Multiplayer Warmongering Guide

This is a walktrough and a collection of advices on how to survive and be competitive in a multiplayer FFA game. It assume you have a good all around knowledge of Civ4 (Warlords 2.08 patch) and I’d say this guide will be useful for anyone who is not an expert but can at least win on Noble and Prince. Make sure you know all game concepts and have had few multiplayer game experience. It may seem complicated at once, but with some practical experience and time you will do all of these instinctively. Especially in the case of city placing, priorities of workers and battles in the field, experience will make an huge difference.
Unless you are extremely familiar with the game already, I would suggest starting a single player game and following the guide chapter by chapter to get a hold of all the concepts and strategies.

After teaching from scratch how to play multiplayer to my friend, I figured everything I told him could be crammed into a guide with easy to follow methods and no mathematic. When I started multiplayer I looked around for such documents but only found many articles on different subjects. This is a compilation of all the knowledge I got from these articles and my own game experience. I imagine now having possession of this document would have spared me hundreds of errors and set me to higher levels faster so I hope this will be useful for many. I know my guide is not perfect and I will probably update it with information as time goes on. For any comments send emails to “kiershar” on hotmail. Please forgive any errors as my first language is french and my english is not perfect.

On a side note, I prefer running a cottage economy most of the time, but remember that a specialist economy is sometimes viable if you know how to handle it. You’ll also notice there is no reference to religions or wonders. That is because instead of making wonders you should concentrate those resources on surviving and killing others and if you get a religion it is only because you got it by chance along the path of technologies that allows you to win by means of war. If someone took the resources and time to make wonders they will most likely not stand the strength of your army. Vice-versa if you made wonders and they built armies.

I – Settings
II – Choosing a Civilization
III – Starting the game
IV – First technologies. Path to war
V – Exploring the land
VI – Tribal Warfare
VII – Worker’s Priorities
VIII – Second city : Crucial expansion
IX – Expansion’s production
X – Building an Army
XI – Ancient wars
XII – Monitoring your rivals
XIII – Improvements Technologies
XIV – Whipping the Cats
XV – The Big Wars
XVI – Getting the Lead
XVII– Advanced technologies

I – Settings

Verify you have these following options.
From the Main Menu, go to “Advanced” then “Options” and make sure you have these enabled :

Wait at end of turns You don’t want the turns to end by itself. Control everything
Minimize pop-ups This makes sure you can move your units right at start of each turns. Get used to it.
Quick moves Don’t need animations
Quick combat (Offense) Don’t need animations
Quick combat (Defense) Don’t need animations
Stack attack Crucial for field battles. Mastering unit selections with Shift, Ctrl and Alt is essential.
Automated workers leave old improvements

And these disabled :

Units Auto-promote Eww
Workers starts automated Gross

Most FFA game will be played according to those settings :

– 5-6 people on small, 7-9 on standard
– Ancient Era start
– Speed : Quick
– Difficulty : Noble
– No Technology trading
– No barbarians
Doesn’t matter if there are barbarians. More escorts and defense needed, no major change in strategy

Note : Not every game can be won. Someone can start very close to you and take your capital with his warrior while you have only a scout. Sometimes the enemy may have horse or copper right under his capital and have troops on you too quick. I have seen someone get his settler killed on first turn. Sometimes there is no horses, copper or iron at all, meaning you are doomed as soon as someone starts a war on you. Luck of locations makes a big difference in many games. Don’t get discouraged if you get killed because of very bad starting location.

II – Choosing a Civilization

There is 3 traits that are extremely useful for warmongering.

Aggressive means your axeman and spearman gets an anti-melee, medic or extra strength right away. Your armies are much stronger.

Financial enables you to have a superior economy that will allows you to support a large army and lead in the technology race.

Creative makes the cultural defense grow very fast and allows you place your second city 2 square away from metals or horses.

Any Aggressive or Financial civilization are solid choices. Here are my favorites :

Vikings : Financial, Aggressive. Berserkers (Amphibious, +10% city attack, macemen)
My favorite. Big strong army with the cash to back it.

Rome (Augustus) : Creative, Organized. Preatorians (Strength 8 swordsman)
Creative gives city defense bonus fast and preatorians are very good until machinery comes out.

Korea : Protective, Financial. Hwacha (+50% vs Melee, catapults)
Hwacha is extremely powerful. Especially good against Rome. Decent archer for early dangers.

Zulu : Aggressive, Expansive. (Mobility spearmens)
Quick expansion, strong armies, spearman that rushes, pillage and chase mounted. Barracks that gives 10% maintenance reduction.

Mali : Financial, Spiritual (4 strength, 1-2 first strikes, archers)
Awesome archers for potential rush offense and defense. Financial keeps the money flowing for troops.

