Author: ThyReformer
Published: 2019-09-09, edited: 1970-01-01
Reformer: Death was inevitable. When I first saw that Minoa got into CBRX by some miracle and a half, I didn't right away realize how god-awful their starting location was - the thought did not even cross my mind, as all I could think of was the great reputation that the civ had. Such a pretty color scheme too, and sometimes that's all you need to support a civ. Slowly, the realization set in, however, and disappointment followed: a two-tile island would probably not support a vast empire. The odds were definitely stacked against them from the start, and it reinforces the fact that starting location matters more than anything else. Well, barring some completely overpowered examples, of course. But Minoa was not one of those examples, and what followed was a textbook example of a civ starting on an island and dying on that island soon thereafter. Minos settled a good four cities, but was quickly targeted: Nubia took Phaistos after some grueling fighting, and Gournia followed in a peace deal. In the next war, it was Malia's turn to be used as a pawn in a peace deal, then there was one: Knossos. Even the brief resurrection of hope in the form of the capture of Derna meant little, as Nubia smelled blood again - and this time, they had an ally to the north. The Turkish-Nubian alliance was the last nail in the coffin, be it literal or not. But hey, if it's any consolation, we correctly predicted back in Ep 0 that this would be Minoa's final rank.
Msurdej: Well, this was not a good part for Canadians.
Losing a third of your cities is pretty bad, but losing your capital as well is even worse. King is up against the ropes, his army shattered, his production in ruins, his population decimated, and hiding away in Kassigluq. While the existence of an Apache city will complicate further invasions, King is in no position to continue fighting. He's is on Death's Door, and its only a matter of time before he knocks and crosses the threshold.
Reformer: DEATH IS INEVITABLE. Against most expectations, the Algerian shell seems to have been cracked, and the civ with more generals than regular footmen is getting ready to spend the rest of its days as a rump in Southern Morocco. The complete lack of melee units means that any city that falls is probably lost for good, unless Abdelkader suddenly realizes the gravity of his situation. But even if he did, a quick peace deal to keep Annaba safe would be the smartest thing he could do, and somehow I feel like neither side particularly wants to make peace right now - whether it be out of greed, or stubbornness. Some kind of vice either way. Probably on par with having more generals than melee units. For shame, Abdelkader, for shame!
Gragg: Last week when I did Scotland's writeup I made the point that Scotland has a more defensible position other civs it was ranked near. While I still believe that to be true I am a little less confident that it will be enough to keep them alive. Both of their cities are somehow at half health and the Vikings and Manx continue to encircle them. The next step for Scotland has to be a peace deal, preferably without giving cities. Otherwise being eliminated from this war is a possibility.
Aaron: The misery of other civs is good for Czechia, as they rise 3 spaces. Nothing much has changed though. They're still just waiting for some larger civ to kill them. On the plus side, Venice is not that civ because it turns out that boats cannot capture inland cities. All that's happening is the Czech bowmen are farming xp by shooting at ancient era archers. So that's nice.
Gragg: When you’re in the bottom 50, not actively dying prompts an increase in rankings. A small bonus for the Canton is that they’ve really make Shikoku struggle to keep their city and the Qin are strangely non-threatening right now. Don’t mistake this for optimism though. Taungoo is now looking scarier and the Qin have fantastic production. While Qin doesn’t have a huge carpet right now, their production is high enough that they could by the next time we get a screenshot of the area. I try to come up with a way low ranked civs I do a writeup for….Canton’s got me stumped. Hope for a coalition against Qin?
Aaron: OK, the bad news is that Oman are currently getting invaded by Maratha. The good news is that Maratha is using triremes and Oman has enough spearmen to flip the city back. The very bad news is that Oman is 56th in production and 55th in effective science and therefore have no way to comeback in this game, especially not after having one of their 3 remaining cities flipped to low pop. If Maratha starts committing a bit more than just a few triremes, they might even eliminate Oman. The only city that Oman has any chance of capturing (their old city of Nizwa) is currently getting attacked by the Seljuqs so they might want to quickly declare war to snipe it. Yes: while being invaded is not the best time I know, but if the Seljuqs manage to take it that would be very embarrassing. And when even the Seljuqs can embarrass you, you know there is a problem.
Lordie: Won't anyone please H-alp Arslan?! His only break this part came from Palmyra calling off the offensive to focus on Beta Israel, but the Parthians are still swarming over the hills. Merv and Nishapur are starving from aggressive incursion, and their only saving grace is that none of their enemies (so far) border the Maldives. Whilst they probably won't die this part, or even for a while, they're effectively out of the running already, and it's just a matter of time before they die. Very much akin to their predecessor Darius, reminding us of the fleeting nature of mortality.
