Author: Gragg9
Published: 2020-02-24, edited: 2020-02-24
Aaron: Oh no! The Gothic peacekeepers that had been protecting Nepal for so long have switched sides and quickly taken two thirds of what little remained of Nepal. Now all that's left is Kathmandu, currently sitting on 0 health with Marathan mech suits trying to get past a single Madagascan drone to get to its gates. There is a pretty high chance that Nepal gets eliminated next - all that needs to happen is for that heavily wounded Nepalese marine (with musician support) to die which will leave space for xcoms to land or for the madagascan drone to move out of the way. Things have never been more dire.
Aaron: Is it Tonga time to die? Maybe, if New Zealand decide to send in their South American navy to Tonga's last city. Tonga still have a few nuclear subs for defence but if New Zealand put their efforts into it they could break through. But even if Tonga do survive, what do they have left? In endgame they will start in Polynesia just a few tiles away from a civ that will have vastly more bonuses than they will. They won't be able to expand as New Zealand grabs all the land and will probably be eliminated pronto. To avoid this terrible fate, the Tongan showed bravery and did the right thing - they tried to remove New Zealand's capital from Polynesia. If successful, New Zealand would start in South America, which would give Tonga much much much more breathing room and vastly improve their endgame chances. Sadly, Tonga was not strong enough and it was they who lost their city instead. And perhaps in this war, they will lose their life too.
Msurdej: Well, that's it folks. Selk'nam has been defeated, to be sent the abyss of the s- handed a note Well it appears that Selk'nam is NOT dead. Ressurected in a last ditch effort to stay alive, Xo'on has managed to claw himself back into reality. But to what end? His hold is untenable, and with enemies still abound, it seems Selk'nam must continue to suffer.
Shaggy: The Turks rise 2 ranks this part by not being the closest to death. They’ll definitely die, but mayyyyybe a bit after Tonga and Selk’nam. Either way, don’t expect to see much of the Turks in the future.
Msurdej: Nothing much has changed in Gudit's gulf cities. Their rise in ranks is only due to the fall of Nepal, so don't get your hopes up BI fans. With that in mind, the only thing keeping them in Endgame is their lazy neighbors.
LRS: The Qin, in a tremendous show of strength, have turned the tables on the Khamugs, now knocking on the doors to their capital as opposed to the other way around, and now look poised to be a dark horse in Asia. This has far less impact on Ching Shih and Canton than you might think. Us Power Rankers have sung Canton’s praises for many a moon, watching on in awe as they quietly assemble one of the best rump state resumes ever seen, combining the invisibility of Tibet with all the minor successes endemic to states far larger. The issue is, though, that even with how excellent Canton’s been for a civ in their position, they’re still a rump state. Taungoo and Qin, as such, have always possessed the power to wipe them away with a flick of their wrist, and always will. Qin growing larger doesn’t change that; if anything, it only makes a 98% chance of obliteration a 99% one. Half a tiny number, as the phrase goes, is still a tiny number, and not some somehow smaller unit of measurement. Canton will live as long as their neighbors allow them to. That always has been true, and always will be.
Cloudberg: Let me propose the dream timeline for Yup'ik. First Shikoku starts destroying Haida from the west, taking multiple cities, while the rest of Haida's army gets distracted fighting the Apache. Then Yup'ik declares war on Haida and recovers its capital. It would be truly glorious. Could it happen? Uh.... probably not.
Msurdej: Still licking their wounds, Bombogor remains at 30. While the Khamugs have been cowed, its still not enough for the Evenks to have a good shot at them outside of a coalition. With that in mind, it seems the Evenks have become the new civ in Siberia that everyone seems to forget about. Just like those other guys.... what was their name again?
Cloudberg: Richard Seddon is showing that while he may be down, he's not yet out. He easily took one of Tonga's two remaining cities, showing that he can still influence the game by punishing some of the weaker rump states around him. He'd have to send ships on a somewhat roundabout path to finish of Tonga, but the possibility of him doing so is not out of the question. That would put New Zealand in a better position for endgame, ensuring they don't have a competitor in Polynesia. However, ironically it would probably have been better for Seddon's endgame chances if Tonga had taken Palmerston North and forced New Zealand to start in South America.
Shaggy: YOU FOOLS! They gave away a city to Venice in a treaty for an irrelevant war. It’s ludicrous! The Manx weren’t known for their stellar strategy, but this is pretty hard to defend. This opens up the Manx to even more angles of attack, which is definitely not where they want to be.
