Berlin and Hamburg both had their terrain fully cottaged. This isn't Epic Five. We've got many more miles to go than in that game, so it won't do to halt the economy at axemen. We need to build the economy, and that's how to do it.
So Alphabet came in, and now we can see how far behind we are...
That's IT? Well, I guess it would be, with our GNP like this:
Population Is Power. Food Is Power, especially with The Whip.
Anyway, after Literature, I had to decide on a path through the tech tree. With what units would my next offensive be? Elephants and Catapults were nearby, though that path didn't offer any economic help in the short run unless I went to Calendar for the resources. Macemen, Knights, and Muskets were all about equally far away in terms of beaker count (Muskets a bit more but building universities at Education would make up for that.) Or I could go all out economy for now and beeline to Cavalry.
Well, as I got the marble hooked up, I noticed a curious detail in the list of available wonders. There was a certain little something available there that should've been gone long ago. Well, that led to this insane day:
I got the Oracle to pop EDUCATION. Never mind your typical Civil Service slingshot, this was worth three times the beakers of that. I guess the AIs just don't care about wonders in Always War. And of course, that brought me to the doorstep of Gunpowder and the age of musketmen.
The National (Berlin) and Heroic (Kyoto) Epics completed, and it was time to switch to Theology. Kyoto cranked out units at ludicrous speed, a swordsman every other turn, and I formed stacks of four units each to raze the scattered boondocks cities around that area. Here's an example:
A Great Scientist popped in Berlin from the Great Library + National Epic combo, and I held onto him to lightbulb Philosophy on the beeline to cavalry. The next Great Scientist came a short time later, but there wouldn't be any way to use him towards Military Tradition (he'd favor Sailing - Compass - Calendar - Metal Casting). An academy anywhere else would be less useful than settling in Berlin, so he did.
But suddenly, out of nowhere, comes this monster!
Where did he get that stack?! Well, Kyoto is going to roll its first musket off the lines just in time (could've whipped if it was needed sooner), and it gets two City Garrison promotions. That musket goes SIX-FOR-SIX on defense, only dropping to 6.6/9 strength. The combat log shows that only one of the attackers had odds better than 1%, the C2 swordsman at 3.8%.
After a century of preparation, the Greek army was ready for its glorious victory. The hated German Empire ruled vast territories to the east, but had grown overextended and corrupt, with their nearest outpost vulnerable. Legions of Greek soldiers, wielding the finest blades man could craft, thundered across the plains and marched on the gates of the holy Christian city. The token city garrison would scarcely pose any resistance, and Greece would take her rightful place as master of the world.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a young battlemage appears on the ramparts. With a mighty cry, he raises his battle staff, holding it aloft towards the first rank of swordsmen. He roars an incantation, and Hell itself explodes from the sky. Charred, blackened bodies lay where the Greek warriors just stood. The army cries out, but the generals spur them onwards. The sorceror levels his hellstaff at the advancing ranks, and each in turn is struck down by the fire and brimstone of the demons. The final Macedonian swordsman almost reaches the hellion, but a final blast cracks from the sky, and Kyoto stands secure.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology", indeed.
So that stack aside, the AIs were now in full stream trickle mode. My muskets racked up a kill ratio of 10 to 1 or better against the stacks of swords and axes that were incoming, but even so, there were so many of the ancient melee units that I was forced back into Kyoto for several turns. No danger of losing the city with Gandalf the Musketman on defense, but it took several turns to produce enough muskets to actually turn the tide.
On the other front, Saladin kept sending oodles of Chariots at both Delhi and Osaka. I surmised that he didn't have any metal, so relied on the horses. Spearmen easily took care of all that, with an occasional need to whip one, but I suffered no worse losses than an occasional pillaging.
Berlin actually never built military during all this. It was too far away from the front line, and in Bureaucracy basically supporting my entire economy. It cranked out a pile of wonders: Parthenon, Chichen Itza (seemed actually fairly useful here), then the Pyramids after I noticed they were also still unbuilt like the Oracle. That was because war weariness started to show up, but Fascism was still 17 techs away, and we might need Police State sooner than that.
After Gunpowder, I completed the Cavalry beeline through Mathematics, Code of Laws, Meditation, Philosophy (lightbulbed), Civil Service (Bureaucracy boosted my beaker production by about 10%), Nationalism, Music.
So I presently advanced my main (ok, only) stack up next to Athens, the third AI capital. Don't ask me why the city was still only at 40% cultural defense. OK, archers, you can stack up all the city defense bonuses you want, but you still just don't compare to musketmen. Well, the RNG goes balky and kills two of my muskets at 75% and 90% odds, so that stack proved just exactly sufficient to take the city.
Whether to keep it is a tough, tough call. I eventually decided not. The city didn't have any resources I needed, would cost something like 14/turn in distance maintenance, its land was not villaged up for me as I'd been hoping, and it would have problems with cultural influence and revolting. Better to spend my next city slot on something closer to home, less costly, and more defensible.
By the way, here are some damning numbers:
Double anyone else's hammer productivity. Triple anyone else's GNP. And fully TEN TIMES my nearest rival's population. Noble AIs got nothin'.
And here's some damning "tactics":
OK, the AI gets the idea of a naval starvation siege. In fact, all the AIs get the idea of a naval starvation siege at the same time.
After Gunpowder, I completed the Cavalry beeline through Mathematics, Code of Laws, Meditation, Philosophy (lightbulbed), Civil Service (Bureaucracy boosted my beaker production by about 10%), Nationalism, Music. Here's an overview shot from towards the end of that:
(BTW, you get those big city billboards by going into free camera mode, positioning the camera where you want it, then hitting Alt-O for the non-perspective view. Then try to zoom in. The camera won't actually move, but the city billboards will grow as if the camera were in fact zooming.)
Index | Next