So here's my overview with the land grab finally at long last done. I managed to drive a wedge through to both coasts! Shipbuilding ability at Denver and Memphis may prove key later. That's 25 cities total. I've gotten myself into a mild economic recession, dropping to 40% research.
WATERMILLs are actually key for many of the new cities. Since they're so poor on resources, they haven't got the spare food to support any mines, and forest is scarce. But watermills are a pretty good way of getting some hammers out of jungle.
Also I *LOVE* the max speed worker combo, Hagia Sophia plus Serfdom. I have 24 workers - less than one per city - but they're even able to keep up ahead of city growth even with all the jungle. All the new cities got off the ground about as quickly as they could - they got granaries chopped, never had to wait for labor, let alone burn 15 turns training a worker themselves.
So my caravels are exploring, although missed circumnavigation. Hammurabi had demanded Optics from me, and got boats going sooner than I did. They started to discover islands east of Babylon. Not reachable just yet, but I'm now building settlers and escorts ahead of time in prep for galleons. Then I bought Babylon's map, and discovered several of them to be reachable by *galley*! But Babylon got settlers there before I could.
Hehe, Babylon's map includes a smiley face. I'll let the reader work out how that happened.
And FINALLY we have contact!
And look what he's got - Philosophy and a willingness to trade it. That's a BIG help towards securing Liberalism. Since I know Paper isn't a monopoly, I traded it to get Philo.
Contact #2 with Shaka, and ouch - he's in two wars and apparently losing badly!
Contact #3 with Catherine, and ouch - that is not a happy tech lead. Next turn Elizabeth showed up as well, completing the roster. She also lacked Education, so I had lock on Liberalism now.
Wow, no wonder this continent worked out like it did: Everyone except Shaka shares Confucianism. (I also built Shwed Paya myself, which otherwise is usually good to get one rival into Free Religion and out of the religious buddy blanket.) At this point I finally approved the map for good and sent it off to Sullla to use in the Epic. If the far continent of AIs are going to buddy up with each other, and collectively tech ahead of the player, while threatening to wipe out one of them -- that all sounds exactly like what I want in this scenario.
Up in the air was my choice of Liberalism slingshot. I had to do it now, having traded around Education. I needed a number of lines all at once on the tech tree: Nationalism to score Taj, Economics to score the Merchant (with no Merchant wonders, I might have a hard time getting a GM for a food corp), Gunpowder for military protection (Saladin just got it), and a beeline through Astronomy - Sci Meth - Communism in order to bootstrap my new cities with State Property watermills and Kremlin whipping.
A four-fer brokerage was available in picking up all of Guilds, Printing Press, and Engineering for Education, but I had to wait until after I got Liberalism myself so that I could also get Economics. With no Merchant wonders, I might have a hard time getting a GM for one of the food corps.
Then Germany appeared as a new contact! Thanks to several rounds of playtesting, I had actually forgotten how many opponents I had selected. :)
But HE HAS EDUCATION. Which means...
He slung Astronomy, which is a bit annoying but no big deal.
OK, if I manage to lose Liberalism, I'm not worried at all about the game being too easy. Off to Sullla it goes.
Well, I paused Liberalism and headed for Economics instead. I do want Free Speech quick (and Liberalism for trade bait), but the anarchy isn't worth it yet since I have another Golden Age coming soon. New York (Sistine/Mausoleum) had spawned a Great Artist GP #4, and Washington (Oracle / Stonehenge) gave me another Prophet GP #5, both of which were pretty useless for anything other than the 2-man Golden Age.
So here's a brokerage sequence: Guilds from Catherine for Education. Printing Press from Rome for Education. My world map all around for 500 deficit-power gold Civ 3 style. Engineering from Hammurabi for Guilds.
One nice bit about being a big civ (and Organized) - I can rack up enough EP for demographics visibility very quickly, within about 3 turns. I am the big dog, but it's competitive.
Among my neighbors, I have Sitting Bull at pleased (where he won't declare war), and Hammurabi safely below me on the power graph. Saladin's a threat but I have his border well defended. And I doubt anybody overseas is going to bother me.
I did get Economics first. That happened a couple turns behind someone getting Nationalism. I'd been prepared to play catch-up on it and whack out the Taj with my pocketed Great Engineer, but to my great surprise Rome was willing to swap me Nationalism for a Lib + Banking package. This was with Rome "not ready to trade" the wonderless Gunpowder at 4th civ but willing to trade Nationalism with a key wonder and civic at 3rd. Bizarre.
And I did grab one island city off Babylon's coast (which I named Honolulu. :) ) Its point is to create overseas domestic trade routes, so every city can have one. Nothing like a little bit of island tourism for some cheap cash.
And somehow Elizabeth beat me to Taj Mahal, despite having had the tech for about four turns. In London which is far from a high hammer city (mostly water, two hills.) I didn't see any Great Engineer in the log either. Still not sure how that happened.
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