This is the story of my game of Civilization IV Weekend OCC #5 from Realms Beyond Civilization.
In the forum thread before I started, we had a discussion about economy type. I resolved to try the absolute max cottage approach. This would be 16 cottages at first, including all the Calendar resources and non-resource hills. Eventually I would even cottage the copper, and once the city was fully grown, the cow as well.
To get that started, I even began with Pottery first, to cottage the FPs, ahead of AH for the cow. Opening research path was Pottery - Hunting (scouts) - AH (cow) - Mining - Bronze. Whipped granary on turn 38 / 2480 BC. Thebes had almost no hammers, but I got production from the floodplains whip (by even just letting the city grow over the happy cap) and by upgrading warriors with hut cash.
Next round of research was Writing (triple whip library), then Myst - Med - Priest - CoL.
Thebes at size 5 ran 3 FP cottages + 2 scientists, landing Code of Laws on T72 / 1120 BC. Flipped to Caste for an extra two scientists briefly, and popped the Great Scientist on T74 / 1040 BC. I'd intended to bulb Mathematics, but with the Academy it was only 6 turns to research, so I did that. Two Math-powered chops landed the Oracle for Civil Service in 900 BC.
That of course did this to GNP.
Next I went on a mad chopping frenzy: Pyramids, Hanging Gardens, Great Library. That's with combined Industrious + Bureau + Org Rel for 67 hammers per forest. I actually whipped the National Epic for 5 population, being 3 over the health cap and regrowing quickly.
My Classical research order was Metal Casting (forge for gold happy), Literature (GL), then right on up to Education in 275 AD. Thebes had 127 beakers per turn at 1 AD, ballooning to 400/turn in 600 AD after Printing Press and Oxford. In the trade department, I picked up IW, Construction, Currency, and HBR, mostly by giving up CoL. In a second round of trading, I gave up Machinery to collect Feudalism, Calendar, and Compass. A third round of brokering picked up Philo, Guilds, and Banking later on.
Early on, happiness wasn't a problem - Representation put the happy cap far ahead of the health cap. After a while, though, happiness became enough of a constraint that I went for the Globe Theater, which turned out incredibly worth it. Now I could trade away all my own happy resources for health; I had the happy cap as low as 10 in the later game.
Health became a big problem, of course, especially after having leveled the forests. The Hanging Gardens helped some, as did the wheat in 5th-ring at 5000 culture, then I finally scored imports of corn and rice. For a while I considered doing the National Park just for the health (even without the forests) - but decided instead on a beeline straight to Environmentalism.
Amusingly, I came within 6 turns of expiring the Parthenon before it was even built. :) I reached Sci Method in exactly 1000 AD, and continued through it to Biology and Medicine. It hurt a bit to expire the Great Library so soon, but we need the health more. Reached Medicine and Environmentalism in 1230 AD to put an end to all health problems.
On the religion front, I had founded Confucianism at Code of Laws, but actually really didn't even want it. Without the wherewithal to spread it, it was a total diplomatic liability. So I built Shwed Paya (with gold bonus) for Free Religion. Meanwhile, Mehmed built the AP for Hinduism. After reading in our thread about problems with religious losses, I closed borders with Mehmed in order to block out Hinduism and any chance of a religious victory vote.
Presently Mehmed went WHEOOH, so I prepared by building a castle and a few knights. (Hey, even the castle's trade route is worthwhile at 4 x 1.5 x 300% = 18 beakers.)
That war declaration came: a TRIPLE dogpile. I was just on the verge of Liberalism (yes I should have just slinged Medicine, but hoped to save it for something even more expensive.) I'd been targeting Physics or Electricity, but now had to cash it at Steel for cannons. In prep for that, I took Universal Suffrage (still by Pyramids) for hammers and cash rushing and Theocracy (who cares about religious diplomacy now.)
Wang Kon accepted a double-bribe, and came greatly to my aid almost immediately with a stack of 15 units. I first fended off some Cataphracts with pikes. I didn't have to fight any big stacks until Mehmed brought a dozen horse archers and catapults, which I shredded with five cannons. The Achilles' heel of a cottage economy is pillaging, but I got out of all three wars with only one village pillage.
The wars meant about five turns of economy lost towards space; three turns of cash to upgrade to knights and cannons, plus missing out on about two turns of beakers in not Liberalisming something good. Also in the tech confusion, I lost the Economics free merchant (which I actually wanted for the food more so than the cash. Thebes does have enough food natively to run 18 cottages and two plains hill windmills, but it'll take time to actually grow to that size which more food would accelerate.)
