Hey guys. Gazebo had an idea which I have decided to act upon, that being to do specific guides for the different Civilization according to the Nationalist Strategy I've offered to the community. Quick stock review: I've decided to start this off with China. Introduction China and Imperial Examination takes a game feature that is sometimes ignored and makes it a strong feature of the civilization - "We Love the Empress Day." China's ability to exploit Great People to grant this effect and their powerful Golden Age capabilities make them a fun Nationalist civ to play. The opening start for China will be oriented (sorry) around Tradition, a specific Religion and the mid-game around Aesthetics and Imperialism. I do not focus on end-game because there are simply too many variables in CBO to really go into too much detail. Most of a CBO game is shaped very early on - doing so optimally is the key to victory. Ancient through Classical Era China is exclusively oriented around Tradition. There really isn't any other choice for them given their strengths. Let's go over why: Progress gives you bonuses to science, gold, and production but does not improve your Faith output at all. We want very specific beliefs from our start to be optimal. Authority also contributes nothing to our faith output and without military oriented bonuses or an early UU, China does not excel at being aggressive this early on. So let's go over this critical period of time step by step. Technology Opener Pottery The Wheel Calendar Animal Husbandry Mining Construction Trapping Bronze Working Iron Working Trade (you will be tight on money and might freak out. Don't worry) Writing Fishing Military Theory Mathematics Masonry Engineering Currency Metal Casting Steel I consider this sequence to be immutable for China. Stonehenge makes getting your Religion significantly faster, Pyramids provides critical support for your economy by giving you a second city and more efficient workers, and Mausoleum of Halicarnassus is the most synergistic Wonder China can get. The rest of it gives you cool toys to play with for your future cities, opens up where the Iron is in your region, and unlocks Paper Maker. After that you can fish, embark, unlock Hanging Gardens, Arena, and then Great Wall, which will make your salivating neighbors very miserable if they try to do horrible things to your happy, loving people. You could get Sailing, Drama, etc., but it's shorter to get to Steel, you can get a Historical Event by doing that, your military will be significantly stronger with Armory, and those three Spearmen who should have a lot of XP at this point will now be nasty Pikemen. Production Sequence Beijing Monument Shrine (Rush buy) Stonehenge Granary (Rush buy if you can) Farming (if you have any turns between 3rd policy) Pyramids (try to settle on the coast) Warrior Warrior Worker Farming until 4th policy unless you can fit in Walls before 4th policy Mausoleum of Halicarnassus Archer Archer Scout Farming until Trade is ready Shanghai Monument Shrine Archer Settler Archer Settler Archer Settler Policy Sequence Tradition Sovereignty Justice Ceremony Majesty Splendor Sovereignty is the most important one. With it you can get your Great Prophet quicker and your next policy. Justice kicks in right when Pyramids is available so it's right on time for the big show. Majesty is better than Splendor because you want Beijing to grow while still having all those great people slotted. Important Notes - Get faith from monument from event because our specific Religious beliefs are very important to get. Get Goddess of Love. - Invite the nomads to cities every time because they're singing to you. See above if you're confused. - Use your Great Engineer for a Manufactory in Shanghai depending on which one is on the coast. This will be your settler spammer and hopefully your coastal military-industrial city. - If you're scared of not getting Mausoleum of Halicarnassus or a neighbor you can also spend it in Beijing to complete it. Your Warriors should be enough though. - Settle your cities to get as many strategic resources as possible and to get a global monopoly of your regional luxury. - Upgrade those Warriors as soon as possible after all the building is over. You're going to be a very juicy target to aggressive neighbors. - Keep building specialist slot buildings in Beijing and slotting them. That's what Tradition is for. - Protect that worker! They are vital to completing your road network and if you lose him it's going to be a bit of a catastrophe. - Get the Great Wall once you get Engineering. Not only is it the most famous aspect of real China, but it is instrumental to keeping you safe throughout the game. Use that Great General to grab some land you know you shouldn't have but can get anyway =). - As soon as you get Splendor get those Hanging Gardens ASAP. Do not forget. That sucker is the best policy Wonder of the game IMO. Pantheon and Religion As astonishing as it might sound, I almost always unlock my first Great Prophet at 550 BC or earlier. Seriously. It's that fast. Hopefully the Maya don't screw it up for you though. If they Progress left side and beeline Mathematics they can beat everyone to the first Great Prophet and it sucks. Goddess of Love Theocratic Rule Synagogue Thrift Resilience To the Glory of God This is the ideal list. I'll go over