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Part 87: The Hundred Days

Sweden's bold march across Eastern Europe continues as the great powers around the world adapt to the Great Famine by focusing on biological enhancements for their troops.

October 10, 2017

  1. Intro

    Hello from sunny England, and welcome back for part 87 of the Civ Battle Royale! It’s Lacsirax Ariscal here, power ranker, hasbeen cartographer, and third-time narrator of the Battle Royale. The first part I narrated was called Triple-Kill, and featured the elimination of the Sioux, Poland AND Germany. Let’s see how this part matches up! Last part saw Australia banished from the Americas, Vietnam and Sibir continue to send troops into deadly mountain passes, and of course, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden bringing hellfire and fury down on poor Finland. Here’s a shitpost courtesy of Knuckles_Enchilada, which I completely understand thanks to my encylopaedic knowledge of anime. Yep.

  2. Map

    DerErlenkonig brings the beautiful Tile-Accurate Map, showing the true scale of Finland’s plummet from glory, Urho’s once expansive empire now no more than a Sweden-Sibir sandwich and a few of his characteristic exclaves. Check out Spherical_Melon’s city map too while you’re at it - much thanks to him for carrying on the mantle! And if you want a different sort of map, I still update a big old Google Map with the locations of all the cities in the world, with pseudohistorical information for every single one, largely by the wonderful wthrudoin. I’ll link it down in the comments.

  3. PR Slide

    If you missed the Power Rankings this week, you missed a big one, as the Boers fell from #1 for the first time in fourteen parts. It’s the Inuit who grace the top spot this week, thanks to their efficient counter-invasion of Australia’s American territories. To hold onto it they’ll have to maintain that energy and get stuck into another easy war, but their options are plentiful: the Blackfoot, the Buccaneers, Korea, Mongolia and even Iceland are worthwhile targets. Let’s see if any of that transpires as we enter Part 87!

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    Now here’s an unexpected sight! No, I haven’t scribbled all over this image, that complete mess of green is actually an account of every single Declaration of Friendship made thus far. While functionally these don’t mean a lot, they can be an indication of where certain nations’ loyalties lie, and perhaps more of a portent of wars to come than those useless Babylonians’ reports. Now, I’m not about to untangle this spider’s web of information, but I’m sure somebody on the sub will in good time. I’ll only note a few obvious connections: an unlikely Aussie-Vietnamese alliance, an agreement between the Inuit and the Blackfoot, and a somewhat hype-deflating treaty between the Boers and, well, pretty much everyone. I’ll leave further analysis to the more eagle-eyed.

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    While we’re at it, let’s examine some research agreements. Most of the fully advanced nations have understandably abstained from these frivolities, but the Boers are being incredibly generous, offering their hyper-advanced science to puppet states and continental powers alike. Sibir and Iceland are wisely investing heavily in science, while beleaguered Finland decides their money is better spent on producing units, however outdated. For the time being, I can’t say I disagree.

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    Our first real shot of the show! Ingolfur’s Iceland are apparently already hankering to continue their conflict with Finland, with new recruit Ur-ziguruma presumably taking the hint from the five planes stationed in Constantinople. It’s safe to say Ingolfur’s left it a bit late; Sweden’s shocking takedown of Finland doesn’t show much sign of slowing, with recently taken Nicaea and Adrianople to the north already firmly behind the front lines. In the more peaceful side of the Swedish Balkans, a Sibirian musician is embarking on a successful concert tour. I wonder what music in the hyper-futuristic Cylinder sounds like?

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    It’s clear that Sweden still haven’t run out of steam; the amount of troops in this shot alone are more than enough to rip through the Finnish cities we can see here. Bear in mind Kuopio was conquered just this turn, and already it’s surrounded by Swedish Organic Infantry. We haven’t seen a single-handed takedown of a not-inconsiderable power since Korea’s invasion of Yakutia. Jyvaskyla, on the Kola Peninsula, is the last city that Finland founded still under their control.

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    Here’s New Finland then: a small strip of formerly Soviet land separating Sweden from Sibir. I wouldn’t expect this buffer zone to last. So what will Sibir make of their new western border? While they immediately seem to have less of a standing army in the area, it should be noted that what they do have is more advanced – those units with the DNA symbol are the upgraded version of the three dot unit that makes up most of Sweden’s army. And the majority of their ex-Hun cities here have been annexed, meaning we could theoretically be seeing a new army spring up soon.

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    Hardcore Finn fans should only be so sad. It’s very unlikely they’ll be spirited from the whole Cylinder, what with their multitude of exclaves. The most protected of these is, ironically, on Sweden’s doorstep, but the sheer amount of Vietnamese troops on the outskirts of Tigranocerta means Gustavus isn’t getting close. Well, it wouldn’t be the Battle Royale without peacekeepers!

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    Is Britanny the commerce capital of the world? York has more customs houses than I’d know what to do with. From someone who lives there, it’s like the exact opposite of real life Yorkshire. Putting aside Iceland’s comfy finances, they’re still looking pretty hot, with a well annexed European core and a nice little army where Sweden’s isn’t. It’s always risky to throw everything and the kitchen sink in one direction when one of the world’s historical titans is staring you down from the other.

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    Here’s the Boers’ Blemish, the last remaining vestiges of a once extensive Buccaneer colony, and the site of some of the most horrific nuclear devastation this Cylinder has ever seen. Of course, the days of nuclear warfare appear to be over, thanks in no small part to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts just this week. It wouldn’t take an ICBM for this little corner of the pirating world to be wiped off the map, however; the small force outside Istakhr is more than enough to finish off the couple of tanks hanging around Bamako. That small force is illustrative of a major concern of mine for the Boers; Istakhr is one of the very few northern cities that has been annexed, and the fact it commands a city guard where the others don’t is very telling.

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    Meanwhile, drifting a few thousand miles from the more militarized areas of the Boer Ryk, a French galleass has been banished to a small patch of coast, unable to sail in the deep ocean, and presumably unable to sail through Boer naval waters. Why is there a small strip of coastline on the map, you ask? Well, that little strip of coastline is roughly located around the real world island of… St. Helena. That’s right – art imitates life. Napoleon is exiled to St. Helena once again, this time probably for eternity.

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    Ah, the Sibir-Vietnam War. At this point, it’s like an old friend. An old, dependable friend. An old, dependable friend who’s starting to get a bit boring. I’ve long considered Vietnam a favourite to win, but my faith in them has dropped significantly in the past few parts, as they seem unable to win a war whose odds are infinitely in their favour. At least they control Ghazni for now; unlike the other two contested cities to the northeast, a secured Ghazni would prove a very worrying springboard into Vietnam’s westernmost territories. Vietnam’s scientific lag is certainly impeding their progress; Sibir has BioTroopers, those units with the DNA symbol I mentioned earlier, while Vietnam trails with Organic Infantry.

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    Sibir also retain Nishapur; ordinarily I’d say Vietnam should take it back this turn, but the way this war has been going for them, I’m not sure I can commit to that statement. They do, however, have more than enough troops to ensure that Nishapur will be their only loss on this front for the foreseeable future.

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    A useful open borders with erstwhile rival Finland has let Kuchum Khan funnel a decent contingency of BioTroopers into the area around Bamda, but again, capturing Nagchukha would be an incredible feat as the table currently stands. The relatively warm relations between Sibir and Finland means Tyumen might well be one of Finland’s last cities in a few turns.

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    Our first shot this part of the Sibirian homelands shows that things are, unfortunately for Sibir, largely the same story as the parts before. It appears that even their annexed cities are failing to pump out units at a decent enough rate to do anything except replenish their front lines. Fortunately, Mongolia has always been reticent to declare war on their scary neighbour, and Finland’s hardly a problem anymore. It’s an uneasy safety, but it’s something.

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    One of the few places left on the Cylinder where carpets remain the norm, the Inuit territories. The current #1s are fielding easily the most impressive land army outside of the pokey Australian continent, but that’s not to say their neighbours the Blackfoot are throwing in the towel – indeed, their own carpet is overflowing into Inuit territory! Nevertheless, a war here would be nasty, brutish and short. It’s very difficult to see a way out for America’s luckiest nation.

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    Vietnam’s carpet isn’t looking so bad, for what it’s worth – compared to adversary Sibir, the Trung Sisters have a veritable horde. Meanwhile the wilfully atheistic enclave Tibet faces yet another ineffectual declaration of war, this time from fellow city-state Hawaii. If you cast your minds back to the first slide, you’ll remember the only nation to have declared friendship with Tibet was their eternal protector Vietnam, and that’s only as a result of their pre-game unique buff. It may only be a matter of time that the Trungs decide their detested vassal is more trouble than it’s worth.

