175 Tips, Hints, and Tools for Ruling Your Civilization or The Official Guide to Sid Meier

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

=========================================================== 175 Tips, Hints, and Tools for Ruling Your Civilization or The Official Guide to Sid Meier's Civilization =============================================================== This is only one section from the book THE OFFICIAL GUIDE TO SID MEIER'S CIVILIZATION. Contained here are 175 Tips, Hints, and Tools (?) for Ruling Your Civilization. The complete book will come soon. YOUR FIRST MILLENNIUM 1. Put down roots quickly. Your first city doesn't have to have the world's greatest location: Better to get it up and running, pumping out new units and improvements, than to lose valuable time. 2. Pursue writing before other cultural advances. No matter where you start - island or continent - the development of writing lays the ground work for enhancing and expanding an exuberant intellectual culture composed of libraries, universities, and intellectual Wonders of the World which will serve your long-term goals on more levels than any other development in the game. 3. Decide as quikly as you can what type of game you are going to play. If you are going to pursue world conquest, for example, you should begin building your armies and assembling your resources before the first millennium ends. If you're going to play a game of peaceful expansion and consolidation, you should shore up your homeland's defenses against those enemies less benevolent than yourself. 4. Multiply, multiply, multiply! The race in Civilization often goes to the most fecund. By the end of your first millennia you should have at least three cities functioning and growing, with more on the way. 5. Because reproduction and creation of new cities is so important, don't spend valuable settler time developing every square around a city. You can create additional settlers to do that later. Do enough development to get the city on sound economic footing, then move on to start another community. 6. Place defensive perimeters around your emerging civilization. Expand those perimeters as your civilization grows. 7. Build roads as you can afford the commitment of settlers. Not only do the roads increase your productivity, they also lay the groundwork - roadwork, as it were - for the rapid movement of forces should you be invaded. 8. Put one city to work building a Wonder of the World as early as possible. The addition of wonders does much to boost your score, yet if you wait too long to create them, they may be acquired by other civilizations. 9. Develop pottery by all means. You must have granaries if you are to hold any hope at all of increasing your population and growing your cities. 10. Be prepared to shift strategies: The road to failure is paved, sometimes, with peaceful intentions, and not every would-be conquerer can actually manage to conquer. Play with the flow of the game, not against it. 11. Alternate your cities' labor force between agriculture and resource development until the population is large enough to attend to both. Agriculture results in increased population; resource production boosts your treasury. YOUR FIRST CITY 1. Generally speaking, you should build two militia units and fortify them immediately, then two more for exploration, before building additiona settlers, military units, or city imporvements. (If it quickly becomes clear that your civilization is located on an island, perhaps a single explorer is sufficent.) 2. Do not put off the construction of your barracks improvement. Only with the establishment of a barracks can you produce veteran military units that are strong enough to face the test of combat. 3. Don't forget to upgrade your defensive units once the barracks is completed. Units such as militia that were created before the barracks can then be moved to outlying areas or disbanded. 4. Should the spiritual side of civilization become available to you, put a temple in your first city. Establish the people's happiness early on, and it's easier to maintain it as the game grows more complex. 5. If your civilization is surrounded by other, stronger ones, build city walls. Although expensive in construction and maintenance, the walls amplify your defense force's ability to withstand attack, perhaps buying you enough time to prepare a militray response or seek a treaty. 6. Develop at least two agricultural and one resource square before moving too far from your first city. These squares will give the city time to feed itself and generate enough income to grow during the early phases of the game. 7. Study the loal terrain. If you've put down roots too quickly, and find yourself in a less-than-ideal spot for long-term growth, don't be afraid to move your capitol to a more fertile site once one becomes available. (Don't move too quickly, though: Make sure the new city is well established, defended, and growing before relocating your government there.) 8. As your first city grows - or fails to - adjust the worker allocation. If the city is wellfed and prosperous from the beggining, you might want to create a scientist to boost the city's intellectual production, hastening your advances. 