As you can tell, this report describes a Civilization III game, more specifically, a game of Civilization III: Conquests, the second expansion pack. I assume most of you have at least the basic knowledge of Civilization series of games simply because it is one of the greatest and most popular sets of games ever made. Nevertheless, there is always that one guy who has spent his life in an Amish settlement and complains about the lack of explanation. For just such people I have provided a short description of the game. Those of you who have visited a computer store in the past 10 years and know what Civilization games are like, please skip past the section entitled “Game Description” to the section entitled “The Section After the Game Description.”

Game Description

Civilization III is a turn-based strategy game. In Civilization III: Conquests the player gets control of one of 31 real-world civilizations and plays it against other civilizations from 4000 BC to as late as 2050 AD. Victory can be achieved through conquest (killing everyone), cultural development (building lots of large buildings that tourists like to look at), world domination (killing mostly everyone), politics (fooling all other nations into thinking you don’t want to kill them all so that they elect you as the World Leader), winning the space race (being the first one to build a spaceship to get the hell off this rock), or victory points (being the most powerful nation in the world at the time the game ends as determined by score).

You start the game with a settler that founds your first city. You use that city as a starting point to build your empire. Research new technologies, train military units, build city improvements (temples to supply opium for the masses, universities to research the most up to date means of killing other people, secret police headquarters to get rid of the people you don’t like, you get the idea), go to war, or use diplomacy to divide and conquer or, most likely, all of the above. Do whatever you need to make sure that at the end of the game your nation emerges victorious.

There are three types of resources in the game: gold (your currency), food (feeds the populations of your cities and makes the cities grow), shields (your industrial production, what you use to create units and buildings).

You get the resources by making your citizens work the terrain around the cities. In Civilization III the map is split into squares. Each city can works 20 squares around it, as shown in the screen shot (within the white borderline), gathering resources from them. Food is represented with loafs of bread on the left, shields with blue shields in the middle, gold with the little gold piles on the right. A city starts with population of 1 and can grow up to 40, though anything over 20 is considered very big. Each citizen can work one of the city squares.

You can use workers to improve the terrain around your city by building roads (speed up unit movement and give +1 gold in their square), mines (give +1 or +2 minerals in their square, depending on terrain), irrigation (increases food production in its square by 1), and many others, though these three are the most common ones.

Units in Civilization III have 3 attributes, which are listed in the format X.Y.Z (example: a warrior, your basic fighting unit, has the stats of 1.1.1). X is the attack strength of the unit. Y is its defense. If a unit with attack of 1 attacks a unit with defense of 1, each unit has 50% chance of winning (simple probability, though different factors such as terrain and other defensive bonuses can help the defenders). Z is the movement speed of the units, or how many of map squares a unit can travel per turn. Units traveling on roads expend only 1/3 of a movement point per map square, except when crossing rivers, in which case they expend one full movement point even if there is road (no bridges yet). Some terrain types, such as mountains, require a unit to expend more than one movement point.

Each civilization has several distinguishing qualities. First of all, are civilization attributes. Each civ has 2 of 8 possible attributes. These give the civ a flavor. For example, the Americans are Expansionist and Industrious. This means neutral barbarians are friendlier towards them and they can build 0.0.2 scout unit (expansionist attribute) and their workers work 50% faster (industrious attribute). In addition to attributes, each civilization gets 2 of possible 7 starting technologies. These tend to correlate somewhat with the civ's attributes i.e. militaristic tech for militaristic civ etc. The final distinguishing quality of each civilization is its unique unit, which replaces one of the regular units. Unique units have better stats than regular units, and when they win a battle for the first time, their civ enters a golden age, which is a 20-turn period of prosperity when the civilization has a higher shield and gold production. Some unique units are better than others, but they are all better than the base units they replace.

The game is broken into 4 ages that are, in order from earliest to latest, Ancient Times, Middle Ages, Industrial Ages, and Modern Times. You need to discover all the necessary technologies before you can advance to the next age.

There are several forms of government in the game. All civilizations start the game under Despotism, the main drawback of which is that city squares that produce more that 3 of any one resource suffer a -1 penalty to that resource production. The government types affect several major factors. You have to pay for all your units, military or otherwise, and government types dictate how many free units you get per city as well as how much you pay for each unit that goes over that limit. The government type also affects the level of corruption (wasted shields and gold in each city). Your capital city houses the palace (where you live) and that city suffers almost no corruption. Other cities suffer the more corruption the farther they are from the capital. Under different government types, the level of corruption can be more or less. Some government have a so called "trade bonus," which means that they produce one extra gold in each square that already produces at least one. The last major aspect that your government type can affect is war weariness. War weariness is basically what happened in America after it went to war with Iraq. At first, everyone and their mother wanted to kick the shit out of Saddam. Then, as people realized that a war in the real world tends to be slightly more complex than weeding your garden, they became unhappy and blamed the president for everything, and he blamed the CIA, which blamed him back, which caused even more people to blame him, which caused him to become sad, or so he said. Got it? Well, in Civ3 this can happen in just such a way. Your citizens can become unhappy with you if your war goes on for too long. There are three levels of war weariness: none, low, and high. It so happens, that under Democracy it's high.

One of the new game mechanics introduced in Civilization III is culture. Many city improvements produce a set number of culture points each turn, which contributes to your city's total culture value, which in turn contributes to your total civilization culture value. Culture is important for several reasons. First of all, one way of winning the game is by achieving 20,000 culture in one city or 100,000 for the entire civilization (on a standard size map). Second, when you found a city, it has borders of one square. Every time its culture value hits a multiple of 10, its borders expand, so the higher your culture, the farther your borders stretch. Third, if your civilization has high culture, other civilizations have more respect for you, which means that they are more reluctant to go to war with you, especially when they run a government that is susceptible to war weariness (their citizens like you and will revolt soon after the declaration of war). Last but not least (and this cliché really applies here) your opponents' cities that are near your borders can go over to you if your civ has a much higher culture value than theirs, which gives you a free city with no bad consequences. The inverse is true, so if your civilization has low culture, your cities will be the ones going over to your opponents.

Another new aspect introduced in Civilization III are luxury and strategic resources. You cities' need entertainment, otherwise the citizens will be unhappy and revolt, halting production and even going over to other civs. A luxury resource makes one citizen in each city that has access to it happy. There are eight kinds of luxury resources (gems, wines, spices, etc.). To access them, you need to have them within your borders and have a road connecting them to your cities. Strategic resources works in a similar manner. You need to bring them to your cities via roads, but unlike luxury resources, they don't make citizens happy. Instead, they allow you to produce certain units in cities that have access to them. For example, you need iron to make swordsmen.

So, let's run through this real quick. You pick a unique civilization out of possible 31 and you try to make it the greatest in the world. To do that you have to worry about internal politics and government types, external politics, wars, homeland defense, resource gathering, terrain improvements, city improvements, citizen mood, city production, culture, trade, expansion, securing of or trading for resources, researching technologies, and advancing through ages over the course of up to 6050 years of history, or 500 turns. There's your Civilization III game in a nutshell. There is a large number of details, exceptions, and practical knowledge that cannot possibly be conveyed here, but this rundown should allow you to follow the events in the game with some additional explanation on the spot. If you would like to know more, buy the game, play it, and read the 260-page manual. If you want to know even more, visit For now, enjoy the report.

The Section After the Game Description

I am sorry, people, just those other guys—I needed to get them at least partially on the same page… I apologize for the inconvenience. Unfortunately, since this is a federal program, we cannot discriminate on the basis of intelligence.

I am hoping for this report to serve dual purpose. First of all, of course, it will describe the game just like any other battle report. In addition, however, I have tried to make it into a comprehensive guide to Civilization III that all but the most experienced players should find useful.


Civilization III games usually take a very long time to complete (think weeks). Because of this fact, the game and the report will be developed in parallel to each other. Due to the unpredictable nature of Civilization III games, there is no guarantee that I will win this particular game. If, due to any number of circumstance, one or more of the following occurs: I lose the game, the report sucks, I come off as a big-headed self-appointed Civ3 expert wannabe, or you are left unsatisfied for any reason, please post your complaints in the comments section, and I will proceed to completely ignore them.

With all preliminary items out of the way, let us move on to the game itself.

The Setup

Before starting the game, I had to define World Settings and set other preferences. Civilization III comes with a random map generator, so each game takes place on a unique map. You can specify what kind of map you want by defining several variables. In addition to the map, you can change a variety of other feature such as victory conditions and the number of civilizations you are playing against.

For the world size, I selected Huge, the largest available. This choice was made for you, my gentle reader, because the bigger the map, the bigger the game. For the type of map, I picked Continents, which means that my map will have several large masses of land on it. The other options are Pangaea, which is one huge continent, and Archipellago, which is a bunch of small islands. For all other variables, I selected the average options. Refer to the picture below.

Now let me explain what this kind of map forebodes. The world I will play on will most likely have two large continents and perhaps a large island near one of them. This will divide the world into two large parts, each with about half the nations struggling for dominance early in the game. Because of such close quarters, diplomacy becomes very important and wars tend to escalate to include the entire continent, which is what makes it fun. Later in the game, as the civs discover the necessary technologies to cross the oceans, you get to find out what has been happening in the other part of the world. You might be faced with a continent with several nations of about equal strength or find that a superpower has emerged across the ocean. Whatever happens, huge wars that encompass the entire world and diplomatic nuance are the trademarks of the continent games.

Average options in the rainfall and temperature settings create an environment in which the AI fares well because one, it allows the AI-controlled civilizations to trade technologies amongst themselves, speeding up their rate of advance and two, the AI is good at managing the terrain that results from these world options.

The last option concerned barbarians, tribes that do not belong to any of the nations and attack everyone they encounter. I set that option to sedentary, which means that barbarians will stay in their villages unless disturbed. This setting actually favors the human player because the AI have the extra early units to deal with the barbarian threat and the human does not.

