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Marching to Feitoria

During the Roman war and shortly thereafter, I researched and traded my way up to Economics, and of course revolted to Free Market and started building Feitorias everywhere. Next goal on research was to Rifling, to finally bulk up against military threat. Rifles have an extremely long shelf life; the only counter unit is grenadiers, but they only work when attacking, and the AI is poor at tactical maneuvering to get that advantage. The AI can't threaten rifles until infantry, and even then, the rifle - infantry upgrade is comparatively cheap. And on the way to Rifling is Rep Parts, which will help my hammer-poor coastal cities with lumbermills and windmills.

Each Feitoria was worth around fifteen commerce; up to +7 or so on the +100% foreign trade route yield, and +8 or more on the actual water tiles. Very useful building, but not at all game breaking or unbalancing. I approve.

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GP Roulette now spun an Engineer in my capital (it'd been working an engineer specialist since it hit size 20 and filled up the fat cross), who could pair with the leftover Prophet for another GA. Or save him for a wonder, or Mining Inc. Well, we'll decide on that later. I now set the surplus specialist as a Merchant, in hopes of, you guessed it, Carl's Caviar.

I'd been delayed on colonizing by that Roman war, but while waiting on the Rifling runup, I built two more settlers out of my capital and set sail. Most of the arctic land was now in the hands of various barbarians, but this iceberg had just enough space to squeeze in the two cities and liberate Colony #6.

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An annoying detail of spawning colonies, though: they get all your techs, and can trade them to rivals. This idiot Asoka better not trade my monopoly techs to William.

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One of my vassals, Ragnar, actually managed to research a tech I didn't have yet, Engineering. (I'd known this was coming for quite some time on the scoreboard.) But he wouldn't trade it to me! WTF - according to the leader list, he refuses tech trades only at Cautious or below. I don't understand this at all...? Well, the scoreboard shows that other vassals of mine (Ramesses) are also researching Engineering, due in 10 turns, so I'll pick it up then, and in the meantime research something else like Sci Method.

But, ho. Right now I have a very small window of very big opportunity.

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William of the Dutch is far and away the game tech leader. He's still at somewhere near double my GNP, but is barely above me on the power graph. I've got Rifling while he still lacks Gunpowder -- that means longbows on defense. (And I can verify that he hasn't researched into Gunpowder yet by seeing that he'll offer full price for it in trade.) And I have a gigantic capital cranking a rifleman every turn, even on Epic speed.

I can't pass this opportunity by - I need to build up and invade William, LIKE RIGHT FRICKIN NOW. In addition to the Heroic Epic, I also have a bunch of warm bodies in old HR police warriors and the Roman-war units that can be upgraded to rifles (with some City Raider promotions, even.)

I now set all of my espionage points to William, and saw within a few turns that he was busy researching Electicity and then Radio. We talk about the human player neglecting military techs in favor of economics? Looks like the AI can do that too. Hard to tell, but is it also possible that he's already decided to go for cultural victory, so wants the wonders along that path?

So I built and upgraded a total of fifteen rifles on five galleons, and that meant time to start the invasion. Unfortunately, he did turn up with Gunpowder just before I landed, and my new vassal Asoka sported a guilty grin and the tech of Liberalism. My idiot must have made that trade. But William was still quite engrossed in Radio, so no rifles for him yet.

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There are my stacks of doom - eight rifles at one city, six at the other, and an old Medic chariot. They easily captured both cities, of course.

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I'd been wondering if William would manage to buy an ally - and he got two, including the big dog on the power graph (Rome). Well, OK. This means that I really need Nationhood for drafting defense, and need to fire the 2-man Golden Age to adopt it without anarchy. In the process I took Theocracy as well, as is natural for a period of fighting.

Rome actually agreed to talk peace pretty quickly, after only a couple beachhead landings that were easily dispatched (drafted rifles vs knights). Suleiman took forever - he wouldn't talk for a full fourteen turns - but signed peace as well after no fighting other than harassing me with frigates.

naval.jpg 504x412Against William, though, I ran into a problem I hadn't anticipated: naval superiority. His East Indiamen were much stronger than my Galleons, and I didn't yet have the tech for Frigates. I had to hide my galleons in my cities, but fortunately that just worked out. I had an island city exactly 5 tiles away from my homeland city, so could sail units back and forth with no naval exposure.

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After the first two Dutch cities, I healed the riflemen and loaded them by boat to hit the next city, Utrecht. I went for this before Rotterdam for a couple reasons: Utrecht gives me strategic access to the capital which is supremely important to hit before rifles get there, and also Rotterdam is on a hill so I want to wait for the siege backup there. (Remember I'd gotten Rifling before Engineering; only now could I even start building trebuchets.)

On the last turn of Golden Age, I traded for Liberalism, and went to Free Speech / back to Org Rel. FS was about a wash economically with Nationhood right now, but once the Dutch cities came out of resistance, it would be ahead. Org Rel vs Free Religion was also a close call, but I still needed to build cities more than purely research.

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And I pushed through to capture the Dutch capital. Yes, it was still defended by longbows; William had Rifling available but chose to spend the whole war researching Radio and then something else irrelevant (I think Corporation; I blew my EPs in a spy revolt at the capital so couldn't see anymore.) It came with a very nice Hindu shrine at 42 gold, plus even two settled Great Prophets and one Merchant for an extra +16. Definitely my Wall Street and Corp HQ city. Also, I got Notre Dame and Sankore both in another Dutch city, nicely helpful.

Also, to my surprise, war weariness accumulated _really_ slowly in this war. Even after the capital battle which lost me three riflemen, it's only at 204 points, for only 4 unhappy faces in my biggest cities. Usually I end up with over 1000 points of war weariness for conquering a civ this size. What gives - was this relaxed in the patch? If it was, could it explain why the Bakumatsu players that patched to 3.17 seemed to have an easier time with that game?

The last couple Dutch cities took me a while to finish - the East Indiamen kept killing any galleons left in the open, so my troops had to march overland the slow way.

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Anyway, at long last, we're done conquering the Dutch mainland. No, this war didn't have anything to do with the scenario concept or goals. It did, however, keep me from losing the game. William was getting scary far ahead on the GNP graph and tech tree - like eight techs ahead of everybody else. I was seriously concerned about losing to a superior-tech military invasion or even a spaceship. With that unexpected window of military tech opportunity, I HAD to take him down.

Before ending the Dutch war, I headed south with a galleon full of rifles for one more target. (I had also finally made it to Military Science to build some escorting Ships of the Line.)

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That city and the barb city together equalled colony number seven. (BTW, 109 gold for capturing that size-2 iceberg city?)

I accepted Willem's capitulation now, which included another iceberg city in the arctic. I'd known this was coming, so put out a settler in my nearest city to it, and paired them together for colony number eight.

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Willem was left with a couple scattered island cities, not worth my time to go conquer.

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