9. Concentrate on population at least two turns out of three: Your goal is to have a civilization-wide population of more than a million by the year 1 A.D. 10. Build a marketplace as soon as that improvement becomes available. Better yet, buy the improvement. The increase in revenue will repay the expenditure very quickly. YOUR FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH OTHERS 1. Always accept the first treaty offer upon initial contact with another civilization: It costs you nothing, and gives you time to gather your resources, marshal your forces, and prepare a more considered, and perhaps antagonistic, relationship with the other civilization. 2. The treaty established, use your militia to hold enemy expansion in check, positioning your units carefully, and fortifying them against enemy sneak attack. Use militia because they are easily and quickly produced, freeing your cities to concentrate the bulk of their productive time on more important units, city improvements, Wonders of the World, or civilization advances. 3. Have some backup for your border guards, especially if your guards are militia or diplomats, whose defensive factors are low. Stronger offensive units in reserve close to the border, or able to reach the border quickly, can make the difference between a successful enemy invasion and one that's turned back. 4. Once you've established a treaty with a neighboring tribe, get some diplomats into enemy territory as quickly as you can. During the treaty's tenure, your diplomats - and caravans, if you can produce them - enjoy essentially unlimited freedom of movement through enemy territory. This gives you the chance to obtain a good portrait of the interior of your neighbor, learning whether he is strongr or weaker than you. 5. If you encounter an enemy at sea, try to follow his vessels back to their homeland, particularly if both of you are in triremes. The enemy may already have mapped the shortest paths between landmasses, saving you valuable exploration time. 6. Send caravans into enemy territory even if you plan ultimately to wipe the enemy from the face of the planet. Earn income while you can! 7. Use your ships to blockade - or observe - enemy ports. If you're playing for world domination, you'll want to contain the enemy to a single landmass. If taking a more peaceful approach, the presence of your ships will allow you to "shadow" the other civilization's vessels, giving you a good and useful picture of their expansions. 8. Look for natural barriers to enemy expansion - an isthmus, a large lake - and place defensive units in the only available paths. 9. Use your settlers to build forts at strategic points along the border with the enemy, then garrison the fort with defensive units. 10. If you can afford the allocation of units, place diplomats on fortification or sentry duty at various spots within the enemy civilization. They'll keep you posted of enemy troop and settler movement. SECOND CITY 1. Build your second city in the most ideal location you can find, making up for the haste with which your first city was created. 2. Put your second city's citizens to work immediately on the constuction of a barracks and a granary. Defensive forces should accompany the settler unit from the first city. Move them inside the new city, reassign them to it, and fortify them. Your new city is instantly defended. 3. Send settlers from your first city to develop the land around the second while it is busy producing the imporvements it needs. 4. If you have the funds, buy the second city's initial improvements. 5. At least one of your first two cities should be a port. 6. Build a road between your first two cities as quickly as possible. 7. If the enemy lies to the west, consider locating your second city to the east, minimizing the chance it will be attacked. 8. Just as with your first city, establish a defensive perimeter around your second to stave off barbarians and unwanted neighbors. 9. With your first city concentrating its production on units, you might want to use the second for Wonders of the World, for educational institutions. Or vice versa. 10. use the unit production of your second city to generate defensive forces for your third, and so on. TREATIES AND TRIBUTES 1. Don't be afraid to reject entreaties from other civilizations. They may take your "insolence" as an insult and embark on a war, but they may also respect your independence and offer a treaty. 2. Get to know your neighbors: Some of them can be trusted to honor their treaties, while others may stay friendly for no more than a turn or two. The computer leaders built into the game have distinctive personalities; it will behoove you to be observant as your civilization and theirs become acquainted. 3. Generally speaking: Don't trust Mao, Stalin, Hammurabi, or Genghis Khan. And be wary of everyone else! 4. Occasionally you'll be asked to join another civilization in an alliance aimed at yet another civilization. Weigh your response carefully. It may be that you can strike a more advantageous alliance elsewhere. 5. Think twice beefore paying tribute. Civilizations that demand payment for peace are unlikely to leave you alone for long. Pay only when you have no other choice. 