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, I started a new game as Sweden. This week, my Swedish civilization marches into the Middle Ages as the most technologically advanced nation in the world. But threats to the glorious empire wait around every corner... so read on to see legends unfold!
The War of Three Banners
The fifth century is off to a pretty good start. My economy is doing great, but my Happiness is close to going negative. I start researching Physics so I can build the Norte Dame wonder, which will give me a big bonus to Happiness and Faith.
430 A.D.: The first mint is constructed in Stockholm, printing coins bearing the visage of the first High King of Sweden.
490 A.D.: Denmark requests a gift of luxury resources from Sweden. They happily accept, having much to spare.
I made a similar deal like this with Austria. It might seem like charity, but as you'll recall, I get Great Person points for every civ I declare friendship with, so I'm investing in keeping the Danes on good terms.
550 A.D.: The progressive Swedish government presses their monarch to sign the Book of Sovereignty. It puts into effect a system of collective rule, giving more power to Lord-Governors on the local level and taking power away from the High King. Rebels in favor of a strong monarch are quickly put down by the combined might of the lords of the West, the Vale, and the Storm. The short, one-sided conflict comes to be known as the War of Three Banners.
This policy gives me a free settler, and lets me train settlers faster. It also completes the Liberty policy tree, which grants me a free Great Person. I choose a Great Scientist.
And no, Civ doesn't have a rebellion mechanic. But it adds flavor to the narrative to imply struggles within my borders, so I've given myself permission to do so.
565 A.D.: A Swedish Great Scientist founds the Academy of Stockholm.
Great Scientists can be expended for a one-time, huge boost to Science, or they can build an Academy that gives you ongoing Science. The latter is clearly the better long-term option, especially this early in the game.
Turmoil in the Stormlands and the rise of Awesomeness
610 A.D.: Uppsala, long the unofficial capital of the Northern Stormlands, grows into a full city. Located on the Bay of Storms east of Sigtuna, a road immediately begins construction to link it to the other great cities of Sweden. The divide between Northern Stormlanders, under Swedish rule, and Southern Stormlanders, under Danish rule, grows more pronounced. The Stormlands enter a period of feudal war between lords supporting Sweden, those supporting Denmark, and those supporting Stormlander independence. Both the Swedish and Danish nobility discreetly support the combatants, but neither side goes as far as to openly declare war or send their own men to the front.
670 A.D.: Islam is founded somewhere across the sea.
Yikes, what is that? Four religions? Five? Only seven can be founded per game, so I'm running out of time.
715 A.D.: Swedish scientists at the Academy of Stockholm observe and catalog the laws of physics.
Aww yeah, in your face, Newton! What are we, like, 900 years ahead of the curve here? Next I turn my tech path toward Education, so I can start making research agreements with some of the less-enlightened people of the world.
775 A.D.: Germany founds Judaism, and immediately declares holy war on Austria. The same year, a Great Prophet begins preaching of Awesome things in Stockholm...
WOW, right under the wire! My new religion, Awesomeness, ended up being the seventh of seven possible world religions. If I'd waited any longer, I would have had to watch helplessly as missionaries from other civs spread their faiths, with nothing I could really do about it. Now I can train Missionaries to convert others to the ways of Awesomeness, and eventually, Inquisitors to burn any less-than-Awesome heretics from my lands.
Since I am last, I get last pick of the available founder beliefs. I choose Tithing, which will give me gold for every follower of Awesomeness in the world, and Religious Community, which gives me a production bonus. Wouldn't have been my first choices, but not too bad for the bottom of the barrel.
A Celtic cold war
835 A.D.: Large Celtic warbands are spotted on the border near Uppsala. The High King dispatches forces there to defend, knowing that the warring Stormland lords cannot hold the border while civil war continues between them.
For the duration of this entire game, the Celts have kind of been that creepy neighbor who you see coming and going, but who doesn't talk to anyone, and no one really knows what he does for a living. They were the first to found a religion, but they haven't made any attempts to spread it. They move their troops around near the Swedish and Danish borders, but they've never declared war. They kind of have a whole subcontinent to themselves up there, and no one really has any idea what goes on in it. Luckily, they don't seem to have any units that match my tech level, so any invasion would be quickly thwarted.
