For some, beauty in Civ III is getting immensely wealthy from trade. For others, it’s about getting eons ahead in tech. For still others, it’s about being beloved and winning a diplomatic victory.
Then, there are those, like me, who are sick of this wussy crap. For us, beauty is in simply bringing as much of the map as possible under the color of our civ! We megalomaniacs revel in our own glory as we watch during the replay as vast swaths of land get gobbled up by our civ’s color, as other civs recede and ultimately disappear forever.
Admit it: this is you! Maybe you’ve really always wanted to grab as much territory as possible, but always find yourself thinking about reputation reprecussions, controling hostile populations, overexpansion, unproductive fringe cities, war weariness, etc.
Fahhgitaboutit! With the RELIGIOUS-MILITARISTIC (R-M) CIV, under DESPOTISM, these problems fade into utter irrelevance. You will be free to concentrate the entire time on 100% territorial expansion. Guaranteed.
R-M civs have three major advantages which make territorial conquest simple, even all the way up to Diety. Here they are:
1) Ease of building barracks – fewer production points needed means these can be rushed after only one turn, and same for:
2) Ease of building temples
3) Increased probability of attaining leaders (especially because most units will start Veteran, due to advantage #1)
4) The ability to control much territory early in the game means a greater chance that strategic resources will be yours later in the game.
How do you put these advantages to the best use?
Let’s split the game into two periods. The first is what we’ll call Rapid Expansion. The second period we’ll call Hyperpower Blitz, which begins when you securely hold a continent, and maybe others, but further rapid expansion becomes unlikely. Nonetheless, by this point you are the sole hyperpower (as indicated on the histograph), even if there are other great powers. Note that especially on pangaea maps, the first stage of rapid expansion may win you the game without need for the second stage.
I. Rapid Expansion
Follow these simple pointers, and this first stage becomes one of rapid and unfettered territorial growth!
1. Butcher, don’t Produce.
Stay in Despotism. Found cities based upon growth ability: e.g. by haystacks and flood plains if possible. After producing only one shield, early units can be rushed at the expense of only one population point. Because this is an R-M Civ, the same is true also of both barracks and temples! Right off the bat, then, you should rush a barracks in every city, and a temple too in every city you found or conquer. What this means is that you’ll be producing the best trained units for easy conquest. Easy territory, not to mention cultural growth. You might sound like a boorish civ, but with temples built immediately, you’ll have the initial cultural edge over most other civs.
2. Bully, don’t Research.
You might consider the zero research option. Prey immediately on nearby civs. Begin conquering cities IMMEDIATELY. As soon as one is conquered, contact the preyed-upon civ. If this is their first founded city, which is likely, they will speak to you, and not only that, but for peace they will trade all their tech, as well as all their gold and even gold per turn! Bullying is important both for tech and for gold, which is important because if your treasury runs too low, your barracks, temples, and units will get disbanded. HAVE NO MERCY. Once you’ve made peace, and this civ acquires more techs and founds new cities, once again begin the war (reputation schmeputation!) and once again take all his/her techs and gold and anything else (workers, communications, even other cities if they’re willing, in which case rush a defensive unit into these ASAP). You’ll find that so long as you keep rushing veteran offensive units – even warriors and archers at the beginning will be extremely effective – you can prey upon multiple civs at once without overstretching your military capability. Note also that if for some reason you DO need to buy a civ for a military advance, say, from a more distant civ that discovered it first, buying should be easy. You’re not spending money on anything else, so your account should be accumulating to the point where it would be surprising if you weren’t the wealthiest civ.
3. All Hail the Great Leader!
Attack effectively to increase your chances of getting leaders. This means only using veteran units to attack barbarians (elites never produce leaders against them) and using elites when possible to attack IF NO LEADER IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE. If a leader is available, another leader won’t appear, so take the opportunity to give your veterans that extra dose of experience. This leads to the next point:
4. Leaders Build Wonders, not Armies
Use your leaders ASAP. Forget about armies. You’re already the most militarily powerful in your vicinity, even in Deity. What you want are wonders. But not just any wonders. The first thing you want, you NEED, are PYRAMIDS. Faster growth for your cities means faster production of units. Remember, when you’re rushing units, city growth is all that matters! Other wonders you might find important are Leonardo’s Workshop, for easy upgrade abilities (but since you’re not spending any money youll soon find yourself rediculously wealthy, able to afford all upgrades) and Sun Tzu – not really for yourself since you’ll already have barracks in every city, but to deny it to an opponent. If a nearby civ builds any of these, concentrate all efforts on capturing that city.