With the world options set, I proceeded to the civilizations page. Here I got to pick my civilization and my opponents. I set the number of opponents to 15, the maximum number. For civilizations, I set everyone, including myself to random. In the rules, I enabled all possible victory conditions. Lastly, I set the difficulty to Deity, the 7th hardest setting. There is 1 that is harder still, Sid, but that one is just ridiculous. On Deity, the AI starts with 12 extra fighting units, a combination of 1.1.1 warriors and 1.2.1 spearmen, 2 extra workers, and 1 extra settler. In addition, the AI only pays 60% of all costs. Their units build faster, their technologies research more quickly, their cities grow at a higher rate. Plus, they get 16 extra free units support for the entire civilization and 4 extra units support per city. But the AI is stupid compared to a human player, and that should allow me, in theory, to win the game. At this difficulty level, though, the AI always does well and provides a challenge, often one that is too much for me.

Everything was set. I clicked launch.

The Dawn of Civilization - My First Steps as a Despot

4000 BC – Ah, to be a Despot! To rule with an iron hand! To remove the word "dissent" and all its synonyms from the language! My word is law!


Unit support per town (population 1-6)/city (population 7-12)/metropolis (population 13-40): 4 / 4 / 4
War weariness: none
Corruption: rampant (the worst short of total anarchy)
Standard Tile Penalty: yes (-1 to resource in a square that produces 3 or more)
Standard Trade Bonus: no (+1 gold in each square already producing 1 or more)
Cost/extra unit: 1 gold
Draft limit: 2
Military police limit: 2 (units that can be used as police in cities to keep citizen happy)
Worker rate: 100% (normal)
Hurry Method: forced labor

I started out as the ruler of Expansionist and Religious Arabia. Expansionist means that Arabians can build faster scouts early game and have an easier time with neutral barbarian tribes (or Goody Huts, as they are called). Religious means that their religious city improvements, such as temples and cathedrals, are half price and they can change government types faster. This is an interesting combination. While the two traits do not directly complement each other, each is very strong individually. Expansionist attribute can give the Arabs a very strong earl start, while the benefits of being religious are felt throughout the game due to cheaper culture and happiness buildings (temples and cathedrals make your population happy and produce culture points) and short government transition times.

Arabia begins the game with Pottery and Ceremonial Burial already researched. Not the best techs to have early on because the AI does not value them very highly. On the other hand, being able to build granaries right away is a very nice benefit, as they double the rate of city growth, which is necessary for creation of "settler factory" cities. Ceremonial Burial allows for construction of Temples, which are not as important early game, but it is also the first tech in the research path to Monarchy, one of the two government types you can discover during the Ancient Times. The other one is Republic.

The last distinguishing quality of Arabia is their unique unit, the Ansar Warrior, which replaces the knight, a Middle Ages unit, which means it will not be a factor early game.

So I started out as the Arabs. I found myself in control of a settler (makes a city), a worker (builds terrain improvements), and a scout.

A scout is a 0.0.2 unit that is used for, you guessed it, scouting. Only expansionist civilizations can build scouts, which is actually a much bigger deal than seems at first since knowledge of the map is essential in Civilization III. In addition to being of great strategic importance to the player, it can also be used as a bargaining chip with other civilizations after the discovery of technologies that allow map trading.

Based on the type of map I picked, I knew that there would be other civilizations all around me. As such, my early game plan was to secure as much territory as possible without getting into a war. I knew I was going to be behind right off the bat due to the extra two workers and a settler that each AI player had, but I hoped that my expansionist trait would help me keep up. My second goal was to not fall behind in the tech race. To that end, I would conduct beeline research straight to Monarchy and hopefully get those technologies before the majority of the AI players, which would allow me to trade them for the technologies I did not have. But first was expansion. I went Overlord on 9, second hatch below ramp on never mind.

My starting position was near a river, which was a big plus. Normally cities cannot grow above the size of 6 without an aqueduct to supply fresh water. When a city is built near a river, however, it never needs an aqueduct and can grow up to the size of 12 before needing a growth-permitting building. Additionally, until the late Industrial Age, you need a nearby source of fresh water to irrigate. Rivers are the most common source for this. In addition, there was a number of grassland squares, the friendliest terrain, near me. A little way to the north, however, I saw a desert. No big deal. By the time my city grew big enough for me to have to assign workers to those squares, I would have the technologies necessary to make them profitable. Right by the grasslands, I saw some hills that I would later use for high shield production. Finally, taking a look at the minimap of the world I found that I was in the temperate zones of the map, which is a good place to be since if you get into the tropics, you end up in the jungle, and if you start too far north, you’ll have to deal with frozen tundra within your borders. All in all, I would rate this starting location 7/10. Not bad at all, but there was definitely room for improvement.

The first thing I did was send the scout down south along the river to see if there was a better spot to found my first city. He found a coast of a large body of water within 3 squares. While having a city on the coast is always nice, it is not worth losing 3 turns that it would take my settler to get there. Another thing he found was a source of ivory luxury. Playing on Deity, this is huge because your citizens are born unhappy starting with the second one. Plus ivory is required to build the Statue of Zeus great wonder. The starting location rating went up to 8/10. So I just founded my capital right where I was standing. Mecca, the Arab holy city.

I immediately queued up a scout, a warrior, and a scout in that order. One scout was not going to cut it, and I needed warriors to serve as police in my cities.

After taking care of my city production queue, I sent my worker to build a road and a mine on a nearby grassland square.

The last thing I did this turn was go to my science advisor and order him to begin researching Bronze Working, a technology that would allow me to build Spearmen. And I set my research spending to 100% of my per turn income, which made him purr.

Here is a snapshot of my tech tree. Blue technologies have already been discovered. Green are being researched. Orange are not researched technologies. And gray are not research technologies for which I have not yet discovered all the necessary prerequisites.

Ancient Times Tech Tree

3950 - 3600 BC – During this time Mecca produced a scout and a warrior, and I was busy using the scouts to explore the terrain around my capital. I found that jungles started a short way to the south. My scout ran across a neutral barbarian village in the rainforest, and they gave me the maps of their region (had I not been expansionist, chances are, barbarians would have eaten my scout instead). My second scout took to northeast along the river and ran into another neutral barbarian settlement. I ordered him to explore it, and behold, the barbarians decided to join my Despotism, giving me a fully-functional city. This was huge. Expansionist trait more than paid off right there. I was not even close to starting a settler myself. Ideally, of course, I would have liked that city next to the river, but as the old saying goes, “Do not check the teeth on a horse that has been gifted to you.”

3550 - 3200 BC - I kept scouting and saw a foreign border to the southwest of me. That was not good. It was about 10 squares away from my capital, so my expansion south would be hampered. Considering that at Deity level of play computer pays only 60% of all production costs, this was quite serious. I had to keep up in expansion.

Yet, there is no evil without good. To the north, I found empty space and a source of precious gems, another luxury resource. Some way past that the scout found a source of dyes, yet another luxury. If I could secure that as well, I would be in prime shape, but it was too far away for me to count on it just yet. My third scout went west and found a coast beyond a mountain range, also empty of other civs. The area looked prime for a city later on.

I started working on producing a settler in Mecca. Settlers cost 2 population points in addition to their shield cost, so you cannot just pump them out as fast you your shield income allows. This was the point where my population could finally accommodate this production. For future reference, worker is the only other unit that cost population to produce. Its population cost is 1, half of that of the settler.

3150 - 3100 BC - After discovering the dyes, my scout kept going north. I got him on a hill to see more of surrounding terran, and the first thing that greeted my eyes was another foreign border and a foreign settler and a warrior moving out in my direction. I contacted them. It was the Americans. The American civilization in this game is somewhat of a mixed package. They are not too aggressive early on, but as time progresses and they gain power, they become more and more arrogant and volatile. In late game I have seen them declare war over something so little as your refusal to trade with them. Their appearance meant that I would not be getting those dyes.

I tried trading with them. They had some of the technologies I needed, but refused to trade any of them for my Warrior Code. I settled for giving it to them for a slave worker and 1 gold. That's right, I bought me a slave. Normally, you have to pay your units, but when you capture or buy foreign nationals, you can have them work for you for free, albeit at half the speed. All in all, though, I was happy. Workers are essential early on, and this way I had one that I did not have to spend one population point on and that I did not have to pay. Additionally, if I had not traded Warrior Code to the Americans, they would have gotten it soon on their own, and I would have had nothing to show for my troubles. So what that I have a slave? I am a despot, remember?

3050 BC - Found another source of gems right near my second city. Good. I’ll have two, so I’ll be able to use the other one in trade.

3000 BC - Produced my first settler and sent it south to found a new city with a warrior for defense. It is important to send defense to your new cities. It ensures survival of your settler if it runs into barbarians.

My scout that was exploring the eastern frontier ran into another civilization, the Netherlands. They tend to not be too aggressive, but become a danger later in the game as they build their cities with shield production in mind, resulting in huge industrial potential. I talked to their leader and found out that they were three technologies ahead of me. None of them were from the second tier though, so it was not too big a deal just yet. Still, I needed to find a way of catching up.

2950 - 2800 BC - I met two more civilizations, the Mayans and the Babylonians. The Mayans were right next to me near the Americans. That bothered me. They are not too aggressive, but being agricultural and industrious, they have the strongest trait combo in the game, and can expand like crazy early on. In addition, they tend to focus on culture and have the potential to develop an annoying culture lead on you. The Babylonians were far away, to the south of Netherlands, which was good because they are known for breaking treaties and attacking you early game with their 2.2.1 unique bowmen (replaces archer). Even though they were far away, I still sent a few silent curses their way and hoped someone would kill them because being scientific and religious, they are a huge threat in the culture race.

I tried trading with both of the newly-found civs. They were at about the same tech level as me. I was exactly even with Babylon, and the Mayas had Masonry on me. It looked like I would have tech trade partners in the future. My Bronze Working research was complete, and I started researching Mysticism, which, as you can see from the tech chart above, is a second tier tech. If I could get it before at least some of the other civs, I would be able to trade it for other techs that I was missing.

Completing Bronze Working allowed me to build spearmen. Spearmen have stats of 1.2.1 and cost 20 shields to build (as opposed to warriors who are 10). Outside of unique units, spearmen are the best defenders of the Ancient Times.

