1.16 Japan 600AD UHV - 4 city start


Feb 8, 2021
This is a detailed strategy for 600AD Japan to complete UHV1 (1600AD), followed by a suggested conquest order and foreign policy to achieve UHV2 & UHV3.

Thanks to Leoreth & the mod community for creating this great experience. Screenshots are from current git version, played at epic speed, regent difficulty.

1960 home islands.png

A 4 city start utilizing despotism and liberal whipping, transitioning to a specialist republic economy. Cultural goal is achieved around 1600 using culture slider aided by 2 cathedrals, 2 great artists (1 settled, 1 great work), and Himeji Castle. A strong economy (0% gold slider) aided by great merchant trade missions allows Japan to maintain tech parity / tech lead with Europe.
Following UHV1:
  • Immediately settle central Manchuria, conquer Korea.
  • 1600s-1700s: conquer China using high level samurai.
  • Mid 1700s: enter industrial age & civic switch to democracy.
  • 1700s-1800: conquer SE Asian mainland (Indochina / European colonies).
  • 1800s: settle North America West coast. Begin industrialization (Zaibatsu).
  • 1850s-1900: conquest of USA (vassalize). Civic switch to communism.
  • Early 1900s: State Party!
  • 1920s-1940: conquest of remaining Asian goals (Indonesia) using biplanes/Zeros. Start some world wars.
  • 1940-End: gain and/or maintain tech lead.
Setting & Goals:
  • Japan starts as an isolated and protected archipelago with plenty of food and happiness resources. Upon reaching the industrial era, Japan’s core expands to include all tiles on the home island south of the dye resource.
  • UHV1 Tranquility & Peace: Have an average city culture of 6000(normal speed) by 1600 AD without ever losing a city.
  • UHV2 All the World Under One Roof: Control or vassalize Korea, Manchuria, China, Indochina, Indonesia and Philippines by 1940
  • UHV3 Flying Geese Paradigm: Be the first to discover eight Global and eight Digital technologies.
  • UP Modernization: after researching all medieval technologies, if 3 nations are willing to trade a tech to you, it is cheaper (-50%) for you. (reduced cost to research, to trade for, or to steal via espionage).
  • UU1 Samurai: Heavy swordsmen that have leadership (double XP gain)
  • UU2 Zero: Fighter half cost, bonus to ship attack, can avoid intercepts.
  • UB Zaibatsu: factory half cost, free engineer, water tiles +1 commerce.

The early game is dictated by UHV1; achieving high culture using few cities with limited conquest. The great difficulty is developing a strong economy under these tight constraints. Plentiful food and happiness resources allow for a despotism whip opening to build infrastructure. Because Japan is relatively isolated and protected, minimal amounts of military units are required for safety – thus saving on unit expenses. To aid UHV1, Japan will construct its special wonder Himeji Castle which does the following: city walls and castles add a %culture bonus for all cities, and all military units garrisoned at the Himeji Castle create culture (2 per unit?). After building all necessary/culture infrastructure (cathedrals), transition to a republic specialist economy.

Run culture slider & use great artists to achieve UHV1.

The mid game is the conquest of mainland Asia featuring samurai. City raider 3 samurai slaughter arquebusier / firelancer city defenders. Stability and core expands mid-conquest when Japan enters the industrial age. After pacification & assimilation, mainland Asia will be the production and commerce engine of the empire. Rapidly industrialize with cheap Zaibatsu & coal plants.

UHV3 requires Japan to become the tech leader. Competitors for tech lead are England, America, Russia, and the dominant continental European power (Prussia, France, Austria etc.). Disrupt their research through war – either outright conquest, or defense pact shenanigans (world wars). Become best friends with England, form a defense pact and steal their techs from their Indian (or Australian) colonies. For England and the other tech rivals, I suggest becoming friends and starting defense pact shenanigans (world wars) to ****** their research.

Settling on the North American West coast removes America as a tech lead competitor. America will declare war and get conquers upon researching railroads. World war and the conquest of America will follow.

Adopt state party, steal/research to become tech leader. Start another world war to finish UHV2 conquest. Research (and conquest as desired) to the finish.

