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Wanna play wide? Here's some civ-specific strategies to try!

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by danaphanous, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. danaphanous

    danaphanous religious fanatic

    Sep 6, 2013
    Ever dreamed of having an enormous empire but couldn't seem to keep up with the details?

    I too love playing games with rather large empires and have become fairly adept at crushing the AI with this strategy on immortal. I'm adapting my strategies to Deity now and will let you guys know how that goes, but most of my experience testing these strategies is for immortal difficulty as it is the level I test new things at.

    There are a lot of civilizations whose abilities support big empires or grow stronger the larger your empire grows. Here's some of the ones I find more interesting and some specific strategies to take advantage of them. This thread is a work in progress so if anyone has comments or wants to share their way of playing please do!

    First off: the basics

    I'm going to be recommending you always choose liberty as your starter tree so get used to it and get used to living without the early perks of tradition. The reason is that the benefits of liberty increase with every city and grow stronger. I see it as the obviously strongest choice of the first 4 trees if you want to peacefully settle a large empire early. Nothing else has the same total sum of benefits as liberty for early expansion and support and you will lose the land and chance if you go tradition and try to expand late on immortal. Liberty has a lot of helpful tenets but not everything you need so your second tree will vary based on your strategy. A strong secondary choice is commerce with the lack of a specific synergy.

    The problems you will need to overcome to optimally manage a competitive large empire that keeps up with the AI in science, culture, economy, and military:

    - learning to found a religion as quickly as possible*
    - Building cities quickly enough to claim the land you need before the AI
    - the early rushes by warmongering AI
    - the penalties to science, culture, and happiness per new city
    - the maintenance cost of extra buildings per city (midgame economy)
    - the lack of happiness to keep growing in the late medieval and renaissance before ideologies

    * some players argue you don't need to found, just keep good AI religions to benefit your wide empire. Though this is workable, I find it less effective then founding even the 4th or 5th religion of my own, reasons here:

    Founding a Religion:
    Spoiler :

    Almost every religious belief and pantheon grows stronger the more cities you have. this is especially true in the case of special buildings, culture, or growth and production modifiers. If you attempt a large empire I would always recommend trying to found your own religion. You can make it work without one but it is harder to use productively when the AI are warring over your cities.

    The reason is the AI always seem to leave some of the better beliefs for you and if you found you get the founder belief, an early pantheon benefit during expansion/settling, and a decent faith income from the investment for the rest of the game which translates into about 3-5 post-industrial GP with a large empire. Tithes is rarely taken on standard by founding and will mean a huge income boost for your wide empire. And religious community, swords into plowshares, and happiness from temples and gardens is also taken late so you can usually get some of them. It's also an easy source of CS quests. If you don't found the AI war over you all game with prophets and missionaries making it very hard to keep the religion you like where you want. Your own religion will probably be better tailored to your strategy and terrain. Lastly, contrary to popular belief it does not require a significant early game investment for a wide empire to attempt a religion. Even if you don't get a religion (which has never happened to me with any recent attempts) you have solid faith income and an early-pantheon benefit till it is replaced. This can have dramatic effects on the early game for a wide empire.

    My strategy for grabbing a religion varies based on the civ and their potential sources of faith. But in general you want to explore aggressively with scouts searching for ruins and religious CS. You also want to research pottery first and build the shrine as fast as humanly possible. It is cheap enough I find it worth it to even delay growth for a couple turns if I can gain 2 turns on production. Every turn matters in getting a pantheon before the AI as the cost in faith goes up and it can translate into 15+ turns difference in beginning progress toward your prophet. This is all you need to do to get a pantheon usually. When you get a pantheon this is the time to choose if you will attempt a religion but you should always attempt the pantheon as early as possible as it can make a big early-game difference in growth, production, culture, or faith, especially during your fast expansion phase.

    You might think opening piety would make a big difference in founding. It can, situationally, given the cheaper shrines if you delay building monument and build shrines first in your early expos but the fast AI on immortal and Deity will beat you regardless without some stronger advantage. So I'd never open with it. What it will mean is a lot more faith after founding for a quicker enhancement or faster/cheaper religious buys if you got a building. Also gold multiplier from temples and a reformation belief.

    If I have a civ with no faith advantage I often pick a terrain-appropriate faith yielding pantheon to accelerate my progress toward a religion. Stone circles, desert folklore, dance of aurora, goddess of festivals, one with nature, tears of the gods, religious idols, and earth mother, etc are all good. I can usually find one that works. The first AI pick is usually goddess of protection so if you can be 1st or 2nd you'll get exactly what you want. Any faith on tiles that keep you growing is better as otherwise you need to sacrifice growth. If you don't want to found a religion or have a civ with a religious advantage (Celts, mayans, ethiopia...) just pick the pantheon that benefits your early-game the most. For building cities as quickly as possible sacred waters is usually best as it lowers your happiness penalties to settling on rivers.

    Building Cities Quickly (REXing):
    Spoiler :

    REX (Rapid Early Expansion) is a must for building a large empire peacefully. The AI will fill in the world quickly so you want to follow the route that builds you cities the quickest. I aim for 8 cities on standard using the wide liberty strategy (double the tradition number) as this is a solid, supportable number that is made quite strong by liberty. Your end-date for the rapid expansion is variable and depends a lot on terrain and tech of surrounding civs and what land you can "trap off" from their settlers, but I would say at the latest you should be finished by turn 100. This is pretty late and I'd recommend trying to be finished settling between turns 70-90.

    The size you want your capital to be prior to pumping out settlers is variable and depends on the productiveness of terrain. If you have some nice hills, quarry sites, forest resources...your production might be high enough to start cranking out settlers quite early. If not, waiting to grow a bit more is often just as effective. You get better early science, and later faster settlers and have 2 workers chopping at the capital. You can be building them for 75% off later with forest chops so keep that in mind. Maybe a military unit to steal workers or fight off barbs or extra worker is more important.

    Your spots can be a little weaker then tradition spots. Overlapping rings up to 4-5 tile spacing is fine. Your cities will be smaller anyway so they don't need a full ring. I usually pick a spot near one unique or duplicate luxury, on a river or on a hill preferentially, including as many nearby resources as I can. since you're being less picky found some cities near mountains as well even if the terrain isn't great since the observatory boost is very nice and also seek out a few cities with jungle.

    How can you do this? A lot of players have complained that they can't place settlers down fast enough to beat the AI or the AI forward settle them but it can be done with some early aggression. I recommend a strategy I usually employ called early game guerilla warfare or harassment. It goes hand-in-hand with the commonly known strategy of worker-stealing from the AI.

    Basically, you want to find your closest neighbor as soon as possible, DOW, and steal the first worker you can. Pick a more peaceful civ if possible not known for early rushes. Don't engage them in their own territory but try to draw them out. Basically you are trying to make them waste turns dealing with you which will trickle down and make them weaker later in the game. Try to leave a unit or two near them to detect any settlers leaving in your direction to forward-settle you. On Deity this happens really early, sometimes as early as turn 35 or so. The AI usually escort with a single warrior so plan an ambush and kill the warrior and steal the settler for a second worker. You can use barbs to your advantage, especially if you play raging barbarians which slows down the AI and makes them lose a few workers and settlers, but even if you don't attacking while barbs are invading makes it easier. If the AI sends a few extra warriors toward you to respond at this point don't be afraid. This is even better as this is your chance to destroy their early military leaving them unable to deal with barbs around them. kite the force towards a barb encampment then ambush them when weakened or just draw them into city fire and finish them. There is no need to make peace with this AI anytime soon. You actually want to stay at war for a while as it gives you the opportunity to steal their 2nd built worker, pillage for gold, and continue to hurt them. Doing this properly can earn you 2-3 free workers, easy gold, experience, and keep them from settling your territory. Nerfing your closest neighbor like this should buy you enough time to settle your 8 cities or so and the only AI you anger is the guy you've been at war with and weakened as they are the only one you needed to crowd and forward-settle. Occasionally if you start in the middle you have 2-3 AI forward settling you in which case you may have a tough time, but usually I can find the closest coast and carve out a place for 8 cities just hemming in the one most threatening AI.

    A hidden benefit of this play is the AI you harassed is pretty weak later in the game. Often the other AI attack them instead of you since they look weak if you keep a decent military but at the very least if you watch the armies and military scores you can see ahead of time who might attack you and bribe them to attack your weak neighbor. I call this play using a "buffer state".

