BTS – A guide for higher difficulties for standard speed and maps (emperor+)
There have been several strategies and articles around here lately for higher levels. Most of them are very good, still I think that the most effective strategy hasn’t been posted out in detail… …so this is what we are going to do here (only works on BtS… …warlords and vanilla are MORE difficult):
Step 1: Choose your civilisation
Easiest is to pick a financial and/or philosophical leader (any will do)
Step 2: Early game (up to 1000 BC):
Build a worker first, research the techs you need to improve the lands around your capital (to work your strategic resources), then go archery (defence) and then bronze working (chopping). Gambling on horses or bronze usually is too risky. Focus on food and production while having your firs worker improve the land around your capital. Commerce you don’t need that early in the game, your capital will only serve as a settler and worker pump in the beginning.
Depending on level, you have to build a decent defensive force after your first worker is completed (starting with a warrior or a scout, depending on what you started with). On deity, I would advise you to build 4-5 archers and grow the capital to happy cap while doing so. Then build a second worker and then go settler, worker, worker, settler, worker worker, settler (helped with some chopping; but try to keep 3-4 forests for later). Settler your cities aggressively towards your neighbours, blocking as many land as possible for your second expansion wave. While doing so, research pottery and writing, to get your economy going.
One of the cities you have founded (city 2 -4) should focus on production and ideally gain access to a strategic resource (bronze or horses) to get some better defenders online, the second city should go hybrid in the beginning to be able to help in troop production but also bring in some commerce (you can specialize this city later), the last should go commerce to bring your economy online. If you can grab one or two early happy resources with these cities, even better. In the capital, build a library after the initial expansion and blocking is done and grow again to happy cap. Always build a monument (if not creative) first in your new cities, then barracks (whip both). You will need them, to keep your power rating high enough for not being attacked. Then have your production city produce 4 chariots or axemen. This should be enough for not getting backstabbed (but don’t whip there, grow the city to happy cap). Let you capital run two scientists ASAP, when the library is done, to help in research and generate the first GS.
Step 3: Early to midgame (up to 500 AD):
Don’t accept a religion, except if ALL your neighbours share the same one OR all of your neighbours have picked a “worst enemy” and despite running a different religion you manage to keep them at least “cautious”.
Your research path after writing is:
Aesthetics (seems useless, but in fact, it’s great. The AI´s NEVER research it and you therefore trade it for anything you need. On deity, only research 2 turns into Alphabet and you can trade for it once one of your neighbours has it, then you can collect what you want, like Math, Iron working etc.)
Literature (Since you have kept some forest around your capital, you can now chop the Great Library without any risk of loosing it. And usually, you can sell Literature for some money afterwards)
Now you can do some backfilling (Sailing, Mono, Priest etc)
CoL (you wont be first, but still can trade it for Monarchy and/or Calendar and/or Currency together with Literature, because once CoL is researched by one AI, the others don’t evaluate it high)
CS (to switch to Bureaucracy)
When you capital is done with the library and growing to happy cap and working two scientists, you usually can squeeze in one more worker and settler. Have your production city help producing workers and settlers, to backfill all your land ASAP. Specialize your cities early. You only need two production cities, the rest should go for commerce (cottages). But remember to build enough farms for every city, so they can grow quickly into their cottages. You usually are able to settle around 8 cities in BtS, thanks to the changed AI settling strategy (they won’t settle behind your cities, even with open borders, up to very later in the game). Since all your cities are defended with archers and have barracks, around 1 AD, an army of 8 units (chariots, axes, swords) is usually enough to have a power rating that prevents from getting backstabbed, when you play your politics right.
Around the time Literature hits home your capital should have generated the first GS. Build an academy in your capital with him and have some workers start to cottage around your capital. Build the GL in the capital, followed by the NE and have it run 2 scientists all the time after the GL and the NE are finished. The next GS you use to bulp Philosophy (switch to Pacifism and adopt the safest religion), the next for Paper, the next for Education, the next for Liberalism (don’t trade for Machinery or you can’t bulb Liberalism). If a GS shouldn’t arrive in time, backfill some more techs or prerequisites for bulbing Liberalism (you need Calendar, Metal Casting & Compass). NEVER trade for cheep techs, that only helps your rivals. Like that, you are guarantied to get Liberalism first.
In parallel, you should have now settled all your land and have something like 8 cities, all decent sized. Once you have won the Liberalism race you can stop running Pacifism. Switch to Theocracy, spread the religion you are running to all your cities and start building CR 2 maces (6-10, depending on your money situation).
Pick Nationalism as freebee from Liberalism and build the Taj Mahal in your best production city. Once the Taj Mahal is finished and your Golden Age starts, switch to Caste System and Pacifism again and try to generate a GM in your capital or any other food rich city, via running a zillion of Merchants. If you fail the first time, simply burn the GP you got for another Golden Age and repeat.
Step 4: Midgame (up to 1000 AD):
Pick a victim your want to conquer and put all espionage points on it. Pick a friend (best is a tech whore with less then 8 cities) and exclusively trade with him, to get all prerequisites for beelining towards rifling (trade for machinery, guilds, engineering, maybe even banking). He will run away in tech, but once you have expanded via war, you will overtake him quite easily. Check if the Apostolic Palace has been built on your continent. Check how many votes you need to have a blocking majority. Spread the religion of the Apostolic Palace (AP) to ALL your cities, and, when you start to conquer cities, start with those that have the religion of the AP or bring some missionaries with you, to get the blocking majority (thanks to your early expansion policy and therefore your many big cities, this should be relatively easy). Fuelled by your golden Ages, you should be able to reach Rifling around 1000 AD. Revolt to Nationalism (best is during a Golden Age), fire your trade mission (the GM you have generated earlier, best is to keep him until you REALLY need him, because bigger cities = bigger revenue). Build 8-10 spies and 6-8 trebuchets while teching towards Rifling because you might need them in your war. Build a forge, a market, a theatre and a coliseum in all your cities to battle down War Weariness. In a food rich city, build the Globe Theatre.
Step 5: Late-Midgame (after rifling):
Now it gets REALLY easy:
Upgrade your CR 2 maces to rifles, draft some more and declare on your victim. You can draft 2 rifles in every city with all the happy buildings you have build and you can draft forever in your Globe City, without raising your culture slider above 20%. You will end up pretty soon with 30 – 40 rifles… …send your spies in first, fortify them for 5 turns in the city you want to conquer for the best discount (use 4 spies per city to cope with losses and failure) and use them to inflict revolts to take down the city defences for the turn of your attack. You can now also turn the spy rate to 100% for some turns to get enough spy points. If everything should go wrong and you loose all spies in one city (never happened to me before when using 4 spies per city, but you never now) you still have your trebs to inflict enough collateral damage to capture any city (don’t bother bombarding city defences, because this takes WAY to long in BtS). Within something like 10 – 20 turns you should have defeated your neighbour (depending if you vassalize him or conquer him completely) and you can turn towards your next victim or start to tech happily towards space.
At this point, you should have enough cities and production to easily win the game, with more or less any tactics, so I will stop the guide here.
I will add a demo game to this guide, as soon as I find the time, so you can see this in practice, but I think it’s pretty easy if you stick to the basic teching and research described here.
Have fun trying
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