T100 Science Victory Attempt: Norway

T36: The 10 turn countdown to the Classical Era begins this turn. Flip City revolts for the third time - a bonus of cutting the time from 3 to 2 turns is that the city is now only at 140HP (cities start go to 100HP when captured and heal 20HP per turn. However, this also means our Warriors heal 20HP less (they heal directly before the flip occurs in the inter-turn order).

An important development occurs as Greece founds the city of Sparta only a half dozen tiles east of Minou Town. It has at least four forests and plenty of hills, so it may be a good target to take and develop (rather than using for pillage cycles).

This cycle, we get 25c/47f from the Pasture which completes Military Tradition raising the base value of the next pillage, which scales based on tech or civic progress (whichever is greater). It makes a small but worthwhile difference to pillage cultural or science improvements so that you complete techs or civics from the leading tree before the trailing one. Here, we gain 29s/99g from the mine, 4s more than if we had done things the other way around.

It has been 10 turns since the Khmer war started, so we may as well sign peace to avoid any interference with our pillaging. They will even pay us 85g/2gpt!

Three Warriors easily retake the city, but I made an error here. I had moved the Builder onto the Stone hill last turn planning to harvest the Stone for another Warrior and then mine the hill for pillage, but we cannot do that because we don't have Masonry yet. We want a mine rather than a quarry because at this stage in the game gold is much more valuable than faith.

Techs: Pottery

Civics: Military Tradition

T37: Magnus arrives in the capital, and our Longship ends up trapped by the borders of Yerevan. We can't just declare war and sail past, because we signed peace with Khmer and they are Suzerain. Shoot, we should have waited a turn for that peace deal!

Khmer also pops a Settler this turn - another reason to regret peace! We could easily catch it but are prohibited by the treaty. However, the Settler lens shows the nearest settleable land is 7 turns away, mostly through our territory. We may be able to snatch the Settler the turn peace expires.

T38: Flip city flips again. We are still stuck at only two tiles for want of Masonry. It's just as well, as due to bad rolls we need 4 Warriors to re-take the city this cycle so we wouldn't have had enough troops for 3 pillages anyway. Our haul this turn is 29c, 49f, 29s, and 99g. Basically we are already brining in twine as much science and culture from pillaging every two turn cycle than our domestic output.

T39: Our Trader pops and teleports to Minou Town. Irrigation is in, so we can also hook up Citrus but sadly the best price we can get is 42g.1gpt (was hoping for closer to 100g). Amani has returned to Buenos Aires because we need the levy troops more than the -3 Loyalty.

Techs: Irrigation

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Sorry, I have not had tie to play for several days so I am behind on posts. Here's T40.

Our first Trader is ready. I queued him up not so much for the gold but to get roads towards the Dutch to cut the travel time for a Horseman rush. Annoyingly the game assigns routes somewhat randomly and instead of heading directly NE out of Minou Town and roading over 8 hilly or wooded (or both) tiles (which would save 5 turns for a HM traveling that way), the Trader wants to go due East first and pass directly through Buenos Aries, a route that saves only a single turn overall. Bleh.

At Flip City, we have enough gold to buy the Cattle tile and add it to the pillaging set.

Our overall stats 40 turns in are good, with two "real" cities and one flip city. We have 7spt / 10.1cpt /0fpt / 14gpt, but these numbers barely matter as the vast majority of all four will come from pillaging as the game progresses. Perhaps nicest of all we have three sources of Horses which will be key to the next war.
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Boosts: Currency
T41: Our second Viking Longship hits the waters, and Minou Town reaches 2 pop.

We have three Warriors in position to hit Flip City as it rebels again this turn, but that won't be quite enough to re-take it a single turn. Our pillage haul is 29c+49f for a quarry pillage by sea, then 29c+54f for the Cattle which completes Games and Recreation, and then 32s+108g for the mine. Notice that the faith amount increases in the second pillage because the gam first awards culture/science (in this case completing a Civic mid-pillage) and then awards the faith/gold (which scales up as a Civic is completed in this case). Because pillaging scales it is important to keep track of whether you are ahead in the civic or tech tree. In this case we are ahead in Civics, so pillaging culture first boosts the Science pillaging, whereas if we pillaged in the reverse order we'd get 3s less.

Boosts: Shipbuilding
Techs: Masonry
Games and Recreation

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T42: Worst roll of the game so far - three Warriors hit Flip City but fail to take it. They basically had to roll one of the three worst results all three times in a roll to whiff on this. Oh well, it's not the end of the world but will certainly slow us down.

