Part 3: Sizing up the competitionAlright. Now things will start to actually HAPPEN Happen.
I love Tradition, it's great for getting your first city growing, but today is not the day I show it off.
For fast expansion, we are going to run crashing into Liberty. That'll give us 1 extra culture per city (seemingly infinitesimal but it adds up). The cost for choosing new policies goes up each time, so we'll need to take steps to increase our culture output as we go. In fact, due to how it scales, the ideal way to go for a cultural victory (fully obtaining the policies of five trees) is to have three or four cities instead of just one, though every city we found will increase the cost of new policies by 15% (rounded down to 10% per with one policy in Liberty).
Here's the current state of the affairs for our world map:
Also, someone, somewhere, is playing a religious civ, too, because they've already got a Belief up.
That's bad for us, it means whoever's doing it is going to get some pretty damn good faith boosts if his city is near a bunch of rocks or marble. We need to get cracking on Stonehenge as soon as possible.
Our first worker finishes construction and I send him over to the cotton to build a plantation. The other plantation can't be built yet because I have neglected to research how to build mines or chop down trees (tree-lovers that we are, we don't want to do that too early into the game anyway).
So we're going with mining. Once our worker finishes on the cotton he can get to the spices. Chopping down forests does provide a pretty decent one-time production bonus to a nearby city, too.
We also need to build a Library in Edinburgh as soon as possible. Libraries give us one extra research point per two people in the city. That's effectively a 50% boost, so even this early in the game it could have a significant impact.
Trouble is, I don't want to waste too much time on the Library before getting to Stonehenge. Stonehenge is a World Wonder: only one civ can build it and if anyone else beats them to it, too bad, sorry Charlie: you can only get it if you conquer that city by military force.
Kamehameha wants to be friends. This is hahahahaahaha.
No. Just no.
He's our nearest neighbor, to be sure, but he's also our primary target for rivalry at this stage. If we were to befriend him, he would not be a likely one to invade us, but he might also ask us for gifts of gold, and we'd look really bad to the international community if we called him a friend one moment and attacked him the next.
Plus there's THIS!
As I suspected he would, Kamehameha has bullied one of our protected city-states into giving him gold. We can either forgive him (which reduces our influence over the city-state tremendously) or we can tell him off for being a dick.
I think I like Almaty better than I like you, pal. So, I tell him this is unforgivable.
Kamehameha is having a few problems of his own, though, there's a barbarian camp not far from his capital, and it's no doubt sending random invaders over there to harass his city. I think I'll just let that camp exist for now, heh heh.
We've leveled up our culture enough to get Collective Rule, the City-Spammer's best friend. This will let us get our empire rolling quite quickly, as you can see from the tooltip: a free settler and all future ones we build go faster. This early in the game it would take many turns just to build one settler.
I notice we have a slight gold surplus and spend almost all of it on another warrior while I send my scout east again. I'm sending that warrior to protect the worker and settler, because if a barbarian came along they could capture them instantly, and it would be a real headache to get them back.
Two big new problems in one new turn. Barbarians have appeared to attack my workers and settlers, just as I feared, and Polynesia has chosen a new pantheon belief for themselves: Goddess of Protection, +30 Attack Strength for Cities. This will make attacking them much harder, we may actually need to wait to spread our own religion there before we can destroy him.
I probably should have chosen Goddess of Protection for myself, to keep anyone else from getting it if nothing else. That's a legitimate strategy in this game.
It's time to get started on these guys.
Bronze Working is the first real gung-ho military application technology. It gives spearmen (better than our warriors by a lot, and good against horsemen) and Barracks that train our troops, and a Wonder that makes it easier to invade cities.
But, Boudicca doesn't get Spearmen. She gets Pictish Warriors.
The Picts, incidentally, were an entirely different tribe than the one Boudicca is from, but we'll just pretend they're helping out a fellow Briton by working in our army.
See that part where it mentions they get a combat bonus outside of friendly territory? That is key. With three or four of these guys and some ranged support, we can probably take out Honolulu no problem. The fact that they give us faith points for smiting unbelievers is a bonus (and a contributing factor for why the Celts are always the first-to-religion guys).
There is one downside to Pictish Warriors: they're armed with swords, not spears, which means unlike the unit they replace, they don't get a bonus against mounted units.
