1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Pete's guide to Emporer level domination wins.

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by Pete2006, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. Pete2006

    Pete2006 Chieftain

    Feb 18, 2006
    I'm starting to win on Emporer pretty regularly so I thought I'd post this. I've played standard maps and won but I find small maps more enjoyable since the game can be finished faster.

    1. Civ Choice

    I usually choose a Financial civ that starts with mining so I can research BW immediately to chop and find copper. This means I play with Catherine, Victoria or Mansa Musa. My favorite is Victoria since the expansive trait is so nice in high level play. Industrious is weak since only a couple wonders are necessary and you only need to build one or two. GW is great in the latter parts of the game but since he lacks mining and mysticism, that's at least one extra tech you need right off the bat to chop and expand borders. Catherine has mining and doesn't need myst so that's quite a starting advantage.

    2. Starting position.

    If you are new to Emporer, there is no shame in regenerating your map to get a good spot. It doesn't always work for the best though. I've had a two gold, two crab start but my next 5 cities were near or in ice. Gold/gems + a food resource is the best starting position.

    3. Opening Sequence

    First techs researched should be BW - Wheel - Masonry/Mysticism - Animal Husbandry/Pottery - Writing then depending on your situation IW/Alphabet/Math. Alphabet if you need to immediately trade for the worker/religious techs you skipped. IW to mine the jungle covered gems or math if everything is going great and you want currency to finance your expansion.

    4. Initial Cities

    Use your initial guy to pop some huts and scout your first 2-3 settler sites. Do not let him wander and get killed. You need him for barb protection. -2g means you need cash infusion immediately. Look for sites that can pay for themselves. Do not plop your settler down in jungle if you can get a river somewhere else. Conquer that beautiful jungle area later after you have IW. You want 1. food. 2. gems/gold/ivory/furs/silver 3. metal/horses. (Ex. City 2 with fish + gold and City 3 with wheat + copper) A gold mine with no food source really sucks because you won't be able to work it.

    If you get boxed in and can only build 1-2 cities then immediately change strategies and go to war or the game will be lost.

    5. Initial Build Sequence

    Worker - Settler - Settlerr. New city builds Worker first. Chop the settlers. Do not overbuild unless you have gems/gold/silver and enough food to work them. 10% research has never worked for me. Build new cities close to home to save on maintenance costs. Do not build 12 squares away to get the stone. It isn't worth it and another AI will settle 3 turns before your settler gets there anyway. If barbs are an issue, build warriors before workers in your new cities.

    6. Initial worker actions.

    Build roads. If your cities are all on the same river (never happens) then you automatically get trade routes. Otherwise, you must build them. Build them to bring your science back up 10%. Hook up your food and resources and build cottages on all grassland/flood plains.

    7. Initial Wonders

    If you do not choose Catherine, you're going to need culture. You need Stonehenge. Plus, it only costs 3 chops. Very cheap. Nothing is worse than Hatty or Cyrus building 3 squares away and stealing your cows/copper. Build Stonehenge in a city close to an AI city so you can culture steal their land and make later invasion easier. Stonehenge should be complete around 1500 BC or AI will get it. Then if you have Stone or enough forest, build Pyramids for Representation. Otherwise, skip it and try to get it later by conquest. Later use the GE from the Pyramids to rush the Great Library. No other wonders necessary.

    8. Early Religion

    If you research Math - Currency - COL, 5 out of 10 times, you'll end up founding Confucianism. Do not convert. The rest of the world will be hindu/jewish/buddha. Do not make enemies. +1 happy isn't worth getting killed. Org religion is very nice but you can switch over later but not with your founded religion. Do not convert (in the early game) to anything unless Isabella or Monty is nearby and you are unprepared for a very early attack. You can still build the Confucian shrine and spread the religion for the money but I rather conquer shrines and focus my hammers on military.

    9. Early Research Trading.

    If you missed out on the pyramids then trade for Monarchy for hereditary rule. Trade for Calender if you have calender resources nearby. Victoria + Pyramids + Calender = multiple early pop 10 cities and practically seals the victory. Most AI will not have currency or COL before you. Get currency before your first prolonged war. Be researching CoL during your first attack. Waiting just allows the AI to catch up to you or leapfrog you to feudalism. Attack while they only have archers or archers + spears.

