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Brave New World - Korea Jesuit Science

So I keep talking about Poland, but in reading back through some of my science reports, my previous Korea game in particular struck me. I cringed hard at some of what I did in that one. The lengthy list of things to fix:

Despite all that, that game finished at a then-competitive turn 190 even doing a ton of things wrong by my latest standards. So Korea warrants one more shot to use all the angles and tricks I've learned.

Of course I keep talking about the versatile omnicompetence of Poland. Korea's civ ability is worth one social policy (an extra copy of Secularism) while Poland gets seven. But Secularism might be the most significant beaker adder past midgame and Korea just might be able to measure up.

Here's some napkin math. Consider only the end-game after research labs. Korea adds 2 beakers/specialist 8 specialists/city 10 cities +125% multipliers = 360 beakers per turn. The endgame consists of 20 real turns (160 to 180) plus 80 virtual science-turns of bulbing with ten scientists. That's 36,000 endgame beakers -- more than Poland gets from its extra two scientists from Liberty and faith. Korea actually should be able to match that, at least on paper.

Or here's a different way to look at it. Korea can reach the same fixed goal with fewer cities. Korea can get the same science from 10 cities that other civs need 12 for. Korea could be seen as frontloading by skipping two settlers and about three workers in the expansion phase, ramping up city growth and the NC sooner instead.


Moved two turns, but that's a pretty sweet start. Wheat, marble, mountain, another wheat, oasis, enough hills. (Hey, I just realized that these starts seek the Marble Hill Zone, haha.)

Full disclosure: I actually first founded Seoul one tile further east. 5 turns later when the city grew, I realized that spot had no second food tile and would starve at size 3! I reloaded to place it where you see instead which is better anyway. This didn't change anything else about the game.

That ruin visible in the south popped population on turn 4. That's not the best result as it boosts the city only to size 2, a small gain in terms of food. But it's still good.

As soon as I had 50 gold, on turn 7 after meeting one city-state, I bought that wheat tile. As always, this represents a setback on buying the first worker, but really a credit against its labor. This gives +1 food per turn immediately, as good as six turns of worker labor to farm, and probably delays the worker by less than that. (Oddly then the culture picker went for the oasis next even though the sheep currently says it's cheaper.)

Turn 8 another ruin gave 65 gold, then barbs, turn 16 was population to size 4 but also poorly timed before growth, ...

On turn 20 a spearman upgrade came, in perfect position to hit two city-states for tribute and buy my worker then. I decided that backtracking three turns to get in range to tribute Kiev wasn't worth it, though.

More ruins yielded 60 gold, faith for the pantheon on turn 24, t27 wow population to size 6!, t32 a half-researched Bronze Working, t35 finally culture, t39 big faith for the prophet is nice, t50 late 60g, t51 a late half-researched Wheel, t52 really late culture, barbs, ...

and out on the perimeter right near home, a jackpot of a population ruin taking Seoul to size 7! I had founded my second city and had thought the population would go there, but it turned out the two cities were equidistant from the ruin and the capital got it.

The one thing that never happened was an early culture ruin. Didn't get one until turn 35. I went all the way to the Liberty opener on nothing but the palace and two turns' worth of the monument. The schedule became the Liberty opener on turn 24, Republic on t32, Collective Rule t42. Bad but not fatally slow. It did mean the capital had time to build three escort units before starvation settlers, even if that led to this stupidness.

Always a nice stroke of luck, stole a settler and a worker from barbarians. Each took 25 turns to walk home as is typical, but as usual that's fine since that's when the cities start getting founded.

Here's the second city, from the Collective Rule settler. About eight turns later than I'd like. It's founded on a 6-iron hill, both for the extra hammer to make up time on the Pyramids, and to sell immediately of course. It also has a choppable forest which would gain three turns on the Pyramids as well.

(As always with Korea games, I apologize that the JPEG image compression smears the red/blue city billboards into unreadability.)

The capital's build order went three exploring scouts - cover scout - worker - archer - archer - settler - archer - settlers. It turned out that the first settler came just a couple hammers short of finishing, so the next turn had enough overflow to 1-turn an archer, basically applying the +50% Collective Rule settler boost to the archer too.

And great timing on that archer, or else I would have lost a big pile of turns in improving that marble and repairing pillaged mines.