III – Starting the Game

Now you have your settler and warrior/scout waiting for your orders. Check around with your scout/warrior and then settle the capital right where it stands unless the scouts see a bunch of floodplains, gems or good food resources a square away. From there you will have to look at what tile you lose to gain the extra floodplain or extra -good- resource. You might also consider settling on a plain hill because it will net you a +1 production and 25% defense bonus (Those are the brown hills. Do not confuse them with green hills or desert hills). Also valuable places to settle are on elephants, marbles and stones; they will net you +1 production. Most of the time, settling right on the tile you spawned on is the best choice because there will never be jungle, peak, tundra or desert in the city radius.

Time to pick something to produce. Usually you’ll want to start with a warrior. If you have fish/clam/crab, start with fishing if you think you are safe, making a workboat to exploit the sea food is a very good choice. In this case make sure you improve a fish/clam/crab that is on coast tile so that it produce more commerce and you will want to improve coast fish first as it produce 1 more food than clam or crab. If you decide to go for workboat, just make the first warrior after the workboat or after the first worker if you feel no threat. If you see a warrior roaming near you, just switch the production inside your capital to work hills and plain forests; you’ll get your warrior in time most likely.

After you built a warrior, make a worker. When your worker is out switch to Slavery and start chopping forests adjacent to your capital to make a settler. If something approach your capital, you can always whip a warrior. In summary :

Warrior – Worker – Settler – Worker Standard start
Workboat – Warrior – Worker – Settler – Worker Sea food start
Workboat – Worker – Warrior – Settler – Worker Safe sea food start
Workboat – Worker – Settler – Worker – Warrior Very safe sea food start

In all case, switch to slavery right after the first worker or after the settler if you feel safe. Sometime it may be worth it to whip your settler to make the new city as soon as possible, like in the case the copper/horses is outside the capital’s fat cross. If theres threats always make extra defense/offense of course.

IV – First technologies. Path to war

Now you will have to pick a technology. First priority of all is getting good units. This means you will start by researching bronze working and mining if you have to before. From there the path splits.

If copper appears within 2 squares of your capital and you have a close neighbor, you will maybe want to try a rush on him. You will research wheel right away and hook up your copper as soon as you can. After producing your first worker, switch to slavery and then make 1 warrior per slice of 70 gold you have (Maybe you got lucky on huts!) and then a barrack. As soon as the copper is hooked, upgrade your warriors to axemens and spearmens, whip out another and command your worker to chop forests adjacent to the capital to produce as much axemans and spearmens possible. When you finished chopping everything adjacent to the capital start improving food resources and set up a few mines. Start marching toward the close neighbor, deny him resources and maybe destroy him. Build your first settler after you have sent 4-5 units toward your enemy and resume the general plan.

If you have no copper and you are very close to someone you might want to go for archery before. Also if your neighbor are Persia, Zulu, Egypt or you are Rome, you might want to go straight for Iron Working.

In all other cases, go for Animal Husbandry. From there the path splits again :

If you have horse within 2 squares of your capital and you have close neighbor, you will maybe want to chariot rush him. Research wheel right away and hook up your horses as fast as you can. After producing your first worker produce a barrack if you have the time. As soon as your horse are hooked, start whipping horses and send them directly toward the close neighbor. Work on capturing workers and do not letting him grab copper, iron or horses. Build your first settler as soon as you think you sent enough chariots to deny him copper and iron, usually 3-4 does the trick if you hooked the horses fast enough.

In all other cases that you have no horses and no copper in your capital, you will have to look around for these and research Wheel when you have located them. If there is no copper or horses within 6-7 squares of your capital go for Iron Working. If you see copper and horses close enough, skip on Iron Working until after you have Construction or maybe even after Monarchy.

V – Exploring the land

Exploring, getting huts and finding rivals locations is crucial. If your civilization starts with hunting, you will begin with a scout, otherwise you will have warrior. Warrior pretty much assure early survival and a potential offense while the scouts will ultimately gather more huts and informations on rivals and surrounding land. Both can perform the most important task : finding a suitable location for your second city.

You will want your warrior/scout to explore toward the best looking tiles and then make a half moon around your capital to see all the closest tiles to your capital while walking on hills to get a better view and huts to make cash and goodies. Once you have your first warrior made, make him go the opposite side of where your initial warrior/scout went and explore the surrounding 6-7 tiles from your capital. If any warrior roams near you make sure not to go too far. If you started with a scout this will be done in no time. Try to finish your move on hills or forests that will let you walk on some plains and grasslands the next turn. Once you’re done exploring 6-7 tiles away from your capital you should have a good idea of where to put your second city and should start trying to locate others. Meeting as much people as possible will give a slight bonus to research so try to have contact with everyone!

If you see a close neighbor circle around his border and try to walk on hills to see deep in his land. Notice if theres copper or horses in his capital or around to be able to plan on the right units or even rush to deny him those resources.

Figure 1. Example of early exploration 1

Figure 2. Example of early exploration 2

VI – Tribal Warfare

In the advent that your initial exploring warrior meet another civilization’s border within the first 5 turns, most of the time it is a good idea to wage war. In some case maybe you will want to switch research to archery right away and produce one or 2 archers as soon as possible, especially if you see horse or copper in the enemy’s capital.

