I opened pretty much the same way I did in the real succession game, pretending that I didn't know this map yet. Scouted north towards Dublin, then turned around to the south. I even got the same ruin pops of Mining and an upgrade to spearman. Bought the tile towards the wheat.
I decided that the best spirit of this challenge was to stay entirely on the starting peninsula. Three cities could get every resource except one fish and one sheep, over in yucky desert terrain. Tokyo can reach that one incense across the little gulf. I wrote down my build order but didn't type up much else, wanting to play the game rather than get caught up in the little details of reporting.
Tech was Pottery - Animal Husbandry - Calendar - Writing - Archery - Trapping - Bronze Working - The Wheel - Sailing - Philosophy - Optics - Masonry - Construction - Engineering (aqueducts).
Build order Monument - Granary - Scout - Warrior - Warrior - Worker - Archer - Settler. Then Kyoto went crazy building wonders: Stonehenge, Colossus, Hanging Gardens. I missed the Great Library by 8 turns. Had to build a few units to fend off a Songhai war, then continued with the Oracle.
Policies: Liberty directly to the worker and settler, then the Tradition opener and wonder bonus. Then Legalism; I've read of saving that for a bigger later culture building like Opera Houses, but I took it right away now for free Temples, mostly to get beyond it to Monarchy for the happy and gold. Monarchy helped with happy but wasn't quite enough, so I went into Piety. Organized Religion is a pretty neat synergy with Legalism, giving extra happy for the free culture buildings. (Although culture victory is the only time you'll ever do that, any other game plan has you going into Rationalism over Piety or skipping Tradition for other priorities.)
I didn't have enough time to build colosseums, with Kyoto going wonder crazy and the other cities busy with growth-critical lighthouses and aqueducts and then libraries. I even got impatient enough to buy one aqueduct so that Tokyo could get started right away on one wonder (Hagia Sophia). So without happy buildings, I had to rely on policies for happiness, hence the early thrust through Legalism to Monarchy. Once happy was set from Monarchy and Organized Religion, I finished the Tradition tree for the food.
These three cities would adopt an extreme "tall" strategy. I pushed all of them to the max food they could produce, eventually farming every land tile other than hills and forests. Every added citizen in Civ 5 is directly productive with a beaker and a trade route gold, regardless of the actual tile worked. The cities didn't need to do anything culturally right away; monuments are cheap and the temples came for free.
By the way, I noticed that work boats are a REALLY crappy build item. 50 hammers for +1 food? Way worse than a granary or watermill, or a lighthouse with even just a single fish is a better deal at 75 for +2 food. Somebody didn't notice that the yield from fishing boats got drastically nerfed from Civ 4 and failed to adjust the cost of the work boat to compensate. I went quite a long while working unimproved fish at all my cities (the Lighthouse gives both parts of its food yield even on unboated fish.)
The Songhai had declared war early, and I ended up stuck in that war for a very long time, with every attempt at peace either impossible or demanding a city. But it was a cold war, without any invasions coming, and the Songhai were actually busy attacking Mongolia and capturing the capital. But then:
Wow, that's a surprisingly competent invasion from an AI. It's even a naval attack on a pangaea! The AI even in Civ 4 never did that!
It took some effort, but I fended it off. A turning point was when the capital produced the only decently up-to-date unit I could make, a pikeman. He had big odds on the horsemen and catapults, and also odds on the lone incoming knight. Together with Tokyo's own city attack, this wasn't a problem.
I built Hagia Sophia, giving Tokyo a wonder to qualify for the Reformation policy for +33% culture. For the Great Person, I toyed with the idea of clocking a wonder (probably Notre Dame), but ultimately decided to stick to the culture basics with a Landmark.
Osaka finally built my first Monastery presently, which I would have done much sooner if I'd understood its mechanic. I assumed the +2 culture would be added to the incense tile, so the city would have to work it to get the culture, not a great choice for foodless desert incense. Not so. The +2 culture adds right onto the monastery itself. And an incense resource within two city borders even counts for both cities! Wow, knowing that, I might have designed my city layout much differently here.
The Renaissance tech to aim for was obviously Acoustics, enabling the third mainline culture building and the big culture wonder. My first Great Person came from Stonehenge's trickle of Engineer GPP right at this time, so he clocked the Sistine Chapel. After Acoustics, I picked up Machinery for some measure of defense by way of crossbows, then straight to Archaeology for the Louvre, using Oxford University for the tech and the Liberty finisher free Great Engineer for the wonder.
Heh, isn't that convenient.
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