Civilization 5: 2019-08-19 campaign

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Main: Civilization 5


Increased local Happiness cap

Quote: "India's local happiness cap is equal to 2/3 the population rounded up (ex: for city sizes 5 and 6, the cap is 4 happiness), instead of equal to the population for every other civilization (ex: for city sizes 5 and 6, the caps are 5 and 6 happiness respectively). This is not explained anywhere in India's trait description or Civilopedia entry."

While all other civilisations have their local happiness cap being equal to the amount of citizens in the city, Gandhi has this value lowered to 2/3 of the amount of citizens.

However, as each citizen generates only 1/2 of the unhappiness of other civilisations, the lowered happiness generation cap is in fact an increased Happiness generation cap.

This means that a 18 size city would generate 18 unhappiness with other civilisations, and have a happiness cap of 18. The same 18 size city controlled by Gandhi on the other hand generate 9 unhappiness from citizens but have a happiness cap of 12, 3 more than the actual number of citizens! This will bleed out into the global happiness pool and in fact counteract the increased cost of cities that Gandhi has!

Happiness analysis
City size Unhappiness generated Happiness cap Net effect Comment
1 0.5 0.66 => 1 +0.5
2 1 1.33 => 2 +1
3 1.5 2 => 2 +0.5
4 2 2.66 => 3 +1
5 2.5 3.33 => 4 +1.5
6 3 4 => 4 +1
7 3.5 4.66 => 5 +1.5
8 4 5.33 => 6 +1
9 4.5 6 => 6 +1.5
10 5 6.66 => 7 +2 With Ceremonial Burial and Meritocracy on a huge map, the cost of each Indian city is 2.1 happiness. At 10 citizens, that cost is repaid almost in full as long as the city is generating 7 happiness. 7 Happiness can be received with Godes of Love (+1), Aristocracy (+1), Religious Center (+2) a Colosseum (+2) and either one of Circus, Stone Works, Military Caste and the many religious buildings. Sustaining 10 citizens would require 20 food, 16 more than the city centre provides, 12 after Granary, 10 after Feed the World (Shrine and Temple each give +1 food). With 3 people on food, the rest can focus on mines and Specialist work.
11 5.5 7.33 => 8 +2.5 At this point, each city is actually outputting more happiness than unhappiness into the global pool. The incentive to grow bigger is there in order increase this surplus, fill all the Specialist slots and get more value from the science producing buildings, but make sure you can keep up with the happiness generating sources, or else you will hamper you continued wide expansion.
12 6 8 => 8 +2
13 6.5 8.66 => 9 +2.5
14 7 9.33 => 10 +3
15 7.5 10 => 10 +2.5
16 8 10.66 => 11 +3
17 8.5 11.33 => 12 +3.5
18 9 12 => 12 +3
19 9.5 12.66 => 13 +3.5
20 10 13.33 => 14 +4

Occupied cities

  • The double unhappiness from cities also applies to Occupied cities (annexed cities without a Courthouse), but the half unhappiness for population does not.

Golden Age

If the above is true, Golden Ages are the perfect time to build a Annex all cities and building Courthouses, or burn them down.

Edit: Tested: Golden Age does not prevent empire unhappiness from going negative.


  • Make sure to build three land caravans as soon as possible. They take priority over every single building you where planing.

City States

Early farming

  • Identify one you don't plan to ally and make sure to declare war on one of them early.
  • Preferably one that is not on a hill, but has a hill close to it.
  • Take one of their Workers, and get back to get a second one later. Don't take a third one as that will piss of all other city states. Don't make peace with the in between.
  • If you really don't have any need to have them as their ally, stay in a permanent war with the. Send troops to gain xp by attacking their city, but never take it.
  • You can park units on the other side of the hill so that the city can shoot at it, but the archer in the city has no vision and thus can't shoot. You can safely milk it for XP this way.


City states that are allied with you will serve as a great wall against enemies that need to get through them before getting to you. The enemy will probably conquer the city state while moving towards you. You will get 90 influence when you free them and get EXTREME liberation points.

In order to keep a City state as an ally, you will need to give the, 250 gold for 15 Influence.

  • As time passes, you will need to change that to 500 gold for 30 influence, and then 1000 gold for 60 influence, until even that drops to 1000 gold for 55 influence.
  • If you lose 0,67 per turn, then the 250 gold is good for 22.3 turns, costing you 11.2 gold per turn.
  • If you make them have your religion, you will instead lose 0.5 influence per turn. That will cause the 250 gold to last for 30 turns, costing you 8.33 gold per turn.
  • In effect, spending a Missionary to spread religion twice to city states early on will save you ((11.2-8.33=2.87)*2) = 5.46 gold per turn. As a side effect, your religion will also radiate from those new city states.
  • A Hostile City-State will have you lose 1 influence per turn, not 0.67. That will increase the per turn cost of to 16.7 per turn (from 11.2). If have your religion, the cost decreases to 12.5 per turn (instead of 8.33).
  • That increases the saving from a Missionary from 5.46 gold per turn to ((16.7-12.5=4.2)*2) = 8.4 gold per turn.

Initially, the most profitable city states to ally are the Maritime. This calculations does not take into account the luxury they provide, nor their strategical value as allies.

  • Religious City states will give 4 faith per turn. The cost is then (11.2/4) = 2.8 gold per faith. For the cost of a settler, 1160 gold, you could instead have 414 Faith.
  • Cultured City states will give 6 culture per turn. The cost is then (11.2/6) = 1.87 gold per culture. For the cost of a settler, 1160 gold, you could instead have 620 Culture.
  • Mercantile (happiness, to do, or rather, cant bother to do)
  • Militaristic City states will give 1 soldier every 20 if friend, 17 turn if allied. The cost is then (11.2*20) = 224 gold per unit. Or if you are allied, (11.2*17) = 190 gold per unit. Probably three times that since we are playing on Marathon, so 672 or 571 gold per unit. A Spearman costs 590 gold, and a Spearman isn't worth buying in gold.
  • Maritime City States are complicated as their output depends on the number of Cities you have.
    • If you have 4 cities, they output 6 food per turn. The cost is then (11.2/6) = 1.87 per food. Each food or production is worth about 2 golds, so they are equivalent.
    • If you have 4 cities AND THEY ARE HOSTILE, the cost is then (16.7/6) = 2.78 gold per food.
    • If you have 4 cities AND THEY ARE HOSTILE AND HAVE YOUR RELIGION, the cost is then (12.5/6) = 2.1 gold per food.
    • If you have 7 cities, the cost is then (11.2/9) = 2.78 gold per food.
    • If you have 7 cities AND THEY ARE HOSTILE, the cost is then (16.7/9) = 1.9 gold per food.
    • If you have 7 cities AND THEY ARE HOSTILE AND HAVE YOUR RELIGION, the cost is then (12.5/9) = 1.4 gold per food.
    • If you have 10 cities, the cost is then (11.2/12) = 0.9 gold per food.
    • If you have 10 cities AND THEY ARE HOSTILE, the cost is then 16.7/12) = 1.4 gold per food.
    • If you have 10 cities AND THEY ARE HOSTILE AND HAVE YOUR RELIGION, the cost is then (12.5/12) = 1.04 gold per food.
  • Religious City states might be useful to get the religion early. After that, they are poor investment, as the money might as well be spend on a new city that produces a Shrine and Temple for 5 faith each.
  • Cultured City states are dubious in how helpful they are as the money spend might as well be used to buy a new settler that will spawn a new city that produces 5 culture per turn with the right Social Policies.
  • Mercantile (happiness, to do, or rather, cant bother to do)
  • Militaristic City states are a poor early investment, but scale well with time, as the units they spawn will get more expensive to build as technology improves. Another peculiarity of the Militaristic City state is that their friend output is almost equal to their allied output. So if you manage to get permanent free friendship with one (Consulates & Papal Primacy), you are in for a treat.
  • Maritime City states scale well with time, as the amount of cities you have that will gain food increases.

Caution against allies with enemies

City states close to you have the risk of becoming allies with the enemy and turning against you during war. Make sure to build a fort (Construction tech) between you and them in order to not get overrun by that city state. Plant a melee unit in the city (Military Caste), with a couple of range units in the cities close to it. If the city state declares war, move the melee unit into the the fort, and then before it gets killed, move it back into the city. Rush the ranged units to the affected city. Upgrade them as needed. Use the war to put down a Citadel in order to get some of their land. Be wary of taking a Worker as that could piss of all other city states!


