The Let's Play Archive

Civilization V: Gods & Kings

by Speedball

Part 33: The Spirit of Adwa!

Time for something new. I'm setting the map type to random so we won't know if it's archipelago, continents, fractal or pangaea.

In case you're wondering why Ethiopia is an "empire" it's one for the same reason Japan is one, it was formed from many even smaller nations. If there's one thing Civilization has taught me it's that pretty much everybody has either had an emperor or claimed to be an emperor at one point in their history.

Ethiopia is a really, really old nation, and though it's not always the headliner on your grade school world history lessons (depending on where you live) it's had some pretty damn important impacts on world events.

Since Ethiopia already had an emperor, they didn't take too kindly to Italy trying to turn them into an Italian colony during the 19th century like every other European nation was doing to Africa at the time. There was an enormous battle at a place called Adwa and though the Ethiopians took a lot of losses the Italians who survived were so demoralized that they all abandoned their rifles and artillery as they retreated (leaving Ethiopia with a very large pile of bonus weaponry after the fact). Back home in Italy, the civilian population was screaming at their leaders to pull out all their forces from everywhere in Africa. Historians note this was the beginning of the end of the era of Europeans telling the rest of the world what to do. Italy occupied Ethiopia for several years later during World War II but got kicked out again with some help from the Brits.

So this is why Ethiopia is the "get the hell out of my country!" country in Civilization V. If any large, conquering assholes attempt to add us to their collection, they will find we will fight to the death and then some for our independence. That doesn't mean we can't go on the offensive, though, should we desire to.

There's a gimmick run you can try with Ethiopia: decapitation domination victory. Build tall, have few cities of your own, let your rivals outnumber you in terms of cities, then conquer their capitals.

We start in the desert! Hooo, mama. Desert tiles are worthless unless they're on a hill or next to a river, but we happen to have both nearby. We can, however, try to build Petra, a world wonder that makes all non-river desert tiles give +1 Food, Production and Gold, turning that worthless desert into great desert.

More importantly we can also get a specific pantheon that makes all this arid wasteland generate faith for us. Ethiopia is already the top dog when it comes to generating faith points and with that added we will have even more.

Being next to a mountain also means we can build an observatory and get a huge bonus to our science. We will desperately need that if we are going to build tall.

So a couple of turns later, my scouting warrior discovers this infamous fellow:

Hoo, boy. Mr. Montezuma here is an infamous warmonger and his trait is he gets culture points for killing his enemies…and his enemies usually include everyone who's not him. This is kind of… BAD.

Time to build our Monument. The Ethiopians don't get a regular monument, they get a Stele. This provides the usual +2 culture, but it also provides a whopping +2 Faith as well. This is at the start of the game, and it's double what a shrine would produce, and we can also build a shrine and temple on top of that. The Celts may be the first-to-religion guys but Ethiopia is right on their heels and can produce mass quantities of faith points.

Hello! This fellow, the king of Siam, is generally agreeable but he can be a dick if he wants to, like most nations in Civilization. His trait is he gets extra benefits from city-states. He'll be maxing out Patronage for sure. If we were going for a diplomatic ending he'd be our worst nightmare but he probably won't bother us too much.


George Washington is a polite fellow to his friends but a death sentence to anybody who starts next to him because he likes to expand. He doesn't have any good military until the second half of the game, though. America's unique trait is exploration and expansion: they can see farther than other units on land and can purchase tiles near their cities for half-price. The extra vision sounds lame until you realize it means they can see and snap up all the ancient ruins around them, rapidly, and it's easier for them to ambush you than it is for you to ambush them.



Austria! Austria's gimmick is they can purchase allied city-states for gold, through diplomatic marriage. How well they can use this depends on how much money they've got. Still, Maria Theresa is usually not a very bad neighbor.

Pantheon Time!

Desert Folklore will make every single tile around our city that we work give us faith points. We will very shortly be swimming in faith.

Oh, no, not you again. Hopefully she'll be less of a stick up our ass this time than she was during the Pacal game.

We've bumped into so many leaders, I think we must be playing on a Pangaea Map. That's good for spreading our religion in all directions, but it also means there's no escape for us if things go south.

Exploring warrior, you've explored far enough. Come back home and defend us, our scout died!

America makes a trade with us for some gold, which I spend on a second worker. Then they want to be friends with me.

Maria approves!

Barbarians near Attila's new city. Your problem, Pal, not mine! I should get working on a second city myself.

I am shooting straight for Currency to get the Petra wonder. This is critical. it is the difference between our city being awesome and being totally lame.

On turn 56, we get our first Great Prophet, way, way before anyone else.

We are shooting for a cultural victory. Now, you may think that going for the belief that gives us culture points for foreign believers would be the most straightforward way of doing this, but that would give us diminishing returns. Instead, I'm going for something that will give us a ton of happiness. A ton of happiness. We are going to be using Mandate of Heaven, which gives us extra culture per happiness, and more importantly, Golden Ages. Lots of Golden Ages. Golden Ages magnify your culture by a ton, you see.

The Beatles once uncomfortably noted that they had so many screaming fangirls it was like they were "bigger than Jesus." Haile Selassie is the only person who can beat that claim, because there are those who say he actually is Jesus. Note that he had no part in actually forming this spiritual ideology. A bunch of Jamaicans lead by Leonard Percival Howell simply decided that Haile Selassie was so cool he had to be God and started worshipping him as such, never mind that he was a continent and an ocean away from them.

Haile Selassie politely declined to confirm or deny that he was God (his own country is staunchly Orthodox Christian), but he did get to experience his own personal brand of Beatlemania when he visited Jamaica once. Therefore, since we have a religion that increases happiness the more fanboys and fangirls we have in other nations, Rastafarianism it is.

Here I'm trying to sneak my settler east to get at the spices, cotton, and Mt. Sinai in the flood plains over there. I'm also going to go for the fish and marble down south next settler.

You can also see in this screenshot the notification that Montezuma and Washington are fighting each other. This could be good or bad, but it means Montezuma won't be trying to put an obsidian knife through our heart any time soon.

Oh, shit. Monty's stronger than I thought. This is bad. This is very, very bad. Time to start queueing up troops to hold off the Jaguars!

Here we go, Harar, in reach of a lot of luxuries. I'm probably only going to found one more city after this, down by the coast as I said.

…ha. Sure, sure, whatever.

Atilla fights Siam, and I am trying desperately to finish Petra…

And just a couple of turns later, Siam is all but wiped out by the Huns. Yikes. Double-yikes.

This time around I'm going for Religious Art which will make our Hermitage (when we build it) produce a whopping +8 culture. That is a ton. A ton-ton. Consider also that the Hermitage increases culture by +50% in its own city so that's more like +12 it makes. Now that we've finally enhanced our religion we can start spreading it around. Since we have a religion focused upon spreading to other nations, we need Religious Texts, badly.

Ahhh, crap.

That is a lot of Jaguars. Crap. I knew I should have chosen Defender of the Faith!

State of the World:

Strategy: PRODUCE LOTS OF BOWMEN NOW. Good thing I already have several chariots defending Addis Ababa. I am also trying to beeline the Great Wall. With that, we will be able to defend our nation quite nicely from all these bloodthirsty maniacs.

Either way it looks like our defensive ability is really going to be put to the test this round.