From the Hills of Timbuktu [Deity Hemispheres]

BornInCantaloup

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Your name is Mansa Musa, King of Kings, absolute ruler of the people of Mali. Sitting on your throne, you enjoy the breeze of fresh air as a slave behind you gently waves a leaf of palm tree.
A caravan arrived earlier today and the merchants before your eyes keep busy bowing and presenting you with numerous presents : boxes carved exquisitely and made from unknown woods, cloths of the richest silks, exotic fruits that still hold the smell of humid soils and tropical forests. You yawn lavishly to signify your contentment and your desire to retreat in solitude.

Timbuktu, "The Distant One", has attracted many of those merchants from time immemorial. For everybody knows that, in Timbuktu, favours are repaid in gold.
Over the years, this stream of activity has granted you with a diffuse knowledge of the outside world, names that have crossed the land and reached your ear, such as Gandhi the puny Indian, Pericles, wise advisor to the Greek tribes or Darius, the formidable Emperor of the Persians. Who knows what lies accross the great beyond ? Some speak of immeasurable swathes of sea and of worlds beyond.

The time is now 4000 BC and your palace sits at the centre of the Modern World, your city at its crossroads, or so does your astrologist tell you.
Lost in your thoughts, you wander on a balcony and indulge in visions of grandeur, start to marvel at the unique fate of your people and the possibilities, oh, the possibilities... All around you, as far as the eye can see, the land is yours and people obey to your command. Tomorrow, you will conquer the horizon. The next day, well, ancient artifacts point to the stars
From the hills of Timbuktu, late in the afternoon, the Belt of Orion starts to appear.

You draft some plans for the future but, first, where should you establish the city ?

Spoiler :


Game settings :
Spoiler :
Deity, Standard size, Normal speed
Hemispheres, Massive continents, Tiny islands
Tropical climate, Low Sea level

Handpicked AIs :
Gandhi, Pericles, Darius (our team)
Elizabeth Tudor, Huayna Capac, Peter the Great, Hannibal Barca (their team)


I did a playability check last week. Word of advice :
Spoiler :
It is playable :banana:
Also :
Spoiler :
These settings can be difficult to handle in the early stage. They can also lead to completely ridiculous things.
The AIs will be slowed somewhat by the amounts of land, especially in Techs and Wonders. They will, however, probably expand fast. Here, the jungle is likely to act as a nerf to Deity AIs.
The first plan is survival. Barbs start to enter territories from T35. This is not a map you should attempt to fogbust from T0. You probably need units other than warriors by or before turn 50.
The second plan is grand strategy. If you intend to (try to) cut open this map, it is a good idea to set up a grand plan early on (not from T0, though). This means : settling patterns vs tech targets vs maintenance. How far do you want to crash your economy ? How do you intend to rival your neighbours ?
Fortunately, the double gold gives some leeway in that last aspect (what were the odds ?)
 

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BornInCantaloup

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I think I might SIP.
I don't know about that. I think I will SOG. In any case, this has to be the best map, the settings are gorgeous.
You all arguing fine and dandy but where do I send the scout ?

Random thought :
Spoiler :
This map is probably too large to go on a worker steal romp. It just wasn't designed that way (blame the mapmaker ! :ar15:).
But... what do I know ? Maybe you can do it.
Have you heard of the skirmishers ?

 

CarpoolKaraoke

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Monologues...worrying trend! Never fear.

Spoiler T57 :


This map is ripe for worker micro.

T33: Agriculture, AH, BW.

Warriors to Size 3, 2nd worker (!), to Size 4, Settler.
1st worker: Corn, Road, Mine, Road, Cow, Road --> Chop!
2nd worker: Mine, Chop!

