The year is what historians would later call 278 BC. The part of the known world that is worth knowing extends from the Bay of Biscay to the western shores of the Caspian Sea and from Mauretania to the western Persian Gulf.
Seven nations, of similar size but widely-divergent ages and histories, compete for world dominance. Each has a few hundred gold and a sprinkling of units.
Advances and Wonders
In 250 years great strides may be made (faster than indicated by the game hints) and even Future Technologies are possible. Wonders of the World are nowhere near as widely available as in the standard game despite what you may be told when examining the standard information about a particular advance or a recommendation to choose one. So, researching Genetic Engineering would be a complete waste of time, and you cannot reach Alpha Centauri because nobody can build the Apollo Program.
Pollution from production is threatened (with the usual row of triangular signs) but has no effect, so one would be wasting time building a Hydro Plant in preference to a Power Plant. Pollution does arise, however, along with a population drop, from a Nuclear Plant meltdown.
At the low levels of difficulty, nations you approach may be happy to exchange ambassadors as well as knowledge; less likely at higher levels.
If you are not a Celt, note that your (F3) Foreign Minister will not be able to contact the Celts initially.
Caravans produce much higher returns than one remembers from the standard game, even though most cities are on the one continent. Example from one chieftain-level game: caravan from Alexandria, popn 6, to Rhodes, popn 8, in 264 BC earns initially 337 gold plus 6 gold per turn.
Four groups of Greeks have arisen from the break-up of the huge empire of Alexander the Great, who had cut the Gordian knot and then in 323 died young:
- Capital is Syracuse, uneasily sharing Sicily with the Carthaginian city of Lilybaeum. There is a narrow land bridge to Italy from Sicily. It was historically the capital of a state called the "Empire of Syracuse". The other city this state owned was Taras. All the other cities under your control were allied city states. From the start, you are immediately caught in a war with the Romans, possibly paralleling the real-life event known as the Pyrrhic War (280-275 BC), in which Taras was lost to the Romans.
- Important center at Delphi, where they guard its Oracle hoping nobody discovers Theology, which would render this wonder useless because it would be obsolete.
- Other cities: Massilia in southern France, Pergamum in Anatolia, and the two-tile island of Rhodes with its Colossus.
Full list of cities
- Syracuse Located on the Island of Sicily (OBJECTIVEx2)
- Delphi Located in Greece (has Oracle)
- Massilia, the modern Marseille(s), France
- Pergamum, The modern Bergama District of Izmir, Turkey
- Rhodes A city located on the Island of Rhodes (has Colossus) (OBJECTIVE)
- Taras, Called Tarentum by Romans, the modern Taranto, Italy
- their color is orange-brown
You start off in an alliance with the Celts. Many of the other civilizations will try to get you to break this alliance; it's very crucial you don't break this alliance or else you will lose control of your colony of Massilia (if the Romans haven't already bribed their way into it). Massilia itself is lightly defended and surrounded by lands under Celt control. It is crucial you maintain the alliance so you can settle more colonies in France, Spain and around the Black Sea. Sparta is also under their control, so you may have to try to bribing it with a Diplomat. It is also crucial that you make peace with the Romans as soon as possible. This way the Romans won't conquer Taras, like they did in real life.
Try to buy Miletus first in 2 or 3 turns by landing a diplomat straight into it (selling non-vital buildings to raise the bribe money) then Heraclea (even if its forces have destroyed Taras) and possibly then Sparta and Galatia, thus nipping the disjointed extremities off three powers in such a way that those powers may not try too hard or too successfully to regain them or to attack your other cities.
Build on most of the Greek "one-tile" islands (good little earners and not needing defenders until some enemy has Marines), on south-east Malta, and on the 3-special hill in the "toe" of Italy.
Next "conquest" target: Athens - very expensive to bribe but strategically very valuable and probably worthwhile in the end; with any luck, you might find the Celts neutralizing much of the northern Macedonian support Athens should have.
Macedonian Greeks under Antigonus
- Aggressive, Expansionist
- Capital us Pella, on the coast of what was Macedonia, but became part of Bulgaria then Greece in the 20th century; an important city, since Athens has access to both the Aegean and the Adriatic; also holds the distant outpost of Hecatompylos in Persia.
- researching Iron Working, having 22 other advances (being first to discover none of them)
- their colour is deep blue, and their new cities may have names originating in north-west Europe
- Hints: try to buy Miletus and Pergamum in the first few turns by landing a diplomat (selling non-vital buildings to raise the bribe money), then Sparta and possibly Galatia, thus nipping the extremities off three powers in such a way that at least two of those powers may not try too hard or too successfully to regain them or to attack your other cities; then build west of Demetrias, on most of the Greek "one-tile" islands, and at or near Istanbul (then on two lower Danube tiles, the better one being at the delta with a whale and a hill). Next "conquest" target: Delphi, which adds two content citizens for each temple you own until somebody discovers Theology. Don't research Theology unless someone else has. Distant Hecatompylos to the east grows little until irrigation arrives from a lake; good colonies can be built to the north (gold and whale, building on river) and south (bison, gold, iron, and oil, building on hill); from the north you can colonise west on a hill served by coal and wine then on several good tiles further north.