While the tech race looked good, one thing bothered me. Babylonians were far away to the east past the Netherlands, but the Mayans were just to the southeast of the Americans, which meant, they could be boxing me in. I needed to get as many cities up as quickly as possible.

2750 BC - My workers completed the road to Ivory, which made the citizens in my capital happier.

2710 BC - My turns were now only 40 years each. I founded my third city, which would have been my second if not for the nice barbarians from before. Meanwhile, my scouts were reporting alarmingly quick expansion by other civilizations.

2670 - 2630 BC - My scout found another neutral barbarian village. Its inhabitants were not too psyched about meeting me but did give me 25 gold to get rid of me. This brought my treasury up to 34. Still better than attacking me I guess.

2590 BC - Found another neutral village near my territory. They gave me a free settler. Sweet! I might actually be at the same level as the AIs in terms of expansion now.

2580 BC - Ran into the Persians southeast of the Mayans. They were 4 technologies ahead of me. Ouch. And they have, arguably, the strongest unique unit in the game, the Immortal, a 4.2.1 swordsman replacement costing only 30 shields. Double ouch!

2470 BC - Founded my fourth city using the free settler from the barbarians. In the picture below, 2 brown structures near Mecca are mines. Blue lines in a square near Medina are irrigation. Thick brown lines going from square to square are roads.

Rules of the Market - Despot's Guide to Trade

2430 BC - I kept getting popup warnings that other civilizations were building wonders. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do about that. On higher difficulty levels, in most cases, you cannot afford to devote resources to building a wonder in the Ancient Times. You need all you have to keep up in the expansion race. In fact so-called "wonder addiction" is one of the major reasons a lot of players cannot advance past the first few difficulty levels.

For those of you not familiar with wonders, they are great works undertaken by a nation such as the Pyramids or the Hanging Gardens. Each wonder can only be built by one civilization. All others have to change their construction goals. Wonders give you great benefits. For example, Pyramids give you a granary in each city on the same continent. Wonders are great, but you need to know when to build them and when not to. There are times when you can and should build an Ancient Age wonder even on the toughest settings, but you should be careful, otherwise it can cost you the game and, in all probability, you will not even get it before one of the AI players.

One of my scouts brought good news though. I found yet another neutral village, and they taught me the Wheel tech. I quickly contacted other leaders to see if any of them needs it.

I traded the Wheel and 4 gold to Americans in exchange for Masonry, the technology required to build the Pyramids great wonder and walls city improvement.

I contacted the Netherlands and traded them the Wheel for Mysticism and 49 gold. I was researching Mysticism at the time but still had 12 turn left, so this was a good trade.

I also found out that the nation to the south of me was Sumeria. Sumerians are not aggressive (which on Deity means they will not just randomly invade you because they don't like the way your citizens dress) but one of their main objectives is culture, which makes them a very dangerous contender for cultural victory. I contacted them and sold them the wheel for 40 gold. Just about everybody had the Wheel at this point, so Sumeria would have gotten it from another source anyway, and I could use the money. My treasury went up to 119 gold.

As a result of my trade machinations, I was only one tech behind the Persians who appeared to be world's tech leaders. My scientific advisor told me that we were scientifically advanced and thanked me for generous funding. That's nice of him... The tech I didn’t have was Alphabet. Those nations that did have it refused to sell. AI really values that one. We'd just have to wait and get it later.

Having the Wheel permitted me to build chariots, not that I ever would, and made the strategic resource horses appear on the map. I looked around for horses and saw some to the southeast of my capital. It was reasonably far away, but it was also far away from other civs. I was pretty sure I could get it.

Chariots are fast fighting units. They have stats of 1.1.2 and cost 20 shields. They require Horses to produce. In addition, this unit is considered "wheeled," which means it cannot traverse mountains, jungles, or marshes without a road. Just like in real like, chariots in Civilization III are at their best when used on flat terrain with a lot of open space.

I decided to research Polytheism, the last prerequisite for Monarchy. If I managed to discover it before the AI, I could sell it very dearly.

2310 BC - Ssssssweet!. I found another neutral village, and its inhabitants, the Sabatars, taught me Alphabet. Yeeeee-ha! I immediately went to Lincoln (the American leader, duh!) and traded him Alphabet and 108 gold for Iron Working, a second tier tech that revealed strategic resource iron on the map. I saw some three squares west of my capital. Once I connected that to my city network, I would be able to build swordsmen. I was happy; I hate trading for strategic resources early in the game.

Swordsmen are the strongest non-unique units of the Ancient Times with impressive 3.2.1 stats. They cost 30 shields to produce and require iron. Ten to twelve swordsmen early can conquer an entire civilization early on. In fact, there is a strategy based around that where you make 4 or 5 cities, build 10-12 swordsmen and attack your nearest neighbor. A nice way to use them, though not the only one of course, is to place them on hills or mountains. That terrain gives defensive bonus to units in it. This means that swordsmen will be hard to attack. At the same time, they can see far and can attack from the mountains onto units that are in less defensive terrain.

I was up there with the world's tech leaders. No one had a tech that I do not. Now I only needed to keep it this way.

2270 BC - Two barbarian units, a warrior and a horseman, appeared near my newest city, the one I made north of my capital with the free settler. I had just produced a warrior in that city, so I hoped it would hold. You do not lose the city when barbarians take it, but you do lose gold and production, which can be almost as bad because it sets you back in the expansion and build-up race.

2230 BC - I completed a granary in my capital and order a settler made. First settler factory on-line.

2190 BC - City Medina produced a settler and my warrior in the other city held off the barbarians. I was happy. I sent the settler on its way to a new site and ordered a warrior to escort it.

The tech I was researching, Polytheism, was really expensive for me at the time, and the time it needed to research it was the maximum possible (50 turns) even with research set to 100%. Since that number could not go higher than 50, I decreased my research spending to 10% and was getting +11 gold per turn. I needed some money. That trade with Americans left with under 30 gold. In the future I could use it to buy technologies or to add to the trade from my side.

2150 BC - My warrior and settler saw a hostile barbarian town in the mountains on their way to the new city site. That was where the warrior and the horseman had come from. I needed to get rid of that village in the near future to prevent more raids.

2110 BC - I decided to risk attacking the barbarians with the warrior that was escorting my settler. The battle was close, but my warrior emerged victorious with 1 hit point remaining (normal units have 3 hit points). I raided the village and got 25 gold for my troubles. Pillaging is sweet.

A scout of mine that was exploring the area southeast of Babylon found another neutral village. I held my breath, but these barbarians only gave me a map of a small area around their village. Those sons of dogs!

2070 BC - One of my scouts met a warrior from Carthage, a civilization with which I have no yet spoken. The Carthagians tend to be one of the most aggressive civilizations in the game. I tried to trade with them, but we did not have anything to offer each other.

One of my advisors informed me that a wise man called Toynbee has completed his History of the World, with a provocative title “The Happiest Nations in the World.” As you see, this bozo placed me in 8th place and called me a bad adjective. I would like to take this chance to remind him that there were 15(!) other nations in the world, so being in the top 8 was not all that bad. My citizens were happy with my despotic rule, and those that weren't had been taken care of.

1950 BC - Nothing really happened for a little while. I kept making settlers and workers out of my cities and expanding towards other civilizations in an attempt to stake as much land as possible. Polytheism was still a long way from being researched.

1830 BC - Nothing kept on happening. I found the Hitties for the first time and tried to trade with them. Hitties are an interesting civilization. They are very aggressive, but at the same time, they like to trade, so they work to maintain their rep with others. This means they do not like shifting alliances too much. If they hate you, they hate you for the rest of the game. If you manage to trade with them, they will be your trading partner for a long time. At this time, though, neither of us had anything to trade the other. With nothing to else do, I continued playing Sim City.

1725 BC - Dates started going at 25 years per turn. I encountered the Russians for the first time and made contact. Nothing to trade. Russia is one of the most annoying opponents. They love back stabbing, they are usually technologically advanced, and they are completely unreliable as allies because they can and will declare war on you as soon as it is diplomatically safe for them.

If you can't tell, the continent I was on was packed.

1650 BC - I kept in touch with other leaders and started seeing new technologies on their trade lists. Polytheism was still 29 turn from completion. I had over 200 gold in my treasury, but other leaders did not want to even consider selling technologies to me. My ever-present trade advisor kept telling me that they would be insulted by any such a deal. So I just kept building and expanding, working towards the resources I knew about.

I also noticed that Carthage was sending a lot of troops west. I figured this indicated that they were at war with someone. They were far away enough that it could not influence me. Still, I was interested. Most wars can be used to advance the standing of my civ if used correctly. Unfortunately, I had not learned writing yet, and my citizenry was a bunch of illiterate brutes, albeit obedient ones. So I could not establish embassies to learn the political situation in the world.

1600 BC - I finished building my first temple in the city of...Baghdad. I needed it to expand my borders a little. Since Arabia is religious, temples are cheap and easy to make when needed. Plus the city needed some brainwashing to keep its growing population under control.

As an unpleasant development, I was being enclosed from all sides. Sumeria's and my own borders had already clashed in the southwest. Americans and Mayans were close in the east. The way south into the jungle and a small area to the north blocked off completely by my borders were the only expansion areas left to me. I was hoping I could get some dibs on that jungle area--it was growing over really nice terrain. So far I was not doing bad though. I had seven cities and could fit quite a bit more. Once I had no more room to build, that was when things would get really interesting. This is what the situation in the world looked like at the time. Red marks other civilizations' borders. Luxury and strategic resources are also indicated. My borders are dotted beige lines.

1575-1500 BC - I founded a city called Horses near the horses resource and fortified it with a spearman and a warrior. Right outside of its borders I saw two fortified Netherlands warriors, which was odd since Netherlands' borders were far to the south. I also started a temple in Damascus, a city on the border with Sumeria, to expand my borders. During this time, my scouts that were exploring the map, witnessed movement of troops, mostly warriors, around the map something was happening. I checked the trade windows with other civs to see how much they were willing to sell writing for. I had 270 gold in my treasury, but they were asking for more. I decided to wait a bit. Technologies become less expensive as more civs discover them. I could have bought another tech, such as Horseback Riding, but I did not need it at the time since I was not at war and did not need horsemen just yet.