Shaggy: The PP is starting to look more PooPoo. They seem intent on doing nothing but poking Apache in the side, which can only bode poorly for them in the long run if they fail to expand elsewhere. It’s only a matter of time before one of their larger neighbors eats them for a measly snack, as there is a dearth of space for them to expand to try and meet their neighbors’ strength.
Gragg: Well they outlasted Minoa and probably Algeria. That makes them the strongest civ that started in North Africa. Such a display of dominance from Libya. Ok, so they’re in a rough spot but they do have a military. They don’t have any good options but at this point they may just want to declare war on someone and hope for the best. Their position will only get worse as Songhai and Nubia rebuild their armies and the Moors solidify their hold on former Algerian lands. Libya and Venice have open borders at the moment, which suggests a war isn’t imminent.
Adm. Cloudberg: Despite capturing Knossos and eliminating Minoa, in the process becoming only the second civ to take a second capital, the Ottomans hold steady in 50th this part. Capturing a capital has done little to improve the Ottomans' dismal situation. They still only have four cities, and now one of them is on an island somewhat far from their core. To make matters worse, it's a high-value target for domination-geared civs like Palmyra, whose navy could easily take Knossos if war broke out in the next few turns. In short, while gaining a city is probably a net benefit for the beleaguered Turks, we don't think it makes them any less screwed.
Shaggy: Have you ever had a bunch of people just not like you for no reason? The Nenets sure have. With Korea, Papua, Qing, HRE, Muscovy, The Goths, Qin, and India all jumping on the Northern Hate Sled™ alongside the Evenks, Sami, and Nepal, it just seems like some civs just want to pick on a little guy to make themselves seem more important. I don’t see any of these wars meaning anything as most of these civs are on the other side of the continent and the ones that are close by don’t seem to have any troops in place to do anything of significance. Hopefully the Kazakhs don’t get on board the Sled; that war would be rough for the Nenets if the Kazakhs figure out how to fight wars good.
Gragg: The Golden Horde ties for the biggest drop this week. That's just about as surprising to us PRs as it may be to you. The Golden Horde are definitely in a worse position after this episode though. Their fate in nearly entirely reliant on not drawing the attention of the Goths again. If the Seljuq's lose their northern city, they'll lose their only expansion possibility and lengthen their border with either Parthia or Palmyra (though Palmyra has peaced out with Seljuqs at the moment).
Msurdej: Is it Tonga Time? I think it's Tonga Time.

Tonga goes up a rank, but is still bad.

This concludes Tonga Time.
Aaron: The Kuikuro gain a rank through Brownian motion, but are pretty much not budging. Speaking of which, not budging also describes their reaction to Uruguay's massive army. Their cities aren't even being damaged and their military strength has actually been growing as they upgrade to medieval tech. Even their Caribbean colonies have survived! The Kuikuro are definitely not dying any time soon; the next major test of survival is all the way at artillery: far in the future. But not dying is not the same thing as winning and the Kuikuro's refusal to own any foreign cities is certainly not the attitude of a winner. No matter how big and strong they can grow their 3 core cities, you need a lot more to be a contender.
Doom: Yup'ik remain in hiding this part, waiting for the inevitable second war with the Haida. Given the recent warmongering from Koyah it's likely that this will be soon. In the meantime the Yup'ik can wait, I guess. It's not really clear where they could get any more cities from. A coalition war against the Haida isn't on the cards yet as the Haida are out of reach for most civs. At least their rank is consistent if nothing else.
Gragg: There is no better example on the cylinder of a civ who had their window of opportunity and missed it. Can’t say they didn’t try though. I think it’s safe to say the far surpassed our expectations. They settled on South America and waged a few close wars with Venezuela where they almost took a capital. They still hold cities in IRL Florida as well. Now though...Venezuela and the Iroquois have grown stronger and the Uruguay have moved into town. Venezuela encircles them waiting for the order. The way out for Haiti is the same as the last couple episodes. Take the undefended cities in the gulf belonging to the Kuikuro and Uruguay.
Adm. Cloudberg: The Murri rise six places this part for a couple reasons. First off, they made peace with New Zealand before any damage could be done. And second, their army is actually looking pretty scary. In fact, they only have 200 fewer troops than Australia. Because of this fact, they appear to be less fucked than they used to be, which means a re-evaluation of their bottom 11 position was needed.
Gragg: Muscovy lucks out this time by ending the war with the Goth's without losing any cities. This isn't the first time that one of their most threatening neighbors has botched a war against them. It doesn't change the reality of Muscovy's position though. Muscovy's cities are in a difficult to defend line next to powerful enemies including the Sami, Goths, and Prussia. Their good fortune this part has given them time though. To a civ in a bad position, time is a valuable resource. It gives them time to improve their stats or get lucky through coalitions on their enemies.
Msurdej: First off, sorry AutisticNotWeird, but there is no Aztec vs Haida war.

Which, all thing's considered, is a good thing for Ol' Montezuma. He's been flatlining the last few parts, and while he's not bottom 10, as more and more of the rump states get eliminated, things will look worse and worse for him. His production is falling behind, his army is lacking (The Murri and Golden Horde have a larger army), and his neighbors are either better than him or on boats. Montezuma needs a string of good luck if he wants to come out of the bottom third, but it's gonna take a whole lot of shitposts skill that we haven't seen yet out of the Aztecs.
Gragg: While Nubia didn't take losses this episode, they certainly fell short of expectation. Nubia were many people's picks to take the Minoan capital. While they didn't get that honor, Nubia may be better off without the second capital. Eliminating a civ comes with hefty warmonger penalties, which would have likely outweighed the benefit of having Knossos. So what does Nubia do now? They need to avoid war with their powerful neighbors such as Palmyra, Songhai, and Venice. They still have expansion opportunities to the west in Libya and even to the North in a coalition against the Ottomans.
Gragg: The episode after a disastrous peace deal has been rather quiet for Korea. They weren’t punished this episode for their missteps but they haven’t exactly done anything good either. At this point they are essentially a naval civ that borders Shikoku and Haida. Oof. But if they somehow do manage to win a naval struggle against Shikoku they can take Japan, plus have a fair few cities on the mainland. At this moment though they’ll have to count on Shikoku making several mistakes to catch up.
Msurdej: The Evenks lose a pair of cities to the Kazahks this part, and also end up losing a part. Its only a border city, it shows a weakness in the Evenks strategy. Using all that production on settlers that get their cities captured moments after founding means that Bombogor isn't making units. And with less than half of the power of the Kazahk military (most of which is in reindeer archers), its unlikely the Evenks could reclaim these, or any other lost cities. And while they are making peace, its not with the people they need to make peace with.
Lacsirax: When the Maori declared war on Australia in Mk. 2, it was among the most anticipated wars of the whole game - and it delivered. The healthy but inferior Maori navy shot right into the heart of Sydney, firing one of the game's first nukes and capturing it in a legendary kamikaze attack... and when the mighty Wobbegong Armada retaliated, it resulted in the desolation and eventual elimination of the whole Maori people. If that felt like a once-in-a-lifetime event... well, maybe it was, as the conflict between Seddon and Hawke that broke out last episode looks to be among the least interesting wars on the cylinder. That's not just NZ's fault - Australia's navy is equally non-existent - but I do think Seddon has to shoulder the brunt of the blame here. After all, Hawke has a land army and a whole war with Sulu occupying his mind. NZ should have been preparing for this moment since the start of the game - instead, count them lucky if they walk away with all their cities intact.
Gragg: The window of opportunity for the Ndongo is rapidly closing. The continent now has three powers; Zimbabwe, Songhai, and Beta Israel. Ndongo are one of the only civs on the entire cylinder not currently at war with anyone. On the bright side, they aren’t losing any wars. On the other side, their opponents are only getting stronger. They still do have some options though. Benin to the North is a very defensive civ but it’s still a possibility. Beyond that its Zimbabwe or another naval invasion of Songhai.
Aaron: Nepal continues to drop as it becomes more and more likely they will be a Tibet. Despite technically being up 1 city, they still look dead even with India and unlikely to capture much more without the help of a coalition. As for Nepal's other neighbours, well, they all look extremely formidable. They are technically at war with one of them (Kazakhstan) but considering the gap between the two civs is half a tile (half because the Khamug/India war is also using that single tile), nothing is going to happen bar a stupid peace deal. The stats show that Nepal is lagging behind the other civs, being only 41st in production and 42nd effective science. Despite being a mountain civ, they appear to be in quite a large hole, which is only getting deeper as time goes on. They need to find a solution to break the indian stalemate in their favour and fast.
Lordie: Suryavarman hasn't done much this part which is a real shame as their neighbours aren't looking too strong at the minute, with all of them having expended military or just been a bit worse than them. Whilst that citadel on Jutland was good bants, they'll need more than that if they want to claw their way back into serious contention, as discounting Czechia, most of the nearby civs are similarly size but blessed with advantageous land and positioning (except maybe Prussia). Stats-wise they're firmly middle of the European pack, so it's going to be the decision of the next few parts that see whether we'll have a strong HRE into the lategame, or a fragmentation into tiny states.
Msurdej: Madagascar's units have been seen far and wide around the Indian Ocean, showing up in Indoneasia, Sri Lanka, and even the shores of Canton. This is because Ranavalona's all but run out of room for her army. And that's because all she has is a dinky little island and a dinky little city in Africa to call her own. We've already seen Madagascar fail to conquer a civ (Beta Israel) a few parts ago, and now both BI and Zimbabwe are stronger. Who can they attack? Oman? While they do go up in ranks, I wouldn't put much faith in Madagascar: They're the Queen of the Rump states.
Adm. Cloudberg: Benin continues to mill around in the doldrums—that is, the ranks between about 30 and 36. Civs tend to hang out here going up and down small amounts each part when they aren't total crap but they're still probably doomed. Benin fits this bill perfectly. Brutal citadels have left them looking a bit like the Blackfoot in Mk. 2, with their empire connected by a snaky bit only one tile wide. And most of their core is now in the Sahara Desert, which is probably dragging them down. None of Benin's neighbours look squishy enough for them to take, especially with the current positioning. Thanks to their defensive uniques and some decent terrain, they're probably not going anywhere anytime soon, but it's hard to see how they break out from here.
Adm. Cloudberg: Sulu falls back into the bottom half, just barely, as Jamalul Kiram badly botches an invasion of Australia. Despite nearly capturing Geelong, Kiram has almost totally exhausted his military, leaving him with nowhere near enough troops to finish the job. Australia isn't exactly packing it either, but for now Hughes' cities are safe and he appears to be building up for a counterattack against Sulu. If Kiram doesn't make peace soon, his war could backfire in his face very easily.
Shaggy: Not much from the Nazca this part, to the point that u/AutisticNotWeird actually had to go out of their way to mention them and how little they did this part. Nazca gains 2 ranks this part more through the falling ranks of their fellow N civs, Nepal and Ndongo, than from any actions of their own or their region. South America at this point feels like a battle for regional second place to Uruguay, and Nazca haven’t done much to stake their claim to go toe to toe with the powerhouse across the continent. Giff moar Nazca lines plz…
Msurdej: This part was quiet for India, and they end up not moving in the rankings at all. Their big appearance this part had the Khamugs attack them, but with so little a border between them, its hard to see the war going anywhere. Statwise, Gandhi's stats are middling , though she is beating out nearby neighbor Nepal in pretty much every major stat. If she plays her cards right, Gandhi could beat out Nepal, but seeing her overcome Maratha seems unlikely.
LonelyRS: Normally, being a quitter is a flaw in AI games, preventing seizures of large amounts of territory and making things more boring for all involved. For Ragnar, however, just a mite less stubbornness could prove a virtue. Conquering Scotland was fun and all, but it’s become clear that neither of the two remaining cities will fall any time soon, and the razing of the other perfectly good Scottish city has ensured that the Manx have been the only nation to reap any rewards from Robert the Bruce’s swift fall from almost-grace. Really, invading Scotland might be the worst thing Ragnar can do, short of pulling a Czechia and giving Hedeby to the Germans: With the Sami’s happiness issues and his own status, the Vikings have a fighting chance against almost anyone in Europe. Sure, Ragnar might not be favored to win all those potential wars, but given his position, a risky chance at unseating Eadni as ruler of the Nordics would almost certainly be better than letting her eventually roll over him. Besides, it’s past time that we got a true Viking raid going on in mainland Europe anyways. Those uppity Germans and Prussians could almost certainly be righted with a quick flame bath or two.
Lordie: What has happened to the Qing? After being a top ten civ early on, they've been in freefall for a fair few part now; and honestly, things don't look like they're improving. With the Khamugs eating up Korean clay and the Qin superblobbing, they've got no chance of breaking out without some stellar warplay, and given the travesty that's happened in Kamchatka, with Haida taking their cities, it doesn't even look as if that's on the table right now. Realistically, unless Qin or Khamugs get coalitioned, there's not really any way out for Qing, even though they are buoyed by a strong military and science (militarily, they're better than Qin, somehow!). All in all, it's not impossible for them to succeed, but it's looking more and more unlikely.
