Author: Gragg9
Published: 2019-10-14, edited: 1970-01-01
Homusubi: Only two rankers out of thirteen contested the decision to put Oman dead last, as unlike some of the other rump civs that live in fear of their neighbors pushing the war button, Oman struggles on in hope that its neighbors will push the peace button, thus putting their situation in the climate change category rather than the cold war one. The people of Salalah are even more frightened, as their immediate attackers are the unhappy folk of Madagascar, who are likely readying their torches as I write. However, depending on the actions of the Malagasy peacekeepers in Parthia (and also on which front Indira decides to prioritize), it could ultimately survive, likely in Indian hands. Rustaq, barring a true howler on India’s part, is likely to go purple. Prime your F keys, folks.
Lacs: Gambu dodges last place again (thanks Oman!) and they're looking... er... safe? For now, at least, New Zealand have not found the land units to traipse across mountains to the Murri's little hideout. In fact, for one moment let me be more charitable than Medecins Sans Frontieres, the Red Cross and Amnesty International put together. Inhaaaaaaaale! There, I've absorbed all that goodwill. Where was I? Yes, if I am to be more charitable than one person could ever feasibly be, I'd say that there's an inkling of a chance than Murri could yet pounce on Australia again at some point in the future, given Hawke's on a downturn and regularly evacuates his desert of land units. And for that I'd expect them to leapfrog Poverty Point at least in the near future... you know, if they don't get squashed by the Australian army that's close by for once, on vacation from their usual posts floating in the Indian Ocean.
Cloudberg: Oh dear. If you didn't think things could get worse for Poverty Point, then you'd be wrong, because they have. After suffering the theft of nearly all of her land, Táhera has now given away her second city, or at least what was left of it, to the Aztecs in a peace treaty. Yes, that's right, the Aztecs—the civ that she declared war on. And by the way, the Aztecs are ranked in the low 40s, low enough to be almost a rump state themselves. What a truly shameful performance.
Ludicolo: Due to Oman plummeting to the bottom, PP ceding territory to the Aztecs, and Metis/Iroquois being at war with each other, Canda rises two more ranks this part. It is not a question about whether or not Canada will be eliminated soon, but rather a question about how soon. But if King is able to master the art of standing perfectly still and thus becoming invisible to the naked eye from some alien, he may be able to survive until the bottom ten civs have been finalized.
Aaron: The Seljuqs move up one rank thanks to the misfortune of... who is dieing this time? Oh that's right, it's Oman, one of the two civs who started the first Seljuq coalition which forced the Seljuqs into the mountains. How satisfying it must be to see their old enemy die faster than them. For indeed, the Seljuqs are extremey hard to kill. Nishapur is only accessible to the Parthians via a 1-tile chokepoint with crossbows trained on it. That city will be an absolute nightmare for Parthia to capture. And that's not all, for the Seljuqs still have their new Maldive capital of Kermanshah, which requires a navy. Despite long being irrelevant, the Seljuqs are certainly making sure to place as high as they possibly can in the final rankings.
Gragg: All of the ‘C’ civs rose in the rankings this week. Czechs are still in the middle of the pack though, still 3 behind Canton. Of course the best strategy for all three of them is to stay out of wars as much as possible. With so little land Czechia does need to worry about the number of great generals in the area. The fact that they’ve peaced out with the Turks recently and have open borders with HRE means they only need to worry about Prussia right now. If Prussia does declare though, the Czechs invincible cities will be put to the test.
Cloudberg: Well, this was definitely not a good part for the Golden Horde. Although Tokhtamysh made peace with the Goths, it came at the cost of a city handed over in the peace treaty (mercifully, Alaric hasn't burned it). And at right about the same time, Parthia attacked from the east, forcing the depleted Golden Horde to fight yet another grinding war against a stronger neighbor. Geography is on Tokhtamysh's side here, but given enough time, Parthia could break through, and then it'll truly be over for the steppe empire that wasn't.
Shaggy: Pretty boring part for the Turks this week. Their defense against Prussia is more or less predicated on the inability for Prussia to be able to send any units their way and the terrain providing a tough avenue of invasion until later in the game. Given Prussia’s northern distractions, don’t expect them to be able to send any units towards the Turks to cause any alarm. The Turkish defense against Venice, however, is much more tenuous. Mehmed will have to contend with the Doge for control of Knossos in what we can only hope in the sub is an epic naval battle. The Turks definitely have the navy to defend their holdings from the reach of their purple rivals for now, but faltering science and production will be their downfall in the long run. Oh, and good luck getting Ostrava…
Scissor: Ah we've been abandoned by Shikoku! But not all is lost! Although the Qin look like they're about to break down the walls of Hong Kong (again), the Qin are looking pretty sparse themselves. If anyone took advantage of that (looks at Taungoo and Khamug), then Canton can recover and rebuild. Maybe put a focus on colonizing the remaining Pacific islands.
