The Let's Play Archive

Civilization 2

by Melth

Part 13: 140 AD - 1240 AD (Wonders, War With Everyone, Colonies, and Democracy)

Last update I solved my 2 biggest problems: unhappiness in my cities and bordering the Persians. This is a golden age in which to set up for the winning moves. Unless some unexpected crisis occurs anyway.

But good strategy is proactive, so I’m going to find the crises before they find me and get ready. Accordingly, this update I’ll talk a lot about Civ 2 intelligence gathering and analysis.

First, my plans for the realm as they stand:

The northern peninsula is pretty bad land even after my improvements. But the Oceans are good as anywhere else and a lot are still untapped. Building cities in the white boxes will change that. The red box is a tempting but bad city site.

Why? Well partly because the other planned cities could work most of its ocean tiles. And that’s relevant because ocean-focused cities are often best played Bigpoxish.

Another reason is that Forests are bad city sites. Little Food means Forest cities grow (and thus become useful) very slowly. Plus there’s the question of getting as much free stuff as possible. I’ve said that you should build cities on Grassland tiles without Shield resources because a city tile that normally has 0 Production instead gets +1 forever. Thus my approach creates free bonus Production. Similarly, cities grant instant Irrigation and Roads to their tiles. But Forests can’t be Irrigated and Forest Roads don’t grant bonus Trade, so you miss out on free stuff.

Time to really get to work on the heartland. At long last I have enough Settlers to spare that I can start doing serious Road building, Mining, and Irrigating (which will let me field even more Settlers).

There’s also a bunch of Swamps and Jungles around which can be turned into beautiful Grasslands. That takes a while, so it’s not worth it till you have a lot of Settlers to spare.

But the main area to develop is ex-Persia over here. I’m going out scouting, but so far what I see isn’t that good. Still, land is land. And more importantly, Ocean is Ocean. There are some good sites here and I may find more.

The trouble is Roads. You have to have Roads everywhere to defend a big empire. But this place is all Forests and Hills, and it takes forever to build Roads through those.

What about the rest of the world? Well it’s mostly unknown, but there aren’t good land routes in for explorers. And sea travel isn’t really feasible quite yet. Fortunately, I DO have some other tools to learn what’s out there. Time to consult them!

The foreign minister menu is still good to check every turn to make sure the Japanese aren’t about to declare war on me. It will get MUCH more informative if I can establish an embassy with them.

Another very handy intel source is the top 5 cities list. I think it was intended just as a fun scoreboard kind of thing, but it can be very informative. Cities with the most wonders are listed first, with ties in wonder number broken by city size.

Here’s a few observations and inferences based just on this list and basic Civ 2 knowledge:

1) The Sioux are VERY powerful. Even if those are their only cities, they have a population that rivals mine. They may be able to give a serious competition in Science.
2) The Sioux definitely have only 3 size 8 cities (and none bigger). If they had anything else bigger than size 7, it would have pushed out Three Forks.
3) The Sioux probably don’t have (or just got) Construction. If they had it, they would build Aqueducts. If they had Aqueducts, they’d have cities bigger than size 8.
4) But the Sioux DO have Masonry. They had to to make the Pyramids. So they can get Construction soon.
5) When the Sioux get Construction, they will become even more powerful quickly. The Pyramids wonder will let them grow at basically double speed up to their new size 12 cap
6) Every other civ is REALLY weak. None of them have even a single wonder and none of them have even a single size 8 city (and probably no size 7s either).

So my biggest concern is very definitely finding the location of the Sioux and either befriending them or containing them.

It would be great if I could consult the high council right now. Most of their advice is bad, but the Science adviser would accurately tell me if I’m #1 in Science. There’s a decent possibility that it’s actually the Sioux, which would be a major problem. And a major opportunity to use the Great Library and Diplomats to steal techs. Unfortunately, those videos don’t seem to work on this computer, so I need to find other ways to gauge my position.

Another good menu to check is the Demographics one. Most don’t matter, but at least the marked ones do.

First off, it’s clearly the Sioux which are beating me in population. Does that mean they have other big cities besides the 4 on the top 5 list?

Well the city size -> population pattern is 10,000, 30,000, 60,000, 100,000, etc. So a total of over a million people between those cities on the top 5 list alone. Which is already higher than my 520,000. Which means I don’t know anything else about the size or number of their other cities.

