Civilization V: The Celtic Chronicle, part 2 (1150 B.C. to 520 A.D.)

T.J. Hafer


My friends! Gather 'round the fire and prepare to hear an epic tale that spans the entirety of human history! I'm in the middle of chronicling the progress of my Celtic civilization in Civ V's new Gods & Kings expansion, with a new entry every Wednesday. In Part 1 , I led my Ancient Era empire to glorious battle against the French, culminating in the long Siege of Paris. This week, my march through the Classical Era brings closure to the war and all the ramifications that come with it.

The siege is broken

As things stand, the second chapter of this chronicle is beginning on a dark note. I'm behind in tech, being only the seventh of 12 civilizations to reach the Classical Era. My economy is bankrupt, which in Civ V, stunts your scientific progress. I really need to research the wheel so I can start building roads and benefiting from the pantheon bonus I worked so hard for. I set my tech path toward Currency, which will help my economy and pick up wheels on the way.

1000 B.C.: France fields a massive army to break the siege of Paris.

900 B.C.: The siege is finally broken when French forces from the south overwhelm some of the Celts' most experienced Pictish warriors. The Celtic general calls for a retreat, after 1000 years of occupying the surrounding forests and raiding the city outskirts. "Parisian" becomes a Celtic word for something very stubborn that is not worth fighting for.

This conclusion to a war that has eaten up a majority of my resources for dozens of turns is just shy of disastrous. I've lost one of my most experienced elite units (although they did withstand three attacks--while wounded, mind you--before succumbing.) And I have very little to show for it other than a small amount of Faith my Picts accrued dealing with French counter-attacks. Sacking Paris would have provided large gold bonuses to pad my flagging economy. But instead of going home rich, I'm forced to just go home, or risk losing more of my valuable units.

Later that year, the French and the Celts sign a peace treaty. The French try to parlay the new peace into a war on Russia. The Celts, who were abandoned by the Russians shortly into the war with France, find the offer tempting... but ultimately decline.

At this point, I'm in no position to turn around and start down the warpath again. Moscow is even further from my borders than Paris, and I did so much damage to the French military and infrastructure during the siege that it would almost be like fighting another war by myself. No, I'll go home and lick my wounds. The time has come to set my sights on my original target: London.

Alliances shift

825 B.C.: England and Russia declare friendship.

Interesting. This means attacking England will probably strain my relations with Russia... but they're half a world away, and I've got the French (who aren't big fans of the Russians) between me and them. Oddly enough, my relations with the French are swiftly improving at this point.

That same year, a messenger from the Swedes arrives to express their leader's displeasure with the Celts' continued relations with Germany.

775 B.C.: England proposes a declaration of friendship with the Celts. Once again, the Celts make up something about how they're just super busy right now, and maybe they'll get back in touch later.

Later that year, Sweden asks for aid in a war against Germany. The Celts, still on good terms with the Germans, decline the offer.

650 B.C.: A Celt engineer discovers, albeit a bit late, that circles are pretty awesome for moving things around. His name? Wheelos McWheely.

Excellent, now I can start connecting my cities with roads and forming trade routes. This will pull my economy out of the aqueduct, and grant me bonus Science thanks to one of my religion bonuses. I just hope it isn't too late to save myself from being left in the technological dust.

At Midsummer, the chieftains of the Celtic tribes gather and decide to adopt a system of government in which every voice is counted. That is, assuming you own land, are a native-born Celt, and no one has accused you of barbarian sorcery. (It's not even 500 B.C., progressivism still has a ways to go.)

This was a HUGE decision in terms of strategy. I had the choice of adopting Tradition, which would lead me to foster a small, tight-knit empire, or Liberty, which would consign me to pushing for more cities, more citizens, and continued expansion of my borders. Mostly because of the map size and the fact that I spawned on a vast, open landmass, I went with the latter.

As Celtic freemen are enjoying their new level of representation, the Swedish-German Wars break out far to the East.

Celtic comeback

625 B.C.: Workers in Dublin begin building the Dublin Road, the first permanent trade road in Celtica, to connect Dublin and Edinburgh.

It can't get there soon enough. The moment the two cities are linked, I'll start gaining gold and Science every turn--both of which are badly needed at the moment.

Later that year, a French embassy is established in Edinburgh, beginning to bury the remnants of the conflict that ended almost 300 years earlier.