Lacs: They Took the Jaketown City
Lacs: Well, there's three cities Ivan's not getting back. Rzhev and Kolomna join Toropets in being utterly annihilated. I hesitate to say any civ "deserves" having a quarter of its population massacred, but Muscovy haven't done much to qualify their inclusion in the grandest arena Civ has to offer. As for how much worse things could get... honestly, Eadni has probably already started preparing the perfect kindling for the bonfires of Nizhny Novgorod and Vologda, fucked as both cities appear to be. With neighbors as pathetic as Prussia and Turkey, and as temperamentally empty as the Goths, it feels strange to say that Ivan could still find a way back into the game even with only the slightest of core intact, but stranger things have happened. Still, if you're still sporting Muscovite flairs, I'd start fishing around for a new color to nail to your mast.
Techno: Honestly, I'm not at all surprised with Haiti. Their early success was far more surprising than their current situation, given their near-total aversion to building cities. Going tall can get you far in a standard game of civ, but on a world map such as this, those tactics fall far short of what's needed. This week, Haiti ticked down just a single rank, as their new position in the charts seems relatively stable given how their island home is still tougher to invade than many of the bottom tier civs. At least Haiti has a military above 10K units, so they should at least stand a chance at fending off an enemy incursion.
Aaron: The Kuikuro continue to valiantly hold the line versus the absolute monster that is Uruguay. They've even pushed the front line back a bit thanks to their new crossbows! If Uruguay doesn't end up winning, the Kuikuro will definitely be known as one of the most influential civs in the entire cylinder. Though they lack production and military, the jungle and big cities compensate for that and let them defend where any other civ would have crumbled a long time ago.
Msurdej: Break out the party hats folks! The Nenets have reached their highest rank ever! This rise in the ranks has been in the making since last part, as the war with the superior Kazahks continues to go well for Vauli. Which is good, since the position of the Nenets is not an envious position. Still, adding more than a quarter of your cities to your empire is a good start if the Nenets want to crawl their way into this game.
Ludicolo: Oh boy, a few civs have seriously goofed up now. Why would they declare war on the mighty Tonga of all nations? Do they not know of the power that is “Tonga Time”? And why did Uruguay have to be one of them out of all possible civs? Juan actually had a decent shot at winning all of seabricks, but by challenging the mightiest seabrick of them all, Juan has now doomed himself to a fate worse than death; losing in a video game.
Thy: Haida has made peace with Korea, and declared war on Métis. What do you mean, this isn't the Haida slide-a? It might as well be, because Yup'ik's (continued) existence is defined by Haida and Haida's temper. There are no real avenues of expansion for Yup'ik, unless they want to contest some of those snow cities Métis has settled. Though I can't exactly recommend that, considering it would mostly just strain Yup'ik economy while helping Haida's war effort by distracting Métis troops. Attacking Haida is a bit of a no-go as well, seeing as the war against Métis doesn't particularly drain Haida's navy, which is the real threat to Yup'ik anyway. Maybe Yup'ik can instead go down in history by inventing something cool?
Shaggy: No change in the ranks this week for Sulu as they have more or less leveled off in the PRs eyes. This marks the 5th part since they dropped out of the top half after Papua came into Sulu lands (waters?) and eviscerated Jamalul’s core. Sulu has since fought wars OK, but still need to at least fight wars good to get back to their previous position, let alone thrive. They flipped back Dhar from Maratha this part and then peaced out with them much to the relief of the citizens of Dhar. By my (and the Info Sheet’s) count, this marks the 2nd foreign city under Sulu control, a much better record than many other civs at a similar rank. Jamalul also decided that Turn 261 was Fuck Tonga Time, and declared war on them to show their roaming spearman who’s boss. Other than that, I don’t expect that war to go anywhere tangible other than allowing Sulu to suck up to The Guay for diplomacy points. Sulu has only climbed a portion of the uphill battle they must fight to wrest control of the Southeast Asian waters; they aren’t out of the woods yet nor are they out for the count.
Gragg: The old rivals are back at it again. Nepal and India are getting into another slapfight where they throw a few units at each other. It’s possible that one of them will make progress but this will probably just lower military numbers for the both of them. The war is probably bad for the both of them but it’s worse for India. Nepal will still have favorable terrain to defend if other neighbors pile in. India will be much more vulnerable plus has some new warmonger penalties to deal with. So I suppose if Nepal is not playing to win and just wants to outlast India this war is pretty decent. I can’t end this narration without mentioning the enormous threat to the south in Maratha. In my opinion they field the strongest land army on the entire cylinder and may be looking for a new target soon. India is allied with them in the war against Oman so perhaps Nepal will be the unlucky victim?
