Author: ThyReformer
Published: 2019-09-16
Gragg: The race to the next elimination has reached it's final stretch. Algeria and Libya are neck and neck. Both are down to their last cities with enemy armies on the doorstep. Algeria's city though has nearly 0 health. Their saving grace is the distance between them and the nearest enemy melee unit. A well-placed mountain tile could make it difficult for the Moors to maneuver that melee unit to capture the city. There's absolutely nothing Algeria can do at this point though except hope and bargain. Next week this slide will either be a eulogy or we'll be praising Algeria's amazing peace deal.
Gragg: Libya can’t even win the race to 59th smh. They have a chance but right now they both have one city but Libya has more military and more health in their city. They do have a couple other things to worry about. Songhai has plenty of military units nearby to capture the city. If for some reason Songhai can’t take the city, the Moors have plenty of melee and naval units nearby that can do the job. I for one will be shocked if there isn’t a double elimination next part.
Shaggy: The wholesale slaughter of North African civs is all that is keeping Scotland from the bottom of the barrel. They, uh, suck. Though the Viking invasion may have fallen flat, both their and the HRE’s navies are boxing in Scotland. The only respite that Scotland has is relying on their Great Wall, which really isn’t that much given their position. Once Libya and Algeria fall, Scotland’s head is next to the chopping block as they don’t seem to have the diplomatic luck of Canada or Canton nor the relatively “defensible” terrain of Czechia or Oman. I’m getting my aged Scotch ready to pour one out for the Bruce.
Aaron: Good news for Canada: the Iroquois are full have have decided to leave the rest of Canada alive for now. Being at peace immediately puts them above all the civs in danger of dying. However, this is the only good news as Canada are now relegated to 2 tundra cities, their new capital Kassigluq that they only recently captured (that is therefore terrible) and the other being a Canadian-founded city (and therefore even worse). As is always the case with Canada, their stats are bafflingly low even taking their situation into consideration. They are somehow far below Libya (who only have half as many cities) and equal to Algeria (despite only having one terrible desert city whose tiles are all being blocked by Moors). Both remaining Canadian cities are extremely weak and vulnerable, with only a single archer for defence. It would be very easy for anyone with a coastline to just sail a few triremes over and finish them (Venezuela has already demonstrated just how easy it is). The only question that remains is how long until that happens and who will do it?
Reformer: I can't believe it. Nothing changed. Oh, Turks settled a city in Greece! And HRE is sending a distant front! This writeup is as doomed as the civ it is about, I tell you. Doomed to irrelevancy, doomed to trying increasingly weird things to maybe have a shot at even sticking around. Okay nevermind, this comparison doesn't make sense anymore, because the Czechs can't really do anything anymore that would save them. Though feel free to prove me wrong, Vaclav. By all means! Go on and do that which I perceive to be impossible! I would enjoy nothing as much!
Gragg: Algeria and Libya are the clear favorites in the race for 59th, but Poverty Point is my sleeper pick. They haven't had a relevant war in quite some time and have thus been able to build some military and even recruit Spartacus to lead it. But with their neighbors that military is as good as gone. They have no terrain that can help them like Scotland and Canton. The unit composition of Iroquois and Apache are better than that of the Moors and Songhai. What Poverty Point does have going for them are two cities high defence and some well placed citadels. For now that's enough to keep them at rank 54. I don't know about y'all, but I'm staying on that -PP train.
LonelyRS: Only so long you can beat a dead horse, I suppose. The Marathans have taken their ball and gone home, and Oman has been left in the same state of blissful irrelevance they started their war in. Calling them a civ just waiting to die would be an understatement: they’ve bought the farm pre-emptively, just to be sure. From their original capital being their smallest city, to their horrifically awful core, to their carpet of spearmen in the Renaissance Era, it’s safe to say that any hope of Oman ever achieving anything short of a miracle capture of Nizwa has gone flying out the window. In a way, Maratha’s conquest would have been the best thing to ever happen to them; it would have ended their suffering. Now, all they can do is wait the short while it’ll take for Palmyra to start smelling blood, sharpening their spears knowing that they’ll only be shattered. Oman is a dead civ walking. All Maratha’s failure has altered is the identity of their killer.
Gragg: We need to start a betting pool for when the Canton will finally go out. They’ve done well to hold on this long but they’ve essentially been irrelevant since part 4. On the upside, they’ve held the highest points-per-prediction in the prediction contest since then. So they’re the top of that power rankings. Not to mention they will always have the first civ elimination. Anyway, my bet is they go out on part 19.
