4.5.1 Poland Photojournal (Deity/Standard)


Apr 1, 2017
This is going to be my last game without modmods, it's time to move on and embrace 34UC and maybe some QoL mods to keep this old game fresh and enjoyable. I pick Poland because at a first glance it's the one civ I'll be rerolling in future due to not getting any funny new uniques. In the VP game statistics this civ usually performs as middle of the pack so no glaring underdog nor OP feelings. It also doesn't feature any unique gameplay at all until renaissance+ (civs with early bonus culture in their kit can do better than Poland policy-wise when the only advantage Casimir has is 1 policy in classical) so I'll be playing the map and my opponents, let see what the game rolled for me.

Game Settings:

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Starting Location:

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That's an average starting position, with good 2-3 pop tiles thanks to riverside and tea being ok even unimproved but it might take a while to get the capital to a big size. I explore north and east and not much is revealed. I'm going to gamble on stones/iron/cattles spawning on all that flatland and settle in place. Monument first and researching the wheel for Stonehenge, that's my typical opening when my kit offers 0 bonus faith and I didn't find an OP natural wonder first with the scouts.

T14, first policy in sight:

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There's ocean and some CS borders on the east, with maybe room for 1 city. Possibly 2 cities more north but Carthage is very close and the continent doesn't extend much north, we'll be competing for room. I didn't explore west and south because I met Inca pathfinders coming from there so the ruins were taken, but given the shape of the continent (more water west of those militaristic CS, a peninsula west of Hanoi that the Inca won't settle before the space between him and me is filled) I can already feel boxed in. Natural wonders like those Solomon's mines act as a magnet for AI settlers and the coastline isn't safe to settle with a nearby Dido. All this to say that I'm going to play Tradition with a civ that has no clear synergy with it, I risk having to play on 2-3 cities only if I'm not aggressive with settlers.

Usually I save the first few gold pieces to rush a worker or slinger, this time I bought the floodplain 3F tile in order to time the capital growth to size 4 right when I unlock Tradition for a fat 6 pop city. Then ruins decided to troll me giving me free territory. I didn't discover any stone nearby, researching Animal Husbandry now to see if the flatland improves before going pottery and start churning out settlers.

T21 Pantheon:

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There's a good amount of pastures next to the capital, and the other good tiles are plantations on flat land as well. This makes God of the Open Sky a good choice: it fixes some early gold issues tradition has and it doesn't require improved tiles to work so it is less reliant on workers I might not be able to afford. It doesn't fix tradition AND Poland science issues, but culture can translate into science later on. There're no other obvious pantheons to pick, I could default to the 'safe' picks of Ancestor Worship,and Tutelary Gods and they'd probably work out, but they mostly give faith and culture and Open Sky does that as well. Springtime for example would be a bad one here, there're very few plantations nearby that don't involve conquering Carthage. I have 4 turns between completing Stonehenge and researching Pottery, so I train a slinger to work in tandem with the worker against some barb camps that already spawned next to my future expansion sites.

The expansion race:

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Cusco had 6 pop only one turn ago, progress Inca is already sending out settlers looks like. I keep an eye on Carthage pop as well, and have to hurry up. That means going Tradition left side first, Justice and work the engineer slot to save some turns on the very important first settler instead of acting greedy and going right side for faster policies/religion.

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Unsurprisingly Inca settled the natural wonder site (with 3 pastures, 4 luxes, even more in the 3rd ring...damn) so I have to claim the land in between me and Dido in order to not have her on Warsaw doorstep already. Barbs taken out, I can rush to the coast and settle one turn before her, or even better settle the marble for a stronger defensive position but that means early war to block her settler. I feel like I must do the latter, else she might simply settle next the lake herself. She's easily pissed in any case anyway.

