Author: ThyReformer
Published: 2019-10-21
[Note: No Scottish ghostball yet, sorry.]
Techno: Someone once said, "Everything I've heard about Oman suggests they're going to be nothing but a footnote in the CBRX." That couldn't be more accurate. The story of Oman is, quite frankly, one of misplaced hope. We initially had them ranked rather low, owing to their small land area, poor AI, and horrendous starting conditions. But thanks to some startlingly high early stats, Oman ballooned to rank 20 by part 3. But we should have listened to the fundamentals. Oman soon gave away a city to Parthia in a startlingly bad peace deal, leaving them with just 3 terrible cities that never even accumulated a significant population. Shortly before their downfall, Oman was still wielding a carpet of spearmen and composite bowmen when the rest of the cylinder had long since moved on to new frontiers. Surprisingly, it wasn't the near-constant Marathan raids that ultimately doomed Oman, as a coalition from India and Madagascar landed the critical and finishing blows.
LonelyRS: For a moment there, it almost seemed like things were looking up for Canada. Jumping in on the weaker of one’s two neighbors while they’re stuck in a coalition war is almost always a sound strategy, and with so much of Riel’s eastern army tied up in the battle of Winnipeg, Canada might have even been able to contribute something other than moral support to somebody. But then, as they so often do for the runt of the North American litter, things went horribly wrong. The Iroquois and Haida peaced out after a long and hard-fought war, but neglected to include their most insignificant ally (and that’s counting Venezuela). Within seconds, Canada went from a cheerleader the approximate size of a small dog to a cheerleader the approximate size of a small dog falling out of a twenty-second story window. Surely, however, there are some silver linings for Canada. They might, say… force the Metis to use a land unit while they kill them? Maybe? If everything breaks right?
Lacsirax: Nothing bad happened to Poverty Point this part, but really, what other bad things could happen to them? Elimination would be a mercy. If there's anything that's made the prospect more likely this episode, it's that the Apache have scored open borders with frenemies the Iroquois, and are now surrounding Poverty Point on all sides with trebuchets... hey, it keeps them same from the Iroquois, right? Honestly, as a big fan of the Pointers, I just want it to be over.
Gragg: Ok I’ll admit it, I claimed this writeups cause it’s an easy one. Murri are still stuck in the middle of Australia. It’ll be a few episodes before their snuffed out though. They have just enough military where they could make a plucky attempt to take a city of Australia or Papua gets distracted. New Zealand might as well not be a neighbor right now with that one tile gap. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Murri right now pertains to the world congress. They are one of the last civs met for most of frontrunners to start the world congress. It’s easy to see why.
Gragg: Another week of Seljuqs surviving is a good week for them. At this point they may be the longest living Turks in this game. I'm starting to think their remaining mainland city will last longer than their vacation home in the Maldives. Sure Australia isn’t going to take it but there are a number of navies around that are capable. On the mainland they mostly have India and Parthia to worry about. Yes, this writeup was all about how/when Seljuqs will die. If you want some real hardcore analysis keep scrolling.
Gragg: Time for the weekly ‘C’ civ update. Czechia remains in the middle of the pack as they continue to be mostly invisible in Europe. Canada tried making friends and is paying for it. Canton Pirates are just getting lucky. The area around the Czechs remains full of opportunity for any decent civ. Too bad they are not decent. Still though they have a chance to get lucky against of their many distracted allies.
LonelyRS: Any of y’all remember the Australia/Murri war? It happened just a few parts ago, you probably do. Anyways, we all know how that turned out: the Murri took advantage of a sleeping Australia, took city after city… then failed to peace out in time and got absolutely annihilated as soon as the kangaroo military finally arrived. Well, as they say, those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it, and Vauli Piettoman flunked that subject. He’s always more closely resembled Mark 2.1’s Kekkonen than Mark 2’s, but as a tardy peace deal paints half his empire blue and gold, the similarities have never been more obvious. Now proud owner of an empire with more boats than soldiers and plenty of juicy and well-populated cities for the Kazakhs to take over, I imagine he’d feel a certain kinship with his partners in underdog stories gone horribly wrong, the Murri – that is, if he even knows they exist. I’d imagine he doesn’t, which is probably why the Nenets are in this situation in the first place.
Msurdej: The Horde are certainly in one of their darkest timelines, as the Parthians continue to move in on the newly annexed capital of Merv. Unfortunately, there are few Horde units neat the capital, giving Mithridates a clear shot at taking the Horde down another peg. The Horde's stats continue to get closer to the bottom of the barrel as more civs are eliminated, and at this rate, they could be out in the next 10 parts.