5. Plan for the Long Term
A. The Swordsman Connundrum
Swordsmen are great for this stage, but they don’t upgrade, and once opponents discover Feudalism and get pikemen, you’ll wish they did. Make sure you have a healthy dose of upgradable units as well. With barracks everywhere, upgrading units will be easy as pie later int he game. Don’t throw away this advantage with an unhealthy glut of swordsmen.
B. The Resource Imbalance
As mentioned above, the more territory you control at an early stage, the more likely it will be that strategic resources later in the game will be under your control. Maximize these chances by bringing under your control those territory types most likely to provide these resources. This is especially important for oil and rubber, which is to a certain extent predictable.
C. The Core Area
As we’ll see, later in the game, the core area becomes significant once again. At some point, when you feel it is possible, use all your other cities EXCEPT your core to produce units, and meanwhile invest in the core’s infrastructure to increase production potential. Use a leader to build a FP in a strategic location and do the same thing in that zone as well (if this still allows the necessary military production to take place from cities outside these cores).
SUMMARY: In this stage all (or most) of what you need is cynicism. Attack other civs not only to increae territory, but to plunder them for gold and techs as well as for the opportunity to create leaders. Continue these wars at will. Your military power will increase exponentially as you build (rush) barracks and units in each captured city, and your culture will rise as you rush temples into them. Continue this expansion for as long as possible. Eventually you’ll have taken over your continent and maybe others as well, but further quick victories seem unlikely.II. Hyperpower Blitz
Now, brute force won’t win anymore without a bit of brains. Strategy matters now. But not in the wussy sense. Strategy in this stage means choosing your enemies wisely, and deciding in what order you want to attack them. Considerations include:
1) YOU ONLY NEED TO CONTROL 66% OF THE LAND TO GET A DOMINATION VICTORY!
This means that if your closest competitor is quite strong, but does not own 33% of the world’s territory, YOU MAY NOT ACTUALLY NEED TO ATTACK YOUR CLOSEST COMPETITOR! You may even be able to befriend them! See? R-M civs can do realpolitik too! (If you’ve taken over all the other territory except that civ and you still haven’t won, then pursue a war, and soon youll have conquered enough to win without having to wipe out that civ, which may be an impossible task.) Even if this civ seems to become super-powerful, advances beyond you in tech, etc., remember, this is not necessarily signinficant as the territory is not necessary. It only becomes a problem where this civ actively seeks to rival you in territorial expansion. In this case, an all-or-nothing gamble war against this civ might be the most macho and therefore appropriate action.
2) Use your Core Area
Rushing units later in the game becomes more difficult, as they can no longer be rushed in one turn. Here is where your long-neglected core area will now come in handy. As we saw earlier, hopefully you had some foresight and upgraded this area’s production capabilities. If you’ve had a glut of leaders, hopefully you’ve built the FP somewhere strategic as well. Invest further in the top-producing cities by strategically rushing population increasing structures such as aquaduct or hospitals and rushing factories and power plants (waiting a bit after beginning production so the toll on the population isn’t excessive).
3) Attack for Strategic Resources
Both to accumulate yourself, or deny others. Another R-M advantage is useful here, which is ease of building HARBORS, (only one turn before you can rush them) meaning your strategic assets are easily transferrable across continents. Once you gain a foothold ona continent, you can therefore begin to very soon rush your best possible units there.
4) Ruthlessly Invade!
What you’re after are large continents that are politically fractured. You can even sign ROP agreements with one civ on the continent to get your units in, blitz the other civ(s) then turn against the ROP civ. It’s dirty, but again, reputation schmeputation. If you’ve chosen to cozy to your nearest rival because you’ve decided their territory is the 33% you don’t need, then still, worry not – breaking an ROP won’t hurt your rep so much that this relationship will be jeapordized. (If you’re worried, make some trades with this civ and pretty soon he/she’ll be ‘polite’ again in no time.)
While pursuing wars on other continents, the same rules of ruthlessness as in the first period apply. Note that there are good pointers for attacking in the modern era (if you even get to that era without winning first!) These include putting down infantry onto mountaintops connected to the enemy’s railroad system so the AI will instantly wipe out its entire offensive army in a single turn.
ONCE YOU CONTROL 66%, YOU WIN!
CONGRATS! You should be rapidly spreading your color across the map, thanks to your ability to maximize the advantages of your R-M civ. Happy hunting!*NOTA BENE: This article is not as directly applicable to C3C. However, the advice is useful if you account for the specific modifications of C3C. Discuss this article in the forum