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SirPleb, Going for Sid

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Hall of Fame Discussion' started by SirPleb, Mar 10, 2004.

  1. Moonsinger

    Moonsinger Settler Retired Moderator

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    I love your style, SirPleb!:love: Although there are many ways to milk the cow, yours is the best I heard so far - most honorable one too.:goodjob: I think I will follow your good example and stop robbing the AIs' treasuries from now on. I thought that if it was ok for Robinhood, it must be ok for me, but now I know that my victory so far on Sid was a hollow one beause you just show me a better way. I'm so looking forward to patch 1.21 so I can try out Sid again with your Great Library tactic. Thanks for sharing a very well thought and proven tactic for Sid!:)
     
  2. SirPleb

    SirPleb Shaken, not stirred.

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    Thanks Moonsinger! :queen:

    I'm not sure my game is very honorable though. I think some (many?) would consider the Great Library "loan" not very honorable :)

    I think the important thing is what each person is comfortable with. A player should not use a legal trick which in their own mind is cheap because that will take enjoyment out of their game. So I restrict myself in a few things just to keep the game enjoyable :)
     
  3. SirPleb

    SirPleb Shaken, not stirred.

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    The War For Iron

    My expansion phase was nearly finished when I became a Monarchy in 410BC. To my west were the Aztecs, apparently not connected to me by land. To the north the Inca, also apparently unconnected. To my east Arabia, connected via a single narrow land bridge. To my northeast the Mongols, connected via a wide neck of land which we were both still settling. America was too far away to be of immediate interest.

    My first priority was to take iron from someone. The best source I could see was about 10 tiles into the Mongol part of the land neck. So the Mongols would be my first target.



    In the image above the green circle is on the iron. As well as the six Mongol towns in the region there's one Inca town. I've put a yellow circle around some horses which I believe are the Inca's reason for settling there. It seems that the Mongols have arrived in this area recently from their homeland, following the path shown by the blue arrow.

    Note: The Inca are red instead of their usual purple, and Arabia is orange instead of pink. I have patched these two Civs' colors to make them distinct from the other Civs in the game.

    How could I take that iron? Pre-game I'd planned on my first war being with Mounted Warriors. But here I was with just 16 of them, wanting to attack a rival with a much stronger military which would include Pikemen and Medieval Infantry. 16 Mounted Warriors (or even 50) weren't going to work. I'd have to find another way.

    The Inca had two extra iron available. We had a coastal connection to the north and I should be able to trade for iron when I built a Harbor. So I could build up a force of Mounted Warriors, trade for iron, wait for Chivalry from the Great Library, then upgrade and attack the Mongols with Knights! This looked like a workable plan. The Mongols didn't have horses yet so my Knights might not face Keshik Horse Archers.

    One problem with this plan: the coastal trade connection with Inca would be cut off as soon as I went to war with Mongols. So the Knights I produced before attacking would be all I'd have until I reached my goal of taking over that iron. If I failed to reach that goal I'd be sunk.

    In 390BC I had my first harbor and was able to trade Feudalism to America for gems + 47gpt, and Republic (which I'd just learned from the Library) to Arabia for ivory + 32gpt. My treasury was growing nicely and I now had three luxuries :) But I couldn't trade with Incas for iron - I suspect they didn't have a harbor.

    In 330BC I completed a Forbidden Palace. The bad news was that the Zulu, who I still had not met, completed Sun Tzu's at the same date.

    In 250BC I was finally able to trade with Incas. In exchange for iron they wanted horses, incense, 1684g, and 18gpt - outrageous! That would use my upgrade funds so it was time to consider another plan. The Mongols, my target-to-be, now had a spare source of iron connected. I could get a better deal from them. I didn't expect this deal to last twenty turns so I decided to pay my part up front to be fair about it. I gave them Construction, Monarchy, and 326g for iron.

    In 210BC I finally met the Zulu. Just two more rivals unmet somewhere in the world. My ships continued to explore.

    Also in 210BC, I learned Chivalry from the Great Library and upgraded 14 Mounted Warriors with the available funds. I had 11 more ready to upgrade. My income would allow two more upgrades per turn. The big question was how large a force to assemble before launching the war. There wasn't a clear answer for this. I continued building up until 130BC. At that time I had 22 Knights and I also had 10 towns building Knights. Those towns would complete their task even after my iron was disconnected so I'd have a total of 32 Knights available to reach my goal. I also had 8 Mounted Warriors to lend assistance and to trigger a Golden Age.