Here's Seoul at the peak of its starvation-settler powers, a bit later after I bought more hills and mined most of them. From here it wasn't worth more as we'd be finished with settlers by the time they got mined anyway.

Here's a look partway through the expansion phase. Also to show where I finally got a city-state worker steal, from Geneva there.

That is a Holy Site on the sheep at Seoul. With my capital at a large size and Desert Folklore having come early on turn 24, so did my prophet on turn 50. With religion running fast and city expansion running a bit slow, I followed the plan from my first Jesuit game with Poland: settle this prophet, because all the forthcoming cities then still get Desert Folklore for free as long as the religion isn't founded yet, rather than waiting for conversion pressure. I liked how this played out in this game, more in a bit. Korea's civ UA also gets 2 beakers from the holy site, a fact I only noticed and remembered much later.

Always a vital part of an early game: a maritime ally. I fortunately had Ur right next to me here with a camp quest. Too bad it didn't have a returnable worker, but Ur had previously had another easy quest (discover some civ) which made the camp enough for alliance.

I later did have to refresh Ur with cash. 250:20 is always inefficient for influence buying, but it worked this time: I could sell my own silver for money to pay Ur, because Ur's silver would replace my own.

The next maritime ally took more effort. My scout arrived here and started working on this camp. It takes a while, but a determined scout has a reasonable chance to clear a camp by itself thanks to Survivalism promotions for extra healing. I worked this unit down partway, but then another barbarian spawned from it and I had to back off to heal.

But then I returned to find a stroke of luck that the camp was empty! I think (couldn't tell for sure) that Vancouver shot it down with an archer but didn't walk around the little bay to clear it. Anyway, I surely took that advantage for myself. The worker was Vancouver's too and so I had a nice long maritime alliance here also.

And not maritimes, but a triple camp clear. I actually kept the worker, since it was La Venta's which already had enough influence for alliance, and it doesn't really matter to keep a religious city-state long term.

I would also pay Melbourne to upgrade the friendship to alliance. Still inefficient, and I still hate doing this with mercantiles where the happy is only rented and never permanent. But this was heavily leveraged by the porcelain triggering two more CS quests. Plus Melbourne has that jewelry quest in the queue which would make the happy a long-term rental at least. I would then repeat this same move again a little while later with another city-state: cleared a camp for mercantile Antwerp then bought them into alliance too for their Jewelry to satisfy Melbourne's quest and one other.


I'm at 6 unhappiness here at 1000 BC. This was intentional. The previous turn before this picture, I brought the cities of Jeonju, Pyongyang, and Suwon all up to exactly 24/24 food in the box by using the "avoid growth" option. Then on turn 75 I founded my last two newest cities (Gangneung and Hamhung), deliberately plunging into unhappiness. Even with the civ unhappy, that first group of cities with a full food box can still grow. If you're going to be unhappy at all and killing growth, you may as well spike past that threshold and be unhappy by a margin of several citizens so that they exist to be working tiles. This clever trick would bring me to 29 population after the 1000 BC turn roll, an average total.

How would I dig out of that happiness hole? Here's the first step. I knew that presently my first iron sale would run out (end of turn 76) and that I could then trade it to Pedro for wine. This is efficient in one way: 5 iron is normally worth 225 lump sum, but a luxury is 240 value. But it's inefficient in another: iron sold individually gets 2 gpt, which would be a higher total. But notice that selling iron for gpt wouldn't help towards buying the wine - because my income is at -13, I wouldn't get above zero to be able to spend that income, so had to do it directly as iron-for-wine.


Seoul completed Petra nicely early on turn 83, but then I couldn't quite go for the Great Library. Only one civ was building it, but I only got a look at that capital just now (when I'd just improved more iron to trade for their embassy) and so I couldn't know how long it had been under construction. Turned out to be a good call - the Netherlands got the GL on turn 85 and I would have missed it by three.

Another intermediate overview since I have a number of things to talk about here.

The first topic is city development. Sometimes I'm happy with this in games, sometimes not. This one went well. Just about every city went granary first, then monument, shrine, then archers and workers. I've learned to put those together in that order, compared to several of my last few games that have tried approaches that seemed to turn out suboptimal.