Gragg: Well my curse of always being assigned Benin has finally been good to me. The war with Nubia will bring out the more interesting defensive aspects of Benin. First are those little fortifications (Lyas) that Benin has littered their region with. They are essentially one use walls that remove an enemy units movement points but are destroyed in the process. They also provide defense bonuses to nearby units and cities. What more interesting to me is the UU. Magical long range citadels and cities. In short their citadels and cities can fire at very long range, especially at cities. We can already see its effect on a few of Nubia’s damaged cities. As interesting as these uniques are they aren’t really going to help Benin in this war. More and better units are what Benin needs. You wouldn’t believe it by looking at this slide but Benin has higher tech and production than Nubia. Perhaps if they use their defensive abilities and get their production going towards units they’ll be fine. If I had to guess though they’ll lose 2-3 cities and maybe even have Songhai or Beta Israel join in against them.
Thy: Peace, peace in our time. Peace with the ruthless barbaric invaders, the Vikings, has come just in time for the emperor to realize that his other neighbors have either modernized their armies, or still hide behind a mountain range. The Empire, on the other hand, has spent its research on better ships - namely frigates - probably in fear of an even more terrifying Viking invasion. This has obviously left their military on land quite lacking, unless you compare to them to one very specific red civ in the neighborhood, of course. The poor Czechs somehow remain just as crippled as they were a few parts ago, in eternal limbo between life and death. Why couldn't one of the HREmperors just bite the bullet and face the diplo penalty for eliminating the Czechs? Surely it would be better than the current setup.
Techno: Oh, how fickle fortunes are. Korea lost a city on Hokkaido this part to the fires of conquest, and now the Khamugs threaten to invade their lands. While the Haida war was one that suited Korea's naval strengths, this Khamug war does not fall under that category. Korea will instead have to hope that the Khamugs fail to send enough units to the front to actually take a city, which is a likely possibility. But even in the case of a lost city, at least Korea has enough boats on hand to recapture these coastal territories.
Cloudberg: It seems like last part Selk'nam might have hit rock bottom, because they rebound a couple points this part instead of continuing to fall. I wouldn't read much into it. Selk'nam has finally upgraded its navy, but even its upgraded navy is outdated because Uruguay upgraded its navy to the next level at around the same time. Selk'nam does have a land army on a similar tech level to Uruguay's, but only because of Lavalleja's bizarre tech path (he has researched industrialization but not steel). But with that said, it's still way smaller than Uruguay's anyway. So what's the overall sit-rep? Yeah, these guys are still fucked.
Thy: The most significant thing Ndongo did this episode was the three peace deals they made (with HRE, Nepal and Oman), bringing them to a state of complete peace, now in name as well. No war of death and destruction can touch Southern Africa. The tales of thousands, even millions, of victims in the many razed cities around the world bring lessons which have been especially impactful in the courts of this region. Of course, there are always warmongers, but somehow Zimbabwe has managed to convince the neighborhood that they're better off lounging around. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Ndongo couldn't defeat Zimbabwe on the field of battle, no matter what. And Benin is too hard to crack, right? Well, that might change, what with the war declared by Nubia. In mere turns, Benin's southern border could be defended by nothing but terrain - but even despite the lack of defenses, I doubt Ndongo could make any progress.
Thy: In line with their aggressive nature, Nubia has declared a war of conquest on the stumbling kingdom of Benin! While Nubia most certainly has the advantage in numbers, Nubia also holds one crucial strategic advantage: crossbows. The petty kingdom to the south has failed to upgrade to crossbows, and as is known, crossbowmen are quite the upgrade. In little time, Nubia should be able to absolutely shred Benin's meager troops, and follow up with a swift conquest of some cities - with emphasis on swift, because a civ like Nubia is always on a timer, and that timer is called Palmyra. Overstaying one's welcome in Benin will only invite war, and a distracted army will find it hard to defend Nubia's borders, those forged in blood.
