New Player wants to know what to do


Feb 3, 2007
Well, I play standard Civ on Prince, and I was intrigued by this mod. So I got it and began playing. The game mechanics were very different, and I would get frustrated in a bit because the game would move too slowly for what I was used to (play on normal). But I want to enjoy this game. So I was wondering about a few things:

What civ should I start with and how should I start on the tech tree?

Should I go for education and writing, or get improvement techs like crafting, mining, and bronzeworking?

Should I build around 4-6 warriors before a worker, so I can wait for the improvement techs to come up?

Is cottage spam a viable strategy here? What about SE?

At about what time does magic start becoming useful?
Well, all those depend on what kind of game you want to play.

All the civs are good (although some are better than others), but each favor a different strategy. For example, Hippus are by far the best for mounted units and are great for pillaging, plus thy can hire mercenaries at half cost. Amurites are the best at magic. The Sheaim are better at summoning, and get units for free with a high armegeddon counter (in cities with their special planar gate building. However, they can't build any normal melee units past warriors). Gregori won't let you take advantage of any religions, but they have access to an extra type of great person, who has the hero promotion and can upgrade to almost any unit. The elves have great synergy with forests, and the dwarves with hills.

The techs you beeline for are highly dependent on your strategy, and differ greatly based on which civ you are playing. THe same goes for early units.

Cottage spam works, especially if you have the financial trait. I like spamming with elven workers, since they can build cottages (or farms, or plantation, or pastures) on tiles with forests without clearing the forests. This defensive and production boost can be quite handy. However, you should watch out for leaders with the raiders trait (it grants most of their units a free commando promotion), since they can pillage you very easily. SE works too, especially when combined with the right wonders and civics. Great prophets can be sacrificed to build the Altar of Luonnatar national wonders (there are several levels of these, each requiring the one before it. Once GP build the first 6, then the final altar become buildable in that city like a normal wonder. If the Altar of Luonnatar victory is turned on, building this will win you the game), which make priest specialists much more lucrative. Among the altars effects are making priest provide extra gold and production. Combined with the Religious Discipline civic (which allows unlimited priests) this is very powerful. Civ with an evil alignment cannot build the altars.

You can build your fist arcane units (adepts) in cities with mage guilds, both of which require the Knowledge of the Ether technology. Adepts can get the first level promotion for any sphere of magic for which you own at least 1 mana resource (your palace usually starts with 3 kinds, plus, with the right technologies, adepts can build nodes on the mana resource. It will have a choice of what type of node to build, and building that type changes undifferentiated mana into a specific type). If you have 2 of the same type, newly built adepts will start with the first level of that sphere, if you have 3 then they will start with the first 2 levels. The fist level spells are fairly weak. In order to use more powerful spells, you will need to upgrade your adepts, which requires that they have enough xp. (Amurites have a building, the Cave of the Ancestors, that grants free xp to adepts based on how much mana you own, so theirs can be promoted faster. Also, the channeling promotion that arcane units start with gives them a small chance of gaining xp each turn) You can upgrade them to Mages (which have access to sorcery spells) or Conjurers (which have access to summoning spells). These can upgrade to Archmages and Summoners respectively, which have access to the highest levels of their respective types of magic.

Religions also allow access to different types of magic. Priest units start with certain magic spheres (which ones depend on the religion) and the divine promotion (which allows them to use divine spells). Priest of the Leaves also start wit sorcery (allowing the use of the same type of spells mages can use, within their spheres) and Ritualists (Ashen Veil priests) start with summoning (allowing the same spells that summoners can use)

Magic can be of some use as soon as you get adepts,but it is much stronger latter on. There are few civs that can really be competitive without using magic. The best for a non-magical game are probably the Khazad (who can't ever upgrade their adepts, so are designed not to rely on any magic except perhaps their religion) and the Hippus (their cavalry can strike hard, then get out of range of enemy spells).

