|RBCiv Epic Twelve|
The very turn after I bought the RoP with Rome, an Aztec galley sailed into view off my northwest coast. Arrgh! My scouts then also spotted some Aztec troops in Roman territory as they passed. Well, even though the RoP didn't speed contact with the Aztecs, there were still three other civs out there.
Wow, the Aztecs are pretty big. I realized that my blockades of Rome, and tying up some of their settler pairs, and delaying some of their cities, and grabbing some of the lands within two rings of their capital, had slowed Rome, wounded them (perhaps) as much as if I had bought some of their workers. I wondered how this might impact the game in the future. I was also dismayed to learn that the territory I had now was going to be it, unless there were wars and razings in the future.
The really stupid thing is that Rome spent so much effort trying to grab MY lands, while ignoring those near their own capital. Rome was on the border with Azteca, and that would not be good for their long term growth, unless they got lucky and built their FP in an ideal spot in the heart of their northern expanse.
Oh, and then the turn after that it got even more interesting:
Swords vs spears? Uh oh.
Oh look, this is some good news. This ought to help Rome:
Well, then again, maybe not. No walls in Veii or Antium, no help to Rome, and those are their three front line cities.
My scouts did find England, and some few dozen turns before they finally sailed a galley into view, so the RoP did pay off as a means of cheaper contact. That and I got a bird's eye view of the Roman-Aztec war, which helped keep me strategically informed as it went along, although in reality there was nothing I could do about it.
A couple of turns later, Veii falls. Iro's sign on to help Rome, but they turn out to be on another continent and a phony ally. England signs on to help Aztecs, and they ARE in position to give Rome grief, and cause Rome to divide its forces, which is always very bad for an AI during war time.
The Romans were training archers and spearmen, while the Aztecs brought jags and swordsmen and a few spearmen. I watched some Roman attackers attack jags, force them to retreat, get no kill, and then get torn up on the counterattack by swordsmen. That happened at least four times, just that I saw. Rome showed no signs of recapturing Veii, but for a good while they seemed to be holding the line at Rome. I could not see what was happening on the western front though, and when England finally captured Antium, that was some very bad news.
I had been using my scouts to run a few picks of Aztec units, slow their advances. I think that helped Rome a little, but it was too little. The Aztecs pulled a golden age out of this, and I believe the Romans had too with some legions, but they appear to have had their iron cut off or just didn't have the production power, as the legionaries dried up after the first half of the war. Finally, an Aztec Stack of Doom arrived, and I knew it was all over for the Roman capital.
When the Aztecs captured Veii and I became sure they would not lose control of it, I decided to settle a half-city on the edge of Ulundi's range, and try to race the Aztecs for cultural control of the tiles east of Veii. This city would be the farthest one from either my capital or my fp, so it wouldn't affect corruption negatively in any of my existing cities. I also decided to build a half-city fishing village on the icy peninsula just west of Zimbabwe. That one WOULD negatively affect corruption in a town or two, but my economy was so sad, I figured it would ultimately be worth it to have another size 12 city on market and bank, pulling in the resources of the sea. I had to squeeze every bit of usefulness out of my available tiles as I could.
It was on this turn, in 150BC, that for the first time all game, I decided to swap projects at a city, in this case to train another settler. Of course I had to waste a few shields by switching to wealth. I had so far done a decent job of managing my projects in advance. I'd felt the pinch of not being able to whip partial progress on temples and such, and was unable to respond well to new barbarian threats, but I had made it through those periods without any great suffering or setbacks.
This is also the point at which I halted my initial playtesting and confirmed the map. On top of the very tough variant rules, this map situation itself is also brutal, and would be brutal with no restrictions. I did not see any reason NOT to use this map, though, so... I kept it, the first start I had generated here. And best of luck to all who take up this gauntlet!
Rome spent all its energies to retake not Rome, but Antium -- from the English. Heh. Well they did that long enough for the Aztecs to take it over, giving the Atzecs another fertile city site and cementing their hold on this entire game. If England had sided with Rome, things might have gone differently down the road. But nope, you can't trust an AI to behave wisely.
I persevered, but my economy was really sad. Even in the Kobaiyashi Maru game, where I had the most pathetic slivers of barren territory, I had had four gems and a horse. Here, three spices, and the only large customer, the Aztecs, had their own supply, and the tech pace for me was so slow with the slow contacts that this is the worst early game economy I've ever had.
Would I be able to pull out the win anyway? I was aiming for that. Defeats will be ranked by score, and those aiming to maximize their score with more luxuries, happier people, could well pull better scores from this same position. I was hoping to tag along well enough economically to stay in the game. As such, my early FP effort completed itself just before 200AD:
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