The Harappan civilization is a fun, challenging addition to the RFC/DoC line up. It's a nice alternative to Egypt and Babylon for those wanting to play a short, intense game that doesn't involve long load times; and as a long-term play -- a civilization to manage beyond its UHV conditions -- it's rewarding right up to the moment that the Mughal spawn rips its guts out with some devastating flips. But this post is about winning a Harappan UHV. The strategy outlined is for the Monarch level. [One caveat: I'm playing a slightly modified version of DoC, one where the Conqueror and Seljuk events have been disabled. But I don't think this makes a difference to the strategy, as the Harappan UHV game end even before Persia spawns.] Harappan UHV 1. Establish trade connection with another civilization by 1600 BC (Turn 50). 2. Build 3 Baths and 2 Walls by 1500 BC (Turn 54). 3. Have a total population of 20 by 800 BC (Turn 87). The Arena The Indus, like the Nile and the Mesopotamian river systems, is a fertile area that can quickly grow and support large cities. But the Indus comes with a unique advantage and a unique disadvantage. The advantage is that it is a very placid region during the time that you're trying to achieve your UHV. Only the peaceful Indians will spawn nearby during your stay, and the barbarians in my experience keep to their side of the border. Fighting -- an inevitable challenge for Egypt and Babylon -- is not an issue unless the player makes it one. The disadvantage is that Hinduism appears and spreads early to your empire, long before you will be able to get Organized Religion or Priesthood, and this will cause serious stability issues. Internal disorder, not external invasion, is the existential challenge. Achieving the Victory Conditions Establishing a trade connection The first victory condition requires that you open a trade route with another civilization. To do this you need to explore the Indus valley to the coast and then westward to the mouth of the Euphrates/Tigris complex. Once Sailing is discovered, trade can move along this route to Babylon. You don't even need Writing for an open borders agreement -- the connection is enough for this condition. There are two challenges here. The first is that to trace this route you will have to move through Shushan. This involves declaring war on that Independent city AND maintaining (or reestablishing) contact with Babylon on Turn 50. The way to do this is to send your starting Warrior instantly westward, tracing the necessary route, and into Shushan territory by skirting the tiles south of the city to move into the northern part of the Arabian peninsula. By moving fast you can make the transit before Shushan can mount a counterattack, and once you're south of Babylon you will be safe from their reprisals. Then you can camp the unit on the Babylonian border until Sailing has been discovered. The second challenge is discovering Sailing within the deadline. But you also have a deadline on discovering Masonry. At higher levels of the game it becomes a tight challenge getting both these techs before time runs out. Because the second UHV requires both a tech discovery and some builds, it is best to beeline Masonry first, and Sailing second. With your Warrior in position, you only have to discover Sailing before Turn 50 in order to capture the first UHV. This can be done with proper city settlement and close management of the tax rate to keep the treasury at or near zero. Building 3 Baths and 2 Walls Masonry is needed to build Baths and Walls, and the discovery of that tech is the player's first priority, for with Masonry also comes the Slavery civic that will let you whip the buildings out within the deadline. It doesn't matter whether you use the Mysticism or Mining prerequisites to get there: they cost the same and, for reasons I'll explain below, neither tech will do you any good at the Monarch level. So immediately upon settling your first city, beeline Masonry, and instantly switch to the Slavery civic on getting it. Use it to whip Baths in your first 3 cities, and (if necessary) whip Walls in 2 of them. Again, proper city settlement will get you there in time to meet the deadline. If you do it right, you can even get the two Walls up in time without whipping them. Population of 20 This is where the unhappiness that comes from religious disunity will be a problem. You have to grow city populations in an era when there are no happiness bonuses to counteract disunity and whipping. At higher game levels this means that cities will go into unhappiness with relatively small populations. This can lead to secession or even collapse before you can meet the third goal. The solution is to spread your population out among several cities, so that each can be kept small while still reaching the total imperial population this UHV demands. An empire with 2 cities needs an average size of 10 to meet the goal; but an empire with 5 cities needs an average size of only 4. With Harappa, you can build the latter within Core, Historical, or Contested boundaries while still getting the population of each up to 4. This is a third place where proper city placement is vital. Placement of Cities I do not say that the solution I give here is the only solution; I only say that it works. The first three cities -- the ones that will whip out Baths and Walls -- I put on the Sheep Hill