Aaron: The Qing have done absolutely nothing since capturing a Xia city in part 2. They continue this part by doing absolutely nothing as other civs continue to overtake them. What advantages do they have at the moment? Well, they have a larger army than Qin and Korea and also have more production than Korea. Though once upon a time science was a Qing strength, not anymore, as even the Khamugs (once laughed at for having low science) are now more technologically advanced than them. Their only path to relevance at this point is by toadying up to a bigger civ and using them to fight their wars for them. And that civ should probably be the Khamugs, who are not only an existential threat to the Qing, but further down the line, might be able to distract Qin long enough for Qing to go in and grab some clay. But not now - at the moment the Khamugs are fighting Korea, so the Qing have a great opportunity for making friends with the Khamugs if they join in. What's more, the Korean capital of Hanseong is isolated from the rest of their empire and very vulnerable to attack from the Qing side. They could very easily capture it and walk away with not only an extra capital but a useful friendly khan. Only they need to ACTUALLY DO IT, and not just sit there as they have done for 15 parts.
Thy: I hate to repeat myself, but civs in Southern Africa cannot or will not extensive wage wars of conquest- Oh, having deep-sea vessels means said civs can finally wage wars of conquest in foreign regions? I'm sure nobody could've predicted this, and that there's no historical precedent for it! Regardless of the underlying politics or lack thereof, Madagascar is at last on track to conquer a city, and all it took was frigates. But even then, whether Madagascar can take the city without burning it is up to debate, and even if they keep the city, one should question whether a vulnerable city in Southern Arabia will do Madagascar any good. All I'm hoping for is that they keep up the newfound aggression, because they're starting to grow on me.
Gragg: A quiet part for the Isle of Man, and that’s a good thing. If you’ve been reading these writeups for long you’ll know that we like to complain about civs that do nothing and fall behind. In Manx’s case this episode they needed to stay out of trouble, recarpet, and wait for a good opening. They’ve done well rebuilding their military, and a fairly up-to-date one at that, but I’m not so sure they have any good targets. Moors would be a meat grinder at best. Vikings could be a target if Manx wanted to achieve full control over the isle. It’s just as likely that the Vikings would take several Manx colonies though. Trans-Atlantic invasions are getting trickier as Iroquois solidify their hold on the region. That leaves the HRE. The newly settled city of Frankfurt is vulnerable to naval invasion, and Vienna could be pressured as well. Taking a shot at those cities would leave Manx vulnerable to their numerous strong neighbors but I don’t know if they’ll get another shot.
Homusubi: The Prussians fall down three to twenty-ninth, moving them from the top half to the bottom. The position seems apposite; although they are still relatively controversial, they are levelling out as a decidedly mid-tier European power. Their production and military lead over the Holy Romans is undeniable, but the same is true for them trailing the Sami by a significant margin in both of those statistics. Their third front, the only officially active one, is perhaps the most interesting at this point, as although they have utterly failed to make progress against Edirne so far, looking at the front now reveals a very clear advantage for Prussia in both numbers and tech. Will Fritz be able to turn it around at long last, or does the curse of Ostrava extend to other cities in the Romania region?
Lonely: It can be rather hard to keep an invasion going when your attacking force is almost entirely reindeer archers, as it turns out. Still, the Evenks rise a spot in this week’s rankings, for the same reasons they’ve always risen for: stats, stats, and did we mention stats? With twenty-one cities and borderline top ten production, it’s certainly not hard to see why they’ve gotten in the top half as a result. Add in a guarantee of basic competency following the capture of a few Korean snow cities, and there’s a legitimate case for an Evenki bandwagon. There’s still one large argument against them, however, and it’s to the south, equipped with freshly-produced composite bowmen, currently holding the mantle of top Khanate: The Khamugs, presently only concerned with a half-hearted war with the Koreans. The Evenks have made promising amounts of progress, yes, but with the Nenets uncomfortably close to getting Murri’d and the Khamugs still light-years ahead of the protectors of the Arctic Circle, it may well be now or never if the Evenks ever want to join the conversation in Asia.
Scissor: Finally have seem to have woken up and it seems like they're up and ready for business. With their capture of Muscat and hopefully recapture of Rustaq after Maratha did the courtesy of beating Oman up for a bit, Indira has proved herself to be capable of nicely timed aggression. However the most important development this part for India was her declaration of war against Nepal. India-Nepal wars are notorious for being grinds that don't go anywhere. But perhaps there is a hope for India. India has just researched Gunpowder, and while Nepal has just started researching it, it gives Indira time to get started on a musketmen army. If she can seize initiative, Indira can make a quick dash to Gorkha and peace out before the war gets too grindy. With her manpower advantage and generally better stats, India can make something out of this. Will India beat Nepal and take her place as Maratha's rival to the North or will Prithvi Narayan's charm have her fall again for his wiliness? Only Indira knows.