    Handling Early Rushes:
    Spoiler :

    If you find yourself near an AI known for warmongering expect an early rush if you REX. It's a given as they hate it. Even non aggressive AI may rush depending on their rolled flavor but it is usually a bit later. And actually, if your nearest neighbor is zulu, greece, japan, france, etc. or someone who builds massive ancient and classical era armies for early rushes I don't recommend picking them as your early game punching bag. They are likely to just do nothing but produce military and never end the war which will waste too many turns. If you see them near you your best move is to DOW a more peaceful civ nearby to do the guerilla warfare against and then later when you see suspicious troop mobilization bribe them with a luxury to DOW your weaker neighbor instead. Use the time to solidify your empire, build up your own military, lay down the road network and make friends. Then when they come for you next you'll be ready.

    If for some reason this is impossible (Can't be bribed or no neighbors) then you will need to overcome the early game rush. Usually you can see if you'll be attacked by T20-30 as the AI will overbuild their military suspiciously. If so build an archer in your expos. They are very cheap and a great early defense force. Build a couple melee as the 3rd build in your first few expos as well. An archer for each city and a few melee to wall the city they rush is all you need to resist these weaker earlier units.

    Also if you can predict the city they rush build a wall there if you have time and definitely pick up the tech for composite bowmen and upgrade the archers you made in advance. Now, when the attack comes. Fortify your melee in forward positions screening roads to keep the AI from surrounding the city. The AI brings primarily melee in these early rushes though I've seen a few exceptions. The way they take down cities quickly is by surrounding and pounding with melee but they can't do this if you have a few fortified melee of your own. I find swordsmen or spearmen to be best. Don't bother with a 2nd warrior. Hopefully you've got a few upgrades from fighting barbs as they make a huge difference. Encamp an CB in the city and a couple more CB in the screened positions on the road/hills behind the city guarded by the fortified melee. This should be enough to break the early rush. They will weaken themselves on your melee but can't get close enough to all attack the city. With 2-3 CB focus-firing you'll chew through armies up to 20 units with your 6 units. If you have the gold or can borrow it from a friend and haven't had time to build the wall buy it--it can save a vulnerable city from a big rush and make enough turns difference to matter. If you have a wall you can leave two spots open for them to assault the city each turn and they'll kill themselves faster doing that.

    After destroying the first wave usually the AI relents but sometimes they don't if they are producing military fast enough to keep their unit score higher then yours. However I kinda like this early grinding as it allows my troops to quickly level to really good promos and basically be invincible for a while with logistics and blitz abilities. To change their mind if you really want peace you will need to build more units to have a more impressive score. Replace your melee if you lose them and try to keep 3-4 on hand in these situations. Build a few more archers. But a better move is to build 2 horse units and send them to pillage and steal workers. The AI dislikes this and it is often enough to make them finally ask for peace.

    Per city penalties to science, culture, and happiness:
    Spoiler :

    On standard the penalties are:
    10% extra culture per policy per city
    5% extra science per tech per city
    3 global happiness consumed per founding of each city

    If you want to practice or settle a larger empire with more ease I recommend playing a huge map which halves the culture/science penalties and reduces the happiness penalty to 1.8 per city. It's good practice. Keep in mind techs cost 130% more (vs 110% on standard) so if you build less then 8 cities on huge map your science WILL cost more. You NEED to play a larger empire to take full advantage of huge map settings but it is balanced to play similar just with a few more cities for each strategy. I like to play with at least 12 cities on huge.

    For standard you need to deal with the higher penalties. I choose 7-8 cities because It's what I can often settle on standard and keep competitive with. And my rule of thumb is for a good game I want to double the tradition 4 cities.

    For culture: representation reduces the per city penalty by a whopping 40%, one of the reasons why liberty is a must for a large empire. To compensate I always build monument first with liberty game. And build and work the slots for great writer and great artist as fast as possible. This will make your culture rate quite decent. Other then this you'll just need to deal with the penalty but religion is a great opportunity to grab some early culture to accelerate your policy rate. Many pantheons or Religious buildings have culture. Even though the AI like them and often take them unless you have a civ with a religious advantage it's likely some of your border cities may convert before your religion gets out. It can be advantageous to keep it here awhile to buy the religious buildings here before converting them to your side. The result can easily mean 10+ extra early culture which is enough to completely remove the penalty for the first half of the game. If you manage to actually get a religious building like pagodas that's even better but don't count on it unless you have one of the 3 religious civs I list.

    For happiness: the 3 global happiness consumed per founded city is a major limiting factor and the most common complaint by new players. Your cities building happiness buildings can't remove it either. Only global happiness like luxuries can. This is why I recommend trying to stick each city near a new or duplicate luxury. You actually don't need one near EVERY one it's just a good rule. Again, here, liberty shines with meritocracy. Connect your new cities quickly with a road after this policy and you get a free 1 global happiness for each. With fast roads this means your penalty is really only 2 per city, already 1/3 better then any other policy tree. If you got a religious civ and really see a lot of sweet territory you want I'll also recommend trying my sacred waters pantheon REX strategy. Take sacred waters and the penalty after representation for cities on rivers is only 1 happiness. You can ICS them much more quickly without running into the red like this as there are usually many river spots nearby. The downside of this is if you aren't a religious civ with extra sources of early faith you are likely to get a religion very late or not at all choosing this. However, if you don't want to found your own religion it can work for anyone. Just keep in mind you'll lose that pantheon and get hit by more unhappiness when the AI come evangelizing. So something with a more permanent benefit like growth or production might be better. Ceremonial burial is also pretty nice but unreliable as the AI like it more then tithes. Tithes is my recommendation because for a wider empire it means a lot of money even kept in your own territory which solves a lot of midgame financial problems with maintenance.

    For science: Build libraries 3rd build order and keep your cities growing up to their local happiness limit to limit the penalty and stay competitive early game. To grow new cities quickly you need a strong fast workforce to build roads out to them and improve them to match their growth rate. Having this strong workforce can save dozens of turns of science. Luckily liberty gives a 25% improvement speed bonus to workers and a free one with an early tenet. I usually take this right after the settler policy. I also basically always build pyramids. Why? Because the AI don't prioritize it and I can always get it. Pyramids is great. For the cost of about 2 workers I get a wonder, +1 culture, 2 free workers, and another 25% improvement to worker speed. I also get an engineer point that after I get workshops and work that specialist in the same city means a free wonder in the late medieval or renaissance. I can usually use this to easily snag something nice like sistine chapel, forbidden palace, or leaning tower of pisa. After pyramids and REXing, work your workers fast, connect everything with roads fast to activate meritocracy, I usually have my workers only a few turns behind the new settlers so I can keep the happiness up, and beeline the aqueduct technology and build them early to improve the growth rates. Build NC after all this, it's not worth delaying REX as some games this means you lose the opportunity to build more then 4-6 cities.

    Save money to buy a few universities or other buildings as soon as you get the science techs. Run the science specialists all game in every city when they become available for a huge mid-game science boost and more scientists late game. You actually get a bigger advantage from science specialists then a taller empire as you can run twice as many. This takes some planning ahead as local happiness sources are limited early game. This is why I recommend founding your own religion as you can get a reliable source of internal happiness from something like +2 happiness from temples and still buy the religious buildings where foreign religions spread into your lands. However, beliefs like temple and garden happiness vanish when the religion changes so you can't take advantage of them well without owning and protecting the religion. Overall I get more happiness on average from owning the religion. It is unlikely if you didn't invest religiously you'll have the faith to buy a lot of foreign religious buildings when you get the opportunity anyway. And if you are going to invest in faith to buy things like this you might as well do it early so you own a religion for the founder benefit and early pantheon. This is my philosophy. Lastly for science: I should note on immortal and deity the AI trade routes give you a lot of science. You will attract more of them if you keep 1-2 peaceful neighbors, get a big road network up early (because they use it to move their caravans further to more cities), and grow your cities faster.

    Midgame economy and growing maintenance costs:
    Spoiler :

    Many players complain about midgame economy. How the money grows tighter and tighter after your REX your cities and start building buildings. this is because the maintenance costs in each city and from military keep going up while the tile yields for gold stay the same. How do you overcome this problem and get the gold you need midgame when it is most important to save money to buy buildings in slow cities and buy universities quickly?

    I'll let you in on my personal strategies for this. And I rarely have midgame gold problems. How is that possible? Well via a few overlooked/misunderstood features.

