Part 26: Who do I backstab first?!I notice something I haven't noticed yet.
North of Zanzibar and Cotton Cutoff there's this really sweet and surprisingly unclaimed territory full of silk, with a river, sheep, bananas and a little marble in the distance. Neither France nor England have snapped it up yet, oddly.
I need a staging ground for attacking France soon. They're getting a little to big for their britches and we need to take 'em down a notch eventually. If we can liberate China they'll vote for us for sure when the time comes, and that'll keep Napoleon from conquering everything on the planet. Since England hates them already they won't hate us for fighting them. I'm slightly worried India might not like us declaring war (they hate warmongers in general) but, well, whatever.
First thing's first, though, getting that National College built in Constantinople so we can jump up our research.
Our economy's pretty shaky at the moment, so I'm trying to build roads between my cities and also build marketplaces (which I just researched) so I can get more money. Right now Asskissing is giving us 10 gold per turn, enough to keep us out of the red. Hopefully it'll be even more by endgame.
I also traded for some Gems from Kamehameha, because Cotton Cutoff wanted gems. They are now in a growth boom, good.
Ah, yes, the tech that really breaks the game open. Sadly, it seems the AI really prioritizes building the Chichen Itza wonder that goes with it, I have yet to build it on this LP. What Chichen Itza does is it makes Golden Ages 50% longer. It is extremely useful for a cultural victory but it just makes life in general much easier and better. It's absolutely insane if you play as Darius, who gets +50% Golden Age Length to begin with.
Elizabeth built the Hagia Sofia. Dammit, we're the Byzantines, we should get that! Anyway. She got a Great Prophet out of it and burned it on enhancing her little religion. Let's see what she got.
Hm. Initiation Rites is good for a quick burn but not long-term financial gain. Guruship is only handy if you're going for an Infinite City Sprawl. Defender of the Faith is nasty, though. Religious Art is situational. It's really, really handy if your'e going for a cultural victory.
Nothing I was shooting for this time around. Interesting to keep in mind, though. According to the statistics, we are the only civ that has a religion in more than one city, and we've already spread ours to 9 cities, so we are really ahead of the curve there. I hope to remain ahead of the curve.
China's Buddhism is pretty widespread too, but they're dead as a faction so they're not being counted here.
New Policy Time!
We need Patronage now. The sooner you take it the better because it pays off a ton in a lot of ways, as you guys remember from the Boudicca run. At the very least, opening it up means we won't need to bribe them as often to keep them our friends.
Case in point, Zanzibar's friendship is now decaying at half speed because we're Patrons and have our religion with them.
Let's phone up Rameses, see if we can get him to pull those lingering soldiers out of the way between our cities.
Daaamn, he's insulting us just for saying hi to him. Well, I'll be the better man and offer Open Borders so he can sneak his soldiers out. Sure enough, soon as I do, the soldiers trapped between my cities book it.
Salty Coast, I command you to build us a Dromon! We need to scout the perimeter of our continent.
Dude, that is not cool of you! Budapest is our friend and is giving us free soldiers!
Go, Dromon! Explore! Even though I doubt you'll find anything at this point!
New city, I dub thee "Silk Wedge" for I hope you will drive a wedge between our enemies! And get us some Silk.
With Education researched, our civilization has taken the next brave step towards not being such a bunch of idiots. I queue up Universities in our cities. Also, you can see that Constantinople is close, very close, to building an Engineer. If I get a really good wonder to blow him on, I totally will. These assholes are sniping wonders left and right.
Whoopsie! Sorry, Liz. I promise to not settle any more cities in that area because it's mostly all picked-over by now anyway. That make you happy?
Let's see, any good wonders I can blow this guy on right now?
Hmm, just this apparently. It's okay, but not a vital wonder. I might get better use out of the Engie by making a manufactory, then. Next time, though!
This wasn't a waste because Cape Town wanted us to build a Great Engineer, so now they're giving us food in the capital. Good.
I could always use the money, and trading repeatedly gets you good friend points with Civs. Sure thing, sir! I'm hating you less and less as time goes by!
Discovering Iron Working (belatedly) lets us see that we have iron in our territory, and also we discovered a Natural Wonder over near Egypt, which pleased two different City-States. Yay! Patronage will pay off even more soon.
I'm going to do something risky, and try to send a missionary into Egyptian territory to scout it out. Missionaries are able to travel into enemy territory uninvited, the downside is they weaken by 250 each turn they spend in uninvited territory (except city-states). The guy I have in mind has only one spread use left in him. I just want to scout out Egypt, badly.
Egypt also has a lot of troops here north of Silk Wedge. It's making me nervous, I'm not sure if they're here for me or for England.
Wow, I've never seen the AI completely go into the negatives before. Napoleon must be an absolutely terrible ruler or something, or he just over-expanded. This is good for us.
Daaamn. France has a shitload of trebuchets. If I plan on any sort of military action against them I must seriously upgrade my military. As it is I just might have to content myself with making my city difficult to attack. I am thankful they're acting friendly to me so far.
Aesthetics is really handy, it makes everyone like us more by default. Combine that with the effect of Asskissing and we will be friends with every city-state by default, no protection promise needed.
Just before he dies, our Missionary discovers a new Egyptian city. I decide to tell him to spread his beliefs there, converting the city. This will piss off Egypt a bit, but they already hate us so who cares?
Yay! Salty Coast loves us for finally getting the silk out of Silk Wedge! We are doing surprisingly well on the happiness front.
On turn 158, something sinister happens
Someone somewhere gets a Renaissance tech before anyone else does. This means our mystery player is probably researching deep instead of wide, but it's still alarming that they're so well-off. I'm setting our spy on defense for the time being.
Also, Gandhi finally gets a bit pissy at us for something. For once.
Sorry, sir! Sorry! I just won their "produce more culture" contest and you didn't! Not my fault! Please don't nuke me!
Then I get something even more surprising:
wow, it's rare for the computer to do this unless they really are your friend. Thanks, man. I guess I'd better start building more troops to fend off the English and the Egyptians.
Oh, what's this!? Gandhi, you jerk! That's my land! Get offa my land, you peacekeeping sonofa--
England's lost York. This could be good or bad for us. It all depends on how genuine Napoleon's love for us is. I need to build more troops to keep him honest. England and France also just signed a temporary peace treaty too.
Finishing banking puts us into a new age!
Okay, time for a new Policy. The Renaissance unlocks Rationalism and I fear that our enemies are going to outstrip us soon if we don't tech up, fast. I'm putting Patronage on the back-burner for now, we've got two good policies there to hold us steady for the time being.
Gandhi generated a Prophet and used it to convert Cotton Cutoff! Damn him! I'm generating an Inquisitor now (in a different city, or else it'd be a Hindu inquisitor) to prevent that shit from spreading any further.
I also get him on the phone and ask him to stop converting my cities.
Ha ha, fuck you too pal!
Napoleon comes to us with an offer I'm not sure I should refuse
Hmm okay. Let's attack England in ten turns. They hate me, I don't like them, they're weaker than most of my foes, they've got two spies, and worst-case scenario, I conquer some of their cities and they become a buffer zone between France and us.
Things are getting complicated, man!
State of the world: