Apolyton Demogame: The Cold War

The key focus in the turns following construction of the Great Library was lining up some kind of trade partner, as our team was running the danger of getting locked out of the trading loop. Remember that we had made out like bandits in the first round of exchanges following the discovery of Alphabet. However, we had gotten very little since then, and we had completely missed out of the latest brokering group. The darned Templars were amazingly the big winners this time:

The last couple turns have seen so many trades flying around, it was almost impossible to keep track of all of them. Here's a quick summary (also known as, "RB has gotten locked out of the trading loop, and that's Very Bad News):

Templars trade Metal Casting for Monarchy and Mathematics with Imperio
Templars trade Metal Casting for Code of Laws with PAL
Templars trade Metal Casting for Alphabet with Banana
PAL receives Aesthetics from Realms Beyond, and Construction from Imperio (suspected down payment for Civil Service from both)

Rabbits trade an unknown Classical tech to Banana for Polytheism

Templars trade an unknown Classical tech to Banana for Machinery

PAL trades an unknown Classical tech (Code of Laws?) to Banana for Machinery

Needless to say, we have gotten nothing back as yet from any of these deals, although we are owed Civil Service from PAL. We really need to do something to remedy this, I'm just not sure what. Templars and Imperio are absolutely refusing to work with us, Rabbits are too weak, and Banana we haven't met as yet. PAL is the only one helping us, and we all know why working with them is a bad idea long term...

We are really going to be screwed when Banana trades Machinery to Imperio, and PAL sends them Civil Service, which I can practically guarantee is going to happen soon.

The Templars had gone after Metal Casting tech, something everyone else ignored, and due to its monopoly status they managed to land a major tech haul in return. Good for them - this was one of the few nice moves that they pulled off in the whole game. (It didn't hurt that PAL and Imperio obviously didn't see Templars as a major threat, and therefore had no problem trading with them.) Given the atrocious teching rate of the Templar team (21 turns to research Metal Casting!), we knew that they wouldn't be able to keep this up much longer... but in the immediate future, it was pretty bad news!

The only deal we had lined up was a trade for Civil Service with PAL. Recapping the negotiations that led to the above post:

PAL to Realms Beyond:
How about this tech trade?

Our ETA for Civil Service (1144 beakers) is about 8 turns.
We would ask in return:
Drama 429 + Aesthetics 429 + Literature 286 = (1144)

The beaker value is the same. We know in the past, when Tony ran the trades, we have given Realms more beakers than we have received. PAL has proven trustworthy to Realms. We are under new management, but operating with the same principles.

We would prefer to make the trades if/when each tech becomes available. You guys get CS as soon as it is done, and we can start using the tech you have now before CS is done.

Note: We are not actually so keen on drama but I think it's the only tech that lets the beakers add up correctly. We would be willing to take another tech and then be in debt to you in the next round of trades.

thanks for your time.

Realms Beyond to PAL:

Our proposal on the tech trade is as follows:

Turn X-5 - we give you Aesthetics
Turn X - CS [Civil Service] Trade for Lit[erature]
Turn X+5 - we give you Drama/Horseback Riding*

*We realise that HBR [Horseback Riding] is fewer beakers, but we would propose to compensate the difference in the next trade. The reason we're undecided between the two techs is that Imperio has recently discovered Construction, Feudalism, and HBR, so we may need to prioritize military techs in the medium term.

We hope this is acceptable for you.

Team RB

We requested to swap in Horseback Riding for Drama, as our team was seriously worried about Imperio's growing power and wanted the ability to train horse archers and war elephants. We could build the war elephants because PAL had agreed to trade us ivory in exchange for a source of wines. (We asked PAL if they would cancel their ivory for gold deal with Imperio and replace it with a gems for gold deal, but they refused. PAL clearly wanted to supply both Realms Beyond and Imperio with ivory and let us fight it out, which was an excellent metagaming balance-of-power move. Well played.)

We did not want to trade with PAL, the dominant power in the game, yet our team was in a Prisoner's Dilemma situation. Trading with PAL was a losing proposition for everyone in the game, but at the same time, if we didn't trade with them then everyone else would, and we would only end up further behind. We knew full well that PAL was going to clean up another haul of techs with Civil Service. Still, what else could we do? All of the available choices were bad ones. At least this way we would get some return on our Aesthetics/Literature research.