I am very surprised how quickly I went from total war with the French to them being one of my more reliable friends on the map. It's beginning to look as if the next major war will be the Celts and the French against the Russians and the English. Germany, currently at war with Sweden, are still friends with the Russians as well. If the Germans side with them over us, our side might petition the Swedes to get involved. The geopolitical landscape has almost completely changed from what it was at the end of the last era.

600 B.C.: The seaside town of Cardiff is founded on First Blood Bay, near the historic site of the first Celtic victory over barbarian marauders.

My aim here was pretty clear: establish a port city so I don't get caught with my pants down around my sea legs once naval gameplay becomes important... which is sure to be pretty soon. I also picked a spot just out of arrowshot of the English border, giving me a stronger foothold to stage attacks from.

500 B.C.: The Celtic Council of Freemen convenes at Midsummer. The country is bankrupt. Beggars live in destitution in the streets of Edinburgh, and farmers who rely on selling their extra crops to buy needed items find that there is no gold to be had in the markets. For the sake of the tribes, for the sake of their families, a successful raid of neighboring England may be the only hope. The decision is nearly unanimous, and a second Woad March is called. This time, to the North... to the chill, sparse lands of the English.

Unexpected allies

475 B.C.: With Pictish Warriors already on the march toward England, the Swedes send a messenger proposing a joint war against the English. Long having resisted friendship to preserve relations with Germany, the Celts are nonetheless overjoyed by this proposal. They assure the Swedes that their men will be welcome friends on the battlefield.

All hail the holy PC! It is truly a miracle! A slightly fish-scented, Swedish miracle! Assuming they don't pull a Russia and back out when my forces are already committed, this is terrific news.

France and Germany make a public declaration of friendship.

460 B.C.: The Russians ask the Celts for charity, begging for valuable silk while giving in nothing in return on the basis of friendship. The Celts ask the Russians where their troops were during the wars with the French, and send them home with a consolation chamber pot, decorated with a design of a loom spinning silk.

440 B.C.: The French and the Celts make a declaration of friendship, furthering the rift between the Celts and their ancient, Russian "allies."

PC Elitism grows and the brewing war comes to a boil

365 B.C.: The Great Prophet VeeGeeAe, the All-Seeing One, arrives in Edinburgh bearing new teachings of PC Elitism from on high.

Your second Great Prophet (after the initial one that founds your religion) allows you to enhance the religion with new Beliefs. I choose Guruship, which will further increase productivity in my cities, and Just War, which will give me combat bonuses when attacking a city where PC Elitism is the majority religion. Also, at this point, I've gotten two Great Prophets before any other civ has gotten even one. So my religious rush strategy seems to be working out pretty well.

350 B.C.: The second fork of the Dublin Road, toward Cardiff, is started.

305 B.C.: What a year!

The Swedes and the Germans sign a peace treaty, ending the Swedish-German Wars.

At this point, there's a pretty strong four-way web of support between my Celts, the Swedes, the French, and the Germans. The Russians have largely been cut out of the loop for acting like dead beats, begging for favors, and basically just being dicks to everyone. And England... well... they never really did anything wrong, except building a bunch of poorly-defended, plunder-filled cities right between Celtica and Sweden.

Shortly thereafter, the Second Woad March arrives at the River Nottingham, and the Celtic-Swedish Alliance formally declares war on England.

The Edinburgh fork of the Dublin Road is completed, bringing economic and scientific boons to both cities. PC Elitism spreads down the Dublin Road from Edinburgh to become the majority religion of Dublin, and thus, all Celtica.

With the Dublin Road on the way, Cardiff will soon be bowing down before the holy PC as well. My next goal is to spread the faith to England so I can make the most of the Just War bonus, and then to my Swedish and French allies.

The War for England hits a stride

245 B.C.: A year of Celtic greatness. The Dublin road reaches Cardiff, and PC Elitism becomes the majority religion in the last of the original Celtic cities.

Nottingham is captured handily, marking the shortest and most successful siege in Celtic history by a wide margin. The Nottinghamians are brought under Celtic rule, but allowed to retain their own self-made local government.

When you conquer a city, you can burn it, annex it, or make it into a puppet. Annexing gives you full control, as if it were one of your own cities, but causes a lot of unhappiness as the citizens resent your heavy-handed change in government. As a puppet, Nottingham will provide benefits to my empire like any other city, but the AI picks what is produced there. I can always annex it later when my Happiness rating is high enough to absorb the blow.

