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Your head would look good on the end of a pike

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Around this time, a Japanese culture border appeared in the northeast, and we declared war on it. I'll deal with them in due time. Here's a shot of our relative GNPs, which looks like I'm doing just fine:

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After Calendar, I went for Currency on the way to Code of Laws (yes, not often you get to CoL via that path) to try to found a religion, but Confucianism was FIDL before I even started on CoL. I still needed to lift the happy cap, since that's the limiting factor in my cities; between the Expansive trait and the Hanging Gardens, health is certainly taken care of. So instead, we declared war on Code of Laws, skipping it in favor of Alphabet - Drama to use the culture slider to keep lifting the happy cap.

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I was going to rush the Great Lighthouse with my first Great Engineer, but instead it was BIAFL three turns too soon. Well, thanks to the variant rule forbidding Marble-based wonders, there isn't any good wonder to rush with him and there won't be anytime soon. So I just settled him in Beshbalik; that city is slated for the first Academy to multiply his Representation-boosted beakers, and also as a cottage city it's going to be a bit short on hammers so could certainly use the Engineer.

The other reason I went for Alphabet - Drama was to open up the way to Philosophy. I really wanted to found a religion, since it might take a long time for anyone else's to spread in, and I wanted a shrine to call my own as well. I did indeed land Philosophy first to found Taoism in 470 AD...

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in exactly the city I wanted it, my commerce capital.

Besides the religion, I also wanted both of the other items at Philosophy. With a focus on specialists, Angkor Wat seemed useful; a total output of 2 hammers, 1 gold, and 3 science from a priest is quite lucrative. Also, I adopted Pacifism to help push out some early cheap Great People. After Angkor Wat in my capital came the National Epic. My Great Person production will have to be driven by wonders in the capital, as there's no high-food site worth dedicating to specialists.

academy.jpg 271x328And I also hired two scientists in my capital, which for Leader Two resulted in a precisely 50-50 coin flip between a Scientist from the specialists or an Engineer from the wonders. It came as a Scientist, exactly as I wanted, for the Academy in Beshbalik. Leader Three some time later came as an Engineer, who settled in Beshbalik like the first.

In 515 AD, a Russian galley wandered by one of my city borders, so we declared war on it.

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At the same time, we got a nice report that we're the Largest Civilization in the World. Here's a shot of the current GNPs, and looks like I'm still doing fine in the technology race. Well, at least I hope so, considering I'm locked out of the trading loop.

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On the research front, I filled in Polytheism - Literature, then Monotheism. And since now I had my Academy and didn't need to run scientists any more, I declared war on Pacifism, in favor of good old Organized Religion.

Now, what's all this blathering about research and buildings? This is an ALWAYS WAR game. Kill, pussycat, kill! Well, I harbor no illusions about winning from an inferior tech position. Conquering the world with axemen and horse archers may work on a tiny pangaea, and . But on an archipelago, you need entirely other lines of technology. 'Tis folly to think that galleys will be enough to conquer an archipelago. They're just so slow and fragile, and easily outclassed by caravels that the AI always seems to get quickly. It takes Galleons to really get anywhere by water.

Also, there's that rule option about No City Razing. Added cities at this point of the game will do little besides crash my economy. First priority is to develop a solid economy at home, THEN go conquering. As I've observed many times before, a technological advantage translates to just about any other kind of advantage that you need.

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And a look at the city productivity, including how Beshbalik is my economic leader by a fair margin over Karakorum:

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I sent one galley exploring past Russia. It found India's island, which we declared war on. Persia showed up by boat sometime as well. And in 1148 AD, the last of the missing civs, China, showed up on the contact list. We declare war on both of them, and on the contact list too just for good measure.

Qin's already got a Caravel, while I haven't got Compass, which means that Circumnavigation is going to have to be a miss this time.

Here's a look at the GNP graph, now that I've contacted everybody.

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