So we did manage to get Civil Service from PAL, trading for it on T112. We had also just completed researching the critical techs of Monarchy (T108) and Mathematics (T112), which allowed Realms Beyond to double-revolt into Hereditary Rule and Bureaucracy. Our team had been slowed down for some two dozen turns by our lack of happiness resources, yet now that artificial limit was coming off and our team was starting to explode in growth:

Unrelated to any of this, but I'd like to point out the great progress we've made in terms of growth over the past half-dozen turns. Here is our food numbers compared to Imperio:

T105 RB 61, Imperio 71
T106 RB 66, Imperio 76
T107 RB 67, Imperio 78
T108 RB 69, Imperio 75
T109 RB 77, Imperio 77 (this is the turn we connected wines)
T110 RB 80, Imperio 74
T111 RB 85, Imperio ?? (won't know until next turn)

So after falling behind Imperio due to our happiness crunch, we are now back to outpacing them in the total growth category, which is a very good sign! GNP will follow in time if we keep adding cottages and infrastructure to our cities.

The whole time, we had been pestering Imperio to carry out some kind of trade with us: Aesthetics/Literature for Monarchy, then Aesthetics/Literature for Mathematics, then Aesthetics/Literature for Currency. They rarely responded to us, and our team was pessimistic that we would ever get anything out of it. Yet we kept trying:

Realms Beyonds to Imperio:
Hi Imperio,

Are you interested in trading Currency to us for Aesthetics and Literature?

We look forward to your reply.

Team RB

Two weeks went by, with no word from Imperio aside from a short note that they were considering the deal. Meanwhile, as we tried to negotiate a deal, Imperio began to show signs of impending hostility with us. Recall that our Non-Aggression Pact (NAP) was due to run out on T120, which was less than a dozen turns away. Imperio had the potential to field a powerful military, with their possession of Construction, Civil Service, and Feudalism techs. Furthermore, for no apparent reason they began running 10% on the Espionage slider and allocated all those points to our team. That was a strange move, and seemingly a waste of valuable commerce that could be going into research instead. We soon found out why they were doing it, however:

Imperio used a spy to pillage our copper resource! The idea was good, but the timing itself was bizarre, to say the least. Imperio all but told us that they were planning future aggression, dialing our warning meter up to full, long before any attack itself arrived. If they did want to attack, they should have waited until the outbreak of the war and then pillaged our copper source, which would have been a lot more damaging. Instead, we simply moved a pair of workers back to Cape Town and reconnected the resource, building a couple of archers at Cape Town in the meantime. The writing was on the wall: a Cold War had started with Imperio.

Note the date on the above picture, T112. And then on T114, out of the blue, one of the strangest moments in the game popped up:

Hoho Haha.

The Currency vs Aesthetics deal went ahead!

Seriously, what is Imperio up to?

For no apparent reason, Imperio agreed to the Currency trade with us! It made no sense, as Imperio was actively working to sabotage our team and building up an army that could only be intended to attack Cape Town. And Currency was a huge tech for us, opening up markets and those yummy extra trade routes in every city. The bigger the civ, the more important extra trade routes tend to be - and we were the largest civ on the planet! Imperio's decision to make the trade made no sense. Were they our enemy, or weren't they?!

More good news came rolling in as our team met up with Donovan and Team Banana:

We finally had contact with all six teams! PAL was even kind enough to allow our units to meet each other, which was probably a bad decision on their part. With Banana, we finally had another team that could serve as a real trading partner. Neither of us were anywhere close to one another, literally on the opposite ends of the two starting continents, and we both had ample reason to work together against PAL and Imperio. Best of all, Banana was actually strong enough to serve as a true research partner, unlike the crippled Rabbits team. It was a natural strategic partnership, each of us being able to help the other against their powerful nearby neighbor (Imperio and PAL respectively).

The critical bottleneck tech was Metal Casting, which had been researched by the Templars and traded around to everyone other than us. Remember, this was a game with "No Tech Brokering", so we could only get Metal Casting from the Templars and no one else. If we could somehow get it from them, we could then trade a mixture of techs that we had researched (Aesthetics + Literature + Monarchy + Horseback Riding) to Banana for Machinery, which they had lightbulbed with a Great Engineer from the Pyramids. Furthermore, Donovan told us that he was researching Feudalism currently, and that along with Machinery, plus ivory for war elephants, would put us on even terms with Imperio.

And yet we knew that Templars had negotiated some kind of "no-trading" agreement against us with Imperio, where both teams agreed not to trade with Realms Beyond. Dastards! The only thing to do was lean on Templars, and lean on them hard. The diplomacy team went to work again; first we lobbied Imperio to trade Currency to us, and once they did that, we turned around and used that deal to drive a wedge between Templars and Imperio!

