They say that money corrupts you, But I can't really tell-- I've got the whole world at my feet, And I think it's pretty swell! -"Weird Al" Yankovic, "This is the Life" The GP Series focuses on the generation and exploitation of one specific type of Great Person at the expense of all others, giving said Great Person a chance to shine. After an attempt to run an Artist game ended up not being any fun at all, I decided to move on to a more fun option. Whereas Great Artists are marginally useful in certain contexts, Great Merchants are among the most powerful GPs in the game, with a variety of options (from Corporations to trade missions to simply settling down) for bringing raw cash into an empire. As with last time, we are operating under the now-universal rule for the series: the only type of Great Person we may actively try to generate is a Great Merchant. So no scientist specialists, no wonders that generate points toward any other kind of GP, and--tellingly this time--only one possible national wonder. 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 Economics something of a priority. What can Great Merchants do? Great Merchants can first of all be settled and are unique in this regard: they're the only Great Person that generates food by being settled. In addition to a single slice of bread, settled Merchants add a substantial amount of gold--enough, I'd argue, for us to consider settling as a very viable option. On the other hand, the more popular use for Great Merchants is the vaunted trade mission, grabbing a purse of gold by traveling to a far-flung city. I'm typically pretty bad with this, so advice would be helpful. Unless I'm mistaken, the GM does particularly well in the city with the Temple of Artemis, so tracking that particular wonder down may be a goal (and, no, we can't build it ourselves, much to my chagrin--stupid free priest!). GMs can also be used for the two food-generating corporations: Cereal Mills and the powerful Sid's Sushi. If we go to Corporation, then Sushi might be a good idea given the map script. But we have a very obvious reason for possibly avoiding Corporation, and I bet you can figure it out. Here's the GM bulb list: Spoiler : Currency Banking Economics Corporation Metal Casting Code of Laws Mining Constitution The Wheel Alphabet Pottery Sailing Paper Railroad Industrialism Monarchy Civil Service Guilds Fascism Mass Media Agriculture Writing Mathematics Printing Press Flight Machinery Replaceable Parts Satellites Mysticism Priesthood Divine Right Nationalism Calendar Scientific Method Medicine Horseback Riding Compass Steam Power Future Tech Pretty good. I think the raw cash is more valuable, but I like the fact that nothing in the Aesthetics line is even on there. I'm tempted to avoid that nonsense until very late, which will make this a different game than I'm used to (the Great Library and the free GA from Music are both usually priorities, and I love late-game Cuir/Cavalry rushes). Which Wonders can we build? The Colossus - A cheap, nice wonder that goes obsolete depressingly early on the map script I've rolled up. Still pretty easy to grab and not necessarily off the beaten path. The Eiffel Tower - Eh. This one's a big "maybe," but it's not off the beaten path from the victory condition I'm going to pursue. The Great Lighthouse - The real powerhouse in the merchant wonder set and my motivation for picking the map script I did. One of the very strongest early-game wonders and a high priority; picking a leader who can get it quickly is going to be part of the strategy. The Statue of Liberty - Normally, I really like this wonder, but it will probably be less valuable in this game. If we can find a big land mass, it might be worth it, but it's expensive. Democracy for Universal Suffrage may still be a powerful civic in this game, though. The United Nations - Since this is on here, I'm going to be seeking a UN-enabled Diplomatic Victory. Vassal cheese is acceptable, but I've never won a UN victory in an online game, so this is a good opportunity. Versailles - A third capital for a large empire is a valuable asset. To get it, we need Divine Right. Yeah, I agree. Maybe a quick diversion to Divine Right will be okay, but to be honest, we may just have to concede this one. Wall Street - A very powerful national wonder in a cash-driven game. This one will go in a food-heavy city since it's one of the only opportunities to run additional merchant specialists without Caste System (which we can exploit this game). Which leader should we pick? As you guessed from the title, I've already picked one. I'll explain my rationale. 1. There aren't as many GM-enabling world wonders as there were priest and artist wonders; therefore, Industrious is less of a priority. Even so, for grabbing the early world wonders, Roosevelt of America would still be a strong choice for this sort of game due to his starting techs. 2. Since we haven't seen it in action yet, I want to give Philosophical a chance to shine. Generating boatloads of GMs for massive amounts of cash should be a fun way to play. I'm thinking of settling a lot of them just to see what kind of craziness we can get out of one Wall Street city late-game. 3. I want a leader with techs that point toward an early Great Lighthouse. Since TGL is going to be the hub of our strategy, I want somebody who can get to it. Again, that points to America, but England only needs to research two techs in order to grab it. 4. Finally, England has the gold-multiplying Stock Exchange UB, which sounds like awesome fun for a cash game. Therefore, the choice was obvious. It's a little cheesy, but Elizabeth of England is the most obvious choice here! Elizabeth's Financial and Philosophical traits make her a powerful techer, one of the best in the game. We'll be in a strong position whether we work specialists or standard tiles. With Mining and Fishing to start, she's also closer to the Great Lighthouse to start than nearly any other leader (Carthage, Rome, Portugal, and Spain are also two techs away). England's UU is the Redcoat, a Rifle with a bonus against Gunpowder units. To be honest, I've found these kind of marginal since BTS. They're still great in that Rifles are still great, but I've never found the improvement particularly great. The UB, the Stock Exchange, is a Bank with a 65% gold multiplier instead of the standard 50%. Again, this is a marginal bonus, but it fits the game's flavor. What map script and what victory type? The Great Lighthouse and Colossus call for some seaside fun. And, well, I'm sick of Cuir/HA roflstomping games. So I'm going with Archipelago instead with the Archipelago setting, which I've found generates a decent mix of marginal islands and good-sized landmasses. Productive land will be important, and not being able to build the Moai Statues will suck, but we should be able to get the job done. Here's our start: Spoiler : Who wants clam tacos? Seafood-rich, coastal, with some trees for choppin' and production. I think I'll try to feed at least one more other city off of this capital, but it should be able to grab the Great Lighthouse. I'm going to try to get the first round going here soon, but if you want to shadow, the save is attached; just be sure to use spoiler tags. Cheers, guys; let's have fun!