860 A.D.: The First German Crusade ends, dashed against the walls of mighty Vienna. Still standing as the largest and most glorious city on the continent, it becomes known as The Unbreakable City.
890 A.D.: With the threat of Celtic raiders still looming, a Swedish Great General takes up residence at Uppsala and builds the Storm Wall to keep the city safe.
Meanwhile, Sweden's economy struggles.
960 A.D.: Sweden's regional Lord-Governors implement a system of Civil Service, offsetting much of the economic downturn of the late 9th and early 10th Centuries.
This gives a nice boost to all of my farms that have access to fresh water, which includes all of the ones built along the Snowrun River in the Stockholm Valley.
All hail the Awesome Pope!
1000 A.D.: The High Middle Ages dawn as the massive Cathedral of Awesomeness is completed in Stockholm, creating a rallying point and symbol of unity for followers of the quickly-spreading faith.
Completing Notre Dame gives me huge Happiness and Faith bonuses, which will allow me to begin settling even more cities. I want to expand as much as possible before the Renaissance hits, so I can churn out huge numbers of my unique units and bring about an era of military supremacy.
1030 A.D.: The Second German Crusade against Austria, the third major conflict between the two nations, begins. Nobody is surprised.
1060 A.D.: Swedish Lord-Governors begin to encourage commerce between cities, ending the 170-year period of financial instability for Sweden and making it a dominant economic power on the continent in just a few short years.
I had planned to pick up the Patronage policy tree and start courting city-states at this point, but the fact that my economy was still in the red despite my best efforts made Commerce the clear best choice. This represents a major change in strategy... I may look at going for a Science victory rather than a Diplomatic one. The map is a pretty big factor. I've noticed that Continents Plus puts almost all of the city-states on their own little islands, making it very impractical to befriend them in the early game. And even when you do find them, you need a pretty dominant navy (or a massive, massive treasury) to hang onto them.
1070 A.D.: Construction is completed on a massive palace for the first Awesomeness Pope to live in. He brings new perspectives and insights into the faith.
My wonder count climbs! I built the Hagia Sophia, which gives me a free Great Prophet. Your second Great Prophet enhances your existing religion, adding new beliefs and, thus, new bonuses. Again, I don't have much to pick from being the latest comer to the world religion arena. I pick up Choral Music, which gives me extra culture from temples, and Religious Texts, which causes my religion to spread faster (a bonus that doubles when I research the printing press.)
Germany issues a public denouncement of Greece. Later in the year, Denmark pledges to aid Austria, whose walls are currently beset by German crusaders. The Swedes elect not to send troops, but issue a denouncement of Germany for their continued aggression.
I'll be honest, I get denounced a lot in Civ... but for some reason it never occurred to me to denounce offensively until now. What this will basically do is make it less likely for the other AI leaders who like me to make any sort of agreements with Germany. It also ruins our chances of ever becoming friends pretty blatantly, but I'm not so worried about that.
Germany denounces Sweden in turn. As if that means anything to anyone.
We don't need no education... but it helps, I will give you that
1120 A.D.: Sweden becomes the first nation to develop a formal education system. It is led mostly by monks of Awesomeness, who later that year begin traveling across Sweden to spread the Awesome word to the outlying Westerland and Stormland domains.
Since I'm getting tithes from every follower, I don't want to wait around for Awesomeness to spread on its own. I'll start with my own cities, then move on to Denmark and Austria. Converting Vienna, still the largest city in the world by population, would be a huge coup. In the meantime, I'm turning my tech path toward guilds to supplement my huge religious income with additional secular income.
1150 A.D.: The first Swedish war fleet is launched from Helsinki.
Naval units haven't been much of a priority in this game so far, but it would be just a little too easy for the Celts to raid my coast as-is. And besides, before we know it, we'll start making contact with whatever civs lie across the ocean.
Awesomeness becomes the majority religion in bustling Sigtuna (second only to Vienna in terms of population) and in Uppsala, where most of the Northern Stormlander lords have adopted it. Long in danger of falling to Celtic Christianity, the Awesome Pope expresses his pleasure that they have chosen the true, Swedish religion. The Westerlands remain largely unswayed by the Church of Awesome.