Gragg: The Seljuqs are a good example of a civ forced into a position so bad that they can only pray...and so far it’s worked. Much like the Muscovites, their enemies tend to forget how to take cities. In reality it probably has something to do with line shaped empires and long borders that the ai has trouble with. As a bonus, up until now their enemies have forgotten to build melee units. Unfortunately for them that luck is running out as Parthia is figuring that part out.
Lacsirax: After a thrilling conflict, the mighty Mehmed bests Minos and conquers Knossos, eliminating Minoa in... huh? That was last episode? Oh damn, really? That was gonna be like, all of my write up. What, you wanted 200 words on the settlement of Ankara on the Greek peninsula, a city that's placed in the perfect position for a Venetian or Palmyrene naval assault? I can't do that, there's nothing else worth saying about that. Or did you just want the same paragraph we do every week on the Ottomans, that they're no hopers with a botched alpha and the sooner they're eliminated the better? Oh man, but that's booooring. I really thought they eliminated Minos in this episode. I can't believe that was already two weeks ago. We could just run last week's write up again, maybe? Do you think anyone would notice? Yeah, that works. Whoever's editing, just scrub this and put in Cloudberg's write up from then. Hey, what do you mean, that's "lazy"? If Mehmed never put any effort in, why should I?
Gragg: I’ve actually never heard of this civ. Maybe they’d be a good addition next season though. So I’m going to use this space to advertise for the CBRX prediction contest. We’re close to 100 active players every week so come help us hit that goal. We’re about to start ‘season 2’ so new players have a fair shot at the top of the leaderboards. Now since my peers probably skim through these to make sure I’m not writing anything too weird I’m going to go back to talking about Nenets (whoever they are). My stats sheet says they have the lowest stats of any civ that isn’t on death’s door. Also, the average rank for a civ that starts with the letter N (there are 6 of them) is 36. The Nenets are the bottom of all of those.
Shaggy: The Time Lords spent most of their time this part building up a military and a bunch of settlers, yet drop a rank in the shuffle of the bottom tier civs this week. If they want to strike at their most obvious target, New Zealand, then they have a timing to hit as much of the Kiwi navy is currently spending its time leering at the Australian coast. If they want to expand peacefully with their 5(!) settlers, that time may have already passed. Time will tell if the Gallifreyans Tongans can escape their corner of the south Pacific, but until they spend some time figuring out how to travel across dark water, their options will limited. Also of note, Tonga is currently host to a Minoan refugee. These timeless waters should prove much safer than the bloodbath of the Mediterranean for the bull-headed trireme.
Reformer: What happened? Nothing? Well surely something. Goths are still at peace with their neighbors: threat. Palmyra is now at peace with Beta Israel as well: threat. Wait, yeah, that's what changed, Palmyra is now a potential threat. Does the Horde even have other neighbors? The answer is YES! They border the Seljuqs, yes, the Seljuqs, the wartorn Seljuqs, which the Horde has treated with a citadel. This is your chance to (sort of) redeem yourself in our eyes, Tokhtamysh. Attack while they're weakened by Parthia. Attack while your citadel is still useful. I believe in you. Not much, but I do.
Gragg: Montezuma's reckoning has arrived. There's no doubt the Aztecs will lose this war, it's more of a question of how much will they lose. Luckily for them there are a few well placed mountains that makes things difficult for the Apache, and Baja California will make things difficult for the Haida. With the overwhelming statistical advantage these two aggressors have though, terrain may not be enough to protect the Aztecs from losing a few more cities. Things could get much much worse if Venezuela or even Haiti join in on this coalition, and there's a very real chance they will. Montezuma's strategy needs to be...make a lot of sacrifices I guess.
Doom: The Kuikuro overtake another civ as they reach the lofty heights of 45th. At this stage one rank is meaningless outside of the top handful of civs and the worst of the worst. Their fundamental problem remains, while no one can kill them, they cannot escape the jungle. We just have to hope Lavalleja is as bad at diplomacy as he is at taking Kuikuro cities or we could see a new contender for the worst peace deal which given the length of the war and the advantage Uruguay has in every field grows more likely every part.
Techno: Despite a strong showing early game, it appears that not settling your home territory is not a viable strategy. As the last few islands of the Caribbean get settled, Haiti is left with a paltry 5 cities and poor stats all around. Not all hope is lost, as the garrisons of those island colonies are mediocre, but the chances of Haiti becoming a Buccaneers equivalent are pretty much nil.
Shaggy: We really didn’t see much of Yup’ik at all this part, only in reference to a surging Haidan navy, and that’s kind of ok. Lacking in tech, production, cities, and military strength, it shouldn’t be long until these arctic survivors succumb to a larger neighbor. And yet despite all of that they rise 2 ranks this part. Sure its more a residual result of the Aztecs falling in rank, but when you’re exclusively surrounded by stronger civs and ice, you’ve got to be happy about something to not go mad.
