Deity Level Quechua Rush on Huge Map

Part 1 of 2

In this article, I will discuss my warmonger approach on beating a huge map on deity difficulty. The article will focus on giving you a head start on what I think is the optimum strategy, game preferences, and civilization. This strategy has evolved a lot through feedback on the forums and is being updated regularly based on my latest HOF deity huge map attempts. So if you want my latest advice on beating a huge/deity map, you should check out the article again, especially underlined and bold parts. For the more experienced players, I have updated expansion, diplomatic, religious, and military strategy sections on post #2. Some still complain that the strategy is luck-dependent, but I have done my best to improve the strategy for HOF play and I also must confess a huge deity map still remains a challenge for me as well.

For those of you who want save-proof that this strategy works even under the current 1.61 HOF rules, I am putting up my most recent successful quechua-rush saves up. Look them up before digging further into this long article.

3310BC: I delay the conquest until the workers finish 3 ivory camps and 2 farms outside first target city. As military strategy section of the article talks about, the ivory resource is crucial for post-quechua wars. I also let the initial target city grow size 4(!) before war declaration. Additionally, a religion has been founded inside the city just before capture.
SuperQuechuaRush BC-3310.Civ4SavedGame

3055BC: I capture 2nd target city at population 3. I wait a few turns for it to grow to size 4, but sometimes the land is poor and additionally, AI decides for a settler build. Don’t delay the master plan. Have strict deadlines for city capture and stick to them. Mine was 3000BC for 2nd city.
SuperQuechuaRush BC-3055.Civ4SavedGame

2905BC: I raze 3rd city, because it was surrounded by jungles. 1st civilization wiped out. Only capture cities worth keeping, population 4 or higher.
SuperQuechuaRush BC-2905.Civ4SavedGame

2770BC: I need ancient era happiness resources. I locate a gold city nearby, build a road up next to it, let it grow size 4, declare war, and capture it in 2 turns.
SuperQuechuaRush BC-2770.Civ4SavedGame

2650BC: I follow a blitz krieg and play very short wars. I capture my 4th city at size (4) again. These cities are immediately added to the trade network, because the AI has it all road-connected. They are profitable by themselves, i.e. do not run on deficit.
2485BC: 2 cities captured simultaneously, and 2nd empire wiped out. I should have only kept their best 3 cities, but I am greedy and keep the extra 7th one surrounded by many jungle&forests. My empire has 7 cities, 19 population, and still runs at %40-50 research rate. Exceptional start for a deity huge map! You can continue warmongering or try Godotnut’s cultural win strategy from this point forward
SuperQuechuaRush BC-2485.Civ4SavedGame

Assuming you are curious about the saves, here is how to quechua rush at deity on a huge map!

How I decided to write this guide

I had not seen anyone write up a detailed deity huge map strategy and decided to come up with one myself only to realize how hard it actually is. To cut the long story short, the AI simply outbreeds, outsettlers, outproduces and outtechs us. Its advantage grows exponentially starting from the first turn, and peaceful builder tactics, at least on a huge map, never catch up on the AIs advantage. You want to grab as many cities as you can and as fast as you can to catch up AIs bonuses, but how? Now that chopping has been nerfed with 1.61, effectiveness of fast researching bronze working has also been greatly reduced. Let me know if you can pull axeman chop&rush off, because I have failed it myself many times. Fortunately, there is an ancient race that works better than the axeman rush: The Incas.

Want to attack the AI as early as possible? Want to grab as much land as you can before AI starts to build up his powerhouse cities? Want to get a chance to beat the AI on deity on a huge map without any exploits?

Quechua is your baby. Ancient era AI is all about archers, and quechua is all about anti-archer. Add the aggressive trait; he becomes a rambo. The AI at deity is too inexperienced to produce any regular warriors to fight quechuas, so all you encounter will be archers vs whom you get %100. Moreover, quechua is the cheapest attacking unit in the game, costing only 30 hammers on marathon speed. His reign can easily extend to after bronze working era if you occupy important bronze and horse resources for the civilizations you are attacking. I will show you how to get your first quechua in 6 turns after game starts on marathon speed, so you can stack up 5 of them in 24 turns instead of going for the slow “24 turn-120 hammer worker&chop first” build. Then, with those Quechuas you are going to capture 2 cities with improved land, 2-3 workers, and opportunity to capture more from the next civilization. At that stage, you would have to stop because of upkeep costs, but that is where Financial trait kicks in with cottage spamming. You are in for a fair fight with the AIs at the deity level. I know that quechua rush is not the most original ancient idea, but I made some fine tuning for deity play.

First, let me point out the game setting I try to beat the deity difficulty to clarify the issue.

Game settings:

Game speed: Marathon, because quechuas won’t get outdated as quickly while they travel toward target enemy city. I am also a big fan of big slow games; hence marathon.

