(Not up to date) by Emperor Nero.
- 1 INTRODUCTION
- 2 GENERAL STRATEGIES
- 3 PLAY STRATEGY, STAGE 1: GET REPUBLIC (4000BC-2000BC)
- 4 STAGE 2: BUILD A WONDER (2000BC-1500BC)
- 5 STAGE 3A: CHURCH OF BORG
- 6 STAGE 3B: GREAT LIBRARY TECH RACE
- 7 STAGE 3C: JUST SUCK IT UP AND RESEARCH
- 8 STAGE 4: BABY BOOM
- 9 STAGE 5: TAKE OVER THE WORLD
- 10 STAGE 6: ARMAGEDDON
- 11 SMALL TIPS FOR INCREASING EFFICIENCY
These strategies are poorly tested against human players, and I've never fought a modern war against humans. In fact, I rarely make it to the modern age at all. When playing against the AI, it gets boring to nuke Musketeers. When playing against humans, it gets annoying to lose every single battle thanks to my Pentium-60 with 14.4Kbps cellphone connection. Perhaps you guys could play these strategies, and tell me of any flaws or factual errors? I will then re-release this strategy guide with your suggestions included.
Freeciv Strategy Guide (for version 1.14.99-devel and past versions, but probably applicable to 2.0 unless they change the AI significantly)
Most people like to play "smallpox", meaning they plaster everything with little cities packed as closely together as possible. This does give certain advantages of population growth and ample free squares which the cities are built on, but it sacrifices much of the game's richness because temples will probably be the only city improvements of any practical use. Because of this, I don't smallpox. This will surely hurt me in a game full of human smallpoxers, both because smallpox is hard to beat and because all the looters on the planet will drool over my glorious cities.
Feng Shui, the ancient art of placement:
Build on special resources when you can. Make sure your cities' areas of influence don't overlap too much, but also make sure any unreachable gaps include only a few less-useful squares. Instead of mixing all types of resources, plan out your placements so you have some super-trade cities and some super-industry cities (each with enough food for a large population, of course). This will allow for more efficient construction of improvements later. The first cities in a new land should be high on food and decent on production, so they can pump out settlers.
As a general rule, build coastal cities on defense-bonus squares (forest, jungle, swamp, river, hills, mountains) or on grassland, which can later be transformed to hills. Avoid building cities next to the best defense terrain (hills, mountains, river+other defense terrain). This is especially important for coastal cities, because you'll have a very hard time evicting unwelcome guests who land next to you.
There are a few special rules for placement of your first few cities. The best spot for your capitol (Palace) is on a wheat/river square with two whales nearby. It will quickly grow to size 2, at which point it will produce 4 science and 5 production. You can even buy a library and get 6 science. Other ways to get 4 base science in your capitol are to build on wine with another wine nearby or build on gold with any river or sea nearby. These options give you the 4 science immediately, but they are less desirable because your capitol will grow too slowly to produce settlers.
As for other early cities, building on wheat gives you rapid growth, which is especially important when you're trying to pump out settlers. Building on grass/river or plains/river gives you 2 trade. If there's a special trade resource nearby you will get 4 trade, lose one to corruption, convert one to gold, and still have 2 left for science instead of just one. Don't build too far from your capital or you lose science to corruption (have to check the algorithm for this- anybody know it offhand?).
Give your homeland the names of your civilization's late cities, and give your far-flung cities the names of your civilization's early cities. If human enemies only glimpse a few cities, they might be confused.
Build on any isthmus you find. Your ships can cross through from one side of the continent to the other, as if there were a Panama canal. You also block the movement of rivals who share your continent, so it is a good way to seal people off.
[From user jkck:] I have made some comments on Wonders below and have referred to a few general strategies. I'll describe them briefly here:
1. Forefront of Research Strategy (also called Leave Me Alone strategy)
The goal of this strategy is to spend as few resources as possible on military units so that the maximum effort can be poured into research.
Important milestones: a) Research Bronze Working or Warrior Code so that you can build defensive units (phalanxes or archers). However, don't actually build any except in cities that border other civilisations; rely on buying units in case of sea landings by pirates or others. You might also want one offensive unit (probably a chariot, preferably built in a city with Barracks) to get rid of pesky pirates.
b) Identify 'your' territory and build border cities as soon as possible.
c) Build roads and rail as soon as possible so your few military units can get to where they're needed.
d) Offer ceasefires to anyone who asks, and peace to anyone who can't get units (except explorers) into your territory. Avoid alliances.
2. Military strategy
Goal: Overwhelm opponents and capture cities with military force. This works best if done EARLY. Horsemen/chariots and archers are the units of choice.
