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Brave New World - Babylon Science

So we hear that Civilization 6 is coming in just a few months. Guess I gotta wrap up loose ends on Civ 5 now. After playing Shoshone and Spain to fast (190 turn) science finishes, I always intended to come back and try Babylon. Just got busy with other things for a long time, but here we are now.

Babylon gets a Great Scientist at Writing tech and earns Great Scientist points 50% faster. These boost the narrow area of science rather than broad areas of a civ's growth. Narrow, but both abilities do what you need. The speed of a science game is ruled by two factors: the speed to Education and universities, and the time to produce all the Great Scientists. Babylon obviously gets to the first sooner, and is the only civ with any ability to compress the Great Scientists into a shorter time.

I played several partial starts with Babylon before this report. The first was on a large map, that turned out to be not large enough as I barely had room for a 7th city. No, the Shoshone taught me that huge maps are indeed better. More ruins, more city-states, more AIs for more chances at friendships and money, but most importantly just more space to build enough cities. Babylon's particular advantage is being able to squeeze out a great scientist from one or two more cities between Education and endgame. Most civs seem to manage this with 7 cities, but Babylon should be able to make 8 and maybe even 9. So we need a huge map just to make sure we have 8th and 9th good city sites.

The next partial game was on a huge map. It went for the National College at 3 cities, which felt like a good plan. This was a mistake. I reached Education on turn 109, faster than the Shoshone... but look at how weak those outer cities are, dozens of turns to those universities. What matters is your speed to getting the LAST city up and running so it can build its university quickly, since that's ultimately the speed to your last Great Scientist. Also, this start made the mistake of doing Petra early because Babylon can accelerate to Currency so fast. Again, that doesn't help, the critical factor is speed to all the settlers, and as good as Petra is it doesn't pay back quite that quickly.

One more partial game went for the NC right away at one city. That lets you get to all the settlers the fastest since that's the cheapest way to do it. The academy synergizes with this on both ends: Babylon can reach Philosophy faster than anyone else, and the NC multiplies the academy. But this was also a mistake. Again, look how weak those outlying cities are as we near Education.

From those lessons and my Shoshone game, here's what I think is the right plan. Don't go for the NC at all. Don't even go for the granary. The capital really does want to go directly scout - scout - scout - settler - settler - settler with nothing else inbetween, no National College, no granary or shrine, ideally not even any military (get that from cities #2 and #3 instead.)

The National College is a trap. More research isn't a combo with more research. You just outstrip your ability to build things and Babylon's academy alone is enough to do that. Expanding cities and population is more important. The Academy doesn't synergize with the National College, it replaces it.

The critical factor to maximizing Great Scientist production before endgame is your speed to your LAST university. That means speed to founding your last city and getting it running with the granary and aqueduct and library. It doesn't matter how fast you found cities #2 and #3 or how cleverly you manage the NC around them, it matters when you get that LAST city up and growing.

There's a start. Not super mega Petratastic or anything, actually maybe even a little below standard for what I look for with no mountain and only one food and that in second-ring, but there's enough to work with here. For every report you see here, I take 10-20 starts of such quality and play them out 20-30 turns to see what the land and ruins deliver, and discard them if things don't measure up.

Mining first obviously. Then I popped Pottery from the first ruin on turn 4, nice. A culture ruin followed on turn 7 for the Tradition opener, so we're in business. Turn 8 a map, turn 10 a bowman upgrade, and...

... the granddaddy of all ruins. El Freakin Dorado, just like in my two fastest culture games.

Hoo boy, what do we buy. I was playing this late at night, and actually stopped here and thought about it deeply at work the next day.

First I need to relate one factor that hasn't come up before. I've learned that on a huge inland sea map, you can with quite a bit of reliability (maybe 60%) skip the shrine altogether and count on enough ruins late enough to hit one that will give faith for the pantheon. Both of the Babylon partial starts described above did that. If it doesn't happen (somebody else gets Desert Folklore first), just discard the map and start over. Obviously I don't want to risk throwing away a Dorado map on failing that eventuality... but buying the shrine is also kind of a waste since that's spending half of Dorado anyway.

