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Epic Twenty-seven

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And here's an overview just after the calendar change. I have all my borders secure, Osaka and Mauryan have about eight units each. Moai is underway to help make a production city, and also amusingly will provide the culture to claim the furs. I'm building mostly swords now for two purposes. One as simply the strongest units in the field right now (before HBR) to dislodge archers from forests. And secondly to prepare city raider forces for when I can start building siege.

Yeah, I can't start capturing cities yet. Down south I got visibility on Mutal with an archer sneaking through the forests. That kind of garrison behind 60% culture would be a bloodbath without siege.

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Well, I can capture frontier cities. This one of Mao's turned out to be astoundingly ungarrisoned. Two units? Then I found out what he WAS doing with his units - making an end-run at my own city! Well, sword-vs-axe is about the worst hammer exchange you can make in the ancient era. Osaka has time to whip one axe, overflow a second, bring a third over from Kyoto, and even dry-whip walls. Osaka held easily, while I made my first real city capture at Guangzhou.

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I kept it - got the force here to defend it, and 4 pop means 3 whipped units, at least.

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Ack, maybe I don't have the force to defend it. If Justinian had been two turns slower, I'd dry-whip walls and hold easily. But now I have to surrender the city. The best move was to move to the forest hill north of the city. Then have the CR swords chop down one unit in the city at a time (battling against a city HELPS the attacker who has lots of City Raider promotions), while having the other units defend and heal the swords.

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A shot of the demographics. I've taken a clear power lead now, and look at that manufacturing lead, almost double. Slightly behind in land and population, but also leading in crop yield, so that will catch up.

Oh, and -18 GNP. I love it.

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One axe went exploring, and found the Spanish capital. Lightly defended, though not light enough that a single axe can take it. But what the heck is a barbarian sword doing that far into any civilization's territory? Kill it with an axe already, Isabella... oh, she never got metal. Hah hah hah.

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Another tactical situation. I'd settled a city to the northeast, with a force of about four units. Kublai assembled a stack to raid it, now free of my pathfinding puppet strings. It was scheduled to reach Nara just one turn too late for the city to grow and whip walls. But I found the solution - sacrifice my worker as bait on the marked tile. That made the stack spend one turn moving north instead of west, giving Nara exactly the one extra turn it needed.

Except then Kublai's stack continued north around my city - obviously it was already targeting a core city.

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That got me into something of a tactical pickle. My force there isn't enough to kill Kublai's, but it can win on defense in a city or forest. But if I move into the contested forest, then the Mongols can cross flat ground to attack the city, cutting me off. If I move back into the city, then my force can't catch up to the Mongols as they move towards Kyoto. If I stay put, then the Mongols kill me in the open field.

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Solution - move SOUTH to the other grassland, from where I can't get attacked but I can move to defend either the city or chase the Mongols towards my homeland. (Chasing one tile behind the Mongols is okay, I'll catch up on roads inside my territory.)

The result was the Mongols first moving towards my core, then attacking my stack in the forest to suicide. I forgot to promote my units and lost some, but that's still a 6:3 kill ratio in my favor, and another 4:3 with the survivors fighting again on the next round.

Remember when I said I needed siege to start cracking cities? Well, I lied. It took the AIs ages to get to Construction. I'd built so many swords in the meantime that they had to go attack something. You can build a LOT of units when your cities don't have to build and work any cottages.

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Seriously, Pacal? SERIOUSLY? What kind of boneheaded city defense scheme is that? Seven chariots and one axe?

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The RNG favored me, winning two 30% battles, and losing only one of about ten in the 70-80% range. It took an extra turn to carve through the sheer volume of bodies, but I got the city (which built one more chariot for "defense" on the interturn. Of course.)

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Over on the other side of the world, the same thing was happening. I put together a stack of enough swords and then some to capture an enemy capital. Beijing was much less developed than Mutal, thanks to my early worker steal.

So that's two AI capitals down. Nice progress so far!

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