1190 A.D.: Nine Great Guilds rise to power in the Stockholm Valley, and are granted large freedoms to manage coin and trade by the Lord Governors. Sweden's economy booms, and the royal treasuries overflow with more gold than anyone knows what to do with.
1220 A.D.: The burgeoning Swedish navy wipes out a troublesome band of corsairs off the coast of Austria.
The University of Sigtuna becomes the first institution of its kind in the known world.
War brews in the Age of Discovery
1225 A.D.: The Danes and the Swedes enter into a research agreement.
I was waiting for this very turn for Denmark to have enough gold to make this work, and they beat me to the proposal. Essentially, we both pay a large sum of gold (which poofs into nothingness) and get a huge, mutual science bonus after several turns have passed. Since I'm currently pretty rich, I'm going to try to make as many of these agreements as I can.
1260 A.D.: A professor at the University of Sigtuna invents the compass. Swedish ships use the new device to travel the seas in ways never before possible. A Swedish Golden Age begins.
My economy was already booming. Now, the money coming in is INSANE. I start buying buildings that will increase my production capabilities in every city, and head straight for Astronomy, which will let me cross ocean tiles. In terms of the historical Norsemen, I'm already about 250 years behind in discovering the New World.
1290 A.D.: Greece seeks allies to put down the warmongering German zealots, whose crusaders continue to harass Austria. Sweden agrees, provided they are given time to prepare.
Amazingly, I made it 5300 years without ever being at war with a major power. Granted, calling Germany a "major power" at this point is fairly generous. They've made some impressive comebacks over the centuries, but against the superpower that is Greece, they have just shy of a prayer. Especially with how many troops they've lost trying to take Vienna.
1300 A.D.: The unofficial start of the Late Middle Ages and the Swedish Age of Discovery. Aided by compasses, Swedish longships will encounter the island city-states of Ragusa, Rio De Janeiro, Venice, Florence, Jerusalem, and Monaco before their Golden Age ends in 1325.
By this time, Awesomeness has also become the majority religion all across Sweden, and even among some of the Southern Stormlander lords living under Danish rule.
Summer, 1345 A.D.: The Continental Alliance of Sweden, Denmark, Greece, and Austria declare war on Germany. Only the Celts remain, as ever, neutral.
Shortly thereafter, students at the University of Sigtuna develop telescopes and pioneer Astronomy, launching Sweden into the Renaissance.
I'm the first to get here, and my lead in total technologies has grown. Sweden is the academic center of the world, which is just the way I like it. I start research on the Printing Press, which will speed the spread of Awesomeness.
Winter, 1345 A.D.: Swedish troops and siege weaponry head South through the treacherous passes of the Snowruns for German-held Salzburg. It is the first time in history that Swedish troops have marched on foreign soil.
The Guildmasters of Sigtuna work with the Swedish Lord-Governors to establish a spy network, setting their sights on the German capital of Hamburg.
The Celtic Chronicle ended before spies really became relevant, so this is my first time really trying the ins-and-outs of Gods & Kings' new espionage mechanic. Spies are not units you move around on a board, but rather a separate window where you can deploy them to any city you've discovered. Putting them in your own cities orders them to guard against foreign spies. Putting them in city-states will increase your influence with that city-state. Stationing them in a foreign city, as I've opted to, allows them to steal technology and intercept AI attack plans.
1360 A.D.: Turku is founded South of Birka, in the sparsely-settled coastal woodlands between Sweden and Austria. The Swedish government offers incentives for settlers in the new territory, and many flock to claim them.
1360 A.D.: Swedish spies report that Germany has nothing of value to steal technologically (surprise surprise), but they do uncover plans to attack the Celts. The Swedes elect to share this information with the enigmatic woodsmen, hoping to bring them into the Continental Alliance. The network delivers the information, then immediately sets up in the Celtic capital of Edinburgh to learn what they can of the long poorly-understood civilization.
The spy network uncovers their Danish counterparts, who have already been in Edinburgh for some time. The two groups elect to work together, and discover that the Celts are, indeed, planning to invade the Northern Stormlands.
