Egypt was the last country to join the Russian Empire, and the Long War was Mother Russia's last great labor. This is an image of Kharkav Rock, where the Russangxi scout Esteban Kharkav kept watch over Gold Spike Valley and the ancient road to Memphis for forty years.
Here is the system for the series of posts on The Long War.
Each post will cover five to ten game turns (25 to 50 years), and will have two parts. The first part will discuss the military side of the conflict; the second part will highlight the industrialization and politics of the Empire. This first post covers only 4 turns (20 years) and ends when I declare war on Egypt.
Please note that technology will come faster than ever before. In just 5 to 10 turns, I will discover 2 or 3 technologies. This means that I will have to skim over a lot of politics and technological development. Thoroughly describing the Industrial and Modern eras would take far too many posts, and I do want to finish this thread in my lifetime. Plus, there is simply too much to say about the Industrial Era. I couldn't possibly include even a fraction of what I know, what we know, and what I could make up. ;]
So it begins...
The Long War - Part I
You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. -- Attributed to Albert Einstein
The opening years of the Long War were called Nostikoff's Campaign. Ironically, the ex-General Nostikoff had little to do with them. Shortly after setting the agenda for Egypt's conquest, he'd died from the rapid onset of a "cancerous fungous excrescence," which has been retroactively identified as the first recorded case of metastatic melanoma--AKA "skin cancer." At Wedeleev's insistence, the military honored the dead general by keeping an open seat for him at the Table of Arms. "It will be a constant reminder," Wedeleev said, "of Nostikoff's foresight and vigilance." He was correct. It taught a lesson to the new generation, and they took it to heart.
In the Pastoral Interim, General Nostikoff had prepared for war. He had understood what Russia was about to learn from his example--"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." By preparing technologies and tactics before there was a need for them, Nostikoff gave Russia a permanent advantage over her potential foes. And since his death, there has never been a war that Russia has not virtually fought before a single shot was fired. Our military readiness is Nostikoff's legacy and his gift to our future.
Nostikoff's Campaign consisted of three rapid deployments into Egyptian territory. Two of the deployed forces were unusually small; they were more like armed scouts than armies. The third was unusually large and contained the following regiments:
Good old Sun Tzu. :]
Most of these regiments descended directly from the fighting units of the Three Years War. For example, the 3rd Kavkaz and 9th Novgorod Cossack regiments were trained in the same facilities as the knights who broke the Spanish lines at the Battle of Mill Road. Almost a quarter of the cannons in the St. Petersburg 1st and 2nd saw action at Seville, and the 9th Grozny Siege had maintained battle readiness since the conquest of Cordoba. There wasn't a man in the army that couldn't sing the March of Muromets, and there wasn't a general who didn't know the battles of Vasnetsov and Davydov. It was an army of tradition, and that tradition carried weight in battle. It bolstered morale, taught the soldiers to avoid simple mistakes, and gave the commanders a tactical edge. It was one of those intangible advantages which cannot be crafted. It could only be earned.
The entire army numbered over 120,000 fighting men and 840,000 lojistikas, or "supply soldiers." The scale of this force strained even the fattest Russian purse, but Wedeleev consistently approved its ridiculous military budget. He believed in Vasnetsovian warfare, and having incorrectly judged the size of the Egyptian army at Pi Ramses, he felt that the oversized force was necessary.
Every year, over four million tons of food, water, and equipment had to be drawn off the Moskva River and carried by wagon to the army's ever-moving "frontier city." This tremendous military encampment covered between 4 to 8 square kilometers with densely packed tents and ramshackle cabins, and it grew at the end of a supply road pointing towards Pi Ramses. The soldiers nicknamed the city "Wedeleev's Yard"--a name that would remain long after Wedeleev died and turned to dust. The Yard was the first of its kind, a mobile logistics base. With its vast workforce, the Russian army could establish earthworks and ammo dumps anywhere in enemy territory as long as their supply lines could be protected against enemy guerrillas. From these strongpoints, it was easy to conduct "raids" with vast numbers of healthy, well-fed soldiers. Though initially wasteful, this advantage would prove decisive during the course of Long War.
Wedeleev's Yard and the Declaration of War
After marching out of Madrid, the Third Deployment stops at the Egyptian border and prepares for the winter.
