The great war with India was now over, and peace had returned to Arabia. With the game beginning to approach its conclusion, it's about time for me to start thinking about victory conditions and how I want to go about winning this game. Before getting to that point, however, let me first show you a shot of the captured Indian empire:
Calcutta and Kolhapur are still in resistance, but the rest of the cities have come out of it and are doing nicely. All those captured Indian workers are doing their best to fix up these new cities the way that I want them (the automated AI workers are decent, but they have a tendency to build too many cottages and not mine/farm enough. This makes the AI a good competitor in terms of technology, but leaves them at a production disadvantage.) I also have railroads to build all across Arabia, so there's plenty for my workers to do (too much, actually; I need to pop out a couple more real quick).
The war weariness is gone, but now there's something new making my cities unhappy. What's this?
I'm getting Emancipation unhappiness in my cities. This comes from other civs switching to the Emancipation civic, which has the effect of making the people of any civ that is NOT running Emancipation unhappy. It's an interesting little twist that is designed to mimic the fact that nobody actually runs Slavery or Serfdom in the modern world. Or, if you choose to run those civics, your people will be real unhappy. Since I'm out of warfare now, it's time for another civic swap. Let's look at the civics screen one more time:
Here are the new civics that I'm running. The two that I changed were from Theocracy back to Pacifism (because I'm no longer at war), and from Caste System to Emancipation. Now this change does mean I have to give up the Caste System civic, which I've gotten so much use out of, but Emancipation is drastically cheaper and it will get me out from under the unhappiness penalty. As far as the cost issue, by going from two "Medium" upkeep civics to two "None" ones, I've slashed my costs in half! That will help me research even faster, possibly at 100% again (I'm at 90% right now). This civic move is one that makes my civ stronger.
Now, I've had an extra Great Prophet sitting around for a while now, so I move him into Delhi and prepare to use him for something neat. In capturing Delhi from Gandhi, naturally the Buddhist shrine was destroyed, but with my Great Prophet I can REBUILD the shrine and start taking advantage of the shrine income from Gandhi having spread Buddhism around earlier in the game!
This is one of my favorite things to do in Civ4, it's like STEALING someone else's religion! My income jumps up drastically from building the Buddhist shrine too, up almost 20 gold per turn. That's a lot! Gandhi did his job well earlier in the game, there are 14 Buddhist cities in the world. And now I get to profit from it, hehe. To the victors go the spoils.
I discover Radio on the following turn and enter the Modern era. All my cities now have little car sounds when I zoom in and look at them. Since I have a Great Scientist and a Great Prophet sitting around, let me use them for a golden age and show you the final usage of Great People:
It takes two Great People of different types for the first golden age (as stated in the picture), then three for the second, then four, etc. But you can theoretically have an unlimited number of golden ages, although it would take a heck of a lot of Great People after a while. The golden age works basically the same way in Civ4 as it did in Civ3, the boosting production and commerce of all tiles. I'm going to use my golden age here to help my cities build factories and power plants, and grab some wonders in the cities that already have both. A good use for a golden age. Also, note that golden ages only last 8 turns in this game (more turns on Epic, fewer turns on Quick game speeds). Oh, and Medina looks awesome in the above picture. Those Modern Age cities are something to see.
For those afraid that maintenance costs would rule out large empires, note that I have a very sizable amount of territory and can still run 90% science at a profit, and 100% science at a manageable deficit. Of course that's mostly because I've really worked hard to build up my shrine income, but with good management you can easily run large empires in Civ4. It just takes more thought and planning to do it.
Now that I'm getting closer to the end of the tech tree, it's time to think about victory conditions and which one I want to pursue. Let's look at the Victory Conditions screen (F8), which shows my progress towards each of the different goals:
Fortunately, I'm leading in the pursuit of every victory condition. My score is way ahead of Mansa Musa, but I don't plan on waiting until 2050AD to win a time victory. Conquest would involve killing everyone, including my allies, and I don't plan to do that. Ditto for Domination; I've got the most population and territory, but I don't want to have to kill my friends in order to get enough territory to go over the domination limit. As far as the peaceful conditions go, I'm not really in good shape for the Cultural victory either (I don't think I'm going to get 3 cities over 50,000 culture).
That leaves the Spaceship and Diplomatic victories. Now the Spaceship victory is a little different in Civ4 than in previous games (you have to build some more parts, and having the right resources doubles the production speed of certain parts) but it's basically the same deal as in Civ3. Since the Diplo victory has been completely reworked, however, and since my relations with my buddies are SO good, I'm going to pursue that victory condition. Mecca will start on the United Nations in a few turns, and can even use golden age production to build it.
