What would be your Top Ten List of tips for your favorite civ? Any specific tips, even if less than ten, would help those unfamiliar with the civ. They all add up. Here are ten tips for the new Ljosalfar player. It’s sort of a quicker, quick guide for someone who’s familiar with Civ but not necessarily familiar with the Elves. I’ve included some explanations, but I’m not trying to provide a perfect plan(s), just 10 basic tips. I’ve tried to make them all general tips that could apply to the Ljosalfars with most maps, difficulty levels, settings, and player experience. LJOSALFAR TIPS Elves are a defensive, slow-growth nation dependent on forests for production and protection. Mostly vulnerable early on, the Elves, if they survive, can raise large armies and cities to back them up. 1. Follow Your Leaders. Spoiler : There are three Ljosalfar leaders with different traits and alignments that dramatically affect gameplay. Remember that when choosing a strategy, civics or producing units. Amelanchier’s Raider trait, for example, makes archer/warrior pillagers highly profitable from the start, while his Defender traits increases the survivability of a new Ljo nation. Thessa's Arcane trait encourages prioritizing mages and priests with their lightnings and tigers, her Expansive trait offers maintenance free Compassion civics. Arendel's traits make cultural victories and magic users more attractive and trade more important. 2. Know The Elven Forest Economy Needs Time. Spoiler : It's not easy being green: expect defending longer than many other civs. Elven workers are 20% slower than most workers and their Forest improvements take even longer to build. Forests often need to be bloomed and that also takes time. Early useful economic goals: Farms and Cottages -- research Agriculture, Ancient Chants, Education Early useful economic civics: God King, Agrarianism, Apprenticeship What's particularly cool about these goals and civics is that they "fit" a basic overall Elven strategy using their particular strengths/weaknesses. For example, the Elves do well with FoL religion and the path en route to FoL opens up the powerful early God King civic. Similarly, the slow Ljosalfar economy should be nurtured early by researching Agriculture, Ancient Chants, Education to get those farms and cottages and these techs advance the Elves to the basic (but welcome) Apprenticeship and Agrarianism civics. 3. Found Fellowship of Leaves Early. Spoiler : An early FoL path – including a minor research detour or two for Education & Archery (grabbing cottages, Apprenticeship, archers) - greatly increases defenses with little cost. The World Spell, more treant defenders, religious heroes, religious wonder, holy city, all from one tree-hugging religion. 4. Remember Your World Spell. Spoiler : Either cast early if nearby enemy civs are vulnerable or save as insurance for desperate situations. Early summoning means fewer treants, late summoning damages Elven economy as ancient forests die. 5. Research Archery Quickly. Spoiler : Early, inexpensive, strong city defenders, the Ljos archers have a +1 attack strength as well as a forest attack bonus. All Ljosalfar leaders do well with archers but they are a particular favorite of Amelanchier who builds archery ranges, palisades and walls at double speed. Archery also makes available the Elven hero Gilden Silveric whom you'll want to know more about. 6. Hire Gilden Silveric Yesterday. Spoiler : Save your newborn nation or destroy that slow-starting enemy tribe by having Gilden on your side ASAP. A Hero recruitable after Archery, Gilden’s a heavy hitter in the early game. Use him early and often before the other heroes and upper tier troops come out to play. 7. Provide Elf Mages 3 Important Spells: Maelstrom, Vitalize, Enchanted Blades/Flaming Arrows. Spoiler : [Ok, technically that's 4 spells, so sue me.] Why these spells? Since magic schools (Elementalism, Alterations) and Sorcery are expensive to research, one should try to get the most beneficial Elf spells that fill an Ljosalfar need or weakness. Siegecraft: The Elves can’t build catapults but the Air spell Maelstrom is a good substitute. The Fire spell Fireballs is an alternative, but harder for the Elves to acquire. Most mages should have either. Mediocre military: The Elves are good defenders but weak relatively weak attackers. Enchantment spells like Enchanted Blades or Flaming Arrows buff up melee troops and archers for city conquests. A single Enchantment mage, assisted by adepts, located in a central recruitment city is enough. Improved Lands: Often the Elf lands must be improved for forestation, and the Level III Nature spell Vitalize can do that. The need depends on the map, but it’s often better to Vitalize than wait for the Genesis Project. Only one mage need have Vitalize. BTW, your neutrally-aligned leaders will be able to recruit Druids with useful capabilities like Entanglement and Command. I highly recommend recruiting them. 8. Help Your Mages Help You: Leverage The Elves Starting Mana Spoiler : Use the Elves Palace mana (Air, Nature, Life) for a head start reaching their goals of securing a siegecraft substitute, stronger troops, and better lands. Of the manas, Air is always needed, Nature relatively often, and Life rarely. Enchantment mana is always helpful as the Elves military remains mediocre without buffing spells. Goal 1 Siegecraft substitute: Research Elementalism and build an Air node; this will be the 2nd Air source allowing quicker access to Maelstrom. Fire mana is a decent replacement but 2 nodes are necessary. Goal 2 Stronger troops: Research Alteration and build one or two Enchantment nodes to release Level I Enchanted Blades and Level II Flaming Arrows. Goal 3 Better lands: Research Alteration and build two Nature Nodes to unlock the Level III Vitalize spell. Vitalize may not be crucial if Elf lands are forested and good, in which case one may wait for the Genesis project. The Level I Sanctify spell is the only commonly used Life spell; there’s no need for extra nodes. Water mana is useful mostly in MP games or desert starts. The ideas here are to leverage starting manas for quicker access to spells, efficiently build a minimum number of nodes, reduce specific Elf weaknesses and limit researching magic spheres.. 9. Choose Elven civics. Spoiler : Elven civics are civics a forest-dwelling, mystical, nature folk would generally favor. [Of course, any civ can use any civic but one generally doesn't see Slavery or STW as an Elven civic although... ]. These civics enhance Elven goals and units and dovetail nicely with the FoL/Archery research path (Tips 3 and 5) . For instance, Apprenticeship adds 2XPs allowing the FoL-dependent fauns to start with the Woodsman II promo making fauns fairly tough s.o.b.'s. (for an early unit). Naturally, circumstances vary as empires develop under different leaders (Thessa's No Upkeep Costs for the Compassion Civics, for example, leads you along its own path.) but the early civics and the "final" civics are typical. Early civics: God King, Apprenticeship, Agrarianism. Ultimate civic: Guardian of Nature. 10. Bloom Forests Methodically. Spoiler : Blooming forests with priests improves the Elf economy,defense and mobility - so start planting purposefully! By the end of the beginning, Priesthood should be researched or well underway. Remember your Elven troops move double speed through forests, so you generally don't need many roads: limit road building to slow invaders. Siting cities along rivers/coasts to connect to the capitol can further reduce roadwork. Regarding the Genesis Project: worthwhile but expensive and a bit late, don't wait for it to get forests and better lands.