Huge Immortal Domination Win

Hello Civfanatics =) I am very happy for achieving the first and, between February 10th and March 25th of 2008, the only score over 500K in the main HOF tables. Between these dates, my submission also remained as the earliest finish date on Huge map size at Immortal difficulty. The game was played with the :bts: 3.13 patch and against the better :bts: AI, and here is the Hall of Fame link for the saves:

And more saves: (to view them, you need to install the 3.13.001 HOF mod, download here)

View attachment VirusMonster BC-2020.CivBeyondSwordSave
View attachment VirusMonster BC-0500.CivBeyondSwordSave
View attachment VirusMonster AD-0001.CivBeyondSwordSave
View attachment VirusMonster AD-0500.CivBeyondSwordSave
View attachment VirusMonster AD-1000.CivBeyondSwordSave

The strategy for this high scoring game can be summarized as a beautifully executed Praetorian rush resulting in a halt of economy, followed by a quick recovery and continuous warmongering. I hope this detailed writeup will be a solid guide for anyone trying to achive highest CivIV scores and earliest finish dates.

Along this comprehensive and pretty long writeup, you’ll find my point of view to the unending debates of CivIV. Those educational discussions would be:

  1. Dynamics of a powerful hybrid economy
  2. Diplomacy against the BTS AI:
  3. Combat tactics against the better BTS 3.13 AI
  4. Tips for scoring high in the HOF tables

I will hit the points above as I write out the game chronologically. For example, you will have to wait until mid-game for comparison of various economies. Additional short observations are scattered along the writeup as well.

I also send my gratitudes from here to all contributors of the War Academy, especially the Game Mechanics section. They helped me to understand [civ4] in a much subtler way. Special thanks goes to OTAKUjbski for helping me organize this article.

A few words on game and map settings:

The following are my preferences for aiming highest score and earliest finish date in HOF:

  • Pangea map type enables earlier domination victory dates compared to multicontinental map types, since transporting your army to the other continent and later sending reinforcements take significantly more time than conquering a single big continent. Furthermore, maps with more than one main continent usually end up splitting luxury resources, and you might have to wait a long, long time to connect that rare luxury resource in the other continent. Even Terra maps have this problem, hence map types with a single landmass are probably best for competitive HOF play at Immortal difficulty. On the other hand, for Deity difficulty, Pangea might not be the easiest map choice according to this post by ABigCivFan.
  • Huge land size chosen to allow for maximum population and land limits. While on smaller mapsizes you can get a higher score due to an earlier finish date, on larger map sizes, your base score from land and population will be higher. For highest scores, huge map size is probably the best choice.
  • Temperate climate chosen so I can get all health and happiness resources on the map. For example, tropical climate setting does not put any silver resource to the map. How do I know? Regenerated some starts and opened up in the world editor.
  • High Sea levels, so hopefully, less land will make domination attempt not more difficult than it already is. On the other hand, low sea levels would probably have made the final base score higher.
  • 17 Enemy AIs, because it is more fun and the maximum number the HOF allows. It also gives a little less land to each AI at the start to settle, but has the danger of creating a very difficult early game. For example, in this game, I was sandwiched between Montezuma and Genghis Khan. I was fighting against 4 AI opponents simultaneously in the 2000-1000BC era. If you can survive the BC era and grow larger than your closest competitor, things get little bit easier, but diplomacy still remains a mess.
  • Cylindrical, I don’t think it makes much difference compared to Torodial.
  • Standard resources, because HOF does not allow balanced. The Pangea map script was usually very generous as well :)
  • Marathon speed to slowdown units becoming obsolete and Ancient era start
  • Locked modified assets
  • No barbarians, because I want my stolen workes to arrive home safely. I could probably escort the workers with warriors, but I did not want anymore problems than the 17 I already had. Most other Immortal and Deity HOF top scores also have barbarians turned off, and I didn’t want to break the trend. A praetorian rush, however, can definitely handle normal barbarians and favors such setting, because barbarians will help your Praetorians promote to CityRaiderII before the initial rush.
  • Did I pick opponents? Well, having lost a very long game against a protective AI that outteched and owned me after I had achieved 40% of total land mass really discourages me to play against Protective AIs. Thus, I choose my 17 AI opponents to be not protective. I also avoided financial for some reason. Not sure why however, probably because of the whole propaganda about Financial being the best trait. I might put those saves up too, so you can understand my frusturation. It was a stalemate and I could not advance my land to the domination limit, and the harder I sent stacks against his cities, the more I lost :) I am laughing now, but it was a very valuable lesson.
  • Random events are turned on for more fun :)

Which leader did I choose?

The mighty Julius Caesar of of course! =) I tried both Persians leaders and Hannibal as well, but decided Romans would be the best choice. Victoria and MansaMusa were other candidates. Suleiman also looks like a very strong leader for Immortal and Deity difficulties.

I want to try Charlamange next time. I think everything about him is overpowered. I don’t understand why people think he is so bad. His UB is the best in the game, and his UU is really strong against any unit of its era, creating great synergy with Trebuchets and the +1 movement bonus Engineering brings. Imperialistic helps for early game fast expanding due to better chopping and later has the potential to create an extremely strong army. In conclusion, without even counting the effects of the Protective trait, Charlamange is a very solid leader.

Worker stealing revisited

One downside of Charlamange, however, is that he starts with Hunting. Initial warrior will be replaced by a scout, and he can’t steal workers as early as a leader starting without Hunting. Worker stealing is a great way to boost your economy in the ancient era. In the 500K game, I stole 3 workers, equaling 360 hammers on marathon speed and roughly 40 turns of population growth. That much hammers and food are the price for 5 Praetorians. 5 Praetorians usually compose half of the initial rush army.

A leader starting with Hunting must spend 6-10 turns on marathon speed for producing the first warrior and might be less successful in worker stealing, because AI capital’s cultural borders would most likely grow before the initial warrior reaches a possible target. Once cultural borders grow, worker stealing becomes somewhat luck dependent and might come delayed, because worker’s location cannot be predicted easily with a single warrior. Delaying or even failing your worker stealing plan would be some huge setback for early economy.

In that case, I suggest you locate an unimproved resource inside enemy cultural borders and camp your warrior next to it until the enemy worker arrives. Even then, some AIs, mostly the more aggresive ones, could guard their workers with archers.

Did I regenerate the start?

I even used HOF MapFinder utility to find the start I liked. I did, because I am competing for the best score in HOF and don’t plan on torturing myself with an average start. The fact I regenerated the start does not mean I fail defeating average starts regularly, but it probably means I would not score as high and maybe fail seldomly. I do agree, however, that beating an average start gives a different kind of pleasure :) And I really enjoy reading writeups where game was won despite an average start or by an underdog leader at higher difficulties and appreciate the author’s skills.

Subtleties of the perfect Praetorian rush:

To master the Praetorian rush took much trial&error. Despite amazingly advantageous starting positions, I lost many games in the early game and learned from my mistakes. For example, I figured what the optimal city size should be before first settler production (4) and what the optimal number of cities should be before the first Praetorian rush (4-5 for a huge map).

Once, while delaying my praetorian rush and building monuments, granaries and barracks in my cities, I got war declared by around 10 AIs simultaneously, because my power was ridicilously low. Thus, I decided to delay building granaries until after the inital Praetorian rush. Built Monuments, followed by Barracks and poprushed extensively. Monument should be always poprushed first once your city grows size 2.

Another significant mistake was settling my 2nd city on commerce or hammer rich locations. To poprush the inital rush army fastest, I figured settling on food rich locations was usually much better. The enemy capitals would serve as commerce&hammer rich locations anyways :) Knowing where to settle your cities is one of the most important skills in Civ4, and my advice is simple: Food, Food, and again Food.

I know it sounds simple, but learning to leave enough units to defend my cities took some time as well. I must have been producing an unsufficient number of units in my test games, because I was either not able to successfully rush the neighbouring AI or not able to defend my cities against some other AI during this initial rush period. Eventually in the 500K game, I survived warring simultaneously against 4AIs(!!) during the 2000-1000BC era.

Additionally, learning the new AI tricks took some time: AI is definitely tougher in BTS. Most significant improvement is the effective usage of AI poprushing when you are about to capture one of their cities. AI also won’t middlessly attack your well defended city, but can camp outside some forest near your city. This situation can create a stalemate for a long period unless you want to take the risk and attack the stack despite the forest defense bonus.

And the economy! There are too many points to cover about a strong economy. Don’t worry, I am not hiding any secrets, you will find all of them inside the writeup. Can you believe I lost a game after reaching 44% of total lands (51% is domination limit) mainly because of my overexpansion? Well, I have heard it many times, overexpansion kills any empire, but experiencing it firsthand after 10 hours of Civ4 gaming made me rethink my overall strategy. I did not lose that game financially, but rather technologically. You might sometimes want to delay your expansion.

Early game strategy:

My starting strategy was as follows: Regenarate the start and always settle on place until 2 gem resources appear in the 20 squares of the capital radius. Gold gives 1 more commerce, but gem is better, because 2 food and 1 hammers from a grassland gem instead of 3 hammers from a gold hill allow your city to grow faster.

Most likely, actually almost always, such start would also include 1 food resource in one of the 20 tiles around your capital.

Next, build 2 warriors and send the initial warrior to worker stealing, preferably from one of the non-aggressive AIs. Do not steal more than 3 workers; I have lost many games due to archer rush following a worker steal. Welcome the new BTS AI! =) Rushing with archers =) I have no barbarians turned on just so I don’t have to escort workers back. With so many AIs on the map, the barbarians will not be able to find a spot to spawn anyways.

Initially, I tried researching IronWorking right after BronzeWorking and settled my 2nd, 3rd and 4th cities once I know where the Iron are. My most successful attempts were however games where I immediately settled the 2nd city on a food rich location.

