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That's the song I hear...
  Let the world sing today...

But when I asked, France withdrew.

france-stack.jpg 674x618

And, er, maybe that wasn't the best idea, since it just reassembled their entire SoD for them.

Well, I surrounded that city so that the SoD had to walk back into my territory to get anywhere. Next turn I demanded withdrawal again...

france-war.jpg 623x503

and this time France did declare war.

My military was barely adequate: about a dozen each of cavalry, infantry, and artillery, plus assorted leftover MDI, Ancient Cavs, and Crusaders. It was enough to fend off France's SoD without significant losses, and once I got two cavalry armies going (one from a GL, one from the Academy), my losses became almost nil.

At least until this happened: turkey-france-ally.jpg 374x151

THAT I did not need. Three Turkish Sipahi immediately charged up to Istanbul and attacked it. All won, but fortunately my city was full of junk leftover units and I didn't lose it. (Not that I would've really minded losing it to the last-place Turks, actually, but it would've cut off my access to French territory until I could sign peace and an RoP.)

I made peace with the Turks as soon as I could, but then the dogs kept piling on.

prussia-alliance.jpg 374x170

I still didn't want to sign anyone to alliances, lest the French get the upper hand and take territory from an ally, but finally I realized how to stop the dogpiles. I gifted techs until everyone was at parity with France, and also signed embargoes with everyone against France. With France no longer able to offer much of value to anyone for alliances, the piling finally stopped.

At least for a while. The same turn that France got Refining, she traded it to the Dutch.

dutch-alliance.jpg 373x172

Fortunately, I had kept units in my cities on the Dutch border just in case. I didn't have any problems on this front and once again made peace ASAP.

wars-1355ad.jpg 506x497

Lots of wars, but I'm pretty much in control of what's going on now. The lesser civs are helping themselves, and the top three besides me have all been beaten down.

And this is the craziest pile of embargoes I've ever seen:

embargos.jpg 507x503

Anyway, I started honorably attacking and capturing French cities, using usual artillery tactics, with a couple cavalry armies to deliver the punch. Doing this helped the game balance overall; even though the captured cities were raising my score, they provided less territory and happy population for me than they were for France, resulting in a net subtraction from the total score of the upper-half civs.

paris.jpg 655x504

Eventually I pushed through and captured Paris, and now it was time to try and get the two trailing civs to help themselves. With France's back broken, I signed up the Turks and Spanish to alliances to see if they could capture some French cities themselves to help their score. I also gave some Saltpeter to Spain so they could build cavalry.

Turkey was otherwise occupied, though, with a Prussian war. I also had to run blockading to keep _them_ apart.

blockade.jpg 479x536

Spain, however, eventually managed to capture several French cities, with aid of my artillery keeping the cities redlined.

france-aftermath.jpg 950x563

France's score was now dropping fairly rapidly, and looked like it'd be right in the middle of the pack by the end of the game, just as I wanted it. I blockaded France's last city, but remaining honorable in that blockade required me to stay at war with France (else it'd be a dastardly neutral-territory cross-continent blockade.)

france-blockade.jpg 358x518

And that meant continuing to eat maximum war weariness until Spain and France made peace. Even with that, I was still fine at 0% luxuries, thanks to having 6 luxury resources of my own plus both Bach's and Sistine which was captured from France.

So researching and blockading continued, and presently I reached the Modern Age.

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