Author: Gragg9
Published: 2019-12-23, edited: 1970-01-01
Aaron: Alas, our beloved jungle turtle was taken from us too soon. They shall be remembered for their incredible heroism in the face of overwhelming odds, for surviving against the vastly superior Uruguay for centuries of war. The civ AI is completely incapable of navigating jungle, and thus the Kuikuro cities remained safe from the huge technologically advanced horde. Though their coastal cities, unprotected by jungle on at least one side, fell one by one, their core lived on, and grew up to be 3 huge megalopols. When Uruguay finally developed weapons powerful enough to ignore the jungle (ie: bombers), the Kuikuro finally gave up and allowed Uruguay to make peace. As one final spit in the face to Uruguay, they chose the opposing ideology: autocracy. People often say that Canton is the greatest rump but I say the Kuikuro were stronger, able to pump out a sizeable force of riflemen to defend itself from future aggression, approximately equal to Canton's navy in raw strength. Sadly, that future aggression came all too soon, in the form of Uruguay's lackeys: Nazca, Venezuela and Selk'nam all declared war on the Kuikuro, and unfortunately, they did have bombers, the weapon that can ignore jungle. And thus the great jungle turtle was finally defeated. They were the saviour of south america and the cylinder at large; without them, Uruguay's expansion would have continued unchecked across the entire continent. And yet for their great sacrifice, this is how the other civs repay them? They deserved so much better. One can imagine that the Nazca will eventually be punished for their foolish decision to eliminate the one thing standing between them and blue-coloured annihilation.
Gragg: Smalljuqs
Aaron: This week, the Golden Horde lose 1 rank to the Aztecs for some reason. There's really nothing much to report on them. Everyone is just hoping for someone to kill them because there are just too many rumps at the moment.
Shaggy: Best shot of the Aztecs this week was from Vihreaa’s map. To be fair, there isn’t much to look at as they’re one of the more boring city states. But hey, they move up a rank because at least they aren’t dead yet (cough cough, Venezuela?)
Techno: The days of the Turks as a two-city empire are coming to a close, as Venice has taken the liberty of attempting to clean up the area's border gore. However, Palmyra's in the way of a Venetian invasion of their other city, so the Turks seem fairly safe for the time being despite this loss. That is, if the peacekeepers in the area can't maintain the border gore of the region and keep Bursa alive.
Cloudberg: Ever wondered how Moscow is so big? Turns out there's a bug giving +2 food to unemployed citizens. So in this game Russia has, in fact, achieved luxury gay space communism, because 90% of the population doesn't have to work and is provided with the necessities of survival. Let's change the narrative: is Muscovy actually a utopia?
Aaron: Danger! The HRE is under attack! ... By Parthia... Indeed, some Parthian artilley is sheltering in Venician lands and is doing a bit of damage. Fortunately the HRE has so many troops they are actually spilling into fellow communists Palmyra and will therefore probably be safe. True, having enough troops to spill out into anothers is less impressive when you're a city state than it is for some of the other big civs (cough Zimbabwe), but it is still better than not having troops. I would not be particularly worried about the HRE's safety. Even in the worst case scenario, if Parthia manages to continue teleporting units into Venice and those units eventually grind down the HRE's forces, this is still Parthia we're talking about: they don't have melee units. More likely is the HRE will manage to churn out troops faster than the artillery can kill them and we'll barely get to see any effects.
Msurdej: While the Qing's unenviable to most position of 40 is a bad place, one must ask the question: what could remove the Qing? Sure they're at war with the Haida, But Toyah has multiple plates of war spinning at the moment, and can't capitalize on Cixi's weakness. Korea? They may have double the army, but much of that is in a navy on the wrong side of the Arctic. The Yu'pik have never had a dazzling navy, and the Evenks are the Evenks. No, it looks like the Qing will be alive, but frozen in the north for a good, long time.
Gragg: Not a ton of news from the uninhabited North. But check out that massive Prussian city of Elbing. That city should not exist in this frozen wasteland. Unfortunately it’s inhabited by a bunch of conspiracy theorists that insist the tundras to the East are home to a bunch of purple people. The thriving press industry in Prussia has caused theirs whackhead theories to spread across the cylinder.