    #1: Wide empires get about double the normal resources of horse and iron. Early game Deity and immortal AI will often pay 2 gpt for EACH of these if you sell them one at a time. I sell them to non-neighbors to help them build up their militaries so they won't use them to attack me unless a have a friend neighbor I trust then I might sell for lump gold if I need gold fast. This is a TON of early gold. I often can get almost 30 gpt or more from doing this before the AI stop wanting it and they continue to want it almost till the end of the renaissance. By this time you have banks to replace the lost gold. I also aggressively search for all the civs so I know them early so I can make these trades. I look for 1 for 1 lux trades first but with a wide empire often there aren't enough to use all my duplicate luxes so I also sell them for 7 gpt each. Check every few turns to look for new 1 for 1 luxes though. If you see one. buy it with gold to reserve it, then switch over to 1 for 1 lux later after the first round of deals.

    #2: city connections. They are so bad right? ;) Well early game when you first connect those 1-2 pop cities you are doing it to activate meritocracy to continue REXing. It also helps with troop mobility to quickly respond to the early rushers. The roads will most likely cost a little more then the city connections. But as you grow this begins to change. The gold you get is based on both the connecting city population and the capital population. That's it. This means it is far more cost-effective in happiness to overgrow your capital since this improves the gold from every city connection. So after I finish REXing, I usually start feeding my capital with trade routes and put it on max growth. It almost doesn't matter about it's production you just want it to grow as fast as possible. Your other cities you can worry about growing with the amount of local happiness but the capital grow as tall as possible and you'll soon see huge amounts of money from your city connections. Enough in some games to nearly cover maintenance costs as they rise if you build all your food and growth buildings early. Not a lot of people know this is how the math works but I know and it's why I still grow a big capital on liberty games. Besides the tons of money from doing this, it means I have one city that is competitive for pumping out quick military or wonders later. For this reason also always build the money buildings (market, bank, etc) as soon as possible in the capital to get multipliers on all that money and start your gold trade routes (if you have any) from there as well to centralize the money flow. I usually switch all my trade routes to internal food routes quite early though to get slower cities growing faster as I don't have gold problems usually.

    #3: work gold yielding tiles. With liberty growing fast is important but you have enough cities you don't need to grow them at full-tilt to be competitive. I recommend if you need the gold locking down some gold-yielding tiles (esp. during golden ages) or mines early game as you build your local happiness buildings. Grow in pace with your happiness otherwise you'll shoot yourself in the foot later. Plus extra gold later translates to extra science when it allows you to quickly buy universities and start working all the specialists earlier then normal. I work on my gold a lot just prior to techs for science buildings for this reason.

    #4: attract AI trade routes. This is the main reason to keep friends and work hard to do so. The AI send you more trade routes meaning more gold and science if you are a large empire and you have some friendly neighbors. You tend to attract more routes if you quickly build a large road network too as their caravans can use it to get to more of your cities. This is another reason to have one huge city like the capital too as it attracts a lot of AI routes that bring you money and science.

    #5: religion. By far the best argument for taking tithes is the huge amount of money it can bring in on a wide game. If you found a religion and make a big empire that's a lot of money, especially if you manage to passively spread it to a neighbor. Tithes yield varies from maybe 50 gpt (in your own empire only midgame) to as much as 200+ gpt. But regardless that's a LOT of money. I rarely take anythign else it is so powerful midgame and lategame in gold. that money directly translates into buying far more buildings to quickly develop your empire.

    #6: piety gives an early game boost of 25% gold from temples. Can work well with a religious build/civ that has great temples.

    #7: commerce gives a midgame boost to economy and is a great choice as a filler tree before rationalism (if you are going max science) or even your main tree if you just want to keep up with AI.

    Lack of midgame happiness:
    Spoiler :

    this is described as the slump in growth when midgame around late medieval or renaissance there are no new local happiness sources and you may have to slow your empire growth for a while till you get an ideology and all the happiness from that. I find order to be the best pick.

    The length or existence of this phenomenon varies significantly by the civ you pick and the religious beliefs you chose. Knowing this is coming I almost always try to get at least +2 happiness from my religion. I can pretty much always get this. I try to get 4 for my most successful games. If you can do this you'll be fine and barely feel the midgame slump. Also any civ that has a unique building that yields extra happiness has an advantage here and can grow faster. Depending on how much you can get total based on the civ and your religion you may choose to switch your trade routes to growth earlier or later. Also keep in mind the beginning of this era you gain universities and workshops so it can be quite profitable to run all the specialists, slowing growth for this period but still maintaining great science and production as a result of all those specialists in cities. A civ struggling on happiness can simply do this to remain effective and resume growth when ideologies come. If in this situation rush ideologies and build/buy a rapid 3 factories. This goes very well with the choice of order where factories boost science 25%.

    Note that religious civs may not experience this slump at all because they were able to get 4-5 happiness per city from their religion or neighboring religions.

    Certain midgame wonders can alleviate this problem. If you can manage to get the Forbidden palace, in addition to the 5% of meritocracy, 3/20 of your citizens will be happiness free, a very strong boost to a growing civ, but difficult to get as the AI love it. Keep in mind one early renaissance wonder can be rushed with the engineer from Pyramids and workshop which will come before the scientist in that city. The +10 happiness from Notre Dame also helps allowing all your cities to grow one pop higher if you can score it but the AI compete for this as well. Whether or not you get these 2 wonders depends a lot on your priorities and successful early teching. For instance, if you have solid happiness I think sistine chapel and leaning tower of pisa are very strong for a wide empire massively boosting your generation of culture and GP empire-wide for an even stronger bonus then a tall empire. It's a gamble but getting an engineer with the LToP finisher can mean a free sistine chapel or forbidden palace if you have decent tech rate for the best of both worlds.

    That's the basics and I include them in basically every civ I play this way! Now on to specific civ strategies...I will add them in amendments below:
  2. danaphanous

    danaphanous religious fanatic

    Sep 6, 2013
    Now that we are done with the basic stuff you should know for EVERY game. On to the fun stuff!

    Civilization-Specific Strategies for games with large empires:

    1. Super-Empires with the Celts:
    Spoiler :

    You may think the title sounds pretentious but of all the civs I've played wide with no one can match the Celts for reliable empire size and population. Not only can I grow as wide as possible with them but I can grow every city several population higher before the industrial ideologies meaning I can pretty much REX out cities like mad then grow them all at max rate all game. This is what I mean by a "super-empire". Simultaneously able to play tall and wide at the highest difficulty levels.

    Why do I think the Celts are so good? Simple:

    1. Guaranteed first pantheon on a 3-forest start (common)

    2. Guaranteed one of the first religions on ANY difficulty level thus you can choose every source of happiness from religion you want

    3. A good early game unit that simultaneously provides a good guard again rushes and harvests even more faith from defending barbs/rushes for a more rapid religion/enhancement

    4. A unique building in the renaissance when you are struggling for happiness worth +3 extra happiness in every city.

    Basically you get your pick of religion every game with virtually no effort as long as you settle a few of your first expos near forest. Because of this you can skip the faith pantheon and pick the best pantheon for your terrain instead. You can go with goddess of the hunt for the usually many deer nearby, dance of aurora if you start in their tundra bias, or my favorite if near many rivers: sacred waters.

    If you choose sacred waters and build the early pyramids you can basically spew out settlers nonstop from your capital after the 50% discount. After meritocracy, your workers will build roads incredibly fast and be just a few turns behind each settler instantly activating meritocracy for -1 happiness per founded city. Before this you can still pick river sites so sacred waters lowers the penalty by another -1 happiness. Basically every city on rivers (your best cities usually) cost only 2 happiness to found (1 global + 1 local for pop) rather than the usual 4. So you can build twice as many early cities with the same happiness. Because of this it's fine to dip into unhappiness to settle your expos faster as meritocracy will soon add some happiness back. As long as you steal/build a few workers and build pyramids you can develop and connect your empire as fast as you can grow and basically be off and growing from the very beginning. Their happiness is such you should be able to put every trade route on food from the very beginning with no problems, however, if you have a technological neighbor on Deity it might be worth doing one round of gold/science routes for the extra science and economy to catch up while you finish expanding.

