Premise This is a new series I am working on in hopes of actually getting players over the hump and into the Emperor level of play. I personally found this to be the biggest barrier for me between low level play and high level play (I got my first immortal win within 2 weeks of my first Emperor win because one here it just "clicked"). I know there is some overlap with the wonderful cookbook series (which was my inspiration) but the focus here is going to be less on "best ball" practices and more on step by step analysis. I do encourage people to take each save and play along to see how they do but I will be playing something of a "control" game to try and keep on task and to clearly show the strategies and tactics in use. Hopefully it's not the only game being played (and hopefully better players than me feel like contributing as well) but it's alright if I end up doing this solo. That doesn't mean I won't make mistakes (hell we might lose) nor does it mean someone won't win first. I plan on playing through a short period of time (and hopefully other people will as well) and then discussing the decisions made to get there and where we're planning on going. Every choice is really up for discussion/debate ... in fact I am hoping to stimulate a fair amount of discussion as this can yield the strongest lessons ... and as I said if someone has a better idea I have no problems switching gears and picking up from their game. Goals I know a lot of players say you don't play a strategy or a leader but rather you play the map. While this is true at the highest levels everyone has to start somewhere. The reason why the best players can just say things like that is because they already have mastered all of the various strategies and techniques and now its just a matter of applying it as necessary based on the conditions. For newer players who don't understand the fundamentals of each strategy as well as lack the ability to analyze a situation and determine how to handle it, it's just not possible to expect them to be that dynamic. In that vein each game in this series will focus instead on an major economic strategy. I consider myself qualified to teach at least two (Ind/'mids-SE and CE) and may attempt a third (Phi-SE). It would be great to maybe attempt an RE and EE and down the line but I probably am not the right player to lead such attempts but we'll see it when we get there. Process I see this being something of an iterative process (I figure 3-4 days per round) as outlined below: I'm going to play through some of the game and provide detailed analysis of my decisions along the way. Other people can also play along and see how far they get. The newer (to Emperor) players can try and follow along and implement the strategy I outline and see how they do compared to me. People are welcome to wildly deviate and we can discuss the merits of such an approach but the goal of the series is to stick to one strategy per game. We will compare/contrast/analyze the decisions made along the way. Just because I chose to do something doesn't make it "right". We will decide on a path for the next segment and then off we go to implement it. Rinse/Recycle So welcome to the first segment of this series. We'll be focused on the first economy I learned and used to work my way up from Noble through Immortal, the 'mids powered Specialist Economy. The basic premise is we hammer out the Pyramids to run Representation early so that we can run specialists with an extra +3 a piece. This lets you over expand and warmonger very hard while still maintaining a strong economy. It's not foolproof by any means and it starts to wane somewhat after liberalism so we do have something of a timeframe in which to establish a dominant position. We will be playing Ramesses II I consider him the absolute strongest leader for this type of economy and presumably as beginners you will want every advantage you can get. He has the requisite IND and SPI will find no limits of use under an SE (as I hope to show you). The UB has some fairly nice synergy with an SE in that you can work priests before you have libraries up to get some going. The WC is also one of the strongest UUs in the game and if we have the opportunity we will crush some poor neighbor. Make no mistake the SE is a warmonger economy. The map is Standard/Epic. Larger and smaller maps have their charm but standard seems to fit most people's needs. Epic I find is simply more forgiving when learning and with an SE our preferred victory path is domination this will benefit us. For the first iteration I would like us to play until 1000BC. Please keep any discussions beyond the opening and starting strategy/goals in spoiler tags for any late comers. I would like to have our next set of goals ironed out by Friday 2/6 so we can play the next segment over the weekend. Immediate Game Goals (4000BC->1000BC): Find/Expand to Horses: Our UU is just too good not to prioritize. Scout for a potential rush target. Either Rush an enemy OR build Stonehenge. We have to make this choice by ~2700BC because SH will very likely be gone by 2000BC. Its ok if we miss SH but being IND AND having a UB Monument makes SH actually a decent investment. The early settled priest GP won't hurt us either. Build 'mids by 1000BC and go Representation to relieve our Happy cap. Try to get a 10XP unit either fighting barbs or in the rush so we can build HE. If we choose to rush we probably need to have already taken an enemy capital by 1000BC. If we don't rush we should have at least 4 expansions and be blocking off territory from the AI. Here's our map. I've attached the save game. I had honestly planned to re-roll until we got stone but this was the first one that came up. I believe I chose Pangea but this might be fractal. No huts, no events. Yes the goal was to have favorable conditions since we are learning. I already have my notes/saves until 1000BC which I will post in a subsequent post.