English forces sent to break the siege fall back toward the port town of York, to the West.

200 B.C.: The Dublin road is being extended toward Nottingham to connect the new Celtic subjects with their countrymen in the South.

As the Celtic forces at Nottingham begin a march to York, barbarian encroachments near Cardiff force the Celtic general to send some of his forces back to defend their lands.

155 B.C.: A unified Celtic currency is developed to ease trade across Celtica.

This is good. My trade roads and the gold I gained from capturing Nottingham have put my economy out of the danger zone, but now I can build markets and make sure I stay in the black for the long-term. I'm now pointing my tech path at Engineering so I can improve my infrastructure, which has become very important now that I have my English holdings up North to worry about.

A respite for the English crown

110 B.C.: The English monarchy offers all the gold in its coffers and some of its finest furs as ransom for peace. The Celts accept, as their economy is still bleeding coin and the plunder from Nottingham will not last forever.

If I wanted to, I could just keep rolling. My Swedish allies have depleted any relief forces that might have stopped me, and York is just a couple turns away from being in my hands. But at the moment, I have more to gain from the nearly 200 gold (literally every penny they have) and luxury resources I'm being offered. Peace Treaties have a mandatory length of 10 turns and, let's face it, I plan to attack anyway as soon as it expires.

80 B.C.: 30 years after the war's end, the English crown requests an exchange of embassies. The Celts refuse, proclaiming that to do such would be to recognize the legitimacy of their faithless rule over the realms of England, which rightfully belong to the holy PC.

Later that year, Sweden, seemingly bent on declaring war on everyone at least once, proposes a joint war with Russia. The Celts point out that they currently have the occupation of England and barbarian raids going on, and Russia is kind of at the other end of the freaking continent.

50 B.C.: Celtic engineers produce the first catapult, which is immediately sent North to the English front.

Preach it!

5 B.C.: Missionaries from Cardiff are sent North to convert York and London to PC Elitism.

I may still be bound to peace, but that doesn't mean I can't weaken their defenses. By establishing my religion in their remaining cities, I'll even further trivialize their capture when I renew the war.

25 A.D.: The French and the Swedes go to war. The Celts grow wary, realizing they are the only civilization that the Swedes have not yet declared war on.

55 A.D.: PC Elitism becomes the majority religion of York.

70 A.D.: With the faithful PC Elitists of York crying out to be liberated from the unbelieving English crown, the Celts mass across the border to take the city. After 180 years of uneasy peace, the second Celtic-English War begins.

Rise of the Celtic Republic

80 A.D.: The English army flees York for London as the advancing Celts encircle the city and the PC Elitist peasants rise up against them in the streets.

90 A.D.: English bowmen try to outflank the besieging forces at York, but are intercepted and wiped out by Pictish reinforcements from Nottingham.

115 A.D.: The Celtic Council of Freemen gathers at the Edinburgh Conclave, formalizing the establishment of the Celtic Republic.

Becoming a republic will increase my production even further, which should help me quickly make the switch from warfare to development once I conquer England.

Later that year, York is captured. The pious, PC-worshipping Englishmen, like their brethren in Nottingham, are allowed to elect their own representatives to the new Celtic Senate and maintain local rule.

The English monarchy are now reduced to the city-state of London, which prepares what forces it still commands to repel the inevitable Celtic advance.

Go Republic Rangers!

130 A.D.: The French and the Swedes make peace.

Growing resentful of how fast their territory, religion, and influence is spreading, Russia and Germany issue public denouncements of the Celts.

Uh oh. There go my two longest-standing allies. This tends to happen if you're doing a little too well in Civ. Certain leaders get intimidated, and you can find your meteoric rise countered by gravity in a quick and painful way.

Celtic archers begin using advanced Composite Bows, with the first unit to do so becoming known as the Republic Rangers.

When you reach the appropriate tech, you can spend gold to upgrade a unit to a more advanced version. I took advantage of this with my hardened, veteran archers that have been with me since they were mere scouts, discovering bows in an ancient ruin very early on. They've seen every major battle I've been a part of for the entire game so far, and were more than deserving of some new toys.

Later that year, the Swedes request Republic aid in a renewed war on Germany. Hoping to foster peace once the pretenders of the so-called English monarchy are dealt with, the Celts respectfully decline.

It's very tempting to go to war with one of the civs that just denounced me on very shaky grounds, but my vision of a peaceful future for the Celtic Republic causes me to hold back. Besides, I don't want to give Germany even more reasons to dislike me.