I also noticed that Sumeria founded a city right to the south of dyes in the jungle. The resource was still in the un-owned territory, but I needed to move quick if I hoped to control it.

My research was set to 10% and my treasury to 90%. I was making 19 gold per turn, so if I needed to buy technologies in the future, I would be able to. Alternatively, I could use that money to upgrade my warriors to swordsmen when I connected up iron and use the swordsmen to wage war on one of my neighbors to secure more land and technologies. It looked like I had options.

My scientific advisor bitched me out for low funding and said that Polytheism was 23 turns away. There was no way I could speed that up since the tech was so expensive, so I threatened to execute him if he did not get back to work. That shut him up. Ah, to be a despot!

1475-1300 BC - I kept exploring and trying to expand. I sent a newly-made settler towards the dyes resource in the jungle.

In 1325 BC Sumeria approached me with a demand of 39 gold. My military advisor implied that their military was a lot stronger than mine. I could not risk war at this stage of the game, so I muttered, "I will kill the first one to attack me," and paid the bastards. At the same time, I saw two Sumerian settlers with escort moving towards my borders near Damascus. This could only mean that they were going for the unclaimed territory north of my capital. I could not allow this to happen. Sumerian would have to be dealt with, but that was nothing more than wishful thinking at the time. For the moment, I had to use human player cunning to keep the AI away from its goal. I pulled warriors out of Damascus and Basra and used them to block the Sumerian units' path like shown in the picture. Against a human player, such action is enough to warrant declaration of war, but the AI is more gullible. Unfortunately, Damascus was left without a defender, so I had to convert one of the citizens into an entertainer to prevent its population from revolting. This made it stop growing (this is why the population number in the screen shot is yellow).

Feeling good about stopping that threat, I decided it was time to check if there was anything to be gained through trade. I checked with each civ and found that the majority had Writing, Mathematics, and Horseback Riding on me. The bad news was that Babylon and America had already researched Polytheism. Given a bit more time, they would trade it to the rest of the world, and I would be left far behind in tech. Fortunately, neither America nor Babylon had Writing or Mathematics, while the Hitties had Writing and Horseback Riding, but not Mathematics. I had 390 gold in treasury and was making 19 gold per turn.

Besides Sumeria, Carthage was the most polite towards me. I did not want to trade with Sumeria because I felt that I might end up going to war with them in the near future. The more polite a civ is towards you, the better deal they will offer you. I bought Mathematics from Carthage for 385 gold.

Then I went straight to the Hitties and got Writing from them for Mathematics and 3 gold per turn. Note to new players: a deal where you agree to ongoing trade lasts for 20 turns, so 3 gold per turn is actually 60 gold total over the period of 20 turns--real cheap. You cannot violate this agreement though because if you do, your reputation will suffer, and no one else will accept gold per turn from you as payment for a long time.

Next I went to the Babylonians. I could have gone to the Americans, but they were close to me and I try to avoid giving technologies to the civs that are close to me as long as possible. I traded the Babylonians Writing and Mathematics for Polytheism and 80 gold. Alas, I had Polytheism, a good trading tech.

I went to the Mayas and traded them Polytheism for Philosophy, Horseback Riding, and 15 gold.

Next I went to the Netherlands and traded them Polytheism and 70 gold for Map Making.

Next stop was Carthage again. I sold them Polytheism for 386 gold, getting my 385 gold that I had paid for Mathematics back from them.

Sumeria was next. I did say I did not want to trade with them, but I felt greedy. I sold them Map Making (allows you to build galleys) for 154 gold and 2 slave workers.

I checked on Persia last, but they only had 122 gold, not enough for me to sell them Polytheism. I decided I had traded enough. I had 575 gold in bank and was the scientific leader on my continent, 1-3 technologies ahead of most other civs. I gained 130 gold (taking into account the 3 gold/turn deal I still had to pay) and numerous technologies. My slow research method paid off. I directed my primitive scientists to work on researching Monarchy. Monarchy was very expensive too, requiring 50 turns to complete regardless of research spending, so I left the science bar at 10%. Besides, buying technologies is cheaper than researching them.

1275-1250 BC - My plan of blocking Sumerian settling party was working. I kept repositioning my units to keep blocking their path. A party of barbarian horsemen tried to raid my capital, but I took care of them pretty quick. Finally, I founded a city on top of the dyes resource in the jungle, right on the border with Sumeria. That was a major success since it assured that I would have 3 luxuries of my own. Immediately upon founding, I started a temple in that city to move Sumerian borders back somewhat and ensure that the city would not culture flip.

Horseman is a 2.1.2 unit for 30 shields, the best non-unique fast attacking unit of the Ancient Times. A common strategy is to use 25-30 horsemen off of 8-10 city-base to attack a nearby civilization. Since they are fast, they can retreat from combat if loosing, unless they are fighting another fast unit. This results in the majority of your horseman force surviving battles to be healed later, helping you keep your unit numbers high.

1225-1200 BC - I had over 600 gold, so I founded embassies with Persia, Russian, Hitties, and Carthage in hopes of finding out if there was an ongoing war. There wasn't. I still had over 400 gold left, but I decided against building any more embassies at the time in order to save money for future trades.

1175-1000 BC - My maneuver to block the Sumerian settling attempts was successful. They were not going to sneak into the holes in my territory. I kept on building infrastructure and had quite a few granaries and temples built. Several times I cut down forest to speed up production (forest gives one-time 10 shields when you cut it down).

In 1050 Russia declared war on the Babylonians. Both nations were far away, so I was not interested in the war too much at the time. The hostility between the two could prove a valuable asset later in the game however.

It was 1000 BC and time to assess my situation. I had 10 cities and was about to found 3 more. I was guaranteed 3 luxury resources and both horses and iron. Technologically, I was ahead of most nations by 2-3 technologies. The Netherlands and the Mayas had Code of Laws and Construction on me, while the Persians only had Code of Laws. I did not try to trade at the moment, deciding instead to wait to complete Monarchy research and use that tech to get all the ones I was missing. Sumerians, my most likely target, were 2 techs behind me. I had 559 gold in my treasury and was making 20 gold per turn. I was rich.

While technologically and financially I was doing OK, it seemed that as far as expansion went, I had fallen somewhat behind. Most civs had at least two or three cities more than me, and I was second to last in score of all the civs I had met. Something would have to be done about that. I also looked to be close to last in power and culture. In culture, Sumeria was world leader by far. War with Sumeria seemed more likely than ever, especially considering the fact that they had the same number of cities as me not counting the three I was about to build. It means I was stronger! Here is what my map looked like at the time:

As you can see from the minimap, I am getting pressed in from all sides, but especially by Sumeria. Their borders come up to my very cities. In addition, Sumeria is one of the few civilizations that do not look bigger than me. And they demanded money from me before under the threat of force. My people were not about to stand for that. I was going to take them to war. I had to pick my weapon. Since my unique unit was a knight replacement, and therefore an upgrade to the horseman, I decided to use horsemen for the upcoming war.

For the immediate future that meant I needed to build what cities I could in the space that was left available to me and then start military buildup while letting my cities grow in size and power. I was also hoping that my plan of learning Monarchy first and trading it to all other civilizations for whatever I was lacking would work out rather than...not work out.

My initial moves put me in a competitive position, but the future of my civilization was still uncertain. I did not want to end up competing for the last spot.

Vertical Expansion

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR - the dictionary definition of vertical expansion is development of existing assets as opposed to horizontal expansion, which is acquisition of new assets. StarCraft players have a different term for this--powering like a whore.

975 BC - I founded the city Aden northeast of Najran, right on the American border and immediately began making a temple there to reinforce my borders and prevent a future culture flip. I also raided a barbarian settlement north of Mecca, killed the defending warrior and pillaged 25 gold. The Sumerian settling party that I had delayed before was moving into my territory again. I moved two warriors out of Fustat to block them again if I saw the need. I had 604 gold, so I established embassies with all remaining civilizations that I knew of. Ur, Sumerian capital was size 7 and was only 4 squares away from my borders. It had built the Oracle, a great wonder that doubles the effectiveness of temples until it becomes obsolete early in the Middle Ages. Not too good of a wonder, but Sumerian territory looked really nice with hills and grasslands and even a river. My decision to conquer them became final. The other options were the Mayas because their capital had the Pyramids, but they were much stronger and farther away, and the Americans, but I only had a small border with them, and the rest was behind the Mayas. Sumeria was of comparable strength with me and its cities were closest to my capital.

All the embassy building brought me down to 345 gold. Being rich rocks.

950 BC - My cheap ploy worked again, and the evil Sumerian settling party turned around and headed out of my land after seeing a wall of my warriors. That serves them right!

To my great dismay, around the same time, I noticed that there was no road connecting Mecca and Medina, which meant that the entire northeastern part of my empire was not connected to the trade network and was not receiving any of the luxuries from the south. No wonder they seemed a bit pissed. So I ordered a road built through the hills east of Mecca. My plan was to use a combination of irrigated flood plains and hills with mines to boost shield output in Mecca while still giving it a steady food production. Low food and high minerals from the hills and high food and no mineral production in flood plains.

Russia and Carthage signed a military alliance against Babylon. The political situation was really heating up.

In the midst of it, the Persians approached me and demanded 37 gold in tribute. I could not afford a war with them due to my lack of military, so I gave them the money. My gold was in high 300s, so it was not a big deal. But it hurt. It was a matter of principle: the arrogant Xerxes had crossed the line I had mentally drawn on the imaginary sand. I vowed vengeance.

925-900 BC - I founded another city, Yamama (no, really, that was the name computer gave me), on the coast of the lake near my capital. I knew that spot was mine; that is why I did not make a city there earlier. The city of Damascus on the Sumerian border produced a spearman, and I started Barracks there so that I could train veteran units. This marked the start of my war preparations.

875 BC - I founded the city Muscat to the north of Mecca, right where a barbarian camp had been a few turns earlier. In addition, I completed the road to bring horses to my cities. This allowed me to produce horsemen, my unit of choice for the upcoming campaign against the Sumerians.

