Civilization V: The Swedish Saga, part 3 (1702 A.D. to 1868 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 my progress in Civ V's Gods & Kings expansion, with a new entry every Wednesday. Last week, my Swedish civilization plowed through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance . Now, with my lines of muskets and cannons on the move for Austria, war on a scale not yet seen by my people is set to commence. Read on, as the sound of gunfire echoes across the continent!

Missed the start? Here's Part 1 .

Titans of industry

I'm way out in front in the tech race right now, hitting the Industrial Era when a good portion of the map is still Medieval. I'm heading straight for Rifling next, so I can begin building the Swedish unique Caroleans that will form the backbone of my grand army. I'll pick up Banking and Economics on the way. You know, since I wasn't rich enough already.

1704 A.D.: The first professional Swedish musket regiment is raised in Sigtuna. The timing is fortuitous, as later that year, Denmark unexpectedly declares preemptive war on Sweden. The Celts and Greeks immediately agree to come to Sweden's aid against the warmongering Danes. The Swedish Lord-Governors had assumed the invasion of Austria would put them in conflict with Denmark, but they never expected their Norse cousins to strike first. Skirmishes near the border signal the beginning of the Great Continental War.

Looks like I lost the initiative in this conflict. Denmark's army is primitive compared to mine, but it includes the Danish unique Berserker units. Since Denmark is my most-played Civ, I am very familiar with how badly they can wreck things. Fortunately, this is a land war, and one of the berserkers' strengths is their ability to execute coastal raids. It is with a heavy heart that I send my forces to spill the blood of my longest-standing ally.

1708 A.D.: Lightning strikes by the Danish berserkers force the Swedish border regiments to fall back toward Sigtuna. The Danes press on, but are decimated by gunfire trying to cross the River of Storms. Though they're aided by swift, agile longboats, the melee troops are unprepared to face modern firearms.

Total war

1710 A.D.: Word arrives that another great Eastern empire has fallen.

To recap, that puts us at 10 remaining world powers. Nine, really, considering the fact that Germany almost doesn't count anymore. And Austria, it seems, is not long for this world either. While Vienna is still the greatest city in the known world, it is their only city. And I have cannons.

Later in the year, Swedish musketmen cross the River of Storms to flank the Danish vanguard. The entire column is gunned down, and the few survivors rout. The Swedish army advances on the Danish city of Kaupang, capital of the Southern Stormlands. Capturing it would mean uniting all of the Stormland lords for the first time in history. To this point, Swedish losses since the war began have been the lowest of any conflict in the nation's history. Both sides put their lines under the command of a Great General, and brace for the inevitable clash.

To the East, Sweden and the Celts jointly declare war on Denmark's Austrian allies. Several Austrian-allied city-states pledge their aid to the outnumbered defenders.

Summer, 1714 A.D.: Swedish explorers come into contact with Spain, another great Eastern nation and the founders of Islam.

Elsewhere, Danish knights execute a brilliant flank and overrun a Swedish regiment at the River of Storms before they can load their muskets. They are dealt with shortly thereafter, when the Swedish column swings around to pin them against the river. Soon after, their armies dashed against superior Swedish technology, the Danes offer a peace treaty that includes regular tributes to the Swedish crown. Sweden gladly accepts, wishing to mend the divide between them and their ancient allies, while focusing their military strength on Austria.

Greece and Celtica refuse the treaty, and continue to press on Denmark from the South.

So, at this point, Greece and the Celts are at war with Denmark, but I am not. And the Celts and I are at war with Austria, but Greece is not. All three of us are ostensibly allies, but neither of the two opposing nations is facing the full might of the trinity.

Winter, 1714 A.D.: The Swedish great guilds set up the world's first unified banking system, bringing even more economic growth across the nation.

The Swedish spy network in Vienna reports that the Austrians have no technology of value to steal. Considering how the last few battles went, they assume the same will be true of Denmark, and relocate to Greece.

Denmark issues a denouncement of Sweden for its continued aggression against Austria, though it doesn't seem eager to send any more troops into Sweden to reinforce its point.