Granaries ramp up faster than workers. With one wheat resource, a granary yields +3 food... a sum that a worker reaches only after 20 turns of labor to build three farms. And the worker needs a military unit to cover it, while the granary works inside the city and doesn't care if there's a barbarian stomping around the fields. Same goes for the monument and shrine. I had gotten this wrong in several of my last few games, trying to go for archers and workers before city infrastructure, but now saw how that was suboptimal. Working unimproved tiles chafes, but don't be fooled that that's merely more visible compared to a city that is unimproved by way of lacking a granary. But what if a city doesn't have a wheat tile? Answer: don't do that. Locate every city so it has one.

Then there is a correct time to build workers: a little ways before Civil Service when the impact of their farms doubles. I pushed hard on producing workers here, making about six more to come up to a total of 16 for 10 cities. This made a noticeable difference, particularly on getting roads connected sooner, which was also a priority because I knew I'd have Machu Picchu fast. (My capital with a mountain would build that quickly instead of a side city taking 20+ turns; and Korea's civ UA would research Guilds quickly after Education instead of waiting until after the renaissance as sometimes happens.)

That early build order also cements this as the right tech order. Education first before Engineering is correct. Aqueducts are important, but not critically so as long as the cities have other good items to build instead. Watermills are actually almost as good for payback. The marginal utility increase between a watermill and aqueduct isn't worth the research to Engineering to delay Education. Particularly for Korea for whom Education accelerates into Engineering more than for anyone else. But then Engineering does come right after Education and the cities should be ready to build the aqueducts right away then. Civil Service came on turn 96 here, not great, but not bad for a civ with no real early game acceleration. (Korea's "science boost" ability had happened on building the library in the capital, which gained about four turns and 160 beakers worth of research.)

That picture shows me set up to do another round of that spike-into-unhappiness principle. I had brought eight cities up to a full food box on avoid-growth, then unset that to let them all burst past that cap at the same time. How would I get out of that happiness hole? Short answer: pagodas. Let's go over the religious game plan.

As mentioned above, I had settled my first prophet rather than founding the religion, so that newly founded cities would get Desert Folklore for free. I previously did this only once before, in the first Poland Jesuit game. But now I saw here how well that can work. The problem in the Poland game was that the extra folklore just became overkill, with no use besides spawning extra prophets before Jesuit Education hit. But that game didn't have the pagodas belief. This one did and it immediately became clear how prioritizing Folklore over the religion itself is the right way to fit both pagodas and Jesuit buildings in the same game. In the previous picture, I've already bought five pagodas and the rest would come within just ten more turns, well before Education arrived. Followed by just the right amount of time to also take the enhancement prophet at 500 faith, and squeeze out one missionary to satisfy a pair of nearby city-state religion quests. Then I built the Hagia Sophia for the 800-faith prophet to raise the ceiling beyond that.

Policies: I got lucky that only one civ was in Piety. And when they founded their religion, no Reformation belief notification appeared, so they didn't even have that policy yet. I got the Piety opener on turn 59, Organized Religion t80, Religious Tolerance t90, Reformation t101. That last was indeed a bit late even though the pagodas' culture had developed well; the culprit was lacking any cultured city-states. Then Mandate of Heaven on turn 112.

My list of principles at the top of the page included "Don't pause expansion for the National College." The previous Korea game went for 6 cities before that. Because that's how many would produce Great Scientists. But that's not the right plan here, since with the earlier Jesuit universities, we should get 8 or 9. And that's close enough to the entire city count roster anyway that it seemed best to just settle them all first as fast as possible.

What wasn't going right was happiness, specifically luxuries. I had only five unique of my own and nine total. This really isn't enough to keep up with my best games that get up to like fifteen by this time. I compensated well by not expanding past 10 cities, and with pagodas, but presently those ran out as well. Chichen Itza and some circuses were also just a stopgap measure.

I hated to do this in a game aiming for Order (wanted Religious Community to build towards spaceship parts), but I was desperate for more happiness, and the open path to get it was from the second religious belief slot with Religious Center. At least the cities were well-developed to build the temples, and already met the 5 follower requirement to enable the temple happy. More generally, I need to do this more often: don't predetermine this second follower belief, but leave it open to plug whatever hole a particular game might experience. There's no one particular strongest belief after pagodas; different situations might want either Religious Center or Religious Community or Feed the World or Swords into Plowshares or maybe even Mosques.

