Axiis was kind enough to type up this summary of the action from Game One. Excellent summary, particularly when describing the two Englands. Thanks!
The inaugural game of AI Survivor Series Season 2 opened on a circular pangea map featuring a potent mix of Civilizations. From the top of the circle, we had Victoria of England at 12 o’clock, Pericles of Greece at 3, Elizabeth of also England at 6, Mao Zedong of China at 7, Zara Yacob at 9, and Hammurabi of Babylon at 11. This left the west and north ends of the continent rather crowded and a wide open desert in the southeast.
The game began with the AI selecting their second city locations, a process that tends to have far reaching consequences for how the game unfolds. Elizabeth quickly snapped up the land between her and Mao while Zara and Hammurabi settled their cities right on top of each other. Victoria and Pericles both settled towards the center of the map, and the six civilizations went to work researching the game’s first religions. Elizabeth and Hammurabi finished meditation on the same turn, but Liz came first in turn order and consequently pulled the game’s first religion, selecting Christianity. Undeterred, Hammurabi went on to polytheism and chose Buddhism for the game’s second religion. Helpfully, the religion popped in his second city, which was struggling under the weight of Zara’s creative trait culture.
Zara turned up the pressure by grabbing Stonehenge as the AI planted their third cities. Victoria picked up the third religion, Hinduism, a few turns later and spread it to Pericles, who joined her religious block. Pericles, for his part, was pumping out settlers at furious rate, and he soon jumped out to five cities while his rivals were sitting on three or four. His land grab would prove to be shockingly effective, though the quality of the land he grabbed was a little lacking.
Down south, Liz and Mao were more interested in wondering than settling. Liz built the Oracle and grabbed metal casting, while Mao built the Great Wall, which helpfully deflected the numerous hordes of southern barbarians into England. Mao would eventually get religion and join Liz’s Christian coalition, though their close borders left their relationship frosty despite their shared faith. Zara followed suit for a time, but, crucially, decided to go with Hammurabi’s Buddhist faith a few turns later. Pericles soon left his religious block and joined Buddhism as well, leaving Victoria in rough diplomatic position. The Christian coalition, already cracking, was then dealt a death blow when Mao declared the first war of the game on his neighbor, Elizabeth.
Mao, being deeply disinterested in religion, was far more concerned about Elizabeth snapping up all the land between London and Beijing. He decided to rectify this unsatisfactory situation on turn 78 and attacked Newcastle, southwest of London. The city survived a turn, but fell in the second wave of attacks. Nottingham, the city northwest of London, was a tougher nut to crack for the Chinese. Mao busied himself by smashing his face against the wall of Nottingham for the next few turns, but the war bug was spreading. Zara had a stack of his own, and an England to attack. He declared war on Victoria on turn 85 and quickly took Warwick. Things got worse for the English queens when Pericles jumped in on turn 88, electing to attack the southern Queen while she was tangled up with Mao. Pericles decided to show Mao how it was done and brought his stack to Nottingham, where he promptly smashed his face against the city walls and was sent packing. He came back with a second army a short time later, and again smashed his face into the walls of Nottingham. He followed this stirring performance by utterly failing to capture Coventry in the east, while Mao sacrificed another army, and at the gates of Nottingham. Pericles, belatedly realizing that he wouldn’t get anywhere without catapults, made peace with Elizabeth. Mao stubbornly threw yet another stack at Nottingham, but Liz had by now grabbed feudalism and Nottingham was soon more impregnable than ever. Elizabeth built the Mausoleum soon after as the war with China ground to a stalemate. Nottingham would repel one more attack before China finally agreed to a peace, ceding Newcastle back to England in the negotiations.
Back in North England, Zara made it to the gates of York, Victoria’s capital, but no further. Victoria teched to crossbows, which made short work of Zara’s sword heavy ancient army. Vicky’s crossbows proved an effective trump card, and Zara was driven back to Warwick. This gave Vicky space to build the Colossus, which, combined with the Great Lighthouse, fed the commerce of Victoria’s small empire. Victoria enjoyed a small military success in the south when she raised a barbarian city to the ground, but things took a turn for the worse for the Northumbrian queen when Pericles declared war on Victoria on turn 117. Pericles had clearly learned from his failures in south England, because he brought a boat load of catapults to his second war.
Victoria was in desperate need of a break. She had lost access to her iron when Zara’s borders ticked over back in Warwick and was now staring down the barrel of a Greek death stack at Hastings while Zara once again made a move on York. If York went down, she would be effectively out of the game, the first AI leader eliminated in season 2. Things were looking grim for the queen until the horns of war blew again on turn 127 - Mao was making his move on Ethiopia. Just like that, Victoria got a stay of execution, and she even managed to repulse Pericles’ attack on Hastings as Mao brought his stack down on the Ethiopian border city of Addis Ababa, taking it after two rounds of furious fighting.
