Hi all, I've been away from these boards for a few years, but got back into Civ5 in 2020 as I found myself somehow with some extra free time (that's supposed to be dry humor). Some of the veterans of this board may remember me from a few years back, so please say hello if you see this post. I used to enjoy these boards and some of the challenges and might get back into participating on these boards again if there's some fun to be had. This site has changed a bit since I was last here, so feel free to give any advice on the tools that will help my storytelling. Anyways, I just finished one of those games where literally everything went right, and I thought I'd share the storyline. I think I can remember how to share screen shots (please don't make fun of my city names). I have been working on a Cultural Victory Strategy that I'll just call the Greedy Strategy for lack of a better name (insert suggestions here). It entails a number of very greedy gambits to work out, but is really fun if executed. It's gotten me several CV's of less than 220 turns, but this particular game was my first CV in under 200 turns. I probably could have shaved ~5 turns if I had managed my Archeologists betters (more on that later). I started out this post as being an introductory telling of a story. As I was writing it, very slowly I might add, I started thinking of it as more of a How-To guide for this Greedy Strategy. This is why I keep switching from 1st person to 2nd person as I hopped back and forth across the timeline to add important details. I'll put in Bold the turning points for this strategy. I was playing as my favorite Civ; The Mighty Incas. Settings were Pangea/Deity/Standard/Standard/Raging Barbs. I got the much desired desert/hills start with plenty of mountain ranges for both terrace farms and defense. I settled on T2 on Silver/River/Mountain tile (hello Observatory) and got a pop ruin on the same turn so I'm off to the races. Yes, I'm going for Petra. My plan is for a Cultural Victory from the get-go, which means I'll be building a lot of Wonders. My intended build order was: scout/scout/shrine/settler/settler/settler. Plenty of ruins early game. I believe the order was: Pop Ruin, Warrior Upgrade, Culture, Pop Ruin, Writing,(very big deal for the strategy I was trying to employ as I try to rush 4 settlers and rush Libraries so I can build National College before T90) and then a 4th Pop Ruin by T15. Second Tech researched was Mining, and then beeline for Petra. This is a legendary start: I met Pacal very early, which is a great sign. I'll always go for a worker steal (or 2 or 3) from the Mayans for several reasons. A. They aren't very strong early game militarily and are also quick to make peace and offer Friendship. B. They are a big competitor for some of my favorite Wonders (Oracle, Great Mosque) so I like to set them back as far as possible. I got my second Mayan Worker on T17 but was forced to make peace to save my spearman and get him back to defend Settlers from Barbs (they are raging very hard). I ran into 2 early Religious CS, and was able to pick first Pantheon and also to skip the Shrine build and go straight to Settlers as a 4-pop. I considered Desert Folklore, but since I'm going Culture and was off to a quick start, I was confident I could get first religion with Religious Idols. I've already found 6-7 Silver tiles in good City locations, including another I could settle on. I took my first Settler North because there was a good river spot that the Mayans might go after. 2nd Settler goes South to settle on a Silver/Mountain/River tile and 4th went to Settle right next to KSM. There are plenty of future Terrace Farm tiles in cities 1, 3, and 4. I had all 4 cities down by t42 (which isn't quite a personal record, but it's close). You can see that I only have one exposed border, to the East with the malleable Mayans, so I'm not going to have to waste much time on building a military. There are also a couple of nearby Military CS with decent units (Kris Swordsman), so I'm not worried about war. The big issue now is that I have no coastal cities, so I'll be settling a 5th City right around National College time (I've got a very good gold start going, so I'm expecting to have enough to buy a Library for 400 so as not to slow the National College down). The KSM City will be building the 5th Settler. Build Orders: Capital: (After settlers) Granary, Library, Watermill. I had a few turns before Petra so I went ahead and built my Shrine. City 2: Caravan (to get my science rolling and make Pacal like me), Library, Granary, Watermill City 3: Library, Granary, Watermill. City 4: (KSM City) Granary, Slinger, Library, Settler Once I got my second Silver on line, I used it to bribe the Mayans' neighbor Songhai to war them (cost: 1 Silver and 1 GP.) I hadn't done enough damage to the Mayans to prevent them from Wonder Mongering, so I got someone else to do that for me. They'd fight a perfect useless war (no cities taken) for another ~50 turns, so Pacal was not a concern from that point onward. They befriended me the turn after I sent my Caravan to them. My Scout had met Sweden, and their capital had a very sweet Petra setup. This simply won't do. Someone must War the Swedes early on to distract