Sometime you may want to be sneaky and enter by the corner, where you can reach the capital in 2 turns after declaration of war. This way it will force your victim to garrison units right now or die. In any cases, with your warrior you will try to reach the capital proximity as soon as possible and walk ONLY on hills and forests. Try to capture a worker and destroy crucial improvement like horses and copper, but don’t attack the capital if it is defended. Just make sure your rival isn’t improving his land without having an escort. If he makes any settlers, chase them. Send any new chariots, axeman, spearmen into the fray as soon as they are produced. Attack only when you have odds, stay on hills and forests and try to keep as much units alive as possible; they are your future force to defend your catapults.

If you are the one on the receiving end, just don’t attack when you don’t have odds. Switch to archery right away and make an extra warrior and then archer. Escort your worker with the warrior or archer to chop forest and do some improvements. Eventually when you produce a settler, make your city right on top of the copper or horses if theres too much pressure. Once you have 2 units and you are camped by 1 units, send the extra troop (often an archer) to pillage the enemy. Deny defensive tile from the enemy and try to negotiate for peace.

The goal of tribal warfare is to deny copper, horse, iron and expansions. It is not to capture the capital of your rival but you can get lucky. Tribal wars are not very profitable but usually pave the way for the catapults to wipe the archers that your enemy stacked.

Figure 3. Quickest way to capital

VII – Worker’s Priorities

First priority is to hook the copper, horses or in the worse case scenario, iron.

Always have your workers on manual!

If there is horses or copper within 2 squares of your capital (Fat cross) your first worker will start by improving the copper or horse and then make a road to the capital or river linking the capital. Note that when you improve a resource tile on a river tile, you do not need to make a road to get the resource but only make a road in between the capital and the resource. Make sure you understand how rivers works.

Figure 4. Basic river setup

Figure 5.
Advanced river setup

Figure 6.
River setup with Sailing

If no copper or horses are in immediate range, chop forests until the settler is produced. Usually after chopping 2 forests you have a discovered where the horse and copper is for your second city and your settler is 4-2 turns away from creation. Do not start chopping a third forest but instead make a road toward the future city site. When the settler comes out have your worker continue road and eventually follow the settler to the second city’s location and start improving the horse/copper and making road all the way back to the capital, making sure to exploit rivers. Usually your second workers helps with the last roads between your capital and second city. Obviously, its is a priority to improve the resource first before making the road, simply because your city is gonna be able to exploit this very good tile right away. Make sure you assign personnaly the city to work the improved horse/copper tile.

After hooking your military resources, you will start improving food and production. This routine usually is the same for all cities :

If you have cows improve them as soon as possible! Then improve pigs, followed by rice/corn/wheat that is close to fresh water (Hover the cursor over the tile to know). Then improve the rice/corn/wheat not near fresh water. The only time you will make a farm is if you have no food resources, in this case you will make one farm ideally on a floodplain. If you have gems
or gold, get a mine on it right when you have a food source up. If you have floodplains, cottage them right after you got one food source and one mine up. Once you have one or two food tile up, make a few mines. Ideally pick the hills on riverside for the extra coin.

Once you have the food and mines going its time to start the cottage spam. First place to cottage is floodplains followed by calendar resource on a river tile. Then you want to cottage grassland on riverside followed by calendar resource not on a river tile and then non-river grassland. Usually you will cottage every calendar resource in your capital because you will not have the luxury to research calendar soon.

In between all that you have to make roads and chop forests. Make sure every city is linked by roads and do not make extra useless roads but make sure you use the shortest path in between your city. Make a couple road toward other civilizations and be sure to chop forests that rivals could take advantage, especially those adjacent to your cities. Good time to have your worker chop forests is after improving enough tile for your population, right after linking a military resource, to make a monument/library/courthouse in a new city or to create an army the fastest possible.

VIII – Second city : Crucial expansion

So here we are now with a settler out and 3 possibilities :
– Have copper or horses 3 to 7 tiles from capital
– Have copper or horses in capital
– Got nothin’

In the first case you will want to settle your second city on a tile adjacent to the horse/copper or even right on top should you feel pressure. its not bad settling on top as it will gives a bonus +1 production to the city, but usually a copper or horse is very good to exploit. Try having at least 1 food resource, 1 hill and as much river as you can in the city’s fat cross. If a food source is inside the small city radius along with the copper/horse this will enable you to skip on mysticism for a while. In case there is no food around your copper/horse just settle beside, ideally on an hill, and grab as much green land as you can in the fat cross. From there you hook up the copper/horse as soon as you can. Of course if you are creative, you can make the city 2 tiles away from the copper/horse and get the best location possible.

