And hey, playing Rome without using the Praetorians is like going to Las Vegas without gambling. So I declare the war to get the first strike on my terms, and easily raze Seville and its defending archers with those six praetorians, losing none and grabbing those forest tiles and stone for my military factory.
Isabella somehow comes up with a stack of three chariots out of her tundra backwater down south and sends them towards Cumae, but two spearmen from a whip and an upgraded warror deal with that. And so I march a stack of eight Praets and a spearman towards Madrid. But the stack gets whittled to six by counterattacking axemen by the time it gets there (first time I've seen the AI competently counterattack at all), and Isabella manages to get a longbow in the city just in time...
and my army falls short. Praetorians sure are strong, but without siege backup they don't beat longbowmen in a hilltop city. So there was nothing to do but sign peace, taking Izzy's cash and map.
Liberalism came in, though I actually held off on the Free Speech switch until I could double-up with the Representation civic swap as well. Liberalism granted Nationalism for free. Despite mostly ignoring military techs, I suddenly found myself surprisingly close to Cavalry, only two techs away... but I still hadn't *seen* any Horses, let alone acquired any, so never mind that plan.
At this time, Divine Right was still unresearched and Islam unfounded, even though most of the world had had the prerequisites for quite some time. I took the gamble and got it, so that's four religions founded by me. Three of them picked Antium as their holy city, which means that city's surely getting Wall Street whenever I get around to it.
Hey, popped another one! Right there, by the triple holy city!
Next up is Constitution, with the Taj Mahal coming presently as well (though I held off on its completion for a couple turns until emerging from the anarchy from Representation & Free Speech.) Great Scientist #4 popped from Rome and completed the academy trilogy in the three cultured cities.
I got Notre Dame in the southern city, which then ordered up the Hermitage as it's now the cultural laggard, as Rome had four ancient wonders and Antium was now churning out medieval and renaissance projects. There's a debate regarding cultural victories as to whether Hermitage should go in the strongest city for the largest bonus, or in the weakest to keep it on par with the other two. I think the answer is to put it in the strongest, IF you have a strong and reliable Great Artist producer to supply Great Works for the trailing city. I didn't, so I gave Hermitage to the laggard.
Printing Press came next for the commerce, then Democracy as the Statue of Liberty would play very nicely with the Sistine Chapel. Antium and all its hills was a shield monster that kept cranking out wonders: Hanging Gardens, Angkor Wat, Statue of Liberty, all with the proper bonus resource (thank $DEITY for that copper pop!) Bismarck remained a good friend the whole time - he'd picked Izzy as his worst enemy too which is fine with me - and also gave me props for running his favorite civic Representation.
I held off on the Emancipation revolt until I could double-up on a switch to Mercantilism as well. This situation clearly favored Mercantilism over Free Market. The trade routes were hardly worth anything on this map since there's no sea cities, and it'd deny as many trade routes to my rivals as to myself; I'm happy to slow the global economic pace. Finally, I've already got a lead of 10 techs on the rest of the
globe rectangle anyway so I don't really care about losing a bit of commerce.
But the important aspect of Mercantilism isn't the drawback, it's the free specialists, all boosted by Angkor Wat, Sistine Chapel, Representation, and the Parthenon. The Great Merchant from Economics settled in Antium, and a third regular Great Artist settled in Cumae. It's still early enough that the long-term production is better than the immediate payoffs, especially with the above mentioned boosts all in play for the super specialists. Cumae had much less wonder-building power than the other two cultural cities, so it got the Great Artist settlements.
Hey, popped another one!
So I kept researching through the Renaissance era techs, building temples and cathedrals. I offloaded most of the missionary work to the "outsider" city Neapolis. Neapolis also got the Heroic Epic and kept producing a few of each new military unit as they came available. Great Artist #4 popped while I did that, and settled in Cumae along with the first three. I also got a third Great Prophet a bit later who built Antium's third religious shrine. And it was finally time to cram in two more cities somewhere so that I could build all six temples and three cathedrals for each religion. "Somewhere" turned out to be in the north, with the western one on the site of a barbarian city that I'd tried to capture but to which Germany beat me by two turns, razing it.
Yes, that screenshot says that Isabella had just declared war on me.
Presently, Isabella declares war again, which is not at all unexpected. But this time we're way ahead in technology, so that's the last insolence we'll brook from her. Germany will join me for flipping him a useless tech (Divine Right.) But take a look at the techs that I can offer him -- that's actually only about a four-tech lead now. I had to leave off Corporation research to go for Rifling instead to make sure I'd win this war decisively.
And Bismarck wastes no time in helping me! Four turns after the war declaration, he's already captured a city. He must have been building quite a pile of soldiers with nowhere to put them until now.
I assemble a stack of catapults and two hot-off-the-presses riflemen, and take Spain's first city. This time, I think it's a keeper, as the spacing with Neapolis is better than Spain's previous city in the area. And it's got Buddhism.
And my stack of three catapults, four riflemen, and assorted other renaissance-era units finally captures Madrid. Praetorians may not beat longbows, but rifles sure do. Madrid is also a keeper, allowing me access to Judaism, and also comes with the Buddhist shrine.
Steam Power reveals that we have no coal here, but there's some down south:
Well, that's proof the the AIs don't beeline for coal in 3000 BC anymore. The location of Salamanca there held some draw for the AI -- there was a barbarian city there, and Spain later resettled on the same spot -- but I couldn't figure out why when there was plenty of better empty grassland just a couple tiles north.
As I'm ready to attack the next city, I encountered some surprising competition -- not from Spain, but from Germany! Bismarck was tearing apart Spain from the west as fast as I was from the east. But Bismarck is still an AI: the next turn, his stack is gone from there, and half the units in Barcelona are damaged. And the stupid part was that Bismarck had another stack of four units just one turn behind. So is this stupidity on the AI's part to attack a city with clearly insufficient force before assembling its stack, or actually intelligence in taking its potshot now, knowing its reinforcements wouldn't get there in time before the city fell to me instead?
Anyway, I did take Barcelona, and the rest was just mop-up work. I razed the two Spanish cities in the tundra with a few more rifles, and replaced them with a single settler of my own in a spot to secure the coal. With Isabella down to one city, I signed peace to extract her spare change and let Bismarck finish the job.
By the way, Mercantilism + Statue of Liberty + Sistine Chapel + Free Speech = a free border expansion for any new acquisition, in just 2 turns!
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