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    Apparently realising that a Finnish invasion is a lost cause, Ingolfur reshuffles his plans and looks to his tasty Swedish neighbour. Iceland’s most memorable moment from the CBR thus far was their devastating invasion of Ireland barely a turn after Ireland had cleared England from their sovereign isles. It’s not too farfetched to imagine a similar strategy being employed again.

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    Pedro II shares his continent with just one other civilization now, the enduring Buccaneers. While Morgan no longer controls any cities that Pedro founded, it’s obvious that the Brazilian emperor has Boliviarian ambitions for his nation. And for the first time in the game, it actually looks possible; the once-proud Buccaneer navy is looking incredibly thin, and securing the exposed northern coastline might not be as tricky a prospect as it has been in the past. In Panamarrr, something funky is going down in the rum distilleries of old – it almost looks like they’re being converted into circuses.

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    Another turn, another city for Gustavus’ northern lions. This time it’s Kharkov, and having reached the Sibirian border at last, there’s virtually no way for Urho to even attempt to reconquer the city. Sweden have wrangled open borders with Sibir, too; it appears they’re looking to get their new neighbours on their good side, rather than continue their march east.

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    There are no border changes down the Ukraine way, though Leningrad is Sweden’s next target. Antioch, down in Crimea, is a much more difficult proposition, what with there only being one access point from land. Without a Black Sea navy, Gustavus might find this one eludes him a little longer than the others. Or maybe not – it would probably only take one bombing raid, after all.

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    Vietnam again pushes on Carrolltown, though they’ll need more than one melee unit to take the Caspian stronghold. Another weakness of theirs is their terrible air force; in this shot there are zero Vietnamese planes, and five in just one Armenian city! There are more planes toward the eastern fronts, but if Vietnam seriously wanted to commit to this avenue – the only real access point that isn’t completely smothered in mountains – they should bring the airpower south.

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    But never mind mountains, as an equally impassable obstacle is suddenly materialising. Australia, whose continent has long been full to the brim with their troops, has started to send their spare soldiers to the area around Bamda, already limiting Vietnam’s movements. If these two nations can’t settle their differences amicably, it looks like a ceasefire might be coming in the form of Ozzie buffer zones.

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    I left my contact lenses on a train last week (and, incidentally, my laptop), so you’ll forgive me for not being able to make heads nor tails of this slide. The Boers are top in score, of course, and the Inuit are second – but who’s that in third? Is that Vietnam or Australia? And where are Sibir? Well, one thing’s for sure – Babylon’s last. Our power is more subtle, of course.

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    If Korea supporters weren’t embarrassed already, they should be now – Mongolia’s army has overflowed into Korea’s territory, and not even slightly, with troops all the way down to the Vietnamese border. Sejong’s newfound aversion to building a land army is an absolute mystery, but while they inexorably slip through the rankings, it’s a real boon for Vietnam. For a long time Korea was their most existential threat, having the closest land borders to their core and being the only nation to take a significant amount of cities from them. But the Trungs can sleep easy knowing their homelands are currently very safe indeed. Now to get out of that disastrous Sibirian War and snap up these juicy cities while they still can.

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    A rare look at Jandamarra’s new home. Kimberley’s capital relocated to Wulungarra from Makassar in the hiatus. On the face of it, this Antarctic archipelago looks unthreatened – but a war with Australia would likely see the Great Wobbegong come down on this like… well… a wobbegong. But for now, Parkes is conquering these cities the friendlier way – trade monopolies.

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    We’d doubted Sejong for too long, and Sejong reacted. Seeing the influx of Australian peacekeepers, Korea has set their sights on the Finnish exclave of Turfan before the city is completely protected. Mongolia really missed out on a springboard for a surprise attack on Korea, but this is even more terrible news for Kekkonen, who needs all the exclaves he can cling onto. Australia may yet come to their aid, though; their troops really have been trained in the Kaneohe Academy for Non-Violent Intervention.

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    COULD SRI LANKA TAKE DOWN VIETNAM??? Er, probably not. Even less likely, Tibet, on whom Sri Lanka have just joined the coalition. Note the Australian troops cropping up here too, though there’s less free space for them to fill in Sri Lanka. Australia’s crippling flaw up to this point has been an inability to expand onto the Asian continent; could they take up the Finnish mantle and use these newfound carpets to their advantage? In the sidebar, the World’s Fair is inevitably passed. With these empires’ production values, don’t expect to wait too long to find out where it’s held.