    I declared war on the Mongols in 130BC. I traded Monotheism and a total of 51gpt to ally Inca, Aztecs, and Arabia against the Mongols. None of these Civs had a land connection to the Mongols but it seemed important to ensure that they, my near neighbors, were not available to the Mongols as potential allies against me.

    My first attacks of course included use of a Mounted Warrior and triggered a Golden Age :)

    It was tough slugging fighting my way through the Mongols. They soon had a number of large stacks of spearmen (strange!) in the area. My Knights had to proceed cautiously since each one lost was irreplaceable. Fortunately the Mongols seemed focused on taking the Inca/Aztec horse town. (Inca and Aztecs were at war and that town changed hands once before the Mongols arrived.)

    In 10BC the Mongols captured the Inca horse town. I wasn't in position to take it from them but wasn't in a panic to do so either - the horses weren't connected by road yet.

    Also at 10BC, my first leader appeared! After just four elite wins, that was a nice bit of luck. The leader formed a Knight army the next turn, and I took the ex-Inca horse town from the Mongols. Despite the large number of units they had in the region, they'd left it relatively weakly defended. Here's how the warzone looked at 10AD:



    The 7 stacks of Mongol units which are visible above contain 1 warrior, 34 spearmen, 8 archers, and 11 swordsmen. It is a safe bet there are many more Mongols coming from the north.

    My pregame plan had been to save empty armies during this phase for later use with Cavalry. The realities of this war with one of my weaker rivals changed my thinking :lol: Saving for later was pointless vs. ensuring that there would be a "later"!

    I'd had a wonder prebuild on the go for some time in my core and switched it to Heroic Epic as soon as the army had a win. This lost some shields but having Heroic Epic in the next turn seemed well worth it.

    A three Knight army is effectively a 6/4/3 unit with 12HP and blitz ability. Very powerful against anything available in the early Middle Ages - I wanted as many of these as I could get, ASAP. I also started a prebuild for the Pentagon which would allow Knight armies to be 6/5/3 units with 16HP when finished.

    It was a long tough battle to reach the iron. I destroyed a number of Mongol units each turn and slowly advanced. My Knights earned many promotions and a few more leaders appeared. Each leader formed an army and these were invaluable - the Mongols would not attack them, so they could forge ahead more quickly. Finally I took the iron town in 150AD:



    At this point I had 25 Knights, 12 of which were in 4 armies. I'd lost just 7 Knights in reaching the iron. I may have been over-cautious in my advance during this phase, it looks like I might have risked a few more casualties to move faster.

    In the picture above the visible Mongol stacks contain a total of over 100 units. Fortunately many are in the stacks in the southeast part of the picture - those stacks wandered a bit aimlessly. Early on they'd gone south as if intending to invade my territory. Now they were coming back north. If they'd just picked one direction and stuck with it I'd have been in big trouble!

    I immediately replaced the iron town with a settler of my own (the risk of a culture flip was extreme, my culture was negligible compared with anyone else at this date), and built a harbor. In the meantime my Knight armies razed the two Mongol towns on the west coast so that a coastal trade connection could be made, and finally I had iron connected to my empire in 260AD. Phew! A major milestone!

    I immediately upgraded all the Mounted Warriors I'd been producing in the meantime, using the gold I'd been saving, and instantly my military grew to 62 Knights! I'd had seven leaders by this date so 21 of those Knights made up 7 armies.

    Ongoing Exploration

    In 10BC my ongoing exploration resulted in contact with China. And in 150AD, the same date I reached the iron, I met my last rival, Egypt. Here's how the map looked at 150AD:



    At this date many of my rivals still didn't have full contacts. Egypt and China had only made met the Mongols. The Inca had not met America nor Arabia. And so on. A nice situation, it reduces their trade opportunities and should slow them down a bit.

    Lending the Library

    150AD was a very special date. As well as reaching the iron and meeting Egypt, at this date I saw that a second rival (Inca, following the Zulu) had learned Education. My Great Library would become obsolete next turn.