Lacsirax: This part, Shikoky secured Macao, most likely through a peace treaty. It's a welcome spoil that could form the basis of a future second core, if linked up properly with Ba'arin... but delay a moment and the dormant Qin may well scoop them up. They discovered Astronomy, developing caravels that can sail as far as Hawaii and beyond... but their dismal settling record suggests this boon may be little more than a false hope. That said, they did finally settle another city on Honshu... but left it so late that there are no spaces for cities available further north, with Korea having more cities on the home archipelago than Shikoku. Still an eternally confusing civ then, doomed to hang around midtier until they can prove their scrappy opportunism is the basis for a local powerhouse. But if the slight jump in rank this week is anything to go by, that confidence is growing... gradually.
Lordie: After centuries of destruction, Alice Springs finally rests in the hand of Rajapapua. It didn't quite cost everything, but it most certainly cost everyone involved time, and whilst a weakened Australia is good news for Papua, it's also good for the Murri, who are slowly becoming relevant again. With Australia distracted with New Zealand, it'd almost be ideal for Papua to re-declare quickly and try and snatch some more land, but whether they will is anyone's guess. It'd also give them diplo bonuses with Sulu which they probably still need- their position is no less vulnerable than it was five parts ago.
Lacsirax: The headline in Königsberg today is that the Gothic invasion of Muscovy was an abject failure. This is the best news any Prussian could hope to hear, because it means the squishy Muscovites could still be theirs for the subjugating, but it does remind me of Prussia's own failed war against Muscovy - is General Winter really keeping Ivan alive? In any case, there's a reason that's the headline story, and that's because Prussia did diddly-squat this episode. Oh, they annexed Bergen, finally. Maybe they'll start building some land units in Sweden now - hell, with the Vikings distracted in Scotland, now's a good a time as any to press further. And if that story's a footnote on the front page, then somewhere between the culture and sports section is a little note that the Sami have built another citadel nearby Danzig. Expect them to declare war in 50 or so episodes, however long it takes for Eadni to wake up from her afternoon nap.
LonelyRS: Venezia Invicta! Venice jumps a spot and posts the highest deviation after a spellbinding part in which they… were mentioned only out of pity. Huh. Yes, it’s that time again for Venice, always the subject of thrown pots, slurred swears, and friendships broken. The argument for the Dastardly Doge: Venice has a navy that could blow any other on the cylinder/globe/melon right off the map, has many weak neighbors in Africa that can easily be conquered, and gets to live in the Mediterranean, home of the most oddball AIs known to man. The argument against: Venice has had definite happiness issues, has a small empire, and, despite that massive navy, hasn’t really broken out much at all yet, peacing out of wars or failing at conquering land in them. In twenty-third, but with stats and a war record that wouldn’t look out of place among the high thirties, Venice’s great galleasses and caravels are largely an unknown quantity. When a serious, long-term war comes to their futuristic fleet – and it will – Venice will prove its true worth, either as a dark horse in Europe or as an insignificant, if slightly oversized, backwater. Until then, however, Venice’s true potential remains only the stuff of idle speculation and theorizing.
LonelyRS: A’nk nge clcome tis t't selk'nam! Selk'nam gohluyng futat ash! Ah, sorry about that. Not everyone can speak the tongues of the thronging twenty-nine million. Little has changed about the situation down south since last week, with Uruguay still intimidatingly stronk, the Selk’nam still making little progress against Nazca, and the slowly accumulating settlers in the lands of the Falklands’ great revenge upon the world planning out the future GML, or Gn'thor Mgyogor Lan, in Antarctica. As such, their rank hasn’t changed either, as boasting stats greater than that of the Haida means little when the Haida have non-number one neighbors and you don’t. Uruguay’s weakness when it comes to dealing with the Kuikuro does give the Lovecraftian Lads some reason to hope, as a quickly-delivered coalition could well give them some mythical parts of South America past the Andes, which most Selk’nam scientists have chalked up as being non-existent. Such a war would be very unlikely, however, as the only other civ they could get to join the coalition are locked in a grinding, meaningless war with the Selk’nam themselves and would take rather poorly to being asked to join their enemy in a war that may well result in utter annihilation. Still, it’s at least a reason to hope. And as the Selk’nam are now down to scraping the bottom of the barrel for any consolation in the face of the big blue blob, they’ll probably take it. (Last minute edit: evidently their land units can walk on water and attack ships. SEA CARPET)
Reformer: With the help of a surprise peace deal, the Manx now have a foothold on the European mainland! Owning both Cornwall and Brittany must come with some benefits, but perhaps surprisingly the best thing to come of owning Malaqah is that the Moors no longer have a foothold on the Isles. That foothold was one of the most threatening things to Manx sovereignty, and now, it is gone - for the time being, that is. The wars waged by Dhone have been quite draining for the Manx military, and said military stands at as low as 3100. Compare this to the Moorish military: 10642. Malaqah is quite difficult to defend, and even if over 10 turns is plenty of time to rebuild a military, a new war between the two civs would see Malaqah flipping back and forth once more. Dhone would benefit greatly from cutting his losses across the pond, and then focus on improving his position back in Europe in preparation for the next war.
Gragg: Hopes were high for the Goths this episode and they really let down. There were many rankers who expected the war to go nowhere, but to not even take a single city is pretty rough. Still though the Goths are in quite a good spot. They have solid stats and several weak neighbors. For those concerned about what appears to be an ai incapable of war, they have had convincing showings in other ai games. The Goths still have plenty of good moves that they can make so long as they don't botch too many more wars.
Gragg: Well Venezuela certainly skyrocketed up the power rankings of most interesting civs. Unfortunately that doesn't reflect in the real power rankings this episode. While their shenanigans up north were certainly one of the most entertaining parts of the episode, it doesn't exactly benefit Venezuela that much. You can expect Venezuela stocks to go up if things continue as they are though. Their immediate neighbors, the Aztecs, Haiti, and Kuikuro continue to get weaker, while Uruguay has been stalled for the moment. All they have to do now is modernize and use their army against any number of targets...though preferably a bit closer to home.
Gragg: Another huge rise in the rankings for Beta Israel (much to the chagrin of many prediction contest players). The cause for this rise isn't immediately visible form the episode itself. In the stats sheet though, their surprising increase in production last part has continued. This brings them to 2nd in production, above first place civ of Uruguay and just behind Zimbabwe who they just drew a war with. With a production that high, military numbers are sure to grow within the next couple episodes. An army fueled by that kind of production they could expand nearly any direction they wanted to while leaving Beta Alpha Israel safe from invasions.
Gragg: Parthia had the right idea by attacking the Seljuqs. The execution...not quite there. Still, the war wages on and perhaps something will happen. Taking at least the city of Merv would be a significant victory as it would open up a larger front with Golden Horde. Or perhaps they can join in on what may be an anti-India coalition forming. Either way though, they’ll need a lot more melee units if they want to make any gains.
Lacsirax: Moors have the second highest deviation this week, meaning it was one of the civs that we agreed least on. And while keen-eyed readers will observe this is a common trait among European civs, it seems especially apt for the Moors after an episode that saw them lose a core city and pick up a transcontinental capital. Let's start with the latter: after finding a huge navy presumably stuffed down the back of the sofa, Abd ar-Rahman stormed Algiers and retook Oran, with both cities now out of Algeria's grasp. They may well push further, as they've a decent army bearing down on non-coastal Annaba, though flashbacks to the start of the war tell me they've thrown away better invasion prospects. In any case, they will need to put a good land army together here as soon as possible, as local firebrand Askia will surely soon come a-blazing. On the other incredibly bruised hand, they peaced out with a very poorly Manx while Malaqah was flying maroon colours. It wouldn't be a difficult city to flip back, but if they're ever away fighting another Euro power - that Venetian rematch is surely on the cards - the error could come back to bite them. Saraqustah, the next city along, is their largest coastal city - lose that and kiss goodbye to Atlantic supremacy.
Gragg: It looks like Australia has weathered their toughest test yet. They survived the coalition with minimal losses and are now only at war with New Zealand and Sulu. If Papua had lasted longer or if Murri joins then maybe the outcome is different. The Murri military is nearly as powerful as Australia’s at the moment. Don’t take this as a sign that Australia will definitely win the region though. A civ that has been coalitioned once is much more likely to receive the same treatment again. If Australia ever does finally dominate Oceania they still have their biggest test ahead of them: making landfall.
Doom: Taungoo remain quiet but their stats are solidly top 20 and their position is very defensible. It remains to be seen whether or not they will break out of their inactivity or follow the Qing in a slow decline as they fall further behind their neighbours. While Canton would be an easy target it's only two cities and accompanied by a substantial warmonger penalty. Qin are both stronger than Taungoo and on the other side of the mountains which limits expansion considerably. Expansion further afield seems like the path forward. Either waiting for Maratha to falter or skipping past them to Sulu and various other civs Indonesian colonies.
