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Mike DelPrete's Civilization 2 Strategies


  • Mike DelPrete's Civilization 2 Strategies

    Original Author: Mike DelPrete


    I. Starting Strategies
    II. World Conquest
    III. Space Race (coming soon)
    IV. Diplomacy (coming soon)

    I. Starting Strategies

    In this section, we will discuss good strategies for the beginning half of the game. First off, you must decide what your method of play will be. Generally there are two types, world conquest and the long term space race. The first, of course, is where you gear your entire economy toward eliminating the opposing players as quickly as possible. The second is where you build up a sound infrastructure and deal diplomatically with the other players until you can launch a spaceship, hopefully before they do. Each of these particular strategies will be discuss later in detail.

    When you start out, the first thing you should do is to check if you have one or two settlers. In some rare cases games will be started with one civilization having a pair of settlers instead of just one. If you have two you are very, very lucky. No matter what you start with though, you must first decide where to settle. It is a good idea to build your first city on a river or on the sea. This will give you a boost to trade at the beginning since rivers act as roads for trade purposes. If you build your first city on the sea, this will guarantee you a port from with to launch ships to go explore the remainder of the world, or just explore the small landlocked lake that it really is. Whatever the case may be, keep an eye out for bonus squares on the map near your first city. The most valuable your first city are the whale, the pheasant, or the corn. The first two will give you an ample supply of food and resources, and the corn will yield more food than normal, especially when you irrigate it. So, in conclusion, if you can locate your first city near or on a river, on the sea, or near a bonus square, do it, but do not spend more than three turns doing so! You need to get your city up and running so you can pump out more units to explore and settle.

    If you have a second settler unit, treat it like it was your first. Pick a direction to move in, rivers often make a good choice since they act as roads, and move a bit away from your city until you come across a good city location. Of your first two cities, at least one should be on the sea, and at least one should either be on a river or near a bonus square.

    Well, your first city is now founded, and you find yourself wondering what to build. Either that or you are making some warriors because you have played before and have some clue as what to do. If you haven’t figured it out yet people, produce a unit of warriors first and then send them out to explore. Do not send them in only one direction though, like just moving up every turn. Have them zigzag so as to explore the most territory for possible city sites. If you encounter a hut, you must make a decision. It could either be money, a unit to join you, settlers, a new city, technolgy, or barbarians. Usually at this point in the game, it will either be a new city or some unit to join you. But remember that the possibility still exists for it to be a group of barbarians that will destroy your unit and sack your city. If it is the later, you can always load up the auto save of your game and try again. But anyway, if it is a new city, you are very lucky indeed. What is under these huts can shape the development of the game ahead, since if you uncover two or three new cities it will give you a huge boost to trade, production, and unit production. But back to the first city. After you make two units of warriors, you should shift to one of three things. If for some reason there is already a good defensive unit in your city (bonus hut gave you and archer), then go ahead and make a settler. If you have bronze working, make a phalanx, and providing you have enough money try to buy it half way through. If you don’t have bronze working, which may very well be the case, then make another warrior to garrison your first city. For the last two cases, after you make the unit, fortify it and start making settlers.

    We will take a little detour here to quickly discuss tax, science, and luxury rates for the beginning game. You should go under the Kingdom menu and then Adjust Tax Rate. You can play around with the figures a bit, but the desired result would be where you are making a few coins each turn and the rest go to science. If you are playing on a hard level, you may later on want to increase luxury a bit to keep you citizens happy. Make sure you adjust this early, since if you are getting a lot of trade arrows at the start you will be making more money than you need to be and which science could greatly benefit from. Make sure you check this menu often, and definitely after a change of government or construction of a wonder that will affect it (Colossus, Adam Smith’s Trading Company, Isaac Newton’s College, etc.)

    All right, back to the game. You should now have your first city (possible more if you had luck on your side) and a settler unit ready to settle. Send your settler out to a good location for a city, again following the hints above for city placement. You want it in a location where it will grow quickly, not where it will take settlers a dozen turns to develop the mines and irrigate the plains near it. At this point no settlers can be spared for land development yet; you need more cities.

    Well, now that you have your first two cities, it gets harder to give god advice. It all depends on whether you are on an island, a huge continent with other civilizations, or don’t even know yet. If you have come in contact with other civilizations and you have decided to eliminate them, you should start building good defensive units (phalanx or archer) and fortifying them in good defensive locations between your civilizations. After this border is established, you can then start to produce more offensive units at your discretion and attack when you feel ready. It is a good idea though to try to destroy the enemy quickly, especially at this early in the game, so you can get back to building up your civilization.