But thanks to this, I would never again need to pause city growth for happiness, after the early incidents mentioned above. Five turns without growth seems to happen sometime in most games and here it happened early. I guess it is better to push slightly over the happy line sometimes; if you're always short of it then you're wasting headroom by not pushing hard enough. And I think I got it right in this game: if five turns without growth are going to happen, I think early is the right time, while the granaries are being built so halting growth doesn't waste them and it's no real loss to switch to hammer tiles instead. (Once a city has a granary, it often has a food surplus of +6 to +10 which is too much to have enough workable hills to deplete.)

Also I made use of an unusual happiness source: Stone Works buildings. I had quite a few cities with one lone stone somewhere in the desert. With few enough hills that they'd often find themselves working that stone. The net hammer/happy cost for a stone works (75/1) becomes less than for a colosseum (100/2) after the stone works produces 25 hammers, which comes to pass after 12.5 turns if a city is working one stone resource. So that seemed worthwhile and I did so.

Presently around this time, I came into more barb camp clears for city-states and finally fulfilled a natural wonder quest for about five of them. Routine enough to not be worth a picture, but this refreshed both of my maritime allies, and added two mercantiles, one militaristic, and one cultured. I noticed that recovering a maritime ally made a noticeable difference even this late - even that 1 food at size 10 made a turn's difference of growth in several cities. Maritime allies really are that important over all else.

And Education arrived on turn 115. Also five to ten turns slower than my best efforts, but maybe not unexpected for a civ with no real frontloading or Great Library or early National College. And 81 population now is also not great compared to 100 in my best games. But Korea is the one civ that may be able to compress the time from now until space. And I had set up very well for Jesuit Education, with 800 faith for five universities banked right now and the other five over the next five turns.

Let's watch the beaker production go up. The first two lines are before-and-after buying the first five universities. Turn 120 is after the remaining five universities, and t125 is after the Rationalism opener and Secularism.

Let me talk about city count. I stopped at 10 here. Even though it seems Korea should be the civ with the most to gain by going wider to get more enhanced specialists. But another way of looking at it is that Korea can reach the same fixed endpoint on fewer cities thus less up-front investment to establish them. That seemed to be working so far; I hadn't had to pause city growth for happiness reasons since those brief intervals mentioned earlier. (Some games like my most recent Shoshone can get stuck on happy for nearly fifteen turns.)

Also I realized this principle: city count interacts with the faith required to buy pagodas. Suppose I had settled two more cities here. That would have meant buying two more pagodas -- thus two fewer universities right away -- and then two more universities still to go. In other words, instead of buying 5 universities now with 5 to go, I'd buy 3 now with nine to go. That's a significant delay on ramping up that midgame research and also to spawning that last Great Scientist. And the constraint of limited faith would also reappear at both public schools and research labs. So 10 cities seems to be the limit of stretching faith to both pagodas and the Jesuit buildings.

The time between Education and the Renaissance always involves balancing research with culture, backfilling on techs while making sure the next policy can go into Rationalism. Here I had time to get Engineering next and up to Metal Casting (Korea wants workshops for the specialist slot) before Acoustics. That came on turn 123 along with the Oracle timed to claim both the Rationalism opener and Secularism. Turn 134 followed with Humanism and t147 Free Thought.

The cities continued their build orders by going temple - aqueduct - workshop. Still later than I'd like to get the aqueducts, but most cities completed them around sizes 8 or 9 and then resumed growth. My capital got backlogged on wonders - Chichen Itza, National College, Leaning Tower - but at least the Religious Center belief gave me enough cushion to postpone Notre Dame for a while.

Korea's "research boost" kicked in again on building the National College, awarding 400 beakers, a meager sum of barely one turn's research. I glossed over this in my previous Korea game but it's worth discussing now. It seems that Korea's research boost got a severe indirect nerf with BNW. Supposedly it's equivalent to a research agreement, which in BNW were nerfed to depend on the lower of the partners' beaker productivity. It's never quite been clear exactly how Korea's RA-equivalent boost works with no partner, and it's impossible to find accurate information on CFC or any of the wikis, all the information available is either outdated from pre-BNW or useless ass-pulled guesses. My own best guess is that Korea's boost works as if the RA partner is the best AI, which would explain the paltry total of beakers I keep seeing. It's definitely not based on just Korea's own research, or else the boost would be many thousands of beakers as it was pre-BNW. Finally, it seemed that each Jesuit Education science building purchase didn't trigger the research boost at all, so that wasted Korea's ability entirely.

Printing Press on turn 131. So this Korea is starting to close the gap against my best Poland game, we had been 8 turns slower to Education but now only 5 slower to Printing Press.

