Published: 2019-11-11, edited: 1970-01-01
Editor's note: Yes we have a Poverty Point deathball, no it did not make it into this week's rankings. Sorry!
Gragg: This is what happens when you’re really good at the wrong stats. Sulu spent much of its time with faith and science instead of production and military. Their science lead led many to be optimistic that the Sulu would dominate Northern Oceania. Unfortunately, science doesn’t mean a darn thing if you don’t build units and expand. Still, not many would have guessed that their downfall would be a quick and ruthless assault by the Taungoo. Sure, I thought Taungoo would win this area eventually but that conquest was remarkably fast for an AI.
LonelyRollingStar: Don’t call it a comeback – the Seljuqs are only rising due to the detritus of dead (Sulu) and dying (Turks) civs threatening to ever so briefly unseat the current king of city-states from his perch overlooking those foolish enough to not secure their continued existence with a well-timed peace deal or three. The Seljuqs are a toy that has long since ceased to amuse, their only source of mystique merely a matter of which civ will take the kill, so for now and probably forever, Alp Arslan will likely be relegated solely to accidental cameo roles in situations far more interesting than he or his tiny little empire has any right to be in. I’d suggest a nice retirement to a nearby beach, but with his summer home destroyed and Nishapur’s obnoxiously being settled just one tile away from boat-making range, he can’t even do that. Maybe, though, if he’s particularly lucky, he might end up getting laughs as the new Poverty Point. God knows India and Parthia are willing to citadel-spam him to death, and Palmyra certainly won’t be short of Great Generals. If you can’t get attention from being good, you can at least try to get attention by being utterly pathetic.
Lunar: Diplomatic mastery and stubborn survival instinct might be the only thing keeping Murri away from the jaws of last place. With the grand culling of weaker and weaker Civs though; eyes draw on Ganuurru to pull a Tibet and keep the empire together. In a way; this empire is like a burning match. On limited life, only kept together by the oxygen of it's breath and blown out by an unassuming breeze. Their life is brief, yet beautiful. Majestic.
Lunar: Rumors say he went out for a stroll on a boat and came back to his city in ruins. Mehmed II ran out of his palace clutching his wife's hand as they made it to their boat. His wife would look upon him with teary eyes, knowing her life was a mere speck on the immortal mans age and wisdom. Seeing this, Mehmed would frown and turn his gaze down to the water, "They better not rename it something stupid..."

There's not much to say other than that. The Turks lost so much land and so much power so quick; going from a small power to a small empire with no chance of survival. Sadly, the only relevant action involving the turks is who will hold their capital, and what fan name will the new Konstantiniyye will be.
Gragg: When they die they die fast. The problem with playing tall, especially in this game mode, is that a single city flipping is a massive blow. In Papua’s case it led to the biggest slaughter we’ve seen so far in terms of ‘lives’ lost. Bigger than New Zealand vs Murri and bigger than Ndongo’s great ganking. Their remaining cities are low pop and stuck between New Zealand, Taungoo, Shikoku, Australia, and...Murri. Even Murri could do damage at this moment though. The silver lining is that the avenues of attack are getting a little crowded. It doesn’t take many obstacles to halt an AI naval attack. I’m not so sure that will be enough to save Papua’s last big city of Perth though.
Shaggy: Nenets? More like NOT-EVEN-IN-THE-PART-NETS! Yeah, no mention of the purple reindeer people in the part and not much going on in the director’s cut either. Damn, only so many times I can talk about nothing here… dooooooo somethinggggggg.
LonelyRollingStar: Given all the excitement of the last few parts, you could be forgiven for forgetting that Muscovy had done anything it all. After all, Ivan certainly has, given that his army is so far removed from his most recent front that it appears he woke up completely stunned as to why he was suddenly left on three cities and at war with Prussia. Yes, it’s true: Muscovy’s on three cities! Maybe the long Muscovy strategy was a bad idea after all. Even beyond city count, things look grim for the closest thing we have to a Russian civ this mark, with Prussia’s slightly depleted army still utterly overwhelming Vladimir and knocking on the doors of the inexplicably populous Suzdal and Moscow. With a Goth citadel leaving only a one tile passage for Muscovite units to bail out Vladimir, and the rest of the army easily able to be counted by four or five hands, Ivan’s become a dark horse to be the next leader to find himself without a job. You want to make easy points in the prediction contest? Then choose -Muscovy, and watch this slide become a eulogy.