The other question is whether I want the granary here. Problem is I can't know whether I'll have city population coming in from ruins. With 5 hills (including the sheep), I want the capital at exactly size 5 to build all the settlers via the starvation trick. The granary is useless while building the settlers that way, but it's necessary to get to size 5 if we don't get there on ruins.

Or I could go for a scout (the one being produced is my third, and I want four total to cover the grooves of the inland sea.) Getting that last scout out 5 turns sooner also looks tempting. But the problem is that doesn't spend all the money very well. It spends 140 leaving 440, which is only enough for one other item and we'll leave 100-200 gold unused for a while.

And a worker is the usual baseline buy early (in any game, Dorado or not.) It's the best hammer:gold conversion of course. But it ramps up slowish in productivity compared to the granary or a lucky scout.

Finally I decided this: the scout and granary. Because those are the two most time-sensitive items that gain the most by coming right-now-immediately as compared to building them normally. The shrine and worker could both wait a bit. That spends 480 leaving 100 unused for the moment, but getting all four scouts out by turn 12 should find enough city-states to rack that up to 310 for a worker soon enough. And then I'd slowbuild the shrine next, taking Desert Folklore into my own hands rather than staking El Dorado on the ruins lottery. I can afford a delay of 40 hammers, and will need that time for the city to grow before doing the settlers anyway.

Back to exploring. I was near a corner of the inland sea, which is my favorite spot for the best geometry of exploring. This lets the starting warrior make a loop into the corner to find ruins and city-states, getting scouting mileage out of him for 15-20 turns, then he returns home for defense. Meanwhile, four scouts fan out into the four grooves of the inland sea to find all the city-states and ruins that the AIs don't find out on the edges.

More ruins followed: 65 gold on turn 12, survivors to size 3, and ... a great person?

Oh, Writing! So that was Babylon's freebie very early on turn 15. I put the academy on the sheep tile, which is the best for it. Placing it on a floodplain gives up opportunity cost of 2 hammers while building settlers (because the citizen working the academy isn't working a hill), and later 2 food that could be farmed after Civil Service. Placing on a regular hill means giving up a mine that will be needed for the starvation settlers. But on the sheep hill gives up nothing during settler-building and only 1 food afterwards until far-off Fertilizer.

More ruins: turn 16 60 gold (this was the Dorado-bought scout paying back half of his cost), Sailing, barbs, 95 gold, map, turn 21 popped Calendar. With the two gold ruins and two city-states after Dorado, I got the worker purchase on turn 17, still nicely fast, that worked out. Then bought the sheep tile with the next (fourth overall) gold ruin. I didn't get any more ruins survivors (population) for a while, so the granary purchase had been the right call too.

The shrine finished on turn 18. All I need now is for Desert Folklore to work out for the Dorado play to have been perfect. No pantheons had been founded yet. Every end-turn was electrically charged on the edge of my seat, waiting for that faith counter to tick up. One pantheon did appear, but it wasn't the magic one. Then:

Got the faith ruin after all, on turn 27. One more harrowing end turn, on which another pantheon notice popped up, but again it wasn't the magic one...

and we are In Business. (I do discard quite a few maps when I miss Desert Folklore without ever telling you, but no that fate has never befallen an El Dorado map.)

Back to the regular narrative, covering the usual departments. The Tradition opener had come on turn 7 with the first culture ruin. The rest followed: t15 Oligarchy, t30 Legalism, t42 Monarchy (do not need Landed Elite while on starvation settlers, nor Aristocracy yet, but could use Monarchy's money and happy), t60 Aristocracy, t79 the Tradition finisher in pretty good time.