why: Goddess of Love - Golden Ages are very important to China, giving you more growth during them than any civ in the game. Goddess of Love is wonderfully synergistic in this regard - the more people you get the more golden age points you get and it just keeps going as the game goes on. Theocratic Rule - Beijing is where most of your Great People will be born in Tradition and every time they are, your city gets 15% more Culture, Science, Faith, and Gold. This is by far the strongest choice. Synagogue - Oh, was Theocratic Rule not enough? Here, have another 15% Science from your cities with Synagogues. Thrift - This one might be tricky to get but the military ambition of a Nationalist strategy is not cheap. The more gold you can squeeze out of your believers the better. Resilience - Theocratic Rule is what Resilience was born to work with. Every Great Prophet you get adds to the fun of Imperial Examination and they're cheaper to get because of this. To the Glory of God - Yeah, and now in the Industrial Era you get to buy Great People with Faith. All of whom trigger "WLtED." Are you excited yet? I hope you are because this is even more fun in-game. Classical and Ancient Era Recap By now you should have * Stonehenge, Pyramids, Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, Great Wall, and Hanging Gardens in Beijing. * 5 cities. Beijing should be a juggernaut of a great people city. Shanghai should have two Manufactories as a coastal city. The rest should net you horses, iron, and a luxury monopoly. * Religion with Goddess of Love, Theocratic Rule, Synagogues, decent happiness * A solid infantry foundation of 3 Spearmen. * A bunch of Archers who really want to be Composite Archers and then Cho-Ko-Nu. * Lots of people singing Foreigner, especially in Beijing. * Passive aggressive neighbors who want to conquer you really badly but know they would get swallowed up by the Hollywood quicksand swamp that is the Great Wall. (Quicksand really doesn't work that way) Your enemies will hate you, but they'll hate you even more with what we've got coming up when China's glorious Dynastic Kings unlock the potential of the Five Kingdoms' Artists. Five cities, five kingdoms? This is how your empire should look This is how I was set up right before getting Steel. You eventually want a happy face under every city as much as possible, which is "We Love the Empress Day." Anyway on to the period of time where Mongolia hopefully doesn't repeat their history with China! Medieval Era Now that we're in the Medieval Era, we have a specific set of goals to achieve: * Set up food trade routes to Beijing and Shanghai so that you ensure your military industrial city and the best city in the world have plenty of labor. * Make Guangzhou, Nanjing, and Xian strong cities instead of the backwater toilet towns they are right now. * Make Shanghai a military industrial behemoth that cranks out the kind of military force that can redraw the world map. I'm talking cavalry, infantry, artillery, and a strong navy. You will be stronger, smarter, faster, more stylish, and you'll have better hair. * Building an exploration crew to give you a greater understanding of your surroundings. * Hopefully build the Hagia Sophia and Cathedral of Saint Basil in Beijing so that you can have Thrift, Resilience, and To the Glory of God, as well as build Alhambra in Shanghai. * Cultivate a truly magnificent society through Aesthetics, the proliferation of your religion, and your former backwater toilet towns becoming Cultural Great People factories that are almost as cool as Beijing. * Upgrade those sorry Archers to Composite Bowmen and Cho-Ko-Nu with our gold earnings. * Still have lots of people singing Foreigner Shanghai The goal here is to get every food and production building, Heroic Epic, and an Armory built before starting the Assembly Line of Glorious Warriors. Once you have all that build three Longswordmen, two Knights, 2 Heavy Skirmishers, three Trebuchets, three Caravels, and three Galleass, while upgrading your Spearmen to Pikemen, three Cho-Ko-Nu for offensive purposes and upgrading your crappy garrisons into the best Crossbowmen in the game. You've been weak for most of the game, but now... your enemies will tremble. Now that you've got the kind of force that would have made sure Genghis Khan never set foot in China as anything but a beggar on the street and routed those savages. Xian, Guangzhou, and Nanjing These cities are very important. Once you get Drama and Poetry after getting Steel, do whatever you have to do to get those Guilds in those cities and slot the Writers. They are vital to progressing your policies to the point of getting Cathedral of St. Basil. You also want Temples, Amphitheaters, and Paper Makers to get those cities to the level of excellence becoming of a Nationalist Motherland. The goal with these cities is to have Merchants, Scientists, and all culture guilds slotted. The reason I don't do this with Beijing is because I want Beijing's production output to still be significant, which can't happen if they have an additional 6 great people. Also remember to prioritize reducing unhappiness with Barracks, Walls, Castle, Armory, Market, Customs House, etc. Poverty and Crime are really bad. Beijing We want Beijing to have every National Wonder that isn't Ironworks or Heroic Epic and every building available. You