6. Technology exchanges can be tricky. Your best bet is to exchange technology only with civilizations more advanced yet weaker than yours. Giving advances to strong, warmongering neighbors is foolish. 7. Meet with other civilization leaders at least every third time they request a conference. It's time-consuming, but otherwise your avoidance is interpreted as a rebuff, and will lead to war. 8. Even possession of the United Nations Wonder of the World can't completely protect you from treaty violations, especially late in the game. If playing peacefully, initiate negotiations immediately after the sneak attack; the enemy will offer a treaty. (This, too, will likely be broken again before the war ends.) If playing a warlike game, use the time bought by the United Nations to build and position overwhelming military force of your own; then use it to crush the enemy. 9. Pay attention when an enemy's words are backed by nuclear weapons. Some of your enemies aren't afraid to use the Bomb, use it without warning, and use it more than once. Even if your able to eventually make peace with them, the pollution unleashed may ruin your score. Your best bet is to wipe out nuclear-powered enemies - if you can. 10. Weave together networks of alliances against strong enemies, especially early in a game of conquest. By building a league of weaker nations against stronger ones, you may be able to cut down on the time required for world conquest, boosting your score. FINANCIAL TOOLS 1. A city without a marketplace is financially and socially crippled. At higher levels, the same is true of a city without a bank. 2. Visit each of your city screens every few turns - or more often, if you're really serious about winning the economic side of the game - and experiment with your population's labor allocations. Some exploitable squares are more productive and valuable than others, yet may not be producing for your city. Move your people around and boost your income. 3. If you're planning to sell a city improvement - a step that should be taken in only the most dire of economic cicrcumstances - do so quickly, before the improvement is rendered obsolete by technological or social advance. Obsolete improvements can't be sold. 4. Produce plenty of caravans, bearing in mind that each city can support only three trade routes. Send out caravans from every city. 5. The game defaults to the three most valuable trade routes, but you can waste a lot of time and energy on routes of lesser value that will later be superseded. Send your caravans to the most distant and largest foreign cities you can find: These generate the largest amounts of income. 6. The one time you should consider selling city improvements is just before they become obsolete. The develop of gunpowder, for example, renders barracks improvements obsolete. Since you'll have to replace your barracks anyway, why not earn some money from the old ones? 7. Another good opportunity to sell off improvements occurs when you hold an absolute upper hand. Possession of the United Nations Wonder of the World is a good example. Since your enemies must offer to make peace with you, you may not need items such as city walls, particularly those located far away from enemy borders. Sell off the city walls, earn a fair piece of change, and relieve your cities of the burden of supporting those walls each turn. 8. As you locate new civilizations with new, large cities, dispatch caravans to establish trading routes. These may be more valuable than routes already in existence. 9. Give your citizens plenty of luxuries. This helps them appreciate your wisdom, often resulting in "We Love The King" days, which earn you generous bonuses. 10. In the latter days of the game, when some of your cities may be capable of producing vast engineering works in just a few turns, try building these works, then selling them as soon as they're completed. It's impractical advice for the real world, but can generate lots of cash in the game. 11. Monitor the amount your civilization costs in maintenance each turn, indexing that amount to your cash flow. If your treasury has grown fat, don't be afraid to spend, spend, spend for improvements or Wonders. Just keep enough cash in your treasury reserves to cover half a dozen lean turns or so. 12. If you really have a healthy treasury that can cover a few turns' loss of income, try this: Convert everything to luxury income for your citizens. They'll reward you with points beyond your wildest dreams. 13. Use caravans to help build Wonders. When a caravan arrives in a city building a Wonder, you have the option of assigning it's value to the completion of the Wonder. If you can build enough caravans quickly, this can hasten completion of the Wonder. 14. As your income rises, adjust your taxation level. Boost your science allocations, leaving enough in tax revenue to cover the cost of maintenance with minimal growth each turn. 15. For cities with more than enough food, turn some of those farmers into taxmen. Your treasury will appreciate it. 16. Build rail lines through all developable areas available to a city. Productivity will be increased by half. 17. Trade routes among the cities of your own civilizationm, no matter how far apart they're located, are raely worthwhile. 