Part 6: Bring on the Mayan Apocalypse!Hey, let's ask our advisors what's up!
Our advisors are a good way to gauge what's up. Our Military Advisor, in particular, can tell us the relative strength of other armies to ours. He's telling us to break it off with Rome, who we haven't actually seen a single Roman soldier yet. (Personal theory, they're too busy fighting Carthage). He also warns us that the Carthaginian army is way bigger than ours, and that we should not piss them off by any means.
So: new plan: build road to Palenque. Pacal has gold and marble, and may develop his own religion soon if I don't destroy him.
Mmm, look at that, gold, cows, sheep, rocks and fish. Delicious.
The impenetrable enemy fortress of Honolulu.
now there's a sentence I never thought I'd say.
Great Wall aside, Kamehameha isn't doing too well compared to the rest of the players. His city's population is pretty high (probably because of the salt) but he's got no second city, and none of his uniques are of any use on this map. No deep oceans to cross to other continents, no long stretches of coasts to build moai.
Oh, baby. Things are going to start heating up fast religion-wise once I take that.
Right now, though, I think I want to take Liberty's next ability.
This will greatly reduce our current Culture Cost on buying new policies and the Golden Age will increase our funding significantly, which I need because right now we're almost in the red. My army is swelling thanks to all the gifted soldiers I keep receiving, but they cost 1 gold per turn each to maintain.
We are close to researching Drama and Poetry, which will unlock the next Culture producing building, the Ampitheater. After that, we will have two critical techs to research, Civil Service, which gives us Pikemen, better farms, and lets us have Open Borders with other Civs, and Theology, which gives us two religious wonders we want. Yes, both of them!
Oh. Well. Thank you, Caesar. I will never turn down free gold. Feeling the pressure from Carthage, huh? I understand. I have a softer target than you in mind anyway.
Sweet! Imminent population explosion in Edinburgh! (not pictured: +5 Food in the city)
Incidentally, that "Free Garden" it talks about is a structure that increases our generation of Great People by 25%. So, in addition to providing a ton of food, it helps us build Great Things even more!
More people equals more science. This is one of the reasons food is so important.
Ah, city-states. How did I ever live without you? Our Trireme is built and ready to go cruising the shallow seas.
Well well! Looks like the trireme's scouting has already paid off, it reveals a barbarian camp with a hostage worker in it. I think we all know by now what this means, right! And I'm already moving my army east, too. Hee hee.
The other structure there is a "National Epic" which we need to have a monument for in every city. National Wonders are like World Wonders, but you can only have one of them per civilization, rather than one in the whole world. You need to build a prerequisite building in every city first, though, so if your empire is too spread-out, they become harder to make.
For example, once I have a library in Cardiff, I can build a National College (+3 Science, +50% total science in city) in the capital. I should probably get cracking on that.
Ah, yes, the one downside to friends: Sometimes they bum stuff off of you. I suppose you're worth it, though, Gustavus, because I do like Great People.
Oh. Well, thank you.
This never gets old. Thank you hostage situations!
A few turns later
Okay, here you can see my worker working diligently to build a road through the hills to Palenque. Pacal is currently at war with Sweden, so hopefully his forces will be too weak to survive the shock I'm about to send his way. I'm also getting ready to buy a missionary to give him Asskicking to kick his ass. With religion.
Roads do cost money per turn, but I think you don't get charged for the roads that are outside your territory, so this is probably okay. Our economy is still a bit shaky.
Since I have time for it and I don't want anyone else to get it, I'm taking the time to try to build The Oracle in Edinburg. It's a wonder that gives you one free social policy, if it hits it'll save us like thirty turns of waiting for another policy.
On the very next turn...
This will be a tough nut to crack. I can still give him Asskicking, but it'll take more than a Missionary now. I need to generate a Great Prophet. They can spread religion four times, but run slower than Missionaries. When they spread religion, they temporarily completely erase all other religion from the target, even an enemy holy city. Palenque will eventually re-establish Christianity, though, unless I completely destroy the Maya and take steps to eradicate all traces of the religion.
so that's what I'm going to do!
One of the wonders I was talking about in Theology, The Hagia Sofia, gives you an instant Great Prophet for completing it. (Not completely "free" because it increases the opportunity cost of future Prophets, but whatever). The other wonder, the Great Mosque of Djenne, lets missionaries built in that city spread religion three times instead of twice. If we are going to dominate the religion arms race, I want both of 'em!
