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Subject: Egypt Strategy - Unbeatable? rss

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Federali Aundy
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I have recently put together an Egyptian strategy that could be very effective. It was created with the following strengths: 1) it would maximize the efficient use of both Egypt’s starting tile and Egypt’s research of new advances; 2) it would counter the threat of Barbarian attacks early in the game; 3) it would effectively deal with negative Events that occur when Egypt does not yet have the Sanitation Advance; 4) it would make effective use of two of Egypt’s leaders in the early- to mid-game.

The key to the strategy is to maximize the research of new Advances while minimizing early external threats (i.e. Barbarians) by not exploring a new region tile until turn 8. This may sound like some serious turtling, but it worked very effectively in two recent games. I selected Cleopatra to start in order to use her Mistress ability (see the Status Phase of Era Two for this). Below is a description of my strategy, turn for turn:

FIRST ERA GAMEPLAY:

Turn 1 Activations: RESEARCH Irrigation to ignore Famine cars and gain Flood Plains for free, allowing barren hexes to be harvested for food or wood. This first action allows Egypt to harvest enough food each turn to be able to Advance without exploring a new tile. Irrigation gives Egypt a mood token, which it spends in CIVIC IMPROVEMENT to make its city happy. The city is then activated to HARVEST two food.

Turn 2: RESEARCH Myths in order to be able to spend mood tokens to protect against Plague and Epidemic events while Sanitation is not researched. HARVEST two food. RESEARCH Writing to be able to build Academy’s and access Education advances.

Turn 3 Activations: HARVEST two food. RESEARCH Priesthood allowing Egypt to make one free Science advance per turn and giving it the immediate free advance of Man God. This advance allows Egypt to gain Autocracy advances as it gains Theocracy advances. MOVE the starting Settler to the mountain hex of the starting tile as this will prohibit a Barbarian placement in Egypt’s starting tile if a spawn Barbarian icon comes up on Egypt’s first Event card.

Status Phase – Free Advance: Philosophy. This advance immediately gives Egypt a free idea and a bonus idea each time Priesthood is used to get a free Science advance. This advance puts Egypt at Happiness level three and triggers its first Event, but Irrigation, Myths and the moved Settler will protect Egypt from Famines, Plagues, Epidemics, and Barbarians. Egypt has two mood tokens available at this point to spend using Myths to protect against Plagues and Epidemics.

SECOND ERA GAMEPLAY

Turn 1 Activations: RESEARCH Mathematics, which is free via Priesthood and gains Egypt 1 idea via Philosophy. RESEARCH Engineering, which is free via Mathematics and gives Egypt an immediate free advance: Architecture. This advance allows Egypt to spend mood tokens as resources when increasing city size or building wonders. RESEARCH Free Education, which costs Egypt its two ideas gained from researching Philosophy and Mathematics.

Turn 2 Activations: HARVEST 2 food. RESEARCH Chemistry, which is free via Priesthood and gains Egypt 1 idea via Philosophy. At Culture level three, this action causes Egypt’s second Event. RESEARCH Sanitation, giving Egypt full protection from Plagues and Epidemics. Sanitation is researched with 1 food and 1 idea, giving Egypt another mood token via Free Education in addition to the mood token received from the advance itself. This advance puts Egypt at Happiness level five, causing its third Event.

Turn 3 Activations: RESEARCH Metallurgy, which is free via Priesthood and gains Egypt 1 idea via Philosophy. Spend 1 food and 1 idea to RESEARCH Tactics, gaining Egypt another mood token via Free Education and, now at Culture level 5, causes Egypt’s fourth Event. RESEARCH Steel Weapons for free via Metallurgy. Finally, as a free action with Cleopatra, use her Mistress ability to place Egypt’s five culture tokens on its starting city. Little Egypt may have looked like a tempting target, but now any attacker must pay five culture in order to attack this starting city.

