The Let's Play Archive

Civilization V: Gods & Kings

by Speedball

Part 4: I Explain Way Too Much About Religion

To illustrate the nature of things a bit better, let's examine our city and its current improvements:

Edinburgh is growing slowly (because I've set it to production focus) but will build Stonehenge in 14 turns. The Spice and Cotton plantations have been built, giving us a significant gold increase from the luxuries, especially since they're on a river. Since we have Oral Tradition, the pantheon that gives us a culture point from worked plantations, we see a little purple culture icon over those tiles too.

That weird swirly thing bottom left is, I think, the under-construction Stonehenge. We actually get to see Wonders outside our cities in this game.

Because there's horses on them, those grasslands give us an extra production point, and they'll give us even more production when we build a horse pasture over them. I probably should have researched Animal Husbandry sooner.

This is the city view, what happens when we click on our city to directly control it. Bottom left is what we're building, and the tab to spend gold to instantly purchase something using gold or faith points.

Oh, did I mention, you can buy some things with faith points? You need a religion first, but that's part of why we're going for Stonehenge. I will elaborate once we are actually able to buy things this way.

In the center, we see what tiles are being worked by what citizens we have. We have 5 citizens, so can work five tiles plus the center where the city exists. We are generating enough culture that the city will automatically expand over the two glowing purple tiles, but if we're impatient and rich we can buy a tile to expand right now.

Citizens are automatically shuffled around between tiles to meet demands based on what our focus is, but we can manually force one citizen to always work one tile, locking it in, or force it so nobody works there. I like to keep things dynamic, but sometimes it's good to be able to directly lock them in. You need to know what you're doing, though, or you'll force your citizens to starve, like this shows.

Our city actually doesn't have much production yet, which is why building those horse pastures is important, it'll speed things up immensely. Late in the game we'll get a technology that gives us more food and production from pastures too, they are a great all-rounder. I really should have researched Animal Husbandry sooner.

This is how food works: you fill up a quota, then your population goes up, but then your food needs also increase plus the quota gets higher to fill each time. A growing city needs a geometric increase in food intake. Fortunately, we can get technology to increase how efficient our farms are.

I'm also ordering my worker to build farms as soon as possible around the other green tiles, to get more food out of them and make our population increase. This is how we'll make that "40 Turns to a New Citizen" reduce without even needing to alter our orders to the city.

We've got a second worker by now because I got a free one from the policy in Liberty. That policy also makes workers work faster in general, perfect for an expanding empire.

Kamehameha has decided to start being a REAL dick. He's not demanding tribute from Sidon, he's attacking them outright. He is not likely to conquer them without catapults, though. Strangely, only demanding tribute sets up an "us or them" dialogue page. Straight-up invasion is apparently something we just need to handle in a different way.

While they're being invaded, Sidon may make special requests of us, like extra gold, donated military units, or just to kill as many marauding invaders as we can. If the worst happens and they get conquered, we can conquer them back ourselves and free them, for which they would be grateful for the next hundred turns at least.

Close inspection of Honolulu on the map reveals that taking it may be even harder than I initially estimated. Look at it! It's got a bottleneck of impassable mountains to the east and almost all sides of it are covered by rivers, which give a -20% combat penalty to units trying to attack across them unless they have the Amphibious promotion. There's rough terrain all around it from my side, which would slow down my assault and let his ranged attack pick me off, and a naval attack is out because it's located in back there where only one ship could hit it at once.

Factor in that he's got Goddess of Protection for Honolulu, too, which means its arrows will sting a lot more when they hit my invading troops. Even my Pictish warriors, who excel at invading territory, would not have a very good advantage here.

We're going to need a plan. A good plan. Fortunately, I have one, but it requires that we obtain a proper religion. We are going to use our religion as a weapon.

Okay, wiping out the barbarian camp next to Almaty has tickled them pink and they will grant us a free soldier every ten turns, probably a Spearman, since that's the strongest thing we can technologically support. For the time being, we do not need to worry about building extra soldiers and can focus upon other matters.

We also bumped into a scout from this guy, who I neglected to mention earlier in all the excitement. Arabia is a trading nation. Their Unique Ability is they get extra money from trade routes and they can build a bazaar that gives them double luxury resources, so they can trade the excess to other civilizations for money or whatever. His city is south, way south, on the other side of where I think Rome is. We don't need to worry about him right now.