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I have vision on my neighbours capitals and I could spot a Mausoleum of Halicarnasuss under construction. Not seeing them going for it, I do a safe gamble: my capital is very productive, keeping the engineer slot locked in order to complete a CS quest that makes up for not working the artist slot. Krakow is in a very defensive position, on a hill surrounded by hills so that Dido archers can't attack it and I could call my scout back to assist against her if she made a serious attack. She is a bit passive (I sniped her settler, then killed a warrior and wounded another so that really settled her back) so I don't feel the urge of having to put up walls and train more units. I need to make some more units around against barbarians though, going archery now because I can't hope to fight against Inca with slingers only, and a early garrisoned archer would make Krakow iimpregnable, aiming at entering classical through mathematics: Pachacuti allied a militaristic CS for bonus science and already has double my techs and policies, that's a bit depressing but at least he is going for his uniques (pata-pata are on construction) so I have a chance at other early wonders.

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Thanks William for settling Rotterdamn and pissing Dido even more, that is going to keep her (albeit small) army busy so that I focus on basic infrastructure (monument-shrine-council/herbalist after Ceremony policy) in my expos. Pacha denounced me after I placed Lodz, seriously dude that's my tea, not forward settling. Fine, I promise not to do it anymore. I also spot him going for some early wonder, not MoH thankfully so I can spend gold in the expos instead than rushing it.

T63 Classical Era:

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Yay only 11 techs behind the pissed leader! He's building Hanging Gardens, that means good chances at Roman Forum. I need to put these CS in my pocket before he can spam emissaries, and the only way to have cheap (200 vs 390 gold) emissaries pre-Medieval is the free paper from the forum so I'll make a serious attempt for it, after I put most of my capital production into some archers and workers. No way for tradition satellites to help with early units in reasonable time.

Barbarians between me and Samarkand are spawning way too often for my taste but hopefully my borders will expand to a point it won't be possible for camps to spawn anymore. I don't feel like making a weak coastal city there only to fill the land. Instead, I'm going to stay at war vs Dido just long enough that I can plop a settler near her dyes, stealing her monopoly and crippling her expansion.

T72 Medieval Era... but not for me:

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Not sure who's the greediest bastard here, me attempting Petra in that craphole (I have gold for rush buys, a half-prebuilt wall and am keeping units close just in case of surprise dow though) or Pacha Great Library into Oracle for an unfair tech lead. I unlocked my monopoly 5 turns ago, tea one is quite weak this early but scales strong and I improved the tiles for better production anyhow, my small expos are quite productive for being tradition ones so they'll catch up with infrastructure eventually. I'm so going to piss Pacha stealing Hanoi from him, right when unlocking writing and then being able to send 2 emissaries out at the same time.

There's an annoyingly high amount of barbarians spawning but I should be grateful because they're infesting Pacha lands as well, not being an Authority AI he's not great at cleaning them.

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T80 Religion

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After Maths, it's time to catch up with war techs and going for the barracks/arena/forge hammer friendly setup in all cities, adding wells and watermills where available. Else, I would lack the production for anything I might possibly unlock in the upper part of the tech tree. The capital is still quite small albeit productive, what is crippling growth is me working 2-3 specialists even at this low pop, in order to fulfill quests (working 2 merchants now, the national wonders slots make the first GP coming out very quick, at least one thing tradition has the edge with). Later on I can spoiler I'll be always locking the diplomat slots until running out of embassies (the first GD is good to expend for a good alliances, but later embassies are too important), almost always working the engineers, then switching between GPPs depends on which one spawns faster/is requested for a quest. GWAMs during golden ages, scientists before bulbs.

The far away CSs aren't offering me any easy quest, one example for all it costed me 34gpt to connect Ivory but hey, should Pacha attack I'd get the money back. Hence my emissaries are on a long trip to the other militaristic CSs.

I'm the first founder and I don't know how many religions there will be on my continent, but it should be relatively easy to spread to all the CS and Carthage at least, I pick Ceremonial Burial as founder belief due to its very good late scaling and then I want one out of Orders or Indulgences to be able to use the global faith as local production, when buying a missionary could help finish a building in an expo one turn earlier, or when buying a 10000 GP would work as a mini engineer in the capital. It's a bit of a long term plan but my cities are going to stay relatively small for some time still, so any follower belief scaling out of pop isn't very appealing. In the end I settle for indulgencies, I regret not being able to get morale promo out of every city due to the militaristic gifts being delivered a bit everywhere, but I don't produce a lot of faith yet, better spend it in missionaries rather than buildings.

T90 To the rescue!