Much has already been said about Wedeleev's Yard, so I'll keep this brief. Though the declaration of war didn't arrive until 1697, the Yard was deployed and moved into the Egyptian wilderness in 1688. It was serendipity that the Egyptians didn't notice the preemptive invasion.
I moved my force to the border, anticipating an attack on Pi Ramses. I had scouted the Egyptian Empire with my Cossacks, and I'd discovered that Pi Ramses was large, well built, and essentially defenseless. Conquering them will be fairly easy.
If you look back up through the post and glance at my army list, you'll see that I took a fairly large stack of cannons into the field. The cannons will do most of the heavy damage, while the cossacks will clean up the high-powered defenders and the grenadiers will wipe out the trash.
By 1697, the Yard was 200 miles into Egyptian territory and deep into the hills northeast of Pi Ramses. Considering their average rate of annual advancement, they were set to assault Pi Ramses in August 1710 at the earliest. Actual assault wouldn't begin until later, however.
Fortunately for the Russian Empire, the Yard went mostly unnoticed until the official declaration of war was delivered. It wasn't until 1699 that Egyptian workers stumbled across the Yard while returning from the jungles to the east of the hills. But even after discovering the Yard, the Egyptians failed to respond with equal force. The size and scale of the Yard was unprecedented, and the Egyptian workers will ill-trained to make a good estimate of Russia's forces. When they reported to the government at Pi Ramses, they claimed that Russia had 10,000 combat-ready troops on the march--1/15th of the actual number.
It was a mistake that Egypt would eternally regret.
The Nostikoff Plan
It's important to distinguish between the Nostikoff Campaign and the Nostikoff Plan. The campaign was a short term deployment designed to defend Russia's borders and test Egypt's military response. The Nostikoff Plan was a long term strategy designed to subdue the Egyptian Empire.
Here is an image of the plan superimposed over a satellite photograph of Egypt. The Nostikoff Plan consisted of three major campaigns, performed in order from North to South as military resources became available. It was the brainchild of Scout Esteban Kharkav, and though it was never exactly followed, it influenced the Russian strategy for almost a century.
In essence, Kharkav believed that the Russian Empire needed time to adjust to a warfare economy and to raise the troops necessary for conquering Egypt's core cities. Since the Nostikoff Campaign unwittingly met his needs, Kharkav simply extended it into the future and marked out three "Roads to Victory"--long term campaigns for Egypt's conquest.
The northernmost Road, Vasnetsov's Road, was designed to inflict a long series of slash-and-burn hammer blows against the weakly defended Egyptian cities near the German border, thereby destroying all Egyptian-German trade and creating an anarchic "buffer zone" between the Russian conquerers and the paranoid German Kingdom. This attack would also draw defenders away from the Egyptian core, enabling the second Road to Victory.
This middle Road, Gaafa's Road, passed through Egypt's greatest cities--Memphis, Thebes, and Elephantine. Although these were the primary targets of the Long War, Kharkav predicted quite accurately that walking Gaafa's Road would have to wait for at least five decades. Before dominating the core of such an old civilization, Russia would need better technology and an even larger army than the one stationed at Wedeleev's Yard. "It's a fight I leave to my children," Kharkav said, "Only people born for war could manage it."
But once that conquest was well under way, Kharkav believed that Egypt's coastal cities would be isolated and weak, and that a small force could conquer or destroy them. He marked that campaign as the third and final Road to Victory. Ignominious and grim, it would be more of an organized slaughter than a real fight, and he named it Godse's Road. He hoped that Egypt would surrender before the Road was walked, but he suspected that at the end of such a tremendous war, Russian veterans would choose to walk it to take revenge for their dead.
Scout Esteban Kharkav at the Gold Spike
The only surviving photograph of Esteban Kharkav.
But who was Esteban Kharkav, and why was he influential? To understand him, you should first forget our post-Renovation meritocracy. Before sociology became a science, there was no objective measure of behavior, and popularity was derived from circumstance as well as talent.
In short, Kharkav was popular because he had popularity, and powerful because people expected him to have power. But this only explains how he maintained his reputation. How he gained it is another matter. It begins with a lesson in religion.
In the years preceding the Great Taoist Revival, Taoism had begun to change. For almost a millennium, it had encouraged moral and psychological freedom, but it had moderated that freedom with an opposing and equal caution. In the first decade of Kharkav's life, that Taoist struggle of freedom and caution fulminated into a theological revolution.
