Part 16: The Countdown ClubWell, the fates have decided to play a joke on us. Boudicca is programmed to be very aggressive and will surely invade us due to our proximity sometime within the next 30-40 turns. She's going to have Pictish Warriors on her side, who excel at invading enemy territory.
To beat them we're going to need the use of one of our uniques, the humble atlatlist--and you thought they'd just go obsolete quickly, didn't you?
We also have prime territory to block Boudicca with, though.
This place, which I am tentatively calling the Salt Pass, is perfect. It's got the salt within reach. It's on a hill for added defense, and a river on the east side to weaken anyone attacking across it. If she tries to get embarked units up the west side they'll get shot down easily. It's also next to a mountain so I can build both the Observatory (for SCIENCE) and next to ocean so I can build ships to access the rest of the world.
It's a matter of getting a city there and enough proper defenders built in time.
Ordinarily, when you play as Pacal, you are encouraged to rush to research Theology because that gives you more baktuns to get Great People with. Here, though, I think I would best be served by making sure I can get a bit of everything I can from the ancient-era techs.
This'll be the first time I ever said it to anyone, but
HELL NO. I don't want you to know where I live!
Legalism is great. We already have a Monument in Palenque, but that doesn't mean Legalism is wasted on our capital--we will simply get a free culture building of the next higher tier once we have the technology. When we research amphitheaters, we'll get one for free in Palenque. Our first three colony cities will get a Monument, though--which is good!
I'm very, very glad that I've got Tradition. The other four remaining policies are as follows:
Aristocracy: +15% Production when building Wonders, +1 Happiness for every 10 Citizens
Oligarchy: Garrisoned units cost no maintenance and give the garrisoned city +50% Combat Strength
Landed Elite: +10 Growth and +2 Food in Capital
Monarchy: +1 Gold and -1 Unhappiness for every 2 Citizen in the Capital
Finisher: +15% Growth and a free aqueduct in first 4 cities
We are going to want everything on this list. Monarchy is one of the best unhappiness-reducers in the entire game, our capital's unhappiness chopped in half and we get money for it too. Oligarchy will make Salt Pass much tougher and meaner. Aristocracy will help us to snipe wonders, cumulative with the marble once we build a quarry. The +15 Growth (added to the +10% Growth in the capital for +25) will help our cities develop quite, quite well.
The plan is to build tall this time around, instead of wide like we did when playing as Boudicca. There are advantages to doing this: with many science buildings, one citizen can produce many more science points and yet still only cost us one unhappiness point as opposed to five different citizens in five different cities producing five unhappiness and one research point each.
This doesn't mean we can't strike out and kill as we wish later in the game, though. I fully expect we'll need to wipe out Boudicca to get her off our ass.
Dude, the world is ending. What do we have to be happy about?
We bump into the scout of this fine lady:
Oh, dear. This could be bad for us. We want to make sure we have a good religion, but this lady's special ability is snagging extra beliefs for her religion when she founds it.
Shoot! Well, whoever they are, at least they're not one of our neighbors.
Huh. That'd be neat if we could settle near it, but I would't count on it.
AAAAH. We need to watch out for this lady. She's programmed to be aggressive and also religiously assertive (in case her clutching the cross and invoking the Almighty wasn't a clue). Spain's special trait is they get double the yield from Natural Wonders and also get gold from discovering Natural Wonders, 100 if somebody else found it first, 500(Enough to buy a settler!) if they're the first. These guys love to explore and exploit the New World, you see.
She's going to try to settle near El Dorado for sure. Just you watch.
I'm going to need to grab those pearls right after I grab the Salt Pass. No waiting.
Alright, this'll help out a ton.
I haven't even done anything to Isabella and she's already hurling insults at me. No reason. She just decided she didn't like the look of our headdress or something. Did I mention she's programmed to be aggressive and combative?
Grrg, it seems almost everyone built their shrine first instead of their worker first like we did. Sorry. If this slows down our ability to get my target beliefs this session
What? FUCK! You don't even have a written language!
I'm going to try to build a wonder we didn't build last time--the Temple of Artemis. It increases growth by 10% and boosts production of ranged units like our Atlatists.
Y'know what? Sure, why not. I could use at least one non-crazy-going-to-murder-us friend on this continent.
Alright, finally, we got pick of pantheons. Last game, the pantheon we chose was largely inconsequential--didn't help us out all that much. This time around, I'm going with something that I hope will stack with Temple of Artemis and remain relevant throughout the game--Fertility Rites, +10% Growth Rate.
What the hell has she done to get so many policies?
Finally, our settler is ready to settle Salt Pass. Note the Computer wants us to settle to the left or right of the Sweet Spot but I don't. I want us to plant it right where that Atlatist is.
Whew, that's Phase One of The Plan down.
HAHAHAHA Again, no.
Two turns later
SHIT She's moving even faster than I expected her to. Atlatists, don't fail me now!
She's already got a catapult up? What the hell is she doing over there to develop so quickly?