18. Invest in factories and manufacturing plants as you are able to build them, but create pollution-control corps of engineers (settler units) to deal with their effluent. You'll need two settler units per highly industrialized city to keep pollution under control. 19. Approaching the space race? Build the largest cash reserves you can - only global warfare is more expensive than getting into space. MILITARY UNITS 1. Don't produce too many military units without a barracks. Veteran units are, essentially, the only ones really worth producing. 2. Develop mathematics as early as you can. This permits the creeation of catapults, the first real "artillery." Only by amplifying your abilities through the use of technology - catapults, gunpowder, flight - can you enjoy an offensive edge. 3. Early in the game, use cavalry and chariots to "blitzkrieg" your way through enemy homelands. Slower-moving units such as catapults can be brought up later. 4. Upgrade your barracks the moment they become obslete, especially if you are at war. Use your treasury to purchase new barracks in those cities closest to the front or at the greatest risk of being overrun. 5. Consider fortifying strong defensive units around enemy cities rather than laying direct assault to those cities, especially if the city possessed defensive walls or a large number of fortified units. Seal off the city and starve it slowly with phalanx-level units if possible. 6. Build plenty of seagoing units. Naval power cannot be under-estimated in the world of Civilization. 7. Consider keeping a strong naval unit on sentry duty inside your own harbors, especially if the war is going poorly. These units can spring to life from withing the city, attacking enemy vessels which might bombard your port. 8. Use the "go-to" function to place units n patrol, covering large amounts of territory or sea with minimum input from you. 9. Disband military units no longer needed or of unlikely value to your civilization. Don't forget to disband older defensive units in cities being garrisoned by more advanced units. 10. Keep a strong offensive unit on sentry duty - not fortified - along with your fortified defensive units in each city. The offensive unit will "awaken" at the approach of the enemy, and can attack in some cases before the enemy assault begins. 11. Cities susceptible to frequent attack by barbarians might need more than one offensive sentry either inside or close to the city. You need to kill the barbarians before they can pillage your developed countryside. 12. Never stack military units in an open terrain. They are far too vulnerable to being destroyed at a single blow, sometimes by a less-powerful enemy. 13. Blockade harbors with city walls; bombard thcse without them. 14. Especially in the age of transports, when a single vessel can carry eight units, escort your shipping with cruisers or battleships. Your advanced military vessels "see" farther than other units, and can alert you to the presence of enemy warcraft lying in wait for your convoy. 15. An aircraft carrier bearing bombers and fighters makes another good screening device for convoys. 16. Because of their extremely long range, nuclear missles are among the best advance observers. Launch them from strategically located cities, or from aircraft carriers, and use them to explore and observe. Just be sure you leave sufficent moves for the missle to return to a friendly city or carrier. 17. And be careful if you use nuclear missles in the manner described immediately above. One slip of your typing finger, and instead of surveillance your missle could unleash holocaust. 18. If your information reveals that an intransigently warlike enemy has developed nuclear weapons, launch a crash SDI building program. Only SDI can save your cities from nuclear attack. YOU CAN'T RUN A CIVILIZATION ON AN EMPTY STOMACH 1. A city without a granary grows slowly at best. 2. Your granary holds several turns' worth of food. If your granary is filled to bursting, shift your citizens to mineral resource work or convert them to specialists for a few turns, living off your surplus agriculture products. Just don't forget to return them to the fields before famine strikes. 3. If you're having trouble getting a city's population to grow, shift all of the citizens to the fields. You may lose a little economic revenue, but before long your granary should begin to fill, and you can readjust the assignments of a larger, better-fed labor force. 4. Look for the most efficent routes to follow if bringing irrigation to your city's enviorns. Don't build more elaborate irrigation channels than necessary. 5. Clear pollution from agricultural squares before otther squares. 6. Replace granaries immediately should they be destroyed. Granaries should be replaced before any other structure. 7. When creating specialists, look at your granary supply. If it's full, take an agricultural square out of production. If you're short on food, remove a mineral or other resource square from the work force. 8. When laying extended siege, pillage or occupy enemy agricultural squares, cutting off the city's food supply. 9. Take advantage of seafood: Those fish symbols in oceans and lakes contribute mightily to cities located near them. 10. Irrigate oases when you have the chance. 