My ships completed the full boat of contacts. Nobody else even had Compass so circumnavigation was safe. I picked up Code of Laws and Civil Service in trades. The other continent is Buddhy-buddy though, so infighting is not likely.
Babylon is next on the target roster, but for the moment, I need to get some semblance of an economy in shape, getting on track with courthouses and a Forbidden Palace, while building some contemporary units. (Swords don't like fighting maces.) And going for University of Sankore seems another decent way to pull economy out of whole cloth. I'm building the Hindu buildings anyway with the AP hammer bonus.
One caravel had an Explorer to search any islands that might have goody huts. I found one. But there's a barbarian warrior on top of it. Explorers can't attack. I would love a shot at the holy grail of hut popping, Astronomy --- except that there is no way to dislodge that warrior from that hut until you HAVE Astronomy!
Wait, there is! Caravels can carry spies! That effort netted me not Astronomy, but 151 gold from the hut. (Which is three turns of research.)
Next step: research Divine Right. I haven't done that for about two years. I actually want both wonders! Spiral Minaret fits right into my Religious Building Economy. And Versailles will be important as well. I built it in the Sumerian capital to cut expenses now, so I could save the Forbidden Palace for the island off the coast of England.
(Maybe I'm getting way too cute - shouldn't I just research straight to Gunpowder now? Well if Divine Right trades for Guilds then it's as good as researching it directly. Anyway, Elizabeth did get DR a few turns ahead of me, founding Islam, but I won both wonders.)
On the war front - Babylon still needs to wait for the moment. I still feel impotent in backing off to a Monarch AI, but he's too strong until I get some solid units like knights and muskets. Plus he is zero diplomatic risk at +7 shared faith and won't declare at Pleased. But I still have leftover units from conquering Sumeria, and the best thing to do with them is bypass Babylon and go attack Stalin. To help march through Babylon, he traded me Engineering for Civil Service (how'd he not get that?) and Optics.
Wow, that's a nice pile of wonders in Moscow. Stalin was eliminated easily with catapults and macemen, though it took several extra turns for a galley to ferry troops over to an island off Russia's coast.
And very helpfully, Elizabeth and Frederick did both declare war on Hannibal on the far continent. Them burning up some units now will make my job much easier later.
So here's a look at the GNP standings. If there's one word to sum up this game, it's muddled. My initial Oracle plan fell flat. My conquest plans have gone awry a few times. I'd really been muddling through the GNP pack, not anywhere close to the AI leaders, but staying afloat on pretty much every alternative economy you can imagine. Pillage economy; Religious Building Economy; now some portion of captured Great Lighthouse economy; Mercantilism-plus-Representation economy; Wealth economy in cities too poor to care about economic buildings.
I'd next run 0% research for another eternity, then after Spiral Minaret finally go full bore on Astronomy with a surprising recovery to about 55% research. That took too long, though, and everybody was in Mercantilism by the time I got trade routes turned on. And I had to concede Liberalism to Elizabeth, and she took Astronomy herself. No great loss since she wasn't going to trade anything to me anyway.
I was counting on trading Divine Right and Astronomy to parity, and Hammurabi came through bigtime by trading me Education + Philosophy for the pair. I later got Chemistry too from someone else, though had to do Gunpowder myself when the AIs wouldn't trade it.
GP #4 from Washington finally threw a Golden Age. Had to wait for that for any new civics since it was now 2 turns of anarchy for one revolt. This got me the famous Representation (captured Pyramids) and Mercantilism (traded Banking) synergy.
For the first time ever, I FOUND A USE FOR SPY SPECIALISTS. I was just barely losing the EP research visibility race with several of my rivals. In cities with no commerce that had never done libraries or markets, the spy was the best Mercantilist specialist available. They boosted me from ~30 to ~50 EP total and importantly kept research visibility so I could correctly mark time to Economics and Nationalism.
Question: When is the solution to unhappiness in a city actually GROWTH? (And I don't mean growing for whip fodder for a happy building.)
I snagged the Economics Great Merchant ahead of Elizabeth, and trade missioned him for 2550 in the ToA city (way more than a lightbulb). That's just enough to blast to Rifling at max rate.
So the plan to conquer Babylon is now drafted riflemen. I researched Nationalism, and strangely the AIs waited so long for it that I actually PAUSED the Taj Mahal with one turn left, to delay the Golden Age. Getting any more GAs is going to be quite tough so I want to time this one when I need it. The timing was right just as Rifling finished to go to Nationhood/Theocracy and explode.
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