1.16-Korea UHV Strategy Guide


Aug 16, 2003
Note: The following strategy guide is for the 3000 BC start. The Korean player must pursue a much different strategy in the AD 600 start, in which Japan spawns at the same time and so cannot be subjected to the same conquest rush.

The Korean UHV game is a solid mid-tier challenge. For new players it forces out-of-the-box thinking, and even for experienced players it can produce a pleasant sweat as you bring the various pieces together. But it is also small in scale, and doesn't require any of the sweeping conquests or massive empire-building that some of the other UHVs ask for.

UHV Conditions
1. Build a Buddhist Chaitya and a Confucian Guozijian by Turn 240.
2. Be the first civilization to discover Printing.
3. Sink 20 enemy ships.

These goals—a building goal, a research goal, and a war-gaming goal—would seem to pull in different directions. In fact, they are all interconnected by one very basic question.

Where do you build your capital city?

City Placement
Okay, to understand how your capital's placement has an affect on everything else, let's step back to survey Korea's place in the game.

Korea has a very rich but very small core, one that's not suited to support a large empire, at least in the game's early stages. Thus, the first challenge: building Cathedrals, which require four cities, when at best there is only room in your Core/Historical regions for three.

But Korea is also boxed in by larger neighbors: China to the west, Japan to the east, and Mongolia (eventually) to the north. Thus your second challenge: running at least one of your cities (and probably two of them) in territory either owned or coveted by your neighbors.

Finally, there is the course of future events to consider. None of your neighbors is fated to go to war with you, but they can cause major damage if they do, and the Mongols can steamroll you from one end of the peninsula to the other if they are of a mind.

All of this suggests one thing: You need to conquer Japan.

Such a conquest would serve three purposes. First, it will remove a potent rival. Second, it will get you their cities—two of them, if you handle the invasion right—that with two Korean cities will give you the four that you need. And last, if worst comes to worst with the Mongols, it gives you a safe place to retreat to until the Mongols collapse. True, it will be a very tenuous survival, and you'll have to turn your research off, but an Unstable existence is preferable to No existence at all.

And this brings us back, finally, to your choice of capital city. Where you place your capital will in part determine whether you can conquer Japan in a timely manner, and whether you will be able to resume the tech race if the worst comes to worst in a war with Mongolia.

There are two very good reasons to found your capital in Daegu, on the Dye tile, instead of Hanseong, which is your starting location. First, Daegu has six (6!!!) rich Food resources in its fat cross, which will allow it to grow very big, and there are luxuries galore to keep it happy. Korea's unique power also lets it hire twice the standard number of specialists in its capital. Hanseong would also be very strong, but it wouldn't be as strong as Daegu, which can draw on resources in Japan (if you've conquered Japan) and leave the others for your other Korean city.

Second, building on Daegu will give you control of the Japanese Incense tile. In and of itself, this does not matter much. But with control of this tile, you can move an invading army piecemeal onto Japan without declaring war, and it is only two tiles from Kyouto, so that such an army can blitz the Japanese capital very quickly. Also, by moving your army over a unit or two at a time, you will only have to build one Galley instead of several, which means you can put more resources into the army and fewer into the transports.

Daegu will thus position you to get two more cities for a four-city empire, and it is a terrific tile on which to center a research-oriented city for the tech race, including the race for tech that will let you outsink your naval rivals.

Placement of your second city is not quite as vital, but Pyongyang (1 south of the Iron) has lots to recommend it. Besides the Iron, it has access to the same Fish, Pig and Deer tiles as Daegu, and by putting Lumber Mills on the forests (or by mining the hills) it can become a very strong production city.

The Confucian Challenge
There is one other challenge you will face in playing the Korean UHV. Though you spawn with a Buddhist missionary, you will have to attract Confucianism to Korea before you can build Confucian Temples and a Confucian Guozijian.

One way to do this is to sign an Open Borders agreement with China, which will increase the chance of a natural spread. To do this, you will have to gift some techs to the Chinese, but there's little downside to this.

However, you should also buy yourself some insurance. You can get that insurance with a Great Prophet.

Great Prophets can be used to spread a religion to several nearby cities. Typically, that will be your state religion. However, some tiles on the map are "zoned" for specific religions, and detonating a Great Prophet inside a city in that zone, if your state religion is a Pagan religion (Shendao, in the case of Korea) will cause the religion of that zone to spread to your cities.