Aaron: This part, Nubia did something they haven't done in a hundred turns: they declared war. And not just once but twice! True, the first war was against Nepal who they can't reach (though it may suggest Nubia is seeking an alliance with Qin, Shikoku, Maratha, Canton, Goths or Sami); the second wars was against Nazca (which suggests an alliance with Australia, the Metis and the Khamugs). None of these civs is particularly relevant as an ally as they wouldn't protect Nubia if an enemy attacked them. The other piece of news is that Nubia has finally reached the future era thanks to a bit of beelining for mech artillery. Not that they can build very many - Nubia are still behind the Evenks, the Manx and New Zealand in terms of production, not the most encouraging civs to be behind - many have been half-conquered already yet still boast better stats than Nubia. And Nubia don't even have many peacekeepers to protect themselves with. One war with any of their neighbours (except Beta Israel of course) could wipe them out!
LRS: Guys, just because you can reenact World War One in a digital medium doesn’t mean you should. Prussia and Venice stare angrily at each other from opposing trenches, waving their fists, bombing each other’s cities, and occasionally breaking through that long no man’s land of peacekeepers between them long enough to gun each other down horribly. Indeed, not for the first time, stalemate reigns, a side-effect of the proliferation of peacekeepers in the world. But one can’t help but draw parallels between this war and others in the past. Hell, Frederick himself probably can’t help it, mind still turning to the sight of his empire slowly overrun by Gothic hordes every time he sees a Parthian artilleryman thwart his attempts to capture Prague. The Khamug/Qin war and Gothic/Prussian wars that took place over the last few parts started out like this, too, grinding stalemates that served little purpose but to update countries’ militaries the old-fashioned way. But as open borders treaties timed out and cores became depleted, both became sudden collapses for the losing side, an enemy who’d wisely stocked up on units that could quickly fill those gaps rushing in to claim empty space like air fills a vacuum. Prussia and the Khamugs took heavy losses because of their relatively peacekeeper-free nations. History tends to repeat, and that has to rattle Frederick to his very core, because now he finds himself in a similar position, his cities bombed to the brink of death as he faces down a peacekeeper-full enemy. His only saving grace, as of yet, is that Venice has yet to bring paratroopers near the front lines. But if they do, Prussia could find itself hemorrhaging cities once again, and in their current state there’s no coming back from that sort of crushing blow.
LRS: Despite all the fuss that’s been made about her nuclear capabilities, Indira so far seems to be more a magnet for frustratingly evenly-matched neighboring civs than anything else. First there was Nepal, back when Nepal hadn’t been crippled by Maratha quite yet and was instead only on the waiting list, and now there’s Parthia, another wholly unremarkable civ whose few recent military excursions have ended in either torturously drawn-out “success” or laughable failure. Still, there’s something to be said for her penchant for ending up next to civs just as bad as hers. For one, there’s the chance it carries with it for her to accomplish something in the future – should Indira pull ahead of the Parthians, there’s a lot of land out there up for grabs, enough to where she might just be able to breach the realm of the minor powers before her inevitable collapse. Of course, in a post-progress world, that’s a very big if, and even if she does pull ahead it’s all too likely the Kazakhs or Palmyrenes or somebody will waltz on over and curbstomp Mithridates before she can so much as get the idea into her head of nuking him into oblivion. Holding such misplaced hopes for Indira does make her significantly more interesting to watch, though.
1: The last time Madagascar declared a relevant war they didn't lose, Songhai was a top-flight civ.
2: Madagascar has more production than India and Parthia combined.
3: Madagascar has successfully researched memetics.
4: Madagascar’s last retained city capture was during the fall of Beta Israel.
5: Madagascar is one of just two civs with land to have negative happiness.
6: At their peak, Madagascar held over 20 cities.
7: Between Episode 18 and Episode 33, Madagascar gained just one rank in the Power Rankings.
8: Madagascar was a good movie.
9: Madagascar has not captured and held a city for over 400 turns.
10: The peacekeeper problem that threatens to derail the entire CBRX was made in Madagascar.
11: Despite all of the above, Madagascar is still the third best civ in Africa.

So, how’d you do? Compare your score with the answers under the picture to see how you did! If you got 100%, congratulations! You’re going to go places. Unlike Madagascar
Cloudberg: I am still waiting on that Parthia comeback that we keep speculating about. Could Parthia do a thing? Could they wipe the floor with India? Does Mithridates even remember that he's supposed to be playing to win?