Adm. Cloudberg: Mehmed II continues to bounce around the 47-49 range like a superball inside a box, or something like that. He just won't sit still, but he's not actually going anywhere. On the ground, however, the Ottomans are clearly getting worse: Czech citadels have entirely split their empire in half, Venice nearly captured Bursa, Edirne is cut off and under attack from Prussia, and all their fundamental stats are dropping. It doesn't look like they'll actually lose any cities just yet, but their neighbours are finding other ways to grind them down.
Reformer: The Qin appear to be quite relentless in their attack, continuing to make an attempt to push to the Canton capital. Even so, their previous attempts have failed just like that, so how different could this one be? And while Qin wastes valuable units and production, surely one of their many neighbors will finally get greedy enough to attack, and save the poor Canton Pirates? No. The answer is no: even if Qin got attacked again, it would be nothing but a temporary solution to a permanent problem. But hey, who am I to tell Ching Shih the world view she should have? Indeed: Failure is temporary, but giving up would be permanent.
Reformer: Not much going on in the land of the Aztecs, is there? Venezuela is more and more threatening with every passing turn, attacking Haiti was never really an option, Apache have significant garrisons on their southern border despite the Métis war, and the Pacific Ocean is beginning to fill with all sorts of fleets. What action can the Aztecs even take that isn't suicidal? Maybe a coalition against Haiti, but Haiti would have to first suffer some significant diplomatic maluses, and I don't see them capturing cities from any of their neighbors either. But hey, at least they have lots of melee units. Some great empires are certainly jealous, and all this makes me a bit sad that you can't sell your troops as mercenaries to other civs. What kind of a medieval state can maintain a standing army that doesn't fight, anyway?
Aaron: Disaster strikes! Zimbabwe wakes at last and is coming for blood! Already 3 cities have fallen, though curiously 2 of them not to Zimbabwe, but to Benin, a civ that is itself currently also getting invaded. And the part started off so nicely too, with Ndongo declaring war on a Benin that was so weak that even Nubia was taking multiple cities off them. Unfortunately, this was the cue for Zimbabwe to strike and this has spelt doom for poor Ndongo. Getting crushed by a Zimbabwe has been the main prediction for Ndongo since part 0, so it's not exactly unexpected. But even mighty Zimbabwe is no excuse for their terribly-fought war against Benin, who I would like to remind you, are currently getting invaded while they are taking cities off Ndongo... Even at sea, where Ndongo have a mighty fleet of frigates and multiple coastal cities to build ships in, they still had a city flipped by Benin's inferior renaissance navy and SINGLE coastal city! There are no words to describe this level of incompetence. For indeed, the mighty Ndongan navy was neither in Ndongan waters nor Benin waters where it would be useful, the mighty Ndongan navy was in the north atlantic smashing itself head first into well-defended Zimbabwean islands.

Nzinga does have experience with getting steamrolled by a superior South-African powerhouse, and is perhaps planning on the same strategy as last time of becoming a ghost fleet, except this time with actual cities in Antarctica to refuel and repair. Sadly this isn't going to work because Uruguay have also joined in and have sent the most technologically advanced navy on the cylinder to capture the Antarctic settlements. Oh you thought I'd forgotten about Uruguay? Well no. While normally a relevant war against the number 1 civ in the cylinder would be front page news and cause for serious alarm, it speaks volumes to how screwed Ndongo is that I only got to them this far down. Uruguay is so superior to Ndongo that there is even a big risk of Uruguay gaining a foothold in Africa if they decide to commit to the war. That is an outcome I am sincerely hoping does not happen.
Adm. Cloudberg: Muscovy goes up two places this part because... who the fuck knows, honestly. They didn't lose any more cities to the Sami, but this still wasn't a good part for them. Several Gothic citadels have stolen land right next to Muscovite cities. Ivan's army is very sparse. Most of his neighbours could demolish him in a war. And really, it's only a matter of time until Eadni captures (and burns) some more of Ivan's increasingly narrow empire.
Aaron: Haiti gain 2 ranks, one each from the Nenets' drop and another from Ndongo's drop. For indeed this is how things are at the bottom of the table: do nothing, get rewarded. The most interesting thing that happened this part was unlocking frigates, which should help them fight off eventual enemies such as Venezuela.
Msurdej: Despite being up against the overwhelmingly superior Uruguay, the Kuikuro still manage to hold out. But now a war with the Iroquois puts the island city of Itsagahiti at risk, with several ships surrounding the small island. Its likely the island will fall to Hiawatha the next part, but the Kuikuro core will still likely be able to hide and turtle from the Uruguay powerhouse.