Status Phase – Free Advance: Storage. This advance now allows Egypt to maintain more than two food. At this point in the game, Event cards aside, Egypt should have seven mood tokens in the bank, along with about one-third of all advances, a culture-strong city, and no Barbarians in sight. Replace Cleopatra with Imhotep (in my game group, leaders are not replaced randomly). With an initiative bid of ten, it is highly likely that Egypt will be the starting player for the foreseeable future.

THIRD ERA GAMEPLAY

Turn 1 Activations: HARVEST 2 food. RESEARCH Astronomy, which is free via Priesthood and gains Egypt 1 idea via Philosophy. Spend one idea and one food to RESEARCH Draft, gaining a mood token via Free Education and triggering an Event for hitting Culture level seven. The advance allows Egypt to spend mood tokens to raise one Army unit when its city activates to build.

Turn 2 Activations: MOVE the starting Settler from the mountain hex into an adjacent region. If possible, do so in a way that would trigger Barbarians/opponents to move over the mountain in order to reach your city. Unless an opponent has Roads, the mountain hex will force his units to stop. FOUND CITY on new tile. HARVEST 1 wood, 1 stone OR draft an Army unit if a Barbarian settlement was found.

Turn 3 Activations: BUILD an Apothecary in Egypt’s starting city where Imhotep is located. Imhotep’s Innovator ability generates 1 idea for the building. Use the Architecture advance to pay the cost of the building if draft was used in the previous turn. Also, use the Sanitation ability to spend one food for a new Settler. Perform a CIVIC IMPROVEMENT action on the new city. MOVE the new Settler, if possible through Egypt’s barren hexes to another tile along the board’s edge.

Status Phase – Free Advance: Bartering. This advance allows Egypt to construct Markets which in turn allows it to build Cavalry and Elephants. Bartering also puts Egypt at Happiness level seven, causing its sixth Event.

FOURTH ERA GAMEPLAY, STRATEGY

Turn 1 Activations: FOUND CITY with the Settler moved in the previous turn. HARVEST two resources from one city or one resource from the other city, collecting at least one food. BUILD a Market in the original city where Imhotep is located. Imhotep’s Physician ability allows him to increase city size at no food or wood cost where the city has an Apothecary. If a stone and food was collected earlier, use both to pay for the Market along with a new Settler via Sanitation. If only a food was collected, use a mood token as a stone. Imhotep also gains Egypt one idea via his Innovator ability. The Market allows Egypt to build Cavalry and Elephants in its starting city while the Apothecary allows one unit killed in battle to respawn in its location at the cost of only one food.

This is as far as my Egypt strategy is written since much going forward will depend on the game situation. I generally would say to build another Apothecary or two, along with some food hording, so that military units may be built and able to respawn at the Apothecary’s if lost in battle. Imhotep can be moved in between Apothecary cities, especially if Roads are soon researched, spending one mood token as stone to build new buildings. Armies can be quickly raised if need be and able to be respawned should they fall in battle.

Looking back on the above, one perceived flaw of this strategy would be a kind of early civilizational turtling that does not see Egypt expand beyond its starting region tile and thus unable to increase its capital’s city size or project power towards the territory of opposing civilizations – who could in turn take advantage of this strategy to territorially expand their own civilization at Egypt’s expense.

I recently had the chance to test this strategy in two, back-to-back games with the same players. In the first game my opponents ran into Barbarian and other Event card woes, expanded their territory, and began to fight each other. By the time the Fourth/Fifth eras rolled along and my civilization hitting its stride against two war-worn opponents, the game was quickly called in my favor. In the second game I informed my opponents that I would use the exact same strategy, move for move. Unsurprisingly, they began to move some forces in my direction in the Second/Third eras. Because of this, I paused the strategy for one full era and managed to secure my flanks, knocking out one opposing Settler to my right and actually capturing a settlement from the opponent to my left. These turn of events meant I wasn’t too far off track from my strategy and even allowed me to skip building a Settler since I captured a settlement. In the end I managed to capture one opponent’s starting city while beginning to move against the other opponent when, again, the game was called in my favor.