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I join William against Dido basically for free (he had no money, I accepted some crabs) only to prevent her conquer Utrecht: William war efforts were embarassing, despite being quite ahead it looks like he ignored most war techs while Dido was able to field a respectable army out of one city only. I don't want her to become a troublesome neighbour so I'm happy to keep her at city state tier. Truth to be told I really wanted to pillage her caravans...

Once I upgrade to composite bows I think I can witstand even a not-so-surprise attack from Inca knights, also keeping my small empire packed made it easy to connect it with roads, and it'll be easy to move a caravan over a town and some villages (I only sent a TR to Samarkand due to a quest, but next ones will be production TRs from Warsaw thanks to the MoH free stoneworks). Currency is such a good tech, right on the path to Chivalry and the Ducal Stables I want to beeline now. Pacha went on the same path and already picked Great Wall and Angkor Wat, I don't care much to have those for myself, but I'd rather not have to fight against the great wall...

T97 Statecraft:

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There're many CS on my continent and I already have a solid grasp on most of them, Statecraft is the obvious choice...especially because I'm not sure of how I'm going to win the game yet and don't want to put all my eggs in the Artistry basket, and 4 cities is too little to profit from Fealty.

I spot a Incan heavy skirmisher and decide I have to speed up the tech pace a lil, the science from ceremony/rax/forges is not enough so expos put up libraries and scientists specialists are worked as soon as they become available.

I meet Polinesia, good trading partner and it doesn't look like a runaway AI, despite having Petra and Parthenon.

T110 Medieval:

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A good game milestone would be medieval by turn 100, but chivalry in the middle of the tech tree requires a bit more beakers and I have bad science output so 110 is enough, it's around the time even the most peaceful AIs start to run out of space and become aggressive... hey look at the minimap with William settling a location Pacha might have wanted for himself. I have all nearby CS under my control, I'm tempted to declare war on Pacha now so that he loses a bunch of emissaries and missionaries as well, but I want him to be the bad boy so I make a defensive pact with the Netherlands.

William founds the 3rd religion of this continent and this is actually bad news, it's going to be hard to reform and next to impossible to reach the 25 cities limit of my scalind founder. One day I'll have to get rid of the heretics. I'll keep focus on missionaries and ignore enhance until all neutral cities follow one religion or another.

I buy some tiles east of Krakow and that leaves no more space for barbarian camps to spawn; about time, I cannot keep units on that front forever.

T113 We're under attack!

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The time has come! The day when my 8 supply army is going against the #2 military in the world. Human brain against AI handicaps! Well, along my swarm of CS allies and soon-to-be-fielded military gifts. Instead of rushing military units I take the time to build Ducal Stables everywhere; it's going to take a couple of turns for the AI to field a serious army at my borders, while my CSs and William distract Pacha forces as well, and by then I'll make up for the invested hammers with the hefty production discount to knights.

T117 Tech Inferiority:

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Alright this doesn't look promising, I have no vision over William lands but I bet there's not a lot of fighting going on that front, Pacha quickly moved many units toward Lodz. Good thing there're no mountains nor many hills nearby, but I'm not going on the offensive anytime soon, let them come at me.Usually after 2-3 comp hits the enemy units retreat in order to heal, and that plays to my advantage. I'm not Authority so it's pointless to kill units when I only want to slow them.

T122 Enhancer:

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Pacha is killing a lot of CS units (really, why is Hanoi training so many siege weapons is beyond me) but it doesn't make gains against me, so I am thinking building chanceries and armories before fully committing for the war. Oh yeah and secure some more alliance as well.

As long as Inca doesn't field too many trebuchets next to my border his longswordmen can come eat arrows all day long.

My 2nd follower belief of choice would have been Synagogues but in an act of spite Pacha got it already. Orders are out and I already own Sankore so Mosques loses a lot of appeal... After checking the follower situation in my own cities I realize Pagodas can work: it's already +2/3 to all yields in all cities, quite cheap and definitely better than any per-follower belief. It can only become better should I be able to trade with the other continent. As for the enhancer... Abode of Peace has been taken and that was the only one with some synergy with my actualy situation (I spread a lot to my ally CS, very little to neighbours); I default to Symbolism, hard to go wrong with that one when there's competition for the religious game. Sacred Calendar gives similar benefits but 1) I'm not in perma-GA yet 2) with the current multipliers, a +2 GPP is better than a +33% until 4 or more slots of the same specialists are worked 3) later on, when more slots unlock, I might have higher multipliers or simply not enough population to work every possible slot. Really if you enhance in reasonable time, Symbolism is always better than Sacred Calendar. The secundary benefits of some gold/faith and better missionaries can be worth consider sometime, but not in this game, not this early.

