1.16-India UHV Strategy Guide


Aug 16, 2003
The Indian UHV game features an unusual mix of planning and luck. The UHV conditions are straightforward enough that a half-way competent DoC tactician should be able to see how to meet them, and beginning almost on the first turn the player will start of putting that plan into effect.

But no plan survives contact with the enemy, and your success at the UHV game will also depend upon chance events over which you will have little control: barbarian spawns, and the state of the world beyond your borders. There is little room for improvisation to save yourself if the luck is against you, which makes this UHV game a useful reminder for strategists, tacticians, and planners everywhere. It can teach them humility.

UHV Conditions
1. Build two religious shrines by Turn 134.
2. Build twenty temples by Turn 191.
3. Have 20% of the world population by Turn 240.

As with the China UHV game, there is no one true path for the Indian player. But it is more constrained than the China game, in that there really are only a handful of obvious tactics that will get you the win. Here are the things to know and take into account when planning your India game.

Two Religious Shrines
To generate a Shrine you must expend a Great Prophet inside that religion's Holy City. To generate a Great Prophet, you need to employ priest specialists. And to employ priest specialists, you need temples inside a city that can support them. So this first UHV comes down to having early temples.

You will found Hinduism on founding your first city, and you will also be able to build a Mandir immediately. Do so. Your first Mandir will cause you to found Buddhism and get two Buddhist monasteries. If you have more than one city, spread Buddhism to the city with your Mandir. There, build a Buddhist Stupa and employ a second priest, so as to speed up your Great Prophet rate. When he pops, use him to build a Shrine. The first Shrine really is that easy and direct.

The shrine will allow that city to employ three more priests. Employ as many as you need to generate the second Great Prophet for the second Shrine by the deadline.

BTW, there is one good trick to getting the shrines with time to spare. Instead of founding a city upon spawning, wait one or two turns, for Indraprastha to flip to you, founding Hinduism and giving you a Palace. That city has great food resources, along with hills to mine and forests to chop, so it's an excellent Holy City where you can employ lots of priests. You can then move your Settler to any other spot to found another city. Even if Buddhism founds in another city, you'll be able to spread Buddhism to Indraprastha so that you can build a Stupa and employ a second priest. With the highly productive Indraprastha as your Hindu Holy City, you stand a good chance of getting the two Shrines built twenty turns before the deadline, if that is your desire.

Twenty Temples
To get twenty temples you either need twenty cities with one temple apiece, ten with two apiece, seven with three apiece, or five with four apiece. You are unlikely to get the latter, and even if you're lucky enough (or you fight a war) to get a Zoroastrian or Confucian city, you are likely going to need ten cities anyway just to meet the population goa in the third UHV. So it is simplest to meet this goal using only the two religions you found, Hinduism and Buddhism.

So you're going to need ten cities.

Indraprastha will flip to you; you will build a second; Chennai to the south can be conquered early (Turn 120) and if you are canny and prepared you can take the two Tamil cities in a rush by Turn 155. That leaves five other cities to build or conquer.

Conquering outside the subcontinent isn't advisable. Any cities you own west of the Indus will cause the Turkmen (eventually) to DoW and spawn stacks against you, and the last thing you need is a war with Turkmenistan on top of your other jobs. You can expand into Indochina if you like. But in fact there's room within India proper for ten cities, and enough room for them to grow very large.

City placement is up to you. I'll only mention that the Indus valley (east bank) has access to some nice resources and to rich flood plains, enough for two or even three cities. The Ganges can pack in at least three, and there's room on the southwest coast near Mumbai and even on the southeast coast near Kolkata. It is probably best not to build upon any ground that can be farmed, or upon luxuries, as you will want to squeeze out every bit of food and coin you can.

Some of your more productive cities can delay building the temples until they are close to the deadline; these should be used in the meantime to build military units. You should think about an early city on the Ganges that can use the massive food resources there to pump out three to five Settlers. You will need to build at least one Galley in order to secure the last Tamil city on Sri Lanka.

Wars and Barbarians
Chennai will spawn on Turn 120. Be ready for it—two Swordsmen will be sufficient to take it. Hell, one will be sufficient; the second is only insurance.

