[GS] Spain for Science

rgp151

Chieftain
Joined
May 2, 2022
Messages
68
You may have seen in some other threads that I have typically not liked mixing religion with non-religious strategies, but after some feedback I tried to integrate it more. I've long liked Spain, but used to not even use religion with them. I've since played through several games with them that integrate religion to great effect. In all of these games I've gone for Science victory. Here has been by approach and what worked really good for me. Overall I think Spain is defiantly top tier and with these recent changes to how I've been playing them, maybe my favorite civ now.

In terms of setup, I've played through a mix of Small and Standard sized maps and a mix of Continents and Pangea on a mix of Emperor, Immortal and 1 Deity.

The overall strategy centers around maximizing trade benefits. Spain's trade bonuses provide boosts to all of the most useful resources in the game: Gold, Faith and Production, allowing for significantly improved economic development. Importantly, the Spain bonuses apply to both domestic and international trade routes, making them much more flexible than many other trade bonuses.

For starters, going into the game, the early agenda is generally to quickly locate another continent, establish cities on the other continent, secure a religion, and establish trade routes ASAP. This does mean that you really do have a lot going on and some competing priorities in the early game. So in some ways, Spain's early game is a bit challenging, but at the same time, they also have some significant early advantages that can give them very strong starts.

I start generally with Scout > Slinger > Trader > Builder > Settler. Sometimes I've also gone Scout > Slinger > Settler > Trader > Builder, and even Scout > Builder > Trader > Settler. Of course goodie huts may lead to changes. Trader before Settler means that your first trader is not going to your own city. This works best when you find a City-State on another continent with a "Send Trader" quest.

So, whether you go early trader or not depends on if you find a good City-State on another continent.

It is very often the case with Spain that you will spawn very close to a new continent. I even found a new continent before I settled once. You can sometimes be near 2 new continents, which is really nice, allowing for more trading options, but by no means necessary.

Even if you don't find a new continent right away, Spain's trade bonus is still very good, but it will slow you down a bit if your first city is not on a new continent.

When your first trade route is to a new continent you can think about building Stonehenge in the capital. If you don't get a trade route to a new continent, plan not to build Stonehenge.

Obviously Stonehenge is not easy to get on Deity and I didn't go for it in the one Deity game I played, but I got it every time I went for it on Emperor and Immortal. Since you can get +3 Production on your first trader, this provides a significant boost that can make Stonehenge possible. I went for Stonehenge when I was able to get 4 Production on my first trader and other conditions were right.

In terms of Pantheons, this is tricky. What I've found is that your added production from trade reduces the relative benefit of Religious Settlements and Fertility Rites. Of course they are still good, but the choice is not so obvious. A lot depends on other parts of your opening situation and strategy. I also like City Patron Goddess and Divine Spark, and you could even go for Monument to the Gods if you plan to get Stonehenge, though I never took that since I don't go for any other early wonders.

Things just depend on how timing lines up. If it happens that things line up in such a way that getting that Settler from Religious Settlements is strategically helpful in terms of being able to establish your first Settlement on a new continent and be able to send your first trader to it, then it can be very helpful. Otherwise, I find that I can build Settlers very fast with Spain once that first trade route is established, so I may not pick it if I'm not able to really rush it super fast. So basically, if I have early sources of Faith I'm likely to pick Religious Settlements. If I get a later Pantheon I'm less likely to pick it if its available.

For the rest I'll just assume that your first new settlement is on a new continent.

If you don't build Stonehenge then you have a dilemma to deal with. What is your first district? The main issue is going to be the district limit. Now, the good thing about Spain is that I almost never build my Government Plaza in the Capital, instead I build it in a city settled on the new continent.

What I try to establish at first is 3 early cities that I'll build my opening districts in. What I like to open with is 2 Campuses, 2 Commercial Hubs, 1 Holy Site (whether you build Stonehenge or not) and 1 Govt Plaza. If I get Stonehenge then obviously I delay the Holy Site. Typically I end up with a Campus and Holy Site in the Capital to start, because it will generally get to 7 pop first to add the Com Hub.

In the settlements on foreign continents, start on districts right away unless you need to chop first to make a place for them, in which case Monument > Chop > District. Once my trio of cities trio is setup, then generally I prioritize Com Hubs or Harbors as the first district in every city.

With Ancestral Hall and the Spain bonus builder, you'll have an insane number of builders to work with as you settle out your other cities. I basically build those first three cities, then get the Ancestral Hall and then settle out to 7-10 cities before I take a break from settling.

