- "Kilwa is one of the most beautifully built cities in the world; the houses there are entirely made of wood, their rooftops out of rope grass, and it rains with great vigour."
- –Ibn Battuta
For some reason, players really underrate and often overlook Kilwa Kisiwani, thinking that it is not necessary for any particular victory path: even players aiming for a Diplomatic Victory tend to prefer the Statue of Liberty or the Mahabodhi Temple. However, more often than not, the Wonders such as the Pyramids, the Colosseum, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, or the Ruhr Valley are the powerful and versatile ones, since they do not play into any particular victory path and are useful and worth building in more than one situation. Kilwa Kisiwani does not pale by comparison to any of these Wonders that are often considered the strongest, and may even deserve a tier of its own because of how powerful and versatile it is.
The description of this Wonder may make it hard to visualize its power. For example, if you are the Suzerain of one industrial city-state, the city that builds this Wonder will gain a 15% bonus Production; if you are the Suzerain of two or more industrial city-states, every single city in your empire will gain a 15% bonus Production (which is almost a Ruhr Valley built in every city), not to mention the parent city of the Kilwa Kisiwani will get a whopping 30% bonus Production. It is crazy to think that the Ruhr Valley is almost twice as expensive as this Wonder without having the game-breaking, empire-wide potential. If you have Suzerainty of two scientific city-states, that is almost the amount of Science you get from the Amundsen-Scott Research Station, as every city will receive 15% bonus Science and the parent city 30% - only this comes four eras sooner and without the hassle of having a Snow city. From Rise and Fall, it is much simpler to gain Suzerainty with Amani, and if you are playing with Gathering Storm, this Wonder should be attempted in every single game you are playing. Since the Fabricate Scandal mission gives even more ways to earn Envoys and upset the Suzerainty system, you are no longer bound to the civic tree to earn Envoys - leaders with abilities to generate Envoys outside the civic tree (Pericles, Tamar and Matthias Corvinus) still have a slight lead, but they are no longer unbeatable in city-state diplomacy.
To sum it up, this is a ridiculously powerful Wonder that flies under the radar of most players. The larger the map is, the more city-states there are, and the more likely you are to get Suzerainty of two city-states of the same type, the more powerful this Wonder grows. All the Wonders that grant a flat percentage of yields (Ruhr Valley, Oxford University, Broadway, Kotoku-in) only grant 20% of their respective yields to the parent city; at its highest potential (which is simple to achieve on a Large or Huge map), Kilwa grants 30% yields to its parent city and 15% empire-wide, and it can grant as many types of yields as you can gain Suzerainty of. It is also available earlier and cheaper than almost all of those Wonders mentioned above (except for Kotuku-in). Just think about that potential!
Civilopedia entry Edit
The East African city-state Kilwa Kisiwani was once a major destination for trade in the Indian Ocean. Ivory, gold, and perfumes flowed through its markets. At its height, Kilwa Kisiwani contained some of the finest architecture in East Africa: the Great Mosque (which remained the world’s largest mosque until the 16th Century) and Husuni Kubwa (a classy palace), both of which survived to the modern day.
Kilwa Kisiwani flourished as a major trade city until the Portuguese arrived in 1498 to “make improvements” to the city’s infrastructure (if extorting tribute can be considered an improvement). Over the centuries, a series of foreign conquerors wrestled control of the city from one another, until it was abandoned in 1840.