them from this course, and I certainly didn't want to do it as I hoped to someday get their great person friendship bonus. On the next turn I meet Egypt, and they willingly Declare war on the Swedes for the low low price of 1 Silver, 6GP and 2 Horsies. I got the 1st of 3 eventual Worker steals from a nearby CS. This got me up to 5 workers without having to build one, but I wasn't done yet. Barbs are raging everywhere, and I was able to clear a camp and free to Military CS workers early on for instant Allies with 2 adjacent miltary CS. Both started giving me good units (an early Chariot was nice) very early in the game. I'd not be needing to build much military this game, although both Military CS were Hostile, so I'd have to put some effort into keeping them allied all game. My Scout then found 2 more ruins (Bronze Working, Scout Upgrade......yup, I had great luck on ruins this game) because somebody forgot to explore the map. These were all West of Sweden. I'd later find out that even further to the East, Shaka had declared early war on Morocco so that's why they didn't explore. The Bronze Working was huge because I had a stash of Iron in my Capital on a non-mountain hill. I generally avoid researching BW early because Iron spoils Terrace Farm tiles, but this time it worked out perfectly as none of the 3 6-iron tiles in my empire were mountain-adjacent (great luck). Having 18 iron in my empire early means I will have plenty of trading power for bribing the AI into continuous war and Open Borders, saving a lot of GP. Petra goes up on T68. As you can see, I'm already up to 596 GP, so I'll be able to buy the Library in City #5 while I'm building National College (right after Oracle). Oracle gets built. National College is done on T82, well before my benchmark of t90-100. We won't be teaching Critical Race Theory at this school. I send a food caravan to City #5 to get it growing. City #5's Build Order: (buy Trireme). Monument, Granary, Lighthouse (2 fish tiles it wants to grow to early). This city isn't going to be a Powerhouse, but the Coastal Access is useful for exploration since I had to build a late Scout to replace the Upgraded explorer unit. I'll only need the single Trireme for now, as the northern pass is ice blocked. Yes, this is a really good defensive setup. I can't delay that National Epic now that I've got early Wonders. I love getting that early Engineer out in Culture games, so I'll even stop working Science Specialists to ensure that happens. I want Great Mosque of Jeannie (for both the extra GE point and the faith booth to make up for the fact that I didn't go Desert Folklore), but am worried that Pacal is beelining Theology. He went full Tradition and doesn't have Piety showing yet. Also, I'd met Polynesia and Kammy dogpiled on Pacal with no urging from me, so I'm thinking I can get the Mosque. I've already opened Piety myself after completing Tradition thanks to Oracle. It really is a powerful early Wonder if used right, and I'm off to a great culture start already so I have my eyes set on Sacred Sites, which I'd get very early despite opening Rationalism first and Secularism. I hate skipping on Sacred Sites for two whole policies, but I need to force my science because I have 5 cities (one late) and I need to reach Radio before the 2nd World Congress so I can propose International Games. I'm doing very well with CS so I'm going to control the Congress all game long if I can reach Printing Press first. Oh yes, I'm going for Pisa and Globe, then straight to Sistine. If I time this right with the Great Engineer, I'll be able GE at lest two of those highly contested Wonders. Just in time for Terrace Farms I now have 7 workers from freeing a couple of AI workers from Barbs. I'll have my roads built (and turn GP positive again) right as Construction is researched. This is the hope when I use Raging Barbarians in the setting. I assume I can handle whatever the Barbs throw at me and they can set back the AI quite a bit while also giving me free workers. My tech path after Mathematics was: Masonry, Construction (get those terrace farms) then Horseback Riding (I've got a lot of pasture resources and I love early Stables in Petra cities with Sheep on Desert. Then it's off to Theology and the Mosk. If I don't think I can get the Mosk, I'll go to Civil Service first, and I considered going for Chicken Itza as I'm off to a good start and the AI is all at war so I might be able to get it, but nahhhh, I want the Mosk for the GE point.......I'm going to Wonder-whore all game. I now beeline Education, then Workshops, then Printing Press. I did time Sailing and Optics to help out City #5, but those were just 1 and 2 turn diversions, and I'm being very greedy this game. AI's are all at war, and none seem to be making much progress. I think Shaka had captured one City from Morocco, but the terrain has a lot of mountains and peninsulas (chokepoints everywhere), so this is a perfect storm. Everybody likes me and everyone hates each other. Kammy has befriended me, as has Maya and Songhai. Sweden would follow suit just in time for Guilds, so now I'm cranking out the Great Persons. I should say everyone besides Shaka likes me. I made the mistake of denouncing him for a CS quest and he didn't