The Tamils are not very strong, but India is not likely to be strong either, as you will have lots of cities to garrison and only a few cities to pump out those garrisons. The best way to tackle the Tamils is to build an army of at least four Swordsmen with City Raider promotions, plus a Catapult. (It will be overkill, in fact, but you will probably be grateful for the extras if the rolls go against you.) Sign Open Borders with Chola on spawning, and let their armed forces filter up into the north of your territory. Declare war only after their units are closer to foreign frontiers than your own so that when you declare war, their army will be far away instead of garrisoning their territory.

You should have a Galley built by that point, and you might want to declare a cease fire after taking the Tamil capital so that you can move it unmolested into Tanjapuri, which will be three tiles from the Tamil city on Sri Lanka. Load two Swordsmen onto it when they are healed, and invade. You stand an excellent chance of catching them with only a single Archer in that city, and though you will almost certainly lose one Swordsman in the amphibious assault, your second should take it.

Worse for India will be the barbarians that spawn in the subcontinent. They will start with Archers, graduate to Axemen and War Elephants, and end with pairs of Swordsmen and (in the northwest) stacks of Horsemen and Horse Archers; and they will appear every few turns. Though garrisons of Archers and Spearmen are almost always sufficient against these threats should they get to your cities, you will need at least two units in your cities when they strike, as protection against malicious die rolls. You can cheat, to an extent, by putting one unit into your cities and positioning second units at strategic spots between them, but that is still a lot of building. You will need at least one strongly productive city, and you should plan on using three cities (initially, at least) to pump out protective units.

By the end, when your primary enemy are Swordsmen, you should have the Nobility tech and the Horse Archers. These, when using the road network you have constructed, can make short work of the threat. But you will likely suffer many frightening moments on the way to this point, when barbarians appear close to weakly protected cities.

Twenty Percent
After you have built your twentieth temple, you will get a Golden Age. Time to start ramping up your cities' population, if you haven't already. Key buildings: Granaries and Aqueducts, for fast growth; Smokehouses, Baths and Pharmacies for health; Harbors and Workboats in the coastal cities.

Also, four Great Wonders: the Prambanan , the Borobudur, the Khajuraho, and (most important) the Wat Preah Pisnoluk.

The Prambanan acts as an extra Aqueduct in every city, speeding their growth.

The Borobudur gives priest specialists an extra hammer, quickening your ability to build city infrastructure that will raise health.

The Khajuraho makes it so that all State Religion buildings produce one food in a city; with two temples (at least) in each city, this means another population point in all cities.

And the Wat, besides giving each city an extra population point, causes priests to produce one food. Which is amazing—building the Wat is like running Republic, as long as you are employing priests, and without the farm penalty. If you run Theocracy (which doubles priest slots) after the Wat is built, your cities will explode in size.

Even with this infrastructure and with India completely developed, you are unlikely to get 20% of the population by AD 1200. (Or, you are likely to have 20% before that date, but as your relative share falls.) You can squeeze in another city or two in, but you should be prepared to conquer two or three cities outside India, in Indochina probably, if you're not already established there.

Key techs to get:

Blooming, for iron. Priesthood, for monasteries. Literature for Caste System. Currency for Merchant Trade. Nobility for Horse Archers. Artisanry, Alchemy, Civil Service, and Doctrine for the late-in-the-game buildings, wonders, and civics you will need to grow the population.

I've already mentioned one place you will need luck: the timing and placement of barbarian uprisings, and the combat results. Another is in the state of the world outside your borders.

As you might imagine, an empire of ten cities is likely to crush your economy, and not even two Shrines for two widespreading religions can fully support it. Be prepared to see your tech rate fall to 20% or even lower as you move toward the completion of your second UHV goal, and you are likely to see the rate that high only if the rest of the world is in a relatively healthy way. You must have Open Borders with as many other civs as you can manage, for the trade and for the tech trading. In a world where the western civs are healthy and alive for long periods of time, you are likely to tech at a reasonable rate. But if the other civilizations collapse (or even if only most of them do) your economy is likely to crater and hit with a dead cat bounce. This can prevent you from getting those late-game techs in time for them to contribute to your population rush.
I started yesterday with Indians and i got some interesting elements of strategy.
1) Do not settle in place immediatly but wait for flipping of Delhi. It is a better capital.
2) Settle Bophal ASAP for iron and build a barrack in it. You NEED lancers to defend against herds of hords of horses from NW and some elephants from S.

First UHV is not a problem. Maybe it is possible without despotism and whip.
Temple, monastery, missionary, temple, temple, temple, GP, shrine, GP, shrine.