Hagia Sofia first, though, probably.
Awwright! And THIS guy is how I'm going to complete the Hagia Sofia. Like I said, Great Engineers can be used to rush wonders. Plus, now that I've researched Pikemen, my military city-state buddies will start giving me pikemen. They have 16 strength, way more than the 11 regular spearmen or my Picts have. Even horsemen only have 12 strength. Even better, Pikemen do not require iron, unlike the swordsman (14). Swordsmen get an upgrade later, though.
Harun Al-Raschid and Gustavus both want Open Borders with us now. I say "yeah" to both, and trade some cotton for some of Harun's pearls, which Edinburg wants.
They love it! Good. This will bump up my city's growth quite a bit. Meanwhile, Sidon wants me to build a road between their CS and my trade network. This will provide a pretty significant friendship boost with them.
We need more money. Time to spread Asskicking around to get more funds through Tithe. Do your stuff, preacher man!
Oh, that? Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Uh uh That's that's nothing for you to worry about, Pacal.
On a completely unrelated note, you want to have open borders? Just for a cultural exchange. I want to send some old guy in robes over here later.
I need to trade him two horses to make the deal, but he goes for it.
Shit. Well, guess what, Pacal. You just jumped up another notch on my "To Kill" list. Even if we conquer Palenque, though, The Oracle's thing (1 free social policy) is expended. We would just get the culture points it outputs.
With nothing more pressing to work upon, Edinburg puts a few points towards building a National College. You can queue up multiple projects and shuffle them around this way with no work lost.
Meanwhile, in Kamehamehaland, it looks like he's finally gotten another city set up. Took him long enough. Since it's on tundra, though, I don't expect that thing to be of much value to him.
This is another National Wonder we can build if we've got a regular temple in all our three cities. Grand Temple puts out a SHITLOAD of faith, way more than even Stonehenge, and doubles pressure within its range, so even if some asshole brought his own Prophet over here to convert our cities, we'd get them back to Asskicking in no time. Fortunately, as a National, nobody can snipe it from us.
Ahahahahaha. Perfect. With each city that follows our religion, more pressure gets exerted on surrounding cities. A city is considered "converted" once more than half of its citizens belong to one religion. The range of pressure is about ten tiles away.
Is is that an Atalist? Those are the Maya's unique archer unit, it's actually quite weak. The only advantage is they get to build it without researching Archery at the start of the game. This is what he's defending his city with? I think we may not even need to spread Asskicking here to be able to beat him. We do need more catapults, though.
Oh. He's calling our hand and we will get the reputation of a liar if we invade anyway after telling him it's nothing.
So. Uh. Uh. Ummmmm.
Calling our bluff like that sends our catapult out of his borders. You can't sneak attack using open borders, sadly.
Way the hell to the west, near Mt. Sinai, my remaining Pictish Warrior cleared out a barbarian camp with a worker. To my surprise, this time, the worker did not belong to a city-state.
yeah, I'm not returning it to Polynesia. I'm just going to delete that unit. Sorry, guys.
Oh, there's another benefit to spreading your religion to city-states. Your influence with them decays more slowly. Religious city-states usually have a quest for you to spread your religion to them.
It's still a nasty, nasty bottleneck, but it's clear now that Pacal has been playing the culture game instead of building up his military forces. If we had a proper navy we could attack him by sea too, but we don't. We only have a trireme, and they're terrible even in the era they start in.
Friends like it when you're friends with other friends. I get a similar message from Gustavus Adolphus too.
Oooh, Uluru, a faith-generating natural wonder. I like! Too bad this is way the hell away from where I have territory. I'll make note of this if/when I conquer Arabia.
All this fighting in Palenque has caused a Great General to emerge! Great Generals are non-combat units that can stack with your combat units to make them fight harder and better. They are pretty awesome. They can also use themselves up to build a defensive structure on the ground, but I prefer to keep mine alive.
Awwright! Time to get down to business!
Our Pikeman has leveled up. When your units level up, you can give them a promotion that increases their fighting skills or gives them a new ability, depending on what kind of unit they are. You can also use up the promotion to heal them by 50%, if it's an emergency. Fighting right next to the enemy's capital might constitute an emergency.
I'm healing them, and sending them one hex south, so they won't have to attack across a river to attack Palenque. Fighting across a river gives you a -20% penalty, you should never do it. Ranged attacks from catapult are fine, though.
