Epic 2, Part II

In 500AD, I discovered Civil Service and adopted Bureaucracy. Here's a screenshot of my core empire from that time:

Core empire in 500AD

I had one additional city founded in Mongolian territory in the east, to secure another source of gems, here:

Lahore in Khan's territory

I had protected this city better than the rest of my empire, in case Khan would declare war on me again: It would take some time to bring reinforcements there. You can also see in the shot that I had taken the lead now in score, whatever that is worth. Maybe that was because I could still run 80% science with 7 cities...

Want Some Gems?

The same year also saw my second gems connected, and more customers could be made happy:

Selling gems to Cyrus for 3 gpt

To boost my research speed even more, I completed the Great Library in 545AD. And because I followed a depth-first research path, I had to make some trades from time to time to get some techs I had skipped.

Trading Paper to Julius for Calendar and gold

My third gems were connected in 755AD.

Elling gems to Khan for 1 gpt

Still the old routine: Bombay was building settlers, Delhi wonders.

Hanging Gardens

In 950AD, Education came in, and I queued up universities everywhere, planning to whip them as soon as possible.

A Cruel Oppressor's 101

On a map like this, where most cities are nothing more than mere fishing villages with extremely low production, proper use of the whip is very important. So I'd like to present you my thoughts on how to oppress your people not only cruelly, but also effectively.

Applying the whip gives you a lot of hammers instantly, at the cost of population and some temporary unhappiness. To be able to whip often, you need to regrow your population as fast as possible. So the most important thing for a city you plan to whip is a) a lot of food, and b) a granary. Every fishing village I founded built a lighthouse first, if no other sources of food were available, and even hired a citizen to do this in some cases where no 2+ food tiles were available. If it had sea resources in its radius, it would get supplied with work boats from Delhi or Bombay. After food income was maximized, I would whip a granary - it's important to whip this before anything else, because it will effectively half the cost of your future whippings! So in some cities with two or more 2+ food tiles available, I would even whip the granary before building the lighthouse.

What you also have to realize is that it's most effective to whip a building as soon as the city allows you to. The cost per hammer is lower than if you let the city grow first and whip it later (although of course you should never whip something with no hammers invested yet, as it will double the cost). Every additional pop point is more expensive than the previous when growing a city, but every pop point will give you the same amount of hammers, so don't hesitate to whip early, even if the city shrinks back to size 2 or 3 as a result. Don't worry, it will regrow soon enough! I was too lazy to check my cities every turn, but I scrolled through all cities every two or three turns to look for whipping opportunities.

The next thing of note is that applying the whip gets the same modifiers as normal production does. So after the lighthouse and the granary, you should next whip a forge, as this will increase the efficiency of all future whippings. After that, I whipped a library, then a university (and later a observatory), as whipping keeps the city size low and you don't need any happiness/healthiness buildings immediately. If you run a low science rate, you can whip markets/banks/grocers first instead, of course.

Don't be afraid to have cities with +4 unhappy faces for the next 50 turns or so! This procedure will pay off eventually, trust me. Even my fishing "villages" which were on tiny islands with only one tile had a lighthouse, granary, forge, library, university, observatory, marketplace, bank, grocery, harbor and aqueduct in the end. Mind you, that were cities that produce one hammer per turn!

Speeding Ahead

Anyway, back to the game. I noticed that my expansion rate left a lot to be desired: Although Bombay still produced only settlers and military for the most part, I still could afford a 70% science rate! In retrospect, I probably should have had a second city churning out settlers, to settle more islands for more scenario points. On the other hand, the upside of this was that I know was clearly the tech leader. I discovered Liberalism first in 1160AD.

Discover Liberalism in 1160AD

I took Nationalism as my free tech to be able to build the Taj Mahal, but in fact interrupted its construction later to slip in Oxford University. My tech lead was so extreme now that I didn't need to worry about losing the wonder race, as it no longer could be called a race really...

I adopted Free Religion to boost my science output even more. In normal games I would also adopt Free Speech at this point, but here I had so few towns that it just wasn't worth it. I cleaned up some older techs I had passed on the way like Feudalism, Guilds, Banking and the like. I also built one turn worth of longbows in each of my cities, so that in case somebody would declare war on me, I could respond by whipping out the longbow in endangered cities without having to pay double price. Once I would have airports, I wouldn't have to worry about surprise attacks, but until then I believed this to be a necessairy precaution.

In 1286AD, I discovered Economics first and now had three great merchants. Here I make a big mistake, a mistake that would cost me 16 scenario points later on: I sent two of them away on a trading mission. Here's the result of the two trading missions:

Get 1650 gold from a trading mission in Moscow

Get 2250 gold from a trading Mission in Kyoto

Why had this been a mistake? While the extra money allowed me to discover techs at an even faster rate (which wasn't really necessary, given the increasing tech lead I had already), in the end I had three cities that were one food short of being able to grow to size 25. Two of them could have been able to reach that size if I had merged a merchant into them (great merchants provide an extra food!), so I could have scored 16 more points that way. Alas, I had trusted my gut feeling instead of crunching the numbers when judging if a city would be able to grow to size 25 or not, which now proved to be a mistake.

In 1328AD, out of the blue Mao decided it was his turn to declare war on me.

Mao declares war

Would my whipping-preparations for emergency longbows pay off now? Will exciting sea battles and amphibious attacks take place, involving the capture and recapture of cities? Will the game change from a builder's game into an action-packed war-game?

No, of course not. All I saw from Mao was one lousy galley. Empty, of course. *sigh* In 1418AD, he asked for peace again, and even though I had ignored him completely, he was willing to pay 90 gold for the deal, and that was that.

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