I'm currently in the third day of the most fun game I've ever played. I'm playing as Thessalonica and despite the Elohim's peaceful nature I've been at war for almost the entire game. My starting cross was bare except for deer, but was almost completely covered with trees and all but three plots were riverside. After building three towns the long work to spamming lumbermills began. The Calabim rushed bronze working and DoW'd me early. While they had Moroi they did not have bronze weapons. Archery is incredibly strong for a Defender civ, and I figured on Emperor and with the starting plot I had I wasn't going to be getting any early religions or wonders. I rushed it and it saved my bacon. While I'm fighting off the Calabim, a highly promoted Orthus strolls into my territory. It's a while before I can build up a military, and while I do Orthus razes two of my villages to dust. Eventually he throws himself at my city, and while he kills my archer, a mob of warriors finishes him off. I've just finished rebuilding cottages when Zargaz (?) the Long Sighted leads an army into my lands. He is ridiculously well promoted after rampaging through Calabim lands. Combat V, Heroic Defense II, Drill IV. The only way to protect my improvements is to upgrade Woodsman I warriors into archers. This lets them shoot well on the tree covered hillsides and protect those lumbermills it's taken me so long to build. I fall very behind in tech at this point, since mustering 75 gold to upgrade a warrior drains the coffers quickly. He is finally driven off after I've stationed enough archers around, but not before he razes my newly built cottages. He eventually dies in Calabim lands. I make a mental note to somehow find and get that amazing bow he has. Still, the Calabim, Orthus and Zargaz invasions have left me with only a single improvement in my entire empire by turn 100. That hurts. I found the Order and become head of the Overcouncil. Soon after I found Empyrean. Unfortunately, neither of these religions were founded in my capital. The Elohim are excellent at churning out Great Prophets, so it's not long before I have both holy city wonders. A Devout who had a lucky kill versus a goblin archer receives Aeron's bounty. With Orthus's Axe, a Wanderer's Cloak and a Heart Pendant (or whatever the item is that gives a March promotion) she becomes ridiculously formidable. This is good because a turn prior Grigori, who was my closest friend and neighbor, declares war. And he's got Dragonslayers with Bronze weapons. This Devout, stationed in a forested hill, kills the entire Grigori stack of doom while defending, save for the archers. When it's her turn, she is unscathed. She kills three fleeing adventurers. She is, quite literally, a monster. At this time I've met eight of my nine opponents. Cassiel was to my west. I had been gradually spreading order to his cities (to keep the Veil from spreading to them, and to grant me some gold) and we were on excellent terms. I didn't even get a popup message that he had declared war, so it might have been an event. Auric was north of Cassiel. He was boxed in by the ocean, mountains, Cassiel and Acheron. He really doesn't play any role in the game at all and I don't even think he's gone beyond his first city. Poor guy, Acheron built his Dragon's Hoard RIGHT ON TOP of the Letum Frigus. The Calabim were to my south and were led by Elijah. The vast equitorial desert seperated us and was enough of a deterrent to keep the Calabim out of my hair after their first failed invasion. Reorx led the Khazad to my southeast. For some reason they went with Fellowship. It was founded by Auric early and like it's founder played no real role in the game. Reorx always seemed to love me, which is a refreshing change from other Khazad leaders who always seemed to take offense at everything I said. To my northeast was Herne, the Kuriotates Centaur. He was the whipping boy from the start. He rushed horseback riding, which allowed him to meet almost everyone early. And everyone hated him, he was the worst enemy of almost everyone. Early on I never traded with him and he rapidly fell behind in development to everyone else. To the far southeast was Xivan leading the Amurites. Xivan felt like being a good guy, and apart from an early war with Herne, stayed true to the role. This guy liked me, and was great for trading techs with and agreeing to my Overcouncil decisions (as well as keeping me in power.) The the far northeast was Tsunke. The AI behind this guy hates all humans, I think, so it's no surprise that we ended up on opposite sides of a battlefield eventually. Especially after he founded the Ashen Veil. He battled with the Amurites off and on, then declared war on Reorx. The war between Tsunke and Reorx was the first sign that things weren't going well. Reorx was at this point on the top of the scoreboard, so I figured he could handle himself. Even though he was sandwiched between Tsunke and the Calabim and was at war with both. The Calabim had build the Prophecy of Ragnorok and were ratcheting up the Armageddon Counter. For a while Reorx had kept him in check, but when Tsunke stepped in all those Prophecy Mark Moroi were surviving. I had a lot of trees but very few food resources. Still, I cruised through the Blight without losing a single population thanks to some careful resource trading. Unfortunately, it made me pop a Great Healer instead of a Great Priest in the capital. Before long Reorx lost a massive city to Tsunke, plummeting down the score list and making me realize how fragile his empire really was. He still worshiped the Felloship despite the fact that some of his cities didn't even have any trees! What a strange dwarf. Meanwhile I had tech'd Engineering and managed to trade for Sorcery and Arcane Lore. I spent a good 15 turns building the Guild of Hammers and the Crown of Akharen, shoring up my economy and upgrading my archers to Longbowmen. I had lost Bambur in the fall of Hallowell so I figured it was time to switch to Order. It was during this time I had a Devout make it through the Tsunke/Xivan battlefield and meet up with Falamar, who had a nice peninsula all to himself just east of Xivan. A good guy at heart, he soon joined the Overcouncil and the war versus Evil. During my building period Reorx capitulated to Tsunke. A few turns later, one of Herme's giant cities fell to Tsunke. A few turns after that one of Xivans cities fell and he capitulated to the Calabim. In the span of a few turns I have gained two new enemies and I'm down to only two allies, the Kuriotates (who are probably close to capitulation themselves) and the Lanun. The Grigori, unfortunately, seem quite annoyed with me. It's only a matter of time before they declare war again. They are the most advanced civ by far and are number three on the scoreboard but that one little war we had seemed to have soured our relations forever. It is here that I end day 3. Things look bleak. My Devout is good, but she won't be for long. I've got to rush to get Paladins so I can upgrade her (and hopefully her Aeron's Bounty promotion sticks) before she's killed. Unfortunately Reorx had Armorer Cavalry before he capitulated, so I should be seeing Tsunke's Knights any day now. I am going to try to take the Kuriotates city back first, which should keep Herne as an ally. Then strike into the heart of Tsunke's capital through Kuriotates territory. Unfortunately, I don't have much of an army now, and my siege weapons were all destroyed by those damn raiding Hippus. And Tsunke has the Nox Noctis. Most likely my invading force will be wiped out the first turn by every single horse archer Tsunke has. I've made a few mistakes. I was a fool for not taking the Philosophical trait. Nothing short of slashing all my forests in the capital and replacing them with farms and going Theocracy is going to get me enough Great Prophets for an Altar Victory. I built the altar in my capital, not in the same city as the Deis Dei. I should have turned the Empyrean holy city into a Disciple factory. I spent 15 turns researching Arete. This was pretty useless since I couldn't trade the tech, I have no use for the wonder and I would never adopt the civic. I used the Overcouncil to aggressively. I made sure that Good was always at war with Evil. Unfortunately, Good got their butts kicked while I was building wonders.