The No District Challenge: Deity Space Race

The early turns of this game had seen my Sumerian people secure the immediate starting area and capture two nearby city states. As I shifted into the midgame portion of the tech and civic trees, my goal was to continue expanding while hoping to remain at peace with the neighboring AI civilizations of Spain and Brazil. Back at home, development was proceeding apace, and I'll use this opportunity to highlight the power of chopping/harvesting in action:

I had finished researching Defensive Tactics civic a few turns earlier, and this civic has shifted over time to become one of my most desired targets on the tree. Defensive Tactics unlocks the Limes policy: +100% production towards city walls. On face value, this seems like a niche policy that would be helpful if the player finds themselves at war, but otherwise nothing particularly special and not useful for peaceful development. What players discovered over time is that Ancient Walls are cheap to build at only 80 production (effectively 40 production cost with Limes running) and chopping or harvesting terrain features also gains the +100% production bonus. To put it simply, build the walls to near-completion with Limes running and then chop/harvest to score huge overflow into another build of the player's choosing. Using the example here at Uruk, the walls have been built to 77/80 production. The forest chop is worth 50 production, which gets doubled by Limes policy into 100 production. That takes production to 177/80, and 97 production will overflow for free into the next object constructed in the city, even if it would not otherwise get the +100% production bonus. (Note that Civ4's gameplay did not work this way, and correctly only applied the current production modifier to a build choice, dividing out the excess production if a modifier no longer applied.)

The net effect is that the Limes policy is absolutely essential from a developmental perspective. Since chop/harvest yields continue to scale up over time as the player advances through the tech tree, it only becomes more valuable as time continues to pass. In a normal game, these forest chops and resource harvests would be used to construct districts in timely fashion since districts otherwise don't get any production bonuses. When combined together with the hidden district discounting formula, it becomes easy to translate a handful of forests into a bunch of expensive districts. In this game, I tended to use Limes chop abuse to knock out the basic city infrastructure in low-production cities:

Kish had tons of food and lots of nice grassland tiles but only a single hill for production. I used a Limes forest chop here to get 109 overflow production, vastly more than the paltry 6 natural production that this city could output. I believe that I used this chop to get both a granary and most of another builder, which had a combined cost of 60 + 86 = 146. There's a bit of a natural feedback mechanism in the way that a properly executed Limes chop can be used to train a builder, who then goes on to do more chopping/harvesting. This is essentially the "Slavery civic" of Civ6, and it's not possible to play the game at a high level without mastering the use of chop/harvest overflow with policies that provide some kind of production boost. Coastal cities are also naturally good at this overflow abuse due to the naval policy cards providing +100% production; cheap galleys will serve as well as city walls, and unlike city walls, they are repeatable builds. This is again why the Military policy cards are so necessary, as Limes and Maritime Industries can only be run in the Military (or Wildcard) slots. I'm not sure that the gameplay necessarily should work this way, but it does work this way and players should be aware of how to use the mechanics most effectively.

Meanwhile the race to settle the disputed southern border was on. I had several settlers under development and I needed to ensure that the fertile river valleys along the Spanish border were claimed by my units. I had sent most of my leftover military units from the Vilnius campaign down there to keep a watch on Philip, and this proved to be providential when a Spanish settler turned up a few turns later. An unescorted settler mind you; it still baffles my mind that the AI can't seem to master the simple task of pairing a military unit together with a settler. If not for the Declaration of Friendship with Philip I could have snagged that settler for myself, but that wouldn't really have been keeping with my variant rule. Anyway, I immediately positioned my units to take advantage of the stupid One Unit Per Tile rules and block off access to any eligible city locations. The Spanish settler in the north could not move to the one remaining eligible green tile because it didn't have enough movement points to cross the river and still reach that spot. Similarly, three units could completely block off the southern pass through the mountains and I was moving units down there to stake my claim. The AI wasn't smart enough to try embarking the settler to get around my unit blockades, with Philip's unit instead shuffling aimlessly around in circles to no point. The idiocy of the Civ6 AI was on full display here as I successsfully walled off this land for my own uses.

