I could keep handing other civs red flags to wave at the Dutch bull. But I knew I'd have to take on the beast sometime.
Those numbers are getting a bit too high for comfort - it surely wouldn't do to lose by domination. And right now is the time. Right now, the Dutch army is still far afield over by the ruins of Carthage, and I can sign Rome to alliance to let each of them bear the brunt of the other's force. And right now, Holland just got Nationalism but hasn't yet upgraded their defenders (Swiss Mercs are expensive to upgrade) so maybe I can even knock out a couple border cities.
My military is still running on little more than cardboard. I've got ten each of trebuchets and ancient cavalry, but only a couple of new saltpeter-based units (since I'd sold my saltpeter for a while.) And I can't build any more cavs since I'll lose my imported horses if I go to war.
With the greatest trepidation I've ever had in a game of Civ 3, I demanded William withdraw from my territory.
Well, here we go. Rome cost 30 gold/turn for the alliance and Germany cost Theory of Gravity.
Before doing that, I did set all the cities I could to start building cavalry. I'd gotten two built, and queued up four more before losing the horses.
I also still had my ancient-cav army, and right away I razed that Dutch blight that I'd been waiting on forever to flip to me. This got me that Iron and Dyes (my cities' borders were large enough to grab them).
Fending off Dutch units was dicey for a bit, with only three real cavalry and a handful of scattered trebuchets to fend off the attackers. The star of the show here was the Ancient Cavalry army, which was very powerful in knocking incoming units off of high ground, and had plenty of maneuverability to get to wherever it was needed.
For the first time ever, I got to do some serious use of Explorers for pillaging. This is the first time I've ever had to declare war on a civ just to take them down a peg. War plans usually involve acquiring territory, and for that I'd rather leave the resources connected so I can use them. Never before have I intentionally gone to battle with intentions of a prolonged war but not the force to take any territory. But it's true here, and the Explorers would prove invaluable for pillaging.
At the beginning of this war, the Dutch had FOUR saltpeter resources connected in their territory, around the continent. My explorers got them ALL, in addition to their only coal, two horses, and about five different instances of luxuries. The AI is really bad at counterattacking explorers; it doesn't think to use garrison units to capture them, so explorers can often sneak by for several turns unbothered.
One explorer even made it all the way over to safety in Roman territory on the far side. He would hide there while Dutch workers hooked up that saltpeter there, then pop out and pillage it again. He did that twice before he finally got caught.
That meant I was seeing incoming Dutch knights and MDI instead of cavalry, which were of course much easier to fight off. Those explorers seriously made the difference in whether I was to win or lose this war!
Naturally, I researched Steam Power, and railroads let me merge my dozen scattered trebuchets into a single stack. We know there's nothing that spells trouble for the computer players quite like a concentrated stack of artillery.
Just as I predicted, there was coal right there at Bonampak. :) Surprisingly, Germany was able to pay me full cash price to the tune of 95 gold/turn for Steam Power, which I took, and also traded it to Rome for Medicine. That cash would let me slam research to 100% and keep it there for a while.
Next research was a tough call. Nationalism for rifles was very attractive, but so were Industrialization for factories or a beeline to Replaceable Parts for both workers and military. I decided there was no substitute for a strong, immediate military defense, and went for Nationalism. The Dutch already had it too, cheapening my research slightly.
Oh, and about 10 turns after the war started, it finally dawned on me that I could upgrade my trebuchets to cannons.
While the other cities built whatever military they could, Chichen kept building. I used the Military Academy to prebuild for whatever might become available, then noticed Bach's still hadn't been completed when the prebuild reached 400 shields.
Despite the AIs starting Newton's at the same time I did, and cascading to Bach's from there, my city completed the 1000 shields for both wonders before any AI city reached 480 shields for Bach's alone. The Super-Size Shakespeare really is powerful for helping pick up other middle ages wonders.
And once I had a factory and coal plant built in Chichen Itza, and the city fully railroaded, it was a peerless powerhouse. Cascade continued from Bach's through to Smith's, but Chichen was ready and built that in record time too.
Presently, the Dutch AI came up with either a spectacularly intelligent or amazingly random move.
They blockaded my only harbor! Killed my trade route with Rome and destroyed my reputation! Wow! Was that total luck on where those boats ended up, or can the AI actually coordinate that?!
Other than that, the Dutch couldn't do any damage to me. They were well into trickle mode (had been since the start of the war, really), and my cannons and cavalry ripped apart everything. I was now taking the lead in research.
I also started bombarding and razing border cities, when possible. I razed that one in the north, and used one of the ensuing workers to plant a colony on the horses so I could again build cavalry.
I left the city of Haarlem there for a while, hoping to get it to flip (my national culture is still ahead of the Dutch), but after a Dutch cavalry charge came one rifleman hit-point short of capturing Copan, I decided to end the sneak attacks coming from it.
Other than Haarlem, all the cities that I had cultural pressure on, I left alone in hopes they'd flip later. I struck out at a few cities farther away from my border to help cripple the Dutch, including the only Dutch city with a harbor north of my territory, cutting off their resource links between their central and western sections. I eventually got a second Great Leader who rushed the Military Academy.
Presently Rome made peace with the Dutch, at the same time war weariness showed up for me. Well, my limited economy can't handle a drag from the peaceniks. Since my rep was already trashed, I decided to pull a really dastardly move. I paid Rome gold/turn for a new alliance immediately before making peace with the Dutch myself.
You can't really tell from this shot, but I have cultural pressure on all the Dutch cities to the north plus Lauwersoog. I kept hoping one would flip and get me an extra city, but it never happened.
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