    10. Pick your first opponent. Know thy enemy.

    Your first war is really just a skirmish for 1-2 cities. Get open borders and scout them before attacking. See what they have defending their border cities. Chariots or axes are good enough for the first city. You can build Swords if they only have archers/spears. Otherwise, axes are probably the best choice. Expect to lose 1/2 your invasion force. You must attack a neighbor because cities too far away will kill your economy. Who to attack?

    I like to attack financial or aggressive civs first. These types have the ability to beat you and should be eliminated while you are on equal tech footing. Monty with a tech lead or parity in the mid - late is hard to beat. Other considerations are who can you attack without making other AI enemies. Get peace after the first war then build replacements and go for the kill. Some civs are dumb enough to agree to open borders after you've already attacked (Egypt will love you until they are exterminated). Keep scouting.

    Non aggressive civs will usually only have a handful of defenders per city and no roaming units. Monty/Khan/Capac will have units attack you before you even get to their cities.

    11. New cities

    Build Courthouse - Forge - Library in new cities. Do not switch into builder mode after your first victory. They will want revenge. Keep building units and war until you finish them off (2nd attack phase usually requires cats) or at least until you take the cities worth taking. They'll be furious the next 2000 years but most will never research past CoL and will never be a threat again.

    12. Mid game research

    Get Literature for the Great Library and rush it with your Pyramids GE or build it (in your GP farm). Research bureaucracy - Machinery for macemen. Use bureaucracy and build Heroic epic in your capital. Research Guilds - Banks and then beeline (open the tech tree and click on Riflery or Military Tradition) to your UU be it Riflemen or Cossacks. These will allow you to eliminate the tech leader when behind or even on tech. Make some trades. Never trade military techs unless they are out of date. Focus on researching military techs.

    13. Mid game war

    If you aren't strong enough to take on the leader now, take out the rest of your rivals with macemen + cats. (Check the Info screen to see how you match up on production, GNP and troops) Be sure to vary your attack force and throw in some elephants/pikes/knights to defend your attacking stack. You will be taking cities with the macemen and cats so focus on them. Throw in a medical explorer. If the tech leader is Monty/Khan or other aggressive, you're in for a tough end game. Try to stay on decent terms with them until it's time to eliminate them.

    14. Mid game building

    Build banks in all your commerce cities. Build harbors in your coastal cities. You get Education about the same time as Rifles/Cavalry so I usually skip the Universities as I need all production focused on military towards the end. Science will usually be around 60-70% unless I am blessed with great land or have stolen some nice shrines and then it'll be 80-90%

    15. Mid game workers and cities

    I usually automate the workers around this time. Too tedious to tend to everything after you have 30-50% landmass. I like to finish my games in one sitting. You should have done most of the work already so as long as you have production cities with lots of farms/mines and commerce cities with grassland cottages, you should be fine. Be sure to build the Forbidden Palace in the middle of your new land. It will raise your science bar at least 10%.

    16. End game research

    Beeline for your UU. You should get Redcoats around 1000-1100 AD. Then beeline for Democracy. Switch to Emancipation during your end game war. Unhappiness will cripple the AI and the AI never researches Democracy before you unless you are very behind them. If this happens, switch to Space Race mode. You'll probably lose anyway but if you can raze 1-2 of their production cities, you'll have a chance. Pure peace/Space Race is usually a loser unless you have the tech/production advantage but if you have the advantage you wouldn't be building the ship. Only other way is to have friends you can bribe into a war and if you've been following my guide, there's no one left.

    16. End game war

    If you weren't the tech leader then your final opponent will have rifles and cavalry slightly before you or around the same time. If you chose Catherine or England, this is not a problem. Cossacks v. Cavalry = ~90% win ratio. Recoats v. Rifles or cavalry = ~75% win ratio. An end game against Mansa is a breeze because he may be up in tech but he doesn't build an army. Amass troops and go for the kill. Monty/Huana is different. They will have a troop advantage. I have won games where my army was listed as 500,000 and Monty was rate 850,000. I still won. The key is winning 5-1 or better and that is very doable.

    You must declare war first so the war is fought on your terms. Usually they have a very profitable buddha/hindu shrine. If that city is close, take that one first. If the culture is too strong then raze it and get peace quickly. It will seriously cripple his economy. Put 5-7 rifles in your border cities and keep 5 or so in your capital in case of a sneak attack. Do not pillage. You do not want your guys out in the open.

    The AI will slam your border cities with troops. Let them attack you. Let them pillage. They're border cities, they suck anyway. After their units are injured, finish them off but leave the last catapult in the stack so your units do leave the safety of the city. After you fight off the first and second waves, dangle a worker out in the field. They will send in a lone cavalry or rifle to take your worker. Then take out their rifle with your cossack and move back into the city. Repeat. Eventually you will lead the troop category or at least be even. When this happens you can attack with impunity. They will keep 95% of their troops in cities on defense. Go on a rampage. Turn your culture up as high as you can afford to seal the domination win. You should get a victory around 1100 to 1300 AD.

    17. Slam your flag into the ground and watch the world turn red.


    Diplomacy - The key to the military win is to fight wars on your terms. Always be the attacker, never the attackee. This is accomplished by being strong and making friends. Except for morons like Alex, civs will not attack you if you have a high % land/pop, share a religion or a military tech advantage. Share a religion with the civ you fear. Give them tribute whenever they ask. Just be sure to cancel the one way Gold trade after 10 turns. Stay on the warpath and you will only have 1-2 civs to fear and one will be an enemy of the other. Turn one against the other and profit.

    You can bribe Alex to attack his “friend” Monty. Then wait 5 turns and back stab Alex. Alex will hate you but your relations with Monty will go up. (-1 war ally, +4 mutual enemy). You can take Alex's established cities which are immediately profitable while Alex pillages and razes Monty's cities. Both enemies get weak and you win.

    Pyramids – If you lose out on the pyramids and they are built on the other side of the world, don't quit the game. Use hereditary rule for the +happiness. It is very satisfying to miss out on them and still win. It's much, much harder but it can be done.
  2. Lecce

    Lecce Chieftain

    Feb 15, 2006
    Ingolstadt, Germany
    As I´m struggling to make the step from monarch to emperor this was a welcome read for me. Thanks Pete2006. Will check out tomorrow if your strategy works. I´m really doing well on monarch but the step to emp. kills me, especially the -2 gold per turn at the beginning. Seems to me on emp. you have to be a lot more aggresive than on monarch, some of my monarch games where a joke ( no war --> easy cultural vic.)
  3. luckynick

    luckynick Chieftain

    Feb 15, 2006
    i find it very strange that you get COL before AI on emperor. Usualy if you don't build oracle, an AI (most time industrious or/and having marble) will build it and slingshot COL using oracle free tech.
  4. Eleventhtower

    Eleventhtower Chieftain

    Nov 14, 2005
    Thanks for the Post, Pete. I always find it interesting to read detailed strategy threads.
  5. Pete2006

    Pete2006 Chieftain

    Feb 18, 2006

    Yeah, that's why it only works out around half the time. Doesn't matter either way since converting will make winning much more difficult.
  6. Pete2006

    Pete2006 Chieftain

    Feb 18, 2006
  7. luckynick

    luckynick Chieftain

    Feb 15, 2006

    of course it is :lol:
    AI definetly hates pagans (pagans for them i mean) ;)
    Anyway 5 out of 10 time do not mean 5/10 games. As you said, you would research math/currency/col after writting, only if you don't need alphabet or IW for reasons you previously exposed.

    i disagree. A city size 1 working immediatly a mined hill with gold is definetly worth it IF its upkeep cost is low (2nd or thrid planted city and close to your cap). What's the problem if it wont grow at first ? nothing, because as you said you will either be building worker or military units.
    Which is wrong is to plant a city far away from cap to grab gold for happiness and not having any good food tile workable.

    True for wannabee commerce cities, false for pure prod/GPfarm ones.

    +2 health at emperor level or above isn't worth losing other better traits. If you manage to get a good gpfarm site early then liz is far better than vic. Anyway Cath stay as excellent as she was, i would go for her as default choice, avoiding stonehenge mean mor wood for pyramids/worker/settlers.
  8. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

    Feb 12, 2006
    Doh i was bulding cottages on my GP farms :eek: you live and learn.
  9. KayEss

    KayEss Gone to the dogs

    Feb 1, 2004
    Not necessarily bad. If your next best food tile can't be irrigated to give more food why not put a cottage there if you have spare workers? The thing is you have to be a bit flexible. I suspect that a cottage when your city cannot grow because of happiness constraints is much better than somebody who eats but doesn't produce.