I will list the benefits of destroying the neighbours on one side of you continent, and then turning you army towards the other side, rather than fully destroying one side and then turning to the other side. After having turned towards the other side, you then turn back and finish off what you left before the world congress assembles.

  • It's often more profitable to accept a surrender than to conquer a civilisation outright.
  • If you move on one side of the continent (lets call it the east) with a murder rampage, the other people in the continent (lets call it the west) might notice and you might be faced with a full front attack from the western flank, an attack that you risk not surviving due your main army being a good 20 turns away from you deep inside enemy territory.
  • If you accept a surrender from the east where the conditions are all their gold, gold per turn and luxury resources while you have plundered all their lands and taken their workers, the east will face a severe setback, being forced to rebuild their land instead of growing tall. If they offer a city, make an economical counteroffer. Make such offers every turns after you have decimated their army until they accept.
  • It costs you no happiness to take their gold, enabling you to keep expanding with cities close to you, buying Settlers with the gold they send you. 30 gold per turn for 90 turns is 2700 gold, and you can easily buy 3 Settlers with that to jump start your own territory.
  • Do not pillage their luxury resources, not raid their caravans if you plan on an economic subjugation. Let them have a lot of gold to give you, but very little food and production.
  • The cities you produce yourself will have no lowered science and culture for being puppets, and you wont suffer an unhappiness spike while building a courthouse or burning them down.
  • If you accept an economical surrender from the east, there is a good chance they will expand into new territory closer to you. That's is a good thing, as they will then start Caravans to you, increasing your gold and science, while you can expand into them without fear of them having declaring a war... remember, they have no army, you just took it out.
  • Since the core cities of the east are unharmed, they are more likely to build a wonder or two in their capital, making it worth your while when you conquer them on the second run.
  • When you again declare war on the east after the initial 90 turns have passed, there will be a lot of Workers and Caravans moving between their cities. Put Scouts between them and capture the Workers and Caravans until your main army arrives in order to permanently taking them down.
  • After having economically subjugated the east, move your entire army towards the west. This time, you will get to make a first strike on the enemy to your other flank instead of the west attacking you, since you haven't pissed them off by taking a lot of eastern cities.
  • Kill of the western army, take their workers, pillage their non-gold producing lands and take a few key western cities in their core that will enable you an easier time to finish them off when it's time. Accept their economical surrender.
  • While you are doing this, you are enjoin an a lot of Workers, gold and luxury items from the subjugated eastern civilisations. Use them to aggressively expand on all sides. You will keep your happiness with Military Caste.
  • After subjugating the west, the 90 turns should have ended.
  • Identify one of the eastern civilisations that is building wonders, and another one that has a religion you want. It's obviously not certain that you get those kinds of neighbours, but this is the optimal condition.
  • Declare war on both eastern civilisations again.
  • Attack the one you want turned into a farm first. Severely plunder and burn down that civilisations until they are reduced to a condition suitable for farming.
  • While doing this, send a small army towards the civilisation building wonders in order to plunder Caravans and taking workers while you are busy with the first civilisation. Your first attack on them 90 turns ago should have left them in such a cripple state that even a small force should be able to get away with this. Hopefully you get a few Workers, a few Caravans and give them enough time to build another wonder while you are turning their neighbour into a farm.
  • Having turned one of the eastern civilisations into a farm, and having the other have enough time to build a Classical Era wonder, it's time to finish them off. Puppet all their cities with luxuries you lack, burn down all the cities with no new luxuries and take their capital last.
  • The people on the west will be severely aggravated by this, but having no army and economically humiliated, they will not declare war on you.
  • Move your army to the west and do the same thing again on them before everybody show up around turn 400.
  • When everybody show up around turn 400, you should be having one farm to the west and another to the east. The people of the world would not have witnessed how they ended up in that state, and would not be aggravated by new declarations of war since you will be in a permanent state of war with the farms. Having finished the Honor tree, the farms will also start producing units that you will gain gold for killing.


You should have 2 workers per city, considering the length of improving a resource compared to the time it takes to generate a new citizen. Add to this that you will also need to produce 3-4 roads per city. by the 5th city, you should have 10 workers, and 15 workers by the 10th city. by then, the inner cities should start to become complete and Worker accusation can be relaxed but not completely halted as the Workers from the inner cities can start to move out to build out the newer cities.

As the inner Gandhi ruled cities start to approach 7 to 10 citizens, they will start generating global happiness, accelerating the pace at witch new cities can be started.


The Liberty Social Policy named Citizenship will generate a new worker and increase the working speed of them to 125%. This will lower the costs of:

  • Building roads from 11 to 9 turns
  • Building farms from 20 to 16 turns.

The discount is not an actual increase in the amount of work the Worker performs, but a discount on the number of turns it takes to reach the result. So when my worker had 13 turns left to finish a quarry that took 23 turns to begin with, those 13 turns where reduced to 4 turns instantly when i acquired Citizenship. With some planing, this can be used to retroactively gain some worker speed. If you stop working on a farm a bit more than halfway and start some other project if you know Citizenship is on the way, then return to the farm to have it finished almost instantly.

Even though 25% can feel negligible, it always hurts to see the farm have 5 turns left to complete when you know it would have been completed by know if you had Citizenship. The main issue is that even though those 25% can be compensated in theory by simply having more Workers, the truth is that there is only so many workers to be Captured, and when you want even more Workers, then you are forced to choose between vital early infrastructure and building another Worker. No matter what you choose, you lose out on the other. An early Monument or Shrine is more valuable than a 5th farm/mine if you already have 4, so you end up not building that extra worker in hopes of soon capturing another one, until it's painfully obvious the work is lagging behind.

With early citizenship you get an actual sizeable bonus. 4 early workers would outputting 400% per turn, while Citizenship would increase that to 5 workers outputting 625% per turn, an increase of over 56%.

The truth is that having a citizen working on a two output hex instead of a three output hex dramatically reduces the usefulness of the worker to the point of the value gained from the cost of producing that worker comes into question. This effect is greatly increased as the potential output of mines and farms increase to 4 per hex.

Social Policies


Adopting all Policies in the Tradition tree will grant +15% food Growth and +2 food in each city.

  • Tradition: 4/5 for the early game. 1/5 after the early game, so pick it early.
  • Aristocracy: 1/5 for the early game, 5/5 for the mid game if you are playing with Gandhi. And we are. Actually, maybe even better if you are NOT playing with Gandhi.
  • Legalism: 3/5 for the early game, getting only worse later. There are better alternatives.
  • Oligarchy: 0/5 for the early game, 3/5 for the mid game.
  • Monarchy: 3/5. It's actually okay, but it's on top of Legalism, and there are better alternatives.
  • Landed Elite: 2/5 for the early game, getting only worse later. 4/5 if you consider the tree finisher to be part of this Policy. Still not worth it considering the weakness of Legalism and Monarchy.

Tradition Social Policies
Adopting Tradition greatly increases the rate of border expansion in cities (-25% cost) and also grants 3 Culture in the capital Capital. Very strong first pick, as it partially pays itself back (even considering it will make all future Social Policies more expensive), increases border expansion rate for all cities and is a prerequisite of Aristocracy. It increases the early production of the capital by granting early access to more hexes. 3 Culture per turn from the start is huge, specially if you got the Policy early through an Ancient Ruin.
+15% production when building Wonders and +1 Happiness for every 10 Citizens in a City. An important mid game policy, granting a lot of happiness when the cities have grown tall enough.

If the tradition opener has not been selected, it will feel very unrewarding to select the Tradition opener mid game in order to get access to this Social Policy... and still having this Social Policy will be worth it.

This policy is very unrewarding if selected early, as you will get no happiness from it. The production boost is equivalent to a single hammer per turn, and applies to only the capital.
Garrisoned units cost no maintenance and cities with a garrison gain +100% Ranged Combat Strength. The increased combat strength is certainly nice, but nothing to keep in mind when doing a policy decision. The real value comes from Garrisoned units costing no maintenance.

How valuable is that?

If you got a standing army, each unit in that army should either be warring with a hostile city state in order to gather experience, or being out conquering cities. If they are garrisoned, they are not contributing to repaying their production cost (with the exception of being taken into account when the AI is making diplomatic calculations regarding hostility).