    The town with the Great Library had done nothing but produce settlers since it built the wonder to prepare for this moment.

    I decided that America would be a good caretaker for this great wonder. I didn't expect to be at war with her in the near future. She wasn't one of my strongest rivals so I wouldn't mind going to war with her when the time was right to retake the library. She also wasn't one of my weakest rivals - she wouldn't learn any tech except Education from the Great Library before it expired for her. So:



    Continuing Warfare

    As I connected the iron in 260AD my Golden Age was coming to an end. It had done its job well - many of my peripheral towns now had Courthouses and were reasonably productive. I decided to continue taking land from the Mongols with my nice new force of Knights. In each of the next few turns I destroyed a large number of Mongol units.

    By 300AD there were no Mongol units left in "my" area, and my military was finally considered strong vs. the Mongols. It still took some slugging to penetrate the Mongol homeland. They built new units at a rapid pace and threw them at my invaders. My Knight armies took fortified points one after another and my free Knights destroyed weaker units.

    By 450AD I had to slow down in capturing the remaining Mongol towns because I hadn't produced enough settlers to reclaim the rest of their territory. I hadn't tried to hold any city, just razed them and replaced. My culture was so far behind even the Mongols that trying to hold captured cities would be more grief than it was worth.

    I increased my rate of settler production and started repositioning some of my troops to attack Arabia.

    In 500AD some of my rivals knew Navigation and finally I could trade maps to learn more about the world. Here's how it looked at that date:



    There are many places on this map where two coasts are so close together that it is hard to tell if they're connected or not on the minimap. I've added yellow lines to the picture above to mark channels - where there's a yellow line the two land areas are not connected.

    The Mongols had started out nearby to my northeast. Arabia was connected by a land bridge to my east. Arabia, Zulu, and America all met in one area. Inca, Aztecs, and Egypt were each on an isolated landmass. China was either connected to Mongols or on a separate landmass.

    At this date I was 4th in land area and 7th in population.

    In 540AD I had enough units positioned at the land bridge connecting Arabia. I declared war and attacked. I bought an alliance from America against Arabia to keep Arabia occupied on two fronts.

    Arabia had a lot of units but with a slow and steady advance my Knight Armies and Knights had no problems, the result was inevitable. At 750AD I'd made good progress. The map looked like this:



    And then it was time to begin planning for the next major challenge. I'd met a few Arabian Cavalry and they hadn't been a problem. But the Zulu were monstrous and well into the Industrial Age. Knights wouldn't have a chance. Which seems a good cutoff point for this post.

    To be continued...
     
  4. Justus II

    Justus II General Staff

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    SirPleb,

    Great game you have going! This is my first visit to the HOF Forum, but I saw a couple comments you made in one of the GOTM threads about the Great Library elevator, and had to check it out. The game itself is simply amazing, especially your expansion grab.

    I do have to agree with some of your earlier comments on Communism, having just finished an SG with that as our objective, it is very powerful. It generates nearly as much net income as Republic, if you have a decent-sized to large empire, and the production difference is enormous, 30% or more increase over a similar sized Republic.

    Anyway, good luck with this one, I hope you set a score to Stand the Test of Time... ;)
     
  5. ironmikie

    ironmikie 1st in Robotic Games!

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    Great going SirPleb.

    I've been waiting for your walkthrough since you wrote your first post.

    Good luck! :)
     
  6. El Loco

    El Loco Chieftain

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    Sir Pleb, if find myself entering this webiste every 15 min. to see if there are any updates on your game. Your games are perfect, the way you execute wars is a mixture of brilliance and class.
    Good luck!
     
  7. superslug

    superslug Still hatin' on Khan Moderator Hall of Fame Staff

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    SirPleb, you mentioned that your score pace is behind your usual Deity progress. Given how many units are being thrown at you, do you think that higher scores may be possible on C3C Deity rather than Sid? Or is it too early to tell?
     
  8. thefrenchzulu

    thefrenchzulu Chieftain

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    Wow, though I've being following this thread with large interest, I do feel guilty to post here. I've never seen such brilliance before! I will not even talk about planning and time being spent. SirPleb, you are incredible!