In the second case you will want to settle your second city on the best spot around. Getting to understand where the good land is and where you don’t want cities come with experience and knowledge of what each tiles yield. Let’s put it simply. The goal is NOT to have many cities, only good cities. Do not build useless cities as those will cost you more than what they provide. It is normal that large parts of the world goes unused. This is your priority :

1. Food 1.Floodplains 2.Cows 3.Pig 4.Sea Food 6.Wheat,Rice,Corn,Deer
2. Resources Copper, Iron, Horses, Gems, Gold, Elephants — Good coins, production boost and military units
3. Hills At least 1 hill, 2-3 hills ideally
4. Grassland Green is the good land. Desert and Tundra are useless. Plains are not good
5. Rivers Extra coins, health and fresh water
6. Calendar Resources Better later on, consider this good cottage land. Use plantations on those out of the fat cross

Always have AT LEAST one good food source for per city. The exceptions are if you just want to block the land for strategic purpose or much later in the game if you have lots of unused grassland most likely near a river where you settle a slow growing cash-only city. Next you want to make sure you have a few hills and extra resources to be able to produce units and buildings. You don’t want your second and/or third city to be without hammer tiles; they must produce units too if you intend to conquer. Lastly you want to get as much green land in the city’s fat cross.

On top of all this, consider making your cities on hills for the +25% defense bonus that cannot be reduced by bombardment. Always consider putting your border cities on hills. Build especially on plain hills, the brown kind, as those gives +1 production.

In the third case you may want to wait until you discover Iron Working to settle your second city. If you feel safe you can just grab the best city spot close just like in the second case and use a third settler to get your iron in the same manner as in the first case.

IX – Expansion’s production

Now that you have your second and maybe third city built it is time to review their production priorities. Its pretty much the same routine for all new cities. You may want a warrior for police purpose. In most cases, you will want a monument especially if there are good tiles in the fat cross. You might also want monuments just for the defense bonus, line of sight and territory control. Next you will want a barrack. Consider a library if this is a border city and your army is sufficient or when you’re aiming for coins.

Once you have the barrack up, start producing units. There are only 4 buildings you will want. In order of priority : Monument, Barrack, Library, Courthouse. When you have sufficient army go for libraries and when you start having 6 and more cities Courthouse become the priority. Never build a courthouse in your capital. Sometimes if the food is short or you plan on whipping a lot you can build a granary. Beside those buildings, you’ll pretty much not build anything else. Also, only start build libraries and courthouse once you have assured your survival. Having a library in the capital early means extra science and should be considered if no threat are nearby.

X – Building an Army

Now that you have your 2 or 3 cities set-up its time to start producing the main body of your army that will go help with your Tribal war, start an Ancient war, defend from invaders or will support your catapults later on.

Simply put at this point you must monitor 3 things in your empire :

– Production tiles
– Food tiles
– Population points

Your capital and expansion(s) has at this point a few improved food tile and a few mined hills. We’re talking about 2 to 5 viable tiles per city usually. Your goal is to get those squares to be exploited every turn and the extra population that isn’t working on a food tile or a production tile is there to get whipped. This transform virtually every hammer and food points of your empire into units.

Now you don’t want to whip as soon as the population exceeds the numbers of good tiles. First off, its best to whip right before the city grows or right after it has grown. It is also best to whip when there was already some hammers invested in the production. If you see that your axeman you are producing says 1 turn left and the bar is nearly full, whipping this unit will throw all the rest of the hammers on the next item that is most likely gonna be produced in 1 turn too. So it is valuable to whip a point of population if it is working a random unimproved tile! This way you can build a lot of troops very
quickly by whipping the population methodically. The problem with constantly whipping is unhappiness.

This brings us to the fact that whipping when there is no production invested in the item will reduce the hammer worth of each whipped population points by half. This is not always a bad thing and here’s why. Let’s say that you have a city that becomes unhappy. It is likely population 5, 6 or 7 and will occur usually if you have lots of high food tiles, such as sea food. You are producing an unit in this city that has either hammers invested or no hammer invested.

In the case hammers were invested, to fix the problem you have go in the city screens and CTRL + LEFT MOUSE CLICK to insert another type of unit in the queue. If you are making an axeman, pick a spearman or chariot. If you are making a chariot, pick a axeman or spearman… and so on. Then whip this unit for 2 populations. The extra unused hammers from the whipping and the city’s production this turn will be thrown into the unit you were producing in the first place. Since it had already hammers invested, the hammers just keep getting thrown on the next unit if it is produced in one turn. This way you may be producing 3 units in 3 turns! In the case hammers were not invested, simply whip the unit for 2 populations to solve the unhappiness.

Repeat until city is happy. This can also be done with buildings to fix unhappiness problems sometimes quicker. Also later on elephants, preatorians and macemens cost 3 population when whipping with no investment. Just remember to keep enough population working the important, high yields, tiles and to let little break for the unhappiness to dissipate. This is the way to solve unhappiness before Monarchy.

Also this means you can have an unit ready from a 4-population city the next turn. This by itself is an unit that you can consider is actively defending your empire.

XI – Ancient wars

Ancient War begins when you have a stack of spearman, axeman or chariot and declare war or you are attacked. At this point you may already be into a tribal war and those troops were just beelining for the enemy’s land. In case you are at peace, you will be stacking a little army in a city closest to the nearest civilization. You should have good knowledge of the land around too. Note that its often best to not go into an ancient war especially if it took time to hook your copper/iron/horses and to just wait for catapults.