Only time it's actually a good idea to have units garrisoned, outside being ambushed, is with Military Caste. That will make it beneficial to create an army of Scouts that will act as Monuments that also grant 1 happiness. Their upkeep cost will be about 2 gold per turn, increasing as the game.

So what this policy actually does is equivalent to generating 2-3 golds per turn in all your cities IF you have already put Military Caste into good use, gold that will NOT be multiplied through a Market, Band or Theocracy, in effect, lowering the value of the gold to the equivalent of what you get from a Trading post that has been upgraded a single time.

So the value of this policy can be considered to be equivalent to one hammer per city if the conditions are met.

The exception is if you have built all the Scouts only to figuring out that you have been mismanaging your gold production and expenses and you are therefore in great need of a lot of gold fast.
Provides a free culture building (that cost no upkeep) in your first 4 cities. This will provide a free Monument (120 hammers, 1 gold upkeep), Amphitheatre (300h, 1g), Opera House (600h,1g) or Mughal Fort (450h, 0g). The Monument is cheap to build, the Amphitheatre will stand empty and generate only a single culture assuming you are saving your writers to get culture and not works, and the same is true for the Opera.

So this will then boil down to either receiving 4 monuments fast or receiving under performing buildings buildings fast.

Considering that I value policies in other trees higher than to the point that I build my monuments in all 4 cities before this policy becomes relevant (if ever), then this boils down to saving upkeep on 4 buildings low priority buildings, for a grand total of a saving worth 4 gold per turn.

This policy is required by both Landed Elite and Monarchy. None of those two scale very well in a wide empire. However, the bonus for completing the entire tree is certainly worth a lot, but considering all the benefits this and the other 2 bring in a package of 3 Social Policies, there are alternatives that bring more benefits during most of the game.

Going for Discipline, Military Caste and Professional Army would give stronger melee units, a key part of battling when having lower tech, 1 happines and 2 culture in all cities, and lower the upgrade cost of units from 2 gold per hammer to 1.33 gold per hammer. Those are benefits that will stay relevant during the entire game and certainly more beneficial than having a free Monument and Aqueduct in four cities, and then a granary, the equivalent of 15 gold per turn and 15% faster growth all cities. The only scalable part of that is the 15% growth in cities, and that is of questionable use considering happiness is the real constraint for growth, and that it doesn't apply to caravans. The big benefit at the end, being able to buy Great Engineers has not been working well for me, as I do not get any chance to even see most Wonders. The Great Engineer I got for FREE from finishing Liberty was just standing there over 100 turns, costing me 200 gold and contributing nothing. If I did, that could change the equation. Maybe I'm doing it wrong. Anyway, from what I see, there isn't even many Wonders worth having after the industrial Era, certainly not that many that a few well populated Workshops can't fix.
+1 gold Gold and -1 unhappy Unhappiness for every 2 citizen Citizens in the capital Capital. The usefulness of this policy is undercut by the fact that Gandhi already gets 50% off the unhapiness. Combined with this policy, you don't get 100% unhappiness reduction, but (50%*50%)=75% reduction. So in a capital with 20 citizens, you get 5 less unhappiness and 10 gold per turn. The happiness can be considered to be global. That gold can be increased to almost 20 gold per turn through Market, Bank etc. It's actually quite okay, but can't stand up to what a social policy that scales with 10 to 20 cities can offer.

it's worth noting that the cash from this Policy stacks with the maintenance free Monuments from Legalism, resulting in 9 golds per turn when you get to four cities and have the capital at 10 citizens. That cash can be spent on a city state. A religious or maritime city state would be able to leverage that money to something worth a lot more than the pure gold.
Landed Elite
+10% food Growth and +2 food in the Capital. Boils down to a free Granary in the capital. Most unimpressive.

The finisher of this tree should be considered the real output of this policy, as it is most certainly the last policy in the tree to be selected.

The only conceivable exception would be to go all-out on the tradition tree from the very start. But that would undercut hunting barbarians through the Honor opening, getting free culture, hammers and settlers from the Liberty tree and being hopelessly late with making faith generation through Shrines and Temples being reasonable (buildings that were created at half cost!), and getting the discount on using faith. Specially considering you have to take Aristocracy and Oligarchy early on, when they both are pretty much useless.

So sure, you could get a 4 big cities that are produced late, and in turn sacrifice map control, gold through barb camps, not having your hexes pillaged by barbs, no free nor stolen workers, less than half your faith production and buying power...


Adopting all policies in the Liberty tree will grant a free Great Person of your choice near the capital Capital.

On my previous campaign, I selected an Engineer, and it ended up doing nothing for a very long time. I might have benefited more from selecting a Great Scientists and tried to get an expensive tech faster after I managed to get a Great Engineer from some other source.

  • Liberty: 1/5. Never does anything worth the cost, but is required to reach one of the best policies in the game.
  • Republic: 3/5. Worth the cost, but nothing game changing.
  • Collective Rule: 5/5 early game impact, 2/5 mid game impact. If you are fine with facing the delay, there are alternatives with a more permanent impact.
  • Citizenship: 3/5 early game impact, 1/5 mid game impact.
  • Meritocracy: 1/5 early game impact until you have a handful of cities connected with roads, then 5/5 impact for the rest of the game.
  • Representation: 1/5 early game impact, 2/5 mid game impact, 4/5 late game impact.

Liberty Social Policies
Adopting Liberty will provide 1 Culture in every city. Kinda meh. Compared to Legalism from the Tradition tree, you get half a Monument, but it stacks with an actual monument, and it applies to all cities.

On it own, not worth making all your future Social Policies more expensive, as it contributes to nothing except for paying back what it made expensive in the first place. Seeing the effect on it's own, it helps to undercut the increase in cost of Social Policies that building a new city causes. This effect stacks with Representation, another Social Policy that suffers the same way as this.
+1 Production in every City and +5% Production in cities when constructing Buildings. +1 production in each city is actually really nice in the early game.

The effect diminishes in notability as the game progresses, as new cities will be boosted by Caravans and pre-built hexes.

However, doing the math, the production boosting part is equivalent to a second hammer on a mid sized city with 20 hammers, you still get a total of 2 hammers, and the effect keeps increasing for a large city, totalling 3 hammers for large cities. So in other words, it's better than 10% increase at the start of the game, and the falls back to being a +10% increase during the rest of the game.

It's actually much better than it's first impression.
Collective Rule
Speeds the training of Settlers by 50% in the Capital and a free Settler appears near the Capital. With this policy, you would get 4 Settlers by the time you otherwise would have built 2 Settlers without this policy.

Also, if each Settler would have taken 18 turns, instead of getting a settler at turn 18 and another at turn 36, you get one at turn 0, enabling it to grow for 18 turns for free, and the second one at turn 12, receiving 24 turns of free growth, and then a third at turn 24 a the final fourth at turn 36.

In my previous game, I ended up creating almost all my Settlers with my capital, and although it was sweet to get about +15 hammers per turn for free, it ended up stunting it, so when it came time to build guilds, I had too few citizens, and it ended up being not worth it. Having all guilds in the capital is important considering they will all get a +50% bonus from Hermitage.

So do build 3-4 settlers with your capital, but after that, put the capital on full growth mode, and forget you have this policy after that.
Tile improvement construction rate increased by 25% and a Worker appears near the capital Capital. This is actually unrewarding for my game style as I spend a lot of resources on an early military and capture a lot of workers that way. So the free worker isn't as impact-full as it could.

On the other hand, the effect is only impact if you do actually having workers, and I guess having a lot of captured workers, and a constants stream of new cities for my wide empire does in fact generate the working opportunity to maximise the benefit from this policy.

Thing is, having them work 25% harder and thus finish in 80% the time (100/125) is equivalent to having 4 workers doing the job of 5. That means you get to save 2 gold per turn if you would have required 5 workers, and 4 gold per turn if you would have required 10 Workers. I actually don't value the saved cost of building that fifth worker, as I don't build workers anyway and usually end up selling them due to having too many of them.

So if you would have required 10 workers to do a job, and you have the ability to capture 10 workers, then you get to disband 2 of them, and also the free one, for a total of (51*3) = 153 gold and then pay 3-4 less gold per turn in maintenance.

There is also the benefit of starting working on a mine slightly earlier, but with great Worker management, that effect should be negligible.

