Six turns later, my city is ready to rock with a barracks, two trebuchets, and two javelin throwers. I actually disbanded a few of the mounting pile of ancient cavalry to speed some of that construction.
For the next several turns, I kept building a pile of trebuchets, which easily tore apart incoming swordsmen and medieval infantry for my javelin throwers to slaughter. I picked up three enslaved workers on my first five javelin attacks - nice. I renamed them all with Shift-N as I got them; identifying them among other workers would've been impossible otherwise. The enslaved workers were used to build improvements until they were ready to settle.
But I ran into a problem when trying to turn my defense into offense and take cities: the Swiss Mercenaries. I had a neural misfire and was thinking they came at Invention, but no, they're already here at Feudalism. To make this problem worse, the Dutch just completed Sun Tzu's, which let them upgrade everything to the mercs, including right there in Haarlem before I could set up my full stack to attack it.
I settled for peace with the Dutch as soon as I could, getting 200 gold for it. I'd gotten three slaves from their trickle attacks, but no *land* to go found more cities. So then, the very same turn, I declared war on Carthage, and tossed Invention (thank you Great Library) to both China and Germany for alliances. Then a couple turns later, Monotheism came in, and I tossed that to the Netherlands to bring them in as well.
This was my original plan - to let the AIs bring weak cities to me instead of needing to attack strong core cities with the weakish javelin throwers. My stack of six trebuchets was usually enough to get a pair of regular Numidian defenders to red-line or nearly so, and way out here in the Carthaginian boondocks there were no counterattacking units to speak of. The change that bombardment units always attack units in cities definitely makes them too powerful; it takes about six trebuchets to carve through an entire civ with minimal losses, and they're also powerful with defensive fire against attacking units.
But presently I ran into another problem: I couldn't build any more javelins! Invention changes the build order to longbows instead. Stupid Great Library. I had built a grand total of two javelin warriors out of Chichen, and that's all I'd ever have. One was only regular, too. But the two I had, backed up by six each of trebuchets and ancient cavalry, were enough to keep dealing some damage to Carthage.
Carthage bought Rome into alliance against me; this was phony for a while, but then Rome showed up with a stack of about 8 MDIs. I didn't have the firepower to deal with that, so I had to pay 14 gold/turn for peace to that extortionist.
Anyway, with some Carthaginian cities razed, space was cleared for me to begin founding my own cities, which grew in size and power very quickly. All working in concert were the Pyramids, the Agricultural trait, and the variant rule that effectively starts them at size 2. The Hanging Gardens helped too, and the Statue of Zeus kept letting the cities just build infrastructure and workers without worrying about military.
Unfortunately, I lost my elite Javelin around this time. It attacked an exposed Carthaginian unit, and won, but found itself next to a roaded square through which came a Carthaginian MDI to kill it.
A *stack* of Carthaginian MDI, that is.
I've still got four turns of alliance left with the Dutch, so I really don't want to make peace. By the time that stack reaches the city, it will have walls rushed. I've got a total of six trebuchets, about five ancient cavs, and my one javelin that can participate in this battle. Will that be enough?
Yes. My trebuchets had cut down four of the regular MDI to 2/3 hitpoints, and the computer decided to have most of the all the damaged units retreat instead of attacking. By the next turn, I'd rushed a longbow there in Copan, and the Statue of Zeus had just put out another cav, and I was safe. THEN it finally occurred to me to give Right of Passage to the Netherlands to help their units get there and fend off the rest of that stack.
I did, however, lose my last javelin in that fight. So these six cities will be all I'll ever have, but I think they're enough. Five is the critical number for things like Wall Street of course. The next critical number would be ten cities, for the Forbidden Palace, but that wouldn't be in the cards this game.
Bonampak was founded directly on the ruins of a Carthaginian city. It would certainly develop slower than if I'd founded it closer to some open space, but I figured the AI knew what it was doing in beelining for a resource there. I'll lay two to one that that city's got coal, which I'll definitely need.
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