Within ten turns I had settler both Isin and Nippur to claim the two rivers for myself. It's remarkable that I was able to poach these city locations away from Philip, given how Spain's capital city of Madrid was only six tiles away from Isin's position. This was effectively a first-ring spot in relation to the Spanish capital... and the Deity AIs start the game with three settlers! It's confounding how bad they are at expansion given all of the bonuses that they get on this difficulty level. Up in the north, my borders had been pushed further outside of the heartland by founding the city of Ur next to a small lake. My builders were in the process of laying down more ziggurats along the banks of the river that ran past Uruk and Adab, and my empire-wide science and cultural output was growing in turn as a result of the newly boosted tile yields. The basic philosophy was to mine all hill tiles and eventually place a ziggurat on any flatground tile that didn't have a resource.

Here's how I was stacking up against my competitors in terms of science as of Turn 85. I had 18 techs finished and was up to 54 beakers/turn, well ahead of the pace from my Poland Can Into Space game when I was only making 31 beakers/turn at the same point in time. I had already passed Philip in terms of science rate, if not in techs researched, who was limited to 33 beakers/turn. Philip tends to be one of the weaker AI performers in terms of science because his religious emphasis causes him to build Holy Sites over Campuses in any spot with good adjacency bonuses. I'm not sure if he had a single Campus placed on the map yet and the results were starting to show. Pedro was the opposite, as the Brazilian leader's jungle adjacency bonuses had caused him to build Campuses everywhere, and he was still out in front in terms of research at a hefty 71 beakers/turn and an additional 7 techs of finished research in hand. It was clear that Pedro was going to be my main competitor in terms of winning the space race, and I still had a lot to do in terms of catching up to his lead.

Note as well that I'm researching Mathematics at the moment, one of many techs and civics that had an impossible boost to achieve under the no districts variant. I was paying full price for dozens of techs and civics that normally would get boosted to half cost, which slowed my progress down the two research trees. By contrast, the AI gets a research bonus of 32% on Deity difficulty (in addition to a whopping 80% production and gold bonus!) for both science and culture. Because they don't understand how to achieve the boosts, only stumbling into them by accident, the Deity AIs also get 4 free random tech/civic boosts when they enter each new era. Between the boosts that I was unable to achieve and the free ones being handed out to the AI civs, it wasn't enough simply to match their research rates; I was going to have to do significantly better than what they were producing if I was going to win the eventual space race.

So how does the player pull that off? Like this:

I'm posting the city list for my Sumerian empire and Philip's Spain from the diplomatic screen. I had nine total cities here on Turn 85 as compared to Spain's five cities, something that never should be possible for the player this early on. This is particularly egregious given that the Deity AIs start with THREE settlers!!! Philip had founded exactly two additional cities in 85 turns beyond the three that he started the game with. And this despite the fact that his settlers were heavily discounted by the 80% production bonus that the Deity AI gets towards everything. I just cannot understand how poorly the AI plays the game in Civ6. It shouldn't be this difficult to get the AI to expand; if they would simply push out settlers and fill up the map with cities, the game would be genuinely difficult. The Civ3 AI was dumb as bricks and it understood the basic principle of expanding aggressively until the map was full. Single Player in Civ6 is way too easy because the AI doesn't expand enough and can't muster any kind of military threat outside of the early game cheese rush. It's most sad that this hasn't improved further in the two years since the game's release.

