Premise: OK, for those of you not in the know, and for completeness' sake, MS look to be in bed with Cav and Kaz by extension. This has left us with no currently viable trading partners, with Saturn yet to be discovered. We are about to fall into a very large, and very deep, tech hole, and to face a united front of teams that given time may out build us and kill us sometime in the future. Now, what do we do about it? We have two different general strategies in this position. Either full out build or full out war. Anything in between will almost certainly fail, one of the teams will out build us and win the game without us ever being able to stop them, even if we can choke one and kill the other, that still leaves the third to outbuild us. Of these two options, war is not possible. We don't know where anyone is, we can not reach them and the only units we can build are axes and spears; we will shortly be able to build chariots and swords, but HBR would destroy any chance of reaching tech parity in military units with the trio, meaning that we would need to finish this game in the next 50? turns. So that leaves building. But I thought we were buidling as fast as we could, I here you say. Well no. We were expanding as fast as we could, but that relied on other teams being able to trade with us and that 10 turns not teching would not hurt us. Well, folks, that's off the table now; we need to be teching faster than Kaz, the team that currrently has something between 30 and 40 more bpt than we do. We will not be able to keep up with that over the next 25 turns, but here is what I'm thinking as a basis of the plan: We need to slow expansion so we can tech, but we still have masses of production that we need to divert to other productive persuits that will bolster our tech, and this is what they are, in order of importance: The Pyramids I've already shown what this wonder makes us capable of; representation gives us the extra beakers we need to tech quickly and cheaply, better in the short run than any cottage city, and it gives us the happiness to grow all of our cities without having to invest in units, also helping to mitigate the lack of resource trades we are going to have compared to everyone else. The Collosus Again, we need this with the surfeit of coastal tiles we have around, 2 food, 4 commerce tiles will keep our economy afloat and us teching at least partially off the slider, for very little cost. This build now appears safer, so it may be better to delay it a few turns and get it in IS the turn after the pyramids is built, due to the intercepted letter. The Statue of Zeus While we are forced to look at the near future and not at the long term future, to ignore the long term entirely is just as bad as completely ignoring the near future. This wonder is based on one idea: screwing over every economy of the person you are at war with. It makes long, drawn out wars prohibitively expensive, and forces the adversary to go for the quick kill. It buys us time to get to the future, and stops any one team unilaterally going to war with us; we can not afford any unnecesary expenditures any more, so detering an attack is a collorary of primary importance for this strategy to work. There is a downside that while this is a cheap wonder (we have ivory) we would need to build 3 monuments; we can fit 1 into both OO, and CK with alot of ease, but the thir is harder to fit in; only city that can make one is probably JD, and that would require that we change next turn, but the lib would not be delayed, which is the important part of that. And FC is busy with the forge and IS, well, I'll come to that... The Great Lighthouse Now, this one you wouldn't have thought about, due to the extra cost (300 hammers, compared to Collosus at 112 due to boni), and that unless we get trade routes (we can not expect anyone to give us any) it is of limited value. That is true, but we are going to be planting alot of coastal cities, and even an extra 2gpt adds up. The other reason to get it is denial; while we need to get as much commerce to keep up with the trio, we also need to deny them as much as we can. If the cavs got this and got intercontinentlal trade routes, that would be another nail in our coffin, as they would experience up to another 30gpt for free. The Great Library Now, this is the weird one. We don't need it, but if Kaz get it we are screwed. They will be able to lightbulb to lib and get cuirs online by t160 at the latest by my reckoning. If we get it, then we can lightbulb a little bit more. Yes, this is mainly useful for denial purposes, but it will also provide 15 bpt (ie it is worth 12 hpt alone regardless of the gpp generated). What about other wonders? Well, what other wonders are there? Great Wall, Parthenon, Temple of Artemis, Stonehenge. The Great Wall Cavs have already stated they want this wonder; if they do, they will have this before t96, and we would have to jeopodise either the pyramids and build it in IS (and screw up the rest of the plan entirely) or give up completley on the pyramids and get it in CK, and risk getting a useless priest. A GSpy could be useful if we teched alphabet, but we don't know who we could steal off, so it is a complete shot into the dark. Not worth it really, as we can survive the barbs considering our city positions. Parthenon I do want this wonder...but it's too expensive considering what else we want to do, but if we found marble, I would definately say go for it; IS would go from making base 14 to 21 without specialists, 43gpp with 5 scientists on top of this and 77!! with the NE, 23/31 coming from scientists. Stonehenge Yeah, if we are going to spend 90 hammers on 3 monuments, why not spend the extra 30 and get henge while we are at it? Henge also generates gpp, so it would have to be delayed until after t96...and thus would delay SoZ so it's not useful to us... So that's my reasoning