[BNW] The "Getting Tributes from Deity AI" Strategy PART 1

Thanks for the comments!

This is very important to know since you obviously don't need to wipe out an AI to benefit the most. Most likely you will take their cap and sue for peace.

Yes, in fact, I find that it's a good way to get something out from an AI who is far away and untouchable, and also from an AI that is strong (he can even be runaway). I would say that this is the main strenght of this strat, the ability to get something where normally there would be nothing to be gained. Keeping crippled civs around as "vassals" in order to get something out of them is always something I'd do. Sometimes I take them out just to nullify their voting rights to the World Congress, the less civs there are, the easier it is for you to pass your own stuff.

I'm talking here about a more aggressive approach then the guide here does. I like this guide a lot. I would like to see you upload some videos with this guide in mind.

A more aggressive approach could lead to even better results, but I noticed that I tend to become tech leader much faster when I try to go along with smaller army. The point from which I usually start a serious army is after rushing Radio for Freedom (voluntary army). For this it can be worthwhile to save a Writer for bulbing into the policy after the first 2 policies are taken, to ensure I can get the army as soon as possible, but a better way is to try to "time" the Policy just to be taken at least 1 turn later after Radio.

Of course many things depend on the particular conditions in that game. But in any conditions, I find that offfensively, pre-Modern Era units tend to be too vulnerable to City Attacks, particularly from the Tradition (Oligarchy) ones. For this reason, if there are 2 neighbours and only one has Tradition, I try to attack the one without it. Later units don't suffer as much from this problem because by then they have enough bonuses (promotions, great general, and better ratio of strenght with the cities). Defensively however, pre-Modern Era units tend to be highly effective, with even Scouts with Survivalism 2 easily defending from pikemen and being able to take 1 shot from muskets while in forts. All this means that Defense is super cheap while offense requires investment (upgrades costs gold, army costs hammers). Not to be misunderstood, I am sure and aware that one could just pump crossbowmen and clear the whole map, especially with China or England on a non-huge size pangaea map, but it's not really my style, because I play mostly Huge size games and on Huge, an AI from far away will get Bombers in time to nullify the crossbowmen. And upgrading to gatling guns costs too much gold, and loses 1 range...
Hopefully I will be able to make a video with a full game, by this summer.
Just an observation on the possibility of using a "lite" version of this strategy: my latest game was a Domination Victory (Deity) on a Standard Continents map, Standard speed, using peddroelm's Honor-Commerce-Autocracy strategy, and one of the features of this is that you can have a negative gpt (even into the hundreds) and still be earning tons of gold because the Honor finisher gives you gold per kill. So for quite a long time in this game I wasn't able to extract any tribute from the AI because I was running at around minus 50-60 gpt. So I got peace offers with all sorts except gold. But I hope to be able to try the strategy at some time. I just find Honor-Commerce-Autocracy so appealing, though. The last AI I had to deal with in this game was Montezuma, who had over 30 cities, with his own capital and a captured one in the middle of his continent (not the one I spawned on). In this sort of situation Honor-Commerce-Autocracy really shines, I feel. Upgrading units for 30 gold and buying new ones with multiple promotions every turn has a snowball effect. Combine that with Armour units being able to ignore Zone of Control and Clausewitz for the final fifty turns, and it was relatively easy to take the last three capitals. Mind you, it took a VERY long time to reach the final snowball on the other continent. There was a lot of happiness pressure from other ideologies and it took a while to weather that and prepare for the final push. Anyway, I shall see if I can include parts of the tribute strategy when I next play. Cheers!
Yes,I know that it's possible to play with negative GPT while at war, especially with Full Honor, or from pillaging.
I would like to underline one aspect about this. In these situations where normally our civilization has negative gold income, sometimes we can still make our gold per turn positive by using "Wealth production" and working gold tiles. We don't have to end the turn with this setup, but just have it in place during deals in order for it to be taken into account by an AI. Our real setup doesn't matter for the purposes of peace-making deals, just the potential that we have to produce gold per turn.
In this example that you mentioned, I assume that those 50-60 negative GPT is with the normal setup in the cities, i.e. no wealth production and no gold focus - usually it's easy to get positive "fake" gold per turn when you have Guilds technology discovered. Before being able to set cities on Wealth, it's indeed hard to get artificial gold per turn. I think Wine, Incense and Ivory are luxuries that can be used for this purpose, as they normally don't have enough food to be worth working in the early game.
@Tiberiu Good point. I will try to remember that. I'm just not used to thinking that way, and I find it hard to adapt.