The real reason to get this policy is to get to Meritocracy. That reason alone is worth picking this policy, even if this policy did actually nothing at all in itself. With that incentive, and the mechanics of this policy, it's actually a good idea to pick this policy early on.

The real question is: Is it worth two whole policies in order to get your 2 standard Settlers earlier, and then get another 2 free Settlers on top, and then get +10% increased production in all your cities?

I'm hesitant to answer "yes".

The production bonus is in fact scalable with the number of cities, and that is great. But the main constrictor of building new cities isn't the production time, but rather global happiness and having enough workers to improve the hexes. This two policies could instead be spent on having shrines and temples for half the cost, being equivalent to saving production on the early Settlers, and then having the output of those Shrines and Temples increased from 3 to 5. 2 Faith per city is a lot more valuable than 2 hammers per city, about twice as valuable I would argue, as they can bring free both local and global happiness, as well as 2 free food from shrines and temples.

Note that most work that can be performed is unavailable until you discover the early techs.
+1 Happiness for each City you own connected to the capital Capital and -5% Unhappiness from Citizens in non-occupied Cities. This is one of the best policies in the entire game, and it's effect can not be overstated. Thing is, the happiness is not local, but added to the global total! This means that even if your city has 2 citizens and has already a Colosseum, a Zoo and a Circus, you STILL get another happiness from this!

This in effect is equivalent to lowering the happiness cost new cities for Gandhi on a Huge map from 3.8 to 2.8!

The global pool of happiness is the main constrictor of the number of cities you get to build. While locally generated unhappiness can be countered with great management, there are very few ways to reduce the cost of city generated unhappiness.
Each city you found will increase the Culture cost of policies by 33% less than normal. Also starts a Golden Age. If you take this early on, it will only result in a golden age with low output in gold and hammers, followed by heightened cost for future Social Policies. Further ahead, when you have built enough cities, you will reach a point where the discount offered by this policy will equal the heightened cost of future policies. At that point, what you are doing is exchanging a lot of culture for one golden age. Further ahead, you will actually gain an overall discount to your future policies. That's the point where it makes sense to take this policy. Unless you reach a point earlier where the Golden Age in it self would be worth a lot.


Adopting all policies in the Honor tree will grant gold Gold for each enemy unit killed (equivalent in gold to the strength of the unit killed).

The honor finisher is amazing on Diety difficulty and Marathon speed (source). The highest difficulty will cause the AI to the highest amount of units to produce against you in war, and Marathon speed will give you the most time to navigate your military units in order to get them to where they make most use of their presence. Add to that the great number of cities that a Huge map allows, and I'm sold on the idea of maximising honor after having selected the Tradition opening.

I finished this tree around round 250, and it was very well worth it. I started with the Tradition opening, and it provided about 600 culture, with the last Honor policy costing around 800. I got one of them for free through deliberately constructed Oracle.

  • Honor: 5/5 early game, still 3/5 good during mid game, and required in order to reach Military Caste.
  • Warrior Code: 3/5 early game, 2/5 mid game, 1/5 after that. Weakest in the tree.
  • Military Tradition: 4/5 early game, 2/5 mid game, 0/5 rest.
  • Discipline: 4/5 entire game, a solid increase to the front line.
  • Military Caste: 5/5, solidly one of the best policies in the game.
  • Professional Army: 3/5 early game, 5/5 after that.

Edit: On second thought, this proved to have the Piety tree start way too late.

  • Military Tradition did absolute wonders for my early army XP, allowing me to mow through the enemies as if they weren't even there with record fast ranged archers, reaching 100 xp when I otherwise would be at 66 XP.
  • Military Cast was amazing for letting me keep happiness stable while having multiple puppets that would otherwise be impossible to affordably connect to the capital, as well as doubling early culture generation while freeing the Workers to keep working on the land instead of building roads to maintain happiness.
  • Professional Army did surely earn me not too far away from 1000 gold, but while I did really love it, this is the policy that can wait. I only need to upgrade 3 Archers to maintain forward momentum, and not having this policy early will cost me 220 gold, as well as about 10 gold each time I kill an enemy.

Being forced to wait opening the piety tree forces me to choose between either build Shrines at full price, losing 60 hammers per city, or wait until turn 292 when I got Piety to build the Shrines. And then do the same decision for temples, at a cost of 150 hammers per city. Losing 210 hammers per city is the cost of a Library (225 hammers). So I can either get a Shrine, temple and Library starting round 292, or get no Library and start as soon as I get pottery. I didn't even realise that this was the choice, and though the choice was to start the Shrines at 221, when could otherwise have opened piety instead of closed Honor.

Thing is, even if I start Shrines really early, it would help me to get the Religion going earlier, but that would happen at the cost of the early expansion and growth, when I should be prioritising three Caravans at 225 hammers each and Granaries everywhere at 180 hammer each. And then settlers for 319 each and maybe a few workers since I didn't go liberty. If i took my time to build shrines and temples at full price, the initial expansion and growth would suffer in order to gain 3/5th of the faith that Shrines and Temples output when Piety tree is aiding their efficiency.

So Taking Professional Army instead of opening the Piety tree did solidly delay Faith production in all cities from what could have efficiently been turn 221 until turn 292, a lengthy 71 turns.

On top of that, It also delayed Organized religion from 292 until 331, 40 turns. If I had taken organized religion earlier, I would have had 2 more faith per city for the duration of 40 turns. With 10 cities, that's 800 Faith. That is indeed a lot. But it doesn't end there.

This also delayed Mandate from the Heaven with about 30 turns. Some time during that period, I had spent 600*4 + 350*2 = 3100 faith, losing out on a 620 faith discount. That increases the lost amount of faith to 1400. At the discounted rate, I could have had 3 more buildings at 480 faith each, increasing my faith Generation with another 6 per turn, as well as having granted me more 6 culture and 6 happiness per turn. And having saved me the upkeep cost of having Missioner waiting around for me to have enough faith to buy. And I was only through 12 of the 30 turns until I would have received Mandate From Heaven.

On the other hand, wait. I'm not sure I could have saved up all that Faith until Mandate from Heaven was ready. Lets say that I would have spend the first amount on third Great Prophet just to get an early return of faith. Within the first 100 turns I would have got back 600 of the 1150 spent on the first Prophet, so that would have been a wise investment. It's true that I want to invest as much as possible before the Renaissance Era bumps up the cost by 50%, but having received back so much faith from the third Prophet before reaching the Renaissance Era would have made it up. With this in mind, I can ignore the rest of the 30 days, and be content with the value of 1400 lost faith, some culture and happiness for the entire duration of the delayed Mandate from Heaven.

So the final result is that taking Professional Army instead of waiting with it until having spent 3 policies on piety ended up costing me surely over 1600 faith. This is certainly worth more than the 1000 gold I gained from having Professional Army early. Specially considering that I spent probably all of that gold on holding a City State as allied in order to receive happiness from it, something That I wouldn't have had to do if I had had received happiness from the Pagodas.

Honor Social Policies
Adopting Honor gives a +33% combat bonus VS Barbarians, and notifications will be provided when new Barbarian Encampments spawn in revealed territory. Gain Culture for the empire from each barbarian killed. This is among the best early game policies. You will be instantly notified when a new barbarian camp spawns, allowing you to direct your archers against them instantly. This will allow you to kill the camp as soon as possible, getting a good amount of gold from them. At the same time, the chance of them re-spawning nearby is significant, so the sooner you clear them, the more of them you can clear per era. On top of this, you get a considerable amount of culture compared to early game cultural output. Yet another benefit is that the camps wont have time to spawn roaming barbarians, so your cities won't be attacked. Also, your archers will all get their first 30xp point from this, and your scouts will be able to gain their double visibility with ease, specially considering that you get +33% bonus versus barbarians. The benefits are multiple and each one of them is great on a huge map on marathon speed.

During mid game, it will keep helping when going against high tech units with your lowly archers due to the +33% increased combat strength that will cause the barbarians to be less likely to attack and one-shot your archers, or when you try to kill the enemy Spearmen with your Horses in order to rank them up.
Warrior Code
+15% production Production when training Melee units and a Great General appears outside the capital Capital. Great Generals are earned 50% faster. I war so much that I have more generals than I know what to do with them. But considering how rare they are, I don't want to disband them. So most of them end up sitting around and eating 2 gold per turn doing nothing. I really don't want even more of them, even if it was offered for free. And +15% production is equivalent to one or two hammers per turn in that single city that is building one of the handful warrior I will ever build.