I'll showcase the city of Adab here as one city that was putting ziggurats to particularly good use. The banana resource, a granary, and a water mill had Adab growing at a steady rate of +5 food/turn, and I'd already tossed down an uncompleted Aqueduct district to open up a bit more housing for further growth down the road. Two population points were working the banana and iron resources, and then another four population were situated inside ziggurat tile improvements. There was also one population point inefficiently working a jungle tile which I was in the process of gathering builder labor to replace. All told though, Adab was outputting a healthy 14 beakers and 7 culture per turn without a single specialty district or district building present. If there was a weakness here it was the gold output, which sat at a paltry 2 gold/turn. My gold income might look solid on the bars at the top of the screen, but that's deceptive because so much of the money was coming from gold/turn payments via the other AI civs. Generating income with no Commercial or Harbor districts and a single trade route kept my available spending money on a low burn for most of this game.

I did choose to splurge my accumulated savings on one big ticket purchase. I saw that the first Great Merchant, Zhang Qian, would create an additional trade route. When the AI leaders failed to build Commercial districts as they so often do, I spotted an opportunity to patronage the Merchant for 1100 gold. This would double my gamelong trade route count from 1 to 2, and that seemed like it would pay itself back over the course of the rest of the game. I could even score the "have four active trade routes" boost for Guilds civic (with Merchant Republic government), and patronaging the Merchant would also fulfill the boost for Mercantilism civic. Well, it did boost that last civic but the joke was on me. I spent all that money on recruiting Zhang Qian only to find that his ability was useless: it required having a completed Commercial district to activate. D'oh! That was pretty stupid of me. I hadn't even thought about the fact that most Great People require a district associated with their type to activate their special abilities. Lesson learned: don't even bother trying to patronage most of the Great People with cash. What a waste!

Here's another example of chopping/harvesting in action that didn't rely on overflow production. I noticed that Ur had the second-best resource + terrain combo in the game, a deer resource on top of a flatground forest tile. (It wasn't a forested deer hill tile, which is the best combo.) This is the best combination because the deer can be harvested for production, followed by the forest also being harvested for production in an impressive double-whammy pairing. I wanted to settle the riverside location to the north of Hattusa and didn't have any settlers available nearby. Not a problem though: a builder harvested the deer for 94 * 1.5 = 141 production (thanks to the Colonization +50% settler production policy that I was running) followed by a forest chop for 112 production on the next turn. That dropped the settler finishing time from 28 turns to 2 turns, and it was rolling out the door on Turn 102. Now there is a cost to this, as once the deer resource and forest tile are gone they can't be worked by the city and they don't come back again. Still, this is typically a minor price to pay. Due to the housing mechanism in Civ6, cities rarely grow much above size 10 and there are usually extra forests/jungles that can be cut down without harming a city's output. In this case, Ur could simply work some of its other tiles, or better yet work ziggurats for science once they were constructed. And if the game goes long enough, new growth forests can be planted after obtaining the Conservation civic and then lumbermilled over; I could eventually turn this tile into 1/4 yield as a plains forest lumbermill. The advantage of getting another city out on the map some two dozen turns faster was clearly worth the expenditure of the builder charges and the loss of the deer forest.

Especially when this happened and I managed to get to the riverside spot just before a Brazilian settler. I had no idea that Pedro was competing for this location, and it was one of those situations where a combination of skillful play met together with good fortune. (I also have to stress the same point again: no escort on the Brazilian settler. It was wandering around by itself completely undefended. Why is the Civ6 AI this stupid?!)

As of Turn 100, I noted that I had drawn into third place in the overall score, ahead of the two mystery civs in the fog while still trailing the AI neighbors on my continent. Pedro had taken a clear lead in score, and for once that was a fair representation of where he stood in terms of actual civilization strength. I was particularly interested in the breakdown of the score categories, which highlighted the fact that I was actually leading in the Empire score category. This is the one that tracks population, number of cities, and number of districts, which I was still somehow leading despite lacking any districts at all. We generally consider the Empire score to be the best assessment of total strength in our Multiplayer games, making this a good sign indeed. I also discovered that my strong cultural output had me running neck-and-neck in terms of civics research, tied with Pedro and a single civic behind Philip. I had been pleasantly surprised at how well I was doing on culture between building lots of monuments, having God of the Open Sky as my pantheon, and placing as many ziggurats as possible next to rivers. The one place where I was still trailing was technology, with Brazil maintaining the previous lead of 7 techs. I needed to cut into that advantage somehow if I was ever going to reach the end of the tech tree first.

