The more people smoke herb, the more Babylon fall.
Babylon falling was certainly one of the possible scenarios as we went into the 13th session of our game of Civilization V.
This time around Loghound was off at a family event, but Mattman was back from camping, so he joined Potshot and I in the resumption of our campaign to reach some sort of victory condition. But first we had to have trouble with Google.
In an attempt to avoid the problem last time, where Google seemed disinclined to let me join the event hangout, I went ahead and created the even for this week, stealing that job from Loghound. However, while I created an event, I somehow did not attach a hangout to it and so… it was just an event. I am not sure what good an event is in Google+ without a hangout. It is more than a meeting reminder, since you can check in and such.
So Mattman, spotting my error, created a hangout and invited Potshot and I and, of course, Google wouldn’t let me join. No idea why still. Eventually I created a hangout and invited the other two, at which point we were joined together in all the audio/video splendor that this digital age allows. Basically, three middle-aged guys on the a video conference call.
Finally we were able to get started, which meant letting the first turn drag out for a while as Mattman came to grips with how the AI had been handling his empire while he was away. The phrase, “Deep, cleansing breaths” was muttered a number of times between sounds of exasperation. But eventually he was able to reign in the AI’s deficit spending and “600 ship navy” plan so we could move on with the game.
More after the cut.
Then there were those of us not afflicted by the AI.
On our side of the world, Potshot and I were consolidating our empires and plotting where to go next. As usual, I got distracted with some small city state business. One of my allied city states… Singapore I think… wanted another city state bullied, so I strong armed some gold out of it. That put me in bad with them just as I happened to be sailing some military equipment nearby, so I declared war to take it.
This city state happened to be an ally of Mattman’s, one that he had pledged to protect… Mattman had made it his policy to pledge to protect damn near every city state, such that one of the comedy moments last week was when the AI revoked nearly all of those pledges in one turn, meaning that he had to go back and re-pledge again this week… so I was interested to see just how far he was willing to honor that pledge.
The answer was, “Not very far at all.” He freely admitted that such pledges cost him nothing and nobody seemed to mind when he failed to act on them when push came to shove. So I captured and annexed his little ally and that was that.
I also sent off an expedition to see if I could take Yaroslavl and knock out the Russians, as my confidence in the AI being able to handle that job was limited. Two battleships, two tank units, and a rocket artillery unit set sail on what was going to be a 15 turn trip to their destination. A third tank unit that I had dispatched at the end of last session was already en route, but would arrive only a couple turns ahead of the rest due to having to travel over unimproved (no roads) land for a stretch.
While I was engaged with those little side shows, Potshot had been massing on his border with Arabia and it wasn’t long before he declared war and began his attack.
I had tentatively started plans for operations against Babylon, lining up a few units to use for the initial assault. I had three tank and two rocket artillery units on the border with the Babylonians and a few naval units scattered around, but I hadn’t actually formed a spearhead for an attack. However if Potshot was going in on Arabia, I figured I had best open a front against Babylon, so I declared war on Babylon and Arabia (at which point Potshot cross-declared against Babylon), packed up my little circus, and sent them on the road.
That turned into a quagmire for a long stretch. As Potshot started knocking out one Arabian city after another, I was stuck in this little corner of Babylonian land, dug in and defending myself against waves of attackers. Nebuchadnezzar seemed determined to evict me.
Meanwhile I was facing a disaster on the high seas. Babylon had followed the usual AI paradigm of building a giant navy, a large chunk of which sailed down the west coast of the former Aztec empire, blockading my ports, sinking my small naval presence, shelling my troops on land, and waylaying at least two trade routes. This situation was not helped when Mattman wooed the city state of Lhasa, strategically located on my path to Babylon, away from me and into his camp. I may have to test his pledge to protect yet again.
As this was going on, somebody killed off the final Aztec unit on the map, so Montezuma was removed from the scoreboard. There was much rejoicing.
Eventually I rallied my submarine fleet and pressed back the Babylonian navy, which contained quite a few out dated ships. Upgrades aren’t an AI think I guess. My submarines were able to one-shot most of the older ships, while a couple of battleships followed on behind to add fire support. I also managed to plant a pair of submarines off the coast where nearly all of the Babylonian trade routes ran, so was able to plunder them at a rate that must have helped drain their treasury.
As that was going on, my little force finally came within range of Yaroslavl. My battleships arrived first and I began shelling the city to soften it up. My overland armor unit also arrived on scene and was getting ready to move across the straights to land and take the city when then AI dropped a paratrooper on the island and took Yaroslavl from under me. I was tempted to declare war right then, but I still had business in Babylon to take care of, so I turned my task force around and sailed them away. At least Russia was out of the game.
Back on the hot front, I had put production on a war footing in the former Aztec empire and was able to feed units into the maelstrom on the border faster than I was losing them until I got enough of an upper hand to take Sippar, the first city in my path.