T126 Cavalry is coming:

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It may not look that much different from the previous screenshot but I'm starting to feel the Incan pressure: war weariness hits, my units have to heal and there're a lot of enemy knights and skirmishers coming out of the fog of war. Knights are being trained though, the next turns are going to be bloody.

Instead of contributing to the war efforts, Warsaw plans for the long run and is still building infrastructure, with good timing on the Oxford University. I'm a sucker for instant yields.

Inca entered Renaissance, but looking at the cost of unresearched technologies it looks like they completed every single Medieval tech, didn't actually research any in the next tier. They usually go for the upper part of the tree but being in war they'll probably deviate toward gunpowder.

T133 Trading blows:

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Yeah that's 4 knights lost in a single turn, and you know what, I planned for it. I'm over my supply cap, I'm churning out 4 units every 2 turns and that's not even counting gifted or rush bought ones. I field knights and send them to the meatgrinder: their job is to protect the crossbowmen and deal more damage than they take, that means killing 4-5 skirmishers or trebuchets every damned turn, dieing but causing enemy swords and knights to take retaliation damage and leaving them exposed to the crossbowmen, waiting for an opening. I'm actually going to create that opening, with a funny synergy between a gifted companion cavalry transferring movement to a general... that means I'm going to plant a citadel right in their face over that forest before they can focus the general down.

T135 The Breach:

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Pacha researched gunpowder, that means I'm soon going to face tercios instead than pikes and longswordmen, and my crossbowmen won't be able to keep them at bay any longer. But! That also means the Great Wall becomes obsolete. I'm even able to snipe a Incan GG that was feeling oh so safe, while my ranged units will move in the city range. The war is on a turning point.

I'm saving Great People to bulb them once I enter Renaissance for better instant yields out of Ceremonial Burial, Splendor and Sankore, and I'm entering Renaissance through Gunpowder should I need the added punch of cannons to conquer Tiwanaku, and Himeji castle improved supply cap.

On the other continent, things aren't going well for Polynesia... I have no coastal city so no caravels but I'm going to send my two explorers oversea, out of curiosity and in order to meet more city states. Genghis Khan is at war with Kamehameha but some other AI built the Alhambra, there must be some other warmonger.

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T137 Reformation

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Pacha has been unable to send missionaries out of his lands during the war, while I kept spamming them improving Warsaw production thanks to indulgences. I don't want to spam any more natural prophets, until industrial era the faith needed to get them isn't considered 'expended' so it's not giving me production/gold, also with Ceremonial Burial the holy sites are quite weak (they only get bonus faith). Finally being able to reform, I find myself with enough infrastructure in place that divine inspiration/faith of the masses aren't that important to have right now, and with CB+Tradition I am naturally leaned toward Glory of God.

Pacha is running out of stamina faster than me, so even with upgraded troops he won't be able to lift Tiwanaku siege. He's not building Himeji in Cusco, and Genghis is behind me in tech so hopefully I'm going to fix my supply cap issues before assaulting the Inca capital.

T143 Renaissance

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Well, damn. The iroquois on the other continent just conquered Honolulu, Kame has been eliminated and I spot Himeji being built in Onondaga (vanilla wonders are easy to spot under construction after you have an embassy). War weariness is high and Pacha wants to surrender, but he's only offering money. I'm afraid if I give him 10 turns to catch his breath he's going to snipe some CS alliances of mine, and we're at tech parity. I have to improve my knights into winged hussars but that requires techs that won't help me catch up with Hiwatha.

I'm going to pillage Inca territory as much as I can while waiting for a better peace deal, teching toward printing press in order to unlock the world congress I'm going to dominate.