Lacsirax: Yup'ik military score: 18k. Haida military score: 12k. The time is now, Apaanugpak! You may never have a shot like this again! But if several episodes sitting with the Yup'ik has taught me one thing, and not to mention tests and AI games before this one, it's that they just don't like pulling the trigger. Instead, I think we should try to get them coalitioned. Seriously, they only really have two neighbours - a Haida who they can beat and a Métis who have never re-enforced the Yup'ik border because, well, why would you? So if that's the only way to get them to go to war, I say it's more than worth it. So let the Yup'ik smear campaign commence! I heard that Apaanugpak... uh... resets the game until he gets salt starts. Wait, I heard he picks Shoshone in MP games! And he would definitely build Petra in a city with only flood plains! Get him!!
Lacsirax: Gone are the days when we would speak in hushed whispers about their surprise victory against New Zealand. Gone are the days when we eyed their sudden settler spurt and mused if they'd stake a claim in a far off land, ready to join the game. Gone are the days when we, as a community, would come together in uttering those immortal words... 'is it Tonga time?' Because it's not Tonga time; in the Pacific arena at the moment it's New Zealand time, possibly Papua time, and maybe even Shikoku time. Tonga are still here, they're still on a +1 city war record, and they still have chances to make an impact - but we're yet to see evidence they'll take those chances.
Gragg: Be careful who you call boring. Benin made my head spin this week as they get rolled by Nubia in the North, stall out Beta Israel in the East, and snipe two Ndongan cities in the South. That’s more activity than most civs have had in the entire game so far. Despite the gain in the South though this part was quite bad for Benin. They got lucky to take those Ndongan cities and won’t likely take any more. Nubia is primed to keep pushing in the North though. Even if they peace out Benin is now too weak to make any moves for the foreseeable future. Turns out those fancy walls didn’t work out so well.
Gragg: This is not how it was supposed to happen. Sulu was supposed to be runted by Papua and fade into irrelevance as other navies in the area outgrew theirs. Suddenly they have the second strongest navy in Oceania. It’s simply a matter of placing more priority on it than their neighbors as their production is still behind. Right now they have a narrow window where they can use this sudden military advantage. The best target is probably the Maratha colonies to the West but they could make gains elsewhere too. In case you were wondering, that army of keys that they seem to have are their UU replacement for cannons. They are simply cheaper and move faster. Don’t let me get you too excited for a Sulu comeback though. After all, they are at war with the clear leaders, Tonga.
Msurdej: Right off the back of the Viking war, the HRE finds itself in a war against Prussia. This has spiraled off into a major European war, with fighting throughout the continent. While Prussia may be on the losing side, it doesn't seem likely that the HRE will taking cities from Ol' Fritz. Her armies and bases are still recovering from the Viking war, but teaming up with Ragnar will be a good way to ease tensions with her northern neighbors.
LonelyRS: If it wasn’t obvious before, taking over Delhi for a turn just to see Indira should make pretty clear Privthi’s attraction to the ruler to his west. Shipping aside, this last part’s probably been the best part to be Nepal in recent memory, with the mountainous sheep surrounded by wolves not only just fending off but also getting a few licks in on the weakest of its tormentors. Sure, if Central Asia were a league of evil exes India’d be the Matthew Patel, but it’s something, and given Nepal’s positioning being able to not die against a neighbor is a triumph worth celebrating. There’s certainly not a lot of celebrating coming for Nepal, after all. Nepal may still be very, very fucked, but with Maratha to their south seeing the Iroquois’ all-ranged army composition as a challenge, India to their west roundly humiliated, and the northern territories still as horridly impassable as ever, Nepal may be able to rage against the dying of the light for a while longer.