Realms Beyonds to Templars:
Dear Sir Aidun,

Firstly, many thanks for your long and comprehensive reply. It is good to see the growing cooperation between our people, especially in light of recent international developments.

Recently, PAL and Imperio have been cooperating more closely than ever, and by leveraging their superior land they threaten to run away with the game. The combination of superior land, high-commerce tiles, happiness resources, and key economic techs may soon create an insurmountable tech lead against any civilizations that lack consistent trading partners. While both Templars and Banana have made several prudent trades recently, we feel it's obvious that it will become more and more difficult for the other teams to research useful trading techs in the face of a Imperio/PAL trading bloc. Already PAL and Imperio have swapped to Civil Service and acquired Currency...in fact they traded those two techs between themselves.

Rather than sit idly by and lose the game, team RB believes that the three other teams who still possess developed empires (namely RB, Templars, and Banana) should work together towards our mutual well-being. As they say, if we do not hang together we shall surely hang separately. On the other hand, 3-way cooperation between RB, Templars, and Banana can keep us all in the game.

With that in mind, we are wondering if your refusal to trade for Metal Casting is due to lack of interest in techs we have to offer, or if Imperio made keeping Metal Casting out of our hands a requirement for their deals with you. A no-trade clause like this would hurt both of our teams, giving Imperio the only benefit, and is not something we would ever demand from our allies.

Regarding the NAP; we are certainly pleased to hear that it is already in place, and are eager to knock out the details. Would Templars consider an auto-renewal clause along the lines of the agreement resetting every 10 turns to an expiration 20 turns in the future unless official notification is received from either party? That would prevent us having to ratify a new NAP every couple of weeks, and also provides a 10 turn notice of expiration to both teams. For example, the current agreement is due to expire on turn 124. We propose that if neither team notifies the other of a desire to cancel by turn 114 the agreement renews to turn 134. If notification is received on or before turn 113, the NAP would expire on turn 124 as originally agreed.

And when Templars didn't respond to the above email, we were even more explicit in pointing the finger at Imperio:

Realms Beyonds to Templars:
Honoured Knights Templar,

We wonder if you had reached consensus on our NAP extension proposal. Per that agreement, should we not hear back to the contrary before the end of the current turn, we consider the NAP extended to T134.

You may have experienced this as well, but we are finding that Imperio are most inconsistent in their dealings with us; one minute we are close trading partners and valued allies; the next, they are enacting specific technology trade embargos upon us and asking our allies to do the same. As you may already be aware, their perfidious spies have undertaken acts of sabotage within our lands. We have sent repeated emissaries to their lands seeking an extension of the NAP agreement which recently expired; all returned without gaining audience with their fickle Rulers.

We have been able to meet the lost tribe of Bananas (thank you for your offered assistance with this matter) and initiated diplomatic contact. They are as worried as we are by the rise of PAL and the premature perishing of the Rabbits, and are interested in cooperating with us against the Titans which PAL & Imperio are becoming. We would seek to add Templars to this budding alliance of smaller teams. Would you be interested?

We still hope to persuade your noble Order to allow us access to the secrets of Metal Casting. As the only empire now not possessing this key technology, we are willing to offer a substantial deal for its acquisition. Given that we have techs that you lack and that we have traded them to nearly all of the other teams it seems that we both find ourselves in a similar situation. Namely, missing a tech or two that nearly all other teams know, apparently due to a trade embargo which greatly benefits a third party.

Under what terms would you be willing to trade us Metal Casting? We are willing to make a substantial Technology offer; in addition to which we are willing to put a down-payment on your first tradable Sugar resource. We would immediately make available one of our Wine resources, to be cemented as a swap as soon as you have a spare Sugar available. Your humble friends,


Another two weeks went by with no response. And then, late one night when I was typing something up on the forums, Hercules of the Templars started sending me a series of Personal Messages (PMs). After asking me, "But just to confirm you have Literature,?" (which was absolutely hilarious as they had congratulated us for building the Great Library in their last email! ), we chatted and successfully negotiated an Aesthetics + Literature + Horseback Riding for Metal Casting deal. Huge break for Templars? Quite the opposite! We immediately swung around and sent Monarchy + Aesthetics + Literature + Horseback Riding to Banana for Machinery (and an agreement to trade for Feudalism later). Along with our own Construction research and possession of ivory, we could now build maces and elephants. That would allow us to face Imperio on even terms if they decided to get frisky. What a coup!

As I told my teammates, all we had to do was keep leaning on the Templars and they would eventually be willing to cut us a deal. Persistence really paid off in this game.