Domestic affairs:

The UHV1 puzzle:
Great artist great works (culture bombs) give a huge amount of culture to a single city, but does not scale from % modifiers. Relying on culture bombs dictates only 1-2 cities. More than 2 cities require scalable culture from the culture slider. To run a decent culture slider % without sacrificing research requires a gold stockpile. Gold stockpiles can be gained via great merchant trade missions to the Buddhist holy city (Azimabad).

How many cites to build – the 4 city solution:
  • 1-2 cites: UHV1 is easy to accomplish via great artists, but economy will be extremely weak.
  • 3 cities: better economy.
  • 4 cities: can build cathedrals. If 2 cathedrals are built in the capital (+100% culture), the average culture / turn will be greater than the 3 cities start. Has the best economy, but great artist culture bombs are less effective. We rely more upon the culture slider, less upon great works (only 1 needed).

City locations:

1100s despotism.png

Despotism whipping relies on food. I suggest the following:
  • (capital) Edo/Toukyo south of the river. (4 food, 2 metal mines, 2 silk).
  • Hiroshima on the tea. (2 food, after Korea defeated gets Korean rice).
  • Kagoshima on the gold. (clams and whale)
City 4: Botankou on the Manchurian coast directly south of the deer.
  • Has only 1 food resource but surrounded by forests for lumbermills/chopping.
  • Located in the Confucianism religious core area, Confucianism typically spreads here around 1200’s.
  • Occasional barbarian Keshiks may visit – ensure a crossbowman is garrisoned.
Specialist prioritization: Prioritize merchants before scientists/statesmen. Trade missions are more valuable to UHV1 than research boosts.

Post UHV1 I suggest settling Manchurian Chichiharu north of the horse, and Aomori on the home island silver hill (becomes core later).

1600s manchuria.png

  • Initial infrastructure: despotism, citizenship, manorialism/caste, redistribution/regulated trade, clergy
  • Early specialist economy: republic, meritocracy, caste system, regulated trade, monasticism, conquest. Use despotism as required during plagues and spreading Confucianism.
  • Industrial (Conquest & large empire stability): democracy, constitution, egalitarianism, free enterprise, tolerance, nationalism.
  • Late game: adopt central planning, secularism, and STATE PARTY when possible.
Stay Buddhist until Itsukushima Shrine built, then switch to Confucianism for forbidden palace & easier China conquest/stability.

  • Japan’s unique power begins in the renaissance. It is perfectly valid to ignore techs like optics and scientific method until others trade it to you at half price.
  • Mid game Asian conquests are against technologically backwards opponents – can delay military research for later.

Foreign affairs:
  • Edo & Hiroshima will have weavers so I suggest trading silk for cotton with the Turks/Mongols.
  • Early game tech trading to the Asian neighborhood can be good. Just don’t trade much with China/Mongolia – you need to conqueror them later.
  • When the Mongols spawn, play nice and give them something useless like theology.
  • Due to Japan’s UP, you should keep generally friendly relations with most folks until the late game. Keep in contact with Europe by leaving a scout/explorer envoy there.
  • Thailand can become a good stable vassal during the Asian conquest. Up to you how you want to deal with them.
  • Become best friends with the tech leaders and involve them in defense pact shenanigans (world wars) to disrupt research (battlefield Europe).
  • Prioritize espionage on England and America to steal tech. Their cites are closest to Japanese colonies.
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Part 2: Detailed Opening

Upon spawn revolt to despotism, citizenship, manorialism, and clergy. This is to build infrastructure quickly using despotism and pump out workers from Edo.

Found Edo south of river as capital. Begin improving the resources.

Immediately contact China and trade for machinery. You will enter the medieval age and new cites have free granaries – important for despotism. Consider restarting if China unwilling to trade – its only 2-3 turns in.

Found Hiroshima on the tea and Kagoshima on the gold.

Post initial revolt:
  • Set culture slider to 100% to cover Hiroshima’s fish. Use initial fishing boats for Hiroshima’s fish and Kagoshima’s clams.
  • Begin research on feudalism (set slider to 100% gold until first library is built?)
  • Pump out workers from Edo. After sufficient workers exist (I like 6), revolt to caste system for faster worker actions. Will switch to republic later, so don’t bother with cottages.
All cities to build/whip citizenship buildings in rough order:
  • Aqueduct (+city growth for whipping).
  • Theatre (Culture & artist).
  • Library
  • Market (2 happiness for silk and whale, also to hire merchants).
  • Forge (Production and 2 happiness from gold & silver).
  • Religious buildings. Especially cathedrals in Edo.
Specialist prioritization:
  • 1 artists / engineers.
  • 2 merchants.
  • 3 scientists / statesmen.
  • 4 priests.
  • Settle first GA in Edo, save second GA for culture bomb after reaching renaissance (more culture per age), and hopefully can use third for museum.
  • GE to build a manufactory in Edo and save for later wonder rushing.
  • GM use for trade missions to Buddhist holy city. Hopefully have 2!
  • Great Scientist build academies or stockpile. Great Stateman save for golden age or civ reforms.
  • GP save for golden ages.
Build/whip weaver for Hiroshima and Edo for second artist.

