Author: ThyReformer
Published: 2019-10-28, edited: 2019-10-28
Lacsirax: It's our third passing in as many weeks, but it's the only of them that weighs heavy on my heart. Unlike those that fell before them, Canada believed. They knew they had a tough start, placed between one of the fiercest settlers in the vanilla game and acres upon acres of snow. So they did what any brave Canuck would and settled far to the west, all the way over to Lake Michigan. Sure, they were always going to lose Montréal (to Poverty Point of all the civs), but it was a statement: we won't be boxed in and we won't give up. And they spent the rest of their life exemplifying that ethos, sneaking cities on Hiawatha's doorstep, forward-settling even in times of war, moving ever north as the inevitably superior Iroquois began to overwhelm them. They settled twelve cities - twelve! That's the same as Qin! And while their war record is, well, the worst on the Cylinder by some distance, they managed to conquer a Yup'ik city long after most had given up on them, instating it as their new capital to rub snow in the wound. With the Métis razing their last three cities, this glory will be forgotten, a footnote in Seabricks' history - so let us celebrate and mourn it all the more today.
Gragg: Whew. That was devastating. The collapse from last episode continued and perhaps even accelerated. Uruguay wasted no time in taking the island settles of Ndongo and Zimbabwe continued to push on the mainland. At the end of the last episode they achieved peace with Zimbabwe but the Great Guay has Ndongo’s last city in the red with nearby units to capture it. More Uruguayan navy is on the way but there’s still a chance Ndongo can peace out before they are eliminated. Not likely though.
Gragg: Ok look.. We’re both busy people. I have other writeups to do and you have 52 other slides to read. So here’s a writeup that's almost as small as PP. Iroquois and Apache are friendly with each other but still distracted. PP has not targets other than those two. That’s about it.
Aaron: Absolutely nothing happened to the Seljuqs this part. What is there to say? Maybe that Madagascar now has 2 tile sea border with Nishapur, thereby joining India as the only 2 civs capable of fighting both the land Seljuqs and the sea Seljuqs at the same time. Every other civ apart from India, and now Madagascar can only fight one but not the other. Is this information relevant? Not really: a 2 tile sea border is not a great avenue for attack and Madagascar is very unlikely to declare war as they are very distracted right now.
Adm. Cloudberg: Each time we think the Murri are no longer relevant, they find new way to influence the game. First it was a well-timed attack on Australia. Now? They're single-handedly preventing the world congress from being founded. Most of the civs in the best position to found it haven't met the Murri, including the Moors, who have met literally everyone else. And as one hilarious final note, given the current troop positions and city strengths, if the Murri declared war on Australia right now, they could probably take Gunnedah before Hawke gets off his ass and murders them.
Lacsirax: Ablai Khan, more than anything else, wanted to sail on the sea. He tried everything! He read night and day and learned how to make all the most newfangled boats - even ones with armour! Yes, Ablai had lots of things to sail, but he'd forgotten the most important ingredient - the sea. One day he wrote a letter to Father Vauli explaining that he'd been a very good boy and asked if Father Vauli knew any way that he'd be able to sail on the sea. And what do you know? When the letter arrived (with a few crossbowmen) the kind and generous Father Vauli got Ablai what he always wanted - a port! Now Ablai could sail on the seas whenever he wanted, even if they were a bit colder than he was used to. Brrrrrr! So remember boys and girls, if you're very very good, and have an overwhelming military and science advantage, Father Vauli might get you a seaport too. But hurry, he's only got three left!
Adm. Cloudberg: Could it be true? As other civs die off suddenly and violently, Czechia sits quiet and climbs up the power rankings, rising above 50th place for the first time since part 7. As Vaclav Havel's stronger neighbours fight each other, he simply waits, knowing that if they forget he exists for long enough, he might make it into the top half.
LonelyRS: The Golden Horde, at this point, are notable largely for being the buffer state in between the Goths, Parthia, and Palmyra. Which, really, is all they can hope for. It’s not like they have any claim to fame on their own merit, what with a laughably small military, hopelessly puny vitals, and a war record that would have left them dead twice over but for the Caucasus and Caspian Sea. They aren’t even really that hilarious to look at, either, not in a world where Poverty Point seems to be hell-bent on a one-tile challenge or where the Murri are a paradoxically well-armed exhibit in Australia’s zoo. The Golden Horde lie squarely in between that state of comedic awfulness and utter mediocrity, where they’re just kind of… bad. Unremarkable. Almost devoid of any opportunities, should survival be of any concern when examining their neighbors, and even then still pitifully poorly positioned. Most of the rump states left in the game with the grand culling this far underway at least have more than one descriptor you could use when describing them. Czechia, for example, are sad and city-gifting. The Turks, say, are sad and have two capitals. Canada, for one, is sad and dead. The Golden Horde don’t even have that. They don’t get another adjective, or funny quirk, or interesting gimmick. They’re just sad. But, in a few years, when we’re wracking our brains trying to figure out what the sixty-first civ in Mark X was so we can assert our dominance in a Sporcle quiz, the Golden Horde will finally get its second defining trait – utterly forgettable.
