Medina completed the Taj Mahal in 1360AD.
After going for Astronomy, I researched Democarcy next and used a great engineer to rush the Statue of Liberty partially.
Together with representation, this meant a nice boost in science output for my empire. I still lacked a lot of techs the AIs had, but I beelined to Communism next to be able to sign the permanent alliance finally. After I had discovered it, Cathy still denied me the alliance, as we hadn't lived through 40 turns of the defensive pact yet. This was quite unfortunate, as both AI teams were so annoyed about me that they cancelled all deals in the 16th century!
I couldn't afford to switch to Free Religion yet to improve relations, as this would annoy Cathy. But I needed that alliance NOW, as I had been dependant on some of the resources the AI teams had provided me...Now, several of my cities were unhappy and unhealthy. Finally, in 1600AD, Cathy saw the wisdom of a permanent alliance.
Our two empires joined forces, and more importantly, I immediately got to know all techs Cathy knew, which were these (and more):
Here's the situation at 1600AD. I hadn't mapped out the world yet, so I have to present you a map from the replay.
The Viccy/Mansa/Huanya team was about as large as Cathy and me, but the Nappy/Gandhi/Roosy/Bizzy team was scary. Losing the game to a UN vote definately was a threat in this game. I did not really fear being attacked, although a war against four AIs at once would become rough. But the AIs never are good at naval invasions, so I hoped to be able to fend off any attack they might make. In turn, I did not plan to attack them. Again, I think this would be doable, but as I already said, I longed for a peaceful builder's game.
Of course there was also poor Alex, shut out from all teams. I almost pitied him.
Now that Cathy had joined me I finally adopted Free Religion, to improve relations with the other teams. A turn later, this allowed me to sign open border agreements and trade resources again. Onwards to space!
After going for Economics and Corporation, I went for Biology next to allow my cities to grow a bit more. The lands I had settled were nice for production, but apart from Mecca, Median and Damascus, generally lacked high-food tiles. The result weas a lot fewer cottages than I'm used to, and smaller cities overall. Biology alleviated that problem at least a little bit.
Then, while going for Rocketry (why not Computers? I have no idea; somehow I forgot...), the message came that Victoria had adopted Vassalage and Theocracy in 1735AD. Uh oh...looks like she's preparing for war! Who might be the target?
*sigh* So much for my desire for a peaceful builder's game. I had a problem now: I had no navy. No, I had one: Two caravels. Yay! Cathy's navy was a bit underdeveloped as well, while Victoria had lots of frigates, and I mean lots. Huayna and Mansa sent their ships as well, and we quickly lost all but one sea resources. The only fish resource we were able to keep was protected by my two caravels which I had upgraded. Together with the cancelled deals thanks to the war, my cities faced a heavy health crisis and began to starve! I had several cities with up to -5 food per turn, which wasn't pretty.
So I immediately built drydocks in my coastal cities, then started to mass-produce iron clads. I think this was the first time ever I was building them other than just to see how they look like! I produced one or two clads per turn, and slowly began to fight the endless streams of enemy frigates and caravels.
Research to Rocketry was halted too, and switched to Railroads and then Combustion immediately. I needed destroyers ASAP! I shut down research for a couple of turns nonetheless, as my cities were still guarded by archers only plus half a dozen or so cavalry units. I upgraded some archers to infantry now.
Before my research of Combustion finished, I saw some Incan destroyers appearing. So when I had oil connected, I couldn't afford to wait for my destroyers to get built by hand, and instead shut down research for some more turns, upgrading my clads to destroyers. I think all this alone cost me 8-10 turns for my launch date in the end!
So while I slowly regained control of our sea resources (and built work boats to replace the pillaged nets), my navy came too late to protect Smolensk, one of Cathy's two cities on the enemy continent.
Maybe I should have tried harder to sign an alliance with Alex instead of Cathy after all; I hadn't realized how many cities she had overseas: Two directly on the enemy continent, and three on an island with lots of towns, which now got pillaged by a landing commando of cavalry and redcoats without us being able to interfere.
The second city on the enemy's landmass was Yekaterinburg, which now became a hotspot as well.