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Adventure Forty-seven: Starfall

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The espionage economy kept trucking along during the war, eventually stealing Nationalism and Constitution from Pacal. JAILS JAILS JAILS - the best economic multiplier per hammer in existence, especially when multiplying with already built Intelligence Agencies. I also got the Taj Mahal actually uncontested. Pacal never started it. I had a spy ready to sabotage his Marble, but wasn't needed. And I adopted Nationhood immediately and never left it.

I was actually finally progressing more spies to Pacal than I needed techs to steal. That state was also helped by a couple of my nearer neighbors (Greece and Khmer) also each getting a stealable tech or two. So I also did this to Pacal:

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Usually the Steal Treasury mission isn't worth it. The conversion ratio of 3 EP to 1 gold is just too inefficient. But here it does work out to a net positive for me. With +100% EP everywhere (+200% in my Bureau capital with Scotland Yard) but lower gold multipliers, I can convert that 273 gold directly back into more than 335 EP. And it subtracts from Pacal of course. I ran a total of about ten treasury steals throughout the game.

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Ha! You got it, game!

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I found this hilarious for no particular reason. He's going to start a war over bananas? Fine, you can have them!

Then the war horns sounded again!

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And Saladin researched straight to Rifling! For once Saladin beelining Rifling turned in my favor! Mehmed did NOT; he did get Mil Trad, but lacks even Printing Press on the way to rifles. This makes my next plan clear: a drafted rifle conquest of the Ottomans.

Along the way to that, I built West Point in Memphis my Heroic Epic city. Usually that move isn't worthwhile, in favor of just building half-price units instead. But here it is.
1) It's as cheap as it ever gets, with Stone and Industrious.
2) I got the tech early, before my target units are available. So its opportunity cost is less as compared to state-of-the-art units.
3) There is a long enough way to go for it to matter. I'm not just in the mop-up phase.
4) The utility of the 4 XP is as high as it ever gets. Memphis is at 7 XP with two generals, so West Point boosts units from 7 XP to 11 for that all-important City Raider 3 promo on siege.

And fortunately, Commander Horus had made sure to reach exactly 26 XP to qualify for West Point.

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Here we are. I have tons of surplus economy. Stealing is so gobsmackingly more efficient than researching. Literally by a factor of FIVE. I could research a tech in about 10 turns, or accumulate the EP to steal it in 2. The mathematics have been covered before so I won't harp on them. So once I've stolen everything in sight, where does my economy go? Cash. I have built (mostly Kremwhipped) a decent set of cash multiplier buildings too. Yes, that's 3000 in the bank, and that's after upgrading those dozen rifles. What do I do with the cash? Upgrade upgrade upgrade. I built macemen, gave them City Raider promotions (Theocracy supplying the second promo), then upgraded them to rifles. That loophole works until you learn Military Science to enable grenadiers and obsolete maces.

I'd been targeting a war of rifles and cannons, but as you see there moved in with catapult and trebuchet siege support instead. Researching Steel myself would be horribly inefficient, and nobody else seemed to want to. I had to jump now with rifles alone on Mehmed's weakness: his army was still over fighting Pacal, and he was nowhere near rifles of his own (still lacked PPress.)

There's also another thing I can do with my gold.

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Pay Sury to join me. I don't much need his military support, I'll kill Mehmed before Sury gets there. This is to cover my flank. Sury is leading the power graph, and he dropped out of Friendly when I gave up Org Rel for Theocracy. If he backstabs, I'm in deep crap. 2000 gold for ironclad security and mutual-struggle points up to friendly is a bargain. Actually it was only 1500, since I begged for 500 of it back "could you spare this for a good friend?".

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I cracked Mehmed's capital in surprisingly short order, and rolled over the rest of his cities. Now I had to get over to that island to finish him off, but still lacked a southern port city. So whip a settler (the Kremlin still operating on that) and found this city of Byblos here, in order to cash rush galleons.

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And of course I must report a tactical trick. There's my first conquest on the island, which spawned my Great General in Memphis. He could immediately attach to the newly-produced cavalry in Memphis, take up to Medic III promotions, move to Byblos this turn, load onto a boat, and sail straight into Bursa this very same turn in order to heal my stack outside the city.

And as I wound down the Ottoman war, Pacal gave me exactly what I needed to make for his demise as well.

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