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    Jyvaskyla falls, and with it, the Finnish dream. Now every single city they hold was originally founded by their enemies. But maybe that’s what Finland was always about? Anyway, you hardly need me to point out the fate of Stalingrad.

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    No change again on the southern battlefields, though it’s increasingly clear Sweden are ignoring the Finnish airbase of Antioch, focussing on the more accessible Leningrad, which AI madness notwithstanding, will fall next turn. The real question is: where is that force outside Zibo going? Surely Sweden isn’t going to chase Finland down exclave by exclave?

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    Having brought Gyumri and Artashat back online, Vietnam currently look quite cosy in the Middle East. With such a mess of borders, even if some of them are with such insignificant nations as Armenia and, well, Finland, it helps to have a nice defence force down here just in case. As one of the very few nations preaching a different faith to Vietnam, could Armenia be a target in the near future? Vietnam is possibly the only nation on the map currently that could swallow up Tiridates’ nation in one.

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    A couple of little factbook slides for you now. First we see falling stars Korea, whose outstanding science far outstrips their culture, being only 11th in terms of social policies enacted. Having only the eighth largest military puts them behind neighbours Australia and Vietnam, but presumably ahead of Mongolia; however, as we’ve seen, most of that army is concentrated in the sea. Korea’s people clearly aren’t happy with their ailing leader, dubbing him Sejong the Terrible.

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    Another, more justifiably “Terrible” leader, Parakramabahu leads a blisteringly mediocre Sri Lanka. It’s a little in-joke among the Power Rankers that despite all our disagreements on the powerful and indeed less powerful nations, we always seem to rank Sri Lanka in the exact same spot. That’s undoubtedly helped by the sheer amount of 14s and 15s you can see in this slide.

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    Parkes’ peacekeepers have spread even further afield, now clogging up the mountain passes to Nishapur. This one could actually work in Vietnam’s favour, as that spot was often taken by a rogue Sibirian unit taking out Vietnam’s melee units before it could use them. Yet again I find myself confounded that Vietnam could possibly mess up the recapture of this city next turn; and yet I am sure that I will be confounded next turn, and the turn after.

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    Bamda, on the other hand, is now almost certainly a lost cause. Parkes is clearly making a very early play for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. The Trungs would do well to cut their losses and focus on defending the hills outside Nagchukha and Nyingchi, at least until the Australian unit spam is so widespread that war becomes impossible. Assuming it’s Kuchum who’s refusing to sign a peace treaty, that would leave them free to perform more fulfilling tasks, like attacking Korea, sweeping up Sri Lanka and Armenia, or…

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    DEFENDING AGAINST THE TERRIFYING BOER RYK. Oh yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. Kruger has declared war on the Trung Sisters, in a war that will surely shake the Cylinder to its core. Already Basra and Jericho are taking damage as the Vietnamese find themselves caught completely off-guard by the invasion. They do have an army hiding in Persia, and the small contingency hiding in Anatolia from a few slides back. And the Boers have gone for a surprise attack rather than preparing a full army, so they do currently have a fair few weak spots in the borderlands. Still, this is a war that will truly test the Trung Sisters’ mettle. For a fair few parts it’s been argued that Vietnam have become one of the Cylinder’s most unlikely superpowers. It’s time for them to prove it.

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    The raw stats are certainly in Kruger’s favour, ranking first in every category that counts except, crucially, army size – that mantle is held by Australia.

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    Hell, you wanna know more about the Boers? How about the fact they have the greatest faith output, greatest tourism output AND the most wonders? Oh yeah, and you thought they were just a brutish military power.

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    Vietnam are hardly shabby, with a military force at about 2/3 the size of the Boers, though defending a smaller area. They also have a very good industry and a remarkable treasury, so it shouldn’t take them too long to get more soldiers up and running. As ever, it’s their tech that’s lacking, languishing on a pitiful 95.

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    They’re also not really prioritising tourism. Maybe, just maybe, that’s not such a bad thing.

