General Strategy Approach...Input Requested


Sep 20, 2013
Lake Charles, LA. USA
My (generalized) approach for play (any Civ) at Emperor. Ill go up or down one level, depending on the Civ, map, and starting conditions; I can generally get far enough ahead by turn 150 (regular speed) to eventually win. (It does take me longer, but I usually can get a domination victory (I tend to live by the sword, but will take another victory condition if Domination is hopeless) by turn 400-450. I try to use a mid-level civ; (no special perks, (Sythian X2 horses, multiple small German cities (VERY many cities) with 2 districts, maps with massive resources, ect. It is a "vanilla" approach, that seems for the most part to succeed. How lame is this? :confused:

I always try to get a decent pantheon, (Harvest is great if available, especially if I have a lot of jungle terrain...or the Culture for Pastures, or, Divine spark pantheons. 2 faith/quarry or 2 faith/mine is nice too.) even if I have to use the God-King card to get 1 gold + 1 faith (although I prefer Relics, Religious City States, etc).

If I have a good shot at it, I'll aggressively go for a Religion (Onanism). :nono: I am partial to the Extra Housing founder belief, and like a religious building (extra food or production), and, add to that the 2 gold for each city converted or 1 gold/5 followers. Rarely do I get a 4th tenant. However, I usually can get 3). It's not very spiritual, but once I have that, other than converting pagan cities, I just let things be, and enjoy the perks.:smoke:

Eureka's are a must; I usually build a slinger, builder or settler, slinger, then (depending on the situation, I try for another slinger, settler, builder, and HolySite (or other district, if not going for religion). If a goody hut does not yield a scout, I usually buy one, and tend to do as much exploration as possible (continents map, usually). I try to get at least 5 cities up an running, with maximum production a couple of chariots, upgrade to archers, and a speciality unit or 2 ... then I go for domination. (I may attack 1 or 2 cities before this, if they are easy picking.

I try to conquer nearby Civs/CS's, in small bits (Persia is great for this).:goodjob: Once a neighbor has lost a city or two, I'll send my ravaging hoard elsewhere. Oddly enough, it seems to be possible to be friends with many other civs while misbehaving in this fashion. :lol:There have been a couple cases where everyone becomes extremely antisocial...that can ends badly.:mad: However, short, sharp wars, and unmerciful sucking up to the unscathed remains usually avoids having the whole world declare on me.

Another conquest related thing: I don't seem to make as many military units as many poster appear to do...4 or 5 archers backed by 2 or 3 of chariots seems to be enough to take a smaller city. (I tend to attack the runts of the walls, usually something that just begs to be annexed).:rolleyes: City states fill the bill nicely, too. It appears to help greatly if one does not telegraph the coming attack...I try to converge at the last minute, and avoid denouncing others. No point in observing the sticky points of international cooperation.:borg:

So far, this is all pre-feudalism, with Cheifdom giving way to Oligarchy. Oddly enough, I don't favor Monarchy, and will try to go from Merchant Republic to Theoracy, using Monarchy as a fallback from Theocracy. Lots of times, I just stick w/Oligarchy and Merchant Republic.:sleep:

Policies: This is probably really out there, but the policies I use most are: Military - -1 gold/unit for 1/2 cost for upgrades. Civil: +1 production/city, 30% off Builders (and 5 charges/builder) along with the Housing booster and (when cramming settlers, the bonus on building them. I may slip a few military policies in when I'm preparing to attack (or during a big push), and find I rarely use the purple cards, as I am too busy using the wildcard slot for construction, growth, and conquest. I will use the trade options to stack up gold, but seem to favor the (Gold) Civic policies.;)

Builders: I think I go a bit off the deep end here...I can not seem to get enough of them...I want to squeeze all the production/construction I can out of these overworked guys, and chop, chop, chop. God help them if I get "Goddess of the Harvest!" :crazyeye:

Wonders: I don't sweat them...usually if I build any, they are "overlooked" and I'll grab one later in the game. It appears simpler to conquer desired wonder-containing cities...that way you don't spend tons of production on it (like the Pyramids), just to see the AI build it a turn or 2 before your scheduled completion.:mad:

Religious Spam: Uggh! This is crass, but if it looks like an AI is going after me on this front, I will declare war on him (joint war is always nice), and, on the opening salvo, wipe out all the religious units I can. Not nice. Since I try to get my conversions with missionaries (early religion/missionary drive). If someone has a stronger faith, I usually try the military conquest option...I have only sent my clerics into theological combat 3 times since I bought the game. (No problem w/the concept, but Knight vs Clerick is simple, perhaps the updated religious features will change my take on it.:p

Gold: Perhaps it is not as valuble as production, but I still like it...I try to amass as much as possible, even to the point of using some external trade may not but happiness, but it help w/unit upgrades and quickie construction.:)

CS: While they are usually easy to conquer (at least early in the game), I still try to Suzerain as much as I can..quests are a good thing! Some of the perks are really nice...I have found myself liberating a conquered CS to get the extra, if it's good enough.