The Tao's duality granted the religion philosophical strength, but it was ironically rendering it dogmatically weak. And in that era, it was difficult to convert new petitioners without dogmatic threats. The Hindus and the Buddhists had mythologies; the Christians and the Jews had Hell; and they all offered the carrot or the stick--supplicate or suffer. But the Taoists only offered benign spiritual anarchy, and that wasn't attractive anymore. The world had changed since the Renaissance. People didn't feel oppressed, and they didn't yearn for freedom. They felt terrified and uncertain, and they yearned for rules and security. Boundaries and absolutes. Boxes to live in.
Taoism was the official state religion, but it was in decline.
Esteban Kharkav was a monk-musician and Taoist missionary by inheritance. He was also a professional leech, one of thousands of nepotic children sired and raised by Taoist monks. His musical skills were dismal, and his religious devotion was weak. A century before, he would've been beaten by his father or excommunicated for his performance. But in the Pastoral Interim, the Taoists had opened literally their doors to the public without anticipating the consequences, and the sons of the monks--the boys who should've become devout spiritual leaders--they grew up in the secular streets. When they returned home, they often accepted the benefits of monkhood without fulfilling any of the duties, and the Taoists grew weaker and weaker.
Ultimately, this was an economic problem. Kharkav's kind were expensive and consumed more than they produced. Eliminating them and hiring devout professionals would've increased church revenue while slashing costs and improving the Taoist image. But the heads of the Dai Maio were reluctant to act. It was tradition to raise and support the male children of monks, and tradition was half of the Taoist creed. Without tradition, what would oppose anarchy? Who could practice the principles of the Tao if the Taoists could not?
These questions were never answered, and the Taoists eventually stopped asking them. When Kharkav turned seventeen, Sage Kwei Ng of the Dai Mao died and was succeeded by Sage Song. Song was a Russangxi of Shanghai birth, and he saw no difference between running a business and running a religion. In his mind, petitioners were customers, salvation was a product, and missionaries were merchants. And tradition be damned, he evaluated and fired every bad merchant in his employ.
In December of 1689, Kharkav was literally stripped of his belongings and tossed into the street during a snowfall. It was a cruel punishment, and he expected that he would die. They weren't trying to kill him, exactly, but they resented him and were perniciously indifferent to his fate. About this event, Kharkav would later write, "...I first thought, who would open their door to a naked man? Then I thought I would freeze."
There was one place that he realized he could go. But the barracks and military stables were on the other side of Crimea in an unfamiliar area, and the storm obscured his vision. He faced towards the sun and trudged on through the falling snow. He searched for just under one hour. The temperature was only slightly below freezing, but in that time, it nearly finished him. He became drowsy. He almost walked past his destination in a hypothermic stupor. Luckily, an officer spotted him from a window and brought him indoors.
He was nursed to health in a soldier's hospital, and for a while he feared that he'd lose his fingers and toes. But the frostbite was skin deep, and the only amputation he required was circumcision.
As he recovered, the reality of his situation became clear. In those days, if you slept or ate at the barracks, and if you were healthy and sane, then you owed the army--either money or service. Having no income nor any hope as a musician, Kharkav embraced his debt and made it his new career. And from the very beginning, he had a reputation.
"Frosty," they called him. "Ice Monk" was another name. While he trained as a Scout, his hour-long search in the snow transformed into an epic story of superhuman survival. It's impossible to know why it happened this way, but by the time Kharkav's name reached Moscow, he was known for having crossed the Crimean province on foot during the worst winter in living memory. Every trick of wilderness survival was attributed to him. He was described as impossibly tough and resistant to the elements. And of course, none of it was true.
The stories never really lasted. Eventually, Kharkav's reputation exceeded the limits of reason, and people began to doubt them. But one effect of the story remained--Kharkav was well-known. People recognized him as the protagonist of a myth, and even if the myth was a lie, it cast a positive influence over him. He was slightly more talented than the average Scout, and his reputation magnified that talent and made it look large. Eventually, people knew him so well that they deferred authority to him, and as I said before, he became influential because he had influence.
During the Nostikoff Campaign, he was given command over the Second Deployment--a group of about two thousand Cossack Scouts--and he deployed his forces on a mesa overlooking the Gold Spike, the mountain in the desert where Egypt mined most of her gold.