Magnus has arrived in Minou City and chops a forest for 64h (boosted to 96h with Colonization) to get our second Settler out. The other Builder hooks up the second Horse. The second Viking Longship, scaling east, has found a hut and barb camp in the icy south.
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T43: An eventful turn. First up, the Viking Longship pops the hut (this counts as a "coastal pillage" so it is a small bonus to Longships) for a Builder. Great! Next, we can send the envoy from Mysticism to Hong Kong, which counts as 2 thanks to Diplomatic League. We can now swap all four policies for Agoge, Maneuver, Urban Planning, and Land Surveyors. Our capital adds a second Alcazar for a little more domestic science and culture. Working the two Alcazars and the two pastures yields 8spt, 9ctp and 13hpt making the captial a strong driver of domestic production. We are actually hitting our storage limit of 50 Horses, so we can sell 8 for a nice profit of 49g to the Dutch.

Paying 6gpt buys us Open Borders with Khmer so we can harvest the Stone for an instant Archer who in turn kills that barb Spear for the BW boost. Once the cease fire expires, we will hopefully rush Bhavapura which has 3 science tiles, 3 cultures tiles and one flex tile (a stone hill which could be quarried or mined) for pillaging.

In the meantime our Buenos Aires levies are ready to attack Sparta! Greece helpfully left this city completely undefended, so we can take it down quickly as long as no Archers or Walls pop. Our troops are somewhat awkwardly positioned due to the mountains, but we can get the city sieges and hit it once this turn for 28 damage. Next turn the Slinger can hit but we must choose between hitting with 2 Warriors or moving all 3 Warriors into position for a strike the turn after (but none attacking).

We re-take Flip City after last turn's bad rolls, and it will take 3 turns to revolt again. This should be 2 turns as we have -20 loyalty from population and another -4 from occupation. Normally we'd have -3 from unhappiness to make the total -27, but Buenos Aires "helps" us by giving us happiness from the Wheat and Cattle as well as some bonus resources owned by our Vassals. That leaves us at -24, wasting an extra turn between cycles. What a drag! We can't afford to remove Amani and ditch them either as we need their levied Warriors. I guess I have to nominate BA as the second worst city state for Norway games (Zanzibar would be slightly worse).

I tried demanding 10gpt from Khmer to generate more grievances and increase the occupation loyalty penalty, but even though they forked over the gold nothing happened. I am not really sure how that mechanic works - it says "this demand will generate grievances" but nothing seems to have happened. I guess we will have to just suck it up until we can get enough population so sop up those BA amenities.

Boosts: Bronze Working

Civics: Mysticism

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T44: The third Longship hits the waves. Longships can be incredibly good in a pillage game not so much for coastal pillaging (which is certainly nice) as for the possibility of conquering a coastal city quickly. Two Longships can crush a city with no walls and that city will usually have -20 loyalty from population right away, making it a great flip site. But sometimes the AI founds all their cities a tile or more back from the coast and the Longships just idle around. In this case we know they can hit two Khmer cities, but we don't actually want those because thy would cause Flip City to stop rebelling.

So, we will need to look elsewhere. Unfortunately our Longship that was heading east along the south side of our continent has hit ice and can go no further. It doesn't look like there is any shallow water path to the other continent either, so we will want to tech Shipbuilding soon.

In Sparta, no walls yet. The Slinger hits for 11 damage and the Warriors shift so all three can hit next turn.

In Flip City, we add a mine for the next pillage cycle.

T45: Back in the capital, we finally expand borders onto the 1f/3h/2c/2g forested mountain tile. Kind of annoying how the automatic chooser works, adding anything with a resource first while ignoring yields - this is clearly the best second ring tile and it was the 7th one added! We can harvest the Wheat this turn to grow the cap up to 5 pop. There are two more Wheat left plus Fish, so I think we can get the capital up to 10 pop for the Civil Service boost eventually with help from Magnus despite the slow natural growth.

Inconveniently, our Granada levy expires this turn, which will mess up the pillaging schedule and cost us another 260g to renew. Luckily, we still have several of our own units in the area so we can pillage the two mines to get that gold.

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T46: First Golden Age, Monumentality of course will help greatly by letting us use faith for more Builders and giving them extra moves which will in most cases mean they can repair an extra improvement each pillage cycle. The negative though is all of the AIs are in Normal Ages, so we will have to be more careful about population based loyalty pressure. Basically, this translates to keeping Minou Town at 1 or 2 pop if we want to use Sparta for flipping. That's too bad as Minou Town was slated to be a productive city with 4-5 mines, but the value of pillaging in Sparta is a thousand times higher over the course of the came.

