Best starting luxury, pantheon & monopoly combos?

besset

Warlord
Joined
Dec 25, 2017
Messages
189
Which are the best starting luxury, pantheon & monopoly combos in your opinion? And maybe specifically for what starting policy tree?

Personally i've found luxuries & pantheons that are quick to improve and quick to get monopoly with are usually the strongest. Like coastal luxuries and mines/camps, because you can quickly research the required tech's and fishing boats are cheaper than workers and instantaneously creates the improvement. Plantation, quarries usually take too long to be able to found consistently (with some exceptions, like incense) because they take longer to tech to. Some examples:

- Coral. Really strong for any victory condition because you can quickly tech to sailing and get +2 science monopoly on every tile.

- Whales. Not as strong as coral, because it takes longer for that +10% science monopoly to kick in

I've also found faith based luxuries & monopolies to be really powerful. Because it allows civs that dont have any inherent faith bonuses to get a strong religion, and religion is really powerful in VP. Some examples are:

- Pearls, god of the sea. Allows nice food, production, culture, GPT (once harbors hit). Works for any victory condition, very flexible.

- Incense, goddess of springtime. Since Incense gains faith on improvement, it allows you to pick springtime while still being able to found. Ideal for authority civs that need GPT for building and maintaining a strong army.

What are your observations?
 

DeAnno

King
Joined
Feb 22, 2011
Messages
671
Flood Plains + Desert Hills and Spirit of the Desert or Tundra and Stars and Sky are the strongest pantheon setups outside of specific civ situations (like Inca Nature Mountains.) Both are grossly overpowered in their own way, though if you roll Incense and get it on the Flood Plains that's probably the most broken start of all.

The free culture of Stars and Sky is really powerful, more than Spirit Desert in a lot of cases (except the Incense), but the problem with it is it's highly dependent on deer which you can't see when you first settle so it's kind of random chance how it goes at times, also it marries you to trapping.

The next pantheon I tend to find busted good is Commerce. It's better if you have a civ that autoconnects like Carthage/Songhai/Iroquois but still very strong outside that mostly because of Internal Trade Routes giving you 4 faith 4 gold each. It's especially powerful if you get AIs sending trade to you, the biggest case of this being neighbor Venice which can get really bonkers. The AI will go after this pantheon hard though so it's not a reliable get.

If you have a mountain range and a NW then Nature is pretty good even without being Inca, it's very fast and free.

Expanse is always at least fine with Tradition, just make sure not to neglect settling some early cities. The AI goes after this one too though less than Commerce.

As you said water luxes and God of the Sea can be good, it tends not to be too too great and you need to roll the dice on fish but it works.

Ancestor worship is particularly good with Authority Leftside strategies where you get a big wave of cities ASAP on the third policy. God of the Sun is a poor man's version of this but less bad than most people claim. Authority is the best for these building based pantheons because other policies will struggle to have hammers in their expos quickly enough to get Pantheon Building + Monument + Shrine quickly.

If no pantheon seems that great you shouldn't be afraid to just go All Creation, it's a good backup and the AI never takes it. You will need some kind of extra advantage or two to actually get religion with it though (Faith civ, Faith monopoly, Faith tributes, Faith natural wonder, etc.) If you go All Creation with Tradition you do need an actual plan to get a religion though.

You might notice I'm not discussing a lot of the pantheons which require you to worker improve things and that's because they tend to be slower and weaker. Some extreme situations are exceptions but given the choice you should keep in mind that they can be challenging to get the most out of if you don't have a strong thrust of workers, and you also really need to be aware of barbarians wrecking your stuff if you go this path.
 

besset

Warlord
Joined
Dec 25, 2017
Messages
189
Flood Plains + Desert Hills and Spirit of the Desert or Tundra and Stars and Sky are the strongest pantheon setups outside of specific civ situations (like Inca Nature Mountains.) Both are grossly overpowered in their own way, though if you roll Incense and get it on the Flood Plains that's probably the most broken start of all.