Msurdej: I really wanted Selk'nam to do good. I wanted them to be a thorn in the side of Uruguay, sending their Eldritch forces to sow chaos across South America. But that hasn't happened. Xo'on's stats have sourced in the past few parts, and their chances of conquest seem bleak. Nazca is a tough nut to crack, and Uruguay is Uruguay. Could good things happen to Selk'nam? Sure, but a lot of their rank increases from now on will probably come from others failing rather than t͕̬̹h͜͏͟e̤͖ ̪̳͠e̵͙͡l͍d͎͘͞r̗̘͔i̸̩͡t͘҉̢̩̥c̱͟͟h͏҉͈̤̺ ̵̸͞a̴͘͞b͞͏̷o̦͡͡m͏̸̘i̛̤̣n̬͍͜a҉̟͝t̛͖͟ì̵̛ọ͢͠n̨͎͘s̢̛͡ ̩͙̗t̡͉̭h̨̬͝a̷̜t̨͖̭ ̙̭͡p̸̧̟o̧̳͚w̳̦͢e̸҉͔̞̳r̡͢͏ ̧̀͟S̤̬͝e̤͈͡l̶̢͜k̘̲͜'̢̀͠n̡͞͠a͉̣̬m͏̫͠
Gragg: This is not the war we were waiting for… In true AI fashion Qing goes to war with Shikoku. Then Shikoku gets open-borders with Qin and puts it to glorious use. There is a roughly 0% chance Qing makes any gains in this war. Until I saw this slide I would’ve said the same about Shikoku. Now though this war has suddenly become relevant. That war with Maratha might similarly become relevant. Qin and Maratha have open border and Marathan units are now overflowing into Purple China and moving towards the Qin. This could be one of the wackiest invasions we’ve ever seen. Better hope that army that Yellow China has been saving up is enough to hold everyone off.
Gragg: So recently Korea is drawing a war with the Khamugs, won a war with Haida, and is losing a war with the Evenks. What a wacky cylinder we live in. Korea rises a bit this week by boosting their stats a bit and holding in both of their current wars. That navy is certainly strong enough to give someone a bad day. Unfortunately it’s not terribly threatening to any of their immediate neighbors. Still though, it will provide some security and allow them to take advantage of any opportunities that come along. They just need to hope no one competent comes after their cities on the land considering their current aversion to land armies.
Gragg: The Manx find themselves at the center of a suddenly violent Europe. The HRE was one of their better targets but when you throw in a Vikings wars it’s less than ideal. Obviously they’re losing the war with the Vikings and that won’t change anytime soon. By losing Port Erin they’ve lost the ability to launch an attack on HRE’s coastal cities as well. Glasgow becomes the next focal point in this war. Fortunately, it has a high city defense. Unfortunately there are very favourable citadels nearby for Vikings to park range units on.
Aaron: India finishes the wars with Oman and Nepal. The Oman war was a great success: India got its first two city captures and Oman was totally annihilated. The war with Nepal was less successful and caused Delhi to flip down to 6 pop - BUT - in the process, India gained 1 tile that had previously been citadeled, so I think it counts as a Pyrrhic victory. Sacrificing 5 million civilians and several military units for 1 tile is not a trade many would want but India made it nevertheless. But things are not looking that up for India, as they are now at risk of losing their brand new Arabian conquests. Palmyra and New Zealand have declared a joint war for control of them. Why Palmyra didn't just take the cities when Oman held them I don't know. One interesting thing to note is that although the Madagascan peacekeepers that were living in Nizwa have moved to their new colony of Salalah, they are also starting to spread out into Indian Arabia. If they're fast enough, the peacekeepers might do their job and protect India from Palmyra. Meanwhile, New Zealand are also sending a fleet in India's direction (including the cylinder's first cruiser) so that will soon be a problem unless it gets bored before it completes its long voyage. The most likely outcome of all this is that India will return to its original borders from before it tried to escape the subcontinent.
Lacsirax: These busy few years for Frederick continue as, hot on the heels from a minor loss against the Sámi, they find themselves at war with three of Europe's main players. The most obvious threat are the Vikings, whose thoroughly modern army are in the mood for a little re-conquista, looking to grab the Swedish city of Bergen that they lost all those years ago. A large navy and two island fortresses should ensure that Prussia can keep it flip city, though a faltering happiness might mean Frederick razes it rather than continuing a drawn out struggle. The Goths are the only one of their rivals to field a larger military than Prussia, and they do have open borders with Muscovy, but civs don't tend to cope well with organised attacks through a neutral state. Then there's their weakest foe, the HRE, and boy is Boudicca drained - there are zero reserves behind their flimsy front line. If Prussia can successfully get their forces to the front, you would fancy them taking Augsburg - but at the moment they're content to sit back and defend. Maybe that's wise. Cut some losses, make some peace, and focus your energies.
Gragg: A thrilling part for Nubia as they unexpectedly did as well as expected. The war with Benin seemed one-sided when it was declared but we all know that ai’s can sometimes botch a war for no particular reason other than bad rng rolls. Especially in wars against opponents with superior science and production such as Benin. Luckily though Nubia was able to successfully tear through Benin and all of their fancy walls. Unfortunately for them though, their new cities are quite low pop and don’t do much to boost their already meh production/science. Still though this is about a good of a part as they could hope for. Their neighbors in Songhai and Venice are still occupied and unlikely to be a threat. They are currently friendly with Beta Israel and Palmyra will have to fight across some difficult terrain. Nubia fans rejoice. This is as good as it’s gunna get.