Yea, the downside of this is that especially in big games and with a very high number of cities, the time required to do all this micromanagement can skyrocket and make the whole game a bit tedious. For example it becomes quite annoying to micromanage all the cities at the start of the turn for the gold producing setup. - For example to "buy" hard cash using "gold per turn" from a Civ, and then reverse the whole process again in all the cities. Can make the turn times increase very much. I admit it's not the most exciting way to play. I am a slow civ player myself, I like to think out my turns, and to try to get the best outcomes, so I go along with it. Thankfully, the game discourages the foundation of many cities, so this helps with the level of micromanagement needed. :lol:

I forgot to mention another thing that might be of use sometimes with this "wealth" tricks. It's not always about getting Tributes... I want to give 2 more examples when it can be really handy to be able to have "fake" gold. First example is when you have negative income but you would like to be able to bribe a certain civ to go to war (I think many people use this, right?). Let's say he wants 12 gold per turn in order to go to war. We have -10 gpt. Using wealth we can be able to have just enough gold to do this bribing, but of course we will go deeper into debt... and end the turn with -22 now. But at least we found an emergency solution. The other example is when we are very hard-pressed to find a luxury in order to grow, or because we just lost a CS ally or got DOWed by somebody who had given us a luxury before. Let's say we have -2 unhappiness and -8 gold per turn. We see somebody having a luxury in multiple copies, we could buy it with only 9 gpt... "wealth" could allow us to do just that, helping us to finish the turn with positive happiness and to not stop our growth. Fixing unhappiness using debt has in fact the added advantage that it also gives gold, as each point of unhappiness drains -2% gold.
@Tiberiu More good points and techniques worth using. I particularly like the idea of temporarily overcoming negative income for the purposes of bribes. The thing is, I didn't know these things were possible. I've never seen them discussed before. And there have been lots of experienced players contributing to these forums over the years. If it doesn't occur to you to try something you won't discover it. As they say, you don't know what you don't know until somebody tells you about it.
Ohh, just had such a good time going for a full mental domination with Persia (deity challange 3). I used a lot of this tactic in the game. I recorded it all. I think you will enjoy it! I will try to upload it ASAP!
@ Bobby Can't wait to see it!, your Zulu game was entertaining to watch (I saw first hour on 1x speed and the rest on 1.75x, seemed to work well like that for me). And I was inspired to play a recorded game too, funny that I let it to be a Random game and it spawned Persia for me, I expect it to be a monster with the UA in the endgame especially since I managed to build Pyramids so pillage-repairs will be a breeze later.
I made a video about the basic idea behind this strategy. Edited OP to include this link, too.
Getting from -150 GPT to +880 in 5 turns can be useful sometimes.

I made an account just so I could answer this thread and thank you!

Tiberius, your strategy works wonders. I'm an Emperor/Immortal player, and everytime I tried Domination before I hit so many brickwalls - usually, not enough gold or culture/tourism by the lategame (which made me took science/happiness hits).
I've been trying your Tribute-collecting strategy and so far on Prince and King it has worked amazingly well, even if the AI does not have lots of gold at those difficulties, in King I still managed to get over 600+ GPT playing in a Huge map.
I simply kept my eye on every Civ in the game and emptied their pockets as soon as I could. Declaring war ASAP works pretty well, especially on distant Civs. Thing is I still haven't finished the game by turn 340~ (well, it's a 12-player map) because I'm having so much fun. Every Civ hates me but it doesn't matter; before, when I waged war, I kept hoping I would manage to keep at least one civ as a trading partner. Well, turns out that by following your guide you really don't need partners; you simply bully everyone into giving you their gold.
Also worthy of note is that I had not realized until now that City buying and selling can be so incredibly profitable. Often if these Civs I was at war with didn't have enough gold (around 50+GPT) I would simply sue for peace for a City which I would then immediately sell to the highest bidder (which is usually someone you are also at war with and can then sell for lump gold!), sometimes getting over 1k (sometimes way more) gold in the deal. It's also tons of fun, because the politics on the map keep changing like crazy, unlike any normal game.

I played these two games (Prince and King) with Shaka and went full Lib/partial Honor with both (Honor only for 50% increased exp though) so I could have a rather small and powerful army. Ended up with so many cities and units that I'm pretty sure this strategy of yours would work even better with an economic/scientific Civ as the money you wind up getting allows for the buying of as many barracks/armories/etc and troops as you'd like, especially since you wrote this guide for Deity play and for those who aren't exactly matched with the AIs in terms of military might.
I'll climb back up to Emperor and Immortal, my usual turf (for Science/Culture games), using this strategy and then move on to Deity. I'm pretty sure the tons of gold and hundreds of cities the AIs have on Deity might help this strategy even further.
Hello, Lanzmann, I really appreciate the fact that you took the time to make this account and describe your experience, a warm thank you. I am really happy to know that somebody tested this with success. Now the only step is to win a Deity game using the tricks, since it's the most satisfying when you overcome the overwhelming odds that the Deity AI advantages present to the player.