Aaron: What happened to Muscovy this week? They settled a new arctic city I guess... but that's pretty much it. They're still stuck between Prussia, the Goths and Sami. Although the Goths proved themselves too incompetent to conquer them on the first attempt, that is of little comfort. Eventually one of the three will get a large enough tech advantage to manage it. Their army is small, their production weak and their prospects are bleak.
Lacsirax: Piye should be shaking in his boots, as his two North African frenemies, Omar and Abdelkader, were dismantled by the hottest new coalition on the block, Songhai and the Moors. Yes, Nubia have always been the strongest of the three Supersaharan African civs, and have also endured coalitions that, on paper, were far more daunting. But that's a huge qualifier, and with Minoa and Libya gone and going, Nubia could now only be considered "stronger" than one of their neighbours. So, because talking about all the different ways they could be demolished by Beta Israel, Palmyra, Venice or the Songmoors would get boring fast, let's talk about the Ottomans. Nubia may only have the one coastal city capable of building units, but what navy they have churned out is advanced and backed by an admiral, all pros whose inverse are Turkish cons. Not only would Knossos be a steal - another high pop production base for those naval units, and at least a city it would be impossible for them to raze - but the new Turkish city of Ankara has been placed in a very vulnerable position too. The advantage won't last forever, as the Ottomans have more coastal cities for unit replenishment and will hit those rosy naval techs soon, so this could be Piye's last good chance for a while to find his footing on the world stage.
Gragg: If it wasn't for Australia hogging the spotlight we'd all be talking about how awful an episode it was for the Sulu. It wasn't mentioned in the slides but Sulu and Papua started a war on turn 197. The Papua have a very clear advantage over the Sulu, though it remains to be seen how much damage will be done. Even if the Sulu keeps all of their cities though, they won't be able to expand at a time when they really need to be capitalizing on their tech advantage and the instability in the area. Even that tech advantage has begun to fade as their down to 10th place in effective science.
Gragg: Believe it or not Ndongo started out in the top ten. At the time it was a justifiable ranking. Since then Ndongo has dropped an average of ~2.3 ranks per part. Pretty consistently too. That’s a sign of Ndongo getting off to a slower start than Zimbabwe and Songhai and getting trapped into a corner of Africa. To their credit they had a few opportunities to expand which they did make attempts at. Now they are one of the many civs that need to hope for good coalitions. Such is the nature of Africa throughout every iteration of CBR.
LonelyRS: You may have noticed that Benin has dropped six spots this week, despite a part in which the total sum of their accomplishments can be summed up by the word “fuck-all”, and in which they were mentioned precisely as often as average, which is to say not at all. You see, the reason for Benin’s drop is simple. Benin doesn’t exist. Oh, sure, as a regular civ they’d be fucked anyways, sandwiched between powerful neighbors and sporting terribly bland numbers across the board, but how could any actual civ let their empire’s width be reduced to a one tile string? How could any actual civ fight a long-running war against Zimbabwe within their continent and still see Zimbabwe fail to militarize at all? Clearly, this edition of the Battle Royale simply didn’t have sixty-one civs. As it turned out, Benin never was one. They were empty land masquerading as one. That’s all they were, all they are, and all they will ever be. Then again, even unmoving grasslands and plains would probably be less passive than “Benin” has been so far.
Adm. Cloudberg: Who could have thought that the Murri, who once looked like they would be dead by part 10 and once fell as low as 59th, could rebound like this? Well, until the end of the part before this one, nobody believed it could happen. Now the Murri rise six places for the second straight week, coming off the heels of their lightning attack against Australia that has seen Bob Hawke lose two outback cities, probably with more to come. Sydney is looking unsteady, and New Zealand is coming up from the south, trapping Australia's core in a pincer movement. Really, this is almost perfect play from the Murri—a human would struggle to have come up with a better strategy to regain pole position on the Australian continent.
Gragg: Korea has managed to build quite the carpet, including an intimidating navy. That land army though is pretty out of date against the unique pikeman and soon-to-be unique frigates of Shikoku as well as the knights of Qing. With their position sandwiched between the Shikoku and Haida, its unlikely that navy will be able to do much either. They do have some settlers out so given Shikoku's settling history maybe they have a shot at Hawaii. Other than that Korea is another civ that needs a good coalition to get something done, much like the Murri last episode.