Ancient wars are very similar to Tribal warfare in most points. The goal is the same : to deny the copper, iron and horses. But this time you can bring down expansions with little cultural defense if you have the opportunity and even take the capital if you’re lucky. But most of all, the Ancient War is to secure the best city locations in between your rivals. This is usually around rivers and food resources. Lastly in the Ancient War, just like in the Tribal Warfare, you are setting up for your catapults to finish the well-defended cities, usually the capital that is at 60% cultural defense. It is extremely crucial not to lose units needlessly, as those troops you have right now will serve as the main body to defend your catapults. Always attack lone units with the right counter, force the enemy out of defensive terrains by pillaging and moving on defensive terrains too. Avoid walking into the fields and try to always have the odds on your side. If your stack of axemens, spearmens and chariots are walking around pillaging everything while the enemy is cowering in his capital, you are on the right path. Do not attack the capital, wait for the catapults.

You might also capture cities. If they are close enough to your capital and well-placed (With food and production tiles in range, not invaded by alien culture, not in immediate danger) you might want to keep it. If you capture a capital, keep it! Capitals are most of the time extremely good locations with plenty of resources. The only scenario where you will raze the capital is when you don’t think you can keep it.

If you are on the receiving side during an Ancient war, make sure you have the right counter to deal with the invaders. Also make sure you have forests chopped around your border cities. You do not want your enemy to camp out right in front of your city. You will want to force the enemy to enter fields to get to your cities and when they do, you will strike if you have the odds. If there is an hill beside your city try to have one or 2 unit occupying it, Usually 1 spearman and 1 axeman for best defense.

Sometimes being attacked is good if you are in possession an army. Your enemy is gonna have to walk all the way to your cities, hopefully having to step in your killing fields, while you are whipping counter-units to take care of him. This means you have likely number and odds advantages. This will leads to victory in the field, better promoted units and overall more units than your enemy. If your nemesis keep streaming troops just kill them individually with the right counter and wait for your catapults. Once you have a bunch of catapults just walk over to him and kill everything; your stack will be unstoppable as he wasted his many forces in your fields and the only thing that can stop an army supported by catapults is more catapults and troops.

But to win in the fields, you will want a well-formed army. This include picking the right set of units and promotions. You will notice I don’t mention Horse Archers at all. This is because Horseback Riding costs too much to research early. However, if your civilization has unique horse archers you might want to use them instead of chariots and in bigger proportions. Personnaly I never uses horse archers unless im really stuck with nothing else. Also if you have elephants or preatorians, you will want to make those in much bigger proportions and skip spearmens.

Ancient wars include 4 main units :
Axemans Counter Spearmens and Swordsman. Also good against Axemens, especially with an aggressive civilization
Spearmens Counter Chariots and later on Elephants and Horse archers
Chariots Counter Axemens and can pillage tiles the same turn your stack walks on it
Swordsmens Counter Archers and Catapults. Also decent against mounted units

Now here’s how to compose your main force:
70% Axemans Your main force will be axemens because of their 5 strength and melee bonus
20% Spearmens + Swordsmens Reduce to 1 or 2 spearmens if you know there is no mounted units aligned against you
10% Chariots 1 or 2 is fine just for pillaging purpose, make a couple more if enemy has not enough spearmens

Try to keep those proportions but be sure to adjust yourself to the situation. The ideal army to send right away if you connected copper early is 1 spearman and 4 axemens. Throw in a few chariots if you have the luxury to have horses too. You are aiming to have something like 2-3 spearmens, 7-8 axemens and 1-2 chariot by the time you get catapults. More units is always better but do not be excessive as it will crush your economy.

As for promotions, if you are not aggressive usually the best promotion is Strength 1. This leads to the more powerful promotions and makes your army able to compete easier in the fields, where the real battles are fought. Do NOT pick city Raiders promotions unless you know exactly what you are doing. Battles against human player are settled in the field, not in front of cities. If the enemy is in the city waiting for you, the battle is already won. For this reason strength promotions are more valuable.

If you have extra promotions on top of the Strength 1, in most case when you are Aggressive, do NOT take the promotion when the unit is produced! Wait until you see the enemy’s units to pick your promotions but make sure you do not get attacked by surprise. If you’re entering hostile territory and there’s a road and followed by fog of war, do not take any chances, units may be attacking you next turn. Now here’s how you want your troops promoted :

Axemens : If enemy has only mounted and catapults, take the Strength 2 promotions. If enemy has only archers, have one of your axeman with Cover promotion (+25% vs Archery). In all other cases pick Shock promotion (+25% vs Melee) and then work on more Strength promotions. This will enable you to tackle easily any non-aggressive army in the fields.

Spearmens : With your first spearman you will pick Medic 1. This spearman usually hangs around with the bunch of axemans. If there are chariots rushing you, pick Strength 2 and wait a bit before making a medic. All other spearmens will be Strength 2 and then Formation promotion (+25% vs Mounted). Later on when you have a great general in a city you’ll want a Medic 2 spearman to follow your forces.

