War! Niani is defended by a single Maceman. Two Catapults demolish their defenses and our Shock-promoted Crossbowman takes the defender down. Niani is renamed ”stessier”:
Mansa already wants to sue for peace:
Normally, the AI gets the ”Refuses to talk!” tag for at least a few turns even if a city is taken. That is not the case here, Mansa wants peace already after a single turn of war. He really is that weak, that's the result of over-cottaging and not building enough military. We stay in war for a while until he decides to bribe us with techs. The reason for his behavior is this:
This is the most important variable to the AI when determining war attitude – the Power Graph. Power is increased by number of military units, but also by the strength of those units (a Maceman counts for more than a Axeman, for example). Walls and Castles increase the perceived Power as well, so it is a good idea to build Walls even if they will never be used if only to artificially increase your Power and make the AI:s more scared of you.
We march north. Mansa is visibly scared, and moves a lone Longbowman to Walata. Mansa is so predictable, he never builds enough defense.
Paris Commune constructs Notre Dame in 1060 AD:
Notre Dame gives all our cities +2 Happiness. That will stave off any war weariness we might suffer.
There is only a single Longbowman defending Walata. There is another Longbowman on the Sugar Plantation directly to the north of our army:
We promote a Maceman with Cover and Combat II and defeat the Longbowman easily, he had no defensive bonus on the plantation. As a result of this victory, Vercingetorix, Great General, is born!
We march him to the front with intent to super-promote one unit – probably the upgraded City Raider III Axeman.
We discover Optics. Optics enables us to send out Caravels to meet unknown civs. I'm excited! I hope they will enjoy our ideals! We tech straight for Astronomy next – I don’t think we will need Gunpowder units to defeat Mansa.
Mansa managed to get a Chariot into Walata before the attack:
Now there are two units defending Walata! Ooh nooo!
We take Walata. That Longbowman managed to take two of our Macemen with him, but that’s life in the Red Army. Walata is renamed ”theohall”:
Mmm, Sugar! We march the main army northeast towards Awdaghost. A few Knights are moving in from the south to assist the attack there. As you can see, we have also sent a small detachment to the west near Tekedda – Tekedda is defended by a single Maceman so we should be able to take it with even just the 3 units.
We are offered a Quest – The Harbormaster:
We are tasked to build 7 Harbors and 4 Caravels before the Industrial Age. We will definitely try to complete this quest since we get to choose from free ship promotions and extra gold from Harbors. Only problem is, we only have 5 coastline cities so we can’t build 7 harbors yet. We will have to remedy that.
The war rages on… Tekedda is taken by way of suicide catapults and is promptly razed. We only made 13 gold off this, but hey, it was fun!
Vercingetorix leads our previously promoted Axeman unit as ”Hipolito”:
He has City Raider III, Combat II and +1 Movement range. In the future, this unit will also upgrade to modern units for free.
Before we even take Adawghost, Mansa wants to capitulate!
It appears he would rather be our vassal than give us free techs. What a tool. We stay in war and press on anyway, Adawghost looks way too tasty with all those Dye deposits. Mansa can surrender to us later.
Adawghost is situated on a hill and is defended by a Longbowman, a Chariot and a Catapult. It would seem slightly harder to take this city, but we take it without a single casualty. Adawghost is renamed ”El Guapo”:
We accept Mansa’s surrender. He is still ”Cautious” with us so we will be able to continue our trading relationship. And of course, we will steal the techs he refuse to give us.
We sign Open Borders with Mansa, trade Horseback Riding, Compass and 240 Gold in return for Banking and demand Gems as our free resource. We could use some Fish as well, but the barbarian city to the north has access to fish and since we need more coastal cities, we’ll take it with our victorious army. We can also tell Mansa what to research now, so we say research Paper.
We change Civics to Mercantilism/Bureaucracy/Theocracy. Mercantilism gives us free specialists who all benefits from Representation all over our empire. Bureaucracy gives our capital a great boost to commerce and production. Theocracy gives us the xp boost we need for warfare while assuring that Hinduism doesn’t spread to our cities – remember the Hindu Apostolic Palace? We don’t want to be part of that club.
While in anarchy, we take the barbarian city Shangian to the north. Tragically, lowly barbarians proved a greater challenge than Mansa:
They almost defeated Hipolito, who was left with a sliver of hit points. Those nasty northerners! Nevertheless, with superior numbers we take Shangian. We delete some of our units, especially the siege units, to save money. We won’t go to war anytime soon, and certainly not before we get Gunpowder units.
This is Mali after the invasion:
Now that we are out of anarchy, we let some of our core cities build Wealth while we re-educate our new citizenry! We will also send a settler to the north of Moscow to build a coastal city so we can finish our Harbormaster quest.