even grant me an embassy for another 100+ turns. Open borders came even later, which slowed down my exploration a bit, although this didn't end up being a problem. The problem was that he had a lot of extra Cotton and Cocoa, which I needed for King days and CS quests, and there was little I could do to get him to forgive me. This was a setback. I prioritized Universities in every city and even get 2 built in secondary cities prior to workshops. I always stop everything in every city for workshops, as getting the early Ironworks is really powerful for the upcoming era, especially in a Petra city. I'll be the production leader from that point on, which means I'll win World's Fair and International Games without having to use the shrine exploit. It's been 100's of games since I haven't won either of those, ever since I learned to prioritize growth and got better at my infrastructure game (I learned which buildings were real priorities and which were luxuries). After workshops, I now have 2 food Caravans and 1 production Caravan to City #5, so it is catching up pretty quickly. As I said earlier, it's never going to be a monster, but it won't slow me down on National Wonders too much and the coastal access was helpful, if not necessary. I considered just going with 4 cities, but there were too many expansionist AI's in this game, and the last thing I wanted was for Shaka to plant a city on my doorstep and have Impi's running around my empire pillaging. My military is strong enough thanks to Military CS's (Hello Kris Swordsmen.....I got 2, but never got to find out their specialty as no Barbs ever appeared). That's a long winded way of saying I think 5 cities was the correct decision for strategic reasons, and the rest of my empire was strong enough to compensate for the extra city penalties. At the end of the game, I rated my Capital an A (you need a Natural Wonder in the cap to get an A+ on my scale). Cities 2 and 3 were solid B+, City 4 was a B- (lack of river cost it growth even with Terrace Farms and I could never spare a Caravan to help it out. Because it had KSM, it was very productive, but I had to spend a lot of GP to manage it's tiles to get it to grow. City #5 was a solid C, which I can live with. Turn 136 and I've completed all of my midgame Wonders. You can't see Sistine on this screenshot, but I wanted you to see that Globe was already filled with GW's. I was able to build Writer's and Artists Guilds early in my Cap as it had plenty of growth and I knew I was going to have to stop working Great Scientists for a few turns to time the Great Engineer coming out first. My culture game was going well. I also neglected to mention that I'd slipped in a quick 3-4 turn Hanging Gardens post-Petra to satisfy 2 CS quests. There were 2 other Tradition Civs so I don't normally expect to get HG, which I don't prioritize, but with all the useless wars going on, apparently the AI didn't have time for Wonders.....leaving them all for meeeeeee!!! Getting HG also gets my GP generation going sooner than normal, as the Garden in my Capital often gets delayed by higher priority buildings at that stage of the game. Every little boost to GP generation helps when you're playing this strategy.......is there a name for this strategy? Anyways, I detoured to Astronomy because I have 3 Observatory cities, including my kick-a$$ Capital. I haven't done the math, but I'm pretty sure this detour gets me to Radio faster that a straight beeline as those key mid-game technologies are painfully slow at this point in the game, and as I mentioned before, you have to hit Radio prior to the 2nd Congress. This is imperative for a fast Culture Victory under this strategy. If you don't accomplish that, it'll delay victory by another 20-30 turns, especially if there's a powerful AI opponent who has a strong Culture Game and is difficult to reach with with Musicians. My science is now kicking A$$! I now beeline to Radio while filling in the missing pieces in all Cities. My focus is on starting to dominate the CS game, as I've got plenty of units and gold, and I'm going to win every culture and religious quest. The CS had very easy quests all game, and there were plenty of Food CS which really boosted empire growth. There were only 2 Cultural CS in the game, but I would soon use my spies to take over both of them and would never relinquish those alliances. This was not a very competitive CS game, as the AI was busy fighting each other ineffectively to build any infrastructure. There are also advantages to having the whole world at war as there are more resources for you to trade for, which helps with CS quests and King demands. I will make early war for the AI an even bigger priority in all of my games going forward, as this strategy was very effective in this game. I'd never executed AI management as well as I did this game, and most expert players should understand this has a huge luck factor. As I've said, almost every lucky break went my way this game. It was a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit of the tails of the standard distribution curve. I was able to hard build both Porcelain Tower and Taj Majal. I was the first to Architecture, and I was checking AI tech progress diligently. I wanted to time the