Chariots : Strength 1 most of the time. If you have a great general in a city you may go for Flanking 1 then Sentry to have a better line of sight. Most of time you’ll go Strength 1 then if your rival has axemans, go for Shock promotion (+25% melee). If you’ve been chariot rushing and the only opposition are archers, go for Cover promotion (+25% vs Archery). And if you’re fighting other chariots pick the Strength 2.

Swordsmens : Often those are there when you know the enemy has archers. So go for the Cover promotions (+25% vs Archery) most of time. If theres axemens around give him the Shock promotion (+25% vs melee) and you will still have decent odds vs axemans. If you know catapults are coming soon, go for Strength 2. They are the best to prevent as much damage as possible from catapults.

As for Great Generals, personnaly I settle them as instructors in my most productive cities. More promotions helps you win fights in the fields.

XII – Monitoring your rivals

Before you go out and declare war, especially if you have many neighbors, you’ll want to check some data. Go take a look at the Power graph and compare yourself to others. This usually indicate how much troops your rivals have but it also include things such as land, workers and various other assets. In combination with the score, that roughly hints the amount of land, population and wonders you can tell the shape of your rivals. Ideally you want to attack low power, high score civilizations. Fat n’ juicy targets in other words. If one of your close rival has more power than you, you might want to postpone your attack so you don’t get slaughtered in the fields.

It is a good idea to check every couple turns the Power and GNP graph. This will tell you who is planning for offensive and who is going for peaceful expansions. Be wary of steep Power increase along with score decrease, as this means troops are being whipped. GNP going down really quickly means either that his troops are outside his border on the way to fight, that he his producing excessive armies (you can see by a sharp rise in power) or that he switched all to only production (you can see with the production graph!). A sharp increase in GNP means he either switched to full money harvest (you can note by a sharp decrease in production), switched to bureaucracy with a valuable capital (Very steep GNP increase) or lost a huge chunks of troops out of his borders (Again, check out the power graph). After battles, by comparing how much the power graph went down for both of you, you can sometime tell how much army remains to fight and who won the battle. If your rivals are running a specialist economy you can evaluate their economic strength by the rate of great persons produced and with the Food graph.

Scores does not indicate who leads the game. To figure who leads the game, first I consider GNP to be the biggest asset, followed by % of land in the victory screen and with the Power graph. Those 3 values determine who is leading. Learn to use the graphs and use them every couple turns, they will greatly help you make the right decisions.

XIII – Improvements Technologies

Now the last time I spoke about technologies it was only those giving access to military resources. Wheel, Mining, Bronze Working, Animal Husbandry and maybe Iron Working are supposed to be researched. Next you will want to gather the main sets of Ancient technologies before moving on to construction.

Right when you’re done with making sure you can hook a military resource, you are gonna go roughly in this order depending on your resources and priorities :

Fishing If you start next to sea food
Hunting Gives a bonus to researching Animal Husbandry and allows spearmens
Mysticism Skip on this until after pottery if your second city is okay with its small border
Agriculture Try to research before pottery for a little bonus. Also give bonus to Animal Husbandry
Pottery Cottage spam here I come! Research earlier if no threat near and lots of floodplains
Masonry Required for construction. Also may set up productive Quarry

Right when you possess those basic technologies, it gets pretty straightforward.

1. Writing
2. Mathematics
3. Construction

Then if you don’t have Iron Working it might be a good idea to get it now. But if your city are growing fast and unhappy, you will want leave Iron Working to be researched after those :

4. Meditation
5. Priesthood
6. Monarchy

If all goes well, usually by the time you have monarchy your army is marching somewhere outside your border. If its the case, take your turn of anarchy right there as it will save you some money on supplies. In other situations, your cities are not unhappy yet (Probably because you’ve been whipping the cats!) so just wait some red faces show up or your army walks out of your border to take your turn of anarchy. Same if you get a religion by luck or conquest, always take your anarchy when the troops are out and requiring gold for supplies.

XIV – Whipping the Cats

When you get Construction you enter a new crucial era. You have ideally 3 cities (2 works, 4 if you conquered) with food resources and hills developed and you’re probably working on cottage spamming or chopping some forest for production and creating killing fields. You have made a balanced army of around 10 or more units. Now is the time to supplement those units with the real killing power of this game : Catapults.

If you made a numerous ancient army already you might want to work money tiles to get to Construction faster as your extra troops might cost you more money and slow you down. Usually you know your survival is assured by looking at the Power graph and as generally, your army is decent when it begin to cost you money per turn to sustain. During this case it would be better to work money tiles to get catapults as soon as possible.