    I do have two comments/questions.
    1. Why is it wrong to go communism? It's part of the game and for large empires it is a must. Personally I try to stay a democracy, but test show that Commy is much, much better!
    2. I have seen and known about the GL trick, though I have never done it. I don't think there is anything wrong with it, if it is part of the game. Game rules are rules.

    And the just lastly. I have just finished my first deity game, where I won through domination. I fought the Aztechs early and never saw any massive stacks. The biggest was 5 tanks? I was just wondering whether a pangea map with normal AI aggression doesn't cause more fighting among themselves? I did watch them going about it and then there were stacks. I love to see them killing each other and then hitting them as they retreat through my territory. Great with MPP's! Just wondering.
     
  9. SirPleb

    SirPleb Shaken, not stirred.

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    Thanks El Loco! I hope to post the next installment tomorrow night, catching up to where I am in the game.
     
  10. SirPleb

    SirPleb Shaken, not stirred.

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    I'm not sure. I think it would be a close thing. I do think there's a chance that a Deity game with the *7 multiplier could outscore a Sid game with *8. I guess we'll find out over the next few months :)
     
  11. SirPleb

    SirPleb Shaken, not stirred.

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    With the changes made to Communism in Conquests (as of version 1.15 and presumably 1.20), I think Communism for a very large empire is much stronger than is appropriate for the game. So much stronger that it feels to me like an exploit. My guess is that if Firaxis keeps patching the game they'll probably reduce the new power of Communism when they've seen how overpowering it can be.

    Congratulations on your deity domination. That's a tough hurdle, well done! I don't know why you didn't see large stacks. How things like that evolve is certainly very game specific. It does seem to me that the AIs fight among themselves more than ever in Conquests. Perhaps this is because resources are scarcer in Conquests, I'm not sure.

    MPPs sure can be fun for manipulating the AIs. They can sometimes backfire or make you change your plans of course, I'm sure you've discovered that by now :) Nonetheless I think they're well worth using.
     
  12. thefrenchzulu

    thefrenchzulu Chieftain

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    Hmm, OK I'm still on v12. Even there communism has an advantage, but is it not so hugh.

    I think that I might have missed most of the fighting.:confused: Though I started very early, the AI was already at war on a few fronts and probably ignored my weak military capability...

    Yep, it backfired. I had to fight my biggest ally in the end. Still at these higher levels, I don't see my way around fighting alone. Not when I'm far behind military wise.

    Though, that enough said. Don't want my meager attempts take over one of the best threats I've read in a long long time!

    I'm also waiting in anticipation for you next post SirPleb!!!

    ps. I have played thousand of games since Civ1 and completely forgot that Philosophy gives a free tech. Do I feel stupid now...:crazyeye:
     
  13. EMan

    EMan HOFer: Milk-Cow?

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    You already probably know that you can receive an INSTANT email if you subscribe to a thread and that email tells you who posted to what thread, IMMEDIATELY (NOT 15 minutes!) after it happens.......but just in case you didn't know.......:)
     
  14. EMan

    EMan HOFer: Milk-Cow?

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    You shouldn't......I believe it's a new feature...C3C ONLY! :)
     
  15. Ronald

    Ronald Chieftain

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    It was not there in civ3 or PTW, but if I remember correctly, it was the case in either civ1 or civ2

    Ronald
     
  16. thefrenchzulu

    thefrenchzulu Chieftain

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    It was in Civ2. Just checked my manual :) Used to be my science root. Couldn't believe I slipped up on that one!
     
  17. Takeo

    Takeo Shogun

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    WOW!! i don't think i will encounter that many units in the whole of my current monarch game i have going.
    amazing game, SirPleb!!:goodjob:
     
  18. El Loco

    El Loco Chieftain

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    Thanks for the tip E-man
     
  19. SirPleb

    SirPleb Shaken, not stirred.

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    The Great Library Revisited

    At 750AD Arabia had pretty much crumbled, squeezed between my forces and America. The major force in the world at this time was Zululand. She was way ahead in power and in tech, almost running away with the game. The sooner I could curtail her growth the better.

    I'd have liked to attack Zulu and enlist America as an ally. But it would be time to take back The Great Library very soon, which would mean attacking America. So I decided to start things rolling the other way around: I declared war on America, then paid Zulu 43gpt for an alliance against her. I figured that would keep them both busy for a while.