I try to settle mostly on foreign continents, but not exclusively. I will generally have 2-4 cities on my home continent, which can also help make it easier to really optimize trade. If you luck into an easy 3 continent setup early on, then it may be good to have only one city on your home continent and the rest on the other two. But generally, its good to have multiple potential targets for traders, so some cities on both continents so that you can concentrate multiple traders in single cities.

In terms of governors, I like Magnus up to Provision, then Pingala with everything except Curator, and Reyna with Harbor Master and Contractor. Everything else is gravy.

I will try to build a second Holy Site eventually in some city, just so I'm not left with a single Holy Site, but generally, after establishing the religion I don't put much effort into the religion. Now, in terms of religion, this is what I go for and why I like playing Spain, because this doesn't require much investment in religion.

I favor taking Jesuit Education and World Church. You could also go for Choral Music and build out Holy Sites as well, and this does work once you get to the mid and late game, but I think Jesuit Education helps get a faster jump on the science lead. For me, I prioritize Commercial Hubs, Campuses, and Industrial Zones, so that often doesn't leave room for Holy Sites until its much later, which reduces the value of Choral Music.

So if you use a strategy of few Holy Sites, then you really only need to get your two starting beliefs and that's it. If you take Choral Music, then you will also want to get a religious building, so you'll need to Evangelize at least once, though I never do it twice, because its just not that beneficial when all you are doing is just keeping religion domestically.

The key with Spain is that you have little incentive to really spread your religion, because you get combat bonuses when fighting cities that follow a different religion than your own. So you're really best not to spread it if you plan on attacking, which I often do in the mid-game. The other good benefit of this is that you don't really need Apostles at all, except the first. I will sometimes make an Apostle to see what I get. If I get the option of 20% Religious Combat I'll take that and use him, otherwise I'll start an Inquisition. Generally, you want to make Inquisitors and use them to covert all of your own cities and defend against conversion.

All of your cities are going to have a Campus and a Commercial Hub and/or Harbor. If you get Jesuit Education its cheaper to buy Campus Buildings and it helps take some pressure off of your gold. You generate a lot of Faith from trade with Spain so its generally possible to buy every single Campus building if you get Jesuit Education. This helps quite a bit because you can get those Universities and Research Labs immediately when available.

Why World Church? Just a way to get more Culture, which is always good. If you go Jesuit Education then you will build Theaters Squares in the mid-late game for added Culture. If you go for Choral Music then obviously you won't, and you'll Evangelize for a religious building instead and build lots of Holy Sites.

Once you get your gold going, it can be worth it to buy Markets/Lighthouses and Traders to get those traders going ASAP. This depends a little on how productive the city is. Generally I will try to buy buildings in my least productive cities and make them in my most productive. The exception to this is when a productive city is building a Wonder or something. Build traders in your most productive cities when possible and then move them around.

I build lots of Industrial Zones and typically only get the Workshop if the city is covered by regional power. This is to help generate Great Engineer points.

As for Wonders I go for these, in no particular priority order:
Great Zimbabwe (+1 trade route)
Colossus (+1 trade route)
Colosseum (always good)
Forbidden City (always good)
Casa de Contratación (Amazing with Spain)
Big Ben (Of course)
Ruhr Valley (Very important)
University of Sankore (Can be really good sometimes)
Torre de Belém (Can be really good sometimes)
And of course Petra (A good desert city can be super powerful)

I never go for Oxford despite it being good because it so often gets stolen.

The most unique ones here for Spain I think are Casa de Contratación and Torre de Belém. These can be so, so good with Spain. There are other potently good Wonders that I just simply don't bother with. Torre de Belém isn't always worth it, it just sort of depends on how many and what types of buildings would be constructed, so it takes a bit of planning for. But I focus so much on domestic trade routes and like to move my routes around, I often don't maximize the trader bonus, but if you can build this at the right time, in the right city, it can be great.

In terms of Government I go Classical Republic > Merchant Republic > Communism > Democracy.

I have tried Theocracy after MR, and it can be worth it if you are doing a big military push, but generally I prefer to just stick with Merchant Republic. Its still worth researching Theocracy just for the policies if you plan to do much fighting, even if you don't switch to it.

