From my mother's sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose. -Randall Jarrell, "The Death of the Ball Turrett Gunner" I don't have a fancy name yet. We're just "GP Series" right now. GP stands for Great Person and, I dunno, let's say Gilded Pigeons. Last time, in the first installment of the series, we took Ramesses through a game driven by Great Prophets and Priest specialists, riding Angkor Wat-powered Obelisk priests, the Jewish shrine, and a boatload of Spiral Minaret gold to glory. Generating only Great Prophets, building only Prophet-generating wonders, and running only Priest specialists, we ran to what ended up being a fairly easy victory, proving that--with the right leader in the right context--a Prophet-driven economy can be competitive. And fun! This time, we turn our attention to another of the more marginal Great People. Compared to the powerhouses (Scientists, Engineers, and Merchants), Great Artists have considerably less utility, and the bane of most GP farms is often the fact that the National Epic generates points toward the "useless" (except in culture games) Great Artist. As with last time, we are operating under the now-universal rule for the series: the only Great Person we may actively try to generate is a Great Artist, meaning we may only run Artist specialists and build Artist-generating World/National Wonders. However, this time, we'll be playing under a second rule: we may not win the game via cultural victory. If we generate any other Great Person type--whether by being first to a race or by wonders in captured cities--said Great Person must immediately be put to death. This of course lowers the immediate incentive on techs like Communism, Physics, and Fusion while at the same time making Music something of a priority. What can Great Artists do? As with all GPs, Artists can be settled, used for a Golden Age, or used for a third unique purpose. Great Artists can produce a Great Work, the so-called "culture bomb" that's all too important for Cultural victories. Great Works can also end revolts in captured cities early and can be useful for pressing borders. When settled, Great Artists offer quite a bit of culture and a little bit of gold. This strikes me as a much more passive bonus compared to the powerhouse settled Prophets. The gold bonus is attractive and implies settling a lot of artists in one city, pumping it up with gold-multiplying buildings, and using it to power the economy. The great advantage of Artists--as we'll discuss shortly--is the fact that we'll be able to generate more of them than probably any other type of specialist in the series. A number of wonders offer GA points, and the two GP-multiplying wonders both put points toward them. With that in mind... Which Wonders can we build? Broadway - On Monarch in particular, Broadway can be pretty easy to get, as it comes right when production is starting to kick into high gear and comes at a priority tech (Electricity). With the rollicking war game I have in mind, we may not get this far, but the great utility I see from this wonder is the extra happiness. Hollywood - As above, but replace "priority tech" with "sort of a garbage tech." The best uses I've found for Mass Media are shooting for UN cheese (we can't build the UN) and obsoleting the Apostolic Palace (which we won't hold if we capture it to prevent useless Great Prophets). Here, it does enable Broadcast Towers for a few more Artist slots, but overall, eeeeeeeh. Might build it if we've got nothing else by that point--if we hit that point. Rock N Roll - All of these are right next to each other on that World Wonders list! As above, but Radio is more useful than Mass Media thanks to Bombers. See above. Notre Dame - The really different aspect of this game, I think, is going to be how many branches the Artist-enabling Wonders go down. Engineering comes at an inconvenient time for me typically, when I'm shooting for Liberalism. Still, +2 in all cities is nothing to sneeze at, especially for a late-game war push. The Mausoleum of Maussollos - One of my absolute favorite Wonders, the MoM becomes especially useful since this is the only GP game in which we'll be able to run two Golden Ages. I love to build this one, and I'd like to here. The Parthenon - Top priority--this is one of the better GA-generating Wonders in my book. As I said before, the biggest advantage we have with Artists is being able to build a ton of them. The Sistine Chapel - ... I mean, we could, and it has its utilities--pushing out borders is always helpful in a war-oriented game if that's indeed the direction we go. The Sistine, though, is usually best for a culture push, but I think it could be helpful here. The Statue of Zeus - Relatively cheap, but overall, not great. I don't mind building this during a peaceful midgame when I'm building towards a post-Liberalism war, but it's typically not a priority. The Taj Mahal - The source of our second Golden Age. Nationalism was a priority tech with Ramesses since it led to both MilTrad and Constitution. I suspect it will be here as well, especially since a mid-game Music push usually moves the player towards MilTrad. Globe Theatre - Extra Artist slots are, of course, welcome, particularly if we don't pick Greece. One idea is to use this in conjunction with Notre Dame for some drafting craziness. Hermitage - ...well, it's points I guess. I dunno. I might pick a Hermitage city, but it's low priority. Heroic Epic - Yay, I can build this! Always useful for obvious reasons. Mt. Rushmore - This gives points towards a Great Artist? Huh. Maybe I'll put this in my Hermitage city. National Epic - Tippy-top priority, probably the cornerstone of our strategy. Which leader should we pick? The Great Prophet game had a pretty straightforward approach: use Obelisks and cheap Temples to run priests everywhere. Artists are different. On one hand, there are fewer easy slots with most leaders. On the other hand, a significant amount of wonders generate GA points. The way I see it, we have some considerations. I see two possible strategies, with a possibility for a hybrid if we get a nice start. 1. The Specialist-Driven Approach is similar to the Ramesses game, relying on running and generating a lot of Artists. We shoot for priority wonders but in general aim for producing specialists in the traditional way. Philosophical leaders work well here, and two in particular would be strong: Pericles and Alexander of Greece. Both leaders have the Philosophical trait, and the Odeon grants Artist slots to Colosseums. The drawback is that the Aesthetics and Construction lines are sort of divergent, with Math as the only real link between them. Still, for running and generating a lot of GA's, the Greeks win out. 2. The Wonder-Spam Approach worries less about running specialists and more about setting up a super GP farm, using the Globe Theatre in conjunction with the National Epic in a wonder-building city to produce the ultimate artist farm. Anything at all that generates Artist points would likely be built in this one super-city, which will likely be the capital. Industrious seems the best trait for this approach, and the best leaders seem like Louis XIV and De Gaulle of France. De Gaulle is particularly inviting--combining Charismatic with Notre Dame and the other happiness-generating wonders could lead to a game involving ruling the world through smiley faces. This is a slightly more nuanced approach, but it's probably the best chance for the World Wonders to shine. Artists will come up more slowly, but we'll get to see the full range of wonder choices on display. The top two, in my mind, are Alexander of Greece and De Gaulle of France. I'll let you guys help me hash out pros and cons. What map script and what victory type? As I alluded to above, I want to take my artists to war. For both ease of warfare and for culture-smushing fun, Pangaea seems the most obvious choice. Always dangerous, but rarely dull. Other thoughts? Unlike last game, where I had a leader in mind from the first, I'm eager to hear everyone's thoughts. My strongest inclination is towards Alexander, but the idea of running a continent-smashing war machine with a super-powered Paris is enticing and Earth map-esque. Eager to hear your thoughts! So I've just gotten back from vacation and I've got the Civ itch. Let's have some fun!