In the 500k game, I researched Wheel after BronzeWorking, followed by IronWorking. Capital grew size 4 before working on the 2nd luxury resource. After BW->Roads->IW, I researched Mystisicm to build monuments at my food rich cities, followed by Agriculture and/or Animal Husbandry.

Pottery and Writing should also be discovered before the initial praetorian rush, because once the research halts, cottages and libraries must be built for a speedy recovery.

Here is the starting screenshot:


The power of 2 gem or 2 gold starts is obvious. While your palace can only produce 8 commerce per turn, a capital with gems can produce +5 while a city with gold can produce +6 commerce. Having 2 gold resources would effectively increase your research rate for the expensive IW tech by %150.

2 Gems would increase your reseach by %125. Don’t make the mistake of working the gold mine too early however, growth is just as important as research. Grow size 4 before you work on the gold mine. I am telling this with experience after having lost a 4 goldhills start =)

With gem, it usually does not matter, because you can find gems usually on grassland giving you 2 food, 1 food only if it is grasslandhill, but still better than the 0 food gold hill.

In the 500k game, I had a lucky 1 gem, 1 gold start. 1 gem, 1 gold start could be even better than a 2 gem start because of the extra happiness resource. Rome’s radius also contained corn, and copper showed up on grassland after BW.

Here are some screenshots for my start, and the actual writeup begins:

3 workers stolen at 3250BC, 2 are working the mines, and the 3rd one is on the way:

3 workers stolen by 3250bc.JPG

Chopping and producing the first settler with Rome size 4 at 2875BC (75th turn):

producing the first settler-size4 by 2905.JPG

Here are my city placement choices: Notice that all city locations marked 1, 2, and 3 have 2 food resources. Antium was settled at 2785BC, Cumae at 2680, and Neapolis at 2370. I was not sure about founding a 5th city, but had an extra settler and settled Ravenna at 2230.


Locations of iron at 2400BC:

locations of iron.JPG

Good that 2 of my already built cities will have iron in their 20 square radius. When you settle right next to a food resource before you have discovered IW, don’t fear about settling on the Iron, since Iron and food resources never appear in adjacent tiles.

Observations on quests:

I got a badly timed quest at 2190BC, but can’t complain =) Just as 1 turn was left to hook up the road to the already mined iron resource, the Greed quest shows up telling I should capture Istanbul for free units. Well, Istanbul was already on my way, since I was planning to expand toward the oceans.

Later in the game, I also got the Best Defense quest 2-3 turns before I had finished researching Economics. The Best Defense quest asked for completion of 10 Castles, well can’t build castles anymore with Economics. If I completed the mission, I could choose from:
– the not extremely important CityGarrison promotion to all my melee units or
– the very nice diplomatic bonus of gaining +3 Attitude with all AIs I have met or
– the super +25 Espionage points bonus (roughly 6 free spy specialists) for the Great Wall
At that stage, my empire needed unit production badly, and I decided to skip this mission. I suspect poor quest timing was another reason for my refusal.

The ultimate quest for Praetorian rush would have been the Elite Swords mission. It asks for gathering around 10 Swordsman units (in Roman case 10 Praetorians), and as reward, you can choose all swordsman units produced in your capital receive the CityRaider I promotion. If you settle your first GG at the capital, then you can pump CRIII Praetorians very, very early in the game.

1920BC: Discovered Hunting and Pottery through tech trade

1700BC: Discovered Archery and Writing through tech trade

1670BC: War starts vs. Mehmed. Praetorians captured Istanbul by 1650BC, Edirne by 1620BC, and razed the last Ottoman city Ankara by 1600BC, creating a Great General during Edirne siege. I always settle the first general at capital to train CityRaiderII promoted Praeteorians right from the start.

1650BC: After capturing Istanbul, I receive 6 zero-experienced praetorians due to completion of the Greed quest. They create a small jump in my power graph.

Same turn, Asoka declares war on me. I am not really afraid of him, his empire is more than 10 tiles far in the south, and being usually the peaceful AI, he is unlikely to send a huge stack. Nevertheless, it is 1 more enemy to be taken care of.

1630BC: Pyramids built and looking at info screen: it belongs to the Mongols, they should be my first target after the Ottomans. I figured either Mehmed or Genghis would finish the Pyramids first, since both of them had Stone nearby.

1620BC: Genghis adopts Police State, big problems very soon :trouble:

1610BC: Bismarck declares war.

1560BC: Mongols declare war on me before I could on them :) The battle begins.

1540BC: Now Montezuma declares war. I thought I lost the game at this stage; I am in war vs 4 AIs. 2 of them are aggressive leaders, and Bismark isn’t usually friendly either. I would be very dissappointed that if this super start ended up with a quick loss :(

1530BC: Fortunately, Asoka makes peace with me. Unlike Bismark, Montezuma, and Genghis, he is usually willing to discuss peace.

1530-1510BC: Bismarck’s stack parks in the forest outside my northern city, Neapolis. I need larger numbers in capturing the Mongols, and these 3 defending Praetorians at Neapolis would have been much help in capturing Karakorum. Similar situation is happening in my southern city where 3 Praetorians are guarding against Asoka and possibly Montezuma.

My outpost city, Ravenna, near Aztec lands has just reached population 2, and I am poprushing 2 archers (90 hammers from rush + 10 hammers = 50 per archer x 2) These 2 archers are going to replace the southern city, Antium, defenses, and hopefully, the 3 Praetorians there will be sent toward Mongols.

1510BC: Next target is Pyramids, but Mongols won’t fall easy. Look at his city on my way toward his capital. :trouble: Walls already?! 4 units inside the city and 4 more on the way? Shock promoted Axeman? :scared:


My research has halted as well due to army expenses and the 2 new cities, Istanbul and Edirne.

1500BC: Montezuma finally captures Ravenna, and my empire stops losing gold at 0% research.

1480-70BC: Siege of tough Karakorum, city has walls up (+50%) and fortified (+25%) units.

8 Praetorians + 1 Axeman vs. 5 Axemen, 2 Archers and 1 Spearman at +75% defense

battle odds against Genghis axeman.JPG

Battle lasted 2 turns: It was so exciting, because I almost did not make it =) During the first turn of attack, I lost 2 Praetorians, followed by killing an axeman, followed by another 2 Praetorian loss. At this point, I had 4 Praetorians and 1 axeman left vs. 4 Axemen, 2 Archers, and 1 Spearman and was feeling very bad. How could I have wasted such a wonderful start at this Mongol city so stupidly? :gripe: Anyway, now my remaining Praetorians attack.

Bum :) Can’t always be unlucky, I guess RNG is fair. I kill 2 archers, 1 spearman and one of the wounded axeman. On next turn, Karakorum has 3 Axemen all of which have been wounded during previous round. Fortunately, Genghis did not poprush any more axeman in previous round.

My wounded units were 4 Praetorians and 1 Axeman. However, since his units were fortified they all healed 20 HP (base healing inside cities for fortified units) Luckily, my units were around 3 exp before the battle and gained a 2nd promotion. A promotion boosts %50 lost hp immediately. CityRaider promotions also further negate the effects of +75% city defenses down to +55% and +30% respectively.

Now, my turn of attack with the following odds of battle:
73.6%(win), 27%(loss), 39%(win), 87%(win) and captured Karakorum :dance: I felt very lucky at this point :rockon: not only for controlling the Pyramids, but also for not having lost my entire army at the siege of Karakorum. 4 out of 9 survived, that is roughly 50%, which is great against a city that has walls up and 7 fortified units. I could have arrived with more units if I wasn’t in war with Bismark and Montezuma as well.

Gaining control of the Pyramids, I switch to Police State civic and start producing Praetorians at +25% rate.

I continue eliminating the remaining Mongol cities one after another.

1420BC: My second general will be settled in Karakorum. Karakorum is going to be a strong production city, possibly my second military center. It has much hills and good food resources.

1360BC: Genghis gets his first general. He usually settles the generals, so I must be careful not to raze anymore of his cities.

1330BC: Peace with Bismarck. I grew weary of the stalemate of his stack parking in my forests, so I decided to attack him at all costs. His stack took some casualities, and peace agreed soon after.

Peter declared war on Montezuma btw, which should help me sign a peace treaty with Montezuma faster.

1300BC: I am paying 16 gold to units within my borders. 16 gold roughly corresponds to 25% research rate. When my army stack moves outside my cultural borders, I pay an additional 16. 32 gold corresponds to roughly 50% research rate. Talk about pre-1000BC warmongering, it is all about army maintenance.

Civic upkeep costs 10 gold (should be 20, but I am organized -50%), and city maintenance 27. I am running 0% research rate with no profits. Empire population size is 27, but it should grow to 50 pretty soon. Keep in mind I am not working any cottages at this point, and no library specialists are assigned. Everything was set on Praetorian production and poprushing. As some might call, full scale food economy.

Dynamics of a powerful hybrid economy

“Food economy” (FE) term can be misleading as its definiton is not entirely clear. To denote excessive use of poprushing for war and infrastructure production, the term “slavery economy”, “poprushing economy”, or “whip economy” could be used. Specialist economy, on the other hand, does not use poprushing as much and favors Caste System over Slavery, yet probably still works as many farms and food resources as a “slavery economy”, because excess food is required to assign those specialists. Then, food economy becomes, according to my dictionary :), the compositon of a strong “slavery economy” with a soft specialist economy. According to this definition, during my first Praetorian rush, I was running a full scale “slavery economy” with almost no research. Then, after assigning some scientists and later spy specialists, yet still depending largely on poprushing for infrastructure production, I switched to a real food economy.

A soft “specialist economy” under Slavery, in other words, a FE, has various advantages. Distributing early GP generation and Wonder production over a couple of cities and running Slavery instead of Caste System allows for both continuous high-output production and earlier GPs than a single GP farm would produce. The early GPs and their variety add significant flexibility to your gameplan.