Magic is much more useful to a human player than to the AI. The AI in Vanilla FfH doesn't know how to use much magic, but the BtS version isn't bad at it.
I had the same reaction, since the starting techs take so long to get. Eventually, I got used to the slow start and passed the time exploring. I found that it generally worth it to look around for a hill-plains start (or even better hill-plains-river) since that extra hammer will do wonders for my early production. I also figured out that I should time the production of my first worker to match the completion of the first technology that gives it something to do. Usually this is Agriculture, so I can can grow the city, but if I start with Crafting then Mining becomes a good option. I also found that building that first settler is better delayed, since it freezes city growth for such a long time. These measures contribute to an even slower start, but help prepare for a fast takeoff once the basic techs are in place.
Oh yeah, if you you are playing as the Luchuirp you can afford to go a ahead and build the worker early. Their mud golem UU workers do not require food to build (but require more hammers) and will work faster than normal plus have defensive strength. They are supposed to be able to defend themselves and cannot be captured, although I'm not sure if it is working that way yet.
Well, I want to play as an evil civ, so I think that Balseraphs, Calabim, or Sheaim are appropriate. The Calabim sound interesting, especially with "population reduction".
Honestly, your best bet is to approach the game like a new game. It took me quite a while to become accustomed to the differences in Civ and FfH, and I'm still not as knowledgeable (sp?) about FfH as I am about regular Civ.

I like the fact that they moved calendar up so it can be researched earlier, and I always take advantage of that regardless of my civ. Also, it's probably a good idea to read up a little about each civ and when you pick one, I would stick with technologies that seem to fit their theme. I like themes so that's how I like to play. So for example, when I'm the Amurites, I focus on getting to Knowledge of the Ether quickly and then I just keep focusing on magic related techs. That's not to say that I ignore other tech lines, but they are not my priority.

As someone who also discovered this aspect of Civ not long ago, I certainly hope you get as much enjoyment out of it as I do and hopefully you won't become put off by the drastic differences in Civ and FfH.

I haven't played all the evil civs yet, but the Calabim are really fun if you want to really indulge in the evil civ route. I like to load them up with vampires, mages with death magic (for skeletons), the Baron (for werewolves), and of course acquire the Ashen Veil religion so I can bring about the end of the world by summoning Hyborem.
Personally, I much prefer Octopus Overlords to the Ashen Viel for the Calabim. As Calabim, you shouldn't really try to destroy the world, just conquer it. (Vamps are Lawful, not Chaotic, Evil) Following the AV will lead to the spread of hell terrain in your lands and will lead to events that may hurt you more than most civs (e.g., Blight is very bad for a civ so dependent on food). OO will also let you Build the Tower of Complacency, getting rid of all unhappiness in one city (since feeding causes unhappiness just like whipping, this is quite useful), and since a vampiric Hemah (OO hero) is the strongest magician possible. Hemah, 3 Archmages, and 3 liches (archmages who have used the Death II sorcery spell to become undead units, opening up more archmage slots) with law III plus the Tower will allow 8 cities where noone can ever complain about your constant feasts. I would avoid using death mana with them, since vampires already have access to death spells without it, and especially because of the diplomatic consequences.

The AV/raising AC counter/summon Hyborem strategy is really much better suited for the Sheaim. Any other choice doesn't make much sense for them. Their Planar gates give you free units, depending on the other buldings present in the city and on the AC. One type of these units (tar demon) actually depends on having a temple of the Veil in the city.

If I were you,I would hold off playing as the Balseraphs until version .25, or maybe even until shadow. Its not that there bad now, just that they are getting a whole lot better pretty soon. (I actually prefer to play them as a neutral civ, since Druids upgraded from their Harlequin UU know 2 extra spheres of magic. No other druids can summon powerful demons ;) )
One more pointer -- all the new things can be quite bewildering at first. But almost everything you need to know is in the Pedia. I use it ten times more often than the one for the standard game.
I started a game as Calabim on Noble, Continents, 9 Civs.
I'm doing all right, but I was wondering how you go about getting more happiness. Theres no equivalent of hereditary rule here.
I started a game as Calabim on Noble, Continents, 9 Civs.
I'm doing all right, but I was wondering how you go about getting more happiness. Theres no equivalent of hereditary rule here.

I find racing to Animal Husbandry to be able to subdue animals a great way to build early happiness. I do however play on very large maps so there are always lots of animals around...playing on smaller maps makes this less effective.
I have a very, very good advice for the true newbie to prepare for this mod (some even say it's a seperate game).

