Session Three: Armies of the North and South
This night was the first time we managed to get everyone together, and with no connections issues at all, yay! (Gamespy has proved to be so horrible in this regard that all future events that I run will be held using Direct IP connection, which has given us no problems at all. I guess Firaxis really is correct when they blame Gamespy for the problems.) As always, after resuming a game after a week of inactivity, the first thing everyone had to do was spend a few minutes looking things over and figuring out what to do next. This was particularly the case for regoarrarr, who had missed the last session due to travel. He offered up this great comment:
There, in a nutshell, you have what it means to watch an AI running your civ. Classic.
Ruff picked up where he left off the last time by razing the junk city of Philadelphia on the second turn in 225BC. It did have iron and a cows resource, but the rest of the terrain was all plains and desert, with no rivers in sight. Seven desert tiles, to be exact. Ugh. That was not a keeper, to say the least.
We discovered Civil Service a couple turns later and everyone revolted to Bureaucracy, thereby finally removing an advantage that the AI civs had held over us since they built the Oracle in 1600BC! While that was going on, Dreylin and cynyck were beginning the first major push in the north against Mao, who was still leading the AI civs in power and score. Quite a struggle was brewing around the city of Nanjing:
Dreylin's Spanish troops are moving down in numbers from the north (where two junk cities had already been autorazed earlier), while cynyck's Japanese forces approach from the south. Mao was attempting to sneak a horse archer and catapult through the narrow gap between them, but cynyck was able to take out the horse with one of his swords, and then Dreylin later eliminated the catapult. The vice closed on the first Chinese core city:
And down it went. Dreylin would lose the city to a Chinese horse archer, but immediately capture it back again. Too many of those losses wouldn't have been good, but in this case it had been worth it. With the fall of Nanjing, the road to Beijing was open.
At the same time the armies of the north battered down the gates of China, Ruff and regoarrarr were tidying up things down in the south:
Two archers against all those swords and Praetorians? Oh yeah, it's goin' down!
Scratch another civ! Two down, three to go. Ruff and regoarrarr did an excellent job of coordinating their forces, making sure to get the best odds to attack wherever possible. That was the kind of teamwork that we frequently had in operation, which the AIs were sadly lacking. The Axis partners of Germany and Italy - a natural combo!
Of course, in the north similar success was being enjoyed by the natural partnership of, erm, Japan and Spain. Beijing wasn't guarded nearly as well as we expected it to be, and with the Axis armies at the gate, what does Mao do? He builds another settler! Oh that Civ4 AI, it's priceless. (Still not as amusing as the Civ3 AI though, which produced gaffes the likes of which you can only imagine.)
Stupidity like that deserves a Darwin award, for Beijing anyway:
Looks like cynyck and Dreylin have one to hand out! Cynyck kept Beijing and gifted it to Dreylin, who set about turning the city into his new capital, since he was so unhappy with his original one. With wheat and two cows, it certainly was a good spot. Cynyck had been pillaging everything in sight up at Beijing, prompting a request from Dreylin not to burn down too much of his future capital! There were some fun discussions on this night.
A less important milestone was reached a couple of turns later, but a noteworthy one nonetheless. Thanks to some roadbuilding on the part of Ruff and regoarrarr, our civs were all connected to the same trade network for the first time in the game:
The various bends and weaves of the rivers had connected most of us much earlier, but regoarrarr had been isolated in the southwest corner until this point. Now we could send a number of resources his way (I sent my extra deer for additional health), and he could send his excess silver to those in need of happiness. Resource trades are one of the unheralded aspects of Multiplayer that often get overlooked. I can remember a couple games though where someone sent me iron and saved my bacon!
Although the Axis armies were now raging far to the east, the wilderness south of my France and north of regoarrarr's Germany continued to spawn barbarian invaders. The other guys teased me about not sending any military to the frontlines (even calling Peter "the Sulla of the AIs", hehe ) but I had my hands full fighting the barbs. Most of my cities were tied up on building cottages or wonders, after all! Regoarrarr was fighting a minor war on his northern border too:
The two of us continued to push slowly into that region of fog, but it would be slow going and a long time before the barbs were cleaned out for good. They had already spawned two cities by this point, and were churning out units at an alarming rate!
Elsewhere, the front continued to roll forward, as the Axis armies crushed everything in their path:
By north and by south we took them on, pushing ever to the east:
York was the first British city to fall, and it was a well built-up one, but too far away from Rome for Ruff to end up keeping it. There were some scary-looking stacks of Praetorians and swords/cats down in the south. One of the most comical moments of the night occurred a couple turns later between the large armies of Ruff and regoarrarr:
A pitiful archer/settler pair walked right between the huge Axis forces, and the two of them stood around looking at each other for a minute waiting to see who would attack. I find that comment highly amusing. "Are you going to rape this settler pair, or should I?" Great stuff.
While the southern armies played with the British settler and trooped towards London, the northern Axis forces continued their dismantling of China:
Shanghai was razed to the ground, like so many other captured cities. And look! Terrain that is not plains tiles. Amazing. Dreylin and cynyck have reached the eastern edge of the Great Plains and begun moving into the woodlands of the Mississippi River valley. The Allies are running out of places to hide. And it was there, on the edge of the eastern forests, that Mao met his maker:
Another civ down, woot! That's what you get for stealing the Oracle from us in BC years, Mao!
While the northern armies prepared for the imminent assault on Russia, the southern forces began the attack on London. It had become a game of sorts, seeing who could burn down more cities, Dreylin/cynyck or Ruff/regoarrarr. (I remained a strictly neutral observer. ) The northern team had been doing the most damage of late, but the southern armies were very large as well!
London is defended by archers. Can it stand up to that kind of force? I highly doubt it.
This was not the finest hour for the British Empire. Oh, and I love regoarrarr's quote in this picture. The Germans do all the hard work, and then the Italians swoop in and take the easy victory at the last minute. It's just like the real WWII! In any case, London was burned to the ground more thoroughly than anything that the Luftwaffe could do. While there were a number of British cities remaining on the map, the back of that civ was now officially broken. Just mopping up left to go.
That brought us to the end of the night, again at the nice round date of 500AD. I snapped a overhead shot of the map to try and take in the Axis territories in all their glory:
A little hard to see, but I think I got most of it. You can also see the sign where cynyck's second city was burned down, and replaced with another city. With China's destruction, I think we could safely say that the city had been avenged.
The AIs were on the run, but still remained to be eliminated entirely. One more session would be needed to finish off the Allies for good...