ThyReformer: Emboldened by what appeared to be a strong anti-Goth coalition, our likable Golden Horde has decided that participating in said coalition is ideal - and at a glance, this seemed like a good idea. For a few happy turns, It even looked like the Horde could push to and even capture their original capital. But inevitably, the grim truth settled in, followed by Palmyra making peace with the Goths after a quick victory - and suddenly, the Horde was on the defensive around Sarai Berke. While the Goth army is certainly too weak to actually capture Sarai Berke, the situation has made the Horde more akin to a bait - something for the Goths to get distracted by, while the Sami push on from the north like an avalanche. In a way, it is nothing new for the misfortunate Horde, and yet, it is surprisingly saddening.
Shaggy: Vaclav Havel woke up this part and said “Hey, let's go poke the lion that's east of me”. Then he went, took Konstantiniyye, lost Konstantiniyye, thought to himself “wait, this isn’t Ostrava”, then knocked on the doors of Konstantiniyye and held it through the end of the part. THE BALLS ON THIS MAN! Sure, Palmyra may have peaced out with the Turks at the end of the part to possibly focus more on the Battle of the Bosporus (yes, please use that more), but the terrain may still make it an even battle in a Thermopylae-esque stand for the Czechs. I’ll be honest, I didn’t have much faith in Havel when he let his borders get bisected by being beaten at Brno, but this recovery is almost beyond belief. Battle on, Havel!
Msurdej: As the battle of the Amazon rages on, the Kuikuro get a small bump. While they certainly aren't doing well, turtling up against the superior Uruguay, Lavalleja isn't using his tech to his advantage. This makes it easier for Kuikuro to hold the lines. But make no mistake, unless Anetü makes peace soon, it's likely that Urugauy bombers will be flattening his three remaining cities as GWI march in.
Lunar: HRE... Oh lord HRE... You’ve gone done it and angered all of Europe again. Scattered and defenseless, most of their units seem to be busy fighting among themselves than existing to defend their cities. Quite Napoleonic of you. Units look particularly slim on this front; it seems likely that the well composed all melee Venetian army bears its full weight on top of the HRE machine. Venice can into land; but can they into a capital? It’s actually quite nail biting. One bad loss of a melee unit and a rush from both sides and we might see a few flips before a defeated HRE is added on the list of broken television screens every intro. You h-have noticed I’ve been changing the graphic to reflect every death right? Right?
Technostar: Of note, while I was searching for an image to use for the Aztecs slide, I stumbled across an interesting tidbit about the Aztecs. Aside from a glancing image of some of their naval territory from footage of the Tongan invasion of the Galapagos, the Aztecs were otherwise ignored throughout the whole part. Thankfully for the Aztecs, being ignored is something that a bottom-of-the-barrel civ should want nowadays. After all, being bottom tier means you're either being ignored or actively dying.
Msurdej: Things are starting to look up for Ching Shih. They have a new city, they have their UU Junk Fleet, and continue to do good in tech. Sure their production took a bit of a hit, but once Macao gets up and running, Ching Shih should bounce back. Of course, if the Taungoo or the Qin decide to remove the Pirates, they could go the way of the Sulu. But for now, Canton is doing its best to claw out of the rump states.
Gragg: Time for the rematch we’ve all been waiting for! Haiti vs Venezuela has been one of the most anticipated wars on the cylinder for some time. As is tradition we may have been sleeping on Haiti here. Or perhaps overhyping Venezuela. At least in this screenshot Haiti doesn’t look half bad, and the Venezuelan city on Bermuda is an almost guaranteed capture. Don’t get too excited though because Venezuela’s navy has for some reason gathered just the Northwest of this shot. The large city of Maturin is in definite danger. This certainly isn’t shaping up to be the Ndongo scale dismantling some thought it might be (I didn't).
Aaron: Oh no! Shikoku has finally returned to finish what they started at the start of the game: to take the Korean peninsula. The Korean capital of Hanseong has already been secured and Shikoku are moving to take Hwangju too. The new capital of Busan is a sensible choice in that it is Korea's biggest city and pretty central (probably a first in this game of bizarre capital choices). The big reason why they're losing the war is their terrible tech, having less than half the beakers that Shikoku have; their renaissance navy of galleasses and galleons is no match for Shikoku's frigates and UU Kurofunes. Korea does have one advantage in that they have just researched their UU cannon, the Chongton, which has a 50% bonus against naval units. Their other UU, the turtle ship, is mysteriously absent. It's a simply caravel replacement which they've had the tech for since 80 turns ago... so where is it? I can't see any normal caravels either for that matter... At any rate they have their cannons and with them, they might have a chance at not being completely eliminated, though this war, and the loss of their capital, is certainly punishing for them.
