My friends! Gather 'round the fire and prepare to hear an epic tale that spans the entirety of human history! I've finally finished chronicling my progress in Civ V's Gods & Kings expansion, as part of an ongoing feature every Wednesday. Last week, the Norse Democratic Union (my socialist republic that grew out of the unification of Sweden and Denmark) trounced Greece, ending a massive world war and setting us on the path to victory. This is the home stretch, but we're not out of the woods until we're literally out of the woods. On a spaceship. Will... we... go... all... the... way? Read on to find out, and learn what game I'll be playing for this column next!
The Information Era has dawned for the NDU. We're embarrassingly far ahead of everyone else in terms of tech now. Of the five remaining world powers, two are still in the Modern Era, and the other two just behind me in the Atomic Era. I'm three whole techs ahead of Russia, and have taken the lead in production, income, and total gold. As the war to end all wars closes, the Norse have become the dominant global superpower. Winning still won't be trivial, though. Three other nations have space programs, racing me to a Science victory. And Greece, even weakened, is allied with something like 100 bazillion city-states, meaning it would win a diplomatic victory almost by default if anyone builds the United Nations.
My goal right now is to get the Hubble Telescope wonder up and running. It'll let me build spaceship components faster and grant me two Great Scientists to ensure that my tech lead stays secure for the rest of the game.
1975 A.D.: The Restoration Party, responsible for ending the war with Greece, implements high-level governmental reforms focused on turning the post-war economic boom into sustainable growth. Military scientists begin transitioning into the civilian sector, bringing wondrous new consumer technologies to the market.
I adopted the Socialism policy, which will reduce the upkeep cost of every building in my empire. This has further cemented my global economic dominance. I could probably buy an ocean or two at this point. I also purchased a Great Scientist with faith, which is where the rest of my faith points for the rest of the game will be funneled.
1976 A.D.: Work begins on the cockpit design for an interstellar manned spacecraft at Helsinki.
You need six spaceship parts to win a Science victory: a cockpit, a stasis chamber, an engine, and three boosters. Each component is unlocked by a different technology, and thanks to the production-focused infrastructure I've been building since turn one, my major cities can crank these out mega fast.
1978 A.D.: Norse-German scientists make significant leaps in the field of internal combustion engines, putting mass-produced automobiles on the roads for the first time.
And, perhaps more importantly, letting me build tanks. It seems pretty late in the game to make this happen, but it's just the way this world developed. Everyone kinda forgot to invent tanks until the late 70s, despite having very advanced aircraft and naval units for the time.
1979 A.D.: Greece becomes the fourth nation to develop a manned space program. While everyone is occupied not caring about this announcement, the Celts and the English jointly denounce Rome.
So, this is interesting. Last I heard, the Celts and England hated one another. And England really has nothing to gain from attacking Rome right now: Russia has swallowed up all the Roman territory that used to border it. The Celts are still my longest-standing, most loyal allies, but I really don't have any intention of getting roped into an overseas war with Rome unless it's close to beating me to a science victory.
Rome goes to war with Russia again, looking to take back its Northern cities.
1981 A.D.: Norse spies report that the Greeks have nuclear weapons. They make some vague threats about the Norse military being weak or something.
While certainly a game-changer, I still basically control the geopolitical climate. Thanks to the standing defensive pacts I set up long ago with basically everybody, Greece would commit itself to another war against the rest of the world by attacking me. Any further wars between us will be on my terms, and I'll have the initiative. Using said initiative, I'll make sure to cripple its nuclear stockpiles before they get dumped on me.
I've also just researched Combined Arms, giving me access to anti-tank guns. Greece has tanks now, making this an opportune development.
1983 A.D.: Oil shortages drive up fuel prices across the NDU. Efforts are made to begin drilling in the Southwest Territories for a new supply.
I've been building a lot of ships and fighter jets to screen against potential nuclear attacks, and they all cost oil. I'm finally running out, but luckily, I'll be picking up techs that let me transition into nuclear and solar power for most applications.
1984 A.D.: A group of entrepreneurial college students from the Stockholm Valley develop the first mass market personal computers.
I'm burning Great Scientists like firewood at this point. Building Academies this late in the game would be inefficient, so I'm just dumping the one-time science bonuses into my pool. Among other things, Computers let me build helicopters, a very mobile air unit that doesn't rely on an airbase like fighters and bombers.
1986 A.D.: The NDU launches the Hubble Space Telescope, granting new views of the cosmos and inspiring the Norse people to strive for the stars. Government spending on the space program increases to new heights. Great advances are made in the fields of robotics and ballistics.
I get a free spaceship factory and two great scientists, which means I've pretty much removed any chance that I can be beaten to a Science victory. My scientists helped me on the way to Robotics and Advanced Ballistics, which let me build intercontinental nuclear missiles and spaceship factories.
I also just adopted the Communism policy, which further boosts my production capabilities in all cities.
Later that year, the cockpit of the Norse spaceship Sleipnir is completed in Helsinki, and shipped off to wait in the assembly yard at Stockholm National Starport.