Milestones: a) Find a poorly defended or undefended city.
b) Do not agree to a ceasefire with that civ.
c) Place your units on an adjacent square to that city, preferably one with high defensive terrain; use two units (one offensive, one defensive) per square if possible. Attack repeatedly, allowing any unit whose health is orange or red recovery time. Repeat.
d) If the city has some key defensive element (e.g. City Walls), try sabotage with diplomats.
3. Appeasement strategy
Goal: Be nice to everyone with pacts and gifts. Learn tech and make money through trade.
a) Peace treaties with as many players as possible.
b) A few defensive units near borders to discourage treachery.
c) Three long-distance caravan routes
4. Grow By Diplomatic Bribery strategy
Goal: Make money and spend it on bribing cities with diplomats. N.B. Only works on civs that aren't democracies.
Milestones: ... described in the rest of this document, starting at 'Tactics' below
- Must-have: Marco Polo's Embassy or Great Library, Michelangelo's Chapel, J.S. Bach's Cathedral
- Very good: Adam Smith's Trading Co., Hoover Dam, Darwin's Voyage, Magellan's Expedition, SETI Program
- Very good under some conditions, but might be rather useless: Leonardo's Workshop, Shakespeare's Theatre or Women's Suffrage, United Nations
- Good if you have an amazing trade city: Colossus, Copernicus's Observatory, Isaac Newton's College. Build all three (plus trade routes and improvements) to amplify each other.
- Worth taking from someone else: Cure for Cancer, Pyramids
From user jkck: I can't agree with the above list. Here's my assessment:
- Adam Smith's Trading Co.: Very good, unless your empire is small (<6 cities). Essential for a grow-through-diplomatic-bribery strategy.
- Apollo Program: If you get as far as this, you should be the one to build it, otherwise you'll have to halt a lot of production to get into the space race. But if you have to choose between being first to build this or finishing your manufacturing/solar plants in time for the space race, go for the latter.
- Colossus: Put this and Copernicus' Observatory in the city with your best trade potential (whales, wine, spice, etc.) for a big trade boost. In recent versions of Freeciv, Isaac Newton's College no longer needs to go in the same city.
- Copernicus' Observatory: see above
- Cure for Cancer: Handy, but less useful (and available much later) than Michelangelo's Chapel or J.S. Bach's Cathedral.
- Darwin's Voyage: Not that useful unless your production far outstrips your research.
- Eiffel Tower: The AI players will make a ceasefire when they first meet you, but will usually demand tributes to renew the treaty. If you want to appease them, get the Eiffel Tower; otherwise it's useless.
- Great Library: If you're playing a forefront-of-research strategy, and there's only a few other players (<6), you should be first or second in the tech race. The Great Library is then only useful for picking up the techs you bypassed. If your strategy is more military than tech-focused, the Great Library is a must-have.
- Great Wall: Not much use because it expires too early. The only time I have built it is when I have come under attack early in the game with multiple cities under threat.
- Hanging Gardens: Very little use: it expires early, and you need happiness-inducing wonders in the mid- and end-game, not at the start.
- Hoover Dam: Must-have if you have an empire bigger than about 8 cities. Note: this wonder used to affect only cities on a single continent; it now affects every city in your empire.
- Isaac Newton's College: Must-have if you're following a forefront-of-research strategy.
- J.S. Bach's Cathedral: Very useful once your cities get past size 8-10. Only beaten by Michelangelo's Chapel.
- King Richard's Crusade: Surprisingly useful because it provides a big production boost early. I like to build this in my most productive city and then to use the extra production to build mid-game wonders in that city.
- Leonardo's Workshop: In most games, this is a must-have, even if only to deny it to your aggressive neighbours. The only times I wouldn't bother would be when I have built hardly any military units. For best value-for-money, build it as early as possible, and build cheap Warriors in each city that will eventually become Riflemen.
- Lighthouse: Can be useful in PvP (see comments on Magellan's Expedition), but it expires early. Also, in recent versions of Freeciv triremes can be anywhere in 'coastal' waters without sinking, rather than having to finish their turn adjacent to land; this reduces the value of the Lighthouse. It's only essential in the unlikely event that your military strategy includes an early invasion of your neighbour-across-the-ocean with a fleet of triremes. Go Xerxes!
- Magellan's Expedition: If you're following a military strategy and your neighbours are on different continents/islands, this will help you win the sea battles. It will also help with early exploration of the world-across-the-ocean, which is surprisingly important when you have human opponents and a lot of empty land to colonise - quite a few PvP games become a race to get Magellan's. If you're playing a leave-me-alone strategy, it's a waste of time; do your end-of-game military takeover with air units instead.
- Manhattan Project: If you're fighting a roughly equal battle or tech race at the end of the game, nuking your neighbours can give you an advantage. Disadvantages: there isn't much left to capture, and what there is needs cleaning up.