    Meanwhile the entire time you've been expanding as long as you plopped half your cities near some forest you keep getting free faith. You should be the first religion if you try, especially with a faith pantheon. If not, at least the second. Your faith will be better then even the stonehenge builder. Upon arriving at religion I usually pick: tithes+pagodas. Pagodas solves your culture and early happiness problems while simultaneously providing more faith and is a perfectly balanced early building that works well with their high faith output. Because you founded so early and have so many tiny cities nearby you religion should spread like wildfire through your empire and on into neighboring civs. If done right you should never have to build a single missionary and all your neighbors will be on the religious defensive from then on. Tithes takes advantage of this and often nets me 100-200 gpt even by midgame basically solving all my money problems. After enhancing most of the other religious buildings are gone but occasionally one like monastaries is still there. Personally, I always pick something that I don't need to buy unless something as powerful as cathedrals or mosques is still left (unlikely on Deity). My personal favorite is the +2 happiness from temples, slightly stronger then +2 happiness from gardens as temples are more valuable early for extra faith generation, cheap to build, and don't require a river to build. I find the best special belief to be itinerant preachers. The reason being with my many, densely-packed cities this results in a faster earlier-game spread then religious texts and gets my religion out there as fast as possible.

    Now you have +4 happiness from religion (+5 for river cities with sacred waters). Build order for happiness: temple, circus/stoneworks (if applicable), colloseum, buy pagodas, later zoo, then ceilidh hall...all before ideologies. This is 11-15 local happiness in EVERY city. totally OP and the best I've found for any civilization pre-industrial. The lux each city comes with usually provides an additional 2-3 happiness over the base penalty too due to reductions from meritocracy and sacred waters so your cities can be size 13-18 FOR FREE--totally covered just by basic luxes and buildings all before the massive happiness boost from ideologies. Now, in combination with certain wonders, the -5% unhappiness from meritocracy, natural wonders, mercantile CS...etc. It is not uncommon to have the happiness to grow every city near population 20 even without ideological bonuses depending on the empire size you chose. These miscelleneous and unpredictable happiness sources have a lesser effect on larger empires, but some wonders like forbidden palace operate across the board and are extremely good for empires this size.

    All you have to do now is grow fast. A good move for Celts is to ally every maritime state you can find and build/buy growth buildings as fast as possible. You might be tempted to take swords into plowshares for the massive growth boost instead of a second source of religious happiness, but you don't need it and you may end up having to curb growth. I haven't fully tested this variant but I feel swords is a better take for a tall empire since it operates on EXCESS food. I make pretty much every trade route they get into food routes. 2 for early capital and one to my other promising science or slow-growing cities near mountains or jungle. Beeline aqueducts on your way to education and build them quickly to shave many turns off your early-game growth. If all goes well and you keep a large enough force and friends to keep off AI invaders you'll soon reach tech-parity with the AI from sheer population alone and have cities ranging from 12-20 population empire wide by industrial. It's powerful, and due to the low founding penalties with the sacred waters strategy you can build a much larger empire then usual if you can hold onto it.

    For policy choices: finish liberty. You don't need piety because your faith and gold output is so good anyway (main things piety buffs). I've tried piety with them but usually end up with way more faith then I need midgame and producing several extra prophets on accident before industrial when I have nothing to do. You get more benefit I think from opening commerce for the gold and extra happiness, and for the case of optimal science then switching over and mixing in rationalism when renaissance begins. If you want to win culturally open piety and get sacred sites. They are very well-suited to do this early and quickly due to the sheer size of empire they can support, especially if you can grab two Religious buildings which CAN happen with them.

    After racing to the ideologies, simply go order and get some factories for a massive science boost and tons of local happiness. Your cities should end the game all over 20 population with the core cities upwards of 30 unless you try for a fast-paced optimal science game in which case stop growth at atomic, run all specialists, and bulb your 10+ scientists to end the game quickly. Celts using this strategy running science specialists as soon as possible will get twice the scientists of a tall civ between the scientists from so many cities and faith-buying 3-4 more. Especially if you score LToP

    That's about it. Celts have no midgame happiness slump or gold problems midgame if played right. Your only worry should be defending against rushes so buy/build some extra military and keep sharp! You shouldn't have trouble supporting your military so it's worth it. Another valid strategy with them is holy warriors to capitalize on the great early faith output then invade neighbors to make an even larger empire or use the troops to defend. Your call, but this guide focuses on peaceful strats and I find holy warriors a bit weak. As long as you plan ahead you shouldn't have problems getting military but they often have a problem of running out of things to spend faith on before industrial which is why I always pick a religious building with them. A late prophet can also be nice for flipping back CS the AI have stolen with their prophets but the AI is usually on a huge defensive war and can't fight of the pressure with this Celt's strategy they just can't compete with the early spread due to the REXing and fast religion.

    Enjoy the Celts for an effortless religion and massive happiness advantages.
    The key tips to remember with them is: sacred waters REX, get a religious building to use their high faith output, set them on max growth all game!

    2. Mayan Madness:
    Spoiler :

    I think playing the Mayans is almost intuitive for wide play. Though they have far less happiness advantages compared with the Celts, their abilities do enable a surefire religion on Deity.

    All you have to do is grow your capital a bit as you open liberty and get Pottery. Immediately build pyramid in the capital and monument, then REX cities and build their UB pyramid in each one. Pyramids simultaneously gives them a big early-game science boost so you build them before monuments even. Then build monuments right after. This should ensure you get a religion. With a faith-pantheon maybe the second or third religion, but if the terrain is better suited to something nicer you could skip it and settle for 4th or 5th religion and still get some nice things. Keep in mind with religions you could always get lucky and get a better placement, but I'm giving what I reliably think will happen.

    Because of the risk of all the good religious building being gone anyway I would recommend not going with a faith pantheon on Deity and settling for the sure 4th or 5th religion, unless your terrain is really set up for it. I played a recent game where my main lux was truffles with many bison and deer on the terrain and jungle for expos below. I of course chose goddess of the hunt. It added +5 food to my capital and +3 to many expos. 4th religion should have +2 happiness from temples left. Take that one and tithes. This is a tidy source of happiness when you need it midgame but a hidden effect of delaying your religion is you not only get the use of a strong pantheon early that isn't just faith, some foreign early religions will probably spread into your furthest cities. Keep the faith in them and buy the religious buildings there so you get a few in some of your cities anyway. For your enhancement I would choose religious texts or itinerant preachers depending on empire size and choose religious community. Swords into plowshares is really solid too but religious community is a massive bonus and definitely your best pick if no other happiness is available as you will probably need to reduce growth in renaissance anyway. It will result in significant production gains empire-wide allowing you to build your infrastructure much faster and probably score a few more wonders then usual too. Anyone who plays wide knows getting through all the buildings is challenging and a 10-15% production bonus by the renaissance is huge meaning faster science, growth, money, and production buildings in the future. A wide religious community empire is very good if you expect to not have the happiness to grow max speed all game but need to slow down by renaissance. Plus the AI basically never take religious community even though it is so powerful.

    The only other thing worth mentioning for Mayans is the unique unit and Long Count. You can totally skip archery since their UU doesn't need the tech meaning you can go straight for theology to activate long count. I'd recommend diverting briefly to get horseback riding and mining though so you can see horses as you expand to settle, build circuses, and sell and also can chop forest to hurry your settler stream.

    You want theology by turn 72, but at least by turn 86. The baktun years occurs: Turns 62, 72, 86, 101, 117, 133, 152, 183, and 234. If you get to theology as quick as possible you get a stream of 6-7 of them in the span of 100 turns. If you reach it late you get far less. Go for it early skipping archery and overgrow your capital a bit early with a library, then pump out settlers and quick-build pyramids. I usually choose an early scientist and plant an academy to get an even better early science rate. I wouldn't be surprised if you catch up to the AI in tech quite fast doing this strategy. Mayans are very good for science and going wide hardly hurts them. They are very well suited for it due to guaranteed religion and the pyramids UB. An advantage of this early theology time is it opens medieval with some early choices for secondary trees. You may have time to dip really deep into commerce for extra happiness from luxes and building purchase reductions. Mayans do well with piety as well since they don't have the same faith output as the Celts. I wouldn't recommend it unless you have something nice to buy with faith though like a religious building otherwise commerce is better.

    That's about it for mayans. Late-game you play similarly to the Celts except you probably can't handle their massive growth rate. With this strategy you get 5 less local happiness then they do. (3 less if you manage a second source of 2 happiness from religion but this is unreliable).