T147 Peace at last:

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The last AI revealed are the Zulu, and they're having a ugly time against Hiwatha, as they didn't unlock impis yet and their land is covered in forests.

Pacha offered to capitulate and I accept that, I lack the means to quickly conquer his capital (that is filled with wonders that would badly increase the cost of my future ones, without benefitting me much) and I want to send some envoys to the western CSs through his territory. My expos are working all scientists and diplomat slots for science, and food tiles to grow now that production doesn't matter much (only some leftover buildings left, no units to train except some cs quest requests).

T154 First Congress of Warsaw:

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So this is going to be the end boss looks like. He's on the good way to convert all his continent while I'm fighting a two fronts religious war. I'm going to pass World Religion now that I have good chances to do it, before he tries to do the same for his Protestantism. He's also going for metallurgy and the bottom part of the tech tree so his science lead doesn't worry me much. What pisses me off is he got the Tower of Pisa, if I ignored gunpowder (that didn't help me win the war against Inca anyway, I'm not even bothering upgrading my army for now) and beelined chemistry I could have got it, oh well live and learn.

T157 Rationalism

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I'm training a last batch of envoys now that I unlock Astronomy to get friendship with the oversea CSs. Not going to actively ally them if there're other CS in range for now, as I don't want to unnecessary piss off the Iroquois. I'm keeping my spy in Cusco (all other ones are in the nearby CS) but the spy network is building up so slow... I'm committed by now though, I think I'll keep one spy there until 1000 network point, do a mission and call it back asap. Sadly I can't destroy production yet so he manage to snag the Globe Theater, no biggie though I'm focusing on other wonders. I thought I could time Chicken Itza to come out with my next GA but the next policy gives me some GAPs through the national epic and the timing is ruined. It still is a 13 turns GA thanks to porcellain monopoly.

I unlock rationalism for its growth and science bonuses, left side but ready to unlock enlightment should I be able to research a high tier tech and advance era.

With a decent army and tech lead I need a target, and my DoF with William expired... our defensive pact is also going to end soon, shame I'll have to trash our research agreement and all our gpt trades but he's expanding, sending out missionaries and envoys, is the only other one who selected statecraft and I also want to keep busy with war my (abused) vassal.

T162 War thoughts:

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There're 4 CS asking for conversion and I'm probably going to lose all those quests to the Iroquois. For a moment I'm tempted to ally those cities and declare war to Hiwatha only to win those GPPs but he's probably going to conquer the CSs before settling for peace, and getting a hefty amount of yields out of those easy wars I can't help with. I'm going to attack William now that he has no CS allies (I flipped back Singapore and Bratislava one turn ago).

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I think I have to rush for the dominance of my continent before Hiawatha is done with his one. This game diplomacy won't play a big a role because he's simply eating all the competition, and the last thing I want is having some weak AI on my continent he could vassallize or outright conquer as a beach head against me.

T167 Ballsy:

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Really, Dido?

I'm going to annex Rotterdam, my first coastal city but is not too vulnerable given its northern sea access and the coastal CSs west and east that can slow down any Iroquois navy. I almost never puppet, as puppets are terrible at decisions and some simple stuff like building a chancery first, followed by circus/zoo and the usual production buildings can make it a productive city that made up for the science deficit ina timely fashion. Left to itself, the city would probably build markets and aqueducts. I also need walls and harbor there should william show with a sea beggar. Utrecht on the other hand is a terrible city, I'm tempted to raze it but instead I'm going to let Buenos Aires snipe it, that CS must be buffed and guard my eastern border.

T169 Timing the Enlightment:

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Only 5 Turns to Architecture but 11 to the next policy... It would cost me nothing to switch research but I want to rush to the next era because of bragging rights, and because era scaling is very powerful for instant yields. Less of a must as a tradition player, but national wonder yields and Ceremonial Burial are enough of a hook.

I'm in a golden age so that's a good moment to work culture process (+20% to both production and cultural output); Great Artists are still very weak (I'm theming only an amphitheater and Oxford) so I'm going to make great works out of them until I theme the Uffizi as well. There's a lot of culture to milk out of cs quests, CB and later great writers, after Industrial Era science will be harder to come by (CS spying quests grant science but take ages to complete) so my focus will switch.