Later ruins: t30 more culture, t33 survivors to size 5 (very helpful), t42 barbs, t46 survivors sending Akkad to size 3, t48 Trapping!, t56 a quite late 80 gold, t59 do not ask me how these ruins last this long, this was survivors sending my second city to size 5!, t61 Masonry.

I sold the gold under Babylon on turn 20 for 4gpt plus an embassy, good enough. The second gold sold on t26 for 5 + embassy.

Tech: Mining - (popped Pottery and Writing) - Archery - Bronze to find iron - then straight up to Currency for Petra.

Build order: scouts - shrine - warrior - settlers. You do need two military units around for the settlers phase, one to guard your workers at home and one to go escort the settlers. As for that settlers phase, here's what it looks like:

That's -3 food shortage disappearing into unaccountability as the city works all hills. It doesn't get subtracted out of the food storage or settler production or anything. That would increase to -5 when one more survivors ruin boosted the city to size 5 and added the gems hill. This really is the fastest way to put out all your settlers, so much so that these fastest-finish runs require a capital with several hills and a map without that can't compete. Blatant loophole bordering on bug abuse, but I'm taking it.

Here's the second city and a dotmap overview. I skillfully accumulated just enough gold to buy that worker at Akkad. And notice Akkad can use one of Babylon's wheat while the starvation settlers are going on. And Petra is going to go here, with a crazy 24 tiles that can benefit from it. Granary - Petra directly is the way to do this, when building that wonder off-capital, although it had to squeeze in a bowman in between.

City three, also positioned to use Babylon's spare wheat (but it's really there for the mountain.) Here I will need a bowman and it has to be this city while the others are preoccupied. There is no rush to develop this city; it could and would provide units and workers for a while. Again, the speed to the last great scientist is controlled by speed to the last city. Earlier cities have slack to spare. It doesn't have a worker but the other one just finished everything he's doing at Babylon (which would stay at size 5 on starvation settlers for quite some time) and will move down here.

Haha, easiest quest ever.

Or maybe that is.

An early quest from a militaristic CS like that is particularly good, since the friendship lasts just long enough to grant one unit at exactly the time you need one. The maritime food from the other was less useful, since it's only at the capital and doesn't do anything for starvation settlers. But the influence with the maritime provided a base to build up to alliance, with the unit from the militaristic coming in at just the right time to go after Wellington's barb camp.

I didn't get any worker steals -- but who needs that when the workers get served right up to you instead! I returned that worker, with an evil grin. I knew it would aim directly home to Prague, right across the path of that other barbarian... Sure enough, it recaptured the worker, and I re-recaptured it.

So I doubled-up on rewards, getting influence with Prague the first time but then getting to keep the worker for myself. Notice my settler just about to head in this direction which could really use a shiny new worker to spruce up the place. And Prague wasn't important to get to alliance status; I already have my own gems and culture isn't important this early.

And here's a tactical puzzle.

Our warrior is strong enough to kill that barb spearman and recover the worker, but he'll need two attacks to do it. But if he just attacks now, the pair will run away to the hill and we won't be able to catch the worker before it makes it to that camp on the right. How do we ensure capturing the worker in time?

OK, all that stuff was fun, but I'm getting away from the main narrative. Back on track here.

Here's my developing civilization on turn 75 1000 BC. The cities had been founded counterclockwise from Akkad. The single escorting warrior kept moving along in turn, guiding each settler to its spot then moving over to join up with the next settler as it moved out from Babylon. 27 population at this date, we even got ahead of the Shoshone's acceleration.

Akkad has finished Petra and would shortly become a powerhouse. Akkad, Dur-K, and Nippur have the advantage of being the Tradition cities with the free monuments and aqueducts. They will develop faster so it's incumbent on them to supply the empire-wide needs of workers and caravans. The later cities starting with Borsippa have to take care of themselves. They would build granary - monument - library - university. Babylon built all the settlers, then went watermill then workers.