Almaty isn't giving us silk yet because they haven't built a plantation over it. They will soon, though.

This is one of the screens that helps us keep track of who we've met and what they're doing. We can see Gustavus Adolphus' Great Library in here, and what social policies everyone's going for.

This is letting us know who has access to luxuries we don't, how much money they're making, and so on. Incidentally, Kamehameha has furs right next to Honolulu, they're just not listed here because he hasn't set up a camp to collect them yet. The same goes for Pacal, who has a lot of ivory and one marble deposit near Palenque.

In fact we should probably strongly consider taking out Pacal and Palenque first, before Kamehameha. It would be less of an uphill battle, literally as well as figuratively.

South of Sweden, our wounded scout encounters the city-state of Hong Kong and it looks like they've been fighting a barbarian unit there. Interestingly, the camp is temporarily unguarded, and it looks like they've got a captured worker there, no doubt captured from Hong Kong itself. If we were to return that worker to HK, we'd get a massive friendship boost with them. They probably also have a quest to kill that camp, too. Our scout can't quite sneak past the spearman to get to the camp, though, because when you are adjacent to an enemy unit, your movement points get cut in half if you try to move laterally instead of just away from them.

Hmm, in revenge for being plundered earlier, Almaty wants us to badmouth Polynesia publicly. This will hurt our relationship with Polynesia by a ton, and it'll make any friends of theirs leap to their defense, but it will also make any friends of ours leap to OUR side and they won't consider us a warmonger if we go to war with Polynesia.

Well, it looks like nobody else has declared friendship with Polynesia, but we don't need to denounce them immediately to fulfill the request. One way we could play this is to request open borders from Polynesia, and have one of our workers literally build a road straight to their front door, alleviating part of the rough terrain problem.

On the other hand, by denouncing them now, before they make friends with anyone else, will possibly set us up as looking good to the rest of the world by invading them later. This will greatly strain relations between us by default, though, and they may start sharpening their swords to invade US.

…agh, screw it. Kamehameha, consider yourself DENOUNCED!

Yeah, I got news for you, buddy. Almaty says "Screw you, and the waka you paddled in on!"

Hong Kong's archer has killed the barbarian spearman, and that means our Scout can plunder their camp and rescue the worker, returning it to HK control! Time for some profitable heroism!

Hell yeah I want to return it. You are friends with a City-State if you're over 30, and Allies if you're over 60 and nobody has more influence.

Hong Kong also had a quest to kill that barbarian settlement, so we are now at 95 Influence with them. We are their ally.

Hong Kong is a Mercantile city-state. That means, if we're their friend, they give us Happiness by default. Mercantile city-states also have access to a unique luxury only they can produce (hidden right underneath the city itself, so we can't mine it unless we directly conquer the city), in this case, Porcelain. That means doing this has just jacked up our Happiness considerably, to 17. (Oh, and also because they were right next to a Natural Wonder, which also contributes to happiness)

Unfortunately, they have a Hostile personality, which means our relationship with them will degrade at 1.5 per turn, faster than usual. We'll make do while we can, though, maybe we can keep them impressed for a lot longer than twenty turns.

Free soldiers and free happiness. I hope you guys see already why befriending city-states is so important!

We're a mere four turns away from completing Stonehenge. After that, I'll make use of our surplus happiness and build a new settler on the coast to get us Ivory and naval production capabilities. As well as more Faith-production, of course. MORE FAITH.

Now that we've denounced him, Kamehameha is getting downright pissy and starts hurling insults at us. We'll see who's laughing in the end, city-state-bully!

I need more money, so I'm setting up a road between my cities. This makes travel faster, but it also generates money. The downside is that the roads themselves cost 1 gold per turn to maintain per tile, to discourage us from going all willy-nilly.

Also, our massive surplus of happiness is bound to give us a Golden Age in a small number of turns.

Ta-DAA! Stonehenge Complete! Other Civ Games had little movies for wonders, but Civ V has a slow pan over a beautiful painting and a little music. It's more resource-friendly but it also looks just plain pretty.

I've been going on and on and ON about how Stonehenge gives us a ton of faith, but look down where it says "Great Engineer Points +1". This is the other function of Wonders. To get Great People, you need to generate points towards earning them. Great Generals and Admirals are earned through combat, Great Prophets are formed by amassing faith, but the rest are earned through GP points that slowly accumulate in each city. Wonders and Specialists (citizens who work in buildings instead of on the field, we need special buildings for that) are the only way to get GP points.

