|RBCiv Epic Nine|
There were still three civs I had not yet met when I got this message:
Knowing how fickle some of those AI wars can be, turning on who rolls key luck rolls more often than not (and with widely different outcomes based on how many seeds the player consumes on his turns), I expect this won't happen in every player's game. It might not even happen anywhere else (like my Epic Two game).
OK, so two civs left, and one or both has carved up and claimed the third's lands. That's going to make for a 900 pound gorilla down the road, I'm thinking, but we'll see.
After courthouse in Tokyo, I started on the FP there. Shield rate was pretty good. Shortly before the FP completed, the Persians decided it was time to prey upon Cleopatra.
X-man captured about half the cities and razed the rest. It didn't take him long, but it did take long enough for me to hurriedly produce about five settlers of my own and start poaching the gaps. I could not switch cities over to settler immediately, as most were tied up with large infrastructure buildings, so in a sense this was bad timing for me. I did not have cash to hurry them along, either.
A couple of turns later when my FP completed, X-man was still moving his forces into attack position. Or rather, he had first razed one city on the west coast, as you can see the gap on the minimap below, and after that it took him a couple turns to get to his next target. He did not choose the most efficient attack order, by my observations, and that would cost him.
Note that Osaka is only now getting its granary! I never had time for it before: needed cultural buildings first: temple, library, cathedral (religious civ), plus the four workers that first got it some good tiles going and hooked up my dyes.
Kyoto was producing a sam unit every four turns. It provided pretty much my entire military, as I kept the other cities on infrastructure early on. I may have had some chance to pounce on the Chinese at one point, riding Persian coattails, but it passed quickly, with me still at that time trying to push north peacefully.
Tyre was recaptured by Persia, but they razed Heiracon, Amarna, Pithom and others over the next two hundred years. They even razed the Egyptian city in the far north corner at the four incense, which I found astounding! X-man landed a settler by ship to replace the first city they razed, on the west coast, but I had an ace up my sleeve. It was such a dramatic move, that I opened a note file and started to record my activities.
In 500AD, I paid Cleo 51g in cash for a genuine Right of Passage. I then sent my newly trained settlers, some without escort, right up along Egyptian roads and INTO POSITION even as Persian forces came rolling through, destroying all in their path. Thus I poached three very good sites right out from under all their noses when my settlers were ready to go, actually sitting there waiting for the cities to be destroyed. Best 51g I've spent in a long time.
In 520AD, as my first poacher arrived outside Heiraconpolis, contact was made with the Babs and I bought in. In 540AD, the Iro's were also found, and now I had full contact. During that time, Persia's forces in the south razed Byblos, across the river from Osaka, leaving a gap! I hurried a settler out of Osaka as quickly as I could (had to wait for University to complete), and I sent some troops to blockade now-neutral tiles, but I was one turn too slow. Persia got to the site first. My blockade forced them to settle closer to their own capital, but they still settled. It left me just enough room, though, to go ahead and settle anyway, competing for the spot. Their culture was improving but still about on par with mine, which is rare for a deity game. I decided that I could use cash rushbuys to win the city-to-city cultural war (something that can't be done until the first governmental swap), and park a lot of units in the new city and still be safe. It was a half-city spot near my capital I could not pass up. I settled my competing city in 560AD.
From 550AD to 580AD, Egyptian colonies in the north dropped like flies, and I grabbed EVERY such site! Persia either caught on or for some other reason stopped razing cities, and instead capturing them. They captured the last two such cities, Abydos and Lisht.
In the mean time, I had a great trading round. In 590AD, I made five consecutive transactions. Egypt had lost their iron supply at Heiracon, which I now possessed. It wasn't hooked up yet, but I had two supplies anyway. Now I traded them Iron, 13gpt and 74g for Education. Then the big trade: Ivory and 76gpt to Persia for Spices and Astronomy @3rd. Astronomy @4th and 7gpt to Germany for Banking @4th. Banking and Astronomy @5th to Babylon for Gunpowder @5th and Music Theory @6th. Finally, 12gpt to Germany (now with Astronomy, trade is opened) for Wines; lux taxes dropped to zero!
In 680AD, Germany and Iro both declared against Persia. Persia was now at war with most of the world, and STILL winning. In the message below, you can also see the first three sites I poached, including a third iron and an incense (off screen to the northwest).
Note a regular warrior in Matsu. I was really stretching thin here. My settler heading north to the far open corner of the continent was escorted by one samurai, but it was slow going, so very slow. I feared someone would beat me there with a ship, and in fact wondered how they hadn't already done that. Must be all the warring.
Oh, did I ever mention that I had NO HORSES? It's true. The only horses anywhere near me were north of Nagoya, out of my reach, and claimed by Persia. Fortunately for Japan, they don't need horses to train knights. Samuarai still require iron, but not horses. Without horses, I never considered any offensive military action. It will be interesting to see what Arathorn and other low-infrastructure players (some notable new faces showing up for recent epics) manage to do on the combat front. Do they get to the horses? If not, then what? There was a second horse even further north, but it was out of reach. You can see it in the shot below.
Good thing I escorted that settler. He actually made it all the way up there, beating the AI's to the incense by only two turns. That city was too far from my FP in Tokyo to do much, but it helped a lot just by giving me control of the incense to trade around. It's kind of odd, clearing my first barb camp all game long with a samurai in 710AD!
So I had grabbed half the land of the former Byblos site just south of my capital. I had grabbed two very strong inland sites north of my FP, and a third coastal site there with a few grass around it. In 720AD, I settled the incense city on the north corner, and also a half-city cultural war site on the river in the northeast. You can see Sapporo in the screenshot, below:
Sapporo was the only one of the six new sites on fresh water, and as a result of that, it blew past the others. I had intended for Nagasaki to dominate, but because it got stuck waiting for aqueduct and I didnt have spare cash to invest a lot into the new colonies (rushed temples, some courthouses, that was about it), it lagged behind.
So Persia picked up six cities and I picked up six. I got the better end of the deal by far, as all my acquisitions were low or mid corruption except for Hakodate, and even that mustered a few shields per turn with WLTKD.
With fifteen cities now, and gaining these extras in time for them to matter, to become legitimate producers, was what turned my game from "winnable" to "strong". I didn't quite design the great poaching situation I found myself in, but my moves were indirectly responsible for setting it up. I even had some hopes of flipping Tyre as my borders expanded around to hug it on three sides.
All in all, with such a huge no-man's land north of the start point, this IS a pretty decent, mid-difficulty map, but the start itself was so tight, I would think everything depends on a successful start. That's always true, but in this case it wouldn't take much to set the player back. If I hadn't run any blockades, I'd have had a core of about four cities, not eight. Or so it looks from here. I could be wrong, but at this point I'm expecting either low participation, or low success rate among participants. Someone like Cy might hold out to the modern age with a small territory, but those who like early warfare might just find the Persians more than they can handle. I'm really looking forward to these reports.
With my economy now dramatically on the rise and all my opponents either isolated (thus getting a late start on tech) or wounded by Persia, my game's about to shift into higher gear.
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