So more time passed while I researched Education.
Let me comment on my city specialization. My commerce capital is Delhi, which will eventually be working a full EIGHTEEN cottages, and it's my holy city to boot. Delhi has my Academy, will have the Hindu shrine, and is slated for both Oxford and Wall Street.
As per Sulla's scenario setup, my capital, Karakorum, is much better suited as a hammer producer than an economic center. It built the Heroic Epic and is now putting out longbows to garrison and police all my cities.
However, Karakorum isn't that great a long-term hammer producer. It's got four junk ice tiles, and tight enough food that it needs several farms. Rather, a spectacular long-term hammer site is Ning-hsia, with six forests, three hills, and watermillable grassland. This city will build my Iron Works, Space Elevator, and wonders (Statue of Liberty).
Turfan and Beshbalik were my metal-grab cities from the ancient age, and presently topped out at low population caps, limited by food. They'd contribute marginal economy, and whatever else they could, mostly missionaries and workers.
Madras has a special role as my Great Person farm, currently building the National Epic. It has three food resources and two flood plains, but is located out on the coastline where it doesn't have many land tiles to work. And since we can't whip away excess population, this city will always run many specialists - up to eight in the late game after Biology.
On the economic front now, I quite needed to get that Hindu shrine going. To achieve that, I spread all three religions to Madras just so the city could build three temples and run three priests.
Unfortunately, my Liberalism plan failed - Mansa got Education before me. And since I still lacked Philosophy, I had to concede the slingshot. And Frederick also got Education the same turn I did. And Cyrus didn't have anything worthwhile to trade, just Theology and Music. So I struck out on getting any trade value with the biggest medieval tech.
I'd sent out a caravel to finally make that last contact with Greece, hoping to trade for some techs, only to discover that he was hideously behind the leaders. Also, he hated me.
So what do we have here? We've got a monster Mansa Musa, with Frederick as his best buddy and close behind, and two other backwards civs. Finally there's me, leading in score, but desperately trying to rev my economy to catch up.
Well, the revving kept coming. The Hindu shrine gave me 20 gold per turn for another 10% on the research slider.
But Mansa just kept going nuts on me. I research Education, he's already got Economics. I research Printing Press, he's already got Rep Parts. I research Philosophy, he's already got Nationalism. I research Constitution, he's already got Corporation.
Cyrus was easy diplomatic prey - he'd never had exposure to any religion, so a stream of Hindu missionaries easily converted him to my side while also powering up my Hindu shrine. I also started sending missionaries to Frederick - his only founded religion was Islam, so Germany was still a mixture of older religions and I had a chance to get him too.
I get some good news with Alexander declaring war on Mansa -- at worst Mansa will be distracted, at best he'll swallow Greece and crash his economy. And hey, this is not the first time these two have been at it! "-9 You declared war on us" means it's their third skirmish!
Back home, Great Person #4 popped from Madras as a low-odds (17%) Prophet. Lightbulbing Theology was useless, as was constructing a second religious shrine, so he just settled in Delhi. A while later, Madras popped an even more useless Artist at even lower odds of 15%. He just waited to start a Golden Age.
Hey, popped one! Not a large effect but certainly welcome.
I researched Economics and Liberalism, and traded the pair to Frederick for Astronomy, all economic bumper techs. (Astronomy finally turned on foreign trade routes.) I double-revolted to Free Market and Free Speech. (My empire was big enough that a single civics change was 2 turns of anarchy, so by combining two revolts it took 3 turns, saving one.) I also picked up Engineering and Gunpowder in late trade from the trailing civs. And Oxford also finally completed to add another 70 beakers in Delhi.
So here's the GNP graph after all that:
Since we know the GNP graph understates larger empires with higher expenses, and ignores shrines and Oxford, I think I'm finally in pretty good shape.
Unfortunately Frederick beat me to the Taj Mahal by three turns. Coincidentally, that was exactly the time we lost to anarchy in revolting to the Democracy civics. I could've had Taj if I'd waited. But that also would've meant waiting another ten turns for the Golden Age to expire, or else waste part of _that_ in anarchy. Well, the cash refund is close to the would-be GA economic boost anyway.
Democracy research took only 6 turns; I was now sustaining over 800 beakers per turn at just under 80% research rate. I was first to the tech, and traded it to Mansa for Scientific Method, and then traded the pair to Frederick for Rep Parts and Corporation. So that's another four-for-one.
Biology came next - I still had lots of farms - and swapped for Steel with Frederick. Unfortunately, that was one straw too far over the line.
Frederick went WFYABTA. So with my trading partner down for the count, and Persia and Greece hopelessly backwards, it was now a flat-out race to the finish between me and Mali. Mansa still paces me by two or three techs, but I'm now running faster. I think.
And Alexander got dogpiled, since rich Mansa was easily able to buy allies. Before that, though, Alex had been at war with Mansa for a hundred turns, but hadn't even lost any cities yet. That was a great break for me, distracting Mansa and slowing his economy.
Shortly later, Cyrus demanded that I join the fight against Alexander, and I accepted in a classic bit of "rogue state" diplomacy. Free "mutual military struggle" points with everyone sounded like a good idea.
As usual when playing an economic space race, I beelined Electricity - Radio - Computers first, building the wonders and laboratories. My GNP was comfortably ahead now. Mansa's had flattened out, and Frederick had passed him, but mine was comfortably ahead. The two spikes in the graph are the anarchy revolts (for empires with high expenses, turns of anarchy with no upkeep costs seem to be spikes in the GNP graph).
Madras popped another Great Person... a second useless Artist. Well, not quite. Backwards Cyrus had picked up Divine Right, and I flipped him an outdated tech for it in order to make my Artist lightbulb towards something useful in Radio.
Here's a shot of my commerce capital, working a full EIGHTEEN towns. Now that's productivity. Especially when the scenario description was supposed to stick us with cottage-poor terrain.
So, onwards. Quiet times are good times. No news is good news.
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