All Great People do different great things…once. They can all build a special tile improvement related to their job, then, they vanish. Great Engineers build a huge production-boosting work complex on the ground. Great Scientists build a science-boosting academy on the ground, and Great Prophets can build a big faith-producing Holy Site. Great Generals build defensive structures.

Besides building great stuff, you can usually do one other thing with them that also expends them. Great Scientists sacrifice their lives for a huge one-time science boost. Great Engineers are particularly good because what they do is they finish whatever you're building in one city, even something hugely time-consuming like a Wonder. So Stonehenge is, in its own little way, contributing to future wonders being built faster.

It further contributes to Great People in another way. Once we hit the Industrial Era, we will be able to buy certain Great People with faith points at thousands a pop, depending on what social policies we have. Every little bit helps!

Oh, yeah, we just finished researching Masonry. We have run out of Ancient Era techs to discover, so now we're in the Classical Era. (If we had run ahead and researched just one Classic tech, that'd put us in the Classical Era too).

This means a new Social Policy Tree has unlocked for us:

Piety was merely the Culture-boosting social policy tree back in vanilla Civ V. You may ask, "I thought Civ V didn't have any religion?" You are correct. In vanilla, their conceit was "religion = culture" and structures like Stonehenge and Temples generated culture points. They reworked it in Gods & Kings; Piety now boosts Culture and boosts Faith. It is in fact the only way to manually boost our faith through social policies.

As the game currently stands, the cultural victory and the science victory are meant to be diametrically opposed, hence why Rationalism (the science social policy tree) gets locked off if we choose Piety.

I love Rationalism. It has many, many useful policies in it that vastly increase the amount of science we generate, and with more science comes better EVERYTHING. But. It only unlocks in the Renaissance, which is at least a hundred to a hundred and fifty turns from now.

And I promised to show you guys everything that Faith can do for you in a game. And my master plan requires me to generate absolutely as much faith as possible.

Ah, screw it, we're going PIETY!

OH, also: We get notified that Harun Al-Raschid of Arabia just finished construction of the Statue of Zeus wonder. This gives him a bonus when attacking enemy cities. It would be perfect for us to snag ourselves if we wanted to consecutively conquer all enemy cities, but he's on the exact opposite end of the map from us, so we will have to make do without it.

Edinburgh needs some basic facilities still, so I order them to build a granary first.

The next tech we will research is Horseback Riding. Our knowledge of Wheels lets us build Chariot Archers, which are pretty killer for the Ancient era, but Horsemen will be even better. Plus, it will also let us build Stables, which increase the production value of horse herds yet again.

(In case you're wondering why Horseback Riding is a later technology, it's because until the Classic Era, people just had horrible saddle technology in general. Without the right stirrups and straps, you'd just fall right off the horse if you tried to spear someone while riding it.)

Here's what Stonehenge looks like on the field. Kinda tiny compared to the map, but you can still make it out. If we spam World Wonders, our city will be surrounded by landmarks. This is especially hilarious if you do it on a small island.

Then we meet the scout of this lady, who may or may not have existed in real life. Carthage is one of the old rivals of ancient Rome, and it seems they're rivals during this game session too.

Carthage's gameplay is kind of a militaristic all-rounder. They get a free Harbor in every coastal city, which instantly connects naval trade routes to the capital and gives production points for sea resources like fish. They also gain the ability to pass through impassable mountains once they get a Great General (Hannibal, yo!) They get a powerful unique ship, a Quinquereme which is basically just a bigger, tougher Trireme, and instead of Horsemen they get African Forest Elephants that terrify surrounding enemies, making them weaker.

…in a recent game I played, I discovered to my chagrin that Pictish Warriors have no bonus against mounted units, and that therefore, Carthage's African Forest Elephants are the hard counter to Picts. They completely tore me apart. I DO NOT WANT TO FIGHT HER. Good thing she's also on the opposite side of the map.

In other news: I get notified that Sweden and Polynesia are now Friends. This is bad for me because I just Denounced Polynesia and therefore Sweden is likely to side against me. Crap.

