Book 39: Six nations, all of us at "Hard" level, on a standard-size map with 50% land.

Moskva, at about latitude 40 degrees north, is completely landlocked (which can be an advantage because early ships won't find you) but has five coast tiles (which cannot be improved by harbour or offshore platform but would benefit from The Lighthouse - and you can't create any ships very early). Reasonable mixture of hills, forests, plains, and grassland, and it reaches size [6] by 2800 BC, shortly after we research our phalanxes (18/12/1.5, the standard for first miltary units). Two militia were created very early (3800 and 3600) and went off exploring.

For those of you who want the fine detail to compare with other games and other difficulty levels, here's some of the early stuff, roughly just as I wrote it:

3800 Wheel and 1st Militia. 3600 Warrrior Code and 2nd militia. 3350 Bronze Working and popn [5]. 3300 Town Guard. 3100 Horseback Riding. 2950 researched Phalanx 18/12/1.5, cost 25. 2800 popn [6], switch to 0+8+7. 2700 Masonry and Barracks (3 material overflow); tax from 0 up to 20%: cash 3+0, research 6.2500 1st Phalanx; 6+4+10, start Settlers. 2350 Alphabet. 2100 popn [7], 0+7+(2+6); militia crosses blue border out west.
2000 Chinese talk: friends; Mapmaking; focus on Gunpowder; Moskva [5] plus settlers; 4+4+(2+6); stay in China to check them out as much as poss before being sent home (because they seem to be on a peninsula and militia is unlikely to get past them). 1700 Moskva 2nd Phalanx. 1500 Ceremonial Burial. 1400 Moskva [6]: 5+4+(2+8).
1350 BC 2nd city Sankt-Peterburg on eastern-sea coast hill south of Moskva with fish and wine. 1100 Moskva [4] plus settlers: 3+3+(1+5). 1000 Mysticism. 925 Moskva [5]: 4+4+(2+6); talk to Chinese, get Writing for Masonry. 850 3rd Phalanx. 650 Pottery
600 Moscow [6]: 5+4+(2+8); eastern militia finds Phoenicians: friends; get Monarchy for Bronze Working. 350 Moskva Temple. 525 St-P Longboats. 500 Writing. 450 Babylonians visit St-P.
375 BC 3rd city Kiev with game and fish. 350 Moskva [7]: 7+4+(2+10); Phoen talk, we get Astronomy for Writing. 225 Invention. 175 Babylonian useless suicide at St-P. Moskva [8]: 0+11+(28). 75 Moskva City Walls.
0 AD (no such year really) Moskva 4th Phalanx. 40 AD 5th Phalanx, Kiev Town Hall. 60 Iron Working; St-P [3]: 2+1+0; talk to Phoen and get Currency for Iron Working; Babylonians attack again. 180 again; St-P's original Phalanx (from Moskva) is now Elite and has a hardened companion. 200 Moskva [6] plus settler: 3+6+(2+7). 220 Mosk [7]: 4+6+(2+9. 240 Chinese talk: we get Monotheism for Iron Working and Code of Laws for Invention. 280 Babylonians reportedly build the Temple of Zeus. 300 Medicine
360 meet Germans, get Theology for Medicine.
400 meet Romans: friends. 420 Monotheism; tax up to 40%: cash 20+0, research 8. 400 Mosk [8]: 5+6+(5+8) but switch to 1 profit +10 + (4+7). 500 Mosk Library: 5+6+(5+12). 560 St-P [4]: 3+1+0. 580 St-P Town Hall at last: 0+4+(6-2=2+2). 620 Romans talk, we get Mathematics for Monotheism.
640 4th city, Minsk, with fish. 660 Gunpowder. 680 Mosk [6] plus settlers: 5 food + 4 trade goods +(4+9). 700 Mosk [7]: 6+4+(5+10); Kiev [3]: 2+3+(3-1=1+1). 720 Kiev City Walls; Phoenicians talk, we get Chivalry for Gunpowder. 760 Currency; St-P now has two elite Phalanxes, thanks to more damages inflicted from the south. 780 tax 20%: cash 33-2, research 20. 820 Chivalry. 860 Mosk [8]: 1 profit +10 trade goods +(2+13); tax (so as to speed the important military research) down to 0%: cash 23+2, research 22.
880 5th city, Odesa, on coastal hill, about midway between Kiev and Minsk, sharing one tile with Minsk but butting neatly up to the radii of Moskva and Kiev, with lots of hill and forest but nicely placed. 920 researched new Musketeers 48/32/1.5, cost 50, the standard slow-but-solid unit for the pre-Science era. Tax up to 60% (after all these new buildings!): cash 29+0, research 9.
960, as illustrated above, longboats (that went west along south China) and militia (that went east nearly five millennia ago and met our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th friends) come close enough to join two ends of the map of the known world. 1020 1st Musketeer heads south. 1080 Kiev Barracks. 1080 St-P Walls (what a relief!) 1100 Mathematics. 1200 Kiev [4]:0+6+(4-1=2+1). 1280 Theology. 1340 St-P Barracks. 1480 tax 80%: cash 0+1, research 5. 1540 Romans talk, we get Construction for Chivalry; St-P 2nd longboats. 1570 Kiev [5] and temple; Minsk [3]. 1670 Metallurgy (an advance no friends have). 1690 Odesa [3] and Town Hall:1+2+(4-1=2+1). 1754 Kiev [6]; stop building musketeers for a while, to improve the income stream. 1762 Minsk Town Hall: 2+1+(4-1=2+1). 1764 Minsk [4]: 2+2+(6-2=3+1). 1772 Moskva Marketplace: 4+6+(15+3) allowing tax to drop to 60%: cash 55+1, research 16. 1774 St-P [5]. 1780 Babylonians have dragoons: 48/16/2.5, cost 60. 1782 Ballistics, another one our friends will want sooner or later. Here they come!
Phoenicians talk, we get Science for Ballistics;
Germans talk, we get Tactics for Ballistics;
Romans talk, we get Bridge Building for Metallurgy and Engineering for Ballistics;
Chinese talk, we get University for Ballistics and Seafaring for Metallurgy.
What are friends for? Now with six more half-researched advances, and the occasional marketplace and soon some courthouses allowing more trading income to be diverted to research, our tech graph may turn encouragingly upwards; it's languished for too long while we fought off the Babylonians.