I want you to know that in the future (by the end of this year) I am planning on improving the quality of this guide since I feel it is in a somewhat unpolished state, in the sense that I am talking about too many concepts without them being adequately cathegorised and organized. I will work on it until I am content with a final form before an update. A few tough games have helped me to find some improvements in certain aspects of the game, and now that I have played more Standard Size games I now have a better understanding of what is different from Huge Size.

I would like to take the time and emphasize here again that I think this guide is better for Huge size compared to Standard even though in a way it's difficult to pin down the exact reason, despite the obvious fact that you have more civs to manipulate on Huge, and a slightly lesser need to buy luxuries from others (due to the 1.8/city unhappy compared to 3/city on Standard). I also feel that on Huge the player is safer militarily since there is much more open space and I think the AI has a more difficult task to get things right when he has more possibilities. More options for settling cities in good locations is probably another thing that Huge has compared to Standard, and together with reduced penalities for science and culture / number of cities, this suggests that the ideal number of cities on Huge is higher than on Standard, helping with the highest gold per turn generation. 7 competing religions on huge instead of 5 on standard suggests there is more time for a religion but I think there is nothing conclusive to state this. However one thing is clear, the chance to obtain some wonders is much lower on Huge - for example Hanging Gardens, which the player can usually only build if nobody takes Tradition, and there's a higher chance for that to happen in 8 player game compared to 12, but even Wonders that don't require a certain Social Policy Tree - for example Stonehenge, Brandenburg Gate)

All these things suggest that gameplay on Huge can be slightly different than on Standard even though obviously the core remains the same - don't lose militarily, catch the AI in science and then win. Simple - and yet - so beautiful - that Civ 5 gives us so many options to obtain the victory.

Just to give few examples of what other things I want to talk about in the future -

I have found that Industrial Espionage (Autocracy tenet lvl 1) can be a game saver in those situations where - for some reason - we have been left behind too much in technologies. Figuring out the right target to steal from is paramount, still trying to figure out exactly what determines chance for spy to be killed, and the exact rate of tech stealing. Even better, Industrial Espionage can still be used for great profit even as tech leader (for example you Beeline for Sattelites and can leave Refrigeration to be stolen.

- Also something that I call "slow teching" where you invest science in technologies but leave them at 1 turn undiscovered (this can help science generation when there are many caravans involved - possibly very strong for Venice, for example), and this in turn also increases spy stealing rate, slightly, but I cannot pin down an exact formula, I might open a thread about Espionage to get some brainstorming from other people who might have valuable insights - also, feel free to share any experiences if you have any.

- "Endgame starvation" is something I call when you are, say, 20 turns away from a victory, then considering that tall cities have 150-200 food stored from the aqueduct, it's worth pointing out that cities can be left on starvation since the game will end and that food is like a small resource that can be used for getting extra production/gold, getting units out in 2 turns instead of 3 can help militaristic games too. Can be useful when you barely win - and each turn counts, each production point, etc.
Starvation can be useful in certain situations to get emergency production even from unemployment when needed. (and especially during world projects like World Fair)

- Keeping track on a piece of paper of when somebody makes research agreements and trying to break those by instigating wars helps to keep other civs at lower tech lvl, also useful to keep track of all promises that were made so that you exploit possible diplomatic multipliers to their fullest extent. Keeping track of when Deals, Peace Treaties end, so that you can plan ahead your diplomatical actions. Getting the best deal when bribing civs. For example Austria to declare war on Shaka can require 20 gpt while Shaka only asks for 5 gpt. Good to check both sides before deciding on a deal.

- Moving works of art between cities depening on the needs of the cities to grow their borders, also building Writer/Artist/Musician guilds in the cities that need border expantion (for example those that forward settled somebody, to steal as much land as possible), are ideas that I want to try to talk about. Guilds can be sold and rebuilt in other cities later according to the needs.

- Knowing the aspect of all Wonders in the game on the map is something that I find important for people who like to build Wonders. Keeping track of who builds what can be useful.

- Exploiting Citadels for maximum effect (they're good for destroying units in order to make civs waste production so that they build units instead of other more useful stuff)

- "pillaging" your own Luxuries to break a deal when needed, or to steal gold from a Friend. For example you give them 40 GPT + Gems to get 1200 gold. Next turn you construct a fort on your Gems mine and the deal breaks, giving back your 40 GPT but keeping the gold you took, the friendship isn't affected.