The Siege of Salzburg
1380 A.D.: A second town on the Southern frontier, Linköping, is founded to help bridge Turku and the rest of Sweden. Austria grows wary of the new Swedish land claims, arguing that Austrian traders and trappers had occupied those woods for decades.
Summer, 1390 A.D.: Swedish advances in machinery allow them to begin fielding crossbows. The first units trained to use the innovative weapons are those guarding the Northern Stormlands from the threat of Celtic raids.
Swedish forces meet up with Austrian and Danish camps already besieging Salzburg. The generals of the three nations begin outlining plans to overwhelm the German defenses and end the war with minimal losses.
Winter, 1390 A.D.: Awesomeness becomes the majority religion in Turku and the surrounding frontier settlements.
Gathering that they have learned all they can, the Swedish spy network leaves Edinburgh and returns to Stockholm, setting up to prevent the actions of foreign spies in the capital.
Austria unexpectedly signs a peace treaty with Germany and pulls their troops from Salzburg. The remaining attackers are left baffled, but continue the siege along with Greek allies freshly arrived from the South.
1395 A.D.: Greece declares war on the Celts, somewhat unexpectedly. Sweden, having committed much of its strength to fighting Germany, does not follow suit.
Well, I didn't see that coming. It's good for me in any case, though. Whatever plans the Celts had to attack me are now likely done for, as they'll have to contend with the overwhelming might of Greece.
Peace and justice for all
1410 A.D.: Word comes from across the sea that an empire has fallen.
Tired of hearing "word from across the sea," and wanting to cross the sea themselves, the Swedish navy is revolutionized with the introduction of ocean-worthy caravels. Fast, durable, and armed with cutting-edge gunpowder cannons, they set Sweden up as the world's dominant nautical power.
1415 A.D.: Germany offers a large ransom for peace with the Continental Alliance. Sweden’s share, alone, includes all the nation’s remaining gold, an annual tribute to the Swedish crown, and the surrender of resources including spices, cotton, and iron. The Alliance accepts, and Swedish forces withdraw from Salzburg.
Later that year, the Celts offer a declaration of friendship. Despite their being at war with the Greeks, the Swedes accept, hoping to end the conflict and strengthen the Continental Alliance. Austria makes a similar declaration soon after.
Just when it seemed like things were going to settle down again, we've created a stark divide. Greece is not going to be happy with me, nor with the Austrians, for declaring friendship with a civ they are at war with. Germany is almost a non-player at this point, which leaves myself, Austria, Denmark, and the Celts. Greece is way ahead of all of us on an individual level, but I do have a decisive tech lead, and I doubt they could break us if we all stood together.
1425 A.D.: Greece gives into pressure from Austria and Sweden, making peace with the Celts. The Celts take the opportunity to immediately declare war on Germany, sending forces to Salzburg to aid the Danes (who never accepted Germany's peace offering and have still been besieging the city.)
The Swedes found a Chivalric Order of Awesomeness. Under the new code of chivalry, they sign mutual defensive accords with the kings of Denmark and Austria. Greece is excluded from the accord for as long as they continue to oppose accepting the Celts into the Continental Alliance.
Chivalry would allow me to build Knights... except that I still don't have Horses. This whole continent is almost bereft of them. Denmark and Greece each have some, but neither seem willing to trade for them. At least it allows me to set up Defensive Pacts, which will come in handy.
1430 A.D.: Germany successfully sues for peace with the Celts and the Danes.
Later in the year, the Greeks finally declare friendship with the Celts, cementing the five-way Continental Alliance. At the Council of the Five Kings, defensive pacts are agreed upon between all five nations. It is the end of an era of war.
Greek scientific revolution
1440 A.D.: The Greeks and the Celts enter into a research agreement.
Well, they sure patched up that whole war and strife thing quickly. I have to be careful of other civs making research agreements I'm not involved in, as it could lose me my tech lead. And I can't afford to lose that against Greece, since it's currently the only thing I'm beating them at.