See what I mean? It'd hurt them, a LITTLE, but mostly it's an exercise in futility. You only want to do suicide attacks like that if you have strength of numbers.
I have been remiss. Even if I don't use swordsmen, if there are iron deposits about I could use them just to increase production. My love for religion has blinded me to the use of base metals!
Prague likes the fact we found Uluru and they're giving us culture points. This will help a lot, though. At our current culture rate we will get another policy in 4 turns.
God, that's beautiful. I changed my mind, I can build the Hagia Sofia next. Right now, I just want to spread Asskicking as much as possible as far as possible. For that I want three-shot Missionaries.
Oh, what's this? All this fighting has caused Pacal to generate a Great General too. Too bad for him they're non-combat units.
YOINK. Simply walking my pikeman over the great general causes him to die.
One other thing I neglected to mention: The cost for missionaries goes up in future technological epochs. Making as great a use for them now while we can is key.
With two catapults and a compound bowman shooting at Palenque, it's not long before I whittle it down completely, move my pikeman in, aaaand .
This is what happens when you conquer a city. We can annex it, turn it into a puppet (I love puppeting cities) or, if it's not a capital or city-state, raze it to the ground. Razing temporarily costs you a lot of unhappiness but fades over time as the city burns down. It is best to do when your opponent has made a lot of crap cities (like Kamehameha is doing right now) and you don't want the extra unhappiness load.
Jacking Palenque has increased our happiness to 28, possibly because of the marble in here. It'll go back down in a second. Note that building a courthouse in Palenque would make a lot of that unhappiness go away. We need to wait 8 or 9 turns before we can even get the city to do anything because highly-populous cities are in "resistance" just after being conquered.
Now, we don't need to destroy Pacal's other city to consider him defeated. Military victory in this game only requires us to have conquered every other enemy capital city...
But I need to eradicate his religion completely and there's one other factor to consider. When we hit the renaissance, he'll still have a spy, automatically. I hate spies. Taking him out completely will remove that nuisance. Some of the other nations may be a bit perturbed by the genocide, though.
That's their problem. Muahahahahaha.
Well, damn, there are tons of iron deposits around my city. I really should have researched Iron Working sooner, too.
Caesar bullies Budapest, and I tell him to sod off. Again.
Now, there is another benefit to conquest: research. The more population we have, the more research bottles. Growing large will eventually have us fielding horrifying laser beams of destruction against guys with arquebuses!
We finally have enough culture to get another social policy. Since we hit the Middle Ages, we now have access to Patronage and Commerce.
Patronage increases the benefits of befriending city-states, by a lot. Just adopting it makes our relationships with them decay slower, there's one policy that boosts our default influence state to +20 (so with a protection promise, we would always be in a default state of friendship with everyone, kickass!) and there's even a policy that lets them gift Great People to us. Considering how totally awesome city-states have been to us so far I am sorely tempted to open up Patronage right now, because they have built almost our entire army for us. I'm not joking, I never ordered the construction of a single soldier during the war, they were all donated.
Commerce boosts your gold input and also makes ships see farther and go farther. There is a really kickass policy at the bottom of the tree that makes all luxuries give us +6 happiness instead of +4, which would add up like you wouldn't believe. We are bleeding money so I think opening up Commerce for the time being to increase gold production in the capital by 25% would be really wise.
We could also finish off Liberty by getting Mertocracy. This would get us another free Great Person, possibly an Engineer to finish another world wonder or build a manufactory.
We have two more policies in Piety:
This would really boost our faith output, which is already going up.
If we manage to jack our happiness up to high levels, this would really pay off too. Even at our current happiness of 16, it would make our culture intake of +29 go to +37, greatly reducing the time to the next policy to only 15 turns. That would in turn allow us to get all those policies in Commerce that I was talking about, greatly increasing our income and happiness (and with more happiness would come more culture points!). I think that's what I'm leaning towards.
Organized religion also leads to another great policy that increases culture by 33% in cities that already have a World Wonder (we have several!) and gives us a free Golden Age too.
Current State of the World:
Kamehameha is putting out more crap cities in the crappy tundra over there. I'm still not too worried, but it's something to consider. We'll have to burn all those down if we take them over.
Stockholm's looking like a tempting next target. He's got truffles and incense!
Carthage may be a military force according to my advisor, but they only have two cities and Rome isn't looking too hot either. I need to scout them out more to figure out how soft they are.
Till next time!