Esteban Kharkav's scouting duties were unusual. A soldiers' tour lasted five years, consisting of two years at the mesa settlement and three years patrolling the Moskva river or the desert roads. Kharkav's tour was indefinite, lasting as long as the Nostikoff Campaign, and potentially for the rest of Kharkav's career. Some of the officers saw this as a punishment, but Kharkav felt that it was a reward. The Gold Spike was peaceful, the mesa settlement was comfortable, his salary was extremely high, and the nearby Moskva River made it easy to import expensive luxuries and goods.
I upgraded one Cossack unit with the Flanking I and Sentry promotions. Sentry gives the Cossack +1 viewing range, and by putting it on the Plains/Hill next to the Gold Spike desert, I gain a good view of the Egyptian troops in Memphis while watching about 1/3rd of the Russian/Egyptian border. If Egypt rounds up its core armies and marches on Russia, I'll see them coming, and I'll have enough time to reliably move units from the interior to defend Moscow, Crimea, or Port Kavkaz.
He found that his administrative duties rarely required more than a morning's work, and after a tsar's lunch, he often attended to his growing stable of hobbies. He took up painting, returned to music, and studied military history. He penned hundreds of articles concerning military strategy, and using his considerable influence, he was able to publish all but six. Though he was not a general, his opinion was often considered in Moscow--especially by Wedeleev, who was a fan of Kharkav's terse writing style.
Eventually, he authored the Nostikoff Plan and secured himself an important position in military history. Wedeleev levered his power as the Executive of Parliament to force the Plan's approval, refusing to officially declare war until the military agreed to its principles. Of course, there was resistance. Though the generals liked Kharkav's thinking, they were reluctant to credit him--a Scout officer--with authorship of the war. But as the century's end approached and the Third Deployment assembled along the Egyptian border, resistance to the idea crumbled. The Russian military wanted to make an official declaration of war, and Wedeleev stubbornly refused to sign any declaration until he knew that the war would be fought on his terms. In January 1697, the Nostikoff Plan was quietly made into official military policy. Two months later, the Russian Empire declared war on Egypt.
Surpringly, Kharkav's life did not become difficult. The Gold Spike roads were little more than tracks in the desert, and after the traders stopped coming from Memphis, the Egyptians had let the sands swallow them up. In the first years after the declaration, Egypt's stance had remained defensive, and there was little for the scouts to see. Life on the mesa continued as it always had.
As he aged, Kharkav picked up the habit of sitting under an oversized parasol on Kharkav's Rock, an thin finger of ancient sandstone pointing at the Gold Spike. His subordinates would join him in the afternoon for drinks, generally having two--a small drink of alcohol and a large drink of expensive fruit juice. It was here that Kharkav personally mentored the field generals of the future--Rihter, Jiminez, Quan Wei, and others of lesser renown. Having been a child of nepotism, he instinctively guided and safeguarded the careers of his favorite men.
As he entered his fifties, he met and married the sister of an officer, a thirty year old widow with one son. They had two children together, both girls, who Kharkav raised at the mesa settlement until he died.
And in his sixties, he became jaundiced and deathly ill. Its very likely that he had a liver tumor, though at the time, doctors only knew enough to believe that he was dying from "an unusual sensitivity to alcohol and other toxic drinks ... resulting in an acute failure of the intestines." After five months of symptoms, he passed away in his bed at the age of sixty-three. When his wife found his corpse, she discovered a note in his hands. Moments before his death, he'd asked the doctor to burn his guitar. His wife was curious and checked his instrument for herself. Inside the bottom, she discovered thirty pages of unfinished sheet music.
Isn't it strange? Kharkav wanted to destroy his most influential contribution. He wasn't a great Taoist, his paintings were worthless, and though he was influential, his strategies were vague and--soon enough--obsolete. The only thing he left, the only piece of himself that survived the Renovation, was the opening movement of his epic guitar piece, Over the Desert, Under the Sky. Though the original is considered inferior, it's creativity inspired hundreds of derivative masterworks.
But for now, let's remember Kharkav, not for his accidental influence as a musician, but as an unremarkable man with remarkable power at the beginning of the Long War.