By the way, this score comparison also showed that I had more military strength than either of my two neighbors, perhaps the reason why they had left me alone thus far. This is another puzzling change as compared to Deity difficulty in past Civilization games, where the AI would have monster armies that dwarfed the player. In Civ6, the AI can't move its units effectively at the tactical level and it doesn't appear to be able to build enough of them at the strategic level either. Perhaps this was due to the pointless and wasteful war that Spain and Brazil had fought against each other earlier, I don't know. It was a far cry from the "Deity Right of Passage" that AI opponents would routinely exact back in Civ3 days. I genuinely feared those AI competitors. These guys? Not so much.

Things continued to go well diplomatically with Philip, if not so much with Pedro. Spain was willing to upgrade our Declaration of Friendship into an Alliance once the diplomatic option became available, and I happily signed on for the additional map information. This allowed me to see the full extent of Philip's six city empire, mostly located in rugged, dry terrain in the southeastern portion of our continent. We had a natural border in the form of the desert to the east of Isin, and I continue to be amazed that I had somehow managed to land so much of the disputed territory between us. Everything to the north and west of the Spanish capital had ended up under my control without firing a shot in anger. Speaking of anger, Philip had gone back to war with Pedro once again and was putting the Brazilian city of Fortaleza under siege. That city lacked walls and for a moment it looked like it might actually be captured by a flock of Spanish knights. But no, this was Civ6 and AI cities never change hands in this game. The knights were slowly whittled down over time and the war ended with nothing captured on either side. At least these AI turkeys were wasting their time and production in pointless wars against each other rather than coming after me.

While that scuffle was going on to the east, my alliance with Spain granted me contact with one of the remaining AI leaders: John Curtin of Australia. The initial contact came when an Australian unit wandered past one of the Spanish cities, since I had shared vision with Philip for the moment. While I went ahead and sent a delegation to Canberra, Curtin disliked me from the start for... reasons, apparently. I get what the designers were trying to do with different levels of intelligence from espionage, but a screen like this always annoys me. Diplomacy should never take place in the dark, and the player should have the chance to know why an AI leader dislikes them. For the moment, I was stuck with guessing why this guy hated Sumeria so badly.

Curtin didn't hate me enough to avoid doing business altogether though, as I was able to sell him silk resource for a flat 370 gold. (I also don't think that a per-turn quantity like a resource should be tradable for a lump sum payment but this is something else that Civ6's diplomacy rather foolishly allows.) I had also sold Pedro two resources for 150 gold + 7 gold/turn and horses and salt to Philip to 18 gold/turn. Resource sales to the clueless AI leaders continued to be a major source of income for my civ.

It wasn't all good news though, as my attempt to build a second wonder in the capital came up short. Uruk was six turns away from finishing Petra when I received this announcement that Spain had beaten me to it. This was a real disappointment as Uruk had four desert hill tiles plus two desert salt resources, and Petra would have turned the capital into a magnificent city. I didn't play much Civ5 and I've never been able to land a good Petra city in Civ6, so it would have simply been fun to have the wonder with its boosted tile yields to play around with. I was kicking myself for not starting the wonder sooner; I kept thinking that it would be gone and I had no chance, thus delaying me from starting the wonder for far too long. Petra had fallen on Turn 70 in my Poland Can Into Space game and that threw off my thinking. If I had just harvested the stone resource at Uruk while using Limes overflow, I would have easily claimed this wonder. What a missed opportunity.