Aaron: The Ottomans remain alive and mostly whole and thus gain 1 rank over Ndongo (who are not). Through the power of favorable geography they are holding off the Venetian forces attacking their core. And though Edirne is now an exclave and therefore very vulnerable, even it survived a war against Prussia! Thanks to a well-timed coalition, Prussia was forced to move its armies elsewhere and leaving Edirne Turkish. But the biggest news is no doubt that the Ottomans have finally unlocked their unique units: the janissary (a musketman replacement that heals when it kills) and the bombard (big city-killing cannon). It is said that bombards are the only things capable of breaching the walls of Ostrava, which is of course, Mehmed's only goal this game. But at the moment they're fighting Venice where the bombards are less effective; we can hope that Venice eventually gets bored and leaves the Ottomans alone to pursue their main goal.
Aaron: Since the civ itself isn't interesting, I would like to instead take the time to talk about Aztec shitposts. Or rather, the lack of Aztec shitposts. Though the pre-battleroyale had the Aztecs and New Zealand neck and neck at the top of the shitpost tierlist (or shitlist), as soon as the game actually started they dried up completely. Canton giving away Hong Kong to the Qin briefly pushed both those civs to the top, but it was Scotland that ended up being the dominant force for most of the early game, not only equaling Canton in terms of giving away core cities, but also recruiting Bobby B, king of the shitposts, to their cause. Now that Scotland is down (but not yet out; those poor inhabitants of Greenland still have potential to make some good memes), other civs such as Tonga, Poverty Point, Kazakhstan and Prussia, are all vying for the top spot. But in all this where are the Aztec shitposts? Where is the slaughter of their enemies? Where is the human sacrifice? There has been such a great lack of it that Papua, Sami and the Vikings have all overtaken the Aztecs in terms of brutal violence. Why are the Aztecs not trying to reclaim their past glory? As it stands, the Aztecs are languishing near the bottom of the shitlist, but they have such potential to be good.
Gragg: A disastrous part for the Kuikuro but that equates to only a drop of 3 ranks. Losing their two island cities may not seem huge but it does reduce them to only 3 cities. Uruguay’s push is growing stronger and they are again putting pressure on the capital of our beloved turtles. The Guay is also approaching dynamite which may give them the tools they need to finally end Kuikuro. This war can’t last forever though so maybe the jungle dwellers will get out alive. In any case it’s likely they won’t be the first civ eliminated by Uruguay.
Adm. Cloudberg: Wew lads, what a rollercoaster. At first it looked like Sulu was about to make a remarkable recovery, declaring war on Australia at exactly the right moment and using its large navy to seize control of Whyalla and Newcastle. But just when Sulu's comeback seemed assured, they were hit with declarations of war from Papua and Taungoo, which quickly destroyed their remaining navy and sent Jamalul Kiram into a nosedive. By the end of the part, Sulu had lost its capital, most of its navy, and any chance it might have had to turn itself back into a contender. And at this point, it's hard to say how much longer Sulu will last before this slide turns into a eulogy.
Techno: The Canton Pirates experience a sharp climb in rank this week, far above what you'd usually expect from a civ this low in the rankings who hasn't done much of note in the last few parts. But that's precisely why Canton has climbed the lower ranks. As they sit in a peaceful state, they consequently fare far better than the unfortunate souls (such as Ndongo) who have suffered the wrath of a declaration of war by some powerful neighbor. While Canton's position is certainly no secure position, it's not the worst out there.
Msurdej: The line that is the country of Muscovy slowly being broken up. Sami has taken another city in Nizhny Novgorod, and have put it to the torch. This continues to doom their chances of being relevant, let alone having a chance of winning. But with all of this, you may wonder why Muscovy has risen? You can chalk it up to some statistical deviation, but make no mistake Ivan fans. Muscovy's army is crumbling, and the fractured line of Ivan will continue to deteriorate.
Techno: As the Kuikuro are finally forced out of the Caribbean, another door closes on the already boxed-in Haiti. Turns out that letting other civs settle your land is not a good strategy. Who would have thought? However, it hasn't hurt their rank much, as other civs have recently fared far worse than merely having expansion opportunities closed off.