As the year draws to a close, Spain and Sweden exchange embassies and the Celts capture Danish-occupied Salzburg. At the crossroads of the continent, the Broken City (named as a humorous counterpart to Vienna, the Unbreakable City), has now been occupied by the original Austrians, the Germans, the Danes, and the Celts at different points in history.

Much intrigue is brewed

1720 A.D.: Greek spies report that the Danes are planning another invasion of Sweden. Having manned their eastern border with the best troops available, the Swedes are less than worried.

1722 A.D.: Germany denounces Denmark, mostly just to remind the world that they still exist. This, ostensibly, puts them on the side of the Swedes, the Celts, and the Greeks, though they have participated in a grand total of no battles in the Great Continental War so far.

Later that year, the Celts approach the Swedish Lord-Governors with word that Greece plans to invade Celtic-occupied Salzburg. This betrayal is sure to shatter what remains of the once-mighty Continental Alliance, and the Celts seek allies in a war on Greece. The Swedes decline, knowing that the continent has seen enough war and wanting to foster stability, not more factional disputes.

Elsewhere, the Swedes make contact with the Eastern nation of England. Its magnificent capital of London dwarfs even great Vienna.

1726 A.D.: Swedish spies uncover that Greece is building a great fleet with the intention of sailing to the New World and invading England. They elect to keep this information to themselves.

I could earn some Brownie points with England by sharing my intel, but at this point that wouldn't do me a whole lot of good. Greece is right next door and has a larger (albeit more primitive) army than I do, so I'd prefer to keep them on good terms. Plus, if they're attacking England, they won't be attacking me.

The Battle of Graz

1728 A.D.: England and Sweden exchange embassies.

Later in the year, after securing the frontier, Swedish infantry finally march on the small city of Graz, Austria. Just North of Vienna, holding it would provide a strong foothold for assaulting the Unbreakable City.

1736 A.D.: The Swedes master Economics, as their armies besiege Graz with the aid of the 1st Artillery.

Summer, 1740 A.D.: A Swedish Great General leads a daring river crossing on the crumbling walls of Graz. His forces take heavy losses, filling the river with dead. But by noon of the following day, the city is in Swedish hands. They elect to leave the existing city council in place, under the watch of a governor-general from Birka. This marks the first Swedish occupation of a city belonging to a major foreign power in history.

Conquest, at last! I now own the Northwest portion of the continent, everything west of Denmark and east of what I'm calling the Austrian Alps. I'm electing to leave it a puppet for now, which means the AI will decide what it builds while I reap the raw benefits of owning it.

Across the sea, the Swedes meet the mighty Russian Empire.

In the cannon-shattered streets of Graz, Swedish generals draft a plan to cross the Southern fork of the Austrian River and take Vienna, with Celtic troops moving in from the Northwest to assist.

Greece's infamy grows

Winter, 1740 A.D.: The Austrians offer to empty the grand coffers of Vienna in exchange for peace. Sweden accepts the ransom, leaving one seasoned unit in Graz while the rest of its forces and the 1st Artillery head to the Eastern front to counter a continually rumored, second Danish invasion.

The Swedes and the Russians exchange embassies, and the Swedes master metallurgy.

This would allow me to build my unique Hakkapeliitta cavalry... if I had ANY horses AT ALL.

Spain and Austria jointly denounce Greece, which remains at war with Austria having rejected its treaty.

1746 A.D.: The Swedes sign a research agreement with the Celts.

Good. Clearly this scuffle over Salzburg has clued the Celts into the fact that Greece is steamrollering everyone at everything but science, and they don't need any more boosts in that department. This agreement was almost free for me, as well, as the ransom I got from Austria almost completely covered the cost. Who says war can't pay for science?

England joins in denouncing Greece, making it disliked by most of the known world.

1748 A.D.: Russian spies inform the Swedes that England is plotting against them.

Uh, so, a nation far less powerful than I am is planning on crossing the world to attack me, while under threat of invasion by the world's great superpower? Sounds like a good idea.