Ptolemaic Greeks under Ptolemy
- Rational Militaristic Expansionist
- Make good use of the Great Library at Alexandria
- Inheritors of the ancient Egyptian civilization of Rameses (and often called "Egyptian" on screen), they extend west to Cyrene and east to Raphia in Gaza
- researching University, having 22 other advances (being first to discover none of them)
- their colour is yellow, and their new cities may have Spanish names
- Hints: build (in roughly this order):
- between Raphia and Damascus just north of the bison
- on the oasis/whale cape south-east of Leptis
- five tiles east of Cyrene using a fish tile (leaving the wheat for an inland city)
- on south-east Malta (creating two forests after main growth spurt) and maybe Crete
- in the Tigris/Euphrates delta using coal and about seven other river tiles
Seleucid Greeks under Antiochus (who looks like Mao Tse Tung)
- Mesopotamia, Syria, southern Turkey with capital Antioch in Syria and extending to Miletus in south-west Turkey
- researching Engineering, having 21 other advances (being first to discover none of them)
- their colour is pale blue, and their new cities have Chinese names if an AI is in charge
- Hints: try to buy Pergamum in the first few turns by landing a diplomat from Miletus (selling non-vital buildings to raise the bribe money) then have a try for Galatia, thus nipping extremities off two powers in such a way that those powers may not try too hard or too successfully to regain them or to attack your other cities; build southward from Damascus along the coast to forestall Ptolemaic expansion, and from Seleucia down the Mesopotamian rivers to the Persian Gulf. Nisibis should colonize the fish/iron/pheasant tile to the north. If successful with Pergamum or Galatia, build at or near Istanbul (then on two lower Danube tiles, the better one being at the delta with a whale and a hill). Next "conquest" target: Rhodes, which grows at a good rate though it does not produce buildings fast but is a great trade-producer until its Colossus is obsoleted. Distant Hecatompylos to the east is a longer-term prospect, which grows little until irrigation arrives from a lake; try to block its settlers from irrigating.
- Civilized Expansionist
- Power: inadequate; Reputation: honorable
- little upstart nation confined - at present - to the main part of the Italian peninsula
- capital Rome, which has the fully functional Great Wall wonder
- five other cities extending from Pisae in the north-west to Heraclea in the "instep" of the "boot" of Italy
- Rome (has Great Wall, palace, barracks, granary, temple, marketplace, city walls, and eight units) (OBJECTIVEx2)
- Neapolis has granary, temple, marketplace, and six units
- Heraclea has granary, marketplace, courthouse, and two units
- Sena has granary, temple, and three units
- Pisae has granary, temple, marketplace, courthouse, and five units (OBJECTIVE)
- Tarracina has marketplace and four units
- researching Engineering, having 20 other advances (being first to discover Bridge Building and Iron Working)
- their colour is white, and their new cities mostly have Latin names
- Hints: while still at war with the Independent Greeks and Allies, buy Massilia with a marine-landing diplomat and buy or capture/destroy Taras ASAP; build on the 3-special hill in the "toe" of Italy; build on the cape east of Rome for a whale and fish; try to beat the Celts to build north-east of Pisae just past the silk so as to use coal; build on the north tip of Sardinia for whale and two fish then on the north tip of Corsica. Target Milan if Celts make war.
Carthaginians under Hannibal
- the people who brought elephants to western Europe for warfare and crossed the Alps with them
- capital Carthage in Tunisia, with two other cities nearby; western city Gades (later named Cadiz) in southern Spain; cities in southern Sardinia and western Sicily
- Carthage (building Lighthouse) (OBJECTIVEx2)
- Lilybaeum (historically was attacked in 277 BC) a ally of king Hiero of independent Greeks was King Pyrrhus of Epirus and he did invade the city in real life when he took the town of Eryx but the name of the city tile is Lilibaeum which King Pyrrhus did not take.
- Gades (OBJECTIVE)
- Hippo Regius
- researching Engineering, having 23 other advances (being first to discover Polytheism, Seafaring, and Trade)
- their colour is green, and their new cities may have Zulu names
- Hints: build on the oasis/whale cape south-east of Leptis then on south-east Malta and the northern tip of Sardinia; build on a river north of Gades for a special or two.
Celts under Vercingetorix
- Aggressive Militaristic Expansionist
- capital La Tene, somewhere near the 2nd millennium's Liechtenstein, and have somehow captured Sparta and less surprisingly Galatia along with Numantia in northern Spain
- merely 13 advances, not including Mathematics or Astronomy.
- their colour is purple, and their new cities may have names of varied origin with a Mongol emphasis
- Hints: Great potential for expansion. You've got a nice force outside OBJECTIVE Macedonian city Pella. Take Abdera while you're there and you'll control northern Greece / western Turkey, giving you unchecked access into eastern Europe. A quick sack of the Independent Greek city of Massilia, NW of Rome, should check Scipio's ambitions. Warning: Roman cities seem to be under the protection of the Gods. You can easily break a half-dozen vet catapults or a full dozen vet elephants on killing the first defending legion. Focus elsewhere and come back if you can get metallurgy before they get gunpowder. Send one horseman into Spain to round the bases and gather enough friendly forces from huts to sack the OBJECTIVE Carthaginian city of Gades, near Gibraltar. France and Spain are yours and filled with promising city sites. Build slowly, though, because the civ size unhappiness factor will grief you. Now your biggest issue will be forcing yourself to campaign in the Sahara, against Jupiter and the Romans for the hills of Italy, in the lumpy terrains of Greece and Turkey, or by sea, for a bunch of objective cities instead of developing your huge tracts of land.