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Religious Celts

Here's my start (for once, I just took the first map rather than start-scumming for something good.) I moved one turn to get adjacent to that forest (the dyes forest doesn't count, it'll get chopped for a plantation.

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Tech went Mining - Masonry - Pottery - Calendar, aiming for a Stone Works quickly, and trying to build both Pyramids and Stonehenge. A ruin popped Archery.

Builds went scout - monument - worker. The worker coming out a bit late was just fine, notice that Edinburgh doesn't even have any Agriculture resources or Mining hills! The city wouldn't have any tiles to improve until Masonry, 25 turns out from the start.

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Met Geneva, a religious city-state. Nice. Hey... I can found a Pantheon already? I guess meeting Geneva gave me faith? Didn't get any message to that effect. (This may have been a bug; more later.) And hmm, I guess Boudicca's ability isn't so special if anyone can get a quick pantheon from a religious CS. It's hard to say whether that's good design, basing the availability of an early religion on the proximity of a religious CS and striking you out if there isn't any. But I think I like it. The conditional availability of a pantheon gives rise to "play the map" ethos, and actually it's not all that unlike Civ 4 where a Mysticism start is somewhat arbitrary among the civs.

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Anyway, let's pick a pantheon. From the very little I've read, I know Fertility Rites is pretty popular. But I'm not so convinced. 10% food isn't much, that's just 0.5 food on +5 surplus, and the brutally escalating growth cost means that 10% food is nowhere near 10% extra population. In fact, since the growth cost escalates 10% for each pop, I think +10% food can never amount to any more than one additional citizen, right? (I need to do some serious analysis of the Civ 5 food mechanics.)

So rather than food, I went for Stone Circles thanks to the two quarryable resources right here at the capital. Let's see where this goes. The bonus faith should get to more religious stuff quickly.

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Social policies... okay, have to think about win condition right here from turn 1. Culture seemed natural, given that Piety dovetails (pun!) with both faith and culture. I see that Liberty has been mildly nerfed, by stuffing the free-settler policy down behind the +1 production policy. Actually, that's a serious significant nerf. The fourth policy comes significantly slower than the first three, pushing that settler back by quite a ways.

Tradition meanwhile got enhanced, with free Aqueducts for completing the tree. Since I've always thought Tradition was more competitive with Liberty than most folks say, it seems natural to follow the Tradition path first here. I continued through the opener to Legalism (blank now, but a free monument is actually pretty darn helpful for new cities) to get to Landed Elite, then Aristocracy as I started wonder-building.

A while later, I built the Oracle as is natural for a culture game. That happened on T90 625 BC to finish the Tradition tree. Very nice, the aqueducts come immediately -- you don't have to research up to the tech. Piety was the next continuation of course.

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Upon researching Calendar, I bought a Stone Works. That's a move I've done before - it can be an extremely efficient gold-hammer conversion in the early game. Besides the good 320g/75h ratio, it also creates another 30 hammers by way of turn advantage, +3 hpt over the 10 turns that it now won't take to build the Stone Works manually. 3 gold/hammer is not otherwise approachable until much later, with buildings of 300+ hammers.

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Hey, that should be pretty easy, working the two +2 faith quarries.

Edinburgh's build order had been an archer, then settler, then Pyramids. The settler had targeted that rich area eastwards, including three quarryable resources for some great Stone Circles payoff... and Ethiopia beat me by just a couple turns. That was irritating. The settler had to head north and ended up on the banana adjacent to the fish.

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So the faith counter says 215/200... what now? Shouldn't something happen?

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Okay, there we go. (What gameplay value is there in randomizing the spawn time and thus actual cost of the Great Prophet? I don't get it.) Anyway, of course I founded a religion with him. What does religion do?

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Man, those really don't look all that strong. 2 gold per city, that's all? I picked that anyway, since it was looking like gold would be a pretty serious constraint, given that I've got almost no river land. For the Follower Belief I picked Cathedrals, where +3 culture and an artist specialist slot seemed perfectly tailored towards a culture victory.

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Geneva wants my religion. Since it's within 10 hexes of Edinburgh, that should happen automatically, right? Well, it gained Shinto followers slowly enough that eventually I sent over my next Great Prophet.

That shot also shows Edinburgh about to complete Stonehenge as planned, for another big kick of faith production. (I know now that was a waste; with faith already flowing from Stone Circles, Stonehenge added very little.)

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My second Great Prophet spawned shortly later. I hadn't been watching the faith counter, so neglected to spend 200 on a cathedral or missionary, so got the GP at 300 faith. He can spread religion 4 times... I had thought that he could spread it 3 times then do something else? I guess not, there's no buttons there for either Enhance Religion, or for a Holy Site when outside the city. So I spent him on the fourth spread then. And I guess that was kind of a waste, a missionary could have done the same thing instead for less faith spent. (Later I realized how this is supposed to work, that a Great Prophet should be used against an enemy city, because it removes competing religions in the target.)

Great Engineer spawned from Pyramids + Stonehenge. Didn't have any glaringly urgent wonder to build, so settled him as a Manufactory, visible in this overview just north of Edinburgh.

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