Picture shows that we are distinctly behind our friends. Part of the deficit, however, is seven advances that we can do without, probably for ever: Literature, Navigation, Philosophy, Poetry, Polytheism, Republic, and Trade. A glance at the table shows that only one friend has Tactics, a very significant advance militarily; if we research that soon, we may have a bargaining point with the other three friends. (Hindsight reveals that it got us something from each of the three: Explosives, Railroad, and Steam Engine between 1822 and 1859.)

Continuing the summary:

2000 BC find and befriend Chinese just as our first new settlers unit appears and we discover Map Making and focus on Gunpowder.

1350 BC sees our first new city, Sankt-Peterburg, on an eastern coastal hill south of Moskva. OK, what was that settler doing for 650 years? - mostly building a road link for security then incubating the city. In 525 St-P builds the first Longboats. City 3 is Kiev, 375 BC, north-west on the coast of the western sea, reached by a portage that links the eastern sea with the western sea. Our next seven cities (the last of them appearing in 1986) will be north of Kiev, because the south has lots of mountain, jungle, and desert and gets dangerous first.

In 175 BC Babylonians decide to pick on us, having first visited from the south in 450. The other four started their relationships with us on a friendly footing: Chinese nearby in the north-west in 2000 BC, Phoenicians south of the Germans and far to the east-south-east of us along a narrow land bridge in 600 BC, Germans across the eastern sea close to the Chinese in 360 AD, Romans south-east of the south-east sea in 400 AD. Our phalanxes coped with Babylonians for quite a while, helped by the fact that our southern city was on a hill (with mostly mountains to the south), so a barracks-built phalanx that had not moved in the previous turn had a defensive strength of 12 basic plus 12 for the hill plus 24 for the walls (built in 1080 AD) plus 6 for the hardening plus 6 for the fortification: total 60, enough to deal with any attacker of similar vintage and even a single "green" dragoon (48/16/2.5 - revealed by the Babylonians in 1780 AD), and after repulsion of a few attacks the experience will rise to veteran then elite, adding another 3 for each step, plenty for the first enemies but not quite enough for the Gunpowder generation if they come hardened.

By 820 AD we had developed Gunpowder all by ourselves and Chivalry and Monotheism with help from friends, so our first Musketeer (48/32/1.5) headed south in 1020. Defensive strength of 32 is plenty for city defenders against similar attackers.

Minor geographical milestone in 960: our militia that had travelled south then east (taking part in all three of the meetings with other primitive units that led to our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th friendships) met our longboats that had gone west, joining up the map. See picture above from the turn before.

Key techs Science in 1808, Mass Production in 1960. Colossus in 1850, Oracle in 1894, and nearly every other Wonder since, including the all-revealing MIR in 2183, which reassuringly showed us that the Chinese were a little behind in technology though with twice the military strength. Only the Babylonians have built any other Wonder, the Temple of Zeus, and we captured it in 2028, which gave us updates on enemies every time we captured one of their cities.