Some fire support from Potshot’s navy and a battleship I ran around that direction helped move things along. It started to feel like I was getting enough mass to start driving on Babylon itself, though to guard my flank I pushed north to take Mari, again with considerable fire support from the sea. The it was time to start heading west. I was losing units getting there, but my artillery was proving deadly and I was able to bring naval bombardment to bear. But the night was starting to move along. We decided to call the game at turn 750. I wanted Babylon before then, but it was a tough fight. The situation was in doubt.
The problem was the usual one of being able to get a unit able to take the city in a position to grab it during the final turn. I was able to shell the city into submission and kill off any surrounding forces, but the AI kept devoting its efforts to destroying my front rank unit, the one destined to drive into the city proper. This effort was hindered by the terrain to the east of Babylon, which was mountainous, forcing my attack into two narrow vectors.
Fortunately, the armor unit that was at the gates of the city managed to survive the AI’s attacks. I then pounded the city defenses down to nil and rolled into Babylon.
As turn 750 ended, we saved the game. If my armored unit can survive the AI counter attack on turn 751 I should be able to push forward onto the open plains to the west of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar’s remaining city.
Hitting turn 750 and the year 2050 in game, it is about time to look at the available victory conditions.
I am closest of the group to a cultural victory, which the game announced to us this time around.
Four of the six remaining empires are under my sway culturally, including Potshot, Mattman, and Loghound. The holdouts are Babylon and Assyria, which are both a long way from being influenced, both standing at around the 40% mark. My best game plan would be just to eliminated both of them. Babylon is well under way, but Assyria might be a different story. As Mattman’s neighbor, I suspect that he might ally with Assyria if I attacked. And Loghound would probably join in, and Potshot as well, if only to deny me the victory. So it looks like the slow route if I am going to win on culture.
For a military victory, Potshot and I were tied up, each of us in possession of three of the starting civilization capital cities, right up until I took Babylon and went up four to three. For either of us to win via that route, there would have to be an invasion of the continent with China, Assyria, and the Celts to capture those cities… and we could split them up, two for him and one for me. But the final decision would required a war between Potshot and I over our respective capitals. But that war doesn’t make sense until one of us is within striking distance of victory.
As far as I can tell, nobody is going for the religious victory. Only Russia and Spain went whole hog on religion, and you can see what happened to them.
The science victory looks to be tilting towards Mattman. He and I have both completed the Apollo Program, a necessary precursor to build the spaceship for the win, but he looks to be ahead of me on tech, having picked up satellites. Plus he isn’t involved in a war requiring him to divert production away from science to military necessity.
Finally, there is the world leader victory. This is the only one that looks like it could happen in the next session, as the first opportunity is coming up for a vote. At last count, Mattman, through his pledge of protection to everybody program, has enough city state allies to give him 38 of the 46 votes required to be elected world leader and end the game. That is enough that if any of the other players, or Assyria, back him in the election, he will win. It might also be possible if both Babylon and Arabia support him. Basically it means that if anybody besides Mattman is tired of playing Civ V, the game could be over next time.
So that is where we stand on victory conditions. As for the usual summery, here is the score chart, which shows a couple less civs than last time.
Mattman remains behind in the sore, but that is unlikely to be any sort of indicator as to who will win at this point.
On the demographics front, I remain at the top of the list while Arabia takes the hindmost position after Potshot’s devastating invasion which left Harun al-Rashid no cities and only a few units loose on the map. Only Assyria shares a low spot at this point, failing on the approval front.
I suppose it doesn’t say anything kind if your citizens dislike you more than the citizens of a country that lost all of its cities.
And then there is the map. I hope to have satellites by the end of the next round, if the world leader vote is inconclusive, and a fully uncovered map. But for now this will have to do.
You can see more orange (me) and lime green (Potshot) on the map this week after our respective military campaigns. Now to see how things turn out next time.
Past game updates can be found here:
- Weeks 1 & 2 – The Big Map – Turns 1 – 220
- Week 3 – Hands Across the Something – Turns 221 – 300
- Week 4 – The Siege of Madrid – Turns 301 – 375
- Week 5 – Embracing Spanish Confucianism – Turns 376 – 450
- Week 6 – The Slow March of Time – Turns 451 – 470
- Week 7 – Operation Torch and the Russian Front – Turns 471 – 520
- Week 8 – Autocracy and the Pursuit of Happiness – Turns 521 – 580
- Week 9 – Obama, Autocracy, and Expansion – Turns 581 – 617
- Week 10 – From the Halls of Montezuma – Turns 618 – 660
- Week 11 – We Have Met The Enemy, And It Is The Game Itself – Turns 661 – 686
- Week 12 – The Battle for Yaroslavl – Turns 687 – 716