So I think this report has conveyed the general feel of the wars so far. Lots of skirmishing on many fronts. A few big city-cracking stacks. There's also been a lot of fighting against barbarians too. I didn't realize this when I set up the map, but a Lakes map has quite a lot of ice and tundra area. These extra tiles are uninhabitable, but count towards spawning barbarians. Barbs come one at a time, so you can always pick the right unit to whip to beat a barb unit (usually an elephant), but they keep you on your toes.
As far as city builds, I stabilized the economy with markets and courthouses. So now what do I build? I'm waiting patiently for the Internet to bring in the techs for macemen and pikes. They will come soon, so axes/swords/spears are kind of going obsolete now. Longbows and crossbows are good, but don't raid cities and you only need so many of them. I guess the thing to build is good old elepults.
Also, what kind of unit should I be building Kyoto with the 3 settled GGs? The third promotion helps a lot more on catapults (Barrage 3) than on elephants (Combat 3), but the catapults are one shot burns while the elephants stick around a while.
So while waiting for
macemen - samurai! - I built mostly catapults. So now I started conquering Spain, with proper numbers of siege. And got my first ever M3 W3 mega healer.
And I realized it a bit late, but another good item to put hammers into was Chichen Itza. It's worth the hammers with stone, both for its own effect and for denial. It's also in my Moai+Colossus city which will add up to a Great Person sometime.
Yeah, Great People are not so helpful in this game. What use do they have if you don't need economy? Civil Service took so long for the AIs to get that I considered slinging it with a Great Merchant. It sounds silly with the Internet, but what other use could a Great Person be? I do need cash, but settling is too small potatoes to bother.
But then my EP added up to research visibility on Justinian just as he got CS so I skipped that.
And finally. Yay! Surprisingly enough, Hatty was the second researcher after Justinian, despite her being behind by three or four other techs. But I'll take it!
And then the right thing to do with my second Great Person hit me. I had built the Hanging Gardens, and ran an engineer specialist in the city for a while. How do you get 30 economy per turn out of a Great Person? No, not a shrine.
Later, I also ran two merchants in my Colossus/Chichen/Moai city, in order to cash out a third Great Person some time later. The odds were about 66% merchant and held true. The purpose was to lightbulb Guilds, and a few cities building Research finished the tech. Then I could whip knights to chase down the last few scattered cities faster.
My advance towards Kublai ran into a bunch of elephants. As we know, pachyderms rule the field until pikemen appear. The only counter to jumbos is bigger jumbos with Formation.
But Kublai's elephants don't have Formation. What the heck promotion is that? Mobility? Hey STUPID. One, YOU HAVE KESHIKS. Two, THAT'S AN ELEPHANT, IT CAN ONLY MOVE ONE SPACE ANYWAY.
More tactics. Bringing a Sentry horse archer lets me survey the battlefield by moving one space out and back from my main stack. He saw no mounted units (I'll take a chance that there are none in that one fogged space 2N of the horse), so the spot marked as "safe tile" is safe to bring in catapults without committing an elephant to cover them.
Another Spanish city, just ahead of bankruptcy yet again. I took particular glee in doing this: destroying the Great Library.
I had some Samurai going in attack stacks now too. Against cities, they weren't noticeably different from normal macemen, since siege did all the work there anyway. But it was nice to have the extra first strikes when fighting in the open. Samurai actually do counter enemy elephants fairly well (they are not immune to first strikes, unlike most other mounted units.)
Been a while since an overview. It's the mop-up stage. I just eliminated China and a good chunk of war weariness. I'm active on every front, just killed my first Egyptian city, another army just a few turns from the Mongolian capital, and my biggest stack west of Beijing ready to start cracking Justinian's core. As you can see, I skipped a few Spanish cities in the northwest. The reason is the impending arrival of Engineering, I want to bang out as much of Byzantium as possible before any Castles go up.
I'd kept a few Spanish core cities, but they really didn't help. Needed a courthouse, and granary for the growth to whip it, and a forge or market for happy, and they never really got to building units before the end of the game.
I'm trying to time it that both Kublai and Justinian get to research Engineering right before I kill them. I'd love to have the extra road move for mopping up. I could have bulbed Engineering with my Great Engineer (instead of doing the Forbidden Palace), but that was 300 beakers short that I didn't have a good plan to generate, plus that seemed wasteful anyway with the Internet still humming.
Accomplished that mission with 2 turns to spare. I also conquered Constantinople about five turns later (didn't get a picture), once again picking up 200 gold just in time to avoid going broke. Justinian did get Engineering before that (giving it to me via Internet), but didn't get any castles.
Conquest Victory in 1445 AD.
The Guilds bulb was the right move, as well as letting the AIs just barely reach Engineering. All those whipped knights reached those last two Spanish cities several turns sooner than samurai would have. They died two and three per defending longbow, but that was fine.
Not too many games won when the GNP looks like that. :) And when it's barely in positive territory, that's fake culture. My actual cash production never went positive, and was down to -150/turn in the end game.