Prague wants us to explore more. I've been omitting tons of other optional side quests that various city-states give to us. Essentially, you can impress a lot of these guys just by playing the game. That is not bad, really. In Vanilla Civ V, City-States would only give you one quest at a time, it would take up the whole screen during the notification and it would usually involve something lame like "conquer this other City-State!" City-states were vastly, vastly improved by Gods & Kings. As many have said, it turned it from a good game to a complete game.

On Turn 70, we get our first free military unit from our friend, a Chariot Archer, and we trigger a Golden Age!

C-archers are great early-game harassment units, good for exploring or for hunting down barbarians. Not so bad for attacking cities, either, if you have the numbers.

Here's what Golden Ages do: 1 more gold from every tile that produces gold (this adds up fast if you're on a river!) and a big boost to our culture and production output. For the next ten turns we'll build faster, rake in the profits and develop better. There are ways of increasing Golden Age lengths, but we need more happiness to fill it up each time.

Sidon wants us to build The Great Pyramids. We could do it in 13 turns with our current Golden Age, and it would give us some extra workers and make all workers work faster. It's…tempting. Let's give it a try while we wait for our Faith to build up.

Hi, Caesar. We knew you were there, we just forgot to say Hi earlier. Gonna kill you later, just saying. Hope you're cool with that.

Rome's Unique Ability is that any building constructed in their capital will then construct faster in all of their satellite cities. This means they can build wide and tall. They get some good Classic-era units like a Legion swordsman that can build roads, and a Ballista that's better than a catapult. This era of the game is their sweet spot, they could mess us up if they were in a good position to.


Great Prophets spawn randomly after you get 200 faith points (increasing in cost each time, using up all your accumulated points each time they are generated this way, until the Industrial Age). Like I said before, we can expend the first one to found our OFFICIAL RELIGION.

We only have a limited number of symbols to choose from. I am choosing the Tengriism bird, that thing looks cool. I hope there are no practicing Tengriists who take offense at this.

Okay, here's the breakdown: Every religion has a Founder Belief, something that we, the founder, get as a benefit from spreading the religion around. Ceremonial Burial there is a good example, we just get extra happiness for each city we spread Asskicking to.

Every religion also has a Follower Belief. That's a benefit that the owner of the city of that religion gets. This includes our enemies. This is what I meant when I said earlier that you can benefit from someone else's religion if you don't start one yourself. We need to keep this in mind.

Founder Beliefs (as c&p'ed from the civ wiki)

Ceremonial burial +1 Happinesss for each City following this Religion
Church property +2 Gold for each City following this Religion
Initiation rites +100 Gold when each City first converts to this Religion
Interfaith dialogue Gain Science when a Missionary spreads this religion to cities of other religions
Papal primacy +15 to Influence resting point with City-States following this religion
Peace loving +1 Happiness for every 5 followers of this religion in non-enemy foreign cities
Pilgrimage +2 Faith for each foreign city following this religion
Tithe +1 Gold for every 4 followers of this religion
World church +1 Culture for every 5 followers of this religion in other civilizations

We're going with Tithe, as our huge army will need a lot of funding and it gives the most gold.

Follower beliefs do more varied things. There's a couple that increase production, there's four nice ones that let us expend 200 faith to build a special faith-happiness-culture producing building in the city (cathedrals, mosques, pagodas, and monasteries, different proportions each). There's two that increase our happiness if there's a Shrine or Temple in the city that follows this religion, and those are good to choose if you want to conquer lots of cities by force but leave them as puppets, as they will auto-build the shrines and you get the happiness by default. There's one that makes the city grow faster if you're at peace, and one that makes shrines and temples Feed The World by giving food each.

None of these, I want. I want HOLY WARRIORS.

We will be expending faith points to purchase some missionaries to spread our religion around before we get to use this, but THIS is where things get awesome. This entire LP I've been howling about how we need more faith points. This ability is why.

Now. Obviously it lets us build up an army using god-bucks instead of gold or production time, but there's another strategic benefit. Since we are Faith Production Maniacs, and our enemies aren't, it will not hurt us to give them this ability in their cities. They will rue the day they let us build Stonehenge!

This is only Phase One of My Plan. Phase Two requires us to generate a second Great Prophet, at 300 Faith, to further enhance our religion and truly give us the ability to kick the asses of everyone we give Asskicking to.

This post is getting overlong, so I'll leave things here. Keep your eyes on the skies!

Current world map: