You might have noticed that I haven't mentioned anything about buying or researching technologies lately. That's because I haven't been. And that's because I've been planning on this:
Believe it or not, that's the first time I've ever gotten to capture the Great Library. OK, I didn't really need it in this game, but I'll certainly enjoy the seven free techs.
Other than that, I didn't capture any more Prussian cities. It wouldn't help the Balance, as such cities would raise my own score just as much as they'd reduce Prussia's. What I needed was to reduce Prussia's score without raising my own, and the way to do that was to pillage every square of their territory clean down to bedrock. It'd take time for the population loss and stunted growth to be seriously reflected in their game score, but it inevitably was.
Meanwhile, back at home, I was putting the other half of my plan into effect:
The vast surplus of workers pumped out by London started the great Irrigation Across Turkey project. Most of the Turkish cities were hanging around sizes 6 to 8. My engineering corps force-fed the buggers up to some nice fat size-12 cities, which over time helped their score significantly.
I had discovered, though, that for some bizarre reason you can't clear jungles in another civ's territory. Why in the world is that so?! I'm trying to HELP them! If anything, irrigating over their mines and reducing their shield productivity should be disallowed by the game, but you can do that just fine.
So I had to take a roundabout way to get the Turks to clear their jungle. I gifted them about 20 workers and hoped they'd put them to good use.
I also shipped workers over to Spain, who was in second-to-last place, to irrigate their land as well.
Now RUSSIA declares war. What did I *do* to tick off all these people? Well, that declaration is certainly fine with me! Russia's now the leader in score after myself, and definitely need some taking down. I now know I can certainly go through the entire game Honorably.
And with that development, it's finally time to make peace with Prussia so that I can send my army down to Russia instead. Prussia's cumulative score is still in the top four, but their rate of growth has been greatly beaten down. With the pillaging, their capital and most of their cities have dropped to size 3 and it'll take them a long time to rebuild. In the end, it turned out that I was actually slightly too hard on Prussia here, as their score dropped into the bottom half by 100 points or so. But considering the difficulty of accurately projecting score over that kind of time, I think I judged my beatdown on Prussia fairly well.
The Ancient Cavs and some newly-built Knights redirected from Prussia over to Russia, and repeated the previous plan, stripping Russian territory bare. Some Crusaders also joined in; I'd built Knights Templar in another city (not York), mostly for denial.
Leader #3 popped during this war as well, and formed a Knight army to turbocharge the pillaging operation.
Ungrateful bastards. Well, I just made peace with the Turks as soon as I could and returned to the irrigation project.
And just as I did with Prussia, I captured an important wonder from Russia. This would be my only city capture in this war. Novgorod also had silks, which helped me keep the world balanced; I gifted those silks to the Ottomans and then imported more for myself from somewhere.
In 550 AD, war weariness showed up which meant it was time to stop beating down Russia. I'd pillaged all their territory and captured that Hanging Gardens city, so it'll take them a while to recover. Turned out in the long run that I'd been slightly easier on Russia than I should've been; their score would remain in third place behind myself and France the entire game. I should've pushed on and captured Moscow, which would've further damaged their ability to rebuild, especially without Moscow's two Wines that I could've then redistributed to more needy civs. Oh well.
I researched Music Theory and built Bach's in my wonder city. Bach's and the HG provided my cities enough happiness that I had the flexibility to give away my only copies of some luxuries to help the laggards. Spain got most of that; the Turks always seemed to already have the luxuries that I did.
York built Magellan's next, because it was the only wonder available, and also because it was my easiest route to a Golden Age.
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