Reformer: Peace in our time! Except, you know, with the bloody Nenets. The Siberian tundra will be red with blood by the time these two civs will be done, but it's not like we, the bloodthirsty observers, are particularly complaining. E'en so, peace with the Kazakhs (and Sami) means that the long-troubled Evenks aren't really troubled anymore. Now my favorite Siberian civ can at last focus on properly utilizing the intense quantity of cities it has settled in the northern wastes...What do you mean "Khamugs cut them in two"? The Khamug borders grew just enough to cut Evenks' eastern holdings off of their core? Goddammit. Why do I even try? You don't even have other supporters. For the love of god Bombogor, can you do anything right?
Gragg: Nepal….Nepal….What new things do I have to say about Nepal. They vastly improve the color palette of Asia?….Really though not much has changed in this area of the cylinder. Maratha continues to outpace India who continues to outpace Nepal. Nepal is safe for now because of mountains. So yeah...I’m really earning my pay on this writeup.
Lordie: So far, the Madagascan offensive against our new yottachads, Alpha Israel, has not gone too well. However, it cannot be discounted that they have reached astronomy (one of the first civs on the cylinder to do so) and so the mysteries of the indian ocean are open to them. However, not only do they not have any ocean ships as yet, but moving an army requires a beachhead, which they, uh, don't have. Also, I'm not entirely sure, but having ocean embarkation might prevent their units being expelled all over the world to unclaimed territory, and just plonked in the drink. No more Merinan Taiwan is sad but probably for the best, as far as Madagascar is concerned. This war in the cape is still their proving ground, and if they can't make progress even with this tech advantage, don't expect them to move out of midtable.
LonelyRS: The tides are changing. The HRE now finds itself embroiled in a bona fide invasion of England, fighting alongside the Vikings for the potential privilege of being able to experience these “fish and chips”. As such, it’s time for a new leader: the khan himself! Genghis had a disappointing showing in Mark Two, but his war experience will be a necessity here. The fake Romans and Vikings may have triple the fighting forces the hallowed Isle does, but given the North Sea’s being in the way and the Viking preoccupation with Scotland, they’ll need every last troop. With Genghis at the helm, the HRE is luckily about as well situated for an invasion as can be, with a decent navy already nearby and a production level about on par with the Manx. Assuming Genghis learns that horses can’t cross seas? The HRE could well pick up some good gains from this war. Of course, that’s a big “assuming”, and a large part of this war plan relies on the Vikings pulling their weight but never outdoing the Germans, a big ask in and of itself. But surrounded by Moors and minor states, this may be the HRE’s best chance to break out of the stalemate in Europe and come into their own.
Jmangelo: India is continuing to get hemmed in, reaching the lowest rank they have ever had at 31st. They only hit this low once in episode 8. Although they are larger than most civs, even some that are ranked higher than them, their opportunities to push out of the Indus and far western Tamalkan are disappearing. Parthia is continuing to dominate Central Asia, and the once tiny Nepal is becoming too large to handle in their Himalayan home. If India does not take any more gains from smaller civs, like Oman, they will likely fizzle out before they achieve greatness.
Doom: Just as it looks like Ragnar will actually get a foothold on the isles, they throw it away by declaring war on the Manx with the HRE. This almost guarantees that the Vikings will not actually claim a city this time. The sooner they make peace with both to rebuild and recuperate the better. The Vikings have a very rare commodity in Europe, breathing space. No civ can make a serious attempt at invading the Vikings especially with the Sami currently dealing with open rebellions. After this war, cleaning up stray cities from the Moors and HRE could work to expand the Vikings base of operations.
Msurdej: After spending several parts bungling around and losing to Tonga, New Zealand decides to put on their pants again. Joining up with the Murri, Seddon has been attacking Australia's southern coast. Tasmania has already fallen, and it seems like Adelaide will fall next part. Australia's southern coast is at risk, and perhaps even inland cities like Sydney and Canberra could fall. The Kiwi is now back in the top half of the rankings, it only remains to be seen how long they will keep rising.
Lacsirax: Fun fact. Of all the civs to ever hit the top 10, Qing are the civ that are now ranked second lowest. Only Ndongo, a civ that had the excuse of being squashed in by an adventurous Zimbabwe, rank lower. Qing have no such reason for their slump, allowing no-hopers like Korea to outsettle them, and civs from other continents to effortlessly swoop into their colonies. Cixi clings onto the top half for one more week, but it's easy to see her continue to plummet through the board as more and more of her neighbours grow in strength and her carpet starts to look punier and punier. That said, she's still top half for a reason. The opportunity to take advantage of a weakened Qin is one we thought would pass just a few turns after they wrapped up war with Canton, but as it happens he's yet to fully re-enforce that border again. Combined with Jamukha continuing to overstretch the Khamug Empire and Korea... well, still being Korea, Qing yet have an undeserved chance for redemption.