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    Well, it wouldn’t be a major war without a quick look at the fronts. Vietnam has never commanded a navy in the Arabian Sea, but the Boers’ is almost entirely made up of carriers, so it’s not a huge disadvantage. With that having been said, it’s tricky to see them holding either Basra or Najran for much longer, with melee units already bearing down on the former and bombing raids devastating the latter.

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    That said, Vietnam hasn’t been completely slacking in Western Asia, and their Iranian army – presumably originally intended for Sibir – is close enough to build a significant front line before the Boers can advance uncontested too far. As was shown before, the Boers haven’t brought their second line to battle yet, so despite the technological disparity the sheer numbers are currently in Vietnam’s favour, however brief that window might be.

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    Both armies have open borders with Finland, and one of the first great clashes of this war may well happen outside Hebron. It’s this area where Vietnam have the most obvious upper hand, with the forces outside Tigranocerta and Varna looking somewhat evenly matched and, dare I say it, Vietnam’s forces near Gyumri and Artashat slightly outclassing the Boers’ current reserves in Jerusalem. That said, there’s backup coming from Dvin that means any conflict over the Boers’ newest conquests will be very bloody indeed.

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    That war is certainly the only one I want to watch now, but we mustn’t ignore the rest of the Cylinder. A once great power is still being torn apart, after all. Stalingrad, Finland’s last northern settlement, will fall next turn. Sweden’s army appears to have been relatively unscathed in this conflict; it would be very interesting to see how much of a punch they could throw against Sibir, though with Sibir’s Vietnamese woes presumably being relieved for obvious reasons, now might not be the best time after all.

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    Speaking of which, that war still hasn’t ended, and the Trung Sisters are presumably more than a little annoyed that their pointless conflict had actually started to turn in their favour. Carrolltown looks a little more vulnerable, and Nishapur has actually flipped, though now rests once again in Kuchum Khan’s hands.

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    Nishapur flipping has scattered the Australian troops further afield into the old Timurid lands. Vietnam are in a very precarious position here; the troops sitting in Central Asia would be far better used elsewhere, but they can’t simply abandon the front and lose more of their crucial mountain cities. A peace deal is obviously the most favourable option, but if I were Kuchum Khan, I’d be asking for an incredibly steep price.

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    In East Asia, to a war I’d honestly forgotten had broken out this part, and it’s looking like Korea will take Turfan after all. It’s reassuring to see they do have some land forces, and while they’ll certainly conquer the feeble Finnish colony, they’d still struggle against Mongolia, a nation who’d once have been a steamroll. We haven’t seen much of Inuit Alaska and Kamchatka since the hiatus, but if the army there is anything like the army in the Inuit homelands, Sejong ought to worry about that threat, too. At least a Vietnamese invasion is off the cards, barring a moment of insanity.

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    If official occupation doesn’t work out, you can always try Putin-style, right? Australia and Brazil have immediately signed open borders following their recently settled war, and Australian forces decorate Brazilian Chile. As bad as this might initially seem, a declaration of war would see Australia’s forces immediately booted out to the nearest available land; in essence, all they’re doing is serving as a neutral bodyguard against any would-be invaders. Only Concepcion remains puppeted down here; Brazil have done a sterling job of annexing their occupied territories.

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    The recent declaration of war against Vietnam was apparently all it took for the northern Boers to raise arms, and while they hardly have a carpet, Kruger’s forces once again look like the threat they’ve long been considered to be. That said, they’re still some turns from the front, certainly further than Vietnam’s army. I can’t help but think Kruger declared war just a few turns too early. After all, this is an important war; if it is a resounding success, Kruger might finally carve out the Eurasian holding that the Boers have been desperately trying and failing to hold ever since (mostly) uniting Africa. If the war backfires, they could stand to lose what little Middle Eastern territory they have, and find themselves increasingly boxed in. A few more turns of preparation would surely have decreased the odds of the latter situation greatly – but I suppose nationalist fervour never waits.

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    Armenia, aware that their chances of a domination victory are, well, slim, are focussing on what really matters: art, literature and music. Well, and infantry. But that’s just for defence, okay?

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    Brazil, in a valued moment of peace, turns their sights to the World’s Fair, eager to host it in their glorious capital of Rio de Janeiro. For the most part though they’re wisely focussing on scientists, eager to make up the technology gap between them and their northern, colder neighbours, balancing the teams for the inevitable.