Cloudberg: Beta Israel takes another drop this part, as expected. The only thing going for Gudit is production, and that just doesn't cut it. Her neighbors are too strong, her tech is too backward, and the terrain is too rough to allow that superior production to work its magic. Her best expansion opportunity was probably Oman, and now that Saif bin Sultan is facing elimination at the hands of Madagascar and India, that route may soon be gone as well. And with all of that said, my personal take is that Beta Israel is still overrated—if you want some easy points in the prediction contest, keep betting on Gudit going down.
Homusubi: The production statistics for the Oceania and Indonesia region are pretty clear: New Zealand leads Australia by about a hundred, and then there’s a similar gap between Australia and Papua, and yet another similar gap down to Sulu. However, the Papuans are in a slightly better position than those production stats imply, and their modest rise in the rankings reflects that. First of all, they have three new cities in their core (that embarrassing-looking Shikoku forward settle faces the wrong way from a Papuan perspective), along with Bunbury, which means that their production is likely to rise fairly quickly in the short term. What’s more, in terms of raw military, Papua actually lead Australia by about 3.4k, and Australia has a much larger core to scatter its military across. Hawke has used superior production to come back from apparent defeat before, of course, but don’t count Rajapapua out just yet, at least once he gets another assault on the stronghold of Brisbane together.
Gragg: My first instinct was to write about the several opportunities that Venice has to expand. They have a good modernized military (expect their navy to be upgraded soon) and weak neighbors. Venice could actually win wars with most of their neighbors and still make something happen with the Ottomans, who is being put under more and more pressure. A few more range/melee units would be nice to supplement their cannons and navy but it’s enough to do some damage. I’ve learned not to hope for too much from them though. Venice seems to sense the pressure that us on the sub are putting on it. Perhaps if we pretend like we don’t care, they'll go back to the madlads they were a few episodes ago, before we started expecting it.
Techno: Irritated at the loss of his colonies, Chavez orders the construction of several more to compensate for what was lost. One settler finds its home in Bermuda, while another two make the long trek to the southernmost fragments of land and settle Antarctica. Unfortunately, these colonies alone, while useful, aren't useful enough. Uruguay still looms behind the great Green wall that is the Kuikuro, while the Nazca can't be forgotten either. Chavez's best options would be to attack the weakened Aztecs or Haiti, as without more cities in the empire, Venezuela cannot hope to match the production potential of their great foe to the south.
Techno: Buoyed by their reasonably strong stats and impressive terrain, the Nazca sit comfortably just below rank 20 for another week. But alas, the Nazca cannot be strong through stats alone, as they share an all-important border with Uruguay. 14 cities and just under 400 production simply isn't enough for anything but defense when your foe is sitting at the top of nearly all stats. The Nazca must snag whatever expansion opportunities come their way, and they must snag them sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, the only civ who the Nazca could invade is Venezuela, as the Kuikuro are too important of a wall to conquer and the Selk'nam must be invaded through naval means.
Lonely: Having tired of dull, boring, grinding, pointlessly difficult mountain warfare, Mithridates has turned his attention away from a mountainous war with the crippled Seljuqs to a mountainous war with the crippled Golden Horde. Parthia, clearly, is a big believer in encores. Still, Mithridates’ new project shows signs of promise unbefitting of a war in such hellish terrain: for one, they’re once more facing a maimed enemy. Palmyra softened up the Seljuqs well, and the Goths have done the same to the Golden Horde. Not a single remaining troop in the yellow swarm can muster much of a counterattack against crossbows or galleasses, which seem to be just about the only two varieties of troop Mithridates has bothered to bring for this assault. That might just be the reason his eggs are in two different baskets, with the war with the Seljuqs still ongoing. Of course, putting your eggs in multiple different baskets only works if the baskets aren’t covered in dung and less structurally sound than your average building in Maimbung, and a one-tile border is hardly going to be giving any Seljuqs trouble sleeping at night. Really, none of this seems to have been thought through very well. It is refreshing to see that Parthia has the good sense to ceaselessly pick on neighbors even less competent than they are, though. Given enough time, they might even die horribly as opposed to instantly when their time comes.
Msurdej: Ragnar ends his war with the HRE, ends up with little to show for it. Only a lone city in Iceland remains his, thanks in no small part to the burning of Frankfurt. While this will set the HRE back a fair ways, this does nothing to help Ragnar besides letting him set up a citadel on Denmark. While his Scottish holdings improve, the Viking military is starting to fall apart. Ragnar should take this time to strengthen up before going back on the warpath.