The next 3 numbers are the key ones. GNP refers to total Trade. I have the most, so I should be ahead in Science and gold. Manufactured goods refers to my total Production. Apparently THAT’S number one too despite me being a Republic and all. I have no idea what the Sioux are doing with all their massive cities, but it’s apparently not very productive.

Interestingly, despite being stronger than the rest (and having crushed at least 1 civ), the Sioux aren’t that big.

Oh and major note: I’m only listed as fifth in military service rather than sixth as I would expect. This probably means that a second civilization has been eliminated already but I wasn’t notified for some reason.

Alright, that’s about it for intelligence checking options for now.

The best way to build wonders is to get all your cities contributing Caravans and to have your cities with the best Production start work on them way in advance. It’s not at all bad to go overboard with the Caravans, since they have 0 upkeep cost and can thus stand by until you have another wonder you want built. But coming up short costs valuable turn or money.

Whoah! I just found the Greeks and they’re really close.

That ship is a Trireme: basic, lousy in a fight, 3-space movement, and can carry 2 units. Remember, the stacked flags means this one is carrying at least one.

The AI can attack cities right off a boat with no warning, so I’d better build or bring in a few defending units along my northwest coasts.

Out in the region formerly known as Persia is another resource: Mountains with Iron. Iron gives Mountains +3 Production for a still lousy total of 0/4/0. With Irrigation (which takes FOREVER on mountains) I guess they’re slightly better than generic Mined Hills which have 1/3/0.

Even with their giant cities, this wonder won’t help the Sioux much.

Rome was just size 3 a few screencaps ago. I can make it size 5 next turn.

I had a guy become an Entertainer, which left Food surplus just barely positive but eliminated the Unhappy citizen (and made at least ½ of the citizens happy).

Now’s a good time to outline the basics of Celebration strategies.

Bam! Rome is now size 5 overnight! More size means more citizens means more tiles worked means more Science and gold and Production. The natural growth rate usually takes dozens of turns per size, but cities grow every single turn as long as all the following are true:
1) The city has no Unhappy (red) or Angry (black) citizens
2) At least ½ the city’s citizens are Happy (teal)
3) The government is a Republic or Democracy
4) The city’s Food surplus is at least 1.
5) The city is at least size 3 already
6) The city has an Aqueduct improvement if size 8 or higher
7) The city has a Sewer improvement if size 12 or higher

That’s not easy to maintain on Deity without more setup.

In fact, I can’t keep it up for Rome. There’s now an Unhappy citizen and no spare surplus Food to let me get away with another Entertainer. With some Irrigation or anti-Unhappiness wonders, I can solve that in the near future.

The Greeks actually unloaded onto that other island instead. Ships can’t make first contact, so I still can’t do diplomacy with them.

That’s a security problem. Even friendly civs that would gladly sign a peace treaty will attack you before contact.

For example, they could seize this city right off their boat. So I’d better have a defender.

The first of my Caravan swarm has arrived to add 50 shields to the Great Library here. I talked about that use of Caravans last time, so now I’ll talk about their alternate use: establishing "trade routes".

A trade route is basically just a permanent Trade bonus in both the city that made the Caravan and the city the Caravan walks to. Each city may have at most 3.

The size of the Trade bonus depends on many factors. The controllable ways to increase it in the early game are increasing Trade in each of the cities and building Roads between them. Very late in the game the bonus can be enormous, but they’re small early and it’s better to use your Caravans to rush out key wonders.

Besides the permanent Trade bonus, one also gets a smallish one-time gold payment upon establishing the trade route. This also depends on many factors but it’s generally unimportant. I mention it only to explain that the supply and demand of goods mentioned when one builds a Caravan affects only this one-time payment and thus doesn’t really matter.

Out west there’s been little to find. It’s a dead end and the terrain is pretty bad. Oh well, I’ll get to work on Roads and cities.

Now the Colossus requires only the basic Bronze Working, so this doesn’t tell me much about their tech level. What’s interesting is that they nearly finished it. This means they’re probably either at peace/isolated or fairly strong.

Sweet! I’m done researching Monotheism. This is pretty much THE best tech in the game, especially on Deity.