    When to retake the Great Library? I wanted to learn Military Tradition, Steam Power, Communism, and ideally even Industrialization from it. Zululand led the world in tech with the Inca coming next. By their ability to form MPPs I knew that Zulu had learned Nationalism in 590AD, Inca soon after. Military Tradition was easy to gauge - in 690AD I saw an Arabian Cavalry and there was little doubt that she wasn't first to have them. But the other techs? I couldn't be sure. No one had changed governments. There were no railroaded tiles visible on the map. I'd have to guess. The Zulu were researching very fast but I wasn't sure of the exact speed. I decided to wait a bit and see if railroads started appearing. I'd keep taking land from Arabia in the meantime with my Knights.

    In 760AD the Zulu began building Universal Suffrage! So they of course knew Steam Power and must have known it for at least four turns, perhaps more.

    In 780AD I saw the first railroad segment appear in Zulu territory.

    I felt like I was losing valuable time waiting for evidence that someone else knew Steam Power. In 810AD the Zulu formed a couple of MPPs and allied Inca against America. I figured they might be paying tech for some of those deals. And they'd had Steam Power for at least 9 turns, perhaps a fair bit longer. Other Civs might have Steam Power but not show it for a long time if they didn't have their own coal. I decided to go for it and took the Great Library back from America at this date.

    In 820AD The Great Library gave me Invention, Education, Gunpowder, Banking, Astronomy, Chemistry, Economics, Navigation, Physics, Metallurgy, Theory of Gravity, Magnetism, Military Tradition, Nationalism, Steam Power, and Communism. WHOOSH!

    It turned out that I already had 3 saltpeter and 1 coal connected so I could take advantage of the new techs immediately.

    I flipped a prebuild from Palace to complete the Military Academy next turn, wasting some shields but well worthwhile. With the Military Academy built, a four Cavalry Army would be in effect a 12/6/4 unit with 16HP. With blitz, zone of control, healing in enemy territory, and free pillaging. Very powerful.

    My workers began constructing a railroad backbone immediately of course. At this date I had 74 native workers and around two hundred foreign workers.

    The Zulu were ahead by at least two techs, Fascism and Industrialization. But a number of other Civs were behind. I was able to trade some of the tech I'd learned for a luxury and a number of MPPs. Especially important were the MPPs I got with Aztecs and Egypt - they were already MPP'd with Zulu, my MPPs would allow me to address that problem. The Zulu had bought everyone into war with America by this date so I wasn't too worried about negative consequences from my MPPs. It was unlikely that new wars would happen for a while.

    If I researched at the maximum pace I could afford, it would take me 27 turns to learn Electricity. (!) That seemed pointless. So I set one scientist to work studying Electricity. The 50 turn gamble might not pay off but it was a small investment to make.

    Preparing For Conflict With The Juggernaut

    By 840AD I was starting to see just how strong the Zulu were. The world map at this date:



    The area I've highlighted with yellow contains six cities which the Zulu have taken from America in the last nine turns. It seems that America had thrown all its forces at Arabia (which helped me a lot of course!) and had little defense left against the Zulu.

    I very much wanted to start a war with Zulu. The sooner I dealt with them the better. Their scary research pace would get them to Infantry soon and then they'd become really tough. But I was paying them spices (they'd extorted this from me in 690AD), had an alliance with them against America, and didn't want to break deals. So I created a snare for one Zulu unit by surrounding it and then settling a town beside it in 840AD:



    The Zulu unit is the Cavalry NE of the town.

    In 840AD I annoyed the Zulu with some extravagant demands. And then in 850AD I demanded that they leave my territory. And blast it, they agreed.

    In 880AD the extorted silk trade expired and I tried again, demanding that the Zulu leave. This time she declared war! I was off the hook.

    In the meantime I'd noticed something which surprised me - Army builds can be rushed! My income wasn't great but it was enough that I could rush the build of an army every third turn in my Military Academy city. From this time on that's what I did for a long time, used my funds to add to my supply of armies.

    My troops had been observing activity on the Zulu front advancing against America with growing trepidation. For example, here's an image at 870AD. I've right clicked the largest Zulu stack visible at this point to show its details:



    A few of the other stacks are nearly as big. The Zulu stacks in this picture total about 150 units. More stacks had gone by in the preceding turns.