Later the same year, Spain goes to war with England. This likely halts whatever plans England had to invade Sweden.

New alliances

1754 A.D.: A Great Merchant founds Sweden's first customs house at Birka, turning the once desolate, barbarian-infested Westerlands into not only an academic hub, but an economic one as well.

Rome seeks Swedish aid in a war against Russia. Sweden declines, having no interest in committing troops to an overseas war it holds no stake in. Meanwhile, Celtic troops pass through Swedish-occupied Graz on the way to besiege Vienna.

Sweden and Spain make a declaration of friendship in an attempt to bridge the divide between their continents. The Swedes also make contact with France, the last of the major Eastern powers.

1756 A.D.: Austria denounces Sweden for allowing attacking Celtic troops to pass through Graz uncontested. Said troops cross the Southern fork of the Austrian River and win a favorable engagement against the Austrian defenders outside Vienna.

France and Sweden exchange embassies, making Stockholm one of the only cities in the world to host diplomats from every major power.

1760 A.D.: Rome denounces Russia, and the Spanish-English war ends with a declaration of friendship. Sweden goes on to declare friendship with both Eastern powers, looking for new allies as the Celts remain the only Western nation it can trust.

It's starting to shake out like this: Greece is the major power in the West, with my Swedes a few steps behind. On the Eastern continent, Rome in the North and Russia in the South are the big dogs, and seem poised for war. I can tell by looking at city names that Rome has conquered the Dutch, who I never met, and large portions of France. France, it seems, is the Germany of the East, just barely surviving. England and Spain are modestly-sized, and sandwiched between the Russian and Roman war machines. It seems they've come to their senses and realized if they don't stick together, they will both be swallowed up. I plan to support them both, as anything that weakens the other superpowers helps secure my victory.

Germany's last stand

Summer, 1768 A.D.: The Greeks warn Sweden that continued relations with England will put their two nations at odds.

I saw this coming. Greece and England don't get along. Actually, Greece doesn't get along with much of anyone anymore. The Danish don't particularly like them, but they don't like me, either. If Greece starts a war, I will only be able to count on the Celts and my overseas allies for aid, and Greece might be strong enough to wipe us all out. And that's assuming they don't also get the Danes on their side.

Meanwhile, Greek forces overwhelm the city of Munich, putting a final end to the scrappy German Empire. Greece's borders now extend to the south end of Denmark and Austria, claiming nearly half of the continent's land area.

Winter, 1768 A.D.: As the threat of Greek hegemony grows, the Swedes invent the first rifled firearms. Far deadlier and more accurate than smooth-bore muskets, the Swedish army begins phasing out an infantry weapon that was already ahead of most of the world. The first rifle regiment are the Swedish Royal Guard, trained at the prestigious Stockholm military academy.

Hell yeah, Caroleans! I can now build Sweden's unique infantry that heal hitpoints every turn, even if they took another action. Perfect for brute-force, protracted campaigns. To give you some idea of how technologically supreme my military is, these guys are about equivalent in power to World War I infantry... while the Celts, for one example, are still using mostly Pikemen and Longswordsmen.

Next stop on the tech tree is Scientific Theory, which will improve my production and Science yields by allowing me to build public schools.

1776 A.D.: A renewed Defensive Pact is established between the Celts, the Greeks, and the Swedes, forming the New Continental Alliance.

It may seem odd, but right now, being friends with Greece is a good plan. I've decided that eventually stomping them into feta-scented dust is not going to be optional if I want any hope of winning, but the more time I have to extend my tech lead and build a sprawling campaign army, the better. I'm also getting free Great Person points for being friends with them, so in a way, they can only harm themselves by continuing this alliance.

A Celtic spy steals some texts on astronomy from Sigtuna. Sweden confronts the Celtic queen with this, and she apologizes, agreeing to bar her operatives from working on Swedish soil.

The Swedish spy network is the laughing stock of the intelligence community. They have never stopped any action of a foreign agent, and only about half the time are they even able to identify the thief. I suppose subtlety is not our strong suite.