Cloudberg: The Apache made a bold move this episode, joining Shikoku in an attack against Haida. However, while Haida is certain to lose to Shikoku, the same can't really be said about the Apache. Haida is already pushing against Geronimo's northern flank, and his west coast cities won't be protected by peacekeepers. In a best case scenario, Shikoku destroys Haida so thoroughly that the Apache can actually make gains, but in the worst case scenario—which is somewhat more likely—Geronimo gets absolutely fucked in the ass.
Cloudberg: At this point Benin is probably employing the right strategy: sit pretty and wait until endgame. As recent write-ups have emphasized, their position in endgame will be fantastic due to the elimination of many of their African neighbors. All they've got to do now is wait.
Aaron: Great success! Venice has taken a city... in a peace deal with the Manx? OK then? Thanks I guess? I actually think this is a bad thing as the city is disconnected from their empire and hence not going to be useful, yet what it does do is increase the likelihood the Moors will attack them. Incredibly, Venice have so far avoided having any wars declared against them since turn 74. Since then the only wars they have been in have been wars they themselves have declared. I have no idea what Dandolo is doing to pacify his neighbours but whatever it is he should continue doing it. Meanwhile, Venice's war with Prussia continues to stall out, with neither side capable of advancing due to peacekeepers. That war at least, seems to be a complete waste of time and resources.
Msurdej: If you want an easy points in predictions land, go with a -Haida. Having pissed off the Shikoku and Apache, Koyah now finds himself in a two front war. And while they're holding off Geronimo with a combination of troops, terrain, and peacekeepers, Shikoku is another story. With a mass of ships and troops nearing the Kamchatka holdings of Haida, it seems probable that the divided, dwindling troops and the peacekeepers in the region wont be enough to save Haida the loss of at least a few cities.
LRS: There are 23 mentions of the Khamugs in today’s narration. 4 of these mentions are favorable to the Khamugs. 11 of them are decidedly not. The Khamugs may have just had the worst part of any civ in any Battle Royale that captured their chief foe’s capital during it, pushing into Xianyang with a squad of hovertanks… then immediately getting pushed all the way back to their own capital, being forced to accept a humiliating peace, and becoming, essentially, the next Evenks, a perfectly fine civ caught smack in the middle of one of the most competitive regions on the cylinder, one more declaration away from finding themselves a hopeless rump without a future. You can’t even say it’s really their fault, either – they just got outplayed by the Qin, using peacekeepers to their advantage to finish off the Khamugs’ hope of a victory once and for all. Now just a shell of their former selves, lumbering around below the likes of the Nazca with little hope for future conquest, Jamukha finds his game all but over right before the Endgame he would have stood to benefit in. Once, he could entertain hopes of victory. Now, all he has are hastily made plans to survive, hopes of diplomatic luck and Evenk conquests the only delusions keeping him going. In order for Asia to heat up, someone had to draw the short straw and get knocked out early. Jamukha was the odd man out this week, and now he can only watch as other, greater empires fight over scraps of what he once called his own.
Aaron: Despite losing almost all their Tongan conquests to Australia, the Nazca gain 1 rank thanks to the Khamugs dropping. That is a shame, as it was Nazca's big chance to escape South America and the threat of Uruguay. Really all that's left for Nazca is to wait for Endgame and hope that Uruguay forgets to settle or something. At present, Nazca are not beating Venezuela, they're not beating Australia and they're certainly not beating Uruguay, so that's all avenues except for New Selk'land. Speaking of which, Nazca are also on the verge of eliminating old Selk'nam - or would be if they would send any troops to the last city. Did they secretely make peace offscreen in that 1 turn that was missing from the video? At any rate, eliminating the southernmost South American civ is not such a great idea as it does just give Uruguay more space so making peace would actually be good for them.
Msurdej: Remember when Palmyra was a top tier civ? It might not seem like it now, but once upon a time, Palmyra was...3rd place?! Really?! Well whatever the reason, Palmyra has fallen into a lull, and they cannot be shaken up from it. While there's very little chance Zenobia doesn't make it to the end game, it must be questioned what Zenobia will do in the endgame. The Middle East is a little less crowded and Palmyra has multiple capitals, but will Zenobia actually do anything with her powers?
LRS: Urho Kekkowho? The Goths may not win the CBRX, but they’ve sure won our hearts, breaking the sniping world record by picking off two of Nepal’s cities from one oversized potassium exporter away. They’ll doubtless take Nepal’s final city soon – it’s hanging on to life by a thread, and they’ve got paratroopers in the area – but what matters more is what they’ll do with such a forward base into Asia. Theoretically, they’d have the power to snipe pretty much anyone in the region. Should, say, the Evenks or Khamugs suddenly find themselves in their death throes, the Goths could swoop right in and claim a chunk of land even without peacekeepers, and with them might just be able to hold their own in a one-on-one fight. If they play this right, all of Asia will be their oyster. I don’t think I need to tell you that they won’t play it right, and in practice, Gothic Nepal will probably end up being either a holiday home that quickly falls to a superpower within striking distance or the catalyst for yet another war that cripples the Goths just enough to where they can still desperately go all-in for a bid at relevancy like a poker player who can barely pay the blinds. Though, it does look cool, eliminating a civ from range like that. At the very least, they’ll be remembered.
Aaron: The Vikings lose another city on Greenland to the Iroquois, and the British Isles are starting to flip. The Vikings are simply getting outgrinded - though their core is stil far away, the Iroquois have over 4 times the Viking's production; they can't stand up to that! The Vikings seriously need this war to end before they lose even more. Though the Sami did make peace last episode, they have used the break to bulk up considerably, now having 2.3 times as much production as the Vikings! That is very bad for Viking chances. It is also pretty sad - the Vikings started the game completely dominated statistically by the Sami (thanks to the Sami's ridiculously strong early game bonuses) and they spent the game clawing themselves out of that hole, by stubbornly throwing waves upon waves of troops until they finally conquered enough lands to be the Sami's equal. Now however, the Sami are just back to dominating the Vikings just like that? Endgame happening soon is also pretty bad news for the Vikings, as not only will they lose their British conquests but the Sami will go back to the early game where they get ridiculously strong bonuses. If you had to guess a powerful civ that just got taken out at the start of endgame, the Vikings would be my bet.

Shaggy: Not much in the way of Marathan excellence this week, though nothing to drop them in the ranks. As much as I love the idea of Maratha taking the remnants of Nepal, I think the region might be a bit too cluttered for it to happen, which is disappointing… Still, I like Maratha as a regional power, especially if they can take any advantage of Taungoo going back to sleep.
Msurdej: Chavez rises up a few ranks, but still hasn't done much. With a rising Nazca, a distracted but peacekeeper filled Apache, and an omnipresent Uruguay threat, Venezuela is going to have its work cut out for it making gains anywhere. He'll most likely have to wait for endgame, where a Non-existing Aztec and Haiti could give Chavez the edge he needs to be an American Superpower.
LRS: As the kids would say: Oh, how the tables have turnted. It wasn’t too long ago that the Qin seemed destined to be the designated whipping boy of Asia, bullied by their larger, more imposing neighbors and left unable to conquer a single city. But one sacrificial gambit and a few good strokes of luck with the peacekeepers later, and suddenly the Qin find themselves poised to reap the rewards of being a middle civ as opposed to the drawbacks. For one, there’s the wealth of targets – the Khamugs are little more than a turtle with an exposed underbelly now, both Shikoku and Taungoo could find themselves on Blue China’s list if they decline, and, of course, there’s always Canton. But such a position as the man in the middle, combined with a decent amount of paratroopers, also gives the Qin a heavy footprint on the diplomatic stage as well. If Ying Zheng is aggressive enough, he could easily get some coalitions going, and if he’s smart enough, he’ll have all Asia singing his praises before long. But such a central position is still a double-edged sword: Shikoku and Taungoo could dogpile him, and it’s all too likely that given his warmonger penalties Ying Zheng will find his name dragged through the mud. The Qin, to put it bluntly, are in a precarious position, but now they’re within striking distance of the top tier as opposed to being far away from it. They’re probably going to lose, sure, but if they make sure to fight wars good, and they might just be able to pull off a win.
Aaron: The Kazakhs drop 2 ranks below the Sami and the Metis as they near the end of the tech tree, thereby catching up and even overtaking the Kazakhs in the stats. It turns out that, no matter how large and how much space you give them, 24 cities are simply not enough to beat the competition. Kazakhstan is unique in that it does have the space to settle more cities within their own borders, however, they have not done so all game so it seems unlikely they will start now. Even ignoring the possibility of simply settling cities, the Kazakhs have a wealth of opportunities, with the weak Goths to their west, the even weaker Parthia, or the even weaker still Evenks. Even Kazakhstan's best buddies, the mighty Khamugs, are no longer such a big deal since their disastrous war with the Qin. They are still by far the biggest threat to Kazakhstan (with nearly double the production of the Goths and 30 nukes) but are a lot less scary than they were 2 weeks ago. All the Kazakhs have to do is to actually take any of the opportunities presented.