At least I did reach Exploration civic and could switch over to Merchant Republic government for the extra policy slots. I had been avoiding the civic for a little while so that I could run Maritime Industries policy and crank out a few cheap galleys for upgrading purposes later, since Exploration civic unfornately obsoletes that particular policy. Once I didn't need it any longer, I was happy to finish my research and make the switch. Merchant Republic also grants two additional trade routes, and that was key because I was still woefully short on roads running through my territory.

As for the policy slots, I found myself keeping Serfdom and Colonization locked in the Economic slots nearly all of the time. Most of the Economic policies are associated with districts in some fashion, making them useless for this variant setup. It was better to keep pumping out more settlers and builders at all times instead. In the Military column, Conscription was a no-brainer to save on unit costs and I used Limes to help my new cities get up to speed quickly most of the time, swapping it out with Professional Army occasionally for unit upgrades. I also kept Retainers running for a very long time, since it was one of the few ways to provide additional happiness to my cities. Even though I had lots of luxuries connected, the sheer size of my growing empire and the inability to construct Entertainment districts meant that I had a major need for more amenities. I could stick a cheap scout in each city and make due with Retainers for a while, although I knew that Retainers policy would inexplicably become obsolete later in the game without any similar policy replacing it. (Designers: what the heck, why?!) It was very helpful for the time being though. For the Diplomatic slot, Machiavellianism was more useful to help me build spies and speed up their operations than anything else. I had little need for envoys and there were few other options there. What else was I going to use, Merchant Confederation for 5 gold/turn based on my few envoys at city states? The boost to spying operations was more valuable.

I had been continuing to expand during these turns, filling out the western coast of my continent with three additional cities. Although they had to be packed together fairly tightly and none of them would be able to take advantage of fresh water locations, or even Aqueduct districts, I reasoned that there was enough housing available to get them all up to about size 7, and that would be plenty for my purposes. They would be able to cut down the forest and jungle tiles, work more ziggurats for science/culture, and later trade off tiles to more important cities as needed. At the pictured city of Bad-Tibira I had chopped an initial forest with Limes to finish the walls, then overflowed with enough production to also complete a monument and granary. Look at that number up at the top: 259/80 production, with about 180 production overflow into anything that I wanted. I would use later forests here to chop out another settler for lack of anything else to build. (By the way, check out all the scouts hanging out for Retainers use. I always find that amusing to see.)

There were other scouts out on the map to do some exploring and see if I could find more territory to claim overseas. I had already discovered some decent-looking land across the ocean to the west, directly beyond the three new cities that I had placed on the western coast. Another scout in the icy north stumbled across a unit from the final AI leader in the game: Alexander of Macedon. I traded a bunch of resources with him on the first turn and signed a Declaration of Friendship, followed by signing a full Alliance on the next turn:

Macedon had a full continent to itself and yet somehow had only built five cities over the first 120 turns. Once again, the AI starts with three settlers on Deity so this meant that Alex had only trained two settlers over the course of those 120 turns. It was unclear to me what he had been doing over that span of time, as Macedon also had a weak army that I could have swept aside without much trouble if I'd been pursuing conquest in this game. There was a large open space off to the west that Alex had made no attempt to settle as yet, which was a dry region but still very much worth claiming. This was another embarassingly weak performance from the AI, which continued to come off badly throughout this game. The northeastern coast of this continent remained unclaimed, and I decided that I'd send my next few settlers in this direction to make use of it for myself. Alexander seemed inclined to be peaceful for the moment, and I was a bit contemptuous of how he had been performing thus far in this game.

With the Machiavellianism policy granting +50% production to training spies, it wasn't too long before I had one ready for service. If I couldn't achieve the tech boosts naturally in this game, then perhaps I could steal them from the AI civs instead. (Remember, the AI gets four free tech/civic boosts every time it enters a new era on Deity so they would always have stuff sitting there ready to be taken.) I had never done much of anything with spies in previous games of Civ6 and this was unexplored gameplay territory for me. I decided to send my first spy off to Australia since Curtin didn't like me very much. After performing the initial Gain Sources mission to increase my subsequent odds, I ordered the tech steal with a 63% success rate. Now all I could was cross my fingers and hope that the dice were kind.