The free culture of Stars and Sky is really powerful, more than Spirit Desert in a lot of cases (except the Incense), but the problem with it is it's highly dependent on deer which you can't see when you first settle so it's kind of random chance how it goes at times, also it marries you to trapping.

The next pantheon I tend to find busted good is Commerce. It's better if you have a civ that autoconnects like Carthage/Songhai/Iroquois but still very strong outside that mostly because of Internal Trade Routes giving you 4 faith 4 gold each. It's especially powerful if you get AIs sending trade to you, the biggest case of this being neighbor Venice which can get really bonkers. The AI will go after this pantheon hard though so it's not a reliable get.

If you have a mountain range and a NW then Nature is pretty good even without being Inca, it's very fast and free.

Expanse is always at least fine with Tradition, just make sure not to neglect settling some early cities. The AI goes after this one too though less than Commerce.

As you said water luxes and God of the Sea can be good, it tends not to be too too great and you need to roll the dice on fish but it works.

Ancestor worship is particularly good with Authority Leftside strategies where you get a big wave of cities ASAP on the third policy. God of the Sun is a poor man's version of this but less bad than most people claim. Authority is the best for these building based pantheons because other policies will struggle to have hammers in their expos quickly enough to get Pantheon Building + Monument + Shrine quickly.

If no pantheon seems that great you shouldn't be afraid to just go All Creation, it's a good backup and the AI never takes it. You will need some kind of extra advantage or two to actually get religion with it though (Faith civ, Faith monopoly, Faith tributes, Faith natural wonder, etc.) If you go All Creation with Tradition you do need an actual plan to get a religion though.

You might notice I'm not discussing a lot of the pantheons which require you to worker improve things and that's because they tend to be slower and weaker. Some extreme situations are exceptions but given the choice you should keep in mind that they can be challenging to get the most out of if you don't have a strong thrust of workers, and you also really need to be aware of barbarians wrecking your stuff if you go this path.
What about the best monopolies? Like which ones would pair best with spirit of the desert, stars and sky, etc. Also which luxury improvement types are best? Mines, plantations, quarries etc.
 

andersw

Emperor
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
1,433
Location
sweden
Lux:
Depends a bit on civ, map etc but...
I consider gold best lux, its a mining lux that provide extra culture, one tech and you can (if you have a worker) start to improve it.
The extra hammers from a mine is useful all through out the game.
Second place I would probably put all other mining lux.
Whales and pearls are both fantastic even more so if you have a good reason to take god of the sea, then its probably on par with gold.
Coffee (science and hammers is great and its not on jungle/forests).
Ok middle of the pack stuff: quarry lux, furs, tea, elephants, truffles, pearls, crab.
Ok but soooo sloooow to get online, citrus, cocoa, imagine if you could improve these without chopping ....
Meh lux, (combination of low food and low hammers) cotton, dye, incense, olives, perfume, silk, spices, tobacco, wine.

Pantheons:
God of nature with a decent amount of mountains, gold, faith and food with no investment and no tile restrictions, definitely my top pick.
Spirit of the desert is strong but it depends a bit on how much desert you have around and where the resources are, ie can you actually work the resource tiles or are you mostly locked on flood plains with no resource?
Similar with open sky and god of renewal, they are good but you are a bit limited on what tiles you work.
God of the sun is good in the sense that its never really bad, and gold pantheons got a lot more attractive with recent lux trade changes.
God of protection and god of war are both solid warmonger pantheons.
God of the sea is very good on some certain maps, since you always want to work the sea resource tiles anyway.

edit: I've always rerolled tundra starts, I guess I need to try go for stars and sky and try it.
 

rkkn

Warlord
Joined
May 28, 2019
Messages
126
stars and sky + tundra salt and plenty of deer is pretty OP when it actually happens. (rare that all of the salt is in tundra)
 
Top Bottom