    If you find you are on an island all alone, you can pretty much give up an idea of fast global conquest. If your island is very small (only capable of sustaining up to three or four good sized cities) you should get map making and triremes as fast as possible. Once you have a ship, get a settler on it as soon as you can, along with an escort or explorer. Send it around your island looking for land, and once you find some get your units on land quickly. Then send your trireme around this newly discovered land mass to get a better idea of what to expect. Have your settler build a city quickly, and send you unit or explorer around to scout the nearby land area. Get your ship back to port and loaded with either a settler or another military unit, preferably both. Then send your ship to your new found land mass, and drop the settler off to found a new city. This new city should be on the sea if the other one wasn’t, and remember to look for rivers. These new cities should start the entire routine over again; building warriors or explorers, then settlers to found new cities. A good method for expansion that I used was that after a city was founded, I build a phalanx, then a settler (to go found a new city), then a granary or temple (this was on emperor level), then another settler to settle the lands around the city. After this I started to build what the city needed, such as a granary, marketplace, etc., and the occasional military unit of needed.

    On to governments. It is very important to switch to a Monarchy as soon as possible. It is just so much better than Despotism, and if you can get settlers to irrigate just a few squares around the city growth will be much faster. After Monarchy, government type depends on what you want to accomplish. The next logical step, unless you are engaged in a huge war, is to advance to a Republic. This will double all of your trade, thus giving you a lot of money and faster scientific progress, as well as making more people happy with luxuries. This is where you face a problem though, the next government (although it is possible to stay with Republic), either Fundamentalism or Democracy. Personally, I love Fundamentalism, since you don’t have to worry about keeping people happy (which is a big relief on the harder levels) and unit maintenance is non-existent until the eleventh unit. Of course scientific progress is cut in half, so this government is best suited for someone who wants to conquer the world. Democracy though is a good choice for someone who is aiming to win the space race. It has the benefits of increased trade as well as giving you the chance to successfully wage war against an enemy. These are just the two extremes of government, and depending on your style of play and goals in the game, your ideal government will vary. I suggest trying each government for a while at least once, and just seeing how it works out.

    One last thing I have to mention that is very important here: Wonders. In the early stages of the game, committing a city to complete the right wonder can be a huge boon to your civilization. Basically, what you have to choose from are the Pyramids, the Hanging Gardens, the Colossus, the Lighthouse, the Great Library, the Oracle, and the Great Wall. If you are in a real “conquer the world” type game, the Great Wall will probably help you the most, that is only if you want to commit the time to building it instead of those extra catapults. Personally I used to think the Colossus is great, since it doubles trade in the city it is built. That is really good for more money and science, but it doesn’t affect your entire empire. The Lighthouse isn’t really worth the effort, unless you have nothing better to do. There are other Wonders you could build, such as the Great Library. This is good if you are behind the other civilizations technologically, or if you want to set your science rate real low and make tons of money. This is possible mainly because if two computer civilizations are allied, they will usually trade technology often. This will leave you the victor by getting both of their technologies for free. The Pyramids are good, since if saves you the time of building a granary in each of your cities. It is worth it if you can spare a city to build it, and your strategy is expansion, not war. The Hanging Gardens are good, but will only prolong the inevitable unrest that will sweep over your cities on the harder levels. If you can’t get the Oracle, then go for the Hanging Gardens. Finally, the Oracle is probably the best early wonder you can build, especially on the harder levels. Combined with a temple and mysticism, you can make four unhappy citizens in each city content. This saves a lot of trouble when you can’t build a colosseum, cathedral, or Michelangelo’s Chapel yet. So, in conclusion, go for the Oracle if you like to play on a hard level and don’t want to deal with unrest in your cities, but on easier levels the wonder you want will have to depend on your style of play.

    Well, hopefully this past section has given you some idea how to get your civilization off on the right foot. These first few thousand years are the most important, and what you do then will affect how the game plays itself out in the future.

    II. World Conquest

    This section will deal with good hints for successful world domination in Civilization II. Remember, these are only one persons view on how to do this, and they are by no means perfect or the only way to go about it. The best method is to experiment yourself, and to do what you feel is right. This section is only here to give you some ideas and pointers, and how veteran Civilization players would go about it.