Map size: I picked huge, because I think it is still a challenge even for the best civ 4 players to defeat huge map size on deity. I feel on other map sizes conquest or early domination victories might be possible, whereas on huge, you end up playing the whole game with all aspects. The downturn would be you won’t get to score as high, because you would not finish the game as early as with smaller map sizes. I am not after scoring high anyway, just beating huge deity first. Beating deity should get x2 more points in my opinion.

Map type: I prefer Terra to make the map even more larger and more earthlike Apart from being the largest map you can get, Terra maps are split into 2 continents just like the Earth. The AI will have even less land to settle until they discover caravels to travel over the ocean. Less land means, they won’t be able to abuse their bonuses as much.

Tropical climate, high see level: Tropical means less land to settle at start due to the many jungles and high see level also implies less land. I wanted to give the AI as little land as possible to develop their empire. You could try a larger land setting, thus could increase your score with a late game victory.

Number of enemy civilizations: 17. Divide&Conquer is your friend, so you want enemy small and split in pieces. If you manage to control 2-3x more cities than your closest rival, you might have a chance to win the game. I also like the religious chaos atmosphere with many empires. There are usually two main religious alliances fighting on. Don’t think you will be able to sell your recently acquired tech with multiple partners because of 17 civs. You will have a high trade penalty that make trading of new tech with multiple civilizations almost impossible. Accept to stay behind in tech for most of the game, be the underdog in the tech race until necessary, until you wipe out your biggest rival. Finally, when you have tech lead in one tech line, you will trade big time

Barbarians: I used to play with normal barbarian activity. I think no barbarians is kind of too unrealistic. I originally planned that barbarians won’t cause much problems, because all land will be settled very quickly by the AI; there will be no room for the barbarians to spawn. Well, they cause some major problems early on: In my recent 1.61HOF mod games, animals started killing way to many captured workers on the way back to my capital. A_Turkish_Guy who had 500k points HOF record also strongly suggest no barbarians, because to his experience, the barbarians axemans show up too early. Hence, if you play for HOF, no barbarians should be your choice if you don’t want to save/reload vs imba early barbarian axeman attacks.

If you want to stick with barbarian activity on, try keeping 1-2 quechues near each of your bases for a time and be ready to force labor a quechua if necessary vs unexpected barbarian attack.

I would not suggest raging barbarians under deity difficulty

Rest of the setting are left as they are. Locked game assets, no new random seed on reload, etc, etc. standard HOF rules.

Civilization choice:

If I did not pick Incas, I would still focus on an early game advantage leader. I would not pick religious trait leaders, because religious ability effectiveness only comes much later in the game where you have knowledge of many civics. I would not pick any cultural leader due to obvious early game inability to produce many cities. I would not pick industrious, because the AI would outproduce my wonder no matter how hard I tried. Since I would not be able to build early wonders for GP growth, I would not be able to fully benefit from philosophical ability. Expansive trait would be alright for an aggressive chopping strategy, Julius Caesar is definitely a strong leader with Praetorians and organized trait, but I would prefer Washington over Caesar for ultimate warmongering with financial and organized. Anyway, aggressive is a nice trait. Combined with Capac’s financial, I hoped to sustain my expansion and tech rate. Tokugawa is another leader I considered.

Other quechua strategies that are less effective

So after this much talking, btw they say I talk too much , let me explain my tactic on producing quechua’s in 6 turns, starting from turn one. I tried several tactics, but producing non-stop quechuas works best, because it takes quick advantage of AI’s lack of defense before the cultural defense bonus gets too high in the capital and surrounding cities. If you let the cultural bonus get too high or let the AI produce 3rd even 4th archer as defense of its cities, you will take him out much harder. You will be trapped into a small land with 2-3 cities vs huge AI empires. So we go for early wipeout to leave us with 16 civs. You will search the map with your initial quechua and capture your first worker, triggering war. As the worker heads back home to work on farms, your quechuas will head toward enemy. Usually, by the time you arrive at the enemy capital with 3-4 quechuas, he still would not have produced the 3rd archer and you will capture the city.

Alternative strategies I considered with quechuas:

1) Worker first, quechua 2nd strategies: No need, because you can steal your first worker and get plenty of workers from captured cities where all warfearing workers waiting to be captured.

2) Settler first, … : No need, because you will capture 2 cities of a civilization and wipe him out reducing anarchy related problems in your cities.

3) Barracks first: I did not really try to pull this one off, because barracks is a huge investment with 180 hammers compared to 30 hammer quechua on marathon speed. +4 experience would not really help anyway, because quechua needs 5 experience to get both cover and city raider I.

4) Fast searching bronze working would be a big mistake, because we did not start out with mining. The reason we picked quechuas is to delay the axeman production ourselves. Furthermore, there is extra tech research penalties on deity level which further harden axeman possibilities for a long time. Huts can provide basic techs, such as mining, but you can’t depend on research through huts, because 1) AI will grab most huts before you due to his scouts, and 2) you can’t get always a tech unless save/reloading, which I did in my test game I got 2 basic techs from the total 2 huts I captured.