Civ4ScreenShot0637.JPG

T51 --> Mysticism ---> Priesthood --> Writing + Oracle! (2000BC)

Using road on Horse as a worker swing turn between Sheep and Wheat

Civ4ScreenShot0638.JPG


T57: Who needs Stonehenge, I'm spiritual.
Civ4ScreenShot0639.JPG



 

BornInCantaloup

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Yes, end the monologues !
This is very wildly different to what I did (I played to T54). I kinda quick played (single session, we're equal), I considered replaying from T0, because I don't have much walkthrough material. You're kinda convincing me I don't need to replay and risk the whole barb defence again :lol:
I've had a conversation with a mystery player (uh oh) and I am sure he will provide something as different as you did and as I did, How many maps offer that variety ? :hug:

Question :
Spoiler :
What's the big deal about CoL ? I can see the appeal about the Oracle.
Civil Service beeline ?


Disclaimer : This is the best map. It is between 35 and 40 degrees in the afternoons, in here, so, hot enough to burn my head, too hot to click end turn.

edit :
Spoiler :
The t57 artist is very cute.
It's too late for me to look into your micro. I also went 2x workers before settler. I'm not sure I went 2nd worker at size 3, though.
My objective at the time was : work both gold mines. So, growing to size 4. I'll look into it but iirc I built the 2nd worker at size 4 and the 2 mines before the pasture.
I can see 1 mine, pasture, 2nd mine being better.

I followed the same tech path as you did. Agri, AH, Bronze. Was kind of bummed when I then went Hunting and wasted the pre-req for AH.

All in all, yes ! Losing worker turns do matter on this map ! The map is generous, so it may not be game changing but, if we're talking comparison, yes, it does matter !
 
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CarpoolKaraoke

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Question :
Spoiler :
What's the big deal about CoL ? I can see the appeal about the Oracle.
Civil Service beeline ?

Spoiler :

Spiritual is all about trait gaining. Early Code of Laws opens many nice trait gains.

1. You can pop borders without penalty via Caste System (Creative)
2. You can run 2 scientists in a non-capital food city without spending 90 hammers on a library (Creative/Philosophical)
3. You get happiness bonus from religion (Charismatic)
 

BornInCantaloup

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Yes, your points all make sense.
Spoiler :
My mind is all set on RExing on settings like this.
It might be wrong, it might be old-fashionned, it might be a little narrow-minded. A Horse Archer rush could be stronger than a REx. I don't know.
I've just realized a barb city spawned very early to your East, essentially killing the pigs. That was my target tile for city 2.

I think there are many different viable approaches to a map like this. Turtling, RExing, Rushing are all options.
I cannot say which is better. I'm a RExing boy but my best games start with a choke/rush. I do not know that a rush is in the cards here. The larger land count.... Erf.
HA rush, maybe. Where are the horses though ? :lol:

CoL guarantees you the earliest academy and we have seen that this has (great) value.
 

BornInCantaloup

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I won't leave you in the blank, this is my T54 :
Spoiler :


This is a REx. Archery after BW.
I really like the city placements, there's something nifty about it (and the settler coming from Djenne).
I'm not too sure about the tech path.
First, I researched AH before Hunting.... Is that really a thing ?
Second, talk has been made about an Alpha beeline. I can see it be it great, I can accept losing Kumbi Saleh for it. I didn't test nothing. I guess my main concern was survivability.
I'm scared as it is to replay those turns and have worse odds (lost 1 skirm, 1 warrior).

With 130 gold in the bank, I'm sure some tech opportunity has been missed or, perhaps, I should just go for it right now.
I have probably very much underestimated the power of 2x gold.


I will update my earlier turns... later. I have only two marks.
 
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Implo

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Looks like fun! Will try it out when I have a moment.

I guess SIP is hard to beat with PH hill and everything. I dont dear see any spoilers yet so HF with your games and monologues :)
 
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BornInCantaloup

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Thank you, this is my monologue or how I went about it.
This is turn 27, so early exploration stuff, city targets talk

Spoiler :
I played those turns last wednesday, so my memory will be a little foggy at times. Hopefully, we can still decipher the details.
Let's start with the exploration ('cause I SIPed, we can skip that part). Warrior 1 is our fearless explorer and was sent to the SW and into the jungle belt with the mission to find AIs.
After a little while, he finds the Western coast and keeps heading south, preparing to loop back from the East.
I find Gandhi past the huge jungle belt, hiding behind a variety of resources :
Spoiler :


There is coast 3W of the Stone. There is coast 2W of the Horses. This is a pretty large map : those are our immediate surroundings and in range for expansion.
Also, can you believe this resource variety ? The Stone is somewhat interesting. Maybe there should be plans for it. Worst case it means Oxford University, keep in mind that Hemispheres is a high-tech sort of map and there are no pre-Astronomy wins (except for Culture, I guess).
We can see some very nice riverside to the south-east of our city between the pigs and banana (also a barb archer about to die).



