Looking over the replay, it occurs to me that one of the things I love about Rise of Nations is just how seriously it models subtle stuff. Like terrain. I’m convinced, @Otthegreat, that I won largely due to a river!
I’m not sure if it’s something you noticed, but I think the placement of Novgorod inadvertently sealed your fate. Check this out:
Novgorod is in a great place for a city. Lots of trees and iron. But it’s in a pocket that defends the wrong side! When I grabbed the city, you naturally tried to retake it. But your only avenue of approach was along this river:
Units in rivers not only move slower, but they take more damage. So by just parking my army at the head of the river, I was forcing you to march your counterattack down a long convenient killing zone. Not that you had much choice short of circling the long way round. It was a perfect storm of defensive terrain from my side of the map!
Now I had to take Novgorod first, and you did a great job setting up defenses. But I got super lucky taking out your castle while you were rebuilding your army. I notice you have some reinforcements riding up just as the castle fell! I think if I hadn’t completely lucked into that timing, the game would have unfolded very differently.
Anyway, that was a lot of fun! It felt like a very even match where I lucked into a terrain situation that favored me.
EDIT: Although, watching the replay, looks like Mr. Tactical Supergenius Tomchick does a fair amount of standing around in that river, too. :)
But, really, this is the graph that tells the story of that game:
You had a solid economy, but I think I just managed to keep my army alive longer and forced you to pour resources into reinforcements.