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    The densest city in the world, megapolis Kaneohe is still growing! And they’re also producing science like nobody’s business. There are worse places to live than peaceful Hawaii, certainly – though I imagine the queues for cash machines are very long.

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    Iceland too are focussing on their science game, wisely building the National College in their capital. You can’t quite walk to Ireland on carriers alone, but there’s only a one tile gap.

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    Eminent mathematician Pythagoras takes time out of trigonometry to count the world’s spare change. As seen earlier, Kruger and the Trungs lead the pack, but it’s interesting to see Kuchum so high up. What’s he spending that treasury on, exactly? Well, I guess nothing.

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    A brutalised Finland don’t actually fall that much further behind than their usurpers Sweden. Elsewhere, this list is hardly a crushing surprise.

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    Babylonians, living in the utopian society that we do, have no need for nor even notion of material wealth – and apparently neither do the Yakutians. Either that, or they’re dirt poor. Take your pick.

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    The World’s Fair is held in the punishingly cold city of Ivvavik, presumably to the ire of the Boers, who stayed home in their blisteringly sunny private continent. It was a safe investment for a currently peaceful Inuit, as it was for third place Iceland – but Vietnam surely should have had greater priorities. Genghis Khan and Crowfoot (peeking up from the bottom) both contributed more than Kruger, who was presumably too busy planning his super-secret strategies.

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    Just a moment ago, the rankers were discussing where the nicest place to live in the Cylinder might be. Madagascar was suggested, as was San Antonio (a Texan-cum-Inuit city situated at IRL St. Louis). I still think it’s Iceland, an island that has never been invaded, always been populous and has remained at the centre of a flourishing empire that arguably provides the only peaceful trade route between Europe and the Americas. Plus they have a massive opera house. It’s same old, same old up here, with Iceland continuing to look like the dark horses they’ve long been. There’s only one non-Icelandic unit in this shot, a sole Swedish carrier scouting the very north of the Greenland Sea.

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    Stalingrad has fallen, leaving only a useless contingent of Finnish cybersubs left patrolling the White Sea. The war here is well and truly over. Gustavus should be very proud; this has been almost too easy.

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    Down south the success story continues; Ufa has fallen out of nowhere, and Antioch looks very prone to following it. With Antioch being Finland’s new capital, we can infer that Leningrad has fallen too. By my counts, that leaves Finland with just the four cities we see here, and four exclaves in the form of Hebron (Syria), Batticaloa (UAE), Hrazdan (Turkmenistan) and Tyumen (that city you keep seeing in the Vietnam-Sibir shots). As for Turfan… well, those of you who haven’t lost their contact lenses might notice another change in the minimap. It’s been a very quick, very sharp fall for a nation I once ranked #1.

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    Back to what we’ve all been waiting for, and we can see that Vietnam have indeed swooped in to defend Arabia, with Jericho standing tall. Interestingly, in an inversion of usual proceedings, the Boers are threatening the walls of Jericho with a lowly paratrooper, while nearby stands a Vietnamese XCOM. I haven’t seen Vietnam build any of these recently, and I’d certainly like to see them make some more. However, the Trung Sisters do have a significant disadvantage when it comes to airpower. The AI tend to use these exclusively on cities, meaning that the Boers will be able bring down Vietnamese cities incredibly quickly, while Vietnam will have to wear them down the old fashioned way. This means city flips are likely to be a lot less painful for Kruger.

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    First blood does go to the Boers as they seize Basra, which has all but been abandoned by the Trungs. But they do rally an impressive force around Najran, keeping the city relatively safe for the time being. Both sides have a lot to prove in this war, and for Vietnam it’s all about their defensive capabilities; many have argued that the only reason they’ve been able to defend their empire is thanks to the abundant mountains on their periphery. Here, in the completely exposed Arabia, they have to prove that they’ve the firepower to hold off the most fearsome foe on the Cylinder using more traditional methods.

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    They have to pull out of this war as fast as possible, though – even as, ironically, they are able to put the heat on Kuchum Khan, sending two melee units to the gates of Carrolltown. Sibir, for what it’s worth, are starting to look spent.

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    Indeed, Vietnam haven’t made a net loss of cities this turn, regaining Nishapur and holding it this time. Sibirian BioTroopers may march straight back into the settlement, but at least for now Vietnam is defending the mountains, not desperately hurtling themselves up them.