Also, just to set the record straight, we had no desire to attack the Templars at this juncture. Maybe we would have done it eventually (we had floated the idea of an attack at some point far down the road), but our goal right now was entirely to defend ourselves from an Imperio attack at Cape Town. Templars would later accuse us of negotiating in bad faith. But as sunrise was posting in our forum:

Hercules of the Templar,

We are very disappointed that the team has rejected our offer for an extension of our NAP [Non-Aggression Pact]. We would like to avoid a destructive military buildup along our borders, but how is this possible if Templars keep turning down all of our offers? Your emails always state a desire for peace, but our peaceful overtures seem to be constantly turned down.

RB would like to reiterate to you that we have no desire for war with your civilization. We hope our actions have removed any doubt:
+ We have offered an extention of our NAP.
+ We have offered to trade valuable military technologies.
+ We have tried to be generous in our trade offers.
+ We have offered to share our own happiness resources.
+ We have strictly adhered to our no-scouting agreement.
+ We have honorably followed our border agreement, despite having the ability to settle beyond it.

Unfortunately, all our RB's actions and the mutual goodwill built between our civilizations count for little if we're forced into a cold-war military build up due to the absence of a NAP. Spending all of our hammers and commerce on a defensive army is not any more in our best interest than it is in yours.

We wanted to extend a Non-Aggression Pact for another 20 turns after it ran out. It was the TEMPLARS who rejected that. We were the ones who wanted to form a three-way teching alliance along with Banana. It was the TEMPLARS who rejected that too. We adhered to every treaty we signed with the Templars, and never initiated any aggression against them. If anyone was at fault for the breakdown in relations between our teams later, it was certainly not the Realms Beyond!

Here was where our team stood 115 turns into the game:

As shown in the above picture, we were building the Hanging Gardens inside Pink Dot, following another elaborate plan in the "Operation: Hanging Gardens" thread!

Plan 3: HG [Hanging Gardens] T119, PD [Pink Dot] size 7 10/34 (grow in 5-6 @ 4-5fpt), 3 overflow. 3 workers, 5 chops.

Plan 4: HG T118, PD size 5 18/30 (grow in 3), 0 overflow, 3 workers, 4 chops, 2-pop whip

Plan 5: HG T117, PD size 4 24/28 (grow in 1 turn), 0 overflow. 3 workers, 4 chops, 3-pop whip

Plan 6: HG T117, PD size 5 13/30 (grow in 4 @ 4-5fpt), 25 overflow. 4 workers, 5 chops, 3-pop whip

Plan 7: HG T118, PD size 6 23/32 (grow in 2 @ 4-5fpt), 0 overflow. 3 workers, 5 chops, 1-pop whip

Plan 8: HG T119, PD size 8 19/36 (grow in 3-4 @ 4-5fpt), 0 overflow, 4 workers, 6 chops. This gets PD up to size 8 but needs one of the winery workers (same as Plan 6). I haven't optimized this one but I did get it to work, so if there is interest in pursuing this one, I can nail down and post the turn logs.

Word of warning on the sim posted up-thread. The supermarket does fix the 1-food problem when you work the rice. But for any turns that you aren't working the rice, it gives you an extra food that you don't have. So some of these might be a few food off but hopefully not anything critical.

All sizes are after the HG increases 1 pop. For the record, PD currently has 5 improved tiles (3 mines, cow, rice).

I think I favor plans 5 or 7. But don't rule out plan 9

Yes, there were really eight different plans on how to build the Hanging Gardens most effectively! As with the Great Library, our guys just went crazy with the micro work, coming up with tighter and tigher plans to get the wonder done faster and faster. (Something tells me that regoarrarr and Ruff weren't being too productive at work on these days, hehe!) Now we didn't want the Hanging Gardens all that badly for ourselves - though of course it wouldn't hurt - but more so because we wanted to deny the wonder to PAL, who was racing us for the lead in city count and would benefit immensely from its construction. Thanks to our extensive chopping micro work, we completed the Gardens in a mere six turns (including the aqueduct!) and finished it on T118.

Much later, we would gain visibility on all the cities on PAL's continent, and saw that the city of Thebes suspiciously had an aqueduct located inside it. Evidently we had raced them to the wonder and gotten there first - ha!

To round out our status in the game at this point, I will post part of my "State of the Empire: Turn 115" writeup, an overall evaluation of our current position compared to the other teams:


From left to right, the civs are Realms Beyond, Templars, Imperio, PAL, Rabbits, Banana. I tried to color-match as much as possible, although it's tough because we have three different "yellow" civs in this game.

