Between turns, Gandhi comes calling and "demands" Monarchy.
Demands in Civ4 work basically the same way that they did in previous Civ games, except that occasionally your allies will come asking for help, and you'll irritate them if you don't help them out. Gandhi in this case is definitely NOT a friend of mine (see the relations on the left side) and so I tell him where he can shove off. He grumbles a bit but does nothing. Our relations will drop a little bit further, so we may have to fight the Indians a little bit later on.
Meanwhile, I moved the chariot in Damascus out of the city to attack a barb unit and now the city has gone into unhappiness! Let me show you what that looks like and what it means:
What's going on here? Look at the happiness level that I have circled at the top of the city screen. In all previous city shots, the number of happy people (on the left) has been higher than the number of unhappy people (on the right). Whenever that's the case, or when the two numbers are equal, nothing happens. But when you have an excess of unhappy faces (as is the case here), the excess unhappy people become angry citizens. You can see I have one of them here. These angry citizens eat food but contribute nothing to the city; they're basically useless mouths. In order to put that angry person to work, I need to get some additional happiness for Damascus. Thus, there is a limit to how far you can grow your cities before unhappiness kicks in. For this particular situation, I can simply move my chariot back into the city and that will remove some of the unhappiness (you can see what the reasons for unhappiness are too). -2 happiness from lacking a military unit in the city and -6 simply from population (because the city is size 6). Since this city has so much food - more than it can support with happiness - I'll be creating some specialists here soon to use the excess population. You'll see in a little bit.
Also note that I circled the maintenance cost of this city in yellow. Remember how I said that cities cost maintenance? There's the evidence right there. Damascus costs 2 gold each turn. That's why I was losing money before; I'm still losing money, but countering it partly with my Hindu shrine income.
Continuing on, Confucianism is founded in a distant land in 475BC. We were only 9 turns away from getting it ourselves, despite not prioritizing Code of Laws much at all. Just who founded the religion is a mystery for now... perhaps the last civ that's on another island somewhere (?) The next turn, Gandhi proposes trading Mathematics for Monarchy. The two techs are about equal in value, so I go ahead and do so. That may even cancel out the negative from refusing his demand earlier. Meanwhile, I'm moving another Hindu missionary north to try and convert Mansa Musa, although he has a long way to go to get there.
After a couple of quiet turns, Hatty comes asking for help:
So this is basically the same deal as Gandhi, Hatshepsut wants me to give her the tech Monarchy for free. However, since my relations are good with Hatty (look at the +3 modifiers) and I want to cultivate her as an ally, I decide to agree to the demand and give her the tech. Now in past Civ games this would have been meaningless, since the AI civs never really remembered who their friends were, but not so in Civ4. Hatty goes from Cautious to Pleased, and now let's take a look at our new relations modifiers:
You can see that I gained +2 points with Hatty for helping her out, going to a total of +5. We are now Pleased and it looks like I have a solid friend to count on in case trouble brews down the road (the AIs will remember you if you help them out - and also if you don't!). Now this being Noble, I could roll over everyone without too much trouble, but I'm demonstrating how the system works and how diplomacy shakes out, which can be applied on all difficulty levels. Also note that this is how the relations matrix looks. It can accomodate as many as 17 civs, so don't think that it's limited to just a couple as Civ3 was.
In 325BC, thanks to some help from a forest chop (cutting forests adds shields, just like in Civ3), Mecca completes the Pyramids:
I watch the wonder movie (glad these are back for Civ4) and get the screen you see above. The Pyramids open up all of the Government civics (those are the ones in the first column) for use, even ones that haven't been discovered yet. It's the Civ1 Pyramids, in other words. This wonder also provides 2 Great Engineer points each turn, which is a pretty nice benefit in and of itself (Great Engineers can rush wonders... yeah, so they're good to have). I'm going to hold off on changing civics until I finish research on Code of Laws (2 turns) because there's another civic there that I want to swap to. For now though... let's take a look at Mecca. I mean REALLY take a look at the city up close.
There's Mecca seen from a closer angle. Everything that I've built in it gets represented right on the main game map. I identified them all for easy reference. This is still pretty early in the game, so I'll have to do this again a bit later to show you what some of the late game cities with tons of stuff in them can look like. Oh - and you can zoom in even further if desired, and rotate the camera to any angle. Just thought I should point that out.