Try playing a regular civ game first, with:
- a low difficulty, no higher than prince max
- no slavery
- no chopping until the 1000BC at all
- raging barbs
- aggressive AI's
- no tech trading
- marathon speed
- may not adapt free religion
- standard or large map, pangaea

If you've won, then you're ready.

Magic... hmm... I usually don't worry too much about it, unless I'm Amurites. It's amazing how much destruction mages and firebows can cause (they don't see to have a lot of adapts running around either)...
I find it is always a good idea to scout around with your starting settler to get an awesome starting position. You want to find a wine/dye or gold river ideally with some floodplains thrown in for superfarms or one of the unique features.

The game still runs the regular civ4 script to find good starting positions, but in ffh2 a grassland river start with commerce resources is far superior to almost all other starts because research is so slow in the beginning and food is easy to come by.
You should send your Scout, Warrior, and Settler out in different directions looking for that good spot. If you see valuable resource to start with, you should send the Scout in advance of the Settler to see which of the surrounding plots would be the best starting position nearby.

BTW: You should hit Tribal Villages with the Scout rather than letting the Settler trigger them when the city is built. Don't do this with the Warrior, though, since the Settler does not get hostiles, but the Warrior might.
Advises from a "newby" like you:
(aka: list of mistakes I just did...)

1- The most important: it is Dungeon & Dragon role playing style. (Perhaps) The one you played on a board with friends during week end nights, years ago. It has the engine from Civ, it has the color from Civ, but it is not civ...
Do NOT approach this game as you would do with Civ and keep a fresh mind about it. Think of it as a "Heroes of Might and Magic XXVi" rather than a civ mod!

2- Do a clear choice from the start:
  • Spell or NO Spell? (VERY important as you will NOT go through the same tec tree)
  • Do you want to be EVIL, NEUTRAL or GOOD? According to this, some units/promotions/features/events will be triggered accordingly
  • Builder or Fighter? The promotion path is much deeper than in Civ...
  • Diplomacy or on-you-own? choose well your alignment (evil/neutral/evil), religion and so forth
  • last for by far not least: What Religious path do you want to have? It will have an impact on EVERY THING!!!
  • What kind of victory do you want? there are more options and pathes than in civ...
    ... and more ...

3- use the excellent mini-guide made by Nikis-Knight ( it is civ/leader oriented and tell you the fundamentals about who to choose (there is a link to a Word file at the end of his 1st post. for better printing/reference)

4- Do not try to be a tec master and learn everything in sequence like in classic Civ-BTS. Many discoveries are totally pointless to the civilizations

5- at the opposite of Civ, civilizations are REALLY different!! Units are really different!!! When you play civ, you have 1 special unit, 1 special building and that's it. Here, you have a full army of units and lods of buildings that are directly adapted to your civilization.

6- focus on 1 leader and 1 civilization! There soooooooooooooo many things to learn about each civilization, units, abilities and spells, and the information can be so complex and distributed into many places that if you try a "quick and dirty" approach you will be quickly submerged and lost...
The wiki is excellent ( I am like you: I use 10 times more the in-game civilopedia, but it has lots of limits. Ex: in my 1st game ever, I wanted to have fn with Dragons and went for the tec. Unfortunately I discovered too late (after finishing the game) that only 1 civ can built it!!! (Kuriotates. in-game help just say c'mon built it!!...)

7- Playing Monarch in FFH2 is easier that playing Monarch in Civ-BTS!! I played only 2 games (I told you I am a newby!) at monarch, and won both. In Civ-bts, I win 1 time out of 10 tries!!!

8- It is longer than a regular civ game!!! My first game took me something like 25 hours (I made also a lot of in-game readings...), and the second one took me 18 hours. At normal speed (large map). Simply because you need to discover and understand more things, and as each civ is different, it is long and difficult to coem up with a counter-strategy when you do not know your opponents...

9- be sure BEFORE starting a new game that you have the latest patch installed (, as it seems that many patches are breaking save games.

10- BE PATIENT. I repeat: BE PATIENT!!
It is a free mod (we pay nothing), it is a very ambitious project, it is designed by non-firaxis-pro by smart people who are willing to stay in front of their computer when their attractive sexy girl friends call them from bed... and there are bugs and imperfection. Everything might not work as expected (or as said) as everything is in beta, and the information gets very quikly obsolete as far as I can see.
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