I identify two cities that will be the ones I build Spaceports in. One is usually my Capital and one is on a foreign continent. Generally, I'll buy the Spaceport in the Capital with Reyna and build the one in the foreign city. I'll typically have Pingala in the city with the highest production and use that city to hard build projects, while in the other city I'll instantly complete projects with Great People.

The goal basically is to get up as many trade routes as possible as fast as possible. I generally opt for Domestic routes as they can still generate lots of gold with Spain and also a ton of production and food to help develop faster. I'll often be around 200 production in my two main cities when doing the Space Race. Spain's trade routes are just so powerful. What I like about them is that, unlike so many other bonuses, the trade routes let you move advantages around. So you can move production wherever you need it temporarily to get new cities started and complete wonders. This always helps a ton with Petra since those are typically weak cities until Petra is built.

Having that mix of gold and faith to use to buy stuff with is very powerful and can make Spain much more effective at buying buildings than you might think, when you take Jesuit Education. The most important buildings to buy IMO are of course Markets and Lighthouses, but also Universities, Research Campuses, Workshops, Factories and Power Plants and of course government buildings.

Once I get Apprenticeship I rush Industrialization, which also has the benefit of opening up all the water techs that help further colonize other continents. Then I'll typically go for Banking and a few others before pursuing Steel. I do generally go heavily on the economy, while trying to maintain a minimal military force. I'll keep a single unit of each type fully upgraded, or upgrade as needed for Eureka's, etc. Sometimes I'll go for a lot of melee units for Conquistadores and other times I'll go heavier on Knights or Horsemen, depending on the situation, or if I'm able to settle a lot and want to be more defensive, then mostly Archers.

But yeah, I find that Spain is just overall extremely good if you really focus on trade and are able to settle onto a foreign continent fairly quickly. Doesn't even have to be your first city, though that helps. Also, when you conquer cities on foreign continents you still get the free builder, so if you slot +2 charges before a conquest, you can really rack up a lot of builders by taking a few cities, in which you often also capture builders as well. So when you combine that with all of the other economic benefits you end up with a ton of resources and production. Given that, I will often build out my cities quickly and then put them onto city projects to get more GPPs, so it all kind of snowballs, resulting in getting a lot more GPs than you would think for a civ that has no specific bonus to GPPs, all of which helps to win the Space Race.

I haven't tried Spain for Cultural victory, but I imagine they would be good at that too with their production bonuses and the ability to move that production around as needed to get wonders. And the Faith for Rock Bands and Naturalists would be powerful too.

The trickiest part is the opening with the competing priorities of establishing a religion, getting trade going, and establishing campuses (and expanding of course).
 

rgp151

Chieftain
Joined
May 2, 2022
Messages
68
Just finished a Religious Victory game with Spain as well, winning in under 150 turns. I just don't see how any other civ could be better. Seems like Spain has the best of everything. I'd argue they have the best economy in the game, behind maybe only the Mali. On top of that they have a consistent military bonus that lasts throughout the game. They have an advantage in getting early religion (due to early increased production from trade). They have the strongest religious units. They generate faith like no one else can, at essentially no cost, so you can get it even if you never build a Holy Site. And their UU is off the chain good, arguably one of the best UUs in the game. A +10 Musketman, which is actually +15, is very powerful indeed.

So from essentially the Classical Era on you'll have +5 to all military and religious units, and you generate tons of Faith, Gold and Production, and you get a free builder in your Settlements and 25% discount on districts (if on another Continent). So essentially, the only issue is that if you aren't able to find another continent until the late game then you'll be set back economically, but even if that's the case, the trade bonuses are still very good. The trade bonuses make Spain arguably the best at building Wonders and doing the Space Race, and they are good at Domination. No other Domination oriented civ has such a good economy, making Spain able to win at Domination because they have the economic engine to drive at better than anyone else. Still maybe Macedonia is better at Domination due to World's end and Hellenistic Fusion.

They are easily better than Germany. Spain's economy comes on line much faster than just about anyone else (except maybe Cree) and they have the fewest conditions on their advantages or at least ones that are the easiest to control. Their trade benefits work for both foreign and domestic trade routes, and you can manage your religion for bonuses as needed. And I rarely run into the district cap with Spain due to the extensive domestic trading that helps to grow cities quickly anyway. By the late game the district limit never comes into play. The district limit of Germany is really overrated, because fast growing civs don't hit the limits anyway. It really only matters in the early/mid game, when you are going for those pop 7 and 10 districts. And Hansas are nothing compared to Spain's trade.
 