The biggest strategic move that I'd been planning during these turns was an assault on the city state of Hattusa. There were a couple of different rationales that went into this operation. The first and most obvious was to gain another city location. While I couldn't keep Hattusa because it had built a Campus district, I could raze it and replace it with a city of my own. It was a real security risk to have a city state with Brazil as its suzerain sitting right there on the eastern border, and I didn't feel that I could continue to expand further east without neutralizing Hattusa along the way. Second, I needed to upgrade some of my units anyway to unlock certain tech and civic boosts (own three crossbows, own two bombards, own three muskets, kill a unit with a knight, etc.) and I figured that if I was paying for this military there was no reason not to use it. Most importantly though, Brazil had a Campus district in every city and Pedro was scoring a huge amount of free beakers from his suzerainty of Hattusa. He had the full six envoys for +4 beakers from every Campus on the map. The best way to close the gap in terms of research would be to raze Hattusa and deny him all of that extra science, since I could never take advantage of the envoy bonuses myself. With this logic in mind, I planned to launch an attack as Turn 140 arrived.

While my units were getting into position, I learned that my first spying mission had been a success:

A free tech boost, nice! Except that the previous espionage screen had said that I was going to steal the boost for Sanitation, only for me to get the Computers boost instead. What gives? Well, it turns out that the theft text had said "Steal 1 tech boost including Sanitation", i.e. that my agent would pick from a random list that happened to include Sanitation. That was pretty disappointing and the random nature of what tech boost gets stolen was a bummer. Why not let the player control this? Why are so many aspects of the tech/civic boosts, like the ones granted by many of the Great People, left up to randomness? There's no reason for this in a strategy game that's supposed to be about letting players make informed decisions. The espionage game is also a bit too passive for my tastes, with the player selecting options from a list and then hoping for friendly dice rolls to go in their favor. While there are some neat ideas here, I feel like they needed more fine tuning.

Over at Hattusa, the city state proved to be a difficult nut to crack. The defensive strength had risen all the way up to 67 and that made direct assaults an exercise in futility. I used knights and muskets to surround the city and put it under siege, and then had to wait for a few turns as the bombards chipped away at the defenses. Yes, bombards, with siege units for once playing a role in combat. They were the units that I needed here as they set up shop across the little lake and slowly took down the garrison at about 15 damage per shot. After a few more turns of this action, I'd be ready to launch a direct attack with my melee units.

I'd also been exploring this island in between the main continents (with my unkillable Great Merchant, heh). The barbarians had firm control of this place at the moment, with crossbows and warriors and archers roaming about on the plains. I saw a couple of AI units land here like that Brazilian inquisitor and get annihilated immediately. The land was pretty high quality though, with two tiny rivers for fresh water and tons of seafood resources hugging the shores. In particular, the five crabs and three copper resources were of keen interest. Those resources can both be harvested for gold, and I knew that I would need huge quantities of money in the endgame to use for Great Scientist patronage. Once I dealt with Hattusa, it would be worth my while to bring the army up here to barbarian island and clear out the hostile natives, then start landing some of my own settlers. I wanted to bring this remote area under Sumerian control before one of the other AIs could do the same.

Hattusa eventually fell on Turn 146 after half a dozen turns of siege. With the Campus district present I had no choice but to raze it to the ground, knowing full and well that the AI leaders were not going to like the decision. Triple the formal warmonger penalty? That sounded ominous. I had no choice though, and Hattusa was replaced with my own city of Sippar a tile further to the southeast. I was a little bit surprised that all of the tile improvements disappeared when Hattusa was razed - why would the mines on the hill tiles vanish like that? Oh well, there were plenty of builders to help fix that issue. Girsu to the north was already close to finishing another settler to establish on the eastern coast near the horse resource, and that would serve as a launching point to reach out to barbarian island further to the northeast.