Trying to make use of it anyway, I guess an early free Great General is actually useful when you go up against the first city early on, and knowing you will get them at a MUCH higher rate will cause me to value them so low that I will feel alright with just poping Citadels any time I feel a city might be hard to take down, in effect causing my military campaigns to finish before the entire world becomes aware of what's going on.
Military Tradition
Military Units gain 50% more Experience from combat. Kinda nice... until you get the fourth ability, not adding much after that. Really not worth to make all your future policies more expensive.

On the other side, this will cause the Honor finisher to come into effect, making me filthy rich, and also make that money to be a lot of effective in upgrading units. And all the extra money goes to city states, converting the cash to what ever I feel i lack... even when killing barbs... hmmm.... gold... Also, the Scouts will reach high levels much faster. And levelling those damn catapults before cities become too powerful to dare get close to them... damn I hate levelling catapults...
+15% strength combat strength for Melee Units which have another military Unit in an adjacent tile. Actually impact-full when you nervously move your under-teched melee unit in front of an enemy city and hope they can safely the hits from the city and the archer in them. There is a notable difference between a 11 strength Spearman and an almost 13 strength Spearman.
Military Caste
Each City with a garrison increases empire Happiness by 1 and Culture by 2. Without a doubt one of the most impact-full policies in the entire game.

Having access to yet another point of happiness will allow you to easier reach the happiness cap of Gandhi and in doing so, being able to have each city create global happiness (see the happiness section). Having the source of happiness being mobile scouts moving 6 hexes per turn on your road network will cause you to be able to apply this happiness from turn 1 on each single city!

Further, you get significant culture boost in each single city, from turn one on newly build cities that require border expansion! Keep in mind the -25% decrees in border expansion cost from the Tradition opener as well.

And having already opened up the Tradition tree, and if you find yourself in a situation where you are spending 2 gold per turn on scouts in 20 different cities, then you have the option to get rid of that 40 gold per turn upkeep by selecting the Oligarchy in the Tradition tree.

Having tested this, it was a much better early tech than Meritocracy. This doesn't require any roads to be built, and the culture bonus is really great, while boosting your military score, intimidating other civs.
Professional Army
Gold cost of upgrading Military Units reduced by 33% and construct Barracks, Armories, and Military Academics 50% faster. The 33% reduction in upgrade cost is actually huge, as it lowers the upgrade cost of units from 2 gold per hammer to 1.33 gold per hammer. If you have a simple market in town, it makes the worth of gold equal to that of hammers!

You will always have top notch armies after this, and never feel ashamed for building a trading post. Also, this combos amazing with the Honor finisher.

I never build Barracks, Armories or Military Academics and consider them a waste of time and resources. The policy would have to make the buildings upkeep free as well as add a unique military ability when building a unit in cities where all of the available buildings is constructed for me to consider building those buildings.


A short list of tenets from each ideology that seems viable


  • Civil Society: Specialists consume only half the normal amount of Food.
  • Avant Garde: +25% Great Person generation.
    • Urbanization: +1 Local Happiness per Water Mill, Hospital and Medical Lab.
  • Capitalism: +1 Local Happiness per Mint, Bank and Stock Exchange.
    • Universal Suffrage: Unhappiness from Specialists is halved. Golden Ages last 50% longer.
      • Treaty Organization: Gain 4 more Influence per turn with City-States you have a trade route to.

Rest don't serve my strategy

Assuming cities with 8 Specialists in each and high tier buildings:

The first 6 tenets give me:

  • 1 or 2 extra Great Engineers
  • 8 food per city
  • 4 happiness per city
  • 50% longer golden ages
  • Infinite alliance with all city states through trade routes.

Or in other words, it makes my existing big cities even bigger.


  • Hero of the People: +25% Great Person generation.
  • Socialist Realism: +2 Local Happiness from each Monument. Build Monuments in half the usual time.
    • Resettlement: New Cities start with an extra 3 Population.
  • Skyscrapers: Gold cost of purchasing buildings reduced by 33%.
    • Five-Year Plan: +2 Production per City. +1 Production per Mine and Quarry.
      • Iron Curtain: Free Courthouse when capturing a City. +50% Food or Production from internal trade routes.
  • Young Pioneers: +1 Local Happiness per Workshop, Factory and Solar/Nuclear/Hydro Plant.
    • Party Leadership: +1 Culture, Food, Gold, Production and Science per City.
  • OR
    • Academy of Sciences: +1 Local Happiness per Observatory, Public School and Research Lab.
      • Dictatorship of the Proletariat: +34% Tourism to Civilizations with less Happiness.

Rest don't seem worth it for my play style.

The first 6 tenets give me:

  • 1 or 2 extra Great Engineers
  • 2 happiness per city
  • 3 hammers per city
  • Free courthouse per annexed city
  • New Cities start at 4
  • Caravans bring 50% more supplies to them.
  • Can buy buildings even cheaper. Assuming a fully developed Commerce tree, each gold from a highly developed city will be worth about 1.3 hammer in a new undeveloped city, allowing for very fast infrastructure growth in new cities. Without any points in Commerce, that number is lowered to 0.8 hammers per gold.

Or in other words, i get to raise newly captured cities at once without suffering horrible happiness losses, and can build new cities in their place that start at 4 instead of 1. I then get to buy a lot of new stuff at a really good rate, increasing to incredible rates if I got full Commerce tree. The new city gets two happiness and 3 hammers to get things going, and get boosted caravans to help them grow in size fast.

The following three are a good choice only if I plan to stick with Order, since if I change, the Order tenets will be exchanged for tenets in Freedom that I don't value.


  • Industrial Espionage: Spies steal technologies twice as fast.
  • Elite Forces: Wounded Military Units inflict 25% more damage than normal.
    • Police State: +3 Local Happiness from each Courthouse. Build Courthouses in half the usual time.
  • Fortified Borders: +1 Local Happiness per Castle, Arsenal and Military Base.
    • Nationalism: Unit Maintenance cost reduced by 33%.
      • Gunboat Diplomacy: Gain 6 more Influence per turn with City-States you could demand tribute from. Military units are 50% more effective at intimidating City-States.

Rest doesn't match my play style.

This 6 tenets provide:

  • A lot of stolen tech, enabling me to either catch up if I'm far behind, or to focus on maintaining an edge and steal the rest.
  • A great boost on my front line military units. Really useful if I'm slightly behind tech wise.
  • Greatly reduced cost and quality for Courthouses.
  • 1 Happiness in cities with Mughal Fort.
  • 50 - 150 gold per turn depending on army size.
  • Free influence on all city states I park units next to their lawn.



I purposefully select no faith based buildings on my religion. This means no Mosque or Pagoda. Whoever is my closest neighbour with a religion that can produce such buildings, i try to corner and weaken them as early as possible. After leaving them with two or three cities, I pillage all their ground so to keep their population, production and gold down. Their faith generation will remain standard rates. I then surround them with units that need levelling, and keep doing short hit and runs on their cities to gather experience on my new units. I reject all their peace offerings and make sure to never let them grow or shrink.

They will regularly spawn Missionaries, and rarely a Great Prophet night show up. Having my troops on locations that will spot them as soon as they try to leave their territory, I capture them immediately. Then I save them until a new city is spawned, and that city will be immediately converted to that new religion, and have the religion based building built. The downside to this is that you might be forced to pay a lot of gold to keep the missionaries on stand by, but it will be well worth the Faith, Culture and Happiness that the buildings will generate.

After a while, the city will convert to your main religion through the pressure of your other cities. In order to facilitate changing religion, it's a good idea to weaken the foreign Missionary before having them preach. Do this by keeping them in the same territory you caught them. Since they will be in a hostile border, they will lose 250 strength each turn. Have them to this until just before they reach 0. That way, they will convert a newly created city, but that city will get turned to your main religion as fast as possible. In case you got two neighbours you do this with, have one of them have 250 strength and the other have 500 strength.

You can also use the missionaries as bait. While at full strength, leave them at the border of the enemy city, two hexes away from the city. Make sure your units are far enough away that they are not within field of view of the enemy. That means having one empty hex between your unit and their border. If things go as planed, their archer will leave their city and take the Missionary. You then proceed by moving in with your melee and archers, have the archers weaken their soldier, and then your melee finishing off the archer and take back the Missionary. It's important that you are sure the melee unit can withstand one round or possibly two rounds of long range fire after battling the enemy soldier.