Academies and infiltration missions are perfect research boosts in any game. On a huge map where you already control most of the earth due to domination victory plans, saving the less useful early GPs for 2-3 Golden Ages is probably the strongest idea. On marathon speed and while controlling the Mausoleum of Maussollos, 3 consequitive Golden Ages correspond to 72(!) turns, roughly 360 (!) years, of super high production and commerce yields. Holy Shrines also gain importance as the map size gets larger. On smaller map types, lightbulbing becomes more advantageous to capitalize on early military tech lead.

Throughout this 500k game, I worked mainly farms rather than cottages, because the speed I acquired new health and happiness resources clearly outperformed the speed my cities grew to the health and happiness cap. Additionally, since my almost continuous war campaign depended greatly on Slavery usage, farms had to be worked for faster city regrowth. Capturing Pyramids very early in the game and switching to Representation soon after also affected my decision to work a few extra farms to support those 2-3 specialists per city. Finally, since each population unit contributes to the final score, I wanted to maximize the empire population as early as possible.

Obviously during a less successful war campaign or a more peaceful game with lower health and happiness caps, working a higher number of cottages would have been the more logical choice. Cottages always compose some part of the total economy, because high happiness and health caps are not achieved instantly. Especially after you reach an economic halt due to warmorgering, it is natural to switch to work the cottage tiles instead of the farms. So when I use the term “FE”, don’t think my definition is strict; cottage economy could be and should be composing, depending on player’s taste, 0 to 40% of the total economy in the early-mid game. Post Liberalism and/or Democracy, this precentage should increase even further, and since Slavery gets outdated after Emancipation, it would be wiser to call the overall economy mainly a “Cottage Economy” only first at that stage.

Let me also add that traderoute economy (TRE) has little to do with how populated your cities are, because there is no competition among empires for foreign traderoutes with high base profits. Consequently, the FE and TRE can be thought as seperate concepts.

On the other hand, a minor boost of FE to TRE occurs, because each population unit above 10 increases the base traderoute profit in your cities by 5%. This minor boost is negligible, because even if working all farms with a super high happiness cap could theoretically result in higher average city population throughout your empire, the traderoute effect of this excess population in FE compared to any other economy type is rather small. For example:

+5% per extra population * on average 5 more citizens in a FE than a CE = 25% higher base traderoute profits. With 3-4 traderoutes per city and base traderoute profits around 2.0-3.0 at middle game, excess traderoute profits per city in a FE correspond roughly to (2.0-3.0)*(3-4)*0.25=1.5-3.0 commerce.

In conclusion, the effect of FE to traderoute profits is negligible. More on TRE dynamics here.


After the conquest of Karakurum, my cities have started building granaries followed by libraries, while the capital kept producing CRII praetorians. All of my strong production cities had access to 2 food resources. For example, Antium at size 4 gave 4 food surplus per turn. It requires 90 food to grow size 5: 90/4=23 turns. The unhappiness penalty caused by poprushing lasts 30 turns on marathon speed; therefore, Antium could safely poprush every 30 turns, still stay at 4 population, and grow slightly. This growth dynamic is another reason why you can delay building granaries before the initial Praetorian rush, because obviously even if you built the Granaries and grew while still poprushing every 30 turns, your growth will be most likely limited by the happiness cap.

Cumae was my strongest city with 8 excess food per turn. It was the first city to finish the granary and worked on the library next.

1260BC: Mongols capture Edirne, it had only 1 Praetorian defending. I was not careful.

1230BC: I capture Mongol city of Beshbalik. It has a settled GreatGeneal =) but it would have been much better if the settled general was in Karakorum.

1210BC: I recapture Edirne. Mongols down to a single city. Now, look what is happening next turn =)

1200BC: I sign a peace treaty with Mongols and get =) guess what =) Some might argue that no AI would enter such a trade, but I guess the warmonger Genghis does not put enough importance on techs. Look at my war weariness toward him.

cenghis khan alphabet free.JPG

He gives Alphabet and Masonry for a 10-turns peace treaty. :woohoo: My research was on a halt for centuries, I still have no single library built and now this extremely generous peace offer. How could I resist?

Before the treaty, I was the only civilization that had no knowledge of Alphabet and Masonry, thus, another empire might also have given these techs for free. Let’s not put all fault on Genghis, he was merely giving away something that every other AI had to a tech-poor human player =)

Genghis Khan eventually retired to heavens at 990BC. I still pray for him. :religion:

Espionage economy(EE) vs. Manual research

Alphabet trade is probably a good point to add my two cents on the Espionage economy(EE) vs. Manual research issue. Alphabet enables training of spies, fantastic units in nullifying city defenses and stealing techs. Particularly in tech stealing missions, stationing spies for 5 turns gives 50% off, translating to some big reduction in research expenses. Some possible scenario for stealing techs would be the following:

First, notice that according to the Technology Research Explained article, this technology cost depends on map size, game speed, game difficulty, number of teammates, and tech base cost. For example in this game, the technology cost for Optics was:

600 (tech base cost) * 3 (marathon speed multiplier) * 1.25 (immortal difficulty multiplier) * 1.5 (huge map size multiplier) = 3375 :science:

Secondly, espionage tech base cost is calculated through multiplying the technology cost in beakers by 1.50.

Then, the espionage base cost for Optics became: 3375 :science: * 1.5 = 5062 :espionage:


On a side note, city revolt mission base cost is 500 :espionage: regardless of map size and game speed. Consequently, marathon speed and larger map sizes favor this mission type more. The same modifiers that apply to tech stealing missions also apply to city revolt missions.

Thirdly, many espionage mission cost modifiers affect this espionage base cost. Let’s consider the following tech stealing mission scenario:

Your 5-turns stationed (-50%) spies steal from a nearby city (+20% distance penalty) with traderoute connection (-20%, careful (!): road connection is not enough) and with your state religion present, but AI having a different state religion (-15%, easy to achieve through Open Borders and missionaries). Assume 5 relatively cheap culture spread missions were performed consecutively on this city, each reducing the city culture modifier by roughly %2.5, a total of -12.5%.

Further assume that your continuous espionage spending has doubled your espionage power (EP) relative to the target empire. You can look at the espionage graph to guess your relative EP. Then, the espionage point spending modifier becomes:

((2 * enemy EP) + your EP) / ((2 * your EP) + enemy EP) = 0.80

Fourthly, notice that the mission cost modifiers that show up when you move the mouse cursor on top of a possible espionage mission are not added, but multiplied. Multiplying all modifiers, espionage mission cost total modifier becomes:

50% * 120% * 80% * 85% * 87.5% * 80% = 28,56%

The mission will cost 70% cheaper; in other words, you will need to spend roughly only 1/3 of the espionage base cost.

If, in addition to your state religion being present in the target city, the holy city of your state religion also belongs to your empire, then the espionage religious modifier is subtracted by 25%. For this holy city modifier, it does not matter if you and the target empire share the same state religion. Then, for the scenario above, the espionage mission total cost modifier becomes:

50% * 120% * 80% * (85%-25%) * 87.5% * 80% = 20,16%

These bonuses don’t depend much on the buildings you have built; therefore, Espionage Economy can be great in recovering where many human cities still lack infrastructure. These cost reductions look fine, but don’t underestimate the hidden costs of an EE.

Let’s remember that spies can get caught inside enemy territory. If your crucial military tech stealing plan gets delayed, you might have to fight a war with an obsolete army and lose the game. Thus, sending a sufficient number of spies to secure the espionage mission becomes very important for the success of an EE.

According to Bhruic’s spy detection article and Roland Johansen’s summary post, open borders agreement significantly reduces the chances of your spies getting caught. When one of your spies has just moved or is on the same tile as another one of your spies, then it has a 1.5% increased chance of being caught with open borders. Overall, with open borders, the chance of being caught each turn in enemy territory ranges between 0% and 7.5%, while with closed borders, this chance ranges from 0% to 18.75%.

With the 3.13 patch, spies cannot get caught while travelling on ships; thus, stealing from coastal cities using a naval transport would eliminate the risk of getting caught except when the mission fails.

You might be asking how many spies are required to secure a tech stealing mission. Let’s assume you are stealing from an AI with whom you have signed the Open Borders agreement, and also, let’s assume pessimistically the chance of your spies getting caught within enemy territory each turn is roughly 6%. For an optimistic scenario under pure EE, the chances of getting caught could be as good as 0.6%! A realistic, yet optimistic scenario under hybrid EE would be 2% spy detection chance per turn.

Let’s continue with the pessimistic scenario and assume that it takes roughly 3 turns for your spies to reach the target city and 5 extra turns for the -50% espionage reduction to set in. Then, the chance of a single spy surviving for 8 turns becomes (1-0.06)^8=60%

Spies can also get caught during a mission. According to Roland Johansen’s post on spy detection during missions, the chance of being caught during a mission ranges between 0% and 75%. For tech stealing missions, this range extends to 75%*1.25=93.75%. Let’s assume for our hybrid EE purposes that our spies have a 50% success rate for tech stealing missions. Significantly higher success rates are possible under pure EE. Then, 60%*50%=30% success rate for each spy sent; ceiling(100/3)=4. Under these suboptimal odds, on average, the 4th spy will succeed in stealing a tech from an AI with whom you have signed the Open Borders agreement.

Don’t be fooled that 4 spies will be sufficient to secure the mission however. 30% success rate for each spy translates to 70% failure rate for each spy. Then, with 2 spies, failure rate becomes 49%, with 3 spies 34,3%, with 4 spies 24%, with 5 spies 16,8%, with 6 spies 11,7%, with 7 spies 8,2%, with 8 spies 5,7%, with 9 spies 4,0%, with 10 spies 2,8%, with 11 spies 1,9%… I hope my point is clear. While on average you should expect to lose not more than 3-4 spies on the tech stealing mission, you should still bring roughly 10-12 spies to secure the mission :-/ Good news is that 30% success rate was roughly the worst case scenario for a hybrid EE economy. In a focused hybrid EE or pure EE, mission success rates are significantly higher; therefore, you can get away with fewer number of spies.