Homusubi: Bob Hawke has held steady this week, reflecting pretty much no change in his position, statistically weaker than Seddon but with a somewhat better tactical record. What is more, the stats don’t seem to be lying, as Hawke struggles to hold off the Papuans while Seddon secures his mainland holdings and settles a flurry of one-tile island cities for extra boat-building capacity. Still, though, the Oceania prize is so big that any civ with even a forty percent chance of winning the fight is all but guaranteed top twenty status in my books. When war erupts, barring tactical howlers (ha!), it’ll likely be a straight fight between land and sea, Groudon and Kyogre. The stakes are huge, as mentioned, but right now, the smart money is on the latter.
Cloudberg: Shikoku makes its second ever appearance in the top 20, tying its previous record from part 3 after doing... what exactly? It's not clear why Shikoku is on the rise, even though I myself put them this high. But I guess there are a few reasons. For one, thanks to their UA that gives a tech boost when landing on a new island, they're second in overall techs researched and are the closest behind Uruguay. Their navy is pretty scary too. And most importantly, we're running out of ideas of who else to put in the top 20. Yeah.
Ludicolo: Well, the war with Shikoku ended, and that may actually be a good thing for Qin. Ying Zheng’s army is severely lacking, being comparable to Nepal’s according to the info sheet, and four out of his five other neighbours (Qing, Shikoku, Khamugs, and Tuangoo) have much stronger armies than him. Zheng’s strongest suit, however, is his science gain, but he is currently being out teched by Shikoku due to some poor decisions (beelining an expensive and useless tier 1 industrial tech while still not having completed all of the techs in the medieval era). If Zheng continues to mismanage his empire by not building more units and making his scientists research useless techs, he will surely slide further down the rankings in the future.
Msurdej: The Nenets good fortune is the Kazakhs poor fortune. Ablai Khan falls to the lowest point he's even been in the CBRX (though it is tied with his Part 6 rank). His army is lacking compared to other contenders in the top 20, and his war with the weaker by leagues Nenets is going horribly, having lost two cities. His only saving grace is he's still a leader when it comes to tech. But the fanciest tech won't do Ablai Khan much good if his incompetent military strategy continues to define the Kazakhs.
Gragg: Not an awful part for Haida but they’re certainly not making any forward progress. They lost ground against Korea but that certainly could’ve been worse. Now they Metis are pressuring their mainland settlements. I’d be pretty surprised if a city changes hands in this war. Between mediocre militaries on both sides, mountains, and a long border (which confuses ais), this war should just amount to some lost military. That could be a problem if other neighbors like Apache or Yup’ik declare though. In fact, I think Yup’ik are the single greatest threat to Haida right now. They’ve been saving up their military since their last war with Haida and it’s not like they have anyone else to use it on. Haida has strong stats. They just need to get out of their wars and bulk up a bit before choosing a new target.
Lacs: The Kiwi-Nahuatl meme war was over before it began: at the end of the day results are what counts and NZ continue to not only exceed expectations but leave those expectations behind in a haze on the horizon. Their military score continues to skyrocket; at the current rate of growth it may well be the second largest on the Cylinder in a couple of parts. Their naval technology is still unparalleled, and it's clear another war with Australia or Papua would end very painfully for green paint manufacturers. That said, their tech isn't quite as outstanding across the board as it once was, and given Papua aren't far behind the naval train - and have a tech in hand overall - the opportunity to strike might be more fleeting than first appears. As with every Oceanian civ it's still hard to see a path onto the continents (the real continents... no one get on my back about Zealandia). But if anyone has the firepower, it's these fierce ferns.
Lonely: See, this is why you always check to make sure your most recent kill really is dead. With the disastrous war with the Iroquois a thing of the past, the Apache have risen from the ashes, rebuilding with relative ease, feeding their military a max revive, and, most surprising of all, finally bothering to fill out their core with cities. Helps that everyone else in North America is distracted by the Metis Massacre or just struck a deal that gave half of one nation’s tiles to a nation they didn’t even border. Geronimo can condemn the flailing Haida with a DoW, taking advantage of their war-weary state to challenge for cities along the Pacific Rim. Geronimo can join in the Metis Containment Project, reducing Louis Riel to a footnote in history and a name on the founding plaque of half of the world’s cities. Geronimo can seek vengeance against the Iroquois, exploiting a temporary numbers advantage to liberate his old peoples and bring into the fold new ones. Or, of course, he could put the Aztecs or Poverty Point out of their misery. What the Apache do next could radically alter the fabric of the game, changing every aspect of their home continent. Maybe the Apache won’t be the kings of North America, but they’ll sure as hell be the kingmakers.