850-750 BC - Two more cities founded, Mansure and Fez, both right on the eastern border that I shared with the Mayas. I pushed the Indians' borders back a bit. Both cities started building temples immediately. Across the empire, I was switching to military production, starting barracks in several more cities.

More than half of my opponents had two-tech lead on me in form of Construction and Code of Laws. That was according to plan. Monarchy was 28 turn from completion in 750 BC. As soon as it was done, I would be able to catch up in the tech race. What I could not get that way, I would be able to buy. By this time, the 3 gold per turn deal I owed to the Hitties as part of the deal for Writing expired, and I was making 31 gold per turn. I was feeling confident, perhaps too much so considering that I was still second to last in score and planning to attack the Sumerians who held the second position from the top...

730 BC - Turns became 20 years each. I was seeing a lot of foreign galleys sail along my coasts. They were probably all scouts, but I was still worried that one might unload a settler and start a city in one of the holes in my territory.

At 1.1.3 with an ability to transport up to 2 units, Galleys are the most advanced of the Ancient Age non-unique ships and become available with Map Making. They can only travel safely along the coast. If a galley ventures into the open sea or ocean, it runs an overwhelming risk of sinking.

710 BC - Carthagians approach me asking for a military alliance against the Babylonians. I politely refuse. I have no military outside of my city defense and Babylon is all the way across the continent from me. Honestly!

690-670 BC - I founded shiraz in a land directly north of my capital in a small space that was out of reach of all my cities. This was the last city I planned on making for a while. Here is my empire at the end of expansion stage...

As you can see, I plugged all the holes that existed in my territory and expanded as far towards my opponents as their borders permitted. One difficulty I had to deal with was that mountain ranges completely walled off my northern-most cities from the rest of empire, making it impossible for me to irrigate around them--there was no possible path to stretch irrigation to them. This meant they would not become powerful until late industrial age because they would not have food enough to grow a lot. Another problem came in the form of the jungle in the south of my domain. Jungles have low production and are extremely difficult to clear. Fortunately, there were some areas free of the jungle around my cities, permitting them to grow somewhat, so that was not too bad at the moment.

Below is the political map of the continent. One thing you should note is that I have explored almost the entire continent. Such extensive map knowledge is only possible with the use of the scout unit that expansionist civilizations get.

My scouts had been keeping track of the Carthage & Russia vs. Babylon war, and Babylon seemed to be doing fine despite being double-teamed. It had even destroyed a Russian city and taken over the land it occupied.

650 BC - Unthinkable happened. Americans discovered Monarchy, and I was still 23 turns away. What was worse, Lincoln refused to sell it to me despite being offered a hefty sum of money. None of the other civilizations seemed to have it, but I worried that Americans might trade it to another civ and I would be deprived of a key bargaining chip. My main hope was for the Americans to hold onto Monarchy monopoly because it allowed them exclusive opportunity to build the Hanging Gardens great wonder and because the other AI players did not have anything to offer for it. But the situation was dangerous. The only tech Americans had that I did not have was Monarchy, which meant that they did not have Construction or Code of Laws that other civs had, and those were good tier 3 technologies.

630-610 BC - The fate was with me. Americans decided to hog Monarchy; I still had a chance of getting it before the other nations. On an interesting note, Carthage was 3 technologies ahead of me and advanced to the Middle Ages--he was the only one. The reason this was so surprising was because Carthage was the only nation lower than me in score, yet they were the most scientifically advanced. Hum... Well, at least my plan to use Monarchy as a bargaining chip seemed safe. Content and with not much to do, I just watched the Russians and the Babylonians dish it out. Below on the right are the scores of all known civilizations. On the left is a snapshot of Russia - Babylon front. Brown units are Russian, red are Babylonian, the dark red city are Carthagian gains in the area, and the light pink scout is mine.

Netherlands - 997
Sumeria - 898
Babylon - 806
Maya - 785
Russia - 777
Hitties - 683
America - 675
Persia - 641
Arabia - 617
Carthage - 419

If you look at the score, you will see that Carthagian are not just last, they are very far behind. With territory being the main defining factor in the score, it meant that Carthage was using its assets very effectively.

590 BC - Sumerians declared war on the Netherlands. This is great news. Two of the most powerful nations were fighting each other. Divide and conquer at its best--your enemies even take care of the dividing for you. By the time I attack Sumeria, it will be weakened because of the war. In addition, I can get the Netherlands to pay me for an alliance against the common enemy. Things were just great.

590 BC - Americans must have leaked Monarchy. Before I knew it, I was 5 technologies behind most of the world, and was just about the only one to not have advanced to Middle Ages yet. Interestingly, no one had researched the Republic. Perhaps that would have been a better research goal...

Well, it's time for plan B. I had to use what differences existed in the technological level of my opponents to my advantage. I saw that Russians did not have Currency but had Construction, and Babylon did not have Construction or Currency but had Code of Laws. Most other civilizations had Literature, Monarchy, Code of Laws, Currency, and Construction.

I went to Carthagians and bought Currency from them for 753 gold. Hannibal, their leader, muttered a lot but took it.

Next I went to the Russians and traded them Currency, 10 gold per turn, and 1 gold for Construction. I walked away from that deal feeling somewhat ripped off.

Finally, I went to see Hamurabi of Babylon and traded him Currency for Code of Laws. Technically, Code of Laws is cheaper than Currency, but he did not have anything else to offer, so I went with it.

I had all the necessary technologies to go on to the Middle Ages, but did not have the optional technologies from the Ancient Times, Literature, Republic, or Monarchy. From the looks of it, it seemed like my path was set. I did not think I could keep up in the technology race, therefore I would have to stay in the back and keep buying technologies from the civs that had them. This course of action ruled out the tech-intensive space race victory. Culture was probably not going to happen either. On the Huge size map I needed 160,000 culture points. I had less than 500...yeah. I could still win through diplomacy, but there were problems with that because to do it I would need to be one of the two biggest nations in the world. To accomplish that I would need to go to war, and in that case politics could get complicated and my rep could suffer. So I decided to go for the simples of victory conditions: domination. I would need to control 66% of world area and 66% of world population. This option only required the least technology.

So my short-term goal was to acquire the Republic because that government type has the trade bonus, which brings in a lot of the cash needed to buy tech. Problem was, The Republic is the most expensive Ancient Age technology. Well, I'll manage. Let's get on with it. Short-term goal: Republic.

I went to Hitties and sold them the Code of Laws for 113 gold. It was way under the actual price, but they were going to get it soon anyway because everyone else had it.

I discarded my research on Monarchy and directed my wise men towards the Republic. 50 turns. Normally, I would never waste research like this, but I did not need Monarchy. By the time I had it, my cities would be advanced enough to get a major benefit from its trade bonus and lower corruption.

To increase my income, I set research to 0% and converted one citizen in Medina into a scientist, which gave me 3 gold towards research per turn, enough to have one tech every 50 turns. Medina kept growing fine because of surrounding flood plains.

When all that was done, I noticed that I had finally connected the city with dyes to my road network and had two luxuries all throughout my empire. Finally, I ordered the workers to build roads to gems, my third luxury resource and to iron, which I had not yet connected.

Another thing worried me. My military was still virtually non-existent, which meant that any nation that felt like it could declare war on my then an win pretty easily. I was especially worried about the Mayas. A javelin thrower of theirs was fortified within my borders and they were annoyed with me. I needed to ensure my survival for another 20 turns or so before my military was big enough that I could defend myself. So I went to the Mayas and signed a right of passage agreement with them. This gave me some assurance that they would not randomly attack me because if they did, their reputation would suffer. They could still do it, of course, but I hoped this would deter them. I had to pay additional 38 gold for them to agree, but considering that I was making 30+ gold per turn, I could easily afford that.

I also realized that I did not explore the Mayan and American territory, so I made a scout to fix that.

Some of my cities had already completed their barracks and were producing horsemen. I had about 5 and more were being trained. My military advisor was still yelling at me for having weak military, but that would change soon.

Next I contacted Sumeria and traded them Currency for Literature and gems (20 turn of gems). I did not really need either because I would have my own source of gems shortly, and I did not need libraries because I was not conducting any research, but this was a contingency plan. Sumerians had a bigger military than me, and even though they were at war with the Netherlands at the moment, they could still demand Currency from me and declare war on me if I refused to provide. This way I at least got something for it.

Then I went to the Russians and sold them Literature for 14 gold and 1 gold per turn, cheap, but I was trying to get what I could out of this situation.

The last thing I did this turn was go to the city of Fez on the Mayan border and hurry the temple I was making there. That city was surrounded by Mayan territory and I did not want it culture flipping on me. It was 20 shields and 20 turns away from completion when I got out the whip, and it cost me the life of one citizen in that size 2 city. The population there would be angry, but the priests at the new temple would brainwash them to think it was for the greater good.

NOTE TO CIV III NEWBIES: you can hurry production in your city. Under representative governments such as Democracy and Republic, you pay citizens to work faster. Under totalitarian regime such as Despotism, you just whip your citizens to achieve the same effect. This cost you their lives at 20 shields per citizen and the populace is unhappy with you for 20 turns to follow, but then they forget because, like all masses, they have the attention span of a goldfish.

530-510 BC - On the Babylon - Russia front, Babylonian forces were pushing the Russians back, even taking over one of their cities.

I am not sure what happened, but right after I completed the temple at Fez, its borders pushed the Mayas back a bit (even before the 10 culture expansion) claiming a mountain with gems and a nice irrigated grasslands square with shields. I would have a lot of gems now (3 of my own).

510-450 BC - On the Mayan border, Fez got 10 culture and its borders expanded, claiming one more square of Mayas' territory. Hurrying that temple definitely paid off.

Netherlands approached me to demand 33 gold tribute. Arggghh! I paid them. M-u-s-t b-u-i-l-d m-i-l-i-t-a-r-y.

Meanwhile, Babylonians captured another Russian city and razed it. Good for them, bad for the Russians. Carthagians, despite being allied with the Russians, were nowhere to be seen.

I also finally connected the source of iron to my road network.