While all this war was unfolding across the continent, Hammurabi was kicking back in his tundra bound civilization and cracking open a cold one. He took wonder after wonder as the southern civs squabbled, grabbing the Parthenon, Shwedagon Paya, Statue of Zeus, Sistene Chapel, and Hagia Sophia. He built up some monsted culture in the north that would overwhelm the land Zara took off of Vicky, making Hammurabi the real winner of the Ethiopian-English wars. Hammurabi was happily ensconced in a block of buddhist nations that protected him from the southern Christians and gave him license to build and tech to his heart’s content.
With both Pericles and Mao wrapped up in new wars, Elizabeth had some space to run wild in the southeast desert, and she snapped up the remaining unclaimed territory on the map. She also spent time rebuilding her army, teching to guilds and putting together a nice force of knights. Surveying the map, she seemed to spot an opening on turn 143 as Mao pressed into Ethiopia and declared war on her old enemy. Suddenly it was Mao on the defensive in a two front war, and he scrambled to meet the fresh army attacking his core. Sadly for Elizabeth, she had failed to learn the lessons of the last war and had neglected to build catapults, leaving her army unable to break into Shanghai. Like so many Chinese armies at Nottingham, Elizabeth smashed her armies on the walls of Shanghai and was forced to leave empty handed. Mao saw an opening of his own and quickly signed peace with Zara, allowing him to press Elizabeth back into her own core. Of course, we all know what happens to armies that try to attack Nottingham by now, and, as surely as the sun rises, Mao splattered yet another army on the fortress city’s walls. The two civs made peace soon after, but relations remained cold and tensions high in the southwest.
Now Victoria had managed to survive the Greek onslaught and wrangled a peace deal a few turns earlier, so the conclusion of the latest Chinese-English war saw peace return to the world for the first time in some some 80 turns. Mao got bored and invaded Ethiopia again soon after the global peace, but this phony war ended after three turns, likely through an Apostolic Palace conciliation. Victoria, clinging furiously to life, took the opportunity to convert to Buddhism, perhaps hoping to insulate her tiny rump state against further aggression from her coreligionist neighbors.
The medieval and Renaissance wonders fell rapidly as the AI teched through the peace, with Elizabeth in particular running wild. Her river valley rich land gave her a decisive edge in the beaker count, and she followed the old Liberalism -> Nationalism -> Taj Mahal route that launched her into a well timed golden age. She quickly picked up representation and democracy, and seemed to have her eyes dead set on state property. Sadly for Liz, though, all her political theory left her totally unprepared when Mao came calling on turn 188.
Mao had finally learned his lesson, and launched a very large and very well timed attack on Nottingham. Liz had failed even to get gunpowder, and London was locked on the Statue of Liberty when Mao arrived with a 43 unit strong army at the gates of Nottingham, where so many armies had been smashed. The fighting was fierce and bloody, but Nottingham finally, finally fell. In the east, Pericles smelled blood in the water and jumped into the war, rolling through the lightly guarded cities on England’s periphery. Mao moved on to London, which fell on turn 206. South England was crumbling fast from the pincer assault. And then the other England joined the fighting.
Now one might think that Victoria, who shared a religion with Pericles and was far weaker than her neighbors, would try to snipe some land from Elizabeth before her rival queen was knocked out. And yet, when Victoria jumped into the war, it was on the side of her fellow England against Greece. Shockingly, Victoria managed to retake Hastings, drawing Pericles away from swallowing up all of Elizabeth’s territory. Sadly though, Victoria was really on a suicide mission. Victoria had Pericles’ attention alright, and it wasn’t long before the Greek army blew through Vicky’s outdated army and captured York. If Elizabeth’s plan was to avoid being first eliminated, then it worked like a charm - Victoria was finally knocked out of the game on turn 235. Elizabeth was right behind her, as Mao took Elizabeth’s last city on turn 237. Elizabeth swapped to state property as the Chinese closed in for the kill, finally achieving the dream that had made her skip gunpowder and rifling all those years ago. It was, perhaps, a moral victory.
As the latest cycle of wars wound down, the world was settling into a whole new order. Greece had eaten up the lesser halves of both north and south England, leaving Pericles with an enormous empire full of kind of lousy cities. Hammurabi, who had thus far not once joined in a battle, had managed to come away with both Warwick and Vicky’s old capital York by virtue of his outstanding culture, somehow making him the big winner of the Greco-Northumbrian war. Zara had failed to take any land from either England and had indeed lost his one gain to Hammurabi’s culture when Warwick flipped to the Babylonians, leaving him vulnerable to an aggressive China. Mao had eaten up some excellent English cities, particularly Nottingham and London, and was looking hungrily at small, weak Ethiopia on his northern border. Zara had stagnated on the power graph for the last 50 turns, throwing all his production behind research to keep up with his neighbors. To compensate, Zara wisely signed a defensive pact with Pericles, a move that would pay enormous dividends for Ethiopia.
