Do you oppose the idea of war but love the idea of peace? Do you wish that everyone in society would just stop fighting and be best friends? If so, then you should try out the diplomatic victory!
Many of the ways for achieving this victory aren't applicable to earlier versions of the game, due to changes to diplomacy introduced in Brave New World.
- Win a World Leader vote in the United Nations.
To do this, you need to gather the minimum support required, determined by the number of players and City-States still in game. A World Leader vote is automatically proposed every 20 turns once the World Congress turns into the United Nations. This happens automatically when either any civilization reaches the Information Era, or once half the world civilizations still in game reach the Atomic Era.
Brave New World introduces a new middle and late-game feature: the World Congress. This dramatically changes the dynamics of those parts of the game, and introduces a much smoother lead-up for the diplomatic victory. The Congress is now the main focus for those striving for a diplomatic victory.
Anatomy of a Vote
In the World Congress (and United Nations later) voting is done by delegates, with each delegate equaling 1 vote. Delegates are grouped into delegations - there is one delegation for each civilization still in game at the time of each convention of the World Congress. Each delegation controls absolutely how its delegates vote. The delegation does not always entirely support or reject one proposal only- many times it splits its votes between multiple proposals.
For any proposal to pass in the World Congress, it needs to gather Yea votes from more than half the total number of delegates (regardless of which delegation they belong to). Nations vote not only according to what proposal is in their interest, but also because someone may have bought their vote, or simply because they like or dislike its author. After a vote nations comment that "You helped their proposal fail" (or the opposite) - they will remember this, and it will affect relations. Note that for a specific proposal to pass, you don't need to support it fully with your delegation! If you suspect (or know) that other delegations will also support or oppose it, you should act accordingly.
If you have a Diplomat in another nation's capital, you'll be able to deal with it for support in the World Congress. If they agree, the nation will use their "core" delegation (but not the City-State delegates) to support you in the next vote. Note that bribing deals work exactly the same way as other deals - you can exchange resources or Gold (or anything else you can) for their support for a specific proposal you choose.
World Leader Vote
The most important vote in the game - the one that triggers the diplomatic victory - is different from other votes, in one important aspect: it requires a minimum number of votes, not the biggest number of "Yeas", to succeed. This vote is also subject to bribing - if your relationship with an AI civilization is sufficiently positive and you have a diplomat in their capital you can trade for their core delegates to vote in your favor. However, it is very difficult to make a successful deal for a World Leader vote as it requires multiple positive diplomatic and economic factors. Note that if you are already within 4 votes of victory, or do not have enough positive diplomacy modifiers, the other nation's leader simply says that "There's no way to make this deal work."
It is also important to note that if you have liberated any AI civilization (recalling them to life in the process), their delegates will automatically vote for your civilization for World Leader. This means, of course, that you have to manage to liberate another civilization first, which usually entails large scale wars with powerful enemies, and this usually brings problems on the diplomatic field (the warmonger penalty, for example). It is sometimes better to secure alternative sources of support for the World Leader vote, and not spend all your resources attempting to liberate another civilization only to gain 4 more votes.
Note that when World Leader votes start, each time a vote passes without a victor, the first two nations that gathered the most votes will receive 2 additional delegates permanently. So if enough votes pass without a victor, someone will eventually gather the required number. However, in practice it is almost certain that another nation wins another kind of victory before that, so you typically should not rely on this method of winning.
Tech Progression and Wonders
The technologies and wonders relevant to this type of victory are:
- Banking - Gives access to the Forbidden Palace, the only Wonder that directly aids this type of victory by giving your nation 2 additional delegates in the Congress.
- Globalization - Gives you an additional delegate for each Diplomat you have. It is also worth noting that its prerequisites are quite linear: you can go straight for it from Ecology through Telecommunications, skipping the other Atomic and Information Era techs. You can do this, and turn all your Spies into Diplomats before the next World Leader vote to maximize the effect.
- National Intelligence Agency - Allows you to receive an extra Spy whom you could later turn into a Diplomat. In order to unlock this Wonder, you'll need to build Constabularies and Police Stations in all your cities.
Recommended Social Policies, Ideologies and Religion
- Patronage is the Social Policy tree you'll need for a Diplomatic victory. It unlocks the Forbidden Palace Wonder, and also gives you a boost regarding City-State relations.
- Commerce - This is a good secondary tree to develop, since it will greatly increase your Gold flow and Great Merchant generation. You can use the Gold to gift City-States and maintain them as Allies, and the Great Merchants to get more Gold and again improve relations with City-States.
- Ideology - If you attempt a Diplomatic victory, then you have two choices, as shown below:
- Freedom - This Ideology is very suitable for a diplomatic victory, particularly for peaceful empires which try to avoid wars. Many of its tenets encourage more advanced relations with City-States, and such tenets include the Level 3 Tenet Treaty Organization, which increases Influence with City-States you're trading with.
