So y'all might have noticed there was no AtF post this week.
Well, as it turns out, Civilization V has been released. And, as it turns out, I am a massive pile of geekiness. At the time I would have been writing AtF I was, instead, sending my armies of modern armor and mechanized infantry (and a random unit of lancer cavalry because, y'know, they were there...) in to the heart of the Songhai Empire under the cover of F-22 fighters, B-17 bombers, and off-shore artillery support from battleships and destroyers.
They were defending with Renaissance-era riflemen and cannon. Also, their main cavalry was, well, knights.
I love the Civilization games. The historical anachronism is just awesome. And, for the record, Civ V is, by far, the best of the lot. Cities can actually defend themselves even if ungarrisoned and bombard attacking forces. Once you get the right technology your land units can transport themselves across water. Units can't be stacked, which is kind of annoying from a logistics standpoint, but quite nice from a strategic standpoint. Also, unlike past iterations of the game, if you have an advanced unit that is not on the verge of death and your opponent has a relatively crappy unit, there's basically no chance of you losing that battle. That was always one of the -- shall we say -- flavorful aspects of Civ. You'd occasionally find yourself running a tank in to a unit of spearmen and watching the tank lose, leading to a grand WTF? moment. Oh, and the computer will actually tell you whether an attack is a good idea or not before you make it using a little graph of expected damage per side.
As best I can tell, most pre-gunpowder units cannot deal with post-gunpowder units one-on-one. Pre-modern forces cannot handle modern, armored units on-on-one, either. I had one situation where I had a pair of mechanized infantry units pushing forward with two units of riflemen entrenched in the mountains. That was the only time in my fight against the Songhai Empire where I actually stood a chance of losing. So I just bombed the units in to Bolivian...
Also, they introduced something completely new: City-States. Well, these are new for the Civ series. They're kind of analogous to certain factions in Empire: Total War. Basically, though, they're non-expansionist factions that can be a real nuisance in times of war, as they'll go to war on behalf of the large faction they're allied with. So the trick is to find a city-state that's close to a prospective enemy, buy them off, then watch them force your enemy in to a two-front war.
You can also use them as staging areas and flimsy pretexts for wars against major powers. Hilariously, too, if an enemy power invades a City-State that's your protectorate, they'll taunt you about it. This, for the record, might seem like a good idea if the invading power is extremely strong or far away. If it is, however, the weakest major power left on the board and it taunts the most powerful force...
And so but anyway, that was my day yesterday.
Oddly enough, it was roughly as historically accurate as After the Flood. And a shit-ton more exciting.
Also, I'll be doing a lot of traveling over the course of October. So there might be a couple more of these weeks in the near future.