I had only little time to play and report about this Adventure, so please excuse this brief summary. Not being allowed to get Alphabet by any means would mainly mean that the time when you are allowed to trade techs will be pushed back, and that we would be completely dependant on when an AI researches the tech. You also miss some techs and abilities, the biggest one probably being that you won't get access to the culture slider, but in the end I don't think this game was that much different from a normal game.
Because waging war is the single biggest time factor for playing Civilization, and that's exactly what I lacked (time), I decided to play peacefully as much as I could. By now I'm convinced that waging war in CIV almost always gives you an advantage, so I guess I won't get the fastest victory in this Adventure - but then the map layout gave us so much land to expand into that I'm curious to see if someone actually did a war of conquest at all. Still, capturing fully matured cities will lead to a higher research rate later on, so I think that would have been the way to go. My reward of playing peacefully was that I completed the game in roughly three hours, though.
I founded Thebes on the starting spot and built a worker right out of the gate. I decided not to go for a religion for a change: If a religion would spread to me, maybe I would convert to it if it would come with a diplomatic advantage, but otherwise I would be happy to beeline to Liberalism and Free Religion for the research boost, and skip religions altogether this time. Will be interesting to compare to other games, as I'm sure most people go for a later religion at least!
So if I'm not allowed to trade when I want to and had decided to skip religions, I did something I've not done before: After researching the worker techs, I made a quite radical depth-first research beeline, first to Currency, then to Civil Service, then to Liberalism. I ignored the religious branch completely, as I ignored Monarchy, Feudalism etc. I relied upon the fact that once an AI would have Alphabet, I would be able to trade for all techs I missed on the way.
Somehow, I completely failed to notice the two huts near Thebes and sent my warrior scouting northwards. No problem though, as both got popped once Thebes' borders expanded:
Both gave me a tech! I forgot what the second tech was though. I lost my warrior scout shortly after meeting Qin, and it took some time before I met the other AIs on my landmass (Huayna, Roosevelt, and Kublai). Memphis was founded in 2040BC, and Heliopolis in 850BC.
Because I skipped the religious branch entirely, I also deliberately skipped building the Oracle (or any other early wonder except the hanging gardens, for that matter). This will also be interesting to compare.
This was again a game where copper was right at the capital - I find these games considerably easier than other games, as this allows me to skip archers entirely and build powerful axemen only. I used them to raze several barb cities which would spring into existance repeatedly in the north, which helped me nicely to fund some deficit research. I did not capture them, as they interfered with my dotmap.
Kublai, Qin and Roosevelt all became Jews, so when I accidently founded Confucianism in 325BC I decided not to convert to it and stayed atheistic instead. In 125AD I discovered Civil Service and now was able to bring irrigation to some cities that needed it, but Alphabet wasn't in the game yet, so I now was forced to research Mysticism and Meditation on my own, on my way to Philosophy, Paper, Education and Liberalism. Roosevelt was the first to discover Alphabet in 475AD, and I gave him Civil Service for Priesthood, Iron Working, Polytheism, Sailing, and Archery. This was my empire at that time:
My second trade was Philosophy to Roosevelt for Monotheism, Calendar and some gold. In 680AD, both Qin and Huayna knew Alphabet too, so I made a third trade: Civil Service to Khan for Monarchy, Horseback Riding, and some gold. And what happened? Huanya, whom I've not even traded with yet, decided I might become too advanced, and refused to trade me anything!
Just to repeat: So far, I had given away A LOT of beakers to get some techs which were worth less. I had made three trades overall, and NONE with Huanya. And yet, he told me "We Fear You Are Becoming Too Advanced"?!? Come on, I'm all for a limit on trading, but in this case it felt really, really stupid! Would I have decided to research cheap techs like Priesthood, Archery and Sailing on my own, I would have been able to trade for more expensive techs. That would have cost me only a small amount of turns before the trade, but would have netted me more expensive and more powerful techs overall before reaching the WFYABTO limit! In fact, that would have saved me several turns in the end. Just because I had decided to play differently from how I do normally, I got penalized.
Again, I see why a limit has to be in the game, but I don't like the implementation. I've learned my lesson though and will mop up the cheap techs next time, trade for the more expensive and powerful ones, and will come out more powerful I'm sure.
Anyway, back to the game. All AIs were pleased with me, so sticking with atheism had been the right move here, especially because Huayna had converted to Confucianism earlier while the others were still Jewish. I discovered Liberalism first in 1180AD, took Nationalism as my free tech and build the Taj Mahal. Next I beelined to Economics, but Qin actually beat me to it. Frederick found me in 1450AD, followed by the rest of the AIs. I discovered Physics first in 1595AD, and used the great scientist with one of my 3(!) great engineers (from building the Hanging Gardens...) to start a second golden age.
Biology was the target of my next beeline, then Rocketry for Apollo, then Robotics for the Space Elevator, then all the rest of the spaceship techs (Ecology last). I traded a lot later on, even with Huayna, and even gifted lots of techs to all AIs in 1822AD: I had discovered that I had no aluminium, and so gave Industrialism plus all its prerequisit techs to all AIs that still lacked it so I might be able to trade for aluminium. Didn't happen, though.
So far, this game had been extremely Arathornesque: No wars had happened. None. Every AI was peaceful. Until 1844AD, when Isabella finally noticed that I was dead last in military, and declared on me. Biology to Qin, Roosevelt and Asoka and some upgrades took care of her, so the biggest issue with that war was that I lost several resource deals and had to suffer unhappy citizens for nearly the rest of the game. *sigh*
Apart from that, no more wars happened. Strange! Must have been because Arathorn had created the game. A bit boring, but then I had no time for long wars anyway.
I launched in 1898AD, and have no idea how fast that is. I think people who attacked Qin might launch faster than this, even without the ability to fight war weariness with the culture slider, as Qin had lots of very nice science cities in the end. Attacking poor Huayna wouldn't have been so good though, as his lands weren't anywhere as nice as Qin's.
Here's the world map from the last turn:
I was in the lead financially the whole game.
My production wasn't bad either!
Only my military was weak, but I had only two small borders to Qin and Huayna, easy to defend, and had a tech lead all the time, so why bother building more?
Thanks for reading, and I'll have a longer report for the next game.