Now you have their city have no archer, and it will become a lot easier to farm it for experience.


After having decided on what civilisation to keep for farming xp, Missionaries and Workers, do keep in mind the placement of their cities.

  • The cities having access to the ocean is a bad idea, as you can't capture missionaries on water with units on land, and I don't even know if you can do that if you had your own embarked land units or boats. An embarked Missionary or Worker is a lost one.
  • Pay attention to their Pantheon. Optimally, you want cities that generate a lot of extra faith from their Pantheon.
  • Optimally, the cities should be a great distance away from each other, preferably 8 or so hexes. This will prevent them from amassing troops, will make it easier for you to surround both cities, and most importantly, if you pillage one of their cities, and let the other city have production power, they will produce Workers and send to the other city to do repairs... and what do you know, you just happened to have a Scout waiting between those two cities, waiting for a Worker to show up.


Ancient Era

  • Archery, for hunting barbarians
  • Mining, for having something to do with your workers, and helping with wonders through cutting down wood. Cut eventually down all the forest in a 3 hex radius around the capital, as you want it to grow as big as possible, but nowhere else, with two exceptions: Tree on a hill, or tree with access to a river. If you are going to build a new city, get workers there before hand and start cutting down the trees that need to be cut down, in order to boost the production of the granary. With two forests down, the granary will be finished really quickly.
  • Pottery, for Granary, a building with great value. It greatly increases city growth rate as well as enable food caravans. An early Caravan + Granary combo is outputting 5.5 food per turn! That's almost as good as a Hanging Garden!
  • Calendar, unlocks Stonehenge and lets Workers do Plantations. Stonehenge will secure a good religion and will also give a free Great Engineering when it's needed in 300 turns. Also, Stone Works is a great production boost and will add happiness. Try to build your cities in such an order that they get one and only one stone and horse each.
  • Writing, only to unlock tech. The library isn't worth it before the 6th.

Classical Era

  • Philosophy for the Oracle. Being a whole Social Policy ahead is great.
  • Animal Husbandry for seeing Horses and building Pasture. The Caravan it unlocks is also really good for boosting production, providing even more output than the Granary.
  • Bronze Working for seeing Iron and building removing Jungle
  • Masonry for improving stones with a Quarry. Walls are a waste of time at this point.
  • The Wheel to build roads if you cities are 4 citizens or higher, and you have nothing more productive to do with your workers. Else wait. Build a few elephants if you got nothing more important to do. The Water Mill is an okay output boost for the city, but it's high cost and high upkeep makes it low priority unless the city in question has a high demand for the output.
  • Trapping for Camp and Circus. Circus is a really good happiness generator.
  • Sailing for a second Caravan. Build it as soon as you can.
  • Construction in order to get a boost for your archers. It will also finally let you build Lumber Mills, drastically increasing the productivity of your forest, as well as enable the Coloseum, a building that all bigger cities have high on their priority list.
  • Optics if you find that there are places to go. A Scout with heightened vision should have scouted your entire coast by now, so you should have that information available. Else, wait. This will also enable the lighthouse, greatly increasing food and hammer yield in coastal cities. Don't neglect your coastal cities, as they are your limiting factor to the world on the other side of the ocean when the technology becomes available.

Medieval Era

Next one is to go for one of the Medieval techs. Doing so has no drawbacks and will greatly increase the yield from City States and as well as food and hammers in your own cities.

None of the remaining Classical Era techs are high priority. The choice stands between Civil Service and Metal Casting, and the winner is Metal Casting for the following reasons:

  • It enables the Workshop, increasing production by the equivalent of one mine on a hill, without actually needing a mine on a hill. This will be enable a dense city placement without running short on viable production tiles.
  • A populated Workshops produce three Great Engineering points per turn. On Marathon speed, it will rewards you with one Great Engineer every 100 turns for as many populated Workshops you have! That means that the workshop will increase it's productivity from 3 per turn to 6 per turn after 100 years, if you build spend your Great Engineer on building a Manufacturing Plant on a hill, increasing it's productivity from 3 with a mine to 6. Of course, you could even find better uses for the Great Engineer. The Sooner you get around to doing this, the better. If you do choose to build a Manufacturing Plant, build it on the lands of coastal city that will be the coastal city with the highest production by the time of Navigation. The +3 Hammers it produced will increase to +4 by then, and increased by a Workshop, Factory and Seaport for an increase of +35% and a total output increase of (4*1.35) = 5.3 hammers per turn.
  • A fast Workshop in your capital that produced Stonehenge will hastened the arrival of the first Great Engineer.
  • A Workshop will enable sending production with a Caravan. This means you can send a food and a hammer caravan to newly built cities, helping them to finish that granary even earlier.
  • Metal Casting also enables the Forge, greatly increasing production in cities with access to 2 Irons. A city with a populated Workshop, a Forge and a Stone Work is receiving about 7.7 extra hammers per turn, and then another +15% when building land units.
  • Increasing the productivity of two coastal cities is highly advisable before building boats becomes a priority.
  • Considering what has previously been optimally to research, you only need Iron Working to reach Metal Casting. And as it happens, Iron Working greatly enhances the combat strength of your Warriors.
  • A drawback is that Metal Casting will make Warriors obsolete, disabling you from building more of them. So make sure to build as many of them as you want before reaching this point.
  • In order to reach Civil Service, you would need Drama and Poetry, Horseback Riding, Mathematics and Currency, 4 techs instead of only Iron Working.
  • If your expansion rate is high enough, you will still reach Acoustics before your first Great Engineer from Stonehenge gets available. If you calculate that you need a tech boost, make sure to build libraries to compensate.
  • Iron working
  • Metal Casting

After Metal Casting, Steel is available. It will greatly increase the power of your melee units, making them competent for a long time. However, that risks missing out on the Sistine Chapel, so I don't recommend it.

  • Horseback Riding for the extra production in a few cities that have access to two, three or more Horse, Sheep or Cattle. Postpone this if you don't have any such cities, or they are busy producing other things at the moment. Do build two or three Horsemen to run after barbarian camps, and they will provide a good base for future upgrades if you get them some experience. The Horsemen will be able to leave their city, kill the barbarian camp and return back faster than other units, costing you less lost culture not gained from the social policy in the Honor tree while absent. Actually, there is one legitimately useful ability they provide: They can take down a city that is hard to reach if you have manage to lower it's hp to 0 from afar.
  • Engineering for the third trade route. Strongly consider making it a sea trade route. After building a Workshop, build Aqueducts in your cities with 6 population or higher in order to prepare for the food increase that will be made available. Postpone this if all your coastal cities are busy at the moment.
  • Mathematics, build one or maybe two catapults and send them to your training corner so they can have long range in time of need. It will be almost impossible to teach them that later.
  • Currency. Markets are nice to have. The basic 1 gold per turn is of limited use, as you could just focus on food for a while and simply get another citizen (assuming you have managed your happiness competently). But it's nice to be able to focus on gold in times of need, or if the workers have for some reason lagged behind and there is no really good spot on the map to work on. Keep in mind that with the one of honor social policies, one gold is equivalent to one hammer when it comes to upgrading units, if that gold is in a city with a Market. The Market shines if you already have the city producing 3 gold per turn, as it will then add a fourth gold per turn, and then a fifth from the 25% bonus. And you will want to have a Bank eventually. The Mint is also a nice gold increase if you happen to have two silver in the same city. But none of this is really high priority, so that's why we are waiting with this technology for almost last. Note that even if Market is not a game changer, having it in every city in a wide empire will make a difference in the long run. The Great Merchants are not only very weak, giving 4 gold per turn instead of the 4 hammers that the Great Engineer provides, but it will actually hamper the production of Great Engineers, so you should in fact actively avoid generating them. They harm more than they help! 4 golds and 2 food on hex, increased to 5 gold with the market, is better than 4 food on a hex, but certainly not one Great People amount better. The improvement Great Merchants create should have it's output increased from 4 to 6, 7 or maybe even 8 gold per turn to be competitive with the other Great People.
  • Drama and Comedy, the National epic is impossible to build in a wide empire unless you have a Great Engineer to expend. Doing so, you exchange your Great Engineer for more Great people of other kinds. The Amphitheatre is worthless as Great Writers are not worth expending for Great Work of Writing, but rather to add a large amount of Culture when your empire has been in a Culture boost for the last 30 years or so, for basically a free Social Policy. The Writers Guild is really great, but you need to have a lot of people in your capital to have enough people to populate it, and that's probably not have happened yet. So that's why we are taking this tech last.
  • Civil Service. You Should have plenty of farms near rivers ready in preparation for this. If your capital is near a river, it will have a lot of food to grow its size, as well as access to a Garden (from a future tech) in order to further enhance great people production. You want eventually all three guilds in the Capital, for a total of ((3*2)*3) = 18 culture generated per turn, increased by 50% with the Hermitage and another 25% with the Sistine Chapel, for total of 18*1.75= 31.5 Culture per turn, or close to 50 per turn including other sources, from one city.
  • Theology in order to get the Garden for the Capital. All other wonders are not worth it, and the Grand Temple is only worth it if you have a Great Engineer with nothing to do and no future plans for it. +8 Faith per turn is better than the +3 he would provide on a hill compared to a mine. You will probably not opened the Commerce Social Policy tree, and most certainly not unlocked Mercenary Army social policy... but when you do, you can get double gold from capturing cities if you do that with the Landsknecht.