- Autocracy - Normally, this Ideology is primarily for military advancements. Still, it does encourage relations with City-States, though to a lesser extent if compared to Freedom. For example, the Gunboat Diplomacy Tenet, which directly increases Influence to City-States you can demand tribute from, along with a solid amount of that.
- Religion - Optionally, you may decide to found a religion, since religion can also play an important role in securing more allies. First, remember that City-States following the same religion as yours lose Influence 25% slower. Also remember that you can spread religion to distant City-States via your Trade Routes. Then, try choosing the following Beliefs:
- Papal Primacy - This Founder Belief increases the Influence resting point with a City-State following this religion by 15. When you combine it with the Consulates social policy from Patronage, you'll have a resting point of 35 Influence, meaning you'll be at least Friends with all City-States you're not at war with! (Of course, they will have to follow your religion for this to work.)
- Itinerant Preachers - A very good Enhancer Belief for spreading your religion farther away, but in this case it works especially well, because there rarely is any competition.
- Religious Unity - Allows you to spread your religion to City-States faster, thus keeping your Influence with them from falling quickly.
- Charitable Missions - Greatly increases the efficiency of your Gold gifts. However, since this is a Reformation Belief, you must first finish the Piety policy tree to get this.
City-State delegates provide the bulk of your voting power; as a consequence, your primary concern when pursuing a diplomatic victory is to secure as many City-State allies as possible. Here are some general guidelines how to influence City-States, besides filling out the Patronage policy tree:
- Perform as many city quests as you can - Check here for a complete list of city quests. Even when it's pretty difficult, you should make an extra effort, because every "good deed" matters when your goal is a Diplomatic victory. Check below for specific strategies.
- Try to spread your Religion there - As mentioned above, this will slow down Influence decline.
- Extend your Protection to them - This raises the Influence resting point by 5, and combined with the Consulates Social Policy, this will ensure you're always at least Friends with all City-States. Of course, be wary that protecting so many City-States will invariably lead to diplomatic incidents with other nations trying to extort them.
- Prevent their destruction! - Many times other nations may choose to attack and conquer City-States for various reasons; sometimes you (or somebody else) protecting them officially might prevent such invasions, other times - not. When an invasion happens to a City-State ally, try to defend it at any cost! This will lead to war with the invader, but otherwise you will lose an ally! Of course many times it turns out to be impossible to defend a City-State - either because you're too weak militarily, or because the City-State is too far for you to react in time. And if you're not in a position to protect the City-State, look for ways to liberate it later. It is also worth noting that when City-States are dealing with aggressive neighbors, they often ask for units, or for direct military help. It is worth granting their request in such cases - you will both win influence with them, and protect them from invasion without directly involving yourself in a war.
Austria, Venice and the Diplomatic Victory
The Austrian and Venetian civilizations have unique abilities that allow them to figuratively "swallow" City-States. When used, the target City-States are absorbed into the nation's territory, along with all their assets. More importantly, they lose the status of City-States forever, and henceforth may be Razed by other civilizations, but not Liberated! Their potential delegates for the World Congress simply become unavailable for use; and as usual. the total number of votes needed to win a World Leader vote diminishes by one. However, there is still a net loss of 50% in the process, because as we know each City-State contributes two additional delegates after the Modern Era. Needless to say, this may seriously affect the diplomatic victory in the game, because it diminishes the pool of potential delegates nations can draw upon.
Playing as Austria or Venice for Diplomatic Victory
It is generally not recommended to go for this type of victory as Austria because their major strength (the ease with which they acquire City-States as permanent parts of their empires) is a weakness when it comes to winning the final vote. If too many City-States are removed from game in the process, it becomes difficult to secure the necessary votes in time, before another player wins a scientific victory or some aggressive player crushes you in pursuit of a domination victory.
Venice, meanwhile, can also run the risk of removing too many city states but it is easy to be conservative with Merchants of Venice which, combined with Venice's incredible economic power, makes it a solid choice for diplomatic victory.
But if you must, then try not to abuse this power too much. Acquire no more than 3 or 4 well-chosen City-States which will complement your territory, or give you important outposts and/or resources. Do the rest of your expanding via normal means (Settlers and/or military conquest). This will preserve a good amount of City-States which will give you enough voting power, especially combined with other extra sources of delegates.
Playing against Austria/Venice for Diplomatic Victory
If you have to play against one (or both) of these two civilizations, you need to be extra careful if you want to stop them from removing too many City-States from the game or with Venice, simply winning. War is always an option, though the only way to prevent them from being able to acquire City-States is to completely eliminate them (i.e. capture all of their cities). In the case of Venice this isn't actually too difficult, since they usually have a low number of cities up until the Industrial Era. So, the earlier you start, the better, because you have a better chance of "limiting the damage." But even if you aren't strong enough militarily to completely wipe out the enemy, you should start a practically permanent war to exhaust their resources and prevent them from expanding. When fighting Venice, try to encircle their territories, and attack any Merchants of Venice they send.