Lonely: Oh dear. Well, credit where it’s due, the Iroquois certainly aren’t ones to tire of warfare. After punishing wars against Canada and the Apache, the Metis find themselves the target of Hiawatha’s all-ranged army, and immediately see their most ambitious of settles crumble into dust as they can only visit the nearest bar and wonder where they went wrong. It wasn’t too long ago that the Metis were a unanimous first in the region, and now they’re merely another stepping stone in someone else’s rise to power. To be fair, though, they’ve had this a long time coming. Louis Riel’s unwillingness to produce anything that wasn’t capable of settling a city left the Metis with happiness issues, a Qin-tier military presence, and cities that seemingly existed only as a drain on science. Ridiculous city spam has been both the Metis’ claim to fame and their undoing. Now, facing a two-front war against empires who covet their hastily-garnered lands and hopelessly outmatched in every relevant statistic by a civ that they once seemed to be far superior to, the future looks grim for Louis Riel. Maybe retiring to the bars is a good idea: surely, once drunk enough, the pain of their losses will be forgotten.
Aaron: The Goths end their war with Golden Horde - a solid victory which gained them 2 cities including the capital. The great strength of the Goths is their extremely high production, 7th cylinder-wide. They should definitely use that production to rebuild their military and go back to conquering their neighborhood. Speaking of their neighborhood, it is changing: they now have a land border with Palmyra, the Arabian power with even more production and military than them; best avoid them for the time being. The remains of the Golden Horde are being replaced by Parthia, who, though they are weaker than the Goths, would still put up a good fight. The great wall of Muscovy that was separating the Goths from Europe is being dismantled by the Sami, who, though they have lower production, have far superior science and a large military- best avoid them too. This does mean that there has never been a better time to attack Muscovy. Maybe this time, with Sami help, the Goths can achieve something? And finally that leaves the border that hasn't changed: the Kazakhs, who through a sequence of terrible decisions are currently losing a war to the Nenets. But don't let their unimpressive record make you think they're weak. All it would take is a few smart decisions (ex: researching useful techs, settling 8 free cities, crushing the Nenets like we all know they're capable of) and Kazakhstan will be right back in it. The Goths could try to attack now while Kazakhstan is at what is likely its weakest point but the problem is that the Goths themselves still have to rebuild their military before they're ready. On the other hand, leave the Kazakhs too long and the Goths might find themselves squeezed between two bigger powers.
Lonely: Another quiet part for Askia, as he attempts to lick his wounds, misses, and accidentally settles a one-tile island in the Atlantic instead. Songhai has yet to fully recover from the war with the Moors, which makes sense given that the war was so grinding that new islands were made in the Mediterranean out of discarded corpses. There may be a more troubling reason that Songhai still sports an empty core, however. Songhai’s production is devastatingly low for a civ in such esteemed company, despite twenty-three cities and enough land to satisfy an American. Maybe their cities are still on the mend after the war, maybe the number will perk up quickly once new cities are settled in the Sahara, but it’s still a clear Achilles Heel for the big orange blob, and could prove damning in the future. Hell, it’s been pretty damning already, forcing Songhai into ranking stagnation while their peers have taken advantage of turmoil among the top flight to surge miles ahead of the Libyan liberators. Songhai is still the most likely civ to checkmate Zimbabwe, and still benefit from a collection of neighbors any frontrunner would be frothing at the mouth to annex. But the cracks, now more than ever, are starting to show.
Lacs: Taungoo break into the top 10 for the first time in history. Why have Taungoo broken into the top 10 for the first time in history? The easy answer would be that they're just the trade-off for a falling Métis, but that doesn't explain why they leapfrogged Songhai. Seriously, look at that warsheet: they're at war with the Golden Horde? Everyone's been at war with the Golden Horde! Their stats are certainly top tier, but it's not hard to maintain one of the cylinder's largest militaries when you never bleeding use it. Taungoo are the kind of civ that have you bashing your head against the wall every time they creep into the background of a shot: invade Qin while they're distracted (bash), pile on Nepal with India (bash), punish the miserably weak Sulu (bash), do anything (bash), anything (bash), anything!
Homusubi: The Qin core is empty. Wake up, Jamukha. The Evenks and Kazakhs are both distracted by the Nenets. Wake up, Jamukha. The Qing are stagnant. Wake up, Jamukha. You could break the stalemate in South Asia. Wake up, Jamukha. Your Korean war looks promising. Wake up, Jamukha. You've got the fourth best military on the cylinder. Wake up, Jamukha. (sighs) You've gone up a rank. Wake up, Jamukha.
Shaggy: Ahh, the Moops. Who could hate the Moops? I, for one, love the Moops. They’ve got a truly Moopy (read: fearsome) military, a top 10 (or so) Moopduction, 5-star Mooptlantic generals, and one of the most dominant positions in Eurmoop. Yes, the future looks bright for our Moops and they continue their rise within the top 10 this week to number 7. Moving further up will necessitate some Moopish rise in their stats that put them up to Guay-levels or more expansion in either Eurmoop or North Afrimoop. Come on Abd-ar Rahman! Surpass your similarly sounding predecessor, Abd-al Rahman, and push further into Eurmoop than Tours (ironically, I think the Moops currently control the area of France that contains Tours).