One scenario where you may need this wonder: you're playing the AI on a large map, and the AI has built literally hundreds of little cities (you can prevent this by setting the minimum city distance to 3 or 4 at the start of the game). I once tried to deal with this by using nukes to trigger global warming deliberately, and then using my army of engineers to transform my own land back to the way it was. After several rounds of this, I managed to starve a lot of inland cities into non-existence, leaving just the coastal cities to deal with.
- Marco Polo's Embassy: Largely useless unless you're conducting an appeasement strategy, or the grow-through-diplomatic-bribery strategy recommended in the rest of this document. If you're playing a leave-me-alone strategy, this wonder can be downright unhelpful: the later you meet the AIs, the later it will be before your ceasefire with them runs out, so deliberately contacting them is the last thing you want to do.
- Michelangelo's Chapel: The most useful wonder in the whole game, as long as you have 8 or more cities. GET IT! (And don't research the civilization "advance" of Communism for as long as possible).
- Oracle: usually the first wonder to expire, so pretty useless. See comments on the Hanging Gardens.
- Pyramids: Useful unless you're planning to use the President's Day Sale trick, in which case the Pyramids (and granaries) aren't needed. Note that recent versions of Freeciv have halved the benefit obtained from the Pyramids.
- SETI Program: Essential for a forefront-of-research strategy, unless you're already so far ahead in research that you can live without it.
- Shakespeare's Theatre: The most useful wonder of all if you're playing the One City Challenge. Otherwise it's handy in your most productive city if you're playing an end-of-game military takeover (under a democratic government): that city can produce as many units as it likes without falling into disorder.
- Statue of Liberty: Pretty useless since you can't get it till you have already researched all forms of government (with the likely exception of Communism).
- Sun Tzu's War Academy: Must-have if you're following a military strategy: otherwise, it comes in handy if your defences are going to be busy.
- United Nations: Useful if you're following a military strategy. Unfortunately it requires Communism.
- Women's Suffrage: Somewhat useful if you're following a military strategy, or you're a democracy carrying out an end-of-game military takeover.
Bring a few engineers and plenty of spies on any campaign. Spies can scout, investigate cities, sabotage well-defended units, and move through enemy lines, allowing other units to move in after them. Bring extra defensive units to hold cities as you burn through your enemy. Stack strong offense units with strong defense units, creating defense/offense teams (DOTs). These teams work best when the offense unit is faster than the defense unit, because then you can scout ahead one square and attack some enemies but the team won't lose any speed. Attack cities with multiple offense units, so the defender won't have time to recover or rebuild. Attack cities from the best defense terrain you can reach. When moving next to a city, send in the defense units first, in case you get autoattacked. Lone diplomats should approach a city cautiously, always ending their turn away from the city and preferably outside the city's view.
Battlefield spies can run all over an enemy's road or rail network, investigating cities for weaknesses. They can also help the main army come in by keeping one square ahead of it. When the army moves onto the spy's square, it ignores the enemy's zones of control. Air cover also gives ground units this movement advantage. Air cover even prevents Partisans from swarming out of a city, so if somebody can field Partisans, put air units temporarily over all the city's squares as you sack it.
If a weak-defense unit accidentally ends its turn near a dangerous enemy unit or a garrisoned city, you can usually use the goto command to retreat to a safe place. If a unit meets an enemy while already under goto, you won't have time to save it. For this reason, don't use goto for general marching orders in enemy territory.
Barracks make sense in late-game industrial cities and in mid-game cities which you know will be involved in a long campaign. Early-game units should earn their stars with blood.
Having a completely trustworthy human ally will greatly improve your chances. You can build huge cities which trade with each other, generating huge wealth. Your combined research strength is more than double, both because of the trade and because each player can carry fewer techs, thus reducing the 10-point research penalty from each tech held. If you share a continent, you can get Republic much sooner (although your caravan down payments will be reduced). One player can build tech wonders while the other builds war wonders and conquers mutual enemies. It can be a glorious partnership- until you have to slaughter each other when you become world-dominating superpowers. But at least in an evenly matched game you will each have a nearly 50% chance of winning instead of a 1/n chance.
President's Day Sale
This trick might be considered cheating by some. Still, here's how it works: 1/ Research Republic or Democracy, and switch your government to that. 2/ Wait till most of your cities hit size 3 (i.e. 30,000 inhabitants). 3/ Change your tax rate to 60-80% luxuries.
This will push most of your cities into celebration (and you may be able to get a few more celebrating by changing unhappy citizens into entertainers). And when a city celebrates under Republic or Democracy, and it is at least size 3, it adds one to its size every turn, as long as excess food is being produced. So, in theory, you could double your population in just 3 turns!