5) Slower rate quechua build: (8-10 or even 15 turns per quechua instead of 6). The advantage is you might get better population growth, but delayed quechua production. This plan has potential to transform into a quechua massing plan, because it might be slightly more beneficial to produce quechuas with a size 2 city if you don’t have a 3 hammer tile within your city radius. In any case, even if you will let your city grow to size 2 quickly, after so many games at deity, I would strongly suggest to get out 5 quechuas until 3310BC. 3310BC is where most AI capitals grow size 4. You need 5 quechuas to be sure to capture a capital non-hill city, thus you need those quechuas rather fast out.

I also prefer my quechuas out fast to gain experience at enemy cities, so I decided to go for an all shield to quechua’s build. In the initial game, I tried a mediocre starting location with 10 turns per quechua, so I was only able to arrive with 3 units at Washington(3505BC). This is where my strategy entered a critical, life or death, combat. Had I arrived with 4(3+initial 1=4) units using the 6turn/quechua build, I would have been fine. Another idea probably would have been to attack the weak city with no cultural defense first, gain experience and then head for the capital, but the capital blocked my way first Had I attacked the weak city first, still my combat odds would be 2.20 vs 2.40 with a probability of %26.6 for winning. Again, I would have needed 4 quechuas and a 6 turn/quechua build.

6turn/quechua starts are pretty rare; therefore, the final conclusion I reached was that 3500BC is too early for capturing the first capital. You can get a few more quechuas until 3310BC and also let 1st capital grow size 4.

Details from my test game:

In BC 3535, I am attacking my first city with 3 basic quechuas. Because enemy capital gets +%20 cultural tile defense bonus which makes it extra difficult for me to kill 2 archers with 3 quechuas. I could have waited for the 4th, but I know from practice that after reaching population 3 with the capital city and in war, the AI produces a 3rd archer. Therefore, I had to act quick and capture that capital as soon as possible. I needed luck or save/reloading or restart. 2.20-2.85, and my odds of winning are %18.2, but 4 quechuas would have easily taken it out. The superb news is that your quechua gets 5, yes 5, XP points for killing a full HP archer; therefore, immediately turning into excellent archer killer with cover and city raider I. After save/reloading, I now posses 2 excellent quechuas with which I can take down almost any ancient era city. Keep in mind they will advance even further to city raider lvl2 and city raider lvl3.

In a real HOF game, you would have to arrive with at least 4 quechuas to succeed at those odds. As I outline in the last part of this post, arriving with 4 or even 5quechuas is possible with the right city setup. Unfortunately, killing a damaged archer might give you less experience than 5, because the experience gained equals floor(4x(adjusted archer strength due to hp loss/quechua strength)) For subsequent city attacks, you would have to continue pumping out quechuas.

In BC3445, I am attacking 2nd city with 2 quechuas who have combat I, cover, and city raider I. America’s archer is fully fortified with no city tile bonus. Combat calculation shows 2.20-1.76 where my odds of winning are %69.7. I could have sent a 3rd unit to make sure I won, but 2 were sufficient. As you can see, once the first 2 quechuas kill an archer and lvl up, your job is much easier. Americans wiped out. You control 3 cities and have 2 upgraded units which could capture further cities.

For HOF purposes, delay war declaration until more(5-6) quechuas have gathered up, thus giving enemy city more time build land improvements and to grow in population.

Summary & Tips:

An important note is to wait until the enemy capital city has grown to size 3 or even 4(!) preferably, because as you capture the city, total population will fall by one. In my most recent HOF games, I prefer capturing first capital at 3310BC by 4 population.

Don’t pillage AI’s improvements. Treat his city like it is yours, because soon you will capture it.

Build more than 5 quechuas at start and you will start paying unit upkeep. I suggest making 7 at start, then only if you lose some quechuas capturing your first 2 cities, then build up several more in order to capture the next civilization. Look up my 2nd post for a detailed unit maintenance analysis.

Don’t search bronze working anytime soon. You won’t chop and you don’t need axeman. Get builder techs and improve the land around your cities with captured workers. Get cottages up or capture cities where land is already improved.

I will continue with the rest of the article some other time, I can’t say when, but before I finish, I would like to show you the optimal 6turn per quechua city.


You need to settle your city on hills/plains to get 2 food/2 hammers on the center city square instead of the normal 2 food /1 hammer combination. Your city radius also has to include a hills/forest/plains tile with 3 hammers. Then you can produce 5 hammers per turn, resulting in 30 hammers in 6 turns. You will not be growing tough. It will be as if your growth has halted for a worker production. Just regenerate the map until you get a hills/plains start. The settler can actually start out on top of the hills/plains tile, so you can settle your city on 4000BC. Otherwise, you would have to lose 1 turn to move your settler to the ideal city spot. Alternatively, you could settle on resources with +1 hammer bonus, but you won’t be able to get the extra benefits from that tile later on, you will only have access to the resource. Just settle on plains/hill for ideal quechua city setup. Here is two of the best starting locations I had for quechua rush. In the 2nd screenshot, I can get quechuas out in 5 turns, because I settled on a plains/hill with marble. The dream quechua factory would be settling on a hills/plains with stone or marble and having your other citizen work on a hills/forest with a deer. Thus, you can both get 6 hammers per turn and 1 food as well. I have yet to encounter such a perfect beginning.

