I'm going to post some test games of catapult rushes. Here's one from this morning. Immortal, Fractal, Normal Speed/Size, and of course civ automatically sets the climate to temperate even if you change it to random each time. No huts/events, since people seem to feel it calls into question results. Catapult rushes require a lot of tech, as well as a decent amount of production. Ideal conditions are being somewhat boxed in, but too far to rush, and having bronze. It's also nice if you have riverside tiles that cottageable pre-bronze working, and a second city which has that as well. With such a start, you can get construction in turns 80 to 90. If you don't, well, let's see what happens. In this specific game, I pick Boudica, because she can get 8 exp march melee units. People say march is terrible, but as long as you have combat superiority over the opponent (catapults), it really speeds up attack downtime. Here's the start Spoiler : Settle in place seems preferable. AH first. Some people like to grow to size 2 while teching fishing, which can be very helpful early commerce (especially horse archer rushes), but growing + workboat build time is about the same as building a worker, even if the worker has nothing to do. Spoiler : The scout dies, highly annoying. Thankfully, we've scouted the peninsula-like geography and uncovered all the nearby important tiles. Spoiler : Fairly important early decision: fishing or mining-bronze working first? BW would be decent for a rush. It also gives us access to those riverside tiles for cottages. Also, it gives us extra production. We also want worker techs prepared for when we get our second city out. We go fishing, because we have no other source of commerce right now. Spoiler : Writing or agriculture or mining-bw next? In retrospect, I probably could have had agriculture out in time before I finished was ready to start a library in my capital, so I could improve the rice to the north. Spoiler : Next important decision: what size do we build the settler? We could make a workboat and build the settler at size 3, or 4. It also depends where we are going to settle the second city. Unfortunately, most of the land to the east is jungle, and there's no accessible riverside tiles. So I decide to go for the fish city to the north. More on this decision: settler will be 100 hammers for 4 food/hammers, until we get the fish. Growing gives +1 food/hammers, at 24 food. A workboat is 30 hammers for +1 food/hammers. Frankly, our production is dangerously low with only one good tile, and we are in danger of not having enough axes in time when we get construction. So we settler as soon as possible, since we don't need a warrior to fogbust that spot. Spoiler : Now that we have the settler, here's another interesting decision: settle on the plains hill and get the fish along with another plains hill (and no rice), settle on the desert hill, or on the grassland tile. Decision: ultimately, we decide to skip the superior plains hill spot because it doesn't have immediate trade route access! With domestic trade routes, it's worth +2 gold, which pays for the maintenance and then some. Without it, we're losing 2 gold per turn until we road it. We skip the desert hill in the hopes we can get a monument so we can access the plains hill later. It also might save 1 gold per turn in maintenance. Spoiler : And now that we've settled it, we build workboats in both cities. The capital can produce workboats faster and send it to the second cities' coastal fish, but it will take about 5 turns to move it to the fish, so there's no point in bothering. We could also build a library immediately in the capital, but we need to grow at least 2 population while building the library for the specialists, and honestly even then we will want to work at least 1 coastal clams (even without a workboat). I learned the hard way that a library with two specialists isn't nearly enough to get construction in time. And another very important point: we found ramses in the east, and AI scouts are doing a reasonable job fogbusting/controlling barbs. Often we cannot afford to build two workboats, because without axemen/chariots/archers, we are in too much danger of barbs swarming us. And our warrior died while on a jungle tile, so our worker is doing a tiny bit of fogbusting while he has nothing to do. And since we're going workboat, we should have gone agriculture before writing. And the second city should work the plains hill to get the workboat out faster. Spoiler : No second workboat, we're going for the library straight away. Note with 2 clams and the cow, even with 2 specialists we would probably grow into unhappiness. Grow fast to size 4, then we're going to work our highest hammer tiles to get the library out faster. Spoiler : Second city, we make a warrior I believe to do some limited fogbusting while growing. But now we can make workboat or monument for that plains hill or worker. We go the worker because even with our nice second to take over production while our capital is busy working specialists, we are going to behind in production (60 hammers in fishing boats already, 90 in a library, easily could have been a 3rd city), and chopping forests is going to help when bronze working comes online. Another decision is that we could have saved while waiting for the library to finish, then went 100%, but we opt for a faster bronze working instead at the cost of some free beakers. When we turn off research is a big question. Spoiler : Note we switched to the fishing boatless clams in the capital for extra commerce. We build a warrior next in the capital for the garrison happiness. Even charismatic leaders can't deal with the -2 unhappiness at size 6. And our beakers per turn are finally respectable at 29 - 3. Spoiler : After teching pottery, we have a great scientist, which we academy. We could have bulbed mathematics, which is sometimes necessary if we are forced to tech iron working, or settled it, if we have very low beakers per turn and can't cottage any riverside tiles. Our 3rd city has also had the choice of a monument, a fishing boat (for the clams), a worker, and a settler, and we go for the settler since we really need more production and we need to hook up copper soon. We saved some gold for the academy, but we are inclined to tech mathematics a little faster for the extra chop hammers. Sacrificing some beakers for hammers. Those cottages right now are more important than the hills, so we're trying to get those up as fast as possible. We replaced the scientists specialists with the riverside cottages after our first great scientist. Those are extremely important for our construction timing, even if they are very late. Spoiler : Finally revolt to slavery so our second city can whip the monument instead of relying on the desert hill, which will later give access to the plains hill. We want to do that in advance of construction, preferably. Note we prioritize it before the granary, for those timing reasons. And we will prioritize another worker before that granary. Also because our capital is our only riverside cottage source, we WILL NOT whip it until construction, even if we have to chop the granary or grow into unhappiness. An extra 10 turns of riverside cottages is too important. Spoiler : Our copper city finally settled, along with the daring fogbuster and roading worker. It will go monument first, so it will have the fish in a timely manner before the rush. Then we will go granary (no other production), then catapults. If we have time to build a barracks before construction, then we will. But 0 exp catapults still bombard and collateral just fine, and they are preferable to get the magic 8 catapult number. Spoiler : Turn 93 construction, not so great, but acceptable. But note our unit count is very low, so we actually delayed construction a few turns from settling a 4th city for extra production. This sort of balancing between tech and production is very important. The capital finally has a granary (delayed due to building a worker or settler I believe, which delayed unhappiness). The second city has an almost complete axeman and a spearman in queue to save upkeep costs, and we have an axemen or two while we're still in the free units limit. And our beakers per turn is 37, hurrah. We're running largely off the gold we saved pre-academy, although due to a 4th city to the south (grassland cow, 2 mines), I had to save up a little more gold. Next turn, we switch to catapults in all cities with a granary, and 2 pop whip, if possible, and switch tiles to mines if possible. Our workers are prioritizing mines and chopping forests. Our 4th city isn't even roaded to yet, which isn't a problem since catapults don't require resources. We will trade to road as late as possible to get reinforcements/our main stack moving. Spoiler : Posting later today: the buildup and the war. And of course the 4000 BC save and construction save.