An article on traits in medieval starts


Aug 3, 2020
An article on traits in medieval.

Hi everyone, this is my first post, I have about 20000 hours in the game, mostly multiplayer, so I have played quite a bit, but like everyone can still improve! I’ll give my perspective on traits through the prism of games I typically play, which are team games with other human players where the objective is to work harmoniously with your playing partners to kill the other team. Or indeed, do them enough damage that they lose morale completely and capitulate totally. Lol.
This article is about traits in medieval starts specifically, settings for these games can be found below. I have played a fair bit of this but it’d probably not account for more than 15% of the above, there’s a heavy disclaimer there if it’s not too obvious! If someone points out something i missed then please, pray tell!

If people find what I have written interesting, I’ll start a few more threads about other aspects of the game like worker management, or tempo, or multi player mechanics, or human player characteristics, and record a live video of a game.

To the traits!!! Caveat, nothing is “weak...” traits are weaker than others, sure, but there’s so many factors at play the the difference in one trait or another might be minor, or more properly it’s advantage might not be realised if it is not used correctly, or the land/food/trait/ human skill distribution is uneven. Additionally games are often so situational that you cannot necessarily make full advantage of that trait, indeed, in some cases, in doing so you might be resigning yourself to a long game where you are the underdog.

Spiritual - you have to change civics often in medi starts:

1: hereditary rule, organised religion, slavery on turn 0

Nb or caste system if you are bulbing civil.

2: adopt religion

3: beuro

4: possibly serfdom

5: banking and theocracy

6: caste system

7: possibly nationhood

8: possibly out of nationhood

9: possibly back to org religion

10: possibly free religion

11: if game long enough to uni suffrage perhaps.

Spi gives flexibility and speeds you up quite a bit. A well timed golden age saves two of these changes for non spi of course, but often times one may wish to run civics for longer periods than the 6t golden age.

Chm: very strong indeed. This of course gives no benefit to one’s expansion in medi, so you have to keep an eye on the power demographics to ensure you don’t fall too far behind before you’re able to start making 3 promo knights. (Theo/fued/stable/barracks). Three promo knights/cuirs/cav are very strong indeed.

Imperialistic: Settlers are darn expensive in medi, but of course they’re absolutely crucial. imperialistic allows for a really early settler if necessary to grab a strategic city and/or 1-2 turn settlers post Beuro out of capital after growing to a 8-10 size with chopping forest. In a good team you can send these out to players close to you so they can either make workers to exchange or grow and produce units earlier.

Protective. Not particularly strong, but, and herein the bard would say lies the rub: games that we play have a specific mechanic: if a civilisation has two cities razed their empire dies utterly. Okay, so, what’s the point? Well, in team games you are either attacking or defending. If you are defending you are doing this with the objective of teching to superior units and then killing, in medi this is typically rifles or cuirs or cannon. Okay, so what’s the point? (again). And now finally where this trait is, for me, most useful! If you make it so expensive for the enemy to kill one city then their power advantage is eroded BUT the job is only half done. Their economy, in order to build up that power and attack, is likely worse than the defenders, so you can reach these superior units faster. Simply put, spamming enough longbow and Xbow or (guns if slightly later in the game) and sitting them on hill cities will make killing two cities very expensive. Personally I am not a fan, it’s like waiting to see whether you die or not, but given the right circumstances this is really powerful. City defence x3 muskets are very hard to kill.

Org: difficult one to play but I really like this trait, a lot. Again, no bonus to units of expansion speed of course so you need to rely on your team to help you with units until you start getting up and running or provide you with settlers. So, what to do? Org allows for expansion with reduced impact to economy. You can put more cities down early and have them just working off one improvement (whatever food is in the city) to grow the city to size four, then slave out a worker (back to size two) then grow to size four and repeat, until you have enough tiles worked to warrant not slaving that low. Try and get a cottage as early as feasible in each city and work it all the time as you are growing to pop four and slaving to pop 2. you’ll find you can do this and not compromise your team’s tech and you will be set up to be a production power house with guilds (workshop+1) and golden age. Also, get courthouses everywhere if you are not too far behind on power. Espionage: having insight on the charts to enemy players’ power means you have better insight into where they will attack.

