Well, the starting location actually looks pretty weak, with no food resource in sight. There's gotta be one somewhere, though, so my scout goes looking for it.
Found two -- but I don't think they're it. Both of those are outside the city radius from where the settler starts. Now, I think the map scripts always ensure that there's a food resource within the fat cross of the settler's starting position. And the only tile of the fat cross that we haven't revealed yet is the tile I've circled in that screenshot. So I bet there's a food resource there. The clincher is that the game does suggest a blue circle right where the settler is, which it wouldn't do with no food resource.
So the question is, where do we settle? Including the deduced one, there's four resources here, but three is the max we can get within the city radius. Ultimately, I decide the best plan is to move southwest to get the spices, fish, and mystery resource. If we don't like the mystery resource, we can move onwards to get the sheep. The mystery resource turns out to be corn, which is to my liking.
And the first research is Mysticism, both on the way to a potential Oracle slingshot in a second city, and for Masonry to satisfy that "walls first" restriction.
So my scout scouts out our homeland, which turns out to be pretty darn small. And dull, so let's liven it up with some color. (Great Artist T-hawk has been born in New York!)
I somewhat regret the location of my capital now. The best site would've been red dot with the sheep, because then a companion city at blue dot could reach both the corn and fish. Staying at the original site (green dot; I'd randomly had a forest grow over it) likewise would've allowed a second city at aqua dot. But as it stands, this entire southwest peninsula is monopolized by my capital, since it's not worthwhile to settle up on yellow dot to salvage the sheep and nothing else.
Well, with my capital where it is, the natural city locations are purple and white dots. And now it's time to start making some plans. Since my capital has by far the lion's share of good terrain on this little reef, early Bureaucracy will be quite a kick up the growth curve. Might it be possible to manage the Oracle at purple dot in time to slingshot Civil Service? The site could make 6 hammers per turn at size 4, and could cash in those two forests if really necessary (and we have time to get Bronze Working.)
Well, I'm going to go so far as to work out some math ahead of time. How long until we can get the Oracle built there?
5 turns - capital finishes the work boat and grows to size 2
15 turns - train settler at 7 units per turn
3 turns - walk to purple dot
25 turns - grow to size 4 and complete walls
25 turns - build Oracle at 6 hammers per turn
73 turns. Since we're now on game turn 8, this translates into completing the Oracle in 850 BC. On Prince difficulty, that's entirely doable.
The other question is whether I can research to Code of Laws in time. We have no river, so the research will go pretty slowly. And the second city will actually cost cash since it won't work any commerce tiles. But the two food resources at the capital should enable me to run two scientists as soon as we get to Writing and the library. And that further results in having the Academy only 9 turns after building the library (yay Philosophical.)
So the plan is, GO FOR IT!
And with my scout on fog duty, my entire continent was now in view, so barbarians were impossible. I garrisoned each city with the bare minimum warrior.
And here's what things look like as Writing comes in along with the Walls, and we start the Oracle. Ha, the game even suggests that this city build the Oracle now.
Unfortunately, I notice that I've made one mistake: Sparta will max out at 5 hammers per turn, not 6, since it doesn't have the border expansion to reach that northern plains. Although, I can actually have it make the 5 hammers per turn at size 4 rather than 5, by working the plains instead of the corn. And the city's stuck at size 4 by happiness anyway.
Since the Oracle will still take a couple turns longer than the Code of Laws research (especially once we get the library), I've got time to sneak in The Wheel first to give the worker something to do. He farmed Athens' wheat, then moved to Sparta to farm that wheat, then built roads.
So for those keeping track of the opening plays:
Research: Mysticism - Agriculture - Masonry - Meditation - Priesthood - Writing - The Wheel - Code of Laws
Builds: Work Boat - Settler - Warrior - Worker - Warrior - Walls - Library
Second City: Sparta in 2720 BC which built Walls - Oracle
Athens' library completed in 1480 BC, and here's the city config with the two scientists to speed CoL research and establish the Academy.
The Great Scientist came on schedule.
Also, CoL was now due five turns ahead of the Oracle, so I also had time to pause for Mining to give the worker one more job to do.
Stonehenge fell in a distant land in 1280 BC. Well, that means at least one AI was chasing that and not my Oracle.
Shazam. Variant rules, I scoff at thee. I entirely expect to be scoffed back at on report day for that little stunt. But it wasn't verboten, and in a situation where the capital has vastly superior terrain to work with, the Bureaucracy-Academy slingshot is powerful enough that doing it yourself really is required to keep up with anyone else that may have hit on the same strategy.
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