In practice, you'll probably want to do at least 4 PD sales during the game: to get your cities to (or near) size 8 (then build Aqueducts), size 12 (Sewer systems), size 20 (Supermarkets and farmland), and the upper food limit for the city (which depends on terrain, but on average it's about size 27). Note that whenever you finish a PD sale, you'll need to keep the luxuries rate at 20-30% until you can build wonders or city improvements to handle the happiness of the extra population.
One City Challenge
Can you win the game with just one city? Yes, it has been done. The following game settings are recommended:
- Space Race: Yes
- Number of huts: 0
- Starting units: c or cx
The following settings make life easier:
- Map generator: 3
- Specials: 350-400.
An optional variation is that you may capture other cities, but you must immediately shut down production in them: make everyone an entertainer until the city is starved down to size 1. Then disband the city into a settler (you'll need to set the local 'Disband city if build settlers at size 1' option), and disband the settler. (Yes, this does make these cities hard to defend. That's why it's a challenge).
PLAY STRATEGY, STAGE 1: GET REPUBLIC (4000BC-2000BC)
The goal here is to research Republic ASAP. Don't even get any military techs- just hang on with diplomats and maybe a few warriors or mercenaries. If you're using techlevel=2 and you start with ceremonial burial/alphabet, then Monarchy is probably the quickest way to Republic. Just hope you don't start out with any relatively useless techs like Pottery and Masonry, because then it will take you longer to get Republic.
See section on city placement strategy. City placement is most important in the early game, so take a few turns to explore. Just be sure you've settled down by turn 5.
Settlers everywhere, except maybe a library in a city producing 4 science. That's a good way to make early use of 100 gold from a hut. At this stage, never build terrain improvements- just build cities.
None in rear-guard cities; mercenaries and maybe warriors and explorers on the frontier if the need is imminent. Increase your paranoia if your world has huts (and thus mercenaries) or your neighbors are very close.
War might be useful if you have Horseback Riding and can go on an early rampage to sack undefended cities. I believe this strategy is worth the risk only if you have mercenaries or you got Horseback Riding by accident. You might get Code of Laws and a free city, or you might get techs which don't lead to Republic. Since each new tech increases the cost of all other techs by 10, such techs are "poison". Besides, you'll probably just piss people off and get a bunch of allies set against you, with little to show for it. The early stages of Freeciv favor the defenders, so war is not the best use of resources.
If you have neighbors nearby you might want build diplomats and bribe some cities. The act of bribery might not start a war, and to build diplomats you only need to research writing, which is on the way to Republic. Bribe early, and you increase your chance of getting Code of Laws, which is also on the way to Republic. You can even give your own cities to AIs, then bribe them back with a prepositioned diplomat! A size-1 city will be cheap and won't even lose any population in the exchange. With size-2 cities you can steal with a diplomat and sack with an army. This is a fast way to get both technologies and enemies. Don't ever buy a city in negotiations with a human player, because it is guaranteed to be bait in a trap.
In general, make peace with your stronger neighbors, but don't sign any alliances because you might get sucked into wars or be forced to break treaties (which permanently lowers your trustworthiness).
STAGE 2: BUILD A WONDER (2000BC-1500BC)
After your revolution to Republic, your research rate will probably triple. Your first goal should be Trade. This allows you to build your wonder and you'll also get Bronze Working along the way, which will help you shore up your rather bad defenses. Depending on how long this stage lasts, try to get Banking, Monotheism and Medicine. If you already have Ceremonial Burial, get Banking after Philosophy because the sooner you research Philosophy, the greater your chance of getting the free tech which comes from being the first player to research Philosophy. Definitely be sure you get Banking, because you will need it to get Democracy quickly.
Should have at least 5 cities by now. Keep building more, as long as they don't interfere with your wonder. Scout out a site for your Holy Citadel, which will eventually host your palace and all non-obsoleteable wonders which benefit your entire civilization. Obviously, this city should be extremely well defended. It will eventually have city walls, barracks, SAMs, an airport, nuke defense, and a bunch of spies and military units, with some military units based in other cities so as to fend off a siege. For now, all you have to do is survey. The best site is far inland on a lone mountain. You can also build it on grassland/river, knowing you will later transform the terrain to hills. You will have to build hill fortresses along the river and along any access roads. When the wonders are complete, you'll pillage all roads near your Holy Citadel. It's probably too much trouble to kill anyone who gets close, but wouldn't it be nice to keep the location top-secret?
Either Marco Polo's Embassy (if there are many AIs) or the Great Library. Most cities (including the wonder city) will actually build slushfund settlers before you get Trade, then build caravans right up until you have enough to build the wonder entirely from caravans. This is fast, efficient, and stealthy! Try to time your caravans so no straggler holds up completion of your wonder. No need to build this wonder in your Holy Citadel, since it will eventually become obsolete.