The trouble is that Korea is not zoned for Confucianism. To guarantee that Confucianism spreads to Korea, you will have to acquire or build a city in China. Usually there is a city in Manchuria, but this may be a challenge to get. The safest fallback is to build Seogyeong on the tile north-east of the mountain that is north of Pyongyang, which will be inside of the Confucian zone and inside which you can use a Great Prophet to spread Confucianism to your empire.

It is probably best to not have to do any of this. If you are going to conquer Japan anyway, you don't want to have a third city on Foreign territory. But there is little cost to arranging for the contingency. Unless Confucianism spreads early to Korea, you should plan on building an extra Settler and generating a Great Prophet. Then, to be absolutely safe, if Confucianism has not spread to Korea by Turn 200, use the Settler to build Seogyeong, change your state religion to Shendao, then use a Great Prophet in the new city to Spread Religion, thus giving you Confucianism. (Five turns later, switch back to either Confucianism or Buddhism.) Immediately prioritize the building of Confucian Temples, and of any Monasteries and Missionaries you need to spread it to four cities.

Even if you get Confucianism early, you should get yourself a Great Prophet by building a Buddhist Stupa in Daegu and running the maximum number of priests in it. You can use the Great Prophet spread one of the religions to other of your cities instead of using Missionaries.

Opening Moves
Your first move should be to switch civics to Republic—to help support all those specialists you're going to hire—and to build your capital on Daegu. Build a Settler (while improving the landscape with your new Workers) to found Pyongyang. In Pyongyang, build a Barracks and churn out Swordsmen while Daegu builds a Buddhist Stupa (for the Great Prophet) and a Galley; it can then build a Barracks and help with building the army. Prioritize Generalship in your research so that you can run the Conquest civic, giving your Swordsmen two City Raider promotions. Also build two Catapults (one with Accuracy promotion)—these will be able to take a city with a 20% defense bonus down to 0% in one turn. As these are building, move them a pair at a time onto the Incense tile. You should have between 7 and 9 Swordsmen and the 2 Catapults in place by Turn 186, when you will be allowed to declare war on the Japanese. Then blitz them.

It may be necessary to declare a cease fire after taking Kyouto in order to let your army recuperate, but don't dawdle before moving on to Edo, and throw at it everything you have before any surviving Japanese Samurai or Swordsmen can whittle your army down. The Japanese will have built a third city by then, but with the loss of Edo they should collapse. You can ignore the Independent city that will replace them.

Keep the Japanese cities small in population, but develop the land (particularly the Copper resource) so that they can build quickly and support specialists. Let them grow as your core cities grow in population. Buddhism should spread easily to them if it hasn't already; you may have to build a Confucian monastery and missionaries to get Confucianism into them. Prioritize building Temples.

After the Temples are built, move on to building the Cathedrals. The deadline is likely to be tight, and you should build them concurrently in your most productive cities.

Techs and Civics
Along with city placement, you should give careful thought to tech research. Some research paths, like Printing (an end goal) and those leading to Architecture (for Cathedrals) are obvious, but there are others you should not ignore as the UHV game is long enough and complicated enough that you'll need more than just those techs called for in the UHV goals. Among those you should give attention to: Generalship for the Conquest civic so you can give your army two promotions; Steel for Lumber Mills; Scholarship for building the Cheomseongdae. Others may suggest themselves based on circumstances.

Civics: Besides Republic, you should run Clergy (for faster building), Merchant Trade, and Conquest as soon as you are able.

Discovering Printing
This is simply a tech race, and you should build the infrastructure—Libraries and Seowons—and run the specialists that will give you the research speed. There are no special tricks to meeting this UHV, except to find every possible way to increase your research. Do not neglect building a War Galley or two to explore and make contact with your neighbors so that you can trade for necessary techs.