LonelyRS: The Yup’ik should be thanking their lucky stars that they are where they are – with the Haida having gained a sea route past them, they may well go unnoticed for years once Naparyarraq falls and the Koreans get bored with fighting an enemy that makes no attempt to fight back. While their rump state peers in North America have been reduced to ash or even less, the Yup’ik yet remain, mainly just taking up space in Alaska and slowly staggering along to the point where they can get Angakkunngurniq a reformation belief. Indeed, if the Yup’ik have done anything other than be as quiet as possible, it’s been half-heartedly focusing on their religion, taking advantage of other civs’ taking up rightfully Evenk lands to proselytize. Religion won’t save them from their inevitable demise, as the Sulu’s tumble down the standings has aptly demonstrated, but it ought to at least give them something to do with all the nothing their strategy has given them, and that’s probably enough. The Yup’ik will never match up to their similarly ice-bound cousins from the last few games, will never make a comparable legacy of their own, but they seem quite content to live in the Inuit’s shadow. And that’s fine. Not everyone is a Murri or Nenets, ready to take a one-in-a-million shot to get out of the hole they’ve found themselves in even if failure would lead to an even more miserable existence. If they keep showing this lack of killer instinct, the Yup’ik will probably finish in the top half.
Tonga: Not much has happened in the land of paradise as of late, and frankly, that's what this tropical paradise should want. Starved for production (but not for food, as Tonga still ranks fourth in total population), Tonga's best option remains sitting undisturbed in their peaceful corner of the world. And as New Zealand is clearly occupied elsewhere, I see no threat to Tonga's tranquility in the upcoming part. But as the future may hold far worse news for these islands, their rank remains consequently low.
Reformer: It all seems to be collapsing for the Manx now, as the Vikings land on Ireland, with no end in sight for the berserking. The Manx, who so impressed us by beating the Scots, and then not losing to the Moors - even gaining a city - seem to finally be facing their worst fears. Victim to a downward spiral that began with the loss of their Canadian colonies, the Manx are one of the more tragic civs on the cylinder - a fan favorite, partaking in many, many wars, often going in or out in quite the flashy fashion. Allowing the Vikings to take over Scotland was probably their biggest mistake, and that mistake is indeed part of what is allowing the Vikings to wreak havoc through Manx lands right now. A good peace deal ASAP will be helpful, but in my opinion, will only delay the inevitable. A Moorish war right now would speed up the process quite a bit, but I don't think we're ready to lose the Manx quite yet.
Aaron: The prize for dumbest decision this part goes to Nepal, for giving away Patan to the Kazakhs despite not even bordering them. For everything else, nothing has changed: Nepal is still a little civ in the mountains surrounded by bigger scarier civs. They are still incapable of winning a war against any of their neighbours; India is the only one that it is even remotely capable of fighting and even against them can't capture and hold a city. Wait just a moment, there IS now a civ that Nepal can beat. It's Kazakhstan. Yes, Kazakhstan is incapable of getting troops to Patan, which means that Nepal can go and capture their own city back at some point in the future. Sensible people might point out that giving away your city only to recapture it is a complete waste of time but the important thing is that Prithvi has eliminated the most common criticism against his civ, that of having no expansion opportunities. Clearly now that they have fixed the biggest problem with their civ, that means they go up in the rankings, right? No Prithvi Narayan, that's not how it works.
Msurdej: In a part filled with action, the Selk'nam were quiet as a mouse, not gaining a single mention in the part.This is bad news, as Uruguay continues to have solid performances, gaining cities and even expanding into Africa. While this could open up Uruguay to more alliance based conflict, it's likely those will go the way of the OCP; a speedbump that usually results in the death of a few neighbors for the #1 civ. And Selk'nam will most likely be one of those neighbors.
Reformer: The Shikoku threat remains throughout the part, never capturing a city, but never really deflected by the Qing defense forces. Whether this is good, or bad, or somewhere in-between, has been the topic of much debate...or at least, I like to tell myself so. Despite this war being surprisingly tense, it has attracted little attention - but in the end, that's the fate of wars in which nothing really happens. All the same, Qing's defense has been a crucial one. To fail here, and allow the Japanese a further foothold in China, would be devastating for Qing, whose core is small as is. And so, mounting a successful defense, and continuing to mount a successful defense, will make or break Qing. Not that I hold much confidence in them regardless of how they handle this war, mind.
LonelyRS: Peace! And with it, a chance to live just a little while longer. Boudicca has not been having a great reign as empress, but so far the HRE’s only really injured its pride. The Czechs’ continued existence has been a great boon to the empire, with Prague just about the only thing keeping an atrocious war record from becoming disastrous. Add in a foolhardy peace with the Manx, and it’s become clear that the HRE really did not deserve to get out of the Great European Clusterfuck unscathed. Still, the war has shown something worth noting about the Germans: they might have one of the best defensive positions in Europe. With a city in Denmark that’s made a fool out of the Vikings many times in the past, the Alps to their south, Prague to the east, and Venice’s ridiculous citadel job to the west, the Holy Roman Empire figures to be very, very resistant to invasions by its many neighbors. All this is fragile, of course, with a Moor conquest of Venice or a Prussian invasion of Czechia all it would take to pull the thread and unravel the Romans’ plans, but for now, favorable borders and geography should allow the HRE to commit many more blunders and delve further into utter mediocrity without ever really suffering for it.