The story in the GNP category is the growth of Realms Beyond and PAL, along with the relative decline of Imperio. I say "relative" because Imperio is still making progress here, just not nearly to the same degree of dominance that they had earlier. As recently as 20 turns ago, Imperio stood head and shoulders above everyone else in this field. Then PAL built the Great Lighthouse on T99, which took their GNP from the 60/80 range into the 100/150 range (min versus max science). Since then, PAL has only increased their economic strength, and last turn they recorded the first 200+ turn of the game thus far.

But we've been making immense strides in this area as well! As recently as ten turns ago, we were alternating between 60/90 (min/max science) while slowing finishing up research on Monarchy. The Great Library brought us up to something like 100/140, while Bureaucracy civic and Currency's extra trade routes have taken up to ~180 at break-even science. (We can push up to 200 at max right now.) With an Academy in Airstrip One, we not only achieve parity with PAL and Imperio, we may actually become the tech LEADER in terms of pure beakers! It's been quite a turnaround.

Compare to Templars, who have made essentially zero progress with their economy in the past 20 turns. (They still have no libraries at all!) The only major remaining question is where Banana falls on this scale. My guess is something in the 80-100 range, but I confess I really have no idea. In GNP, there are three competing teams, and then three distant followers, getting further behind as we progress further. (Of course, tech trading has an enormous impact that often outshines pure GNP, so take all this with a grain of salt!)

Food/Production numbers for each team, with Food on the left and Production on the right. For a quick measure of non-commercial economic strength, add together the two numbers like so:

PAL: 173
Imperio: 149
RB: 144
Templars: 87
Rabbits: 51

Once again there is a clear division between the three front-running teams and the distant trailers. PAL has stubbornly maintained their population edge, although by percentage it's less of a gap than earlier. We are neck and neck with Imperio in the Food/Production categories right now, with them having fewer/larger cities compared to us. But we've only had the happiness to grow our cities for a mere 7 turns, so expect us to open up a lead in this category (if we can avoid losing Cape Town!) Hanging Gardens would mean a MAJOR boost in these stats. PAL building Hanging Gardens would be really bad for us. Knock on wood that we don't see that happen.

And the all-important Soldier count listings. Let's look at this on a civ-by-civ basis...

Templars: Aside from trading for Machinery on T108 (+8k), Templars have gained exactly 8k Soldier points in the past ten turns. Archer (T107), archer (T111), and two pop increases worth 1k each. (One of these may have been a barracks at Constantinople, which we can't see.) They've added no units in the past four turns. This is emphatically not a team gearing up for war, unless they have the most diabolical secret plan of all time.

Imperio: Their power has been steadily creeping up over the past dozen or so turns, albeit we have to keep in mind that lots of their "Soldier" numbers have been coming from technologies like HBR, MC, and Construction. I am pretty sure I have a completely accurate count of Imperio's entire military, thanks to our ability to watch their builds, so see below for a full tally.

PAL: They steadily whipped, chopped, and upgraded their units to get a substantial army. PAL seems to have peaked at a little over 200k rating for the moment, as they laid off on building more military for the past four turns. Hopefully they'll prove to be wrong and have to add more to finish Rabbits. I really don't know exactly what units PAL has, their whipping and lack of city info making for a lot of guesstimation. It looked like their main stack had about 5 maces and a scattering of cats/axes/war chariots.

Rabbits: Umm, they're losing to PAL? Not a whole lot to say here.

Banana: According to the Demographics, Banana is the lowest in the world in Power, at a little over 100k. Yes, they really don't seem to think that PAL will turn on them eventually, the poor guys...

All of the numbers reflected our rising status on the international stage, as Realms Beyond began to separate itself from the pack and join the PAL/Imperio co-leaders. Economically, we continued to move from strength to strength. Due to pure dumb luck, we landed the "Soldiers Returning from War" event a SECOND TIME!

Then we completed our slickly-managed Hanging Gardens, for another population point in each city on top of the free ten food:

And finally, we produced a Great Scientist in China Beach after those long turns of running specialists, and used him for an Academy in the capital. That allowed us to research Construction in a mere two turns of deficit spending!

We'd come a long way from struggling along to Monarchy while suffering under a crippling lack of happiness!