11. If your granary is well stocked with foood, onsider onvrting one or more agriultural squares into forests. Just keep an eye on food levels after you do so. WONDERS OF THE WORLD 1. The most valuable Wonder of the World of the ancient world is the Great Library, especially if playing against a large number of enemy civilizations. You can't beat the boost in knowledge you get when two of those other civilizations make the same advance. 2. The most valuable Wonder of the World of the Middle Ages is Johann Sebastian Bah's Cathedral, especially if you're ruling a republic. You can't beat it for generating quite a few "We Love The King" days, with their concomitant increase in population. 3. The most valuable Wonder of the World of the modern world is the Apollo Program, if you're playing a space race game: Only with Apollo can you begin building your starship. 4. If playing a game of world conquest, the most valuable latter-day Wonder may well be, ironically enough, the United Nations. Because this Wonder forces enemy civilizations to capitulate to you, you can marshal your forces almost at leisure, gatthering them at critical spots before launching all-out attacks. 5. Be warned: Violating one treaty when you possess the United Nations Wonder seems to violate all of them. When you're ready to make war, make war on all fronts at once. 6. As soon as you have three cities, put one of them - probably your capitol - to work building a Wonder. The other cities can produce military and settler units, if need be, that can be transfered to the capitol to shore up its defenses or further develop the terrain around the city. 7. Use diplomats to seek out Wonder production in the cities of other civilizations. Then either sabotage that production or target those cities for capture, and the addition of their Wonders to your empire. 8. If pursuing a peaceful strategy - trying to win through diplomacy, financial strength, and expansion to the stars, focus your attention on those Wonders of the World that force your enemies to sue for peace: The Great Wall and the United Nations. 9. If playing a "peacful" game, build as many Wonders of the World as possible, concentrating on those that boost your citizens' happiness. Your score will benefit greatly. 10. When playing a peaceful game and concentrating on building Wonders, don't forget that they must be defended. Put plenty of strong units in and around cities holding Wonders of the World. 11. Some Wonders of the Wrold serve all the world: The Apollo Program is a good example. Use your diplomats to discover whether other civilizations are further along toward completing global Wonders of the World than you. If so, devote your resources to creating something exclusive to your civilization. HAIL, CONQUEROR 1. He who conquers the world fastest conquers the world best: If playing for global domination, every turn is vital. You can't stop to smell the roses if you want the world at your feet. 2. Strike the strongest civilizations first, with as much military might as you an muster. Use your diplomat skills to keep weaker nations weak, for easy destruction after the "big guys" are gone. 3. Coordinate, coordinate, coordinate! Establish a treaty with a civilization you plan to destroy. Flood the civilization with diplomats even as you mass your assault forces along its borders. When you hit, hit all at once, using diplomats for subversion and sabotage before invading with ground forces. Break the enemy's back during the first twrn of the war. 4. If necessary, sell off improvements in your heartland to finance the final stages of a war on the frontier. Use the funds to subvert enemy cities first, to bribe enemy units second. THE UNFRIENDLY SKIES 1. As soon as you develop aircraft capabilities, begin cranking out fighters and, later, bombers. Don't wait a single turn: You can't have too large an air force, particularly in heated games of global combat. 2. Try to garrison a couple of fighters in every city - not just those near the front. Fighters can respond quickly to enemy threats, saving you from the dangers of surprise attack, or invasion from an unexpected direction. 3. Your fighters can attack - and keep on attacking. This makes them especially valuable when you're facing waves of enemy units. Go for stacked units first, of for transport raft that might be carrying several units. 4. If your resources are running low, don't station your fighters or bombers too close to the front - in harbors, for example. They are too vulnerable there to enemy bombardment. Base them a few squares back in a city or on board a carrier. Then, when enemy ships or bombers appear, you can fly out to engage them. 5. Bombers have as much strategic value in Civilization as they do in the real world. A squadron of bombers can turn the tide of war, even against overwhelming odds. 6. If you're planning to make war on a civilization with whom you enjoy treaty status, take advantage of the peace and get your air force in position to attack. Try to target three bombers for each city you're planning to hit, more if you can afford it. Attack stacked units in the open first. 7. Don't overlook the surveillance capabilities of your aircraft, particularly the bombers. Their long range makes them perfect for exploring the interior of enemy continents and islands. 