What you want to do now is to make 5-6 catapults as quickly as possible and stack them with your flesh and bones army. In the couple turns before getting construction do not whip anything and let your population grows by working all the high food tiles. As soon as you get the technology, you will insert in all your city’s production queue 2-3 catapults. Now if you have cities that are unhappy because of you feeding them for more they can handle, whip a catapult right there for 2 population and repeat each turn until they are content. If city is happy, wait one turn into the production of the catapult to whip it for 1 population. Often if the city already produce many hammers it will make 2 catapults in 2 or 3 turns. So whip every cities in this manner even if your city goes down to 2 or 3; Just get those 5-6 catapults right NOW. You can probably accomplish that in 3 turns maximum. On top of that, if you have the luxury to have elephants and extra production, try to add one or two elephants into your army. And now move your Axemens, Spearmens, Chariots, Swordsmens and brand new Catapults into one mighty army and on to the next chapter…

XV – The Big Wars

Now that you have your army composed of a balanced mix of ancient units and catapults, you should consult once more all the graphs and decide who is a threat to you and what land you want to settle. If you have plenty of GOOD land you might not even have to war but the army you made will surely assure your survival and possibilities to make cities next to the rival’s land.

But most of the time you will want to attack someone especially if you are the first to get catapults. What you want to conquer is floodplains, green lands, rivers and various resources-rich spots to eventually cottage spam. You might also consider just warring your rival that has the most GNP and try to destroy crucial cities so that you maintain advantages in technologies. There are also probably wars going on but now with catapults, civilizations are gonna be wiped out. If you are still in an Ancient war obviously the new catapults you made will allow you to easily take over your victim if you denied him all resources and he has been stacking archers in his capital. Just be sure to escort your catapults to the stack that is already on your victim’s land.

In all case if you are at war or think you will be in war soon, continue producing catapults until it composes around 40-50% of your whole stack. Then complement with flesh and bones army in good proportions. You will lose catapults during any battles so be sure to always produce extras. It is extremely important to have nearly half your stack as siege weapons.

Now one of your main priority to set up good killing fields and defensive road network if you have worthy neighbors. Always chop forests and jungles around border cities to make sure the enemy has to walk in the field to get to you. Occupy forested hills or fortified hills near choke points and along borders. This will force advancing units to walk in your killing fields for several turns giving you ample opportunity to either let them advance for you to wipe them out or give you time to whip more troops. You will want to leave one axeman and one spearman per fort so that he will have to use more units than you would lose to dislodge them. If you’re pretty quick you can wait for him to send one unit, usually a catapult, and then withdraw your units away from him trough your roads and heal up in the nearby city. You might also add fresh units in the fortifications as you withdraw them to make it even more expansive for the invaders.

If you are unfortunate enough to have a series of hills going all the way out of your border you will need to occupy one of those and make your stand against on that hill. Ideally if you have a forested hill out of do not chop it and get on it as it will provide 75% bonus to defense. In case no hills in the chain are forested, just make a fort and it will provide a decent +50% bonus to defense. Note also that archery units such as Archers and Longbows will get a +25% bonus to defense on those hills. We’re talking about +100% on a forested hill and +75% on a fortified hill so it makes sense to do set up longbow or two on those. You will just wait for him to make the first move on you or wait he walk in the fields. It is better to defend from a fortified hill than a city because this defense cannot be reduced all the way to 0%.

What you want to do is to wait for the invaders to step in the fields and then send catapults on his army to cause collateral damages until you have odds of 65-75% or more with your bones and flesh army. At this point you just select all your units and send them on his army. If you had sufficient units you will kill off or incapacitate his whole army. Be sure to follow up with more catapults and troops right at the beginning of the next turn to finish them off before they get promoted. You will likely win with minimal casualties and be able to proceed on an offense.

On offense it is nearly the same only more risky. You are the one that must try to progress quickly and safely toward cities you want to raze or capture. This is not a problem if your victim does not have catapults in decent amount, but if he has them he might just kill you in the fields if his army is roughly the same size. What you want to do is get in front of his city, ideally on a forest or hill, bombard the city to 0% defense and then progress in the same manner as a field battle, sending the catapult until you have the odds and then charging with everything.

Most often these are all the units he had in his empire and next cities will be much easier, but do not rush in. When your army just had a worthy battle always take the time to heal it then progress safely again. Do not rush it when in front of town. You might as well let him put more units in there if there is not already an excessive amount. Just reduce the cities defense to 0% and the defenders will have the odds of a field battle if the city is not on an hill. That means whoever sends their catapults first wins and since you are the one attacking you win with minimal losses. If the enemy sends a lot of catapults on your army as you enter a tile next to the city, watch the defender’s health. If he tries a quick offensive on your stack you might consider launching all your catapults as a counter-attack before he promote or withdraw them next turn, as your catapults will not have suffered collateral damage like the rest of your army, they will be able to have odds over his wounded army. Usually experiencing these kinds of battles many times will help you decide when it is a good time to counter-attack in this way. On another note, be wary of cities on built on hills. They will require lots more catapults to be suicided before being able to go on a carnage.

XVI – Getting the Lead

So far I have only talked about how to produce armies to be competitive against other civilizations. It is crucial to do war to conquer or defend the good land that you will build your economy on, but once you have enough land and resources and no threat nearby you should focus on building your cash flow. Always build a decent sized army but if all the land you need is there for you it is better not to wage war until you have developed the land and need more.