The Shadows of Khoisan
Shortly after the declaration of war in 1697, the First Deployment of the Nostikoff Campaign rode out of Port Kavkaz. Consisting of 5,000 Novgorod Cossacks, this small force called itself "The Shadows of Khoisan." Led by Lieutenant-General Au-Yong, the Shadows were ordered to patrol and scout the cold, arid flatlands between Port Kavkaz, Khoisan, and the southern edge of the Gold Spike mountains. Unlike the Second and Third deployments, the Shadows weren't provided with the resources or manpower to build encampments along the plains. They were based out of Port Kavkaz and aided in both deployment and defense by the fledgling Russian Navy--in truth, an impotent force of maybe one hundred armed caravels.
The disproportionately small set of available resources displeased Au-Yong, but he wasn't discouraged. He made his own opportunities, and in 1701 AD, he discovered that he had a chance to change his lot in life. In the tundra-swathed hills northeast of Khoisan, one of his scouts discovered an old mill road that swept straight into town--and surprisingly, was not prepared with proper defenses.
Au-Yong knew that he was outnumbered three to one. Khoisan was almost as large and prosperous as Port Kavkaz, and it contained a well-trained garrison of 15,000 defenders, mostly longbowmen and militiamen. But he had smooth-bore guns, and the local population was too poor to afford similar weapons. That advantage couldn't be matched.
Nevertheless, an attack would be risky. In a direct charge, Au-Yong's forces would be simply overwhelmed. But with a series of hit and run attacks, it would be possible, he thought, to whittle away and eventually subdue the Egyptian defenders. After that, the isolated port city could be opened to occupation from the sea, and the Russian Empire could move in a garrison to officially conquer the city.
In spring of 1702, he decided to attack...
Replaceable Parts and the Gun - An Industrialist's Tale
There are three crappy longbowmen defending Khoisan. I might be able to weaken or capture the city with just one Cossack unit. We'll see in the next update.
Johann Borges made the first copy kilogram by machining slivers of pewter from the side of a cylinder mass. His invention, the industrial lathe, was little more than a watermill and flywheel banded onto an adjustable rotating arm. The pewter cylinder was clamped over the arm, "spun up" with the flywheel, and lowered onto a lathing point--a complex piece of carbon steel--which machined at a constant, controllable rate. By adjusting downward pressure, RPMs, and longitudinal motion, Borges discovered that could accurately machine any metal softer than cast iron.
The industrial lathe was a brilliant invention, but Borges completely misjudged its potential. After a few years, he fell on hard times and sold it to the young industrialist, William Miur, for a paltry thousand rubles. Miur took it and revolutionized gunsmithing.
Miur was the fifth generation inheritor in a family of gun manufacturers, and his estate employed approximately twelve thousand professional gunsmiths across the Russian Empire. On average, each gunsmith in his employ produced two complete muskets in a year and repaired about ten times that number. With that force, he could produce 24,000 muskets in a year and repair 480,000--a quantity which might sound impressive, but was never enough to meet demand. Over two million repair orders were received annually, and musket sales occurred years in advance. By Miur's accounting, most muskets were eventually discarded.
There simply weren't enough skilled men to build and repair smoothbore firearms. For this reason, most Russians civilians purchased and used shotguns. Their simpler designs could be repaired by regular blacksmiths, and the weapons were less sensitive to corrosion, damage, and misfires.
Miur saw the industrial lathe as a chance to change that, and more. With different lathing points and improved mechanical controls, he perceived a heretofore unknown possibility--replaceable, interchangeable, machined parts. For everything.
It all began with nuts and bolts. They were a classic "set product." One nut was fitted with one bolt, and if either was lost or damaged, then the entire set had to be replaced. Miur realized that if he could produce exact copies of nuts and bolts, then any bolt would work with any nut, and a damaged set could be repaired at half the cost of a full replacement. It was a market of efficiency that had never been tapped, and he saw that the industrial lathe was its key.
The lathe's unprecedented level of accuracy allowed for the machinist to copy and recopy a standard spiral groove at an incredible rate. For a hand machinist, it took twelve hours to produce one nut and bolt set; with the lathe, twenty interchangeable nuts and bolts could be cut from brass rods in less than an hour. It was a machining revolution, and it made nuts and bolts incredibly cheap.
It was simple to apply the same concepts to gunsmithing, though the implementation had to wait a few years while Miur's employees invented or borrowed the designs of other machine tools. Finally, in 1682, Miur produced ten prototype muskets with industrially machined replaceable parts. In front of Wedeleev's Parliament, he disassembled all ten weapons, mixed the parts in a bag, and with help, he reassembled ten new weapons on the floor. All ten muskets functioned and fired accurately. It was a sensation.