Build some phalanxes now that you have Bronze Working. If at war, keep a couple horsemen on your frontiers to kill approaching units. A city with two units in a defense/offense team (DOT) will protect a city from raids. Two DOTs will protect a city from an AI hurling everything at it. Keep diplomats and DOTs in all cities near human players. If you're near a human player, use your horsemen to kill diplomats trying to sneak into your blind spots.
Same as last stage, but now you're after different techs.
Try to get Ceremonial Burial, Horseback Riding, Bronze Working, and maybe even Mysticism from your neighbors. Keep track of who fielded Horsemen. You can establish an embassy or try to bribe their cities (which risks war and curse tech, but can also be quite rewarding).
STAGE 3A: CHURCH OF BORG
Resistance is futile if you have Marco Polo's Embassy!
Your immediate goal is Democracy. If nobody has researched Invention, pass some time with techs like Theology and Sanitation. These are semi-advanced techs which will be useful to you but will be poisonous to AIs and smallpoxers. Don't waste brain cells researching anything that the AIs are researching. They usually go straight for Gunpowder, then Metallurgy, getting all the prerequisites along the way. Trade your own tech for stuff that's useful to you, but avoid Pottery, Warrior Code, Mathematics, the Wheel, and probably even Map Making. These techs are poison to you, because they don't do anything but increase your future research costs.
Get everybody's worldmap. Most AIs will give it up for an intermediate tech like Banking or Medicine. It's worth it because you learn what the world looks like, what contacts everyone probably has, where the human players are, and what cities are ripe for assimilation. Now, use Monotheism, Theology, Sanitation, etc. to buy up a bunch of small cities in all corners of the world. Repeat your buys whenever you get a few good poison techs. Avoid buying cities near human players.
Settlers, especially in your far-flung cities. Start saving for your next wonder by building some caravans in your homeland. Build Harbors because they help your cities grow to size 3, which is useful once you get Democracy.
Build a DOT in every warzone city and every city near a human player. Build a diplomat in every city near a human player.
Mostly bribes and other diplomatic skulduggery.
Go forth and convert the heathen! You get many cities, and since your 3 religious techs are useless to the AIs, you can retard their advancement by adding 30 to all their research costs. That's some nice unintended realism! The model would be perfect if a religion-infected civ declared war on everybody, including itself.
You can also pay for cities with Sanitation, Medicine, Theory of Gravity, etc. The more advanced a tech is, the more the AIs will pay for it. For this reason, don't give the AIs a bunch of early techs. They're not cost-effective, and they're prerequisites for useful stuff. Exceptions are for nearby AIs who are isolated and don't have Literacy or Republic. Give them a bunch of non-gunpowder- prerequisite stuff, and they'll be easy pickings later. For AIs next to other human players, give Gunpowder and The Republic.
When giving to AIs, be sure to give all allied AIs the same set of tech at the same time, because when the AIs trade your techs among themselves, it is a missed opportunity for you. AIs are probably allied if they are close to each other and have nearly identical techs, but to be safe, it is best to give the same set of techs all at once to all AIs. If the AIs are in isolated groups you can deviate from this instant and uniform distribution of tech, but don't deviate too much. You can give occasional tech that is a prerequisite to something useful, but only if the AIs won't research that next useful tech for a long time. Theory of Gravity is the perfect example of this. Try to strike a good balance between getting many cities and only letting poison tech out among the AIs. Smallpoxers won't fall for your poison tech, but they will be poisoned whenever they sack an AI city.
Continue this foreign policy through future stages for as long as Marco Polo's Embassy functions. You will probably go through several technology releases, picking up many new cities, some fresh maps, and a few techs with each cycle. Accept peace offers from strong civs with strong allies.
STAGE 3B: GREAT LIBRARY TECH RACE
The Great Library will now give you any tech shared by any two other civs. This tech comes in at one per turn. As with Marco Polo's Embassy, you don't want to waste research on tech that will soon become available through your wonder. The Great Library will almost certainly give you everything up through Metallurgy, and probably everything up through Navigation and Feudalism. There will be a few more techs, but you won't be able to predict them. You could just cut your research to a minimum to be sure you won't pay for something that would otherwise be free- but this would actually be a mistake. There are some techs (such as Sanitation, Economics, Bridge Building, and the three religious techs) which will become reachable during this stage but will never come out of the Great Library. Research these when they become available, or you'll just have to pay more for them later- remember, the Great Library increases all your research costs by 10 for each tech received. To avoid future costs, it even makes sense to research a few prerequisite techs like Mysticism and Philosophy, even though you would eventually learn them through the Great Library. Cut your research to a minimum if the only techs available are poison to you. You will be able to research something better in just a few turns.
