Switched to confucianism and bribed WK on Gilgamesh with CS to prevent Joao from peace vassaling. Also used CS to bribe Toku off Joao. Traded CS around for mechanics. Took another city.
Then FDR made peace with Gilgamesh. I begged from Wang and then went back into Hinduism. It didn’t work though and Roosevelt was still cautious. Joao peace vassaled next turn. I slogged on and took Joao’s last two cities. I got the last one the turn before an AP vote. It would have been very annoying if Joao had still had some land to give me but it ended up as an easy way to get out of the war with America.
Teched philosophy - only Gilgamesh had it - then traded it for feudalism, calendar, engineering and cash. Teched nationalism. Darius beat me by two turns but I triggered an MoM golden age to build it as well as a lot of other much needed infrastructure, including theatres so I could get going on the Globe.
A few turns before finishing the Taj I used nationalism to bribe Toku off Darius - he’d taken two cities in three or four turns and was now 14 cities v 7 so Darius looked in some trouble. I then traded it to get guilds and gunpowder.
Wang capped Gilgamesh and had two vassals. He also has rifling so the big inland sea strategic decision has been made: anticlockwise. Shame to kill my only friend Toku but I saw no other options. I’d taken control of the AP during the golden age which removed that as a problem.
I planned to bulb chemistry but FDR and Toku got it. Bizarrely Darius didn’t go for lib despite being able to for centuries. I therefore changed my plans and used the two of the three scientists I got during my 25 golden age to bulb education. I traded that for chemistry and then libbed steel very late.
I also got two great merchants from the golden age. I’d planned to use both to upgrade trebs but instead just saved gold once I got to rifling so I only used one to upgrade having stockpiled enough cash to upgrade about 30 trebs. I went in with about 25 rifles, 30 cannons and 25 maces. I took four cities on turn two - Toku’s stack being over in one of Darius’s former cities and little Japanese culture meaning I could reach four of his cities in a two turns. I baited his stack into my territory and wiped it out. As he had grenadiers - albeit no rifles - I had to be a bit careful. I had to take nine cities before he’d cap. Time consuming with one movers.
When he was ready to cap, I switched into caste and begged from WK. I then accepted the capitulation and Wang dropped to cautious as he was annoyed with Toku. Darius had peace vassaled to Wang but, once I started taking Toku’s cities, he broke free. I was worried he’d change his mind again so I immediately declared on him. My army was still three turns from his territory but I reckoned I could get two of his cities, given their locations, before my peace treaty with Wang expired and I thought that would be enough. It turned out one sufficed.
FDR was next. He teched assembly line but was alone with Toku in not having rifling. I declared a few turns before my army reached his border so he’d send his stack into Darius’s territory. I had about fifty cannons by this point so I was confident I could grind him down even if he got infantry but it was going to be much easier if his medieval stack wasn’t upgraded.
I took two cities and he capped. There was no risk of a peace vassal as he didn’t like Wang enough and he didn’t have any tech Wang didn’t other than monopoly techs he wouldn’t use for a bribe.
It turned out to be key to cap Rosie as Darius went culture and stopped teching while six city Toku was next to useless. I was able to tech to tanks through directing Rosie’s research, using Darius as a tech piggie bank and another 24 turns of golden age.
Even with this Wang was pulling away. I attacked him once I’d got a few tanks together and upgraded my cannons to artillery. I let him take a city and then wiped out his stack. He had fifty cavalry which I did not want to see becoming gunships. I’m not sure how wise this was as he already had nukes and I didn’t. I’d never used nukes so I wasn’t sure how this would go but figured I could wipe out his stack and, even if I lost mine, I had more production so it would be OK.
The First World War ended with us trading a city and his stack wiped out. Not having nukes did turn out to be a significant disadvantage (perhaps unsurprisingly). Although he wasn’t able to follow up his nuclear strikes so he damaged but didn’t destroy a lot of my units. Rosie and I were teching towards nukes - he got rocketry and I got fission - but I was expecting to be able to ban them having gotten control of the UN at the start of the war.
For the first time I saw people vote no to nonproliferation though. Wang defied it in fact. I built a few nukes and declared again. I wondered whether his mind might be changed by being on the receiving end but, no. He rejected the resolution again. I was able to take Seoul and two other cities under a hail of nuclear missiles. The Second World War was over.