Taj GA to overlap with the World's Fair (luv that extra production that allows me to get to 800+ hammers and then start in on other important buildings like factories and finishing Public Schools). I built Taj with 5 turns to go before WF, so this worked out perfectly. That Porcelain Scientist is needed to bulb through Electricity before the 2nd Congress (as a reminder, you can't propose International Games until you have researched Radio. THIS IS THE KEY POINT IN THE ENTIRE STRATEGY. IF YOU CAN EXECUTE THIS, YOU ARE GOING TO WIN YOUR GAME, IT'S JUST A MATTER OF HOW QUICKLY. Because I got the Engineer and delayed my first Scientist (which I planted on my Cap's horsies) it's almost impossible to have the 2nd Scientist pop in time for this bulb. That scientist is the reason to build PT, not the Research Agreement boost (although I had RA's this game, the low science AI made them less effective than normal). Inflection Point: I timed this almost perfectly. You can see that Carl Frederich Glauss, notorious Great Scientist, is about to bulb through Electronics. Perfect timing would have been with only 1 turn of research remaining, unless the game changed how the overflow dynamic works (please tell me if this is the case, as I've been too intellectually lazy to do the math and have just assumed that exploit was still in play). Anyways, I'll bulb Frau Glauss, use the free tech on Radio, then found Freedom. It's imperative that my culture give me my "Longer Golden Ages" 2nd tier Freedom tenant, right as my Taj Majal Golden Age ends and prior to the World's Fair ending. The free Golden Age point boost from winning the Fair will usually put you into a new Golden Age, and you want that policy in place so you get the extra 5 Golden Age turns in while under WF 2x Culture boost as you are powering through Aesthetics Policies right now. It is imperative that you stay in a Golden Age every turn for the rest of the game. You need the Culture boost for this strategy to work it's best. The reason you need to be in Golden Age is that you'll be racing to build Archeologists and the key final Culture buildings, all while hopefully getting your Factories and Public Schools built. In this game, I was able to have my Capital finish it's Public School on the turn before World's Fair started. Inflection Point: I took Freedom as the 1st Ideology and grabbed the Food and Great Person Policies. I'll have Longer Golden Ages in a turn or two. Because I had such a huge production advantage, I was able to get my 800+ hammers and then switch production in all cities to things like those mentioned above. On this turn where the World's Fair ended, I was finishing Hermitage in my Capital as the WF finalized. I'm ok with not rushing the WF once I know I've won (800+ will almost always win it, but 900 has never failed me) because my culture is growing every single turn and I want to maximize the WF Culture bonus. At T56, my Social Policies look like this: I was able to circle back and get Sacred Sites and am now poised to make a swift run through Aesthetics. Below is a textbook and on time target Social Policy path for the Greedy Strategy. I've had better Culture games where I had Piety completed by now, but this game was not quite perfect as it was good, but not great at Culture. As WF ends, I get my normally earned new Policy plus the WF bonus Policy and used them to enter Aesthetics and boost my Culture at this critical time. I'm assured of never being out of Golden Age again (I haven't talked much about this but most of my cities have been in King Days the majority of the time). I'll finish Aesthetics, finish the Freedom pyramid. Normally, with this strategy, I'd have then finished off the Rationalism science-boosting Policies, then circled back to finish Piety to get those lovely Great Prophet tiles, but this game ended far before that came into play. Some benchmarks: -Science should be ~450 right now - this game I'm at 566 -GP/turn should be ~100 - this game I'm at 125 -CPT should be ~!500 - I'm at 619 -Faith should be ~100/turn - I'm at 133. This is a very well-rounded empire at this point that is going to impose its will on the world the rest of this game. Since this is getting a bit long-winded, I'm going to break off the narrative for now. I think anyone who has read this far probably understands the game well enough to understand how this game ends. It's really only a question of time at this point. There are some really fun twists and turns in the rest of this narrative, so I will finish tomorrow, regardless of if I get any positive feedback A good friend who is right at the cusp of being a Deity player asked me to make some instructional videos. I don't think I'm quite ready for that, but it would be run if I had the time. Instead, inspired by my friend, I decided to write this freakin novel. It's my hope that at least a few will read this and thus increase their enjoyment of this wonderful game of Civ5 BNW. If this post inspires some fun discussion, I'll be pleased. Anyways, it's been fun getting back into this wonderful game and I'm pleased to have decided to stick my rather blunt toe back into the waters of this community. I'm hoping the quality of posters on this forum remains as high as I remember. Cheers.