Homusubi: Minus ten! This week’s Bidoof Award for Largest Power Ranking Drop goes to, unsurprisingly, Rajapapua, caught in the middle of the Oceanian clusterfuck that emerged from the suspiciously pacific Pacific that last part ended with. Being one half of the logical anti-Kiwi coalition doesn’t sound too hard, but the Papuans have suffered the worst of the all-black offensive, have only held even with Sulu on a cold front, and, to top it all off, are the victims of a wandering Haida navy. It is worth pointing out the exact cities in danger here: the new cities, facing the same stretch of sea as Hanuabada, are relatively safe, but some of the outlying high-pop cities, like Boera and Elevala, are on the deadliest of fronts, as is the fully-integrated Darwin area. Papua’s reluctance to settle until late on is returning to haunt them, and unless they turn things around big-time next part, it might just be curtains for Rajapapua’s ambitions.
Lacsirax: One unfortunate peace deal later - Ewuare is either very charismatic or very beautiful - and Nubia are back pretty much where they started, a C-tier civ in a pretty C-tier region. Proving they could beat Benin in a one on one is still an important achievement; Benin was probably the only potential target of theirs that I couldn't call the results of from a mile off. In fact let's go through the rest now. Beta Israel? Stalemate thanks to terrain. Songhai? Nubia blitz the desert cities before Songhai finally scramble a defence force together stopping any further incursion (and potentially reversing gains). Venice? Derna is flip city but probably stays purple, no other cities change hands. Turks? Nubia finally take the capital of old adversary Minos and at very least start attacking Ankara. Palmyra? Do you remember how the Ayyubids tried to fight civs over the Red Sea for millennia? You remember how agonising that was for everyone involved, audience included?
Techno: This part was nearly all good news for Benin. They came out of their coalition war with no net loss of cities, gaining just as many cities from Ndongo as they had lost to Nubia last part. Beta Israel had turned out to be a non-issue, and the wrath of Uruguay and Zimbabwe was directed at their rivals rather than the Beninese homeland. Unfortunately, one of those Ndongo cities is burning to the ground, but Benin's overall losses from this coalition were nowhere near as bad as they could have easily been. Benin's rank has risen significantly to account for this. However, now Benin must rebuild and fortify their new lands so they can withstand the next invasion, wherever it may come from.
LonelyRS: Following a wave of successful peace treaties (in which, defying custom, Seonjo didn’t trade away any of his core cities), Korea is now free to focus on the one major war they have left – their struggle with the lowly Yup’ik. Notable as a war only for the foregone conclusion of Naparyarraq’s capture taking steps to help balance the East Asian and Northern Japanese halves of the empire, it’s the getting back in the good graces of the rest of the world which will have more interesting ramifications. Korea’s existence recently has been defined by war – getting a chance to core up and consolidate their power after a long period of clashing with all their neighbors could make their already imposing (if somewhat outdated) army even scarier. Factor in the matter of the Qing’s northern territories not being mercy-killed yet, and there’s a clear path for Korea to start making a name for themselves in a tough region. Their biggest Achilles’ Heel has yet to be diagnosed, however; their tech level is still dreadfully far behind that of the rest of the region. They’re still fielding composite bowmen! A reliance on naval warfare has masked this weakness so far, but if Korea wants to break out in crowded East Asia, they’ll need to be able to fight a land war without getting laughed off the field of battle.
Homusubi: It’s a minus eight for our boys in unsaturated purple this week, as Mithridates finally gets his turn at being the designated local punchbag. It does not reflect well on Parthia that they are on the back foot in two wars, one against a civ fighting on two fronts, the other against a civ doing the same right up until the last turn. The Goths would have taken two cities by now if they weren’t… well, the Goths, and the Kazakhs seem to be using Parthia as a showcase of their apparent revival, streaming into their ancestral land of Almaty through the plain of forts and dusty farms. And that’s just the north; both Palmyra and India could pounce if they wanted to (there was a mistake in the actual part: Palmyra is not at war with Parthia). In short, a bruising part. Parthia couldn’t hide its weaknesses forever, and now it just has to hope that the potential incompetence of its enemies keeps the core somewhat intact.
Gragg: First of all, check out this cool newly Murderous ‘Gascar civ ball. It’s apparent that Madagascar isn't the benevolent peacekeeping civ we thought they might be. Instead they lie in wait and murder civs when they’re distracted. Unfortunately the timing against Zimbabwe may be less than perfect. They’ve certainly come up short in the first half of this war but still have a fair amount of army/navy in the South. There is a chance they still come out of this with a net gain. Losing army is especially painful for our island based murderers as they don’t have the production to rebuild it quickly.