Linklite

Emperor
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Sep 2, 2019
Messages
1,536
What were their old bonuses? I remember they were very meh until they revamped them in an update .
 
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No mention of the Mission here? Imo the best unique improvement in the game, as long as it's built on a different continent.
Gives +1 food and +1 production, already making it a flexible option compared to mines/lumber mills (+2 production), in that you can plonk it down even on plains and still grow.
Flatland or hills, plains, tundra or desert, it doesnt matter, all is good real estate for the Mission.
Then add in +2 faith on top of that.
Then add in extra +1 science from an adjacent holy site or campus.
Then add in +2 science after you get Conservation.
Ridiculous, yes?
Well, just to break things completely, add in another +2 loyalty if built next to the city.

This UI is so ridiculous that I basically spam it on every available tile, which is something I never do with the UIs of other civs.
With it (and Spain's trade yields), you'll have all the base yields and faith in the world to abuse the faith economy even more, making something like Jesuit Education a top pick.
Who needs mines, lumber mills or farms, when you can get all your wordly needs met from this single improvement?
 
Joined
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I'll add though, the religious opener on Deity is very different from Emperor.
You basically need to go Holy Site immediately (preferably from two cities), because there is no guarantee that you pick up a religion otherwise.
Even if the Great Prophet points show that hardly anyone is currently going for a religion, that can change within just a handful of turns.
The last thing you want is to be stuck at 10% GPP progression with 1-2 GPP per turn, while 5 other AIs are now suddenly coasting along at 5-6 GPP a turn.
Might even have to be ready to swap to holy site prayers at a moment's notice if needed.
 

rgp151

Chieftain
Joined
May 2, 2022
Messages
68
True, you do need to get the Holy Site right way and multiples. When I did the religious victory I build 3 Holy Sites as my three first districts, which helped a lot. I think I got the second religion, on Immortal. And again, the trader helped. I think I purchased a trader in that game. I was able to put my first two settlements on another continent and I also used religious Settlements, so yeah, I kind of had it all going, but still, Spain is able to take advantage of that like almost no one else can.

When you compare to Korea or Russia with their UBs, Spain has a 25% district discount on ALL districts (on other continents) and you get a free builder to chop them out, and you get massive trade bonuses to help build them. So its much better than a single UB. True, if on your own continent its not spectacular, but even still the trade bonuses are very good.

As for the Mission, I build them only in the best conditions, I don't spam them. I think the Cree's UI is better and a few others, but yeah, it is good. I was able to put one between two Campuses and Wonder one time, for some really good yields. I also love them on Petra cities, since they work on flat land.

But yeah, I think the two most abusable aspects of the game are traders and city-states, so any civ with bonuses to those can be really powerful.
 

GalleySlave

Chieftain
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
45
I dunno, spamming Missions works for me...

Petra.png StBasils.png
 

rgp151

Chieftain
Joined
May 2, 2022
Messages
68
How is that generating so much science? I thought it only made science next to campuses and holy sites?
 
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How is that generating so much science? I thought it only made science next to campuses and holy sites?

As I wrote above, it adds another +2 science to all missions after reaching Conservation.
You can literally fuel your science and faith income from that improvement alone, as long as you spam it.
Missions are imbalanced as all hell, you hardly need any other improvement when you can get so much value out of it.
(And mind you, I consider the baseline +1 food/+1 production to be a decent improvement by itself. Add in all the faith, science and loyalty on top and it just becomes dumb).
 

UWHabs

Deity
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Oct 10, 2008
Messages
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The +2 science late in the culture tree I don't think is that big. Yeah, I mean since you're spamming them, it's a nice late game boost, sure, but their power comes earlier.

I do think they made them too good that at the very least they need to be a "cannot be built next to each other" improvement like many others are. They're arguably good enough that they could be a "one per city" improvement - I mean, put it in a holy site/campus "triangle" on another continent and it's a +1 food/+1 production/+4 faith/+2 science tile, even adding some bonus loyalty and more science later or with even better placement.

I mean, you could severely handicap it so that the food and production only applied if it was next to a city centre and also limit it to 1 per city, and arguably it's still a must-build for every city. Or you limit it to only be able to be built next to a campus or holy site, that would still be a great improvement. Even the non-continent version can easily still be worth building if you have 1-2 districts around it as a +2 faith/+2 science tile improvement is still pretty solid until the mid-game to get yields from nothing.
 
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