Civ recommendations for balanced playstyle

Got back into Civ 3 this summer. A little light reading if anyone is bored and cares to read the musings of a novice.

TL/DR: More/better-managed workers -> more productive cities -> better defended cities -> AI aren't always such meanies -> I can be the pure builder I want to be now

It turns out that, even though I thought I was improving with my workers, I still hadn't built quite enough, nor was I getting the most out of my terrain with them. Before, I was just trying to irrigate everything in sight. Now I have a bit better of a sense of when to mine vs when to irrigate. So now I'm getting more shields out of my cities, and can produce the units that I need while still building the infrastructure that I want. And that makes me less prone to attack, so now I get to be the builder that I want to be and not have to seek out those warmonger or balanced civs.

The civ I fell in love with this year, which for whatever reason I never gave a serious look to in my limited experience up to this point, is Babylon. As the review from many years ago suggests, they are ADDICTING to play, at least at my low skill level. You really can sort of "feel" the culture pulsating from them.

While there are other trait perks that I miss sometimes (scouts and friendly barbs from Exp, etc), the Babs have so much going for them in terms of "quality of life" that I really like and really miss when I don't have them:

- cheap temps/caths
- cheap libraries/univ
- free tech at each age transition
- short anarchy
- increased chance for an SGL

All wrapped up into a nice luxurious package.

Plus, even though the UU is early (and I have more of a taste for an earlier UU/GA than consensus anyway), it's not resource-dependent, which I really like. Kind of a bummer when you fire up a Celts, Iroquois, Egypt, or Persia game and look forward to smacking some people, only to see that you don't have your needed resources.

Had a Bab game (Warlord/Huge/Conts with all 16 original Vanilla civs) that went a lot smoother than my Ottoman game described earlier in thread, ending with a Space Race victory in 1932. Not going to lay out the whole thing but let's just say the uber-aggro Aztecs bypassed me completely to lay waste to Lincoln's lads. I just did my thing, sold tech for gold and gold/tech for MPP's.

So... getting there.
AI attacks you when you're weak, you must be powerful in order to avoid war.

I won as far as Emperor without ever going through a war.
Of course a bit of luck is needed.. good starting point and resources.

You have to rush grabbing land as quick as you can, developing a core of cities with high standards in order to build the right wonders and be quick in science.

If you manage to be leader in tech AND productivity you win most of the times.
In order to to that you should pick the right advances (a good 20% are useless), MUST be agricultural and commercial or scientific.

Iroquis has the best traits for this gameplay IMHO.
AI attacks you when you're weak, you must be powerful in order to avoid war.

Nope. Plenty of people have played one city challenges and been weak for much of the game on Monarch. It does help to have lowered aggressiveness settings, but it's not always needed. It helps to keep the AIs happy.
It does help to have lowered aggressiveness settings, but it's not always needed. It helps to keep the AIs happy.
Unless you're playing against the Aztecs. That civ is a real pain...
Unless you're playing against the Aztecs. That civ is a real pain...

Gosh, yeah. Rarely do I have them as a neighbor and not find myself staring down the barrel so to speak.

One exception, anecdotally... I was playing an Arabia game recently, and the Aztecs were I believe my nearest neighbor or close to it. As it happens their starting point was the tip of a very thin outcropping of land. Luckily my scout sniffed out that there was a two-tile chokepoint that was their only access to the rest of our continent, in time for me to put a city on one tile and a warrior on the other, just to make it so they had to declare a disadvantageous war to move me off it. They had room for only one other city, so basically they were choked out from doing anything.
I would personally recommend the Chinese. Their militaristic/industrious combo is great for this war, build, war, build type of strategy. In the early game, you can use that small production bonus to simply outnumber your first neighbor and take their land. Don’t go up against someone with a good AA UU though, it’s too risky that way. Once you have that war under control, start building all the improvements you need like libraries and temples. By the time you are ready for your second war in the early MA, your Riders will be ready. Use them to snag resources in a series of short wars. Once this phase is over, you should be nearing the end of the MA and you can build your universities, a wonder or two, and make a navy if necessary. You could use the golden age from a victorious rider to build one or even two of those early MA wonders if you can afford to. Republic should be good as long as you don’t drag out those short wars for resources. With this strategy you should be able to be well on top by the beginning of the IA, and you can do whatever you see fit from there on out.
Also, the militaristic aspect makes it more likely that you will get an early MGL, allowing for an early army to help you in your conquests.
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