Shaggy: No mention of Nepal (or even their neighbors much) this part. Directors Cut shows Taungoo citadelling the absolute crap out of the Nepalese capital, though. Not the best news for the mountain-dwellers of south Asia. In more bad news, Maratha has planes now, so the staple of Nepal’s defense (mountains) will soon be significantly less useful. Other than that, in the absence of much going on with Nepal, here is a link to Nepalese Buddhist chants to meditate to while we wait for the next part:
LonelyRollingStar: Another day, another rise in rank attributed to the collapse of the CBRX’s middle class. That the Yup’ik are inching towards what was once the halfway mark should serve as a particularly strong testament to the sheer scale of the culling of late. For once, however, being stalled as opposed to in free-fall isn’t the only reason to completely disregard the Arctic backwater’s chances. Haida, stupidly, has decided to once again join their Iroquois fellows in a war with the Metis, flailing hopelessly while they watch as even more of the continent is claimed by Hiawatha. The Yup’ik, by virtue of being hopelessly inadequate, have a full carpet. Should one be stoned and/or drunk enough, they could maybe, theoretically contrive a scenario in which the littlest Boreal Bro takes a Haida city or three. Of course, for that scenario to actually happen, the Yup’ik would have to possess a level of opportunism and a lack of self-preservation that their turtling, cowardly way of living so far in the BR has pretty thoroughly shown implausible. Still, we do need something to write on this slide.
Lunar: Shikoku's attack ended and successfully pushed off onto Korea who swiftly lost their capital. This means that Qing is stronger than Korea, obviously. With no weak opponents anymore, it's unlikely anything but a well teched up carpet and an opportunistic war will do anything to save them. In actuality, their game ended once Qin was allowed to hold onto their land and Khamugs were left unchallenged. It's only time, time that should be used now while Qin and Khamug's are uncarpetted... but, AI gotta AI.
Technostar: After a particularly brutal war with the Vikings, the Manx sat back and licked their wounds this part. I certainly don't blame them; several razed cities is not an easy thing to deal with. However, the Manx have handled it relatively well, snagging a city location left behind by Viking fires. After all, they'll need everything they can muster when the Moors or Vikings attack again.
Aaron: As a giant Songhai coalition starts Nubia is surprisingly absent, preferring to sit this one out. This seems like a big mistake. Nubia is the smallest African civ with the least production and worst tech. What Nubia does have is a big (though slightly outdated) army, notably having more troops than either Songhai or Benin. But what use is a big army if it doesn't get used? If they just sit on their army and do nothing, the their neighbors will just out-tech and outproduce them until Nubia's outdated army loses its usefulness. There are two good options here: declare on Songhai or declare on Benin. Benin is the weaker of the two though still slightly stronger than Nubia; however, with its smaller army distracted in the west, a rematch is pretty likely to go Nubia's way. Songhai is the more powerful of the two, but is even more distracted with the giant coalition and will likely hemorrhage a bunch of cities. What's more, attacking Songhai gives them diplomatic points with all the other civs in the coalition, which sounds really useful. Perhaps Nubia's apparent inaction is simply waiting for the soldiers to tire themselves out and it's only then that will Nubia pounce.
Aaron: Tonga have gone on the offensive, and though they burnt down both cities they captured from the Nazca, they do have a settler there to replace one of them so it technically counts as a gain! Thus I get to the one to officially declare Tonga Time! This victory was possible because the Nazca severely neglected their naval tech; at the start of the war they still only had medieval ships and though they have since upgraded to renaissance ships, it is too little and too late. Tonga is another civ who neglected their navy until recently, going instead for their UU riflemen. This was more worrying given they were an island civ, but they still got navigation in time for this war so it's still OK. Speaking of tech, Tonga is doing really well, being the second most advanced civ in oceania behind only Australia (and ahead of New Zealand, though new Zealand leads in production by a long way). Though we were worried about a lack of navy, it turns out that Tonga has been beelining ironclads, aiming to get them before even getting ships of the line (the ships that upgrade into ironclads). This is particularly good thanks to Tonga's UA, which boosts melee ships damage vs cities by 50% - a huge bonus to the world's most advanced ship. This should allow Tonga time to continue for the foreseeable future as long as they can find coal from somewhere. Ironclads with a 50% bonus vs cities are monsters and should result in a bunch of coastal cities falling to Tonga and their amphibious UU riflemen mean they can stop them flipping back. The only reasonable defense to this type of assault is cruisers which many civs lack (particularly the Nazca, who lack even frigates).