might be tempted to slot a Civil Servant or two. Don't do it. Here's why - we are not even trying to get that kind of victory. Those citizens could have been mining, farming, etc. The idea with Beijing is to have the Scrivener's Office, Chancery, Wire Service, Printing Press, etc. but to only pay lip service to that process and cash in on the extra production. Again, you want Hagia Sophia and Cathedral of St. Basil. Those are the most important Wonders to aim for, even if you don't get them. China in CBO benefits immensely from emphasizing religion and getting the beliefs I referenced. Use Beijing to fill any gaps in your labor force and to build your trade routes. Make sure two of them feed Beijing and Shanghai for maximum peasant production! Tech Sequence We'll start from the point we get Steel Drama and Poetry Philosophy Theology Physics Machinery Chivalry Guilds Compass Astronomy Education Civil Service The idea is to catch up on Culture, provide all the tech we need for our goon squad, our exploration unit, and to pave the way for a Renaissance Era where our arrival to the lesser nations of the world creates awe. I don't really know or care if 1434 is accurate or not, the story of it is intriguing xD. Policy Sequence Aesthetics Refinement Humanism National Treasure Heritage Cultural Exchange Refinement is the way to start it off, but you have to address unhappiness to make it work. If you're dealing with some zealot with a flood of missionaries, do Humanism first so you can clean up his filth with your superior faith first. National Treasure I go with Engineer to get another Manufactory in Shanghai. That city should be so efficient at making military units that it can afford building new buildings before the next era. Plus you get the bonuses to Great Person Improvements. I should go over why I don't use Piety for them. Piety does very little for getting more Great People, which is the bread and butter of China's UA. It may seem like the urgency of getting Religious beliefs we want lends to devoting a Policy to that, but that's not what we're going for here. The Guilds cranking out Writers, Musicians, and Artists is what you want so you can have WLtED throughout your Motherland. Military Affairs Now that you've got the doom squad it's time to declare Total War on one of your neighbors. Total War means one thing - every city, every citizen of a rival will kneel before the Glorious Emperor / Empress and join the majesty of China. Remember to read up on military matters so that you do not waste a single unit of that magnificent conquest machine. There is another option though. If you feel confident with your devious scheming, you could use your position of extreme military power to get your rivals to fight each other and liberate conquered territories. I, for example, could liberate Ragusa from Sweden, bribe Poland into declaring war on and conquering them, then liberate them again. The Sicilians wouldn't like it, but who cares about them? xD There's also picking a nearby City-State, bribing a rival to DoW them, and gift them units. This kind of trap works wonders for divide and conquer. In my game I can do that with Ragusa and Poland, hurting their forces while mine prepare to raise our flags in Warsaw and Krakow. Shanghai's massive production capabilities can let us do that sustainably, which is pretty frightening. Religious Affairs With Temples, Hagia Sophia, and St. Basil, make sure all of your holdings follow your faith and inquisition your conquered territory to respect the Magnificent Theocracy in Beijing. Side note, China has never really been 'religious' the way that the Western nations have but in this case, China's alternate history will be that of a Royal Theocracy. I'd imagine that it's actually not that different than the Qing Dynasty, but there was never a state religion and a dedicated clergy to minister the faith of the people. If you don't get St. Basil, then you'll have to change gears and spread your religion the less glamorous way. It becomes easier if you win a Total War against a rival with a Holy City so that their influence can be annihilated and erased from history. Exploration Once you get Astronomy you'll have the means to send an Explorer across Oceans, so building one of them and a Caravel will let you completely explore the available areas of the world map. I would set that up as soon as Astronomy is ready. Just move the garrison out for a second, buy an Explorer and a Caravel, and you're good to go. You'll be happy you did - the whole world is out there waiting for you to find it! Renaissance and Beyond From here, you want Imperialism, Order, to maintain your military strength and to expand or sit on your holdings as you see fit. The hard part is done - building up your Motherland to weather any storm and win any war. Now it's up to you how you want China to be - do you want to be like historical China and stay where you've always been or go down the path of empires in history? If you go on a conquering spree make sure you pick rivals who have Wonders and a good number of Great Works. Taking those from them will give you a complete stranglehold on Tourism, provided you can protect your holdings. That gets harder as the game goes on as the number of fronts you fight on increase, demanding even greater command of military strategy and deployment.