160 A.D.: With London surrounded, England begs for peace, having no ransom left to pay. The Celts insist that there can be no peace as long as PC-rejecting infidels claim rightful rule over the good, English subjects of the Republic.

Word arrives from across the sea that a new religion has been founded in a faraway land.

So, my first competition. You can't rename other people's religions, but for the sake of thematic narrative, I've nicknamed the new faith of Christianity "Nintendoism," and will continue to refer to it as such for the rest of the game. We can pretend that cross is a D-pad.

The Siege of London

190 A.D.: English settlers babbling about "escaping religious persecution" are captured fleeing London, and sent back to the Republic to work as serfs on the road connecting York and Nottingham.

I can't let settlers past my lines, or the English will just found a new city somewhere off in the wilderness for me to waste time finding and capturing. By moving over the undefended unit with a military unit, they become a worker under my control.

205 A.D.: English scouts are found and executed in the forests outside Edinburgh.

To the North, the Siege of London begins.

Word arrives from across the sea of another new religion, Buddhism.

And then there were three. I've decided to nickname this one Sonyism.

220 A.D.: The second Swedish-German War begins.

This is good. I'm on better terms with Sweden than almost anyone at this point, and any time their "Declare War" roulette wheel lands on Germany or Russia, my enemies are weakened without me having to do much of anything.

Righteous conquest and the promise of a more civilized age

280 A.D.: The siege has taken its toll, and many Picts are lost, but London is finally captured. The godless, defunct English royalty are put to the sword, and the Londoners are given a provisional seat on the Celtic Senate.

The general who led the attack to take the city is elected the first King of the Celts and the English, acting as an executive and figurehead for the Republic's government. He expresses his wishes in a speech in London Square: that his line will rule over a peaceful Celtica in the sight of the holy PC.

So I'm taking some creative license here. No, I didn't expend my Great General for some kind of political bonus, nor did I adopt monarchy. But it adds some flavor to the story. After all, we're heading into the Middle Ages soon, and "Having Kings" is one of the main activities associated with that time period.

In terms of strategy, I'm done conquering for a good, long while. Bringing England into my fold has brought me riches and prestige, and at this point I'm pretty happy with the lands I have. I've played too many a game where I keep fighting until my sprawling empire is divided, spread thin, and clunky to manage. Celtica will, from here on, grow slowly inland from the northwest coast of the continent by settlement of new cities--and only when needed.

295 A.D.: Many Englishmen, particularly Londoners, are still resentful of Celtic rule. Construction begins on a number of fighting arenas to provide entertainment and let them take out their frustrations.

Even having allowed the English cities I conquered to retain local rule, the clash of cultures has put me into the negative on Happiness. Building circuses and colosseums is the fastest way to remedy this.

340 A.D.: PC Elitist missionaries from Cardiff set out for Sweden. The Celts and the Swedes agree to an Open Borders pact, allowing the missionaries to travel freely and preach within Swedish lands.

370 A.D.: The Swedes and the Celts make a formal declaration of friendship.

Guild Wars Peace

445 A.D.: France, Sweden, and the Celtic Republic are all united under mutual declarations of friendship.

This is very good news. The Russians and the Germans are still denouncing me, but with England out of the picture, it is now three against two should the continent come to war again.

The road from York to Nottingham is completed. The population of Nottingham finally becomes majority PC Elitist.

The second Swedish-German war ends.

505 A.D.: Celtic missionaries arrive at the desert metropolis and capital of Sweden, Stockholm. They begin preaching the word of PC Elitism to the Swedes.

520 A.D.: The Celtic Republic develops several large guilds out of the growing middle class to manage their economy. In time, prominent guild leaders become almost as influential as senators.

Researching guilds has set me up for an economic boom, which should help out a lot considering how poor I've been throughout the last several centuries. It also advances me to the Medieval Era, and ends this chapter of the chronicle.

A new era has dawned once again. The victorious Celtic Republic is at peace, working tirelessly to improve the lives of both its native founders and its new English subjects, united under the doctrines of PC Elitism. A strong alliance is forming between the Celts, the Swedes, and the French. Meanwhile, the outnumbered Germans and Russians eye the lands of their more successful neighbors greedily.

It is a sword age! A castle age! Whatever transpires next will surely form the fabric of lore and legend long after it has been buried by the dust of time! Check back next week to see the legend unfold!

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