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How is my start? (Noble)

Well things went about as bad as you can imagine. I gifted Shaka a city but it was too late. He declared with big stack at 375 BC (he had catapults). I got iron working way too late and was only able to whip a few swords/axes. He had the capital at 200 BC and game was over at 200AD. One of my earliest defeats but learned much from playing it and the comments!
 
Yeh, that just happens sometimes. Pay attention to how to setup your empire quickly and in a compact way. Don't get too greedy settling too far! AI will settle those cities for you. And try to formulate your plan a bit earlier (including city gifts!).
 
Back to my favorite thread :) Proud to say I got my first domination victory on immortal recently! As Alexander I went for and lost the pyramids! But I was able to regroup and build an economy for an engineering rush. Vassalled Justian which setup the game. He had built every imaginable wonder in his capital including Mausoleum, Great Library, the thing that gives all religious civics, the thing that gives 2+ happiness everywhere, and a few others. After that it was on to cannons to take China who I took the AP city from (he screwed my first attack with AP vote). After that it was a pretty straightforward path cannons->rifles->cavalry. I surely made tons of mistakes in the late game and wasn't the most efficient. Probably I could have won a 100 years earlier. Here is the save if anyone is interested. Thanks everyone who contributed to my vast improvement from a pathetic noble player!
 

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Next game...Beautiful fishing and gold start for Hanibal. This is a pangea map but seems very snaky. Wanted thoughts on my start. 6 cities and I'm about to win Music in 6 turns. Plan is after music start a golden age and tech to engineering. With financial and 6 cities here I could go for cuirs but I had fun with the last eng attack so trying it again. Everyone hates Joao and he's already big so seems the obvious attack target? My problem with engineering attack is it kinda forces cannons/knights which makes things slow on pangea.

Attached 125 BC and inital saves.
 

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Too many forests on cottage sites in your capital :)

Especially if you're going for Steel eventually an academy would be nice (as well as 2 scientists for chemistry), but first your capital needs more commerce. It looks like you might have pyramids? (Great engineer points) Even in that case you want to grow to your capital cottages, run specialists elsewhere.

With a large empire, golden age might be worth it just for commerce and hammer gains, but at small size the benefit of golden ages is almost completely for the great people.
 
Hmm yeah I could have chopped more. Was saving some forests for units and after forge. No pyramids but have a forge in capital. I already have 1 GS. Plan was to use him to bulb philosophy for trade bait before golden age + switch into Buddhism. So GE needs to get out at least 2 more GS and maybe a merchant for upgrading trebs. Joao has the Temple of Artemis and he's close by. Maybe I should just go all the way to cannons instead of fighting with trebs?
 
Trebs are good until your enemy gets castles, at which point it's 25 bombards to take down the defenses :( (and still 16 with accuracy promotion).
 
To be clear, it might work either way especially if you have a good target with light defenses, but it seems like you're halfway between two plans, instead of either on the long-term teching focus of a steel push or a more direct engineering route. And I'm not sure forges are a good idea especially just before a golden age where you want extra population above all else.
 
Okay so pivoted to cuirs. I had only researched up to MC on eng path so not much wasted beakers. Forges aren't the worst to have when whipping 80-100 hammer units so I think it's okay. After winning music race and making some trades, I went for Theology -> Paper -> CoL -> Phil (bulb). Then started GA which resulted in 1 GS and 2 GM. On this map I didn't see a big need for CS (no farms, don't need maces). Since there is dominant religion I decided to make a play building the AP during GA. I lost the AP to Pacal. Now I'm voting China in the AP since everyone else is voting Pacal. I just got gunpowder and about 12 turns from MT. Only problem is I have very few HAs. Good point about the trebs. Figured I'd build a few to bombard cities without castles or even suicide a few to soften tougher city defenders. Now the question is do I attack Sury (people like him, same religion, but he has pyramids and other goodies). Or attack Joao who everyone hates and he is pretty weak militarily (attacking Joao might start another world war against him, he is just recovering from the first one).
 
Of course I could also attack Korea who is weak, but I'm a bit afraid he might vassal to Joao. Also everyone will hate me if I attack Korea.
 
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