As soon as feasible, build settler, galley, and Buddhist missionary and found Botankou on the Manchurian coast south of the deer. Send over extra archer to garrison & upgrade to crossbow.

Botankou: lumbermill the grassland forest and mine the hills. Consider waiting for crop rotation before chopping for more production. Be careful of barbarian keshiks.

After researching feudalism:
  • Edo begin construction of Himeji Castle.
  • Trade feudalism to Korea for guilds, and to China for scholarship and a bunch of gold.
  • Revolt to regulated trade (helps your economy).
Transfer most workers to Botankou. Will use them to chop and set up later cities. Leave one on home islands for chopping etc.

Build 2 scouts: 1 to send west to Europe, and one on a boat to Indonesia & Australia goody huts. Explore!

Keep whipping infrastructure in all cities!

Research goals:
  • Crop Rotation for extra production in Botankou from chopping.
  • Education for meritocracy.
  • Cartography for new world conquerors.

After Himeji Castle built, build / whip walls and castles for all cities. I typically finish Himeji around 1100.

UHV1 Specialist Economy:
  • After enough infrastructure built, and education is discovered, revolt to specialist economy civics: republic, meritocracy, monasticism.
  • When plagues break out, switch to despotism and whip population before they die of sickness.
  • When Confucianism first spreads, switch to despotism to whip missionaries, temples and cathedral in Edo. Need both cathedrals in Edo ASAP.
  • Refer to previous specialist prioritization.
  • The goal is to not work any water tiles, but to work specialist slots instead.
  • Trade and sell techs to the Europeans (except England) to raise gold and keep friendly relations.
  • Play friendly to the Mongols, but don’t tech trade anything valuable. Trade silk for cotton if you can.
  • 2 GM trade missions will allow you to run 0% gold until the 1700s.
  • Continue building infrastructure in all home island cities.
After Confucius cathedral is built in Edo, use culture slider 10%-40%. Adjust as needed to achieve UHV1.

UHV1 Edo.png

  • After Mongols spawn, can start chopping in Manchuria without barbarians. Production for Botankou.
  • When Botankou has decent infrastructure, build a barracks and revolt to conquest. Begin training military here. Focus on samurai. Goal is 4+ city raider 3 samurai (+experience from great general).

1300s manchuria.png

Move new military units to Edo to produce culture (1 unit = 2 culture/ turn?).

When most chopping complete, workers to prepare roads & forts for Manchurian Chichiharu (North of Horse).

UHV1 military:

Due to the goal and wording of UHV1, upon conquering a city Japan must raze it. This means stability is the limiting factor for conflict.

If China or Korea collapse, consider razing unattractive cities such as Seol or city between Beijing & Nanjing, especially if they are barbarian (no stability penalty).

New world conquerors - razing and capitulation:
  • Positives: free units for Himeji Castle culture. Later use for Asian conquest / city garrison duty. Vassals create happiness.
  • Negatives: unit expenses, vassel expenses, and stability penalties from razing and later unstable vassals.
  • With economic stability and trade mission gold, it is achievable.
  • Native units are only for garrison duty – I suggest gifting most away to save unit expenses.
  • Requires gunpowder to be worthwhile for the free bombards.
  • Depending on tech level (companies), you will receive samurai and heavy spearmen, or a bunch of pikemen. Adjust Botankou’s military production accordingly.

Prioritize exploration to get conquest units back to Edo’s Himeji Castle. While they wait for their ride home, explore goody huts and gain experience fighting natives.