I am sure that you will obtain your Deity victory soon Lanzmann, and I would like to hear your experience. I remember how bad I lost my first few Deity games - I couldn't adapt to the advantages the AI receives so I lost militarily. All their bonuses seemed impossible to overcome - but other people had done it so I wanted to do it too. And now I think anybody who can win an Emperor game without difficulty can win a Deity game with the right adaptation. If you ask me, the key is balance - don't fear the AI but be aware that it can get dirty if he is left unchecked. Try to take measures to work against anybody who seems to go too much ahead of the others - consult Demographic screen often. As many players know - peace accelerates the world, and war slows it down, because people will build armies instead of buildings, so try to use that to your advantage, when you see somebody getting a bit too advanced, make him fight with others, pay others to attack him, or fight him yourself!

Thank you again and I hope you'll use this account now to share more experiences and thoughts. We learn from each other's experiences and get new ideas.:thumbsup:
You have the brainpower. You should post more videos my friend. Especially scenarios like you already do. Keep up with more content. I think that suit your style more than full length games.
Oh man you going to enjoy the England game I just had man. I must have gotten 15 k gold from trading captured cities, demanding tributes and selling buildings. It was an absolute slaughter in my opinion. It's really good to just clear off units and get that sweet tribute money. Sometimes you just want to get the economy going and not capturing cities. I was friends with most of the AI's even though I war the same target a couple of times. I took his cap and then let him rebuild up. So DoW and not taking cities is perfectly fine for keeping up good diplomacy with the other AI's. I will try to upload the game for you and the people interested in the strategy tomorrow.


EDIT: Game is up on my channel!
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Hi guys. I am planning on an update with general improvements before the end of this year, until then, I want to share with you an experience from my current game, as it is one of the best games I've ever played if not the best, in terms of AI manipulation and empire self-reliance. It's on a Huge Continents with everything standard, with Assyria. I shared the Turn 0 save as attachment if anybody wants to try it out. It's actually a good map to try out the things I have described in my strategy but can be played using a "normal" strategy just as well. It's well balanced for any of the 4 policy trees as a starting tree, too, so many different approaches are possible.

I will put a spoiler tag now, for those who want to play the map first before reading what I posted about my game. This is the start:

Spoiler :


I like the start, only because of the desert, otherwise it's not very promising. No 3 food tiles, no forests... I moved in different directions with my warrior and with the settler to try to find a better settling location and eventually put the capital in a high food zone with 3 wheat, I later discovered I could have had 4... you can't have it all...

I did a 3 - city empire for this game. I skipped trying to get any wonders, I didn't even starve-built the shrine, and focused growth instead, managing 24 citizen in T124, which is on the lower end but I had many dead tiles and no fertility rites or Artemis so it's ok. I got desert folklore when I wasn't even hoping for a pantheon anymore. A lone scout managed to defeat a barb camp for a religious CS and with the extra 2 faith I got it 1 turn before pantheons became unavailable - I just love the potential these scouts possess. I completed Tradition asap, got a religion and tried to tech to Machinery asap. I built 7 archers which I had to build to defend from my neighbour (I attacked him pre-emptively only after his caravan to me had ended. I didn't manage to steal too many workers (i had 4 workers for 3 cities), maybe this slowed my mid-game a bit as I didn't have trade posts built on the useless tiles until the industrial era. I was first to Machinery around t115 and I captured a city and puppeted it. I was tipped by Askia about a sneak attack on my capital made by the Inca, and it turned out it was very useful to be tipped in advance as there was a large size army just out of my sight. I defended with no losses but some food tiles were blocked for a few turns so growth was slowed.

Around turn 160, an unexpected event happened - the World Congress was founded so I met with the 5 other civs on the other continent. (I didn't even have astronomy, only a trireme for defense). Everybody hated me already as I lied about removing my units from somebody's borders, and I denounced a civ with a DOF. They did not want to trade me extra luxuries for 9 gold and they didn't want to buy my open borders so I did what seemed normal to do, declare war on them all, thus instantly meeting a lot of other CSs that were their allies and preparing to get some cash :p. I decided to declare war on everybody in fact, because I was producing internally enough gold from Tithe+Monarchy to have good enough GNP to kickstart the gold rush.