Education. Universities are a really high Science boost, specially if you happen to have a city with Jungle. Since there is a lot of very good wonders in the modern era, you should do your utmost to maximise the science output of all your cities to get as many of the wonders of the Modern Era as possible. The Oxford University costs way to much to be built in a wide empire, unless you want to expend a Great Engineer, in effect exchanging your Great Engineer for a Great Scientist. That could be worth it if you got two Great Engineers, and you need a tech jump to secure a wonder that you otherwise would not get in time. And even then, I have a hard time seeing how you would manage to get a University in every single city without halting permanent expansion... unless you are swimming in money or have the reformation religious belief that allows you to buy Universities with Faith.

Renaissance era

We now enter the Renaissance era. This will have a heavy impact on religion, increasing the cost of all religious buildings from 600 to 900. So make sure you haven't been wasting any faith on Great Prophets prior to this, as they will not increase in cost.

  • Acoustics. Sistine Chapel, increasing culture in all your cities with +25%. This will cancel out the -25% that puppet cities receive, so they will no longer have the -1 culture penalty when they have a total output of 2. If you have Military Cast and a Monument, it amounts to a total of 5 Culture from those cities. With Mughal Fort and Neuschwanstein, you get another +4 Culture, for a total of 10 Culture per city. Opera Houses are usable, as Great Work of Music could be considered more valuable than the Tourism generated by Great Musicians, specially as you are going to swim in culture from the Mughal Fort after Flight.
  • Compass. Ships with ranged attack is valuable, and so it a 4th trade route. Level the boats, since it will be harder to do so when they move into the ocean in the future.
  • Astronomy. Time to expand to other continents! Your Trirems get to upgrade to Caravels, melee boats that can go into deep ocean. Land units will also be able to go into deep ocean. No ranged ocean boats yet though. The caravel will stay with you for a long time, until they upgrade into the Ironclad after industrialisation, and competing with the coal that factories require.

If there is a good chance of managing to get Forbidden Palace before somebody finishes it, and you have a great Engineer available, rush to it. Otherwise:

If you legitimately feel that you have won the battle on your own continent, then skip Steel, Gunpowder and Chemistry in order to get to Industrialisation first. The benefit of that is that you will get to select an Ideology earlier, since your 3rd factory will come online earlier. If you still feel comfortable neglecting your military strength at that point, go for some ranged ocean vessels before catching up.

  • Steel. No longer in a rush, time to increase military power. Upgrading the front melee units is more impact-full than getting the first useful cavalry unit in the form of Knights. Considering how bad the AI is in attacking, there should be no great need for battlefield versatility. Postpone until after industrialisation if you are sure you don't need more military strength.
  • Guilds. You get to build Trading Posts now. They are great, build 3 in the centre of each city cluster and on all jungle hexes. Artists Guild for the Capital. Machu Picchu is hopeless to get, maybe a rival built a close it. East Indian Company is slightly better than a Great Merchant, meaning, it sucks. Not worth spending a Great Engineer on building it.
  • Machinery upgrades the Bowmen.
  • Chivalry. Your worthless Horsemen will now become intimidating Knights. Building a City Wall and a Mughal Fort will cost you 225 + 450 hammers. For comparison, a University costs 480 hammers. The University costs 2 gold per turn and provides about 5 science per turn at this point of the game, while the fort will create 2 cultures and cost no upkeep. In output, they are equivalent. When you get the Neuschwanstein wonder, the Mughal Fort will explode in value to 5 Culture (+1 from Sistine Chapel), 3 gold and 1 happiness, almost quadrupling in value. And then get even better with Flight, adding 2 Tourism, becoming about five times as good, or by far the best value building the in the entire game. I can conceive of battlefields where the knights are actually useless, but having the Mughal Forts available should give the cities something to build now that we are going on an extended militarisation upgrade tech path.

Physics. If you have managed to get range on your Catapults by now, then this should be of no use. But the tech is a prerequisite for the next tech. In fact, if you got long range on the catapults, don't upgrade their damage, as you will get XP from a city only as long as it has HP left. So if you upgrade the damage on the catapult, you will only be able to fire and get XP with one of them at a time. Gun Powder. Another huge power spike for the melee front units. Chemistry. Your catapults will turn into Cannons now, going from their initial 8*3=24 damage to cities to 20*3=60 damage to cities. Even the most heavily fortified cities should crumple from the barrage of long range Cannon firing twice per turn. And most importantly, MINE PRODUCTION INCREASED FROM 3 TO 4!

  • Printing Press. Your cities should have had time to grow a bit by now, so take this if you need more happiness. If you are fine, postpone this until after banking.
  • Banking. I Assume there is no way you could get Forbidden Palace in time, so I don't rush to banking. But if you think there is the slightest chance you could get it, get this asap after acoustics. a fifth trade route is great, make it sea. The bank is also good value, adding 2 gold, and increasing gold by +25%, so basically adding 3 Gold per turn.
  • Economics. Trading posts add now 2 gold per turn, increased to 3 by the banks. That's actually really good value. And the Windmill, man, it will add two more hammers, and another Engineering slot. Assuming you managed to reach 30 hammers by now with you big cities, the a populated Windmill will increase that with a total of 37.4 as well as DOUBLE the pace at witch you get Great Engineers, from once every 100 year to once every 50 year, as long as you keep building new cities. Or wait. The mechanics is actually a bit complicated. As long as you keep building new cities, you could argue that you will only get a single engineer ever from each city, so you could scratch that doubling of Great Engineers from cities that have already produced their own, and maybe instead see it as new cities catching up.

Industrial era

  • Industrialisation. The factory will add two more engineering slots, for a total of 4. So you have again doubled the rate of Great Engineers. Also, that city that increased from 30 to 37.4 will now with a fully populated factory increase to about 52. That's about doubling of production from pre-Chemistry days. Make sure you got enough food to cover this. That extra food from the Granary and Water Mill will come in handy now, and so will the religious belief Feed the World. Another important part of this tech is the Gatling Gun. It will lower the range of your Crossbowmen by one, but increase their strength from 18 to 30, a significant boost. It's important that you have managed to get the the +1 range by this time, since it will otherwise be very challenging to do so from now on. Also, you get to select an Ideology after finishing the 3rd factory.

With the increased in productivity, it's now time to build our sea armada and start aggressively expanding outward.

  • Navigation. The Privateer is a new unit type you will have to build from scratch. It costs 450 hammers each, but your new production of about 50 rate from your coastal cities should be able to handle that without a problem, and having plenty of Trading Posts that each add 3 gold per turn to your economy should be able to handle the new military upkeep without a problem as well. The Privateer will be able to attack coastal cities for cash, and your access to the Frigate, an ocean going ranged vessels will escort Privateer and take the heavy hits, while being able to heal outside your territory from previous upgrades. There will be no new ranged ocean going vessels until 4 science tiers further ahead, meaning about 10 techs. You will also need to vastly expand your coastal fleet, and the Frigate not only costs 555 compared to the 300 of it's earlier version, it will also require an Iron that will no longer be required by your melee units. The Sea Port will cost 750 hammers, but produce 1 gold and 1 hammer from sea resources. If there is only one single sea resource, then it's questionable how profitable that building is, as it's 15% will work on the base production of the city, not the full production after adding the bonus from the Workshop, Windmill and Factory, so the 15% extra production on a city with all three improvements will resulting about ((50*0.7=39)*0.15)= 6 extra hammers per turn. Adding the 1 hammer from the sea resource, we get 7 hammers and 1 gold for 2 gold upkeep. Considering that the factory costed 1050 and has an upkeep of 3 gold and 4 food and two workers not working one something else while fully populated, while having an output of about 12 hammer per turn, the Seaport seems like a light version of the factory for a city that will be dedicated to only building ships for a long time. So it's legit. Have your other ports build some initial ships, and then let the Seaport ship have a monopoly on constantly creating new ships. That should obviously be the coastal city with the highest production.
  • Archeology Having a grand sea army to secure the oceans, and preventing other civilisations from excavating, it's time to do some excavating ourselves. You also get to build the Louvre. Although it's not a game changer in the slightest, It's a nice personal win to have the most important cultural building in the game built in the what is to become the capital of the world.