Horseback riding completes this turn - it was 2 turns away but when we advanced ages it was discounted by 20% so we actually probably could have put this turns science into another tech and still got it.

A Settler pops in Minou City and heads west,

First up, we conquer Sparta. It has great potential with 8 science tiles and 4 culture tiles to eventually improve for pillage. Right now it has -11.2 loyalty from population, -5.3 from grievances, -3 from unhappiness, and +5 for garrison. We can pull out the conquering Warrior to eliminate the last one, so the city should flip every 3 turns. First order of business will be a 100f Builder using Monumentality.

Next we can pillage 66c, 33s, 112f and 113g in Flip City but can't re-take the city until next turn due to the Granada levy expiring last turn. The pillage also completes BW which reveals one Iron in the first ring and one in the third ring or Sparta, plus two in Hong Kong and one in Granada that we can benefit from once they get around to improving them.

Techs: Horseback Riding, Bronze Working

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T47: The big leap this turn is completing Military Training, which unlocks Raid. We can slot that right away along with for Horsemen, Land Surveyors as we set up more pillage tiles, and Revelation.

We also gain an envoy from Military Training, which we can use to gain Suzerain status over Hong Kong and levy their 4 Warriors. One of the Warriors will sail east )once we complete Shipbuilding) and the other 3 will see if there is an opening to track another Greek City, or at least do some pillaging. Shared Vision shows Hong Kong has a Builder near the Iron, so let's hope they hook it up!

The capital chops a Horseman with Magnus and starts a Campus next.

Annoyingly, the initial loyalty screen was inaccurate and we end up losing the -3 from unhappiness due to stupid Buenos Aires, which is going to cause Sparta to take 4 turns to flip rather than 3.

Peace with Khmer has expired, so we can finally capture that unescorted Settler that has been loafing around for ten turns. We can also pillage 61f with a Longship from their Holy Site, and start marching on Bhavapura.

Boosts: Wheel, Iron Working

Techs: Writing

Civics: Military Training (no boost)

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T48: Slinger plus 4 Levied Warriors take back Flip City, which will still take 3 turns to flip again. We can buy a Builder right away this time. A Longship can also pillage the Khmer Holy Site which yields 91f (basically a free Builder) plus cuts off they Great Prophet points making it more likely we will secure one. Sparta now has 3 mines and is on its way to being a valuable pillage city as well. We can chop a second Horseman here - Light Cavalry are fantastic for pillaging goes as they can pillage a tile next to the City Center and still attack it the same turn.

T49: With the addition of a Quarry, Flip City now has 3 science and 3 culture tiles to pillage each cycle. It would be fantastic to also grab the ultra-hilly Ephesus as a third flipping city, but I think we are going to end up short on firepower with only three Hong Kong Warriors in the region. One dumb mistake in Sparta - I moved a Warrior E/EW of the city thinking I could mine the hill and then pillage it next turn, but we don't have enough cash to buy the tile.

T50: We can celebrate T50 with he first flipping of Sparta. We earn 108s and 366g this turn, completing Wheel and Shipbuilding. The latter is key, as it allows all units to enter open ocean due to Norways special ability. Our Galleys can now rush to the other continent.

Right now we are halfway through the game if we are going to make it to a T100 win. We only have 2 "Real" cities and 2 pillage cities, and have't even broken 10spt. But normal science, culture, gold and faith income have essentially no meaning in this game. What we really wanted by T50 was Raid, Shipbuilding, and some cities to pillage in cycles so we are actually doing great!

Techs: Wheel, Shipbuilding.
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T51: The Pyramids are built in a faraway land. No big deal, we will surely capture them by games end.
Flip City revolts, and we can harvest 162c, 174s, 588g, and 279f. We can also retake Sparta thanks to the Horsemen and buy Builders with Monumentality in both flip cities. Sparta has only -12.5 population pressure because it is too close to Minou Town, but it will still flip in 3 turns. Pillaging completes Astrology and Defensive Tactics (no boost) allowing us to bring in Limes to rush some walls for the Engineering boost. Magnus heads to the capital to harvest up some extra population and we can hire Liang in Minou Town. We still have that Settler wandering around - not exactly sure where to plant him, as the best spots are close to Sparta and would ruin the loyalty pressure there.