One bulb towards Scientific Theory, reaching it on turn 138. (The right way to do this is pretty much always to bulb the previous tech so that Sci Theory gets completed by overflow.) Now just two turns off of record speed (Shoshone got here turn 136.) Perfectly timed with the faith counter just under the 1700 ceiling and would exceed it on the turn roll. That faith would buy five schools right away (just like the universities) then fill in the next five.

Turn 150 checkpoint: 126 population is low but 978 beakers is high, just as Korea should be doing.

And Seoul is falling lackluster as a capital. Other games get up to size 25 or 27 by now, but this one is still only at 20. I had assumed this city would do fine for growth with three wheat and an oasis, but it didn't. Belatedly I realized what was missing: maritime friends and their +2 food at the capital. I had felt quite satisfied early on getting those two maritime allies, and only noticed now that there were only three maritimes total on the whole map! Also Seoul went a long while without King Day, which also matters. What I needed to do but didn't was switch Seoul's mined hills into farms for the tiles that were riverside. I also sent my trade routes for production to it too soon instead of for food.

Ideology: I went Order rather than Freedom this time. Here's why.

My previous Korea game was my first experimentation with Freedom over Order. It seemed intuitive for Korea to use Freedom's specialist enhancers, but now I think I judged that backwards. The limiting factor for Korea's specialists isn't population to assign or food to feed them; it's constructing buildings to enable the specialist slots. Workers' Faculties is key. In two directions: both to build the factories for the engineer slots, and because each Korean city produces more science for the +25% to multiply.

Order is worth more for Korea than for any other civ. Freedom is not, despite my earlier intuition. Freedom's specialist enhancers only depend on their quantity which is the same for Korea as for anyone else. Order is multiplicative with specialist quality which is where Korea is better.

There's also Five-Year Plan (+1 prod on every mine) which comes late but could help build the last few banks and stock exchanges for more specialist slots. Finally, Spaceflight Pioneers also depends on specialist quality: the bulb yield of that scientist depends on your beaker production.

And finally, Freedom's endgame is tougher than you think when you're not Poland. Poland easily reaches Mercantilism which fooled me into thinking that affording the spaceship parts is easy. 12k gold total with the discounts is considerably more manageable than 18k full sticker price without. But that's what every other civ who isn't Poland has to do. And Korea in particular will work more specialists which means fewer trading posts, and so buying those spaceship parts may be a bridge too far.

Also, this shocked me on Prince difficulty: I lost Machu Picchu! The Dutch capital built it, must have started right away on reaching the medieval era, while my capital was busy on Leaning Tower. That loss set me for sure on Order for the ideology rather than Freedom. Without that money or Mercantilism, and on the low end of wideness at 10 cities, we wouldn't come anywhere near the 18,000 gold to buy the spaceship parts.

Turn 151 Radio, leading to the ideology on 152. I spent one great writer right away to immediately get Workers' Faculties. Not sure if this was correct, as he went for a few hundred culture less than endgame value (the 8-turn history window had not included a Golden Age.) But I took it as a sign that the writer would make enough to reach that policy by a margin of 1 culture!

I immediately started building factories in all cities with the Workers' Faculties boost. I'm quite sure now that it's better to just go to the modern era to get the ideology rather than trying to fiddle around with building 3 unboosted factories. I had researched Industrialization before Radio to find and mine the coal. Fortunately we had plenty, two 7-sources. Also plenty of aluminum which mattered too, since we'd need hydro plants to build spaceship parts and the infrastructure for them.

The -7 happy there is showing one more round of the spike-into-unhappiness tactic. One turn ago, I brought seven cities up to a full food box with Avoid Growth, then unset that so they could all grow at the same time. This was fine because I knew I had the Socialist Realism tenet (+2 monument happy) coming this turn to make back up for that anger. Skyscrapers could wait until the next level-1 tenet slot since we hardly had any money to spend at the moment.

I sidetracked to Chemistry for the +1 hammer on mines before Plastics. I do this about half the time, never make much note of it, but seemed quite relevant here when we had all the factories and hydro plants to build. (Although I'm rusty on Order games. I built hydro plants everywhere, which was a mistake, only cities slated to build a spaceship part need one, other cities should put those hammers into markets and banks instaed.)