Fortunately, my two atlatists and the city of Salt Pass itself are able to blast the catapult down to almost no HP before it even has a chance to set up and fire. The more wounded a unit is, the less damage it does to the enemy.
Look closely at the half-health warrior on the top right. That's how much damage he took from attacking my city across a river. Salt Pass is already doing very, very well for itself.
And over here we can see that somebody's settler got itself captured. Probably Spain's. I don't care whose, as long as it wasn't ours.
Let's check out the beliefs they stole from us.
Huh, it looks like it's nothing I was gunning for. Initiation Rites is good for a quick shock early-game but doesn't pay off much later on. I wasn't going for Mosques, either. I seriously hope nobody steals Ceremonial Burial.
This is probably the handiwork of Ethiopia, if I were to hazard a guess. Nobody else can produce faith like them. We are up against every other religious civ in the game. This does not bode well for us establishing dominance through our religion.
CRAP she's got more Picts. I think I need to just abandon the idea of going for Theology early and just try to get composite bowmen to better shoot down her marauders.
One strategy occurs to me: Picts replace spearmen, but do not have the spearman's ability to hurt mounted units. If I could quickly get myself some horses and either chariot archers or horseman units, I could ride roughshod over her army.
"I'll make peace with you, but only if you give me Salt Pass!"
Absolutely not you crazy redhead.
Perfect! YES. In case you people at home haven't noticed, my current "build tall" strategy is to make all of my existing cities grow as quickly as I possibly can make them. This will help out with that. It'll stack with the growth bonus from my pantheon. I can take a further growth bonus called "Swords into plowshares" as a belief when I found my religion.
Embarked land units can be destroyed quite easily. This is what I said before when I said that Salt Pass would be a highly defensible position.
More insults from Isabella. I don't know, maybe she woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.
Great Lighthouse too? Boudicca, if you keep building these awesome wonders I'm going to have to come over there and take your city. You're already losing every solider you throw my way.
AHAHAHAHAHA. I guess the AI isn't playing the Celts right if they're not the first, but the last guys to get a religion. Good luck with that, Boudicca, I'm almost done with Stonehenge.
Policy time. I take Oligarchy.
Now witness the firepower of this fully-armed and operational battle station!
Pow, half their life off in one shot. It'll get even better once I finish building city walls in Salt Pass. I think, if I'm able, I'm going to finish off by building Great Wall. Should the opportunity present itself.
Nuts. Well, at least with our Pyramids we're doing well on the Faith Front ourselves. Need a third city soon.
Bitch, were you not paying attention to the part where I killed your invading army TWICE?!
My tile improvements were lagging behind badly, so I managed to build this thing instead. Handy, I hope.
I've moved one archer over here because as you can see there are a ton of city-state quests to kill this one camp. Unfortunately he doesn't succeed.
My pearls! Dammit. I must make it a point to steal this city. Everyone on this continent who's not us is a target.
ALRIGHT Finally! Everything's coming up Pacal!
Alright. I'm lucky I managed to research this as soon as I was able, if I had waited just a few more turns I'd have lost a bunch of the baktuns and we wouldn't be getting Great People. Now I can start focusing on military improvements and we can concentrate on blowing Boudicca away.
Crap. That is a lot of catapults. I just blew one away in one shot from my city, but there's three more. Yeesh.
ALRIGHT! Only a few turns later and I can already choose a new Great Person. I'm going to go with a Great Scientist and build an academy right next to my capital. That'll boost science by a significant chunk.
AGAIN with the insults!?
Good news: I built the Oracle.
I love this thing. Pacal himself beat us to building this in the last game.
AAAAARRRGH. Well. As we know, the wall is no impediment to a properly prepared person and we are already doing quite well for ourselves. If we improve militarily we should be able to wipe her ass off the face of our earth.
Now, for the new policy.
Last game I showed off just how awesome Patronage was. This time, I'm showing off Commerce. It'll come in handy, because it boosts gold, happiness, and gives bonuses to navies and coastal cities--all things that will shortly become very important in this region.
Also: Time to form a new religion. Who are we? We are: The Countdown Club! Nothing to do until the end of the world but party, reproduce and have a good time! Pagodas increase our happiness, faith and culture by 2 each (but we need to spend 200 faith to get one). Ceremonial Burial will make us very, very happy if we spread it around a bunch. If/when I can enhance the Club, we'll get Swords into Plowshares to increase our growth during peacetime.
Growth is important. More people equals more science, you see. I was thinking about Interfaith Dialogue, but this will work out better for us, I think. Happiness is also important because without it, population growth will work against us.
This works too.
I've been fighting Boudicca constantly all this time, ever since she declared war. This has been very annoying and has cost me a lot of precious time and resources I could have spent expanding into where Nicaea is.
I was thinking the same thing, you must have wasted, what, fifteen soldiers on me? Why don't you pay ME for all the trouble.
She goes for it. For now. Thanks!
State of the World:
Hmm, damn, Spain is really expanding like crazy. We're falling behind!!! I should try to sneak in two more cities, near where the fish are by Palenque, and by the spices west of Cape Town. Failing that, declaring war on Byzantium and stealing Nicaea.