Here's a late game view of Mecca, so you can see what a fully built up city can look like:
Mecca's getting over 120 shields/turn, pumping out 419 beakers every turn, and getting an amazing 92 gold at 0% science! Granted, this is in a golden age, but still - it's all about the shrine income! 36 cities have Hinduism in them. That's really, really high. I worked hard to spread my religion in this game, and the rewards really paid off. Conquering a sizable part of the continent has also left me with a ridiculous treasure trove of resources; I'm actually only missing 2 happiness resources and 1 health resource. Aside from those, I have them all! You can also see the list of wonders I built, and the huge trade route income pouring in from all over the world. Don't forget to sign those Open Borders agreements with other civs for trade route income!
And a zoomed-in shot of Mecca as it appears on the world map. You can actually see every building and wonder that I built here if you look closely, although they are jumbled a bit together. I'm impressed that Civ4 manages to display everything that you build on the main map, although individual opinions as to how good this looks will of course vary. For my money, it's a lot better than Civ3.
I build the United Nations in 1735AD. In Civ3, the diplomatic victory was a good idea, but it was very poorly implemented. Every civ got one vote regardless of size or power; it would be as if in the real world China received the same voting power as the Federated States of Micronesia. You could also simply gift the AI civs a bunch of stuff on the last turn right before the vote, get them to Gracious, and have them vote for you. Not a great system.
Voting in Civ4's UN is done by population, so the more people each civ has, the more votes they get. (It's the same system as used in the Galactic Senate from Master of Orion, which some readers may have played.) The first vote in the UN simply determines who gets to be the Secretary General - that is, who gets to pick which diplomatic resolutions get put to a vote. That's the first voting decision that I get to make in 1735AD:
Up against Roosevelt, I see. I'm a candidate because I built the UN (if you build the wonder, you will always be a candidate for Secretary-General). FDR is the other candidate because (aside from me), he has the highest population. Of course, since I've got by far the most people in the world, I can actually vote myself Secretary-General regardless of what anyone else does. I wonder who will win the election?
As expected, I win the election when the results come in on the next turn. Note that this does NOT mean the game is over. All it means is that I get to pick which resolutions we all vote for in the United Nations. One of those resolutions is the Diplomatic Victory vote, which I plan to pursue, but please note that the civ that becomes the Secretary General does not automatically win the game. You only need 40% of the vote to become Secretary General, but you need 60% of the vote to win a Diplomatic victory - much harder to do!.
Most troubling from that result is that Hatty voted for FDR and not me. WTF?! Here I've been showering her with gifts for ages, and she votes for him over me? I must say I don't understand that. Something strange going on there. I'm at +14 with Hatty, so I don't know what more she wants from me. With her vote, I'm a sure bet to win the Diplo Victory vote. Without Hatty? Going to be tight, real tight. I need more population in the former Indian lands so I can pull more votes! With the next election coming in 4 more turns, I will do everything in my power to increase my population.
While I'm waiting, I do get one last Great Engineer, which I use to rush Rock N Roll in Mecca:
Rock N Roll, Broadway, and Hollywood are late-game wonders that provide the civ that builds them with special new happiness resources: Hit Singles, Hit Musicals, and Hit Movies, respectively. These resources can then be traded to other civs like any others, or held onto if desired. Since some of the more "barbaric" happiness resources become obsolete in the late game (whales, ivory, and furs all become obsolete when discovering certain techs), you'll often need these modern happiness resources to replace them. It's an interesting game dynamic; not everyone will agree with these modern wonders, but at least it's something a little different.
In 1755, I get the choice of what to vote on in the next UN elections:
You can see that there's a number of choices here to pick from. I'm going to go straight for the victory and see if I can get it; there's a good chance that I'll fall a little short, but at least I'll know how close I am. Some of the other options here are quite interesting too, like adding additional trade routes and forcing civs to adopt certain civics. There will be other chances to explore those, but for now let's see if I can win a diplomatic victory.
As expected, I come up a little bit short:
Hatty has decided to be a jerk and continue to vote for FDR over me. Well it's obvious what must be done here. I just have to build some tanks, take on that "rogue nation" of the Romans, and - by taking away some of the Roman population - gain enough votes to declare myself the UN victor! Yes, uh, very peaceful indeed. And if I can get Egypt on my side versus Caesar, she'll probably vote for me. Yes indeed, that sounds like a plan - if a fiendishly devious one.
Continued on next page...