Gragg: For the first time in 13 parts Madagascar is ranked higher than it’s fellow island start ‘M’ civ, Manx. Perhaps it’s because the homeland of the Manx is getting invaded by ferocious Vikings. Or perhaps Madagascar, devourer of cities and eliminator of civs, will surely dominate Africa. I’ll let you decide. Having another city on the mainland is nice for Madagascar but it’s unlikely they’ll be able to do much with it. There are still several nice island targets nearby though and no real threats. Pushing into mainland Africa is still as difficult as ever though so they’ll have to keep being creative with their targets.
Techno: Oh, what a doozy. Beta Israel's last part encompassed the entirety of one of their least impressive wars, as they joined the fight against Benin at an opportune time only to realize no gains from the war. Instead, it was Benin who made progress, capturing two cities from Ndongo while Beta Israel sat by idly. At least there will be opportunities for expansion in the future, as no African powers have yet to emerge as truly dominant thanks to a certain stagnating southern power. But for now, Beta Israel remains comfortably in the middle of the pack.
Lacsirax: If it wasn't already obvious, the Evenks have their first ever victory, with Korea permanently banished from the Arctic Circle. Don't get too giddy, all four of you Evenk fans; I wouldn't call it an impressive victory, laboured against a nation whose military force is almost entirely floating in a far off sea. If they want to impress me, they'll have to take Skedans, the Haida city that Korea took over a couple of episodes ago - and with two nearly-dead knights the only combatants on the field, I don't think I'm popping to the shops for the champagne and balloons just yet. Still, the victory won at Taejon and any battle forged at Skedans is just window dressing: pointless wars fought over barren, non-strategic land between two civs whose only real interest stems from their relationships with their more powerful neighbours. We'll forget this war, and if the Evenks carry on rolling the way they've been rolling, we'll forget them too.
LonelyRS: Ostrava, as it turns out, is a poor place to launch an invasion. It’s a poor target for an invasion, too, as the Turks have so kindly demonstrated approximately fifty times in the past. Really, it’s just a pretty shit place for invasions all around, which might explain why the Czechs have been going downhill ever since they settled the city. Still, it’s not like failing in their war against the Turks is all she wrote for Venice. There’s Nubia! ...Who have a decent navy and who are displaying flashes of competence and relevance in their war against Benin. There’s the Moors! …Who would probably wipe the floor with Venice at this point. There’s… the one Mediterranean city Songhai still has? I suppose being one of the last few Mediterranean civs doesn’t guarantee superpower status when all the other Mediterranean civs played about as well as a small child attached to a sea urchin. Still, Venice does have opportunities available to them – they’re just on land, is the issue. The declining Holy Roman Empire’s underbelly would be an easy target for anyone but Venice, given how sparse it is and how occupied the rest of the nation’s army is. Still, musketmen and cannons can paper over a lot of flaws…
Msurdej: There once was a civ called the Nazca.
Who's performance was somewhat ass'ca
They didn't do squat
while other civs fought
So their time has come and
Shaggy: One of the more controversial rankings this week, Papua rises to 23. A slew of freshly settled cities, a full complement of frigates, and a dick full of confidence all make Papua look poised to take more bites out of the Australian continent once the peace agreement they made with Australia this part ends. Content with keeping the Murri as cute little vassal pets for the moment, the only civ they could target southward is New Zealand. Now, Rajapapua might be ballsy, but he ain’t stupid. He should build up his navy and, in the meantime, there are also targets north; not many other southeast Asian civs have comparable navies and would probably provide easier pickings in the short term (cough cough Sulu).
Adm. Cloudberg: One look at Venezuela's empire and army tells me that the best thing Hugo Chavez could do right now is wake up and attack a neighbour. Literally any of them will do, probably even Uruguay. The Aztecs or Haiti would make for an especially juicy target. Chavez's lands are filled with cannons, musketmen, and crossbowmen while his seas abound with galleons and privateers. The Caribbean is his oyster—but will he act?
