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A Leader’s Memoir: Conquering Civilization V on Deity

Civ V CoverSid Meier’s Civilization V is one of the best turn-based gaming experiences on the market. Its mechanics are polished, its presentation is impeccable, and it’s addictiveness is legendary. After over 500 hours of playtime over several years time, I finally conquered the game on it’s highest difficulty setting, Deity, in one crazy all nighter. Here is how history unfolded:

Map size: Tiny (4)
Map type: Pangea
Civilization played: China
Rival Civs: Persia, Siam, Germany

I started in the heavily wooded north of Pangea, with so many sources of deer and truffles that I knew I would be foolish not to rush towards the Goddess of the Hunt pantheon (+1 extra food from camps). With this I was able to build up Beijing really tall, and coupled with Republic under the liberty tree, I was able to double expand along the barren north coast to grab the natural wonder, Rock of Gibraltar, and to the center of the continent to set up Shanghai as a forward position against the southern Persian empire.

The Persians didn’t a wait a second to pounce. Before even my second turn with Shanghai, I was already under super heavy attack. Luckily for me, I had sold my spare truffles to the Persians a turn earlier, leaving his war chest a tad lighter and giving me the funds to throw up walls around my besieged city. Shanghai came close to falling, but once I was able to eliminate all the melee troops from the city’s edge and upgrade my archers to composite bowmen to finally drive them out. This would happen about two or three more times until I got my Great General, Ivan the Terrible, and the unstoppable death bolters, the Chu-Ko-Nu. My happiness was in the as bad as -14 or so with Shanghai nearly taken while I had to take time to upgrade my bowmen, but thankfully I had JUST finished out the liberty tree and got a Great Prophet. I grabbed whatever happiness inducing beliefs were left and was just barely able to get back to -9 before starting my great campaign. Two swordsmen and five Chu-Ko-Nu was all it took wipe the whole Persian army off the continent. I had been rushing to get them as soon as possible, investing into as many libraries as I safely, and sometimes, not-so-safely could. I ended up losing Guangzhou and the Rock of Gibraltar to some opportunistic Germans, but nothing could be done about it. Having Persepolis and the Statue of Zeus with it was the key to driving myself towards victory.

After puppeting the entire Persian empire, I found myself with an unexpected lead, with my score being somewhere around 700 and the other two at about 550 or so.

Knowing I had only so much time before my Chu-Ko-Nu would become vestigial, I hastened to the west, only to find that a massive Siamese army already on my doorstep. I quickly declared war and was able to mow down nearly 4 elephants in my first turn of firing. I was able to chase Siam all the way back to its borders. There I engaged in horrible trench warfare for over 1000 years. I would lay down citadel after citadel along a narrow strip of land, inching one hex at a time toward the choke-point city. The whole time I had to beat off waves and waves of high tech units that took nearly 8 or 9 hits to down. When I had longswords, he had rifles; When I had muskets, he had battleships. Each turn I was stuck, I knew I was falling behind. Luckily my army had been nearly untouched since I first pushed into Persia; leaving me free to create a one of the greatest cities I’ve ever made on any difficulty. While I was taking down Persia, Siam had done a great job marginalizing Germany, so I knew that once I had the Sukhotai, I would be sure to win.

Civ V

As the endless fighting continued, three big things happened. First, I was able to sneak in a Great Prophet and change the choke-point city form Buddhist to Taoist. The extra happiness was nice, but getting rid of his 20% ‘Defender of the Faith’ bonus was major in the way of outgunning his artillery with mine. With Himeiji Castle, his Great General, and the bonus, his troops had a +50% bonus before any promotions. By removing that final 15%, I was able to level out the two remaining bonuses by simply having a Chinese general. Secondly, I was finally able inch my way into the final stretch and found Nanjing. I instantly built walls, a castle and arsenal and used it to push the hordes back so that my saviors could do their work. Thirdly, artillery happened. By the time I had Nanjing, it was bows against battleships and I knew I didn’t have long until I would be facing endless stacks of bombers without any anti-air, which would spell game over for me. I finished Oxford, Porcelain Towers and invested whatever I could to rush to artillery and it paid off.

Civ V

It took human wave tactics (thanks Mao!), but I finally got everything in range and was able to take the capital. Of course he took it right back, but every-time it got easier and easier, and my coffers were deep enough that I could afford to throw endless riflemen in front of my big guns. The following screen shot is what it’s like to own two deity-powered capitals. With 436 GPT, it’s impossible to lose a war with the crazy good 30% bonus from Art of War. Overall, the game was very tense and maybe the most fun I’ve had gaming for the past year or so. The final turn, with the fall of Berlin, was at 5:30am.

Civ V Score Screen

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