A guide to the world of 5vs5 on TBG


Dec 12, 2006
Athens, Greece
A guide on playing 5vs5 Anc ss on TBG

Large Team Battle ground
Low sea
Temperate climate
Top vs bottom
Cylindrical wrap
Teams start separated
Game Speed: quick
Starting era: ancient
No barbarians
Always war
No huts
No random events
Unrestricted leaders
Victory conditions: Conquest only
Turns: turn based
Timer: 24 hours per team

The map

Top vs bottom start separated means that from each team 3 players will start in the north part of map and 2 players in the south or vice versa.

Between north and south the area is usually desert and floodplains with the occasional hills and rivers. In the central strip of the map that separates north from south you will commonly find resources like gold, marble, stone, copper and iron. Food resources are few there but do pop up sometimes.

The north and south areas are usually rich in green tiles and resources, however the map generator is giving extremely unbalances starting positions. So one player might have 3 corns and another 1 cow in BFC.

The way the teams start on the map is very important and a lot of the times teams have to adjust their strategy according to it. Usually the 3 players in the north and the 2 in the south (or vice versa) start next to each other, so in the 3 player case there is a middle man who is safer to start with than the 2 side players. For example:


Or it can be 3vs2 on both sides. Example:

But this is not always the case as the 3 players can start in a V shape and have 3 opponents between them for example


Remember map is cylindrical so actually the 2 A’s on top the map generator considers them (and they are) next to each other.

Civilization and leader picking

The picking process is called reverse pick and works like this.

Team A picks a civ, then team B picks a civ then team A picks again until all 10 civs are picked (no duplicates). The last person to pick a civ is the first to pick a leader and the pick process goes backwards, so the first person to pick a civ is the last to pick a leader (no duplicates again).

The only other rule is that both teams have to pick at least one civ that starts with hunting (so that both teams get scout start).

Top civs for this setup
Mali, Zulu, Rome, Egypt, Persia, Mongolia, Babylon, India, Natives, Celts, Sumeria, Korea, Inca, Maya.

Top traits for this setup
Aggressive & Expansive are the top traits.
second is Imperialistic
then Protective, charismatic, creative, Industrious, philosophical, spiritual (not in any particular order, rather depends on your strategy)
Financial is not that useful and
Organized is the weakest for this setup

Obviously sometimes in the sake of getting a top trait you will get a weaker one as well as the combinations are limited. However good matching of traits with UU’s is a must.

For example getting aggressive rome is more important than getting aggressive mali.

But since the best UU’s are chosen first in the pick process they are the last to get a leader. So all the top leaders will be gone by then and it will be a strategical decision on what leader to match your UU with.

The start

The start (first 25 turns) is very important. The goals for the first turns are the following.

1.Scout the map (especially enemy’s BFC). It is hugely important to know if they have any strategical resources readily available as a very early axe or chariot when it is not expected can ruin your game.
2.Choke your opponent. That is put warriors and archers in his BFC, occupy hills, slow his development and threaten his workers.
3.Do not get choked, do not allow your opponent to do to you what you should have done to him
4.Develop or attack. That is a strategical choice. If for example you have copper and your opponent has no copper or horses it might be better to send a few axes instead of making settler.
5.Help your teammates. This is not a solo game, teamwork is what will win the game, providing your teammates with units or settlers workers will probably be needed for successful play, especially if you are the middleman.


Visibility is hugely important. Knowing in which tiles your opponent can see you is crucial. If you don’t know how cultural and unit visibility works, you must learn before playing this game.
When approaching enemy cities with units it is always wise to hide your attack by approaching by non visible tiles. The best way to do this is diagonal. So the moment your opponent sees you it is only 2 turns to attack his city (or 1 turn for 2 move unit) (providing city has first level culture).

Also important are sentry units. Spotting the enemy coming is a lifesaver. Sentries must be placed in all sensitive directions where the enemy might be coming from, to give you an advanced notice.