Gragg: Not a lot to say about Parthia except that their war with the Golden Horde is going nowhere. GH does have a history of giving away cities in peace deals though so maybe something will come of this war. Perhaps the sharp eyed among you can double-check, but I only see 2 Parthian melee units on this slide. Maybe a third at the very edge. This isn’t a new problem as Parthia has had many problems with bad unit comp before. In my opinion unit comp is the #1 issue for this civ. Having Palmyra as a neighbor is #2. Also Maratha has as many units in Golden Hordes borders as Parthia does.
Aaron: This part, Australia gave up on fighting for Bunbery, deciding to let Papua keep it. Fighting at a tech disadvantage against frigates is never fun so it was probably the correct decision, especially with new Zealand looking more and more like a big threat to Australia (and to Papua too for that matter). But this tech disadvantage is really only in military units - though their fleet is less advanced than Papua's or NZ's and though even the Murri have muskets before they do, Australia actually has the highest tech level in Oceania. Yes, even higher than Sulu, and 6th cylinderwide. Where are these techs then? Well Australia has followed Uruguay's example in going down the middle of the tech tree to grab public schools and (presumably) factories. They unlocked public schools 3 turns before the end of the part, so expect them to shoot up in science and for their navy to quickly catch up with Sulu, Papua and New Zealand's. All they need is one or two parts of rest, and Australia will be back to looking like a powerful contender, with a strong high-tech navy. That is, if the other oceanic civs actually give them one or two parts to rest, and don't continue taking it in turns to punch Australia, as they have been doing for nearly 10 parts now.
Gragg: Qin has transformed into a parking lot. I about spit out my coffee when I came across the images of Qin in the Director's Cut. Imagine if Shikoku had managed to get this many units into Qin when they were at war. This would be a very different Asia. The other side of Purple China is no better as Maratha is starting to park their cannons in the West. Of course these units will be sent packing but it certainly highlights how hollow the Qin really are. In other news they managed to complete the Porcelain Tower for a nice little science bonus. It’s always nice to see a wonder not go to Uruguay.
Shaggy: Much to the delight of Benin, Haida drops 3 this part and falls out of the top 15. They are in a minor rebuild phase after failing to make any major inroads into the Métis core. Even with relatively undefended cities nearby to target, Haida fell victim to the harsh terrain and Métis production and was just sort of limply fighting despite really needing a win. Perhaps Koyah would have better luck attacking their Alaskan neighbors sometime in the future, but they’ll still need to penetrate the Icy Green Carpet…
Gragg: It seems like every episode Vikings exceed my expectations. If they keep at it I might adjust my expectations. Not yet though. Another great episode for the OG pirates. The benefit of opening up a passage to the Baltic Sea wasn’t talked about enough. The Vikings now have several more cities capable of pumping out navy for their pillaging of the Isles. They immediately put that advantage to use against the Manx. Their moves war declarations have been human-like for quite some time. It’s the only thing that’s saved them from irrelevancy I think. If they keep going at this rate they will be able to stand up to their Scandinavian rival the Sami. Until that time their position is still limited.
Adm. Cloudberg: Shikoku rises for the third week in a row, hitting an all-time high of 16th! This time, it's not just because other civs are falling, but also because Shikoku actually did something. Having given up on Qin, Sakamoto Ryoma decides to attack Qin's very similarly-named neighbour, the Qing. Whether they'll gain anything remains to be seen, however. Qing's land army exists (which is more than Qin could say) and any naval attack has to approach through the narrow, galleass-choked entrance to the yellow sea, guarded by a city that naval units can only attack from the inward-facing side. It'll be a challenge for sure, and the next part will tell us whether Shikoku is up to it.
Adm. Cloudberg: Despite doing nothing good or bad, Songhai takes one of the larger plunges of any civ this week, dropping five spots in a part of the rankings where dropping five spots is a big deal. Why? Well, as far as I can tell, it's just reality catching up with them. Songhai has been sliding in he stats; their military is sparse and outdated; and their neighbours are getting stronger (read: their stronger neighbours are killing their weaker neighbours). Given the strength of the Moors in particular—they'll soon have more troops than Uruguay—and the fact that Songhai doesn't even have crossbowmen, their position is actually getting pretty precarious.
Gragg: I couldn’t remember exactly what New Zealand did this part so I read through the part again. While they do appear in the slides they aren’t mentioned a single time. That doesn't mean they’re sleeping though. I’ve spotted 4 or 5 separate fleets roaming the oceans with no apparent target. The most interesting seems to be headed towards their meme rival. Yes, we just might see a Aztec/New Zealand war. Or they could be going to Hawaii. Or Alaska. Or nowhere. In the end I’m just a good guesser anyway. In other news, Wellington is 59 pop.