1450 A.D.: The city-state of Monaco pledges fealty to Sweden, in awe of their technological advances.
1460 A.D.: A revolution in Germany deposes the religious aristocracy. The new government exchanges embassies with Sweden, and talks begin on possibly bringing them into the Continental Alliance.
Later that year, a Great Prophet of Awesomeness is born in Stockholm. He will go on to begin converting the Danes to awesomeness.
1470 A.D.: Greece and Austria sign a research agreement.
Okay, this is EXACTLY what I don't want happening. Now Greece will get double the benefits, while each of their research partners will only benefit from one agreement. And I'm benefiting from nothing, having recently emptied my treasuries to invest in science-generating universities for my outlying cities. Conflict with Greece is seeming more and more inevitable if I want any hope of winning this game.
A trade road to Linköping is finally established, linking the Southern frontier to the rest of Sweden.
A whole New World
1485 A.D.: Swedish monks invent the printing press, mainly so they don't have to hand-copy so many freaking manuscripts any more. The Holy Texts of Awesomeness begin to be mass-produced and spread across the land.
The rate at which my religion will spread without me having to do anything now far surpasses any other world religion. This will bring a steady stream of new believers and, more importantly, new tithers. The next order of business is researching gunpowder. My navy already has cannons, but the so-named tech allows me to begin replacing my melee infantry with musketmen.
1490 A.D.: The Great Prophet makes Awesomeness the majority religion in bustling Aarhus, Denmark.
Far across the sea, Swedish explorers come ashore in the New World, encountering the indigenous Romans. They are an advanced society, and followers of Hinduism.
Well, I beat Columbus by two years and missed the real-world Norsemen by almost 500. Still, I am the first Western nation to get here. So that's something.
1495 A.D.: A group of Roman diplomats sets sail on a Swedish ship to establish an embassy in Stockholm. A similar embassy is established in Rome, marking the first formal diplomatic exchange between the West and the East.
1500 A.D.: Swedish scouts liberate a group of captured Austrian settlers that had been captured by forest brigands. The Austrians express their gratitude.
I'm hoping this will start to patch things up with Austria, who still are less than thrilled with me settling cities on their borders.
Awesomeness becomes the majority religion in the Danish capital of Copenhagen.
The rise of reason
1525 A.D.: Sweden and Denmark agree to an open borders treaty, allowing free travel between the Northern and Southern Stormlands.
1535 A.D.: Rationalist thinking takes hold across Sweden, as the entire nation dedicates itself to scientific pursuits.
I've picked up Rationalism, in addition to Commerce, and am totally eschewing Patronage. At this point, a Science victory is looking much, much more viable than Diplomatic. So screw the U.N., we're gonna build spaceships!
1540 A.D.: Missionaries begin spreading Awesomeness to the German capital of Hamburg, which also happens to be the holy city for Judaism. The Germans aren't especially excited about this.
Summer, 1545 A.D.: A Great Scientist in Stockholm heads out for the Westerlands.
Winter, 1545 A.D.: Germany denounces the Swedes for their proselytizing. As with all of Germany's denunciations, there are few who actually care.
1550 A.D.: The Great Scientist founds the Academy of Birka.
Academies take up a tile, and at this point I'm using pretty much all of the ones around my first few cities. Birka, in the heart of the Westerlands, is surrounded by Tundra, though. There isn't much you can do with tundra tiles other than build trading posts, so it's the ideal location to plop down Great Person buildings.
1555 A.D.: The Swedes invent smooth-bore infantry firearms, and begin equipping their forces with them immediately. The designs are almost immediately stolen, however, by a spy of unknown origin.
The probability of stealing a technology is based on how much Science a city is producing. I currently have two major cities producing a ton of science -- Stockholm and Sigtuna -- and only one spy to defend. You can't build new spies, either. Every civ gets one on the turn that the first civ enters a new era. I guess it'll be fairly easy to figure out who the culprit is, as they should be the only other civ besides me with musketmen.
Elsewhere, a rigged election in Monaco leads to them withdrawing their support of Sweden.
Man, I am getting demolished in the espionage game here. The trouble is that spies only level up when they succeed at something, and none of mine have yet.