Adm. Cloudberg: Between episodes 15 and 18, India stayed steady at 31st, rose to 27th, then immediately fell back to 31st. Now India rises to 27th again. Why? Well, as far as I can tell, Indira is cashing in on the utter disaster that is Nepal. Yes, Prithvi Narayan gave away a core city to the Kazakhs, a city that could now be Indira's whenever she wants it, not to mention the fact that it cripples Nepal very effectively. India's capital, which was briefly captured, is already rebuilding; and Parthia is looking less scary than ever before. All of this means that India should have some opportunities that didn't necessarily exist just an episode or two ago.
Homusubi: I’ll be honest: this is the first time in the entire Royale that I’ve actually had to give the Nazca some actual thought. The verdict? Blackfoot syndrome, likely behind their increasingly distant chances of catching back up to Venezuela and overtaking them like they did a few parts ago. Nazca aren’t actually bad. Their carpet is decent, if slightly underteched, and they have a properly large core. The trouble is, all of their neighbours, with the possible exception of the forever-tricksy Kuikuro, are statistically and practically stronger: the only one that I would usually give Nazca the edge against, Selk’nam, has already beaten their northern neighbour once. Uruguay is Uruguay, and Venezuela not only has the statistical edge but has far better expansion opportunities due to Chávez not limiting himself to the South America game.

TL;DR, get your NASCAR jokes ready again, guys. Cahuachi is back as the epitome of mid-table.
Lacsirax: This time last week was peak-Europe, or at least how you'd imagine Europe. All the continent's major players embroiled in one war after the next, the diagram of alliances and coalitions and possible permutations of victory more complicated than a 19th century philosophy tract. And in fifteen short turns we've reverted to peak-Europe as we've known it through Mk 2; awkward peace, no territorial changes, no steamrolls, no collapses, no blood. At the centre of this disappointment is Prussia, whose wars with the HRE, Turks and Goths wrapped up with pathetically small fanfare. That's where about half the bump in rankings has come from - after all, most rankers thought Prussia might be overextending themselves last ep. The other half of their jump comes from the only war left on the table, the Viking War, which has proven a little meatier; Bergen flipped to its founder Ragnar before falling back to Prussia, and now Frederick creeps closer to Roskilde on the other coast of Sweden. As far as new territory goes its virtually undefendable by itself, but if they push further into Sweden and Denmark before wrapping up the war... ah, don't get your hopes up. Europe will take your hopes, crush them into powder and snort them right in front of you.
LonelyRS: Being a very good defensive civ is, to paraphrase a particular puppet master, a pathway to many abilities some consider unnatural. Just look at Kuikuro, who, if born as a cat, would have used up all nine of their lives twice over by now. Beta Israel’s been similarly impressive on the defensive front so far, with a war record which includes a huge stalemate with Zimbabwe which has looked better and better as Ndongo plummets towards the basement in record time. It’s the offensive front that’s been the issue so far. Gudit has been unable to escape her own start location, most of her army locked up behind those hellish peaks which have sustained her civ and the parts that aren’t putting up a woeful performance. Beta’s production hasn’t helped their tech levels, where they’re behind their neighbors, and that time they tried attacking the one neighbor they can claim to have a scientific edge over we were gifted with a war that could be negatively compared to watching paint dry. With Zimbabwe spent after helping separate Nzinga and her capital for a third time, however, and Madagascar entering through the back door, there’s no time like the present for Beta to shake off their offensive demons and once more take up the mantle of Alpha. Such a war could prove a final arbiter of Gudit’s fate in this game: Beta Israel may be blessed with arguably the best unique in a field filled with good ones, but that still won’t get Gudit anywhere if she can’t break through the mountains that have become both her life support system and her prison.
Msurdej: While Enrico continues to try and break through the Turkish lines, things continue to stagnate in the Adriatic. The rest of the Mediterranean is also chilly for the Purple Pals, with Nubia no longer being focus in Benin, and the others generally strong enough to fight off Venice. The war with the Turks, however, will only get worse for Enrico, as Mehmed starts rolling out his UU riflemen. If Venice wants to stay relevant, it might be best to make one last push, make peace, and then train and carpet his forces to be the terrors of the sea.