Lacsirax: Not a busy part for Shikoku, but hey, that's okay. They've had rather a busy few episodes, it's the right thing to do take a breather. They have the resources to sit back and relax, given they've a higher production than all their immediate neighbours bar Qin. So Sakamoto can use those handy hammers to rebuild their navy, without the need to exert any sweat researching any new naval techs - they're already fielding the most advanced fleet in the world, being able to cross oceans. But hey, you can't relax at home. I think Sakamoto needs a holiday. And with ocean travel researched, a UA that encourages landing on new landmasses, and a settler already built, I can think of a fantastic holiday destination for the Shikoku lads to sit back and soak up some rays...
Reformer: An interesting part, which is the case for every Oceanian power that isn't Tonga. While Australia - the continent - is now home to a massive upheaval, Papua has decided to turn its hungry eyes westward, and Sulu is about to face the full fury of the Papuan navy, with some embarked land units maybe sprinkled here and there. Hypemongers beware, though: Sulu might not be particularly easy to crack. The pink civ already has access to Galleons, the next upgrade to the naval melee unit line, at a whopping 28 strength, and Sulu's cities are surprisingly well-positioned, with few avenues of approach by sea (excluding the Sulu capital). Papua has so far been lauded as the proactive civ of Oceania, and for a good reason, but can they actually crack the science-hardened shell of their western neighbor?
Lordie: Oh. This part happened. It's probably one the Aussies want to forget, as despite making process in the War of Sulu Expansion, they've been trapped between Gambu Ganuurru's anvil and King Dick's hammer, with the war as we've seen it looking like it might lead to Hawke straight up hemorrhaging cities. Their entire military is in the Timor Sea, their military around Canberra is all but non-existent, and New Zealand could feasibly force their way onto the continent proper via Adelaide. We could see Australia emulating the Mk2 Kimberley, moving into Indonesia from Australia as their homeland is steadily taken over. And honestly? I feel like lots of us wouldn't be too upset to see it.
Gragg: We’ve been trashing on the Nazca for a while but they could be a real sleeper pick. Their stats have nearly overtaken Selk’nam’s and many PRs are starting to put Nazca above the eldritch horror. I’ll admit that 3 parts ago I thought they’d be last place in South America. Now they somehow have a good shot at 2nd. The Kuikuro and terrain to the south will be tough to expand to, but they have a good navy and could take a good fight with Venezuela even. At this rate we’ll have to stop using these slides as a place to make Nazcar jokes and start doing actual analysis.
Aaron: Another part where nothing much happens in Prussia. Like the top tiers, Prussia has been struggling with low happiness for a while which is causing them to stagnate a bit and prevents them from making gains, even if they were to declare a relevant war (lest they burn them down). Part of this can be blamed on the large sizes of their cities, as even the snow city of Elbing has reached 10 pop. But it doesn't entirely explain it as their fellow European civ the Moors is of equal size to Prussia yet has had relatively few problems with happiness. A solution is available at the machinery tech (more commonly know as crossbow tech): taverns, which provide enough happiness to support 6 pop per city. Sadly, Prussia (like most other civs in the game) is ignoring crossbow tech in favour of longswordsmen. While useful, these are unlikely to break the stalemate through the Ottoman chokepoint, and will likely just be more fodder for the meatgrinder. Though one thing to mention is that Prussia's UA gives them golden age points for meatgrinders so perhaps what appears to be a pointless waste of units is actually a good strategy.
Lordie: Oh how the tables have turned on Illiam Dhone. No more does he have the unilateral support of the HRE and the Vikings, as the treacherous swine turned upon him and sought to dismantle his empire. He was able to retake the Vikings' naval captures however, his lower production base and poor land compared to his rivals mean that the longer this conflict goes on, the more the Manx will start to falter. Their military is less than a third the size of the combined armada, and with them already having a history of being chain-declared-on (presuming they have acquired some hefty warmonger points) any more attackers could be very serious indeed. Except if it's Scotland.
LonelyRS: If a die-hard Venice fan circa a few parts ago were to learn that by the end of this one both Libya and Algeria would be on death’s door thanks to massive fleets, they’d probably wrap you up in a great big glomp, rejoice, and spend the rest of the afternoon partying and wasting away all their money, passion willing. If that same Venice fan read this week’s part, they might not leave their room for days. Venice’s two cushiest targets have been wiped clean off the face of the earth, and for Enrico, it has to look like his window has been slammed shut. The Mediterranean began as the kind of chaotic mess Venice’s gigantic navy and intense beelining would relish in, with a smorgasbord of weak neighbors with coastal empires whose cities were positively ripe for the taking. But in just a few parts, all the rump states and juicy targets in the region have vanished, replaced by ever more vast empires far, far more resistant to Venice’s tricks. Venice may now boast the most advanced navy in the game, but as the culling continues in earnest, they find themselves swiftly becoming a relic of a bygone era, a minor power in a region which has long since found itself the home of more major ones.

So why did Venice jump this part? Simple: if they play their cards right, they could stand to gain more than they ever could before. Songhai and the Moors are tired and weak after their wars, and both will doubtless be angling to expand soon. The Turks and Nubia still live, and both have exposed shorelines ripe for Enrico. It wouldn’t take much for Venice to become the culler rather than the culled – and with arguably the largest presence in the region currently, any war they declare now could easily end in a few new pickups. Venice is well-poised to, at last, break out and realize a superpowered destiny. They just have to do it real goddamn soon, is all.
Reformer: Selk'nam's highlight of the part was making peace with the Nazca, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't even on the slides. That's how much attention Selk'nam got this part. Selk'nam's position seems to be worsening despite the capture of Ocongalla in the recent war, as Uruguay retains its monstrous strength and Nazca has become the second-best civ in South America - according to the stats, at least. Selk'nam remains one of the few civs stuck directly next to an immensely powerful neighbor, and that will probably be the case long into the future, too, as a continent-spanning coalition would be required to take down Selk'nam's immense neighbor. But hey, it's been done before, so, good luck!
Gragg: Just as people start jumping on the +Beta Israel train in the predictions contest, Israel reaches a plateau. Their remarkable UA that gives them extra production is partly reliant on pillaged improvement. While these were excessively common during the wars with Zimbabwe, Palmyra, and Madagascar, most have been repaired by now. This means the sky-high production that has been ballooning Chad Israel through the rankings has come to a pause. This is a temporary setback for them, though their position could be stalemate-y if they don't make the right moves.
Msurdej: Very little changed about Parthia this part. Their attack on the Seljuqs has petered out, to the point that the Seljuqs have begun to try and counterattack. The many reason for this is that Mithridates has been focusing out wiping out the army of Alp Arslan. But he must start working on those cities if he wants to keep himself in the top 20. However, that could put him in contact with Palmyra, which could cause maybe more issues for Parthia.
Doom: Venezuela didn't do much this part but continue their rise through the top 20. However, breaking into the top 15 will require more effort. Haiti is still the easiest substantial target but any Caribbean colony could be taken without minimal effort. The Aztecs in particular are overdue an invasion. Until that time, Venezuela will continue to increase the gap between their stats and their immediate neighbours. With the exception of the Kuikuro, every one of Venezuela's neighbours are fair game. Until their immediate neighbours become Uruguay and the Apache at least.
Gragg: As a newly spawned Goths fan, I can say that the Goths were pretty boring this part. So I’ll use this opportunity to give you my personal opinions on why you shouldn’t give up on the Goths despite their failed wars so far. They have top 15 stats which are fairly well rounded. Better than all of their neighbors including the Kazakhs. This civ is one of the more common over in r/civaigames and has a pretty good track record. It’s not like this ai is consistently awful at warring. All ai’s have stupid moments. Everyone in the top ten in CBRX already has. The Goth’s shortcomings are flukes but their position and stats are very real. Thank you to the 10 people that read this whole slide. This message brought to you by the +Goths players who bribed me.
Aaron: The Algerian invasion continues to be a roaring success, with the exception of 1 city getting burnt down but I guess sometimes things can get out of hand. There is only a single Algerian city left and it is currently in the black, just waiting for a Moorish melee unit to show up and eliminate them. Not only does this give the Moors more land, which is always good, but it also means their large Atlantic fleet can get into the Mediterranean. But Abd-ar Rahman wants more! He has teamed up with his old buddy Askia to take on the other north African civ within reach: Libya. It remains uncertain which of the two friends will end up with the final Libyan city. Although common sense would dictate that capturing a city is good, if I were playing I would rather Songhai capture it and here's why.

I don't want the warmonger penalties from eliminating two civs. I want Songhai to get that elimination penalty and then use it to convince Venice to declare war on Songhai instead of on me. While Venice's big scary fleet is bashing itself against Songhai and distracting its army, I join in with my brand new trebuchets and granadine cavalry (crossbow replacement the Moors are currently researching at this very moment). Songhai's western cities are particularly empty and Songhai is still stuck on classical military tech so I should be able to blitz a lot of cities. Then I can keep them thanks to tavern happiness (also unlocked at crossbows). With my two biggest threats neutered (Songhai and Venice's scary fleet), I should be in an excellent position moving forwards. In the actual game, it's incredibly unlikely that the Moors will display such a high level of intelligence, but instigating a Songhai/Venice war would still be really good, even if they don't capitalise on it.