By the time the Long War began in earnest, there wasn't a single musket whose parts couldn't be interchanged and replaced at a fraction of an entire musket's price.
Denaturalism and the West China Trading Company
Replaceable Parts is a great technology. Lumber mills are an awesome mid-game improvement, the boost to water mills and windmills is substantial, and Steam Power and Rifling are extremely useful technologies. Consider Replaceable Parts to be an stepping stone between Renaissance firearms and the Industrial Era's power house military technologies, and you'll see why I've researched it so "early."
The West China Trading Company sails outside a port on Northland's southern coast.
This is only the beginning of a story.
In 1695, ten anonymous Chinese Denaturalists funded a legal entity known as a corporation. It was a name, an artificial person, whom they legally and openly registered in the province of Parthian. "West China Trading Company," born 1695. It had all the legal status of a man. It could own property, hire employees, sue and be sued in civil courts. This early corporation wasn't like the corporations to come--it didn't have the special legal protections that would shield the assets of the corporation from its shareholders' creditors. But these weren't men with debts, and this was still the era of mercantilism. They had nothing to fear from banks--they owned the banks.
And it was everything that the Denaturalists weren't--immortal, emotionless, and invincible. A corporation could never be killed, could never die from accident or disease, could survive the change of governments and the booms and recessions of the economy, as long as people believed in it and supported it.
In the beginning, they traded tea with the Germans of Northland. It wasn't much, but it was profitable. More importantly, it was a test. A successful test. A model for things to come.
Their plan extended into the next half-century.
The Statue of Liberty
Corporation is another great technology. It leads to two things important things--Assembly Line (and Infantry). It also gives me an INCREDIBLE economic boost. One extra trade route for every city? Hell yes. The extra commerce sliced an entire turn of research off the next technology I chose. Trade routes are incredibly powerful, and the extra trade route is one vital part in the accelerating late-mid-game economy.
As for the strange tone in this part of the post--well, I want to introduce an old element back into the narrative, and this was the place to start.
It's unofficial name is "the gravestone of slavery."
The Statue of Liberty was the masterwork of Vincenc Makovský and Vasily Demut-Malinovsky. Under the patronage of several Grozny industrialists, Demut-Malinovsky was commissioned to sculpt a monument dedicated "to freedom and emancipation" to be placed in a park facing the Moskva River. In turn, he hired Makovský to handle the construction, as he planned to "dwarf the Colossus of Delhi with iron and copper."
The Statue cost twelve million rubles to construct, a value equal to hundreds of millions of modern rubles. The project pushed the boundaries of Industrial engineering, and was often plagued by unexpected setbacks and surprise costs. It was abandoned in 1700, officially declared "complete," though the copper exterior hadn't been properly insulated against its iron framework. Eventually, the statue would require vast renovations.
Oxidation gave its untreated copper exterior a characteristic green hue.
I expended two Great Engineers to make the Statue of Liberty.
One of the best Industrial Era wonders, the Statue of Liberty gives me a free specialist in every city on the continent. Every production city got another engineer, every financial city received a merchant, and every science city received a scientist. My empire is HUMMING.
The Industrial Will Be Dark
The following is a poem by Maurice Maeterlinck. It's so fucking awesome that I decided to tack it onto the end of this update.
Ere are the old desires that pass,
The dreams of weary men, that die,
The dreams that faint and fail, alas!
And there the days of hope gone by!
Where to fly shall we find a place?
Never a star shines late or soon:
Weariness only with frozen face,
And sheets of blue in the icy moon.
Behold the fireless sick, and lo!
The sobbing victims of the snare!
Lambs whose pasture is only snow!
Pity them all, O Lord, my prayer!
For me, I wait the awakening call:
I pray that slumber leave me soon.
I wait until the sunlight fall
On hands yet frozen by the moon.
More war next update. Meaty fighting (after I receive my new video card in a few days) and more! Hooray.
This update isn't as good as I'd like, but it's acceptable. I couldn't think of many characters or stories, and I didn't enjoy the time period, primarily because it was so short. I needed more turns to really get a good sense of history. The next one should be better, since I'll have a new video card and LOTS of war to cover.