T52: Greece foolishly attacks one of our Levy Warriors new Ephesus on high ground with support as well, allowing us to kill it in a counterattack. Other Greek Warrior gets taken down by Horsemen near Sparta. Finally, we buy a Spear in Flip City to grab the Military Tactics boost and help with the flip cycle (stronger city attacker than Warriors).

The big news is that the Longships have hit land. The bad news is that Hungary is the first new AI we meet. Their ability gives them tons of envoys and it could hurt our chance of levying of of the CS on the new continent quickly. on the plus side, the capital Buda is unwalled and can be attacked simultaneously from two coastal tiles. We may be able to take it with Longships alone! For now, we can at least gain 213g by selling some luxuries to them.

T53: Oops, our wandering Settler got taken by a roving enemy unit. Normally this would be devastating but we honestly had no great spot for it to found a city and with 100f pillage tiles all around a replacement is essentially free when we need it. We continue developing the pillage cities, adding a Banana Plantation and Horse Pasture in Flip City and a Mine in Sparta.

The assault on Hungary begins next turn. With the city empty the Longships (which benefit from Oligarchy) can hit for 39 offense versus 31 defense. They can even pillage a Harbor, Mine, or Farm and attack as well on the second turn due to the nice geography!

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T54: Everything is going perfectly! Longships strike Buda for 44+41. As long as Walls or a Galley don't pop, we should take the city on T56. Speaking of walls, the capital completes Ancient Walls for the Engineering boost. Even though we are starting to ramp up the pillaging science, boosts are still very important. We need to plan right now for Feudalism - we have only captured one farm so far, so we better a pair of Builders in Minou City and Minou Town to get more farms down.

This is also a mega turn for pillaging. Both Flip City and Sparta revolt, and we pillage:

58s, 198g
58s, 198g (completes Currency)
60s, 202g (annoyingly, since we just completed a tech that was very close all the overflow is erased and the science from this pillage is essentially zeroed out)
60s, 202g
60s, 202g (completes Engineering)
60s, 202g
60s, 202g
60c, 100f
60c, 100f
60c, 100f
60c, 100f
60c, 100f

So we basically just made 70 times are domestic science in one turn (and 700 times our 2gpt domestic gold). The only negative is we can't quite take either city back this turn because our units are slightly out of place overall.

Finally, our third Longship meets Egypt - a good AI in this game because they often spam Sphinx improvements which are pillage-able for faith.

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T55: Apprenticeship is complete. Normally when a Civ unlocks Apprenticeship, Free Cities start spawning Man at Arms which can be dangerous. A nice synergy with Norway is that they have Berserkers instead, so there is no drawback to getting Apprenticeship early.

We take back both Sparta and Flip City, with the Spearman doing the honors to get the Military Tactics boost (taking an empty city counts as "killing a unit").
Walls go up in Athens, which means Ephesus all probably be walled soon as well.

The capital gets a purchased Granary and 2 farms, as we want to go for 10 pop here for the CS boost.

One huge error this turn - I thought that Longships could pillage a coastal tile and then attack since pillaging usually uses 3MP. Apparently, coastal pillaging uses all MP though, so while a Longship scores 63s+210g, it also risks us losing our shot to take Buda, now reinforced with a Chariot. If nothing bad happens between turns things will be fine but if a Galley pops and sinks one of our Longships this will end up being the most costly play of the game.

At least the gold is enough for us to buy a Watermill in Sparta, boosting and completing Construction.

T56: We narrowly miss taking Buda, hitting for 34+31 after pillaging the Harbor and leaving the city with just a few HP. Again we will have to hold our breath fearing walls...

At he capital tow more farms go down boosting Feudalism. Magnus arrives as well, and can chop in the Campus. Harvesting a food tile also let's us place an Industrial Zone by the triple Horses for a nice +3h adjacency. We can chop in an Aqueduct in Sparta for the Military Engineering boost as well.

Minou Town is only at 2 pop, but is close enough to be really slowing down Sparta from flipping. We can solve the problem by buying a Settler with faith. This one can found a coastal city for Kilwa, but the real benefit is speeding the revolt by 2 turns.

On the subject of loyalty, I thought that removing Amani from Buenos Aires would be worth it to give the flip cities -3 loyalty from unhappiness by pulling away the 5 amenities we were gaining from their ability as well as 4 from their Marble. Apparently I messed up the calculation because neither flip city drops to unhappiness. The only way to get these cities to flip every 2 turns right now would be bankruptcy, but then we would lose a random unit every turn.

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T57: Feudalism complete, boosting Stirrups. We can slot Serfdom, Raid, Equestrian Orders, and Inspiration.