This is where Warrior 1 is standing and preparing to head back going NE. Those are Gandhi's immediate surroundings and his area of expansion.
I dare say it also looks pretty nice with that corn, banana, sugar and dyes and a lovely river.


Now, up North, this is the pic :
Spoiler :


Lots to say, here, since it is already turn 27 :cry:
Persia met me relatively early, coming from the East.
Research goes Agriculture, AH, Bronze. Although it is a simple thing, I realized too late that Agriculture -> AH does not allow the worker to improve Corn -> Cows.
I think the objective with this city should be : grow to 4 asap. So, missing on the cows is a delay. Also, if the worker improves gold, gold before the cows, then an argument has to be made for going Hunting before AH. We've seen the huge jungle belt. Skirmishers are very strong, Archery is an important tech target.
"Growing to 4 asap", if you've played some corn+gold starts, then you know the first gold mine is done before that happens. Here, the first gold mine is improved when Timbuktu still needs 2 turns of growth to reach size 4. Should we work it or should we favour growth ? The answer is growth because the objective is to work both gold mines asap. Also, Timbuktu has stuff to do at size 4.
A funny thing about this position is that the pasture is done on the same turn whether the worker moves+moves or roads a gold first. This is because of the 2nd worker coming in to help and gaining a lost turn back. (So I'll have a road on this tile.)

A point of contention, looking back at this log, concerns improving the 2nd gold mine vs pasturing the cows. The worker moves from the first gold mine on 3080 BC, so it could very well improve 1x mine, 1x pasture, 1x mine, which would justify the tech path. Pasture before 2nd mine wastes 1 more worker turn in movement but also speeds up the 2nd worker by a turn. It's likely the 2nd mine is the way to go but this is a thing to consider.

Note that we're doing 26 :science: per turn, at this point. This is a beaker overload and I didn't fully realize what it entails. It is, actually, huge and not just a bonus vs maintenance. It is a way to enable gambits that would, otherwise, be out of reach.

Exploration ? Well, growing to size 4 on a 2H hammer tile means we could pump the 3rd warrior. Those guys are looking for city spots and keeping on the look-out for barbarian threats.
The area that interests me is the beautiful riverside to the East/South-East. I know we're in the North, I know the SW isn't directly contested, there is coast in the NE corner, I want to claim contested land. To me, this means that the pigs tile is the best tile in sight and this is why the area is thoroughly scouted.
Where to settle the city, though ? Perhaps SW ? Also grabs non-jungled bananas and can work a couple of tiles for the capital. It is a pretty damn good spot.
The one issue with this plan is the inability to share a gold tile from Timbuktu. As it happens, Timbuktu is rather food poor (remember our troubles growing to size 4 ?). Long-term, we want cities that can relieve the pressure from the golds and allow our capital to grow easier. There could be such a city like 3N of Timbuktu, grabbing a corn. This is a saving grace. Still, the more cities can share those food negative tiles, the better we can plan our growth.

Prospects :
After Bronze, I will want Archery. After that, the tech path should be open.
Size 4 capital starts on a Worker before Settler because it will be able to chop immediately, also road, and help improve city 2 as it is settled.
 

CarpoolKaraoke

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Spoiler :
A point of contention, looking back at this log, concerns improving the 2nd gold mine vs pasturing the cows. The worker moves from the first gold mine on 3080 BC, so it could very well improve 1x mine, 1x pasture, 1x mine, which would justify the tech path. Pasture before 2nd mine wastes 1 more worker turn in movement but also speeds up the 2nd worker by a turn. It's likely the 2nd mine is the way to go but this is a thing to consider.