According to the analysis above, the hybrid EE could be difficult to manage in the early Medieval era. In addition to all cities getting the courthouse spy specialists, a few castles and 100% espionage slider spending bursts might be required to gain espionage superiority against the target civilization. This espionage spending superiority would not only reduce the spy detection and mission failure chances significantly, but also reduce the mission cost further.

In conclusion, to keep your spy losses to a minimum, make sure you always:

  • steal from an enemy with whom you have signed Open Borders agreement
  • carry and station your spies with a naval transport
  • steal from an enemy against whom you have gained espionage spending superiority
  • take the shortest path to the target city to minimize turns spent inside enemy territory
  • send sufficient number of spies to avoid the worst case scenario
  • bring your spies to the target city through different paths or at different intervals to avoid spy stack penalty (assuming the number of turns spent in enemy territory remains the same)

Under a pessimistic scenario in a hybrid EE, I would suggest sending 10 spies to secure the mission, ie 2,8% mission failure chance. An optimistic pure EE scenario could get away with as few as 2 spies per mission. For a realistic hybrid EE scenario, let’s take the average and assume 6 spies will be sufficient to secure the mission. Significantly more number of spies must be sent against an enemy with closed borders, but hopefully, you will gain a few trustable friends during the course of any game. =)

Now, let’s add the production and maintenance costs for these 6 spies to the calculations. Each spy costs 80 hammers on marathon speed and can be rushed through a single population unit, 90 hammers for marathon speed again. Consequently, when 6 of your cities poprush spies simultaneously in the Medieval era, it is not a big deal for your economy. In this game, the lost population unit for a 11 size city regrew in roughly 12 turns with 5 food surplus and a granary. Say this citizen was working a village with +3 commerce, then the total lost commerce for 12 turns becomes: 12*6*3=216.

Furthermore, each spy incurs +1 gold for unit costs and an additional +1 gold for traveling outside cultural borders. Let’s assume you are sending 6 spies for a tech stealing mission and spend 10 turns on the way: 2*6*10=120 gold.

For simplicity reasons, let’s ignore the low cost of 5 consecutive spread culture missions, since their effect carries over to future missions. The culture spread mission base cost on a city with 1000 total culture would be: 1000*0.05*3=150 :espionage:. With modifiers, final cost of 5 missions would be roughly 200 :espionage:.

Then, assuming an average 1:1.65 commerce to beaker conversion ratio in the early game, the total effective price for the tech to be stolen increases by (216+120)*1.65=554 beakers.Note that this extra spending does not depend on the base cost of the tech to be stolen. For a 3000 beaker tech, this extra spy production and maintenance costs add a further 18,4% to the base cost. For a 10000 beaker tech, these extra spy production and maintenance costs only add a further %5,5 to the base cost. As your EE gets stronger, the spy production and maintenance fees compose less of the total espionage cost, and the EE becomes a more viable option. Additionally, the more you increase the espionage spending, the less you will pay for spy production and maintenance due to lower spy detection and mission failure chances.

To reduce this luck component involved in the mission overhead cost, a mainly pure EE should be favored over a hybrid EE. The switch from manual research to pure EE can be gradual. Code of Laws, Nationhood, Constitution, Communism, and Democracy are key techs on they way to a pure EE.

Including realistic spy maintenance costs (+12%) and also including the earlier-mentioned 1.50 multiplier for technology cost to espionage base cost conversion, the effective espionage cost reduction for a tech stealing mission becomes 112%*150%*28,56%=47.98%. This ratio converts a single commerce into roughly two science beakers, 2.08 to be exact. Additionally controlling the holy city of your state religion would have reduced the effective espionage cost down to 112%*150%*20,16%=33.86%. Then, the commerce to science conversion rate would be roughly 2.95.

Now, let’s look at how effective manual research converts commerce into science beakers for a Medieval economy. In the early and middle phases of the game where the only scientific building multiplier comes from libraries (+25%) or maybe a few academies (+50%), building multiplier becomes roughly 1.30. When all prerequisites are met, this modifier gets multiplied by 1.20. Additonal modifiers are +20% for each optional prerequisite met, and precentage of living AIs already knowing this tech (max +30%). In conclusion, early-mid game manual research would translate on average a single commerce into science beakers at roughly 1.3*1.2*1.06=1,65 rate. The optimistic case of manual research would result roughly 1.3*1.4*1.3=2.36 rates.

Bureaucracy civic with +50% commerce in capital can complicate the calculation above to some extent. Since this +50% bonus applies to commerce and not science, both EE and Manual Research economies are affected almost equally.

On the other hand, academies (+50% science) are more common in most games than Scotland Yards (+100% espionage), because libraries can assign 2 scientists after Writing, while to assign the first and single spy specialist the expensive CoL must be researched. Especially on smaller empires, a capital with an academy running Bureaucracy can carry the weight of most of the manual research. Assuming 4/5th of the empire-wide commerce is generated at the capital, the average :commerce: to :science: conversion rate for smaller empires becomes: (0.8*1.75*1.5 + 0.2*1.25) *1.2 = 2,82. This high ratio of manual research in small empires clearly favors manual research over EE, except when you control the holy city of the religion present in the target city.

As the empire size grows bigger or on larger map types, the benefits of the super science capital running Bureaucracy diminish: (0.2*1.75*1.5 + 0.8*1.25) *1.2 = 1.83 Furthermore, Bureaucracy is not the best large&huge map size civic, since to dominate a larger map size, you’ll need more than a single production center. For this reason, Vassalage might outperform Bureaucracy in large&huge maps assuming you are not stuck with a smallish empire.

EE also benefits from larger map sizes due to reduced “mission overhead to total mission cost” ratio. Since the exact value of mission overhead has a probabilistic function not directly dependent on map size, the increased tech costs on larger map sizes favor EE.

Finally, Vassalage+Organized synergy helps to cut down total expenses by 6-10%. Assuming early game 1:1 :gold: to :commerce: conversion rate, an Organized leader is better off with Vassalage and EE than Bureaucracy and manual research.

For the average case of both economies in the Medieval era, manual reseach allows :commerce: to :science: conversion rates of around 1.65, while espionage economy can afford 2.08 rates.Controlling the holy city of the religion present in the target city, along with other espionage mission cost modifiers, would clearly favor the effectiveness of EE (2.95 conversion rate) over manual research. These EE figures are not difficult to achieve except maybe on Deity difficulty. As the game progresses, more or less similarly advantageous infrastructure buildings and civics are introduced for both type of economies, and the EE continues on average to convert commerce to science more effectively than a manual-research economy.

In addition to converting commerce to science optimally, the EE also creates a minor, but nice synergy with the spy specialists after Code of Laws discovery. Once you build the courthouses and assign spy specialists, you get 4 (!) espionage beakers + 1 extra science beaker per each specialist.

4 * 2.08 + 1 * 1.65 = 9.97 effective science beakers.

This many beakers cannot be matched by any commerce tile in the early game, except by a riverside gold resource. With 10 spy specialists assigned and each courthouse contributing two additional espionage points, 60 espionage points can be generated per turn. Mid-game techs such as Construction cost around 2000 beakers with the settings for this game, ie marathon speed, immortal difficulty, and huge map size. Even if you continue manually researching a totally different tech path, you can accumulate enough espionage points to steal Construction from AI in approximately 2000/(60*2.08)=16 turns. If same amount of citizens were assigned as scientists instead of spy specialists, researching Construction would take roughly 2000/(10*3*1.65)= 44(!) turns, almost 3 times longer than the spy economy.

While the math behind the effectiveness of EE for larger map&empire sizes is obvious, I have not used any spies for tech stealing missions until much later in this game, but probably should have much earlier. Because tech lead has somewhat better trading&military potential, I am not advocating a full Espionage economy, but rather a hybrid economy in bursts where you first focus on manually researching some techs that lead to a tech monopoly and then on stealing some of the rest. Especially after assigning a significant number of spy specialists and allocating some of your commerce into 100% espionage spending bursts, there is little reason not to steal expensive techs from weak AIs. Since this type of hybrid economy will be somewhat hard to manage if some espionage points must be saved for city revolt missions, I suggest producing more than the usual number of bombard promoted siege units to reduce city defenses faster.

Pure espionage economy, ie fully shutting down manual research, could get well along with aggresive warmongering. On larger maps, however, warmongering will eventually be limited economically. At that point, a tech trade through peace treaty followed by a focused manual research is probably the best idea to backfill the many missing techs through tech trading. Alternatively, you can attempt to steal an expensive tech from the leading AI and backfill the rest from the other AIs through tech trading.

I hope you liked this discussion on espionage economy. Now, let’s continue with the writeup.

1190BC: Roman empire must heal the wounds of war, so I sign a peace treaty with Montezuma and enter a rather long peaceful period.

1000BC: Imperial treasury equals to 1000 gold due to the Mongolian conquest.

Still at 0% research with no profit and no libraries built. Number of cities=10, total population=39, so average city size is 4. Representation provides +3 happiness to 6 largest cities, increasing their happiness cap to 11. Consequently, almost all citizens are focused on working farms and food resources. At this stage of economic recovery, Organized trait clearly outperforms Financial, because working even a single cottage does not make much sense with this low population and lack of infrastructure.

Various AIs have already researched Currency (1), Aesthetic (1), Metal Casting (1), and Mathematics (5). I don’t remember if I tried to bribe them into wars to delay their tech speed. Most likely, since my backwards empire had no techs to offer, and none of the AIs seem to have Currency, my bribe attempts were not successful.

The empire is paying 9 for units costs, 1 for units outside borders, 46 for city maintenance, and 14 for civic costs(I am running slavery and representation).. all data taken from the financial advisor screen.

Good news is libraries are about to be built! Keeping up the hope. I was very optimistic about my game at this stage despite being backwards. I guess the Mongolian Alphabet gift had a tremendeous effect on my attitude =)

This economic crash will recover amazingly quick within the next 50 turns so watch out

860BC: I’ve decided to convert my treasury advantage into a tech lead, and possibly into a wonder lead. After a few libraries have been built and 2 scientists have been assigned, I run 100% research losing 74 gold per turn. I also emphasize commerce in all cities.