Lately, I experienced that getting a perfect hills/plains start is pretty rare.
Settling on hills/plain is a huge bonus early on for the extra 1 hammer you get, but you don’t necessarily need the hills/forest/plains, because once you grow size 2, you can pump out quechuas in 6 turns easily. Thus, if you can move your settler on top of a plains/hill even despite losing 1-2 turns, you don’t need the 3 hammer tile anymore. Produce quechuas at 4 hammers per turn or even 3, but once you grow size 2, you can switch to a 5-6 hammer per turn quechua build. In any case, try your chance on first capital by around 3310BC, after (4000-3310)/15=46 turns have passed. Even without a quechua factory, but at 3 hammers per turn, you can pump out 46/10=5(4+initial 1) quechuas that are sufficient to capture any non-hill capital.

I moved the screenshots to my 2nd post on this forum, because there is a 5 file per post upload limit.

I hope this strategy helps you get a good start on deity. On the next post, I will focus on warmongering up to 8-12 cities and keeping your advantage.

Until next time,

P.S. Check out my posts #16, #20, #33,#36, #37, and #39 on this thread. There is good discussion on some controversial topics.

Also check out discussions in these threads that I found to be useful in beating deity. Don’t forget to vote them 5 stars and vote me 1-2 stars too pls. I want to have the lowest rated strategy article.

Part 2 of 2

Hello again, here is part 2 of my updated article, but first, here are your 2 quechua factory screenshots.

Quechua Super Start

5 Turns Per Quechua

Now that you know wh ere to settle your quechua factory city, let’s discuss how much a quechua army costs.

First check out the unit maintenance cost calculations, so you know how many quechuas you can afford.

How much maintenance will the quechua army cost?

The free support for units is [0.24 * N] + 5 for the deity level, where N is your total empire population. The free support for military units is also dependent on the size of your population: [0.12 * N] + 2. These numbers are rounded down. The free support for away unit(not in cultural borders) supply is also fixed at 4, so if you attack with 5 quechuas, you would have to pay 1 gold for each turn you remained outside your cultural borders. Unfortunately, there is no handicap bonus at the deity level for unit maintenance.

Expect to pay important unit maintenance costs. You should be paying some gold just to have 5-7-9 quechuas attacking in the beginning. But once your cities start growing, your army expenses should drop significantly. I would not suggest going below %30 research rate for extended periods of time.

How many quechuas are needed to capture your first city?

As discussed in the various posts on this thread, I agree that to be sure of a win vs 2 fortified archers inside a city with +20% capital cultural defense, you need to bring along with you 2 quechuas per archer + 1 extra quechua(optional security) in case you are truly unlucky. Within 24 turns you can pump out 5 quechuas and head toward your first enemy capital. If enemy capital is placed on a hills, you might delay capturing it, try your luck anyway or restart

Alright, here is the ultimate game plan to beat deity difficulty on a huge Terra map. Initially, I was attempting to win by battles through save/reloading, but lately for HOF purposes, I started to play fair and square. I am commenting on both styles of play, but first the original plan, i.e. capturing the first capital by 3500BC with some luck or save/reloading, but secondly the secure HOF plan, i.e. capturing first capital at 3310BC when it hits size 4(!). I know most people prefer to play without save/reloading, thus the second plan I wrote in bold and underlined, so you hopefully get less confused between the two plans. Make sure to also read the strategy sections that tackle the most common problems you will encounter at deity.

3500BC. Capture enemy capital of size 3. In some of my test games, enemy capital grows size 3 at 3505BC, so wait until 3500 outside their borders for declaration of war. You don’t want them to start their war-time archer production yet. By waiting for declaration of war until 4-5 quechuas have gathered up, you also give time enemy workers to build nice improvements. I had 3 cottages and 1 farm already built when I captured the enemy capital.

In most of my other test games, the AI decided to produce a settler at population 2. In that case, you can capture the capital with 2 population at around 3500 BC or you can wait to capture it at around 3310 when it reaches 4 population. Make sure the workers already worked hard to improve the land around the capital.

Alternatively, you could take out the non-capital city first once it has reached a population of 3, but I would rather wait until 3310 to capture the capital first at population 4(!) with all land improved by workers. You can get 4-5 quechuas until 3310BC(46 turns/8 =(5+initial 1) or 46 turns/10=(4+initial 1) even if you don’t have a super quechua factory. Thus, don’t worry if you don’t have a super settling spot on start.

3400BC. Let the 2nd enemy city grow size 2 and capture it. 1 civ wiped out. %70 science rate. Total empire population 4, but soon 5. I have 3 workers 4 quechuas, paying some upkeep on units.

