What happens when one of Football Manager’s most hapless strategists takes a break from football and applies himself to world history?
Can a man who failed so miserably with Everton perform any better when bestowed with immortality and granted complete control of an ancient society of hunter-gatherers? Will he win the space race or die in the dark ages? Find out now or just edge nervously away from the screen, doing your best to maintain that rictus smile.
Teotihuacan belongs to Essex, but we cannot stop there and we cannot rest for too long. The Aztecs have been hit hard, but they are fearsome soldiers and they will regroup quickly if we give them the chance. As dawn breaks, Henry Rollins strips to the waist, covers himself in red paint and leads the charge to their capital city.
Some of our forces were damaged in the assault and so I cannot bring everyone to Tenochtitlan. I hope we’ll have enough. Roll call that morning is an eye-opening experience, most significantly because I accidentally call out Pavarotti’s name and we all get a surprise when he answers in typically forthright style. In the confusion of war, it seems that he actually survived his low-odds attack on the city. Unfortunately, Barry White did not. The Hall of Heroes will be adapted appropriately.
But while we march east, the Aztecs set up a new city in the west. And from the remnants of their own invasion force, two veteran axemen units march for Chelmsford. I have sent everything I’ve got to war. There is no unit that can hope to repel firepower of this magnitude. Fully aware of their odds of success, Depeche Mode march stoically into the hills. These Aztecs. They’re so aggressive. I can’t understand what makes a man hate another man. Help me understand. Or just kill them. Actually, just kill them. We’ll deal with philosophical questions later.
Back in the west, we move on the copper mines of Tenochtitlan. If we can destroy them, the Aztecs won’t be able to produce anything more harmful than an archer. The only drawback is that it’s guarded by something far more dangerous than an archer. It’s an elite unit of axemen. I ask for volunteers. There are none, so I tell Elastica to do it. It goes about as well as their second album. Justine Frishmann’s team are downed without causing even a scratch to the defenders. I send Aretha Franklin in to finish up, but she’s killed as well. This is a disaster.
In the end, I have to hand over to Suede, the unlikeliest of clean-up men. Still, you have to credit their professionalism. Brett Anderson is entirely unmoved by the demise of former beau Justine and the mines are set ablaze. The Aztec empire is crippled. Now let’s finish the job.
The catapults go in first, levelling the city walls. The siege will take time, but soon we will begin the assault. In the meantime, however, there are problems in Chelmsford.
Depeche Mode gallantly defeat one unit of axemen, but Basildon’s greatest export cannot hold the hill and they fall beneath the second wave. With our farms and our mines imperilled, I scramble Bananarama. They are not powerful enough to defeat axemen, but with hill defences and crossing-the-river penalties in play, they can’t be easily destroyed either. We stand on either side of the valley, staring each other down…and then two Indian axemen appear and wipe them out for us! Thanks, Gandhi!
It’s important to ensure that we hold our new cities, so new archers are dispatched to our pacified territories. Level 42 will look after Teotihuacan while we prosecute this war. And then there will be a few changes around here.
Back out west, the siege continues apace. And then Monserrat Caballe leads the attack on the garrisoned troops. She is unstoppable. I could do with a few more like her.
In 820AD, Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztec Empire, falls under our adidas sambas. The war isn’t over, we have to decide whether to push further or to impose a peace upon our adversaries. The temptation, of course, is to crush them, but we have to consider the balance of power. Do we really want to give the French the chance to dominate this part of the world? Far better, I think, to leave them, the Indians and the French to keep each other in line, and then to focus our efforts on reinforcing the western front, where the Mongols have sat undisturbed and dominant for nearly 5,000 years.
In memory of Depeche Mode’s sacrifice, our first new city will henceforth be known as Basildon. It’s what they would have wanted. Tenochtitlan will now be known as Clacton, because it looks like it could make a nice seaside resort for the kiddies. Both cities, interestingly, are holy cities. If we can attract the attention of a great prophet, we could do quite well out of that. And we should consider it as well. Otherwise the Buddhist leader Gandhi could win the game early on religious grounds.
Torn apart by war, the west coast of the continent has changed a bit in recent years. Essex dominance is clear in the north. We haven’t sent anyone to the south for a while, but we assume that the French are in the ascendency. And we remain more than a little concerned by the Mongols. It’s when they go quiet…that’s when you have to worry.
This ridiculous farce is being played out on Civilization IV, released in 2005, but still available on Steam and still gloriously playable even with the lowest spec machine. I’m playing a random Terra map (one continent where everyone starts, but there’s another mystery one out there across the ocean) on Marathon speed at Prince level.
HALL OF HEROES
Elvis Presley, murdered in the hills of outer Mongolia by barbarian archers in 1390BC
Oasis, killed by Aztec axemen in the hills to the east of Colchester in 190AD
Pulp, killed by Aztec axemen in the hills to the east of Colchester in 190AD
Teenage Fanclub, killed by Aztec axemen defending the Colchester copper mines in 230AD
Meat Loaf, killed in a heroic, one-way ticket attack on Aztec forces outside Chelmsford in 330AD
Barry White, killed during the assault on the Aztec city of Teotihuacan in 764AD
Then Jerico, killed in the forests to the east of Chelmsford by Aztec axemen in 788AD
Elastica, killed in an attack on the Tenochtitlan copper mines in 796AD
Aretha Franklin, killed in an attack on the Tenochtitlan copper mines in 796AD
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