Inca are besieging Amsterdam but lack human brain and focus, I don't have a navy so I'm going to call for peace with William when I'm done with Dido in order to organize better the next assault.

T174 Industrial Era:

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Hiawatha enters Industrial through rifling, instead I unlock Scientific Theory. Not being in a Golden Age costs me about 100 culture per turn, switching focus from culture to production another 100ish. My cities have to build a lot of important infrastructures to snowball, such as windmills, zoos, public schools and groceries (I need those for when I'll switch to growth after empiricism) so I come 5 turns short of unlocking enlightment but I saved a bunch of great people for this moment:

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That's also a lot of instant faith I can use with To the Glory of God, my first picks are going to be a great engineer for Taj Mahal in Wroclaw - because there're many different religious followers in that city - while Warsaw will hard build the Porcellain Tower, in future I'll select Great Diplomats until I max embassies, to own the congress. Great Scientists to end the game, and any other cheap GP needed for CS quests in the turns I don't have enough accumulated faith for the good stuff.

Maybe it's not optimal game play but I can't help chuckle when I see a CS conquer an enemy city, I'm going to feed my allies Breda as well :) I don't plan to expand much anyway, only to clear all competition out of my continent...

Hiawatha resurrects Kamehameha as a vassal and overran both Mongolia and Zulu with astounding speed, nice result with 0 player interference.

T179 It wasn't me!

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I let Buenos Aires takes down Carthage, and I peace out with William to avoid too many diplo hits. I also denounced both Mongolia and Zulu in order to gather positive modifiers with Hiawatha. The 2nd world congress doesn't offer any outstanding diplomatic opportunity, I'm going to propose stuff that makes Iroquois happy while at the same time vetoing his Treasure Fleet proposal (he's still #1 in manufactured goods and I don't want him to win, nor need #2 place rewards)

There's enough coal in my lands that I don't need to train pioneers, I'm going to tech toward factories now, with a quick metallurgy in order to unlock my Winged Hussars to seal the deal with William in few turns.

Taj Mahal completed, a 18 turns GA starts and I'll (finally) build guilds even in expansions, to work culture specialists until an Ideology is unlocked.


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My mistreated vassal is a thorn in my side, with missionaries and emissaries working against his enlighted ruler. I'm going to fix his attitude in about 15 turns, after a research agreement is completed. In meanwhile, I'll keep him busy against the leftovers of the Netherlands.

I use to have 1,5 workers per city and that keeps the land decently improved (if a city grows to a point it works unimproved tiles, I try to swap tiles with nearby cities or work specialists until a worker is free); now that Railroads have been researched I rush bought some more and will connect my cities asap, then move the bulk of my workers to the heavy pillaged dutch cities.

T189 Tech Parity (with the deity runaway!)

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43 techs each, but 11 to 9 policies and 13 to 3 CS allies, I'm ahead in everything but production and soldiers. I'm only worried of Hiawatha supporting Pacha indipendence or conquering some coastal CS or dutch city so I'm going to limit his choice of targets.

T194 That was quick:

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T200 Milestone, and game ramblings:

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1000+ science/culture at T200 in a small empire no-domination game (can I still consider this one as such?) without working processes is a good result, a bit less science than in my Maya playthrough, and less culture than in the Arabia one, predictable. I have 2 extra policies thanks to Poland UA, the UB has been useful albeit minor, the UU is just a funny toy but the war has been a joke. The next turn though, I'm going to unlock ideologies and will already be able to select 3 tenets, up to a tier 2 one.

What is going to be the best (quickest) victory condition? I don't want to bother with a sea invasion but all of CV, DV and SV are still on the table, and both Order and Freedom offer good benefits toward those. I've been playing a generic game until now, it's time to focus and pick a path to victory.

With 5 academies down I'm going to bulb all my future scientists, and between one of those and the RA in place I'm going to unlock a new technology the next turn: I'm torn between entering Modern Era through Fertilizer/Dynamite->Corporations (probably by picking Freedom, need to start placing Corps asap) or Military Science/Dynamite -> Repleaceable Parts (with Order, Kremlin on the way and no need to rush Corps if I go for Nationalization). Eiffel on both paths is a given. Brandeburg can be a must have should I have to fight Hiawatha or completly useless if he invades too late. I'm 1 tech ahead of Hiawatha and that one is a heavy one, Industrialization, he's not going to catch up considering his Authority yields are going to slow down after he swallowed the opposition on his continent.

