In the game announcement thread the newcomer had said... It's a large map, twice as big as I'm used to, making for a potentially too long real-time game. But, we seem amazingly well-placed for trade specials and you have access to the ocean, so I suspect several of the eminences will complete a one city challenge. For me, with very limited experience trying to manage other civs, (and the three I can see already via the top five cities aren't likely to be a set of pussycats), that would be too ambitious. Similarly I've never done early conquest and this doesn't seem the time to try, with a large map and restarts on. So I must admit I am a bit worried how long this is going to take, particularly in the later turns if it comes to a big war, and particularly if I use overlapping cities to speed early development, and carry out significant managed trade as we always seem to here. As to the start I have confused myself somewhat by black clicking. I haven't ever done this before but I guessed I better had to try and avoid acute embarrassment from an avoidable blunder. There is a vast majority of landmass/ocean '1' so maybe there just is a lot of ocean and it won't be so long a game after all. But I found we are on continent 1 at the start, and yet continent 3 seems adjacent to the west, the very next square to the city view? What does this mean, other than to send a unit down the river that way soon, I don't know? As to the decisions I think I'll build just here right now, in fact I've done it already, and I will get a settler before an exploratory warrior. I research Alphabet because it's top of the list and on the way to Monarchy, and I will work the silk on the river as it is 1 food, 2 shields and 3 arrows. We can have the settler done before Madrid grows too much, and meanwhile we bank a few $. ------------------------ Wherein the newcomer begins to find his way around the Grand Hall of GOTM ------------------------ The newcomer said thanks for the offer of a coffee but he would just get straight into the game as he expected it would take most of the month given the inefficient way he played. Going to the playing area he sat on a wooden stool, unpacked a dirty twenty year-old IBM keyboard (you can't get the same quality these days), an off-white CRT, and a PC that ran a version of Windows that was already out-of-date when it was bought all those years ago. The disk screeched into life. He resumed the game. Wearing headphones and pausing occasionally to consult a bit of paper from several in a repurposed, battered blue folder, and making notes as he went, he clicked on. Many, many hours later he had some thoughts. "The plan, as suggested in the earlier remarks in the game announcement thread, was to play in a way with which I am generally familiar. Not one city challenge or trying to be particularly early or quick. Rather I'll take things as they come, building a position for an eventual spaceship as a democracy, with an entertaining experience along the way. Of course this is buying in for a long game. Given the size of the map Marco Polo seemed vital." Early Game. Ah my mistake on the black-clicking. I see area 1 is both our continent and ocean, and the area 3 I could see just off the city view is a different body of water. I'll remember that if we are on continent 1, and an adjacent space is not 1, it must be water. In this game I built my second city, Seville, on this body of water as that was the direction the settlers had gone. Thinking about this suggested to me we could have a very large continent, as turned out to be the case. (In fact I only got a full idea about what connected where at the time we had planes.) You may be amused that my log records third city Toledo is built on the coast, only to note a few turns later it was in fact on a one square lake. Building Seville immediately brought me into contact with a militarily stronger Vikings, which was much earlier than I expected to see anyone. I will be interested to hear how other people handled this encounter if they had it too. Both diplomatically and whether it influences your direction of development? I was not able to take very much advantage I fear, it was really just a pain. I ended up a bit on the fence with too much idle military; maybe, as my advisor is wont to say, let's go and bonk some heads? My other main thought in these early years was not being confident of which technology to choose at each stage. As noted before my intention was Monarchy as soon as possible, but even if that is right there is a choice for the off-path and options on the order. For the record I went: Alphabet → Bronze Working → Ceremonial Burial + (Warrior Code from hut) → Code of Laws → Currency (as Monarchy not offered) → Monarchy (1250BC) → Trade. Early Middle Game. I thought it was splendid news when top five cities revealed we had the Mongols making up the numbers for the game. As I appear to be supreme, which doesn't often happen to me at this stage, I believe they are my key civ, to which I should gift technologies. Terrific, not sure I can bring myself to do that. I got on well with the Romans; they traded technologies and provided destinations for caravans. I was able to build Colossus and Hanging Gardens in Madrid. The other ancient wonders went to other civilizations. Normally I only get one, and not my first choice! I realised I was doing better than I had expected. I think the King level we were on was quite forgiving compared to other games I have had personally anyway, if not so much for comparison with other people's GOTM119s. Maybe I can be more ambitious? In AD120 I did secure Marco Polo, and at that point paused to take stock. I was 12 techs ahead of the Mongols: I gave them a couple and we swapped maps. It didn't seem to affect my science cost? Should they have had more given to them would that have made a difference I will find out another time rather than here and now I thought. At this point I also had to decide how much to give away to other civs? Is it worth considering letting Copernicus go so the other civs can move the game on more quickly? Enough for now.