Difficulty level descriptions


High Admiral
Mar 24, 2002
AEGIS Cruiser
Hey everyone!! Just asking for a good description of each difficulty level.... like someone who has played ALL DIFFICULTIES and can describe the pace... the strategies the comps use... etc. I know it sounds hard.... I'd just like to understand fuller the AI.


I can only fully describe deity, as that is the only level I've spent much time playing. I can also give a brief description of monarch.

The AI is very powerful early on, expect to be swamped with their units if you get into a war early on. They get 4 free units per city (I think) and get 2 settlers and several free units to start off with. Be prepared for an early uphill struggle, usually I try to get an early war going and invade a nearby AI, it's the only easy way of doing things (early war should start before 1000bc, if possible). After you manage to take out a couple civs in this way (leave them with a few cities and harsh peace treaties which provide you with plenty of techs and cash) you should be about equal with the AIs. This should occur by the time you reach the end of the middle ages, tech wise. Once your on equal terms, it's a lot less difficult. Try to stay at peace and build up. The cash and tech from your vassals, plus the money and tech from your rapidly developing cities should allow you to compete. If you fail in your early war, expect to be mediocre all game. Basically the only difference between deity and the other levels is the number of units and techs the AI gets early on - AI strategies are the same, but the brute force they can employ against you can make them challenging at times.

The pace on monarch is a little faster than regent - expect the AI to take a couple tech lead early on, and to have a slight lead in unit count, but you should easily be able to catch up if you develop your empire properly. Early conquest is probably less of a good idea on this level, perhaps conquering one civ to provide you extra room to expand would be ok. Otherwise, I'd go perfectionist and expand up until the middle ages. Then go conquer. The reason you wait on this level is because the AI has less bonuses than deity, and so conquering wouldn't be worth it as they will have less cities and many less techs. By the early middle ages you should have a tech lead if you've been building your cities up economically. This level on the whole, along with regent, the only other level I have played, has a much more relaxed pace than deity. Expect to have more freedom in choices (go conquer, or go perfectionist, etc. all your choice because all will work), and expect the AI to be much less dangerous early on. Builder strategies actually work well on this level too, which can provide for a refreshing change (my only OCC civ3 game was a cultural victory on monarch level).
I mostly played on Regent level except the last few games that I play on Monarch level.

In Regent, as it is said in manual, we are all equal then after 5 or 6 games I found out that we can outrun all AI civilisations with ease. No much need of strategy.

But in Monarch, I found out that AI gains tech very fast especially Expansionist. On normally city improvement I cannot even match their capability then it forces my brain to go to work, hehe all evil things come to mind.

I mainly aim on military and economy, leave science budget to 0%. Buy techs from them is very suitable idea. At time I have both Monarchy and Iron Working (both buying and !@#$), I start to cripple the world - world war. With this all civs tech speed will be reduced then I become tech lead and we are equal. After that I can choose which victory I prefer. Oh, and this level spy is very useful too it does help a lot.

Now Monarch is almost out of hands, I hardly handle it then I probably not go play Emperor or Deity. :(
I`d like to add a few words about Monarch:

I do go for early conquest, simply to gain room and a reputation. If you are a known warmonger, but do keep treaties, the Ai deals you a lot better than if you stay peacefull. Another thing is the UUs. If you have a good one for early war, use it well. If you succeed (and i like to kill off the others on my continent), you should from now on stay in front. Develop tech, do not sell it, and keep up your culture. Since you should at least have double the territory, thus double to triple the cities, you will get a huge tech lead. Stay out of wars, unless you want something special.