Two bulbs to Plastics, which I reached on t159, actually now one turn ahead of Poland! And we repeated the last iteration of the Jesuits, buying six research labs with faith right away and the rest over the next few turns.

But then I bulbed yet again only one turn after Plastics. This is inefficient right after labs before the scientist value comes up to the max over 8 turns. But I needed to reach Railroad ASAP, both for actual railroads and to start the Kremlin in the capital. My capital would have to build all of Kremlin - Apollo - Hubble in order, since I didn't have any other strong cities set up to do them in parallel. Doing that correctly really needs a coastal city with several production trade routes, which I didn't have here.

Turn 165 Sovereignty, but I was starting to get a bit worried about finishing all the policies. T168 Skyscrapers by Kremlin. T169 spent my second writer to reach Five-Year Plan since we were starting the Apollo Program right then. I calculated ahead to the last two policies (Rationalism finisher and Spaceflight Pioneers) and saw that even with two more great writers we would come in just a bit too slow, finishing the last on about turn 182. To close that gap, I bought one cultured city-state and built and staffed the Musician's Guild for the culture, which turned out to be just enough.

As usual, I took my late-game units from militaristic city-states and floated them around the inland sea grabbing tribute from everyone. I hit a dozen city-states for nearly 2000 worth in total.

T167 bulb Ballistics, overflow to Electronics, sell and rebuild capital's shrine to get overflow
T168 bulb Radar, overflow to Rocketry, start Apollo with that overflow. Says due in 5, but one more shrine rebuild would knock it down to 4 total T170 put one turn of research into Atomic Theory T171 bulb Atomic Theory, overflow to Nuclear Fission

All that was to set up one of those mega-combo super satisfying turns:

All on turn 172, I completed Apollo Program, bulbed Adv Ballistics, used the third Great Writer for the Rationalism finisher, used the Rationalism finisher for Satellites, and started four spaceship parts and Hubble all at the same time.

I set up the Order endgame correctly here. There's four cities doing the first four spaceship parts. My capital would do Hubble then the fifth, and the last would be rushed by the Spaceflight Pioneers engineer. All while the other three cities would do the three sideshow wonders of Oxford, Porcelain Tower, and Globe Theater. That 21 turns listed at Pyongyang would obviously come down by buying a SS factory a couple scientists later.

...but not down far enough. I finished Hubble and got the last techs with its scientists and Oxford on turn 179, even with two scientists still to come from faith and Spaceflight Pioneers! As always, I misjudged how fast Korea approaches the end of the tech tree and overshot it. But there were still 8 turns to go on the spaceship part builds. No finish date record here.

Yet I really didn't play this wrong. The bottleneck in Order games is always construction of Apollo then the spaceship parts. I didn't misplay that by much. I could have bulbed to Rocketry only two turns sooner, since I was holding on to only one extra scientist at that time and he had just spawned two turns prior. To state this more clearly: you can't bulb to Rocketry early enough if the scientists haven't spawned yet!

And also the limiting factor isn't just reaching Rocketry and building Apollo. It's also to reach Adv Ballistics and Satellites to enable the first four SS parts. Finishing Apollo doesn't help without those techs too. I also got to those as fast as I could here, spending all available scientists right away.

So this report will end with an anticlimax. As I've been doing in this run of games, I skipped the last few turns once the win date was known and not a record. It would have been turn 186 1, better than the previous Korea game but not in competition with my best results.

What I really learned here: the Order endgame depends on Tradition much more than I'd realized. You need both the Tradition opener to acquire enough hills to build the SS parts, and the food multiplier to grow enough to work them. Jesuit Education also works against Order and towards Freedom: when you're locating cities for max desert, you're not getting enough hills and forests to build the SS parts, but you are getting plenty of flood plains to be trading posts for Freedom. Lesson learned, Freedom is indeed the superior way to go.

Did Korea measure up to the kings Shoshone and Poland? Closer than I might have thought, but I'd have to say not quite. Korea did compress the midgame even better than I'd hoped and expected, turning an eight-turn deficit at Education into par by Plastics. But ultimately the problem was that Korea isn't a good fit for either ideology. Korea working all the specialists means not working the trading posts necessary for Freedom. Korea looked up front like it would fit Order well, but ultimately the beakers were too backloaded (didn't reach Rocketry sooner) and the specialists meant not enough hammers or growth to build the spaceship parts.

And of course the reason I left off the last few turns is that there's already another game plan in my head I'm eager to try out...