I would be very interested to hear from others who try out this strategy and see how effective it is. I’d also love to hear if there are any ways to improve upon it or if there is anything in error regarding the rules. I ran through the steps solo 3-4 times before running it in two real games, and it worked each time. It seems very effective in a three player game and I hope to try in a head-to-head match sometime and also in a four player game.

I hope to map out another civilization’s strategy soon – but Egypt’s Irrigation + Flood Plains seemed to take a lot of luck out of the mix since it could be very self-sufficient without the risk of exploring.
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Einmal ist keinmal
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Quote:
I selected Cleopatra to start in order to use her Mistress ability

Why do you use this variant or house rule?
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Federali Aundy
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My group likes being able to select leaders. We early on didn't know it was a rule that you couldn't do this according to the rules - but we're so used to selecting leaders that we made it a house rule that you could. In any case, the Egypt strategy isn't totally dependent on this. I didn't see a great place for Ramsees, so even if he is drawn first he can be discarded in the first Status phase. Drawing Imhotep early wouldn't be bad since you can use his ability and later cash him in for Cleopatra. So regardless of leader rules vs. house rules, I think the Egypt strategy is still sound.
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Bernd Weber
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Federali_Aundy wrote:
we're so used to selecting leaders that we made it a house rule that you could.

You're not using a house rule. You're using an official variant from page 12 of the expansion rules.
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Kinley Engvalson
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Very interesting--have to try it.

One question, though:

Third Era, Turn 2, you move your settler in such a way that, ideally, on the new tile, the hex adjacent to your city is a mountain. On Turn 3, after founding a new city with that settler, and building a new settler there through Sanitation, you say to "MOVE the new Settler, if possible through Egypt’s barren hexes to another tile along the board’s edge". In doing that, isn't the hex you're moving the new settler to 2-3 hexes away from the just-built city, where the Sanitation-settler started?
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Federali Aundy
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Kinley, I'd love to hear how the strategy works for you when you try it. There are still some Event cards that could set it back, but by and large it works pretty well.

As far as moving the Settlers go, I usually play three-player, so the movement might look a bit different if you are playing on a four-play map. On a three-player map I can move one Settler off to one side of my starting region through the mountain hex and then the other Settler through the other side through the desert hexes. I think the four-player map places the civs in the corners - but I'm sure you can work around this one way or another when moving the Settlers.
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Mark Papenfuss
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"Your results are back: it's negative"......um, is that a bad thing?
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Aubigny wrote:
Federali_Aundy wrote:
we're so used to selecting leaders that we made it a house rule that you could.

You're not using a house rule. You're using an official variant from page 12 of the expansion rules.


We use this OFFICIAL variant every time as well.
 
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Kinley Engvalson
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Got to try this out against a very aggressive Roman player. Egypt won with it, but we played with an expanded number of tiles for a 2-player game (Roman's request!), so it wasn't a perfect test.

Couple points where I deviated:
1. On Second Era, Turn Three, I realized that Cleo's card only allows one culture token to be placed in her city on a given turn, so I had to leave her around, and delay Imhotep an extra Era or two.

2. The specific course you set forth got sidetracked a bit also by Great Leader Event cards, and an Action Card ability to culturally influence Barbs.

Ended up barely holding off the Romans at the city gates! Worried that if we play with standard board, this particular player will be on the Egyptians too quickly.

Still, very cool scheme, and I'll try it again!
 
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scott parker
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I tried this Egypt strategy last night and it did prevent barbarians from spawning, but I did notice an error. You stated:
"Spend one idea and one food to RESEARCH Draft, gaining a mood token via Free Education"
Free education only provides a mood token if you replace both food with ideas or gold. You can't use any food. I checked the forums on this site to make sure and it confirmed that both food need replaced.
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