There are now three main theaters.

First, in Hungary our Longships pillage 222g and attempt to take Buda. The city is at 66, and the first hits for 38. According to the formula, our second ship is guaranteed to deal 28 or more damage so it should take the city, but there is a 1/13th chance it will take lethal damage itself. I am not sure what happens in such situation, but even if we fail 1 out of 13 times the odds are good.... The Longship does win and survive, and we gain a great city. I has a Holy Site + Shrine and a Harbor + Lighthouse for boosts, but more importantly space for 7 science and 2 culture pillage tiles. We gain the Mathematics and Celestial Navigation boosts instantly. Since the city has 4 pop and we are in a Golden Age, it only has -4.8 loyalty. But, we can lower that easily by peeling off a few Settlers.

Second, in Greece one of our Hong Kong levies makes another kill and gains a promotion. With a Horseman rushing over from Sparta, maybe we can take Ephesus after all! Sparta itself chops two more Horseman, using up two of its last three last forests. We converted the woods quickly into a Horseman army and the Aqueduct between flips. Checking, the city is surprisingly 0.1 loyalty away from flipping next turn. It turns out we captured Mercury in Buda, so we can just sell it and drop Sparta down -3 to keep it flipping next turn. Although cheesy, flip-pillaging takes a lot of mental effort to monitor loyalty, place troops to pillage and recapture, and place/repair improvements in the minimum time.

Third, in the Khmer zone we have had Chariots and Archers attacking a 2 pop city and they take it this turn. Flip Village. The city drops to 1 pop as we capture it, so will have the full -20 loyalty from population pressure right away. This city has a lot of opportunities for culture pillage.

Domestically things are not as great - we lose our Trader to a Khmer Chariot and the barbarian camp south of the capital is spewing Swordmen.

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T58: Bad news - walls go up in Ephesus. We would have captured the city easily in three turns but now we will need to come back with upgraded units later. Plus, I made a dumb mistake - I bought a Chariot leaving us with only 1g, and since we have -5.5gpt income we lose a unit to bankruptcy. That was dumb! Not sure who got deleted, but at least it was not a Horseman or Longship.

Overseas, the Warrior who has ben sailing slowly east meets Sumeria. They have 880g so hopefully we can score some nice sals before invading. Sumeria is especially nice because they spam Ziggurats which can be pillaged for gold. Depradation-promoted Cavalry can have a great time rampaging through flatland Ziggurat finds!

The third Longship also meets Anshan. Not a very exciting CS, but they have an army with 425g levy cost which probably means they have Swordmen.We need 4 envoys to levy them, but their quest is easy (train a Trebuchet). We have one stored envoy and Military Engineering will compete soon, so as soon as we get the Mercenaries envoy we can slot Diplomatic League and grab them.

Something odd happened that can be seen in the sceenshot of Flip City. I had a Builder on the Farm tile SW of the city, which I thought should keep any rebel units from spawning there and allow the Warrior on the Cow to hit the city this turn. For some reason, the Builder got teleported. I don't think this normally happens... we can still take the city back but if we had rolled lower it might have cost us.

Pillaging his turn:
66s, 223g
66s, 223g
66s, 223g
663, 223g
66s, 223g
66c, 111f
66c, 111
Actually, this is disappointing because if we had not ditched Buenos Aires we would have got three more pillages.

I decide to try breaking through the walls at Ephesus. We siege the city and one Levy Warrior hits for 1 wall damage and 3 city damage.

With the gold, we can buy two Catapults for boosts. Plus, we want to get cheap Catapults now because eventually we will want to upgrade one Artillery at every flip city to deal with Ubran Defenses after Steel. Finally, Magnus chops the first Industrial Zone in the capital

T59: Mathematics completes. Since we have so much more pillage than domestic science and overflow is lost when we pillage it is always smart to place a tech with 1 turn to finish in the queue before ending the turn if possible. We also found our third "real" city, Minou Lake. This is a good place to chop another Industrial Zone for boosts and then spawn Settlers to found chop-heavy cities in the tundra (with chops scaling rapidly, a city with 6 forests is way better than one with 6 mines).

City ranged attack plus Warriors kills off a levied Warrior outside Ephesus - looks like my attempt will fail.

In Buda I make another mistake. I used the Catapult in the city to shoot at a Hungarian Warrior, but doing so means it ends the turn int he city and provides +5 loyalty from garrison. It would have been better to ignore the Warrior and move it out to flip the city faster.

