Let’s Make a World War

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.

Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.

— The Sith Code (Star Wars)

Welcome to the dark side!

Making a World War isn’t all about the childish destruction and hysterical laugh – that’s why the bad guys always lose at the end of the movie.

Making a World War serves a purpose. The purpose is to give you the relative strength to overpower your neighbors, while they are busy killing each other. The purpose is to give you the victory otherwise impossible. Making a World War is plotted with a tactful, careful brain, and carried out with a steady, dirty index finger.

And then comes your hysterical laugh.

In practice, you make a World War by bribing a lot of countries to attack a lot of other countries, which threaten your advantage and might cost you a victory. Obviously, there are 3 key elements of making a world war: (A) A Tech Lead, (B) The Invaders, and (C) The Victims.

(A) A Tech Lead

You can’t initiate a world war by eye winking and spine bending. If your tech level falls behind everybody else, this article is unfortunately beyond you. You need to be more aggressive (axeman, horse archers, or settlers) at the very beginning.

The AIs value techs very highly. Many of them are willing to declare a life-long enemy, as long as you give them 1-3 free techs. You don’t have to be a global tech leader, since you only need to give free techs to those technologically-inferior Civs, not on the top of the score list. For those who are actually more advanced than you, they make perfect victims.

You can always make a pseudo tech lead. Although you are not really more advanced in tech, you own some techs that the AIs don’t. You do that by researching the AI-disfavored techs before the AIs do. The predictable AIs tend to follow a general research trend:

Writing -> Mathematics -> Calendar / Construction / Code of Laws -> Philosophy

Monarchy -> Feudalism -> Guild -> Gunpowder -> Chemistry -> Rifling

That’s why Alphabet is so useful. AIs avoid it, while it enables you to trade other techs at the same time.

Drama + Music is the next nice early bribery. Later on, you will bribe with Machinery + Civil service (dangerous military bribe as they give Maceman!), Paper + Education, Constitution, etc. Researching these AI disfavored techs first also gives you the chance to trade for techs that you missed. Even if you don’t use them to bribe, you still gain advantages.

(B) The Invaders

As mentioned above, civs who lags behind you in tech have the potential to become invaders. There are a few exceptions – when the invader is extremely friendly to you, and quite hostile to the target. In that case the attack may be free.

You may ask, “I still can’t make them to attack, because they gave me red texts, instead of white, under the [Declare War to] section in the diplomatic interface.”

p.s. It is also possible to see white texts, but still get refused. This is because you don’t have enough free techs for them to pick. You know what to do — come back later with more free techs.

If you move the mouse cursor over the red text, you will see the reason why the AI refuses to attack. It can be one of the following reasons:

Excuse I: “We just don’t like you enough.”

You need to improve your relationship to this invader Civ. There are 4 ways to make friends:

1. The quickest way: Trade with them, and let them take some advantage. The modifier “Our trade relationship has been fair… (yeah right!)” goes up to +4. If you are playing on Deity, you always get a lot of positive feedbacks because AI never agrees a trade unless they rip you off. Note that gifts (city, cash, tech, resource) fall into this category. So if you already have a +4 here, there no need for additional gifts.

2. The slow way: Share the same state religion. The positive modifier “We love our brothers and sisters of the same faith” goes up with time, up to +8 for some leaders (such as Isabella), and almost doesn’t matter for some others (such as Victoria).

3. The lucky way: You have their favorite Civic. For example, Mansa Musa likes Civs with Free Market as their economic policy. The modifier goes up with time, up to +4.

4. The bonus way: Mutual military struggle – sharing the same enemy. This modifier is usually useless, since by the time you see it, probably you’ve already bribed the Civ to attack your target. However, if the Civ is aggressive enough to attack even before your bribery, this modifier could be the final kick making the invader Pleased with you. Thus it will be easier to ask them to attack someone else in the future.

There are other smaller modifiers that may make a difference, such as:
– “You have supplied us with resources.” (from resource trade)
– “You gave us help.” (from giving away techs based on their request/threats)

Excuse II: “We can’t betray our close friends!”

This Civ is having good relationship with your target. If you see this excuse, it is usually impossible to make the deal no matter how friendly you are to them, unless one of them suddenly decides to switch its state religion, thus nullifying that huge “We love our brothers and sisters of the same faith” modifier.

If you see a Civ suddenly change their state religion after mid game – laugh out loud. Your golden chance has come.

Note: Catherine is the only AI that ignores friendship to the target. In other words, it is possible to bribe her to go after her best friends.

Excuse III: “Our hands are busy with something else.”

This means the AI is either currently at war, or has set out a defined target, and is on its way to declaring a war on the defined target. There is no way to bring the AI’s willingness to take your bribe, unless you either pull them out of the current war, or cancel their defined target somehow. Sometimes, if your military falls behind, this target is very likely yourself!

Just a side note:

You can accurately predict an aggressive AI’s attack, from the diplomatic screen. The warmongers are usually willing to take bribes, so you can see at least a few white fonts in the list of “declare war to”. If all of a sudden, all targets are reded out, and you get the excuse of “our hands are busy with something else”, then you know you are a little bit late on bribing. In one of my current games, I was attacked by Monty, then Genghis Khan. When I loaded back a few hundred years, I can pinpoint the exact turn where they decided to attack me, and I can go to the previous turn to bribe them to go after somebody else. The lesson here: always bribe them as early as possible.

Excuse IV: “We would have nothing to gain.”

This excuse reflects an insufficient hatred against the target. Some leaders are not aggressive in nature, so they are very reluctant to attack a neutral, even slightly hostile Civ, even you are already Friendly with them. Aggressive AIs might also give you this response, if they really “have nothing to gain” from the war. Perhaps their distance is too far, or perhaps its power is too low compared to the target.

In order to avoid this excuse, you should know a little personalities of different AI leaders. There are two kinds of AI that are ideal invaders. The “Peg Dogs” and the “Zealots“.

Peg dogs are the more aggressive Civs, attacking any weak neighbor no matter how Pleased (not Friendly yet!) they are with them. Peg dogs are very dangerous when they have nothing to do — they WILL come after you if you are weak, even you are on the other end of the continent.

You recognize pet dogs by their constant barking at the door – “gimme this tech!” “gimme this cash!” Don’t think they won’t bite you when you hand them the bone. Throw the bone at your target.

Pet dogs grow into dinosaurs when they are given abundant resources to develop, but if you keep them under-developed by a continuous assignment of warfare, they will stay as your loyal friend. That is, if you make them your friend in the first place. If they are annoyed with you, you better make somebody else to go after them soon, and take good care of them yourself.

The most famous pet dog is Montezuma (Monty) of Aztec. Our chief pushes the definition of pet dog to extreme. Other good pet dogs include: Alexander of Greeks, Genghis Khan of Mongol, Louis XIV of France, Tokugawa of Japan, Victoria of England, Catherine of Russia, etc. Whoever give you a white text under the “declare war on” option for no apparent history of violence, you get yourself a pet dog right there.

Zealots are one level more supplicated than pet dogs – and that one extra level is Religion. Zealots are not necessarily aggressive in nature, but sure they hate pagans. If you are aligned with Zealots in religion, you’ve got yourself some solid, fine allies. Even better, almost all AI leaders has the potential of becoming a Zealot – as long as you share the religions long enough.

The best example of zealot is Isabella of Spain. Many people hate her because they are used to go with their own religion… and their own religion usually is not the same as Isabella’s religion. Ops. There will be a totally different story if you become Isabella’s brother/sister in faith. She will attack anywhere you point your finger to. You will think she is the most beautiful woman in Civ4. Ok… at least I did at one point.

Chances are you will see quite a few potential invaders in any map. The most important factor here would be RELIGION. In essense, you religiously align yourself to the invaders, so they are happy enough to agree to attack your victims.

Be careful though – many Civs tend to adopt free religion after they get Liberalism. Free religion means less friendly and less annoyed. You have to match the invaders-victims earlier than Liberalism. Even after they switch, they still hate each other.

(C) The Victims

Cooperating invaders are hard to come by, so you must spend them carefully.

The Victims in your World War are the Civs that actually threaten your victory. Is Mansa Musa or Gandhi running away with tech? You might even consider to make more than 2 Civs to attack them at the same time.

Since your victim is usually a peace lover, it is likely that they have few enemies. It is possible that their missionaries will convert everyone to their religions in the near future, making everybody their friend. That can be really bad for you, because you can’t bring them down! You must bribe early, before everybody is converted. If you are lucky, you get a few leaders who don’t really care about backstabbing friends (such as Victoria). That will be really nice. Otherwise you will have to wait, until somebody converts to Confucianism, Christianity or Islam.

Finally, some additional information that might be useful:

  • Each war goes on for at least 10 turns, before a peace treaty can be made.
  • A less aggressive leader makes a peace treaty earlier and easier.
  • If one side is clearly winning, the losing AI is likely to bring up a treaty proposal. The winning AI tends NOT to accept the peace treaty if their complete victory (i.e. target elimination) is perceivable.
  • The AIs do give away Cheap techs in exchange for a treaty.
  • AIs prefer to convert to a state religion that is found by themselves.
  • When converting the state religion ourselves, it is really beneficial switch to organized religion and build tons of missionaries to spread it among your country, so all of your cities build 25% faster.

I hope you have enjoyed this guide. Thanks for reading.

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