So my stack of muskets kept pounding through enemy cities westwards, taking virtually no losses. I wasn't able to put together another stack, though, since the AIs were swarming tons of swords and axes at Kyoto, against which the city's musket production could barely keep up. Still no danger of losing that city itself with that CG3 "Hellmage" musketman in it, but I did lose several counterattacking muskets that were trying to prevent pillaging of the city's entire landscape.
I wish there were a promotion or a unit type with a combat bonus for counterattacking. Say +25% when within the fat cross of one of your own cities. That would be more practically useful than City Garrison units, which sit there in their ivory towers while the earth gets torn up around them. I guess crossbowmen sort of fill that role, but only because their contemporary offensive units are all melee.
Well, I did muster a second halfway decent stack, which went north towards the Arabian core.
By itself, that stack is not really sufficient to take that city which is on a hill. So I promoted one of the muskets to medic, and let the others knock out one defender at a time, healing inbetween on the 75% defense tile. I still don't have siege weapons, but musketmen can do a decent impression. :)
And the other item of note in that screenshot is 1 turn left on Liberalism research. Since Liberalism was cheaper than Military Tradition, this was the way to get that:
Cavalry beeline completed in 1160 AD. Well, OK, one little detail - still need to research Horseback Riding, heh. Well, I can actually start prebuilding the cavalry by queueing up Chariots; the build orders get auto-upgraded to Cavalry with the build progress intact.
So after the massive military beeline, it was time to fill in some builder techs. Next was Sailing - Calendar, since I need to get the Plantation resources hooked up to support my now-large cities. And after that, here's a look at the foreign advisor tech screen:
Let me reiterate: I've got CAVALRY. Here's a partial list of techs that I know NOBODY has gotten yet (because I haven't): Engineering, Metal Casting, Machinery, Guilds, Feudalism, Compass, Divine Right, Civil Service (I've seen no macemen.)
Now the next important tech beeline seemed to be Engineering to activate better road movement for the cavalry, so we started on that. Metal Casting came in -- we get double production on forges?! Wow, I should've gone for that a LONG time ago.
Presently a third straight (counting the one from Music) Great Artist popped from Berlin. Stupid National Epic. I was still hanging on to the first two for a culture bomb or a golden age. Drama would be the current choice to lightbulb, or Divine Right next. Bleah to both, so he just settles in Berlin for the pennies of cash.
My two musketman stacks were still marching. The northern one razed Mecca -- just archers on defense -- and soon completed wiping out Arabia without having suffered a single loss. That musket stack would now just patrol the old Arabian peninsula permanently for any replacement settlers moving in -- they wouldn't even be able to keep up with the cavalry pushing westward.
The megastack in the west, which comprised three musketmen (all Combat 3 or better by now), four swordsmen (all at least City Raider 3 plus some with Shock), one CR3 axeman, and one Medic 2 spear, kept blasting through cities. This stack had now razed at least eight enemy cities since Athens, while suffering zero losses. The musketmen all averaged about 95% odds on attacking the cities; the swords about 90%, unless there was an axeman defender in the city in which case my own axeman took it out first.
The megastack arrived at Madrid, which had two archers and two spears on defense. You know what happened with that.
As you can see on the minimap, I've been razing everything I encountered coast-to-coast. Madrid gives me pause, though. It's the Hindu holy city, with the shrine. The religion advisor tells me Hinduism is the most popular religion in the world, and you can also see in that shot that most of the world had converted to it. Thus the shrine should pay for most of the cost of the city, if I decide to keep it. I finally decided on yes, the deciding factor being that Spain didn't have much other culture infringing on the city's fat cross, so it wouldn't give me cultural control and revolt problems.
And just in case that wasn't the nail in the AI's collective coffin, this will be:
My mighty musket megastack makes its way to Spain's last city, which is guarded by two archers, two axemen, a sword, and a devil of an RNG. A defending swordsman kills my C4 musket attacking at 90% odds, and I also lose a CR3 swordsman because it has to go up against a defending axe. Well, that stack can retire in style now. I've got 13 cavalry mopping up the rest of the map, and they'll conquer everything else before these muskets could heal and find another target.
I also built the Forbidden Palace just to compete in that honorable mention category. Got it in 1298 AD.
My cavalry stomped over everything -- there were still no better units anywhere than swordsmen, and even those were scarce.
But suddenly, my cavalry ran headlong into an obstacle I hadn't anticipated.
Water. Doh. I'd been directing my research towards Rifling through Replaceable Parts, so that my muskets might get upgraded to riflemen for a little extra power. But now I'm going to need Astronomy; that silly naval starvation siege at Delhi is still going and there's no way I can get galleys through that. In the meantime, I'll start on an alternate plan: settle a new city right here, 2 squares away from the target islands, so that a galley can jump out of the city and deliver troops right away.
While training and moving that settler, I mustered all the workers in the entire western half of my empire to converge near this city spot. They all timed forest chops to complete just as the city was founded, to build a galley on the city's first turn of existence. The city also got a culture bomb to extend my visibility.
On the galley's first turn of life, it loaded two cavalry. Next turn, it moved one NE, unloaded them NE again, and moved back into the city safe from predators to load two more. Next turn, it unloaded the next two next to Pharsalos.
The first pair razed the Russian city there, but Peter wasn't eliminated. Nuts, he must have another city somewhere. How the heck do I find it? Well... Remember the Hindu shrine that I captured in Madrid? Right now it's still showing an income of 3 gold, but the only Hindu cities I can see are Madrid and Pharsalos. So the missing Russian city must have Hinduism. So I revolted to Hinduism to gain line of sight to the missing city.
Found it! And the galleys got there for the last raze without actually needing Astronomy and Galleons.
I love this shot.
Conquest Victory in 1466 AD.
City captured in 1210 BC
Enemy Civ Eliminated in 955 BC
Forbidden Palace constructed in 1298 AD
Cities controlled in 1502 AD -- didn't get there
Panzers -- didn't get there
Fun game, and had some insane moments -- Oracle slingshot for Education?! A bit on the easy side, though. Looking forward to Epic Fourteen.