Wait for Military Academy (early war should get you lots of leaders, first makes an amry, from then on Wonders), build Amrois all you can (remember: they can be rushed with money!), then swamp your enemies!

check the editor for values on what bonuses the AI gets at different levels.

from my experience:

Cheiftan - impossible
Warlord - impossible
Regent - impossible
Monarch - impossible
Emperor - impossible
Deity - impossible

you might gather I haven't quite mastered civ3 yet :lol: cheiftan is quite easy after a bit of practice though ;) anything above regent and I don't have a chance of keeping up with the AI, especially at expansion.
Chieftan - The AI is like a slow moving glacier. The odds of actually losing are about the same as being hurt by a runaway glacier. Meaning a player with a basic understanding of the game mechanics will win. Tech is very slow to develop so it is difficult to reach the modern age before the end of the game.

Warlord - The AI is better but suffers from a cost handicap on units, improvements, tech. A player flaying around without a coherent plan can be beat.

Regent - The AI is even with the human player in terms of costs. Aggressive play is a good style here as the AI builds many towns and they are protected by a single warrior very early in the game, a spearman and a warrior or archer a bit later. Making for easy pickings for an aggressive human player. Peaceful victories are also possible on Regent, depending on the starting conditions.

Monarch - The AI gets two free units, and a 10% (?) discount on techs, units, improvements. On a standard map or smaller, it is important to have a strong military early. It is still possible to win playing a peaceful game, but early war becomes a better strategy on most maps.

Emperor - The AI gets five free units, and a 20% discount. Again, on standard maps or smaller, be loaded for bear, because the AI will come after you unless you have an impressive military and give into their demands. Cultural victories without conquest are difficult. Ancient age wonders take a good deal of planning to have any chance at. Better to capture early wonders than to build them.

Deity - impossible. At least I find it to be so on standard size maps, eight players. The AI gets 15 free units and a 40% discount on everything. Early genocide seems to be its standard starting strategy. Early war is the way to go, but it is very difficult because of the 15 free AI units. The AI often attacks before the human can build a third city. On huge maps, eight players, Deity is playable. The AI early genocide strategy is much weaker on huge maps because of the time it takes to deliver an army to your door.
Deity on any mapsize is definitely not impossible. In fact it's easier on smaller maps. You need to defend your cities, or the AI will declare war and walk in. Otherwise, they are very unlikely to declare war (make sure you don't ask them to leave your territory and give in to their demands though). You should easily be able to build an army of 10-15 conquest units and begin conquest all by 1000BC. You will slaughter the AIs warriors and spearmen if you do it correctly. If you can't manage starting successful conquest by 1000BC, you're doing something wrong.
Chieftan: Really easy except for really new beginners. The AI is very slow in techs. If i don't trade techs with them i can get almost a whole era ahead of them. You can win in any way except spaceship unless you never warred in the game. You'll get too modern era prety late, so i doubt there'll be any nuke wars.

Warlord: A bit tougher. If you just mastered chieften DOn'T try warlord. Play more chieften. You'll find that it is possible for you too not get all the wonders :D. The AI really gets no beginning advantage. One difference is the amount of happycitizens you begin with. Playing on warlord will probably get the role of the years as similar as our history(industrial era in the game starts at the same time as industrial era in real life)

Regent: This is considered the most average of all the levels. The jump from warlord to regent is not very much. The AI gets maybe one or two extra warriors at the most. I usually manage to 75% of the wonders. The AI always remains close to the player in techs. i can get 1 or 2 ahead.

Monarch: I haven't played at diety yet but the jump from regent to monarch is the biggest one for me in the game. I haven't beaten it as yet. The AI gets quite a few advantages in the beginning of the game and gets alot of the wonders.
Thanks... that helped alot! :grad::grad: Now I know all 'bout Civ 3!! :enlighten:
Regent and Monarch were pretty much the same to me. Anyone who can't beat deity must be a REAL newbie IMO, face it, you need a LOT of practise, newbies.
Originally posted by IronicWarrior19
Regent and Monarch were pretty much the same to me. Anyone who can't beat deity must be a REAL newbie IMO, face it, you need a LOT of practise, newbies.

Let me guess....Hmmmmm....You suck at everything else other than Civ right? That has to be it.

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