1987 A.D.: The Norse military rolls out its first mobile SAM anti-air units and its first armored battalion. Medical advances spur on a population boom.
I had SO MUCH SCIENCE at this point that I overshot Advanced Ballistics and picked up Penicillin in the same turn, the first time I've seen that happen in Civ V. The latter give me access to Marines, infantry that excel attacking from water, and hospitals, which make my cities grow crazy fast. Up next on the science docket: Nanotechnology, which will let me build the Spaceship Stasis Chamber.
1988 A.D.: Work begins on the propulsion systems for Sleipnir in Sigtuna.
1989 A.D.: Somewhere, a totally amazing guy is born who will go on to write about computer games.
Yeah, I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count...
1990 A.D.: The first SV-90 assault helicopters take flight from Stockholm.
1992 A.D.: A Norse Great Scientist makes major breakthroughs in the field of nanotechnology. His findings allow construction to begin on a stasis chamber that will keep the crew of Sleipnir in suspended animation for voyages to distant star systems.
I'm now headed for Particle Physics, the last piece of the puzzle needed for a Science victory. I'll pick up two very important techs on the way: Ecology and Mobile Tactics, which will let me build Mechanized Infantry, the best infantry unit in the game.
Summer, 1993 A.D.: Ever neutral England petitions for entry into the New Allied Powers Administration (NAPA), joining the NDU, Celts, and Russia. The NDU agrees to think about it.
Meanwhile, work begins on the Sleipnir stasis chamber at Stockholm National Starport, and word arrives from the NSS that Russia has become the third nation with nuclear weapons.
Winter, 1993 A.D.: Wise economic policies lead to a Norse Golden Age.
Well, it's been a long time since I had one of these. My strategy has been too focused on other resources to worry much about happiness, and I've generally been running at either a very small deficit or a very small surplus. It couldn't come at a better time, though. This will allow me to drop tons of gold on production buildings.
The NDU and Russia enter into a research agreement focused on interstellar exploration.
1994 A.D.: Greece constructs the Pentagon.
This will greatly reduce the cost for Greece to upgrade its military units, so maybe it won't be trying to joust my machine gun nests to death when we go to war again.
1995 A.D.: Norse scientists make great breakthroughs in environmental science and green energy.
This will let me build solar power plants, as well as the culture bomb that is the Sydney Opera House wonder.
1996 A.D.: Sleipnir's stasis chamber is completed at Stockholm National Starport, and is added to the growing framework of the ship.
A series of brief border skirmishes results in Russia regaining some of the ground it lost to Rome in the last war. The Northern coast of the Eastern continent becomes a politically unstable region of competing ideologies that is wracked by war more often than not. The area does not bring in a lot of tourist revenue.
1999 A.D.: As the Norse Golden Age ends, sweeping legal reforms lead to a stronger central government and less autonomy for the NDU member states.
I've decided to spend some of the expansive nebulae of gold my Golden Age brought in to pay for Courthouses in all the formerly-puppeted cities of Denmark, Austria, and Germany, giving me full control over their production cues. I've also adopted Secularism, giving me another huge boost to Science.
2000 A.D.: The TeleCom boom brings new jobs and new ways of doing business to the NDU.
Telecommunications opens up another wonder that will help me finish out strong: The CN Tower, which gives me a free radio tower in every city.
2002 A.D.: Norse software engineers at the Sigtuna Institute of Technology complete the coding of the Great Firewall.
A new wonder in Gods & Kings, the Great Firewall, in a nutshell, makes me almost impossible to spy on. With my tech lead as wide as it is, I can't risk having anyone stealing from me.
Later in the year, the Norse military sees the introduction of the SVM-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle, revolutionizing its ground combat doctrines. The first unit to be trained with the new tactics is the 2nd Infantry at Munich, one of the legendary three companies that took on impossible odds and came out alive in the Great War. Simultaneously, the Norse navy launches its first nuclear submarine off the coast of Denmark.
2003 A.D.: Greece completes two great construction projects: the Corinthian Opera House and the Confederation Building at Athens. They put out a call to all the powers of the world to come together in three years time to elect a Supreme Dictator of Earth.
Head, meet desk. Now meet desk again. And again. And again. Not only did Greece steal the Sydney Opera House out from under me, it has completed the United Nations after all. I thought the overwhelming stomping I delivered to its backside would have set it too far back to beat me to the punch, but I was wrong.
Basically, a handful of turns from now, a UN vote will happen, and if anyone gets over 16 votes, they win a diplomatic victory. If only major nations were allowed to vote, that wouldn't be a problem. We all hate Greece. The thing is that city-states also get to vote, and whatever GENIUS set this stupid map up placed 24 of them. Greece is allied with basically all of them, and making enough money to continue paying them off indefinitely.
The worst part is this: on my current course, I will complete my space program TWO TURNS after the UN vote happens. There is nothing I can do to speed production up at this point: I've already bought every production-increasing structure in the two cities that are building my last two spaceship components.