8. Carrier power is ideal for isolating and containing an enemy island. Position a couple of carriers at either end of the island, support them with cruisers to guard against enemy ships, and use their to patrol the enemy coastline. 9. Remember the lessons of Desert Storm: Once you've launched an air war, don't let up. 10. Desert Storm Lesson Two: Once the air war has taken its toll, be sure you have plenty of fast, mobile ground forces in position to mop up. 11. Desert Storm Lesson Three: In this Civilization, you don't have to stop. If your air power has made it possible for you to roll all the way over the enemy, do so, assuming that suits your overall strategic plan. AND ALL THE SHIPS AT SEA ... 1. Never send a loaded tireme out into uncharted waters. It's one thing to risk a ship to loss at sea, quite another to risk valuable units. Chart your course before moving cargo. 2. Early on, designate one or two coastal towns as major shipyards. Manipulate their population and resources so as to be able to produce ships at a rapid rate. (You should have another seaport within easy sailing distance, to which newly constructed ships can be reassigned in order relieve the shipyard of the burden of support.) 3. Build fleets in the major oceans and gulfs, along with seaports to support and load them. Cut down on the necessity for moving ships all over the globe. 4. As soon as you can build cruisers, battleships, and submarines, do so - their extended range of view is invaluable for spoting enemy craft, and equally invaluable for opening up any remaining hidden areas of the sea. 5. Use your advanced naval craft to patrol the coastlines of unexplored enemy islands and continents. Advanced ships "see" an adjacent two squares, which can give you a good picture of another civilization's coastal defenses. 6. Don't forget naval power during ground assaults. Look for isthmuses and narrows through which enemy ground transport must move. Position a battleship or cruiser on either side of the landmass and open fire on enemy units stranded in your sights between turns. 7. If bombarding a fortified harbor with a value of nine or higher, bring at least two warships. You'll likely lose one. 8. Transports are worth their weight in gold, not just for mounting amphibious invasions. Fill your ships with caravans and send them to all the corners of your world. A successful leader is one whose merchant fleet is as large as his navy. And your merchant fleet may be even busier. 9. Plot your invasion routes so the transport vessels reach landfall on the first move of their turn. That lets you move the ships after debarking some of their forces, spreading your troops across the broadest possible front. 10. Submarines make terrific blockade vessels, but their limited movement capability all but requires that you kepp some fast, long-ranged cruisers nearby to take their place shoul they be sunk. 11. Be careful, early in the game, about building ships before the immediate area around the harbor is fully explored. You might wind up with a landlocked tireme stuck in a lake with nowhere to go! GETTING AROUND 1. Use the Go-to key only occasionally. While it takes some of the burden of issuing orders from you, it rarely moves your units along the most effecient routes, nor does it take full advantage of the movement benefits offered by rail transportation. 2. Pressing H will return your bombers and fighters to the nearest friendly city or carrier, if the aircraft possess sifficent movement points. 3. Moving through a city costs movement points. Build railways around cities as well as up to them, letting you conserve movement points for your units. 4. When engaged in a continental war, continue driving rail lines to the front. It's worth commiting extra settler units to this task, especially if you're conquering enemy territory at a good clip. 5. Study the world map as it's revealed. Its layout can give you good guidance in the placement of cities proximate to advantageous sea routes. 6. Look fro rail lines along the coasts on newly discovered continents or islands, or enemy continents or islands you're revisting. Debark your diplomats and caravans on squares with railroad track and they'll be able to move farther when the next turn arrives. 7. Centralize your embarkation points for units bound overseas. The central locations need not be a city. Run a rail line to a remote area near an advantageous shipping lane. Send the units you wish to move overseas to that point first, picking them up with your cargo vessel. Of course, you'll eventually want to put a city there, and probably should do so sooner than later. It's also smart to protect such remote loading zones with a ship or two, to prevent enemy craft from sneaking in and opening fire on your sentried units. 8. Build cities on remote islands to serve as island-hopping airbases. These need to be the most viable islands for long-term development, but should be well fortified against enemy assault. Islands lying just off enemy coastlines make the most valuable airbases of all. 9. Pillage enemy inter-city roads and rail lines if possible during wartime. Cutting their lines of transport gives you the chance to catch enemy units in the open, unable to move. 10. If forced into a long retreat, pick a spot at which to cut your own transportation lines. Doing so in the right place can help you establish a "killing field" where the enemy units will be halted and vulnerable to your fire. DIPLOMACY 1. The diplomat is arguably the most valuable unit in the game; certainly it's the most flexible. Produce plebty of diplomats and send them throughout the world. 