Hello all--long time player, first time caller. I've just recently become competitive in Deity (BNW), and am playing a game (epic, fractal) right now that I'm quite obsessed with. (So much so that I'm posting about it at work--shame on me--where I can't include screen shots.) Bottom line: I'm England and the tech-leader by one tech over the Zulu. I'm Order, he's Autocracy. I've got six cities to his 25. He's directly to my west, is influential culturally over me and controls four capitals. We were getting a little contentious over some of the same City States when he planted a few citadels to rob me of resources and I, throwing caution to the wind, DOW'd him. So imagine this: Canterbury, Ife and Mogadishu are all more or less on a throat of land connecting our two larger bodies of land. Using artillery and ships of the line, I liberate Ife from him...about five times. He keeps taking it back and I keep liberating it, maintaining a large force of guns (and longbowmen, even, on account of I have cash flow issues) just out of range of his guys, pummeling them and picking them off with landships and Great War Bombers. Suddenly he's gone relatively quiet. I am tempted to believe that I've exhausted the bulk of his forces and am cautiously plotting an attack to liberate Mogadishu, which would place two allied CSs between him and me and put me in shouting distance of Ulundi for--conceivably--a knock-out blow. Mogadishu has a defense level of over 100; I've got maybe five guns to bring to bear and no bombers yet in range. I can't reach it from the sea. Meanwhile, I have steadily built up quite a fleet of Ships-of-the-Line and am researching for battleships (though my cash flow issues are such that barring several massive influxes from city captures I'll be hard-pressed to upgrade any of them). Our entire conflict thus far has been concentrated in this bloody little throat, and I'm thinking of sending my fleet around with a destroyer or two to pick off some of Shaka's vulnerable coastal cities--give him something else to think about. My questions are: 1. Is it a good idea to send my fleet away in essentially harassing, trimming-the-hedges activities? (They really can't do much but be fodder for Zulu guns and ships in the main theatre of battle.) 2. If so, what should I be thinking about in terms of puppeting / annexing / razing any cities that fall to me? My happiness isn't great even after using almost all the Order happiness tenets (though this has much to do with ideology envy, and at the next WC we'll be making Order the universal ideology, which will ameliorate that a bit; also it owes to the fact that Shaka basically has monopolies on scads of luxuries...) 3. Is it feasible for me to take a 100+ defensive city with five artillery? 4. Finally, it seemed like a foregone conclusion for so long that the Zulu were going to win it that I haven't thought much about victory conditions. Diplomacy is out (waaaaay too many CSs absorbed by Genghis Khan and Shaka); culture would be improbable to say the least (I haven't won a culture game over King, I think); and domination would take forever. Any advice on how to beat Shaka into space, besides just beating his ass into the ground? I really want to build Research Labs, but with just six cities it's hard to prosecute this massive war and do that at the same time. Any / all input appreciated. Wicked fun game.