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¿Cuál es su plan?

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At this point, I felt like Griselda in Adventure Nine. "¿Cuál es su plan?" I had a population and land advantage now, but the economy was still stuck at 20% research. How in the world would I get it out of neutral? Really, the only thing to do is have all the new cities grow up to size (first whipping granaries and courthouses), and start working cottages. Population is still power; the first six or so population in a new city is essentially economic overhead to pay for itself, but then you start the serious production.

Well, I'd clearly bitten off as much of Greece as I could possibly chew, so now it's time to just build build build. The cultural cities went for temples and cathedrals, pausing for universities when Education came in. Research gradually increased to about 45%, which was still too little; Greece had a lead of ten visible techs on me and who knows how many beyond that.

Leader Four from Thebes was a Great Scientist, presenting some options. He could lightbulb Philosophy to get Taoism. Or of course he could settle or do an Academy. I actually went for Philosophy, in hopes of making it to the Liberalism slingshot eventually (Alex still hasn't got Civil Service.) Too bad Taoism (my fourth founded religion) picked one of my non-cultural cities as its home.

Also, I wanted to build the Forbidden Palace, but it requires *eight* cities even on a tiny duel map?! I've got seven, and certainly no plans for an eighth anytime soon, if ever.

In capturing Corinth, I got one axeman to 8 XP but not to 10, and didn't see any more land units from Greece in the now-phony war to finish training him up for the Heroic Epic. Fortunately, a barb axeman spawned in my northern tundra, and I ferried my axeman back over to clean up the kill. I actually first suicided two obsolete warriors against the barbarian, to whittle him down a bit and make sure my axeman won. The Heroic Epic went in Knossos, as clearly my cultural cities couldn't spend time (or a limited national wonder slot) on building military.

Leaders Five and Six were also Scientists, who went for a pair of academies in Thebes and Memphis. Leader Seven was a Prophet, who went for the Buddhist shrine in my capital for the obvious culture and cash. Thebes was generating almost 40 GP points per turn with the existing wonders, Great Library scientists, National Epic, and Parthenon, so these leaders came posthaste. I also built Angkor Wat in Thebes just because we had stone.

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I did indeed make it to Liberalism first (going right to Free Speech), and intended to take Printing Press for free...

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but it wasn't available because I'd neglected Machinery. Nuts. Well, Nationalism is by far the most expensive of the available techs (it's 3000 beakers and only Gunpowder is above 1000 of the rest available), so I take that and get going on the Hermitage. As before, I think the Hermitage has to go in one's weakest cultural city if you don't have a reliable Great Artist farm to compensate with Great Works. Here, it was Heliopolis.

Another Great Engineer popped in Thebes presently. I wanted the Sistine Chapel, but it didn't seem worth the 900 beakers of research to Theology just for that, since we never need that tech for anything else. He went for the Taj Mahal instead (in Memphis to spread around the wonder culture), and here's my civ at the sunset of that Golden Age.

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BTW, I'm noticing that Great Engineers are even better than Great Artists for a cultural victory, before the Renaissance wonders get cleaned out. The wonder they construct provides almost as much culture as an Artist, and even more if it comes early enough to get the 1000-year bonus.

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Presently, I decided that I needed to rule the seas, having gotten sick of Greek boats pillaging my water resources. But ruling the seas requires Frigates and Ironclads, which both require iron. The only available iron (thank you Sirian) was on that useless tundra island in the south. The city cost my civ 14/turn in maintenance, but at least it paid back 6/turn immediately by itself with a free specialist from Mercantilism + Representation. Also it qualified me for the Forbidden Palace, which I built in the northernmost city, recouping most of the rest of the costs of the outpost.

And I've been told that the AI in Civ 4 is much more competent at arranging naval invasions, but I'm not seeing it:

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That's actually a pretty scary stack, if it could ever manage to get on a boat to go somewhere. I now had that Frigate there blocking the way, but there was quite some time before that where a single galleon on the AI's part would've left Corinth scrambling and praying.

So I'd gotten my research stable at around 55%. Happiness was totally not a problem, with the religious temples and cathedrals (Incense-powered) in the cultured cities. The other cities occasionally had happiness trouble, but I had enough luxury resources that health was a far bigger problem than happiness. At least until THIS:

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YEOWCH. I'd thought Emancipation anger was on the order of 2-3 angry faces per rival civ that had the civic. so I'd thought I could ignore it in this game. Now I see it scales based on a percentage of civs rather than number, which is entirely reasonable. But I'm still two expensive techs away from Democracy. So here's the question: Will the Emancipation anger ever get any worse? If not, I can indeed ignore it permanently anyway. Presently, we can compensate enough with 10% on the cultural slider and building theaters in the other cities. (Truth: I just now noticed that we have double production on theaters thanks to being Creative. I'd built them in the cultural cities of course, but didn't care how much they cost.) The cultural slider is no economic loss at all for a cultural victory game, of course.

A Great Engineer popped at Thebes, and I didn't know what to do with him. There weren't any great wonders available (I didn't think I'd have a shot at the Statue of Liberty, still two techs away, and even so he'd be worth only half of it) and the next ones were Broadway or Pentagon, both three techs away and not somewhere I had plans to go anytime soon. Lightbulbing for two turns worth of research on Combustion hardly seemed worthwhile either. So he rushed, of all things, the Ironworks. It went in my capital as that city was still by far my best shield producer, and it could handle the unhealthiness unlike my other two cultural cities that were off the fresh water.

By the way, here's an overview shot of Greece, which I haven't shown yet.

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That starting island was pretty darn small! Swap the locations of Athens and Thebes, and you add well over a difficulty level's worth of challenge to this scenario. I'm sure Sirian set it up this way. I'm not too familiar with the Civ 4 map generator yet, but it looks like Sirian might've disconnected Greece's home continent from the island south of it.

I was running naval starvation sieges at Pharsalos and Sparta, and would rotate them around to some other exposed cities. Also, take a look at that barbarian city; I'd recently sailed a frigate by there to see a pair of *riflemen* in it. Greece would never capture the barb city during the whole game, but its presence distorted the AI's execution enough that Greece never had a single terrain improvement on the whole island, presumably due to never building a worker there!

Here's another T-hawk Micromanagement Detail:

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The map mouseover tile yield display takes into account the presence of a lighthouse in the city. By mousing over other tiles, I can tell that Mycenae has a lighthouse and Rhodes doesn't. So in this picture, I can tell that the tile indicated by the yellow arrow belongs to Rhodes and not Mycenae, and therefore I don't need to blockade it to starve Mycenae.

sistine.jpg 505x413Wonderful, Alex. I'm sure that'll just roll right over my riflemen. rolleyes.gif 15x15 He also built the Statue of Liberty not long later.

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