2.7 No SOI DV Challenge: Game 1


Baller Magnus
Dec 31, 2005
Engaging in a lot of debates on Discord about Sphere's of Influence, one common idea is to simple remove them from the game.

My position has long been that without SOIs, it will be extremely difficult for a player to achieve DV at Immortal+ due to the amount of influence the AI can generate. Finally deciding to put my money where my mouth is, I embarked on a challenge. If SOI were completely shut off from an Immortal game (aka neither I nor the AI can propose SOI), could I win a diplomatic victory?

My actual first game was on Emperor, but that turned into such a slam dunk I decided not to count it (I won by DV, but I literally could have won by anything at that point). So it wasn't a good datapoint but gave me some practice.

The Challenge Begins
So on to the real challenge. A Standard Immortal game on Communitas_79. I chose Germany as a nice solid DV civ. The general idea was to utilize the power of Industry and Autocracy to go massive diplo units:

Industry + Auto's Military Industrial Complex = Massive diplo unit buying power.
Auto's Third Alternative = double my paper for a large hoard of diplo units.
Auto's United Front = turn off my influence decay on allies to effectively give me "free" influence each turn.
I intentionally avoided using holy land for extra votes in this game, as I wanted to ensure I could do a good run without relying on a belief I might not have access to in a game.

Ultimately this game did start to turn into a runaway. I had a nice klondike start with Stars and Skies, so had a great start, and expanded heavily. I would eventually power war with the unlock of my UU and Industry, just buying entire armies of landsknecht and eventually Fusiliers. This allowed me to dominate and vassalize my main continent, all while maintaining an absolute stranglehold on the CS pool....which for Germany gives me an incredible science advantage.

One weakness of no SOIs is it makes you incredibly vulnerable to Decolonization, and the AI planned for this very well. When I proposed United Nations, they threw in a decolo, and I had to thread the needle of my votes to keep both in check (if I had guessed wrong, I would have gotten delayed on my UN). Further, after I passed world ideology but had one more vote before hegemony (forgot I needed information era to "activate" the UN), the AI once again threw the double combo of Decol and Repeal World Ideology to try and trip me up.

Now ultimately I pretty much had this game in the bag, but I decided to try and experiment just to see how powerful this strat could be. I said....screw it, decol me. Could I take the decol and use my raw diplo might to re-ally the CS in the 10 turns before hegemony? So I threw all my votes to keep the world ideology intact, and let the decol hit.

Knowing this ahead of time, I bought and made 19 diplo units, 2 Great Diplomats and had all of my spies in CS on standby. Once the decol hit, I went to work. I couped in every CS I could, and then sent my hit squad of units across the globe. I had maintained a small war with Spain to keep United Front going, so once I locked in an ally, I got effectively a bonus on keeping it. Once I burned through those units, I insta bought another round....then hammer made another batch and sent them before I hit the timer. With some 40ish diplo units going around, plus some coups, I actually pretty easily resecured the alliances.

In fact....it almost seemed too easy. I actually wonder if because I had held on to the CS allies for so long that the AI had given up on making diplo units, and so didn't have the tons of influence I am used to. Or perhaps the new decay values are working well. Or maybe because I had a number of vassals I wasn't getting as much competitive. Regardless, DV was gained on Turn 359!

So for this first run, it was a pretty solid check box in the "yes you can win without SOI". My diplomatic power was monstrous, and I won hegemony with every CS in tow. The secret power of this strat was actually United Front. I have long underestimated this policy, mainly because influence decay used to be a lot lower. But with these higher values, turning off that decay is now a big deal, it allows you to slam a CS full of influence and not worry about it decaying back down.

But one game does not a conclusion make, so I will be trying a few more games, probably next one with Siam to try a civ with some DV power but not quite as focused as Germany, and we will see if the trend continues.


Aug 9, 2017
Kind of hard to judge if you always win as run-away. You could have just win with science or domination (will be tedious but still possible) at that point.
Try a peaceful DipV game, it might be a really different experience.


Oct 3, 2010
It does seem like the AI no longer has crazy amount of influence in CS
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