View Full Version : Comprehensive Guide to Variants

Apr 16, 2004, 01:49 PM
I've tried to compile a comprehensive guide to variants that I've seen in stories and tales, succession games, the main forum, or other places. If you've ever wondered how some of these games are played, a starting point can be found here.

Always War (AW): When you meet an opponent (as soon as they appear on the F2/F4/Shift-D diplomacy screen, youíve met them), you must declare war on them Ė THAT turn. You can make initial deals for hard goods only (no gpt deals, no alliances, no resource/luxury trades). Opening the diplomacy window to spy techs, cities, resources, etc. is allowed. Signing peace for even a single turn is prohibited.
Arathornís comments: Adds about 1.5-2 difficulty levels. Games usually take significantly longer. Once youíre past the ďCan I hold my front?Ē stage and making progress forward, itís usually won. Approximately doubles the time required to play. Sample Game (

AW Sub-variants:
Restricted Always War (RAW): Add to AW rules, no initial trading and/or must declare war during the first visit to the diplomacy window with a particular foe instead at end of turn.
Arathornís comments: These are just flavoring and change the dynamics of AW very little. Theyíre really minor.

Anti-Numismatist: (a.k.a. Non-Midas) You are never allowed to end your turn with much gold in your treasury Ė typically 10 gold is the maximum allowed, although thatís by no means sacred. No deficit research, no steals, no cash purchases and upgrades are hard to do.
Arathornís comments: No personal experience but probably adds 1/2-2/3 a difficulty level. Sample Game (

Defiant: You must never give in to a demand from an opponent, that is, you always reject demands for tribute. You may never ally, sign a Right of Passage, MPP, or embargo with another civilization. You may never pay for peace (a peace treaty must either be straight-up or the opponent gives a concession to you. A deal where a tech costs 20 gpt normally and you pay 10 gpt for that tech as part of a peace treaty is fine). Any troops on your soil must be given a boot order every turn. No capturing foreign cities or demanding them in diplomacy. No foreign workers merged into existing cities. If an AI razes one of your cities, that civ must be eliminated.
Arathornís comments: Makes very little difference on the easier levels but gets crazier on the high difficulty levels. Probably 2/3 of a difficulty level or so. Usually adds to game length, especially >Emperor. Sample Game (

Fast Moving: Military units with movement one may never exit your cultural borders. Settlers and workers are not military units and so are allowed outside your cultural borders.
Arathornís comments: Makes conquest a bit harder, especially in the cavalry age. Requires a start with horses attainable. Any barbarians at all would be lunacy. Probably 1/2 a difficulty level. Sample Game (

Five City Challenge (5CC): You may never have more than five cities. If at any point you have more than five cities, you break this variant.
Arathornís comments: This one isnít as hard as it sounds. Diplomacy is critical, as luxuries and resources are cheap and staying in minimal war generally important. Hardest part is determining the location of the 5 cities, often. Plays 1/4 difficulty level harder. Plays slightly faster than normal, usually. Sample Game (

5CC Sub-variants:
Five City Conquest Challenge (5CCC): A 5CC wherein the only accepted winning condition is conquest.
Arathornís comments: Added difficulty is fairly high here. A late-game charge is the way to win. 3/4 of a difficulty level. Sample Game (
Five City Space Challenge (5CSC): A 5CC wherein the only accepted winning condition is a space launch.
Arathornís comments: Not TOO much harder than general 5CC. 1/3-1/2 difficulty level.
Relaxed Five City Challenge: A 5CC wherein the requirements are relaxed to never end a turn with more than 5 cities. Additional cities can be acquired/built during the main turn but all the extras must be disbanded before the end of the turn. This allows building additional armies and accepting cities as peace tributes.

Infantry: No fast units (units with movement > 1) may ever be built, except scouts. That means no chariots, horsemen, knights, cavalry, mechanized infantry, or UUs based on those units. ďSpecialĒ UUs affected are jaguar warrior, impi, and Gaelic warrior.
Arathornís comments: Adds a lot of time to the game. Artillery becomes incredibly important. Can help hone a lot of strategies. 1/3 difficulty level. Sample Game (

Non-Oscillating War (NOW): The first civ met must have war declared on them during initial diplomacy. Each later civ met gets added, in order, to a list. When the first AI civ on the list is eliminated, war must be declared on the second. As each is eliminated, the next must be declared on before the end of the turn. Other wars are allowed, and alliances are encouraged. Sandbagging or not finishing off a defeated foe simply to not go to war with the next one on the list is illegal. When two or more civs are met simultaneously (via contact sale, perhaps), it is playerís choice which order to declare on them.
Arathornís comments: The ability to make alliances is a huge difference from AW. Time commitment is significant, as every turn is a war turn. 1/3 a difficulty level, probably. Sample Game (

No Military: You may not build military units ever. Settlers, workers, and buildings are allowed. Not for the faint of heart.
Arathornís comments: Appears to depend a fair bit on luck. I would expect it to run faster than average but I donít really know. Sample Game (

No Optional Tech (NOT): You may not research/trade for/acquire optional techs in any manner.
Arathornís comments: No clue on this one, but it looks interesting. See this post ( for more repercussions.