I then decided to build more than a few nukes and got flight from Rosie. I didn’t know that you can only move one tile through fallout and that led to about fifty tanks getting hit by a nuke as they were stranded one tile short of Seoul during the last war. Paratroopers really helped with this. Although I learnt they can’t take a city after landing if there’s still a corporation executive in there. That’s annoying. First Giggles broke free and I capped him. Then Qlex broke free and I capped him and WK the same turn. Shame I tipped over the domination limit so this goes down as a domination rather than conquest win. Less satisfying somehow.
I wanted to avoid nukes because I’d heard they were cheesy and it was a bit. The AIs just don’t build enough. But, if they weren’t going to agree to ban them, I had little choice.
Interesting game. Definitely the most land tiles of any deity game I’ve played and that made it a very long one hours wise. I’m sure I could have played better but I really thought it would be easier after I wiped out nine city Joao and captured all the early marble wonders. I had 49 turns of golden age throughout the game but could still barely keep up with Wang. He had two vassals but I don’t think he was trading with them much because he was too far ahead. I guess that’s a fourteen city financial deity AI for you.
I also enjoyed two turning organised factories (normally one of my least favourite traits) and the garden helped a lot with health. The lack of seafood on inland sea maps is a real pain in the industrial era and beyond. It’s always nice to get some play out of the uniques and traits.
There are much better players than me but a few things struck me from your write up.
You've got huts on. If you enjoy that aspect of the game, that's great. But, for learning the game, it's best to turn them off. One of the big decisions early on would have been when to go for pottery. You didn't have to think about that as you popped it from a hut, which is not something you can rely on. Also, as you go up through the difficulty levels, the AI gets the bulk of the huts as it starts with more units than you and you also need to focus on fog busting. Huts, therefore, make it harder as the AI benefits much more than you.
Worker first is very good. It sounds as if you then built a granary. Granaries normally come later. It's generally more important to get workers and settlers out as quickly as possible. Growing quickly is also of less value early on as you probably don't have improved tiles to work. Working unimproved tiles is to be avoided as it typically adds very little to the a cities production/ commerce. A three yield tile - say a grassland forest 2F 1H only adds 1 hammer to a worker or a settler because each population consumes 2 food. It also sounds like you didn't build any warriors. Typically you grow on at least one warrior after building your worker: A reasonable rule of thumb is grow until you can work all your power tiles and then start building a settler - often at size two or three. The first warrior is then used to explore a bit and then fog bust your second city site. Barbarians can't spawn within two tiles, in all directions including diagonal, of a unit. This creates a five by five square in which barbarians can't spawn. You want to keep your second city site and the route to it clear by fog busting. It may be that on Prince you can get away without doing this because barbs appear later but it's a good habit to get into. It's also good to get out of the habit of scouting too much early on. Initially you want to find a city spot and fog bust that. Playing with tempting huts makes this harder to resist!
You went hunting first. This might be a resonable choice on Prince where tech costs are lower but this only allowed you to improve one extra tile. It may be that pottery, which would have allowed you to cottage some nice river tiles to get other techs faster, or mining - bronze working, which would have allowed you to expand quicker, may have been better. The improved ivory is like a riverside mine with an extra commerce. Not worth going hunting early doors on higher difficulty levels.
You say that you don't know where Darius is. It's worth checking where you meet an AI as this can give you a clue. Less obviously, the turn you meet an AI, you can check the diplo screen and see if they know other AIs you've met. Here, if Darius has met Toku before meeting you, he's probably beyond Toku. If he doesn't known Toku, he's probably to your north.
It looks like you might be playing without Buffy or Bug mod. They include extra functionality which makes the game a lot easier to play. It's worth checking them out. Easy to find on the forum.
In terms of city sites, I went for the desert hill 1N of the wheat. It's really nice land. It settles towards Toku - who as you identified - is close. It's also on a hill if he gets frisky. I wouldn't worry too much about the health. It's got fresh water, you've got a grain which will give two health with a granary, you won't grow much beyond the health cap because of happiness until later when you'll have more resources and you can live with a bit of unhealthiness when you've got lots of food. The NW site is rather underwhelming at the moment. The rice is covered by jungle so you can't improve it until you have iron working and, even then, it'll take a lot of worker turns. It's also a dry rice - four food - which is the same as a farmed flood plain but without the commerce, until you can irrigate it by chaining farms with civil service. It's also safe for some time unlike the contested south. I quite like the cow and banana site but there may be something better further south.
You also need to think about what your plan is longer term. You have elephants so that plan should probably be to kill at least one of your neighbours with a combination of elephants, metal units and a lot of cheap suicide catapults. This is typically done with four cities because it gives you a balance between production and low city maintenance costs which allow you to get the necessary tech early enough.