Lots of stuff happening in 275BC. First of all, Victoria calls me up and cancels our Open Borders deal. Why is she doing this? Aha, Victoria was the one to found Confucianism. As soon as she switched to the religion, our relations dropped considerably. Now look at the Foreign relations screen:
Our relations have dropped precipitously, and now Vicky is annoyed with me! Well, fortunately for me she is the weakest civ on the planet. If relations don't improve, I'll just have to eliminate her, sooner rather than later. Wouldn't even be that hard to do...
On the other hand, my missionary in the north brings another convert into the Hindu fold by visiting Mansa Musa.
Our relations will go up further as time passes and Hinduism spreads through the Malinese civilization. It never hurts to have another friend! Now, since I've managed to build the Pyramids and also have just finished researching Code of Laws, time to take another look at the Civics screen:
I'm swapping to Representation and Caste System, both of which are two of my favorite civics. Representation is a Government civic usually only available much later in the game, which grants +3 happy faces in your largest cities (which is good in and of itself), but more importantly adds 3 research beakers to the output of specialists. Caste System allows you to run unlimited scientist, merchant, and artist specialists in your cities provided you have the food to do so. Therefore, the obvious question is, who are these specialists? What in the world do they do? That's what I'm getting to now.
Specialists have always been around in the Civ games. They were the entertainers/taxmen/scientists in the previous games; here in Civ4, there are 5 types of specialists, plus the always-available Citizen specialist. In order to create a specialist, you pull one of the tiles being worked by a city off the land. Let me demonstrate using the city of Damascus as an example, since this city is going to use a lot of specialists:
This is Damascus functioning normally. Notice that it's size 8, so the city is working 8 tiles on the city screen. It's also running a gigantic food surplus (+7 food/turn!) so the city will soon grow itself into unhappiness and produce useless unhappy citizens. We don't want that. Instead, what I want to do is turn some of the population of the city into specialists using the buttons on the right side of the screen. I've been ignoring this so far, but now it's time to explain them. From top to bottom, the little faces stand for Engineer specialist, Merchant, Scientist, Artist, Priest, and Citizen specialist. Ordinarily, you need to build certain city improvements to add specialists to a city. For example, you can't run a Priest specialist unless you have a temple built in the city (makes sense, right?) Damascus can't use any Priest specialists because it doesn't have a temple, as you can see. There are also limits on how many specialists can be created; you need a temple for every Priest specialist you want to create, to stick with the same example. (Citizen specialists are a bit different; you can always create them, but they provide no Great Person points and only 1 shield, so it's rarely worthwhile to make them.) The Caste System civic, however, allows for UNLIMITED Merchants, Scientists, and Artists. That's why those three buttons are lit up here. The only limitation is how much food you have. And Damascus has a lot of it.
Now watch how I customize the city:
Big difference! Now, at the cost of stripping Damascus of most of its production and food, I've got a Great Person-generating factory! Each Artist specialist is generating 4 beakers, 4 culture, and 3 Great Person points; ordinarily, Artists produce only 1 beaker, but remember I'm using the Representation civic as well which adds +3 beakers to all specialists. One effect of this is that Damascus' research output has skyrocketed up to 28 beakers/turn; it is now producing more research than any other city in my civ! More importantly though, remember that each Artist produces 3 Great Person points each turn. With 4 Artists, that means 12 points each turn - BUT Saladin is a Philosophical civ, so that gets increased by +100% to 24 points/turn. Now perhaps you can start to see some of the advantages of being Philosophical. As a result, in just 8 turns I'll generate a Great Artist here in Damascus (remember, the Great Person type is determined by the kind of specialist you run), and then we'll have some Culture Bomb fun. Just you wait and see.
This is why I love the Caste System civic. It allows for an enormous amount of flexibility, and it combines wonderfully with certain other civics (like Representation, and also Mercantilism) and certain civ traits (especially Philosophical). No other civic gives you greater customization potential. (And lest you think that Spiritual/Philosophical is the best trait combo, you should see me play a game with a Financial civ where I go the cottage-spam route. Or take an Industrious civ for a spin and go nuts on wonders. Or take a Creative civ and dominate someone culturally. All of these leader traits can be played to an advantage - I'm just making the best use of what I have here with Saladin.)
Next time: detonating a culture bomb and fighting the first war!