In a surprise to absolutely no one, Mao moved on Ethiopia on turn 257, triggering the recently signed pact between Pericles and Zara. Mao seemed to know the real threat here, and he immediately made peace with Zara - again probably through the machinations of the Apostolic Palace - so that he could wheel around and meet Pericles. Battles raged along the massive border between the two nations as the two great powers traded blows. In the end they agreed to peace, with the big upshot being Greece’s conquest of the iceball city Leeds, Mao’s relationships tanking with every remaining civ, and - importantly - Ethiopia alive and whole. Zara and Pericles quickly reupped their defensive pact, and China and Greece rebuilt for round two.
Round two began on turn 298 with Mao blowing through the overmatched defenders of Addis Ababa, prompting Pericles to once again rise to defend Ethiopia. Once again, Mao made a quick peace with Ethiopia as an enormous Greek army descended on Coventry in the east. The pattern of the first war repeated as Mao and Pericles exhausted themselves fighting over Coventry. Pericles eventually seized the city, but he took a beating in the battle and accepted peace with Mao soon after. The two great powers set about preparing for round 3, which promised to be the most disastrous and bloody yet as the two civs teched to tanks, and then to fission. Mao also ceded Addis Ababa to the wily Zara, who had once again renewed his highly successful defensive pact with Greece.
Meanwhile, Hammurabi curled up with a mug of cocoa and a good book up north. His one important move was building the UN, which allowed him to easily win the election for Secretary General - he was, after all, running against the hated Mao. From that august position he succeeded in making environmentalism a global civic, a cause he was so passionate about that he held three votes affirming it.
The fifteenth war of the game exploded on turn 334 when Pericles got the drop on Mao, unleashing his rebuilt army on China’s English possessions. Mao landed a blow by capturing Coventry, but Pericles quickly retook the city. Greece then moved on Nottingham and rolled over the once daunting fortress before moving on to London. Massive armor columns rolled over old England as the two armies clashed over London. Chinese gunships put up a fierce resistence, but they were ultimately unable to hold back the Greek wave, and London was captured for a second time on turn 343. Hammurabi finally decided to stretch his legs and joined in the war on Mao, sending his tanks in through Ethiopia. Pericles swung north and captured the northernmost Chinese city Xian before finally agreeing to peace with Mao, who was able to turn on Hammurabi’s army and smash it. However, Babylon remained safely tucked away behind Ethiopia and Greece, leaving a frustrated Mao to stew in frustration. Hammurabi lacked the strength to really hit Mao, while Mao couldn’t even reach Babylon, and so the two sides agreed to peace.
With the world once again at peace, the civs started thinking about winning this thing. Mao and Hammurabi committed to the space race, while Greece turned on the culture sliders. Pericles could have cultured his way to victory, but he decided that that would have been a far too boring conclusion. So it was that one final war was declared on turn 385.
The massive and modern Greek army was a terrifying force, but Mao was ready. Mao became the destroyer of worlds, flinging nukes at Xian and Nottingham and taking both cities. The Greek army in London too was annihilated by Mao’s tactical nukes, and soon the English river valley that had once powered the best scientific engine in the world was a glowing wasteland. Mao landed some serious blows on Greece, but Pericles pressed on through the storm. He retook Nottingham and pressed onward, threatening Shanghai. Hammurabi reached second place on the scoreboard as the Greeks smashed Mao’s army and pushed into China’s core - and then there was peace. The UN voted to end the war, and Mao once again survived, bruised but not beaten.
There was not much left to the game from there. Mao seemed to have had enough of Greece’s interventions, and Pericles was content to build his way to a cultural victory. The game wound down to a quiet conclusion, with Pericles claiming a cultural victory on turn 422. He had dominated the game, having had a hand in eliminating Elizabeth, actually eliminating Victoria, and repeatedly saving Zara’s bacon when Mao was threatening to overrun his territory. Mao, for his part, had been an excellent instigator throughout the game and survived some serious attack from Greece, walking away with a well deserved second place. Bringing up the rear was Zara’s Ethiopia, which had failed to expand but had nonetheless survived thanks to some excellent diplomacy. And, of course, there was Hammurabi, who had had a perfectly nice time in his cozy, culturally imposing little igloo. I think we all know who the real winner was here.
Well, not every game can have a nail-biting finish... Thanks for reading, and special kudos again to Axiis for putting this together for the website.