First, it unlocks Michaelangelo’s Chapel, which is the best wonder. No contest. Way back in the first post I said that becoming a Republic was priority 1 for most advanced strategies and becoming a Democracy was priority 3. Building the MC is priority 2.

Second, Crusaders are the best ancient unit. They’re cheap and have 2 move and a phenomenal 5 attack.

Third, it’s the big prereq of Theology, which unlocks the second-best wonder.

And it’s one of the prereqs of the Fundamentalism government, which is the best alternative to Democracy late game.

Banking or The Wheel are Democracy prereqs, Seafaring unlocks the excellent Harbor building, but Feudalism will unlock Theology and thus my last key wonder.

I was, of course, planning on building the MC rather than the Great Library all along. This is a good time to talk about the mechanics of having cities switch projects.

First of all, there are 3 categories of things cities can make: units, city improvements (aka buildings), and wonders. You can switch what your city is making to something else in the same category without penalty any time you want. You can switch to another category at a 50% loss in shields so far (rounded down). Obviously that hurts less the fewer shields you have done already, so try to realize you need to change projects as early as possible.

There are a few uses and implications of being able to change projects without penalty as long as the category is the same:

Most obviously, you can get a headstart on building a unit or wonder that hasn’t unlocked yet. Just start work on something else and then switch when you get the needed tech like I did with Diplomats -> Caravans and now Great Library -> Michaelangelo’s Chapel.

And in games against humans, you should absolutely ALWAYS start off building a wonder you don’t actually want and then switch at the last possible second. If they know your real strategy, they can try to foil it. And if they believe your fake goal, they might do something like rush to it themselves when it’s actually not that useful or start building countermeasures that won’t actually help against your real strategy.

I had Caravans piling up outside Persia Eunt Domus waiting for the project change. Now I can finish the MC the turn after it unlocked; not bad.

Meanwhile, things have been slow at the south since the initial discovery of the Japanese. I’ve ordered all Diplomats to converge on the area, but it takes like 30 turns to walk there.

For lack of a better city site, I’ve decided to build Hoth on the plains you can see to the west. And I sent another settler through Japanese territory to found a colony in their lands. This looks like a completely awesome site economically. Militarily the problem is that it’s not on good defensive terrain, but is next to some. That will make it dangerously hard to stop an attack against the city from being set up.

Wonders of the world are always pricier for the same number of shields than units or buildings.

I’m not. Those guys are like 20 turns of walking away and I already have troops here.

My first Diplomat has arrived. He’s positioned to reach Kyoto next turn and there’s not much they can do about it.

So some intel you can get from this screen. First of all, her title says she’s still a Despotism. See those omega symbols in the top right and left? That also means Despotism. Every government has a symbol.

On the right you can see the symbols of the last 6 techs she’s researched. I think the number of spear-like things on the left means something military related, but I’m not certain what.

They’re still receptive; this is (almost certainly) an empty threat.

I wouldn’t have given them something so useful anyway.

They still have no technologies.

And won’t share maps either. I can’t even try to demand tribute because I’m a Republic. Not that the game tells you that anywhere.

No tech to steal and no inciting revolt in the capital, so it’s embassy time.

The embassy screen is full of great info. First of all, I can now keep perfect tabs on all technology they know and research for the rest of the game. Check that every couple of turns in the foreign minister menu.

If you aren’t a Democracy, you REALLY need to know how much money they have too. That determines whether they can buy your cities with their Diplomats or not. Make sure to be on guard if anyone rich has the Writing technology.

Most interesting though is that they’re at war with the Sioux. That means the Sioux are probably here, on this continent. Which means the Sioux and I have a land route to each though, though it’s terrible. Also, it’s my eastern coast that will need defending from them. Finally, my nearby city is in danger.

… fail. Ok, the Japanese this game are even feebler than the Persians. This means they have no cities I can buy or anything. It may also mean that they recently lost their other cities to the Sioux, so I should be doubly on guard.

I redirected spare Caravans to Rome to actually build the Great Library. If the Sioux are advanced, this should pay off nicely.

I’ve got an ambush zone set up for the barbarians and have begun settling the area while I wait.

So I bought a Phalanx in 68 8. When the Horsemen are done out west, they’ll be stationed in Rome and Ball So Hard U. That should prevent any Greek surprise attacks.