2. Don't overlook the value of the diplomat as a "place-holder." On sentry or fortification duty, your diplomat will alert you to the presence of enemy forces. The advantage is that the diplomat can attempt to bribe teh forces over to your side, if you have the money. 3. Stealing technology is an and violates any treaties in existence between you and your target. If you have several diplomats traveling inside enemy territory, make sure all are in a position to make their move during the same turn. Otherwise you run the risk of losing them to enemy retaliation. 4. If a city looks vulnerable to subversion, try it. Weaker cities can generally be subverted for less money than wealthier ones. 5. Try to get two or three diplomats in position around each of the enemy's major cities just before you invade. Use the diplomats one after another to sabotage enemy production and destroy enemy improvements. 6. Don't use diplomats to uncover serendipity squares. They are too easily wiped out by barbarians. ENERGY 1. In terms of long-term scoring, the best energy sources are those that pollute the least. 2. The game, or its designers, has a built-in bias against nuclear fission: Be wary of building nuclear plants until you'vre developed fusion. At the very least, build nuclear plants only in the most socially stable of cities. 3. Build Hoover Dam. This Wonder of the World provides clean power to your whole continent - and the game defines continent liberally. RULING 1. Better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven: You may not be able to be as nice as you want while you play the game. 2. If you're going to war, do so as a despot of a monarch. Otherwise, the war carries too high a social cost. 3. Alternate your form of government often, depending on your short-term goals. 4. Go for "We Love The King" days, earned by giving your people the "good life" of luxuries. You'll end up with more people. 5. Try a strategy that focuses your attention and production on cures for cancer, women's sufferage, and other social benefits. You might be surprised at the effect this has on your people's willingness to support your choices. SPACE TRAVEL 1. If playing to win by reaching Alpha Centauri first, commit everything you have to the space race once it begins. Spend the time waiting for that beginning by building up your perimeter defenses against attack. Once you've undertaken to build a starship, you'll need the productive output of every city you can spare, and you can allow nothing to interefer with that production. 2. Since starship modules take longer to build, start them first. Have at least three cities of roughly equivalent size working on module production. 3. Starship structural pieces are the easiest to build, yet are the pieces you'll need in largest quantity. Find a couple of cities that can crank these pieces out and get them going. 4. The more propulsion units your starship has, the faster it reaches Alpha Centauri. The more colonists you attempt to deliver to Alpha Centauri, the more your starships' weight. Try to install two propulsion units for every complete colonist package - habitation, life support, and solar power modules - you intend to launch. 5. Guard your capitol! Losing it brings your interstellar program to a crashing close. 6. Watch the clock. You must reach the Alpha Centauri system before your reign expires, or all your work is for naught. 7. Watch the other civilizations' starship development. If they launch before you do, you may want to make a mad dash for their capitol in hopes of capturing it before their starship reaches its destination. 8. Consider selling off some improvements in order to buy more colonists and life-support modules. The more colonists you deliver to Alpha Centauri, the higher your score. 9. Once your starship is launched, convert all starship-related production to other ends. After launch, no further starship production can take place unless your craft is lost or recalled by the loss of your capitol. Shift your resources and production to items likely to boost your overall score. Remember, after launch, the game is counting its way down to the finish line. 10. Don't launch unless your arrival time is less than 20 years. If it's more than that, add more fuel and propulsion units. 11. Not tired yet? Take a deep breath, reboot and restart Sid Meier's Civilization, and begin again, pretending that now your settlers are taming an unknown world, in orbit around Alpha Centauri. TWO GREAT UNDOCUMENTED FEATURES 1. Tired of facing the same old enemies? Press Alt-R to randomize the personalities of the leaders of other civilizations. 2. In the earliest copies of the game, pressing Shift-1234567890t lets you get a complete world map, see into enemy cities, and generally peek behind the scenes. This "feature" was discontinued after the first release, but it's worth a try just in case.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank