Presently England bit the dust at Joanie's hands. I feared France's economy would manage to surpass mine, with that entire southern continent under her control, but she was still a good three or so techs behind me, and killed her own efforts to catch up by buying from me a tech at full monopoly price whenever she got close.
But that wasn't the unwise choice. This was.
Out of nowhere. But they'd waited long enough, and I was ready. I'd built Civil Defenses in all the cities; no point in taking foolish risks there. I'd built a number of riflemen and upgraded them to infantry, as well as two dozen artillery. I'd also built a dozen Ansar Warriors back in their day, and now upgraded them to cavalry.
I signed alliances with Rome and France against the Ottomans, of course. I wanted to pull in Egypt, but she was at "never accept" for the alliance, because she and Osman had an MPP.
So I had to sign MPP with Egypt myself to get Cleo and Osman to fight each other instead of triggering Cleo to attack me. This was a bit risky, since if Egypt went to war with someone else I might auto-declare and dishonorably break a deal, but it's a chance I was willing to take.
And, oops! That wasn't supposed to happen! Rome attacked the Ottomans before the Ottomans got to attack me, triggering the Ottoman-Egypt MPP first. Then it was still Rome's turn and they attacked Egypt, triggering the Egypt-Arabia (me) MPP. That broke my alliance deal with Rome, which was a dastardly act; there went the bonus points for Honorable play in the Industrial Age and the full game, along with my in-game reputation.
At least my MPP with Egypt did trigger in the right direction with regards to the Ottomans, by them attacking me before I attacked anything in their territory. (Got all that? I thought so. Here's a visual.)
Well, we know what happens when you piss off T-hawk when he's got two dozen artillery.
And, get this - look at the research status in that picture. That's the WRONG time to go picking a fight with a civ. And with the Honorable points for the age already lost, I was free to raze any enemy cities I wished with the tanks.
One of the Ottoman cities actually flipped to me, after Egypt had captured it. I accepted the city as I'd done before, sold its improvements, kept the free infantry, and gave the city back to Egypt.
I razed all the Ottoman cities near me. I captured instead of razing Bursa, the city adjacent to Istanbul, to use the city's space to advance troops (mostly artillery) towards Istanbul a turn or two sooner, before abandoning Bursa at the end of the turn. I was satisfied with grabbing that advantage while remaining within the rules of the 5CC - but then realized that I actually ran afoul of the Throwaway Cities exploit (abandoning a city with active resistance.) Whoops, sorry about that; good thing this is a shadow game. But anyways, Istanbul soon fell.
Istanbul had been hanging in at position 5 on the Top Cities list, but a funny thing happened. The turn BEFORE I razed the Ottoman capital, it fell off the list to be replaced by Rome city. They were that close in culture, that bombarding out a couple of Istanbul's cultural buildings made Rome pass it.
The only problem with that rampage against the Ottomans was that it didn't result in any Great Leaders despite close to twenty elite victories. I wanted an army to get the Heroic Epic built for the culture, of course.
And I owe Caesar some MAJOR payback, for that ancient attack as well as killing my Honorable intentions.
So I decided to push on to Rome. This war was dastardly on my part, since we declared it. I actually decided to stop my own research for a few turns to keep myself in the Industrial Age and preserve the bonus points for Honorable play in the Modern Age. This did mean delaying the culture from Research Labs for a few turns, but so be it.
I signed Right of Passage with Egypt to get faster access to that Roman territory, since Cleo had already snapped up a couple of Rome's frontline cities.
And once again, even before I razed the enemy capital, it fell off the F11 list. Rome had dropped into anarchy before getting eliminated, and only one turn of that was enough for my Baghdad to pass Rome and give me a third entry into the top-5 cities list.
But I still didn't get any Great Leaders! That despite training five tanks up to elite against Pompeii and Antium and killing another two dozen Roman units with them. Looks like the cultural reckoning will happen without a contribution from the Heroic Epic.
Anyways, now I was able to enter the Modern Age. Here's a current shot of my cities. I took some of my units and blockaded all those empty squares that were outside my cultural borders to prevent anyone else from founding cities there, so I got to keep all the resources in the area for myself.
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