430-390 BC - The Russian came to me and demanded 33 gold of tribute. They were far away and losing a war. I told them to go screw themselves. They left.

I took a look at the game score and noticed that I had passed the Persians, and was not third to last and was catching up to the Americans. I must have done better in the early expansion stage than I thought, though there was still the problem of technology. I really needed to get the Republic for higher income.

430-370 BC - Netherlands and Carthage signed a military alliance against the Sumerians. This is really good news. First of all, it ensures that the war will last for at least another 20 years (all treaties and agreements last 20 years, remember?) and it gave Sumeria another target to worry about. This was looking good for me.

But that was not the end of it. Persia and Russia signed a military alliance against Babylon. Right not it was not a big deal for me, but I was happy anyway. If Babylon completed defeated Russia, it would become too powerful. Now, there might be a stalemate, which was good because both sides would be loosing units and be divided, which should facilitate the conquering part that would come later.

350 BC - I completed the roads to connect another source of gems to my network and was about to trade the resource away when I noticed that the Mayan borders near Fez had pushed me back again, reclaiming the two squares I had gained, taking away the gems there. Damn! Well, at least I still had the city of Fez itself. Below you can see my Mayan border with the lost gems resource and the scores as the stood that that point in the game.

Netherlands - 1136
Sumeria - 1008
Maya - 939
Babylon - 924
Russia - 838
America - 809
Hitties - 808
Arabia (me) - 761
Persia - 730
Carthage - 459

330-310 BC - Babylon and Carthage signed a peace treaty. Oh well, Carthage was not doing anything there anyway. Maybe it will actually do something against Sumeria.

That was when bad news came. Sumeria and Netherlands signed a peace treaty. Damn! Now they were no longer at war and I would have to pay Netherlands to re-declare war on Sumeria later on. The only good thing here was that this damaged Netherlands' reputation because they broke military alliance with Carthagians before 20 turns were up. This meant my reputation would be better in comparison.

290-250 BC - I completed a marketplace in my capital city of Mecca. Market place increases tax output of a city by 50%. Mecca was already producing 18 gold, so it went up to 27, giving me 9 extra corruption-free gold per turn. In addition, the marketplace also increases the number of happy citizens that luxuries create. After marketplace was done, Mecca went on to horsemen production duty.

I was also making some galleys for exploration purposes as well as to combat numerous Sumerian galleys that were floating around to prevent them from unloading troops deep in my territory.

230-170 BC - Sumeria and Carthage signed a peace treaty. Well, things were getting better and better. Plus I still was not even close to having the Republic and so was falling farther and farther back technologically. I was making 47 gold per turn, but needed a lot more than that.

150 BC - I had 805 gold in my treasury and was making 52 per turn. It was time to trade. Plus I noticed that Babylon did not have Monotheism, a tech that others had. There was opportunity here. Take a look at the Middle Ages tech tree...

Middle Ages

At this point in the game, most civilizations had Engineering, Monotheism, and Feudalism on me. Some even had Chivalry. I needed Chivalry because that was where my unique unit was, the Ansar Warrior. I needed it for war and for Golden Age start. Babylon and Carthage did not have Monotheism. This meant I could get three technologies for the price of one. Here we go.

Of all civilizations that had Monotheism, Sumerians were willing to sell it for the lowest price: 786 gold right off and 44 gold per turn. I accepted. The others did not like me as much. This was rather ironic considering I was preparing for a war against them. Perhaps I should pick the Persians instead...

Babylonians acted as I thought they would. I gave them Monotheism in return for Engineering and 17 gold. Engineering is great because it allos construction of bridges, so your units no longer spend a full movement points when crossing rivers by road.

Carthagians did not wish to cooperate. They would not even trade me Republic or Monarchy for Monotheism. That wasn't good. Oh well, at least I got two technologies and was now only 3 behind the world leaders.

Let me explain the situation here. I have chosen a primarily military approach to the game. This means that as long as my military units can compete with my opponents' I am fine. In Civilization III there are several break points where new unit become available that are significantly stronger than their predecessors. Early Middle Ages is one of these break points. You get Medieval Infantry (4.2.1), Pikemen (1.3.1), and Knights (4.3.2) that dominate the battle field until the advent of Cavalry (6.3.3) in the late Middle Ages. If I can get Chivalry so that I can build my Ansar Warriors (my unique unit that replaces the knight) I will be on a level playing field with my opponents. Until that happens, I will have to rely on my mostly horseman army. You see, I am playing catch-up, and my goal is not to get so far behind my opponents that I cannot compete with them.

130 BC - I took a tally of my unit count:

-Worker - 18
-Scout - 4
-Warrior - 17
-Spearman - 15
-Horseman - 15
-Galley - 2

My goal for horsemen was 30 before I attack. The warriors were there mostly to serve as city defense and police. Since I had so many, and spearmen can do just as good a job, I considered upgrading some of the warriors into swordsmen and using them in the attack as well. A few 3.2.1 units could never hurt. The problem was I did not have much money to spare if I wanted to keep buying technologies at a decent pace. I would have to consider this before making the final decision.

I estimated it would take me another 15-20 turns to train the 15 more horsemen I needed.

110-30 BC - I kept building horsemen. During this time I was greatly tempted to build some infrastructure sure as aqueducts and cathedrals, but resisted it. I needed all my cities' production geared towards the upcoming war. My horsemen count went up to 20 during this time. I also saw the Persians moving immortals (4.2.1 unique replacement for swordsman and the most kickass unique unit in the game) towards Babylon. Given the fact that I did not have the resources to buy military alliances against the Sumerians and that the Persians were already at war and had a smaller nation than me, I decided to make them the target in my war. Besides, they did demand tribute from me. In accordance with this decision, I moved my horseman army to the Persian border. In the picture red lines indicated the horsemen's path as I transferred them to the western border. If you look carefully, you will notice another advantage of attacking Persia rather than Sumeria. Persia's border with me was very small, while Sumeria's wasn't. This meant that in a war against Sumeria, I would have to defend a much longer front against counter attacks. Against Persia, my invading force would be able to double as the counter-invasion defense.

If you were attentive when you looked at the picture above, you noticed that my capital Mecca was producing a settler when I said I had completed my expansion stage long ago. The reason for this was that, due to my buildup of forces, I had more troops than my cities could support (78 with 64 allowed). This meant I had to pay 14 gold per turn for my armies. To decrease that amount and increase my income, I decided to make a few more cities in the unused parts of my empire to provide the extra support I needed. So I was making a few more settlers.

10 BC - 90 AD - Christ was born, but this time there was no big mess surrounding the whole thing. In fact, we did not hear anything about it at all.

My number of horsemen hit 26. I was looking at it as a clock. When it hit 30, Persians' time would be up.

I checked the world ranking and found that I had passed Russia in score and was moving up on the Hitties and the Americans. Of course, at this point I still had no idea how the civs on the other side of the ocean were doing.

Netherlands - 1379
Maya - 1183
Sumeria - 1180
Babylon - 1138
America - 1021
Hitties - 986
Arabia (me) - 978
Russia - 907
Persia - 874
Carthage - 520

On the minimap, as you might have noticed from the earlier shots, Sumeria did not look big at all. So how did it manage to stay in second place on the world ranking? I found the answer when I founded a city on the northern-most coast of my land. They had found an island an expanded there. No wonder they had so many galleys. Good thing I had changed my mind about attacking them.

In other good news, I found Persians' only source of iron with my scout. I needed to destroy roads connecting it to the Persian internal trade network, and they would back to building spearmen and warriors instead of immortals.

110 AD - 130 AD - I kept building up my horseman army and was at 28--only 2 more.

In other news, and you have probably forgotten about this by now, the Babylon-Russia war was still going on, Babylon captured and/or destroyed 3 Russian cities, it entered a stalemate.

150 AD - 190 AD - A world rumor reached me saying that another civilization had just started Copernicus Observatory. Damn! That meant that some civilizations were at least 6 technologies ahead of me. That was alarming.

Despot at War

210 AD - 230 AD - Babylonians demanded gems from me. Yeah right! My people loved me so much that they offered to expand my palace. I built myself a nice .little garden

I signed another Right of Passage with the Mayans, paying only 18 gold for them to agree. Right of passage value depends on your territory size, and Mayans and I were about the same, with them slightly bigger. I did it because I saw that Persians had a second source of iron and needed to move a scout there by the time I declared war so that I would be able to pillage both sources.

My horsemen numbers were approaching the goal, and I started working on aqueducts in my core cities, but kept producing military units in the border ones (mainly spearmen to defend and police my conquered cities).

250 AD - 20 turns had elapsed after my purchase of Theology from Sumerians, and I stopped paying them 44 gold per turn. My income went back up to +38 gold per turn. That was good. My military spending had been getting me into the negatives.

260 AD - In 260 AD the timer reached zero. I had 30 horsemen and numerous spearmen for support. I had both scouts in position on the Persian iron resources. My military advisor informed me that we had an average military compared to other civilizations (good news for someone who had every leader and their mother demanding tribute from them just 20 turn prior). I had just passed the Hitties in score and was feeling great, perhaps even better than I should have considering I was trailing by a significant number of technologies. In either case, it was time. I declared war on the Persians. The immortals were going to die.

My first act as a despot at war was to use my scouts to destroy the roads in the Persians' iron squares. No more pikemen or immortals.

Pikemen are 1.3.1 defensive units for 30 shields. They become available with Feudalism (which I do not have at this point in the game) and require iron to produce. They are the quite good at stopping most early Middle Ages attacks cost for cost. The fact that I would be attacking them with Ancient Age 2.1.2 horsemen, did not make me very happy.

Immortals are Persian unique units that replace swordsmen. They are 4.2.1 for 30 shields and are, arguably, the best unique unit in the game. They are definitely the strongest attacker of the Ancient Times and the most cost-effective one until Cavalry.