By 1992 our growing preponderance over the Babylonians had progressed far enough for us to build our first city south of Sankt-Peterburg, on the coast of the south-east sea.

We were still working on the Babylonians when the Chinese (our first friends) went on the rampage. Fortunately they started on the Phoenicians (population and territory halved about 1700 AD but recovered a lot in the 1890s only to lose a lot in the 1990s), declaring war on us as late as 2023 (and more successfully on the Germans at about the same time and very successfully on the Romans later). They revealed a nasty cruiser (368/184/4.5). Next year they destroyed our westernmost city, size 3, and its settler, but not before the settler had linked to their road network. Very soon, their transport found Kiev and their cruisers killed a man or two there, but took a lot of damage (about 70%, too much to do more damage to us) and limped off westward to find a port for recovery.

Meanwhile, four of our relatively new Infantry (128/96/1.5, researched in 1957) were deep into Babylonian territory (having politely avoided fisticuffs with the weaker enemy units they met), finding cities with minimal defence. Babylonians succumbed by 2039, and their three cities, very near Antarctica and all landlocked, were eventually joined by new cities in that area linking with our base.

Then it was hard slog resisting Chinese incursions, helped by the last of the Overweight Riflemen (50/100/1.5) developed in 1898, the Overweight Infantry (52/208/1.5) developed in 2028 in response to the Chinese aggression, and the answer to the Cruiser, our Destroyer (340/272/4.5, immune to a "green" cruiser if built with a Dockyard, as all of ours were). Between 2098 (when the Germans had been virtually extinguished) and 2141 we captured three Chinese cities, ultimately letting them destroy them because our supply lines were fragile. Arms Race continued, as we made more discoveries, helped by the remaining friends, but it got easier after we studied the implications of being Fanatic and learned what situations to avoid while keeping the Chinese mostly at bay and quickly dealing with the few raiders who got close to our cities.

Meanwhile, the Chinese have exterminated the Romans (in 2167) and Phoenicians and nearly finished off the Germans, who had miraculously held onto one city, possibly because the Chinese hadn't found it. The Chinese still hadn't seen our capital or our aircraft-building city or our two north-western sea ports, protected by land and sea, or our Babylonian area cities, or our Cobalt or Mercury deposits.

Big breakthrough in 2226: after a carefully-organised guerilla campaign sneaking troops along rough country north of where our destroyed city had been (while Chinese continued to stream east along the road link in the south, harried eventually by our MiG-29s), we got onto the Chinese railway system with enough troops to capture two Chinese cities that year, not expecting to hold them, being pleased to see that we got the only two advances that the Chinese had that we didn't have. Amazingly we held the cities with just one unit loss and next year captured Beijing and Shanghai. Our aircraft have not yet reached the new war zone, but a military base should be finished in a year or two letting them flood through to help. Links through which the Chinese counter-attack may come are all just roads, so it won't be too frightening. Now that we have reached that end of our north-west continent, with just corner-to-corner links westward, we won't need to build the canal that we were planning for linking our main area with the north-west sea.

The Phoenicians have only just been finished off, with the Chinese move into Acre, which has Uranium, quite close to Sankt Peterburg. When we capture that, we will have all three rare minerals and can start building a Colony Ship. The Chinese are no further ahead in relevant advances than we are, and they have absolutely none of the future technology that has allowed us to build invincible units. It shouldn't take long. They have another Uranium city and Mercury but the other Cobalt is just west of Ur and they haven't found it and won't be likely to build to exploit it if they do.

Captured ten more cities by 2231, mostly ex-German and mostly unguarded, with 16 polluted tiles among them. Chinese have about 32 cities now, population 284, while we have 34, population 368. Graph shows that their military power, now significantly below ours, started declining about the time we produced our second-last upgrade to defensive technology: 2nd-generation marines 294/294/2.0 with First Strike and Power of Will.

Our latest marines, researched with Material Technology 5 in 2202, the year before our first air strike, are Fanatics, 472/354/1.5 with First Strike and Power of Will, costing 156 each, which allows four every five turns at our Military Academy in Kiev. Babylon built some too, at a slightly slower rate, but stopped recently when it seemed that there was little point in producing hardened marines so close to likely victory.

In 2234 we walk into an unguarded Berlin, the last Chinese city in that north-western peninsula, and we stop building Missile Launchers because we have 44 of them and we have 17 strong aircraft mostly helping the south-western push and the south-eastern push and we have some powerful ships appearing in the next few turns.

HQ and the eastern front:


Beijing to Berlin, and the western front, with Bremen holding the last Germans: