Played quite a bit of Civ3 yesterday - after a couple of false starts I've got quite stuck into a game. I was making a real effort to slightly change my normal strategy for city placement ... this time I was trying (and mostly succeeding) to place the cities next to the resources, rather than neatly in a grid spiralling out from my first city. And not even counting squares to get the city on a grid point and near-ish the resource ... it probably says something bad that that was hard to do ;)
The last part of this series of Monarchy was on the telly - covered the Civil War and the UK's brief flirtation with republic. I was quite amused by the fact that Cromwell succeeded so well in totally taking over Scotland and Ireland while there was still a power vacuum in England. So, you know, once they worked out who/what was ruling England, he/it was ruling Scotland & Ireland too, OK? I was also struck by how Cromwell being King in all but name wasn't just a moral stance on his part - it was also that the powers of a King were constrained by custom and law, whereas there'd never been a ruler like Cromwell before so he could do much more as he pleased. Makes you wonder what the country would've been like if he'd lived long enough to provide some resolution to the quarrels between Parliament and the Army, or if his son had had the strength of will necessary to keep on with the balancing act. After all, the Stuart dynasty is mostly the story of the powers of the monarchy being eroded and tamed - important steps on the way to our current more figure-head monarchy and powerful Parliament. If the Restoration had never happened, would the UK be as democratic? Or would we have got there via more revolutions, a la the French?