So, essentially, it comes down to this: I need to blow up the UN in something like the next 10 turns or I lose. Strap in, kids. It's gonna be a bumpy last few miles to the finish line.
January, 2004 A.D.: Knowing that the only way to defeat the potential world dictatorship that Greece and its city-state allies seek to create is to lop off the head, the Norse Defense Ministry initiates Operation Dragonslayer immediately. Greek forces are caught unawares and take massive losses in the opening days of the invasion. Nuclear arms are deployed against the highest concentrations of Greek troops on the border of the DMZ, leaving the way clear for Norse mobile infantry, armored divisions, and gunships to strike directly at key targets.
April, 2004 A.D.: The first Greek nuclear bomb is dropped on Salzburg. Off the coast, the Norse Navy loses a skirmish at Megara, and Norse infantry take heavy losses assaulting Hamburg. It is a grim month for the NDU.
August, 2004 A.D.: The Norse National Guard fends off counter-attacks at Kaupang and Sigtuna. Meanwhile, the NDU's mountain divisions sent to capture Herakleia are hit hard by artillery fire and forced to fall back to the bombed-out ruins of Salzburg.
Later, Munich is nuked by Greek forces, though most of the Norse ground units and much of the civilian population are able to evacuate to shelters beforehand. Greek Special Forces stationed at Herakleia begin striking against the Norse forces holed up in Salzburg.
February, 2005 A.D.: Dragonsbane, the first fusion warhead nuclear missile, is completed by the NDU. As it is being deployed, the Greeks drop a third bomb on Tunsberg, cutting off a key supply line to the Norse front.
June, 2005 A.D.: Greek troop transports outside of Megara are sunk by Norse submarines. As their boats go down, they watch the first nuclear missile strike the city they were just deployed from. Megara is nearly entirely destroyed. The lands of Northern Greece, Southern Denmark, and former Germany and Austria, are becoming a nuclear wasteland.
October, 2005 A.D.: The propulsion system for Sleipnir is finished, and added to the nearly complete vessel. Only the main engine is required before the initial wave of colonists can be launched to escape the nuclear fire beginning to consume the world.
Captain's log, N.S.S. Sleipnir
July 9, After Earth 2, 21:35 Ship Standard Time:
There are some who say we failed. That, when the secrets of the universe were handed to us, we only used them to destroy our fellow men. When this vessel departed from Stockholm National Starport on September 21st, 2008, the bleakness of the global outlook certainly supported that theory. The relentless military response by the Norse Democratic Union was not swift enough to keep the Greek Empire from seizing global dominance through manipulation of the world's minor states in 2006. In the process, much of the continent was blown away and irradiated by nuclear arms. Fallout sent into the atmosphere over the course of a few short years has nearly assured a global nuclear winter that will leave nothing the same.
The day we left, the Norse Defense Ministry activated its new robotic army against the Confederated Nations, driven by AI I fear they will not be able to control.
But we survived. We few hundred souls who have escaped the gravity of the small rock we were born on, and will within the next century escape the star system it orbits in. What awaits us in the depths of the wider galaxy, we cannot say. But we will journey ever onwards, and build new lives for our families among the stars... far from the reach of the fires of war. For we alone remain as testament that human ingenuity can bring great wonder, just as it can bring great destruction. Our legacy is one worth preserving. And that, alone, shall become our continuing mission.
End of log.
So, the upshot is that I technically lost. I focused all of my forces like a spearpoint to capture Athens as quickly as possible and stop the UN vote, but it just wasn't going to happen. In retrospect, I should have razed the entirety of Greece in the Great War. Hindsight is 20/20.
I actually kept the game going quite a while after my defeat, and sure enough, I won the space race two turns later. At that point, I proceeded to start cranking out Civ V's ultimate unit, the Giant Death Robot, and roleplayed that Skynet had taken over my government and determined humans were too violent to be allowed to live. While I probably could have squeezed a few more installments out of that alone, I felt like it was about time to close the book on this chronicle. It basically would have just been "giant robots stomp such and such city into dust" over and over again for about 40 years.
It's been a long ride, but there's one last page to turn...
And that was the Swedish Saga. 6000 years of grand discoveries, betrayals, warfare, and probably some innovative fish products. I'd like to thank everyone who's read along, whether you jumped in partway through, or have stuck around since the Celtic Chronicle. The positive feedback has been awesome.
While I think I've had enough Civ V in the last few months to last half a lifetime, you guys wanted more. And more you shall have! My next chronicle will take place in...
Crusader Kings 2! A nice break from the broad scope of Civ, it'll let me focus one one particular era of history as I wage wars, stab backs, and marry off daughters to gain control of medieval Europe. There's also a Game of Thrones mod, I hear, which would take the epicness of the concept to new proportions. And because you asked, I'll be posting in a new format.
I'll be taking next week off for PAX Prime, but you can expect the first entry of my Crusader Kings Chronicle on Wednesday, September 5th. Hope to see you then!