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Epic Nineteen: Arise, Ethiopia

Now, our starting land gives some strategic hints for the Advanced Start. First, we have two happy resources right off the bat, Ivory and Gold and we start with Hunting and Mining. So the happy cap will be considerably higher than a regular Emperor start. So here's my opening strategy: Beeline Pottery. I can build granaries very early in four cities, and start building cottages very early to combat the inevitable financial overexpansion. While researching to Pottery (via Agriculture and The Wheel), the cities can train their workers.

In BTS, the blue circle to indicate city placement is generally very good. I really like that northeasternmost circle. It already has Corn and Ivory, and there MUST be a third resource claimed by that circle - if there isn't, then the circle would be closer to or on the river. And buying my first city at the edge gets some free visibility.

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Bingo - there's a cow there - and double bingo, it popped a map from a hut!

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City two went at the white circle slightly southeast of the center, to cover both the wheat and sheep - which ALSO popped a map hut, giving me huge swaths of visibility.

However, that kinda covers all the good spots available, including all the food resources. Well, I'll play Trust the Circle again, and buy a city on that western spot:

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Good enough; got a corn, popped a hut for gold, and revealed another cow. I wish I knew exactly how the territory claiming mechanism works in Advanced Start. I want that new cow, but the game won't allow me to build a city somewhere north or west of it, and there's no good way to claim it with a closer city without leaving several waste tiles between it and the capital. So I shelved that cow for later, and blindly put city four on the river as a filler, and kinda struck out on resources.

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I considered a fifth city on the river east of Gondar, but decided against it. Five cities cost significantly more maintenance than four, and I didn't want to blindly place another resourceless city that could really screw up my dotmapping from there. So with the last 169 points, I bought a worker (in Gondar so he could start mining the gold while we researched Agriculture) and three scouts. (Incidentally, later I'd build a city right on that river spot anyway.)

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Gondar started training warriors for garrisons, while the other three cities each started their own workers. My economy started with 64 gold, but at -8 per turn.

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The hut in the southeast popped Animal Husbandry! And we have horses at the capital, very conveniently. Two more huts in the southwest and northeast popped 80 total gold to help me with research. A fourth hut gave me an extra scout, to replace one that lost a coin-flip to a lion.

Stonehenge dropped at the crazy date of 3175 BC.

I researched Agriculture - The Wheel - Pottery as planned, running out of money and dropping to 50% research about halfway through Pottery. Still, though, 50% research is +10 beakers per turn, just as good as 100% research with two cities would be at this point. All four cities immediately started a granary, to jump up that growth curve. This is a farmer's gambit - very literally - trying to finish the granaries before any barbarians start attacking. The cities did have enough time between their worker and Pottery to build about half a warrior each, which could provide quick barbarian defense in a pinch.

That plan worked, with my cities finishing the granaries and putting out archers just as the barbarians started to arrive. Or, it would have worked if the RNG hadn't smacked me.

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A DAMAGED barb archer swept SIX STRAIGHT rounds from my warrior on a +75% defense tile. The odds of this are 0.42 ^ 6 = ZERO POINT SIX PERCENT. At least I did have an archer coming just in time in my city, and the barb archer even helpfully suicided against the city instead of giving me pillage headaches.

Bronze Working came in, and the only copper nearby was already under Aztec control. Ok, gotta continue to Iron Working then. At least I can build Chariots (once I remember to go road the horses) for escorts and counterattackers.

Each city built a second archer while growing up to the happy cap at size 6, and then started training settlers and chariots for escorts.

Iron Working did reveal an iron nearby, where my fourth new settler (eighth city overall) claimed. (By the way, Sullla, this is becoming very predictable in your maps. This is about the fourth Sullla map in a row where we've had no copper nearby but iron within easy reach. I understand the rationale, to discourage axeman rushes while not crippling the player, but let's mix it up a bit more.)

quest-iron.jpg 612x383I got an interesting quest:

Well, the timer says 150 turns, but the reality is more like 135 turns to conquer the city, then kill the resistance and expand borders. We'll see.

I researched Writing, and expanded to a total of nine cities:

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seriously crashing the economy, dropping to 20% science. Well, I'm not ignoring that problem - my workers are busily cottaging every grassland tile available and I'm making sure the cities are working them (though it's a battle to make the governors work fresh 1-commerce cottages over 2-commerce lakes.)

We'll grow out of this, just give me time... and on that note, I signed Open Borders with Montezuma for trade routes, and gifted him a corn resource for good relations.

Judaism had been founded by Louis and spread to Peter, and both converted. My land was still entirely religionless, though, which was causing serious happy cap problems. It was still at 6, with only the Ivory and Gold on top of the default Emperor cap of 4.

Peter declared war on Asoka, which was fine with me. Alphabet came in, and here's the tech picture:

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Not too bad. Alphabet itself is my only trading chip, and it's not worth giving that up for those cheap techs. But I'm really not behind at all, except that Peter has Mathematics, and I wish I could loosen his grip on that to get myself to Calendar.

Well, the other important effect of Alphabet is that cities can build Research. I set most of my cities to do that (any that had finished a library and barracks and didn't need another worker.) This bumped my beaker production by a good 50%, from about 40 to 60. I started my own research on Mathematics now, which I traded to Asoka for Sailing plus Mysticism, then started research on Calendar. I'm diligently trying to get two or all three Calendar resources online sometime before 10 AD, so that I can grow population as much as possible.

Oddly, Montezuma came demanding Corn when I was already gifting it to him. crazyeyes.gif 15x15 I paid that too fast to even grab a screenshot.

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I founded one more city up north to claim another variety of resources: Silks, Copper, and Marble. All these would be important: Silks for happiness of course, Copper since I'd quite like the Colossus with all those lake tiles, and Marble for everything it usually does.

golden-age.jpg 375x63My capital ran two scientists with the library and popped a Great one. His lightbulb would be Compass, which is very unappealing at the moment and won't be cleared out of the way anytime soon. So the options were to go for an Academy or Golden Age... and the latter seemed very appealing. With a Golden Age now, I can drastically speed my pace to Calendar and Currency. The happy cap is my biggest obstacle to raising population for the 10 AD scoring checkpoint, and getting all of spices, silks, marketplaces online by then would give me a great population score.

The next researches were also obvious: Code of Laws to get our discount courthouses, and Civil Service because we desperately need to chain irrigation and Bureaucracy always helps.

And then... take all that planning and throw it out the window.

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