In return, my empire gets approximately:

(6 scientists x 6 (3 science per specialist + 3 science for representation) x 1.25 (libraries give +25% research bonus)) + (3 GreatGeneral specialists x 3 science for Representation) = 54 :science: from specialists

(74 commerce from citizens working commerce tiles + 15 commerce from traderoutes) * 1.25 (library bonus) = 111 science through commerce, which helps me boost my research rate to around 54 + 111 = 165 :science: per turn. Great =) Aesthetics costs 1686 beakers and can be researched in approximately 10 turns.

Once I had Aesthetics before most of the AIs did, I went into a very successful techtrading spree that brought me tons of gold from AIs that already had Currency and tons of techs. In particular, I was interested in learning Mathematics so I could chop some aesthetic wonders =)

Here are the details of these trades:

Backfilling with Aesthetics

840BC: Discovered Mathematics and Polytheism through Aesthetics trade (the Parthenon can be built now)

I don’t recall the exact trade, but most likely, I have reseached 1 or 2 turns into Mathematics so the AI can reduce the price on it. Then, I traded Aesthetics (1686 beakers) in exchange for Mathematics (1404 beakers). The AI must have given Polytheism as well.

830BC: Traded for Priesthood and Meditation (can chop Shwedagon Paya!!! =))

810BC: Traded for Currency (see screenshot), Organized Religion(+25% to wonder production), Monarchy, and Sailing

Note that Asoka did not want to trade Currency with Aesthetics initally. There is a huge beaker difference between the two techs, not only that, but also at higher difficulties, the AI sells his techonologies more expensively.

So what to do? Waste all of your gold reserves to reseach a few turns into the desired tech, because when you research some portion of the technology, the AI will charge you less for the trade. Here is the screenshot of trading Currency from the only AI knowing it or maybe Isabella had it too, but definitely not more than 2 leaders. Watch that I have only 177 gold left at this point and Asoka gets 175 of it as part of the trade =)


Wonder production supremacy

790BC: I am chopping for Shwedagon Paya. Thanks to Isabella for spreading Buddhism to my cities and thank you for trading Organized Religion with me. Also, thanks to the other AIs for trading Mathematics with me for 50% chop hammer increase =) 834 :hammers: at Karakorum in 1 turn at 790BC!

chopping and poprushing shwedagon paya.JPG

Shwedagon Paya will help me run Theocracy early on, and during Golden Ages, I can switch to Pacifism to boost my :gp: generation rate even further. Without the Spiritual trait, my continuous warmongering plan could probably accommodate switching into and out of Pacifism only during Golden Ages.

720BC: Thank you the jumbo elephants! Your efforts won’t go waste, less battles there will be through the Statue of Zeus =)

According to Krikkitone’s article on War Weariness Mechanics, on Immortal difficulty, AI’s war weariness unhappiness in a city is 70% less compared to that of a human city with same war weariness. The Statue of Zeus increases this 30% WW multiplier to 60%. WW applies only on wars where you are not culturally dominant. Consequently, when you are defending in your own territory against an AI attack, the AI will be two times more willing to sign a peace treaty after some causalities. In conclusion, the Statue of Zeus is mainly a defense-oriented wonder.

680BC: I was trading Marble from DeGaulle, but it has been cancelled. I don’t recall exactly, but I was trading Aesthetics excessively with all AIs to get their gold reserves. Most likely, after trading it with DeGaulle, I triggered an unwanted response. Now, Istanbul has 4 forest left that are going to be chopped without the 100% production bonus. To spread Buddhism to Istanbul, I poprushed a Buddhist missionary in a nearby city. Hopefully, Istanbul will still be able to complete the Parthenon on time.

630BC: Poprushing the Parthenon =) Along with the Roman Forum, the great person generation rate will be boosted by 75%.

poprusing the parthenon.JPG

The Aesthetics triplet is complete:

Shwedagon Paya, Statue of Zeus, and Parthenon :woohoo:

I was hoping to save some forests for the Great Library in Istanbul, but oh well, all are chopped =) I guess I might as well avoid building the Great Library with no Marble around.

610BC: Discovering Code of Laws. Courthouses will be rushed very soon.

570BC: Discovered Literature, but don’t have Marble, and no one is willing to trade. Skipping the Great Library or maybe not, because my Pyramids + Shwedagon Paya city can get a GreatEngineer =)

510BC: Karakorum pops my first GP, a GreatScientist, sent to the capital to construct an academy. Definitely skipping the Great Library now.

500BC: Let’s have a look on has changed in 50 turns on Marathon speed :) Remember that at 1000BC Romans seemed to have a horrible economical situation.

500BC financial situation

Empire population at 64 with 10 cities. 7 Libraries have already been built, and 14 scientists can be supported at 6 beakers with Representation. 84 beakers from scientists + 9 beakers from the 3 Great Generals = 93 beakers, not counting the +25% Library bonus. Adding the soon-to-be-built Academy research bonus at the capital, the empire should make 130 beakers by scientists alone. However, as of 500BC, I operate 5 scientists only, since my cities are focused on growing to the population cap.

(5*6 beakers per scientist specialist)+(3*3 beakers per settled GreatGeneral)+(4 beakers for 1 SpySpecialist) *1.25 for libraries= around 52 :science: per turn through specialists

If I am getting 52 beakers through specialists, how could I be running my research at 60% (141 :science: generated per turn)? Total expenses are at 93, and total gold generated per turn at 100% goldrate displays 125 :gold:. How could the 125-93=28 gold surplus correspond to the missing 141-52=89 beakers per turn? Even if we assume that 28 gold gets the 1.25 library multiplier, it is still 35 beakers. Also count for the minor 7 gold deficit per turn at 60%. Still, where are the missing 89-(35+(7*1.25 library effect)=46 beakers?

Here is the deal. Let’s look at the gold situation on the financial advisor screen:

500BC financial advisor.JPG

:gold: :gold: :gold: 37 gold gained per turn through resource trading. 37 gold makes up almost 30% of total gold generated at 100% goldrate. 40% of the total expenses(37/93) are being compansated through resource trading. Thus, we can reduce the goldrate by %30 and boost our research from 30% to 60%: a 100% increase in research slider rate, add the library effect and it is even more than 100%. 46 new :science: per turn are added through resource trading. ResourceTrading is so key in recovering from economic collapse after overexpansion. If you’ve gained so much land that your economy halts, then make best use of it and sell your newly acquired resources!

You might be asking how much commerce traderoutes are bringing in at this point. The empire spans 10 cities at this point, and all cities have 2 :traderoute:s each. Most cities get 2:commerce: per traderoute, and a few get 3, creating a total of 40-45 extra :commerce:. Traderoutes account for 30% of our reseach rate at equilibrium, giving a similar economic boost to that of ResourceTrading. The missing components to high research rate can now fully be explained.

And I am researching at 100% using imperial gold reserves. This rush is creating 200 :science: per turn and thus, Construction(1965 beakers) can be researched in around 10 turns. (104 from regular commerce + 52 from specialists + 42 traderoute commerce)


Also, notice that the effects of the organized trait start to be felt. With Representation and Organized Religion, my civic upkeep is at 23. It would have been 46 without the organized trait, corresponding to %20 of our total commerce and around 15% of our total research. You might be asking to yourself whether Organized or Financial would have been better. With 64 citizens at 500BC, if one third of these citizens would be working on 2 commerce tiles, then it would break even with the organized trait. But during wartime and even during peace time, when you want to focus for production exclusively and use poprush extensively, you will experience a drop in the total commerce generated. Because to grow your population back to the happiness cap in the quickest way possible will require you work on the farms and not the cottages.

Furthermore, if you want to work the mines for production, you will need a 1 or 2 farms to support the mines. You can’t cottage everything if you need the hammer production. If you are going to depend on the poprush, then you still have to live with very few actual hammers produced.

I think organized is a solid trait for warmongering and works fantastic with the Slavery civic. I will make further comparisons at 1AD, 500AD, and 1000AD.

I have only 1 Courthouse built at this stage so city maintenance is almost 100% with 50 gold. Also note that unit expenses still compose a large chunk of my total expenses, 18/93=19%.


460BC: Mausoleum of Maussollos has been built by the Ramesses… hmm definite future target =)

450BC: Construction complete, now I can produce Catapults..

410BC: Montezuma declares war on me. I am not sure if I bribed someone into the war before or after he declared war.

Montezuma’s lands stand to the east of my empire. Asoka has marble, but we have been good friends, and I dislike backstabbing for a single resource. He acts as an absorbtion mechanism to all threats from the south as well. Thus, I wanted to war Montezuma anyways.

I also check the relations screen every so often, because I want to make sure every AI dislikes another civ more than they dislike me =) I would agree to most demands by the AIs except tech trade requests or tech demands for my fresh tech monopoly.

390BC: 3rd GreatGeneral born.. and settled in the capital for fresh CityRaiderIII units. 3exp from barracks + 4 exp from Generals + 2 from Vassalage + 2 from Theocracy = 11 exp.

I need to reseach Feudalism however. Shwedagon Paya already provides me with Theocracy.

360BC: Tlatelolco captured. It stood between Rome and the Aztec capital.

310BC: Metal Casting discovered. I will get an additional 25% production bonus with Forge as well as some badly needed happiness.

300BC: Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, has been captured.

My great economy can support sufficient espionage spending to perform city revolt missions. Furthermore, I have brought a few catapults to soften up the defenders, so my Praetorians can have an easier time.

Here is a great trick for poprusing as well. I have used it several times to poprush 2 units instead 1 without getting an extra unhappiness penalty.

The poprushing system works such that if you require more than 90 hammers(on marathon) to complete the units production, it will use 2 citizens. Poprushing 2 citizens actually produces 180 hammers. Yet, when you rush a unit without having put any hammer production into it, you need to poprush 1 more citizen due to the poprush penalty you get.

