to 1720 AD (new commentary added): Spoiler : As Boudica was out hunting for the day, she sang the last lines of "Dreams of My Son" with mixed feelings of excitement and longing...her son was real, as she knew deep down, but she could never gain proof of his existence, or detailed information of his whereabouts. So she turned to the shaman for guidance. The shaman said, "To gain true knowledge of your son, you must focus the fruits of your land toward knowledge. Earthly grains feed the flesh, but the mind is sustained by pure will. Therefore, the harvesting of mind, not grain, is the real path to nourishment." Boudica replied, "The Shaman is wise...mind, not grain, is the true nourishment that my people need. Our oat farmers will now become book farmers!" The Shaman said, "You can call me Sensei...this name is in the language of the land where your son is. I know where your son is, but I cannot convey that knowledge directly to you. You must earn that knowledge yourself..." "Yes, Sensei," answered Boudica, as she bowed her head down, as if awakened from her sudden optimism by a dose of reality. Thus Boudica's divinely inspired plan was put into motion. The Celtic people, for an entire season, focused on harvesting mind instead of grain... As it was though, by my own fault, Boudica's lack of the Philosophical trait (unlike Suleiman) led to a late realization of the need to execute this plan. In fact, the triggering of a Golden Age at this point of the game is not bad in itself, but the circumstances that revealed themselves shortly afterward showed that this decision was made too late. Specifically, I had hoped to gain more from Pacifism by extending the length of the pre-Golden Age period by delaying the appearance of the Great Person that would trigger the Golden Age...so I ran only 3 specialists in that city. In hindsight, I should have run 4 specialists, so that the Golden Age could come earlier. After Chemistry was gained in trade, by using Printing Press as trade fodder, there were no remaining bulb opportunities of any significance. I was forced to settle the new Great Scientists that I got in the Golden Age. This was not a pure mistake, though. In ordinary situations, Chemistry would have better trade value, thus justifying the need to spend Great Scientists to bulb it. This was rather a stroke of bad luck caused by the lightning fast tech rate of Suryavarman and Roosevelt. In other words, the glass can be viewed as half-empty, in that a useful bulb opportunity was not available. Or half-full, in that the opportunity to trade for Chemistry was available. A later-than-optimal Golden Age led to a later-than-optimal change of civics. The period of Vassalage ended, and a new palace was built in Gergovia, the nearby city to the south, in conjunction with a switch to Bureaucracy. Even with the bad timing though, Vassalage gave us plenty of high-powered weapons that could be activated through the upgrade from Catapults to Cannons. A change from Pacifism to Free Religion was also made, in an effort to remove the resentment by AI leaders caused by religion clash. I consider the effect of this civics change an interesting phenomenon. In other variations using Vassalage, I tried a Vassalage + Paganism combination to eliminate the effect of negative diplomatic factors from religion clash. This time, I'm using Free Religion to do the same thing, but the timing of Vassalage comes at the prior phase of civics, not the current one. Even with the shifted timing, however, the units produced during Vassalage are actually used in the later period. A trade for gold and tech was like fuel to feed the fire that was about to emerge... We were ready to go to war, at last. The gold we had saved up was finally used to upgrade our 5 XP Catapults to Cannons. Clearly, we had more than we needed, but our gold was plentiful as well...so there was no regret in spending the extra amount. Musketmen, Macemen, and Pikemen made up the majority of the supporting cast. Unfortunately, there was no Heroic Epic to help us with producing them, but the required numbers were only moderate, thanks to the high-powered offense we had in the Cannons. The preview screen shown in the earlier post (showing attack odds of 3 different cannons) highlighted the opening battle of the war. I continued that attack for several turns, while drawing more of Sitting Bull's units there to be slaughtered, while my own units waited for reinforcements. This, however, was the first major objective of the war. Southward my units then marched, to capture Sitting Bull's capital. And then eastward...although Sitting Bull soon gained Gunpowder for Musketmen and Cuirassiers, his numbers were already decimated by the earlier battles, and the new tech didn't matter. Finally, he got Rifling...but unfortunately for him, this city had only one Rifleman among the masses of Medieval units defending it. Regrouping forces to take the cities to the west that we bypassed earlier... One turn before the final battle of the war, Suryavarman declared war on Pericles. It was time to wrap up my own war, but not until taking Mesa Verde. As it turned out, the hill underneath this city made it the toughest battle of the war, even after many of my Cannons were promoted to CR3. The reward was worth the fight, as there was a Taoist shrine in that city. I accepted Sitting Bull's capitulation offer, both for the purpose of gaining peace, and also gaining the power boost from his military units. At this time, I prepared for war with Pericles by working toward Assembly Line. After about half a century, I was able to strike Pericles, while he was still at war with Suryavarman, but not without being backstabbed by Catherine... Watching over the shores of Celtia, Boudica winced in anger as hordes of Russian Cossacks outnumbered the strong, but few Infantry guarding Carib. "I am not the vengeful one, Catherine," Boudica uttered, as she breathed the salty air, made bitter with the taste of gunpowder. "One day, your own treacherousness will be your undoing!" "Send in the home guard!" Boudica said to her captain. The stab turned out to be a small scratch, thanks to the valiant effort of the single Infantry unit garrisoned there. Catherine's forces were quickly mopped up by our home guard of Infantry, whose movement was aided by railroads. On the Greek war front, another coastal battle was taking place. After it was over, our forces marched eastward to seek a bigger piece of land, and glory.