You can also see that with Michaelangelo’s Chapel done I was able to celebrate Rome up to size 7. I’m piling up more Caravans nearby to make another wonder too. And working on Irrigation in many places.

Now that I have the Great Library there’s even more of an incentive to leave basic techs alone and acquire advanced ones no one else has. For example, I know the Sioux have Astronomy. As soon as anyone else gets it in any way, I’ll be handed it for free. Iron Working is so basic that I will probably get it as soon as the Japanese finish it.

Huh. I was sure my Horseman was a veteran already. No wonder that fight was close.

Just as planned. Now if I immediately check what the Japanese are learning via the foreign minister menu and then count turns till they finish it, I’ll know how long it takes them to do research in general. That’s handy when they start learning problematic stuff.

Another Diplomat has arrived. Unit bribes are often insanely expensive. More than buying whole cities full of units even. Anyway, the plan is to sneak by and go scouting for the Sioux.

Wait, really? This is a surprise; I expected to be near the top of the wealthiest list. I have quite a pile of gold saved up and I’m a Republic, so my income is way higher than everyone else. These guys must really be hoarding cash.

That means a couple of things. One is that their Diplomats are dangerous. Another is that they may be able to complete their wonders faster than expected.

As my cities finish their Caravans, I’m setting the next project to Marketplaces: a great type of city improvement.

I haven’t said much about those yet, but there’s too much to explain at once, so I’ll just start with the basics. As the name suggests, city improvements are permanent upgrades to the city they’re built in. Unlike units, which generally cost 1 Production shield in upkeep per turn, each type of improvement generally costs 1 or more gold per turn.

People always seem to forget this, but city improvements can be sold for gold equal to the number of shields they required to build (double-click them in the improvement list in the mid left of the city menu to do this). Shields are usually more valuable than gold, but this still has its uses. For example, recently captured AI cities are typically full of worthless improvements that you should immediately sell so that you don’t need to pay their upkeep costs. Unfortunately you can only sell 1 per city per turn.

Or sometimes you just really need gold for something critically important. Like buying a city with a Diplomat. Don’t forget about this powerful option.

In fact, this is one of the fastest ways to generate large amounts of gold early in the game. Especially if you’re a Monarchy or something like that that tends to have relatively high production but also lower Trade (and more Corruption) than a Republic. It’s a wonky strategy and one you probably won’t hear anywhere else, but you COULD have cities build random improvements like Barracks or whatever and then sell them immediately upon completion. It’s basically the same thing as converting your shields directly into gold. No need for fancy-schmancy “Capitalization”. Here’s a concrete example: as a Monarchy, having a city work an Ocean tile is 1 Food and 2 Trade while a Forest is 1 Food and 2 Production. Even if your tax rate is 70% (the maximum, which will hurt your Science a fair amount) and your Corruption is actually 0 in this city, you STILL get only about 1.4 gold per turn per Ocean tile worked. You get 2 per Forest if you have the city work on a city improvement that you then sell. You can even use this trick to keep your Science rate high while still raking in piles of cash. And the other thing is that unlike your Tax and Science rates, which must be the same all over your empire, you’re free to use this option or not use it in any given city. The only relative downside are that it takes a few turns for the money to start rolling in and that you can’t build units or whatever instead (which balances out that you can’t get any Science instead if you set your tax rates high).

Oh, and you should ALWAYS pick a building of your own choice somewhere to sell if your treasury is about to hit 0. If your treasury would drop below 0 because your upkeep costs are over your Tax income, you’ll be forced to sell a building in a random city instead and that’s obviously worse for you.

One final note: I said that city improvements are permanent and this is almost true, but all your barracks are automatically sold when you get Gunpowder and again when you get Mobile Warfare. Also, city improvements can be destroyed by Diplomats and Spies or at random when a city is sacked.

Darn. So Diplomats get “expelled” instead of killed when someone makes an attack action toward them during peacetime. That teleports them back to the capital. Usually that’s not a big deal, but in this case it leaves me with a LONG walk back across the south pole to try to get through again.

That was just bad luck; they happened to have a giant army sitting out in the middle of nowhere there where I’d been trying to sneak by on their fringes and I stumbled across it.