UHV1 late research:
  • Exploration - bring conquest troops home.
  • Humanities - national theatre in Edo + happiness & +culture.
  • Statecraft - civic square +culture% & +birth rate%.
  • Heritage - museum +culture% & + birth rate%.
  • Logistics - Itsukushima shrine
Edo to build Itsukushima shrine, then switch to Confucianism for forbidden palace. Rush them via GE if possible for better economy & culture earlier.

Post UHV1:
  • Settle Chichiharu in norther Manchuria directly North of horses. Excellent production city
  • Settle Aomori on home island silver. Eventual core population
  • Conquer Korea. Consider razing Seol.
  • Prepare for China conquest.

GNP early.png
Technology early.png
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Part 3: Order of mid / late game conquest

1600s-1700s Conquest:
  • Use a GG to boost 4-6 Samurai to city raider 3. These will be your city takers.
  • Hopefully you have converted to Confucianism. Adds stability from religious unity & meritocracy bonus.
  • Mainland colonies will produce military.
  • Research combined arms for cuirassiers.
  • Hopefully China will be stable with weak firelancers, or soon collapses upon attack.
  • Consider razing Kaifeng (between Beijing & Nanjing).
  • Conquer until you reach stability limit.
  • During conquest, research rush to representation.
  • Continue trade / research other techs like economics.
  • If facing stability problems, late / post conquest, can start golden age. Preferably wait for now.
  • Colonies, especially newly conquered build jails, workers, and settlers for free buildings (new age oncoming).
1750s industrial age:

1700s Pre Democracy.png

  • Discovering representation - enter industrial age, growing Japan’s core and considerably improving stability. If discovered before America spawns, get free great Statesman.
  • Research nationalism. Time for a civic switch.
  • Use great statesman reform to democracy, constitution, egalitarianism, free market, tolerance, and nationalism.
  • Readjust city specialists on home islands – priority is now growth for more core population.
  • Colonies to build courthouses, workers, and settlers as required. Infrastructure to follow.
  • Focus research on machine tools for zaibatsu.
  • Build statue of liberty in Toukyou. Worth GE rushing.
  • Defense pact with England. Begin espionage & set up spies in British India.
  • Continue Samurai conquest until enemies have muskets. Targets are Portugal (Canton & Singapore) and possibly Thailand.
  • Be careful of French trade company conquerors. They spawn with musketmen.
  • Can start a nice world war between your DP friends if the colonists have DPs.
  • Consider conquest of Philippines
Settle North America west coast 3 cites:
  • Vancouver (Ritrou Yokohama) historical NW of cows.
  • Seattle (Ritrou Oosaka) historical N of deer. Consider building an administration centre if have spare great statesmen (make sure you have extra for civ reform!).
  • San Diego (Shou Toukou) southmost plains tile on west coast

Note that anything south of the deer will flip to Mexico when it spawns in the 1810s. If built by Spain, consider razing before 1810.

America will get conquerors and declare war on the owners of the west coast cites when it discovers railroads (1850s). Use espionage to find out when. Another good time for defense pact shenanigan world war.

1800s NA west coast.png

  • Start industrializing by building zaitbatsu. Consider using golden age to accelerate transition.
  • Research ballistics for riflemen / artillery. Chinese colonies to make troops and ship to American colonies. Bring your superstar former samurai (great general medic 3 is great).
  • Conquer USA until they capitulate. Consider using golden age if facing stability problems.
  • Return all USA cities to your vassal post war. Not worth the maintenance & stability costs.
  • Return troops home to Asia for final UHV conquests.
  • Goal is to later build Cristo Redentor in Vancouver. If Christianity spreads to other American colonies, spread it to Vancouver.
  • Adopt secularism and central planning ASAP using great statesman. Helps research & industrialization.
  • Build fish market in Toukyou.
Late game:
  • Adopt state party ASAP. Most effective way is to build Cristo Redentor in Vancouver for zero anarchy civ swapping.
  • Complete UHV2 conquest goals. Biplanes / zeros (Unique unit) helps with Indonesia. Starts another world war (European research disruption).
  • Enjoy the golden age and use your giant empire & state party to steal / research your way to teach leader.
  • With state party, constitution, and statue of liberty, settle any city on the pacific coast you like. Negligible maintenance, 2 free specialists, and another free engineer if you build zaibatsu. The Pacific is your mare nostrum.
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What's the logic behind settling Kagoshima instead of Nagasaki? Kagoshima loses out on the commerce of pearls and gold but gains whales. Not worth it, right?
Similarly, settling Kyoutou on the rice instead of Hiroshima on tea seems to be a better choice, to me at least.
If I were to prefer Kagoshima over nagasaki it would be due my preference of food over commerce.
(more food in core allows bigger core cities which allows more and/or bigger cities outside of the core. (the expansion stability mechanic)
Expansion stability appears to be one of the challenges adressed in the guide.)

