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1. Get All AdvancesEdit
2. Projects Complete Each TurnEdit
No need to worry about construction cost when designing military units, and no need for railroad (except for movement) or mines or factories or power plants or offshore platforms. Apparently no unit maintenance even for Town Guards. Build many cities because each can build one military unit per turn.
3. Research Complete Each TurnEdit
Set tax to 100% because anything going to research is wasted. Build no libraries, universities, research labs; build Great Library, Leonardo, and Newton only for their morale value if you want more of that after building more practical Wonders. The only advantage in having friends for technology swaps is that they may allow you to leapfrog advances that have no intrinsic value, e.g. Polytheism if the Temple of Zeus is already built. Tax will cover your costs for a long time, so build town halls only if running short of money. Fundamentalism becomes more attractive because its lower research rate is of no effect while its Faith means no need to build and maintain buildings for happiness and it has no unit maintenance costs.
4. Cities Grow Each TurnEdit
Even if starving, a city will never lose population except when building a settler, engineer, or army of slaves. You may want Aqueducts (and therefore Construction much sooner than usual (as soon as a city reaches size 7) unless there are useful things for new settlers or engineers to do, which is very likely; Sewer Systems similarly at size 11.
5. See EverythingEdit
See inside enemy cities and immediately see rare minerals and bonuses that usually await the discovery of Mass Production and Science. So no need for spy planes or MIR and little value in gliders and militia.
6. Nations Know Each OtherEdit
Instant contact with all nations - and they may all queue to be your friends initially, which will be great for technology swaps.
7. No Modern Resources NeededEdit
All seven for very short gameEdit
If you choose all seven manipulations, the game can be over by 3550 BC. On the first turn, the Settler starts a city and the Capital starts an Engineer, which then starts a third city. Space Port boosts some cities' production, but that's of little consequence; its main value is allowing an almost immediate start on the 12 items needed for the spaceship, which may be finished before other nations have more than a Habitation Module or two. AIs go for those modules, so you should start others and maybe try to capture some space ports if enemies are within bombing range.
Top four for short gameEdit
- See main article at Top four subpage.
A more interesting short game will result if you use only the first four items on the menu, so that nations need to access all three rare minerals and build with them (or capture suitable Space Ports) while fending off powerful units produced by rivals using future technologies. See some game reports at /Top four/Game_reports.
Build Space Port and MIR very early so that you know where to find the minerals and where your rivals' cities are. Build several cities early, because each can produce a military unit each turn (and if you switch to Fundamentalism you have no unit-support problems while the slower research is irrelevant). The standard AI seems not to understand this variant and builds few new cities and sometimes builds totally useless buildings such as factory and power plant On a large map with a high proportion of water (as described, for example, at Manipulation_(C-evo)/Top_four/Game_reports#230%, 10%) you may need sea transport to go further than passenger planes can; so then you may want a Dockyard or two. Building your own warships is probably poor value compared with carriers and strong bombers.
You can afford the Insane difficulty level because it has very little bearing on the game.
Nos 2, 3, and 4 for shortish gameEdit
If you have projects, research, and growth each turn, some AI nations may build nothing but Town Guards for 40 turns or more, but human players will build many cities so as to build more units per turn and better units. Avoid making peace with nations you are closest to, and build beside their borders so as to increase your territory.
- Game reports subpage