The challanging UHV is the second one: 20 temples.
It means 10 cities, or founding islam before Arabs. (Zoroastrism does not spread too far from Iran and i was no able to spread any chinese religion in India).
To support 10 cities you have to build a cottage on each 5 food tile.

I'm try to find the better strategy between founding first on south and west, or north and west to enlarge borders but meet those barbarian horses to early.

Stay tuned.
You will likely get Zoroastrism if you found a city 4 west of Delhi (between the mountains). It also won't flip to Persia when they spawn.
Spread the religion from there. Only 7 cities is far better for your economy.
Alternatively you can capture a city from Persia with Zoroastrism in it.
7 cities allow 14 temples of induism and buddism.
Is it possible to spread Zoroastrism in 6 of them? On the eastern coast of India?

Maybe 8 cities, with 4 Zoroastrian temples could get the goal.
Then one of them can be given to somebody.
I have recently got a UHV with India, while settling the capital on spot and having 10 cities in India for the 2nd goal. It is clearly possible, though my economy was very bad, I balanced between 10 and 20% of the research slider. And I had to get 2 closest cities in Persia from Turks to secure the 3rd goal.
I think i found an upgrade of my strategy: settling Varanasi (1SW from spot) makes space for Dhaka in Bangladesh, in core area, from where it is possible to work that tile with rice to the east.

In attach there is a screenshot of is my situation just before UHV1, with my second Great Prophet ready to build the shrine.

In this game i used whip to build a temple in capital and a granary in Varanasi, then, after priesthood i changed civics in Mon+Cle.

Next step is to settle more cities and build temples.


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Are you going to place Kolkata as well or use those plantations somehow else?
I think i'll settle Kolkata in the tile east of cotton.
With an harbor, it can grow enought fr UHV3.
My plan is not to settle on resources, in order to maximize production.
Interesting, when I did the run I placed a city 1n of the eastern rice. obviously I did not place Dhaka and my capitol was more east, I think I settled on the spice below the mountain. The only downside was that I had to do it relatively early since the Chinese took the gold otherwise. Not sure about the capitol thou, my thought was that I could grab the sheep above the mountain but I didn't now Tibet would spawn later and the hordes of barbs up there do not really make it worthwhile.

The city itself worked out well but it is tricky to say the actual cost since I had to settle is so early, think it was my first or second settler. So my iron was a little late and the capitol was really starved for production, cant really whip it too hard since u need to work those bloody priests.
Had a few tries until I completed this, I ended up settling my first city down on the coast between the sugar and the cow. Culture kill will deal with Chennai before it even spawns, and a settler from here heads to Kolachi to settle just after the Persians appear. this left both shrines in Delhi which is real nice (untill the Mughals steal them and destroy you economically). and if you are lucky Zoroastranism will spread to Kolachi, then it's just filling in the spaces. there is space for 10 cities north of the Tamils and the Tamils will kill barbarians inside your borders if you give them military access.
I got it! I got a UHV victory at last, but how luckily!

From a previous savegame from UHV2 i tried to follow the suggestion of this topic and go for wonders!
And i also got Pagan (11th city) when still undefended.

However not easy at all. I finished my game with 20.08% of population.
The previous turn it was still 19.something percent...

11 cities with granary, acqueduct and baths almost everywhere, and the control of Prambanan , Borobudur, Khajuraho, and Wat Preah Pisnoluk, is not enough.
I needed China collapse and plague in Europe to get 20%.
You can found Zoroastrianism if you research Priesthood first and settle a city on the desert tile next to pearls, and it won't flip to Persia.
After some testing I realized that for the 3rd UHV (20% of world population), population is based on the number left of the city name (E.g., 12). Not the actual population (E.g., 100.000), which you can see when hovering your mouse over the city name in the city screen.
To test this I used a save where I had 15,87% of the population. Raising a city from 11 to 12, a city from 12 to 13 or adding a new city with 1 population all increased my total to 16,21%. But in fact the 'actual' population increases exponentially the higher the population number left of the city name.

I wanted to share this as in my last game I was focussing on 1 very big city, which I now conclude is a very bad strategy for this UHV.
Found a strategy which should save your third UHV if you are not reaching 20%. Just place a settler on whatever tile in India that you could build a city and spawn all those cities on the last turn. In my game it boosted my population from 21% to 24%. Although I had to finish it without those cities as my game kept crashing if I used this method :p
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