SeanL’s Strategy for Civ2 Multiplayer Games

SeanL’s Strategy for Civ2 Multiplayer Games

Written by SeanL (EyesOfNight)


The Basics of Dueling

Contained in this section is the basic knowledge of playing a duel. What is a duel you ask? A duel is a 1 on 1 game with no AI on a small usually customized map. The entire idea of this kind of game is to destroy your opponent as soon as possible. There is no peace and you can expect to be fighting most of the time by 3400BC on average. Most of what I’ll be talking about on here is very basic and is geared towards the beginning player.

I. Getting a good start

A. First thing you need to do is research horseback riding. Next after that research ceremonial burial, then alphabet, then code of laws, then monarchy. You should be able to go straight to monarchy this way assuming you don’t get any techs out of huts. Either way your primary goal is to get monarchy as soon as possible.

B. The first unit you should build is a warrior, even if you can get horseback riding in 3 turns using a whale or silk or some other high trade resource. If you can get horseback riding that quick, your second unit should be a horseman. If not then build another warrior. After you have 2 units built go ahead and start building settlers. Remember in the beginning to always build on a square that will produce at least 2 shields or more and then set resources on a forest. This way you can build your warriors in 2 turns instead of 3. The key to a good start is early exploration and speed.

C. Be aggressive!! Never stop exploring. Go out there and get every hut you can. Think of the map as your country, your pride and joy, and the enemy has decided to settle on it. Stop at nothing to destroy them. Everything belongs to you, every resource, every hut. Grab as much land as possible early on. Take control of rivers especially along with any resource you can find. Once you find your opponent kill off his exploring units. It is devastating to lose horsemen early on. A good strategy is the Box and Squeeze (I know, it sounds cheesy, but I couldn’t think up a better name). In order to do this you need to effectively take out and contain any exploring units your enemy might have. Next, push in as far as possible into enemy territory. If it seems you are encountering too much resistance and your casualties are rising, then go ahead and set up your perimeter. Fortify on mountains and other high defense bonus spots. The idea here is to make it so your enemy can’t expand or at least will have a great deal of trouble doing so. It’s usually a good idea to keep a steady flow of units coming to increase the strength of the border. From there just sit back and expand. Your opponent can’t do anything because he is completely boxed in. There are of course plenty of other strategies other than the above mentioned, this is just the one I have had more success with.

II. Middle Gameplay

A. By now you have gotten Monarchy and are doing some heavy duty fighting. Hopefully you have contained the enemy, but if not that’s ok. At this point you need to choose what tech path you will take. Any tech path will do, however some are best used in times when you don’t have to worry about being attacked. Usually the best route to take next is to get Warrior Code – Feudalism – Chivalry. It will provide pikemen for defense, and Knights for attacking. It also allows you to get Sun Tzu’s War Academy, which is a very good wonder, and I recommend it for every game. In general however your tech route at this point is more determined by the situation your civilization is in and how powerful your enemy is.

B. I can’t stress expansion enough. Whoever has more cities 99% of the time will win the game. By 3000BC 6-8+ cities is optimal. 2000BC 22+ cities is a good goal. 1000BC 60+ cities is what you’re shooting for. Of course you can’t do this every game unless you’ve mastered all of the aspects of civ2. A really bad start and bad huts will severely hamper your city building. However these numbers are the ideal average.

III. End Game-Play

A. There really is no end game-play in a duel. There’s a beginning, a middle, and the end only comes once your opponent is destroyed. There is no space race, and there is no defining ending phase.

This is just a very rough overview of what a duel is and what some ideal goals are in it.

Advanced Tactics

Composed in here are some of the tactics that I have come up with over the years. I’ve found them to be very useful in my game play and they have won me games. Use great care and decision making in using these. These can lose a game for you as well as win it.