Another alternative would be to capture another enemy capital before wiping out your first civilization, but I did not want to lose precious turns with my quechuas wandering around from an empire to another. The advantage would be that you would let enemy non-capital city to grow in size before you capture it, probably vs 3archers this time tough.

If you are following the slow quechua rush plan, which I prefer for HOF play, i.e. 3310 for first capital capture, then 2nd city capture should be around 3100-3000BC.

3150BC. 5-7 quechua total. I sent my 2 experienced and 2 unexperienced quechuas to kill 2 archers. 4 cities. %40 tech rate. Total population 9 and thus can support 5+2=7 units for free. (3 workers + 6 quechuas)-7=2 gold spent on unit upkeep. Always send the unexperienced quechuas first on attack, because if they win even despite the low odds, you will get a great fighter. If not, you would have made the job of the experienced quechua much easier vs a damaged archer.

In my current HOF test games, I am not sure whether capturing a 4th city this early is a wise step. It might be much better to mass up 4-5 quechuas more for a total of 8-9 and capture the 4th city later once it grows size 4 or even 5. Of course, if you let the 4th city grow to size 4 or 5, it would most likely have produced 3-4 archers, so you need 9 quechuas to capture it. Luckily, AI very rarely protects their bases, even capitals, with more than 3 archers, so you will be fine with bringing only 7 archers or slightly more. Based on my recent HOF test games, I would suggest delaying declaration of war to the 2nd civilization until 2800-2700BC and getting more quechuas.

3000BC. Capture 2nd capital of size 4 and hopefully wipe out 2nd civilization to stop -1 happiness from “We yearn to join our motherland” patriotism. In test game I tried, the AI managed to build a 3rd city where I sent my quechuas as next target. Total empire population size is 14. 1 quechua is stationed in each city with population 3 or more to give protection based happiness. If you play vs barbarians(I suggest no barbarian setting), you need 1 quechua in all cities. The AI won’t declare war on you yet because of your strong army. %20 research rate so we are in trouble technologically, hence we need to improve our cities first before next expansion phase.

As you attack 2nd empire, you need to keep in mind that happiness and elephant armies are crucial for win at deity. Thus, consider capturing cities with ancient era happiness resources, preferably at population 4. Build up a road right next to city and capture it in 2 turns right after war declaration. Even if you play the slow quechua rush plan, i.e. the one I prefer for secure HOF play, you should be engaging your second empire by 2800-2700BC and finishing them off by 2500-2400BC.

2850BC. %30 research rate, but the fact I have 1 city remaining of the 2nd civilization I attacked causes +1 unhappiness in 2 of my cities. I need to capture that 3rd city asap. In the meantime, I am trying to hook up happiness resources with roads. I am building an obelisk in one of my cities so that my cultural borders can reach a fur resource(+1 happiness).

2605BC. I have finally captured the 3rd city of the 2nd civilization I attacked. In the meantime, I built 3 barracks in my cities and have around 10 quechuas. 2 quechuas with city raider 2 and 1 with city raider 3. Empire population is 18 and research rate is %30. 3 of my cities are working on walls. You need walls to survive vs huge axeman stacks.

If you followed the slower quechua rush plan, the one I prefer for HOF play, i.e. capturing first capital by 3310BC, then you should finish off the 2nd empire approximately by 2500-2400BC as well.

At this stage after 6 cities, you should be building barracks and walls in all your cities. Granaries would be waste because of the huge happiness problem.

Ancient era expansion strategy

Now, here is where my strategy goes into a critical phase as to which civilization I should attack next or maybe even stopping aggressive warmongering. You could at this stage, after conquering 6 cities, adapt Godotnot’s cultural win strategy. I have been attempting to win deity after this stage by a pure warmongering-domination strat, but did not have the time to play the perfect game yet

According to leader personality matrix, , aggressive civilizations are more likely to declare war on you for no reason. Ideally, you want to wipe out as many aggressive civilization as possible, because they are the ones most likely to backstab you once they get sufficient axeman. To counter their axeman stacks, you must build walls and barracks in cities close to an aggressive rival. I repeat, walls are absolutely crucial to defend vs an aggressive axeman stack. If one of the initial civilizations you already wiped out was aggressive, great job. In my test game, I had wiped out Americans and Persians first, so I decided to wipe out Aztec next. In reality tough, you have little choice whom to wipe out next at deity difficulty, just attack the closest rival you got and avoid being sandwiched between many civilizations. Try expanding your civ toward a corner where you are surrounded by oceans In my test game, I was sandwiched between 6 civs, luckily 3 were religious and of same religion as mine. More on religion choice later.

