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Adventure Forty-seven: Starfall

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Presently I finished wiping out Mehmed on the island. Hey, I never knew this: Once a civ is eliminated, its culture does not count towards the drafting restriction that the city must be at least 10% yours. So all the former Ottoman cities instantly became eligible for drafting. I did so.

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I had known Steel was coming by way of research visibility, and had my Heroic Epic city building City Raider 3 trebuchets in preparation for upgrading.

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Time to blast out the runaway tech leader. RNG antics aside (that's consecutive cannon losses at 95.7% and 94.3%, or a combined chance of 1/407), those cannons beat down the Inca as they always do.

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But then -

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I thought they patched that out? Pacal vassalized to Mao, which immediately put Mao at war with me. What the heck, game? Yes, the trigger was the vassaling - Mao did not visit to speak the "Now you die" confrontation, and didn't have a sneak attack stack at the ready.

But by now, I had more than enough army to finish conquering the Maya, so turned all my newly production units towards defending against China instead. Also I popped the 1-man Golden Age now. A Spiritual leader doesn't need to time it with civic swaps. If there's ever a time I simply need a tile boost, this is it.

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An overview. I'm paying over 100 unit costs now, and own an empire mostly weak in economy (my conquered lands are oddly chock-full of workshops but with almost no cottages), but thanks to State Property, still breaking even at 60% cash leaving 40% for espionage. I temporarily fell behind by a few techs (Medicine, Combustion), saving up to grab Assembly Line as soon as Sury got it.

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And here's the power graph, showing that I finally took the lead. Can you spot where I adopted Nationhood and learned Rifling?

The plan from here is clear. Domination victory. Suryavarman is still Friendly thanks to religion (he founded Islam and switched to it a couple times but I spy-bonked him right back into Hinduism), so I'm avoiding him. Rather, I will vassalize Mao, Pericles, and Saladin in turn until I'm over the top. I continued building nothing but units out of almost every city, also aggressively drafting Infantry now, plus whipping some units (mostly siege) with the Kremlin still helping there. I ignored Emancipation anger, going a couple clicks on the culture slider when necessary, but more often spy-bonking civs out of Emancipation to avoid that.

My next Great Person came from Thebes's mixed pool at low 7% odds as a Great Merchant, which was perfect. I sent him to an island Greek city to cash for 3000 gold, timed perfectly with the Assembly Line steal for a massive upgrade of rifles to infantry. I also stole Railroad (several turns late after an annoying string of failures at 78%, 78%, and 97%) to consolidate all my units from the Maya front over at China.

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That happened just as China brought an attack stack up to the border city, and that's the final turning point. It's over now.

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I used Sury's friendly culture for mobility to reach and conquer three Chinese border cities. And as my stack begins the fatal march on Beijing...

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Mao cries uncle.

Taking the vassal unsettled Suryavarman, so I changed back to Organized Religion to keep him at friendly.

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