I. Luring

This has to do with luring your enemy into a false sense of security. If used correctly it can effectively overstretch your opponent’s military, allowing you to sneak in and take undefended cities. First you need to have a good idea of where your opponent is. You also need to have a lot of the map explored. Usually I use this when I’ve gotten very close to the enemy and he’s taken out a lot of my units. Instead of engaging the enemy again, allow him to expand his perimeter. Keep some of the units you still have left and hide them someplace close. Wait a few turns and then sneak in. You need to have a feel for where cities might be. Rivers of course are always a great place to begin along with anywhere that is near a resource. Your opponent by now is fairly confident that he’s secured the area. If the enemy has begun defending his cities, which you can tell by the top 5 cities usually or by military service, then this obviously won’t work since the goal here is to take undefended cities. Be sure to keep track of how many units you allowed to pass. You don’t want this to backfire and your opponent march in with a horde of horsemen. It’s best to keep a force just outside your cities or at the mouth of rivers to take out any incoming units. This takes some practice since a lot of the success of this is picking out the weakest entry point into the enemy territory. It’s a fairly simple strategy so it should be too hard to master.

II. Ghosting

I haven’t really used this one a whole lot since it has more to do with having a navy and on a small map it’s not usually needed. However it does come in handy sometimes. To do this get 15-20 ships and put a diplomat on each of them. Two diplomats is ok too since they will be used later on. Line the ships up along the enemy coast and sentry them there. Make sure your opponent can see them. I would recommend having lighthouse because you don’t want to lose your fleet. Now what your opponent sees is a fleet of ships with most likely units on them. Obviously he’s going to prepare for an invasion. Therefore a lot of resources will be put into that front. Keep your land front weak, at least as far as your opponent can tell. However get about 50-75 units built up along the land front ready to attack. It is imperative that your opponent not see this. Now from your opponent’s point of view he sees a very weak front, and a very strong front. This is where your opponent will make a fatal mistake in thinking the land front is safe. Build up a lot of gold. 1000+ is recommended. Now when you’re completely set, send in all of your knights at once and start pushing through. On the same turn use the diplomats in the ship to bribe all of the coastal cities. More than likely these cities will be heavily defended have units on them. Therefore you’ll be gaining a lot of units for a relatively cheap price. If you can take the capital out before bribing, that is even better. If you do it right and take out key targets correctly, you can effectively cripple your opponent in one turn and completely destroy them a few turns after that.

III. Follow the Leader

This strategy has to be used in certain situations. Land formation can have an effect too. To do this early expansion really helps but it can be used just about anywhere. Take a warrior or some other cheap unit and fortify it on a mountain or hill. Make sure you’re a long ways away from any of your cities. You need to be very sneaky and clever about doing this. The object is to make your opponent think he’s reached a strong hold and that you’re defending your cities behind the false defenses. Obviously it’s not a good idea to try this right outside of your opponent’s territory. I suggest channels or alcoves especially. They keep very little land from being wasted, easy to defend, and easy to keep your opponent from finding out what’s behind the warriors. Defend the position with your life, keeping up the false guise that this is your last line of defense. I like to sometimes go on to the King’s Chat and tell my opponent “I can’t believe how fast you found me! How did you do it?” or something to that effect. Your opponent thinking he’s truly great will go about trying to make short work of your warriors. Meanwhile this leaves lots of land open to you. Even if the enemy has some intelligence and decides to keep exploring, you’ve still succeeded in taking away resources. It gets pretty funny when they start throwing elephants at you. Don’t be afraid to allow the enemy some room to make him think he’s gaining ground.

IV. The King of Lies

This is probably one of my favorite tactics and it has nothing to do with actually playing the game. Believe it or not, King’s Chat is actually one of the most effective offenses there is. You can make your opponent think just about anything you want if you’re good at it. During WWII against the Japanese, American pilots used to drop propaganda telling the Japanese soldiers that it was honorable to surrender. In reality they were forged writings made to look like the Emperor’s orders. Deceit and lies have been used throughout history in every war ever fought. Don’t be afraid to use it when you’re conducting war in Civilization 2.

