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You know that scene in the movie The Godfather, where the Corleones set up and simultaneously execute hits on four other mob families?

Greece did that to me.

I had been cruising along, not paying a whole lot of attention to Greece's ships wandering around (boy did they build a lot of them.)

Simultaneously, Greece lands attackers by FOUR SEPARATE CITIES of mine worldwide. Three are on scattered islands, and have no more than one warrior each. One is on the east side of Middle Island. That one has two warriors, and holds long enough for me to abandon it rather than let it be captured. This all happened in 950 AD.

Should I go for Chivalry and make this war decisive (they're far from muskets), or plod along with swords until we can make peace? Hmm. Thebes must be building culture at all times, plus I don't want to halve the Chivalry research price for Greece. I decide on Music Theory now, so that Thebes can build Bach's, and to just fake my way through the war (I do have the Great Wall for the first time ever) until we can make peace.

Greece starts Magellan's! Hmm, that'd be really nice to have on this archipelago map. Thebes can't build it, of course. Byblos (the Forbidden Palace) can, and is in good shape. Greece is building in Thermopylae, which looks to have only about 10-12 shields. Byblos swaps to Palace to prebuild (it already had 5 turns towards something too) until I can get around to researching Navigation (it'll take a while). Thermopylae's got way too few shields to beat me to Bach's if it cascades.

I take Troy on Coal Island, and here's what the world looked like.

We would then skirmish back and forth in the jungles on Middle Island, and I slowly gain the upper hand. I consider peace, but Greece wants either Troy or Music Theory for it. Besides, in a mano-a-mano game, a peace treaty isn't worth the pixels it's printed on, and I'd rather keep Greece in trying-to-conduct-war mode while I continue building. Plus I wouldn't mind a Great Leader, though that looks unlikely.

1100 AD, and Thebes hits 4000 culture. I realize that Greece's current Magellan build will cascade to Leonardo, and finish faster than Thebes could get it after Bach's. My Byblos also wouldn't be able to catch up after finishing Magellan's, but it could build Leonardo's instead. With a choice between Leo or Magellan but not both, I decide on Magellan's. With it, Galleons will be able to sail port-to-port from Heliopolis on the main continent to Asyut on Middle Island. That'll be very important for any early-mid Industrial war.

Engineering next; it's the only half-price tech available. This feels quite weird, fighting with swordsmen with Navigation already discovered...

I try to attack Marathon, with seven swords, but the first three inflict a total of 2 damage, and two of the hoplites promoted. I'll circle the wagons, and wait for Cavalry. Then I decide that the swords are going to be useless if not used now, and give them a pep talk worthy of Vince Lombardi. The next three swords all win, and Marathon is mine! But I abandon it - it's under too much cultural pressure and too vulnerable.

Interlude: A game of chess

A curious little sequence of events develops on the east side of Middle Island.

Greece moves a sword (we'll call it Sam) up next to Avaris. Avaris is defended by a pike and a sword. If Sam attacks, it may beat the pike, but will be damaged enough for my sword to kill it.

Meanwhile, a hoplite ("Harry") and settler land on the south shore. I send a different sword to try and kill them - it drops Harry to 1 hp but misses killing it.

Then both Sam and Harry fortify. The sword in Avaris can reach Harry, but risking a size-4 city isn't worth it to kill a settler.

Once Harry fully heals and moves away, THEN Sam attacks the city (and loses.) But that was an interesting little chess match. I'm convinced it proves the AI knows what units are in a city even when it shouldn't be able to see them. And it shows at least some ability to coordinate movements between units. Interesting.

A few tuns later, Greece lands - whoa, forgot about these - a Longbowman next to Avaris, with a hoplite on top of it. I've got to make peace, then - don't want to risk losing Avaris (with the hoplite there, the sword can't counterattack the longbow.) I take a last shot with everything I've got - fall one sword short of taking Megara, but the Avaris sword tracks down and kills Harry and his city (surprisingly - it was fortified on a hill).

Greece will pay 38 + 2/turn for peace, and I take it. Also, I sell them Music Theory for 11/turn - they can't possibly build Bach's (which they of course immediately begin building.) They still control far more land than me, but I just don't have the military to take any of theirs. Greece and I would each found one city to reclaim the empty space on Middle Island.

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