JMan: Something something Old Gods something something Eldritch Horror. The Selk'Nam get a great little boost after a terrible decision from Hugo Chavez to declare war. The Selk'nam are growing a tad more based off of Antarctic holdings formerly held by Venezuela. It is not much by any means, but having a slightly larger backline ensures that the Selk'Nam can better defend themselves from a Uruguayan assault or prepare a war against a civilization off the coast.
Msurdej: Parthia did very little, if anything this part. They just did their darndest to pick up the pieces from the last war. This still isn't a good thing for a former top 10 civ to be doing, especially as their neighbor, current top 10 civ Palmyra continues to outperform them all around. Their tech is still fairly good, but their production is also starting to go south. The cracks in Mithridates' empire are starting to show; its only a matter of time before it breaks.
LonelyRollingStar: Trying to find good qualities about India is like arguing in favor of a trigger-happy serial killer in a kangaroo court. You desperately try to find any scrap of evidence that can resist the argument of “is in Asia”, fail miserably, then, right when you’re about to give up, one of the more troublesome jurors is mysteriously murdered and you fool yourself into thinking the endeavor something other than an a waste of time. It’s only later, after you’ve lost the case and watched your client get carted off to be executed, that you realize that you probably shouldn’t have taken the case after they became Maratha’s welcome mat. In typical India fashion, the most exciting thing they did this episode was predicated wholly on their not doing anything, as Maratha’s carpet overflowed into much of their empire, units that can’t take cities moving in to free up spots for, naturally, more units that can’t take cities. Really, the entire part it seemed as if India had managed to freeze themselves in time. Delhi, their capital and ostensibly their city best suited for expansion, stagnated at ten population. Maratha decided to finish their carpet for them. I’m not entirely sure they even managed to research so much as a single technology. Nepal may be absolutely fucked at all times, but the only explanation for all this is that India is making a spirited effort to catch them in hopelessness. Either that, or they’re attempting some sort of demented “wins-by-doing-absolutely-nothing” challenge.
Aaron: Wow! We now know what Benin have been building up their troops for: a gigantic coalition against Songhai! The Moors do seem like the main organizer, having been building up troops for far longer, ever since their last war with Songhai, while also being very well connected diplomatically and dragging the entirely of Europe into it. However, Benin is clearly second in command, being the only other civ with an actual border with Songhai (unless you count 2 Uruguay ocean tiles). Now Songhai is of course a lot bigger and more powerful than Benin in every respect (yes: including military strength). If there wasn't a coalition, or if the coalition suddenly disappears, Benin would be the one in trouble. However, at the moment Songhai is going to be forced to move a lot of their troops away to defend against the huge Moor army, and this is the perfect opportunity for Benin to swoop in and hopefully grab some good cities. This is pretty important as this is one of the last expansion options available for Benin, what with scary Zimbabwe, Chad Israel and a well-carpetted Nubia being their only other neighbors. Will Benin succeed at becoming the Ethiopia of CBRX?
Msurdej: The tides seems to be turning against Nazca. While their core is still holding, they've begun to lose colonies to Tonga. Worse still, the Nazca army has lost about a third of its power, much of its navy is in ashes. Now both Tonga and Selk'nam lie outside the ports of Cahuachi, leaving Nazca in a very precarious situation. And still, the threat of Uruguay looms over the Nazca, which would certainly make things go from bad to worse.
Shaggy: Madagascar continues to be one of the most controversial civs amongst the Power Rankers. The way I see it, there are two camps: one hopes that Madagascar will be able to leverage their top 10 military to take some of their neighbors’ mainland holdings, the other camp sees the disparity between Madagascar’s military strength and their production potential and combines that with their island location and poor war record. Each camp tends to rank Madagascar higher or lower than the resulting rank and until either Madagascar’s military does something (good or bad) or their production catches up, the divide will probably continue. Outside of expounding on PR schools of thought, there isn’t much to say about Madagascar this part. They only appeared on one slide of the episode and their ranking shift is more attributable to the actions of other civs rather than any actions of their own. Hopefully Madagascar will get out of limbo next episode…
ThyReformer: Beta Israel is resting again. Not much has happened in Eastern Africa for a longer while now - Western Africa, on the other hand, has been on fire for as long as mortal men can remember. The silence on Beta Israel's side of the continent is as much a reminder of the past as it is a warning of the future. This region - famous for its long eras of peace followed by intense but unmoving wars - is now in that period of peace. Realistically speaking, this cycle is too slow to create a true juggernaut, aside from the existing one in South Africa, but nevertheless, it means that soon - perhaps in 2 or 3 parts - this region will see big wars again. And who knows, maybe the cycle will be broken? Perhaps Beta Israel will permanently take on the form of Chad Israel, as we all want them to. Or maybe it'll be the Madagascans who jump into glory, propelled forward by their ever-growing quantity of far-flung colonies. Who knows?
