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Guns or Butter

So here's my territory after the opening phase of this game.

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Kumbi Saleh is the military barracks, slated for the Heroic Epic. Gao and Walata were both intended to be commerce cities, but over time would turn out to be pretty awkward in that role, as their land terrain couldn't really support cottages. They'd do OK with water commerce as a financial civ, with lots of trade route income, but comparatively little actual commerce.

Guess how many beakers Timbuktu, now in Bureaucracy, was producing? Answer: only 41. And that's with a Financial civ and a river. The Academy wouldn't come until a while later, and the city had only one cottage worked up as far as a hamlet. Maybe Bureaucracy really isn't so all-powerful...

Anyway, now where do I go from here? Iron Working for a sword rush? Metal Casting for economy and Colossus? Both and then Macemen? Alphabet for tech trading? Straight Monarchy for the wines and Hereditary Rule? My initial strategy had been to pop Monarchy with a second Great Prophet, but now I see the flaw with that: as a non-Philosophical leader on Epic speed, the second Great Prophet from Stonehenge wouldn't come for another 150 turns. That's definitely too long to wait.

Well, Iron Working is cheap, so let's go for that first and see what the iron options are. Yes, we do have it, so swords are an option (so are crossbows and maces.)

But ultimately, I decided that a plan for any conquesting now was out. My economy was already dragging at 50% research, and expanding would just kill it further. I'd carved out a decent chunk of land, so now time to develop it upwards. To that effect, I did research Monarchy and go to Hereditary Rule and hook up the wines. And now the best plan seemed to be Alphabet (which I knew nobody had yet) to get on top of the tech game.

BTW, here's an interesting puzzle that arose here.

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Irrigating these cities is going to be tough. The white lines indicate irrigation paths that are blocked off by hills, tundra, desert, and the wines where we'd rather have a winery. But the yellow triangles indicate tiles that I really want to irrigate. Gao and Walata are going to be seriously stunted cities without some irrigation, but doing so requires irrigating the LONG way around Timbuktu, through several squares that I'd really rather cottage (in fact, all but one of the city's grasslands.). Finally I just decided that the path of least resistance was to farm over that one wines, leaving the eastmost triangle as just a cottage instead.

I researched Alphabet, swapped it around for Horseback Riding and Mathematics, and started research on Literature, aiming for the Great Library. The GL was the only way I could realistically get my Academy anytime soon, since I really couldn't spare the food to hire scientists anywhere. I also picked up Masonry and Monotheism to finally get to Organized Religion. And a few turns later, I traded Monarchy + Horseback to Hatty for Metal Casting.

Next research was Compass, as trade bait since nobody had it, and also for the Harbors. We've actually got quite a decent supply of happy resources (ivory, wines, furs, imported gold and spices), but health is a problem, and harbors will fix that.

caste-system.jpg 369x600As I started on the Great Library, I realized that we were doing it the hard way, without Marble. The marble source wasn't within our borders yet, and wouldn't be until Gao got to 150 culture. So I pulled a neat Spiritual trick: going to Caste System for six turns for the sole purpose of hiring two artists in Gao to pop that border.

hatty-confucianism.jpg 395x120While the Great Library was being built, my other cities trained several Confucian missionaries, for the purpose of getting Egypt to convert to the religion to lock her in as a friend. That happened as planned, along with some nice news that Hatty was finding trouble elsewhere:

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forest.jpg 327x323And with a couple of massive forest chops (135 shields - the Bureaucracy boost applies even to chops), I got the Great Library.

So here's a current shot of my GNP progress:

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It shows the expected big jumps with Bureaucracy, but it took a while to get there. Bureaucracy isn't all-powerful just by itself; it's only godly if it's got the right setup supporting it. Here, the actual implementation of Bureaucracy itself gave me quite a modest boost to GNP. It was later, after building the Wineries, growing some real cottages in the capital, and adding the Currency trade routes, that my GNP really started to soar. (BTW, I hadn't realized this before, but just researching Currency is a substantial boost to a fledgling nation's economy. When my entire GNP is about 140 income - 60 expenses = 80 net, adding one trade route worth 2 commerce to each city is surprisingly big. With libraries, that's nearly a 20% increase.)

And here's a current overview shot:

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I'd naturally now started the typical Paper-Education-Liberalism research plan. And Kumbi Saleh, my military city, built the Heroic Epic. But then instead of more military, it decided to take a flyer on the Colossus, which it could knock out in 7 turns from scratch, with a forest chop knocking off 2, and did so.

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With coastal cities forming the backbone of my economy (well, besides the Bureaucracy-boosted capital), and absolutely no need for Astronomy on this pangaea map, the Colossus would have a long, productive life indeed.

Some troubling news came: Hatshepsut converted to Christianity! And went to Theocracy (she was at war with Mao) so I couldn't spread more Confucianism to convert her back! Fortunately, she saw the light of reason pretty cheaply:

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After that, I trained more Confucian missionaries posthaste to lock her into the religion and avoid a repeat of that scary scenario.

The Great Library boosted Timbuktu's GPP rate, but the long-established Stonehenge outweighed the newfangled science dudes for Leader Two, who emerged as a Prophet. Lightbulbing Theology was hardly attractive, so he naturally built the Confucian shrine for +14 gold/turn and rising.

So this was a standard builder's game now. The lengthy run on Education finished in 1085 AD, for entry into the Renaissance era. Next up were Philosophy (Elizabeth had founded Taoism a while ago but wasn't trading the tech) and Liberalism, slingshotting into Nationalism as usual.

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