Similar reasoning for preference of Hiroshima over Kyoutou.
If I were to prefer Kagoshima over nagasaki it would be due my preference of food over commerce.
(more food in core allows bigger core cities which allows more and/or bigger cities outside of the core. (the expansion stability mechanic)
Expansion stability appears to be one of the challenges adressed in the guide.)

Similar reasoning for preference of Hiroshima over Kyoutou.
Very valid point indeed
Ignoring the pearls (China will work them most of the time), Kagoshima vs Nagasaki comes down to working the gold tile, or working the whale tile. The whale provides food and a hammer, which is useful for the despotism infrastructure. Early whale also gives health & happiness (markets).

One major challenge for the 4 city opening is maintaining higher culture in this city than your first colony to ensure the luxury resources offset the whipping unhappiness. Colony #1 will have much more hammers, so Kagoshima will need to whip a lot of infrastructure. Hence the whales.

(Thoughts on the git version):

I've been trying the 300BC scenario more often (I find it more fun), and now settle Kyoto, Edo (north to work the silver), Kagoshima, and the Philippines as first colony. There's too much uncertainty trying to settle the mainland early, and a garrison of 4/5 arquebusiers in a castle can defend from the Spanish. I like settling atop the gold so it can work a lumbermill and two islands for the hammers.

Since the Philippines rely upon plantations, I find republic less useful. I switch to monarchy briefly to build jails everywhere and constabulary in the capital for the espionage.

Japan now has a much better research rate and great people spawn rate. I don't prioritize merchants or banks; by selling technologies you can maintain a 100% research rate for quite some time.

The new world conquerors are not worth the cost anymore.

You can build the national gallery in Kyoto and discover egalitarianism by 1500. Running 10 artists with tolerance and all of the boosters will finish UHV1. This will also guarantee a great artist for a museum. Outside the 10 artist fun-time I suggest running clergy or secularism.

I should do a write-up sometime in the future.
Do you think this is also the way to go for monarch difficulty?
Yes, as long as you micromanage a bit. Indeed if you do it optimally, there's no need to bet on the chancy Confucian spread or GA bomb, even with four cities. The key is to prioritize the Himeji Castle (and then walls and castles everywhere) and Buddhist cathedrals. In one monarch game I didn't get Confucianism in my Manchurian city until the 1500s & settled GA or saved them for Golden Ages, and yet something like 2 turns of culture slider was enough.

Also I find settling Edo north of the river as your capital (since it has more luxury resources) along with Kyoto seems to perform better than Hiroshima.
I agree with Granite. (North) Edo and Kyoto work well. I have found Urajio (see screenshot) works as an even better colony, as you can get access to the dye and the Mongols won't attack it.

The main difference for monarch I've found is tech trading and bulbing is worse.

Japan Colony.png
With 1 city i could archive 1 UHV in year 1200. Then go for 2-3 academy (Edo, Kioto, Manira) - so you could stay in touch w tech race with Europe.
And i send spy, not scout to Europe. Spy can safety reach Europe and can stay were for centures (so you can have trade routes, that bring more commers). Later you can use spy to steal tech (ussualy from Prussia)

p.s. In last game i attacked USA only in 1960 (they got Infantry much early, than me, so i could send my riffleman die on tanks and infatry in 1940))). I thought it will bee some kind of suicade attack (usa just gor fussion), but 1 turn befor D-Day Russia (with Mexican and Canadian as vassals) agree to make Defensive Pact. It was fun war, indeed
I liked this guide so much I tried for two weeks to achieve the UHV. Unfortunately in my last and best attempt there was a game crash bug I could not avoid by reloading. I updated to version 1.16.6 afterwards which seems to prebuild two cities for you. Those are on different locations than this guide unfortunately. Although the same strategy might work anyways. I have yet to try
You can even make goal 1 around 1000 AD with a 1 city strategy and 3 GAs.
Leaving you with a much longer game to catch up.
Espionage is a good choice until you do.
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