    Enjoy the mayans if you want a fast teching time early game even while expanding and a good religion
    Tips to remember: Build pyramid before monument. Avoid archery and beeline theology after basic early techs. Grow your capital a bit more and build library before settlers to achieve faster settlers and a much better early-game tech rate to reach theology. Aim for Turn 70. Very good for full investment in commerce.
  3. danaphanous

    danaphanous religious fanatic

    Sep 6, 2013
    These are abridged, I can add more detail later when I have time:

    3. Korean Krazyness
    Spoiler :

    As a science civ, I find it strange most players play Korea tall. Sure the specialist perk goes well with tall, but they are almost built for wide play. So much so that record science times with them can be under T200 with a wide liberty empire.

    How are they so good at science? It's simple. They get a science boost with every science wonder or building built in the capital equivalent to an early RA. They also get +2 science from every specialist. In a wide empire with twice the cities that's twice the available specialist slots. The only trick is growing them fast enough to use them all. To do this, food cargo boats, maritime CS, etc, are very, very good for them and their Coastal Bias is also very nice for setting up cities with water access.

    Using the standard pantheon opener I describe in the OP you can get a faith pantheon and try for a religion. I recommend it as a religion can mean 2-4 more local happiness which is a LOT of extra growth. Like Rome and Russia and other non-religious civs you will probably get the 4th or 5th religion in my experience leaving +2 happiness from temples to claim, tithes, religious community, and itinerant preachers or religious texts. With them due to their specialist ability you want to grow them as fast as possible up to the point you have no more happiness then stop for the renaissance and run every specialist you can until ideologies brings in more happiness to grow again. This strategy will result in way more end-game scientists then usual meaning you'll probably bulb through the atomic and info eras in one go by the end, especially if you did a little religious investment as you can buy 2-3 more scientists.

    With them I'd recommend passing up commerce and piety and trying to use their early science abilities to transition straight from liberty into rationalism. Their tech rate with a wide empire can be phenomenal and you'll leave the AI far behind.

    So basically the strategy with them wide is the same as tall you just have a liberty opener and longer expansion phase then more cities to keep up with. You should see much better end-game science rate with them wide then tall but depending on how slow you were growing the comparison of times will vary a bit.

    Enjoy Korea the most OP civ for large-empire fast science.
    The key tips to remember with them is: fast early growth, prioritize techs with specialist slots, run all specialists empire wide.

    4. Roman Rule:
    Spoiler :

    You can just read the basic description of their abilities and instantly see why Rome plays well with a large empire. Though they have no straightforward religious advantages, Rome is probably the ONLY civilization who can settle a very wide empire, keep a lower population, and still keep up with all the buildings from every age.

    Every other civilization I play wide I'm struggling to keep up with current buildings in the poorer cities and often buy dozens of buildings if I have the money. Forget that with Rome. All you need to do after every new tech is buy one building in the capital. This allows you to keep it on almost constant growth and even wonder-whore if you want a bit around renaissance to really capitalize on city connection gold. Every other city gets a 25% production bonus for it instantly meaning by buying it there you get a savings of about 2 more empire-wide with a size-9 empire. (So your purchase effectively bought 3) This means, although they get no special happiness buildings they can build colloseum, circus, and zoo much faster meaning good early game growth and happiness. Their ability gives them a slight edge in every category relating to taking advantage of a new tech. They get growth building faster, they can get shrines faster in expos after the capital (75% off them with piety). They can get workshops up faster for even more production bonuses.

    Going with the speed-shrine strategy. If you choose a faith pantheon or build shrines first in the first expos after following my standard opener for pantheon it is quite likely you will get the 4th or 5th religion, especially if you REX fast. I usually go with them same as Mayans if the beliefs are there: tithes, +2 happiness from temples, religious community, itinerant preachers or religious texts. These beliefs are usually there but depending on rate you may sometimes miss +2 temple happiness from temples on Deity. Try to put in a good effort though as getting that is very nice. It provides a great source of early-game faith and extra happiness and synergizes well with the special building ability. It'll make your entire empire 2 pop higher as well during the midgame happiness slump. I pick religious community because it feels so nice getting 40% production bonus to building built in the capital. :D Probably not needed but it is a very fun synergy for building expensive buildings from the industrial/modern/atomic very fast. And nothing else seems as useful as religious community when enhancing rolls around. It's very powerful and virtually always there.

    The only thing you need to be careful of is supporting the maintenance costs as their empire can't support the same population before ideologies and tithes yields a lot less on the late religions. Fortunately building markets and working a gold tile per city is pretty easy to do and helps a lot if it gets tight. You'll be selling less iron to build their unique legion but honestly contrary to other players I find the road-building ability only useful for war. My roads are done long before legions arrive as I'm trying to maximize meritocracy quite early. In war it really helps you quickly move troops to the front though.

    Rome can acquire a wide empire two ways: the peaceful REXing strategy I describe in the OP works with them and even a bit better then usual due to the 25% building discounts. However, if you'd rather play them more conservatively and build up your army a bit they also can easily be used to settle 4-5 cities and conquer the space for 2-3 more in the classical era with their UU. The second strategy will no doubt have a slower science rate but is fun and has a few advantages:

    1) avoids early land-envy penalties and makes the threat of early rushers much less
    2) weakens 1-2 neighbors dramatically in the classical and can result in 30 turns of luxes/gold for a great age of growth afterward
    3) A great source of early xp that leaves your siege and legions with some great promos and a much more securely defended empire afterward.

    The military strategy works, but is much more difficult to pull off without falling behind on Deity. Plus their peaceful building ability is best taken advantage of by avoiding early war to build buildings like aqueduct, colloseum, etc. early. The AI will probably have a tech lead and be more useful for trade routes on Deity as well.

    Enjoy Rome the civ with the best infrastructure building ability for wide empires!
    The key tips to remember with them are: finish new buildings in the capital as soon as you can, one of the best for resisting early rushes or even conquering small cities in classical

    5. Raging Russia:
    Spoiler :

    Russia can be played nearly identically to Rome for a good wide game. The same strategy pretty reliably nets the 4th or 5th religion for a bit of happiness, gold, and production. They also get a production bonus getting +1 production from strategic resources. This effect means a moderately more productive empire but also double the resources to sell for early gold. It means her economy is very good early-game as you can sell most of that to AI for 2 gpt each! This means you can buy a lot more troops or buildings to quickly get your empire off the ground and have one of the strongest early game economies of all these civs! You are greatly advantaged by a map that lets you discover everyone early as this is more people to sell too as well.

    Pick up the techs for horses and iron early so you can see where they are and settle cities to claim as much of them as possible. The iron is particularly good to settle on for an instant connection, extra production in the base tile, and instant gold for selling. Russia settling on an iron hill with republic from liberty creates FIVE production before you even assign a citizen. As such Russian cities near a few resources have the best early-game production and will build buildings fastest. You can use this to generate extra shrines, fast growth buildings, etc and shave many turns off early production.

    Their UB the Krepost is also especially good for a wide game. Usually you don't build early barracks in any but the capital, but for them I'd put the Krepost on the main build order as early as the 4th building. The Krepost will make your borders expand 25% faster or cost 25% less gold to buy tiles. Given that liberty civs struggle with border growth and bringing in 3rd ring resources as a result this is a large advantage that goes well with their resource-ability.

    Like Rome expect to be a bit short on happiness midgame around renaissance and just run science specialists and grow slower till ideologies.

    Enjoy Russia, one of the civs with the best wide-empire early game economy and production.
    The key tips to remember with them is: horse and iron techs earlier, REX fast to collect them and sell them

    5. Emperial Ethiopia?
    Spoiler :

    Though it completely negates their spirit of adwa special ability, ethiopia has some major perks going wide that are completely based on their religion. I see them as a direct contrast to Celts in that they can reliably get the first religion if they want and are vying with the Celts for first place. With a human, either can probably beat out the AI and get their pick of religion.

    The advantage lies in their UB which is a unique monument. For the same cost as a normal monument the "stele" gives +2 culture AND +2 faith. And you can build it from turn 1 meaning you have an advantage over even Deity AI. Use your discretion when to build stele. Though it is tempting to open with it first I'd recommend one scout first as ruins can be almost as important. If Celts are in the game they WILL get the first pantheon almost invariably, and if they aren't building the stele before the scout probably won't make a difference anyway on being first pantheon.

    Going wide with them their stele only grows stronger. It's cheap, powerful, and you get more and more faith and culture every time you build it. If you REX quickly enough you will get your pick of religion meaning a reliable +4 local happiness per city from it just like the Celts. You also don't need a faith pantheon freeing you up to pick something really nice and suited to your terrain such as food, production, or culture.