The bizarre thing this turn is that Sumeria is offering 1199/17g for a joint war on Egypt! I'd like to take that but will wait a few turns to get Ashan levied first.

T60: Damn, Sumeria denounces us. Should have siphoned that 1000+g from them last turn. That seems like a huge loss, but we can make 1000g in 4 pillages.

Pillage yields:
69c, 114f
69s, 237g
70c, 118f
70c, 118f
70c, 118f
70c, 118f
70s, 237g
70s, 237g
237g (pillaging the Aqueduct we built in Sparta)
This completes Mercenaries, Theology (no boost), Drama ad Poetry (no boost), Military Engineering

Mercenaries is absolutely key as it gives us Raid and let's us sub in Diplomatic League, upgrade a Trebuchet, and levy Anshan (4 Swordmen and a Chariot). Annoyingly, we end up gaining control of Buenos Aires again because they had a Sword quest! What a hilariously bad CS for this game. Shared vision reveals Geneva (Crossbow quest). Niter is revealed by ME, and is pretty scarce though at least there is one right under the Settler who will found our Kilwa city. The Settler immediately founds Minou Plains, securing a Niter supply and starting work on a Diplomatic Quarter until we unlock Kilwa. We can actually get a second Niter stream by removing the farm
Buenos Aires has on top of their Niter and mining it ourselves (although that won't count for the Rifling boost I think).

At T60, we have 4 real cities and 4 flip cities. Out domestic income is a hilariously low 9.2s/8.1c/2.5f/-18g - compare that to this turns pillage come of 209s, 349c, 472f, and 948g!

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T61: Iron Working is complete. Free cities will now spawn Swordmen. If possible, it is really important to take back each city the turn it flips. Rebel units don't attack the turn they spawn, but if you fail to take a city they can kill units or enter the city. Our flip cities have less than 20CP, but if a Sword walk in that will rise above 30CP. This turn we lose an Archer to a rebel Warrior, after Khmer already damaged it.

We have finally accumulated enough negative loyalty for Flip City and Flip Village to flip every 2 turns instead of 3. That's 50% more pillage.

Our troops in the east have shifted focus from Ephesus to Utrecht. Two Horsemen hit the city, dealing 42 and 34 damage (the second roll is REALLY low). Just like with Buda and Ephesus, it will be a race against walls. We have the original Scout from the hut on the scene, and it can be used as bait to the Dutch ranged units shoot at it instead of our Horsement.

T62: We lose a Horseman to ranged attacks outside Utrecht. Our remaining two Horseman strike for 43 and 39, very bad rolls. Still, we should take the city next turn unless walls appear,

We can sell Marble to Sumeria for 125g even though they denounced us and sell 12 Iron and 2 Horses for a nice 122g to Greece to buy more cheap Scouts for pillaging.

T63: Playing much too sloppily here - we hit negative gold between turns AGAIN and lose another unit. I really have to pay better attention. It's too easy to ignore GPT when all the gold is flowing in from pillaging.

We meet Cahokia this turn. Not a great CS since we want to avoid happiness and Cahokia Mounds yield healing, not gold, when pillaged.

The most suspenseful roll of the game takes place this turn. Utretch is at 94 health. The first Horseman deals only 39 damage. We have only a 5 out of 13 shot of dealing 55 with the final Horseman, and if we fail both Horseman will likely be killed by the Archer, Chariot and Catapult. The second Horseman pillages a Campus for 121s (completing Celestial Navigation), attacks and...........takes the city!

This was by far the most consequential combat of the game, as winning gives us a great pillage city (8 science and 3 culture tiles) plus preserves our Horsemen and boosts Recorded History. Losing would have left us way behind.

Things go less well in Sparta, which I thought would flip next turn. It actually flips ahead of schedule but that leaves our units out of place and some tiles unrepaired, so we end up with 4 pillages instead of 7.

They are worth:
76s, 256g
76s, 256g
76s, 264g
76s, 273g

This completes Military Tactics which unlocks the awesome Berserker unit

More pillage in Flip City and Flip Village provides:

76s, 273g (completing Stirrups)
81s, 270g
81c, 135f
81c, 135f (completing Recorded History)
81c, 135f
81c, 135
81c, 135f
81c, 135f
81c, 135f

Thats roughly 400s and 560c this turn.

We can upgrade the Chariot we levied from Anshan to a Knight and upgrade the Warrior in Buda into a Berserker cheaply with Professional Army and Retinues. We can also buy a Quadrieme for the Naval Tradition boost.

One thing we are lagging on is we still haven't built the Government Plaza, which we really want for Grand Masters Chapel.

