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A general strategy for the Ottomans [BNW]

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by megabearsfan, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. megabearsfan

    megabearsfan Prince

    Jan 17, 2006
    Las Vegas, NV
    It's been a few months since my last comprehensive strategy guide for Civ V BNW, but I haven't stopped writing them. I have just published a guide for a civ that I have been requested to cover by several people: The Ottomans.
    Please check it out at:

    This strategy focuses on how to use Ottoman's Barbary Corsair power to dominate the seas over the course of the game. It also includes tips and strategies for the use of the Ottomans' two unique units: the awesome Janissary and the meh Sipahi. As always, the guide also covers counter strategies against the Ottomans, including ways to deal with its powerful unique Janissary.

    This is my first strategy that covers a militaristic naval-focused civ. Portugal and Venice didn't really count because their naval powers were economically-focused rather than military, so combat strategy wasn't as big of a focus in those guides. A key part of understanding the Ottomans is realizing that they are more than simply a "naval equivalent of Germany", since their Barbary Corsair power is not limited to barbarians.

    As always, I appreciate any feedback, so please comment, share, or rate the post as you see fit. I also welcome any discussion about the strategy guide or Ottoman strategies in general in this forum topic.

    Additional strategies for the BNW civilizations can be found at:
    Assyria the tech thief
    Brazil the jungle king
    spicy Indonesia
    Moroccan gatekeepers
    Poland the progressive warhorse
    Portual borrows luxuries
    Land-snatching Shoshone
    Blindly managing Venice
    Beware Shaka's loincloth of DOOM!

    Additional BNW strategies for updated legacy civs:
    French tourist trap
    Spreading faith with Arabian Ships of the Desert
    India is misunderstood
    German engineering
    Living by the Japanese sword
    All your tiles are belong to U.S.

    I will also post a similar thread on the official 2k in case anyone wants to check the discussion there. :)
  2. beetle

    beetle Deity

    Mar 19, 2004
    Frederick, MD
    Another great article, thanks!

    I have tried, but never been able to prize my way to a very large fleet. I have also only had poor success trying to capture caravels with triremes (since they can retreat to the ocean), and poor success trying to capture frigates and privateers with caravels. So I guess I am skeptical about being relaxed about unlocking naval technologies. No hurry on compass though.

    Does the prize ship promotion stack above and beyond what a Privateer gets?

    I was hoping to read something about ironclads or destroyers with prize. Sadly, that is something else I have tried unsuccessfully to make a key element of a domination run.

    I did not realize that the prize promotion would convey when gifted to a CS. I will keep that in mind!

    I did not realize that Janissaries healed on defense when the attacker dies. That is neat, and something I could have put to use.

    Typo (placeholder text): “XX Gold (same as Lancer).”
  3. Tyrvos

    Tyrvos Cu Chulainn

    Mar 26, 2013
    The bonus privateers get is the same promotion, so it doesn't stack. At least from what I've seen.

    The only difference in strategy, for me anyways, is that because all your ironclads and destroyers will have prize ship, just keep a few more than usual with your fleet to get the kills in hope to capture some ships, either to keep or use as meatshields for a turn or two. Battleships and all those are still the core of the fleet though. The strategy shouldn't really change too much, since privateers upgrade to destroyers anyways, but you'll just be able to field more ships and more ships will have prize ship.
  4. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

    Mar 17, 2008
    I recall the UA working somewhat differently in Vanilla. You had to get a ship adjoining a barbarian ship and had a 50% chance of auto capture. If it converted, great, if not then that particular unit would never convert no matter how many times you tried and so you might as well destroy it. Naval barb camps were left alone to farm ships from the barbs.

    Note that unit supply isn't changed, only maintenance cost.
  5. megabearsfan

    megabearsfan Prince

    Jan 17, 2006
    Las Vegas, NV
    It's very situational. Of course, it will be up to the individual player to gauge the success of their ship capturing. But yes, capture chance is based on relative combat strength. So you have to get lucky to capture an advanced ship with an obsolete ship. The thing is, once you've been successful at capturing that first Caravel or Privateer with a Trireme or Caravel (respectively), then you can use the newly-captured ship to capture its peers.

    This is also why I like to focus on picking on city states for their naval units.

    As far as I know both Ottoman ships and Privateers receive the same "Prize Ships" promotion, so Ottoman Privateers have no additional advantage.

    Ironclads with Prize Ships are beasts against sailing ships! But that's only if you're lucky enough to catch an enemy caravel or frigate. An Ironclad certainly isn't going to be chasing any ocean-faring ships down.

    In my test game, I was very successful at using packs of destroyers to isolate and capture enemy battleships, and even stole one of their valuable carriers. I didn't focus on this as much because most civs' destroyers benefit from being upgraded from Privateers, and so have Prize Ships anyway, so it isn't a particular advantage for Ottomans :/

    To be honest, I couldn't explicitly test this (not sure how to, I guess maybe with the Firetuner?). I assume that the promotion is retained when gifted to a CS because the promotion is retained when gifted to other civs (I explicitly tested that in a Hot Seat game). If anybody can verify that CSs keep the promo (or lose it), then please let me know, and I will update the strategy accordingly.

    Yep, explicitly tested it, and got the screenshot to prove it:

    I believe I mentioned in the strategy that you have to worry about unit supply early. Once you get a second or third city out, supply is rarely an issue though.

    Correct, in vanilla, the Ottomans' ability was the naval equivalent of Germany. It sucked! Being given prize ships is a huge buff.

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