Throughout this period, we continued to run numbers constantly on our rivals, especially Imperio. All of this C&D info continued to pay off handsomely, as we literally tracked every single Imperio military unit through a combination of Soldier Count and the use of a scouting chariot that ran around within Imperio's borders. (Why Imperio never told us to kick this unit out, or why they never bothered to scout our territory with their own units, I have no idea.) Our thread on "Rival Militaries" looked like this:


Tarzan (Warrior)
Woodsman I/II promotions
Current location: Unknown

Uzpatac (Warrior)
no promotions
Fortified in Uxmal

Chariot (Cuauhtli)
no promotions
Current location: Chichen Itza

Chariot (Omecatl)
no promotions
Current location: SW of Mutal

Mutalac (Holkan)
(1 available)
Current location: Unknown

Lakan (Holkan)
no promotions
Current location: Fortified in Mayapan

Chichen (Holkan)
no promotions
Current location: Fortified in Chichen Itza

(1 available)
Fortified in Mutal

(1 available)
Fortified in Mutal

(1 available)
Fortified in Calakmul

(1 available)
Fortified in Chichen Itza

(1 available)
Current location: SW of Mutal

Horse Archer
(1 available)
Fortified in Chichen Itza

War Elephant
(1 available)
Fortified in Mutal

War Elephant
(2 available)
Fortified in Mutal

War Elephant
(2 available)
Fortified in Lakamha

(2 available)
Fortified in Mutal

(2 available)
Fortified in Mutal

(2 available)
Fortified in Lakamha

(2 available)
Fortified in Lakamha

Known to have at least 3 workers

Current Soldier Count: 188k
Total Known Soldier Count: 104k
Soldier Points from Tech: 68k
Soldier Points from Population: 17k
Soldier Points from Buildings: 12k

Missing Soldier Count: -13k (due to seeing units from the "next" turn)
Surmised/Estimated Units (from C&D)

Guesstimated Total Military
3 warriors (2 known)
3 holkans (all known)
2 chariot (all known)
5 longbow (all known)
1 horse archer (known)
3 war elephants (all known)
4 catapults (all known)

By knowing the exact composition of Imperio's military, there were no surprises lurking for us in the fog. We even knew what Imperio was going to build in the future, due to tracking production in their cities via C&D. These numbers were updated every single turn:

Mutal = (322 * (196 + 100)) / (3 * 722) = 44 shields (+44)
Infrastructure: Palace, Barracks, Granary, Monument, Stonehenge, Oracle
Lakamha = N/A, zero shields invested
Infrastructure: Barracks, Monument, Islamic shrine
Chichen Itza = (185 * (196 + 100)) / (3 * 704) = 26 shields (+4)
Infrastructure: Granary, Monument, Lighthouse, Barracks
Uxmal = (147 * (196 + 100)) / (3 * 763) = 19 shields (+7)
Infrastructure: Monument
Mayapan = (220 * (196 + 100)) / (3 * 751) = 29 shields (+7)
Infrastructure: Monument, Barracks
Calakmul = (204 * (196 + 100)) / (3 * 775) = 26 shields (+5)
Infrastructure: Monument

Mutal continues to get tons of shields; do we think that their workers are chopping forests? Or maybe a resource-doubled build of some kind (?) Lakamha has finished a war elephant, just as predicted last turn, and we have line of sight into the city to see it. Imperio now has 2 war elephants, 1 horse archer, and 3 cats.

I've seen many Demogame teams do some numbers analysis with the Demographics screen, but never to the extent that our team did in this game. We could therefore assess how many units we needed to build ourselves, where to position them, and know ahead of time if emergency whips would be necessary. Imperio tried again to sabotage our resources a little bit later, but this time their spy failed, losing the spy and wasting Espionage Points. We continued to feel that Imperio's diversion of commerce into espionage spending was a silly waste of resources, and their actions gave away any possibility of surprise. Thus the Cold War rolled on, as we drew closer to the end of our Non-Aggression Pact...

At the Cape, we were chopping all of the forest tiles on the approach routes to the city:

The chop hammers went into production of elephants and maces, while we grew Cape Town up to size 6. That was the city's limit on size until the arrival of Biology, where it would get 18 shields/turn base, doubled to 36/turn when building military. Almost good enough for 2t maces and elephants, and indeed good enough once we could add a Forge later. Now this is still rather sad for a Heroic Epic city, but given the land we had available, it was the best we could do... and it made a real difference in the ongoing Cold War against Imperio!

Imperio still lacked Machinery tech (they actually hadn't met Banana as yet), so their military was very heavy on elephants, longbows, and catapults:

We were researching Engineering, which we had an agreement to trade to Banana for Feudalism. (The road movement bonus and potential ability to train pikeman didn't hurt either!) We were also hoping to trade it to PAL for something along the Liberalism line (Education or Nationalism), but they weren't budging in that area. As we continued to grow in power and influence, PAL had less and less to do with us. I can't say I blame them, since they had plenty of other trading partners and we were turning into more and more of a threat on the international stage.