Prefer to wipe out an aggressive civilization during ancient era

You might think attacking an aggressive civilization with quechuas is harder, because enemy units get +10% strength bonus. Fortunately, this bonus only works for melee & gunpowder units and not for archers. Furthermore, AI never builds warriors once he can produce archers. So when you attack a fortified archer inside a city, the chances of winning for a quechua with city raider III & cover are %94.6. For a quechua with city raider II & cover, the chances are %85.7. You could take over a city with just 2 quechuas. Problematic are cities settled on hills where you might have to sacrifice an unexperienced quechua for each archer you kill. Most likely, you will only encounter 1 or 2 cities settled on hills. Even then, a quechua with city raider III&cover has %71.4 chances of winning.

I thought worker lure out trick could work on capturing cities on hills, but unfortunately, AI rarely captures the undefended worker when there is a huge quechua army nearby.
If you must capture a city on hills, you would have to bring 4 quechuas per archer, maybe even 5. Thus, delay capturing cities on hills or if you have too many enemy cities on hills, consider a restart.

2500BC. I capture my first city from the 3rd civilization. Research rate dropped to %20.

2275BC. One more city captured. Make sure the cities you capture have grown to a city of 2 at least, preferably 3 or 4. Don’t raze any cities yet. Maybe I should not have captured this last city, because now, my research rate is at %0(soon back at %20 tough). But I wanted to continue the aggressive expansion before my quechuas become obsolote.

2095BC. I want to reach their capital, but on my way to their capital, there is an important city I must capture. I face the following difficulties:
1) This city is placed on hills +25% defense,
2) Enemy has produced barracks thus archers have +20% city garrison, and
3) because I am attacking so late the city already has +50% walls defense.
Ideally, you want to attack cities when they are still at +20% cultural defense or less, so I load up my previous saves to figure out the latest date at which this city had +0% tile defense. At around 2400BC, this city built walls.

With this respect, my suggestion would be try to take off their higher population cities first before you attack any of the weaker cities of the 3rd civilization. You must capture them fast before their city culture reaches +20%, +40%, or before they build walls. AI usually builds an obelisk in their cities to increase culture rate. Ideally, you need to capture 3rd capital before 1750BC. In my test game, I lost precious quechuas to capture the city behind walls, thus slowing my further expansion toward their capital.

1945BC. +50% defended city captured. I brought a medic quechua to heal my troops faster. %10-20 research rate. Total empire population 28. I am spending 13 gold for unit(quechua+worker) maintenance. All my cities are trying to bring out max commerce they can. Happiness is a huge problem, because my only luxury source is gold. I am still trying to hook up the fur where my cultural borders have just expanded. On a luckier map setup, I could have had gold and silver or gold and gems already connected to my cities.

I forgot to add that I am not wasting the gold I captured from the cities. I have 538 gold at this point and control all basic starting techs. In addition, I have pottery, animal husbandry and masonry researched only to hook up the necessary resources and for cottage spamming. I am slowly working my way up to bronze working I had a tech, animal husbandry(?), from a hut in my test game.

1810BC. I capture their capital. My rambo quechuas with combat II, city raider III , and cover have %86.9 chance of winning vs fortified archers with city garrison. Their capital was still at +20% cultural defense, because it requires 300/2=150 turns for border expansion. 4000BC-(15×150)=1750BC. So if I arrived 4 turns later, their capital would have had +40% cultural defense. The 3rd civ I am attacking is left with only 1 city. I am also changing my civic to slavery.

1750BC. I capture their last city and wipe out my 3rd civilization. Research almost halted at %10.

1600BC. Research back at %30. I am building granaries in all my cities.

After wiping out 3 civilizations, I need a new game plan.

Ancient era strategic planning and diplomacy

To the east, I have an aggressive French who will backstab at first opportunity. He is biggest threat because of his unreliable personality. I make sure I have walls and barracks up in all my east cities and am also trying to get granary up in case I must hurry axeman production vs French melee stacks. I still can’t choose a religion, but I see world religious wars are about to start between buddhism and judaism. Since Asoka is nr.1 on the score list and founder of buddhism, I see him as 2nd biggest threat and decide to focus my rambo quechua stack in capturing his holy city building.

Isolating the enemy with no horse and copper

Asoka has a base with horse nearby, so I capture it quickly to stop his chariot production(1555BC). As I learned through our open borders agreement, he seems to have no copper. If he had copper, I probably would have waited to upgrade my experienced quechua stack into axeman or I might have switched my target to an enemy with no copper. With 17 civilizations, you will most likely get a few civilizations who won’t have copper on time.

Religious strategy

To the south, I have Mansa Musa. To the northeast, I have Saladin and to the southeast, Hatshepsut. All of them are religious, so I am also curious how the religion will balance my relations with them. At around 1500BC, 2 religions spread into my borders. My capital gets buddhism, and one of the cities I captured from the Aztecs(3rd civ I attacked) gets Judaism. Having adopted organized religion, I would like to build missionaries from my capital(has better production rate than my city with judaism) and spread buddhism. Unfortunately, as soon as I capture 2 of Asoka’s cities he switches to Judaism and it turns out he was the founder of judaism himself in addition to buddhism. I am surrounded by Judaist empires, so I adopt Judaism myself as well. Practically, %75 of the world empires adopts judaism. Unfortunately, buddhism spreads to most of my cities, and I can’t benefit at all from my religion through happiness increase. I could not afford to have chosen Buddhism and face a religious crusade pact against me, so I stick with judaism.