In other news, some civ I haven't met yet beat me to building the Tower of Pisa, which I believe marks the 3rd wonder this game I've had to cancel. I'm turning my tech path toward Chemistry, which will improve my production in all cities and hopefully keep that from happening again.
1560 A.D.: Sweden and Greece sign a research agreement.
I'm uneasy at this, since I don't really want to help Greece get more technologies. But everyone else is too poor at the moment, and it's better they make an agreement with me than anyone else.
The Austrian Inquisition
1585 A.D.: The now majority-Awesomenist Denmark renews war on Germany after hearing of a German inquisition against followers of Awesomeness in Hamburg.
Inquisitors are a Faith unit that remove religions other than the one you founded from your cities. Germany has been using them pretty aggressively to counter my missionaries.
A Swedish Great Prophet preaches his last sermon in the world metropolis of Vienna, and it quickly becomes majority Awesomenist. Massive tithes begin rolling in to the Swedish Church of Awesomeness from the teeming Viennese.
The Austrian Confucian upper class is displeased by this turn of events.
1595 A.D.: The Swedes and the Celts sign an open borders treaty, which would have been unthinkable 100 years ago.
The Austrian nobility denounce Sweden and the Church of Awesomeness, causing a rift in the Continental Alliance.
1610 A.D.: The Viennese institute an inquisition of their own, ridding Vienna of Awesomeness. Missionaries are immediately sent from Sweden to win it back.
1620 A.D.: Scholars at the Academy of Birka master chemistry, leading to huge advances in both the civilian and military sectors.
I can now build cannons, the first gunpowder siege weapons that become available. If a religious war breaks out with Austria, I'm fairly confident I could capture Vienna without much fuss. I'm going for Fertilizer next, which will improve all of my farms that don't have access to fresh water.
The Alliance fractures
1640 A.D.: A new wave of missionaries brings about the Second Awesome Awakening in Vienna, returning it to a majority-Awesomenist city.
To the East, Denmark declares war on Germany, led by a Great General.
1650 A.D.: Salzburg, an originally Austrian city held by Germany for centuries, is captured by the Danes. Germany is once again reduced to its capital of Hamburg.
1655 A.D.: The Danes drop out of the Continental Alliance, citing Austria's grievances with Sweden.
Not. Good. The Danes have a pretty strong military right now, and if they allied with Austria against me, I would be at war with two of the three civs directly bordering me.
Time again to take the field
1660 A.D.: The Celtic royalty, seeking plunder, declares war on Germany and marches for Hamburg. Later that year, they sign simultaneous research agreements with Greece and Austria.
My blood pressure goes up a little with every one of these agreements that happens without my involvement. At least in the case of the Celts, they're so far behind me that it shouldn't matter.
The secrets of machinery are stolen from Sweden by a spy later identified as Greek.
Um... OK. That's annoying, but I already have cannons and muskets, so I'm not super worried about Greece getting crossbows, finally. I'm going to tell Greece to stop spying on me, which will hurt our relations, but also make the rest of the world wary of them if they get caught doing it again. I'm pleased to see that my spy network, though it has yet to stop any spies, is now at least competent enough to identify who is stealing from me.
1680 A.D.: Having failed to capture Hamburg, the Celts ask for aid in a war against Austria. Knowing this would likely erupt into a continental war that would pit them against the Danes as well, the Lord-Governors of Sweden are split. Ultimately, pressure from the Church of Awesomeness leads them to vote in favor of the war, in retribution for the inquisitions against the faithful of Vienna. The Swedes tell the Celts to give them time to prepare.
In preparation for the war, the shiny, new cannons of the Swedish 1st Artillery are rolled out in Sigtuna.
1702 A.D.: The Swedes perfect new techniques for fertilizing crops, marking the beginning of the Swedish Industrial Revolution.
First into a new era for the second time in a row! My tech lead is steadily growing wider. Compared to the Celtic Chronicle, things are just going amazingly well. I'm super rich, my people are mostly happy, and my military is far more advanced than any other on the planet. Tumultuous times are ahead, however: I've pledged to go to war with Austria, and their Danish allies will surely be provoked as well. Only time will tell if Swedish cannons can pierce the Unbreakable City. So check back next week, when the sound of guns will echo across the continent!