Next I attacked the Persian city of Samaria. It was defended by 4 pikemen. I only lost 2 horsemen before taking over the city due to horsemen's ability to flee from combat when losing. So I killed 4 30-shield units and lost 2 30-shielders. Not bad for a start. Upon capturing Samaria (which had survived with 3 population left), I saw that a number of useful improvements had survived the fighting: Barracks, Marketplace, and Harbor, all expensive and useful buildings. I moved a spearman and a warrior into the city for police and defense and another 2 spearmen to defend my stack of horsemen that survived the attack but did not make it into the city due to lack of movement points. In Samara I started a temple immediately.

Then I used a spearman to capture two Persian workers, converting them into slaves. Lastly, I moved my main force south to get closer to the next Persian city so that I would be able to attack it next turn. Meanwhile, I kept that force in the jungle since jungle offers a defensive bonus of 25%. Below is the battlefield at the end of this turn.

270 AD - Now that I was at war with Persia, it was time for some diplomacy. I contacted the Hitties and signed a military alliance with them against the Persians, giving them Construction and Literature and signing a Right of Passage agreement. Heh, they were the one civ that was behind me in tech. For now, I did not sign any more agreements. I felt I was strong enough to handle Persia mostly by myself.

I should note that during their turn Persians did not attack me. I attributed this to their war with Babylone (remember that one).

Encountering no retaliation, I pressed on, attacking Bactra. I lost 4 horsemen this time, killing a longbowman and 3 pikemen. For some reason, they did not do so well at running this time. Barracks, aqueduct, and a marketplace survived the fighting. I also captured a trebuchet, which I disbanded because I did not need it. I started a temple. Disbanding the trebuchet created 7 shields towards the construction of said temple.

Longbowman is an offensive 4.1.1 unit for 40 with a zero-range bombard ability of 2. The latter means that when it is attacked, it gets a chance to attack the enemy once with strength of 2 before the battle actually starts. This attack cannot kill, but can damage a healthy attacker by one hit point. Bombard values are put in parenthesis. So full stats for this units are 4(2).1.1.

Trebuchet is an artillery unit (6).0.1 for 30 shields. It has bombard range of one (can bombard up to one square away) and has firing rate of one (attacks once every time it shoots, so can do up to one hit point of damage). This unit cannot defend or attack directly and cannot kill, only damage. When attacked and without a defender, artillery units are captured rather than destroyed and can be used by the new owner.

During Persia's turn they attacked my main stack with a longbowman, killing a spearman. No other attacks came. They were definitely committed too much to the war against Babylon.

280 AD - Resistance in Bactra ended, and I used the fact to whip some of the citizens to quickly finish temple. One died. I needed that temple for quicker culture and border expansion. Plus it got rid of some of the city's foreign nationals that could have initiated a revolt to go back over to the Persians.

Then I ordered all damaged horsemen to the two newly-captured cities to heal. With the barracks I captured, they would heal in one turn.

Next I attacked Sardis, killing the longbowman on the way. Despite the three defending pikemen putting up impressive resistance and defeating 7 horsemen, only one horseman actually died; the rest escaped when they were down to one hit point. I love fast units. Just as with other captured cities, Sardis kept aqueduct, marketplace, and barracks. Additionally, there was no resistance in this city, despite it being size 4. That was odd, but I was not about to complain and started a temple immediately. I would hurry it next turn once it was begun. Unstarted units and buildings cost twice the normal amount to hurry, and little as I cared about my Persian subjects, I did not want to kill off that many.

At the end of turn, I called a conference with my advisors. My military guy informed me that Persia was in Anarchy. That was great. Anarchy is a transitional government that you have during the revolution when you change governments. Persia must have been running the Republic and due to that government being susceptible to war weariness, initiated a switch to Monarchy the turn after I attacked. The reason for this was that during Anarchy all production comes to a halt, so Persians were not producing new units at the moment. Unfortunately, on Deity level AI's Anarchy lasts only one turn. Still, better than nothing. Next I looked at the historiograph and saw that power-wise I was tied for number one with the Netherlands and was more than twice as powerful as Persia. Power takes into account mainly military strength and production capacity. This was truly great news. I never imagined I was doing that well being at least 6 technologies behind the world leaders. Next I looked at how my nation was doing. In the size department everything looked good. I owned 6% of world's area, and Netherlands in the lead owned 7%. My population did was not doing as well. 6% and Mayas had 10%. None of my cities, except for Mecca were near a fresh water source, and the fact was showing in the lack of cities greater than size 6. But I had already begun the work on aqueducts in some of my core cities. (As a reference, for domination victory you need to control 66% of both world area and population, so I was quite a way off). Overall, though, my situation looked good. I was making 60 gold per turn, had 260 in treasury, and was hoping to make a new technology purchase soon. Going for me was the fact that as more civs discover a technology, it becomes less valuable.

290 AD - My next target was the city of Tyre. It was positioned deep in the hills and jungles, a terrain that requires the units to spend 2 and 3 movement points. Since you do not get the benefits from roads in enemy territory, it was going to take a few turns. Up to now when attacking cities, I attacked with my horsemen that could reach the city in one turn from my territory, and once the city was captured, I moved in the slower spearmen defenders using the annexed roads. This time, the spearmen would have to travel with the horsemen to protect them on the way. In the image you can see my main stack just inside Persian borders.

300-310 AD - I knew that Hitties were the only civ behind me in tech. Before now they did not have any money. I saw them again and offered engineering. They gave me spices (20 turns), 44 gold, and 21 gold per turn. My income went up to 93 gold per turn.

On the way to Tyre, I saw the first of Persian active resistance. A small group of knights and longbowmen attacked my units. I held them off, losing a few spearmen.

Taking Tyre was tough. Two pikemen and a longbowman killed at least 4 of my horsemen and injured many more. I gritted my teeth as I rode into the city. They were going to pay for this outrage. I started the temple as usual, then pulled the new governor aside and gave him his orders. The whip would hurt after all were punished.

Knights are 4.3.2 units for 70 shields and are an upgrade from Horsemen. They are the strongest non-unique units of the Medieval times until Cavalry.

320 AD - Hitties showed up with a medium-sized force of spearmen and swordsmen and killed a Persian pikeman that was protecting the source of iron near Tyre after killing my scout there. I was happy. Hitties had a strong enough presence that they would be able to kill some Persian units, but I did not think they would be able to capture any of the cities.

I also saw some Persian immortals coming back from war with Babylon. I just hoped there wasn't going to be too many.

I kept hurrying temples in the annexed cities. Since I had 4 luxuries, I did not have to worry about the citizens being unhappy about it.

330-340 AD - Persians approached me asking for peace. I laughed in Xerxes' face.

Another group of Hitties' units arrived. I estimated them to have about 20 units total in the area. That was significant and could allow them to capture some of the Persian cities. I did not want that. On the bright side, this caused Xerxes to bring some of his forces out of Antioch, my next target, to attack the Hitties.

The attack on Antioch was tough. The first thing that greeted my eyes when my forces arrived at its walls was that it was defended by Musketmen.

Musketman is the first gunpowder unit of the game. They are 2.4.1 defenders costing 50 shields and requiring saltpeter resource to produce. They are actually not very cost effective, seeing as two pikemen are actually much stronger on defense than one musketman and only cost 10 more shields. Nevertheless, musketmen are the strongest defenders of the Middle Ages.

When I saw them, and saw that Antioch was size 11 city (cities size 7-12 offer 50% defensive bonus) I almost chickened out and called off the attack. But then I counted my horsemen, found I had 22 and pressed on. The toll on my units was high--I lost at least 5 horsemen in the attack and more got damaged. But I won and started a temple at Antioch.

By this point, I had over 800 gold and was adding to that amount at 90 gold per turn. It was time to trade. I saw that, while some civs were at least 8 techs ahead of me by now, some were far behind them. I was going to use the difference again. I started out by buying Theology from the Mayas for World Map, 786 gold, and 58 gpt (gold per turn). Unfortunately, that was where it ended. I needed Feudalism, but the great wonder it allowed, Sun Tsu's Art of War had not been completed yet, and the technology was more expensive than Theology, whose Sistine Chapel was already done. Oh well.

On a positive note, my people were so pleased with the way the war was going; they expanded my palace for the fourth time. I added the third floor and remodeled my kitchen.

350-360 AD - Now that I knew Persians had musketmen, I decided to halt my advance for a bit to replace the units I had lost. I was down to 20 horsemen. I needed to heal them and add more offensive power. I switched my production to swordsmen, as they had stronger attack than horsemen and I felt I needed that to fight the musketmen.

During this time, the situation on the Babylon-Russia front changed. Babylonians had regained the upper hand and captured another Russian city.

370-380 AD - If you could not tell, the years were advancing at 10 per turn by this point. I finally finished researching the Republic. Wheh! My next research goal was Feudalism. I really needed that to get Chivalry to be able to build Ansar warriors.

From Despotism to Republic

390-400 AD - I switched to the Republic. The Anarchy only lasted one turn, thanks to my religious trait. My income went up from 27 per turn to 61 per turn.


Unit support per town / city / metropolis : 1 / 3 / 4
War weariness: low
Corruption: nuisance (second best)
Standard Tile Penalty: no (-1 to resource in a square that produces 3 or more)
Standard Trade Bonus: yes (+1 gold in each square already producing 1 or more)
Cost/extra unit: 2 gold
Draft limit: 1
Military police limit: 0 (units that can be used as police in cities to keep citizen happy)
Worker rate: 100% (normal)
Hurry Method: pay citizens

I was psyched. This government had been my goal over the past 50 turns, and now I had it. Unfortunately, with Republic came war weariness. A bunch of my citizens became unhappy and I had to set luxury meter to 10%, which brought my income down to 32 gold per turn. Additionally, I started cathedrals in the cities that were making aqueducts and assigned some entertainers. That part sucked. I needed to finish the war with Persians as soon as I could. My alliance with the Hitties was going to end in 9 turns, so if by then I could capture a few more cities so that the Persians would give me tech for peace, I would be happy.

410-460 AD - I kept making swordsmen and rallying them towards Persian border. My attack would come soon.

A galley of mine was sailing along the coast and found an inhabited by Chinese. I checked them out, but they were far behind the rest of the world: second to last in score and many technologies behind me with no money what so ever.