As soon as you get Invention, immediately research Democracy. Now aren't you glad you discovered Banking shortly after 2000 BC? It helps you get Democracy a few precious turns sooner.
After you receive Map Making but before you switch to Democracy, there is a window of opportunity for exploration. The more civs you meet, the more games you can play. Send explorers and settlers to nearby continents. Be sure your triremes are in port after the revolution. Probably even disband them in the new cities, since your people won't tolerate ships leaving on long voyages.
The rest of this stage plays the same as stage 3a, but you'll only be able to establish embassies with a few neighbors. You won't be able to monitor everyone's research or trade for the world's best technologies, but with the Great Library this doesn't matter so much. You can still buy maps and cities from everyone you meet, but it won't be on a massive scale unless you're on a massive continent. You also won't be able to spread your poison techs to everyone, so that strategy is weaker.
STAGE 3C: JUST SUCK IT UP AND RESEARCH
So, people scooped you on both awesome tech wonders. If you didn't see it coming, you probably even researched a few techs that are not prerequisites of Democracy. This hurts, but all is not lost- Democracy is only about 6 steps away, less if you can get some prerequisites from your neighbors. The ends justify the means, so prepare your diplomats and bait-cities. You don't need to worry as much about accidentally getting poison tech because the early poison techs are all prerequisites for useful stuff, and you are now stuck going through the entire tech tree- unless you can get your hands on someone else's advanced stuff.
Go overseas and find new civs so you can trade for maps, tech and cities.
The silver lining in this cloud is that after your failed wonder-quest, you have a bunch of caravans sitting around. Build some more caravans, and you will probably get the next wonder you try for. Arrange for a bunch of your cities to be size 3 by the time you become a Democracy.
Same old standard. DOT in every danger zone, diplomat near every human.
Be more aggressive than in 3a and 3b, because you need the spoils of war. Diplomatic tricks are still useful, but you can also raid coastal cities. AIs and humans can have a bad habit of leaving them undefended. Use horsemen, land on flat, open terrain near the city, and march in. They'll never see it coming. If you don't see cities along the coast, land anyway if your trireme passes a river or flat, open terrain. You might get lucky and find an undefended inland city, and if you don't find one, just get back on the boat and you'll be ready for the next turn.
Founding embassies is now more important than in stages 3a and 3b, because embassies give you access to tech. You might even consider joining an alliance, so you can get techs easily. You won't get as many cities for your tech because you won't have as much tech. You will probably have to bite the bullet and give some good tech instead of poison, but this will also improve your chances of getting other good stuff (Conscription? Steam Engine?) from the AIs.
STAGE 4: BABY BOOM
Get Explosives, Conscription, Railroad, and maybe a few other techs for trade or for obsoleting your rivals' wonders. Not having Leonardo's Workshop increases the urgency of Explosives and Conscription, and might also make you want to go for Industrialization and Electricity (so you can start building modern units sooner). Don't strain yourself, though. In this stage you will need to keep most of your trade going towards taxes and luxuries.
The world is starting to fill in, so make sure you get all the good spots before your rivals do. It is increasingly important to search for new lands. Triremes and caravels will leave difficult unhappiness problems at home, so wait for galleons, transports, or J.S. Bach's Cathedral before shipping your colonists around. After getting Explosives, use all your obsolete settlers to build cities- especially if you don't have Leonardo' Workshop. Build some fast-working engineers and start improving terrain, because you will soon have the population to use it. Engineers should not be built in cities of size 3 or less, because they will interfere with your population boom.
Most of your growth will come from the orgies held in your honor when your people celebrate "We Love the Prime Minister" day. If you are Francois Mitterand, your people will quite literally love you and all the orgy-babies will be yours. To achieve this happy state of affairs, keep your luxuries rate high enough for all cities of size 3 or greater to have no unhappy people and at least as many happy people as content people. As your population skyrockets, keep raising the luxuries rate until your size-3 cities reach size 8.
During the party, buy temples to keep people happy as your cities grow. After the party, set your luxuries rate to the minimum necessary to maintain the peace, and spend some turns buying marketplaces, harbors, and aqueducts (buying is much faster than building). The next orgy phase will take your size 8 cities to size 12 and bring to size 8 all those cities which reached size 3 in the interim. Then switch some luxuries to taxes and buy libraries, sewer systems, and banks in the 12-cities plus marketplaces, harbors, and aqueducts in your second crop of 8-cities. Repeat these cycles of growth and improvement-building for the rest of the game. You'll be amazed at how quickly you can get a bunch of cities bigger than size 20.