Spoiler :

Yeah I think the weird spot with double gold is that if you commit to working the 2nd gold off 1 food resource, the growth is super slow to size 4. I think the timing on size 3 to get a 2nd worker (considering the number of worker turns needed is an acceptable compromise. Effectively, I'm waiting until the pasture is up to start growing again to size 4, and looking to take gains on the 6 tile cow.

From my screenshot on T33, I have just finished BW, and am 11 worker turns ahead of you on T27. Roughly speaking then, I've lost a turn of tech in favor of 4 worker turns and a bit of production...judging by my maintenance cost. hard to judge this one.




Spoiler :
The one issue with this plan is the inability to share a gold tile from Timbuktu. As it happens, Timbuktu is rather food poor (remember our troubles growing to size 4 ?). Long-term, we want cities that can relieve the pressure from the golds and allow our capital to grow easier. There could be such a city like 3N of Timbuktu, grabbing a corn. This is a saving grace. Still, the more cities can share those food negative tiles, the better we can plan our growth.

Spoiler :


I had the same thought with the corn, until I saw.....stuff.... in the fog.

 

CarpoolKaraoke

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Spoiler T88 :


T61: Running a scientist in Djenne while building granary; doing more caste system nonsense to steal corn city away from Darius. The land is good, and there are elephants...I decide to pick up HBR to 1) hedge on fighting a war over Bantu and 2) open the option for an elepult attack while I wait for these dudes to tech Alphabet/Mathematics/Iron Working.

Civ4ScreenShot0640.JPG


T69: Had a weird moment where 2 barbarian archers tried to kill my chariot...opening the option to take Bantu with chariots before Darius even gets there. This makes my plan to horse archer rush Darius a lot less valuable. Maybe the Construction attack is still an option?

Walata settled for the express purpose of working cottages for Timbuktu, and hogging those food resources until Iron Working becomes available. Workers sneaking in Persian territory to get those trade routes.

Civ4ScreenShot0641.JPG


T82: The other nice thing about getting early COL is that you can save gold waiting for an Academy, rather than spending commerce to get to Aesthetics. The timing of the Academy (late at 825BC) becomes a little less critical, since it's not costly to keep tech at 0 while waiting for the Academy.

Here I do a COL --> Alphabet trade, with 273 gold left for post Mathematics/Iron Working tech shenanigans. At 7 cities, with 2 more settlers settling in the next 2 turns.

Civ4ScreenShot0642.JPG


T88: Expansion complete at 10 cities. Total count of resources acquired explicitly via caste system artists: 8.

Is there still time to run over the map with elephants?

I am losing money at 0 tech....but a few turns of growth and research beakers could get me to Construction still fairly fast..... tech screen suggests I may have a decent amount of time vs Darius before Feudalism comes in. Pericles has elephants of his own.

There will be at least 7 cities ready to build elephants/catapults by the time I reach Construction in ~10-12 turns. What do you guys think? Is it worth it?

Machinery/Engineer bulb options are still open w/no fishing, and Mansa Musa does have the Mint....
Civ4ScreenShot0643.JPG

Civ4ScreenShot0644.JPG

 
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BornInCantaloup

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Continuing. This is now turn 48 :
Spoiler :
After Bronze is researched, I went Hunting, Archery in order to avoid a quick death
And proceeded with Pottery, Writing. It's possible this is fine, it's possible I should have put more thought into it and gone another path. What can I say ? I didn't.

Starting with exploration :
Warrior 1 manages to head back north and into a defensive position 4-5 tiles outside of Timbuktu's culture. He gains some experience points along the way of the river :
Spoiler :


I think both of those rivers should be named. This may be the largest flooding area in the world.
You can see in the North-East that we've found Persian borders. Darius is the closest to us.


