So, back in the day on the Civ 4 boards, a poster named Neal had a running series playing a variety of games on the fantastic Earth-18 map (and later, on variations of said map.) Civ 5 never had a stock map like that other than modded maps that melted my computer. But now with the Summer Patch and the true start Earth map at Standard size, finally there's a static map (mostly, only the Civs are random) that my poor computer can handle without turning into molten hot slag. Now, I'm a crap player. But I'd like to change that. And reading series like King of the World and Sisiutil's All Leaders Challenge helped me learn Civ 4. Yes, there are a lot of video Let's Plays out there, but video and I just haven't really ever clicked. I like to read, and I like to write, sooo- I'm going to make my own feeble attempt at standing on the shoulders of giants and start a play through on the new Earth map. Starting with a solid builder Civ that's isolated in their own little corner of world, let's try to rule the world with John Curtin, Prime Minister of Australia. I'll be playing the game in rounds and posting a write up, looking for input at key moments in the development of the Oceanic continent. This game will be played on Prince difficulty. My objective will be to move up difficulties. Maybe Prince is too easy for a game with forum input. Let's find out, shall we? The Commonwealth of Australia: John Curtin Round 0: G'Day Mate! (this post) Round 1: Together Alone Round 2: Solitude is Bliss Round 3: Men at Work So, Australia under John Curtin, our newest Civ. Australia seems a pretty powerful Civ with bonuses to production (from the leader UA and UI), growth (from the UI) and incredibly nice buffs to science, gold, faith and culture in lieu of using high appeal tiles for neighborhoods (which is not much of a loss.) The Outback Station is a fun improvement, receiving 1 food for every adjacent pasture, and later 1 food and 1 production for every two adjacent Outback Stations; making for chains of high food/production tiles even on flat desert. The Digger I've not used much of yet, but it seems a solid replacement for the Infantry; bonus strength on coastal tiles and in foreign lands. The Land Down Under is a very cool UA; cities founded on the coast have the same (I think) housing as fresh water cities, and coastal tiles usually have high appeal, making for powerful bonuses to everything but production. John Curtin's UA is, well, amazing. Double production after being declared upon or liberating a city makes for a solid boost, especially when fighting against a warmonger. I'm sure there are plenty of ways to leverage his UA, even from a position of strength. The Earth map can be a little crowded in Europe and the Middle East (you don't say) so I would think there might be some opportunities to both foster international goodwill while powering, say, a spaceship. Of course, if the hivemind thinks we're better off using that time-honored strategy of RISK by using Oceania as a fortified base from which to crush the world under our Uggs, then maybe we'll see less use from it, or maybe the frightened reactions of a weak world will only fuel our war machine's beating desert heart. Which brings me to the humble beginnings of the Australian people, the plains and hills of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, on the banks of what I assume is the Murray River; So, where do we settle? (Sorry if the image is a bit too reduced, please give me feedback on that.) The NSW coast is to our east with a number of fish tiles. The wooded hills to the south is Victoria's southern coast, and the plains tiles to the west of the desert sheep is the mouth of the Murray. The settler's location is a power Outback Station site, a 5 food 2 hammer tile from Guilds. Tiles are at a premium on Australia; most of the continent is desert with low appeal (but powerful to work with Petra & stations). The coastal tiles seem best for districts to use the Aussie UA, but are the only source of serious production until Steam Power. As for goals, I see a suite of short-term goals; Tech-wise, Oceania has but two luxuries and they require Irrigation, Sailing and Celestial Navigation. Establishing cities on New Guinea and Borneo seem essential to pick up spices for trade. (Java, I believe, will always have Jakarta.) Australia has room for four cities, I think; the capital, Brisbane/Cairns, Darwin and Perth. The QLD city will pick up the Great Barrier Reef. We have nothing to fear from land battles for a while once the initial barbarians are cleared. Australia is an easy place to fog-bust. Still, Archery will be nice to have considering AH will be our first tech. Getting an internal trade network up will likely happen with harbors given our need for Celestial Navigation, meaning Currency can be delayed. Still, with the UA buff to Commercial Hubs, I see no reason not to place them anyway to fund purchases and upgrades. Wonders wise, while TGL & Colossus are nice to haves, Petra & Colosseum I think will be the two I need to place in the Outback. Colosseum should be able to hit all four Aussie cities, and Petra will make the Outback amazing tiles, especially once Steam Power comes in. I'm thinking our capital should be founded in a way to take advantage. Long-term goals is where I get hung up. As mentioned above, I see two good paths; Oz is isolated and its naval needs will push our tech path towards Cartography, so we should see some colonization action. On the other hand, our isolation can be used as a launching pad towards Australian supremacy, like so many games of RISK. Thoughts? Jeers? Post less newb? I'm quite nervous to throw myself out there, but I loved reading Neal's games and you know what they say about imitation and flattery.