This is how you pull ahead of the smallpoxers. Your population growth is more efficient, because you can quickly get over 20 new population per settler as opposed to the smallpoxers' 5. Your cities are also stronger per capita, because their power is magnified by libraries, universities, factories, trade routes, etc. It would be a bit more effective to use a hybrid strategy, with smallpox in the early stages before you get Democracy. But that would violate my principles.
During this stage, you should also found your Holy Citadel and build Michelangelo's Chapel and J.S. Bach's Cathedral. The order depends on your priorities. If you want growth and income, build the Chapel. It makes 4 unhappy people content in all cities, so you can grow your cities really big without breaking the bank on luxuries. If you want offensive war, build the Cathedral because it lets you have one unit in the field from each city without suffering any unhappiness. In cities with no units in the field, the Cathedral functions as half a Chapel. I usually build the Chapel first. Notice Leonardo's Workshop is conspicuous by its absence. Many human players like this wonder, but if you play with the strategies described here, you advance so quickly you will have relatively few obsolete units sitting around.
Since you're a Democracy, you are now immune to bribes and foreign rabblerousing. But trouble is brewing- all the AIs will declare war on you when you rule about half the world. I don't know what the exact trigger is, but you need to be ready with riflemen in your cities as the witching hour approaches.
Just wait, you will soon have an excuse to fight the entire world! If you have an itchy trigger finger, strengthen some of your riflemen with real-world combat training. Don't worry so much about making enemies, because everyone will be your enemy soon enough.
Squeeze out a few last cities, techs, and maps from the AIs. They need to have all the poison tech before the War starts. So, let those suckers give you Steam Engine or a 3-city in exchange for Refrigeration.
STAGE 5: TAKE OVER THE WORLD
In the first millennium Christians will start burning libraries and killing scientists, so all research costs will double. Get as much tech as possible while it's still on sale. Free is even better than half-price, so get other people's tech whenever you can. If you can't get theirs, no problem! With your own research you can get at least one tech per turn now, thanks to your huge population. After 1A.D., do a long stretch of orgies and shopping sprees. Build trade freight or Darwin's Voyage if you need a few more techs during that time. If you didn't get all the good tech in B.C., wait until you're really huge before you continue researching in A.D.
Good tech goals as this stage progresses are: Electricity, Industrialization, Espionage, Combustion, Miniaturization, Radio (for airports to connect your far-flung empire, allowing fast wars and fast trade), Labor Union, Mobile Warfare, Robotics, Rocketry, and Stealth. You will be amazed at how quickly you can advance. I can sometimes make it to Radio by 1 A.D. in the pre-diplomacy version, if I have the Great Library to help me. I think you could get all good techs by 1 A.D. if you play Church of Borg, but I'm not sure, because those games quickly become pointless.
Having Marco Polo's Embassy or Michelangelo's Chapel decreases the urgency of Espionage and Labor Union (the prerequisite Communism obsoletes Marco Polo and reduces the effect of the Chapel). Someone else having these wonders should spur you to research Communism quickly. Electricity obsoletes the Great Library and Automobile obsoletes Leonardo's Workshop. Plan techs according to who has these wonders.
Most expansion will be into other people's cities. If you blast smallpoxer's cities to less than size 3 in the process of capturing them, have them buy engineers until they are gone. This will give neighboring cities room to grow, plus it will cure that ugly smallpox. Keep an average of least one engineer per city on terrain-improvement duty, so you can keep up with your population during baby booms.
Continue the cyclic building strategy of stage 4. Buy universities, stock exchanges, factories, offshore platforms, superhighways, and trade freight in your really big cities. Build a few airports per continent so you can quickly move armies and trade freight anywhere in the world without having to risk a sea voyage. Build a new Palace, Adam Smith's Trading Company, Women's Suffrage, Hoover Dam, and Magellan's Expedition in your Holy Citadel. The main advantage of having Magellan's Expedition is that nobody else has it.
Use your Engineers to transform all grassland city squares to hills, then mine those hills. Coastal cities get priority. Connect your cities into huge railroad networks. Interior cities get at least one defender; cities accessible from the coast should have a few defenders and spies; coastal cities should also have coastal defense and a submarine. Your Holy Citadel should be well defended. Keep a bunch of DOTs in reserve (in your Holy Citadel?) so you can cruise out on your railroads and blast invaders back into the sea. Use well-defended fortresses and cities to separate your rail network into smaller zones. You can still ride anywhere on your network, but human raiders will have to break through your defenses to get from one zone to another. If humans land on your railroads they will run around on your network and attack you in the most infuriating way they can find, so you want to limit their options. The best way to deal with human landings is to not let them land in the first place. Air and missile units are especially useful for this.
See the rules for the Partisan unit, and keep these rules in mind. Now aren't you glad you're a Democracy? Sacking your city can be like using a wasp's nest as a punching bag.
