Help Winning the Historical Way: India 1.17

Nov 6, 2012
Why should you care?
Winning the Historical Way is a series of posts where I ask the community for help with some of the tougher UHVs (for me anyway) with the added caveat that it is EXTRA historical. What these means is that I achieve the UHV required while also trying to achieve these goals in descending order of importance:

Building all wonders historically built by the civilization I'm playing
Not building any wonders not historically built by it
Not Changing to civics that do not make historical sense (no Republic for China for example)
Settling or conquering all historical and contested areas
Avoiding settling or conquering all foreign areas.

I've not played India in a while, but I recall the first goal (build the Buddhist and Hindu holy shrines by 100 BC) being laughably easy as long as you know what you are doing and the second (Build 20 temples by 700 AD) being somewhat easy as long as you make sure to build Military units to defend from barbarian invasions as well. However, Starting after that, I have difficulty building up the necessary population in comparison with the rest of the world. I know that Pop growth is exponential (There are more people in one size 2 city than two size 1 cities), but even building and working tiles that encourage growth don't seem to do the trick.
Without the ahistorical Dujiangyan it's harder, you have to conquer outside of India and hope to have a bit of luck regarding other civs' population.
I'm finding the second UHV really difficult on Emperor/Normal, even with advice from the 1.16 strategy thread.

Waiting one turn for the neutral city to flip & settling Varanasi (1SW of starting spot) seems to work reasonably well. Rushing Priesthood and founding a city on the desert tile next to the pearls (Karachi) before the Persians spawn on turn 84 lets you found Zoroastrianism, which I assume you don't want to do in a historical run. You can give away the city or leave it to barbarians, it's never going to be productive. That leaves you needing to acquire only 7 cities x 3 temples each (with one spare). But... the barbarians spam is just too much sometimes.

First are the hordes of archers. They're not hard to kill once you have swordsmen, but it takes a while to research blooming. Or you can go horsemen first, which will end up better against the more aggravating axemen, but they're costly to build. I find that the archers mostly wander off to the south of the continent if you put some of your own archers on the gem hill and iron hill SW of Varanasi. But eventually they will loop back around to the west and north. If they just beelined your cities to suicide against them they'd be fine but they will destroy improvements and tank your economy.

By the time axemen start spawning you'll probably have 3-4 cities (not including the useless Karachi). I don't know what you're supposed to do against the stacks of 3 axemen that spawn, sometimes in your culture borders. If you're very lucky, they'll wander off. Less so and they'll probably cleave through even fortified archers on hills. Dead archers are no great loss but again you can't just wait for them to attack your cities because they'll pillage improvements along the way if they can. Barracks + stables get you horsemen with veteran + shock which is good enough to win most of the time on open ground but every loss stings to replace. The swordsmen you'll build to conquer the Tamils will be useless against axemen. Side note: I don't understand the logic of barbarian axemen spawning so early when you can't seem to build your own with iron instead of copper.

War elephants spawn on their own and can be taken down with a couple of spearmen so they're mostly just annoying. Horsemen start to spawn in fat stacks of 4-5 but mostly to the north and seem happy to suicide against fortified spearmen. That's kind of the problem though, you need to build and leave those fortified spearmen out in the woods, and that eventually tanks your economy and tech rate as you simultaneously try to spam temples and develop your 6-7 cities (10 if you insist on historical with only Buddhism + Hinduism). I end up stalling in tech well before getting to Nobility to build my own horse archers (and forget longbowmen).

I probably need to try whipping mercilessly, although I don't know how that would set back UHV 3. Alternatively I guess you could stick to 2 garrison units per city + some horsemen and just let the barbs walk around, with an army of workers to rebuild afterwards?

Otherwise, you can savescum and block tiles the turn before barbarian spawns, or try to kite barbarians with undefended workers. That's not very satisfying.
I'm pretty sure that the population referred to there is the city number pop, not what you hover over in the city screen. So 1 size 30 city = 3 size 10 cities = 10 size 3 cities.

It was a long time ago that I did it, so I don't remember everything super well! But from what I recall, I built mostly farms rather than towns (maybe even no towns? I don't really remember), somewhere around 10-12 cities all in historical area, ended up with the capital (I forget if settled in place or moved) having a bit over 30 population.

There's a few things that would make the way you're doing things harder than my time doing it - there's a lot of non-Indian but Hindu/Buddhist wonders that are great for food - Prambanan and Angkor Wat specifically, though also maybe Jetavanaramaya, as I'm not sure whether you'd be building that or not here since it's technically Tamil but the island is in your historical area anyway. I don't think I could have gotten a size 30 city without Angkor Wat, and moving from +50% storage to +75% storage from Prambanan basically doubles your growth. Also, I lucked out on getting an Iron discovery by my capital which had otherwise bad production - not sure to what extent that made a big difference but it was certainly nice!

Assuming I'm recalling correctly about it being population number and not the hover-over population in the city screen, then your best bet would probably be to look for all the food resources and water tiles you can get by settling cities on the edges of your historical area, and maximizing that even at the expense of city placement, so long as you have enough production in 10 cities to get a Buddhist and Hindu temple in time. Might wanna raze cities like Lhasa and Pagan too to get their sheep and bananas.
Hi! I've just posted a Indian UHV guide in this thread. I hope you find it useful, it's relatively historical but it includes some counterfactual aspects like building the Duyiangyiang, Prambanan and Wat Preah Pisnulok:
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I would love to see someone beating Arab and Turkic UHV in a historical way
half sarcasm ;)
I would love to see someone beating Arab and Turkic UHV in a historical way
half sarcasm ;)
Arabs are not that hard, the house of wisdom and alexandria as a gp farm snowballs insanly. Army wise it helps if the byzantines declare war that extra early army is so good. The UP and the dome of the rock and islamic shrine is insane economically. its just rushing the correct stuff early so that when the turks invade you have more than enough tech and troops to hold them off. It would be fairly easy to adust it to be historical
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