Gragg: North America is still very much up for grabs and the Apache very much has a chance at it. While Metis are currently the highest rank in the continent, their low military continues to be a huge worry for them and a huge opportunity to civs like the Apache. If they act soon they can take cities off most (all?) of their neighbors with their impressive carpet. Aztecs and Poverty Point would be the easiest target but perhaps they should strike Metis first before they get more powerful? A human player would think hard about that decision. The ai will roll a virtual dice. Cross your fingers Apache fans.
Msurdej: While the lack of Haida/Aztec war is disappointing, the capturing of Qing cities is actually something that happened this part.With these, and a continually rising military, Haida reaches a new high in the PRs. But where to go from here? Attacks on the Apache or the Metis seem doomed to fail (unless part of a coalition), and the Qing cities in Kamchatka are unable to be attacked by the Haida navy. The Yu'pik have been, and still are, a good option. But idle hands do not win AI games, so Koyah should keep up the heat.
Reformer: A quiet week for the Khamugs, where their most significant contribution to the part was a hardly relevant war declaration against India. To be fair, this war should be outright branded as irrelevant, because the small hole through which the two civs can fight is 1 or 2 tiles wide, and the Parthian-Nepalese war is being waged through the same corridor, sort of. As it stands, the Khanate appears to be slowly but surely stagnating - with their relatively poor population being the mainstay of their problems. The poor population, on the other hand, appears to be at least partially caused by the desert dominating a lot of their lands - the curse of the Tarim Basin. The best way to get out of this slump would be to fight a relevant war and come out of it with actual gains, but before that they should probably modernize their army...
Aaron: As a weak enemy (Algeria) is replaced by a strong enemy (the Moors), Songhai drops 2 places. They have managed to recapture Kangaba from Ndongo, but was it really necessary to drop out of the war with Algeria just for Kangaba? Surely a small force would have been sufficient; they didn't need to send their entire Algerian invasion force just for 1 coastal city... At any rate, Songhai is still strong and still have good expansion options. Though the Moors are growing in strength, Songhai are still just ever so slightly beating them. But to really snowball this slight advantage into a victory they will have to put in work. Their best plan at the moment is probably to invade in turn Libya, Nubia, then Benin. If they do this, they would be one of the favorites to win. If they instead decide to stagnate (or worse, put on another failed war against a neighbour where they lose a city) they will more likely be eaten by Zimbabwe.
Shaggy: Hiawatha looked north this part and said to himself, “All that land would look great with a different colored border”. Yes, despite Canada’s best effort from a half dozen outdated archers, Iroquois have taken the first capital in North America and have spring-boarded themselves into the top 10 this week. The remaining Canadian cities are more or less unprotected and should be easy pickings for Hiawatha, should he want them.
Msurdej: Maratha reaches new heights in 8th place this week. There stats are all around good, but they do have a problem with their military. Their core is primarily ranged units, which would make any sort of invasions hard to yield results. The big exception though, is the navy, which is currently attacking the weak Oman. Rustaq is in the red, and with the war against Australia over, Shivaji can pull some forces from that theatre to fight. While its unlikely they will hold the city without some savvy negotiations, Maratha has for now, secured their place in the top 10.
Gragg: A bit of a precarious situation for Qin. They have fantastic stats and a decent position in Asia. Their production is the best in the region and one of the best on the cylinder. Their military is a huge weakness at the moment though. A war or coalition declared now could be disastrous. As you can see from their rank though, the PRs have faith that the Qin will quickly build a carpet with their monstrous production. They just need to keep their fingers crossed that their neighbors don’t exploit their moment of weakness.
LonelyRS: The sky is falling. The oceans have evaporated. The poles have shifted. The world is coming to an end. It must be, for the Kazakhs are no longer seventh, and what is this world if not including a seventh placed Kazakhstan? Not a world, of course. The blame for this calamity, naturally, can fall at the feet of the Evenks. Their “retreat and settle” style of warfare has played right into the Kazakhs’ hands, allowing a civ that’s stretched extremely thin to conquer a chain of cities right into the Evenk core and replace the Qin on the isle of the elite. Still, Ablai Khan can hardly rest now: if anything, he’s at even more of a crossroads. In spite of his large production, Parthian units have spilled into his undefended, fort-heavy south, and a war with one of the cylinder’s largest standing armies has been left free reign to roam. The Kazakh army is so sapped that the Evenks may just be able to stalemate them if the war continues. The Parthian army has been among the largest on the map for several parts now. One timely war declaration, and all Ablai’s worked for could be destroyed in the blink of an eye. Or, conversely – all the Kazakhs have to do to cement their place at the top of the board is put off a single war with a neighbor. Seems simple enough.