Gragg: Apache have taken the Aztec city along the western coast and look poised to take one or two more. So why the drop? Once again it's due to neighbors becoming more powerful. The Iroquois are looking especially good with the 3rd largest military on the cylinder. Apache have done well to curb Haida expansion in the area though. If they can make good gains in the war against Aztecs without overextending they will remain within striking distance of regional dominance. North American will remain a delicate balancing act for a few episodes though as Haida, Metis, Iroquois, and Apache posture to take control of the region.
Gragg: Taungoo climbs to 7th in infoaddict rankings. Some power rankers cough me cough are even putting them in the top 10. They’ve been very quiet so far though that’s likely due to the tough terrain around them. They’ve done well settling where they can though, including in Oceania. In fact, I think they should be in conversation for the first civ to settle in Hawaii or Micronesia. On the mainland they still have an opportunity to attack Qin or Canton if they can find a way around the terrain.
Shaggy: A bit of a mixed part for Haida. They solidified their Kamchatkan and Sakhalin holdings and have positioned themselves to be the most formidable force both sides of the Bering Strait. They also lost out on taking Azcapotzalco to the Apache and, as such, their short-term momentum for their southern ambitions. The Haida war canoes still travel around in pods, menacing the North American west coast, which gives Haida a good chance at being able to conquer more coastal territory over the next couple parts.
Techno: "Inaction" is probably the best way to describe the Khamugs for the past few parts. The Khamugs have yet to fight in any meaningful wars, which is problematic given that they have finally run out of land to settle and must start conquering if they wish to grow their empire any further. Science is also not the Khamugs' strong suit, as they are beginning to accumulate a tech deficit that has pushed their power ranking down by quite a bit. That being said, the Khamugs do have an opportunity to act. They have weak neighbors, as aside from the Qing, the Khamug army is far larger than those of all their major neighbors. The Khamugs also have the happiness to assimilate a number of cities, which is something that many of their rivals cannot say. If the Khamugs act now, they stand to profit a lot, but if they keep doing nothing, their tech debt will only accumulate further.
LonelyRS: The Qin have among the highest production levels of the game. That much has been made abundantly clear to us. They’re hitting their supposed prime, with two unlocked units that turn a theoretical fully carpeted Qin into the toughest force in, perhaps, the entire world, and a unique ability that makes capturing capitals even easier for them. They’ve already showed off a killer instinct and ability at war, mercilessly slaughtering Canton within just a few turns and kicking off the first war on the cylinder by sending the Xia into a tailspin they never could recover from. And, finally, ever since the war on Canton wound down they haven’t even bothered militarizing and have looked as docile as a lamb. The Qin’s fall recently has had an obvious root cause of their sheer stagnation when it comes the question of combat, as the Qin have simply refused to build military units and have displayed none of their former warmongering prowess. By all rights, they should be taking over the world as we speak with neighbors like the Qing, but instead we’ve seen nothing from them in months, as they slowly waste away. When the Qin are at full force and full power, at their peak, there is simply no force in East Asia that can stop them. The fear now is that they’ll never hit that peak again.
Gragg: Songhai keeps up guessing. They started incredibly strong. Then they slowed down and temporarily lost some cities to Algeria and Ndongo. Now they continue to plow through Northern Africa but leave themselves vulnerable in the South. Benin doesn’t have enough military or production to capitalize on Songhai’s currently undefended border though. Overall confidence in Songhai is high right now as they have weak neighbors, good stats, and aggressive tendencies.
Msurdej: City after city of Canada's fell to Hiawatha, and it looked like the Iroquois would be sending King to the loser's circle. But then, the Iroquois shocked us all, and made peace with the Canadians. On one hand, the warmongering penalties are starting to rack up for Hiawatha, and having the rest of North America join forces to overthrow him is not a good way to win. Canada is broken beyond rump state, and now the task of restoring the captured cities to be effective production and population centers falls to the Iroquois, and it will be easier to do when not at war.
Gragg: The Kazakhs were initially ranked #1 in large part due to their room to expand. And expand they have. Right now though they’re doing so without much of a military to protect it and they’re now out of room to build many more cities. Luckily, their production is still great and their tech is good enough. With this many powerful neighbors and so little military, I’m not the only one worried about their future. Even in the screenshot above a large percent of their units are just workers. The Kazakhs are in a good spot if they manage to build a carpet though (of non-workers preferably).
Msurdej: Maratha continues to have good stats, but their military ventures are doing less well. The war vs the inferior Oman is going nowhere, and wars in Indoneasia vs Australia and the Sulu probably wont turn out to be anything but good publicity for them. But that's fine, because Shivaji has a new secret weapon:
One of the biggest power spikes in the game, the Crossbow is going to make it much easier for Shivaji to mow down the forces of India and Nepal, making way for an eventual melee unit to show up and take a city. But if he wants that to happen, Maratha needs to stop dillying around in the water and start fighting hard on land.