Shaggy: Sami rise a rank in the shuffle of the top 10. They boast one of the best production capabilities on the cylinder and will be finishing the tech tree next part. They are definitely my bet to dominate Europe in the long run; even the Vikings won’t be able to stop them.
Gragg: Metis is in a weird position going into endgame. They have good stats including a top military, but have Iroquois as their neighbors. There are still a few hundred turns left so we’ll see what changes. This episode we saw a couple things change. First, Haida is at war with a dangerous Shikoku. It’s yet to be seen how damaging this war will actually be. My money is on Haida losing a few fringe cities with minimal damage to their core. The other significant change is that they’ve lost their top military spot. Australia now holds that honor. We suspected it would come eventually but not this soon.
Cloudberg: Another part goes by without any sign of life from the Moors. Now don't get me wrong, Abd ar-Rahman can probably just sit pretty and go into endgame as one of the best positioned civs, but I'd still love him to tackle one of his neighbours. Some of them are too full of peacekeepers, but the Manx aren't, and he could smash them pretty easily. What is he waiting for?
Shaggy: Taungoo gets dropped 2 ranks this week after not doing much more than being a big shot at the UN. To be honest, I think they’re the new standard for “sleeping giant” as they haven’t done much in the realm of relevant activity in a while. Still, it only takes a dice roll for the AI to wake up, and Taungoo has crazy good stats. I personally ranked them higher than this, but I understand the apprehension from other rankers on the Goo.
Cloudberg: Shikoku is making a play for the future here, for the first time mounting a serious attack against a neighbor who isn't a pushover. And it's looking like Haida will crumble before the onslaught brought forth by Sakamoto Ryoma. Cities across the front are taking damage, while Ryoma also convinced the Apache to jump in and distract Haida from the south. The only question is how many cities Shikoku will gain, and how much of a boost this will give him going into endgame.
Gragg: Whew, Oceania continues to be a roller coaster. Love them or hate them, Australia has made some human-like moves to crawl back into this game. Despite capturing over 30 cities in the past two episodes they’ve managed to keep their military up. In fact, they now have the largest military on the entire cylinder. So why are they still ranked relatively low? Because the biggest test for any Oceania civ is making landfall. So far Australia only controls a bunch of islands. Going into Endgame they’ll still be stuck on an island.
Gragg: The breakout episode for Zimbabwe will have to wait at least another week. With the main run nearing it’s close, another South African civ is dangerously close to a legacy of stagnation. Truly the successor to Mk2’s Boers. Unless... I’ve said it before, but if Madagascar abandons Benin, we could see another empire crumple a la Ndongo or Songhai.
Gragg: Another episode goes by without Uruguay realizing it’s potential. There is still plenty of room for that to change in the next few hundred turns but I certainly wouldn’t bet on it. Certainly don’t expect them to be harmed much either. Going into Endgame they won’t have Kuikuro or Selk’nam to slow them down, but will have a moderately powerful Nazca and Venezuela nearby.
LRS: t’s undeniable that the top tier of the CBRX are basically interchangeable at this point. At around position, oh, seven or so, civs have pretty much eclipsed all their neighbors, and whoever makes a move against a sizable neighbor next will find themselves at the top of the list by default. But, so long as there’s no earth-shattering moves next part, it’s hard to see the Iroquois leaving first place. The reason why is simple: at this point in the game, they’re basically an Uruguay who’s actually taking advantage of their opportunities. Where civs like Uruguay got handed immense early-game advantages and proceeded to rest on their laurels, the Iroquois have taken advantage of their early stroke of luck, and it’s paid dividends for them, as they inexorably conquer their way through Viking Greenland dreaming of landfall in mainland Britain while peacekeepers and their immense production bonuses leave them impossible to conquer even on their worst days. In addition, they’re by far and away the most well-rounded of their peers, boasting an empire large both in width and height that could make even the most seasoned civ veterans salivate in envy. Where other pretenders to the crown have flaws, the Iroquois have none, and that’s why they find themselves top of the list yet again. It’s conceivable that their fellows could fall out of the top tiers eventually, be it due to inaction or to conquest. Such a scenario does not spring to mind concerning the Iroquois. In a game where every civ has a drawback and the winner is never who you think it is, the Iroquois are as close as you can get to being a safe bet. And until we see carnage reign in the cylinder once more, they’ll stay that way.

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