    Unlike the Celts their unique unit is not till riflemen and they have no unique happiness building so they still fall about 3 local happiness under the Celts. Still though, a powerful happiness religion and a REXing strategy with early stele's is a great opener that sets Ethiopia on a strong track to win the game. You lose spirit of adwa but I think it's worth it. If you want the ability to stay active you can try a slightly smaller liberty empire with them of 6-7 cities but honestly if you are going to go wide I think it's more effective to found all the cities you can.

    From this point, develop your faith, buy your religious building, and build local happiness when you need it while growing constantly empire-wide. You may have to slow down slightly in the renaissance a bit till ideologies but their strong religion can sustain a LOT of growth and you probably won't have to stop if you run your university specialists when you get them as this naturally slows down growth a bit. I'd recommend early trade growth trade routes.

    Basically any civ with a religious advantage is great for wide play, even Ethiopia who was obviously designed for tall play.

    Enjoy Ethiopia for their early faith advantage and strong religion. They are very versatile since you can found a religion so early but I'd recommend happiness for going wide.
    The key tips to remember with them is: Build stele early in capital after 1st scout, REX fast and build stele first in all cities
  4. danaphanous

    danaphanous religious fanatic

    Sep 6, 2013
    6. Shoshone Sprawl: new!
    Spoiler :

    I just finished refreshing my experience with the Shoshone in two recent Deity games and I'm back with their wide guide!

    Most of what you need to know about the Shoshone-specific wide advantages comes into play very early. As is well known their pathfinder provides a very decent early boost to growth, culture, and a faith option if a ruin survives long enough. They also recieve a 15% combat bonus when defending their own territory and receive a lot of cultural border expansion immediately upon founding. The result is the most insane sprawling empire ever with natural perks for protecting it.

    Why are they so good for a wide empire? Actually I'd say the Great Expanse ability is the strongest. One of the biggest problems with wide play is slow cultural expansion. Unlike tradition, 3rd-tile ring resources are slow coming unless you pay for it in gold which gets expensive. The Shoshone, however, start having expanded over most of the tiles you want immediately. This means they can take advantage of much poorer terrain and choose more optimal city spots in liberty. And hit the ground running in the choice of good growth and production tiles. This saves a lot of time and gold. The usual habit for liberty play is to densely pack your cities and only count on the first 2 rings of tiles. You might buy the occasional 3rd-ring tile early on the borders but the cultural expansion is notably slower then tradition so it takes a while and you'll be working with only the 1-2 ring most of the early game. The Shoshone change all this. I can easily settle a terrible plains area with a few scattered resources out on the 3rd ring and get them all immediately. This allows you more freedom in city placement meaning you can choose to be on a river or hill or mountain even if it isn't right next to good tiles and still get the good tiles 2-3 away to work. This results in better overall city potential. Keep this in mind as you read this guide, and sprawl to your heart's content. Another fun thing to do with them is forward-settle a new neighbor colony. AI frequently take nice city spots near you but have not yet expanded to grab the luxes. Settle near their new city to immediately grab all the 2-3 tile good stuff before they can and completely nerf their city.

    So, starting off my preferred order for Shoshone is pottery-->animal husbandry-->mining. You want to be able to see horses, steal workers and be able to mine and chop forests, and build shrine. While the tech is being researched begin your 2nd pathfinder (you start with 1) the first guy should take off in the most open direction to grab far away ruins. The 2nd, if you can find an extra hammer point will come in 8 turns and can circle the city to take note of nearby ruins. In general, first ruin should be growth, your second culture, unless you find yourself close to growing already in which case you might culture first then grow after pop 2 for a faster pop 3. Depends on timing and terrain. You can only choose these once and then begins a 25 turn cooldown or so (unsure of exact time). If you like the free tech the best time to pop this option is right after pottery. Right then you have a 3/6 chance of getting the more expensive techs: calendar, writing, sailing. It randomly chooses from the ones you can see so timing can give you a higher chance to get a more expensive one. I personally don't take the tech very often though. Usually my 3rd pick is upgrade as you upgrade to composite bowmen. If you can get 2 of these early enough it's enough to threaten CS and get tribute money before they build their own military. It's also great early defense and makes it easy to steal workers as warriors can't take down comps easy. Pathfinder also has higher defense near warrior and can easily steal workers. Find your closest neighbor as quick as possible and steal his worker. If on Deity, stay at war and try to steal the 2nd with another passby later. If you stay at war you get the option to steal their settler if one heads your way as well--all easy with 2 comp upgrades. After 1st pathfinder I usually know the lay of the land. If it looks like a pangaea or there is a lot of unexplored land start on a 3rd pathfinder, if not, or if you find yourself on a small continent your 2 will be enough and you can stop, just read the terrain. Your 2nd build is either monument or pathfinder--either way stop as soon as pottery is completed and rush the shrine to start your fpt for pantheon then resume the monument or pathfinder.

    Obviously open liberty as soon as you can with the culture from the 2nd ruin, then go republic, then settler policy, then worker policy.

    I find due to the expense of pathfinder, shrine, monument, granary, it is better to use your comps to scare off AI settlers and grow waiting for the settler policy. Get there as quick as possible with monument and nab a 2nd growth/culture ruin if they become available again. If you find a well-protected ruin near you, you can leave it till turn 30 or so to get the option for faith to quickly open your pantheon. Do this if you can but careful of AI scouts stealing it! Do this with caution, it is often better just to take them all if there isn't a well-protected mountain one nearby. You will get pantheon either from shrine, or if unlucky, from the faith ruin. Pick what's best for the empire. A faith pantheon will probably net you a religion with the help of the early faith ruin, however, if you don't pick one your probably won't get a religion so you can also just pick a strong short-term pantheon like sacred waters to help you quickly REX, food from camps, culture from jungles, culture from camps, etc.

    Scout aggressively to see the lay of the land and grow as fast as you can. You want to be 5-6 pop with the help of growth ruins by the settler policy. I sometimes have time to hard-build my own 2nd worker which is a good call if there are no caravan options. Generally stealing your neighbors workers and any settlers that come your way is better then playing it peaceful for a caravan partner but if you have multiple neighbors you can have both so choose based on the game.

    After the settler policy, immediately send off the free on for the best nearby spot farthest away from your intended empire to wall out Ai settlers and start building your own. Start chopping forest to speed them along and switch to highest production as possible then backfill towards your capital. You should have a size 7-8 empire by turn 70-90 depending on terrain. Use the tips I gave in the section on the Great Expanse to choose your city sites carefully. Since you've ticked off neighbors with this aggressive strategy it is a good idea to put likely border city targets on hills near mountains if possible so they can be easily defended.

    If it looks like you'll get a golden age before representation then pick meritocracy first then representation. But often due to your fast expansion you won't so the best order is usually representation then meritocracy for early culture savings. For the great person, usually the best choice is either a scientist for capital academy to accelerate your early science since you've likely fallen a bit behind or a 2nd prophet to quickly enhance your religion if you founded (you should have one founded by turn 60 with the help of a faith ruin if you also got a pantheon to bring in some faith). I don't find the engineer finisher to be worth it, but for a casual game it could net you a nice early wonder.

    Hard-build the pyramids, which the AI often ignore on standard, in your capital with the help of chopping either right after your 5-6 settlers or in the middle if you suddenly run out of happiness. You might have a 10-turn lag while you connect luxes and you can build it then. Either way it's worth it. The extra worker speed for your sprawling empire, 2 free workers are very valuable and you'll need more workers for normal since you're spamming your cities farther apart due to the great expanse. The engineer point, if you get a workshop engineer working early as well, produces an engineer right as you get close to the renaissance to net something like Leaning Tower of Pisa. One of my favorite combos is Pyramids engineer for Pisa --> Pisa Engineer for Sistine chapel. Both are very strong for wide empires as the buffs operate on all your cities and you have more of them. Forbidden Palace is also an amazing wonder for conserving happiness so you could go for that instead of you decide to open patronage. It helps you grow your many cities a lot taller with the -10% population unhappiness.

    From this point on the game goes like normal. Due to the fact that you REXed a liberty empire with even MORE land then usual and probably crowded the AI borders with your great expanse ability, they will dislike you. If you build archers in several expos and defend the hill/border cities and build walls if needed you'll be ok. The 15% combot defense bonus makes it easy to fight many defensive wars if you chose your border locations carefully and come out on top. Eventually neighbors will calm down and you'll have friends though the guy you stole workers and settlers from will probably hate you forever. this is ok, he'll be weak and probably taken out be a warmonger.