Then, I made some changes to what I was doing: I was teching on the path to Radio but I figured that I will have enough gold to buy Factories if I use my Oxford for Industrialization instead of Radio, and I allowed a Great Merchant to spawn instead of a Great Scientist, so that my tributes can be larger using the Customs House. I also took Commerce Opener instead of Rationalism Opener in order to prepare for the tributes. 4 Gold may not seem much, but It's actually around 7 with multipliers from market, bank, and commerce opener. 5 turns later I made peace with everybody, starting with the poorest ones. I had an artist ready for Golden age but there was no need to start the GE as I received the maximum 50% gold produced from all the civs! The total gold amount received was just a bit higher than +500 in turn 162. Another 170 produced internally so quite a lot of gold for a 3 city empire. I was the first to tech Industrialization so no city states had coal despite having mines on it (facepalm), so I actually had to wait for somebody else to tech Industrialization and get some coal. I was receiving 71 tribute from Biskmark when I bought 3 coal for 30 GPT from him, I bought my factories the same turn, then declared war on him to get my 30 GPT back. Yes, I lost 41 GPT doing so, but I expect that the next peace deal will give me around 100 gpt from him as my fake economy is very strong now. A golden age will soon start to further increase my GNP to be able to buy high population cities which usually require 900+ gpt.
I was first to get an ideology and any of them was very good, but I took Freedom because I want to make heavy use of New Deal - I plan to get many prophets and engineers by faith and spawn as many merchants and engineers that I can. I will stop any Scientist since they are worst GP for Assyria in my opinion, who has the UA working instead of that.

Now, I want to show what GPT can do for you. See Nippur in the screenshot below? Babylon is willing to sell it to me for only 500 gpt, I will buy it, then sell it to Askia who is just below that city for hopefully around 30-50 Gpt, and then declare war on Babylon which is what I am planning to do anyway, I kept him alive so that he builds wonders for me, but Sejong just beat Nebby to Red Fort, which is the final nail in the coffin for the Babylonian Empire. I expect that in 5 turns Babylon gives me Dur-Kurigalzu for free in a peace deal, but I will not accept that, as I need the extra tech from my UA instead. I can buy cities from any civ now, and sell them to other civs who are willing to pay.
But the main thing is that with this income I can already start buying all city states if I want to - more than 1000 gold / 2 turns is ok, or I can just buy a lot of army. All of this possible only because when world congress was founded I was willing to declare war on everybody in the game. The best thing is to buy CSs that were captured and puppeted and to liberate them but they usually cost a LOT, even around 1500.

The scores are misleading, my empire is the best :D. I am 4-5 techs away from Sejong but being Assyria I will catch up just by conquering, and my spies are already stealing well, and with only 3 cities it's seems worth to buy Police Stations for National Spy agency. My army is 4th but I didn't even start buying or producing army. My plan is to get Brandenburg gate in Nimrud, build the Military epic there, and then dump all my gold into 3-range frigates. I might as well wait a bit more until Flight and get bombers. The victory is inevitable now as I can simply become army leader and take 100% income instead of 50% from everybody. What I like the most about my empire is the feeling that I don't need anybody, nobody can have any chance for ideology pressure and even if all CSs were to attack me I'd not even care.

Tribute_ strategyt179.jpg



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The updates I was planning were delayed - sorry about that - , but they will come.

Until then here is a picture where I take 2263 tribute gold from the other civilizations, a testament to the potential of this strategy in huge size games. Almost half of it is just tribute, the other half is from city transactions. I will add that in turn 192 when I entered Modern Era I was making no gold at all.

Map save file is added in case anybody wants to try this game.


The game ended as a t295 diplomatic victory which is good considering the extra difficulty that is normally expected when facing 21 other civilizations. All 7 religions go very fast (turn 45-50), no wonder is safe, tech discounts are harder to obtain, and CS competition is high.
With both Siam and Greece in the game constantly making coups and gifting gold to the CSs, I was still able to get all the CSs in the game as allies in just 100 turns.
Biggest city aquisition was a 32 population city that costed 2200 gold/turn. This game was an experiment to test Carthage's UA on an extremely hard to navigate map - highlands / ridgelines / dense mountains / large lakes. I previously lost a game on this map setting as I was testing a new strategy.

The starting area was quite nice despite the map being with scarce resources. Because there are so many mountains, the resources are packed together in more areas and I had a 12- production stable.


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@Tiberiu -- I have just started re-reading this thread. There is plenty of gold in it :). I will try to absorb the lessons better this time! There is a lot to process and understand, but if I can get my head around it, it will change how I play the game. I never play on anything larger than Standard size (computer limitation), and I wonder how this might work on Continents instead of Pangaea. I always play England, which means coastal starts and naval warfare is likely to be prominent. Thanks again for the guide(s).
@Tiberiu -- I notice in your scenarios you don't mention the Monument in your build order. This tends to be listed quite early in most guides I have read. When do you build it, if you go Liberty, or do you buy it?
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