By User:Jp. Alternative smallpox technique by User:mmm

This is a guide for the online multiplayer version. That is a difficult game to start playing. The techniques are getting increasingly advanced, and thus new players are getting increasingly outplayed. I describe here in short how the good players play. It is also a good idea to observe one of them, to see exactly how they carry it out. I will try to describe the usual techniques, but there will be exceptions to some of the points.

War client / War serverEdit

The guide is for the War client version. There are by now a lot of gameplay changes from Freeciv. You can read about it here

Smallpox vs largepoxEdit

There are 2 possible strategies, smallpox and largepox. Smallpox is about building as many small cities as possible to get a production advantage and then attack your opponents. Largepox is about building fewer large cities to get a trade advantage, and win by being ahead in science. Rapture is the key. Smallpox used to be widely used, but in todays environment it has no chance in free-for-all games. You can maybe kill one opponent, but then the rest will be too far ahead. Its still useful in duels or team games.

The beginningEdit

I use this term for the period until you research republic. The beginning is very important. The small advantages you can get here, will accumulate for the rest of the game.

Some tips for the beginning:

  • Almost always go straight for republic.
  • Always build the first cities on squares that give 2 food. That is no forests, no deserts and definitely not mountains.
  • Use your workers to build roads, in order to get your cities out faster
  • It gives good science if you build your cities close to the capital and near whales
  • Disband your explorers to get settlers out faster. Also use your money to buy them.
  • Only build settlers. Except you can build a library in your capital

Rapture Growth Edit

Rapture is a very important aspect of freeciv. Rapture growth occurs under Republic or Democracy if the city has as many or more happy people than other people (content and specialists), and it has no unhappy people. If this is fulfilled, and the city has food surplus, it grows by 1 citizen per turn. That means that in 5 turns, a size 3 city will become a size 8 city if you can provide the right conditions. You can imagine how powerful this is.

You cannot rapture with cities smaller than size 3. Here is how to rapture from size 3 to 8:

  • Build harbours and temples
  • Discover Mysticism
  • Make a custom CMA, very happy and food +1. Set all cities to this.
  • Set luxury rate to 40%. (Or whatever it takes to get all cities to rapture)

To rapture from 8 to 12 and beyond, you can make marketplaces, banks and trade routes and aqueducts.


The way to do this is first build the economy, then research, then production. Research is much faster with a good economy, and production is useless before miniaturization. The strategy relies on the ocean squares, which give good trade. You don't need to build any workers.

The order should be more or less like this:

  • Build 7-9 coastal cities, spaced out on the island. Place them so that you use so many ocean squares as possible.
  • Try to get your cities to size 3 as fast as possible.
  • After republic invent seafaring, and go for mysticism and currency.
  • Build / buy harbours in all coastal cities.
  • Once all coastal cities are size 3, start the rapture. Buy temples before size 5.
  • Buy marketplaces in your cities
  • When your cities are size 8, set the tax rate to max.
  • Build one or more triremes, and explore around your island. This is in order to enable the cities to use all the ocean squares in your city radius.
  • Now, in no particular order, you should make trade routes, buy banks, buy aquaducts, and rapture to size 12.
  • At size 12, make the last trade routes, so that all cities have 4, if possible.
  • If you fear an early attack, you can build some chariots for defence. Or try to get gunpowder quickly and get some musketeers.
  • If not, then go for sanitation directly. You can then buy sewers and start third rapture..
  • You should buy libraries and universities. Once you have those set science to max
  • You can also try to get Statue of Liberty, Magellans Expedition, Darwins Voyage, Hoover Dam, Isaac Newtons College.
  • Apart from these thing you should go straight for miniaturization.
  • After you have offshores in your cities, there are many things you can do. You can invent amphibious warfare and conquer people with marines. You can go for flight and use fighters. Etc. Eventually you will have all technology, and its just a question of conquering your opponents.


The strategy is to build as many cities as can possibly fit on your island. This should give you a large advantage in production until largepoxers get offshores. After republic you set science to max, and try to get magnetism as fast as possible. You should not build any city improvements, except for maybe a barracks or two.

The order should be like this:

  • Build settlers like a maniac
  • When you get republic, research map making and explore around your island. If you find some small islands, settle on them.
  • Invent some war tech such as the wheel or warrior code. If you can find an opponent, attack him.
  • If you dont find anything, invent seafaring and take a chance with your triremes
  • Set tech goal to magnetism, and hope you get it soon.
  • When you get magnetism, change all city productions to frigates. load them with phalanxes and conquer your opponent.
  • Set tax up for some turns, so that you will not be too easy to bribe.

Wonders you can build: Maybe Magellan or the great library. But its normally better to build more units.

An alternative technique is to build lighthouse and elephants.

The stategy for the Lighthouse technique:

  • Set at beginning your research as Alphabet with the Goal of Map Making.
  • Start building Lighthouse when Map Making is discovered.
  • If you are to lose race for Lighthouse, change route to Great Library and eventual goal to Magnetism.
  • Once Monarchy is discovered, set tax rate to 70%, set research rate to 30%, set research as Polytheism.
  • The scale of your attacks will vary, the more the better.
  • Once Polytheism is discovered, load all the trimes that should be built by now, set research goal as Feudalism for Pikemen.
  • Search for enemy borders. If Feudalism is discovered build Pikemen to gaurantee safe landing on enemy island.
  • Once you are done with first wave of attacks, set research to 70% and perhaps build traderoutes to get magnetism quicker.

A note on the history the largepox techniqueEdit

The largepox technique has changed freeciv a lot. In the beginning, people had only invented gunpowder around 0 AD. Now sometimes players have computers at 0AD.

The first player to use rapture effectively, as opposed to smallpox was the player Sun Tsu. Wiggin learned from him and refined the technique. He invented the technique of not doing any research until all cities had all the improvements they needed, and buying everything, including caravans. He was the first player to invent miniaturization in BC. The players Yaro and Jp learned from Wiggin and made some improvements on his technique. Among them the early marine attack.

See alsoEdit

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