No Research: No research means no research. Not only must your science slider always be set at 0%, you are not allowed to make any scientist specialists. This means trading. Gaining techs from wonders is allowed, so it's possible to gain monopoly techs, even in this variant! Choosing a tech to "research" is always allowed (and encouraged, because it has definite value)'re just not allowed to actually put any commerce to researching it.
Arathornís comments: For some, itís barely a variant! Surprisingly easy but teaches trading. Adds no difficulty. Sample Game (

One Built City (OBC): You may never build settlersÖfrom any city. Similar to OCC but you can gain via war/culture/etc.
Arathornís comments: Easier than OCC and with similar sub-variants, except Domination is possible. Sample Game (

One City Challenge (OCC): You may never have more than one city. Acquiring a second city by any means for any length of time is a disqualification.
Arathornís comments: Plays pretty fast, in general, with so few units and so little city management to do. Diplomacy is usually critical. Plays 1/3-2/3 difficulty level harder. Sample Game (

OCC Sub-variants:
One City Conquest Challenge (OCCC): An OCC wherein the only accepted winning condition is conquest.
Arathornís comments: You either win fairly early or you donít win. The clock is always ticking. Sample Game ( Ė relaxed OCCC
One City Space Challenge (OCSC): An OCC wherein the only accepted winning condition is a space launch.
Arathornís comments: Used to be really REALLY hard to get all the shields you need, but with C3C pushing out the tech, not quite as bad. Still probably a full difficulty level harder. Sample Game (
Relaxed One City Challenge: An OCC wherein the requirements are relaxed to never end a turn with more than one city. Additional cities can be acquired/built during the main turn but all the extras must be disbanded before the end of the turn. This allows building armies and accepting cities as peace tributes.

Oscillating War (OW): You must always be at war with a neighboring civilization. Psuedowars (where neither side can really reach the other) do not count. When peace is signed with the current foe, war must be immediately declared on another enemy.
Arathornís comments: Seems to be an almost optimal strategy for a human to carry out. Plays almost easier than a regular game, if possibly a bit more time-consuming. Sample Game (

Passive: You may never attack a city. If you lose one of your cities, itís gone. Accepting culture flips, using propaganda, and attacking units in the open are all allowed.
Arathornís comments: Plays reasonably easily unless youíre trying for domination. Great way to enforce SOME builderís tactics while still letting warmongers shed some blood. Alone, itís not too much of a variant, but it shines in combination with other goals. Sample Game (

Passive sub-variants:
Relaxed Passive: You may bombard cities with artillery units (catapult, trebuchet, cannon, artillery, radar artillery, fighter, bomber, stealth fighter/bomber, ships). You still may not capture a city militarily.

Tactless: You may never initiate diplomacy. If the AI initiates diplomacy, you must either reject or accept their offer. No haggling.
Arathornís comments: Not checking diplomacy definitely makes the game go faster. Doing all your own research and never getting to trade on your terms is actually a significant challenge. Iíd estimate a full difficulty level challenge with this variant. Sample Game (

Combinations of variants are also lots of fun. Itís sometimes hard to predict how certain variants will play out together. Certain variants almost completely subsume other variants (AW, for example, almost completely comprises NOW, oscillating war, and defiant). Essentially adding tactless to AW is pretty common and works well. You can combine lots into one variant ( Other combinations seem to be suicidal (AW and no military, for example).

Variants can force you to consider new ways of playing the game and help bridge the gap between difficulty levels (e.g. a player who consistently beats monarch but really struggles at emperor can try a variant for an in-between experience and eventually move up or stay in that monarch variant range). Variants work well with any difficulty level and are a way of adding spice to your game thatís different from full-fledged mods. Try one out today!


Apr 16, 2004, 01:56 PM
Please recommend additions or changes. I plan on trying to update this list whenever possible. If any description isn't clear, let me know and I'll try to clarify.

NOTE: This is not meant as an end-all and be-all list. It's meant to provide a repository of variants that can be used as a starting point. (e.g. Arathorn's definition of tactless, except we allow diplomacy purely to pursue peace)


Apr 16, 2004, 02:03 PM
Good stuff! Though I can't offer any suggestions, I bet there are several in the SGOTM crowd who could...

Apr 16, 2004, 02:08 PM
Thanks Arathorn, I have been looking for something like this.


Apr 18, 2004, 02:53 PM
A good write up. The text in the OCC varients needs to be cleaned up a bit as it mentions 5CCC instead of OCCC.

I don't know if you want to mention this, but I have seen an AW varient where you do not accept any foreigners. All cities with foreigners must be razed; all foreign workers (and with C3C captured units?) must be destroyed, no diplo other than declaring war. This variant is more difficult than standard AW.

a space oddity
Apr 19, 2004, 09:54 AM
Another one recently played were the Un-militaristic Celts, where no Barracks can ever be build in addition to being pacifist, meaning that you can't do anything the might cause a war.
See Corrados' Cor1 (

And then there's OneFastWarriors' brilliant Capitol killer atheists game, where no religious buildings are allowed and meeting a religious civ means immediate war and no dealing. The part about having to kill the capitol of the civs you're at war with is the hardest of these rules IMHO. Read all about it here (

Apr 21, 2004, 08:08 AM
A nice article. :goodjob:

Apr 22, 2004, 10:10 AM

OCC Space Race.

Sample game: AG6 (

There are 3 games that I know, all at Monarch level.

The key is to keep up in science with only one city and avoid culture win at the same time.

Apr 27, 2004, 03:54 PM
Ones that I did on Civ2

Eternal Despot: Never change your government

Tax Free: Never have tax rate above zero..requires extensive use of wealth and taxmen (no taxmen could be added)

Other Ideas:

Wonderless: you may never build a Great Wonder..
More restrictive versions:
Never build various small wonders
You may never Control a Great Wonder, ie any city taken with a GW must be razed/abandoned/given away

Capture only... No building of Settlers (less restrictive OCC)

Slaves: no building of Workers

No Research..Research rate set to zero, no scientists, all technologies must be stolen/traded/gotten from wonders.

How about Culture cultural buildings (excluding Wonders+Palace)
Or altogether buildingless.. no buildings at all only units/wealth.

Apr 28, 2004, 01:34 PM
Other Ideas:

Wonderless: you may never build a Great Wonder..
More restrictive versions:
Never build various small wonders
You may never Control a Great Wonder, ie any city taken with a GW must be razed/abandoned/given away

Look at this DI3 - Wonderless is Wonderful (

No building/keeping great/small wonders, not even FP.

Apr 30, 2004, 08:35 PM
I've been wondering about AWE and AWM, I think. Obviously variants of Always war, but I'm not sure what it is. Is it just a quick reference for difficulty level?

May 01, 2004, 12:16 AM
Yes... Always war monarch and always war emperor.

Hikaro Takayama
May 17, 2004, 10:40 AM
Here's a variant that I thought up one night:

U.N. Charter Variant:

Article I: Non-agression. You may never declare war, unless you are attacked. In addition, rouge states (any nation that starts a war with another) must be embargoed.

Article II: Occupation of foreign territory: As long as you are at war with a foreign power, it is permissible to maintain "peacekeeping" forces in their cities, however, once peace is made, all captured cities must be returned to their original owner. Trading the cities for luxuries, technology, etc. is allowed (and highly reccommended). The exceptions to this rule are (1) if the citizens of the city overthrow their oppressive regime and vote to join your empire, that city can be kept, as that was the will of the people, and (2) if the enemy (during a conflict) captures any of your cities and refuses to return them, then you may keep an equal number of cities of your choice, but any number above and beyond that must be returned.

Article III: The Geneva Convention. At no time during a war may any atrocities be committed. Atrocities include the use of Weapons of Mass destruction (nukes), razing a city (except if a size 1 city auto-razes, after all there are always some casualties in a war), and mistreatment of POW's (slave workers). Mistreatment of POW's includes execution of prisoners (disbanding), and keeping prisoners after a conflict has ended. At the end of a conflict, all POW's must be returned to their home country. In additon, any nation found commiting atrocities against any other must be placed under embargo.

Article IV: Human Rights. As an example to all the nations of the world, at no time (except during despotism at the begining and during periods of anarchy) shall an opressive system of government be thrust upon the people. In addition, Fascism is a heinous practice that not only allows, but encourages genocide (forced resettlement). All facist nations must be placed under embargo. In addtion, if a facist state declares war, Article II does not apply, since we'd be liberating the oppressed people from their brutal facist overlords, and any war with a facist state must be maintained until either (a) the Facism collapses for a less oppressive form of government, or (b) the facist threat to world peace is eliminated.

Well, how's that sound for a game variant?