for ignoring those wonders. Now, That seems like alot, and tbh I'd like to build parthenon, but dems de breaks. And where do we build them? We get all of them in IS, except SoZ, get that in CK t96 (we are not limited by tech or production, but by the gpp generation times in IS for the GE). Pyramids we get eot t101. We finish building everything we need in IS using an improved CDP I'm working on by eot t91, giving us 12 turns of production before we can finish the first wonder, and another turn to finish the second afterwards (t102 and t103 respectively). The Problem? We need 4 hammers overflow and 16 turns of production to get TGLH and Collosus together, at max hammers at size 8. Growth increases the time required, so I need to strip stuff out of the IS build queue, and hence delay the settling date for gold (currently t95, gold hookup date t97). this is not necesailly a problem; CK isn't going to grow, and keeping IS at size 8 isn't awful if it gives us better long term strength compared to growing! The only city that needs the happiness is JD, and that city can just build an extra worker; we'll need it, because the way to achieve this is to strip workers (probably only one) out of the build queue. We also need to change our research priorities to Aesthetics and Literature, and for this we need polytheism. If we can not get alpabet of Cavs, we may be better off, the turn before we kill the wb to say OB for polytheism, unless we can trade with MS (hah) or Saturn at that time for it. We also lose sight of CoL; we will not be able to research it ourselves before we need it; hopefully we can get it off Saturn, but if we can't the first GS may be delayed and hence we lose out on the academy in JD for a bit. Alot depends on what the GP out of IS would be. This is not a problem for OO; we can just cottage the plains tiles and work them, it has +9 fpt using the fps and wheat, they will have to do...not that rivered cottages are bad and all. Now here are the pluses: IS would be making, if it got all of the wonders, a base of 14 gpp a turn, and with enough food to run 5 scientists at size 8 (haha), making a total of 29 gpp. Shove the NE in there, that's 58 gpp/turn. The HE can go up to FC; that city is not quite as good a production city, making on a base of 24 hpt at size 7. Unless it builds Moai, in which case it is (almost) as good as IS would be, although there is no future hope of matching the HE and WP; again, near and long term considerations... On that note, here are the long term considerations for the change of the CDP and overall strategy: Alphabet No matter which way you spin it, we need to get Alphabet, either to trade to MS if they join us in an alliance, to get CoL off Saturn, to build research if there is a lul in the production schedule and we need the beakers, to steal techs. This plan most definately does not address this rather huge issue...unless we get it, and then build research to try and catch up on the time we lost on running to Aesthetics and Lit. I don't know how this is going to work though, apart from that IS and CK together make 53 base beakers a turn...which should be enough to get Aesthetics in 5 turns, because of the expansion of the economy. Awesome City (to be refered to as AC) Looking at the barb city, the city site that contains bananas, corn, pigs and the cow is a very tempting site for 2 things, teching off scientists in caste (6 at size 10 minimum, up to 7 with calendar and CS, for 34 gpp WITH the NE) and using the NE here for lots of GS' and academies to try and keep up with the trio. This is at odds with using IS as a wonder pump and NE city (obviously), unless we accept that the gpp in IS are not as useful as the many GS that AC can provide...except that with the GL and NE in IS that IS makes almost double the gpp as AC, in which case the bpt (base 36, 45 with lib, 63 with lib and academy at worst) and health resources (we do need the corn) would have to be enough to justify this site. With making so many wonders, we would be slightly down on time to build the settler for this city...but moving the Collosus from FC to IS allows us to make the settler in FC eot t98, and settle AC some time around t105 at best with just 2 workers, which does slow development. To do this we would ideally keep the two axes used to kill Angle around (at the very least keep 1 around, which might be doable, if the first axe that gets there hits 5XP and the other one doesn't, as exploring with a 1 move unit is not as useful). We would use 1 spear to cover the workers on the road down (later on use the axe), so the spear stays to fogbust and protect the settler for one turn on the way down to the city site. Gold City This would get delayed as there would only be 2 workers to road to it instead of 4; this would likely delay it by around 5 turns (guess work) to around t100-t102. This would correspondingly push back the date we would need a settler out of CK, which means that even taking into account the SoZ and monument, we should have some spare production there for varying purposes... Workers We currently have 6 workers, and just about getting by. We will need more soon, at least 2 for JD, but we should have 2 free from FC in around 13 turns. JD alsos needs to build a worker or a settler at size 6 to stay at that size and not gro into unhappiness; it could easily build it's own workers (9 production a turn...slow0, but with only 2 workers in the east, we do not want another settler over there unless we also get 1 other worker over there, so geting some workers out quickly to improve just 2 tiles before a settler heads off to the east would be incredibly beneficial to us. Fog and Cloud By stripping out the Collosus here, it opens up the build queue from t94 onwards. This gives us some flexibility such that we can get a lighthouse and grow a little bit (to size 7), build a settler for AC if need