Gragg: Sure, Sami are ‘winning’ their wars recently. But they’re some of the least inspiring wins on the cylinder. They cities they are taking/burning aren’t really doing anything to help the Sami at the moment. Their stats are dropping but are good enough for the time being. If they can take one or two of Muscovy’s good cities they’ll regain our confidence. That is just what Sami is trying to do as they press in on Vologda and Novgorod. They certainly have the units to capture the cities but the Muscovy have a reputation for finding a way to survive. On top of that Sami is at -12 happiness, so we could see some new bonfires in the region. To give them some credit though I do spy a few setters near the front line should a couple cities be clear. Still though Sami is making questionable use of their strong position.
Msurdej: Zenobia takes a small dip this week as their opportunities begin to dry up. Oman was one of Palmyra's best targets for conquests, but with other civs moving in for the kill, it gives them one less easy mark. But make no mistake; with plenty of population, production, and (military) power, Palmyra is still a force to be reckoned with. They can still expand easily into the Turks, finish off the weakening Golden Horde, or even cross into Africa and fight a distracted Nubia. The doors are open for Palmyra: they just need to go through them.
Msurdej: Zimbabwe holds steady this week, just like his empire's size. Zimbabwe has mostly been coasting on their power, not doing anything besides getting in some irrelevant wars (the most relevant war Zimbabwe has been in so far was over of islands off the coast of Africa). Meanwhile, Beta Israel has begun to falter in the rankings, while Ndongo is trying to claw her way back up into the top half. And while Gudit and Ranavalona might be hard to break into, Nzinga still lags behind Mutota enough that he could make some gains here if he sets his mind to it.
Gragg: While Uruguay has been leaving the rest of the cylinder behind in most stats, Maratha has been competing in terms of military. I’ve been saying it on the discord all week and I’ll say it here too. Maratha has the best land army of any civ. Yes, including Uruguay. So far their wars have been naval wars, an area where Maratha is rather weak. If you take a close look at what they have on their northern border though you’ll understand what I mean. Sure they haven’t declared on Nepal or India recently but they certainly still could. When/If they do it will be no contest, mountains or not. Then again we’ve seen plenty of botched invasions before.
Thy: The much-anticipated Métis war is here, and boy, it looks tense so far. The hotspot of the war so far has been the 20-pop Winnipeg, with small-scale fighting occurring elsewhere on the fairly wide front. Across the Great Lakes and the Hudson Bay, embarked armies and small navies have clashed, but indeed, in the middle of this all is Winnipeg, assaulted from the east by a Iroquois army consisting mostly of crossbows. Quality of armies looks about equal, and looking solely at Winnipeg, quantity seems fairly equal as well. But even so, Iroquois' biggest roadblock is once again a lack of melee units to take the city, as it has sat at low health for turns now. Should the city fall, it would somewhat open up the front, and perhaps enable the Iroquois war machine to march onward, onward, into ever greater glory.
Aaron: Big part for Uruguay as they reach the industrial era first by beelining the industrialization tech, build public schools factories well before anyone else is even close, and adopt an ideology (order). This would also be the first ideology except that the Iroquois cheated to get one earlier. This has caused Uruguay's (already very big) lead over their competition to explode. Their science and production are almost DOUBLE the second places thanks to their new buildings and it's going to stay like that for a while as no one else is beelining them except Parthia, who are well behind anyway. What is more, order gives out a lot of happiness meaning that Uruguay won't struggle with growing their large empire as others (Sami, Metis) have, nor with burning down conquests. At this point, we all know that nothing in South America can stop them; we have to hope for an OCP-style naval coalition from all the powers of other continents, taking advantage of Uruguay's low naval bias. But Uruguay has decided to dash those hopes before they've even started. Despite a "low naval bias", Uruguay are unlocking the cruiser, the industrial-era upgrade to the frigate - and unlike every other civ on the cylinder, Uruguay actually have the coal required to make it function (and also coastal cities to build them in - looking at you Kazakhstan and Qin). Their high stats are not translating into conquests at the moment, but they will translate into all the wonders as well as a paratrooper carpet before other civs have anything close to countering paratroopers with. That should be terrifying to the rest of the cylinder.

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The Rat Race: A Total Warhammer 2 "Speedrun"

Images: 335, author: Shoggy, published: 2017-12-06, edited: 1970-01-01