    My forces at this date were 52 Knights and 72 Cavalry. 60 of those units were in armies. The number of Zulu forces I was seeing was making me more and more nervous. So in 870AD I did something I haven't done since I first played CivIII - I mobilized for war. Normally I avoid this. It had a bug for a long time, and it seemed undesirable anyway. It limits flexibility - you can't build aqueducts, marketplaces, temples, libraries while mobilized. And culture growth slows. But in this situation I felt that the production boost outweighed all that.

    I was surprised to find that mobilization didn't allow me to complete current non-military builds. Before mobilizing I reviewed all towns and started one last non-military build in a number of them, expecting to finish these while mobilized. They were all automatically changed to build military units. Oh well.

    I was also surprised (and a bit annoyed) to find that the production of a number of allowed things did not get the mobilization shield bonus. These things included barracks, harbors, workers, settlers, and even cannons and armies! So I ended up setting many of my cities to build Medieval Infantry as prebuilds, and reviewing them every turn for those which were ready to be flipped to complete as Cannons or Settlers. Where I wanted to build Harbors I built Frigates and similarly flipped them when ready.

    At the start of the Zulu war I had one great advantage. The C3C resource scarcity which had left me iron-challenged earlier in the game was now going to help me. The Zulu had no horses. They'd clearly had them at some time in the past since there were some Zulu Cavalry in play. Presumably they'd had horses by trade. The Zulu had already taken over a bit of American land with a supply of horses but they hadn't connected them yet. One of my armies would ensure that the Zulu did not connect those horses. As long as the Zulu had no horses I'd only need a one tile buffer zone around cities to know they were safe from immediate attacks. After destroying whatever Zulu Cavalry currently existed of course.

    After the Zulu declaration of war in 880AD I left a couple of units exposed near my borders, protected everything else, and waited. The Zulu attacked and triggered my MPPs. In 890AD everyone in the world was at war with the Zulu. I didn't expect my allies to be much help but this had at least broken their MPPs with Zulu. And it is nice to have allies when there's a lot of water on the map. I find naval battles usually pointless, but when I don't have a navy my enemies will annoyingly bombard my coastline. AI allies will often send out ships for naval battles. My numerous allies in this case could be expected to keep the Zulu navy from being a nuisance.

    (continued in next post)
     
  20. SirPleb

    SirPleb Shaken, not stirred.

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    War With Zululand

    The AI won't generally attack armies. I did find out the hard way that they'll attack if an army is weak enough that they see a possibility of killing it with one attacker. But they won't throw a stack in to kill a strong (healed) army.

    So I sent two Knight armies into Zulu territory on special missions. One was to hang around the unconnected horses and ensure they stayed unconnected. The other was to pillage a couple of luxuries.

    I also sent a group of four Cavalry armies heading for the Zulu capital Zimbabwe. The Zulu had built the Great Wall, Sun Tzu's, and Leonardo's there. And there were three sources of wine beside it. If I could destroy Zimbabwe it would be a serious setback for the Zulu.

    The rest of my forces moved to the ex Arabia/Zulu border, founded two towns, and dug in to fight the Zulu there.

    From 910AD to 1040AD the situation in the warzone stayed pretty much the same. Each turn large stacks of Zulu would press forward and I'd destroy as many as I could, trying to at least kill all those who could reach one of my cities or pillage one of my transport routes next turn. My armies would attack the strongest units in a Zulu stack, then my Cavalry and then Knights would pick off the weaker and weakened units.

    A picture at end of 930AD (yes, I'm about to lose some workers, I couldn't destroy the invaders near one group):



    The eastmost Zulu Rifleman visible above is a stack consisting of 33 Longbowmen, 7 Medieval Infantry, 10 Musketmen, and 8 Riflemen. Two of the other visible stacks are about the same size. The stacks closest to my units are much smaller, have been whittled down by my forces.

    Another picture, at the end of 990AD:



    Over time the brunt of the attack had moved to the western part of the warfront. The Rifleman southwest of center above is a stack with 1 Crusader, 1 Warrior, 11 Longbowmen, 8 Medieval Infantry, and 13 Riflemen. It started out as a much larger stack but this is what I've chopped it down to as it moved south.