May 24, 2004, 12:12 PM
Sounds highly restrictive. First off, the returning of cities can not be used as barter (except in very early vanilla patches), as the ai will not consider any deal that includes trading of cities for any commodity.

The embargo clauses would very likely force you to ruin your own rep if you have trade deals in place when a civ declares war, or becomes a fascist state.

And I find that two of the nicest things about early wars especially, is the foreign workforce that can be assembled, along with the increase in landmass.

It would certainly make for a tough variant though.

Jun 13, 2004, 08:21 AM
Mmhm. I thought of a variant too, but was wondering whether anyone had any comments upon it or ideas to add, I haven't tested this because the rules I've definitely decided upon don't seem quite enough imho, thoughts?

Variant: Mercenary

i) You may only declare war if another civ pays you (gpt, tech, gold, workers, resources) in a Military Alliance or Mutual Protection Pact. In both cases they must pay you more than you give them e.g. MA and you give two techs, they give one isn't allowed, obviously you could argue over the value of the techs but that's the players discretion. In essensce you must get more than you give. You may also go to war if another civ declares war on you, at higher difficulties this will obviously mean you'll be at war more tha at lower.

ii) You may not capture cities, any you do capture must be given for free to your emplyoing civ(s) at the end of the MA. You may only capture cities and keep them if the other civ declared war upon you. Loot would include the gold gained in a city's capture and any from selling buildings. The same goes (or not??? opinions?) for workers, could be classed as loot or property.

iii) You may Embargo/ROP only if the other civ pays you.

iv)Not quite sure about this one but: Victory Point Scoring, you'll get more points for the more units and cities you capture.

v) Only victories are Conquest (last civ will have to declare war on you), Domination (you'll need lots of civs declaring war on you and/or a good expansion), Victory Points (you're a successful mercenary, hopefully).

Rules I'm unsure about including
i) Every city must have a barracks - mercenaries need training.
ii) Civ must be Militaristic? can't be Agricultural - farmers dont make good soldiers
iii) for this I'm unsure whether to make it Optional, Necessary or Disallowed. Capture the Flag and Regicide - not mass Regicide. The princess would represent loot or an objective gained, and your King would represent the Mercenary leader, his Army falling apart when he died.

Obviously playing in a Democracy or Republic would make this harder. Keeping good relations with civs would be necessary up to Mon/Emp imo as you need an employer. I think Regicide and Capture the Flag and Victory Points would continue the theme better but I've always won too easily at this (Only up to Emperor but I mean easier in relation to other conditions obv.)

Jun 13, 2004, 09:52 PM
The Democracy Variant (not the Demo starting kind) AG7 (

Jun 16, 2004, 08:34 AM
I tried a variant with only one restriction: I must not gain any optional tech.

Definition: No Optional Tech (NOT) : You are not allowed to discover optional techs. Optional techs are those which are not needed to reach the next era, monarchy for example.

Well, doesn't sound like a challenge. But think over the complications. I list the most important features sorted by their importance:

a) The one and only one advanced type of government will be feudalism. With all the corruption and war weariness included. Have fun.

b) You never can build a knight or cavalry. So this game is essential near an infantry game. Have fun. In other words, clean your own continent before the ai reaches military tradition, or you are possibly toasted. (Up from demi god, this can be a problem even for experienced players)

c) You can never build a library, since literature is prohibited. This means, you can never build a university, since libs are required to build them. In other words: Your own research capabilities will humble you, and still you must avoid a cultural victory of other civs.

d) You will never be able to get cities above size 12, since sanitation is an optional tech. More important, you are not able to build battlefield medicine. So have fun with it.

e) Stealing technology will be difficult, expensive and comes along with a high failure rate, because you cannot build the intelligency agency. And this means, you cannot plant spies.

f) You can never mobilize your economy, since nationalism is optional. This may really humble you up from demi-god level.

g) You can never build a marine to take out this damn last island city of your opponents. Ok, usually not that important, but it's like a course in my games. Nearly always there's one of these ugly one-tile cities, and combined with war weariness this can cause problems.

h) If you capture the great library, you must raze this city, because there's the danger that you receive optional techs from it, and your entire game is toast. So, you cannot use the GB to boost your research, which is annoying up from demi-god.

i) You have no access to some important wonders like Smith or JSB, except you capture them, of course.

Believe it or not, but all the feature together, the difficulty of a level moves up around 2, so a simple monarch game usually becomes humbling as demi-god.
Personally, i still had no success with it above emperor, and with normal settings and luck i'm meanwhile able to beat deity on huge continent maps, so i guess, i'm a experienced player.

So check it out, it's quite annoying and evil :-)

with kind regards
a fanatic

Jun 17, 2004, 06:14 AM
One variation some of us had fun with in competitive games.