Turn after turn passed, as we drew close to the end of our Non-Aggression Pact with Imperio. T120 came and passed with the end of the NAP, however both sides remained at peace, watching and waiting. A standoff developed, with our team pouring defenders into Cape Town and Imperio building up on their side of the border at Chichen Itza. Imperio's units looked pretty scary, but "General" sunrise was our tactical mastermind, and had full command of the tense standoff:

I ran a test in worldbuilder with our stack facing the Imperio stack in the open. Assumptions:

*Team RB - 4 strength-8 units, 4 horse archers, 4 cats, 1 ax, 4 spears, 3 archers.
*Imperio - 2 maces, 3 elephants, 2 horse archers, 4 longbows, 7 cats.
*One promo on each unit, combat one on everything but the cats who had collateral.

Results after one round:

*RB casualties - 3 cats, 1 horse archer, 1 archer
*Imperio casualties - 1 mace, 2 elephants, 1 horse archer, 4 longbows, 5 cats
*Imperio survivors - 1 war elephant, 1 mace, 1 horse archer, 2 cats
*Number of Imperio cats DAMAGED due to flanking - 7, number DESTROYED - 0.

Tomorrow I will run the test a few more times and try to refine it. But in general, we have a survivable situation.
Assuming of course we don't run the simulation for real

We tried to dissuade Imperio from considering aggressive action against us, arguing that this would merely throw the game to PAL:

Realms Beyond to Imperio:
Hi Imperio,

We would like to propose a 50 turn NAP from T120 that ends on T170.

We have noticed your military build-up. You will have seen our military increase as well. We have learnt important military technologies, and can now train Macemen. If you attack us, you will not win. We will not win either: in fact, we will both lose because we will get stuck in a 'stalemate'.

If you wish to expand, our scouts have identified strong sites on the other island. They are too far away for us to settle. If you agree to a 50 turn NAP, we will send you pictures of these sites.

We look forward to your answer by the end of T119. If we do not receive your answer by this time then we will assume you are not interested.

Best Regards
Team RB

But in typical Imperio fashion, they made no attempt to respond and continued building more military units. We were tracking their builds via C&D, which allowed us to see that their three core cities (Mutal, Lakamha, and Chichen Itza) were all doing nothing but military, one build after another. Along with the fact that Imperio was in Vassalage instead of Bureaucracy (another curious choice!), their actions weren't exactly subtle. Imperio was planning to attack someone, and it didn't look like it was going to be the Templars...

Therefore our main diplomatic goal was ensuring that the Templars either sided with us in what appeared to be a looming conflict, or at least agreeing to remain neutral. We asked them to enter into a three-way trading agreement with our team and Banana, with each civ researching one tech and them exchanging them around to one another:

Realms Beyond to Templars:
Hi Templars,

Did Banana email you recently regarding a tech triangle? If not, I'll give you the details we agreed on: If you were to research Drama after your current tech, we could set up the following triangle: You'd supply Drama, Realms Beyond will supply Construction and Banana will supply Calendar.

Realms Beyond

For the umpteenth time, the Templars failed to respond to our message. Yet Donovan soon contacted us, with the following news:

Banana to Realms Beyond:
Hello Team Realms,

We will discover Calendar next turn. We have also finally received word from Templars, and they are IN -- they discover Drama in 5-6 turns. What tech are you researching now? We are hoping to trade Calendar to Imperio for Currency next turn; if that works, we'll begin Feudalism immediately.

Hercules from Templars is my current contact with Templars, but he seems to be using his personal email for correspondence. I'll let him know that you need to speak with his team, and see if it's okay to give you his email address.


This was good news; our three teams were all behind Imperio and PAL, the game's tech leaders, and it made sense for us to collaborate to catch up. Although the Templars never actually responded to us in person, Donovan was adamant that they wanted to be part of a three-way exchange of techs, with each of us supplying Construction (RB), Drama (Templars), and Calendar (Banana). Yet, in typical Templar fashion, we saw the Templars shortly trade Theology to Imperio for Compass and Construction, neatly invalidating the deal we had worked out. When we sent them a message asking them to explain, Hercules sent this rather lame response back:

Templars to Realms Beyond:
Re response. No I have just been waiting for input from othere Templars.

In essence Templars had agreed to the exchange with Imperio before the RB-Banana three way offer, which is still in place. Templars Drama, Banana - Calendar, it is just construction which will need to changed to another suitable tech.