Aaron: Well it's certainly an interesting part for Australia. Last week I said that Australia just needs one or two parts of rest to rebuild their military and they would be fine. Unfortunately, the other oceanic civs have not given Australia time to rest, with the great oceanic clusterfuck starting immediately. Australia is now at war with both Sulu and New Zealand but fortunately are allied with Papua, despite having been at war with them not 2 parts ago. The war itself is going OK, kindof. On the New Zealand front, they have repelled the Kiwi landing party and taken back Adelaide. AS NZ is now the biggest oceanic civ (ever since Seddon's betrayal of the Murri when they overtook Australia), winning a war against them is certainly good news. On the Sulu front, things went less well as the Sulu fleet (which has finally been upgraded to the enlightenment era) has captured all the Australian Indonesian islands. However, this was a one time-only thing as that large fleet is now dead, and Sulu does not have the production required to rebuild it. With Taungoo bearing down on their north and capturing their capital, Sulu is now in a state of full-on collapse. Australia had better take advantage of this in order to take back their islands before Papua or even Taungoo gets to them. Australia does not have a lot of military to work with and so achieving both goals (Adelaide and Indonesian islands) might be tricky but hopefully they can manage it.
Reformer: It was a quiet part up in the north. The war with the Koreans was closed up after what could be called a victory, after the conquest of the Korean colonies on the North Siberian coast, and thus ended another episode in Evenki history. Observant observers will notice, however, that the Evenks have gained a significant increase in production this part. In large part, this is attributable to the reformation belief they have now tacked onto their otherwise mediocre religion: +1 production and +1 faith on tundra and snow. This, of course, is significant, seeing as Evenki territory is largely tundra and snow: the tundra on which Evenki cities is built is now practically equal to plains. While the Evenki tech continues to struggle, it should be clear what their somewhat surprising rise is based on. Likewise, while their position is still precarious next to the Khamugs, there is a foe that has never been less militarized: the Kazakhs. A quick glance across the border tells you all you need to know, as reindeer would probably overwhelm a Kazakh border city in a matter of seconds...
LonelyRS: Nineteenth verse, same as the first (eighteen or so). To the surprise, shock, and general perplexion of absolutely nobody, the Qin decided, after much intense deliberation, to do fuck-all this part, neglecting any opportunity to kill another China in favor of pushing the snooze button on their alarm clock yet again. When even the clearly suicidal Ching Shih doesn’t die when at war with you, and you possess enough power to squash her like a bug, it’s clear that something is terribly wrong, and I can think of few other words to describe the Qin’s situation. Not too long ago, they were fifth in the world; now, despite two favorable wars and no real outside factors that could inhibit their growth, they sit on the precipice of falling out of the top twenty. Something is terribly wrong. They haven’t really built troops since the Xia were eliminated, so many parts ago, which would point to a strategy centered around self-improvement. Yet their internal numbers are thoroughly unimpressive, and they’ve been bested in terms of statistics by the civ one place below them, the Evenks, who have practically built nothing but units. They might not even be in the top half of the region anymore, they’ve been a statue since the medieval era, none of their grandchildren ever stop by to visit, and there’s been no outside reason for any of it. Something is terribly wrong. That’s about all there is to say, really.
Lacsirax: Venezuela popped a city on the Cayman Islands this week, and that really is it. So let's talk about something that interests me: are Venezuela the only civ that would most likely beat Uruguay in a war? The picture attached makes it pretty obvious that as it stands, Chávez need only funnel his lovely navy through the gap near Hispaniola to have near total control over the Uruguayan Antilles. Don't get me wrong, I don't know that it would make that much difference in the long run, but it does give them a bragging right that no other civ on the cylinder can share, least of all one on South America. In retrospect, it's great that their attack on the Kuikuro all those years ago was an abject failure - they're a perfect buffer state.
Homusubi: After nine parts of holding their lower-end-of-the-top-ten ranking, almost becoming a byword for solidity, the Songhai continue their slide down the rankings that started last part, and are now in danger of dropping out of the top twenty. It seems that people have become fed up of their recent stagnation, and do not see the Songhai’s commanding statistical lead over Nubia and Benin as adequate compensation for their very sparse carpet and proximity to the suddenly-frightening Moors. In many ways, then, Askia is the Louis Riel of Africa: massive, statistically decent, but looking vulnerable every time one glances at their actual core.
Msurdej: Shikoku have fallen slightly this week, as their actions against the Qing have all but been stymied. But things are still going very good for Sakamoto. His army is one of the best on the cylinder, and their tech is second only to Uruguay, While their attack on Hangzhou is on its last legs, movement near Ba’arin shows Sakamoto may be gearing up for a Qin invasion. It remains to be seen what Shikoku will do, but for now, they are doing well for starting on an island.
Adm. Cloudberg: This was a weird part for Haida, and I'm honestly not sure why they're rising. The highlight of the episode for these pink bois was their unexpected trans-Pacific naval invasion of Papua, in which they briefly held a city, and... that's kind of it. They might still flip some more, but even if they keep them, it's not clear what they'll do with their conquests. Recall, for example, that the unexpected Blackfoot city capture in the Philippines in Mk. 2 did not end with a successful conquest of Southeast Asia. At the moment, I would contend that Koyah's energy would be better expended reinforcing his core and trying to get the upper hand over Yup'ik and Korea.