In the case of Austria you have two choices:
- Try to push them so hard as to empty their treasury and prevent them gathering enough gold to buy out City-States.
- Try to gain influence over the same City-States they're targeting.
Remember that in order to activate Diplomatic Marriage, they have to be Allied with the target for at least 5 turns. So, if you prevent that, or if you manage to stage coups/wrestle the alliance from them in time, they won't ever be able to acquire any City-State.
So, your main goal as you progress towards a diplomatic victory is to gather as many Delegates as possible. And the best way to do that is court City-States and make as many of them Allies as you can. Their support will help you make it through the game without developing your own culture and military so much, and without having a territory as large as other nations.
All City-State allies will grant you resources and Science (from the Scholasticism Social Policy). More luxuries means more Happiness (though unfortunately, you can't trade away resources from City-States), and Mercantile City-States will give you even more; Maritime City-States will boost your Population growth; Religious ones will boost your Faith production; Cultured ones will boost your Culture production; and Militaristic ones will give you free units to defend your lands.
You should preserve your Gold primarily for gifting City-States. But don't give it away too easily - from Gods & Kings and on, the amount of Influence gained by a single Gold Gift has diminished significantly. Instead, wait until an appropriate City-State quest appears - either "City X starts a big infrastructure project" or "City X is bankrupt and needs financial help" - so your Gold will gain much more Influence. Also, some other effects increase influence gained by Gold Gifts - see above.
It might be also worth focusing more on exploration than usual - there can be many benefits to this for a diplomatically oriented civilization, not least of those being the privilege of convening the first World Congress.
This means the early and mid-game, since the World Congress will be first called sometime during the Renaissance Era right after someone has met every other civilization and researched Printing Press (or reached the Industrial Era, if no one has done much exploring).
The early game is the period when you should try to explore as much of the world as possible and meet as many City-States as possible. It may be worth training two Scouts instead of the usual one - you can get a nice return when you meet more City-States first of all civilizations (which grants you 30 Gold per City-State rather than the usual 15). Also, try to settle a coastal city and build a Trireme or two to explore the seas. Then you should focus on performing Seek-and-Destroy City-State quests. Those are abundant in the early game, when Barbarians roam freely and threaten the young and defenseless states. Each targeted Barbarian encampment you destroy will give you 50 Influence with at least one City-State (sometimes more than one points to the same encampment)! So, gather a task force and wait until City-States announce quests, then go and destroy! Also, don't delay for long after the announcement of such quests, or another player might steal the reward!
Another great way of gaining Influence is gaining access to specific resources City-States want. Make extra efforts to strike deals for these resources with other nations, even if you're at a disadvantage in the deal - gaining one or more new allies is worth it most of the time. Or, look to settle cities near these resources to gain access to them. The stat race assignments are also a good way of gaining Influence, but you don't have much control there - you either produce a lot of a certain stat at the time of the quest, or you do not. Still, you might try to boost Culture or Faith temporarily by making an extra effort to make the relevant City-State your ally.
Meanwhile, develop your civilization as usual. You might want to concentrate on Gold production more than normally, because this will allow you to bribe City-States more often. Try to avoid too many armed conflicts - this harms relations with other nations, and gives you a reputation as a warmonger! And when the Renaissance Era approaches, rush to Astronomy, build a Caravel or two and go discover all other nations so you can found the World Congress!
World Congress Strategy
The founding of the World Congress marks another stage in your road towards diplomatic victory. From this point onward, you have perpetual contact with all world leaders, and all your actions have consequences. The game system for influencing civilizations and City-States is extremely complex, to such a degree that almost everything you do will improve relations with someone and worsen them with others, so keep careful track of your actions! To illustrate that, even voting in a certain manner in the Congress can alter relationships, even if your vote didn't directly damage the other nation!
Of course, relations with other nations don't matter for winning a World Leader vote (as mentioned above, all nations usually vote for themselves), so your primary concern should continue to be maintaining relations with City-States. Continue trying to perform their quests, bribing them, etc. Also, use your military to liberate any City-State that has been taken over; unless, of course, attempting this will pit you against an overwhelmingly strong domination opponent - something you should avoid. If you've chosen the Freedom Ideology, activate the Arsenal of Democracy tenet, then start building military units and gifting them to City-States you're trying to win over.