Lines are drawn

1782 A.D.: Roman spies warn of a Russian plot against Sweden. The last warning regarding England never amounted to anything, and Rome is known to be on hostile terms with Russia. The Swedes begin to wonder about Roman spies. Nonetheless, they play it safe and refuse a declaration of friendship proposed by Russia later that year.

I hate to turn down Great Person points from friendship declarations, but it's getting to the point on the global stage where declaring friendship with the wrong nation could have dire ramifications. My advisers tell me that Rome has an even larger military than Greece (although their people are quite unhappy), and the last thing I need right now is Romans storming my beaches.

A Great Scientist founds the Academy of Westerland near Birka, a rival to the Academy of Birka. The Westerlands become the academic center of the world.

1788 A.D.: England denounces Russia. Upon hearing of this, Greece voices its support for the Russians by refusing to renew its declarations of friendship with English/Spanish-allied Sweden and Celtica.

Interesting. It seems Russia and Greece may be building an alliance that spans the Southern Hemisphere. If that happens, the four of us non-warmongering civs will probably have to bring Rome into our fold to act as a check.

1794 A.D.: The Swedish-Austrian road begins construction at Linköping to connect Sweden's Austrian holdings around Graz to the fatherland.

The time for war is nigh

1802 A.D.: Celtic spies uncover an impending Greek invasion of Graz. The Swedes prepare to defend.

Greece would have to go through Salzburg (held by the Celts) or Vienna (held by the Austrians) to get to me. As they're unlikely to get an open borders agreement with either, this means they'd have to declare war. This is assuming they don't try to attack from the West by sea, but from what I can tell, they don't have much of a navy on this side of the continent.

1804 A.D.: Greeks ask for an open borders pact with Sweden. The Swedes send them a painted ship's sail, which breaks the world record for the largest-ever depiction of the word "NOPE." Meanwhile, Sweden makes a declaration of friendship with tiny, impoverished France.

1806 A.D.: The Celts ask for aid in a war against the Danes. The Swedes accept, eager for a reason to relieve the tension of Danish forces in the border marches.

The powder keg is lit

1812 A.D.: An Austrian Great Prophet begins trying to spread Confucianism in Sweden. The Lord-Governor of the Southwest Territories orders his caravan arrested. Hearing of this, the Austrians become furious and declare war on Sweden.

1814 A.D.: Greece denounces the Swedes, supporting Austria in its grievances against them.

Hmmm. Until now, it seemed Greece was poised to attack Austria. But it seems my actions have thrown them into a makeshift alliance of opportunity. At least Greece hasn't gone as far as to declare war on me. Since it could now pass troops safely through Austrian lands, Graz would be very vulnerable. I dispatch a large helping of troops there immediately.

1816 A.D.: Rome asks for aid against Russia. With the war with Austria reignited, and renewed war on Denmark soon to follow, Sweden declines.

The War That Wasn't

1820 A.D.: The Swedes formalize Scientific Theory.

I'm now turning toward Industrialization, which will let me upgrade my long-obsolete Crossbowmen into Gatling Guns, among other things.

Denmark requests an open borders pact. The Swedes invent the cynical eye-roll in response. Meanwhile, the Celts denounce Greece for supporting Austria instead of their once-allies.

1822 A.D.: The Sistine Chapel of Awesomeness is completed in Stockholm.

Nice. This will give me a pretty massive culture boost.

1824 A.D.: After twelve years of posturing, Austria once again asks for peace with Sweden. The Prophet's War ends with no actual military engagements having taken place. Later generations will nickname it "The War That Wasn't."

On the march

1828 A.D.: The Celts and the Swedes declare joint war on Denmark. The Swedish 1st Artillery mows down Danish knights on the western slopes of the Snowrun Peaks, leaving the countryside open for Swedish riflemen to advance on Kaupang.

Elsewhere, a trade road to Graz is finally completed.

1830 A.D.: Celtic heavy footmen are pushed back from the Danish city of Ribe.

1834 A.D.: The Kremlin is completed in Sigtuna.

This wonder will make all of my defensive buildings better, and gives me even more culture.

Ribe continues to repel Celtic attackers, while across the sea, Russia denounces Spain. The divide between the Southern superpowers and the Northern nations grows starker.

The Celts prove their mettle

1838 A.D.: The peak of the Swedish Industrial Revolution sees the advent of many new technologies.

Industrialization lets me build gatling guns and see coal deposits on the map, which are needed for many Industrial-era units and buildings. I'm now researching Electricity, which will lead into Radio and bring me into the Modern Era.

The first Swedish troops equipped with repeating firearms are dispatched to Kaupang.

1840 A.D.: The Roman-Russian War begins far to the East. Meanwhile, foreign spies steal Rifling tech from Stockholm.

On the long list of my spy network's failures, this is the greatest so far. I've officially lost my infantry tech edge, which is my single greatest military advantage at this point. The one saving grace is that my unique Caroleans will win any 1-to-1 engagement with vanilla Riflemen, and I'm not aware of any other civ in this game that gets a unique Rifleman replacement.

In a counter-attack, the Danes capture Salzburg from the Celts.

Summer, 1842 A.D.: Celtic forces cross the Bay of Storms to aid Swedish invasion massing on the Northern Danish border. Its southern forces lose a skirmish with Danish knights near Salzburg and fall back behind Swedish lines.

The Danes out-tech the Celts almost as much as I out-tech the Danes, so my allies are just getting shredded here. On the bright side, they are weakening the Danes with every battle, and I'm not having to risk my units as much. In the long run, the outcome of this war is foregone unless Greece gets involved.

Denmark seeks Eastern aid

Winter, 1842 A.D.: Danish musketmen trying to cross the River of Storms meet with heavy losses from Swedish gatling guns. The Swedish army closes in on Kaupang.

1843 A.D.: Denmark and Rome declare friendship.

This is very interesting indeed. Rome hates Russia, who is friends with Greece, who is an enemy of Denmark. That much makes sense. But the Celts and myself are also enemies of Denmark, as well as Greece (and by extension, Russia.) So this move has gained Rome an ally while alienating two more. It also still has the largest military, so I have to be ready for Roman reinforcements to join the Danes from the coast. I hope the ongoing Roman-Russian War will limit that.

A Great Artist and a Great General are born in Sigtuna.

Those Declarations of Friendship have paid off: I'm generating Great People way faster than anyone else.

1844 A.D.: The Great Artist founds a cultural landmark near Uppsala, making it a cultural hub of Sweden.

Elsewhere, Danish berserkers ambush the Celts besieging Ribe and wipe them out.

The United Stormlands

1846 A.D.: The Swedish 1st Artillery begins bombarding Kaupang.

England joins the Roman-Russian War on the side of Russia, breaking its ties to the Swedish-Celtic-Spanish alliance. The Celts publicly denounce Russia to express their disapproval.

Later in the year, Danish berserkers rush across the River of Storms to try and break the enemy lines, and are quickly shot down by Swedish forces.

1847 A.D.: The Danes erect primitive trebuchets, firing them across the River of Storms at the invading Swedes. They fail to inflict significant losses.

1847 A.D.: Kaupang is captured. The Southern Stormland Lords who once ruled it are allowed to keep their holdings as appointed Governor Generals of the Swedish crown. Many of them join with their Northern Stormland counterparts to form the United Stormlands Party, which advocates for a union of all Nordic people under one flag. Supporting this agenda, the Swedish army advances on the Danish city of Aarhus.

Spain makes a declaration of friendship with the defending Danish government, pressured by the Romans on their Northern border. Sweden is once again left with only the loyal Celts to back them.

This is yet another one of those "AI civ, what are you doing?!" moments. I suppose their motive has to be gaining favor with Rome from having declarations of friendship with the same civilizations. Which is understandable, since Rome could pretty much squash them like a bug any time it wants to.

The Fall of the High King

1849 A.D.: The Danes propose peace. While the High King and the United Stormlands Party wish to continue the war, the majority of Governor Generals from the Stockholm Valley, Westerlands, and Southwest Territories vote to accept the treaty. A brief revolt, known as the King's Storm, is suppressed and the reigning High King is executed. The office continues by a parliamentary appointment, but never again will a monarch hold significant political power in Sweden.

