After the obvious scout move:
There's lots of options here. The start seems crafted for us, with the plains hill. I even considered settling on the pigs to get a 3F city tile plus the fish in range, but the problem with that is too much coast and the capital is limited to only 2 cottages ever.
But what does that blue circle know?
I couldn't resist the circle. There must be another resource for that circle to pull us away from a river-plains-hill starting spot.
Phooey, just wines? And I don't even gain any grassland, both sites have only 5. So I actually moved BACK to the original site for the plains hill hammer.
This was the plan - on turn 2, my scout can see if there is any more seafood in the two more hidden tiles. There wasn't, so I settled back on the original hill. (Sullla, did you notice the blue circle there? Did you know it would tempt players away from the actual best sites to settle?)
So the move-off turned out to be incorrect, but the move-back was definitely correct. The plains hill hammer will more than recoup the lost turn by the time the worker comes out. And this location will also recoup part of the lost turn, in that the worker saves two turns in not moving through forest on and off the pigs.
And despite Sullla's warning about metagaming for a worker first in Always War, I'm going for it anyway. Grassland pigs are mega strong, and the worker build time lines up nicely with Animal Husbandry research time.
My scout found a hut in the south for a second scout on turn 4 - great! Warrior might have been better for defense on the forest choke, but two scouts together will work too.
Our next-door neighbor is Tokugawa of Native America? 6XP CG3 archers and longbows? Dog Soldiers that beat our Phalanx? Sullla, you're frickin hilarious.
Next beyond him was Montezuma of the Romans - yeah, that one was pretty predictable. Well, both of them stink at teching, and this is only Prince difficulty, and we have a nice tight defensible forested chokepoint. Looks like this will be yet another economic-cum-military project.
After Animal Husbandry, I went for Bronze, trusting in Aggressive warriors to be good enough for defense for the moment rather than archers.
... and got my first warrior done _just_ in the nick of time. He's at +70% defense which should be plenty, so Tokugawa just sent his warrior on past. I then gambled further on that warrior being enough for defense while putting out a work boat. A couple turns into that, I realized that pillaged pigs would be a real headache, but then both enemies sent their warriors on south and missed sight of my pigs to pillage! (A human opponent could have deduced that a capital must have a land food resource and looked for it to pillage.)
My worker sat idle for a VERY long time until Bronze came in - okay, maybe doing work boats first would've been better.
In tactical maneuvering around Tokugawa's area, I discovered that the AIs would not attack my scouts in forests with warriors! So my scouts slipped past Native America and kept scouting! They met Shaka of Sumeria - another toughie - and then Mansa Musa of England. Here's a map:
My northwest scout had finally died. I'd correctly deduced that the tile he moved to was safely free of Montezuma's units (his capital just built a worker), but didn't anticipate Mansa's warrior. My northeast scout is still going, having snagged two more huts for gold and experience.
Bronze came in, and holy moly,
God Sullla did smile and give us copper right in our backyard. Great! Unfortunately there's a wee chicken-and-egg problem here: need the copper to build escorts, but need escorts to get a settler to the copper. :) So I had to go for Archery anyway.
Finally I managed to dance the (whipped) settler around the enemy warriors.
this is sparta. (I never saw the movie 300, and I'm getting kind of tired of that catchphrase actually...)
Anyway, the land down here was really awkward to dotmap. The only spot to grab and not waste all three resources is 1S of the copper, but that stinks long run with no coastal access and 11 rubbish coast and tundra tiles. Settling with the copper in first ring is absolutely mandatory; I have no time or tech or hammers to do a monument. So this is the best we can do. And they're not connected by water, so I'll have to do the road.
Eventually each of the enemy warriors did go for the pigs, and my one archer was able to kill each of them when they finally exposed themselves on the flatland pigs tiles. Mmm, honeypot bacon.
Why was I so worried about getting copper quickly? I needed a strong escort to get my next settler north through the jungle.
City three was a real Pink Dot moment.
I whipped the settler, and grabbed way out towards my rivals to secure a spectacular spot. Three food resources, a critical strategic resource, and loads of good terrain in hills and grassland. And it's a plains hill. This city can probably do just about anything I like.
And like the original Pink Dot, it had to start with its own worker. Going to take forever to get one here from home. I do have a phalanx on the way to back up the archer.
But getting through Tokugawa of Native America is going to be a big problem. Those Dog Soldiers are nearly invincible. Nothing beats them! They outclass archers on base strength, axemen and swordsmen and spearmen by their melee bonus, and chariots by getting free and better promotions. (I didn't realize until reading reports that Dogs count as axemen and chariots do beat them.)
So, looking up the tech tree, what beats Dogs? Catapults and elephants, both on base strength. Hey, those two units come at the same tech. And so does our UB. And I just grabbed out for ivory. And there just happens to be a scoring category for that UB.
So I had my plan. Beeline research to Construction and War Elephants. They require Horseback Riding too, and I kept that in mind, using the HBR research time to build catapults.
Along the way, Athens hired two scientists to pop a Great one for the capital academy. This really helped research time - from the scientists themselves as much as from the academy. I had to punt any thought of the Oracle, though - I didn't even have prerequisite techs for Priesthood.
Well, nothing happened for a while. No Barbarians was quite a welcome setting for this game. I could defend only on the front lines - I had no worries about any units attacking Athens or Sparta. So I did Mathematics, then completed the beeline straight to Construction. (In addition to scoring for the Odeon, Athens really needs the happiness from the UB too.)
I reached Construction and whipped an Odeon in exactly 500 BC. (Somehow I lost that screenshot.) But here's Pink Dot showing that I have the tech.
There's a particularly annoying stack from Tokugawa there. Five units all sitting in a forest within my city radius, and I can't do a frikkin thing about them. (Those spearmen would have killed any chariots of mine even if I had remembered to build some.)
But eventually Tokugawa moved a couple new units (without a Dog Soldier) to the corn tile. I moved some units to the red dot forest tile to kill them, then the forest stack suicided against mine in the other forest (and a defending phalanx even held up against the Dog.)
And with that taken care of, Operation Jumbo is well under way.
And Tokugawa is in last place on the power chart. I like that.
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