The barbarians are finally dead, so I can get these Horsemen back to defend my northwest coast from possible Greek attack.

Meanwhile, my Archer is off to sit on the chokepoint from Japan to the south pole and make sure they don’t sneak any people out that way.

This unlocks my last big wonder. Note that it expires a wonder that might have unlocked as little as 2 tech-steps ago. That’s the biggest reason the Oracle is bad.

Time to work toward Democracy. Hopefully the Great Library will get me The Wheel soon.

Interesting times, ahoy! After having my Diplomat teleported here, I decided to have Rome build a Trireme. Time to meet the neighbors, go exploring, and start some colonies.

Now I can build J.S. Bach’s Cathedral in Rome. I’ve got a big stack of Caravans there, but I actually am one short of a 1-turn build. My timing was slightly off.

Excellent. This unlocks Harbors, arguably the best city-improvement in the game. All those Marketplaces I started were actually intended to be switched to Harbors once someone gave it to me.

Never heard of them. The Greeks are probably the 2nd strongest other civ.

Alright, I made contact! And good, he starts off receptive.

This area may actually be their heartland. There’s lots of Roads and Irrigation and Mines and also piles of troops to it. Speaking of which, the best military tech on display is Iron Working (for Legions). This suggests that the Sioux do NOT have Iron Working. At the very least, either the Sioux or the Greeks didn’t have it a few turns ago when the Japanese learned it.

So he’s a Despotism too.

Huh, that’s surprisingly aggressive for a receptive guy. As I said, never take this kind of deal. Even if the price is more reasonable. If once you have paid him the Greekgeld, you never get rid of the Greek!

… what? He’s even still receptive! Ugh, I don’t get to trade for techs AND I have to keep watching my coasts. Oh well, still better than giving him my whole treasury in exchange for a ceasefire he might or might not honor.

One good thing is that he probably can’t kill my Diplomat. All he has in range is a single Warrior and my Diplomat is on a hill.

The last Caravan is nearly here.

Anyway, see that little gray mask below the Horseman? And the red one under the Trireme? When you’re a Republic, having military units outside your cities makes citizens in the city that supports them Unhappy. The first one gives no penalty (gray mask), but any after that make 1 citizen Unhappy each. As a Democracy, every single military unit not in a city will make 2 citizens Unhappy in the city that supports them.

It doesn’t matter how close they are or why they’re out of the city; there will be Unhappiness if they end their turn outside. Diplomats, Caravans, Settlers, and other non-military units are one exception. Another exception is that being in a Fortress within 3 squares of one of your cities counts as being in a city.

It’s critical that military unhappiness is applied to a city AFTER contentment caused by Temples, Collosseums, Michaelangelo’s Chapel, etc. is applied. Thus none of those buildings or wonders help at all. If you’re a Democracy, see civil disorder caused by units away from home, buy a Temple or something to fix it, and end your turn, then your government WILL fall into Anarchy and you will suffer massive famines, crippled Production, quite possibly disbanded units, and many other fun things. Don’t make this mistake.

J.S. Bach’s Cathedral is very special in that it is applied last, and therefore CAN help. Hanging Gardens can too because it creates Happiness rather than removing Unhappiness. Likewise with Luxuries and Entertainers.

Every Marketplace has been switched to a Harbor. Building every single city next to at least one Ocean was all part of the grand plan.

The Greeks killed my Diplomat. I forgot that Diplomats actually have a Defense of 0 instead of 1. And 2x 0 is still 0, so the Warriors crushed them even on the Hill.

Well that mistake dashed my hopes of achieving a 0 casualty global conquest.

That they can build it means they have the Engineering tech. Which means I’ll get it for free as soon as someone else learns it.

Anyway, it’s not a very good wonder (though I do like it), so no worries about the Sioux getting it.

Well after learning that this city is near the Sioux as well as Japan, I decided to invest in a set of City Walls, which triple the defense of anyone attacked in the city.

Note the little wall icon at the base of the city on the map. It’s VERY important to check whether an enemy city has one of those before launching an attack.

Sweet, that’s all my key wonders. Time to have Rome build some city improvements and maybe some extra Settlers.