    Don't just cut something off because a city is meant to be one thing. It can be that one thing whilst still doing something else from time to time. In this game it isn't all black and white.
  10. Pete2006

    Pete2006 Chieftain

    Feb 18, 2006
    I'm playing a Catherine game today and the top AI was Washington. Towards midgame, he's got 250 GNP while I'm rated 125 or so. I'm far and away the land and pop leader since I elimated Japan and Mongolia. However, since I'm skipping a lot of commerce and research techs, I've gotten to Cossacks before he even researched Nationalism or Rifles. GW may have Universities and Observatories but he has nothing to defend it with.

    The point is that you're going to be behind in tech in the mid and later part of the game unless you just have perfect land or started next to Spain and India and took their shrines.

    Focus on military techs and you will have the upper hand on military which, obviously, is key to a domination win.
  11. Tauro

    Tauro Chieftain

    Nov 20, 2005
    This strategy didn't work for me.
    I choosed kathy, ice age, small map, wide continents.
    I spawned alone in a medium sized continent, with some good island close to galley range.
    I researched BW and suddenly I didn't found bronze
    No enemy, no bronze...
    I cleared all the fog with ten warriors, built pyramids, met in the other continent first Khan, then saladin, finally Little Giulius. Washington disappeared soon, as a result of a good sandwich between the arabians and romans (before 700 AD...LOL)
    I had two gems, two ivory and one gold, and low sea food.
    To cut the story: I built ten wonders and won by space race in 1930, starting to build the apollo program in 1700.
    Even if I was way the worst defended nobody attacked me, I've lost two warriors and one scout in the whole game from barbarians.
    I followed this strategy till GL, then I beelined for economy and science.
    first in liberalism, economy,phisic. I lost confucianis for four turns.
    I had 14 cities and a huge science advantage till 1600.
    I had a very great.....@ss :)
    Anyway I think that this strat is fine for pangea, on island is crucial the great lighthouse plus pyramids plus great library
    P.S. After byology giulis and saladin (khan said good bye in 1600 smashed by me and the romans) were over over over over powered in science. They ended four/five tech ahead despite of their GNP. Mine was about 550, their 330 and 300...... pure cheating :)
  12. Dick Fosbury

    Dick Fosbury Chieftain

    Dec 16, 2005
    San Francisco
    Thanks for the tips, I'm through playing Monarch.
  13. Pete2006

    Pete2006 Chieftain

    Feb 18, 2006
    Sounds like you didn't follow the plan.
  14. Tauro

    Tauro Chieftain

    Nov 20, 2005
    No, I did :)
    I had stone in my capital (what a temptation ;) )
    I was alone on an island with no production cities at all! My second and third cities (size 7/8 in 1300) were able to build cossack only in 12/13 turns, even with mines and forges
    The opponents got feudalism all in the first century AD
    I had no shrines (beated for four turns)
    No conquered cities=no gold: for every city settled (ten, a record for me) I had to build courthouse, and despite of the map there weren't more treese.
    My exact tech path after literature:
    liberalism --> nationalism
    military tradition (1300 AD)
    At that point the only good opponent was khan, seven cities and longbows.
    I started to build cavalry in three cities (moscow thay mahal) but I was able to start attacking only in 1600 with only 6/7 cossacks.
    They crushed four cities well defended (LOL) in three different island in less than 12 turns ( I had circumnavigated the glod and got a free square move)
    I've lost one city from saladin culture, got another city from him for the same reason, but my war ended soon: in 1650 he had infantry and giulius was the first in military and quite far from me.
    At that is moment I was the only player with:
    Giulius and saladin had railroad for sure, and after I discover that saladin had missilistic too...
    I had no chance, so I tried with the Kremlin rush and I did well.
    I kept a defensice pact with saladin from 1700 to the end, with giulius cautious.
    This was probably the reason that saved me.
    I finished second in score with Giulius 50 points behind me and saladin 600 points far.
    BTW my army was 1/5 of Caesar.
  15. TrailblazingScot

    TrailblazingScot I was kittenOFchaos

    Jan 6, 2001
    Brighouse, England
    This strategy thing isn't going to work as well after the patch :D

    The only key thing noted is to attack a neighbour civ if possible early on and make a grab for their cities and land. However, what will screw you on Emperor is if your neighbours get particularly strong or you have some massive civ no-where near you. That will be the Civ that either comes to own you later on or is hammering you in the tech race.

