Getting Your First Win on Prince: A Guide and Tips

I. Introduction
II. The Guide
——— A. The Early Game
——— B. The First War
——— C. The Endgame
III. Legal Stuff

I. A Guide for those who have trouble winning on prince.

Just to be clear, this guide is written for those who are trying to make the jump from Noble to Prince, and hare having trouble compensating for the AI bonuses. I came here looking for a guide on this subject, and didn’t find one.

I should also state that this guide is by no means an end all guide. Other strategies will work too. It’s intended to provide you with useful experience you can use on Prince games on normal maps. The same strategies will work, but you’ll have less control over the variables. That being said, on with the guide.

One thing above all else. Be more aggressive. Keep military pressure on other Civs to keep their research down.

This guide is geared towards getting your first win on Prince for those who have struggled with it. If you’re anything like me when you tried to make the jump, you found yourself horribly behind in technology, and felt a financial squeeze when you tried expanding like you would on Noble. By getting your first win, you learn a whole bunch that can be applied in later games. And this guide should help you get the first one. By no means is this the only way to get a win. Just a method I had consistent success with.

II. The Guide

A: The Early Game

First, start up a custom game. Choose Pangaea, with high sea levels. This should give you some thin strips of land that will serve as chokepoints and thus make defense much easier. Go with three or four opponents. Whatever civilization you choose is up to you. The first time I used this strategy I went with random and got Victoria.

First, plop your settler down in the most advantageous place. Start building a warrior. Look at other guides regarding early moves for more help here. I went warrior-worker-building/wonder. Take your warrior and go exploring. Knowing the immediate lay of the land is incredibly important, as you need to discover any and all and nearby chokepoints, as you will be building cities here. Hooking up key resources like copper or horses should take first priority, but these are second. They’ll serve as your defensive cities, and should block off the AI from land. You can build cities here straight away if you want.

If you’re lucky enough to stumble across an enemy civilization, and try finding a hill you can stand on top of, or a lake to look across to see if they have any defenders yet. If not, take them out. (You also can just march right into their territory to see, and reload if they have a defender, but some frown on that). But if you can, destroy them. They’ll just be a problem later. And in this, you’ll see a hint of what’s necessary to win on higher difficulties: more aggression.

You can completely forget about trying to found any early religions. They aren’t necessary. You should not focus on wonders either. Starting to build them is great. You’ll want to get some, but ideally you’ll get beat to the punch on a couple and should get a bunch of gold out of the deal (think of it like an early form of wealth). You’ll be needing gold too.

But you do want at least one early wonder. I won my first game having only constructed Stonehenge. You’ll want to try to get one of the cheap early wonders for the Great Person points. Prophets are the best, as super citizens they provide a solid financial and production boost. Again, forget about founding religions. They can be more trouble than they’re worth. Once you’ve mastered Prince, you can try founding one, but don’t do it while you’re still new to it.

As for your research, go straight for bronze working. It gives you a great early edge. You need to know where copper is ASAP. If you have some already in your borders, forget archery for awhile and build exclusively axemen. You also get the ability to chop forests for their hammers. Use this for rushing settlers, and your early wonder(s). Then go for the worker techs you need to exploit your resources. Then beeline to Alphabet. Alphabet will let you trade for techs, and you should be able to pick up a lot of the older, cheaper techs if you’re the first to get Alphabet. After alphabet, the important techs are currency, code of laws, iron working, and construction. These give you money, and boost your military. Don’t be shy about chopping forests to rush courthouses or markets either, as they’re worth it.

As for your economy, cottages are your best friend. Don’t automate your workers, as they’ll build more farms then you could ever need. Have them build cottages after you hook up your resources. Try to get your cities to work these cottages, as they’ll expand and give you much needed money.

As for religion, do what the AI does and convert to the first one you get for the bonuses. Ideally this will be the one the most powerful Civ has, and will help keep them off your back. If it’s not, switch to match the most powerful Civ when possible.

You’re going to want to start building up your military throughout early game. Build walls in whatever chokepoint border cities you’ve set up, and guard them with multiple axemen if possible, archers if not. Axemen are great on offense and defense, so if you have copper in your borders, forgo archers altogether until the tech is really cheap.

B. The First War

Take the time to expand to three, four, or maybe even five cities (depending on your land and budget) and secure all the useful resources behind your chokepoints. At the same time, you should start to build a military. Once you’ve got your core cities up and running and have a sizable military, go on the offensive. Ideally you’ll have catapults to start the war. As long as your enemy is still using archers when you start the war, you’ll be fine. Overwhelming numbers is the key to victory here. Archers fall pretty easily to just axes and swords, and you can easily bring down long bowman and crossbowman with axemen, swordsmen, and catapults if it ever comes to that. Once the war starts, you produce exclusively military units until peace breaks out. While at war, you only produce units, and lots and lots of catapults.

Choose your victim carefully. Go for your most powerful direct neighbor. Not the top dog in the world, but the next step down. Ideally they’ll have a good holy city or useful wonder like the Pyramids. You won’t win the war right away, so make sure you can retain all the cities you capture. And do capture all of them, as the AI will just rebuild the ones you raze anyway, and you’ll have to take them again. Only take weaker out cities until you have catapults. Once you do (or if you did from the start) go straight for the core of their empire, as once you destroy/capture their most productive area, they’re totally crippled.

The war will not end quickly, and you should call for a cease fire (NOT peace treaties unless you get useful tech out of them) multiple times throughout to regain your strength. I often found myself taking one after I take a couple of weaker out cities and defeat their standing army, another after I take a couple of cores and/or the capital, and another during cleanup. You don’t need catapults to take the outlying cities, but make sure you have them for your assault on the core cities. Use catapults to bombard defenses down to zero, then throw a few into a city to soften the defenders for your soldiers. Once you gain a noticeable upper hand, try to sue for tech. Wait for the turns to expire, and repeat until they are finished. It’s fine if you run a huge deficit during the war, as taking cities nets you plenty of gold. But try to never let your research drop below 70% for prolonged periods. If you can’t do this, you probably don’t have enough cottages. Also, if you can exploit your unique unit during the war, then by all means do so. It’s there so you can have an advantage.

C. The Endgame

Once your enemy is gone, solidify your new empire. The war should end well before gunpowder. Place what is left of your army on your new borders, and build infrastructure and culture. From here, you should be in good position for the rest of the game to pursue whatever strategy you like. You should be pretty close to the remaining Civs in tech, close enough to be in good shape to pursue whatever victory condition you like. From here, games play much like they do on lower difficulties. You’ll end the war behind in tech, but with your new cities, you should be able to build up a sizable science base that will allow you to catch up and eventually surpass them.

With the cities you captured from your enemy, you’ll easily have the resources necessary to win the game however you want. If you pursue Domination, remember to always use siege weapons to reduce any city’s defenses to zero. If you pursue a Space Race, make sure you keep constant military pressure on your rivals. You don’t need to be at war with them, but someone should. As long as the AI is on a war footing, it keeps their tech spending down. Remember that, and you’ll be fine.

Good luck, and I hope this guide was useful.

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Copyright 2006 Jonezee

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