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[NFP] My insights from playing as Russia on Immortal


Jul 18, 2014
I recently stepped my difficulty level to immortal from Emperor and I'm just about finished with a religious Victory as Russia (almost certainly in less than 200 turns, possible as few as the 180s). It made me realize a few things:

1. It really made me rethink city placement. I had 3-4 cities that I normally would have considered total crap cities in other games that were absolute powerhouses in this game. It really hammered home that all you really need are a couple of decent tiles to make a city work. It seems that it's OK to have a city that is almost useless except for the huge adjacency bonus for the district of your chosen victory type.
2. Religion is so powerful in this game. My pantheon was Dance of the Aurora, beliefs were Work Ethic, The one that gives +science for every 4 followers, the one that gives cheaper missionaries and apostles and the one that gives you access to mosques. I aggressively spread my religion (I was going for religious victory) and got about half of my science from beliefs throughout the game. This kept me amongst the leaders in scientific progress, even taking the top spot occasionally. Because of this, I was able to keep a fairly intimidating defense force of upgraded units to discourage warmongering. You could easily tailor your religion to your preferred victory type for a HUGE boost. I will almost certainly be prioritizing early religion in future games.
3. Wonders can be HUGELY powerful. I usually ignore wonders, but this time went after them pretty aggressively (mostly because low pop cities meant I didn't have a whole lot of other options of what to build and most of my cities had decent to great production due to work ethic). I was able to get most of the religion based wonders (Hagia sofia, Mahabodi, Kotoku-in), combined with the extra religion charges during a golden age and with the Moksha promotion that gives extra charges, AND a nearby natural wonder, I was pumping out apostles that had 8-10 charges and two promotions REGULARLY. My apostles absolutely steamrolled the AIs religious units (mostly missionaries). It was particularly satisfying when I got the "Gain 3 spreads from a natural wonder" promotion combined with "debater +20 religious strength", "gain 2 extra spreads" or "triple strength in other civilizations". Having a Triple strength apostles with 10 charges was INSANE. From now on I'll focus on the wonders that are likely to give me a boost to my victory type.
4. I used to think that domination victories were the easiest to win due to the snowball effect of gathering more and more cities, but now I'm starting to think they're one of the hardest. You need high production to produce units, high gold income to upgrade and maintain your army, high science to keep your units more advanced than the AI, high culture to keep up with governments and policy cards and hopefully a decent source of faith to faith purchase units later on. Oh and get used to negative 10-15% yields because it's impossible to keep up with amenities mid-game. That said, I find them much more fun than builder type games.
5. You have to play to the strengths of your civ. Russia has an INSANE capability for faith and production generation. I used that to my advantage this game. Had I ignored it and tried to force through a science or domination victory, I likely would have hit a brick wall or at the very least delayed my victory by multiple eras. (I know that Russia also synergizes insanely well with Voidsingers but I did not have secret societies in this game).

Hope these insights help others in their learning.
Nice post!

I find myself being lazy and stepping the levels down instead of up. Emperor was.my highest. But I'm quite opposite to you: as soon as war comes into play, I hate it. I can steamroll one or two civs on prince level. But upwards of that, I'm just glad to be able to ward the AI off.

That said: I do usually go for a religion and get very annoyed if I can't get my hands on a prophet. When I can't get one, I wait for a few missionaries to convert a couple of my cities and go religion shopping: which of the religions has beliefs that suit me? I get apostles from the religion that interests me, start my own inquisition and start reconverting my other cities.

I do love using religion for my goals. You.can really get all your science or culture from followers and skimp on the specialized districts that you don't need as much.

How do you make work ethic work, though? Ever since I got gathering storm, I only see the production bonus applied to the holy city, which sucks and makes it not worth while.
The city has to be following your religion for work ethic to kick in. If it really is just the holy city then that’s a bug, but doublecheck to make sure other cities are following your religion.
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