Note that the two above techs are not required in order to reach Neuschwanstein. If you suspect you do not have the time for this two tech, strongly consider postponing them until after Neuschwanstein. That is a good 9 techs later. In 6 tech on the way to Neuschwanstein, you will get the Ironclad, a really high jump in naval melee warfare. However, still no ranged guns. Having reached Neuschwanstein, you will be 4 technologies away from the Battleship, a sea unit with the Frigate upgrades into. The Frigate has 28 ranged strength at cost 555 hammers, while the Battleship has 65 ranged strength and one extra range at a cost of 1125 and 1 oil. Oil is incidentally the next tech after Archeology. So i other words, if you don't take navigation now, you can kiss long range sea battle bye bye for a very very long time.

Modern Era

There are two roads now. One leads to higher military might, the other into an increase in science, food and production. But what makes this choice pale in comparison is that the techs after that are in the modern era, and they offer this 3 wonders:

  • Statue of Liberty: Requires Freedom. 1 free Social Policy. All your Specialist also produce 1 hammer. Really good bonus.
  • Prora: Requires Autocracy. 1 free Social Policy. +2 Happiness, and 1 happiness for every 2 social policies you have. About 10-15 extra happiness. Should be of little use if I manage happiness correctly.
  • Kremlin: Requires Order. 1 free Social Policy. +50 production when building Armor units. In practice increasing it from 150% to 200%, meaning only a 33% increase. I don't get any value from this.
  • Neuschwanstein: All your Mughal Forts become so fucking good it's unreal. On same tech as Kremlin.

All three of them require the following techs:

  • Architecture
  • Scientific Theory
  • Metalurgy
  • Rifling
  • Steam Power

What differentiates them is:

  • Prora: Requires Autocracy. 1 free Social Policy. +2 Happiness, and 1 happiness for every 2 social policies you have.
    • Flight
  • Statue of Liberty: Requires Freedom. 1 free Social Policy. All your Specialist also produce 1 hammer.
    • Electricity
    • Replaceable Parts
  • Kremlin: Requires Order. 1 free Social Policy. +50 production when building Armor units.
  • Neuschwanstein: All your Mughal Forts become so fucking good it's unreal.
    • Military Science
    • Fertiliser
    • Dynamite
    • Railroad

One train of thought is to take those that give a free social Policy at once, since you won't get full value if you capture them later, and then try to capture Neuschwanstein. so:

  • Go Autocracy
  • Prora
  • Change ideology to Freedom
  • Get Statue of Liberty
  • Assume somebody else will get Neuschwanstein
  • Capture Neuschwanstein

The above strategy might work if there is no strong nation with Freedom, preventing them to both reach that tech and build it in time.

What speaks against it is that you lose in effect a Social Policy if you select Autocracy and then abandon it, annulling the whole point of trying to get both wonders that provide a Social Policy for free.

Or wait:

"Upon switching Ideologies, you get to pick a number of Tenets in your new Ideology equal to the number of Tenets you had in your old Ideology, minus any Early Adopter tenets you may have received from being one of the first two civilizations to pick that Ideology.


The first two civilizations to adopt a certain Ideology will receive a reward, respectively two and one Early Adopter free tenet(s), giving them an early advantage to improve their Ideologies and game play." (source)

"if you manage to be the first to complete these requirements, you'll be able to choose any Ideology with two free tenets (they will necessarily be Level 1 Tenets, but needless to say, they may boost your empire considerably, paying off the price of the rush)." (source)

I need to go Order before freedom in order to expand the pace at witch I expand. If I manage to get an early adopter bonus, something that should be obvious by now, I'm going to stick with Order to preserve my early adopter bonus.

If I get no early adopter bonus, it should mean I'm horribly late in the tech game. If that is the case, I have to go directly for Neuschwanstein. I can't risk going for Prora in order to get 10 happiness and a Social Policy and then risk losing an output of 3 culture, 5 gold and 1 happiness for each of one about 20 or 30 cities by then.

So regrettably, no matter how the game goes, the only real option is to beeline for Neuschwanstein and Kremlin. This locks me into the military path in the Modern Era:

  • Architecture will give a 50% culture boost to your capital.
  • Scientific Theory will provide Public Schools. Cancel whatever you are doing and built it in all your cities. +1 Production on Lumber Mils is a good increase as well.

Next, lets get some food:

  • Fertiliser increases the food for all farms to 4. Pasture and Plantations also get 1 extra food.

Now that the purely militaristic tech remain. I will aim for the Ironclad now.

  • Metalurgy allows your Pikemen with 16 Strength and 2 movement points to upgrade into Lancers with 25 strength and 4 movement points, and new set of abilities.
  • Rifling upgrades your Musketman (24 strength) to upgrade to a Rifleman (34 strength).
  • Steam Power allows you to upgrade Caravels into Ironclads, if you got the Coal to spare. You will basically not build a factory for each Ironclad you build.
  • Military Science allows your Knights to upgrade from 20 to 34 strength. Boring.
  • Dynamite allows your Cannons to upgrade from 20 to 28 strength, and much more excitingly, get one extra range!

If you got a Great Scientists, this is the time to use him.

  • Railroad and we are here! Upgrade your roads into Railroads to give the cities +20% production, for a total of +50 when combines with previous buildings. Railroads cost 2 gold per turn. You are gonna be soo broke if you haven't the Wagon Train social policy to cut down their cost back to 1. And we get both the Neuschwanstein and Kremlin! Hope you got your two Great Engineers ready! Also, the 6th trade route.

Well, finally got it, and we can go back to food, science and production.

  • Electricity. Hydro Plant, +1 hammer on every flood hex. Stock Exchange, providing about 6-8 gold per turn. Reveals Aluminium, also required for new tech. If you have no chance at getting Broadway, get Biology before this.
  • Radio. Broadway lets you change a Great Engineer for a Great Writer. Well worth it, giving you a free Social Policy in practice. You aren't going to build a Police Station in every city, so forget the National Intelligence Agency. C'mon, prioritising the AI not stealing tech for you? The Eiffel Tower is no great impact. The Broadcast Tower is great, consider you should have 6 base culture in every single city, for a bonus of +2 Culture.
  • 'Replaceable Parts. Riflemen get from 34 to 50 strength.
  • Plastics. Research Lab boosts science. Cristo Redentor gives 10% discount on new social policies.
  • Flight. Planes, but most importantly, +2 Tourism from each Mogul Fort. And you should have about 30 of them by now. If it wasn't for the free Tourism, I would have delayed this until after Biology, possibly even longer.

The rest is sharply divided between military tech on the bottom and other techs on top. Take the military tech as needed if you are falling behind. The Pentagon would be a really awesome addition, making upgrades becoming basically for free with a full Honor tree. take it if you can.

  • Biology. Hospital. +5 food. Very nice. Oil. Needed from now on. And a 7th trade route.
  • Refrigeration. 2 more local happiness.

Atomic Era

  • Penicillin. 2nd Aqueduct. Infantry goes from 50 to 85 Strength. 8th trade route.
  • Electronics Cool ships.
  • Atomic Theory. Does nothing useful.
  • Ecology. Sydney Opera House. 1 free Social Policy. More Aluminium.

Information Era

  • Telecommunication. CN Tower. 1 free citizen and 1 happiness in each city.

Well, that's about it.


Pay close attention to when the other civilisations enter a new Era. It's a very good indicator of who has the most modern technology and thus, who you should focus your tech stealing on if you want the latest tech.