Here is the deal: A Catapult costs 100 hammers on Marathon speed, while a Praetorian costs 90, a swordsman 80. Put less than 10 hammer production to the catapult. Once you have 1-9 hammers spent on the production of the catapult, then you will poprush the Catapult still for 2 citizens, because it costs more than 90 hammer, but this time without the poprush penalty.

The excess hammers you get, around 81-89 are spent on your next production. Thus, you can poprush your praetorian or swordsman in addition to the catapult every 30 turns(on marathon again).

Growing your 11 size city on marathon takes 126 food, 63 with a Granary. If you have a food surplus of 4, then you can grow 2 population almost every 30 turns, enabling you to poprush again 2 citizens for 180 hammers.

This tactic works with a Horse Archer as well, since Horse Archers cost 100 hammers, same as catapults.

260BC: I am slowly invading the Aztec lands, but for sure. I wait for more troops to arrive and also wait for healing between city captures.

250BC: To attack Aztec lands with a stronger army, I adopt Theocracy.

210-200BC: Texcoco captured and recaptured.

170BC: Ouch, Isabella, my closest scoring competitor has just got war declared by 4 other AIs.

Since the end of my wars with the Mongols and since I become the score leader, the AIs have been very busy declaring war to each other. I have been offered several times to join sides with them, but I repeatedly refused joining any wars, keeping my resource trading profits high.

I also discover Civil Service this turn and start upgrading my Praetorians into Maceman.

160BC: I adopt Bureaucracy. Hopefully, my 4th Great General will also join the capital for a total of 3 settled GGs there, thus allowing me to produce CityRaider III troops without Feudalism.

140BC: The 4th Great General emerged. Theology discovered same turn as well, but I already had Shwedagon Paya enabling me Theocracy anyway.

Ravenna, the 5th city I settled at the start of the game, has been recaptured.

100BC: Tlaxcala captured.

90BC: A random wedding event asked me to risk my relations with Bismarck in return of improved relations with every other empire out there. Right after my approval, Bismarck declares war on me and captures one of my Aztec cities while my army is away.

80BC: My lovely Teothiuacan captured by Bismarck. =)

70BC: I make peace with Montezuma to focus my attention on Bismark. Possibly this peace treaty will result Montezuma becoming a vassal of somebody else, but oh well, he had 2 cities left anyway, not a huge treat anymore. I can take him and his master at the same time if I have to.

50BC: Tenochtitlan, Aztec ex-capital captured by Bismarck. My army is approching to beat Bismarck, but I was late to defend my cities =)

20BC: My stack beats 5 of Bismarck’s units while only losing 1 catapult. Catapults have barrage II promotion; it is great for land battles. I bring some WarElephants to join my hybrid army.

Keep in mind this is a soft war, and I haven’t switched to Police State yet. I am still running Representation for the research bonus. I want to keep my research as high as possible until the discovery of some key military techs, such as Engineering and Feudalism.

10BC-1AD: Bismarck is losing many WarElephants against my stack. Aztec cities flip sides a few times until I gain control of the two Aztec cities previously captured by Bismarck.

1AD: Now, let me recap the financial situation. Here is the financial advisor screenshot:

1 AD financial situation.JPG

Empire size=16 cities, empire population=105 citizens. 10 courthouses already built, 4 more on the way. I like to run some spy specialists, since they are the most economical way of creating espionage points for city revolt missions. The HOF special domestic advisor does not display the number of spy specialists correctly, so I can’t count them easily, but I am getting 57 :science: per turn at 0% research rate. I can safely assume that all of that research is coming from specialists and the settled GGs under Representation.

I could have run more scientists to boost my reseach rate significantly, (max = 193 beakers from specialists), but warmongering allowed access to many new resources, and cities are still busy growing to the happiness limit as quickly as possible. My war against Germany also requires working the farms to sustain poprushing. I break even at 60% research rate, with 225 :science: per turn.

ResourceTrade foreign income is 46, paying for 1/3 of total expenses, 136 :gold:. Without the resource trading, to allocate 46 more gold, I would have to drop the reseach by around 46 * 1.25 (the library research bonus) = 57 beakers, 25% of the 225 initally produced. Without successful resource trading, research would drop roughly by 25%. If I composed my research mainly of scientists, I could definitely afford many more at this point in the game, then the resource trading would have contributed to a smaller fraction of total research.

Traderoute profits equal to 65 commerce and compensate roughly half of the total expenses. Their effect to the total economy remained rather constant and significant since 500BC.


One more observation on civic upkeep. I am running Representation, Slavery, and Theocracy. Civic upkeep cost is 43, similar to that of the resource trading income. With Organized trait cutting civic upkeep by half, I am saving 46 gold, preventing a drop in research rate by approximately 25%. Civic upkeep makes up for 30% of total expenses, and inflation kicked in by 7%.

If I had financial trait at this stage of the game with 105 population and if 40% of my population worked on commerce tiles already generating 2 commerce, then it would break even with the organized trait. It is reasonable to assume that that at least half of your population will be working on commerce tiles by 1 AD, thus around 1 AD, financial trait benefits started to balance out with those of the organized.

On the other hand, keep in mind, I wouldn’t be able to build 10 courthouses at this point if Julius Caeser wasn’t Organized. My city maintence expenses would have been slightly higher. You can see that the total city maintenance is at 65, which roughly corresponds to %50 of my total expenses. Lower number of courthouses would have increased this ratio upto 60-70%.

Finally, the unit costs make around 13% of total expenses, a decline by 6% from the 500BC data. As your empire grows economically, it can naturally support a larger army, and the costs of a such army still should not make up a higher precentage of total expenses than in the past. Although I followed a strong warmongering strategy during the rest of the game, my unit expenses to total expenses ratio continued to stay the same.

OK, let’s fast forward to 500AD:

30AD: The third city I settled, Cumae, gives birth to my second GP, another Great Scientist. I make a suboptimal decision and send this GS to create an academy at Istanbul, my GreatPerson farm. Well, my cottage specialization city, Antium, had maximum science rating after Rome, and Rome already had an academy; therefore, the academy would have fitted Antium better.

I decided to not lightbulb Philosophy, because several AIs already had it. It turned out that my decision was optimal, since game lasted an additional 200 turns, and Philosophy would have been manually researched through the academy much sooner.

60AD: Montezuma becomes Vassal of Peter, I guess after the Germans and the Ramess of Egypt, I need to fight against both Peter and Montezuma.

70AD: I capture Munich and make peace with Bismarck to build more troops to advance further into Germans lands. The AI production bonuses halt my advance.

170AD: Bismarck declares war on Isabella =)

190AD: I discover Engineering, great for rushing units to battle with 3 movement points on roads. To increase war production, I am also building forges in most of my hammer rich cities. Forums, the Roman replacement for market, are only built at my GP farm for the obvious +25% GP generation bonus and at a few of the other commerce rich cities.

I am not commenting on the many wars the AIs have between each other. For example this turn, Alexander declared war on my soon-to-be-again enemy, Bismarck =) I keep my relations good with everyone and avoid unnecessary fighting. My current focus is invading Germany, and I keep it simple.

250AD: Declaring war on Bismarck.

300AD: I capture Essen. My troops advance very slowly, since I haven’t produced sufficient number of catapults or spies to capture cities quickly enough. Marginal German city placement also delays my advances since I don’t want to split my stack. My maceman stack could have been larger in numbers as well. Well, I hope the forges, courthouses, and forums were worth it =)

310AD: Finally discovered Feudalism, will switch to Vassalage pretty soon. I feel Bureaucracy is a small map civic, since to dominate a larger map size, you’ll need more than a single production center.

320AD: Something very interesting happens which I did not notice until much later in the game. Peter which is on the far east of the map captures NewYork from the Americans. Well, Americans are on the far west side of the map =) How could that be? I thought it was a huge map. Just when I thought I finished Peter off later in the game, I realized he had 1 more city left, the NewYork.

330BC: Big event for me: Apostolic Palace decides for war against Bismarck =) Isabella and Peter send armies to finish Bismarck off.

Same turn, random event also gives 1000 beakers toward Divine Right, I was not planing to research it anyways, so not a big deal.

370AD: Great turn for me. I capture Dortmund and get a Great General, which I settle at Karakorum, my second military production city after the capital.

Same turn, my GP farm, Istanbul, gives birth to my 3rd GP, a Great Artist. What should I do with him?

420AD: Enough with focusing on research. I switch to Police State and Vassalage. I probably should have used my Great Artist at this point for a Golden Age and switched my civics after. My main aim is to produce a huge Trebuchet army with CityRaider II&III promotions. Also, I need sufficient number of spies to make my advances quicker. Some more macemen and pikemen would help as well. Basically, I need a real army =)

Most significant tip for early finish dates:

As another top conquest & domination scorer in HOF, The-Hawk, suggests for early finish dates: minimize builder tendencies and produce as many attack units as you can. I could not agree with him more. From 420AD forward, my entire empire is set on unit production, except minimal infrastructure such as granaries, barracks, courthouses, and libraries.

Siege promotions:

I also realized during my German siege that I have been promoting my siege units the wrong way all along. City Raider is a much better promotion than Barrage, because it significantly increases your siege units win/loss ratio.

The main reason for not capturing enemy cities quickly enough is lack of collateral damage. Because siege units are the first ones to enter the battle and probably compose most significant portion of your losses, if you can keep their losses to a minimum, then you will not have to wait for replacements for the 2nd target city on the way.

440AD: Berlin captured. It has some nice wonders built and 2 settled Great Generals. Chicken Itza, The Great Wall, Hanging Gardens and an Academy.

460AD: Frankfurt captured. Germans’re done. Music discovered as well.

500AD: Financial advisor analysis

500AD financial situation.JPG

Compared to 1 AD, the precentage of city maintenance to total expenses have not changed. It is still around 50%, 107/205.