Even thought we have unlocked Knights, we can still buy Chariots. The simple trick is to start a Knight or two in random cities to lower Iron to below 20, buy as many Chariots as desired, then cancel the Knight. Then we can upgrade the Chariots to Knights for a tiny price next turn. Chariots stay available for a very long time, so they will eventually make up the majority of our pillagers.

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T64: Pericles sends an envoy to Buenos Aires, which breaks our levy but only ends up costing a single pillage (lost a second this turn to moving a Slinger wrong). We can mine Niter outside Flip Village for the Rifling boost, and start upgrading some Knights.

We get a single pillage in Sparta before re-taking it and adding another mine, plus Buda flips for the first time, giving us 243s, 816g, 81c, and 135f this turn (plus another 50g from a random Trader plunder).

One issue is that with Minor Town at 2 pop and Stretch influencing it, Sparta is "losing" disloyalty from population pressure and is only at -3 from that factor. Utretch itself is also slow to lose loyalty, but we can peel off some Settlers to get the population down from 3 to 1.

T65: Damn, those Egyptian Chariot Archers are strong - we lost a levied Sword already but not to worry since we have more plus a Knight on the scene. In the meantime, we can do some "real" pillaging in Egypt, scoring a quick 162s and 540g. The Knight takes out Nekhen adding our 6th flip city. and scores the Military Science boost along the way.

Outside Buda, Hungary suicides a redlined Warrior into one of our Berserkers which keeps our Quadrireme from scoring an easy NT boost. Since we didn't retake Buda instantly, one of the revel Man at Arms can enter the city boosting its CP to 45. That's nothing for our mighty Berserkers though, who have +10 when attacking.

An exploring unit meets Hunza, who require 6 envoys to control. At least they have an easy quest (train a Skirmisher).
Finally, buy a few Scouts before the obsolete and at good old Flip City and Flip Village rake in:
91s, 283g (completes Machinery)
84c, 141f
84c, 141f (completes Medieval Faires, no boost)
84a, 256g
84c, 141f
84s, 256g
84c, 141f
We also steal one Builder, hire Pingula and harvest the capital up to 8 pop with a 112 food "chop". Unfortunately I botched the math here and we won't have enough time to get to 10 pop for the boost. We canstill chop in a CGR to get a random GS for the Education boost, place a Harbor, upgrade a Skirmisher for 2 Hunza envoys, and send Magnus off for the Kilwa project.
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T66: Education and Civil Service complete between turns - I always try to leave any tech/civic with one turn left to finish at the end of a turn to minimize overflow loss, sine pillages are worth way more than natural science/culture.

This turn the Quad finally nails the kill for NT boost. We actually need a little money since we are spending wildly, so we can sign Peace with Hungary and sell them 18 horses and 3 iron for 175g. This also helps by removing the +5 Loyalty from garrison in Buda which is otherwise unavoidable on the turn we reconquer it.

Down in the city south, a random Settler founds an 8 chop city so we can finally get the Government Plaza going.

In Utretch we have cleared out most of the lingering Dutch troops but only managed one improvement before the first flip which will happen next turn.

T67: A Settler sailing from Buda is captured by barbs, but it's not end of world. We purchased him mostly to reduce population anyway. Our first Commercial Hub is complete, but I am not sure we can chop another out in time for any of the related boosts,

Four cities flip this turn, our best yet!

Flip city yields:
87s, 291g
87s, 291g
87c, 145f
87c, 145f
87c, 145f

But, we missed retaking it by 2HP - got greedy when we should have skipped one pillage to ensure the win here.

Flip Village yields:
Nothing! Our units are not ready so we just have to retake the city before the two Man at Arms kill anyone and get ready for next chance.

Buda yields:
87s, 291g
87s, 291g
87s, 291g
87c, 145f

Utretch provides
87c, 145f
The city is at 180HP, but we roll well and the Knight deals 94, followed by a Horseman for 64 and a Scout finishing the job.

Egypt also provides a 145f Sphinx pillage. We miss out recapturing a Builder because I forgot to move a unit to add flanking boost first.

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T68: Naval Tradition complete. Our roving Longship in the north spots pink CS borders and a hut. By upgrading more Knights and Berserkers we can drain our Iron and get some cheap Warrior purchases even though we have unlocked Swordmen.

After all the pillaging and upgrades, we can run a single turn of Veterency to chop the Encampment in Minou Town. Poor Minou Town was slated to be a really strong city with 5-6 mines, but we will end up leaving it at 1 pop the whole game to avoid putting positive loyalty into Sparta.

