Well, I don't really have any particular gameplan other than to build lots of military, likely going chop chop chop at the capital. We didn't get a choice as to where to found the initial city, but I guess the spot is good enough. There's a tough initial choice - Agriculture to work the corn, or go straight to Bronze Working for the military? I think it'll have to be Agriculture; leaving that corn tile unimproved is just crazy.
My scout set out, and found a hut that popped maps.
That was the only hut I'd get as the scout died to a lion soon after. He did contact all the civs first, but there were no deals to be made anywhere. Well, I see our nearest neighbor is India. Hmm, might he be a fairly soft target early?
When Tenoch expanded, its borders kept my entire peninsula in view, so I'd have plenty of warning of any incoming barbs. Thus I felt safe building a worker immediately (just as the city hit size 2), after one warrior, then straight for the barracks. With that corn tile farmed, its production skyrocketed to SIX food. I'd been expecting 5: grassland = 2, farm = +1, corn = +1, farmed corn = +1; where'd that sixth come from?
Bronze Working reveals exactly one copper resource, and it's some ways out from my capital. Hmm... What to do now?
I could go for Iron Working and hope there's iron available closer. Or I could go towards Horse Archers instead. Or I could go for Masonry for the stone and maybe Stonehenge for a slower more builder game. Well, I put off that decision by picking up The Wheel in the meantime (ignore that screenshot showing Animal Husbandry - I just clicked on anything when the research popup came and I'd change it later in the turn.)
Finally, I decide this: Iron Working is totally a dead-end tech in this scenario (since we can't research Fishing to Sailing to Compass), and if it doesn't turn out to give us iron, we're dead in the water without metal. Copper is almost as good, and so I've got to reach out for it, *fast*. So I start a settler, aided by chops. Research goes to Animal Husbandry to find out what the horse situation is. Turns out we have none. (At this point, I was totally focused on getting a metal resource for axemen or swordsmen. I was totally unaware that jaguars don't require a metal resource.)
While that's happening, several barbarian units were making themselves known out in the fringes of the jungle. So my first settler wasn't going to go all the way out to the copper without an escort and preferably two. So he settles in a closer location while I order up Archery. I also swapped to Slavery sometime around now once I realized we could do it with no anarchy.
This location is a bit cramped, but it gets three good grassland-forest tiles. Also, very importantly, it can reach the corn tile to bootstrap itself faster. Tenochtitlan is limited at size 4 by happiness, and has plenty of forest tiles to work at that size, so it can spare the corn. Tenochtitlan is currently building the next settler, but I'd pause that for an archer once the tech came in. After Archery, next research was Masonry so the stone could get improved just for the hammer output.
Meanwhile, a barb city popped up really quickly, really close. First time I've seen one in Civ 4. My archer goes to take a peek, then wisely backs away.
I got my third city out at the copper, thanks to two archer escorts (only one battle happened along the way, with my archer successfully defending in a forest).
I had thoughts of going to pick up Iron Working anyway, but this research choice really didn't matter, as my economy crashed hard upon founding my third city. Tenoch put out a second worker, as now priority #1 was to get that copper mined and attached. That happened with both workers committed to the project.
My initial cities each built axemen, who set out to take down that barb city and succeeded. But man, is that how you're supposed to handle barb cities this early? I basically bent my entire civ to getting axemen, and that took until 715 BC? And hey, I didn't even realize I'd get the choice to keep that city. Should I? My economy is already in the toilet (upkeep costs = 8). I decide not to; those resources around it are useless in this game (can't ever build Plantations because we can't research to Calendar.)
<foreshadowing> And yes, my economy is negative at 100% cash. </foreshadowing>
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