Aaron: FREEDOM! Yes, this is the news that Australia is the only civ in the entire cylinder to adopt freedom as their ideology! How does this choice stack up against the others? Well from a diplomatic standpoint, it will mean every other civ will hate Australia and they will be subject to numerous coalitions; so not too different from usual then! The second disadvantage is the large amount of unhappiness that will be generated from tourism - late-game deity AI can counter this by creating ludicrous amounts of happiness but it is still a pretty big downside until that point. Apart from that, freedom is also one of the best options with future worlds because they give big bonuses to specialists - which future world creates a LOT of. Core freedom cities are the biggest, toughest and most productive of the entire game, which makes them perfect for winning long drawn out grindy wars (as long as the core is out of range of nukes) - and these types of war are extremely common in the late-game. The downside is there are no combat bonuses which means that if all civs have a full carpet the freedom civ is at a disadvantage compared to order civs (who get 15% attack bonus in friendly territory) and autocratic civs (which start with 15 extra xp, as well as having more strategic resources).
I would like to draw your attention to 3 things about freedom in particular that synergize with future worlds to a ludicrous degree: first of all the statue of liberty, which gives 1 production per specialist. You might recall Vietnam having in M2 and it boosting their power by a huge amount. Secondly 'civil society' which halves food consumed by specialists and thirdly 'universal suffrage' which halves unhappiness produced by specialists. These can be thought of as statues of liberties except for food and happiness. Unfortunately, Australia is possibly the worst civ to receive these bonuses as they do not stack with Australia's UA (Specialists consume half the usual Food and Happiness during Golden Ages) . So that means that that portion of Australia's UA no longer has any effect - a disappointment to be sure. Time will tell whether this was a wise choice or not.
Gragg: I don’t think anyone is surprised by this turn of events, but that won’t save Songhai a 5 rank drop. Songhai is caught flat-footed as the Moors and Friends descend upon their hollow lands. They had several episodes to prepare for this eventuality but they....well...I don’t actually know what they spent that time doing. Onto actual war coverage. The two island cities off the West coast are certain to fall, including the 20 pop city of Araouane. The smaller city of Nani on the West coast will likely fall in the next couple turns as well. This is where the Moorish attack seems to be focused. They also have a smaller detachment sieging Tripoli in the East but I’d be surprised if that city falls to that attack. Benin to the East is splitting attack to three large cities. They just might come away with one or two though.
ThyReformer: At last, Prussia has returned to fighting one of her more vulnerable neighbors: The Muscovites, of course. Weakened from their protracted war with the Sami, Muscovy is nothing more than a good breakfast to start your day - should flipping be minimal, these cities will be a great bounty to Prussia, as two of them, Suzdal and Moscow, are 40 pop. Certainly a plentiful bounty. And, of course, as is only natural for Prussia, the technological advance is theirs. Fielding their unique riflemen, the Landwehr, and Field Guns - the step between cannons and artillery - the Prussian army is certainly scary. The Muscovite army, on the other hand, consists mostly of outdated musketman replacements, crossbows, and cannons. And indeed, even that army consists mostly of the survivors of the Sami war - veterans or not, numbers and technology are irreversibly Prussia's advantages to hold. The only question now is, will Prussia go all the way, now that they aren't distracted in other wars?
Technostar: As the Evenk population expands from "extremely underpopulated" to merely "underpopulated", their stats rise to match and earn them a solid spot around rank 20, much more in line with where you'd expect a civ with the land that the Evenks control. Also of note is the recent Evenk military expansion, as their military size no longer trails as severely as it used to. In related news, the Evenks have launched a totally relevant war against the northern Qing colonies, which might just wind up being undefended enough for the Evenks to squeeze in a few units to threaten the cities with.
Lunar: The Zimbabwe of Asia; the Qin have stats that can eviscerate a majority of their neighbors but no desire to do so themselves, inclined to build theaters rather than units, and denounce rather than war. It seems like Qin refuse to play a domination victory, and rather play a scientific victory. With the awakening of Zimbabwe, people wonder exactly who will be the next target of the sleeping giant of Asia.

Although, if I’m being honest, I honestly expect them to declare on Qing and sleep forever, that or I will be wrong and they will reform the Mongol Empire in a blitz of glory. Who knows?