    As with all Civ games, it is getting big enough to have the units to kick the AI's ass. Too small a civilization and you won't achieve, so you've got to be aggressive to get the lands you need to win the game later.

    Another point to make is religion is in my view key. It can provide so much cash, viewable enemy cities and extra buildings to generate cash, tech and culture - a major reason why a civilization starting with mystism is well worth having to get to a religion straight off (very possible to beat the A.I to it). MOST importantly is that you can get another civilization adopting your religion as their own...makes for a near certain ally for life which is all to the good. At present in my Emperor game the Mongols (largest civ) are my buddies, defensive pact and all and have been great to me all game simply as they are buddists too and we buddists stick together, right?

    In terms of the Wonder strategy early on Stonehenge is well worth it, the Pyramids are not (they cost a bomb early on and representation isn't that good as compared to HR off Monarchy). Completely agree with getting the Great Library as that Wonder is brilliant and seemingly overlooked by the AI and most online players - it is one I'm rarely if ever without.
  16. Pete2006

    Pete2006 Chieftain

    Feb 18, 2006
    I agree this is probably a poor strategy for an archip or other island start. It works best on Pangea or Continents (so long as you aren't isolated). Early war is very important.

    However, religion is not key at all. Let the AI spread the religion and then take their shrine. Less work. Nice payoff. Only convert if necessary to appease a strong AI.

    Pyramids v. Monarchy depends on the map delt. It can go either way but pyramids guarantees the GL so I think it is worth it.
  17. akots

    akots Poet

    Aug 5, 2003
    Moscow-Houston, Russia-USA
    Actualy, for warmongering, Drama is certainly better on Emperor level. No need to keep a bunch of units, just build a cheap theater improvement and you can compensate for any strength of war weariness.

    With Continents/Archipelago map, you might need to get to Drama as soon as reasonably possible, probably immediately after CoL/Alphabet or may be go visit into Civil Service first.

    Wonders are pretty much useless imho in general and Religions are always rather useless. Both of these things are a neat and funny feature in the game but you don't need them to win.

    The only things that are needed are units, the more the better. And workers to chop courthouses and build cottages. Whereas on Monarch and below, it is quite possible to win by Domination without building a single cottage, on Emperor and above, cottages should be built both because more income is needed and because city growth is slow more depending on supply of health resources and luxuries than on actualy growth due to farming.

    Otherwise, the stages of the game, as noted by Pete, are very clear-cut and priorities on each stage are set very nicely.

    @Pete :goodjob:
  18. fengertao

    fengertao Chieftain

    Feb 27, 2006
    I have 2 question:
    (1) Do you have guide for map larger than standard? In stardard map there are 6 rivals. warmonger strategy can weaken or elimate 1 rival each age (with the cost you have fewer building and bypass non-military tech), so in modern age or early you are the only strong nation. But if you have more than 10 rivals, in the modern age, you will find you are fall far behind some rivals.
    (2)I'm a monarchy player, I always a tech leader in the beginning. In the mid age, I have 3 or more tech ahead of the 1st AI. But the AI exchange technology too frequently, they catch up me in the industrial age, and excess me 2 or more tech in the modern age. I have to exchange my unique tech with AI non-unique tech(it's very hard to exchange AI unique tech), normally I should pay about 1.5 beaker for 1 breaker, then AI than exchange my tech to other AI, which make all AI catchup me more quick.
    How does you keep your tech leader position if you cannot get a early victory?
  19. Pete2006

    Pete2006 Chieftain

    Feb 18, 2006

    I rarely bother to research Drama but I'll have to give it a try. I don't have much war weariness problems since I usually control a large part of the map and have many +happy resources by mid game.

