Halfway through Currency I realized I was neglecting another important goal - the Mausoleum. This game should have lots of golden ages, and it's worth lots of scenario points. Well, at least nobody here has Calendar yet. I went for it after Currency, and did get the Maus. But I missed the Great Library, but the refund cash gave me clear way to Music first.
Hammurabi got Drama, and I beelined up through Literature next in an attempt to win the free Artist. I also got my Heroic Epic up in New York, although then rather than military it had to do the Sistine Chapel since nowhere else is strong enough to build it. I need Sistine to build lots of legendary cities.
The turn before Music, I jumped at TWO notifications of Great People, but neither was the free Artist.
Yes, 1000 AD for Music. With huge map costs, and full contact still far away, tech is going pretty slow here indeed. Usually the Music GA happens around 250 AD, or in some cases like the Friendly Takeover game even before 1 AD.
BTW, one of my (mild) criticisms of Civ 4 is that the happy cap tends to disappear as a factor too quickly. There are too many happiness resources (compare 8 in Civ 3 to 12 in Civ 4), and too many other factors in religion and unlimited Hereditary Rule. I've had to use the culture slider for happiness maybe about three times ever. After learning Calendar, the happy cap is almost never the limiting factor to a city's growth. Most often it's simply food, while happiness resources come online faster than the cities can even grow to the cap. I rarely even think about needing Notre Dame.
Anyway, let's check in with the GNP accountants.
Solid lead, at least among the civs we know.
So I plodded through the medieval era, researching Feudalism myself. Usually I wait to get that in trade, but here I actually wanted longbows to fight barbs. Plus Vassalage isn't shabby - my HE city can crank out CG2 longbows which are good for an extremely long time, and the free unit upkeep is pure profit. I also landed Shwedagon Paya just for the scenario points, completing my wonder scoring at Stonehenge 12 + Oracle 15 + Hanging Gardens 30 + Mausoleum 45 + Shwedagon Paya 45 = 147. (Hagia and Sistine are medieval and don't count.)
With those wonders, I also have each Great Person pool pure and predictable.
Washington - prophets from Stonehenge and Oracle
Boston - engineers from Hagia Sophia and Hanging Gardens
New York - artists from Mausoleum and Sistine Chapel
Boston would spawn GP #3 as an Engineer. No idea what to do with him after Notre Dame fell; no nearby wonders were important enough to burn him. I guess save him for a hammer corp or an emergency catch-up wonder.
Anyway, time for a Golden Age from the free Great Artist. The critical point in the land-grab is now at hand, and I intend to dump out settlers (and longbow escorts) as fast as possible to claim all the remaining land. I also took a free temporary switch to Vassalage's unit support and even Serfdom's worker speed (1 turn roads!) Slavery could wait for the moment - there's no need for whipping with cities in growth mode. A city growing too big would simply be halted with workers and settlers. The initial build order in each city was very easy: 1. granary, 2. forge, 3. courthouse, 4. Sistine-enhanced temple or monastery. (With Sistine, theaters hardly exist.)
But that very same turn...
Saladin declares war! OK, that's the second game in a row where I got declared on immediately after giving up Slavery and whipping. Sheesh.
Well, here's his stack. I should be safe in my cities with longbows, though I don't really have any counter-units. (No macemen, elephants, crossbows, or knights yet.) Cats and horse archers will do the job, and I stopped research to upgrade archers and warriors.
This war turned into a total non-event. Saladin's stack marched up to Boston's hill, sat there bombarding for 50 years, then suicided against the city. I didn't even get enough experience for a Great General before making peace. I wasn't planning at all to invade him during the age of macemen and longbows; with my economy I'll just come back later with cavalry or tanks.
Although I did swipe a worker - in neutral territory so not an invasion - with an exploring axeman that was still on the far side of Arabia.
With the end of the Golden Age, I needed to pick civics again. Vassalage was actually considerably superior to Bureaucracy (!). My capital had almost no commerce - less than the free Vassalage unit support. And 10 hammers at Washington would pale to insignificance by now. Also I still wanted to keep Serfdom with so much jungle to clear. Laying roads in a single turn is fun.
Notre Dame fell in a distant land, which reminded me that I had to get out there and make contact. (Also to approve the map for the Epic! It won't do if we discover that some civ got a five-cow start and has already killed two neighbors!)
Here's my Caravel - yes this was my only coastal city. I really goofed by not making Atlanta coastal. San Francisco had to comically build the Moai Statues with as many as four Citizen specialists hired! But it did eventually get caravels going in each direction, though I lost circumnavigation by a fair margin.
And speaking of losses, I lost Sankore only a couple turns after I got Paper! This hurts doubly because I could have gotten it with the pocketed Great Engineer. Better get exploring! I'm also going to miss Liberalism at this pace...
Anyway, I'm still landgrabbing. Worth a second look is the jungle in the west. A west coast port location might be tactically very important. I wanted the river mouth fish location (the northern "C") but missed it by only a couple turns. I settled for Denver as my west coast port city, and its first order is to chop out that caravel in order to make more contacts.
For the other two cities, Dallas and Cincinnati, I've never seen such a barren expanse of terrain. All told there's an area of 7 x 9 tiles without a single food resource! Both cities are pretty miserable; Dallas is pure filler, but Cincinnati has an important mission of applying 4th-ring cultural pressure to two Native American cities there, and at least borrows Detroit's copper to build its culture buildings.
One barbarian city added to my land claim, though I razed it and replaced with better positioning.
And I also founded a city towards Arabia, with the sole goal to be my National Park together with National Epic. This city would rack up 17 forest preserves. But in the end it probably wasn't really worth it - it never grew to more than 12 actual citizens, took quite a while to actually build the specialist enabling buildings, and would put out a lot of Great People but not the types I needed.
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