Fin: you may make less units because you may cottage every single river tile, and probably most non river tiles (as opposed to farm + workshop) and that’s really quite fine if your team can make units. Extremely strong, especially if you do no have to respond to an early attack. Caveat, of course you have the option, as with any of these traits of going all out units and teaming up to kill an enemy, this is sometimes the optimal strategy, if the enemy’s land means a long game will favour them, but in a vacuum I will use fin to produce a lot of science.

Agg: versatile attacking options: earlyish with maces/pikes/ elephants and trebs just as you get guilds (to add 2-4 knights the turn you arrive in in enemy’s land. Later with guns and knights and three promo pikes and trebs, especially if there are hills to walk on in enemy territory, later still with rifles. Can defend with this too of course.

Ind: great trait, forges are often the first thing you make in a city. You can build them very quickly indeed and then if you have good growth slave settlers very quickly thereafter. Of course, in medieval starts there are some excellent wonders, namely GL, MoM, HG, Notre Dame. You can seek to make these too.

Phi: long games are often decided by well timed golden ages. By well timed I mean, that race you to a tech where you have superior weaponry, or give you a huge production boost, well timed is also coinciding your golden ages, so 2/3 or 3/3 of your team run them at the same time. The paradox is you can’t see the future so you don’t know if it will be a long game! Phi is best used in medi for

1: merchant to bulb civil service and buero, getting machinery and effective offensive units much faster

2: engineers to get wonders

3: general gp strategy (golden ages, bulbing techs to leap ahead ie edu with scientist + mil trad with artist+ gunpowder with engineer) If I am not under immediate pressure I typically will keep just my starting cities, rush forges asap in both and work an engineer, to complete GL or MoM, in the city that’s set to make the engineer 2nd I’ll get HG to try and accelerate the birth of the 2nd engineer for Paya (early Theo) or Notre (or in the very unlikely event it is not built, the MoM or GL.

Much more effective in ancient starts. With the fact that religion is an intrinsic part of medi strat (not so much in effective ancient war mongering) and ofc you get culture through religion. Also, in medi starts theatres cost you a mere 33 hammers so if culture is needed you can grab a theatre and run artists until you get to 40%.

Anyway, with cre i would get Libraries in all cities immediately after forges (again if no pressure) and on the front I’d make a very early theatre at the meagre cost of 17 hammers early stage.

In more advanced strategy you get a tiny optimisation bonus by trading your lux to another team mate who will not build theatres because they are not creative, and running 10-20% culture yourself, using colosseums and theatres for your happy, in conjunction with the culture slider. However, the real hammer bonus is very minor, and in any medium/long length game inevitably there is war weariness which will mean after large battles to u might expect all teammates will need to make theatres and run culture for a while. This bonus increases slightly of this is the player designated to make universities and oxford, as they will have your happy so can run a higher sci% compounding uni/oxford’s bonus... but games last to this stage about 40% of the time only.

Exp: expansive loses strength dramatically in medi when considered through the frame of its unbelievable value in ancient starts. The primary benefit being the two health one gains a bonus per city as exp particularly valuable in caste system where it equates to the difference of an extra workshop per city. But, anyway, yes, workers are marginally cheaper and if you are skilled enough to contrive a scenario where all your workers are made in one turns (rather than two or perhaps 3) then you will be at a good advantage and this trait can pay dividends.

As a footnote, here are the settings for these games:

  • 6 players, 3v3
  • Map=inland sea
  • Climate=tropical
  • Always war = ON
  • Zues banned
  • Spies banned
  • Artist bombs banned
  • Resources = balanced
  • City elimination =2
  • Size = small
  • Sea level = medium

  • Finally, if you made it this far and are interested in joining the active (and very competitive) mp community let me know.


Elected World Leader
May 30, 2007
I don't have much experience with medieval starts but have played a fair bit of MP a few years back. I find that defense in MP really relies on siege. There are a lot of more battles in the field in latter eras and without a lot of siege to soften attacking enemy stacks you have no chance.
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