    Your road maintenace costs will be higher then normal since the Great Expanse allowed to to sprawl a bit more then usual and spread them out. It often feels like I'm working 8 tradition cities with the amount of space I have. As a result you might not bother to connect cities till they reach pop 4 as they won't pay for themselves in city connections till they grow a bit.

    have fun! Their unique unit is a nice unit. To support them and your sprawling empire I would build some early horse, maybe 2-4 for barb protection and level them in the early wars. By the time they upgrade to your Comanches they'll be a powerful force for pillaging/raiding if you have someone you dislike at that point. ;) But horse synergize well with the large shoshone empires which have barb problems and jealous neighbors so invest in them early!

    Enjoy Shoshone for their strategic early ruin picks and massive early borders through the Great Expanse. I love to sprawl like crazy with them and they work well with it.
    The key tips to remember with them is: scout aggressively for early ruins, raid with them using the stronger pathfinder and early comp upgrade to get more free workers and gold then usual, and tribute CS early if you get to comp upgrades, and take advantage of their Great Expanse to choose more optimal city positions and cover poor terrain more effectively.

    Coming at some point Soon!

  5. Solutionfinder

    Solutionfinder Warlord

    Apr 30, 2015
    You can block prophets with units but I usually just DoW AI to capture one especially those that are close to me because chances are high that Prophet has not yet been spoiled :)
  6. liltrogdor

    liltrogdor Chieftain

    Jul 11, 2013
    Love these! Thanks for the tips on playing with Liberty. I want to try Liberty games because they seem more fun than the boring 4 city tradition games. Keep doing specific civ strats I'd like to read them!
  7. docbud

    docbud Emperor

    Feb 14, 2012
    I'm still reading this, but I'm confused on the early rush thing. AI will rush you on turn 20-30? Do you mean turn 120-130 (though to be honest, I've been rushed on turn 80 on King). Or do you mean I will notice it by then? Usually I'm still meeting AIs during those turns. I play at a lower level so I've never seen AI military prowling around my territory that early.

    If you really mean notice it by then, then when should one expect the actual attack?

    There is no way you're going to have archers and melee units (much less swordsmen) on turn 20-30. Nor the money to buy them. Or research the tech for walls that early.
  8. donkeyfish

    donkeyfish Warlord

    Mar 3, 2016
    A lot of text so maybe I missed this somewhere: Build your city on a hill, on "your" side of the river.

    Settling 8 cities is just asking for it, so its important to have good defensive spots.

    I think you should build archers and save gold for upgrade. Buying 3 archers requires 600 + 240 in upgrade. Thats ambitious for t55-60. Archers don´t function well t50+, when they have Swords. Whenever I decide to manifest destiny, I tend to have Archer as first build in several expos.

    Its also quite ambitious to attempt trading away your lux in this type of game. Theres a good chance you need to trade spare lux for other lux to support 8 early cities.

    Buying archers, walls, upgrading to comp while trading away lux to bribe neighbour. That sounds like a pretty fantastic scenario.

    Also, the AI don´t DoW because you´re weak when you found 8 cities - they DoW you because of the "too aggressive settling" modifier. Doesnt matter that there is easier prey somewhere else. Notice if you play a game, and 60 turns in Ghandi talks to you: "Shaka has become a nuisance etc...", guess why? He just settled his 9th city on top of Dehli.

    Btw - several of the maps in the "Community Deity Games" encourage you to play wide, if you want a case-study or two.

    And I think you need Theology 2 turns before to get GP, like t70 for t72
  9. danaphanous

    danaphanous religious fanatic

    Sep 6, 2013
    @solutionfinder Oh yeah, I didn't mention it but I should add a section on defending your religion too since this is so important to the main strategy. You can usually block missionaries with your extra troops till they die of attrition but prophets you are right. Either you waste 3-6 units pinning them or DOW. Annoyingly a prophet rarely changes targets once it's chosen a city it wants. I did lots of tests. If you really want to keep a friend then I've had success guiding the prophets over to mountains and penning them to use less troops but it's a pain. DOW is best if you think they are becoming an enemy anyway as you say. :)

    @liltrogdor: thanks, glad you enjoyed! I'll add more detail later to the shorter ones but you wouldn't believe how long it's taken already to write up my "strategies" till I actually sat down to write it lol. ;)

    @docbud: I mean I can usually tell who will rush me on Deity by turn 20-30. They sometimes rush as early as turn 50 but usually it is later. You can build some early troops if you feel you need them as the 2nd build on your first expos but usually you are right you won't really be fully protected till later.

    @donkeyfish: thanks for the input! Good tips I forgot to mention and some nice clarity! :) I also frequently search for a hill to settle on. In addition to republic this means 3 hammers to start building with even before you assign the citizen! Very nice for this playstyle. :D It is more cost-effective to build archers. I sometimes buy a quick extra one or two during the settler phase as I can't be bothered to waste the turns and this is more what i was referring too. I have the money to do so usually after selling my first round of resources. Usually it feels more effective then saving for a late settler since they are being built so fast and building up my troops a tad earlier for better deterrance. I think your idea of expo building archers is probably most efficient and save gold for comp upgrade, but sometimes I feel I need them earlier to deter an attack. Maybe I am just cautious. As for luxes, I actually frequently sell a few, but only if there are no 1 for 1 lux trades. It's a habit of mine. I figure otherwise it's a wasted opportunity. Often later the AI have a lux trade and if so and I'm out I will buy it to secure it and transition over to 1 for 1 lux trade next round. This allows me to be getting 7 gpt for a while so I see it as superior to sitting on extra luxes. Do you disagree?

    I know they attack because of the settling but the modifier is reduced if you crowd less civs hence my advice to focus on preventing the nearest AI from expanding. Hopefully you only get the modifier with them and 1-2 others which is more manageable. Then you can bribe an external AI you're friendlier with the attack if you need help. You are right that two neighbors that both are annoyed with you are less likely to fight each other. At least I think. This is immortal experience with this particular rush strategy. But, doing everything I say in my article on a single early rush is a stretch you are right! :D I was more putting all the possible responses in one place. Realistically you've hopefully mostly kept your troops upgraded and the only thing you might need to buy would be a wall in a slow city if they attack one without it. It can make a couple turns difference in the healthbar going down. I had not heard you needed 2 turns from theology, if that's true I need to update my post, can you confirm? thanks for stopping by, I'll correct my post. Can you link me these Deity games? I would love to test some strategies on them!
  10. inthesomeday

    inthesomeday Immortan

    Dec 12, 2015
    Currently in a deity Liberty game as Egypt, I haven't been in a single war but I have 7 cities, one of which is ~8 tiles from the Portuguese capital. Bribery is your friend; I had direct borders shared with 3 civs, and had severely forward settled two, the Inca and Portugal. My third neighbor, Germany, seemed to be building an army, as was the Inca and Portugal, around turn 80; I just gave Germany a couple surplus lux to war Portugal, and Indonesia, who sandwiched Inca with me, to war Inca. They warred each other as I got 7 universities up via faith buying from Korean Confucianism and hard building in expos.
    I had about 6 comp bows through the early modern. The point is, diplomacy and not being afraid to bribe generously can pad your hammers well by saving on military.
  11. Acken

    Acken Deity

    Sep 13, 2013
    QC, Canada
    People can also look at my own guide in my signature below.
  12. danaphanous

    danaphanous religious fanatic

    Sep 6, 2013
    oh I've seen that guide! It's very good, thanks for writing it. :) My advice is a bit less organized but hopefully it helps someone haha. :)

    Originally I meant for this to be more focused on playing each individual civ however the first OP was more general as I realized a lot of the same strategies were employed in my games. :)
  13. donkeyfish

    donkeyfish Warlord

    Mar 3, 2016
    Actually, I think its the other way around. If you cripple your neighbour on 2 cities, the modifier comes into play faster. Since its the relative that matters. Available land close by is another modifier iirc. Its been a while since I looked at this, and its not exactly a plain text-read.

    The modifier is 35, same as denounce. 35 by itself is not that terrible, but add 30 (max) from covet your lands and they overcome the reluctance to be involved in 2 wars simultaneously. Of course its possible in some games to bribe your way out of it, there´s a lot of idiosyncrasy, but on average its much less likely to succeed than in a 4 or 5 city game.

    Not that its such a big deal though, except when you have ugly neighbours on several sides. With weak civs, the 2nd war is often just a "war" - they never send a unit.

