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State of the Empire

Pharsalos is the Forbidden Palace, and is prebuilding for one of the medieval 600-shield wonders which will start coming available soon. You can also see Rome's respawned city in the minimap, off to the east; I'll get there soon.

The Great Library completes, and gives me... Horseback Riding. That's it. Nothing else ever came from it. I realize belatedly I should've let England live a couple more turns; they and the Zulu had Mysticism. Oh well. (How often does it happen that you have to research Mysticism yourself when you have the Great Library?!)

Here's a look at my military:

As I said, archers and horses would be a waste of time. :) The way to go is swords, hoplites, and workers, all in roughly equal amounts. The worker population has just taken a lead, and will become more so over time now.

If you've read my reports, you might know how much I like to set up one city as a worker factory. Athens actually could do a worker every turn once we get out of despotism, but it's too powerful a city to allocate solely to that. Washington is a good choice with the flood plains, and already had been producing mostly settlers and workers; I now decide that Washington will be the permanent worker factory. It can do them every two turns right now, which is great.

The swords go marching on, with the Roman Swords Company regrouping and arriving at Antium. Here's a great example of Artificial Stupid tactics:

So, I've got three swordsmen about to eliminate your only city. What does Rome do? Sends out their legions - their best defensive unit - PAST my swords without even attacking them.

Those three swords waited for the fourth one that you see there, then captured the city, eliminating Rome.

Meanwhile, I decide to finally move on from all swordsmen, all the time, and have Athens start building horsemen instead. This was necessary to have the units actually reach the Zulu front lines sometime before the industrial age.

Also, I check diplomacy to see how many cities everyone has... India has no extra cities - the Zulu hold Bombay! Fine with me, and now I know our conquest of this island is finally coming to a close. There's about six cities to go.

After the top screenshot, I changed my mind and had Pharsalos swap over to the Great Wall, while Corinth built the Great Lighthouse (it's coastal). But lousy China had to foil that plan, by having Beijing complete the Great Lighthouse in 170 BC. Doh. Corinth swaps to the Palace and continues building for a 600-shield medieval wonder, while Pharsalos did indeed get the Great Wall (that's my second hand-built ancient wonder for 6 scenario points each.)

Various swords roll over more Zulu cities, autorazing most of the jungle settlements. Washington can barely crank out settlers fast enough to keep up with the freed land. I got no Great Leaders anytime against the Zulu, though.

I got my usual four swordsmen up to Zimbabwe, and attacked... and lost three of them. What the heck? That must've been a brutal RNG roll... or the city had walls. For any city other than the capital, you can see if it has walls by the city graphic. But the capital always uses the graphics for size 7-12 cities, which don't have walls in the picture (since cities lose wall effects and gain an intrinsic defense bonus at size 7), so you can't tell. I realize now this must have been what happened to me at Moscow way back in Epic Two.

So I wait another several turns, and pile up seven swordsmen and two horses, which are enough to take the city. The attack was still brutal on my units, confirming that the previous attack hadn't just been bad RNG luck.

So, with the Zulu almost gone, and India with only one city, the starting island is almost fully conquered. So it's just about time for Phase Two of my plan for the game. What craziness am I about to try?

There's a hint in the overview screenshot at the top of this page. And the first screenshot on the next page gives it away, so guess now...

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