In the north, Timbuktu completes its second Worker and we go chop, chop, chop. First a settler, then a couple of Skirmishers, then another settler.
There is a fine balance to be found between too many and too few Skirms. I believe the 3rd Skirm is needed but it represents a delay towards the 2nd settler. So it will have to wait.
Having to chop archers like that, there is no time to get extra workers.
As far as the settling goes, I go by the theory of : just... one... more... tile. It may not be a sound theory (compared with others) but I like it a lot when we can play the positional game with our settlers.
This is what it gives :
Spoiler :


3 cities, no trade routes :lol:
So, Djenne. I mentionned the tile SW of the pigs being a potential location but wait ! If we settle SE of the pigs instead, we can backfill a city in between !
Comes the second settler, Kumbi Saleh. So, we could backfill now but wait ! If we spend 1 more turn in travel, we can claim an additional corn tile !

As I said, I do not pretend this is a great plan but this is my plan.
Cons : maintenance, no extra commerce
Pros : well, look at the vision we have. I'm actually pretty safe, here. The area N and NE of Djenne is now fogbusted. 1 skirmisher secures the North of Timbuktu and
Having closed the distance with Darius this way :
a) Land has been secured ;
b) Vision means no barbs.
I have another Skirmisher SW of Kumbi Saleh and Warrior 1 to secure the south.


Essentially, this is securing land and using Darius as a buffer. Does it work ? Well, look at that, this is the plan.
First, Djenne :
Spoiler :


The plan for Djenne is to grow to 4 and whip a settler to complete the land grab.
The distance between our and Darius' cities will be barb free and also guarantees no further cities will be secured in between (so little cultural pressure).

Djenne doesn't need more than 2 improved tiles and has no forests to chop -> worker heads to the corn after completing a first cottage.
With this settling plan, we are entirely in the cottage spam territory but, as can be understood here, I'll be taking the city hits first. And only then raise the worker count. I'm already hurting for workers, here, and this is where a more compact development would fare better.


North-West is the "least safe" area :
Spoiler :


With the fogbusting warrior in the NE, this Skirmisher can patrol a little.
Pericles' Scout has found me and the guy is a hero. Look at those promotions.
Overall, having prioritized the Persian borders for expansion, I'm a little in the dark, here.


So, what about using Persia as a buffer, remember ? How does it fare ?
Spoiler :


The 3 barb units in the south-east are going into his territory. That works for me.
Warrior 1 is on the jungled pig tile, ready to intercept. This skirmisher should move west a little to free the barbarian pathway.

North, I've marked the backfill spot but, first, Timbuktu has to provide another worker. I'm still on chop, chop, chop duty around the city.
So, this is the plan for expansion.

Other notable things : the area where the Skirmisher is is highly contested. I'd like to get it but can't afford it right now (so it's best if it's barbarian roaming territory).
Worst case, I want the jungled rice, pigs, gems. Keyword : Jungled. Means Iron Working is needed.
And then there's still the stone tile hiding on the left part of the screen.


This is a point where tech targets have to be thought of. I feel fine just RExing, here. Still, how to proceed with :
- Alphabet ?
- Pyramids ?
- Oracle ?
There is no religion on our continent, yet. The Stonehenge is the only wonder to have been built (2520 BC). Judaism hasn't been founded. So, there's some leeway.

This is probably the point from which I'll keep playing.
Something to mention about the leaders : I picked Peter and Darius specifically for their tendency to go early Alpha. Clearing the jungle, here. Need to do that. I split my EPs between the AIs, so I don't have tech vision over Darius (yay!), so that's a little awkward :lol:
 

BornInCantaloup

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Spoiler :

Yeah I think the weird spot with double gold is that if you commit to working the 2nd gold off 1 food resource, the growth is super slow to size 4. I think the timing on size 3 to get a 2nd worker (considering the number of worker turns needed is an acceptable compromise. Effectively, I'm waiting until the pasture is up to start growing again to size 4, and looking to take gains on the 6 tile cow.

From my screenshot on T33, I have just finished BW, and am 11 worker turns ahead of you on T27. Roughly speaking then, I've lost a turn of tech in favor of 4 worker turns and a bit of production...judging by my maintenance cost. hard to judge this one.