be, get a lib etc. Personally I think lighthouse then lib would be very useful in getting us that little bit closer to the GL; in fact, depending on how fast we can get the wonders built, and if CK can find the production for two settlers and the wodner in time, it may even be possible to go for the lighthouse and lib for that little bit more commerce... Oolong Orchid This city was intended to be the first city to make a GS, but that is not likely to happen unless we get CoL from Saturn (whatever we do...), but as a precaution (or rather, if we havent got CoL by the time it's needed) we can cottage the river plains tiles and try to tech that way...with rep it can hit a happy cap of 9...it has enough tiles to cottage to keep it happy at that size, and up to size 11 if we got a forge, but I think by that time we would have CoL one way or another. Now, for the topic of diplomacy: Saturn They may or not not currently appear to have met one of the other teams, depending on the source of infomation. They have CoL, so we may need to sell them the farm to get it, but if they join Cavs/Kaz, then this is a 4v1 and the ffa went out of the window a long time ago, so we would have to revisit our aims for the game. But that possibility aside, we have a team that may be willing to trade with us for the right price to give us a very important tech, so we need to find them asap. To this end, we are getting a galley and chariot out to scout the NW, and Barentz is looking to the W for them. We are also building two extra axes, true, but they are not going to be capable of scouting much at all apart from the the south of CK, they are needed for killing Angle, the barb city. These are our key to staying competitive in this game. We get CoL off them 10 turns sooner than researching it saves us 400+ beakers and lets us make another couple of hundred in the meantime. treat them kindly, but remember this: they are also in a tech hole, and we can not get them out of it; if Kaz/Cav offer to get them to parity in exchange for an embargo of us are are going to have a tough time of it, and looking at the trade Cav seemed to offer MS, of Monarchy (448) for Sailing (149) it looks like Cav are trying to bury us and to hell with the consequences. More on that later. Mad Scientists The team that is not active, and does not like that we play fast. OK, so we were never going to be brilliant allies...currently looking at being bought (at quite handsome prices I might add) by Cavs, and are a possible team that is researching at a rate only slightly slower than us, and thus are not entrusted to research the economic techs that are more important, thus may be heading for literature as well, but have a leg up in that they have Polytheism. We do know that we are on the same island, yet have an NAP; this should deter them from researching warlike techs such as Construction and HBR; the only other techs that they could research are: MC, (but we should try to sell to them...) Compass (not chance in hell), Calendar (but would need to buy/be gifted maths from Cavs), Fuedalism (...possible, but I consider it unlikely, unless they are scared we will attack them after the NAP is up and want the extra defenses). Theology (AP??) I think researching aestheitics is realistic for MS, especialliy if they can trade with Cavs and Kaz for the main economic techs. I'd expect stalling on an alliance, or an outright admittance and then crawling behind the NAP. The outside chance is that they try to befriend us and get us to trade them MC; the problem is that given our position we would have to take them seriously, and ask for something in return; precisely what depends on what tech they are researching next, because if they are research aesthetics as we do then it might become interesting. Cavaleiros Archenemies, architects of our eventual downfall, and scared ****less of us. This last point is not something that we should forget; it means that Cavs are going to go for complete overkill to try and keep us from impacting this game in a meaningful manner, as can be seen from the Monarchy-Sailing proposed deal with MS. We have their wb trapped and are trying to exhort tech from them, which probably won't be succesful, but at the least we have limited their scouting. They claim to be researching maths next turn; we should see that as we finish writing next turn to confirm instead of working it out through demographics data, and then head for currency; along with Cs from Kaz, they will have the two most important economic techs of the medi era before t100. They commented that they wanted to build the GW; I'm suprised they hadn't already tbh, especially considering that if we wanted it we could have had it 5 turns ago... So, what to do? Kill! Maim! Destroy! except we can't, as we don;t know where they are. Getting out 2 triremes to go and pillage their seafood...not cost effective. So ignore them, and try to limit their diplomat advantages as best we can, and I leave it to G_W to embellish on the tactics of this point. Kazakhstan Running out of things to say now, but I'm not entire sure I can see their strategy anymore; I already commented that I thought they were going to go for CS, but I can't see anything after that because it's shrouded by unknowns. They could lightbulb philo, they could go straight for the GL and ignore CS for a bit and beat us there as they already have the tech lead and are teching very fast now with the academy, or they could go for CS now and then use a bureaucracy powered capital to try and blast through to the GL and then lightbulb to Liberalism. Basically, watch this space... Conclusions If there is one good thing to draw from this, it looks like no one is tooling up for a war, so we have time yet to get into position for one by building our economy now. We can keep on teching and not screw up our expansion in a dramitic fashion, but it entails risk.