This was the end of my first day of playing on the game, and a good time to go through an overview.
15 cities before 1000 BC. I'm easily first in score, and at 227k by winning this turn, almost halfway to my goal of 500k. Bibracte over there is going for a Hanging Gardens chop run which I would land easily.
But more important than the score is the economy status. I am actually on par for the tech LEAD, having researched Mathematics but most AIs haven't. Just trail by CoL to one AI and Currency to two. My GNP at 155 is also #1. It's padded by culture a little bit (captured Stonehenge monuments) but in reality is still pretty strong. Research is break-even only at 20%, which sounds low, but 20% of a big empire is still greater than 60% of a small empire.
Left unsaid is what to do next with my stack of 12 Praetorians. The big thing I want to do is conquer the Pyramids, but they haven't been built yet. I can't support more cities for expansion; the legions can only conquer for cash at the moment. I guess the best they can do is just wait 10 turns and smack Greece again. So I did, collecting another 500 gold from whacking three cities. That 500 gold... just made it to Currency!
And the trade route is only part of Currency's payoff. The rest is the ability to gain cash from the AIs. I blew the cheap religious techs to anybody with a C-note on hand. But more importantly, I fired begs and demands at almost all of the AIs, accumulating over another 1000 gold in total.
That cash deficit-researched Code of Laws at max in about 6 turns (an eyeblink on Marathon.) Incidentally, the question of "Currency or CoL first?" is virtually always Currency. You need both anyway, and Currency helps get to CoL a lot more than the other way around, including the 20% prereq bonus.
Currency also pays off well at the trade table. Isabella swapped me Monarchy for Currency, and Willem came up with another big payoff in Calendar! Soon enough to get the Mausoleum. Nice.
And wow, where did Churchill get 910 gold? No wonder fell lately for a refund. But I will take it. Used the cash to burn into Metal Casting, forges are useful enough and the Colossus is decent profit including its GPP.
Presently the Pyramids did fall, to Persepolis of Cyrus in the way far north. I shall have to go without them for a while. VirusMonster claimed Representation research was essential... I am disagreeing, cottages work fine.
So with the Currency trade route, and courthouses to de-sting the impact of number-of-cities costs, I went on a settling rampage. Why conquer to domination when you can grab land for free first?
I had also alertly run two scientists in one city (Arretium), popping a Great Scientist. What is the sole use of Great People that scales up on larger maps? (Ok, bulbing scales up some with population, but the real point of bulbing is the base 1500 beakers (4500 on marathon.)) Especially when the world now looks like this after that settling binge?
Golden Age. 24 turns of +150 commerce and production. And free flips to Hed Rule at the start of the Golden Age and then Vassalage when that tech arrived.
I had run all my EP against Gilgamesh for a while, accumulating about 1000. Had a spy in position and ran a couple turns of EP slider to cash out that EP on an Aesthetics steal. While in Golden Age, researched Literature and Feudalism, in time to flip to Vassalage before the end. Then to Engineering and mass trebuchet production, with the Heroic Epic going up in a strong centrally located city.
Isabella presently turned up with a demand for Metal Casting. Paying that got her to Friendly! Awesome - she traded me Horseback Riding (for Aesthetics), declared war on Gilgamesh (for Literature), and then Construction! (for Feudalism.) And some time later Civil Service! for Machinery + Compass. Good old Isabella, perhaps the easiest AI to befriend in the game, just pick her religion and you're done.
Now Gilgamesh declared war on me! That was a surprise! And he bought in Charlemagne. I conquered one city from Gilgamesh and signed peace. I kept attacking and killed the Holy Roman Empire, since he didn't have longbows yet.
Engineering in 330 BC, aided by some intentional wonder-fail-cash on the Parthenon. Trebuchets, and start hacking against Cyrus in 200 BC. Why Cyrus? He's lagging on tech, still lacks Feudalism -- and he has the Pyramids. I'm skipping over some detail here, but we all know how to shred cities with trebuchets and praetorians, especially on Marathon difficulty.
47 CITIES BY 1 AD. I scoff at 44.
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