And a caravel found Hammurabi of Babylon. Where oh where is he on the tech board? That, my friends, is four techs behind me.
And here's the full boat of contacts. Importantly: Saladin is the only one with both Philosophy and Paper as a threat to Liberalism. And I've got research visibility on him. Optics is around, though, so if I want circumnavigation I better correctly steer the caravels.
Also potentially important is this list of culture rankings. France has three cities over 3000 culture already! "Kassite" is a barbarian city name, must have been culture bombed. But this will definitely require keeping an eye on. France has the Sistine Chapel... but has Free Religion from Shwedagon and therefore Sistine is useless. Hey AI's left hand, way to not know what the AI's right hand is doing.
Whoa... not the most optimal possible deal for it, but I'll take it.
I was then very surprised to discover the existence of Montezuma of the Aztecs! That's one more civ than should be present on the standard size map! And the game info page even says "Opponents: Six" ! Okay, I could have realized this a long time ago if I'd ever noticed "Rank 8" on the demographics screen. Anyway, this development is fine by me; we all know Monty is never a tech threat, and his presence probably explains why the other AIs aren't doing as well as they should be.
And then even more surprised to discover Ragnar of the Vikings! What gives here? Was Sullla paying no attention when he made the map, or intentionally lied to us for some reason?! WTF?
Oh, that explains it. Roosevelt wasn't original either, Louis spawned him. The Ragnar spawn annoyed me since he didn't come with Open Borders so it cut off some trade routes. Surely Sullla didn't playtest this far, or he would have turned off vassal states and this silliness. (Not that I would have tested this far either for a fairly normal variant.)
Yeah, this war has been fruitless alright. But now the Heroic Epic completed in London, and this is finally going to turn the tide. London cranked out four macemen in eight turns, who intercepted and slaughtered two more HA+catapult invasion stacks. I moved them up near Saladin's closest city, and he finally agreed to peace.
To celebrate our new brotherhood I stole Drama from him. I'd had the EP to do so for a while, but City Visibility had proven too useful to spend the EP just yet.
Couldn't sell my map for cash, so I accepted it when Louis popped up offering a map swap, which revealed pretty much the whole of civilized territory. Here it is, for the lurkers who didn't play. I did get circumnavigation before that which would prove immensely helpful later.
Unfortunately, I lost Liberalism. Well, it's no great loss to me. Usually it's coveted for its trade value, but that's nearly blank here. I don't want the civics yet so it just amounts to a small beaker discount on something. Louis took Astronomy, which does speed him up (remember his UB is the Salon for a free artist!) Thing is, now I want to cancel Open Borders to deny France the trade route income, but by variant rule we can't do that except by declaring war. (I later realized you can cancel deals from the F4 Active advisor screen.)
Also in the annoying department, Babylon researched Nationalism, meaning no Taj Mahal for me. But these grapes are also sour - Taj Mahal without marble or industrious really isn't all that positive a payoff, and I don't have any impending civic change need.
Took a trade for Theology (giving up Optics), on the hope of taking it off the list and encouraging the AIs to pop up with other techs.
Louis was also ahead of me to Economics, which creates the problem of needing to spawn my own Merchant for Sid's Sushi. The best solution is for London to hire a couple specialists to cash out its accumulated GPP (from the Great Wall and Heroic Epic) for Great Person #3. The type doesn't matter as this one will go for a Golden Age, and during the GA I will have another city hire max merchants to work towards Sid's Sushi. For now, I skipped Economics in favor of heading straight to Rifling. In fact, London's random GP was a Merchant itself so I didn't need that plan.
I was asleep at the wheel, and lost the fishy island in the southwest to Hammurabi. The city itself is no big loss, but 1.5 food for Sushi rankles. I don't quite know where he thinks he's going to fit two settlers on that reef, though. I did claim three other islands.
I had kept some gold in the bank while researching, just in case of deals like this. I had to take it. 525 gold hurt, but the tech was essential for my planned Redcoat invasion.
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