At first I read "time-consuming variant" and thought how odd, I'm a very slow player and found it quicker than usual until I saw...
... AWE !!! Wowza! Now that is a 'stand-out' choice!
I must agree with Kylearan both that an AWE winner is doing fine in his strat, and that roads (especially in AW) are too important to miss out on.
I love the UDE screenshot :P Initial strat, avoiding granary, and early tech choices all seemed good. The gambit of attacking the first warr to trigger GA was also something I would try - with such an extreme variant sometimes you just have to make your own luck. If it failed, welll... you did as well as LOTR then! As important as not building it immediately you did make a great (imo) decision to slip one in when you were size 3 there. Tough call too in balancing few cities with the 3-step distance popular for AW, and again I would choose the latter, as you did.
I noted early in the game the presence of some brutal militaristic foes and thought "I'm glad I wasn't planning something like All War or 5CC conquest here!"
And finally, between this Epic and a few recent SG's, people finally are seeming to "get it" that catapults don't suck! (And ya, wassup with AI's forsaking wonders SO long this game??)
> I have to say though - the power of Armies in C3C is amazing.
Nod, tis very true. Increased power was nice, the extra move was sweet, but it's becoming clear just HOW good they are. As much as I *love* their blitz, for balance sake, that should probably go. Or at least limit #attacks to two. (partial blitz)
I would have switched to Monarchy (or Repblic) immediately. The 14gpt increase in support cost would be MORE than compensated for without despotic penalties and corruption. The reason why Republic is an option despite weariness is because you need the economic power to self-research *everything* post-Education.
Regarding the unescorted settler - twas a whoopsie indeed, but a unit guarding a settler will NEVER attack. It's the same AI principle that won't let a town garrison kill a scout, even if we can do it on a road and come back inside.
Gunpowder from the GL?? Sheesh! They beeline Education so bad I didn't even get Engineering from GL!
Great pillage campaign too! To devastating effect...
You saw somehting that others here and at CFC have noted, the AI in C3C now seem virtually immune to WW, and it's well nigh impossible to get them to fold - which is incredulous given they never use lux slider.
A comment on capture-and-abandon. When you abandon any unhappiness in the city gets tranferred to the nearest city, so if the previous AI-owner whipped them to death, that unhappiness goes to one of YOUR nearby cities.
Regarding 'cavalry is truly a gamebreaker' - I've heard this more and more recently and must *strongly* disagree - for two reasons. i) Your game was won before the first cav appeared, and demonstrated by not even bothering to hook up coal - cav let you put a won-dead game out of its misery quickly. ii) you mentioned your self how your heart skipped a beat on seeing cav when you only have knights. Is there *any* other unit in the game where seeing the AI have it, makes you gasp in fear? Don't neuter that I say! A game breaker would be if a human in a poor or so-so position gets an auto-win just because he gets to Mil Tradition, which I don't think is the case.
What a fitting ending to enter Fascism on the game winning turn Extremely well done!