ThyReformer: Sandwiched between the Vikings and the Venetians, the Empire in Central Europe has been brought to its knees in a shocking show of competence. Indeed, no more than 5 cities and some far-flung colonies remain for the troubled Empire, and one of said cities is the disconnected Brno. For Venice, this means good news, of course - depending on how far Enrico is willing to push, a majority of the remaining cities on the mainland could become Venetian in the span of a single part. Mainz might've been a tough victory, but pushing forward should be no issue now. Mind, though, that while Venetians fought tooth and nail to take a single city, it was the Vikings that captured a totality of four cities, thanks to naval dominance. If only the HRE had been really evil, and we could've drawn parallels to Germany at the end of WW2. But alas, it was not meant to be - nevertheless, one can reasonably assume that the Vikings and the Venetians won't be allies for much longer. All the same, the two civs are also unlikely to start brawling, as both have a big neighbor, and better targets. But...a sort of 'cold war' between the two should occur nevertheless, splitting Central Europe. For shame.
JMan: Hugo loses some Antarctic holdings, but that might be a good thing. Rather than have cities that are loosely connected to the main Venezuelan empire and are hard to defend, Chavez now has eyes in Haiti. Whether or not Toussaint can counter attack remains to be seen, but the presence of a strong Venezuelan military in Maturin leads many to believe that Venezuela might make it out of the next part with a capital.
LonelyRollingStar: Well, insert your choice of obscenely colorful swear here, because Alaric appears to have finally gotten around to purchasing the fourth volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and this time he’s playing the role of the title character. The Goths have been holding off the invaders at their gates pretty adequately thus far, only losing one city to a suddenly-great Palmyra, beating back the advance of the Golden Horde, and stemming the bleeding at the north of their empire. But something’s got to give, and based on how utterly barren the Gothic core is, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be grandma. Hell, he can’t even hope to win his cities back if he does somehow manage to regain control of them, what with his negative happiness probably meaning a lot of razing. Any feel-good vibes left from the Goths’ ridiculously inept quarantining of the Golden Horde are gone, now, with Alaric’s empire in tatters and his only hope to peace out and slip into the ranks of the mid-tier instead of the bottom. But still, there is one silver lining, one sliver of hope for the Goths as their chances of victory wash away like specks of food in a dishwasher. At least they aren’t losing cities to the Golden Horde. That was be too embarrassing to ever live down.
LonelyRollingStar: Uh… huh. Well, Koyah, admire your willingness to go to war with a distracted larger neighbor and all, but when a coalition against the Metis ends in disaster because you forgot to bring a land unit and you still haven’t built any, the proper response is to start building land units, not redeclare war with your Iroquois friends with an army comprised primarily of workers. Now Koyah can once again only watch in horror as his boats understandably refuse to start sailing on land, his cities immediately get put under threat by savvy Metis units, and his best opportunity for expansion, Korea, goes up in smoke. Do you want to get eclipsed by Shikoku? Because this is how you get eclipsed by Shikoku. Haida’s been at some low ebbs since they ascended to the ranks of the higher tiers, but their lowest yet might be just a part or two away, massive navy left to rot as Shikoku achieve what looks like it could be a final victory over their northern neighbors while a coalitioned civ ravages Koyah’s interior holdings. Haida’s AI, so highly lauded debated over, might have just settled the debate, proving itself once and for all to be thoroughly incompetent. Maybe it’d be better if they’d never broken out. At least then every time the camera panned over to their salmon-colored corner of the world we wouldn’t experience a sense of crushing disappointment.
Technostar: Opportunism is king in this game, particularly when it comes to declaring wars. So, it should come as no surprise that Shikoku's recent invasion of Korea has been acknowledged with a bump in their ranking. With the Korean capital of Hanseong securely in Shikoku's hands, the war is already a success, but since only one city has changed hands, it's too early to claim a decisive victory. Nonetheless, Shikoku's invasion of Korea may be far from over, and unlike their wars with Qin and Qing, their Korean war has already yielded dividends.
Gragg: The most consistently impressive civ on the cylinder does it again. Without a moment's break they’ve become favorites to win the British Isles, defended their homeland in Scandinavia against the Prussians, and took 3 large cities in a single episode from the HRE. A look at the border with Sami will show you that they are no longer a threat. Prussia is the only civ I’d be worried about right now if I were the Vikings. Still though, they make me nervous by always fighting and never resting. Their army is always on the cuff of thinning out but they manage to bring in just enough reinforcements. If they get unexpectedly coalitioned by Prussia and Friends that could be a major problem for their core.