Settling and first build choices

It is a big advantage to settle on a 2 or even better 3 hammer hill. Usually It is worth delaying settling by 2 turns to settle such a spot, providing it has food.
Another useful plant is to settle non irrigated rice. That is 3 food in city and non irrigated rice is only 4 food with farm anyway.

After settling you have the following options (Note that all players will start the game with scouts)

1.Worker first. You should only do this IF, you are the middle man or you are expansive and you have at least 4 hammer start (city plus tile). But even with a 4 hammer start and expansive it is a risk sometimes.
2.Warrior by working most hammers. Essential if you have a close opponent, but since most times you don’t know where the opponent is at the start, it is always a safe start.
3.Warrior by working 3 food tile. This is the most common start as it allows you to build a warrior and slave a worker at size 2. Works best with 2 hammer plant as warrior will be ready in 5 turns and city will grow in 5 turns.


Ideally you want to keep all your cities in max 3 tiles from each other and on a hill. Every tile you go further it is a step closer to losing that city. Of course resources will determine this as well as you might be forced to go further to claim an important resource. In any case going more than 5 tiles is considered suicide. It is better to just make tons of archers and expand slowly than to go 6 tiles away with second city to get that copper.

Do not try to claim land as if you were playing with ai or with no city elimination. If you make a city far from reinforcements it will most certainly fall.

Always try to have one front city, having 2 front cities allows 2 move units to threaten 2 cities at once, making it difficult to cover both.

Before making your first settler it is almost always better to make a second or even a third worker (especially if there is lots of forest in BFC), use your judgement but keep in mind that a city without workers to improve it is of no good use and if not properly connected with roads to your capital in serious danger of falling as well.


Slavery is you friend here. You must use it repeatedly from start to finish. That is why high food resources are more important than hills and also why expansive is the best trait for this setup as it provides half price granaries. Granaries will increase your growth rate greatly allowing you to convert food to hammers at even better rates.

Don’t hesitate to slave even at first turn for 2 pop with penalty. Use your judgement but have that option in mind.

When you have 3-4 cities, normally there should not be a single turn when you don’t slave something!

With all that slaving monarchy is essential. Without it you will find your cities limited to 1-2 pop because of unhappiness.

Common tactics

Doubling and tripling attacks.

This is the most commonly seen tactic and it works like charm. It can happen as early as turn 8-9 of the game with 2 warriors. 2 opponents can make a quick warrior each and both of them send it to you. If you went worker first and you are close, you might be dead, as 2 warriors will probably kill your 1 defending even on a hill.
The most efficient form of this comes abit later in the game (around turn 30-40) with 2 move units. Commonly seen impis with chariots for example. This means that you will have to defend against a stack of about 8 units, very early in the game and unless you have spotted that coming you will lose a city.

And if it does not happen early in the game, it will definitely happen in the HA’s and swords era a few turns later. Stacks of about 20 HA’s will join land units like swords and axes in a doubling or tripling attack.

Attacks from other side

For example if you are south of the map and are fighting another opponent south you might receive an attack from an opponent in the north side of the map. Using double workers to road across the map is commonly seen. These attacks take more resources to perform as you spend your workers roading across the map, but have a greater element of surprise.

World Wonders

2 wonders are really useful here The Oracle and Stonehedge. Getting them without getting choked is a big boost for the team.

Free tech from Oracle is either Monarchy or HBR. Usually Monarchy unless there are more than 2 players in the team with horse in their starting position when HBR might be worth it for a HA rush.

Getting codes of law from the oracle has never been considered, but it might be worth to do so is there is a spiritual civ in the team. Early great artists will be HUGE and a spiritual civ (especially) Ghandi can switch to caste and produce a couple very quickly.

Another wonder that might be worth getting is The great wall, for the general points, but most importantly for the great spy, who will be priceless to get in this game. A philosophical civ with stone is best to get this wonder (so that he gets a great spy in 16 turns).
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