Back on the economic front, I was still managing 50% research, thanks to aggressively cottaging almost every grassland square available in the core. I must comment that an Organized civ was actually the wrong choice for a game intended to present land area and GNP as conflicting choices. For an Organized civ, more cities are almost always pure profit. Anything but the worst junk city will create positive GNP in excess of its expenses once it whips a cheap courthouse.
While beelining Military Science, I found opportunities to trade my depth-first research for other lines: Guilds for Philosophy and that in turn for Paper. I bid for University of Sankore, but then saw Moscow way ahead of me on it, and knew I had no chance.
Now I had to delay my attack on India for a bit, because HE'S A VASSAL to Peter. I better be prepared with lots of extra grenadiers to take them both on together. Well, my Heroic Epic city is right here on the front line and cranking nearly a grenadier every turn (something like 40 base hammers + 175% for 110 per turn.)
Oh My God you got to be kidding me! I beelined Grenadiers, and they all get Pinch now!
Ha! The parade of random boons continues: I pop a Silver resource. This gives me a full set of Forge happiness resources; +3 happy from a Forge is a great boost to captured and new cities.
So with Monty gone and my troops repositioned, I now declared war on Asoka and Peter. And check this out - Louis will join in on my side, dirt cheap! That quickly got him to Friendly status, opening the door to trade for his monopoly techs, Mil Tradition (for Printing Press) and Astronomy (for Military Science once he got Chemistry a bit later.)
It's time for
Masterpiece AI Tactics Theater.
Last turn, the Indian stack was on white dot (that I didn't see until after I'd already moved my units.) White dot is 3 road tiles away from Madras, where I only had one defender - the AI could have taken this city easily. Instead, the AI sent its stack chasing mine - where I could easily mop them up with my stronger units. That battle popped Great General #4, who became the second instructor in my Heroic Epic city.
Meanwhile, I was researching to Replaceable Parts to power up my military producing cities, and also planned to slingshot Liberalism to Rifling, so researched Education next. And in 1250 AD, I *finally* got my third Great Person. It's Golden Age time again (I did get the Mausoleum), for a free civics swap. I picked Vassalage since Bureaucracy was long past ripe, and Mercantilism because I have no foreign trade routes anyway with Louis in Mercantilism himself and everybody else overseas (no Astronomy yet.) And at the end of the Golden Age, I'd also upgrade from Hereditary Rule to Representation for the synergy with Mercantilism.
So I started conquering Indian cities - grenadiers against longbows still - and my southern stack reached Delhi. I planned ahead here to take advantage of the tactical situation. I brought overwhelming force (about 14 grenadiers), since when I captured Delhi, there would be neutral ground for my troops to run over to Russia's city Calcutta before Russia's borders adjusted.
My northern army then reached a Russian core city, Agra, and captured it. And Asoka had lost enough land that he broke free as Peter's vassal. So now it's time to sign peace with Peter. I could use 10 turns to heal, upgrade to cavalry, finish off Asoka, rebuild roads in the contested area, and reposition trebuchet stacks to march on each city simultaneously.
Or, ho! Change of plans again! That was just enough damage to get capitulation! He's at 30% of my land area and population, so no chance of him ever breaking free at 50%. Awesome.
And now that puts me in a funny situation: I can probably make domination BEFORE 1500 AD. Heh. But by the scoring rules, it's actually better to wait. By winning now, I can get fastest domination plus no points for land area or GNP. By waiting, I can get guaranteed highest land area in 1500 AD (just under the limit) plus some points for speedy domination and some rank for GNP as well.
In choosing another target, I could not bring myself to attack France. Louis was at +13 Friendly thanks to civics, religion, and mutual struggle, and there's an awkward set of mountain peaks blocking land access to his territory. And he's right up with me in military technology, having gotten Gunpowder and taken Chemistry from me in a trade. So after taking out Russia, I'd have to complete the domination run by attacking Charlemagne. He's incredibly backwards (just researched Metal Casting!) and cavalry should make short work of him.
Here's an overview shot. I'm currently making operations to take out the two island barb cities Ainu and Libyan, and also marshalling galleons and cuirassiers in preparation for a Holy Roman invasion. I now have a big lead on the power graph, so no need to worry about any wars from anybody else. I'm also planning to slingshot Liberalism into Rifling and upgrade to cavalry.
After Peter capitulated, I directed all my espionage at Charlemagne, which soon added up to enough to get city visibility. I could watch his troop movements. Two turns before I declared war, he went "we have enough on our hands", and moved a big stack of units out of his capital to his east. His capital was left with only two longbows!
Talk about being caught with your pants down! The Emperor has no pants! I attacked straight off the boat, losing one unit to each longbow as expected, but nailed his CAPITAL without a protracted fight! (Incidentally, the amphibious attack penalty is actually much less severe than you might think. The +50% is only additive with all the other defensive modifiers, meaning it only raised the defending longbow's effective strength from about 15 to about 18.)
I now knew that grenadiers and cuirassers would be plenty to conquer Charlemagne (he's still on longbows, three techs from Gunpowder, and even if he gets muskets, my grenadiers have Pinch) and reach domination, so I don't care about Rifling now.
Instead, the thrust of this game would now change again, with a crazy idea.
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