I made this guide based on my personal observations and experiences so others might (and propably will in some points) disagree with this guide and thats OK! Also these notes are mainly for single player since human players tend not to care about AC as much as AI players. What is Armageddon counter? Theres a detailed information about it here. This guide explains more detailed way what choices you should and shouldnt do depending what kind of game you play. Evil civs should raise the counter and Good civs lower it, right? In majority of games its not that black and white as it first would seem. When the counter goes past 40 AI's start to have increasing hostality between others and specially against the player who is the major contributor to the AC. Unfortunately, in most cases that major contributor is you because the game mechanics are set that human player has bigger control over the AC than AI civs. This can be seen how the AI works in some situations. Human players can control the AC to their advantage but AI civs behave like its just something that happens and not something that could be used strategically against others. Even Good civs will raze cities in early- to midgame since they dont fully understand the consequences of their actions. Propably coding has something to do with this too. So in general, if you want to affect the counter dramatically, you have to do it yourself since waiting for AI's to act can take a long time. On top of this, its up to you what kind of game you want to have. If you want to have peaceful Ljosafar builder style of game with lush forests it would ruin your game totally if one AI civ decided to set the world on fire and release four Horsemen of Apocalypse. Okay back to the track. You should not raise the counter if you are not able to handle the diplomatic pressure that comes along with it. In the other hand, if you are playing the good guys, you should lower the counter when you can because only bad things happen to you with high AC. Though there are some strategies where you can benefit from raising the counter. One of them could be bringing Blight to the world to cripple rival nations. Past that, you will only get hurt for raising the counter unless you are at peace with the barbarians (not available to good or neutral civs by default). When I should raise the counter? Its actually wise to plan way ahead what kind of game you are about to play. If you are the only Evil civ and theres 6 Good ones, you will be in war with all of them sooner or later if you start destroying the world too much. Things can get really tough for civs that dont have support from other civs with same aligment. If you still really want to play the wicked evil nation, you could adopt popular neutral or good religion and pretend to be their friend and when the time is right, switch to evil and backstab quickly before they can get organized. So in short words, you should raise the counter when you are prepared and planned for it. If you start with too many Good or Neutral civs you have to try to convert them towards more Evil at early stages of game. More of that later on. As you might have noticed, I have been only talking about Evil civs raising the counter. Theres a reason for that and I'll be cowering that later on. But the basic rule is if you are Good civ or Neutral civ, you want to keep the counter low for various reasons. Some are: If you are good or neutral and someone else is raising the counter, you are less likely to get into wars with other good or neutral civs because they have their own plans of countering the high AC. Your civ doesnt benefit anything special from high AC if you are good or neutral civ by default so its going to hurt you more than Evil civs. Also, you have very little means even getting the counter up dramatically. If you dedicate yourself lowering the AC you start getting relationship bonus from others like you. "You are destroying the world" modifier has a contrast "You are saving the world." It cant be this simple, wheres the catch? Well here it comes and things get really complex from now on. The Ashen Veil religion has the most impact to the Armageddon Counter, and all the Ashen Veil civs are automatically Evil. All the other civs without Ashen Veil as state religion, Good or Evil, start hating you for destroying the world. In the other hand, all the other civs with Ashen Veil as state religion, will love you for bringing the world to its end. Thats why its really important that you have some allies when you begin raising the counter massive amounts. It can be difficult because Ashen Veil is mid- to lategame religion and usually other religions spread and convert civs before AV. This is where your planning really comes into play, you have to make sure that there is some possible convertable civs when you change to AV yourself. You also have to be fast, because as soon as you start practicing the dark arts of AV the counter starts going up like theres no tomorrow . A good tactic is to research Octopus Overlords before Ashen Veil and rush OO to every possible convertable Good civ. If they convert they change to Neutral which makes them alot easier to convert to Evil. Good civs convert to Ashen Veil only in extremes cases so you have to be more descreet in your plans of world domination. You also want to restrict the spreading of Runes of Kilmorph because that in return converts all Evil civs into Neutrals. If you are playing good, you can use Runes of Kilmorph or the Order to counter attack possible spreading of AV but you can never predict if any civ is going to convert to it. Also researching the Order and spreading it to cities will keep the AV at bay because those two cant coexist in the same city unless in some rare cases the city is the holy city for both of those. The Order itself doesnt lower AC so theres no need to change religions if you dont feel like it. Now some may wonder, why cant we just research Ashen Veil and let it spread here and there, not actually changing it to state religion. Yes thats possible, it all depends how extreme you want to go. If you are satisfied with 30-40 AC that can be done without changing state religions, but if you really want to start speed things up, you just have to convert yourself. Obviously, AV is the most powerful tool for raising the counter, heres some reasons: Everytime Ashen Veil spreads to a city, AC rises by 1. Building Stigmata of the Unborn in AV holy city raises counter by 5. You can summon Hyborem and he'll do anything to raise the AC. More about Ashen Veil and how to rush it can be found here. You almost forgot Hyborem, is he important? Yes. He's like second you in terms of getting the AC up quick. There are some strategical elements to be considered when summoning Hyborem. First of all, you want him to be in game til the end because he'll be your most loyal ally if you have Ashen Veil holy city. That means there has to be room for him to spawn and settle. Depending on map and how fast AV has been founded, he may either have perfect isolated area to grow or he just pops up to a occupied land where he cant even start a city. Maps with islands that are not occupied with other players are perfect for Hyborem (hell terrain can spread trough seas too). If you are playing Good theres not much you can do to counteract this because he'll find his place if theres any free area on the map so you would basically have to settle all free space to prevent him from building a city. Also Hyborem doesnt come alone. Usually pretty fast after he has been summoned, some Good civ rushes Basium to the world. Thats what you should do too if you are playing the good guys, save one engineer to the moment Hyborem is summoned and make sure you have necessery techs. Then you can build Mercurian Gate the next turn and knock Hybbo off the map fast. Heres the interesting part, Basium always starts a war with Hyborem no matter what. So he drags his parent civ to the war too. And if you have AV holy city its just a matter of time when you get into the war too. When either of those prime evil/good civs are gone, things settle a bit. You're making this too long to read! Yeah my apologies. Just some final notes. If you dont want AC to go up, dont build Prophecy of Ragnarok, because that will raise the counter by 1 everytime you build unit in that city. Another interesting strategy is to intentionally build Prophecy so others wont get it and raise the counter via that. On the other hand, that wonder is propably the best to get AC up if you want to, so try to rush it if you want. In the end, if you are playing good or neutral or just arent interested of religion based diplomatic strategy game, you dont have to usually worry about Armageddon Counter that much. Blight might sometimes come but many cases you dont even see that unless you contribute yourself. But I recommed everyone to try sometime a game where your goal is to try to get AC up as high as possible. You'd be surprised how hard that is and the relationship modifier gets ridicolous at some point. Thats why its really important to plan ahead because you might end up frustrated when you are constantly at war with 2+ civs without a break to even build your improvements back. If you were brave and read this whole thing I congratulate you since there might be plenty of typos around this post because english is not my main language. And If you just scrolled trough whole this, Hyborem comes when you sleep and takes you away!