Back to peace, there were now four Buddhist AIs and two Hindus, so I adopted Buddhism myself and settled into a nice comfy web of defensive pacts.
I beelined Electricity - Refrigeration - Superconductors for the laboratory, since research really is the long pole even in an OCC. I built Broadway for resource trade bait and a little extra culture oomph - Thebes at legendary would claim two rice resources for myself. Ended up staying with Buddhism for diplomatic purposes. Modern Era in 1540 AD. Since I wasn't whipping anything, adopted Caste System just for Wang Kon's favorite civic. Sold Constitution to Wang for 1400 cash after he must have done a Great Merchant trade mission.
Here's the Great Person log. GP #2 Engineer settled, GP #3 Engineer at 25% odds settled, GP #4 Scientist settled, GP #5 Artist at bletcherous odds (5%). Amusingly, I had that Artist lightbulb Music in order to get another one for free. :)
#6 Scientist settled. #7 Engineer settled (although I considered rushing the Ironworks.) Physics Scientist settled. #8 Prophet settled. #9 Scientist saved for a corp (would have been AlumCo if we needed it, but aluminum turned up naturally so he went for Ethanol.) #10 Prophet settled. #11 Engineer settled (I considered CreateCon for the same or more hammers, but that won't produce beakers.) #12 Artist came too late for any useful amount of research, so he Golden Aged for the hammers. #13 Scientist also came too late for much research so he lightbulbed towards Fiber Optics. #14 Engineer and the Fusion Engineer settled.
Here's an overview as Thebes reached size 20. 744 beakers/turn, still with only 10 actual towns. Cottages really do take forever to grow before Emancipation.
And here's a shot of my tech lead. I just got Superconductors, so that's a 7 tech lead.
The 5th national wonder made me think. All of Wall Street, Heroic Epic, and Hermitage were options - the last to claim three resources for Standard Ethanol in 6th-ring and another coal. Well, with four DPs, the HE seemed unnecessary, and with 3000 gold on hand so did Wall Street. Hermitage it is!
And I built the two Radio culture wonders just because I could and still to chase those Ethanol resources. (Yes, I totally outsmarted myself. Ethanol did eventually produce 10 beakers/turn, but that so wasn't worth it. I should have just settled the scientist for 9 right away, and built Research instead of the wonders.)
Coal did turn up - unfortunately within the city radius underneath a village. I held out hope for a while of leaving that tile cottaged, but that was dashed when both Wang and Qin refused to sell me their extra coals even at Friendly. So I had to mine the coal, for the hammers from the Ironworks and coal plant, and the ability to build railroads. And with that coal, I had to go for Genetics next for the health. (Didn't want to go for Ecology yet without the extra 20% for both prereqs, and didn't want to research to Plastics yet while holding out hope to trade for Railroad.)
With four DPs, I started tech whoring like crazy: trading for Railroad and gifting it around to get the AIs to research Combustion for me too, then even Fission. WFYABTA was a non issue with four Friendly friends.
I built Apollo in 1785 AD. In the end, the AIs also got Ecology but refused to trade it under the "we'd rather win" clause. If I'd anticipated that, I could've cash rushed the Internet to grab it and cut off another few turns. But Pericles got the project a few turns before that.
There was a great war raging. Not between clashing civilizations. Between healthiness and unhealthiness in Thebes. Yes, that's +16 unhealthiness from sources other than population, but also just enough health to match it. "+9 from Civilization" is certainly misleading - that's the Environmentalism +6 and Genetics +3 together. Also, I can't figure out why it's still +2 from Power, when I've built a hydro plant. (It was +4 from power before that, with the coal plant only.)
I also goofed on the endgame techs -- Refrigeration is skippable (if you get Computers, which also allows skipping Laser). Anyway, research perfectly matched production; I reached Fusion with one turn to go on the last thruster. Then production was the bottleneck, so I launched short one engine. I switched to Univ Suff for the hammers at ~20 turns to go, and also re-mined the copper after leaving the cockpit and life support for last before Fusion.
No AI threatened culture; Justinian had his capital at legendary but the other two cities under 15k. Launched in 1921 AD with 12 turns to victory. With 6 turns to go, Justinian built the UN. Qin won the secretarial election and called a victory election, but fortunately that fell inconclusive.
Space Race Victory in 1933 AD.