In playtesting several maps, I actually got to practice my opening many times. :) It was always Hunting for scouts, sometimes Animal Husbandry for a resource but not necessary here, then Mining to occupy the worker. Then Mysticism to start on Stonehenge, then Bronze Working to start chopping and whipping and axemen. The build order was worker first, then about three scouts, then settler, then Stonehenge.
I moved the warrior north, revealing a cow. It's tempting to move to pick up the extra livestock -- the plains hill hammer will compensate for the two turns lost and actually put out the first worker one turn sooner. Some players may do that, but I need to playtest from the default start. (Also, I would have rejected the map if making that move led to a drastically stronger capital, like if gold was also there.) As it stands, I like this start.
Huts: gold, warrior (returned home for police), gold, experience (woo free Woodsman II scout), gold, gold, gold, scout, gold. There's a lot of them but that's part of the fun of a scenario like this. I don't mind if someone pops a couple technologies in a game this long.
My playtests had shown that before Stonehenge, there was time to build one settler, and it went here. New York mostly wants to be a settler and worker pump with all that food, though it's also got some good hills for later. You can also see Stonehenge coming out now, with benefit of the forest chop.
Copper had turned up nowhere nearby, so I had to start on Animal Husbandry for playtest purposes. If there are no strategic resources nearby, I'll have to reject this map. Fortunately, horses showed up in first ring distance. Iron would later show nearby too. I hinted at this in the game info page with the note to "prioritize strategic resources". Hopefully players that found no copper would pick up on that hint and speed to one or both resources.
Next came The Wheel, both for chariots and to connect the horse city, while Washington built a worker and settler and escort warrior. Then it was time to get on up to Priesthood, and Writing while I built the Oracle.
Hey... Where is everybody? For the scenario, I love the isolated start -- gigantic amounts of builder land -- but now I'm worried that we won't even have enough contacts to make the map viable. But finally a couple turns later I contacted Saladin in the northwest and shortly later Hammurabi to the east.
Here's Horse City, Boston. I'm taking some risk in building it second-ring from the horses, needing to wait 10 turns for the Stonehenge expansion. But any site adjacent to the horses pulls in dismal desert terrain and no more than one weak food (rice). This is significantly stronger, with the pigs and several hills.
And yikes, that's TWO barb archers near the city. Washington must just keep pushing out warriors to defend, until we can get the horses online. At least Boston is only two turns distant from Washington, in a primordial version of the Amtrak Acela Express. ( )
Anyway, I'm on track for the Oracle before 1000 BC, but need to rethink my plan of what to do with it. I'd intended Code of Laws to establish my own religion, but I'm between two belligerent neighbors who each founded one. Metal Casting is the other obvious option, though Monarchy and even Mathematics or Alphabet are also in play. Early courthouses aren't so necessary on a Huge map - my cities were only at 2 gpt maintenance.
Well, what's my limiting factor on expanding here? Military control of barbs more so than anything else. That's hammers. And we have cheap forges (and gems to come too.) Metal Casting it is. (I somehow never thought of the Great Wall. I think it fell pretty early while I was still on Stonehenge.)
Complicating that factor is also the Great Prophet I have due to spawn from Stonehenge and Oracle. He'll be kind of a waste if I don't have something religious to do with him. Bulbing Christianity is an alternate path to my own religion, and actually - get this - I actually want the Hagia Sophia. Unfortunately it doesn't count for points, Theology being a medieval tech. Its effect isn't exactly +50% worker labor; since it doesn't speed up movement or building roads, it's actually about 33% fewer worker turns in general. With Industrious, the wonder costs 333 base hammers, or less than 6 workers. So once I get 18 workers (and I will have more than that on this huge map), Hagia Sophia will provide more worker labor than building workers instead. And Great Engineer points are the most welcome of all.
More broadly, I need EVERYTHING on the tech chart. Monarchy for happiness, Iron Working for metal, Alphabet for trading, Theology for my religion, even HBR for solid barb repellent. Well, what can't wait must go first, and that's filling in Meditation and Writing in order to bulb Theology. Also, Monarchy and IW and HBR are all easy to trade for, and Alphabet's needed to enable all that.
The horse hookup came just in the nick of time.
And with the loads of barbarian activity, putting together a new city was actually a pretty intensive undertaking. I needed a police warrior, two chariots, a worker, and the settler itself. Synchronizing all those builds and movements was actually rather hypnotic and thoroughly immersive. After all these years, I still love the Civilization opening game.
So what's wrong here? I've built military in my capital, a settler city, a resource-grab city (also with food and hills for military)... oh yeah, need commerce cities before we totally crash. Enter Philadelphia at some nice flood plains.
I lightbulbed Theology as planned, and Christianity picked New York as I knew it would. I adopted it immediately, and set course for Alphabet finally. I also started Hagia Sophia immediately, in Boston, at perhaps the longest initial clock for a wonder I've ever done: 71 turns. Boston was a good site though, with the hills to do it, and no other pressing business. Plus this keeps Boston's GP pool pure for Great Engineers. I hope to do the Hanging Gardens here too, perhaps even before I finish Hagia. The city would pause Hagia Sophia a few times in order to whip out other things and overflow back onto the wonder.
I had great luck in barb fights. I had many chariot-vs-archer fights in the range of 70-80% odds, killing 14! barb archers before losing any chariots. Then, of course, my first chariot loss came attacking an axeman at 99%. And a near-disaster came when a barbarian *spearman* approached New York. Without Archery or metal axes, I had nothing to beat it! The best I could do was let it attack warriors in forests, of which it beat two before dying.
Washington whipped a library, and hired two scientists. Not for a Great Scientist (it still had way better Prophet odds), but just to push my research to Alphabet. Anyway the GPP would help too - either I'd get a low-odds but very welcome Scientist, or get the Christian shrine up a bit sooner.
Just before Alphabet, I got a very welcome message that Sitting Bull adopted Hereditary Rule. A perfect trade choice for Alphabet. Here we go:
Wonderful, that in one shot fixes my happy cap, finally reveals my Iron, and opens up jungle clearing to get some gems online. It hurt a little bit to give up my Oracle bounty, but I can do it without giving up Alphabet to keep him from trading with anyone else for the moment. Iron wasn't on that plains hill at Washington as I'd guessed, but was still close enough, within my borders at New York.
Next research definitely to Mathematics - I really want that Hanging Gardens, for all of its population effect, GE points, and scenario points. A few turns later, Saladin showed up with the tech, so I *really* had to hurry. Boston paused Hagia Sophia yet again in order to bang out the aqueduct and HG. (Boston even wanted the aqueduct since it needs the health with no fresh water and little forest.)
Here's how you knock out a key wonder in record time. No resource doubler? No problem, I'll make my own.
And an overview of my young but burgeoning empire. Over a quarter of the way to the finish line already.
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