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Moscow, the Fourth Kolumn

So I declare war and that stack goes to crush Moscow. I thought I'd brought overwhelming force, but Moscow proved a tougher nut than I'd anticipated. It's got four archers (I'd expected three) and is on a hill, so my CR2 C1 macemen just barely have the advantage over the archers at about 65%. And the RNG kills off my first two attackers. mad.gif 16x16 The Phalanx has to get into the act, killing off one damaged archer, but the city holds.

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Well, just for a moment.

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See, here's one gameplay change that I quite like from Civ 3. Cities no longer heal units instantly if a turn elapses. That means you can actually come up short against a city one turn, but complete the conquest a turn or two later. That was quite the rarity in Civ 3, as the defenders would heal instantly while the surviving attackers would all be damaged. The mechanic of slower healing greatly helps reduce the discreteness and gameyness of the turn-based system regarding city combat. Very nice.

And I would dearly love to keep this city -- it's got the Pyramids! -- but sadly, our variant rules prevent that. It gets razed, and replaced with the settler I'd brought along. My northside galley had given us a view of the island (incredibly small - thank you Sirian for not starting us here!), which showed us that we had a choice of where to put the replacement. Back on the original square would keep access to those two hamlets, while moving NW would give the city access to all three ivory instead of just one. So the question is whether for this replacement city to be oriented for commerce or production. I'll go for production, since we'll need to continue building ships and military out of this location for quite some time to come.

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The macemen healed and continued on to St Petersburg on an island west of Moscow, and that's all she wrote for the Russians.

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In conquering Russia, I naturally got a unit to 10 XP, and that meant it was time to research to Literature and build the Heroic Epic in my capital. This was a no-brainer; no other city had a hammer count worthy of the wonder at all.

By the way, here's where we are on the tech front:

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I'm up at Civil Service and Optics, and the only meaningful tech I'm missing that anyone else has is Currency. Also with Optics, I built about five caravels that went exploring everywhere, to map out my targets.

So the Russian-slayers healed, and picked up one more boatful of reinforcements from home. Now it was time to declare on Spain, the next target in line as it's right next to ex-Russia.

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I easily razed one Spanish outpost, and my galleys peered ahead to find another target.

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In a word: HOLYCRAP! And just in case I didn't get the message yet:

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OK, OK. No progress here until we get catapults. I started research on Construction.

Isabella decides to make my job easier by sailing four of those archers over for an "attack" on Moscow Corinth. I easily dispatch that with no losses.

It takes me some time, but eventually I get boatloads totalling four macemen and four catapults over here to Madrid. The first load has two maces and two catapults; those cats promote to Accuracy and spend two turns removing the city defenses. Then the City Raider 3 macemen begin peeling archers off the top at 95% odds, while the rookie macemen wait their turn. When all four catapults have landed and are available, two promote to Barrage 2 and suicide, dealing enough damage that the other two catapults can actually win their attacks while dealing collateral.

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That's a sum total of two catapults lost to kill off a dozen enemy archers. Barcelona falls in turn as well, with only one catapult loss.

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Spain still had one city left somewhere -- I had no idea where -- so I'd have to sign peace now to take her world map and clean that up later.

Next question is whether to replace the cities on Spain's homeland with one city or two. Replacing Madrid was a no-brainer (spices, cow, wheat), but replacing Barcelona would only get me Stone. And that would fill up my sixth city slot; I'd like to save that for somewhere with more resources.

(Sometime, I must play a tiny islands archipelago without the city restrictions. With an Organized civ and just spam fishermen all over the place. Beeline to State Property to handle the distance maintenance, and use workshops for shields.)

I hadn't been intentionally trying for a Leader at this time, but the slow drip of GPP from the Oracle in Sparta with an occasional auto-assigned specialist did spawn Leader Five as a Prophet in 1250 AD. Well, I'm most certainly not lightbulbing Divine Right, so he went ahead for the Confucian shrine. The religion did randomly spread to a few cities here and there, so may as well take the 7/turn cash for it.

Anyway, what next? Well, India, obviously. He's near the current location of my army, and he's the GNP leader, but he doesn't yet have longbowmen. So in an effort to forestall the appearance of those, I took his 130 cash by selling him my map, and also got 140 cash each from Washington and Mansa.

On the research front, I'd gotten Astronomy and now had plenty of galleons. Now it was time to get on up to Chemistry, starting with Engineering presently, due in 6 turns at -44/turn. Athens and Thermopylae went for Castles in order to qualify for the university and observatory. I'd go after India with my current array of troops (about eight each catapults and macemen) while the home cities teched up to Grenadiers.

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Just as I'm moving into place for the next invasion, Gandhi comes up with Feudalism after all. Well, hopefully my cash steal will slow down his longbow upgrading enough that I'll only have to face a few. This is Prince difficulty, where the AIs don't quite get an entirely free pass on unit upgrades.

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I got to Bombay and razed it with macemen before any defending longbows appeared. I *really* wanted to keep it to create a canal so my boats could sail the troops on to Delhi faster, but that's still yet verboten in the variant.

I would replace Bombay with a settler shortly later, which would be my sixth city, grabbing the wines and gold (I forgot that I already had gold back on the home island.) And after I did that, I realized that my choice of city locations had one collective serious mistake: no Iron. Oh well, catapults are almost as good as cannons anyway.

And I arrived at Delhi, with this stack:

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Looks like I'm just in time, with the city still having managed only one longbow on defense. My catapults had actually arrived two turns ahead on an earlier boat to start bombarding, so the city's defense was down to 0 for the attack. One suicide catapult knocked the single longbow down to half-strength, and then every attacker was in the 95% odds range and suffered no further losses. (See, _sometimes_ the RNG works right and doesn't kill 95% odds attackers. crazyeyes.gif 15x15)

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For the next city, Madras, I loaded the catapults back onto a boat and dropped them off next to the city to bombard while the stack of attackers healed. Then the attackers also came over by boat, since they could get there in two turns by sea rather than four turns by land. With Galleons and the circumnavigation bonus, the armies could move around by ship significantly faster than by land. I think I'm channeling some long-lost Viking ancestors.viking.gif 23x24

Madras fell, and the navy (YOU CAN SAIL THE SEVEN SEAS! -- sorry splat.gif 47x39) sailed along to Lahore.

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And look at Bangalore here:

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Come on, if you're going to defend your cities like _that_, I really WILL be a Viking and attack straight off the boat.

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And in 1510 AD, my marauders take out India's last island outpost.

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