ThyReformer: This is your chance, Geronimo! The anti-Métis coalition is back in full swing, and Iroquois are pushing harder than ever - will you ever get a better chance? Ah, but no matter how much I scream and shout, it is rather unlikely that Apache will join the current war, if history is anything to judge by. But even then, a war against the Métis should be fine, regardless of whether it is declared while the coalition is active or not. The slobbering giant is falling - very slowly, mind - and inevitably, Apache should be the main civ to benefit from that downfall. Striking in a timely fashion will help ensure that this is indeed the case in the next half a dozen parts. The worst case scenario is to allow Iroquois to conquer the lion's share of the land, because then Geronimo is truly and well fucked, and nothing can convince me otherwise. So go, and raise fear in your foes as you were meant to!
ThyReformer: The anti-Métis coalition is back, and this time the Iroquois seem better prepared, worryingly enough. Our favorite really-fuckin-blobby civ has still not particularly invested in carpets that actually cover the vulnerable Métis floors, and it thus seems that the Iroquois are more or less free to push for as long as they wish. This may be especially true if the Métis army ends up getting distracted by Haida cities again. In fact, this is already happening: Far from the more dangerous enemy in the east, a sizable contingent of Métis troops is heading into Haida territory, eager to capture a city so that the Métis propaganda machine can call this war a victory as well. I wonder how many times this will repeat. A Métis fan could potentially hope that the impending ideology choice will poke some activity into the blob, but although I hold that same hope, I cannot call it a particularly confident hope. Maybe the Métis are simply doomed to repeatedly lose small bits and pieces here and there. Maybe it's a 'get fit quick' scheme by the rest of the continent. But hey, here's to optimism!
Shaggy: Looking like a hot snack for the Khamugs yet rising 2 ranks this part are the Kazakhs. Not a terribly active part for the Kazakhs as they are still carpeting up (or I hope they are) to unleash a wave of their shade of blue across central Asia. In our last glimpse of the Kazakh/Khamug border, I count maybe a half dozen units that Ablai Khan could use to defend Genhe; definitely not enough if Jamukha actually committed to an invasion. One thing of note is that there appears to be an absence of roads connecting the Kazakh’s eastern front to their core, making reinforcing those eastern cities a somewhat more difficult task. Actually, now that I’m writing this I may look to drop the Kazakhs in my personal rankings next week if all things remain the same… I’ll bet that their rise is a result of a slightly different ranker pool this week and some shuffling going on in the top 15 as ideologies start coming into play.
Technostar: With the massacre of Hanuabada, Seddon has secured his lead as by far the most bloodthirsty leader of the CBRX, with a kill count eclipsing even the most brutal of real-world leaders. This one city capture alone eclipsed even Nazi Germany in sheer death toll. Not one, but two civilizations have now faced a massacre by his hands. Evidently, this action was taken to make room for the ever-expanding quantity of Kiwis, as New Zealand also maintains a lead as the highest-population civilization in the cylinder, with only Uruguay coming close. Nevertheless, it seems as though Papua is falling fast, as Seddon keeps funneling his modernized navy into the Arafura Sea. If the fall of Sulu was any indication, so long as New Zealand maintains their war effort, their shiny new top 10 spot is well-deserved. On other fronts, New Zealand's war with Australia continues to be an eternal stalemate, but at least it has kept Hawke from having literally any chance of rebuilding his forces.
JMan: Have you read Jamukha's Dream on the subreddit? That is how I feel Jamukha is doing. He definitely has the capacity and want to conquer other civilizations, but he is just so goddamn... Peaceful. He really can pick whatever neighboring civ he wants and he could probably take more than a few cities off of them, they just haven't done it. Till then... it's tumbling around in the top 10 for Jamukha!
Msurdej: Sami continues to be the terror of northern Eurasia, this time making peace with the Muscovy and sending their energy at the Goths. This fighting will be much fiercer than anything Eadni has had to deal with previously, but with the barrenness of the Goth core, she might have a good shot of expanding her empire. But the biggest threat comes not from the east, but the west. The Vikings have grown in power considerably during the game, and the border between the two civs is sparsely defended. Thankfully, Ragnar seems more preoccupied in the sea and mainland Europe, but if that changes, it could be big.
JMan: Zenobia misses out on taking Konstantiniyye for now, but they have also taken another city in Pelopponesus. They could be positioned to take either of the last two Ottoman cities in a future war, with the southern exclave being preferable to the other. Palmyra has proven to be an absolute beast at warfare, and if they can continue riding this high, they could really balloon up in West Asia. In the meantime, can Zenobia curb stomp the Czechs and do what the Ottomans could never do?