Gragg: Another spectacular part. If a civ on the mainland had this much success they would be an easy no 1. Unfortunately for the Vikings they are still handicapped by their powerful Sami neighbors and naval based start location. The British isles look like they will be painted orange sooner or later as the Vikings claim a part of Ireland and manage to hold on to Port Erin. No progress has been made against the major city of Glasgow but I’m not entirely sure the Vikings have even tried yet. I think a peace deal will be coming soon but the Vikings have made more than enough progress to be the favorites to win the isles.
Aaron: It seems I am on Goth duty for the third week running, and, just as predicted, the war vs Prussia was a complete failure due to Prussia's technologically advanced units, and this has allowed Kazakhstan to grow stronger by eating the Nenets. Alaric's new solution to a large Kazakhstan to their east is to try and make friends with it. They have joined in the Kazakh's war to reconquer the cities they lost to Parthia at the start. In theory, you'd think that this would allow the Goths to walk in and capture a few cities while Parthia is busy dealing with the larger problem, but in practice this hasn't gone great. Although the Goths have already captured and razed the city of Bolghar on the exact same tile, Rhages is proving a lot more difficult to break into than its predecessor, probably due to the large number of Parthian cuirassiers. Don't think there's only bad news this week though; the good news for the Goths is that they beelined scientific theory, granting them public schools and thus, the 3rd highest science in the cylinder! Though their low tech level was proving to be a problem (as the war with Prussia showed), these public school should allow them to catch right back up with their important neighbours.
Homusubi: Louis Riel is doing a pretty good job, all things being considered, of defending a massive amount of territory without much of an army, summoning defensive forces out into the many active Métis fronts and ultimately saving Winnipeg from the world’s oldest fascists. Despite this, however, and despite being pretty solid statistically, their ever-present fragility, currently most acute on the Apache front, cannot be denied. It is for this reason that they have reached an unfortunate power ranking milestone this week, that of being the lowest ranked of the North American Big Three for the first time. The Métis have surprised us before, and they are certainly not out of the game, but right now, I’d give the edge to Iroquois or Apache.
Gragg: At this point in the game the oceans have more units in them than the Kazakh’s core. Their saving grace is that they manage to have just enough units on the borders to attack Parthia in the South and ghosts in the North (Nenets). Luckily the only civ so far to take advantage of the lack of carpet are the Nenets who had some success for a while. Imagine if a larger neighbor like the Khamugs did the same. Now imagine a coalition that included Evenks, Goths, and others and you have a Ndongo style collapse. Obviously not all is doom and gloom though. Coalitions like that are rare and the Kazakhs are pushing and, believe it or not, increasing their military count. If they fill up that core of theirs they should even return to the top 10.
Reformer: Alrighty then. Two front war it is. Admittedly you could argue that it's hardly a two front war, what with how small Murri is between the two fronts, but the situation is tougher than it needs to be all the same. Seeing as the two wars were both declared by New Zealand, one can only assume that Seddon simply wants to up the ante a bit. Maybe the man just wants to have a bigger challenge, to feel alive, to feel the wind in his hair. To feel that he is actually in danger, like those who are worse off than he is. I can respect that, most definitely, but c'mon now, this is a competitive environment. If you want a challenge, start waging a path of war towards Uruguay. You could probably get there pretty easily, too, if we're being realistic. Beating Uruguay would be the real challenge, after all.
Msurdej: Geronimo continues to hold on to his top 10 spot. The war against the Métis continues to look good, and Frog Lake has fallen to the Apache. They're army has continued to be formidable to the Métis, and their production is starting to catch up with their rivals. What remains to be seen is how long they will keep this war going. Cut Knife could be next to fall, but Riel's forces seem ready for a knockdown drag on fight. It might behoove Geronimo to make peace with the Métis, and focus his attention to his weaker, southern neighbors.
Reformer: The Middle East remains quiet, and at its heart is a quiet Palmyra. For no perceivable reason, Zenobia has been buffering and consolidating her power, keeping Palmyra in the top 10 by virtue of great stats rather than prolonged warfare. Obviously, stats alone won't win anyone the game (looking at you, Uruguay), and thus Palmyra will eventually have to wake up. Even still, their numerous neighbors are quite squishy, ranging from Turks and Nubians to the soft underbelly of the Parthians. Skirmishes against India in former Oman, and against Czechia over the Black Sea simply won't cut it. Zenobia needs a proper war, and she needs it soon. The top 10 is a ruthless place, and if Zenobia continues to be wallpaper, she'll find herself out of the top very soon.
