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One City Culture

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There's my start. Not spectacular in terms of resources (the wheat and cow are out of range, not seen until after the city was founded), but it does have a lot of riverside greenery and a wheat in the fog to the southwest. We'll see where this goes.

I began with a scout build; on any map type with lots of land, the goodies from ancient ruins do seem to outsnowball a monument start. This paid off with a ruin on turn 8 that popped 20 culture, giving me the Tradition opener right away.

Yes, Tradition. I intended to ignore Liberty for this entire game, since the settler policy would be useless. More generally, I'm not as enamored of Liberty as everyone else is. The first three policies are virtually blank in the later game and I always wish they could have been spent on something with longer-term impact. And in an OCC when the happy policy and cost reducer are also irrelevant, Liberty seems entirely skippable.

I next claimed the Legalism policy right away for a MONUMENT. Some would call this shortsighted as compared to getting a bigger building from it. But the move seemed perfectly fine to me, accelerating the newborn snowball by the 40 hammers instantly, and more importantly opening up Landed Elite beyond it.

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Thanks to the usual money-oozing city-states and a ruin that popped gold, I had $250 by turn 16. And there was a friendly maritime city-state immediately adjacent to my capital. So I bought it: bam, +3 food before a worker even emerged. The influence wore off, but then I refreshed it soon with another $250. (Still playing by the RB variant rule of not taking gold from AIs.)

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Another ruin gave me a second culture pop. Bam, that shot up to Landed Elite giving another 2.7 food on turn 23! Between that and Cape Town, I had nearly 8 surplus food before 3000 BC! Can Liberty do that?

My starting tech path had been Pottery (you can see wheat above that wasn't visible in the first screenshot) then Animal Husbandry. A hut had popped Archery, which set me on my next tech path. There were two critical early wonders for this game, the Hanging Gardens and the Oracle. These two wonders reside in disparate sections of the tech tree, so getting both can be tricky. Of the two, the Hanging Gardens accelerates towards the other much more than the converse, so it should come first. And I was only two techs from Mathematics, so naturally beelined right there. Which also happened to go through The Wheel and the foodball-enhancing Water Mill building.

Build order was Scout - Worker - Archer - Granary - Water Mill - Worker - Hanging Gardens. My fourth social policy came on turn 40 still thanks to the early culture acceleration, and it was timed perfectly to apply the wonder bonus to the critical wonder.

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There we go, and holy carp that makes for +21 food in my capital already, even working three mines. This was timed well with research to Philosophy, and the Oracle immediately followed. Monarchy had arrived a while ago, and the free social policy now completed Tradition on Turn 74 1040 BC.

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I needed a warrior against those barb archers, but then what to build next? Temple, Stone Works, and National College were all options. I picked the temple, both to keep policies flowing as fast as possible and to start running the artist. At 26 surplus food, I think we can afford the specialist!

The natural next research target was Theology for the Hagia Sophia. I decided to simply go directly for an artist landmark rather than playing any tricks with bulbing or engineer-rushing. With the expensive wonder, tech ran ahead of my production ability for a while, so the natural fix for that was to divert over to Construction for lumbermills.

In the social department, Tradition was finished, but of course policies kept coming in. The only possible target was Piety of course, with Liberty getting skipped and Honor not useful.

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