55 :gold: come through resource trading. Total expenses are 205 :gold:, thus the precentage of foreign trade profit compensating for total expenses has dropped from 1/3rd to 1/4th since 1AD. I have been trading very aggressively through trade renegotiations, my total foreign trade profit increased, but my empire size grow at a larger rate, thus I got more expenses. I did not use the trade withdrawal trick, but I have used the HOF alert system to notify me whenever the AI had 1 extra gold per turn to trade, so I could cancel the previous trade and reinitiate it at a higher profit.

Civic upkeep for running Police State, Vassalage, Slavery and Theocracy equals 75 gold. Organized trait saves 75 gold, which would have increased total expenses by 37.5%. Compared to 1 AD, this precentage has incrased from 30% to 37.5%, but we are using the Vassalage civic at this point giving us 22 free units. The cost of 22 more units would have been roughly %11 of total expenses, -2% from the 1AD data. You can see there is some synergy in using Vassalage civic with the Organized trait. Army expenses are being cut by half under Vassalage by an Organized leader.

I control 12 courthouses and 4 more are being constructed. Empire spans 20 cities with 195 total empire population. Average city size is 10. Happiness and health cap are around 15, thus I can afford 5×20=100 more citizens. At this stage, I could want to work more commerce tiles instead of farms as well, because growth became less important. Inflation increased from 7% to 13% as well.

To make up for 75 gold under Financial trait, approximately 37.5% of the total 195 citizens would have to work on 2 or more commerce generating tiles. Compared to 1AD, there is a slight decrease in the number of citizens required to work 2 or more commerce tiles to break even with the Organized trait, thus you can see that Financial is getting slightly in the lead of Organized. Also keep in mind that with Financial, your cities will be generating more beakers at the same research precentage. Thus, around 500AD financial starts to get slightly better economically. I am not counting the effects of Forums and Grocers yet, because I have only 1 city with a forum built by 500AD.

And let’s not forget the TradeRoute Economy. Mainly due to Snaaty’s misleading FE article, many people mix it up for food economy, whereas :traderoute: dynamics have very little to do with food. For a relatively distant traderoute partner city, the base traderoute profit depends on the population of the AI city the trade is generated from. Divide the AI city size by 10 to get the base traderoute profit. For example, for an AI city of size 15, the base profit would be 1.5; for AI city size 20, base profit would be 2.0, etc… According to Krikkitone’s trade explained article, less distant traderoute partner cities might get a lower traderoute base profit. Rest of the modifiers are explained in detail when you move the mouse cursor on the traderoute profit.

I have 2 :traderoute:s per city at this point due to Currency. My most populated city gets 2 routes at +4 :commerce: each. Next most populated city traderoutes bring +3 :commerce: each. My lower populated cities bring +2 :commerce:. Watch that the human player city size does not affect the total traderoute profits your empire is getting, it only affects how the foreign traderoutes are distributed across your cities.

It is said that total commerce generated through traderoutes can be seen at the info screen as imports/exports. It seems I have 301 imports at the Info screen, but the numbers do not add up. According to the Info Screen explained article, assuming average trade route profit for city is (2+3)=5 commerce and I have 21 cities, the total commerce generated should be around 21*5=105, but what I see at the Info screen is 307/105.

Most probably, the 3.13 patch fixed the issue of Import/Export confusion and the AI is making 3 times more profits out of my empire. I probably should have switched to Mercantilism in this case.

Compared to resource trading bringing in 55 gold per turn, traderoutes bring roughly twice the amount of gold to my cities. Consequently, :traderoute: economy pays for 50% (105/205) of total expenses.

500AD: Battle plan screenshot


Watch the arrows I drew, they explain everything. Dark red is :devil: Peter, yellow is :queen: Hatshepsut . Green is :egypt: Ramesses, teal is :king: Louis. Purple is my friend Asoka, and, as mentioned earlier, acts as an absorbtion mechanism to all threats from the west and southwest.

Let’s fast forward to 1000AD.

515AD: Hatshepsut declares war on Peter. Great news for me :)

520AD: Discovering Guilds before the AI does.

530AD: Declaring war on Hatshepsut, the yellow empire on the screenshot.

540AD: Discovering Compass.

545-565AD: Captured Heliopolis, Thebes, and Pi-Ramesses, destroying Hatshepsut Empire.

570AD: Kolhapur near Karakorum assimilated culturally. :assimilate: :culture:

580AD: Banking discovered. I probably should have switched to Mercantilisim, but I thought I was making +300 traderoute profit according to Import/Export screen that makes no sense. On the contrary, the AIs made 3 times as much traderoute profits than I did. More on Mercantilisim vs. FreeMarket comparison later.

I was the first one to research Guilds btw, and I am also the first one to research Banking. Who said you can’t win the race to Banking at Immortal?

585AD: DeGaulle wants to be my vassal although I am not in war with him. I refuse the first time around, but accept within a few turns.

While agreeing to be his master, I have acquired new enemies, Gandhi and his vassal Frederick. I don’t fear them much, because Gandhi is never a good warmonger, and his empire is in the far southwest of the map. Ramesses also declares war on me; he was a neighbour of DeGaulle and was controlling the mighty Mausoleum of Maussollos.

605AD: I capture Akhetaten, Egyptian city on my way to the Mausoleum of Maussollos at Elephantine.

625AD: Ramesses is now a vassal of Peter.

695AD: My 4th GP, a Great Spy, is born in an unexpected city, Ning-hsia. Distributing your GP generation over a few cities in the early periods of the game and only in the later periods focusing your GP generation on one city seems optimal for getting those GPs earliest. Early GPs help significantly for an early victory date.

The most effective use of this Great Spy would have been to steal 5-6 techs from Justinian. When I replayed the game and infiltrated Justinian, the espionage point spending modifier became -31%(!). With the 9000 espionage points brought through the GreatSpy, I could steal Divine Right, Philosophy, Paper, Optics, and Education. Fantastic deal! Also, don’t forget that future missions will continue being cheaper and the spy detection chances are significantly reduced. Imho, Great Spies during Mediavel era should always be used for infiltration.

But what did I do? :-/ Saved this Great Spy for a future Golden Age :) Still better than constructing a long-term minded Scotland Yard; nevertheless, significantly less optimal than infiltration for an early domination victory.

720AD: Discovered Drama.

735AD: Peter declares war on me. Actually, I wanted to declare war on him around 10 turns ago, but because I accepted one of his demands or because he accepted to one of my demands or because his vassal Montezuma accepted to one of my demands, I could not declade war on him, thus I had shifted my army position away from Peter’s lands; he backstabbed me. :backstab:

Peter and Montezuma capture 2 of my cities, but Monty is destroyed within a few turns at 760BC.

750AD: Asyut captured.

760AD: I am happy that Elephantine (belonged to my vassal De Gaulle) has been captured by the Russians. I will capture Mausoleum of Maussollos at Elephantine.

Xochicalo captured from the Aztecs.

790AD: Calixtlahuaca recaptured. Giza and Akhetaten captured. I am invading the Ramesses lands. He is a vassal of a weak AI called Peter.

800AD: Peter discovers Liberalism. Uhoh, big boy got too smart ;)

805AD: Byblos captured and Gunpowder discovered.

835AD: Memphis captured. Egyptians down to last city. Philosophy discovered on same turn.

840AD: Alexandria captured. Ramesses wiped out. Novgorod captured same turn from the Russians by my 2nd stack.

865AD: Moscow captured. Nice capital =)

870AD: Yaroslav captured.

875AD: Istanbul gives birth to my 5th GP, a Great Merchant, and I decide to save it for Sushi Cooperation if the game goes that far. I seriously considered sending it for a trade mission to one of Gandhi’s coastal cities, but decided not to, becaue this Pangea map type would not allow for the intercontinental trade modifier to double the mission profit.

880AD: 2 GGs are born on the same turn. 1 for Peter 1 for me. Rostov captured.

895AD: Bad news. Giza joins my vassal DeGaulle culturally. Akhetaten joins Isaballa. I am afraid that the soon-to-be-captured Mausoleum of Maussollos city could flip as well, thus I plan to send some strong troops there and switch to universal suffrage to buy a theater. It has too few population and can’t poprush the theater, and I don’t want to switch out of Slavery to Caste System to assign artist specialists, because my war production depends highly on Slavery usage.

900AD: St. Petersburg captured.

905AD: Yakutsk captured. Yekaterinburg captured. Peter becames my vassal, and I learn about the NewYork city he captured ages ago in the faaaaar west of the map. Nationalism discovered same turn.

910AD: Divine Right and Paper discovered, possibly through a tech trade. I don’t exactly remember.

940AD: Started the war against Louis in the southeastern part of the world.

955AD: I capture Avignon and discover Education same turn.

965AD: Elephantine finally captured =) Controlling the Mausoleum of Maussollos. I should have used my GreatArtist right away for my first GoldenAge, but I am not wasting my GP collection yet :) 3 GPs were waiting, doing nothing, for so many turns :-/ Definitely not the smartest way to use them :)

985AD: Lyons captured. Avignon recaptured, and some defense left in the city to prevent future recaptures =)

Louis becomes Isabella’s vassal, and I must fight Isabella now as well. My closest city to Isabella’s border has a castle up; thus, I seriously doubt she can harm me.

995AD: 1 more GG is born, and Orleans, Louis’s capital, is captured. It is a fantastic city with tons of wonders and 5, yes 5, settled GreatProphets.

orleansscreenshotcity of wonders.JPG

1000AD: Financial advisor analysis


With 42 cities, I’ve hit the conqueror’s plateau, and my city maintenance costs due to newly added cities do no longer increase through city distance maintenance. You can observe the immediate result that the city maintenance to total expenses ratio is reduced to 45% from 50% compared to 1AD and 500AD. For a more detailed conquerer’s plateau analysis, refer to Gato Loco’s city upkeep explained article.

