After the Super Bowl, I decided to finish a game of Civ IV I’ve been working on for two months now.I played on Chieftain because I’m not very familiar with Civ IV yet, but I’ll definitely go up a level next time I start one. The game began on two continents and a couple of small islands. I was the Romans. On my continent, you had Persia, Korea, and America. On the other continent, you had the Zulus, Germans, and Japan. At some point in the game, Shaka of the Zulus owned the Germans in the face; Germany spent the rest of the game as their vassal. Oh, they would shirk the Zulu yoke for one turn, then go right back the next turn. I was expanding, but with three other civilizations fighting over it, war was inevitable. I convinced America and Korea to join a war to exterminate the hated Persians; they sent token support and I wiped the floor with Persia. They each got a couple more cities, but for the most part, I was the big winner. When I saw how crappy America and Korea were, technologically speaking, I knew it was my destiny to rule the island.
I considered attacking America first; they had precious Coal and I needed it to build railroads. By a stroke of luck, though, a Caravel of mine discovered an empty island with Coal on it; I moved a settler there, built a city, and began constructing a Harbor so I could export my newly found black gold. Soon, my half of the continent was covered in railroads. I would never want for another resource in the game. I began constructing a huge army to invade my new target, Korea. I planned on saving America for last, then going overseas if need be.
In the meantime, Shaka, Tokugawa, and Frederick shared a happy existence on their continent. Frederick constantly switched from vassal of Shaka to free and back. They traded a couple of cities, but war was rare in their lands. The Zulu could have exterminated the Germans without lifting a finger; Japan would have been tougher, but Shaka could have easily done what I was trying to do.
As soon as I discovered Flight, I sent my army north. My army consisted of Infantry, Artillery, Gunships, and some Fighters. I would soon add Bombers to my army. I built a small naval force to experiment with sea bombardment and worked on some Marines and a Transport to amphibiously assault my foes. America and Korea were relatively good friends at this time; they had fought earlier, but things had settled down. I actually called in the Zulus for a bit, mostly to keep America out of the war. I eventually asked them to go home, and they did, leaving me to clean up Korea. America stayed out of the war, which made me happy; America had a bigger military than Korea and had more places to attack me.
Now, for America. America would be my greatest challenge yet. Unlike Korea, America was a lot brighter in terms of technology. They still didn’t even have Artillery yet, but they would be more formidable. I paused to increase my forces, especially my air force. I poured money into upgrading my Cavalry into Gunships. I discovered Tanks, and thanks to my Oil reserves, I was ready to attack.
The Americans were divided in two; only one city kept it from being contiguous, Tarsus, which I captured from Persia much earlier. Tarsus actually revolted and joined America before I attacked; I decided to move my way west to east, initially. America was much better at building fortifications than Korea; I had to use my siege equipment and air force to pound the cities before I could capture them. This delay allowed them to take a few border cities, to my surprise. Granted, it was mostly Korean stuff I had taken and my own cities were safe, but I decided to call in back up. Japan already hated America, and Shaka was only too happy to join the war, bringing Frederick with him. After claiming a few American cities, including a surprisingly effective combined assault on Philadelphia (Bombers + Battleships + Tanks and Infantry make a very potent force). I holed their entire army up in one city and bombed the crap out of it, using Gunships to pick off their army one by one. I was about to move on Washington; I had leveled their defenses and had Modern Armor (a better tank; and by better, I mean fuck tons better) waiting to kill off of their Riflemen. Then the Zulus screwed it all up.
The Zulus had burned San Francisco to the ground. For some reason, burning one city scared them more than my taking four others. Shaka convinced them to become his vassals. I was forced to sign a peace treaty (part of game mechanics; they were technically part of the Zulus now). Now I had a huge army, cities to take back, but the biggest army in the world that wasn’t mine opposing me. What was worse, EVERYONE loved the Zulus. Frederick liked me, but Tokugawa was indifferent. Roosevelt (the bad one) was understandably less than pleased. I knew Frederick wouldn’t betray the Zulus, and Tokugawa wouldn’t be enough to contain the Zulus on his continent. If I moved to attack the Zulus, the Americans would attack me; if I attacked America, the Zulus and Germans would protect him. I decided to let things stand and work towards a Diplomatic or Space victory. I had industrial capacity up the wazoo and built a stronger relationship with Tokugawa.
I built the UN and began building space ship parts. Shaka was actually elected Secretary General of the UN. This saddened me; he forced through a resolution on Environmentalism, which hit my economy hard. I decided to attack the Zulu politically by taking Tokugawa out of his coalition. Frederick threw off the Zulu yoke again; this time, surprisingly, he stayed free and immediately became my closest allies. All of sudden, the diplomatic balance shifted. I passed a whole bunch of free trade type agreements and a nuclear test ban agreement (the only thing I truly feared, since the Zulus had already built the Manhattan Project). The Zulus, oddly enough, still liked me; they were the only power who consistently liked me from the very beginning. My space ship was almost done; I won two more Secretary General elections, and noticed the only civ still on his side was America. I decided to hold a vote for Supreme Dictator of Earth (it’s a much lamer title in the game; I’ve since forgotten it). I won in a landslide, thus winning the game. If not for the squirrelly Zulu, I would have won much quicker; I would have unified the entire island with an ocean between me and the other three civilizations. The closest empire to me was Germany, only because they built a city on the southern half of my island (the coal island). Their city revolted and joined me. I could have constructed a huge navy and an even bigger army. I would attack the Zulu and win the game by default (if you hold 50% of the world’s population and 66% of the land, you automatically win). In the end, I won a great victory for Rome, but I learned a valuable lesson: the Zulu are weasels and not to be trusted.