    At this date I had 43 Knights (32 of them in 8 armies, the rest elites), 118 Cavalry (72 of them in 18 armies) and 7 Cannons (I'd just started serious production of these.) I'd killed 425 Zulu units so far and my military was still rated as weak compared with them.

    I started to worry that the Zulu might be producing units as quickly as I was killing them. It seemed impossible but... Hmmm, a Zulu city with a factory, if they were mobilized, might produce 25 to 40 shields/turn. With their Sid level bonus they need just 32 shields for a Rifleman. So, many of their cities might produce a Rifleman per turn? A stalemate would be bad news for me - the Zulu were fast researchers who'd end up with better units than I could handle. I was gaining a bit in strength and was producing new armies. But the average quality of the incoming units had already improved - Medieval Infantry and Riflemen were arriving instead of Longbowmen and Musketmen. These were the kind of paranoid thoughts running through my mind as the bloodshed at the warfront continued...

    In the meantime, my four Cavalry army group had penetrated to the Zulu capital. In 940AD they were in striking distance but instead of attacking (with just 1 strike each) they used their free (no movement cost) pillage ability to cut the capital off from any returning reinforcement attempt:



    On the next turn my armies attacked, killed 7 defending Riflemen, and razed the Zulu capital. I don't recall ever razing Sun Tzu's and Leonardo's before. It has always been my goal to capture them. But my culture was so low there was no hope of holding them in this situation.

    I got a few cannons from the razing of Zimbabwe and realized I should be collecting them. A Knight army from the warfront began the journey to the Zulu heartland. For the moment a Cavalry army guarded the Cannons - they transferred to the Knight army later on and it then followed the other armies around collecting cannons and slaves.

    The ability of armies to heal in enemy territory is a great bonus. After resting a while my Cavalry armies started destroying additional targets in the Zulu core. In 1020 I sent a second group of four armies to do the same. By 1100AD my invaders had razed the Zulu cities housing The Sistine Chapel, Copernicus', and Newton's, and a couple of other core Zulu cities.

    In 1050AD I finally felt reasonably safe at the warfront. I was destroying all arriving Zulu units before they entered my zone, and I was able to start pushing forward into their territory. My paranoia had been unfounded :)

    On the bad side of things, I encountered a Zulu Infantry in 1030AD. It seemed that her research had hardly slowed at all, she was at Replaceable Parts already.

    Next came a long phase where the fighting remained as intense, but I was razing Zulu cities at the border and pushing forward a bit. I found that a four Cavalry army could attack a city defended by a fortified veteran Infantry and expect to win with a loss of about 1/3 of its hitpoints. (Sometimes I'd lose almost no HP, sometimes go red, and very occasionally I did lose an army in such an attack.) So I could send 4 or 5 healed armies 3 tiles deep in enemy lands, each could still attack once in the same turn, and they'd take out an enemy city. (Typical defense was 4 Infantry after the Zulu got all units upgraded/replaced with their new technology.)

    In 1140AD I captured the Zulu city which had JS Bach's. This was the first city I intended to keep. If it flipped I'd retake it. I moved all my remaining warriors (happiness MPs) to this city to quell resistors and started starving it down. It flipped to the Zulu at size six and I retook it. This wonder is one I will not raze!

    In 1160AD my military, for the first time, was considered roughly equal to that of the Zulu. I finally felt in solid control. I'd taken a good part of the Zulu territory, taken her wines, taken JS Bach's, and put a huge dent in her production and research capabilities:



    At this point I had 32 Knights (in 8 armies), 134 Cavalry (108 of them in 27 armies), 78 of my own cannon, and at a guess 40 captured cannon. I was paying just a bit for unit support - was allowed 428 units and had 441 including settlers and workers.

    From that point on my invasion picked up speed. I shifted my spending, using all available cash to rush settlers to claim the razed land (instead of using cash for armies as I had to this point.)

    In 1220AD I was ready to consider another target. There was little left of the Zulu, just some bits of cleanup remained:



    War With America

    I'd given America peace in 1020AD in exchange for an alliance against Zulu - I didn't particularly care about the peace but I did want to keep America at war. The timing on this peace deal worked out very well. At the end of my 1220AD turn America tried to renegotiate peace. I refused and we were back at war.

