We leave off about to finish Brennus the backstabber off, while watching the Romans warily.
It does not take long to finish the Celts off. Unfortunately, as we are taking the capital, Caesar sneaks up the coast and takes Vienne. That's the Hindu holy city, and would have been worth big bucks. The army that does the job for him is around 25 rifles and cannons - we knew peace would not last long.
Two turns later, Rome comes knocking... 'peacefully' at first:
We debate the decision for a while, and decide to buy the 10 turns of peace. The Celtic cities were freshly taken and needed most of our troops to quell, the stack that took the capital was still injured, and we would almost have flight by the time the peace treaty ended. We tech democracy and start on flight, switch to emancipation and organised religion, and greedily build factories and coal plants (somehow we have a huge surplus of health).
When the treaty ends, we notice that Rome is about 2 turns into researching assembly line. With his 1.8 power ratio, we can't allow him to hit that tech peacefully - we need to cull his rifleman numbers to avoid being overwhelmed. We turn down our science rate, in preparation to upgrade our rifles into infantry.
On that very turn, Caesar sensed the weakness from us building a round of buildings instead of military, and declared war. He moves out of Vienne towards Nongoma with a menacing stack:
So kicks off a bloody handful of turns. We move our main stack to the lightly defended Vienne and take it. Caesar continues marching his main stack to Nongoma, and also spends the few turns throwing cavalry, riflemen, airships and cannons at our border cities and stray units. The roads near Vienne on the Roman side are poor, and we are heavily favoured in trading in that area. Up and down the border, we trade efficiently at about 2:1 if not 3:1, but his strength ratio stubbornly stays at 1.8, and some of our best veterans are dying. Bibactrate also decides to rebel at this moment, and we feel immensely vulnerable.
We take some calculated gambles and move some garrison from not-quite-quelled Celtic cities to the frontline. Luckily they did not rebel in subsequent turns. Together with our fresh infantry from our newly industrialised core cities, they stabilise the line in the nick of time. We finish flight and our upgraded airships shoot down Caesar's, establishing air dominance again.
Up north at Nongoma, our hastily assembled defence force of 3 infantry and a machine gun fall to Caesar's stack, but not before taking about 7 units into the depths of hell with them, leaving this stack isolated in the middle of my lands:
You can see that Caesar was 79% of the way to infantry at that point, and his military ratio was still 1.7. We don't have long, and we scramble all available units to assault Nongoma. On the turn before he finished assembly line, we killed 5 riflemen. On the turn he finished it, we killed another 8. The turn after that, he had 2 infantry in the city, but that was too late. We had cut Caesar down to size, his ratio now a mere 1.2, and his ego swallowed:
In the meantime, Gilgamesh seems to be mainly concentrating on science. Despite us running 0% science for about 5 turns to upgrade our troops, he isn't really pulling ahead. We southern islands are also pumping out destroyers now, so at some point we will hopefully secure a naval advantage over him, ensuring future security.
So a tense session that threatened to spiral out of control, but in the end achieved the purpose of destroying the bulk of the Roman army before it all got upgraded into infantry. Now that he has mostly just garrisons left, I'm minded to push on to Neapolis to ensure it is easier to deny him oil, and then reassess from there. If he cannot beg or borrow oil from Gilgamesh, then it'll only a matter of time before my future bombers and tanks roll over his limited military options.