All my money went into buying workers, which came on turns 48, 59, 69, and 73, each at my newest city at the time. Egypt and Morocco both friended me and bought a luxury for big bucks to buy two of them. I sold a ton of horses (4 now, 4 more coming) and iron (6 now, 12 more eventually) all for 2gpt each.

I was feeling great about this game. Everything was on the ragged edge of my grasp but just barely within it. I had just enough workers coming, just enough military to take no setbacks from barbarians, just enough happiness. And it would turn out, just enough size and strength in the cities to smoothly move up the growth and infrastructure schedule to universities. I crunched hard on happy from about turns 80 to 90, having to avoid growth in a number of cities for a few turns, but then Chichen Itza completed, pagodas ramped up, I managed a barb camp clear for a mercantile CS, and traded for a luxury or two.

The picture shows Civil Service, which came on turn 80, jumpstarting the food growth just in sync with the Tradition finisher. Next was Philosophy for the Oracle, then Engineering for aqueducts, then on up to Education.

Religion: It came on turn 49. I did buy one missionary, it would be necessary to convert Akkad and Dur-K. The reason to do this first is for pressure from them to convert all the rest at size 1 before they grew, which has happened in this picture. Then all my faith went into pagodas, starting with the first on turn 72 right before this picture. I would take most of the pagodas first before enhancing quite a bit later on turn 104. Pagodas are just so good, for the happy and the culture to push borders all for free.

As I keep saying, the critical factor towards maximum Great Scientists is to get the last-founded cities up and running. Earlier ones have more time to take care of themselves. Food trade routes to the later cities are an important step. I did that with the three available caravans, including the one from Petra. (We all get excited over the dozen food Petra can provide for its city, but it quietly provides half of that for another city as well with the extra trade route.)

And here's another cute little tactical note. I want to send a food route to Mari, but there was no city with a granary within range to serve as the source. Babylon is 11 tiles away and a trade route goes 10. But trade routes follow roads, so all I need is that one step of road connection and it can reach. And because it is outside the normal 10-tile religious pressure radius, the caravan even carries that to Mari as well.

Also in that pic is my last city, Shushan. This is the only city off fresh water. This matters, because a component of the Great Scientist race is the Garden improvement. If any city lacks a garden, it will become the last and longest pole in the Great Scientist race. But there is a way to get a garden here after all:

The free one that comes with the Hanging Gardens! Isn't this way too late to get this wonder? No, check this out:

Not a single AI on the map went Tradition. I had all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted with the Hanging Gardens.

Two dozen turns later, I got it... and wow did the world rejoice!

(Although that actually begat a bit of a problem another 20 turns after that, when the influence wore down and all the happy from all those mercantile city-states expired.)

In other wonder news, I squeezed in Chichen Itza just before the happiness Golden Age. That timing doesn't always work and I usually skip CI, but it did here and the Petra city could spare production to do it. The +4 happy helped a lot too. Akkad also added Hagia Sophia for the enhancement prophet so that we could keep rolling with pagodas.

Turn 93 Engineering, all the non-Tradition-chosen cities started their aqueducts, except Shushan which was busy on the Hanging Gardens and would get it later.

Policies came a bit faster than usual, thanks to two allied cultured city-states, all the pagodas, and that extended Golden Age. Turn 93 was also my 7th policy for the Commerce opener. You have to put policies 7-8 and the Oracle somewhere in the medieval era before Rationalism opens, and the best policy anywhere three-deep into a tree is Mercantilism. The Commerce opener is also solid, especially in unlocking Big Ben. T99 Landsknechts via Oracle. T103 Mercantilism.

This was curious. I overpaid for marble, William's only copy of the resource, in order to get We Love The King Day in three cities. This is useful and I often do it judiciously, not just for the food multiplier itself, but also because it unblocks that city's WLTKD demand that it might never satisfy and instead opens the door for a second round when the first ends. Anyway, the curious part is what William is charging me for it. AIs normally charge you 3x normal cost for their last/only copy of a resource... but somehow here Netherlands granted it to me for half that. Yes, I will gladly pay 4gpt and a surplus resource to get 180 food over 3 cities over 20 turns. I did this several times throughout the game, overpaying only this little bit to William for luxuries that would trigger multiple WLTKDs and city-state quests.