The World Congress can turn into your greatest weapon against your rivals. And, despite the fact that you can't use relations with other nations to win a World Leader vote, votes for other Resolutions can help you immensely towards achieving victory, and in those votes other nations can vote in your favor (or against you). Thanks to your many City-State allies (if you have followed the earlier recommendations, you should now have many allies), you will be able to take a solid hold on the Congress, becoming its perpetual host. This gives you the right to propose resolutions at every session - use it to its full extent!
Since you probably won't have a very strong military or a very influential culture as a diplomatically oriented player, the Congress will be your main weapon for hindering other nations on their way to victory. If someone is going for a domination victory, enact a Standing Military Tax to overwhelm their treasury, or go for Non-Nuclear Proliferation if they like to fire off nuclear warheads. Enact a Sciences Funding or an Arts Funding resolution if other nations are pursuing (respectively) cultural or scientific victories - that will slow them down if they're not too far into it. Enact an Embargo on anyone who's quickly nearing victory. At the same time, block all attempts to enact resolutions which are harmful for you, such as the Embargo City-States resolution. There are also several resolutions you need to enact to help your own victory:
- Designate World Religion (+2 delegates) - Note that you don't need to have founded a religion for this to work; just choose the religion most of your cities adhere to. This will enable the bonus.
- Designate World Ideology (+2 delegates) - Of course, you have to choose your own Ideology here.
- International Games - The one-time relations boost for all City-States makes this a good idea if you don't have enough cash to buy everyone out.
Finally, your Spy pool can turn into one of your greatest weapons for winning a diplomatic victory (not surprisingly, since Spies offer ways to overcome other civilizations in a non-violent way, which is the essence of a diplomatic victory). However, a Spy's greatest usefulness in diplomacy doesn't lie in stealing technologies (a process which involves long periods in which the spy doesn't do anything useful), but rather in their activities as Diplomats, and in City-States.
You should gain your first Spy shortly before the Congress convenes. Make use of him or her primarily to rig City-State elections, unless you're very late in tech development. In later eras, always have at least 2-3 Spies working on those City-States that have yet to be your Allies. If you're following the Freedom Ideology, choose the Covert Action tenet for a great increase in a spy's chances to rig elections successfully (even when another spy is present in the City-State). And, if there's a strong rival for this City-State's influence, consider attempting a coup! In this case, always use a high-level Spy, because this will increase the chances for success (and the Spy is lost if it fails). You should also have 1-2 Diplomats securing allies in the Congress for important votes.
Building the National Intelligence Agency might prove particularly effective for a diplomatic player, both increasing your Spies' effectiveness, and giving you an additional spy to use. Upon researching Globalization, each Diplomat automatically gains you an additional Delegate in the Congress, which should now be known as the United Nations! Use this to make the last push for winning the precious World Leader vote!
At the end you'll face the usual threats: a player building a Spaceship which you can't stop, or barring a military invasion from an overwhelmingly strong domination player. As a diplomatic player, you shouldn't engage in wars if you can avoid them, so you should aim at defusing such threats ahead of time. Try to identify players that get ahead early in the Modern Era, the most probable type of victory they're pursuing, and use the Congress to cripple their advance. Embargo them, Ban their most important Luxuries, enforce an Arts Funding resolution to hinder scientific progress, or a Standing Military Tax to cripple a player seeking a domination victory. If you're facing an imminent invasion anyway, fortify your lands with Forts and concentrate all forces you have in the region with the greatest potential to be invaded. Also, seek to establish a Defensive Pact with a strong nation, preferably a neighbor - that will make the invader think twice and provide you some support if they decide to attack anyway. As for defending against players pursuing a cultural victory, your Cultured City-State allies should be providing you with enough Culture to slow down their advance sufficiently so that you can achieve your victory. Also, try to avoid establishing Open Borders agreements with them and prevent their religion from influencing your cities.
Number of Delegates Needed
In Brave New World the exact number of delegates needed is the result of the following expression rounded down to the nearest integer.
1.443 * ln(PlayersAlive + 0.5 * PlayersDead) + 7 + 16.023 * ln(CityStatesAlive + 0.5 * CityStatesDead) - 13.758
- PlayersAlive is the number of players that control at least one city.
- PlayersDead is the number of players that no longer control any city.
- CityStatesAlive is the number of city-states that still control their city.
- CityStatesDead is the number of city-states that no longer control their city. (City-States acquired by Austria or Venice with their unique abilities do not count.)
- ln is the natural logarithm.
The exact code can be seen here: https://github.com/dmnd/CvGameCoreSource/blob/master/CvGameCoreDLL_Expansion2/CvGame.cpp#L5040
In Gods & Kings the exact code can be seen here: https://github.com/dmnd/CvGameCoreSource/blob/master/CvGameCoreDLL_Expansion1/CvGame.cpp#L4882
The exact code for the vanilla version can be seen here: https://github.com/dmnd/CvGameCoreSource/blob/master/CvGameCoreDLL/CvGame.cpp#L4800