While my cities were busy producing war elephants, catapults and some axemen for the upcoming war, now it was the time to trade away the tech I had received from the great prophet earlier. During the next centuries, I made the following deals:
I also later traded away Code of Laws to Hatty for Monarchy, so it can be safely said I really put that great prophet to very good use. Moses had given me Theology, Sailing, Archery, Mathematics, Code of Laws, Monarchy, Currency, Calendar and 590 gold! Eight techs and lots of gold to fund my research - Moses must have been sent to me by God indeed. And all this without breaking my monopoly on Alphabet! Things really started to look good, despite the crowded situation - which I was about to do something about soon.
While I reinforced my border cities to Saladin and Hatty with an archer and an axeman each, my offensive stack began to assemble near Kumbi Saleh. But it looked like I was not the only one feeling a bit restless... In 20AD, Mao declared war on Hatty, and in 50AD, Julius Caesar declared war on Tokugawa! Wow, I haven't had a game in a long time with two AI-AI wars so early.
And while I couldn't see what was going on in these wars, both were more than just phony wars, as this shot from the replay illustrates:
Yep, that's right, only four turns after Mao had declared war on Hatty, Hatty has captured one of Mao's cities, followed by another one in 230AD! That's what I call bad preparations on Mao's side. Looks like he had severely underestimated the beautiful queen of Egypt!
Julius Caesar on the other hand had been better prepared or so it seems - or his plans were more sophisticated, or, most likely, he wisely used the window of opportunity for his powerful praetorians. As you can see, he captured his first city from Toku only four turns after declaring war, and while I couldn't see it in the game, he managed to roll over Toku pretty easily. Imagine my surprise when in 1085AD, the message appeared that the Japanese civilization had been destroyed! An AI successfully waging war and being so intelligent to annihilate his enemy completey, so early in the game? Who would have thought it? I wish Arathorn would read this...
All this was even more surprising considering this:
Except of me, who remained Atheistic, and Mansa, who stayed in Buddhism, the whole world was Hindu now! All AIs sharing the same religion is normally a sure ticket to everlasting and boring peace, so my surprise about two successfull AI-AI wars going on was even greater. This was truly a remarkable game for me already, despite still being only in early AD times!
But back to my plans of attacking Mansa. Considering the religious situation, I bet no AI minded me attacking him... But before I could declare war, his city of Walata began to feel my cultural superiority.
The city would flip to me next time it revolts, which would save me some effort capturing it. However, I had no idea when this would happen, and my forces were ready and willing to fight now...so I decided not to wait, and to take that city later by force. Kumbi Saleh, my first target, was situated on a hill, but only had two skirmishers as defenders right now - so now was the time to attack it. In 485AD, I declared war.
I mean, Mansa had exactly 666 points - which is the number of the beast! So I had to declare war on him, right?
Normally, against a more potent foe, I would move my stack into the forest at Kumbi Saleh to bombard and then attack the city. This way, my forces would be protected from any counterattacks. However, with no way for Mansa to reinforce the city with offensive units, I moved to the plains tile instead simply because it would be faster on the way to his next city once I had captured Kumbi Saleh. Which happened in 530AD:
Note how Mansa had produced a third skirmisher while I bombarded the city, but instead of giving me a headache by fortifying him in the city on the hill, he moved him out of the city - probably to try to pillage my horses. After capturing the city, I let the skirmisher move on the horses so that he lost his defense bonus from the forest, then killed him.