My income was taking a hit from the 10% luxury spending and all the units. I was making under 20 gold per turn. This was unacceptable. I needed to take down Persia soon so that I could decrease the luxury spending and the number of entertainers and build up infrastructure of my empire. Things were really starting to hurt. The only consolation was that I was not tied for the first place (with Babylon, which kept on pushing Russia back and taking over its cities) in world area controlled--7%.

Suddenly it dawned on me. I went to China's trade screen again. We could trade resources across the sea because we both had harbors. I traded him Polytheism and Literature (Ancient Times technologies) for furs. He was asking so much because luxuries increase in value based on how many happy faces they will provide for your civilization. For me that would be a lot. China turned out to be a great asset to me. They were far behind me technologically, which meant that I would always have technologies they wanted, which meant I had a guaranteed long-term source of furs.

470-480 AD - Netherlands demanded tribute. Since I was ranked first as far as power went, I told them to beat it. They did not do anything.

Sumeria and Maya, my two closest neighbors were beating me by a lot in culture. I was worried about my cities flipping and was making some cathedrals.

I saw that the Hitties captured two Persian cities. Xerxes was down to two cities. I that as a sign that Persians were sufficiently weakened and decided to resume the assault. Right after, Persia and Hitties signed a peace treaty. Hum. I do hope they were both weakened.

490 AD - I commenced the attack moving into the desert directly west of Sidon, killing the longbowman stationed there. In the image you will see what's left of Persia and the two cities captured from it by the Hitties.

500 AD - I finally managed to get Feudalism. Hitties traded Feudalism and 28 gold to me for the Republic and Monotheism. Then I got Chivalry and 80 gold from Carthage for Theology. Finally I could build Ansar Warriors!

Ansar Warrior is Arabia's unique unit that replaces a knight. 4.2.3 it costs 60 shields. It has weaker defense than a normal knight, but is faster and 10 shields cheaper.

I immediately changed what horsemen and swordsmen I was making to Ansar Warriors. I also ordered a few medieval infantry units that I got with Feudalism.

Medieval Infantry becomes available with Feudalism. It's a 4.2.1 upgrade to swordsman and cost 40 shields.

Next I attacked Sidon. I lost 5 swordsmen and 2 horsemen, but took the city defended by 3 musketmen and a longbowman. Once captured, I started a temple as usual. Since I would be attacking the new Persian capital next, I upgraded a few swordsmen to medieval infantry and one elite horseman to Ansar Warrior. I needed a Golden Age and perhaps could even get a great leader.

During the AI's turn, I saw that Mayas had Cavalry, which meant that I was almost a full age behind technologically.

510-520 AD - I was healing my units and waiting for upgrades when citizens in Fez deposed(!) my governor and went over to the Mayans because they admired their culture, imagine that! I should have stayed a despot, they were all quite back then, before this whole representation bull!

530-570 AD - Holy crap! "The rampaging Babylon forces have destroyed the Russians!" Babylon was coming up to be a major power, up there with the Netherlands and the Mayas.

My units were done healing and upgrading (upgrading a unit takes a full turn) and a batch of Ansar Warriors from made it from my core cities to the Persian border. I moved out my 30-strong army led by the Ansar Warriors. Hell is a big place...oh wait someone already said that.

I attacked Arbella. It was defended by 3 musketmen and an immortal. I captured it despite being ambushed by a pair of longbowmen along the way, but lost 10 units in the process. Ironically, swordsmen did better during siege than medieval infantry. Oh and, our civilization has entered Golden Age! My income immediately jumped from 54 to 179 gold per turn, and the number of turns required to complete production in my cities decreased by half. I would rule the world yet!

In an interesting though unrelated development, a volcano erupted near one of my cities. Luckily, nothing was damaged. I provided a picture for you anyway.

580-590 AD - Thanks to the expansion of borders near the city of Tyre, I gained control of another source of dyes. I quickly added another city in the area to make sure I did not lose control when foreign borders expanded. I also used this time to upgrade more horsemen to Ansar Warriors; I had the money thanks to my increased income. Persia had one city left but still would not give up technologies for peace. I hoped Xerxes would change his mind when my forces stood at the gates of his last city, ready to pull the blanket off his head.

600-620 AD - Taking a glance at Mayan territory, I saw that their cities had developed a more modern look--they had advanced to the Industrial Age...while I was stuck in the early Middle Ages. Grrreeeat...

Whatever, I had a job to do. Gathering my forces, I moved out towards Gordium, the last Persian city. All the while I was starving the citizens of Arbella to decrease the Persian native population there. That's right. I converted all live citizens into tax collectors and was getting 14 gold per turn from it at this point (tax collector is one of 5 specialist citizens--they do not work a square but provide +2 corruption-free gold). Of course this number would become 12 when the next tax collector died, but then, had there ever been anyone who would speak out against killing a tax collector?

I was also hurrying temples in the newly-captured cities after they had been under construction for one turn (not started items cost twice the amount to hurry, remember?) and it killed me to spend money on it.

630 AD - I attacked Gordium, using the horsemen first. They did well enough and I would rather have kept the Ansar Warriors because I did not have to upgrade them. I lost quite a few units, and when Xerxes was down to one last musketman with 1 hit point remaining, I demanded that he give me his technologies in exchange for peace. He refused. Damn! I could have saved so much money! Without further ado, I attacked and captured his last city. But...the Persians were not dead. Xerxes had built a city on an island in the north that I did not see. I hate when they do that. I needed peace though to stop the war weariness. My cities were not rioting, but it was costing my money and production to keep them that way. Persia had low culture, so there was little danger of any of their cities flipping back to them, plus most of them were starved and worked down to low populations and Arabian citizens would soon have the majority. I contacted Xerxes and offered him a peace treaty, 456 gold, and 30 gold per turn for peace treaty and Education. It hurt to pay him, but since he wanted peace treaty a lot more than I did, he would sell me Education for a lot less than any of the other civs. The one downside to this was that I had to wait 20 turns to kill him because otherwise I would be breaking the agreement to pay and no one would accept gold per turn as payment from me from then on.

The end of war made the 10% I was spending on entertainment unnecessary, and I set it to 0%, making 100% go to my treasury, increasing my income by 45 gold per turn, up to 263 gold per turn. I also converted entertainers that I had assigned when war weariness hit back to laborers and sent them back to work, increasing my income and production even further. 281 gold per turn. Respectable.

One thing I was worried about was my cities culture flipping to my neighbors. To address that, even before the war ended, I was using my Golden Age production boost to construct Cathedrals and colosseums in all my cities. I still refused to make libraries or universities since I did not need research buildings, but I did not exclude the possibility in the future. I needed to achieve the cultural level where there would be no danger of my citizens defecting. Being surrounded by the four most culturally-advanced nations in the world did not help the situation. So I was building up my culture infrastructure. Marketplaces, where they still did not exist, would follow soon.

City management out of the way, I turned to technology purchase. Babylonians and Carthagians still did not have Education. I went to Carthage since they were weaker and traded them Education and dyes for Invention and 33 gold. Next I went to Babylonians and got Gunpowder from them for Education, gems, 11 gold per turn, and 7 gold at signing. Learning to make gunpowder revealed the saltpeter strategic resource on the map for me and allowed production of musketmen. I was glad to find that I controlled a source of it. I could shoot things!

I got all those technologies very cheap and was still making 270 gold per turn. I was even in tech with Babylon and Carthage, and way ahead of the Hitties and the Chinese. Now I needed to buy from the technological leaders of the world. One thing I had to keep in mind was that my Golden Age would end a few turns before the payment agreements I would make this turn, and if I did not plan for that, I could get into trouble when Golden Age ended and my income decreased. I also had to look for ways of making money from the technologies I bought by selling them to the less advanced civs.

I was contacting each civilization trying to find one with the lowest prices when I saw that Sumerians were not far ahead of me, only leading by Astronomy. Military Tradition with its cavalry unit was my next goal since I was military-oriented. I bought Chemistry from the Mayas for 38 gold at signing and 168 gold per turn. I went to Sumerians next and traded them Chemistry for Astronomy, their world map, and 3 gold (all they had). Next I went to the Persian, and wow! I was glad I did not kill them before. Somehow, despite being small, they were very far advanced technologically...but did not have Chemistry. I gave them Chemistry, 3 gold, 22 gold per turn, and my world map for Banking.

After this trade series was complete, only the Netherlands and the Mayas were significantly ahead of me, that is they had technologies required for passing to the next age and military technologies. Everyone else was either behind me or had non-required technologies made useless because the wonders they allowed had already been built. Additionally, I was still making 80 gold per turn, a nice safety margin.

The war with the Persians boosted me from a loosing position to the spot among the contenders for victory. Below you can see the world rankings and the world map at the end of the war.

Netherlands - 1808
Babylon - 1615
Maya - 1555
Sumeria - 1464
Arabia (me) - 1427
America - 1384
Hitties - 1268
Persia - 911
Russia - 881
China - 881
Carthage - 614

Next you can see the victory screen, which is a summary of my standing in regard to all victory conditions.

As you can see, I am tied for the largest population and am reasonably close to being there with area. On the other hand, the cultural situation is a bummer, with me having less than one third of Maya's total culture. It's a wonder more of my cities did not desert.

Finally, here is a shot of my entire empire.

Well, though I am among the contenders for victory, it is a long way away. A number of nations are still ahead of me. Cultural pressure from all sides, still threatens to convert my cities, and Mayas and Netherlands with their technological lead have a much more modern military. Moreover, my own military has been weakened during the war with the Persians, whose more advanced units claimed a high death toll on my troops. Despite recent victories, the future of Arabia is still uncertain, as are my next steps.

By the time I attacked them, the Persians were an obvious target, weakened by war with other nations and unprepared for an attack. Now, I was surrounded by 3 of the most powerful and technologically advanced nations on the continent. The Sumerians with their huge cultural lead that could cause captured cities to revolt and go back to my enemy. Netherlands with their great area and numbers. Mayas, with the most up to date technology and a cultural lead that makes Sumerians look like savages.

And then there are nations still unknown across the ocean. The contact with them could reveal anything.

Find out what the future holds for Arabia in the next installment of Writing History

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