This colonizing Trireme is carrying another Diplomat. I’m not carrying a Settler with it because Diplomats make better scouts (ESPECIALLY in the case of finding an inhabited area), and also because Settlers’ time is very expensive. I want to keep them at work Irrigating and Road-building until I know I have somewhere good for them to found a city.

This spot here is actually a bit tempting. I mean, Tundra is bad, but you do reap a free +1 Production (and of course Irrigation) from building on it and it does have a Whale and plenty of Ocean nearby. Still, I’ll check my options elsewhere first.

My Archer arrived at the chokepoint at last. The Japanese want to demand Republic again I’m sure.

Oh, notice the “Check Intelligence” option. That brings up the ever-handy embassy page.

One other thing. See that F on their settler? That doesn’t mean the unit is fortifying the way it does when an Archer or something does that. Settlers can’t do that. What they CAN do (once you have the Construction tech) is build Fortresses. Fortresses are a permanent terrain improvement (Like Irrigation and Roads) that can be built anywhere except in cities. They grant an x2 defensive bonus and make units in the Fortress need to be attacked and destroyed one by one instead of as a stack (like being in a city). Also, as I mentioned, Republic or Democracy military units can be stationed in them without happiness penalty as long as they’re within 3 tiles of a city.

I find them pretty useless. I’d basically always rather just build a city on the spot and put up a City Walls. That’s a vastly superior defense and comes with all kinds of other perks too. And it sets up faster if you buy the walls. Plus they can be used against you if the enemy occupies them.

STILL a Despotism.

These guys have ONE city. It’s not even a good city.

… really? Huh. They were bluffing every time up till now and there had been absolutely no change in either their friendliness toward me or my reputation or anything. Well this is no problem because they’re pitiful. I’m just going to camp my Archer on this Hill/Mountain chokepoint, take potshots, and wait till they get bored and ask for peace.

I will beef up defenses in my colony though. I’ve said before that the best defense is a good offense; this Catapult should be strong enough to crush dangerous enemies (like other Catapults) that walk next to my city.

Well one thing went great for them: their Fortress finished right that turn. And they were able to immediately deploy a Phalanx into it from their only city. And it’s on a River for another x 1.5 Defense. Guess I won’t be killing that Settler.

Meanwhile, I’m exploring the northern isles and liking what I see over here.

I’ve got a truckload of Settlers at work on projects all throughout the heartland. Irrigating, building Roads to the farthest-flung cities, Mining, clearing Swamps and Jungles, everything. I should be able to spare a few to load onto the Trireme when it comes back.

I like where this is going! This looks like a really rich and untapped island or continent. I’ll get on that river and scout at triple speed next turn.

That weird swirly symbol in the Swamp is Peat, another resource. It grants a fantastic +4 Production. Swamps give a lousy 1/0/0 otherwise, but with that it’s actually better than a Mined Hill.

Well I’m glad to have found them but I really wish this great place had been empty. Also, this is a size 8 city that was NOT on the top 5 list before. Which means they’ve been getting a lot stronger since then.

War is probably about to be declared since this guy is already uncooperative and the Greeks and Japanese were willing to declare war at receptive. Alas, no trading for techs.

So I didn’t recognize his title but I DO know that that unicorn symbol means he’s a Monarchy. Also notice that there are a different number of spearish things on the wall there than when talking to the Japanese. Not sure precisely what that means.

Everyone wants The Republic. None of them have thought of researching it themselves.

Predictable. Ok, I am now at war with everyone. What happened is I got too strong. Everyone will gang up hard on the guy in the lead. When I really get going, they’ll all ally against me.

I wouldn’t mind having no chance to trade techs if my Great Library hadn’t been hamstrung.

See, the Great Library gives you any tech that any TWO other civilizations have. That’s obviously a lot more powerful the more civilizations there are in the game. It’s at its best if there are AI civs at peace (and therefore trading techs with each other) and if 2 AI civs are fairly advanced. It’s at its worst if there are very few other civilizations and they’re backward and at war with each other.

Well guess what? Out of 7 other civs, 3 were wiped out before I met them. The Persians were terrible and are now gone. The Japanese are even feebler and have no techs. That leaves only 2 civilizations when there should be 6 or 7, and only one of them is even trying to tech up. So this is basically the worst-case scenario for the Great Library.

