Walkthrough by killswitch19
Version: 1.6 | Updated: 04/07/2018
FAQ of the Month Winner: March 2018 | Highest Rated Guide
Table of Contents
- In-depth Strategy Guide for AIs & Challenges
- Overarching Principles
- Paths to Victory
- Game Length
- Political Actions
- Civil Actions & Military Actions
- Yellow Cards
- Military Units
- Blue Technologies
I have a preference for the Age A leaders that provide on-replacement bonuses as the age ends so quickly you can replace an expended leader quickly. As such I prefer Homer and Alexander strongly over other choices.
Julius Caesar ★
You don’t get Caesar for the 1 Strength but for the extra Military Action. Even still it’s only helpful if you can draw a key Tactic, and then hoping to draw some key aggressions. The dream of playing double aggressions to exhaust your opponent of defense cards is a rare event. Age I aggressions are so weak even when successful they’re not helpful enough. That said taking Julius Caesar doesn't cross any sort of Rubicon, you can replace him with an Age I leader quickly.
Happiness problems are completely solved for Age I with Homer. This frees up a Token for more Military Units or Urban buildings. But most importantly Homer’s ability carries on for the rest of the game. Obviously you need to pick up a Wonder to utilize this but that’s easy enough to do. Importantly you must replace Homer to get the Happiness bonus. If he dies from progressing to Age II you won’t get it.
For all the reasons producing too much food can be a bad thing, Moses’ effect is not that helpful. The problem of too many pips with nothing to do occurs frequently with Moses, and the threat of corruption is ever-looming with all that extra food.
Like having the Pyramids without having the Pyramids, Hammurabi’s extra action is excellent. While you do sacrifice a Military Action (and therefore usually a Political Action Card), the extra action is almost always going to be more helpful. When he dies however you’re back to 4 Civil Actions so have a contingency.
You can expect to get ~ 4 extra Science with Aristotle. It’s a nice, straightforward bonus. Unlike Resources, you can never have too much Science.
Alexander the Great ★★★★
Better than Julius Caesar in almost every way, Alexander is as great as his namesake suggests. The Strength bonus will stave off most aggressions in Age I, and the Extra Yellow Token leaves a permanent bonus that few Leaders offer.
Wonders galore seems like a surefire way to win, but it’s difficult to get the Resources required to build them all, let alone staving off Military aggressions. Not only that, but when Michelangelo dies you’ll have a hard time buying any other Wonders as the Civil Action cost will be astronomical. The alternative strategy is building lots of Religious buildings instead. This works but after Michelangelo dies you need a transition strategy, ie. Bach to upgrade those Temples into something more useful.
Joan of Arc ★*
I don’t like Joan. She requires too many techs to be useful (Temples, Theocracy) and those techs are bad to begin with. However if you can get the requisites and hold on to her early enough she can score a lot of culture all the while having a sizeable military. Just make sure you have a transition plan.
Leonardo Da Vinci ★★★★
Very straightforward leader, and one of only two Leaders that gives you Resources. Obviously you need Alchemy to make him productive, but his Science bonus and the Resource are incredible, needing no situational cards or strategies to utilize.
Genghis Khan ★★*
*If you have the Heavy Cavalry Tactic, Genghis Khan is bonkers. With just 3 Warriors you can have a Strength of 7! And if you get Swordsmen that’s up to 10 making you untouchable. This all but guarantees 20-30 points of culture as well. Great Wall is a great synergy with Genghis. Be careful replacing him as you can lose a lot of Strength with your Tactic.
Christopher Columbus ★★★*
*You need a strong Colony before picking Columbus. If you have that then he is amazing. Getting 2-3 Yellow Tokens to your supply without sacrificing units is fantastic. One of my favorite strategies is to take an Age A leader, pick Columbus up casually, and wait until Age II to actually use Columbus. Use his ability, then quickly pick an Age II leader to minimize the downtime of having no leader.
Frederick Barbarossa ★★*
Building cheap military is only so important. You need the food and Happiness to support them, and if you are just wanting military strength there are better choices. Where this strategy is very effective is with colonization. Being able to quickly replace troops you’ve sent to colonies is very efficient, particular when colonizing places with Yellow Tokens! *Pairs well with Navigation & Colossus.
William Shakespeare ★★*
Shakespeare is very situational, requiring that you pick up (the awful) Printing Press with the hope you’ll get him in Age II, or scooping up Opera and Journalism in Age II, researching both, and building both! It’s a ton of Science and Resources you need to pull it off, but *if you can get 2 pairs of these buildings up the Culture generation can be insurmountable.
James Cook ★*
Clearly only good if you have at least *2 colonies, and not as helpful as he seems for getting new colonies. The issue is getting the Military Actions to have enough cards to discard for the colonization bonus.
Napoleon Bonaparte ★★★★
The Legend. The Terror in the Night. They didn't add nuclear weapons to the game because they already added Napoleon. He’s good if you’re behind, good if you’re ahead, and good in all other situations. Giving at least 2 extra Strength, and often 4-6, whoever picks up Napoleon can kiss their Military worries goodbye. If it was just the Strength bonus that would be bad enough, but his +2 Military Actions makes Aggressions and Wars from him all the more likely. Being an Age II leader, the odds of massive Age III Culture Wars wrecking your end game is very likely. If you have a chance to take Air Forces before he gets his hands on it, I recommend you do so, even if you have no intention of researching it. If you draw Iconoclasm, play it ASAP to kill this guy, it’s his only counter.
Maximilien Robespierre ★★*
There are few things more satisfying than playing *Constitutional Monarchy effectively for free, but that’s what Maxie does for you. But as good as that is, he doesn’t offer much else. The extra Military Action is fine, but the lack of any culture production can hurt going into Age III. That said, the dream of Revolting Democracy for free can happen. Once you’ve done that though pitch this guy for someone else.
J.S. Bach ★★
Bach’s best ability is converting your crappy Temples or even Arenas to Operas for cheap.
Isaac Newton ★★
The extra Civil Actions from research is not as useful as Isaac’s counter part Da Vinci. The Science bonus is still nice and can incentivize you to pick up Scientific Method that you’d otherwise skip.
Albert Einstein ★★
If you’re behind in Science, Albert can help. However his Culture bonus is only scored if you have lots of Science. He's in this weird place where if you're behind on Science he'll give you more, but you need a lot of Science to utilize his Culture scoring.
Mahatma Gandhi ★★
The Culture production is below average for this Age, the real reason you pick Gandhi is because you are terrified of Napoleon. But his ability may not save you if you’re that far behind.
Charlie Chaplin ★★★
With 1 Movie Chaplin will generate 8 culture per turn. Given the low cost-medium reward, Chaplin is a good pick up that simultaneously solves any lingering Happiness problems that may have occurred in Age III.
Sid Meier ★★★★*
Not surprisingly you *need Computers to make this guy work, but when he works, man oh man, 4 Science and 3 Culture a turn in one structure you likely already have the prerequisite for is amazing. You may argue that Multimedia is almost the same thing, but it has an up front cost of 11 Resources, instead of simply upgrading Alchemy for a mere 4.
Bill Gates ★★★
If for whatever reason you didn’t get Coal in Age III, this can be a good Plan B. Obviously getting Computers is key. If you already have good production, Bill Gates is overkill and his end game culture bonus isn’t nearly as big as the other leaders.
Winston Churchill ★★★
While you can take him for the +3 Culture per turn, you really pick him to catch up in Military. And for that he’s a good pick, letting you easily upgrade your forces to respectability over a few turns.