JMan: Maratha continue to shift only a few spaces around the top 10. The Taungoo were originally Maratha's rivals, but were certainly the weaker of the two. Now the Taungoo are undeniably Maratha's better with the defeat of Sulu and the surrounding of Malaysian and Indonesian Marathan holdings.
Aaron: The time has come! 90 turns ago, the Moors and Songhai made peace, after a grueling war that left both cores empty of troops. But the conquest of west Africa remained the Moors number 1 priority even during the peace. For indeed, the Moors built up to the 4th largest army of the entire cylinder and took as many islands off the coast as possible (sometimes by force). They have also extended diplomatic ties all over the world, forming the biggest alliance the cylinder has ever seen, notably including number 1 civ Uruguay, Benin, and every European civ bar Venice and Vikings. This ensures both that Songhai will be distracted and also the Moors will get diplomatic boosts with all their allies. Yes, the Moors have certainly been planning this moment for a long time and has prepared very well for it. This is particularly impressive as AIs typically put zero preparation into their wars; sometimes they do the bare minimum of moving their troops over to the border first but often they don't even do that. The Moors put in both military and diplomatic preparation for a duration of almost 90 turns! Now the preparation is over and the Moors need to actually put their plan into motion. It's almost certain they will walk away from this war with gains, but the question remains as to how many gain? Will this be a total Songhai collapse or will it just be grabbing a few cities like last time?
Msurdej: While Africa is starting to heat up, it's not due to anything in Zimbabwe. With most of Africa focusing on the Songhai, this gives Mutota to recharge and focus on rebuilding his army. While most of his stats are good, his military his falling behind other major players, and is now just outside of the top 10. But with everyone focusing on Askia, Zimbabwe will have time to repair his forces, further integrate the recent conquests into his empire, and be ready for the next fight.
Shaggy: Hello children. I want to thank you and I want to thank your fine Power Rankers, for hearing me out. I take civs and I process them into goo. I am a goo man. I am building factories all over my territory. I’ll soon have trucks loaded with goo that can be all around the cylinder within the next few hundred years. The goo I speak of can be made into anything. It can be made into Asian domination. It can be made into naval Oceanic domination. And I promise you that none of the other civs will know the difference. I would very much like to be the immortal despot for your cylinder. I would like to be the immortal despot for your cities. I'm a simple family man and the ruler of the Taungoo. I would like the opportunity to make you all Taungoo as well. And I thank you.
Gragg: The peace in North America did not last long. Metis is once again the target as the Iroquois look to finally claim Winnipeg. That fleet to the North is going to make if very difficult to hold, so it will likely flip down to 1 pop. As exciting as this war is I don’t see many gains for either side. Just death… On a larger scale the Iroquois are being joined by more and more Autocratic civs. On one hand this means more ‘friends’ for them. On the other it means they’re losing the advantage of being the only civ to an ideology. Now they have to conquer on a more even playing field.
Technostar: AI's gotta AI, and not even the most notorious AIs can quite escape that reality. As another part rolls by, Uruguay has somehow still failed to make any further progress against Kuikuro despite unlocking Great War Bombers, a unit with the ability to fly well over the nightmarish Amazonian labyrinth and deal damage to the Kuikuro cities directly. A glance at Uruguay's lands reveals why: they have yet to produce a single Great War Bomber, perhaps indicative of a lack of oil despite having the means to improve any oil source in their territory. If that's indeed the case, Uruguay will have a far harder time making use of their technological lead, as a lack of planes is a severe impediment. Likewise, while they appear to be pursuing nuclear technologies, the Kuikuro need not fear being on the receiving end of any nuclear annihilation. Perhaps their target instead is the Songhai, who Uruguay just recently declared war on. A West African nuclear bombardment is no unprecedented tactic, after all, as the Buccaneers of CBR Mk. 2 pulled off a similar maneuver. But whatever Uruguay winds up doing with its atomic ambitions, they should still focus on conquest first and foremost. Dynamite, a technology they have steadfastly overlooked so far would spell doom to the Kuikuro fortress, while in Africa, Uruguay must make sure it does not leave their recent island conquest completely undefended from a potential Songhai flanking maneuver. These uncertainties, combined with a diminishing production lead and a falling city count rank, have caused a shocking sight among power rankers: two PRs have ranked Uruguay 2nd!

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Game: Stellaris

The Start of the Federation

Images: 25, author: QuantumTraveler, published: 2017-06-15, edited: 1970-01-01