Well it’s still my turn and my Diplomat can still move. Just to see, I checked how much it would cost me to buy his whole city. Actually not much. If I had many buildings, I would sell them right now and buy this. With a hugely powerful foothold like this right in his lands I think I could completely conquer the Sioux within 30 turns.

But instead I’ll settle for an embassy. First of all, the guy is startlingly poor considering how apparently everyone was richer than me a few turns ago and he’s the only one with a real government. That’s part of why buying his cities is so cheap; the price will rise when he has more money. Oh well, I should be able to outpace his economy dramatically in a bit here.

Also note that he’s just now researching Writing. This means he will then be able to unlock Literacy and then Republic. I don’t want that to happen, but there’s not much I can do about it yet.

Also also note that, in yet another stroke of bad luck for me, he’s at war with every other civ in the game. That means he won’t trade any techs. Again, this is the worst-case scenario for the Great Library.

He does have several that I don’t have; I want Engineering and The Wheel in particular. Hopefully the Greeks will pick one or more of them up soon. The Wheel in particular is really basic.

It’s problematic that he has Navigation. That means he can field ships that can kill my Triremes. I need to be on guard against this.

Oh and his city list is actually quite impressive. And I know that all or nearly all of these are size 8 or close to it. This is what AI civs are supposed to be like and usually are. I have no idea why everyone else in this game is such a failure.

I just need to establish an embassy with the Greeks to have permanent intelligence updates on everyone all the time…

Back in the homeland, another BSHU graduate has drained an entire Swamp and replaced it with fertile Grassland. Time to build a city. As you can see, I already got to work on building the Roads to it and to the nice Buffalo square that only it can work. It’s best to give your new cities as much of a headstart as you can. In fact, one little-used option that’s occasionally worthwhile is that you can have Settlers join a city. This consumes the Settler and immediately adds +1 to the city size.

What? These people were just at war and have been for ages. Either they just made peace now and instantly were on good terms and traded techs or… the Japanese conquered a Sioux city? I know they don’t have Writing yet, so they can’t have stolen it with a Diplomat.

Nice, nice. I don’t really have any use for Caravels at all, but this DOES unlock Magellan’s Expedition for me now. Of course, I have no use for that either right now but it will be great eventually.

As you can see, I was right that they didn’t have it before. You can figure out a lot of extra, often-useful info if you think about the implications of stuff going on and notifications you get rather than just the surface info.

That clears up the mystery at least; this was peaceful trading.

Well the war with Japan goes on, and they just handed me a free kill. I’m hoping to make peace with them soon just because this is a nuisance.

I might as well start building Magellan’s Expedition now since I have pretty much all the improvements and Settlers I want. I may soon have a better wonder to switch to.

Excellent. I knew there were good odds the Greeks would finally learn this. This is really fortuitous timing too because I was already working on that tech myself and about to learn it.

So now all of that Science progress can be devoted to the next tech I wanted instead. Now we’re getting somewhere!

Invention is a keystone tech that unlocks loads of amazing stuff, kind of like Monotheism but not quite as good or as universally necessary.

This is now a no-brainer despite both Economics and Bridge Building being awesome.

My Trireme has explored and the Settlers are loading up. Time for some colonization!

Huh. Interesting. And bad for me. I want the Greeks giving the Sioux a run for their money.

Alright, here’s confirmation that the Sioux are not that far north of me here. Unfortunately, killing them doesn’t make my Catapult veteran.

Time for a city on the north pole.

Down in the south I’ve finally brought or built enough Settlers to really get to work.

A patch of Jungle and Swamp is cleared and the last planned heartland city is founded.

The northern city will be Ilia of course (I named my one near the south pole Hoth as requested).

… in a moment straight out of FE6, a gigantic barbarian army just popped up from the middle of a lake surrounded by my cities.

These barbarians are cutting edge. I mean, the Sioux and I JUST got Iron Working. The Japanese and I just got Navigation. Also, they just happened to spawn in position to take 1 city immediately. And others next turn. And they’re in the part of the empire furthest away from my military units because my military units were deployed in the areas the Greeks and Sioux might actually attack.

Also note that they have the numbers and power to seize Michaelangelo’s Chapel right now if they want to. That would be devastating.