I'm going to attack my vassal the next turn, Hiawatha is going to be hostile after I conquer Amsterdam no matter what and the time for diplomacy is long gone. That's the only way I can cap my religion, but I'm going to own a lot of (useless) world wonders once I annex Cusco so any future wonder price is going to be inflated, I'll try to delay the full conquest a bit.

Cusco => There is another solution.
Capture their capital, sent an inquisitor there, remove their religion, vassalize them again and give their capital back. Without the Holy site modifier, they will stop trying to spread their religion and will happily accept yours.
When you play a vassal run, you should care about holy sites, even capturing them for one turn, enough to remove heresy and shut down the religion.
I'm going to attack my vassal the next turn
I think directly attacking a vassal is going to make you untrustworthy for the whole world. But I guess it doesn't matter when the world hates you anyway.
I took a break and forgot what I was going to do with this game, the last turns I played a bit erratic. It doesn't help that I hate end game and high supply. Nonetheless, this is when humans can beeline techs and bulbing GPs to an extent the AI can't cope with it. Also, high movement units and superior micro make late game war a breeze compared to the early game slogs where you have to think a bit more.

T208 Modern Era:
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The Inca had an up to tech army but few units and my backstab got them unprepared. I have a lot of spare happiness so I'm going to annex all of their cities, no more freebies to my CS allies: that is going to grant me two port cities in the south should I need to hard build ships.

Cities have all the needed buildings that can still contribute to victory (read, anything with 5 or less gold maintenance and no tourism buildings), I'll focus on projects and units next while moving focus from production to food. Only guilds and scientists are being worked, capital has enough pop to work diplomats, merchants and engineers as well.

T221 DoW! Also, 2nd place is fair enough:
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Hiawatha took his time to assimilate Mongolia and then finally turned on me: I have a CS screen on the west that is going to delay him a bit, then I'll have to buy some ships in the ex-Dutch cities (where I have seaport and stock exchange, with Draft Exchange for full xp) or build some in the ex-Incan cities (where Pacha built train stations instead).

I proposed World Fair in the Congress but I don't care about winning it: the free social policy and 33% bonus culture are the main prizes here, spending at least 12k more hammers for +2 prod and science in all cities is a terrible tradeoff; also, Iroquois have higher production than me on paper, I'd have to move all the focus to production and losing at least 5 turns in all cities, definitely not worth it.

T230 Atomic Era:
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After 5 academies and Free Thought all scientists get bulbed and are one of the priorities for GP faith buying: I initially bought 2 diplomats to grant embassies and 2 engineers to finish wonders I could still lose due to tech parity, then a cheap Artist to start a permanent GA and a merchant because being at war with the rest of the world made WLTK impossible in some core cities. With World Fair in place and science processes being worked from now on it'll be writers and scientists only.

With Atomic Theory researched right before the next congress session I unlock the United Nations proposal, then I'm going to research Nuclear Fission in order to unlock the World Ideology one.

T235 A fleet is born:
Spoiler :


My allies on the other continent are gone, and the small CS fleets can't defend against Hiawatha Ironclads showing in my territorial waters. I'm ready to drop an A-bomb should I spot a nice cluster of enemy ships coming too close but destroyers are coming out quick enough (and a fleet of dreadnoughts is coming from north) that I'm able to repeal those ships.

T240 More Bulbs (policies, policies everywhere):
Spoiler :


Statue of Liberty free policy and two great writers while in World Fair + GA, now I'm just toying with policies and Poland UA feels wasted: I'm in no hurry to grab Treaty Organization (and in fact, Freedom feels a bit wasted because Transnationalism isn't triggering at all, maybe bugged, maybe due to war) and I pursue Colonalism and Mercantilism in the other industrial trees. I can now field ships 2 tech tiers above the Iroquois (Fleet Destroyers and Battleships) so I'm going to upgrade all the outdated ships and then proceed with liberating my old cs allies.