As we’ve seen before when improving the land around a city we want to have food sources and mines done as soon as possible. Right after that you want to cottage everything green around your cities so that extra population will work money tiles.

This is especially important in your capital because of Bureaucracy. Your capital alone may be producing more than all your other cities combined in gold when you are running Bureaucracy. If you have a lot of river, green lands and floodplains then make sure you work as many cottages as possible in your capital so that when you get Civil Service all those little towns net you incredible money. By looking at the GNP graph, you see exactly when each civilizations switched to bureaucracy; sudden and very steep increase. First to switch to bureaucracy is in the lead and will most often keep it, considering that he has more land to expand on.

You will want to switch to full money economy when one of these occurs :

– After producing enough army to assure survival and that extra army will have an upkeep AND there is no dangerous rival nearby and you have all the land you need. You will want as much cash flow as possible to have the technological lead.

– After sending your full army that now cost 20-30 gold per turn to have in the field. This will drive your science to maybe 20-30%. If you sent the army toward the only dangerous rival nearby, this usually assure that your land will be relatively safe and you can focus building your economy. Your victim will have to whip and focus on production assuring that the technological gap between you and him grow in your advantage.

In both cases you will want to switch all your city’s governor to gold priority. This can be done quickly by clicking on one city while holding CTRL and then clicking on the coin icon in the governor panel. Then you will want to go trough all your city to make sure they work the various high yield food and production tile they may have. Doing it this way saves a lot of time on the turn timer.

You will see instantly a big increase in cash flow so that you can usually raise the science intake by 10-30%, but the biggest benefits are yet to come. Now all the cottage in your empire are employed and growing. Give it 20 turns and you will see your GNP climb incredibly fast.

Once you have courthouses and libraries set up in all your empire it is time to resume military units production. At this point you will probably want to wage war just to destroy your rivals economy so that you maintain your lead. Or you could just stack units to assure no one can attack you and try to maintain a big GNP lead. Once you have grenadiers and cannons before everyone just destroy every civilizations and win the game.

One other thing you might consider during at any time during the game is running a scientist specialist or two. This will let you take advantage of the 2 first great people that cost only 100 and 200 great people points. You will want to use your first great scientist to make an academy in your capital and your second great scientist will be used for your second most gold-producing city.

XVII – Advanced technologies

Last time I spoke about technologies it was to get monarchy. Right after you get monarchy and switch to hereditary rule you will want to head straight for these :

1. Code of laws
2. Civil Service
3. Metal Casting
4. Machinery
5. Engineering

This way you get a very crucial sets of units and means to make money. First off with Code of laws you can make courthouses that reduces a great deal of maintenance making it profitable to have numerous cities. Make sure to build them everywhere except in your capital when once you reach 5-6 cities. Next tech is Civil Service that enables you to switch to bureaucracy. This is extremely important to switch as soon as you have it to take advantage of the extra 50% gold and production. Not switching to bureaucracy will make lose the tech lead quickly. After Civil service you want to get Metal Casting followed by Machinery. This will unlock the powerful maceman that will replace the Axeman in your armies. Next is Engineering so that you can move much quicker on your road network and to be able to produce Pikeman. Those will replace your spearmens in your armies. Along with that you get trebuchets. Once you have those continue to produce mostly catapults because trebuchets do not fight well in the field. Have only 1 or 2 trebuchets in your army whose only purpose is to suicide first on the enemy cities.

After this you will have to make a choice. Either head straight Grenadiers and Cannons for military domination or go for Paper and Printing Press for the GNP domination. If you feel that your current units are strong enough and you feel safe you might want to head for Printing press and then Education followed by Liberalism. But in case you want to weapons now, there are 2 path :

1. Feudalism
2. Guilds
3. Gunpowder
4. Chemistry
5. Steel


1. Paper
2. Education
3. Gunpowder
4. Chemistry
5. Steel

The first path lets you accept capitulation and is generally quicker than the second path. The second path has more advantages but takes more time to research. Paper enables map trading and leads to Printing press, Education lets you build universities for when you have no immediate enemies. Also the second path leads faster to Liberalism that you can get after researching Philosophy. If you get Liberalism do not switch to Free speech right away. Most of the time its best to wait you have many towns in different cities before it is really profitable. Free Religion is also a very good civic.

Once you get stronger units you may consider putting your science to 0% and using all the money to upgrade to Macemens and Pikemans or Grenadier and Cannons. Once you upgraded everything you can profit of this momentum to crush a rival with superior units.

War is the same as in the Big wars era, Just replace Axemans with Macemens and Spearmens with Pikemans. Add in a few trebuchets and the odd Musketman. Once you have Grenadiers and cannons it gets really simple : 50% Grenadiers, 50% Cannons and almost everyone with only strength and pinch (+25% vs Gunpowder) promotions.

After that there is many possibilities but I would suggest going for calendar maybe to hook your neglected resources and then heading straight to Military Traditions for Cavalry or Railroads to get Machine guns followed by Assembly line for the almighty Infantry. Most of the time games end when cannons and grenadiers are around.

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