Out Berserkers are crazy - one of them one-shots Nekhen to take it back, while others pillage 174sm 594g then take Shedet as well capturing the Pyramids and a Builder. Pyramids actually gives all Builders another charge if you capture it (and conversely they lose the extra charge if you lose the wonder) so this is a nice boost.

In the Khmer region, the eastern city of Indrapora rebels on its own, squished by Dutch loyalty pressure. With that, we can sign peace with Khmer and focus uninterrupted on pondering the three flip cities.

T69: Only one city flips this turn, but the big news is that the Greece peace deal expires so we can finally attack Ephesus.

One the new continent, we meet Nan Mandol, which only needs 3 envoy and has Knight quest! We only have 6 Iron, so it's probably worth waiting one turn to complete the quest and save and envoy.

Our very first Knight captures the Indrapura, which is renamed Flip University. Even though it is another pillage city, we can delay that to chop in a mountainside Campus for the Astronomy and Printing boosts. We can chop a forest into an empty queue to clear the relevant tile, then slot the Campus and finish it next turn.

We get a small pillage haul
87s, 291g
87s, 291g
87c, 145f

After purchasing some more buildings and units we are at set to hit negative gold again but this time I actually remember to see a few luxuries to avoid losing a unit.

T70 : We are 30 turns our from the target date, and can celebrate with 4 pillage cities flipping.

The haul at Buda:
87s, 292g
87s, 292g
Buy Stave Churches in Buda and Shedet, boosts and completes Divine Right
Swap to Monarchy, boosting Castles.
Knight upgrade gives 2 envoys to Nan Mandol with Diplomatic League, send another to control them and levy their army (1 Warrior, 4 Swords which will all be upgraded to Berserkers) for 310g. Nan Mandol is very powerful early on, but at this point we are getting about 10cpt from them which is about 10% of a single pillage.
Shared Vision reveals Vietnam, we can get a quick 138g and OB off sales, which we need to make anyway to bleed off happiness.

Sparta yields:
87s, 292g
87s, 292g
87s, 292g
87s, 292g
Flip University is still ours:
Chop 2 forests (burning 2 one-charge Builders) to complete the Campus and then shell out 1360g to buy the University for Astronomy boost
87s, 297g
Completes Astronomy, boosts Colonialism
90s, 304g
90s, 304g
Completes Castles (it was only a few science away, so most of the 90s will be lost overflow)

In Flip City:
Our newly upgraded Pikeman hits for only 76, so we end up only being able to pillage 5 of the 7 tiles - need to upgrade a Knight here ASAP
87s, 291g
88c, 145f
88c, 151f
Guilds complete (again losing almost all overflow), boosts Banking
93s, 304g
Completes Banking (no boost) losing overflow yet again (hard to avoid this when pillaging so hard)
94c, 159f

Finally in Utretch we score:
94c, 159f
That's it, but we can re-take the city and instantly chop another Warrior plus buy a Builder with Faith. We can chop a Chariot next turn as we work to get this city productive.

Outside Ephesus, the first Berserker deals 1 wall damage and 1 city damage (always the case for the first melee attack against walls). The second deals 11/13

Pingula gets the Culture promotion, pretty marginal compared to pillage but every bit helps. Magnus has arrived in the Kilwa city and makes two 126h chops with the Gothic Architecture bonus.

Somehow Gilgamesh has 14,000g! I am not sure what is going on - he doesn't have any tiles with more than 2g yields and doesn't seem to be pillaging. This is really odd....

At the end of T70 we have 5 “real” cities (a little low), 8 flipping cities (great), and 2 Settlers heading for space chop sites). Our core is working on districts for the Cartography and Mass Production boosts, Kilwa, and hopefully soon Ruhr for the Flight boost.

The important thing now is to keep adding units and improvements to maximize our Flip cities and be careful about optimizing boosts. As we are getting close to Steel, we will need to remember to buy Trebs in all cities, as 1-2 Artillery will keep them all flipping in a single turn once Urban Defense arise. If we fully improve all our current flip cities can offer 29 science and 21 culture pillages each cycle, and most of them can be set to flip every 2 turns. Adding Ephesus however can make a huge difference - we can set up 16 mines there if we fully develop it! Sumeria is pretty rich, there are 17 pillage able tiles for Cavalry to rip through later, but these are only usable once (maybe twice if they repair them) whereas Ephesus can offer something like 160 pillages before the game ends.

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Sorry to have left this thread stalled so long - time for an update!
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