V. Kamikazi

This one needs to be used with great care. And it needs to be used at the right time. You also have to judge the personality type of your opponent. By this I mean whether or not he’s expansionistic, or more of a defensive player. Lets say you attack a city. You take out a warrior on there. More than likely the guy will build a horseman real quick. You lose that unit. Send in another horseman, but this time let him die. Take a second horseman that same turn and bring it up and around the city so you can attack from the exact opposite direction, make sure you’re not seen though. The object here is to get your opponent to take his defenses off of the cities in exchange for a chance to gain more ground and take out more of your units. It’s a lot like the luring strategy, but this time you’re actually letting your units die on purpose. I want to make it very clear, this strategy is very hard to use and it doesn’t always work. It has to be used at the correct times and only when your opponent has the game style to fall for something like that. I have rarely used it, but it has won me games before. I take no responsibility if you end up empty handed with no units left. Use it at your own risk, you’ve been warned. I can’t stress it enough.

All of the strategies I’ve mentioned on here need to be used with very good decision making skills. Only a true master of the game will be able to use these to the full effectiveness. Especially the Kamikaze strategy! 90% of this game is decision making. Anyone can send out some horsemen and get huts. Only the truly great players though will win time and again primarily because of their decision making skills. If you’re new this game I wouldn’t recommend using most of these strategies until you have a very good understanding of the game.

Using Explorers Effectively

In order to get explorers the following techs are needed: Alphabet – Pottery -Mapmaking – Seafaring. I would not recommend going straight for explorers. As a general rule it’s best to get seafaring if and only if you get pottery and mapmaking from the huts. You can of course gun for Seafaring right off the bat, but it’s a very risky play and it isn’t advised. What’s nice about explorers is that they treat everything as a road. This makes for an enormous speed up in early expansion regardless of whether or not it is 2x2x or 1x1x. Obviously early exploration is an advantage, however that is not their key use. Most experienced players do not defend their cities. Since an explorer can move 6 spaces on 2x2x, one can move right in and take out half a civilization in 1 turn. In order to do this effectively though you must move through the territory undetected. If you’re spotted it’s very easy to throw some warriors on all the cities as defense and your plan will be ruined. If this does happen they are still useful, just not as useful as they might be. You’ll still have accomplished forcing the enemy to defend all newly built cities, which is a real hindrance to fast expansion. They also can be fortified on mountains and hills, allowing them to work as a barricade surrounding an entire civilization. I have won entire games by doing this against some of the best players in Gameleague. Once your explorer has exhausted his moves and is down to 1/3 movement, make sure to fortify on a hill, mountain, river, or some other terrain that has a defense bonus. The best way to defend against this strategy is to post units in passages and other places where an enemy unit might come through. Without advanced warning of what is coming you could be facing the loss of a few cities or more. You can defend each city as you go, but I wouldn’t recommend this as it will severely hamper how fast you can expand.

Locating A Civ Using Demographics

This only works in 1 on 1 games. I’m not saying it doesn’t work in larger games, but it’s much harder to do and it’s not really needed as much. Also this pertains more to duels on a small map. All resource values are assumed to be 2x. It’s extremely difficult to do and you have to have a lot of knowledge of the values of resources and how the AI sets the map up, along with an active imagination to visualize how the map looks. Also I am assuming that the age of this map is 3 billion. On 5 billion or 4 billion the resources occur too sporadically to classify into zones. This can’t always be used, but a lot of times it can. Either way you can find out what’s in your opponent’s city view.


First let us divide the map up into zones. Zone 1 is the artic region, 2 is the part between the artic region and the equator, 3 is the equator, then it goes 2 again and then 1. N1 is the northern artic zone, S1 is the southern artic zone just as N2 and S2 are north and south zones.


Of course these descriptions are not set in stone, but can be used as basic guidelines for zone formation.

A. Zone 1

Very bottom region of map. Glacier, Tundra, plains, and forest can be found here. Plains squares are usually sporadic and are fairly rare.

B. Zone 2

Most diverse terrain. Can have just about anything in it. Jungles, and swamps will occur here most, but will sometimes be in zone 3 too. Mountains, hills, grassland, with even the occasional desert square. Mostly grassland however. Usually has the best land on the map.

C. Zone 3

Mostly desert and plains. Forests will occur here but will be sporadic. Occasionally there will be some jungle and swamp in this region but it’s usually in patches and not widespread. Mountains many times will occur in large ranges. Grassland will also be seen here, but not in large quantities.