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    Bamda continues to be surrounded by Australian troops but there is now a way through for an enterprising young tank, should the Trungs give the order. This is all small fry now – none of this matters if Kruger breaks their Arab army – but for now they’re clinging on and fighting the battles they’ve been struggling to fight now for generations.

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    As I hinted earlier, Turfan has fallen to Sejong. Korea has been disappointing since the hiatus, so it’s reassuring to see that their first conflict has been short, sensible and successful. But they really should get working on that land army, because before long, there’ll be so many Australians littered throughout their kingdom that they won’t even have room for a hwacha.

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    Western Europe, a land that has long been ravaged by constant conflict, has been relatively peaceful the past few decades, thanks to the Nordic hegemony. And indeed, despite rumours that Iceland were to backstab Sweden at their finest hour, the two appear to be on good terms, enjoying open borders. The question is: where are Iceland’s forces going? It’s not like their army is overflowing – indeed, a lot of their homeland is fairly devoid of forces. But it’s obvious that Ingolfur is up to something, sending a decent sized force through the Swedish Balkans. It could be entirely random, but if you peek through last week’s album, you’ll see a Boer contingency making their way north to Vietnamese Arabia – in other words, strange troop movements like these often point to surprise wars.

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    Despite both of the iciest nations on the Cylinder fielding full naval carpets, it’s clear Ekeuhnick’s would tear the Icelandic carrier fleet to shreds in mere turns, such is the technological disparity. That said, Iceland and the Inuit have enjoyed millennia of peace, and their open borders suggest that that isn’t about to change. To the north near Kiyaksa lies a remnant of a nation long gone – perhaps Ethiopia?

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    On the antipodal side of the world, Kimberley engineers continue work on a modern armor, presumably one that can float. Who do you think will own this city next? Kruger? Parkes? Or will Jandamarra really use this capital to launch an unprecedented comeback, seeing him unite the entire globe under his objectively brilliant colours? Spoiler: no.

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    It’s been a fearsome part. Let’s remember everything that happened: Finland was systemically absorbed by Sweden (and sucker-punched by Korea for good measure). Tibet continued to draw ire from nations too not-Vietnamese to do anything about it. And speaking of the devils, the two greatest superpowers on the largest continent are going toe-to-toe in a match-up that looks – at least for now – surprisingly even. While we’re here, reminisce on some wars you might’ve forgotten were still going on; could Brazil still snipe Laredo from Texas, and will Australia have another go at the Buccaneers, the last of the American Alliance that they remain at war with?

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    We saw the treasury standings just a few slides ago, and things remain entirely the same. It’s interesting the Boers decided to invade Vietnam when nearby Iceland appear the far easier foe from stats alone.

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    The Yaks continue to starve, while the Babylonians continue to transcend.

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    The Boers, with a religion now under their belt, are by far producing the most faith, with Brazil the only superpower not making it a priority (although 3,600 is still an insane amount for what is ostensibly the 25th turn of the game!)

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    Would you believe it? Yakutia actually beat Hawaii at something as they scrape behind a pitifully low Sri Lanka. Tibet remain top of the rump states despite their apparent aversion to religion.

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    Wow, a juicy military graph for me to squint at and hardly be able to discern! Even I can see the obvious things on here though – while Australia’s military might is plateauing, the Boers and Inuit continue to chase each other to a new high, sure to surpass Australia soon. Vietnam remain worryingly stagnant, although it’s worth pointing out of the three nations they were the only one embroiled in a total war for the entire time.

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    We come finally to religion, of which we apparently will only ever have five. While none of the religions have spread outside their homelands yet (remember that Catholicism was adopted by Yerevan on the turn of its founding thanks to Armenia’s UA), we can see that the amount of followers has actually risen by quite a lot, and it shouldn’t be too long until we see these religions spread across the lands. The Boers’ Lutheranism has the most adherents, possibly thanks to the Boers having the largest population, while the perished Spartans’ Dodekatheism looks to follow the great Party Pope’s faith in terms of cultural relevance.

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    Finally the religion map, which shows us nothing we didn’t already know. And that’s all from me. Thanks for reading, thanks for continuing to follow this mad adventure, and thanks to anyone who’s been writing excellent prose for the sub. It’s been great to see the old classics melding with new authors. I’ve been Lacsirax Ariscal and I can genuinely say this has been my favourite part I’ve narrated yet. Seeya next time!