* North Africa and Middle East thrown in for good measure. 22 civs, huge map with historical start locations (TSL). Or maybe we could call it Exercise in extreme patience, ten minute turn times and all that fun stuff. I had an idea to play an Assyria Domination game on this map while doing the Deity Challenge 31 with Portugal. I figured giving my hero the only Assyrian name I know, would be very fitting and save me trouble of looking up real Assyrian names which i am told are long and hard to remember. The moniker Gunner is somewhat misleading as he is only a Siege Tower Operator class II, but I am told it will become more appropriate in later ages. 08/15 of course refers to model years when certain siege tower improvements were implemented (going by years of reign of king Ashurbanipal, So 661BCE / 654BCE by our count, this being a not very catchy name, I decided to stick with original and provide this lengthy explanation). I have not played Assyria yet, and thought their UA would lend itself well to a huge conquest campaign as all those extra cities will weigh heavily on science progress. Siege towers looked like a fun UU to try some early warring, so I fired a map and proceeded to make a mess out if it.. Spoiler : Or maybe the historical narrative reasserted itself and my fledgeling Assyrian empire was conquered from the west (Suleiman) and east (Babylon) culminating in the fall and sacking of Nineveh. I knew the starting location (in today's Syria) was tough one with difficult neighbors: Persia to the north, Babylon to the east, Turks to NW and Arabs in the South. Compounding the problem were the four CS (Tyre, Sidon, Byblos and Jerusalem) cutting off access to the Mediterranean. My initial plan was to leave Babylon as a trade partner and push north through Persians and Ottomans to secure the mountain passes of Caucasus and access to Black Sea and Med. But it was not to be, I settled Nineveh on the Euphrates instead of the Tigris to grab Solomon's Mines for extra production for my early conquests and to cut off further access south to Persian and Ottoman empires. I fully expected Darius to react quickly, instead he wanted a DoF and a common war against Sully. That seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up given how rare both early war and DoFs are. Our combined forces have been killing Turkish SMs NW of the S. Mines, as I continued to build up my army. This is the location of Nineveh and Assyrian-Turkish-Persian border triangle (in both games, SS from 2nd game): Spoiler : In meantime both Babylon and Arabs asked for DoF and I agreed concentrating on my western borders whee the ware stalemated and Darius eventually left me to fight alone. Nabby used the opportunity to declare and took my 3rd city between Assur and Babylon on the sugar floodplains. I counterattacked, took the city back and then one of his south of Babylon, but had too sue for white peace as Sully beelined his Janissaries and was overhwelming my defenses. CBs are no match for UU muskets and eventually Nineveh fell and i abandoned the game. i think i could have taken it back, but with all my neighbours so strong, and my two expos ruined i had little chance to conquer the world. Best I could hope for was a cheesy diplo or SV, and i wanted a full on Domination. Assyrian Empire Redux I restarted right away and slowly the idea of doing this more as a story than a deity challenge took shape. I know I can't write as funny as CountAccountant so I am not going to try and emulate his style, but I hope I can at least be amusing occasionally. Going with benefits of hindsight and map knowledge I decided to settle Assur in the same spot and Nineveh as well. But this time I knew Babylon was not going to be a friend and a trade partner so I immediately enslaved one of his workers. Enslaved might not be the right word, since as far as I know Babylonians are really Assyrians by other name and the worker enjoyed the right to build roads, dig mines and cultivate farmland for greater glory of Assyrian kings in perpetuity. Besides I am sure he was glad not to have to build roads, dig mines and cultivate farmland for greater glory of Babylonian Necromancer King in perpetuity. That Nebby is a Necromancer is obvious from the look of his throne room and with a name like Nebuchadnezzar he could not be anything else. I have decided to pillage some of his sugar plantations for good measure and withdraw with my entire army (one spear) and liberated worker as his numerous warriors were coming to the rescue. This has provided a needed early boost to my economy and with two scouts headed in opposite directions (N and S) I was quickly meeting new empires and city states in the Middle east, Asia minor and later Russia and Europe. I took left side of liberty to grab a free settler and then settled third city to south of Assur. I knew the ongoing war with Nebby will make a sugar location on Tigris and Euphrates indefensible and was hoping he will settle there so I can get a city and a free tech. History being history, was repeating itself again, and I accepted Darius's offer of friendship and war against Sully, as well a Arabian DoF. I continued harassing Nebby while whittling down Sully's forces as I teched to XB knowing that having to meet his UU with CB was silly and after a while both me and Darius made peace with the Turks. I was free to move against Nebby burning down one of his cities while he completed GW. That was a bit unexpected but given the fact he was living next to a warlike tribe like Assyrians I can't blame him. I felt that Darius and his rapidly growing army needed something to do, and for two luxes and some gold got him involved in this war as well. His units provided a bit of distraction during the siege of Babylonian city I burned, but I was hoping they will be involved in securing Akkad and then Babylon. Instead his army seemed so scary to Nebby gave him Akkad in a pace deal and concentrated on my forces. By this time his cap was up to strength 39 and I was still few turns away from XB, so I let him resettle Dur Karigalzu so I could burn it again and get another free tech. While fighting Babylonian war I was distracted by Byblos joining the evil necromancers and attacking Nimrud, my 3rd city and getting it all the way down to zero health while my reinforcements are pouring back. I very rarely take over CSs but since I did not have to DoW, and the peace with Sully precluded a quick access to the Med, I figured having one less CS to be bribed by my future enemies into attacking me and a deep water port outweigh the disadvantages. I took the city without losses and went back after Nebby. It did not last too long, as I have let my DoF with Arabs lapse and for some reason he thought I was an easier target than Egypt. Big mistake Harun, what were you thinking , I am not an AI. He did pick the right time, just after getting a bunch of Camel Archers and came at Nimrud heavy. Spoiler : I had to spend 1100 gold to get both walls and castle or risk losing the city. I knew that would be close to another game over so I poured everyone back to the new front while giving Nebby a white peace. Within nine turns we have cut their army down and were on the offensive to take the E&T sugar city from the Arabs and another free tech ( all four techs, CS gave me one as well, were the lowest beakers techs available at each moment, coincidence?) Spoiler : During the siege of Kufah, our brave Gunner Yossarian lost his triple promoted siege tower. I had a chance to heal upgrade but had no other damaged units to draw fire and had to sacrifice his Tower. With arabian CAs around i really did not want to risk losing any of my XBs well on the way to logistics. As a reward for his brave service Yossarian was put in charge of newly upgraded trebuchet crew and his nickname came a bit close to reality. In the confusion of battle my royal orders must have been misinterpreted and I found myself in possession of four trebuchets but no siege towers and without ability to produce more. I am sure that's not what I ordered but I did forgive those responsible and did not behead anyone, just assigned them as rock carriers to the new trebuchet unit. Let them know their s magnanimity.