Gragg: There was a time when we were talking about Beta Israel being a possible challenger to Uruguay. How times have changed. The Chads of East Africa will go down as one of my top 5 heart breaker civs this season. Other civs in that group include Haiti, Scotland, and Murri. Well Beta Israel isn’t dead yet I suppose. I don’t think it’s too soon to say they’ve been knocked out of contention though. They lost 5 cities this part which lasted 25 turns. No other civ lost more than 1. Now we just have to wait and see if they can stay at peace long enough to make it to endgame.
Shaggy: Not much from Korea this week. More battling with obscurity than battling with Haida. If they do anything interesting in the coming parts, it’ll be being competitive for the crown of Kamchatka, and not much else.
Gragg: Nepal continues to gradually shrink into the mountains. At this point they’re one Taungoo declaration away from being gone. The Kazakhs even managed to take a Nepalese city from just the city they were given in a peace deal. You know it's bad when your expansion opportunities take cities off of you.
Gragg: Those cute little pirate boats just aren’t impressive anymore (and never were). Their land army isn’t quite as behind but Qin decided to start playing for domination victory. Not much else to say here. Canton will stick around till Shikoku/Qin/Taungoo declare war. That’s why their ranked moved checks rank +2? Well I guess they aren’t actively dying…
Msurdej: It's hard to believe that Haiti was 61th at the start of the CBRX. Actually, it's more surprising that Haiti is only alive, but not that bad off. Sure, they're still in the shadow of the Iroquois, Uruguay, and Venezuela, but they have a small empire that is doing ok compared other civs. Will it collapse when one of his nieghbors decide to take over? Almost certainly. But for now, Toussaint is alive, and thanks due to the failings of other civs, doing the best he's ever done.
Gragg: The Manx continue to remain at peace with all of their neighbors. That's the good news. The gap between them and everyone around them continues to grow. As we reach the age of bombers and paratroopers, smaller civs like the Manx will be one bad declaration of war from extinction. There’s still a lot of empty space with the isles despite them being at peace for ages. It doesn’t matter how much city defence you have when they can simply be bombed to 0 health.
Aaron: The coalition against Selk'nam continues and it is not going well for Selk'nam. The fleet has been sunk, Ocongalla has fallen to New Zealand and the assaults on cities further south have started. A surprisingly relevant participant is Shikoku, who, although they have not brought any units capable of actually capturing cities, have decided to bring 11 planes to the party (on supercarriers). Meanwhile New Zealand has brought their unique ironclads (the defender) and their unique great war infantry (the ANZAC) , both of which are melee units, which means that when combined with the large Shikoku airforce, they are able to capture cities fairly easily. Selk'nam do have the second strongest naval unit in this war (after the supercarriers) - that is their magical great war infantry that can walk on water - yet they don't appear to be enough to stop the bleeding. All this is bad, but isn't catastrophic, as New Zealand are rapidly running out of units and their production centers are the other side of the Pacific - too far away from the front line to properly reinforce. With the help of Shikoku's air superiority they might get away with another city or two but are incapable of actually pushing into Selk'nam's core at the moment.
Gragg: Yup’ik is trying so hard to be a cool North American civ. Everyone is at war with their rivals? (Metis vs Haida, Apache vs Iroquois). Fine, let’s fight the Aztecs. Everyone is getting peacekeepers? Fine, let’s get open borders with Shikoku. Now Yup’ik are a real North American civ.
Aaron: Nubia gain 2 ranks: one from Selk'nam, who are having a little bit of trouble, and the other from Yup'ik which seems to be just brownian motion. The main problem Nubia has right now is science. If you exclude the rumps, they are least technologically advanced civ in the entire cylinder and are the last to still be stuck in the industrial era. Even the Manx and Evenks (both of whom are famed for their terrible science) have higher tech than them and reached modern. Hell even some rumps like Canton and the Kuikuro (RIP) have reached modern. The upside for Nubia is that they do have a full carpet, even if it is a horribly outdated enlightenment era carpet. That carpet isn't really capable of making any gains unless they get some form of assistance from someone else. All their neighbours are way too powerful except for Beta Israel who are too small to be relevant. What that carpet can do is slow down anyone who tries to invade them, as well as protect them from the smaller peacekeeper forces that are currently infesting Africa. Nubia also have peacekeepers of their own to protect them from invaders but due to their carpet, are unable to host very many.