Shaggy: In a show of superior potassium, the Kazakhs are surging through the mysterious winterscape of the Nenets. This centuries-in-the-making slap back puts the Kazakhs back up into the top 15. With over 3 times the military of the Nenets, there’s nothing stopping the Kazakhs from rolling to the arctic other than the Kazakhs themselves. They are being helped by the Khamug-Parthian buffer and shouldn’t need to defend their southern front much; even still, the AI might overcompensate, unfortunately.
Gragg: I’ve ranked Taungoo higher than most PRs for a while now. Even I have to admit that they’re looking worse and worse though. 3 or 4 episodes ago I used this writeup to say their comp bow carpet will be upgraded to crossbows any turn now. I’m still waiting for that to happen and a little puzzled as to why it hasn’t happened yet. Their navy that I at one point thought might make a push into Oceania is now outmatched by both Papua and Sulu. Maratha continues to grow strong and soon even Shikoku will be a threat.
Aaron: Last week, I proposed that the Goths either join the Sami in conquering Muscovy, or fight the Kazakhs while they are temporarily much weaker than usual. Alaric, in his wisdom, did neither, and instead joined in the Prussia coalition. On the one hand, Prussia is very distracted with enemies on all sides; on the other hand, Muscovy is still in the way of the Gothic army. Though the Goths have gotten open borders with Muscovy, this is leading to traffic jams as Muscovite troops heading north to defend against the Sami get in the way of Gothic troops heading west to attack Prussia. Prussia are also more advanced in tech, already fielding lancers and cannons while also researching line infantry and skirmishers. I find it unlikely that the Goths manage to get enough troops over to actually achieve anything, other than perhaps save the Turkish city of Edirne (currently being sieged by Prussia). This war was probably the worst one they could have declared and will in all likelihood merely drain their troops while allowing the Kazakhs and Sami to grow stronger unopposed.
Techno: Thanks to an opportune declaration of war on the Métis, the Apache climb 3 ranks as they vie for North America's second-place spot through direct warfare. While the Métis may lead in sheer land area, the Apache wield both a larger military and a higher production total, meaning that the Métis are bound to remain on the defensive unless the Apache make a severe error. Frog Lake has already sustained damage, and with the Métis army still recovering from their war with the Iroquois, the Apache have a fair chance of taking the city. And while this war might not doom the Métis, it certainly presents the Apache with a major opportunity to grow.
Gragg: Excitement on all sides for Métis. Never thought you’d hear that huh. The North American glutton won/drew the war with Iroquois, won the war with Haida, will win the war with Canada, and is defending well against the Apache. While the part showed a troublesome start to the war, Directors Cut shows a different story. The barbarians have been dealt with, Frog Lake has healed, the Apache army has spread out, and a Métis army has appeared. Yes I realized I’m using a lot of commas this writeup but it’s been an exciting part for Métis. The not so exciting part is that they continue to slide down the stats sheet. Hopefully once they stop being the favorite target in NA they can fix that.
Gragg: Same old story for Palmyra. The powerhouse of the middle-east with plenty of good targets and a seeming lack of motivation. No, attacking the Czechs doesn’t count as activity. I have no reason to believe they’ll remain sleepy. So sooner or later one of their neighbors is going to have a very rough day. Even the Goths to the North would likely lose a city or two to the Palmyrene army. Nubia might hold them off for a while but their army will only get smaller as they wage war in Africa. I am curious to see if Palmyra becomes an Asian powerhouse or enters the Africa or Europe game. I’m cheering for a war with the Ottomans to stir up Europe a bit. Pretty likely with all the Turk hate that has been going around lately.
LonelyRS: Believe it or not, there are things you can do with a city that don’t involve burning it to the ground until only a charred husk remains. Such as, say... capturing it, or puppeting it, or doing something that doesn’t involved bringing a settler to a crossbow fight and making half of Europe consist of names that require a pronunciation guide and several linguists to say properly. Woe be the poor narrator who finally gets their turn to provide color commentary for a part in which Arjepluovve, Jiellevárri, and Suossjávri are critical points of interest. Still, if there’s any solace, Sami’s slow annihilation of all non-reindeer sponsored culture should come to an end soon; surely, at some point, Eadni must figure out how happiness buildings work. It probably won’t come soon enough to save Nizhny Novgorod or Voldoga, however, as the Sami continue to tear through Russia at a brutal pace only kept in check by occasional fumbling around for a nearby melee unit that can actually carry out the deed of committing arson instead of merely supporting it. Really, though, the Sami’s happiness problems make intuitive sense. They do own all of Finland, after all.
