Well, the elephants are still holding up fine on counterattacks and defense, but with pikemen starting to appear I'm going to need a newer unit for a next real offensive push. Some knights are helping too, but pikemen stop them cold, and muskets hurt them too. Let's meet our candidates:
Unit #1: "I'm easy to reach, just one tech away. I'm not all that strong, but I match up great with Nationhood and a drafting strategy."
Unit #2: "I'm fast, I can get odds on everything, and I'm cheap to upgrade from older models - but you'll have to get all the way up to Military Tradition."
Unit #3: "I like long walks on the beach, short French military leaders, and lobbing grenades at anything bothering you."
Unit #4: "I'm the gold standard for Renaissance warfare, and I'm the best draftee you can find. And my tech path goes right through some nice economic stuff in Printing Press."
Unit #5: "KABOOM."
Just because I've never used Cannons much before, I picked a Steel beeline as my next move. Cannons beat everything before rifles (even cuirassiers and grenadiers at equal strength, because cannons only have to win four-fifths of a battle before retreating, and they'll all be City Raider 3.) Muskets can support them fine to start, then grenadiers with Military Science next too.
Athens was still running a motley collection of specialists, and GP #4 came as an Engineer at fairly low odds (though the Hanging Gardens helped.) The canonical move would've been to research Nationalism and whack out the Taj Mahal, but I took a pass on that since I wanted my Cannons. Instead, here's something you don't see every day:
There's my first ever Heroic Epic + Globe Theater whip camp city. Globe + drafting is the standard move, but this setup is right for me here. Globe + draft is one pop for 120H (musket). Globe + whipping is one pop for 101H now (Heroic Epic + forge), then later 123H with a military academy. And whipped units come with full experience rather than half. And whipping works for any kind of unit.
Waste of a Great Engineer? Hardly. 450 hammers of Globe the standard way is opportunity cost of 6 cannons in a Heroic Epic city. 6 cannons is the meat of an entire offensive stack. And Pink Dot had a backlog of almost 100 turns of whip anger already, which this erases immediately and lets the city finally really get up to full size.
GP #5 a bit later was another fortuitous Engineer. And again I'll pass on Taj and its techs, since I'm now going for Military Science. Instead, let's do another national wonder!
In playing with those 17 XP units out of Pink Dot, I happened to promote a couple muskets to Guerilla II as stack defenders for hills. Hey, I never knew that Guerilla II gives extra hill movement (like Woodsman II gives forest movement.) Was this new in BTS? Anyway, Guerilla II is pretty useful on muskets and grenadiers, to move around on hills and cover my other units. I could even see building a whole army out of them, using enemy hills as virtual roads inside enemy territory.
Uh, that's ONE towards the honorable mention for most techs stolen... :) I was just cashing out my EP for anything at all before I killed Shaka.
Yeah, that's 99.6% odds for my first city attacker. Operation Kaboom is a success.
In the other direction, I actually had to raze my own holy city. It's got crap for terrain and isn't well defensible. The holiness is meaningless - I have no Prophet coming anytime for a shrine.
I was losing the naval war badly (not invasions, but pillaged seafood), but that's another reason to have gone for Steel and Mil Science. (Hey, Drydocks are half price, who knew?) Soon as I get to Astronomy which is my next target, Ships of the Line will dominate - and also serve as mobile artillery to bombard cities.
Presently I finally cracked through and took the first core city from one of those Financial leaders.
In AI economic news, Darius researched Military Tradition without getting Gunpowder. Who does that? How the dingdong does that help?
Then both Darius and Mansa followed the AI catnip path - Constitution to Corporation to Printing Press. They researched all those techs in lockstep, duplicating research instead of trading to each other. Surprisingly, both of them neglected Democracy even though that's usually AI cocaine.
So I still had cannons slamming through longbows for a very long time. I had intended not to build a runaway economy for once -- I actually wanted a slugfest with equal military tech levels, but it didn't happen. Even though my economy was for once just on par with the AIs, I can select techs for immediate relevancy far better than they can. But...
Uh Oh. MONTEZUMA of all people researched Gunpowder and traded it! He has to die now.
But Darius stayed on brainy techs, researching Sci Method then Physics. Mansa's getting awfully close to Rifling though.
Yeah, there he goes. 11 turns to Redcoats. I'm at Canterbury's door; how fast can I knock through England? Not that I'm going to lose or anything, and I'm heading for Rifling myself now, but it would be nice not to have to work through Redcoats.
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