camp quests and kidnapped workers.
Hey, a fish resource can appear on the Great Barrier Reef. Who knew. Yet it still wasn't all that strong at 3-1-1-2, and the lighthouse would not apply since it's a Great Barrier Reef tile and not an Ocean tile. So it never felt worth buying the tiles to get there, with the prices inflated from my earlier spree of tile buying.
The religion department was my usual collection of Ceremonial Burial, Religious Community, Swords to Plowshares, and Religious Texts. Also as usual, I spent all faith on missionaries at first, going for the enhancement only once the missionary cost jumped in the renaissance era. Nothing new to report here, the religion spread everywhere pumping me by 40 happy in short order.
Something I didn't do here as compared to my other science attempts was build the National College too early. Instead of pausing at two cities for it, I locked on expansion as the top priority until reaching what would be my full count of seven cities. (I wanted one more to the east, but Siam beat me to the gems.) These later cities built the library as their first improvement; I only had to buy one library at The Hague. This timing worked out very smoothly. In the shot above, Amsterdam is one turn from finishing the National College just as Education completed. And I had amassed almost 2000 gold from luxury sales for buying universities.
It's time to go into some great detail here about Great Scientist production, since that's what I optimized to perfection in this game.
First came a Great Scientist from Amsterdam on turn 106. I was surprised that settling even this late actually seemed to be correct over saving for a bulb. 10 beakers after Sci Theory, times +150% in the city with observatory, times 70 real turns and 80 virtual turns of bulbs, times Rationalism's 15%, comes to 4300 beakers, actually right around the value of the lowest end bulb. (Remember that the late game is already packed full of scientists. An additional marginal scientist does not bulb for the endgame value of 12,000 beakers. A marginal scientist bulbs around the time of Plastics for just 4,000 or so.) And if settling and bulbing are close to even, of course you want to settle to realize the beakers sooner.
That was the first in my chain of extremely precise Great Person plans. In short, Amsterdam would knock off the 100 then continue on to 700, while five other cities spawned at 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600.
As I've mentioned before, it's crucial to finish producing all your Great People by the mid industrial age, before the lategame Pisa/Porcelain/Hubble scientists escalate the costs. I precisely calculated out the number of specialist slots and thus GPP available for the time between universities and public schools and the endgame (turn 170), working out that 700 GPP would be the limit in the available time frame. What I haven't clearly described before is how your time to this terminal Great Person at 700 is dependent on your time to the 600, and in turn to the 500 and all the way down the chain. The city scheduled to spawn at 700 can't exceed 600 GPP until the 600 actually spawns somewhere else.
Therefore, speed to the final Great Scientist requires all the cities to run in lockstep on GS points. Universities only contribute towards that terminal Great Scientist once they are all in place. Following is a graphical animation of what the Great Scientist progression looks like in all these cities. If you can't see it, find a better web browser that can display animated SVG graphics.
So I aggressively bought as many universities as I could, with only the strong Amsterdam and Utrecht building theirs. So in order, Rotterdam would spawn a GS at 200. Then the other cities could continue past 200 GSP right on that same turn. Utrecht and Breda would do the same dance at the 300 threshold, and so on. The last three cities in the chain got Gardens to speed it up a bit.
Amsterdam also worked artist and engineer specialists along with the scientists, illustrated by the extra colored bars there. This was a long-term plan to make a triple pop of a Great Scientist, Artist, and Engineer all simultaneously at 700 GPP. Amsterdam added the National Epic to help the artist and engineer streams catch up, while occasionally working less than max scientists in order to keep the GS point total behind the other cities. The Great Engineer would be for the Hubble Space Telescope as usual.
And it was easy to take the Artist slots along for the ride as well (actually had enough artist wonders that the opera house was enough artist GPP, didn't need the museum.) That yielded a controllably timed Golden Age for the spaceship part building, much more convenient that way than delaying Taj Mahal or the second happy GA.
In the research department, the timing worked out that I could enter the Renaissance affording the extra couple turns to research Compass - Astronomy instead of useless Acoustics. This happened on turn 103, with the Oracle still available and shot into the Rationalism opener that same turn.
The AIs were very very friendly towards me. 7 cities is a good wideness largely because of the AI behavior - they'll stay friendly at that level, but more than that starts making them mad. I collected five Research Agreements on turn 109.
Yes, I intentionally waited on the RAs after Education, not right away. My goal to finish the tech tree is roughly turn 175, and so I've learned before (and also simple math reveals) that there isn't time for three rounds of RAs between Education and that. Also, early RAs sometimes don't even pay back their gold cost in beakers. And at Education, universities are a higher buying priority than RAs. So overall, a better plan is to go for just two rounds of later stronger RAs. Working backwards for the timing, anticipating the second set to end at turn 170, that meant turn 110 was the right time to sign the first. (Actually T109, since the RAs actually take 31 turns to cycle.)
I've mentioned before how to use AI gold-per-turn income to fund research agreements, but here's a direct illustration. Gandhi needs 250 more gold in order to afford his half of the RA. So I gave it to him, accepting his GPT in return so my books ultimately come out even.