Reformer: It is a good time to be a Moorish supporter. Easily top 10 stats, weakening neighbors that are either fighting each other, falling behind in tech, or simply not building units - and all this comes together to create a beast that the whole neighborhood should be afraid of. The Moorish advantage is at its most obvious in the military stat, where the Moors have the third best army, only barely behind Uruguay, and about 8k behind Maratha. At 51k, the Moors easily triumph over any of their neighbors, and of said neighbors, it is Manx especially who is looking extremely vulnerable right now - the Manx military is only 8k! Broiled in a continent-spanning war, no less, the Manx would be a prime target, especially with the humiliation of the previous war in mind. Brittany shall be Moorish again!
Techno: For those of you who were hoping for a bloody Khamug-Korean war, I've got some bad news for you. The mountainous terrain near Korea's coastal holdings has helped the turtle ship fend off the Khamugs for the time being and keep the Korean holdings safe, save for some pillaged tiles and damaged units. But for those of you who were primarily hoping for a stronger Khamug Khanate, that wish is starting to become a reality. The Khamugs climbed significantly in the stats this part, with one of the largest militaries and the second-largest industrial base in the cylinder. It's not all sunshine and roses, as the Khamugs still lag behind in tech thanks to their low population, but the Khamugs still hold an impressive statistical lead over the rest of East Asia. Now, if only they could make use of their armies in war...
Techno: For a civ as high in the rankings as Zimbabwe, their standard deviation is remarkably high. A look at their performance this part reveals why. On one hand, Zimbabwe finally woke up and declared the fateful war against Ndongo. On the other hand, they have somehow managed to perform sub-par so far, letting most of the gains go to Benin and (soon) Uruguay and razing the one city they got their hands on. A look at their stats reveals the core issue: Zimbabwe is currently running a happiness shortage that you normally only see human players dealing with. At -21 happiness, it's no wonder they've adopted the Sami method of dealing with conquered territory. At least a capital can't be razed, which is relevant given how Zimbabwe is closing in on Kasaba, but the combat penalty at this level of happiness is a severe hindrance. But despite all this, Zimbabwe is still a powerful force with the potential to gain large amounts of territory in the near future. It's just a question of whether or not they can fix their happiness crisis in time to realize those gains.
Gragg: Maratha remains to fuel a lot of discussion on the sub and discord. This episode they hit a milestone by passing Uruguay in military count. Other stats are still behind but welcome news regardless. Maratha also continues to have weak neighbors. Even more so after the recent India/Nepal war. The two things that continue to hold them back are unit composition and a lack of war declarations.
Reformer: The war with Métis comes to an end, and what exactly did Iroquois gain from it? A city on Newfoundland in exchange for two cities burnt down? Oh, and I guess they reduced Winnipeg to rubble, but does it truly matter to a civ as vast as the Métis? In truth, this war was a disappointment to Iroquois fans - and while this was in part due to the mild hype that was running rampant around this war, it should not be ignored that Iroquois began this war with a great military advantage and an ally on Métis' west flank. One could argue that the terrain was difficult, but in truth, the land around Winnipeg is extremely featureless. That is, when approaching from the east. And so, while the Iroquois are still indubitably very strong statistically speaking, and can own up to a relatively good war record, one can't help but wonder when they'll start picking up steam again - if ever.
LonelyRS: Ordinarily, for any given civ, their situation will change with the wind, rump states having their odds of survival recalibrated as neighbors come and go, midtier civs watching as opportunities pass them by, powers getting in wars and getting out of them with hardly a care in the world. For Uruguay, though, that constant, looming threat to the entire cylinder engaged in eternal war with the Kuikuro, the rules don’t apply. What is there to talk about that hasn’t yet been discussed? Their overwhelming production lead? Their adoption of Order? Their eclipsing even Shikoku in tech? The fact that, if they’d taken any different path through the tech tree, we’d be formally inaugurating Lavalleja into the sub by now? The Iroquois have battled their way to the top, taking advantage of every opportunity presented to them, having their fortunes change so often a reader could legally sue for whiplash. For Uruguay, though, nothing has changed. Nothing ever will. Uruguay’s situation, and indeed the nation itself, is a constant. Uruguay has lived since time immemorial, and will outlive us all by millennia, surviving all the way until our Universe is destroyed, dying a slow death from dementia as the last of the black holes fades from existence. And then they’ll probably build Neuschwanstein on the ruins.

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Images: 9, author: Zulfy, published: 2018-09-09