Oh, unrelatedly, I’ve now finished my Harbors and am working on Marketplaces in most places. Marketplaces are great. They only cost 1 gold per turn and they increase gold and Luxury production in their city by 50%. That means they’re actually profitable in most real cities.

In the Greek north, I spy a loaded Trireme that might head for my lands soon. Now I have to think twice about deploying my army down south to deal with the barbarians. Also, I have a chance to swipe a goody hut they should have grabbed a long time ago.

Just to make it clear, that Settler is standing on my Trireme to unload off of it. This works just like any other kind of movement. People with 2 move going onto a Grassland or whatever can go their full 2 move. You can also walk ONTO a Trireme pretty much like a square of Grassland as long as it has space. You even have fractional chances of actually making it if you have fractional move left.

There are only 2 exceptions to this general rule. First, you can’t attack units or cities right off the boat without using Marines, who specialize in that. The AI can. Second, your movement immediately ends once you enter a Trireme.

Well that’s not a very handy thing to get all the way up here. Oh well, at least there’s space on the Trireme to carry them.

The new guy is a Crusader. Pretty great. Though I’m about to unlock gunpowder units soon, so his heyday is over.

More importantly, this looks like a great spot to found a settlement, especially since I have a defender ready to go.

Fortunately, the barbarians didn’t take Michaelangelo’s Chapel, but they did sack two of my cities almost immediately. And you can see the populations dropped, which is going to cause some major problems for me actually.

My greatest success comes at the same time as my greatest failure.

I make a last move in the north and find the Greeks. Wonderfully, my section of this island is actually cut off from theirs by 2 chokepoint MOUNTAINS. I am going to have a lot of fun setting up shop here. And a spot right in their turf is always the best place to begin a war from.

“Give us the technology we need to cross the Ocean and attack you in exchange for us promising not to attack you!”

… we’re already AT war. Did they think I forgot or something?

So here’s the setup for what looks like a very fun war.

Ok, the turn ends there and that’s a good place to leave off. I now have a TON of cities that are unnamed in all sorts of interesting places, but the world is now too big to show you them in just one screenshot.

First off, there’s this one here. It has a really auspicious location and also will probably be the site of fierce fighting and the beginning of the end for the loathsome Greeks.

I will have vengeance for dashing my hopes of a casualty-free victory.

There’s also this city built on what I am now calling the Athenian Strait. It was the first city I ever built to have a permanently stationed military unit of its own creation. It’s also right across the pond from Ball So Hard U. Perhaps it has a college of its own and the two have a fierce sports rivalry.

I built this little place just because I saw a lot of ocean not being used. Can’t say I foresee much special about it.

My first island colony is over here, built where the Diplomat who later made contact with the Sioux set foot ashore.

This one was recently built on the Brundis peninsula, again mainly because I noticed a lot of Ocean that no other city could use (and a shieldless Grassland).

Here’s the one that was hacked out of the Jungles and Swamps by the second-ever graduate of BSHU.

Here’s the colony across from Hoth in what would be Japan if the Japanese weren’t totally incompetent. Plenty of room to prosper and grow and also the site of the first skirmish in the war against the Sioux.

And over here there will be a total of 7 cities filling out the last unsettled part of my continent. Can anyone come up with names for the whole set? If not, I think I’ll go with the 7 Hills of Rome.

As usual, I’ll end with the map of the whole world. You can see that I shrunk the unexplored zone by about half. I also built 14 cities and set up to build numerous others. Within just a couple of turns I’ll have fully settled my home continent. I’ve also done a ton of Road-building and Irrigating and Mining and converting bad terrain into good there.

I also founded quite a few overseas colonies, many of them in strategically important locations.
And I built 3 wonders and began setup to build several more.

And I acquired Democracy and completed a carefully timed setup for the next major phase of the game.

But I was really off my game and screwed up in several ways. For one thing I had my first casualty. And I suddenly lost 2 cities to barbarians. Ultimately, the biggest issue is how far behind schedule I am. It is now 1280 AD. Usually I try to get Democracy at least 50 turns before this. I should already be dominating the whole globe. But I’m way behind due to awful luck with techs not being available to research when I need them again and again (I’m not even bothering to mention that when it happens anymore) and due to the other civs being such failures or warmongers that my Great Library strategy has fizzled.

Delenda est Carthago!