This was at best disingenous, and much more likely an outright lie. If Templars knew that they had a deal lined up with Imperio, why did they deliberately allow us to think that they were going to participate in a three-way trade with us and Banana? Their trades went through with Imperio and Banana, but they unilaterally decided to alter the terms of our deal?! Pretty low for the supposedly honorable Templar warriors. Our team started to draw closer to Banana, as Donovan was the only one in the game who actually seemed interested in dealing with us fairly. Donovan was even nice enough to send us his only source of iron, so that we could build pikes, in exchange for our team agreeing to send him horses upon request - which we would indeed fulfill later on in the game. (PAL also would have been an excellent partner, but our respective roles in the game didn't really allow us to work together.)

We paused from the military buildup briefly to chop out another wonder in the deep south as part of "Project Colossus":

In short, I think we should go for the Colossus. Here is an outline of the plan, which turns out to be surprisingly easy to pull off. In the picture [above], Bob is in white, Erik is in yellow, and the John/Parsons pair in red:

T125 Forge (37/120) +8 shields/turn
Bob chopping (2t), Erik moving, John/Parsons plantation (2t)
Mellow working clams, two plains forests, plains forest hill (+0 food/+8 shields)

T126 Forge (45/120) +7 base, +30 chop, +60 double-whip
Bob chopping (done!), Erik moving, John/Parsons plantation (done!)
Mellow working clams, three plains forests (+1 food/+7 shields)

T127 Colossus (44/250) +2 base * +125% = 4 shields/turn
Bob moving, Erik chopping (3t), John/Parsons road (done!)
Mellow working clams, grassland forest (+4 food/+2 shields)

T128 Colossus (48/250) +2 base * +125% = 4 shields/turn
Bob chopping (3t), Erik chopping (2t), John/Parsons moving
Mellow working clams, grassland forest (+4 food/+2 shields)

T129 Colossus (52/250) +2 base, +30 chop = +32 * +125% = 72 shields/turn
Bob chopping (2t), Erik chopping (done!), John/Parsons chopping (2t)
Mellow working clams, grassland forest (+4 food/+2 shields)

T130 Colossus (124/250) +2 base, +60 chop = +62 * +125% = 139 shields/turn
Bob chopping (done!), Erik moves to dyes, John/Parsons (done!)
Mellow working clams, grassland forest (+4 food/+2 shields)
[should actually regrow to size 3 this turn, and can easily pull more shields if needed]

T131 Colossus (263/250) done

Obviously, first of all I'd like to see someone check my math to make sure I did this right, although there's actually room to pull a lot more shields at Mellow if desired. (We can't speed up the ETA though, since the big push comes from the forest chops.) Now, I'm fully aware that we don't get all that great of a value from the Colossus. We don't have that many coastal cities, and we'd prefer to be working other tiles in most cases. Nevertheless, let's build the wonder anyway! Here's why:

- Low opportunity cost. It's easy to build, and costs us little. The only thing we're giving up here is a couple of forests (which we probably would have chopped anyway!) and about 5t of worker labor. I think delaying hooking up extra dyes for a few turns is worth it to get a helpful wonder.
- Long period of usefulness. Are we planning to get Astronomy anytime soon? No? That's what I thought.
- Denial value. By building the Colossus, PAL and Imperio don't build the wonder. This is a major factor in and of itself, IMO.
- Low opportunity cost part two. If we go for the wonder and fail, we'll get a nice cash refund. In fact, wonder-building (with multipliers in place) conversion into gold is one of the best values you can get in this game. Right?

I've left Erik unmoved so far, because he needs to head south this turn to put the plan in action. (He can even get in a "free" turn of roading while doing so!) Otherwise, everything is set up. What do you think? It seems like a pretty easy call to me, but then again, I did type up the darned plan...

We discussed this over as a team, and ultimately it was agreed to go with the plan. Everything went according to schedule perfectly, and we landed the Colossus on T131. I'd say more, but by now our team was used to this sort of thing. No surprises and nothing special was good news!

As the standoff at Cape Town continued to build, we incredibly popped a second copper resource at the same city!!!

Dunno what the odds were of that happening, had to be something like a million to one. What a strange game this had been!

Imperio kept on moving their units around within their territory, grouped together into what we started calling the uberstack:

And now the Templars started moving some incredibly outdated and decrepit units up close to our eastern border!

Jeez, don't tell us that they're going to jump into this conflict too! The Cold War was heating up in a real hurry, and the game was about to get a lot more interesting...