I've captured a city, and Denmark is still too far behind me in almost every area to be a threat. I need to start worrying about Greece before it's too late to worry.

1849 A.D.: Greece declares war on Austria. It is clear to the world that Greek thirst for conquest has gotten out of control. The Swedes seek to ally the rest of the continent against them, starting with an exchange of embassies with their once-enemies in Austria.

Rome requests a declaration of friendship. The Swedes accept, knowing that it may take a fully united North to halt aggression from power-mad Greece and Russia.

1851 A.D.: Swedish mediators ensure that peace is made between Austria and the Celts, the Greek threat weighs heavy on the minds of all Western nations. Austria publicly denounces Greece's Russian allies, spinning another thread uniting the North against the South.

The Treaty of Vienna

1853 A.D.: The Swedes invent Electricity, and the cities of Sweden become beacons in the night, just as they bring their allies together against the looming shadow of Greece.

Elsewhere, the leaders of the world gather in Vienna. Rome, France, Celtica, Sweden, Denmark, and Austria are united in mutual defensive pacts under the Treaty of Vienna. They become known as the Viennese Alliance, the first inter-continental league of its kind, forged to counter Greek and Russian aggression on their respective continents. England and Spain choose to remain neutral, and the Swedish and Austrian delegates continue to butt heads over religious differences. Similar issues arise over the Swedish occupation of Graz and Kaupang. The Alliance is not without tension, but the mutual threats it faces bind it together.

1855 A.D.: Spain cuts all ties to Russia and joins the Treaty of Vienna. England agrees to publicly denounce Greece, though they still do not sign the Treaty.

1856 A.D.: England finally signs the Treaty of Vienna, becoming the last major power to do so. The Greco-Russian Axis now has, quite literally, all the powers of the world arrayed against them.

The road to world war

1858 A.D.: Greece and Russia enter a research agreement, cementing the ties between the Southern Axis powers. Denmark and Austria sign a similar agreement in counter.

1859 A.D.: The Danes denounce Celts, and Austria denounces Sweden, causing tension among the Treaty nations.

This was just... really dumb. If Denmark and Austria think they can spin off into their own little club and fight both the Alliance and the Axis, they are in for a rude awakening. Usually I can justify seemingly incompetent AI moves in Civ. For this one, I'm basically at a loss.

1860 A.D.: The establishment of a new Danish embassy begins to repair fractures in the Alliance. The United Stormlands Party, of course, opposes this decision. Later in the year, the Danes request an open borders treaty. Hoping to foster further positive relations, the Swedes reluctantly accept.

Seems like a coin toss whether or not this is some ploy to attack me again. But I'll humor them for now. They would do very minimal damage if they did decide to backstab me. Plus, I've got some trade agreements in place with Rome that should prevent them from coming to the Danes' aid this time.

1861 A.D.: The Celts and the Swedes enter a research agreement. The Danes and the Austrians follow with an agreement of their own. This makes Sweden nervous, as they are the two Treaty signatories that like the Swedes the least.

Later in the year, Rome and Russia make peace (although Rome continues to denounce the Russians), leaving the Romans to focus on the Greek problem.

1867 A.D.: England withdraws from the Treaty of Vienna and declares war on France.

Sweden and Rome sign a research agreement.

1868 A.D.: Swedish scientists invent the Radio, propelling Sweden into the Modern Age.

Wow, considering the first four eras were so uneventful I had to combine them into two posts, a ton has happened during my years of industrialization. Germany is gone, and France, it seems, will soon go the same way. Greece is only getting stronger, as its alliance with Russia creates a united Southern front that all the world fears. The Celts have become my most loyal allies, with Rome and Spain supporting me for the most part. Denmark and Austria are caught in the middle of North and South, seemingly hoping to defy both and stand alone.

World war seems inevitable. Check back next week as I take to the skies, and look beyond!

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