Gragg: The reality of Endgame has brought a new dynamic to the game for smaller civs like India. No longer do they have to make insane plays to crawl back into the game. They only need to survive to make it into the next round. Let’s ignore for the moment that the bonuses stronger civs get will likely ruin any chances for them in Endgame. India is employing the interesting tactic of getting open borders with every civ it can find in an attempt to make their realm impenetrable. They only need to hold out a little longer until they get their beloved nukes. Speaking of which, Zimbabwe seems to be missing one…
Msurdej: Is it Tonga Time? I think it's Tonga time.
Tonga has broken into it's highest rating this game, but don't start celebrating to hard Tonga fans. Siaosi might have a military that puts neighboring New Zealand to shame, but their production is SEVERELY lacking, almost certainly due to them being an island civ. If Tonga wants to keep its high rank, they're gonna have to not only get onto more of the mainland like Seddon has, but kick their production into overdrive.
Aaron: So, Madagascar's main point of expansion onto the continent: Beta Israel has just been eviscerated. That's bad but was expected so no further ranks lost. They can maybe try grabbing the few dregs that are left over I guess. The only other viable expansion route is India, whose southern cities have nearly been completely cut off from their core are are currently struggling against the Khamugs. Madagascar's vast peacekeeper forces are continuing to spread out across the cylinder are the 15th largest army in the cylinder and can attack India from multiple angles. But one worry is that the big Z has decided to immitate Madagascar in spreading out peacekeepers except they are doing it better: their peacekeepers are the number 1 force in the cylinder. A potential war between Zimbabwe and Madagascar would be a world war by itself on account of how spread out the fighters would be!
Gragg: Imagine if a power ranker claimed that the Goths/Prussia war wouldn’t go anywhere because Taungoo and Zimbabwe peacekeepers would be the biggest armies in Europe. They’d be fired. I’m still amazed at the situation. Despite the absolute lack of progress Prussia and the Goths are still technically at war. If the peacekeepers clear out we may see some more flips. More likely though is that Prussia will be stuck in this spot for a very long time.
Cloudberg: Parthia hasn't done anything in like, forever. I can't remember the last time they took a city. Just my luck that I get their write-up two weeks in a row! Let's take a look at Parthian lands... and yep, nothing's changed. The fact that Parthia is rising one rank just reminds us that every civ moves a little bit due to mere statistical noise.
Gragg: The good news is we found the Evenks civball! The bad news is the Evenks are still at the mercy of the Khamugs. The Evenks share some border with Korea, Nenets, and Qing but can’t quite get to any of them. If they can get ahold of some paratroopers that might change. Unfortunately the Evenks aren’t exactly built for rushing any techs. They might just be able to stay at peace long enough to get there though. Then plenty of expansion opportunities will open up.
Shaggy: The slow death of the Apache continues this week as they drop 2 more ranks. They certainly had a chance to be the dominant force in North America, but they’ve consistently lagged behind their more powerful neighbors. The last shot we saw of their war with the Iroquois, they looked to be on their last legs, but still resisting. However, now that more and more of the top civs are getting nukes, I don’t see the Apache being able to resist for much longer.
Lacsirax: I can't decide what's worse: a mainland Europe where every civ winds up small and feeble and ripe for conquering by external powers, or a mainland Europe full of civs with some clout but that are unable to properly war through hordes of peacekeepers. I do wonder if we could write a bit of code that would only allow civs that actually have borders to sign Open Borders agreements. But that's for the BC boys: I'm just a dumb power ranker who regularly fucks up the Power Ranking spreadsheet and has no inclination for code at all. What was I talking about? Venice, oh yes. In fairness, Venice have already done the unthinkable, using the mediocre Italian peninsula TSL to their advantage, controlling both sides of the Mediterranean and using the Alps as an effectual land barrier with which to prepare powerful and unexpected offensives - you know, Roman Empire-ing. And with land war being history, I'm wondering if their efforts against the moribund Ottomans might be better served in an attack on their most powerful neighbour, the Moors. The time's right, really - their navy tech outstrips them, and any French land war will be rendered as unmoving as the trenches by the thousands of Zimbabwean human chain lining the border. Risky but potentially game-changing.
Gragg: Benin is a confusing civ. They were good then bad then good then bad and they haven’t even done anything. I don’t even know if they’re good or bad right now? Compared to Zimbabwe, bad. Compared to Moors, good? But also a tossup vs Nubia? They have an amazing war record vs a top civ in Songhai, but lost several cities vs Nubia in the past. Anyway, I’m confusing myself even more with this writeup. In short, Benin is good, I mean bad, I mean… Maybe?
Lacsirax: The Nazca shoot up to their joint-highest rank and third ever week in the top 20, which is understandable, right? They just destroyed a civ - hell, not just any civ, THE civ, the one that some considered unconquerable, the civ whose stubborn tower defence defined Uruguay's retrospectively calamitous ranking reign. Thing is, we kind of knew the Nazca would kill off the Kuikuro last episode, and didn't reward them that well for it. Not only that, but they chose to raze Heulugihiti, an ill-advised move that could give Uruguay crucial ground in any future conflict. So what gives? Well, frankly, when mid tier or even upper mid tier civs demolish a rump state, there's usually a solid period of time where their army has suffered the wear and tear than any war brings, but their less-than-perfect production doesn't allow them to replenish the forces that fast, leaving them wide open for a sudden sneak attack. Think Iceland's invasion of Ireland back in Mk 2, which came only moments after Ireland had finished kicking England off the isles. But shockingly the Nazca have walked out looking stronger than ever. Culling off a few of their outdated units in their brief jungle skirmish has let Cahuachi replace them with paratroopers, arguably the most powerful unit any civ is currently fielding outside atom bombs. Suddenly an invasion of Caracas is a real possibility - and far more importantly, an invasion from Montevideo might not be the death sentence we've been predicting for this civ from day 1.
Techno: The Haida spent much of this part under constant siege from Metis bombers, and yet few cities have actually fallen. Half of this can be attributed to the sheer military incompetence of the Metis, while the other half can be attributed to the Haida's nature as a primarily coastal civ shielded by the Canadian Rockies. With this natural wall in place combined with the massive Haida navy to flip back any cities if need be, it's no wonder they've been able to hold off the Metis. Unfortunately, these coastal defenses aren't quite as useful in their skirmish with Korea, as the frontline is simply far too small between them.
Gragg: This is simultaneously a terrifying and exciting time for New Zealand fans. The terrifying part is Oceania. Australia has fully recovered and is again the frontrunner in Oceania, not to mention Tuangoo and Uruguay. They are also pushing into South America against Selk’nam, finally securing some mainland cities. Perhaps most importantly they’ve broken the 100 pop mark in a single city, which is nifty. Yay overpopulation!
Shaggy: With the death of Kuikuro, all eyes will be on the combined powers of Venezuela and Nazca to contain the Guay (sorry Selk’nam). That being said, Venezuela will need to pick up the pace with their tech to be competitive. They’ve done a bang up job fighting northward, and that will definitely help them solidify their hold on Central America, but there’s just a little something in the back of my mind that gives me some doubts. Maybe its their lack of nukes (see tech issues above), maybe its the fact that they haven’t been able to deal with even Haiti effectively, I’m really not sure. Either way, the Vuvuzelas have been at least flaunting their strength in the face of their stronger adversaries. Hopefully Chavez will be able to put his gold where his mouth is when it comes to actually fighting them.
Msurdej: Aw man, Riel's been having it rough lately. His war in the east in now finished, and now he must deal with the Haida to the west. Despite being much larger, Riel's empire is still trying to get over the mountains (a notion hampered by Shikoku peacekeepers) to lay waste to Koyah's lands. Even though the Metis blob gre slightly, taking over a small bit of Yu'pik land in the north, if Riel doesn't make some good gains, that civball is gonna be a lot thinner.
Gragg: We’re getting to the point in the game where not having a carpet is dangerous. Not because you’re vulnerable to neighbors, but because faraway power can use your land as storage. Now the Goths can’t fill their own land with military. Instead they’ll send it to some faraway land where it likely won’t be useful. The good news is that these open-borders deals are temporary and the Goths will likely get their land back sooner or later. Their war with Prussia is going fairly well too. Not the rollover that Goths fans might’ve hoped but it is still a gain against one of their more significant neighbors.
Techno: After the Qing conquest, the Qin have sat back to rest. After all, they need it. Their production is still far lower than many other empires, so they need time to rebuild their armies before engaging anyone again. That being said, besides a few Cantonese cities, the Qin lack good targets. The Khamugs, Taungoo, and Shikoku are all tough foes, so the Qin would truly need a strong army before challenging them.
Msurdej: For the first time in realy 20 parts, Maratha has fallen out of the Top 10. This is mostly due to the fact that they have been really, really, lackluster as of late. The recent war with Nepal had little rewards out of it, and more and more, the Taungoo are outshining Shivaji at every point. There's still time for Maratha to come out and shine, but the walls are starting to close in around them as their military and production begin to lag behind.
Gragg: Still big and still not a lot of conquests to show for it. Palmyra’s rank will continue to slowly slip as long as that statement is true. They remain fairly high because they still have great expansion opportunities in any direction. We’ve seen other top civs increase their military by +200% in one part with good production, which Palmyra still has. The bad news is that they are still susceptible to peacekeepers. They have a ton of empty space in their core despite being at peace for sometime. With all of Europe filled with Zimbabwe units, how long until Palmyra is filled with foreign forces?
Lacsirax: Well, it's the third CBR in a row with a powerful Australia - and in my opinion, the third one where their power has been completely unearned. I've heard people try to pass them off as plucky and their comeback as some strategic power play. To that I say - bogus. They were beaten up by New Zealand and Papua time and time again. They were nearly beaten by the Murri, who were only a melee unit short of conquering Sydney. And they lost a war to Sulu while Sulu were being eliminated! Their power came from familiar sources - having more land than everyone else to settle, which is naturally very easy to defend because of it being one large island. It helped too that their powerful and ambitious neighbours, Papua and New Zealand, both fell victim to coalitions in which Hawke took nothing but scraps and cities he should've conquered years ago. Australia have played abysmally, but not quite abysmally enough to offset their incredible starting location. In a game that will eventually end in Project Endgame, it won't be enough: Australia's navy is still too piss-poor to battle Maratha or Taungoo, far more powerful enemies than the Sri Lanka and Kimbonesia Mk 2's Australia had to contest with. And on a smaller map, they'll just be another island start civ, one with unspectacular stats and AI. Crikey.
Techno: If there's one thing the Khamugs like almost as much as sitting back and doing nothing, it's fighting wars in enemy territory far from their own zone of control. The latter option is what they did last part. Madurai was a surprising gain but it was far less surprising when India managed to flip it. After all, defending territory that far removed from your core is tricky, and I'd be surprised if the Khamugs came out of the war without the city. Come on, Jamukha, there are far better targets out there!
Shaggy: I’ll be honest, Shikoku have been one of the civs I’ve been pleasantly surprised by, and now they’re finally in the top 10 for the first time after hovering around it for a few parts. They’re like Mk.2 Korea but they actually look like they have a shot now. They’ve got nukes, they’ve got a great looking navy, hell, they even have peacekeepers in North America and a presence in Hawaii. If I had to guess who will end up dominating the Pacific, it would come down to Shikoku, Haida, or Australia. But Haida seems to be having issues with winning wars they get themselves into and Australia doesn’t seem to give a shit about anyone in the world that isn’t New Zealand or Taungoo. I think Shikoku will be one of the major culprits of future border gore, but I very much look forward to it.
Gragg: The Sami fall a couple ranks as they struggle to remain relevant. Europe has been on fire for several episodes but we haven’t seen much from the Sami. Now it’s clogged up with peacekeepers and they may have lost their chance for now. These things tend to come and go quickly, so we’ll have to wait and see. They’re keeping a fairly modern carpet though. Opportunities present themselves to civs that field a modern army.
Techno: After their vicious air campaign not too long ago, it seems odd to not have much of a Viking presence this part. But alas, the Vikings were barely seen at all as the Goths took a far more direct approach to attacking Prussian territory. Thankfully for the Vikings, they still have other weak targets such as the Manx, but they shouldn't wait too long before making another major push if they want to stay relevant and not be another sleepy Scandinavian civ like the Sami.
Lacsirax: The Kazakhs hit the heady high of #6 this week in what's an excellent example of us rankers rewarding any kind of activity over actual strategic analysis. Because really, there have been enough weeks where we've told you the Khamugs could eviscerate the Evenks any second, or that Maratha could demolish Nepal if only they declared war, only for them to fluff their lines. On that front the Kazakhs have covered well enough that we've bumped them up three whole ranks, taking Jumla over a short border that prior to this episode I'd have struggled to remember existing. The buck stops here though, with the majority of the Kazakh army gated off from the front by, you guessed it, peacekeepers (and borders, in fairness). Still, a war against Parthia, the Nenets or the Evenks are all still good avenues for expansion, and even the Goths have looked tougher. As the gulfs between the various tiers start to grow larger, the Kazakhs are one of the few big unknowns left - still a decent chance at becoming a superpower, still a decent chance they've peaked.
Lacsirax: The Andalusian Anacondas just edge the Kazakhs to keep their top 5 position - seriously, there's 1/5 of a rank in it. But this week is surely where the goodwill ends, as several centuries have passed since the Songhai steamroll, and we've seen very little action from the Spaniards since then. In fact, Abd ar-Rahman seems to have invested in anything except military - admirable in the real world, but when your naval defences are still privateers and your land defences are... well, sand dunes, you're not going to last long in the CBR. You may remember another civ that had an incredible run only to be undone by their refusal to reinforce their borders: the Songhai themselves. What are those Saharan oases filled with, mulled wine? In any case the Moors' biggest advantage for me was always weaker neighbours, but as Venice, the Vikings and Benin have begun to mature, the Moors are looking less solid by the episode. Enjoy Christmas Abd... it could be a messy 2020.
Gragg: To have the largest land area of any civ and still have a full carpet is really quite impressive. It’s not the scariest ever but when you’re this big I think you can play defensive. The ‘Goo will need to keep an eye on the suddenly militaristic Qin to the North. While not an immediate threat they aren’t nearly as squishy as they were a short time ago. The same goes for the suddenly swole Australia to the South. In fact, I’d say Canton is just about the only good expansion opportunity right now. WIth so many scary neighbors the worst thing ‘Goo can do is to overextend.
Lacsirax: The last time Uruguay slumped to the murky depths of third place (truly disastrous, eh?) was all the way back in Part 6. They haven't been out of the top 4 since Part 1. That's insane, and was supported by a technological edge far surpassing their most obvious analogues, Mk 2's Boers. Unfortunately, as some predicted, they've been unable to turn their gargantuan science lead into meaningful gains, while the powerful production and military leads their science helped them command have been surpassed by more well-rounded and aggressive newcomers. That's not the only problem: rather than invest in their powerful unique unit (which is, in fairness, gated by an aluminium requirement) or other late-game behemoths, their army composition is largely bazookas and artillery. We thought they'd walk a war with the Nazca, but during the Kuikuro War Cahuachi clearly realised the world was watching and beefed up for the cameras. Uruguay's production edge should still see them home and dry, but who knows how much longer they'll keep it? If there's one thing that could grant Uruguay a comeback - outside of devouring a neighbour - it'll be XComs. They're on the verge of unlocking them, but remember - just because a civ can build a unit, doesn't mean they will. If they stick to their artillery and ranged unit biases to the end, then don't expect a top 10 finish.
Gragg: We have a true WW1 style war between the Apache and Iroquois. The lines grind ever forward for the Iroquois as they begin to field more and more modern units. This would be much easier if they got those planes, helicopters, and paratroopers just a little faster though. Perhaps they’ll be able to take full advantage of them yet. The Apache are keeping up just well enough to make this slow though. To address the elephant in the room, yes, that is a large number of Australian peacekeepers approaching. I have a feeling we should get used to seemingly random occupations such as this.
Shaggy: WELL SOMEONE’S BEEN HITTING THE GYM! Damn Mutota, that military score is impressive. And having more or less dismantled the Chad of Africa and made it look easy? I’ll be honest, Zimbabwe looks scary af now. Also, if you haven’t been keeping a close eye on the nuclear race, Zimbabwe is doing spectacularly with 42! (But, uh, where did that other nuke from last week go?) They’ve also carpeted a significant amount of central Europe and their units will be spilling over into other regions as well. They’ve taken the top spot, and with good cause, I’ll be anxiously waiting to see who will be the next to suffer the wrath of Zimbabwe.

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Images: 92, author: deadpoetic31, published: 2017-01-30, edited: 1970-01-01