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Epic Twenty-six: Splendid Isolation

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The isolation question directly affects what I want to do here on turn zero. If we have neighbors, I want to found on the starting square for the plains hill hammer power towards the Great Wall. If we are alone, of course I'll want coastal access for boats, and the clam will pay off more than the plains hill hammer fairly soon.

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Moving the warrior the obvious southwest didn't add any information to that. In the end, I finally decided to move. We're Financial so the coast is worthwhile. The move did give up a lot of hills, but we don't really have a lot of food to work them. And expecting to trail in tech, this will not be a big wonder game.

I think the right moves are worker first, followed by chopping the work boat. Work boat first only adds 1 unit towards building the worker; the work boat would take 12 turns and recover only 5 turns towards the worker. Let's go for the big 6-food tile sooner and the 4-food tile next. So first research to Agriculture.

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3500 BC brings us our answer: We Are Not Alone. Great Wall it is. That means I do not have time to finish Bronze Working before I'll need to start the Wall, so I swapped over to Masonry now.

Actually it turned out that the commerce from the clams did push research fast enough that I could have done Bronze first. And the upshot of not doing so was that the worker sat idle for 3 turns after doing two hill mines until he learned how to start chopping. A minor error.

So London grew to size 5, working food and mines. I paused the Great Wall to double-whip a worker just before London would have overgrown to size 6 unhappiness.

saladin-espionage.gif - 6kbThis is interesting. Saladin's research surprisingly appeared on the scoreboard. OK, I'm planning heavy espionage, but not this soon! Thus the EP count reveals that Saladin must have at least one other contact, though I haven't been able to find him/her/it yet.

Turn 63 with 3 turns to go on the wall, a BIFAL notification startles me, but it was just Stonehenge.

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Mission accomplished!

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Well, this land is pretty barren. Maybe it would have been better to skip the wall and just let the barbarians have it. :) Anyway, time to build settlers. Oh hey, we are Imperialistic, I just noticed. Should have saved that worker whip for a settler instead. Actually should have simply whipped a settler instead.

Anyway, now where to put settlers. This was my first stab at a dotmap. But it has a serious problem - every single city has crap for tiles in its first ring! Fish, sheep, horses, and flood plains all need a culture expansion, which will be tough to come by. Only one spot gets a city off the ground quickly, between the sheep and horses. But that site has crap beyond the animals, just plains and coast, and screws up placing cities for the wines and flood plains and clams.

Thought about the Great Lighthouse, but too many other things were higher priority than Sailing, including Mysticism for monuments. It eventually went on T138 / 550 BC. Writing, though, was uncharacteristically low priority. I'm doing Spies for the first few GPs so no rush to a library, and without tech trading there's no rush to Alphabet.

Anyway, here's the dot map I did end up with.

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In retrospect after seeing other reports, particularly darrelljs's, this was terrible strategy. Far better would have been to settle towards Saladin as quickly as possible, for which we have the perfect combination of traits, cheap settlers and economy support. Saladin won't declare war at Pleased, so we could easily have claimed the majority of the continent peacefully. But I was stupid.

The Great Wall did its job, keeping barbarians out of my borders. But that led to a pair of barb archers just sitting there in the southwest. I'd skipped Archery (between the Great Wall and horses available, didn't expect to need archers) so had to send three warriors to clear them out.

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Farther north, my first warrior had finished scouting everything he could reach, surviving a good six animal attacks for Woodsman II. This is a neat map, very reminiscent of England, with London on the bay in the south and a hostile Scottish Saladish neighbor to the north.

Saladin's other friend must be on the far side of his land, where I can't reach, and we can't ask for Open Borders even if one of us had Writing (and he's currently stuck on Iron Working.) Solution - whip a Work Boat out of Nottingham to go sail over for the contact! Yes, sometimes it is correct to whip things even before the granary. That work boat eventually met Sitting Bull.

London built five settlers total, then switched to workers. It was difficult, but I stayed my hand on whipping the city. With five strong tiles all being worked, an anger penalty for the whip would be quite harsh.

Had to research Writing just to give the cities something to build. I had been planning to backfill by stealing techs - but can you see the problem with trying to steal Writing?

Saladin's Hinduism spread to me, and I definitely converted right away. T142 brought my Great Spy who settled in London of course.

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Yeah, we're going to be playing from behind.

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