    The most important thing to remember when attempting this is speed. Once you decide to conquer the world, you must commit everything to it and do it as fast as possible. Speed as two advantages. First, the faster you defeat everyone, the higher a score you will get. Believe me, you get a lot more points when the world is yours at 1500 BC then at 1990 AD. The other advantage is the faster you assault a city or attack a civilization, the less time they have to build up forces to counter-attack or defend. If you can take a city in one swift blow the benefits are greater than if it were long siege.

    Basically, I think there are two basic methods of world domination. The first is the obvious one of supreme military power and just rampaging over enemy cities. The second is a little more subtle, and consist of subverting enemy cities one by one. Both can work just as well as the other, although the second method cannot be done until your civilization has large cash reserves, usually only in the later half of the game.

    In the first method, the goal is to build up a strong enough military to defeat all opposing players. Unless you have a huge empire and can afford the expense, you should only concentrate on one, maybe two, fronts at once. In other words, don’t declare war on everyone at the same time, that would be suicidal. Take them out one at a time, then move on to the next. It is a lot easier than facing a united world against you.

    One quick note: When you destroy a civilization, another one will pop up somewhere in the world. That means that you should move quickly to find were the new one has spawned. It is a whole lot easier to destroy a civilization in its infancy than when it has a moderate amount power.

    First you should pick a neighbor that you don’t want around any longer. It should be the closest if possible, with a land route to their empire. If there are several civilizations an equal distance from you, you should either pick the weakest or strongest, depending on how you are doing. If you defeat the weakest one first, you will get more cities to make units and eliminate a foe later on the game, but at the same time the strongest enemy just got stronger, and they could attack you at any moment. If you defeat the strongest enemy first, then that is all over and it is downhill from there. With your economy all geared up for a tough war with a formidable opponent, you should be able to take out the remaining civilizations rather easily. Usually though, it works out that your civilization will attack the closest foe, which is usually just one civilization. No matter what the case is though, these are good points that you should consider before going on a war.

    After you pick your target, start building up an offensive force to attack with. If you have diplomats available, build them to. Even if you can’t afford to bribe units or cities, sabotaging units and destroying city improvement (city walls) will prove to be invaluable. Send a good defensive unit toward your border with the enemy civilization and fortify him in a good defensive location. This will keep hi units away from your home turf an act as a staging point for attacks into his territory. After you get a good sized force (it will vary on your empire size and his), move it around your staging point. Now you must deal with them diplomatically. Talk to them if you can, and try to get them to break any treaties of cease-fires you have. Try demanding tribute, that usually works well. If it comes to it though, you may just have to declare war on him and face the loss in reputation. Another good method to declare war on them with minimal consequences is to talk to a third party civilization that doesn’t like your enemy very much. If you can get them to ask you to attack the civilization, then go for it. Try as hard as you can to get another civilization to help in your attack, and ally with them if it is favorable to you.

    Now to the attack. Send you diplomats in first, scouting the territory for you slower units behind. Send cavalry or other fast moving units first also. Try to get an idea where the enemy cities are, where their units are, and how their road system is laid out. When you get to a city you want, you can do one of many things. First, you can just brute force attack it. This works best if it doesn’t have city walls or you know the defending unit is very weak. The other option is to lay siege to the city. This consists of fortifying your units around the city in good squares and destroying the roads, mines, and irrigation in the other ones. This could starve the city down a bit, but is usually only used to wait while stronger units are brought up to attack directly. When this strategy is used on the harder levels, the enemy city will be able to still make units faster than you (they cheat), and you will end up making the city stronger than it originally was. The best method for attack is to send a diplomat in to destroy the city walls (if first you don’t succeed, try, try, again), then attack with your good offensive units (catapult or legion). If you have the money and you really don’t fell like fighting for another city, just send a diplomat in and bribe the city to revolt. This method works especially well if you control the enemy capital or if it has none, since that lowers the bribe price significantly.

    There isn’t much else to add here for the attack, just that you should never let up making units, and making faster ways to get them to the front (ships or roads). Make sure you have a settler making roads that keeps moving into enemy territory after you crusading force since this will help in rapid troop movement to help the war. This probably only applies to longer wars, since the short, earlier ones don’t really last that long.

    Eventually you will face the task of fighting an enemy that is overseas. What to do in this case, if it is still early in the game, is to produce a few ships and load them up with good offensive units. Just land them near the city and attack. Most likely you surprised them, and took the city. With this city you can ship more units in, and proceed to take the empire by the conventional means discussed above. If you have time on your hands in the game, and want to play it safe, you could send diplomats and explorers over to scout around and choose an ideal city to attack. Or you could get a diplomat to bribe the city and avoid the battle all together. There are many ways to do it, so again experimentation is the best advice.

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