Unit supply and unit costs have slightly increased compared to 500AD, since I have been mainly producing units only in my entire empire during the 500-1000AD period. However, because imperial population also doubled since 500AD, more military units can be supported for free, and more :gold: is generated to compansate for army expenses. Unit expenses at 1000AD account only for 5% of total expenses, an almost negligible amount. There is also the Vassalage component of army expenses in civic upkeep, but it is cut by half through Organized trait. According to Vassalage formula, this expense corresponds to 0.15 * empire population, 0.15 * 409 = 60 gold. Cut by half and it becomes 30, only 5% of total expenses; consequently, total army expenses make up approximately 5%+5%=10% of total expenses. For more of this beautiful math, refer to Roland Johansen’s great articles on unit maintenance and civic upkeep :)

Total foreign resource trade expenses have dropped, because I have eliminated some of the AIs and have gained new enemies. Consequently, the ratio of foreign trade to total expenses has dropped significantly from 25% at 500AD to 7% at 1000AD. Another bad news on economy is that inflation has skyrocketed from 13% to 25% in 500 years.

As mentioned earlier, my empire size was 42. Of these 42 cities, 31 have courthouses built. Total empire population is 407 citizens. Average city population did not seem to change much within 500 years, but the population of the highest populated cities has increased by 3-5 citizens. Forums and Grocers are built or are being built in the highly populated cities.

Now, let’s compare Financial and Organized traits one last time.

A doubled civic upkeep for a non-Organized leader would result in 29% increase in total expenses. This ratio has decreased by 8% since 500AD where it was 37.5%, it is back down to the 1AD levels. Empire population size become 409, it has doubled since 500AD. We have 409 citizens that could be working many, many already 2 commerce generating tiles. To offset the extra 167 gold, a non-organized, but financial leader would have to allocate roughly 40% of empire population to work on cottages. This ratio does not seem to have changed much since the 500AD period, but more cities have forums, grocers, and libraries built. Consequently, the extra commerce can be converted to gold and science beakers at a more effective rate. It is clear that Financial trait is getting in the lead of Organized at this point in the game.

The GreatLighthouse was granting 2 extra traderoutes on my coastal cities. Imports/exports ratio had become 339/145. My GP farm was getting most trades with 4 traderoutes each bringing +6 commerce.

As I should have done at 500AD, I should still have switched to Mercantilism, because when I did so while replaying my game, 42 cities with an extra merchant specialist each were getting a total of 42×3=126:gold:, almost fully compensating the Decentralization economy. The extra +25% beaker bonus of the Decentralization economy due to heavy library infrastructure was more than sufficiently compensated through internal traderoute profits, roughly 42×2=84 commerce. Furhermore, 20 imports commerce under Mercantilism was still coming through my vassal DeGaulle.

In conclusion, Mercantilism would have clearly exceeded the Decentralization traderoute commerce rate of 145. Additionally, AIs would not have received any traderoute imports from our empire. Finally, running Representation with 3 extra beakers per specialist, Mercantilism economy would have clearly outperformed a Decentralization one.

Alright, let’s finish this long writeup =)

1000AD-1230AD period:

1000AD: I capture Tours and Chartes. French wiped out.

1015AD: Military Tradition discovered, and I start my first golden age using the GreatArtist, switching to Pacifism. As discussed earlier, delaying the first Golden Age to such a late period was not the best idea, but I’ve recently gained control of the Mausoleum of Maussollos in 965AD. On Marathon speed with Mausoleum of Maussollos, Golden Ages last 24(!) turns.

1050AD: Economics discovered and switched to FreeMarket: another suboptimal decision :) As discussed at 500AD and 1000AD, Mercantilism was clearly outperforming the Decentralization economy. The extra traderoute from the FreeMarket economy would not have affected the superiority of Mercantilism, because Roman empire was controlling almost half of the earth at this point, and not a sufficient number of highly populated AI cities existed as traderoute partners to fill this extra traderoute slot.

1055AD: The first Roman GreatEngineer (6th GP) is born in Istanbul despite the very low odds. Where were you when I needed to build the GreatLibrary =) Should I rush the IronWorks with you or should I lightbulb Steel for uber siege units?

1080AD: Chemistry discovered.

1115AD: Military Science has been discovered. I know it does not lead to any new techs, but it is great for finishing off the game. You can finally build the military academies in your military production cities. AI teching to rifles? You can upgrade your maceman into Grenadier with +50% vs Rifleman. It is a game finishing tech. I built 2 military academies with the GGs I have been saving; one at my capital, one at Karakorum.

Furthermore, since it is a dead-end tech, after you have sized its advantage, ie produced stacks containing 40-50 units, then you can trade it without much fear against the AI.

1120AD: I declare war on Asoka and his master Joao.

Stack composition:

My stacks consist of masses, but masses of maceman (did not upgrade to Grenadier yet, maybe I should have, yea I probably should have =) I would have gotten a 50% strength boost: 8–>12).

My 2 production centers Rome and Karakorum were massing Cuirassiers, 1 unit every 1 or 2 turns. 1 Cuirassier or 1 Cannon costs 200 hammers on Marathon speed, and Rome was producing 213 during a Golden Age. Let’s not forget the huge number of CityRaider III promoted Trebuchets. I had 2 main stacks at that point, each consisting of around 30-40 units: 5-8 Spies, 7-10 Trebuchets, 7-10 Cuirassiers and 7-10 Maceman, and a few Musketman.

One of them entered Joao’s territory through DeGaulle’s border from the east, while the other entered Asoka’s lands from the north.

A city raid with minimal losses would go as following:

Spy revolt on first or 2nd try. City cultural and walls&castle defense bonuses reduced to 0.
First CRIII trebuchet usually dies.
Second, third, fourth, and 5th Trebuchets survive and bring all enemy defenders to the lowest possible HP.
Rest is peace of cake.

I used to upgrade my siege units with Barrage, but as mentioned during German siege, I have realized that CityRaiderIII is the ultimate promotion for high win/loss ratios. For every trebuchet lost, I was killing around 6-7 units.

Cuirassiers were usually upgraded to combat III. I could have settled 1 more GG to Rome to produce lvl 4 promoted Cuirassiers (3 barracks + 2 stables + 4*2 GG + 2 Theocracy + 2 Vassalage = 17), but I have used my 9th GG on another military academy. Karakorum and Rome had the inital 6 GGs distributed evenly.

Observations on healing:

I probably should have also produced a single woodsman III, medic III unit using a GreatGeneral. It is, as I learned after my game from the “Unit healing” article, the only way to stack woodsman III healing with that of Medic III. When one of my maceman had reached 30 experience points, I could have used one GG to promote it to 50 exp which would have unlocked the 7the promotion needed for the woodsman III, medic III combo. Such unit would have increased my city capture speed significantly, especially in the earlier parts of the game where I did not have enough troops to continue conquering rest of AIs’ lands. Even a single woodsmanIII, medicI promoted unit would have been much help, because healing from one woodsman III and a seperate medic I unit do not stack.

Madurai captured at 1120AD, Hyderabad and Leiria at 1125AD, Madras at 1130AD.

Joao’s stack arrives from the depths of his base to face my evenly matched stack by 1125AD. I can’t post the beautiful screenshot due to the 5 file attachment limit per post. I had 3 very exciting battles in this game:

1) vs Genghis at Karakorum siege.
2) vs Isabella near Elephantine, destroyed her Conquistador stack, while her stack of 15-20 units were wounded trying to capture one of DeGaulle’s cities.
3) vs Joao at 1125-35AD in the open field.

Maximizing score:

I realized at this point that victory was very near and wanted to maximize my score through capturing as many cities as I could before crossing the domination land limit. Newly captured cities avoided building theaters or working any artist specialists. Thus, empire territory did not exceed the domination land limit for quite some time. The newly captured cities added to total population, but did not add much to the land limit, because they were revolting or even after the revolt, they did not grow culturally, except the religious culture bonus.

If I did nothing, my score was falling around 1-2K per turn, thus I had to be quick in capturing as much population as I could and claim victory. To settle some tiles outside cultural borders at final turn, 3 settlers were produced.

1130AD: Karakurum gives birth to the 7th Roman GP, a GreatEngineer. It appears clearly now saving the earlier GPs for future Golden Ages was not necessary, because the Parthenon and Roman forum helped with extra GP generation up until late game.

If I had the chance to replay this game, I would have used the first GreatArtist right ahead for an early GoldenAge. Furthermore, I would have infiltrated an AI with my GreatSpy to steal 5-6 techs. The remaining GPs would have been saved for late game Golden Ages.

1135AD: 9th GG born in Orleans, the city of 5 GreatProphets. My golden age ends same turn.

1145AD: Varanasi captured, 1150AD: Guimaraes captured.

1160AD: Leiria recaptured, had not left enough defenders… Great Artist appears in my GP farm.

1170AD: Vijayanagara captured. 1175AD: Lagos captured.

1180AD: Calcutta and Delhi captured. Indians wiped out. I discover Steel and upgrade all my Trebuchets to cannons. Cannons are simply overpowered with CityRaider III.

1185AD: Having access to steel, I rush IronWorks at Karakorum with the GE who arrived earlier. I also start my 2nd Golden Age using my remaining GreatPeople. Braga captured same turn.

1195AD: Joao’s capital Lisbon fell.

1200AD: Evora captured, and Printing Press discovered.

1210AD: Oporto captured.

1220AD: Scientific Method stolen. Land domination limit, 49.24%

1225AD: Toledo and Abydos captured. I notice my score has passed 500K and decide to secure the win. I run artist specialists in my recently conquered, below 30 culture cities. Also, I settle 3 new cities outside my cultural borders.

1230AD: Happy end with 52.73% land, exceeding the domination limit of 51%. Population limit was exceeded by 62.63%-35%=27.63%

AND THE HIGHEST SCORE IN HOF HISTORY :king: (as of February 10th, 2008)
502 553


Pouring my CivIV wisdom into this guide took just as much, if not more, time as finishing this game, so I would appreciate your 5-stars vote :)

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