Yes,
Spoiler :
meaning you could road to city 2, get trade routes, etc.
I may have mismanaged the whole double worker thing and cow vs gold. I was very focused on the exploration part and taken off guard when I realized I couldn't go farm -> pasture. It didn't occur to me I could still go mine -> pasture.

It's a very good play to stagnate on the 2nd worker while you are increasing the food output of the city :thumbsup:Wish I had seen that :lol:
 

BornInCantaloup

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Monologues...worrying trend! Never fear.
Ok, I read your T57 with better eyes today. Will keep your T88 for later.
Some random thoughts :
Spoiler :
Oracle -> CoL has a much better value than I initially thought. It's many little things but the spread covers a lot.

Alpha trade. It's conceivable for some AIs (Peter, Darius) to go for a 2000 BC Alphabet. Having the trade bait for that is huge.
A 2000 BC Alphabet puts you a full era ahead and can conceivably translate into getting to Civil Service some 20 turns earlier. It's also about the ability to trade for Iron Working and unlock the gems and the jungled food tiles.

Religion. You are founding the first religion of the continent. (Was Judaism popped, yet ?) A Wall Street Shrine is a very valid use for a GP if your religion ends up being dominant. We're probably looking at more than 40 cities on the landmass, maybe more than 50.
Also, Mansa is SPI and has cheap Temples. I think it's a stake to ensure the Apostolic Palace gets built on our Hemispheres and, then, we can get the full AP, Sankore, Minaret dream combo.
It's actually very favourable that both Buddhism and Hindhu get founded on the other continent because it guarantees this sort of religious monopoly.

Courthouses. I said I've looked with better eyes. I've noticed you're actually going for HBR.
Having unlocked a tech for recovery before needing to recover is very convenient.

Artists for border pops. You showcased that one. This is one of the little things but very cute.


HBR... I'm on the verge.
This is like Alpha : I know Alpha is needed early on but I do not know the path. Someone mentionned an Alpha beeline and I can see it being absolutely bonkers. (I can also see dying because of a delayed Archery)
HBR... I assume Darius is the target. The rush could fuel expansion AND research and further propel you a full era ahead. Then it's just as bonkers if it carries you to Civil Service.
There is a lot of land to fill, however. If you go HBR and don't build settlers, Pericles and Gandhi will fill in the blanks. I would want to do both, which is a tall order.
Darius is also a trade partner. Tech extortion works fine but capturing all of his cities will criple his tech pace.
I'm on the fence, here. I'll be interested to read your updates, though.
I've probably been quite wasteful of our early commerce overload, with questionable management but, overall, I think I appreciate the 3rd trading partner. Everybody does his part and clears a little jungle. I'm ready to do my part. I can see this not being ambitious enough.
I can also see Darius putting up enough resistance that, eek... I wouldn't want to go broke during that war, when I could alternatively settle very rich land peacefully.

Double gold, role of early trades, Oracle gambit. I kinda missed all those things and I'm ready to admit I played overly conservative.
I hope you do great !
 

CarpoolKaraoke

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Spoiler T121 :



T108:

Got to Construction at 400 BC, and did a double whip from the furthest cities, leading to this army on Darius' border at 175 BC.

Civ4ScreenShot0646.JPG


Power becomes a non-obstacle with 10 cities:

Civ4ScreenShot0647.JPG


T121: Running through the empire - Susa, Persepolis, Ecbatana, (2nd army @ Gordium), Meet at Pasagardae, end at Tarsus.

Civ4ScreenShot0648.JPG


Capitulation - - now holding 16 cities, + 4 under vassalage.

Civ4ScreenShot0645.JPG


Very cursed AI tech pace: Alphabet at 825 BC + no Feudalism. They did get Civil Service though. Not sure if the Feudalism miss was specifically due to the whole continent sharing the same religion, or my full self-teching of Feudalism thwarted them off...

Civ4ScreenShot0649.JPG


Stats:
Civ4ScreenShot0650.JPG


Game is at GG. 20 city alliance + 20 remaining units + no Longbows to hold me off.
 
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