    If the lux part was misunderstood: I agree, I never keep a spare. Just that in smaller games, I value lux for gpt or lux for bribe higher than lux for lux. In wider games, I value lux for lux higher.

    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=559515 - an example of a map with lots of space.
  14. Acken

    Acken Deity

    Sep 13, 2013
    QC, Canada
    Regarding the "Reckless Expansion" modifier ("too many cities") it's simply put on all your direct neighbours for having more than 1.5 times the game average number of cities (yours excluded from the average).
  15. Crus8r

    Crus8r Chieftain

    Feb 4, 2015
    You should consider adding Indonesia to the list...

    Indonesia's UA encourages wide play (can't get those Spice Island cities until at least Optics for embarkation, and frequently not until Astronomy, so you can cross oceans), and the fact that they can build the Candi (garden) in all cities, not just those with fresh water access allows great use of the Peace Gardens belief for +2:c5happy:, in addition to the guaranteed unique luxes from the UA...

  16. Kulu87

    Kulu87 Chieftain

    Sep 2, 2015
    Good to see a detailed breakdown of how to play wide. This has always been the way more or less I play the game up to immortal anyway; (haven't tryed deity yet!).

    Austria should also get a mention mainly for spamming GP with the coffee house +garden combo. Wide play also works well with the Netherlands, Babylon and Greece - this also based on their respective UA's.
  17. Tzar Sasha

    Tzar Sasha Tzar of Nowheresville

    Dec 10, 2003
    The Frozen Tundra
    Can't wait for your Shoshone guide. Been trying to do liberty wide science victories on huge maps (or I should say science wins that don't touch tradition tree since one of my games turned out to be 5 cities). Some marginal success. Nothing super fast tho. Emperor is killing me (no fighting but couldn't/didn't keep up with culture which ruined things when ideologies came around), think I bit off more than I could chew with 10 cities. Probably should have stayed at the 6-8 range.
  18. danaphanous

    danaphanous religious fanatic

    Sep 6, 2013
    I did not think of austria and haven't played them but the Feitoria would be very strong right? Free luxes for forever makes CS happiness much more reliable to keep. :)

    I put down basic guides for the civs I'm most familiar with first. Some of them on the list I actually haven't gotten to test too thoroughly so they may be a while coming as I try them, but I've played Shoshone and love them. I may play another practice game so their strengths are fresh in my mind before writing about it but a few things I like and why I consider them extremely strong for wide empires and liberty:

    1) ruin ability causes fast early growth and culture gains that can take many turns off the time to start producing your first settlers. I find growth/culture the most useful early picks. After getting pottery you might try a tech to see if you get lucky with a higher valued technology as your odds are 50% at this point to get something nice like writing, calendar, or sailing early.

    2) if you can find a ruin late enough (T20?) you get the option for faith so basically a free early pantheon so don't need to rush a shrine at all to make up for the more expensive pathfinders. If you find another after that you can get the coming of the great prophet for and additional 60 faith as well so with appropriate terrain and faith pantheon you are basically guaranteed an early religion (1-3 founder range) which is a big part of my strategy and adds a lot of culture, production, and local happiness choices to make their big empire productive.

    3) Extra borders: this is actually an extremely strong UA for playing wide. One of the main problems with liberty is the slower border expansion rate. Liberty cities are a little more densely packed but it can take many turns for them to grow to reach all the resources you want. Shoshone with the wide city-packing scheme basically start having access to everything you want for strong early tile choices, growth, etc. I would use them in combination with an early pyramids and extra early workers so I could very quickly get my empire road network up and be improving the cities. You'll find their early growth and tile selection superior due to tile access so you want to take advantage of this with the fast arrival of workers and improvements.

    4) Units get a bonus fighting in your territory which is large. This gives them the edge in defending their large territory from early rushers or land envy. Get your road network up quickly for meritocracy and build enough units and this ability will make you a bit safer then a typical large empire.

    Most of their advantages lie in excellent early-game rates at things like culture, growth, faith, land acquisition so you want to play to that strength by more quickly capitalizing on things. Use forced growth from ruins to start earlier settlers. Use culture to more quickly open liberty and get rebublic and settler bonuses. Use extra borders in combination with fast workers to bring in luxes more quickly and thus expand at a faster rate. And if at all possible, use the ruin ability to get into the religious race. Founding a strong religion will do more for your empire then anything else.

    On huge maps you are actually okay to aim for 12 cities. If you found under 8 you actually have techs cost MORE due to the base tech penalty of 130% on huge world sizes. this is in the fine notes in the general section. Most of what you talk about can be solved by investing in a strong religion. Religion will bring in money, early culture, and extra local happiness so you can grow more. Without a strong religion I suspect your science finish times will be a lot worse since you can't grow as much before ideologies.

    My argument for choosing to found rather then accept foreign religions is it gives me more perks and more control over the benefits: founder belief tithes is a huge help for higher midgame maintenance costs, does not require a significant early investment for a larger empire, owning the religion results in much more reliable sources of local happiness. The constant flipping of your cities makes beliefs like +2 happiness from temples too unreliable otherwise. Religious building happiness is permanent, true, but you can buy those from foreign religions whether you found or not, and founding late you'll get some spread into your empire anyway along with extra faith to buy them earlier. Every nearby city state will ask for the religion as a quest making early alliances easy. Lastly, AI respect founders a little more and usually only convert their cities after nonfounders are converted or if they dislike you. Friends often won't on immortal at least meaning keeping your religion isn't too difficult with proper precautions. Tithes usually earns me a lot of midgame money and with a big empire it will mean 50 or more gpt usually. That alone is worth founding over not to me but more reliable local sources of happiness is the big reason. You have to waste a LOT of faith and get a considerable amount of luck to buy multiple religious buildings in all cities over your empire early enough to get a lot of happiness out of it if you don't found. And to do so at a good pace you'll need to build shrines and temples anyway. If you were going to do that you might as well do it a bit earlier and found--having the faith to buy about the same number of foreign buildings anyway in your border cities. All this translates to better happiness and growth early-game then not founding imho. Not founding makes much more sense for a small empire, you give up too many potential bonuses with not being a founder in a large empire.
  19. sixty4half

    sixty4half Prince

    Apr 12, 2015
    I don't know that the Feitoria encourages wide play so much as it simply allows it because you'll have more happiness. Tall empires could just use the excess happiness for Golden Ages. I mean, you can build as many Feitorias as there are CS regardless if you go OCC or 20 cities wide.

    Other UBs and UIs definitely encourage wide play because you get to build more of those juicy bonus'. But Feitoria's are only dependent on the number of CSs in the game.
  20. inthesomeday

    inthesomeday Immortan

    Dec 12, 2015
    The Feitoria is Portugal, not Austria. And I've always considered Austria tall, Portugal wide.
    Austria's bonus is not only a percent based bonus but it's also a great person percent bonus, and these apply best to tall. Specialists favor wide but, and I'll admit this, great people favor tall. Their other bonus, buying city states, is weirdly asynergetic with their UB. Buying city states is a good wide move; if one CS is in the way of expansion, clear a couple camps for influence, use the armies to tribute other nearby CSes, and voila, direct pathway. It's also good for preventing other civs from world congress control, which can be a problem if you've gone a path that doesn't allow room for CS friendships. However the UA is Austria's weaker component, given how situational it is. The UB is the real workhorse of Austrian relevance, and because it's both percent based and favors wonders and great people, it favors taller play.
    As to Portugal, the Feitoria is one definite bonus of theirs that encourages wide play. It deals with some of the same problems Austria's UA deals with: annoying CS placement/resource stealing, other civs getting an edge diplomatically for whatever reason, etc. It is also, however, a pretty nice and overlooked happiness bonus. It comes right around the second wide dip IIRC, during the late Renaissance if I'm not mistaken, when your cities have grown but you don't have ideologies. It can add on some much-needed happiness if you have the means and the need. (One thing I've always wondered: does building a Feitoria adjacent to a mercantile CS grant the unique lux?) Then Portugal's UA, which increases gold from resource diversity, overwhelmingly favors wide play. Firstly, external trade routes can often get you out of a tight spot, and the science from them early game on deity is substantial enough to consider delaying your internal routes. Wide play, which needs help with early science and gold, and the Mare Clausum clearly favors this. The Nau, I know nothing about, I know you can conduct a trade mission but I don't know much else about the nuances of said mechanic or of the unit's utility. But again, large sums of gold are very useful for wide play.

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