So, I manage to squeeze my settler past the barbarians, cleverly protecting my workers, and then I bump into this guy:
Pacal, of the Maya!
Uh, dude, where's your feathers?
Due to a graphical glitch or a setting I chose or something, Pacal is not fluffed out like a massive Peacock with his headdress. Surprisingly, this is not the guy who chose the Stone Quarries belief earlier. Surprising, because the Maya Unique Building, the Pyramid, is a replacement for our Shrine and gives them +2 Faith per turn instead of +1 (as well as +2 science per turn, damn!) making them ALMOST our equal with faith-production, if not as quick to the draw. We'll need to watch that.
And now our second city is up. Kinda close to Almaty, but that just means we can protect them better. I'm going to use excess gold to purchase the Crater to make sure it gets within our city limits, and soon as I'm able I'm going to make a third city to the south to get some of that Ivory.
Sure, buddy, why not. I like you. I'll kill you last. (This opens us up to future diplomatic options just like he says, and also lets us see where his city is on the map, always useful).
City-state friendship meters go down by 1 each turn (more or less) and only go up if you bribe them with gold or do something else that impresses them (or rig their elections with spies, but we are centuries away from spies). Right now, Almaty wants us to generate a Great Scientist (that'll take a while!) and Belgrade is saying, "Hey, man, I could really use some extra cash. I'll make it worth your while, wink-wink, nudge nudge!"
Also, our Warrior leveled up. I'm gonna give him a promotion that he fights slightly better in rough terrain.
A turn or two later, Valetta becomes the ally of the Maya, because some Maya soldiers killed a bunch of barbarians invading them. Nothing we can do about that now.
Right now, though, would be a good time to start building Stonehenge. We have a couple of warriors to beat back the barbs, our neighbors probably don't have anything to kill us with yet, in fact we may be the first civ to have a second city this early into the game. Getting a Stonehenge is still key at this point, but having a second city means we have another source of faith production.
There's a barbarian archer plinking at my city. He came from a camp north of Dublin. We should probably destroy that soon, I think there's a City-state quest from Almaty to wipe it out. That would make them friends with us and that would make them give us free armies.
Discovering Animal Husbandry reveals the presence of Horses on the map, two herds, right next to our capital! This is good. This will increase production in the area, and also let us build horse-related mounted units. All "Strategic Resources" are revealed through technology. If you don't know what the hell "petroleum" is, you don't know where to find oil wells, for example, nor do you have anything to make use of it. The difference between strategic resources and luxury resources is that they don't make us happier, but they do let us build things. Usually things that kill other things.
Animal Husbandry will also let us build pastures over those cows and sheep to get extra food or production out of them. Pretty decent.
I have no idea where this guy came from, but we get notified as soon as one of his scouts bumped into view. Gustavus is good to befriend, because declarations of friendship between him and us make both parties generate Great People faster. Gustavus usually goes for diplomatic victories.
Turns out Sweden is quite far from us. We can also see in this shot that the Maya are sending out a new settler of their own. We need to step up our game even more to remain competitive.
If you're wondering why my scout has such good vision of his surroundings, it's because he got into an altercation with some barbarians and managed to survive, and got enough experience points that he leveled up. I gave him a vision-enhancing promotion for extra scouting goodness. Here's hoping he doesn't get himself killed, that extra vision could come in very handy.
A bit further on we meet Wittenberg, a Religious city-state that would give us even more free faith points if we had met them first. If you're friends or allies with them, they give you many faith points per turn, so we are going to want to be very best friends with them.
Aaaand THIS is why you never want to go for the Great Library Wonder on harder difficulties. It gives you a free technology upon completion and some science points, sure, but the AI prioritizes it. A LOT. They do not prioritize Stonehenge as much, comparatively speaking.
Right now, we're already working on Stonehenge, back at Edinburgh, and just to speed things up I've set the city to "Production Focus" so they won't be growing as fast population-wise, but this cuts down production time to just over a dozen turns from now instead of twenty or thirty like it would be otherwise.
I think that wraps it up for this session. See you next time, when spread more and get our first Great Prophet!
Ooh, and here's a map shot of the world as we know it (it won't let me zoom out any further )