This was the overview picture from Turn 150:

I had 18 total cities by this point and had nearly completed the settling of my home continent. Most of the original Sumerian heartland had been fully improved with builder labor by this point in time, with ziggurats decorating the landscape from coast to coast. I get a kick out of the build queues in this screenshot: more settlers and more builders, almost nothing else. There's a very limited number of items that can be constructed in your cities when districts are taken off the table, and I found myself often training more settlers and builders for lack of any other choices. You can't build too many military units because they're quite expensive to maintain, and once the city center buildings are finished there isn't much else available. Too bad that the release version's "receive gold for deleting military units" feature was long gone, I could have made a fortune in this game by building units and disbanding them. At the empire-wide level, I had reached 164 beakers/turn and 93 culture/turn, finally falling behind the pace of my non-variant Polish spaceship game which had been at roughly 250 beakers/turn at this point. The difference there was Rationalism policy, which was doubling my Campus district building output in the Polish game. I had already researched the same civic (The Enlightenment) in this game, but all of the policies it held were completely useless without any districts.

How did that science rate compare to the AI civs in this game?

Quite well, as it turned out. Although I was still trailing Pedro in the number of techs researched count by five, I had actually pulled ahead of him in beaker/turn rate at 164 to his 145. This was a very encouraging sign that I was closing the gap, however I did still need to achieve actual tech parity at some point. The biggest reason why I had pulled ahead in current beaker rate was the fall of Hattusa. I checked and Pedro was making 196 beakers/turn on the turn before the city state was razed, then fell to 166 beakers/turn immediately afterwards. He must have swapped out of Natural Philosophy or Rationalism policies to drop down further to the 145 beakers/turn pictured above. Needless to say, this was a major hit to Pedro's research output and it gave me a much better chance of catching him on the tree. I'll also mention that I tied Australia this turn for the score lead, both of us at 332 points, with Pedro close behind at 316 points and the remaining two AIs starting to fall back. There was a growing sense that I was becoming more powerful, spending less time trailing in the wake of the AI leaders and increasingly ready to take the lead for myself.

There was just one problem: my diplomatic relations had plummeted with everyone following the razing of Hattusa:

Up to this point, Philip and I had been the closest of friends. We were locked together in an Alliance and had built up 59 points of positive relationship modifiers via everything from establishing embassies to keeping promises to fulfilling Philip's agenda not to compete over city states. Unfortunately none of that mattered because razing Hattusa left my civ with an incredible -102 relations modifier for "warmongering". This was patently absurd; a penalty of negative one hundred points for whacking a single city state?! Give me a break. The AIs had been warring against one another constantly the whole game, and I'd seen earlier how Pedro was perfectly happy to take over his own city state when it suited him. Yet somehow my action made me the diplomatic pariah of the whole world and outweighed everything else that had taken place for the first 150 turns of the game. Philip refused to sign another Alliance or Declaration of Friendship when our current deal ran out, and he moved firmly into the hostile camp as a result. Relations with Pedro had been warming up and now they went into the toilet once again. Curtin hated me from the start and things only became worse going forward. The only exception was Alexander, who had been at war with Hattusa at the time (since he was fighting the city state's suzerain Brazil) and therefore didn't care about my conquest. He did not pick up the -100 point modifier and we remained on good terms. Ironically, the actual warmonger Alexander didn't care about my supposed warmongering. Go figure.

I knew that there would be diplomatic repercussions for attacking Hattusa, I simply hadn't expected them to be so ludicrously overblown. Nevertheless, it was still the right decision to remove the city state from the playing field. I could not have Pedro gaining so much science for free on his Campus districts for the rest of the game. Taking out Hattusa needed to be done if I were going to slow down the AI leaders enough for me to reach space first. However, the diplomatic fallout would make things significantly more dangerous going forward. I could no longer count on my neighbors remaining peaceful as I advanced into the later stages of the gameplay.