Presently France declared war. I fended off several warriors and assorted junk, and happened to be researching Chivalry and Physics right around this time. So with Napoleon spluttering about crazy demands for peace, I built a couple trebuchets and knights to move in on a city.
Captured it, but then thought better of it, since that drove me into some pretty serious unhappiness. I razed Tours and replaced it two tiles northwest, getting all the same resources plus the two irons. Oddly, Napoleon kept making crazy demands for peace until Tours completed razing, then suddenly flipped around and offered me a bunch of stuff for peace.
Elizabeth declared war again too, and ten turns later after zero combats, went totally crazy in offering peace.
Yeesh, I see where we need that variant rule against taking gold from an AI.
The Great People kept flowing, so now I had 4 scenario points after building an Academy. I put it in this spot where Washington as the best developed city could work it now, and Chicago as my eventual science capital (six jungle tiles) could use it later.
And 5 after my second Great Engineer did the Manufactory. This doesn't seem at all competitive with wonder rushing, though. It's +4 hammers, but really +3 net since it supersedes a would-be mine that the tile could otherwise hold. That's not much, I'd rather knock out 600+ hammers of a wonder immediately. These Great Tile Improvements are a bit underwhelming, and kind of weird to see on the map... what in the heck exactly was wrong with simply setting Great People in a city? (And "Great Tile Improvement" is a horrible technical immersion-breaking name, couldn't they think of anything better? Great Location? Great Edifice? Great Establishment?)
In the Renaissance, I beelined up to Economics, which seemed the significant flashpoint in the area, doubling the output of each trading post. The next target was Scientific Theory (I'd built several lumbermills), using a Great Scientist for it and my 6th scenario point.
And, here's my Landmark for point #7 (writing a bit out of order for the narrative.)
Time for another big overview. I stopped expanding now, at 8 cities, to finally catch up and build some national wonders. National Epic in Washington, National College in Chicago, Circus Maximus, Oxford. I was well ahead of the AIs by this point, most of an era.
I'm also now aware that I blew the dotmapping in the north pretty badly. New York should have been farther northeast, on the coast, and then a west coast city could have the two wheat and other resources over there. As it is, there's three resources on each coast; there's no good way to fit a city to reach both groups but also not worth settling a separate city for each clump. (The only spot that can be coastal and reach both fish is 3 tiles away from Monaco thus illegal.)
I saved all my gold for a period of about thirty turns (which included the Taj Mahal golden age), waiting until we could pick up the first two Patronage policies, for minimum 20 influence and 25% more value for gold gifts. The savings came to just over 2000 in total, letting me make the biggest gift to two city-states. That's quite a chunk of influence, and it seems pretty simple to just keep saving up gold and buying more city-states. Can you really win the diplomatic victory just by doing that?
Kept building wonders: Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat, Sistine Chapel. I momentarily got excited by the Forbidden Palace - -10% unhappy sounds awesome - then realized that was only about 6 happy and not nearly cost-effective compared to mundane buildings. Later I built the Brandenburg Gate and the Louvre too. (I had misunderstood the Great Person cost mechanic at first; I thought each type escalated in points separately. Not true, each GP raises the cost for the next GP of all types. I'd been making lots of scientists and was going to come up short on the other types, so needed these wonders.) The Louvre artists each scored scenario points, for the Landmark and Golden Age.
France declared war again. I fended it off with one bought cannon and a few produced minutemen, losing one knight to kill about six or seven enemy units. I didn't see anything to gain by conquering, so made peace.
I had some caravels in the water (it is kind of neat exploring with that sight radius, compared to poking around ice crevices in Civ 4), which belatedly found this island. Seemed obvious to expand here for the gold, so I did.
They also found this island, which had me excited at popping something juicy from an ancient ruin, except that I got nothing at all, heh.
I continued on to Fertilizer for the food boost, Steam Power for factories (cashing in my first Research Agreement for most of it), Replaceable Parts in order to unlock an expensive technology (Flight) for free from Oxford University, then up to Railroad. With the Fertilizer food boost, my home cities had kept growing and growing. New York here had +17 surplus (21 with WLTKD) despite no real attempt at improving food for the city. No farms other than resources, that's just natural production. This felt quite odd compared to Civ 4, of course. More on this topic later.
Now my civilization hit the happiness limit, hard. I realized that there is a HARD CAP on happy population. I have EVERY ONE of the 14 luxury resources on the map. That's headroom of 56 happy citizens, plus whatever one-shots like Taj Mahal and Circus Maximus and natural wonders. Beyond that baseline, you CAN'T add more happiness per city at ANY cost. A new city can eventually be slightly happy positive, with the colosseum and theater and circus outweighing its base penalty. But other than such expansion, there was now NO WAY to add any more happiness to my empire and grow any more citizens. More on this topic later too.
(To be fair, Civ 4 also had a happy maximum outside of Hereditary Rule. But Civ 4's cap is way higher than you ever reach, over 40 per city with seven temples and religions for Free Religion, plus the luxury slider.)
Also note that hefty unit support cost. Over 3 per turn each? I'm paying 10 gpt for those three Great Scientists to hang around? Yikes. Between this and the happy cap, I'm starting to understand the hate for this game. Doing well just gets you punished.
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