Techno: With their top-tier stats, Palmyra has maintained their 5th-place spot, but at the cost of a rather humiliating back-and-forth around the city of Resafa with Chad Israel. While the city stayed in Palmyrene hands at the end of the war, this conflict showed the limits of what early-game armies are capable of. As things stand, Palmyra is not in a good position to expand in just about any direction, as nearly all their borders are oceanic or mountainous. Palmyra would require a powerful navy or a technological jump to have any additional easy routes of expansion, but this is not a problem that they alone have. Consequently, Palmyra's best move right now is to consolidate their control of the Middle East and build up their infrastructure further, as their empire itself already has an impressive amount of cities.
Lacsirax: Fourth place is a cliff-edge and the Métis are clinging on with their fingernails. They're only a couple of ranks away from slipping behind Palmyra, and one ranker (okay, this ranker) has them as low as ninth. This flies in the face of the statistics, which see the Métis in the top 10 of every relevant category, and in city count a whopping 10 ahead of second place. But this speaks to their deepest flaw: their city spam is verging on the ridiculous, with no hope 1 pop cities that do nothing but drag down their effective science and culture generation, and aren't able to produce the units that could defend them, with the result being that the apparently large Métis army is in actuality far too small to properly protect their holdings. That wouldn't be a problem if Riel's borders were like Palmyra's, for instance: small and behind mountain ranges. Instead the Métis plains transition seamlessly into Apache and Iroquois plains, and while Geronimo has hardly proven his mettle, Hiawatha is a force to be reckoned with. It's ironic, as the Métis' high ranking was often attributed to North America being on average the weakest continent, a position that seems strange now as four civs from the continent are all placed in the top 14. And the Métis sit right between the other three. I don't have to remind you what a well-timed coalition can do, right?
LonelyRS: It’s the same old, same old for Eadni, with the Sami evidently deciding that it’d be nice being a mainstay in the top three. What with her second place ranks in military and city count (the last one behind the Metis, a positively absurd ten ahead) and position near the front of the pack in technological progress, it’s not hard to see why. Still, there’s reasons they’re third, and not second or first, beyond that of Zimbabwe and Uruguay’s evidently being allowed to pick up right where their predecessors left off. In sum: Sami aren’t omnipotent. While a revolting peasantry is only just behind a ruler and a city when it comes to essentials for being a civ in this time period, it’s still worrying that the Sami had theirs go up in arms first, when civs like, say, the Metis exist. Arguably even worse, the Sami are on the verge of being passed by even the rapidly decaying Australia in production, in real danger of falling out of the top ten there with a relatively hilly core to boot. The Sami are still the best of the rest, with a multitude of expansion opportunities, a massive army, and an invulnerable core, but their flaws and issues may just ensure that that descriptor doesn’t mean much.
Aaron: The ever number 2 civ has spent the part increasing their production and not much else. And by do they have a lot of production, nearly breaking the 500 mark and ensuring Zimbabwe continue to be ranked high. Though Zimbabwe aren't doing quite so well in other areas. They maxed out their city count a while ago which is causing their population to fall behind Uruguay and Metis (who are still actively settling). They are also still struggling to keep up with Uruguay in science, but more worrying is the fact that Taungoo and Qin have also overtaken Zimbabwe; more competition for key wonders? Their war with Beta Israel was quite taxing on their military, to the extent that they're now only 15th of the cylinder, and behind both Songhai and Madagascar. Though this shouldn't be a problem because Ndongo's army is still weak despite its technological edge (UU longswordsmen) and Zimbabwe could probably still conquer them if they tried. Their massive production can build a giant army really easily whenever they need it. They don't need to expand just yet since their competition isn't expanding either, and at any rate, they don't have enough happiness to do so, but they will have to at some point if they want to keep their position.
Reformer: Nothing new on the northern front. How many generations of Uruguayans has Lavalleja sent to certain death already? How much more bloodshed can one lad demand from his people? Or can we say for certain that Lavalleja isn't just pressured to try and cause as much bloodshed as he can to appease the old ones - that is, the Observers? The quiet watchers who dropped Lavalleja and his people into this world with a single rule; There can be only one? Before I delve too far into madness, I'm obligated to tell you that Uruguay is still the king of statistics, with the biggest military, the best tech, the second best pop, and third best production. I dare not imagine the kind of devilry this world will need to defeat Uruguay...

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Game: Hearts of Iron III

Nihonjin Steel, Folded Over 9000 Times - Part 1

Images: 6, author: Slendermang, published: 2019-09-30