    I've won a huge map before and it wasn't by domination. Too tedious and repetitive so I never go larger than standard now. I got a 1700 space race win. It may have been Monarch level though. I think this strategy will work but you'll need to settle a lot of extra cities in the beginning. Then it just plays out on a larger scale.

    I think you misunderstood my guide or perhaps I wasn't clear. I am rarely the tech leader mid to late game. Unless I can eliminate all the financial leaders early, I am usually 3-4 techs behind the leader. The Ai researches tons of unnecessary tech that you can skip. The priority is to be the MILITARY tech leader. I've had the AI get Gunpowder before me but then skip Chemistry and go for Liberalism. I do not. I hit Chemistry, upgrade my City Raider 2/3 maces to grenadiers and take half the world. I think the AI skips Chemistry because it prefers to upgrade their defenders with rifles so that gives you a good opending. City raider 2/3 grenadiers v. Longbows = 99% win.

    If you are on equal military tech footing then you can still win with Cossacks or Redcoats. Also, if you are England you can trade for Nationalism and draft Redcoats. Unstoppable.

    My last game was with Qin and since I built too many wonders - taking advantag of his IND trait - I was 6-8 techs behind tech leader GW but I had Grenadiers before he had them so I won. That's why you never trade military techs.
  20. luckynick

    luckynick Chieftain

    Feb 15, 2006
    some points about emperor and more general ones :

    in emperor games, you need at least twice the amount of gold prod of your next competitor to stay slightly ahead in tech.

    game speed have great impact on gamestyle. The slower the pace, the easier it will be to win by war.

    Try to settle your firsts cities in the cheesy circle and get some more by conquest.

    Sometime it's best to settle right on a strategic ressource like copper/iron, to make it unpillageable unless oppponent take your city.

    In normal speed or quicker games, pumping out settler super fast early on is a key to victory. the over one is to ensure you have at least 2 super haevy production cities and 2 secondary ones so you will be able to pump out those expensive spacepart faster than AI. Rest of cities are commerce ones.
    Also make sure your opponent have NO WAY enough super prod cities and use spies if possible to cut of alu or copper. this is for spacewin

    Regarding leader trait, try to emphasis on their best powers. Of course financial rocks but many leaders have it, let's talk about.
    Qin : if you happen to lose pyramids AND GL race, restart, anyway you can make your way without stonehenge but try to get it if you can (mean if it won't risking pyramids lost) try to get metal casting asap to get those cheap forge

    Cath : nothing to say about her, all is known, search the various post.

    mansa : spiritual is very strong on marathon since anarchy last longer. Try to get a religion from a neibourgh as fast as possible.

    liz : you MUST have a GP farm with her and you want to AVOID nationnal epic so you can put a far better nationnal wonder beside your globe T (like oxford or wall street), excellent coastal starter as vic but vic really become stronger mid to late game or if you have mucha floodplain or jungles.

    talk about nonminer :

    GW : this one is a real challenge as he's fairly weak at the beginning, no hunting for fast archery no mining, the key is to expend extremely quick city wise and people wise, try to settle cheesy circle and let your cities grow as fast as you can (but not by skipping worker/settlers), emphasis on food first to grow quicker. techs you need as fast as possible are sailling and most important CoL. Once you pass the early and mid phase relatively untouched (work on diplmoacie to avoid getting stomped) you will end the strongest period as orga/fin is the best gold combo. Note that the more coastals site you have the more esay it will be.

    Capac : first, forget about religion, maybe if you settle on riverside wine with immediatly workable oasis you can try it otherwise you will fail beleive me.
    Second, do not buid a worker first unless you have corn or rice to farm rigth away, prefer pumping 2 additionnal queshua for scouting and animal pexing.
    If you manage to find an ennemy capital within 12-14 tiles from your own then you will be able to queshua rush it. 10 turn before having BW steal a worker to ennemy (your cap is building barrack), escort back the slave to home then chop a second worker then barrack then prepare a pack of 6 queshua with cover, gather, go to ennemy cap, pick it up, pick the second city, raze the other, one down, garrison your zergling and go for infrastructure now.

    edit : wrong about early religion with a mysticism starter, if you manage to get gold/silver/gem/oasis along with a good food til you can found a religion, but at the expense of additionnals turns to get BW

Share This Page