Taking small steps at a time here. So another small update: At the start of this round, I stopped the worker farming the floodplains and sent him to the gold to mine it. I also chose to research Bronze Working for chops and Slavery, as well as to reveal copper immediately. I think I would have been better off going for Animal Husbandry first then going to Bronze Working though, like NihilZero said. Again a small misplay on my part. And I am gonna note this for myself. These small misplays add up over time. Mecca proved to be very good capital in cranking out early hammers. I finished a warrior and then switched the 2nd citizen working the unimproved floodplains to a grassland forest to time the next worker popping out just as the city grows to size 3. Spoiler : On Turn 23 @ 3080 BC, I met my next neighbor, soon to be the founder of Taoism: Spoiler : In history, she is like my one of the most favorite leaders. And I like the way how she introduces herself... such elegance in that woman. ^_^ As for in Civ 4, I haven't played her for a while. She used to be someone I played all the time because of her traits and her awesome unique unit. As an AI though, she seems to get herself into a lot of trouble and ends up being someone's vassal quite often. Anyways, when Mecca finished the next warrior, it grew to size 3, so I started on a settler right away. Bronze Working would soon reveal copper and I will know where to settle for my next city. On Turn 30 @ 2800 BC, I finished Bronze Working. I started on Animal Husbandry and switched to Slavery right away. You gotta love Spiritual for this... NO ANARCHY! ^_^ So where is that copper? Spoiler : Not bad. If we had settled on the wine at the beginning, Mecca would have had the copper in the BFC. I am not regretting settling on the marble though by any means. Also, there is another copper near the wheat. It looks like placing a city right in between the wheat and the eastern copper makes a lot of sense. On Turn 34 @ 2640 BC, I met another neighbor, most likely from the north as well: Spoiler : I kicked his sorry butt for jumping on the bandwagon and declaring war on me in my Sitting Bull game. It's funny how this guy has something to say in the lines of "In my grandfather's time, you would have had your butt kicked, but I am more civilized" and such and such. And notice I am getting +1 diplo bonus for... what? My small civilization is no threat to him? Really? We actually have this kind of diplo bonus in this game? Such an arrogance!! I am offended! ^_^ On the next turn, I chopped out a settler in Mecca and sent him to the wheat/copper site. On Turn 37 @ 2520 BC, I finished Animal Husbandry. At this point, I was sorta debating on what to do with my tech. Normally I go for Pottery early, but I've noticed that there is a lot of benefit for getting Writing as early as possible as well. I think a large part of AbsoluteZero's game success has to do with putting out early libraries. Besides, I actually love this Madrassa. Yes, I know... nobody really wants Great Prophets these days... but they aren't that bad. But the main thing I like about this building is the insane +4 culture bonus! Say bye bye to lousy monuments and its 10-turn border pop! So anyway, I decided to go for Writing first. And on this very same turn, I founded my 2nd city of Medina: Spoiler : Had I not known that the copper was gonna pop there, I would have settled this city 1N of the wheat for future banana consideration. I am rather glad things worked out this way though. And oh, this city can eventually work one of the jumbos! Fabulous! Also on this turn, I got a pleasant surprise from Animal Husbandry: Spoiler : Wooo... the capital is looking even better now with that horse conveniently being workable. So now I have two means of protecting myself from barbarians, which is becoming less and less of an issue due to some fog busting in the south, as well as the fact that AI are claiming more and more land. This also boosts the capital in its hammer production even more! On Turn 47 @ 2120 BC, I finished Writing and selected Polytheism. Now was the time to prepare myself to get the Oracle built. On Turn 54 @ 1840 BC, Liz founded Taoism and converted to it. So now we have 3 different religions at play here... Liz with Taoism, Justinian with Christianity, and Boudica with Buddhism. Nothing interesting happened between this and finishing the Oracle. Just a handful of techs that I finished: Turn 55 @ 1800 BC: Polytheism Turn 60 @ 1600 BC: Priesthood. I started on the Oracle in Mecca on this very turn. Turn 63 @ 1480 BC: Masonry. This got me to within 5 turns of the Oracle, with only 4 more turns for Pottery, ensuring that I can take Metal Casting as freebie tech. Turn 67 @ 1320 BC: Pottery. And finally on Turn 68 @ 1280 BC, I finished the Oracle in Mecca: Spoiler : Spoiler : I really wanted to try a game where I got early Metal Casting, so I decided to go this route. Code of Laws is usually the way to go, I think, but what the heck. I want some forges up and perhaps go into Machinery and possibly look into making crossbows. Perhaps even early Guilds and Camel Archers might not be too bad either. Map: Byzantine Culture is to the soutwest, though he isn't really pressuring me just yet, and I have some rooms to make more cities to the south. I am actually thinking about settling between the wine and the copper, and then with a border pop, can grab the corn as well. Doing this means that I can put the crab city on the wine, which happens to be coastal and riverside, and can borrow the corn to grow while getting a border pop and get the crab online afterwards. I think this option ensures that I also grab more workable hills as well. I can also put another city by the fish too. I am probably not going to bother with the triple dyes to the northwest. I currently have a settler, 1S of the gems, which is a grassland hill. The gem is still covered in jungle, but I could probably trade for Iron Working in 12 turns when I finish Aesthetics. Since I got Metal Casting for forges and that they essentially give me another happy face from gems (as well as the awesome commerce bonus), I am thinking about settling here on this turn. As for the double fish and the cow, I can either settle on the cow and look for better long term benefit of having 2 workable fish, or I can settle 1E of the cow and get both the cow and 1 of the fish workable right from the start. Both sites though aren't all that great in hammers, however the floodplains are nice. ^_^ Spoiler : Capital (Mecca): Barracks and Madrassa already built, and running 2 scientists currently. I am right at the happy cap, so this kinda works out. It'd be kinda interesting to pop a Great Engineer, but the forge won't be ready for a while. If I get it, I just might save him for another wonder, or use him to bulb Machinery. ^_^ Wooo... how fun would that be? If I pop a Great Prophet, I am not sure what I would do with him. As for Great Scientist? Most likely an Academy in the capital. Spoiler : Medina: I got up an early Madrassa here as well, chopping out a couple of forests in the process. I saw some barbarian activity nearby, and I didn't want any forest tiles right next to my city, so I cleared it out. It also looked like Boudica was trying to settle towards me in this area, and I wanted good early culture established here, as well as to help with other future cities that I might want to put nearby. Once I put up the granary and clear the jungle to farm some of the tiles next to the freshwater lake, this city could grow quite quickly as well. Spoiler : Diplo Situation: Poor Liz... EVERYBODY hates her... I mean... look at that! She is the worst enemy of.... everyone! How sad is that? Depending on how close Boudica and Liz are with each other, they just might go at each other soon. Other than that, nothing too noticeable though Sury, Kublai, and Boudica are kinda getting along quite well with their low peaceweights. Spoiler : AI Info: A quick look. The religion situation is going to be creating some headache in the diplomatic situation for sure. Spoiler : Anyway, I am going to stop here and look for more advice. I am currently researching Aesthetics, which will be done in approximately 12 turns. I am planning to use it as a bait to trade for Alphabet and Iron Working at least. I do want to get Currency as early as possible, so I might go for that after I get Alphabet. Hopefully someone will trade me Mathematics too. ^_^ That would be awesome in lowering the price of Currency. I think I will be relatively safe delaying Literature for a while, since we don't have the likes of Louis in this game. That would mean after Currency, I will most likely look towards Code of Laws.... or Machinery? ^_^ As mentioned, I have a settler ready to go, and it happens to be right in position to settle right now 1S of the gems as we speak. I wanted to pause here and see what others thought about settling here for the 3rd city. Oh, someone mentioned that virtually no wonders are being built in their games? Well, it just happens that I built the only wonder that exist in this game: The Oracle. No other wonders have been built, not even the Stonehenge, not even the Great Wall. It's really odd. Maybe I should just start building wonders in droves? ^_^ Well, not before I get some units out, and settle more cities... or should I look to do a rush and not hurry to expand? I am open to all kinds of possibilities and suggestions that support those possibilities. Criticisms and advice are welcome. I'd eventually want to finish watching at least part 1 of AZ's videos, but I am not sure where the 1st video ends. Save file available HERE!