Diplomacy: Even though I play a Domination-orinted strategy, I try to stay friendly with as many civ's a posssible. A bit scitzophrenic, but it seems to be achievable, at least through turn 250-300. This means I rarely eliminate other civs (before turn 250-300). Oddly enough, a Civ reduced to 1 or 2 cities may not be friendly, but the seem to be more passive, unless they all team back a city (disadvantageously located) appears to be very helpful (as a last resort). Perhaps they are only waiting for the right moment to strike, but it seems a usable tactic.:rolleyes:

Finis (finally): I know this is very generalized, and probably won't work at Diety, but I have used this approach (even) on Immortal (with reasonable success). During the course of play, while not totally careless, I have by no means played close to opinion is that the AI is so poor at combat that I can practically count on it making more dumb mistakes than I do. Once I hit turn 100-150, there is little the AI can do (other than have everyone declare on me). If it looks like I'm out to win the Adolf Hitler popularity contest, I can usually finagle myway out of it by finding a civ or 2 that want something I'm willing to let go at a bargain price, or start a joint war.....:p

I think religion holds you back. The pantheon is normally where you should stop unless you get early holy sites.
Monarchy is only good for the chop for a short period of time and does risk slowing making it to feudalism/mercs.
Friendliness can slow you down and campuses are king once you have some CH done for the eurekas.
You sound happy with your game and that's great. You do not have to play optimal to get an optimal enjoyment game.
I thought is sounded pretty good for what you wanted to do - conquer and play diplomacy at the same time. I also find religion to be not that valuable unless you play a religion specific civ. Sometimes you may not want to even take one city but to try to make them give you a city in a peace settlement. You get no penalty for those. So you can give back cities you captured and ask for some you did not. This may require a larger army that what you usually field. A large army helps with diplomatic negotiations. LOL. You can ask for money and resources and cripple a civ without getting dinged too badly for warmongery.
:deadhorse:Hee hee... ON RELIGION (post Fall 17 patch): It seems possible (not every game, but with a Religion friendly start) to grab Harvest Goddess (I have gotten it more than 1/2 the time since the patch), put up a Holy Site, and chop, chop, chop my way to a Domination victory. This approach uses everything (like suzerain bonuses that let you build stuff w/faith), Theocracy (although Merchant Republic is a favorite), Religion oriented policies, etc. While I can't get the Harvest pantheon all the time, if I do, it seems almost an exploit. (Which I cheerfully use). Even w/o the Harvest panthon, it seems there are perks for getting a Religion that are a bit better than pre-patch.

Not to imply going Religious Victory (never done that)....more of a Holy War Domination strategy.
Having a religion and using faith or Harvest pantheon are not related. You can do all those things without founding a religion. Usually with conquering the AI will build holysites and you will get them and generate enough faith for unit purchase.
The problem with actually building a holy site is that you could build a archers and warriers and go and take a city with a holy site and then still have the military units to take the next city and you are miles ahead of just building a holy site and trying to get a religion.
I play on king/immortal. I build slingers and warriors and then search out barbs for experience. When I find another civ and I have a three archers and three or more warriors(or what ever civ I'm playing for ex. war carts) I go to war. I usually conquer said civ and go looking for another. I haven't built anything but warriors/archers since turn one. Well occasionally I will build a worker. Heal everybody and attack, attack, attack. I will fall behind in tech sometimes but a mighty army overcomes this in most cases. I will always build trade routes when they come available. I only pause when I have completely wiped out all civs on my continent. If a city/state gets in my way I will take them out too. Now I pause and start learning how to cross the seas to get at the next victim. The only thing that usually slows me down is no Iron or the stuff to make gunpowder. Then I build a settler and plop down to get what I need if it is possible.

tech is always to military techs until the pause then a quick top line to get across big water. When I have a big enough army I start building money building to keep the gold up for upgrades.

No religion. No culture. And everybody correctly thinks I'm a war monger. I usually have such a big army they don't declare on me and then usually to their doom.
War is definitely a profitable business practice in Civ. I like to keep options for religion, culture, trade and science open. They can be a valuable supplement for the land seeking (emperor-level) player. Probably the utility of anything other than naked force diminishes as one increases the difficulty level. :D Makes sense, the AI simply gets stronger, not smarter, as one moves up in difficulty.
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