So my advice in your deity games would be to stick with the religion that gives you optimum diplomatic relationships and not the one that gives most happiness to your cities. If these two objectives overlap, great, but in my test game, they did not. Because of this huge unhappiness problem, I decided to spent my gold on getting priesthood for temples and monarchy for military happiness. Next target is iron working to hook up the gem inside the jungle for an additional happiness.

1450BC. I could head with my quechua army to capture holy building of buddhism from Asoka, but the announcement of it being built has not arrived yet. Furthermore, I need to wait a bit more to upgrade 3 of my experienced (City Raider III) quechuas into axeman. I wait until 1000BC for the discovery of Monarchy. Thanks to my early expansion, I currently have the highest score among all the civilizations. I have 14 cities, whereas my closest rival, Egypt, has 9. Having the highest score allows me to ask for a successful demand even from civilizations who do not like me. The AIs memory is pretty long, so you can only ask once from a certain civ for a long time. I wait until some civilizations discover alphabet so I can demand their precious techs

1060BC. I capture one more city from Asoka on my way to Buddhist holy city.

990BC. I capture Asoka’s Buddhist holy city building, giving me +31 gold per turn. It turns out The Parthenon is inside same city, thus I will finally get my first great person Just as I am done with Asoka who now converted to Judaism himself, (Asoka is the most likely leader to switch religions btw), the French have decided to check me out with their axeman. I start producing/hurrying axeman myself out of my barracks behind high walls. I sign a quick peace treaty with Asoka and enjoy the “same religion” diplomatic bonus. This bonus is even higher with religious civilizations, and he soon forgets the old hatred we had. Check out the leader personality matrix.

800BC. French must pay for their treachery. There is really no way of living happily with an aggressive leader, even if you signed a peace treaty, he would backstab you again at first opportunity. Thus, I decide to capture 2-3 of his cities and force him to surrender me an additional city or technology before signing peace treaty. I send a stack of 7 axeman to capture his closest city. Of course, first I waited until his stacks have suicided themselves to my high walls.

600BC. I capture 2 more French cities and sign a peace treaty where he surrenders a very nice 5 population city to me. I don’t think he will attack me anytime soon, because he lost 4 bases and is severely crippled. This battle vs the French increased my total empire population by 20, thus allowing me to support 5 more units for free. Btw, Asoka shows +9 now for being on the same religion

Technological strategy

As first technological goal, research a basic technology for hooking up a resource within your city radius. Next, wheel for roads, followed by pottery for cottages. You might consider fishing if you capture a coastal city that already has fishing boats built for a sea resource.

Once I have cottages researched, I used to aim for courthouses to ease my economy, but not anymore. I prefer the Alphabet route first nowadays for quick tech trading. Once you have Alphabet, trade everything you can for Writing first and wait until AI discovers some high level techs so you can trade alphabet for them.

In any case, skip bronze working and go for writing next at full speed %100 research. In the test game I went Code of Laws first, I discovered CoL at around 600BC and start Courthouse production in all my cities. I am chopping some forests to fasten them up. Courthouses are the only thing I would ever chop the forests for, better if you can get Mathematics on time for the +%50 bonus. At this stage, you really need the courthouses chopped out quickly, because it is not far that one of the bigger powers discovers Christianity and switches to it. In my test game, Egypt switched to Christianity and soon attacked me. In other HOF test games, strongest AI with a religion different than mine usually attacked around 1000-500BC.

Apart from building courthouses quickly, you will encounter a huge happiness problem at deity level. You will want to and in my opinion definitely should hurry some axeman to build a quick army, but then if you don’t have enough of the ancient era happiness resources, i.e. gold/gems/silver/fur/ivory, you are in deep trouble. In my test game, I even lacked happiness through state religion, because the religion that spread to my cities was different than those of most of my neighbors; therefore, to keep my neighbors happy, I also adopted their religion.

To solve your luxury problems, you need to trade happiness resources. Period. If they refuse to trade, capture their cities with luxury resources. There is no other easy way to solve your happiness problem at deity level. Your tech path should be researching mathematics, followed by plantation, but you will most likely need those precious luxury as soon as the AI hooks them up long before you are done with plantation.

If there are not sufficient calendar resources available inside cultural borders, consider researching monarchy path first and trading calendar resources for whatever you got. Plantation will provide you with much needed dye, incense, silk, spice and sugar. Eventually once you discover plantation either by demand or research or once you capture cities with plantation resources already planted, most of your happiness problems should have been resolved because of the vast lands&resources you have conquered.