Homusubi: It’s happening! The first of our three sleeping giants wakes up, as the Burmese peacock greets the light of dawn while the Marathi tiger and Khamug falcon are still slumbering. Bayinnaung has decided to do what he has so far failed to do in almost all cases, and seize a golden opportunity to strike, and what an opportunity it is: diving into the Oceanian melée, he has surfaced with his first capital capture of the game, and plenty of opportunity to pick off a couple of other cities and make the Sulu Sea his Mare Nostrum if he so desires. What’s more, you know that carpet of composite bowmen that Taungoo has had for ages? It’s in the process of being turned into a carpet of crossbows. Propelled to a new record ranking of eighth, all there is left to do is hope that this is a true awakening of the almighty ‘Goo rather than Bayinnaung simply squashing a bug as he rolls over in his sleep.
Adm. Cloudberg: Once again, the Sami made gains this part against Muscovy, only to burn a valuable city to the ground. But, Sami fans, fear not: this part Eadni did the seemingly impossible and successfully fixed her happiness problem. Now sitting on +17, she has likely seen the last of the barbarian uprisings and crushing despair that caused her so many problems over the last... well, 19 episodes, really. For now, however, the Sami hold steady in the power rankings as the rankers wait to see what they'll do in the absence of this chronic handicap.
Techno: Buoyed by an incredible military strength, the Moors continue to sit firmly within the top 10, fielding a powerful army filled with their unique mounted crossbowmen replacement. While not currently in any wars of expansion, it's not hard to envision the Moors pulling one off successfully, especially against the poorly-defended northern Venetian territories or the beleaguered Manx. While not nearly as strong in raw production as some of the higher-ranked civs, the Moors' weaker neighbors mean that their dominant position in Europe is only rivaled by the distant Sami.
Gragg: I could just about copy and paste the writeup from last week for Maratha. They’re menacing as heck but haven’t done anything yet. We still have no reason to believe they won’t so they stay fairly high in the rankings. Marathan land army is growing in open-borders civs through the cylinder. Golden Horde houses several Marathan units as does Qin in this image. Think Madagascar but with the biggest army they cylinder has ever seen (yes, more than Uruguay).
Msurdej: If you were hoping for a Khamug v Evenks war, i'm sorry to disappoint you. The two civs recently declred a joint war together against the Golden Horde, making a northern invasion by Jamukha unlikely. While their stats are still impressive, with the 3rd best production and the 4th biggest army, these alone won't get Jamukha back to the top spot he had early in the game.
Techno: After a long slumber, Zimbabwe has finally begun to experience the thrill of the fight. Their war with Ndongo was a large success despite their pyromania and happiness troubles, and with a now-reasonable 35 happiness, such a crisis does not appear likely to repeat itself anytime soon. But with one war out of the way, two new issues have appeared. First, Madagascar has launched an invasion of Zimbabwe's Indian Ocean coastline. Although this is something that Zimbabwe can likely fend off given the sheer strength difference, Zimbabwe at most could gain Madagascar's mainland city, as the Madagascan navy is stronger than what Zimbabwe has at their disposal and means that an island excursion is off-limits. Consequently, this war will tie up resources that could instead be used to prepare for the second threat: the arrival of Uruguay in Africa. While not nearly an existential threat, an overseas colony from another great power is not something any civ should want on their doorstep. Zimbabwe would be wise to remove this blemish from their coastline as soon as possible.
Lacsirax: Slow week for the 'Quoi, but when even your slow weeks involve consolidating brand new territory you know you're in a good place. This week it was down in the Caribbean, where they added the new city of Ganneious to their Turks and Caicos colony, seized from the not-so-impenetrable Kuikuro. Hiawatha's navy has never been the stronger side of his army, and both cities could fall prey to a Haitian invasion, but likely as a trade-off for the reconquest of Teiaiagon, which would be a worthwhile shuffle in my books. Meanwhile, the two lesser powers of the continent, Apache and Métis, are wearing themselves out with a war; as soon as Hiawatha has rebuilt his army, somewhat worn out after they wound up carrying the full weight of the Métis coalition, they could easily expand into either. Hiawatha still hasn't grasped the top spot, but he's getting close: Uruguay are perfect-in-theory but poor-in-practice, where Iroquois are quite the opposite.
Gragg: I’m a big fan of shortish writeups but I could write for a while on Uruguay. And I have! Check it out here: Yup, the title is why Uruguay won’t win. So why, oh foolish PR, are they ranked 1st? Cause even still they have a better chance to win then everyone else. I explain more in the post.

Now onto what transpired this episode. Uruguay learned that the way to win wars is to team up. Zimbabwe and Uruguay (and Benin) worked together to devour Ndongo and Iroquois and Uruguay worked together to take Kuikuro down to nearly half its size. They currently surround Ndongo’s last city with a few naval units. It’s very likely the Guay will claim it’s first victim.