Here's the traditional 1 AD overview. 389 is by FAR my highest beaker total at this date, Babylon had 246! That's thanks to having all those universities bought and staffed. And there's two observatories yet to come. My 98 population stands just behind my widest ICS Korea at 103.
I just happened to spy on this AI building Chichen Itza, a turn ahead of me, except that then I bought the workshop in my capital to win the race. Chichen Itza is always worthwhile if you can get it, actually better than Taj Mahal, it creates more golden age turns. Especially here when I'd reach four boosted GAs in all: Taj, a second happy GA, and two great artists.
(By the way, AI: BUILD MOAR WORKERS. There are four unimproved tiles being worked in a size 11 city. Shameful.)
I skipped the Great Mosque, wasn't worthwhile with the short time to the Industrial Age (which functionally obsoletes missionaries, in favor of saving faith for Great People.) Did build Hagia Sophia, for the Great Artist point as much as the prophet. The prophet was convenient to keep at home to later undo the predictable annoying prophet spreads from my neighbors. Also added Machu Picchu, later Statue of Liberty, skipped Sistine, and started prebuilding the Pisa and Porcelain Towers.
A long chain of Golden Ages arose: second happiness, Taj, a Great Artist from faith, and the late naturally produced Great Artist. Along with the now-maxed Polders, that made lots of money to save for late buys of public schools, research labs, and spaceship factories. Big Ben was worth building to help with that.
T128 Industrial Age with Sci Theory. Bought three Public Schools right away in the last three Great Scientist spawning cities.
T140 that first wave of RAs finished, cashing in all of Fertilizer, Metallurgy, Rifling, Steam Power, Rep Parts! Over 2200 beakers per RA. I signed four more.
Here's my 800 AD overview with some good looking statistics. Highest manufacturing yet, and then that spiked by another 50 after the Statue.
|Korea||Rome||Korea 2||Babylon||Dutch unreported||Dutch now|
|Gold||119||168||66||238 (GA)||320 (GA)||239 (GA)|
|Researching||Electricity||Radio||Rep Parts||Rep Parts||Steam Power||Plastics!|
|MFG||280||273||383||286 (GA)||381 (GA)||396 (GA)|
And just like that, it was time to start planning the endgame.
The first area of interest is faith, seen there as 3800 banked plus 130/turn. That would add up to just over 6000 faith by endgame around turn 170. That gets budgeted for the 1000+1500+2500 Great Scientists totaling 5000, but not another GS costing 4000, leaving 1000 faith left over.
In the policy department, I had enough culture coming in from city-states that I could see there'd be room before endgame for one extra policy beyond completing Rationalism. This combination of slight surpluses in faith and culture often happens, and my usual play is to take the Order opener for an extra Great Engineer and the happy headroom.
But no, we can do better, since this game doesn't need the Order happy. Rather, I took the FREEDOM opener, since the GPP boost would let me squeeze out one additional Great Scientist. And it let me buy a Great Artist, which was probably even better than the Order engineer. The Golden Age was worth around 700 hammers, almost as much as the engineer, plus lots of gold and extra culture too.
Plastics completed on turn 151. Usually I bulb Plastics in order to buy the Research Labs to finish the Great Scientists sooner. Here thanks to Freedom I had all the GSes scheduled by turn 163 which was soon enough. So now I bought three RLs right away, and also hired every possible specialist for the Secularism beakers. (By the way, this is why trading posts or jungle tiles don't work for science - specialists boosted by Statue and Secularism are better.)
7 turns after the labs, I decided it was time to start the bulb program, to make sure we had time to burn the overflow into techs as needed. I had a total of 13 scientist bulbs here! 6 natural, 2 Hubble, 3 faith, 2 from Towers (Pisa and Porcelain). Plus the Rationalism finisher, Oxford, and a wave of four RAs.
T168 brought a massive, massive climax. All at once, I completed:
One obstacle was running out of aluminum, but fortunately one of my city-states had it available with the "pay to improve a resource" option.
Another misfire was outracing my own second wave of Research Agreements! They were to complete at the end of turn 170 as planned -- but I already bulb-bulldozed the tech tree by turn 168. That was 7000x3 beakers that went to waste. (I lost one RA when India got killed off.) Regrettable, but I've had worse. It would have been very difficult financially to start the first round of RAs any sooner though. Maybe the best plan is just one wave of RAs timed around 160?
For once, I nailed the production part of the endgame perfectly. Apollo and Advanced Ballistics completed three turns ahead of the last techs, just enough time to get head starts in outer cites on the three SS boosters and one cockpit. Meanwhile, I set up small overflow chains (two items) in Amsterdam and Utrecht for the last two parts. The usual micromanagement and buying of SS factories and solar plants ensued. As you see, I got the last part builds down to 3 turns each, and the outlying cities just a turn faster to make up for the railroad travel time to the capital.
Science Victory on turn 171, 1110 AD. Knocked off over ten turns from my previous records. I am satisfied. T-hawk out.