Finally, while writing the report, I realized why. The Dutch unique civ ability is affecting this! They retain half of the happiness on trading away the last copy of a resource... so they only lose half the happy. The AI charges based on the happy it loses, it's not a flat 3x cost multiplier. Because the Dutch only lose half the happy, they only charge half for their last copy. This is a neat quirk to take advantage of, and very much useful enough that it's worth picking the Dutch as an AI opponent on future maps.

Moving ahead, here's the next overview. Education came in on turn 106 225 BC, which was about five turns faster than the Shoshone got it. Now we're into the second half of the game plan, getting all the Great Scientists. I just reached Acoustics for the Renaissance exactly in time for that policy this turn to open Rationalism. (In fact I'd sold monuments to make sure that policy didn't come too soon, which might have been overthinking it as I didn't get around to rebuilding them for a long time.)

I had bought with Mercantilism three libraries and Shushan's university. All the other cities built theirs -- with six cities timed in lockstep, they're all building their university in exactly 4 turns, more on this in a bit.

Turn 131 came the World Congress. I did propose Sciences Funding, despite the objections of the AIs (they always hate it because they always have artist-type specialists from the guilds but don't have science specialists yet by this time.) The resolution isn't a huge help for Great Scientist production because it comes so late, but if it does eke out one more then it's worth it. I cycled the spies as diplomats to the AIs as usual and collected enough votes for it. Oddly, Morocco refused to support Sciences Funding at any price, so I paid him to vote on the other proposal (World's Fair) instead, just to make sure his vote didn't go no on Sciences Funding.

Just before angering the AIs with Sciences Funding, I signed two Research Agreements, with Iroquois and Egypt. I haven't bothered doing this in BNW games, both because of the nerf to the yield and because gold isn't as plentiful and goes into buying science buildings instead. But here I felt I could afford it and wanted to try it out. They turned out to be worth about 330 beakers each, which is of course useless peanuts so this was a waste of money, but eh whatever.

Once Sciences Funding did pass, I cheekily proposed Arts Funding (its inverse) next for the favor from the AIs. Because the game would end before a second congress session finished anyway.

t134 Are you f#@king serious? You haven't walked FIVE TILES AWAY FROM YOUR CAPITAL IN 134 TURNS?! Hey, not a bad result either, probably the best that could have come, that took a city to size 10, worth 90-some food.

Also check out this mess even later. There's a ruin caught inside that mountain range with a formation of barbarians that the AIs have never penetrated. Except for that one Aztec scout sitting there. All he has to do is walk two tiles and he gets the ruin, and he's then probably also far enough from the barbs to heal up there. Except the AI wouldn't do it. I have no idea how long that Aztec scout was sitting there before I saw it, but I suspect thousands of years. There's a lingering hole in the AI here: when there's a fight it can't win, the unit just freezes and fortifies, the AI has no concept of running away to safety.

By the way, I can see that ruin thanks to that scout with the Scouting II promotion for two levels of extra visibility. I don't think I ever managed that before -- a scout never sees and survives enough combats to get up to 30 experience without getting ruins-upgraded into an archer.

Presently I reached and spent my first scientist bulb to reach Industrialization. I could have gone for this or Scientific Theory first. I spent quite a while (2-3 hours) crunching numbers and scenarios for the best way to get to the Ideology and public schools. I really wanted to get both Big Ben and Skyscrapers operational for the maximum purchase discount on public schools, comes all the way down to just 370 gold for the 300 hammmers.