Most resources occur in these certain zones, but can however be found sometimes out of their normal zones. Water resources are not included. This table shows zones of the resources, and my rough estimates of how often they will occur in these zones. * indicates a zone where the resource will occur only in extremely rare circumstances.

Buffalo: 2-35% 3-65% 1*

Coal: Just about anywhere. Not used in tracking civ.

Desert Oil: 3-80% 2-20%

Arctic Oil: 1-100% 2*

Fruit: 3-30% 2-70%

Furs: 3-60% 2-40% (only very lower regions of Z2)

Game: Same as Furs.

Gems: 2-70% 3-30%

Gold: 3-55% 2-45%

Iron: Same as gold.

Ivory: 3-100% 2*

Oasis: 3-80% 2-20%

Peat: 2-70% 3-30%

Pheasant: ANYWHERE Not as common in 3,1&2 most likely.

Silk: Same as Pheasant.

Spice: 2-70% 3-30%

Wheat: 2-35% 3-65%

Wine: Just about anywhere. harder to use in tracking civ but can give idea and tell what’s in view.


There are many situations you can tell where a civ is using demographics. It’s obviously not a pinpoint of where it is, but it will tell you the zone the player is in.

A. Lets say you start out on a grassland square, no resources around you except for a forest and a lake. It’s the first turn of the game, you both have a city. Now lets say you put your resource on the forest and the demographics say you are first in MFG, 2nd in GNP, and 2nd in Food production (FP). Put your resource back on a grassland square. The new values are 2nd GNP, 2nd MFG, 2nd in FP. In this situation if it shows you are first in FP then it’s most likely a whale in your opponents capital. If that’s the case it’s not of much use to you but it does tell you your opponent is near a water source. However, if you’re second in FP still then you have to go down the list of possibilities. There aren’t very many that can give this combination of high food and high production along with GNP. Of course there could be a double combination of resources where your opponent built on a resource and has another one in view, but that is more rare and far more complicated. We’ll assume the simpler combinations for now. A forest is obviously in view. Silk won’t give the food but pheasant will. Now in order to get the GNP your opponent has to be on a river. TO test this we put our resource on the lake. If you’re now first in GNP then your opponent has a pheasant and a river in view. This doesn’t give a clear distinction of what zone your opponent is in, however it does tell what to look for. If you’re still second in GNP then there’s two resources in play which is far more complicated and would take a lot of writing to explain how to figure out what exactly they’re using. But I want to assert that it is definitely possible to figure out what they’re using in most cases.

B. Lets take another situation. Same resources in your city as before. You put the resource on the forest just as before, but this time you’re second in MFG still. However you’re first in FP, second in GNP. It could be that you’re tied for first in FP, so take all your resources off and put on an entertainer. Look at the demographics, if you’re second for FP then the following could be true: You both have the same resources and are using a forest, a river could explain the higher GNP of the opponent. Your opponent is using a double resource equation to explain the higher GNP, MFG, and either 3 or 4 wheat surplus (the amount of food going into the granary). If you’re 1st in FP then your opponent is almost definitely using a combination of iron/oil with a river. To make sure it’s a river and not a double resource combination use the lake again. In this case it shows you as first in GNP showing your opponent is using a river. Now the probability that your opponent is using oil on the artic is very low so we’ll rule out zone 1. That leaves zone 2 and 3. Now we know that mountains occur in the upper regions of 2 and all along 3 and that oil is primarily in 3. So our target is the equator. It could be very possible that your opponent is on a river with iron down towards the bottom of the map, but it’s far more rare.

Obviously there is some room for error using this technique, but it gives you an idea of where your opponent could be and in some cases a very clear idea of where they are. In the examples I know it’s a little confusing and I didn’t go into all the combinations and possibilities. I basically gave the examples to give you an idea of what this does and how to do it. You can’t always use this technique because sometimes there are just too many possibilities. Majority of the time though you can or at least get some sort of advantage from it. Also, there may be a few mistakes up there because it was very hard to explain how to do this and got a little confusing trying to explain all the possible combinations on paper. It takes a lot of experience and a lot of practice to master using this so if you can’t get any results on the first few times don’t give up on it.

Thanks SeanL for sharing these MP strategies!