Lacsirax: Palmyra hold fast in fifth despite a wobbly episode. The reasons for that are mostly factors out of Zenobia's hands: Parthia's war with the Seljuqs has gone nowhere, Oman are being chewed up, and their traditional highest ranked neighbours the Goths had a horrible misfire of a war that should put Palmyra firmly in the role of regional leader. Oh, if it wasn't for that dark horse, that similarly coloured rising star to the south, I'm sure we'd be seeing Palmyra keep shooting up the ranks. But Beta Israel, free from their all-consuming defence of Balankab, have put their incredible production into picking pieces out of Palmyra - and let's not mince words, while they're not currently holding Resafa or Hierapolis, you'd have to think the odds are firmly in Beta Israel's favour to nab at least one of those when all's said and done. These aren't cities that Palmyra necessarily needs - the arid deserts were mostly settled so Oman couldn't leave their little box, you have to think - but it's a bad omen. Beta Israel's production is not done skyrocketing; Palmyra need to find a way to match it, or the title of undisputed powerhouse will stay slightly out of reach.
Aaron: The Metis move down 1 rank this week for... honestly I have no idea why people think the Sami deserves the top 3 spot more than the Metis. Their city spam is still going strong , with 27 cities already down and 11 settlers on their way (for comparison, Zimbabwe has the second most cities at 21 but is maxed out and cannot place any more. Metis production has managed to catch up to Uruguay and looks to overtake them next part. Their science is still top tier despite the large science penalty from so many cities. It's true that their military is about 17% smaller than the best american civ (the Iroquois) but their vast production can more than make up for it in just a few turns if any of their neighbours get jealous. And even in the disaster scenario where the Metis get coalitioned by all 3 of their neighbours at the same time, the Metis are already so far ahead they could lose 5 cities and not even care and just go on to win North America regardless. The basic gameplan is just like Mk2 Inuit: settler spam until everything worth settling has been settled, then just slowly crush every other north american civs with superior production and technology.
Aaron: Well, I just mentioned how I had no idea why people were rating Sami above the Metis, so now I'll make the same remark. The Sami have had what is probably their worst part in the entire game so far yet they move up a spot. The main issue is they are struggling with unhappiness so bad that it is spawning barbarians. But worse that the barbarians, the unhappiness is preventing their cities from growing and causing them to stagnate. Though last week their production briefly got ahead of the Metis thanks to workshop timing, this week their production is 17% behind the Metis and their effective science has plummeted down to 14th place cylinderwide (for comparison, Ndongo is now ahead of them in science). Unhappiness is a problem shared by the entirety of the top 4 but the Sami have it a lot worse, and it is allowing happier civs like Maratha and Songhai to catch up to them in the stats. In AI games, unhappiness is always a temporary problem and I have no doubt the Sami will eventually fix it, but in the mean time it is causing them to fall behind. As for their their giant military, second in the cylinder behind only Uruguay, they continue to not use it, and other civs are slowly catching up to them. And finally, one of their most obvious targets for expansion, the Vikings, has launched a raid to capture the Great Wall of Edinburgh, which, if successful, would essentially cut off an entire expansion path until the midgame. None of these things are good for the Sami.
Doom: An interesting week for Zimbabwe. For now their rank holds as Beta Israel is still unproven however things could change fast. Zimbabwe made a smart peace deal to cut their losses and escape from the Beta Israel war largely unscathed. Ndongo remain as fragile as ever although perhaps a part or two to rebuild would make the war more decisive. Right now, the biggest danger to Zimbabwe would be another 10 parts of inactivity, allowing Beta Israel or the Songhai to catch up. Madagascar isn't worth the effort currently and for the foreseeable future but could pose a threat when combined with Beta Israel in a coalition. Zimbabwe's best shot remains firmly in killing Ndongo.
Msurdej: While this part was certainly exciting, the same could not be said for Uruguay. Despite the OVERWHELMING power of the Uruguayan Army, Lavalleja continues to struggle against the much weaker forces of the Kuikuro. Forces gathering at Tacuarembo, Melo, and Mercedes wait patiently, perhaps waiting for some invasion that may never come. Most of the fighting is mere skirmishing on the border, and the Kuikuro capital remains untouched. All it would take is a few units, and the Kuikuro heartland would be secured. And with Selk'nam occupied elsewhere, now is the best time. All of this raises the question on our minds: Why is Uruguay holding back?

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Images: 8, author: Yoper101, published: 2017-02-25