Lowest scoring win

A tightrope walk. Do you go the OCC route and risk not winning? Do you restrict your border expansion and population. Of course a late win will score less than a quick one but you may lose if you delay too long.
Fun stuff.

Jun 17, 2004, 11:55 AM
could you not just abandon all your cities late game then starve the last one, so few pop and territory? play till the end.

Jun 17, 2004, 03:37 PM
No because your score is calculated across the entire game. My record low win is under 50.

Jun 19, 2004, 11:53 PM
One of the best variants I've played is this No treasury ( . You aren't allowed to have a treasury, so every deal has to be based on income. This makes your reputation extremely important and doesn't allow things like min science. We played it twice and it can be a very difficult variant. As can be shown in the first failed attempt, which is linked in the first post of my example.

Nad has had more brilliant ideas, like this one: Chamber of Secrets ( I don't know how to call such a variant, but basically we had to stick to the rule '25 turns of peace / 25 turns of war, without restrictions.'

PS. Your sample game of an OCCC allowed cities during the turns. So this is the easier variant of an OCCC. You can demand cities for peace and abandon them, conquer cities and keep them until the end of the turn. The most obvious advantage is the opportunity of building armies.

Jul 01, 2004, 07:23 AM
Here's a variant that I thought up one night:

U.N. Charter Variant:

Article I: Non-agression. You may never declare war, unless you are attacked. In addition, rouge states (any nation that starts a war with another) must be embargoed.
Well, how's that sound for a game variant?

I actually just played a game that was exactly this way. I did not set up to do it intentionally, but I was boxed in, growthwise. I had 13 cities and never gained another and never DoW. I killed a total of 2 enemy units late in the game when my infantry was attacked by Cavalry. I won a 1505AD Diplo victory, against 7 opponets. I have the initial save and several saves during the game if you would like a sample game.

Jul 06, 2004, 05:08 PM
would be quite useful to have 2 difficulty guides, one for warmongers and one for builders as obviously no military is harder for warmongers than builders, and aw is harder for builders...

Jul 07, 2004, 02:29 AM

I've just realised that Atheism is missing from your list of variants.

The rukes are simple:
No religious buildings or wonders may be built or owned.
Religious Civs are anathema. War must be declared immediately on any religious civ encountered (not trading before declaring)

For an example, see: OFW2: The Roman Capital Killing Atheists ( (where we also were restricted to attacking only Capitals).


Jul 07, 2004, 07:40 AM
Here's a cool one.

Cold war.
1. Player must chose either Democrocy or communisim.
2. player must stay in goverment
3. player must be in state of war or ceace-fire with nations of other govermnt.
3. democies must play a clean game - see peacekeeping varient -however a scret service is allowed in the democrocy
4. both sides can do whatever they need to weeken the other -gain/steal allies ect...
5 both sides must avoid a nuculer exchange.
6 either side wins if thier is no longer communisim or democracy.

Jul 25, 2004, 01:13 PM
I usually play my own variant;
* Must never declare war on another civ (Booting to provoke is allowed).
* Must not build armies.

I like playing with these rules because you can have everyone be polite towards you by signing right of passage treaties. Usually, without these rules, everyone's annoyed or furious towards me because I've attacked somebody early on to get some territory and thereby removing my ability to sign ROP treaties (well, ROP's are always possible but expensive).

In early game you have to rely on another civ to declare war on you. This can be done by having a large stash of gold and a bunch of obsolete units ready to be upgraded as soon as somebody notices you're weak.

I think armies spoil alot of the fun in C3C. I mean, they get bonus offence and defense values, lot's of hitpoints, the ability to heal in one turn in cities with barracks, bonus move, pillage without loss of movement point and the AI doesn't attack them.. Oh and they don't build them either.. Good enough reason to not allow yourself to build them.
It's nothing short of cheating and therefore I shall never build an army ever again (unless they are fixed in a patch but I doubt it)!

Jul 27, 2004, 11:02 AM
Another Mostly War variant: You must at all times be at war with 50% of the civs you know. Less restrictive then AW, but harder then NOW. Could be played with or without the possibility of signing peace treaties, but it's not much of a variant if you can sign peace. Best combined with other variants such as xenophobic

Jul 28, 2004, 11:44 AM
Restrictive government variants seem to have been overlooked. So, playing the entire game in despotism, or allowing a change to one other specified government (usually communism) for instance.

Multi-win games have also been overlooked, where you can win by all means in one turn from the same save.

Finally the 5CC 100K culture variant is not included.

Jul 30, 2004, 04:14 PM
I realized that you don't have Sirian's Big Brother Variant there.