It didn't quite work out, though. I tried all combinations of building and buying the three factories. But any way it was done, going for the ideology first would make public schools come significantly (~5 turns) later, or no faster than just slowbuilding them. Buying 0 or 1 factories would take too long to build the others, given that the two top cities were at an awkward moment of first needing to finish their current builds of the Leaning Tower and Notre Dame. Buying 2 or 3 factories would get the Ideology faster, but would spend all the money I needed for the p-schools. Also, doing it this way meant Skyscrapers could actually wait a bit until research labs, freeing up that tenet slot for something else (the monument happy one) sooner.

The one compromise that did work was building Big Ben for that purchase discount before buying the public schools, and this turned out to be the fastest way to buy all the important schools. The ideology and particularly the +25% GPP tenet would be nice, but could wait a few turns to slowbuild the factories. With all the GPP multipliers stacked up including Babylon's civ ability, the real concern was to increase the base value ASAP to give all those multipliers more to multiply.

"Important" schools - which ones are important? The ones in cities that haven't yet spawned a Great Scientist.

That was these six, running in identical lockstep on Great Scientist points. They had all built their university on exactly the same turn, continued to do the same with the Garden, then got the public schools bought together as well. As I keep saying, the speed to the spaceship is speed to that last great scientist which is speed to all your universities. If any city builds any of these any later than the others, it extends the entire process on the back end.

I even tracked it all in an Excel sheet to the penny, so I could project ahead exactly what would happen. The 11th and final Great Scientist would spawn on turn 177, and I could know that quite a bit ahead of time to optimize the various pieces of the spaceship process towards that. 9 cities should go up through the 1100-point slot. The capital always produces the 100-slot first thanks to the Oracle GSci points and can get back into the rotation for another round. And the Leaning Tower consumes one slot; its 25% GPP means it's right to do as soon as you can instead of after the last GSci as you do with the Porcelain Tower and Hubble.

Also in the previous shot, notice that incredible amount of culture from city-states, nearly 150. Policies came fast thanks to that. I had no trouble completing both Rationalism and Order this game, as sometimes happens. I got the Rationalism opener (T115), Humanism (T126, this was more important than Secularism first), Secularism (T137), Free Thought (T145) all in good time. Then the next policies and writer-bulbs went into the Order ideology before returning to Rationalism for Sovereignty (T171) and the finisher.

Ouch, that hurt, missed Notre Dame by two turns. I actually fell into unhappiness for a little while thanks to that and a bunch of mercantile city-states expiring. It would take the Order ideology happiness tenet to fix that.

My usual turn 150 overview. We're still a few turns ahead of the Shoshone game, who were in the process of building schools now but we bought them two turns ago. Also presently we finally got around to the Writers' Guild and the first Great Artist for a Golden Age.

The ideology came on turn 153 with the factories. It's Order as usual. I could take the +25% GPP and the monument happy policy right away, and then also the second-level Workers' Faculties one turn later with the next policy. (Skyscrapers could wait, we didn't need it until research labs.) Then later in the Golden Age I finally culture-bulbed my two Great Writers to add Skyscrapers and Five-Year Plan (second-level tenet that grants +1 production to every mine.) This was by far the soonest I ever got that, soon enough to help considerably to build factories and hydro plants.

Well, except for this problem with the hydro plants. I only had that one source of 3 aluminum. There are two more at a super awkward fourth-ring distance from Babylon. I actually had to build the Musician's Guild (always skipped in space games) just for the culture to go reach them (you can't buy fourth-ring tiles.) But that took forever (7 turns is forever by my standards of trying to crunch down the finish date) and there was no time to build more than 3 hydro plants. And these still weren't enough for all the spaceship parts anyway.

The only feasible solution was to settle this extra city on top of 8 aluminum. This had knock-on effects of the extra tech cost penalty, and also that I had to complete Oxford before this for a penultimate-column tech (Satellites) instead of a most expensive one. This is the one downside of Inland Sea, the vast amount of land means the strategic resources can be widely dispersed and might not fall within your cities. It's also a hole in Civ 5's mechanics, that you can't reach needed resources and can't buy fourth-ring tiles to do it. Civ 4 let you accelerate a city pretty quickly to a fourth-ring culture border if you needed to, and Civ 3 even had that long-forgotten colony mechanic to pick up a resource.