Sink 20 Enemy Vessels
There is little to say about this last condition. It has no deadline, and how you fulfill it and how fast depends upon how eager you are to finish the UHV game. In general, I'd suggest that it's a bad idea to declare war on everyone simply to maximize the number of possible targets. You will want to send your ships far afield to find enemies to sink, and it is useful to have some countries with Open Borders agreements in whose ports you can repair your vessels after a battle. I'd also suggest sending out ships in pairs at least, or in trios, so that individual ships cannot be cornered and mopped up. Don't be shy about sending a small armada around the Indian Ocean and up the west coast of Atlantic to raid the Europeans directly.
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Great guide!
Do you remember when you teched Printing in your game? I just lost it on turn 225 from a 3000 BC Monarch/Normal start and while I didn't exactly beeline the tech, I generated three great scientists (Academy + 2 settled for the long game and for Republic food, didn't think I'd need to bulb so urgently) and was still half a dozen techs away from it. I’m curious if this is actually a tight clock or if I was a bit unlucky.

In any case I’m going to play on for hopefully my first science victory, or at the very least playing around with the modern tech tree without needing to manage a big empire.

EDIT: Never mind, got completely overrun by the Mongol spawn. Yikes, I was nowhere close to units that could fight that stack of Keshiks and Bombards, even disregarding the whole city panic thing.
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I'll have to check on the timing of Printing, but a Turn 225 discovery somewhere sounds ... early to me.

Yikes about the Mongols--yeah, they will kill you. Did you not have Japan to retreat to? Or did you collapse with the loss of your core cities?
This was my first Korean game and I hadn't thought of the rush-Japan approach (very neat, by the way), so instead I ended up capturing barbarian Shenyang and founding Qiqihaer further north where it could work the Deer/Fur/Horse and river lumbermills, along with Seoul and Pyongyang for the cathedral requirement. China seemed to have been having trouble holding onto Zhongdu and collapsed immediately when the Mongols appeared, and then I ended up facing their full stack of ~15 units.
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I just played another Korea game, and got Printing on Turn 255, and I got it first. That was after generating only 1 GS (built Academy) and 1 GProphet and 1 GMerchant, while running Republic. I also researched Generalship, Steel, Architecture, and Scholarship before turning my attention to Printing. I think I also only made 2 tech trades along the way to Printing.

So I'd say Turn 225 is extraordinarily early for Printing. Do you know who beat you to it?

Mongols: I have the impression (but only that) that if you stay in your core area then the Mongols will leave you alone, even if they DoW on spawn, and even if China has collapsed. If I'm correct about that, that's another reason to try the conquer-Japan tactic, as it keeps you from getting in the Mongols' eye line.
So I opened up the save in Worldbuilder, and as far as I can tell, no one actually has it.

This is the interface I'm scrolling through:

And here's where it says I've failed the goal:

Looks like it might be time for a trip to the Bug Report thread :/

EDIT: I went back to the save from turn 226, and found out that it was China that had Printing. They didn't show up in the turn 244 save because they had collapsed by then.
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You can use the WB to see which civ discovered the tech first. Go to the StoredData screen in the WB. Select Global Data (this is selected by default) and search for "lFirstDiscovered" in the bottom table. This is the list that is used by victory.py to determine which civ has discovered a tech first.
Printing by Turn 225 ... That is pretty remarkable. I have to wonder if there was a bug in the game somewhere. If that were my game and I had the autosaves, I'd be poring thru them to look at the Chinese tech rate, what techs they were discovering and how many turns apart, etc.
does a japanese invasion of korea occur in 1592?

I am in a playthrough but I am worried about it.

(I went the route of not settling Japan it seems too cheesy, and it was doable anyway.)
does a japanese invasion of korea occur in 1592?

I am in a playthrough but I am worried about it.

(I went the route of not settling Japan it seems too cheesy, and it was doable anyway.)
Late reply, so it’s probably not helpful at this point, but in my Korean game, Japan did declare war on me, but it was much earlier than that. I don’t remember the exact date, but it was about 1200, give or take a hundred years. By the time Japan declared war, I had researched gunpowder, and thus had access to the Korean unique boat, which is very strong. So I took the war as an opportunity to create several boats and blockade their coast, letting the Japanese throw their navy at my boats until I had sunk enough ships to achieve a historical victory.
A faster way, but alot harder way to acquire the cities you need, is to conquer Chinese cities until they collapse. Beware of the Barbarians raiding parties from the north though.
I also suggest only having one city in the core as the population points is doubled that way. One north of the spawning point on the Deer, is a good one city point, as it got access to the Iron then.
Though I feel that on higher difficulties than Monarch, you have no chance of getting first to Printing, as the European civs will have clear advantage.
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