This is my version. I role played an anime show. :D

You play as Tomoyo (Big Brother) and the first civ you meet is Sakura (Little Sister), the second civ you meet is Syaoran (Some random guy)

1) Embassy ASAP
2) Spy ASAP
3) Investigate capital very 20 turns
4) All techs go to her
5) Tomoyo is nonviolent, so only use force to support Sakura when the attacker is the second civ I meet, Syaoran, because the only time Tomoyo actually did anything to protect Sakura was against him.
6) Sakura dies, You lose
7) Sakura must win Diplomatic Victory, and if necessary, you can eliminate civs that don't like Sakura.

I'm too lazy to look up the original Big Brother game.

Aug 02, 2004, 06:36 AM
I have "invented" a new variant, when I read one of the threads, you were discussing in, Arathorn ("My whip broke").

I call the variant "AI style".

You have to play with the rules an AI does and avoid things, the AI doesn't use, e.g
- No prebuilds
- No armies
- No suicide galleys & curraghs
- King units never move
- Artillery only in cities and only defending
- no palace jump/move
- no researching with negative cash flow
- no exploits (rushing in two steps for example or reloading)
- and everything else I forgot

And another variant would be "Barbarian", that means no attacking in NW-SE direction ;-)

Aug 03, 2004, 06:44 AM
Another sort of variant is not founding the first city for a long time, say 1000bc or 0 bc. I seem to recall Qitai trying this on a deity gotm, but I don't think he submitted so it must be tough.

Edit: of course just playing the start really badly simulates this variant, as I have recently been finding :blush: .

Feb 28, 2005, 11:11 AM
I tried recently playing an own-built variant which I found challenging and at the same time somehow reasonable. So I decided to share it:

Religious Hegemony


1. You must play a religious nation.

2. Your people need to build a great wonder to express their devotion to the god(s). Hence failure to _build_ at least one of the following wonders means *sudden* death (i.e., the game is lost if all of these wonders are build by other nations):
a) The Oracle
b) Michelangelo's Chapel
c) Johan Sebastian Bach's Cathedral

4. The idea that the mankind descends from the apes is unacceptable in your nation. Hence you are forbidden to build the Theory of Evolution great wonder. Upon capturing the city which built it, it must be raised without mercy, so that any traces of this blasphemy disappear once and for all.

3. The religion is the main driving force in your society. Therefore the first improvement build in a city must be a temple. Once a city grows over the size of 6, your next city improvement must be a cathedral (if you have the required tech). Note: You are allowed to finish your current project, started when the city was smaller than 7. Also in a case of war/mobilization you might choose to ignore this restriction in order to build first barracks or city walls. You might build any units at will.

4. You must convince the world in the superiority of your beliefs. Hence the only allowed victory conditions for you are: culture, domination and conquest. However the other players might win by any possible means.

5. The ideas of Communism are incompatible with the religion. Therefore Communism is a forbidden government form for your nation.

6. Religious freedom is not allowed. The people of your nation should all be united under the same beliefs. Therefore Democracy is a forbidden government form for your nation.

Note: I'm not a religious person. Neither am I anti-religious. I just though the idea of such a variant is interesting and reasonable and I do not want to offend anyone by this post.

I play comfortably standard games on Deity level, however winning this variant on Deity is near to impossible for me. However on Emperor I won a few games playing it. On easer levels it does not probably make a lot of difference. For optimal challenge the map size should be at least standard, with several large continents.

The main difficulties come from the fact that on the harder levels a non-standard tech/expansion route must be followed in order to avoid losing by the sudden death rule. Hence you might have a much slower start which in turn makes the game more challenging.

Mar 06, 2005, 12:02 AM
you can look at LK92--Religious Fanatics in Succession's a relaxed version of your set.

Apr 08, 2005, 04:58 PM
Think about this : AW-OCC. better have a good starting position.

Apr 08, 2005, 05:00 PM
Think about this : AW-OCC. better have a good starting position.Some people have done (are doing) that on levels as high as Emperor with success.

Apr 08, 2005, 05:44 PM
Some people have done (are doing) that on levels as high as Emperor with success.
Or on Sid.

Apr 08, 2005, 06:13 PM
I'm actually playing this variant. But I'm not good enough to do it higher than regent. I'm lucky, I got a montain chokepoint just next to my capital.

Apr 08, 2005, 06:16 PM
Or on Sid.Is that the Mark game? Do you have a link handy?

Apr 08, 2005, 06:27 PM
Yes. Berserk Byzantines AWS-OCC (

Apr 08, 2005, 06:31 PM
Thanks. Wow. OMG.

Sorry! The administrator has specified that users can only post one message every 30 seconds.