Back to the endgame. Unusually I sidetracked to Fertilizer before going on up to Plastics, because we had such a crapton of pastures at almost every city.

As usual, I counted up all my scientists and the total cost of the tech tree, and counted backwards to see when to start spending the bulbs. It turned out that three to Plastics was the right move, which we hit on turn 165. Immediately bought the critical research labs (in cities yet to produce a Great Scientist) and filled in the rest over a few turns time.

Starting from this picture on turn 170, I spent a bulb on any turn that otherwise I wouldn't finish a tech by research. This is an important fact as always: you can only research one tech per turn, and it can take several turns to burn all the overflow from scientists into actual techs, so exploiting the limited number of turn-ends available is significant. Here that resulted in spending two more bulbs to reach Rocketry still a bit before they reached maximum value (8 turns after research labs.)

I also counted ahead on faith, and saw I'd get just over 5000 by endgame. This was an interesting choice. I could go with 3 scientists (1000+1500+2500), or two of them and two engineers at 1000+1500 each. I picked the latter and think it was correct. (The Shoshone game got both, reaching 6000 faith with more cities, to get all three scientists plus one engineer.)

On turn 177, exactly as I'd planned fifty turns ago, the 11th and final great scientist came out of Mari. For once I planned out the Great Scientist production to perfection. Nine cities of which each and every city managed one, with the last coming just in time to complete the tech tree. I now immediately crashed out all the rest of the scientists: Porcelain Tower, Hubble, culture-bulbed the Rationalism finisher to buy the two by faith, built Kremlin for the Spaceflight Pioneers tenet for the last.

I overshot Particle Physics by only half a scientist, which is the most accurately I've ever come to the finish line. As I did this, a stunning realization hit me. I finally realized why I always overshoot the tech tree. Holy crap, I can't believe I missed this for years now. Every time I do this, I plan about 30 turns from the end when all the Great Scientists will add up to enough to cover the tech tree. And... I neglect the civ's actual beaker production! I plan those 30 turns ahead, and forget about those 30 turns of regular normal science! That's why I always end up over by 10k to 20k beakers.

Anyway, the standard endgame followed of optimizing the spaceship part production. Sell all the research labs then public schools for money to keep buying the SS factories and power plants. Assign expiring trade routes as production routes where they're needed. Once again the limiting factor turned out to be building the SS parts in four side cities. Seems like no matter how I do this, I don't hit Rocketry/Apollo quite early enough, although here I think I lost only one turn from it. I had three Great Engineers total, two from faith and one from Spaceflight Pioneers. The first had rushed the Hubble Telescope, and another rushed the last spaceship part of course. The third went to rush another part in a city that was lagging a little bit, might have been able to get it up to speed by buying the SS factory and power plants and all, but didn't need to.

I also played correctly on scheduling the Kremlin and Hubble Telescope builds, not getting a city stuck on one of those when it needed to be doing Apollo or a SS part instead. This worked out and I think is the right way to manage this. Best city (Akkad) goes Apollo → Hubble (rushed) → last SS part. Second-best city (Babylon) goes Kremlin → second-to-last SS part. All other cities go factory → hydro plant → SS part.

So overall, I played the endgame very correctly and satisfyingly. Flawless scheduling on both the Great Scientist production and use, near-perfect management of the spaceship parts, even got to both the Rationalism finisher and Order finisher with some margin for error. What's the final score?

Brought it home on turn 185, managed 5 turns faster than that Shoshone game after all. Nice. It's hard to say exactly how much El Dorado accounted for, but my best guess is three turns, with the rest coming from the better optimized endgame. I feel that Babylon's civ ability just about matched the Shoshone's in overall speed. Although of course the Shoshone are easier to use, while Babylon requires precise planning of the Great Scientist production.

That's all here, but I still want to take another stab or two at this before Civ 6 hits.