    America had Cavalry but did not have Infantry. And her forces weren't large - the wars with Arabia and then Zulu had probably cost her a lot. So this war was an easy one for my military. But time consuming. Each turn I'd regather all my units, then apply them to remaining Zulu holdings or to America, as seemed best. I used many of my workers at the warfront to railroad into newly razed territory, which often allowed me to bring some cannons to the front, weakening enemy units and providing more targets which single Cavalry units could dispatch.

    It took just four turns to run through the center of America and to drive the Zulu entirely off the landmass. In 1255AD, which is my game date at the time of writing, the map looks like this:



    Shifting Gears

    In 1255AD, having taken all the Zulu territory which I could reach by land, I gave the Zulu peace for four island towns. Leaving her with just one city, her capital. (Note: Even at this point of near destruction, Zululand would not include any tech in the peace deal.)

    I'd remobilized twice during the long fight, once when the Inca finished off Arabia in 1010AD, and once when I made peace with America.

    This time, when making peace with Zulu, I decided not to remobilize. My existing military will easily take control of the remaining areas I can reach by land. It is high time to get back to work on aqueducts, marketplaces, courthouses, universities, etc! I've reviewed all cities and reassigned them to infrastructure and growth projects.

    I've been mobilized for 39 turns. Have been at war with Zulu for 38 turns, and with America for the last part of that. During that time I have destroyed 1469 enemy units and lost 145 of mine. The lost units include 3 armies of four Knights, 2 armies of four Cavalry, and 120 additional units (mostly Cavalry, a few elite Knights, I didn't keep separate counts.)

    I've taken over five cities (Mpondo with JS Bach's, plus four cities included in peace deal.) In all other cases I've resettled where I razed enemy cities.

    My forces currently consist of:
    7 armies of four Knights
    27 armies of four Cavalry
    63 additional Cavalry
    79 of my own Cannons
    about 60 captured Cannons

    I also have:
    132 Workers
    13 Settlers (many new ones each turn)
    hundreds (500 at a guess) of foreign Workers

    I've had 30 Great Leaders so far. They've all been used to build armies, and I've built 9 additional armies with the Military Academy.

    Future Plans

    This post brings the story up to date.

    My immediate plan is to finish taking over the American lands and to take the tiny area controlled by Mongols. At that point I'll own my entire landmass except for a few cities the Inca managed to establish.

    I will then be pretty close to the domination limit. I'm currently at 57%. Nonetheless I'll want to destroy the Inca and Aztecs as soon as I can. They're both strong enough to win by culture or launch a spaceship if left unchecked. I expect I'll also wipe out Egypt and China just to get the best possible choice of milking lands. And to get more luxuries - there are just five in all the lands I currently control.

    The Inca, and perhaps even the Aztecs, may be a challenge. My military advisor considers my forces (which seem huge to me) to be weak relative to both Inca and Aztecs. And along the way I've sacrificied something which was in my original thinking - I've created four unit armies. Initially I'd planned to limit them to three units so that they could travel on Galleons after completing their work on the home landmass. Hah! That was before I saw the Zulu strength. I used all the force I could muster against Zululand and I'm glad I did. But it leaves me with armies which require Transports to reach my remaining rivals.

    So my plan is to begin research soon and work toward building Transports. If I can do that while my current armies are still useful, great. If not I'll have to make new plans to deal with Inca and Aztecs. Either way I'm not sure how tough they'll be - might be straightforward, might be a challenge.

    While researching I'll build up infrastructure and score. I'm looking forward to having Replaceable Parts and being able to use Civil Engineers soon.

    I may also declare war on Inca while researching, and drive them off my landmass. If I do this I'll also want to ally Aztecs against them, which might slow them both down a bit as they fight at sea and fend off small invasions from each other.

    It looks like my 50 turn research of Electricity will pay off in getting one tech for free. My single devoted scientist expects to understand Electricity 7 turns from now. During that time I'll build some Libraries and Universities. After learning Electricity I'll go for Scientific Method and a prebuild of Theory of Evolution, unless a rival is already on that path. If I can be first to get that it will of course give me a nice research boost, as well as denying that boost to my rivals.

    I'll post again when I've made some progress!
     

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