Jun 01, 2005, 09:59 PM
An SG titled "Ever Winner Loses" is an interesting variant where you try to set up one AI to win (not by conquest, though). You must be alive to see it.

Jun 03, 2005, 02:12 AM
I will try a new variant soon :

Cultural Domination :
- Cultural victory is disabled
- Space Ship victory is disabled
- Diplomatic victory is disabled
- You cannot take a City by force
- You cannot raze a City

So the only victory available is domination (or conquest but I think it is impossible with this variant without triggering domination first).
And the only way to take a city is by flipping it ! ;-)

So you have to grab 66% of territory, only with your culture !

It is allowed to be at war and to kill some units even in a city, so that it is less resistant to flipping.

I plan to start to try this variant this Weekend, probably on Regent or Warlord. Maybe it is feasable on Monarch but I doubt it is possible on higher difficulty.

Someone else has suggested this variant somewhere on this forum, but I can't find where.

Jun 03, 2005, 01:55 PM
i think theseus used this method in the multiplayer AU game over at apolyton.

the basic rules were that AI cities were not allowed to be attacked - ever. so after he had eliminated the human oponent, he started REXing like hell, placing cities inbetween AI cities, rushing temples and libraries (notably with the roman civ) but especially playing the AIs against each other and taking every free spot he had the chance to take (especially good, when cities were razed instead of captured).

iirc he one a domination victory quite early on!

Jun 03, 2005, 02:51 PM
I will try a new variant soon :

Cultural Domination :
- Cultural victory is disabled
- Space Ship victory is disabled
- Diplomatic victory is disabled
- You cannot take a City by force
- You cannot raze a City

So the only victory available is domination (or conquest but I think it is impossible with this variant without triggering domination first).
And the only way to take a city is by flipping it ! ;-)

So you have to grab 66% of territory, only with your culture !

It is allowed to be at war and to kill some units even in a city, so that it is less resistant to flipping.

I plan to start to try this variant this Weekend, probably on Regent or Warlord. Maybe it is feasable on Monarch but I doubt it is possible on higher difficulty.

Someone else has suggested this variant somewhere on this forum, but I can't find where.

This variant has been done by Ankka in some S ( (, and by Sirian in some single player games.

Jun 03, 2005, 03:07 PM
Oh, and to the unsuspecting poster/lurker, please examine GA's link very carefully. There's an "s" on "SG" for a reason. ;)

Jun 05, 2005, 07:54 PM
Aw.. I see.

These are really good ideas. I'm gonna try the religious variant next game.

Jun 05, 2005, 11:22 PM
I think Cultural Domination should be done with all victory conditions on - this could be called "Strict Cultural Domination" and if you modify default rules then "Loose". These are the other rules I followed for my "Strict" games:

-You may build anything.
-You may NOT declare war.
-You may "border-cram" (see below).
-Combat settlers are DISALLOWED. However, you can, as mentioned, "cram" cities into territory that's been warred on by other civs.
-If at war:
--You may NOT initiate any attacks. (Clarification - Defense only.)
--You may NOT plant a settler in enemy territory.
--You may NOT advance any units into enemy territory for the purpose of drawing attacks.
--You MAY attract units to a city for the purpose of creating defensive leaders.
--You MAY sign alliances to get other civs into war.

Someone else has suggested this variant somewhere on this forum, but I can't find where.

I think this is what you're talking about:

And this is extremely difficult (at least for me) on anything above warlord that's not a Pangaea with Babylon as my civ. (I very nearly achieved it on Regent as Babylon on a Tiny Pangaea but I drew Persia as a neighbor and they got Space first. I was about 15 tiles from the domination limit and had crammed every tile I could get, and even moved the palace(1000 shield build took forever) near the border to help get a flip or two to push me over, but no such luck.)

Tubby Rower
Aug 12, 2005, 02:19 PM
I haven't seen this combo before but we're trying it in TR05 (

Silence of Space

No initiating dialog ever (including booting out of territory & declaration of wars)
If AI initiate conversation, haggling can occur
Wars can only be initiated by attacking an enemy unit
Must never cave to demands
embassy & spies are allowed
CAII & Mapstat will be allowed without alerts for new trades & diplomacy

All VC's on. Must win by space.

Aug 22, 2005, 02:23 PM
I wanted to suggest a few variants and ask a few questions as well.

Pacifist. It's probably been thought of before, but what the hey. Obviously, you may never declare war. You may only attack units that are at war with you and inside your borders. You may never attack a peaceful opponent's units inside your borders, but you may eject them. You may never attack their cities. You must accept terms of peace with a rival that declared war on you. Maybe not if he demands a tech or three... You may also never join any alliances or embargos, but mutual defense treaties might be okay. You may not build armies.