in the very north; at the starting location; and on the tile 2 south of the Marble. These are full of resources that can help cities to build both population and infrastructure quickly. Then, after these cities have finished the builds for the 2nd UHV condition, I put two more cities in the south, the first on the tile 1 west of the Marble, and the second on the tile 1 east of the cotton. You will have to carefully arrange the work plots of the four cities clustered near and south of the Marble so that they grow and can maintain a population of at least four. At higher levels, it may make a difference what order you build your first three cities in. At the Monarch level, I moved my Settler up to build my capital on the Sheep, even though this wasted a couple of turns. But that area -- though technically a Contested area -- is so rich that I quickly made up for the delay. The second city I built south of the Marble, and only built on my starting location when I built the third city. One reason it is possible to get so much done in so little time is that Harappan cities start with a population of 2, and their City Builders (replaces Settlers) are dirt cheap. To get cities up and running ASAP, I chose 2 City Builders as my first two builds in the capital, and only then switched to other items. The absence of barbarians or competitors early in the game means that the cities do not need garrisons except to forestall unhappiness at the lack of protection, and you can safely postpone building Warriors to garrison them until after you have built the Baths and Walls. City Management and Stability Management Finally, you absolutely must monitor your cities so that Overcrowding does not tip the cities over into unhappiness. There will be no luxuries or Happiness buildings this early in the game to calm the population; you will not have time to research techs to change civics or to build temples. Religious disunity and unhappiness after the spread of Hinduism will quickly turn your empire Unstable, and after that you will be courting secession, which will kill your chance of meeting the population goal. Turn off growth in cities once Happiness and Unhappiness are in perfect balance. You can let the cities grow again ONLY if adopting Hinduism as State Religion (or its subsequent spread to a city) raises the Happiness number again. At higher game levels I managed stability by turning off research altogether after I got Sailing. The treasure I accumulated did nothing for me, but the techs would have done nothing either except force stability checks that would have killed my empire. This means that you will quickly run out of things to build in your cities, and will probably wind up with a bunch of Warriors. Workers You will notice that I haven't mentioned Workers. That's because you don't need them until after you've hit your Golden Age. Given the small population sizes you need for your cities, and the fertility of the Indus flood plains, you don't need to improve the landscape until late in the game. Even the Marble and Wheat can go unimproved, since the latter will only raise your population past what you want, and whipping -- not production -- will give you the only useful buildings in your cities. This, by the way, is why it doesn't matter whether you research Mysticism or Mining as the prerequisite for Masonry. Mining production isn't needed, and pagan temples are useless without Pantheon, which you can't research without endangering imperial stability. Late in the game, though, after the cities have reached their critical size, you should build a couple of workers to improve a few key tiles. The city west of the Marble will probably need the Marble turned into a farm (yes! irrigate the Marble, don't quarry it) in order to grow and support itself, and the two cities near the cotton may also need some irrigation since they will be crowded into sharing only a few spaces. Building Workers will also turn off city growth, so this is another way to keep cities happy without spawning more Warriors. Summary for Winning a Harappan UHV Tech path: Mining/or/Mysticism -> Masonry; then Fishing -> Sailing. After that, raise taxes to 100% to kill research. Exploration path: Immediately send Warrior south along river, then west along coast; war against Shushan by quickly transiting its southern tiles, coming out in northern Arabia where you will not be chased by the Independents. Fortify there until after Sailing has been discovered; then disband unit at your discretion. City founding: Capital [Rehman Dhen] on Sheep/Hill in the north; Chanhu-Daro 2 tiles south of Marble; Harappa on Starting Location; Quetta 1 tile west of Marble; Lothal** 1 tile east of Cotton. Production queues Capital: City Builder, City Builder, Bath [whip], Walls [whip if necessary], 5 Warriors (to garrison the five cities). 2nd City: Bath [whip], City Builder, City Builder. 3rd City: Bath [whip], Walls [whip in necessary]. After completing these queues, build combination of Workers, Warriors, and any completely useless buildings that would decorate your cities until achieving the UHV. ** If you build Lothal before the India spawn it will try to flip to the new civilization. You can either delay building the city until it's safe to do so, or deny the flip. I believe there is little danger from denying the flip, for the Indians are not really in a position to hurt you.