These last paragraphs were all about the traditional way of technological advancement. An untraditional path is after researching alphabet, entering tech robbery business as soon as you have a strong army. With sufficient cities captured and a huge empire, you will be most surprised to hear from the AI: ” We have no choice but give you X technology, bcs you are so evil you demand it for free.” Make your spot 1st on the score list, and all AI will be forced to comply with your demands. With 18 empires, chances are high that you will come back from backwardness and turn the game around. Keep in mind tough that the success of this strategy depends on how high you manage to be in the score list, hence the overall success of your rapid expansion.

Demanding techs is good business, but first, make sure you have traded everything with all of your possible technology partners. Only when they discover a precious high level technology, one you can’t achieve through normal trade means, ask nicely if you are friendly with them or demand it if they are really low on the power graph. AI has a long memory for requests so you won’t be able to abuse this trick many times, but it will give you a few important techs just right when you need them most.

Military Strategy after quechuas become obsolote

After plantation problem is solved, research construction as soon as you can afford. War elephants are monsterous, so during your expansion phase make sure you gain control of at least 1 ivory resource. No AI will stand the might of the mightly land mammal; you will first hand experience huge and funny stacks suiciding hoping to damage a cute animal. Catapults are also great to reduce city defenses once you start taking revenge on the AI. Upgrade your most experienced quechuas into axeman and bring to siege.

You would ideally want walls up before his stacks of axeman arrive. More importantly, you need to keep your axeman/elephant stack mobile enough to guard the city aggressive AI will attack.

If you can’t bring elephants into battle, it is very hard to hold the AI attack at this stage. You will have to survive with a mobile axeman stack and good guess of initial AI stack(10-12 units) attack. Wait the stack inside your high walls and try to bring as many axeman with shock as you can to city defense. Chop any nearby lumbers, hurry without hesitation, do whatever you can, get out axeman and send to defense In my experience, strongest AI with hostile religion attacks first with a stack around 10-15. Hopefully, you will have eliminated most aggressive neighbors and don’t have to deal with the extra +10% strength bonus AI has.

Searching machinery to produce crossbowman with +%50 vs melee is another idea I considered, but the research cost for machinery is really high(almost 2x) compared to Construction so I gave up on it. The peace period is really short and at that stage to punish the civilizations that attacked you, you require catapults&elephants to reduce city defenses, so after courthouses, you should go for construction as fast as you can afford.

Predicting your next enemy

I think predicting the location of the next war is one of the most important skills you need to have to win at deity level. Once you see the stacks arriving, it is already too late to build a decent army to defend. Whenever you have borders with an aggressive leader or with an empire whose state religion is different than yours, you should start building walls and moving your axemen to defense. Check out the power graph regularly. If you see a huge increase on the power of one civilization, they are most likely massing troops for an upcoming attack. Watch diplomacy screen to discover who they might attack, hopefully not you. If you are one of the civilizations with worst relations to them, spend some extra money on unit maintenance, it is better to keep your cities alive than to die rich. Don’t be afraid to hurry axeman. Before any infrastructure is being built, you should keep 3-4 defending units on border cities at all times, regardless of war or peace.

If all fails and you realize you won’t have sufficient defending units, pull all your forces back before you lose anything. Losing 1 city does not mean you are losing the game. AI splits their forces after city capture, so wait on the 2nd city for defense. AI will most likely suicide half of his stack against your forces. Then, with more troops arriving, you can go on the offensive and capture your lost city with minimal causalities against half of the invading AI’s army. At that point, you might even go on the offensive and capture 1-2 cities from the AI.

Some tips

Early game, to avoid losing commerce to rounding errors, try either staying at %0 or %100 research rate.

Pre-build those axeman. It is absolutely crucial to have sufficient axeman ready to defend the stack attack. Leave 1 hammer before finalizing production or slow down the production for a commerce heavy city(grassland cottages) so you don’t have to pay upkeep. If you pre-build, keep in mind that after 30 turns on marathon speed on queue, you start losing hammers on your production. But still 30 turnsx1 gold for each axeman 7 cities is 210 gold and that extra gold can speed up your research by 20-30%, bringing it from 40% up to 70%.

Also, try using religious allies vs your enemies. In my test game, I managed to let the 2nd strongest rival I had to fight vs my closest rival. Bribe enemies against your largest opposition, it is crucial to bribe if you don’t have a strong army yet. Bribe once and their relation gets screwed for eternity, you will see them declaring wars many times over and over.

Be careful in capturing cities from civilizations that are in close proximity of another high culture civilization. The cities you captured would most likely soon flip to the neighbor. Unless you control sistine chapel, you might lose many cities. It is more appropriate to attack high culture civilizations first around 500BC-500AD, assuming you already have catapults.

Well that is all, this article covers the best start, IMHO, you can have at deity on a huge map as of 1.61. I leave rest of the strategy up to you to fit to your liking for the HOF competition I am still undecided what to do after 500BC myself. You could definitely combine this strategy with Godonut’s cultural deity win article. But I think what matters most is the satisfaction you get by beating deity difficulty fair and square, and I hope my article helped you in that way.

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