I guess it's not much of a variant, the restrictions are probably few if you're used to playing "builder" style. And you won't win any conquest/domination games either.

My second suggested variant is a form of 5CC, where you may never build more than five cities, but a scenario is created so everyone starts with 5 settlers and may never build more. Hopefully this can be done and still allow random map generation. Can it? The idea would be to avoid those annoying border disputes, culture flips, and most of all the pesky AI that tries to send a settler/spearman across your territory. You would also see more use of colonies, which doesn't get used enough.

Questions: when playing One-City Challenge, how do you get those mid-to-late-game resources like rubber or coal that you need to upgrade your riflemen or roads? There appears to be fewer of those on the map than the number of civs, and in the game I'm playing no one has more than one source of coal. Also, when you don't have to worry about corruption/waste, what's going to be the best government? Democracy still?

Aug 22, 2005, 04:33 PM
i just got finished with such a game. it was emperor level with 5 opponents on a small 60 percent pangea map. i turned off all victory conditions except for domination. i forbid myself to attack or bombard enemy cities or to pillage. i was however allowed to declare war and fight units outside of cities. i was not allowed to settle inside of enemy territory even if at war. i played ptw because my conquest disk is ... gone :(

i won somewhere around 1100 ad or so. i had about 16 favorable culture flips and i think one unfavorable. most of my 200-odd cities had temples libraries and cathedrals mostly pop-rushed under communism, yet i ended the game with only about 43k culture. needless to say most of the buildings were built within a few dozen turns of the end of the game though i led in culture from the start. even at the end of the game i dont believe i had all my numerous border cities defended. there were just so many of them :)

it was rather curious what the map looked like when i won. my biggest rival persia had his core badly carved out by my culture zones. as my culture zone would expand into his wide spaces between his cities i could squeeze a settler in and build another city to rush more culture. his core was chopped to bits :)

as for enemy cities that were not part of their cores it was typical for their entire cultural areas to be in the neighborhood of 3 tiles at the end of the game.

this type of game takes a long time to play.

and and otherwise good game can be destroyed very quickly by an unexpected early attack.

Aug 22, 2005, 04:42 PM
Yeah, now try it on continents. My best Continents success so far is on Warlord, on a 60% Small Map as Persia. However, I play by even more restricted military - you can't attack anything, ever. I guess the loosest part of the rules is that you can bombard units in your territory. Doing it on Emperor is impressive, though.

Feb 21, 2006, 09:22 PM
I don't know if this qualifies as a "variant" or not, but we're doing something in gmaharriet01 that's amusing:

"One For the Lurkers"

We've got a slot reserved in the SG roster for a "lurker" to pick it up and play a set. It doesn't really add any difficulty to the game, and it's downright sociable at emperor level.

I suspect the canonical roster will get longish in this particular game, as we're going for a 100k culture win as the Mongols... :crazyeye:

Mar 24, 2007, 12:00 AM
Here is an idea that occurred to me, at the moment it is just a concept so I would welcome any suggestions.

One of the criticisms of Multi-player in epic games is that players often go for Rapid Expansion (REX) strategies and if this isn't sucessful drop out. Whilst you can get other players to take over their place it means the new player could be faced with a no-win situation just hoping to improve the points score of the civ they took over. But how about if this was built into the game?

The concept is that at certain points in the game the players swap civs. Think of it as new dynasties taking over. Score being calculated by points added to the civ taken over. For example in a game with 4 human and 4 AI players players could change civs at the begining of each new era (additional/different critera could be used to trigger the swap). At this point they keep the points they scored with that civ, it is possible you could take over a civ and have a lower points total at the next change losing you points. If the player's current civ is eliminated then so are they. Obviously scores would have to be kept seperately for each player and posted at the end of each era on the forum.

One issue I can forsee is if a player drops out, should they inherit the out going players score? Or perhaps recieve an average of the current points totals. Another is one of trust as it would either have to have no passwords or as the game progressed passwords would have to be exchanged.
Is there anyway to reset passwords?

This variant could appeal to players who enjoy varying situations, rather than following the same strategy repeatedly.

I have set-up a PBEM game along these lines and put a link here for anyone that is interested. The game would be used to fine-tune this variant.

Jun 14, 2007, 06:35 AM
I was looking at the Wonder characteristics and it occured to me that a possible variant could focus on this.
Turn off all victory conditions except Conquest and Space, and enable the end game on Wonder feature.

You must build or capture all the wonders with your civillisation's traits. If a wonder is destroyed you must capture the city it was in or eliminate the civ who destroyed it (if known). If it was in one of your cities you automatically lose.
This variant could result in a real bloodbath when played MP/PBEM!!!