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No Surprises Here

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No hills at the starting position? The start normalizer is supposed to always give at least three. Either Sullla removed them or we're on a pretty wonky map script. Fractal is wonky, but not usually that wonky. Flood plains are great news, though - the only source of extra food without resources.

Grow to size 2 before starting the worker, since he'll have nothing to do anyway and that will synch him perfectly with Bronze Working. Then I did a second worker right after the first one - best way to start the growth curve, and that would time with Mysticism to start Stonehenge.

Wow, Judaism fell before I even got Mysticism. (On turn 30. Somebody got a hut tech or two?) OK, I shall have to use the Oracle to find religion.

My warrior died to a hut of hostiles, so had to go to Archery for scouting.

6 forests chopped for Stonehenge on turn 42 / 2320 BC. Hey, that's early enough that I can bulb Theology to have my religion. I would actually most like to Oracle Metal Casting in a run towards Optics and Astronomy.

And more chops got the Oracle for Metal Casting on turn 72 / 1120 BC. I apologize for a lack of detail, but I was just quickly playing the opening to see if trying this game was any sort of viable at all.

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Here's an overview, just after bulbing Theology. Philly, Washington, and Boston are the three culture cities. They are all inland very intentionally. If somebody invades me later, the AI will target an expendable city, not one of my precious Legendarys. They're all chosen as river locations too for health and levee hammers later.

In other news, New York is a commerce city, founded there mostly to share the flood plains with Washington. New York was just whipped this turn in order to drop its population and get the Christian holiness into legendary Boston.

The research says Aesthetics, but I'm in a 0% phase of binary science right now, at least until Washington's library is built. I'd intended the Optics beeline to make early contacts, but now shelved that in favor of a run at Music.

That barb city eventually flipped, and I replaced it farther east. I was worried that I'd have to defend against four angry archers after their city blew up, but it seems that the units disappeared too.

I built the AP for Christianity in Boston, pretty much entirely for the hammer bonus. Prophet Two went for the Christian shrine, which itself even gets the hammer bonus. (By the way, this opening is exactly the same as the last time I played America, in Epic 24. Stonehenge, Oracle to Metal Casting, use prophet #1 for Theology and #2 for the shrine.)

Each turn had me sitting on edge at the event log. Shwed Paya fell (!) so somebody is on the Aesthetics case. 6 turns from Statue of Zeus (entirely for the culture value)... 3 turns from Great Library in Philadelphia (need some way to put out Great People more useful than prophets)... 9 turns from Music...

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Got it! But I am an idiot and should have gone for the Parthenon instead of Zeus, only 100 more hammers for the same culture and a way better effect.

I decided to try for the Parthenon anyway, but lost it halfway through. My wonder city started Sistine Chapel after the aborted Parthenon. Then I lost Sistine Chapel by four turns.

That really killed my enthusiasm for this game. I had pretty much all my cultural hopes pinned on Sistine. It would be +10 culture for buildings in each legendary at first, going up to +25 with the cathedral and thousand-year bonus on temple/monastery (and +35 total in the shrine city), plus the specialists, plus Sistine's own wonder culture value. And I blew it all on a stupid pointless impossible Parthenon gamble.

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