T249 Information Era:
Spoiler :


My North Sea Fleet (mostly ranged ships, due to little enemy sea presence) is able to liberate the coastal Mongolian cities, that with free arsenal and fodder units due to Self Determination tenet are a very good distraction for the AI.

Spoiler :


VP AI is performing multiple front wars great compared to vanilla AI, but high movement and high level units are best in human hands: the enemy focused too much on land units in order to conquer his continent and couldn't switch focus to a navy well enough, so that my southern fleet dispatched about 20 cruisers/ironclads and now faces no opposition. I'm also going to open a third front now that I unlocked carriers.

T257 World Ideology: Nukes
Spoiler :


The AI is always slow to connect Oil, modern armors vs lancers... Those embarked bombers are also facing no anti-air opposition. I nuke Onondaga because why not, hitting a capital is devastating and the fallout is going to slow down enemy reinforcements on that front.

T264 Paint it Red: Diplomatic Victory in sight...
Spoiler :


Interestingly enough, Hiawatha has been very quick to react to the bombers and spammed a number of annoying anti air guns. Most of them are too far away my carriers though. I could also move 5 fresh A-bombs to the war zone in about 3 turns with a new carrier and his cities are now melting. Onondaga is falling the next turn, and then on turn 268 I'm going to win a diplomatic victory...

T266 I almost did it:

Spoiler :


Eventually, Hiawatha decides to capitulate and I accept it because 2 more turns of micro intensive war feels a bit too much. While T268 would have been a pretty good timing for a diplo victory, T266 is a bit late for a domination but I never planned for it and my choice of policies reflects it.

End game reflections, and an unpopular opinion: Poland is bland and feels weak (ok, maybe just average).

First, the UA. [6/10] Policies are great, culture is a great yield, and Poland gets a free policy every 2 eras, that should be great. In practice, having +1 policy by turn 60-80 (Classical Era) and nothing before that is underwhelming, compared to civs with early culture advantage (Netherlands above all, but any civ with good production or easy religion can convert those yields into culture).
The second UA trigger comes at Renaissance, and this is the one that probably matters the most, 2 policies lead by then (but most commonly just 1) can help finish a tree. The third trigger comes with 2 free tenets and while this is huge, it also happens a handful of turns before bulbing great writers becomes a thing. By the end game I had a 17 ( ! ) policies lead over the deity AI, sure this is probably a problem with bulbs (and world fair 2nd prize being obscene high) but it diluites the Polish cultural advantage.

Winged Hussars [6/10]: great CS and movement upgrade to lancers that are a ok base unit (relatively cheap for that combat strength) but only a strict warmonger beelines metallurgy in Renaissance, the timing here is important. My main gripe though is their unique promotion can put them in danger and makes it hard to focus fire units before forcing them to retreat: often I'd prefer if they stand still, eat a blitz hussar attack and then get finished off by a ranged attack. I think authority Poland might be a lot funnier to play due to heal on kill and overall more aggressive playstyle but then you're playing a civ with no war advantage for the first 120-150 turns...

Ducal Stables [5/10]: Despite my love for anything with a production bonus that helps your cities snowballing, I can't help thinking this building comes a bit too late and a bit too weak. It's an upgrade to a situational building and you're not going to have a lot of pastures in every city, in fact I'd like if it actually placed a real horse resource on a random tile next to the city if possible (such as Indonesia UA, or the buffalo pound in 4UC) instead of granting 1 horse out of nowhere. In this game I played with it, and it helped me churn our knights very quick but an optimal play is usually having horsemen ready to upgrade to knights for a timely rush, not having to hard build them. By the time I unlocked Winged Hussars I already had all the knights I needed so the bonus to mounted units production and xp felt wasted in the mid-late game.
I think you're supposed to utilize the huge no-retreat +50% CS more than the forced retreat. With Shock (and Overrun) it's not hard to turn 3HKOs into 2HKOs. As a mounted melee unit, it's very reliant on having a tech lead though.
Great reading and I love the crops of information! Keep up with the great work!

So with ratings 6/6/5 Poland seems very balanced. Maybe slightly OP if we consider 5 as an average. Buffing ducal stables would make them more OP.
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