Wait until you get good modern units, then just hurl massive armies at everybody. 12 Mech. Infs, 9 Howitzers, 4 Armors, 4 Spies, 3 Engineers, 3 Paratroopers, 5 Stealth Bombers, 2 Stealth Fighters, 1 AWACS and a handful of cruise missiles can really ruin somebody's day. Notice I didn't include ships in the invasion fleet- that's because I usually don't risk sending such an expensive army over the open ocean. I prefer to invade across narrow straits by building a city within transport range of enemy territory. I use railroads to send all my units to the jumping-off city, which will have two transports. I ship everything over in two trips, the first of which involves sacking an enemy city or building a city of my own. My invasion transports are never vulnerable at sea. If necessary a wider gap can be handled with prepositioned transports to pick up the units in the middle of the crossing and take them the rest of the way in the same turn; in this case my loaded transports are never vulnerable at sea. If I had to invade a human across open ocean, I would protect my fleet with lots of AEGIS cruisers and a diversion attack.
Trade with the big enemy cities- you can send 4 freight per city. You get more revenues than if you trade with yourself.
STAGE 6: ARMAGEDDON
None! You researched all the good stuff already.
New cities aren't important, because the game will be over soon. In fact, it should have been over a long time ago. Why are you still playing? Isn't it pointless to pursue a forgone victory?
Set your economy to 20% luxuries and 80% taxes. Just buy hordes of units, regardless of cost. Buy improvements only if they help you buy more units or have more veterans. Switch to Communism if unrest forces you to have 40% luxuries, but it shouldn't really be a problem if you've built up your cities well.
The best defense is a good offense!
KILL KILL KILL! Nuke cities, then send in the paratroops. Nuke cities twice, just for fun. Hell, why not nuke the entire world- you won't need the land for very long, anyway!
Genghis Khan left a few survivors. What a bleeding-heart weenie.
SMALL TIPS FOR INCREASING EFFICIENCY
- If you need to buy things to build up your civ, start by buying city improvements and units with about half a line of resources remaining. These things cost only 2x the missing resources. Let your cities build units at a natural pace, as they are relatively expensive if you buy them with many lines left to go. Don't buy wonders unless you're about to be scooped, because they cost 4x the resources remaining. Also, don't buy on an empty resource box because the cost is doubled. If you really need to build quickly (such as when establishing a base in enemy territory), bring in a cheap unit to disband in the city. It will give you a few resources and eliminate the build- from-scratch penalty.
- If you don't know what to build, build settlers, caravans and diplomats. Caravans are "wonder batteries", and they make you rich when sent to other players' cities. Diplomats are essential for any war or dirty tricks campaign, and in the meantime they'll defend against other players' dirty tricks campaigns. Caravans and Diplomats also have no maintenance costs as they sit around.
- If you build your wonders entirely from caravans, other players don't get any notice that you are building them. They won't be able to deliberately scoop you. You could build one wonder and then switch over to your intended wonder, then buy the last two turns of production just so your opponents don't get notice that you're about to finish. However, they'll still know you're building something, and will undoubtedly accelerate their own wonder-production schedules.
- When your explorers move up, down, right, or left in open territory, they view five new squares per move. When moving in other directions, they see only three new squares. Try to explore in interlocking patterns of long up/down or left/right stripes.
- If there's an unexplored square next to a special resource, the unexplored square will never have a special resource. You can skip it and explore elsewhere, or more quickly pass a corner in the coastline. Don't do this on peninsulas, because you might miss a whole continent that barely touches your own.
- If you're pre-Republic and you're about to develop a technology and you find a hut, don't explore the hut until you get the tech. If you get a poison tech, you will at least "lose" 10 fewer research points. However, the AI can telepathically sense huts, so you'll probably lose the hut if you wait a couple turns.
- There are usually huts along one of the polar caps. Haven't noticed a pattern as to which one, because I don't usually have huts in my game. Explorers can snap these up and probably get some really nice tech, since the huts can escape AI predation well into the late game, and you can get hut tech even if you already have Invention (unlike Civ II).
- Delay your 13th city, because it will bring you bad luck. When you get it, cities all over your empire lose one of their free content citizens.
- Cities can build slushfunds. Usually this is a wonder/unit/ improvement which holds the place of something you don't yet have the tech for. If you have a high-production, low-growth size-1 city, you can build settlers as a slushfund, possibly even saving up enough for a small wonder. The settlers get overbuilt, because they cannot be built. Later, you build a really cheap unit and then you'll be ready to switch the huge excess to what you really want. If you don't have Trade, this is the only way to build a completely stealthy wonder.
- Technology can be a slush fund, too. Research something useless until it is almost complete. You can change your research whenever you receive ANY new tech through espionage, negotiation, or plunder. You can't change your tech when new tech is received from the Great Library or from huts.