Into the Renaissance – Celts Strategy (Deity)
“Fight and you may die. Run and you’ll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies, that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”
How could I possibly start this post without embedding this video:
Braveheart was and still is one of my favorite movies. Also it fits perfectly well to my passion for history. Furthermore: There’s a character named Robert. Aaaand even better: While doing a little bit of research on the Wars of Scottish Independence just now, I learned: Robert the Bruce didn’t betray William Wallace!!! Quite the opposite: Robert I. (the Bruce) continued Wallaces war against the English and eventually succeeded: Scotland became independent in 1328 (speaking in Civilization: Around turn 78 😉 )
Never take our Freedom!
Unlocked: 29 Sep @ 7:57am
Win as the Celts on Emperor or above in the Into the Renaissance scenario.
And just as William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, Scotlands most honored national heroes, you’ll need to defeat England to win this scenario. Maybe there’s a way to co-exist with England, but they’ll grow more powerful than you will be, and eventually, just like in real history, they’ll come for you. The following post describes both my failed Deity attempts and the relatively straight forward Emperor play through granting me the achievement.
Edit: Encouraged by doing some research on Scottish history and by writing down the Emperor Strategy, I felt the urge to go for another – third – Deity game. And I made it! 😀 So I shortened the Emperor strategy in favor of a more extensive Deity guide.
The Celts on Deity – A story of failure
Here’s the short history of my 2 Deity attempts: To weaken England early, before they can amass loads of units, I founded Newcastle and declared war on England in turn 10 already. Fighting off the initial attack (they already start with several Swordsmen and three (!!!) catapults), I garrisoned the forest hills in middle England. Not killing enough units, they overwhelmed me in turn 40.
In my second Deity attempt I not only founded Newcastle, but also used the first Great General (from choosing the Honor Social Policy tree) to build a defensive citadel. England will continuously try to conquer and pillage that citadel, but the spot I chose is very defensible. So not only could I fight back all English attempts to march North, but I also chose to build 2 more citadels, advancing deep into England. Constantly killing English units, I first captured York and eventually London in turn 138. Later the Welsh Longbowmen bombarded Ireland, I captured my bridge head there and wiped out England.
Unfortunately all of that took way too long. I did not send any caravels west for Exploration Victory points and I also was unable to build an army to conquer Almohad cities (in modern Morocco). The fleet I sent there was just too little too late.
The Celts on Emperor – “Never take our Freedom” Steam Achievement!
So this is the basics of my Emperor playthrough, granting me the “Never take our Freedom!” achievement. I shortened it down to this in favor of going into detail later in the Deity guide.
Research and Social Policies
Guilds -> Machinery (Welsh Longbowmen) -> Civil Service -> Metal Casting (Workshops and Ironworks) -> Theology -> Education (Universities!) -> Astronomy -> Exploration -> Navigation
I researched Exploration in turn 129 and managed to get VP for 4 of 5 expeditions, so 1.000 VP overall.
Adopt Tradition -> Legalism (free Amphitheaters) -> Adopt Honor -> Free General + Melee production -> Double XP -> Culture + Happiness from city garrison -> -33% upgrade costs + Happiness from defensive buildings (completing the Honor tree, gaining Gold from kills).
Playing on Emperor gives you a 2nd settler right from the start, so no need to go for Liberty straight away. A mistake in retrospective.
Build order and Chronology of Conquest
- Edinburgh: Worker, 3x Pictish Warrior, Work boat, Pictish Warrior, Lighthouse, Pictish Warrior, 4x Crossbowman
- Newcastle: Watermill, Market, National Treasury, Barracks, Crossbowman
Nottingham and York fell in turn 70 and 78. London in turn 83. I settled two cities on Ireland in turn 79 and 90. To keep the money flowing (getting Gold for kills from the completed Honor tree), I attacked France in turn 103. The first cities fell quickly. Paris in turn 142 even granting me VP, because they converted to Protestantism.
Taking the (French!) coastal cities in Spain and Portugal, Lisbon (Muslim) fell in turn 165. After that I turned on the Almohads, capturing their coastal cities in turn 167, 169, 170. It was a long way until Marrakech (189) and by then my fleet had captured Italy more out of boredom than necessity.
Alba gu bràth – Winning as the Celts on Deity
With the AI usually having a head start in everything, go and select Liberty! Go for a free Settler immediately (Republic -> Collective Rule), then head for the free worker (Citizenship). You start with worker 1, so that’s 2 already. There’s probably other first choices that will work, too, but choosing the Liberty tree is the best way to:
- be able to found your 2nd city immediately and speed up settler production
- improve the land around Edinburgh quickly without having to build another worker
After that – stop with the Liberty tree! I adopted Tradition and went for Legalism (turn 35), giving my first 4 cities a free Amphitheater! This boosts your culture a lot, allowing you to adopt new Social Policies every 12th turn, instead of every 18th. Whenever a city better not grow anymore, due to your empires (un)happiness, use the specialist slot in the Amphitheater to produce more culture.
War with England
First Steps – The case for Liverpool
To be able to defeat England as fast as possible, you’ll have to make sure, out settle the most and the best land on the British Isles. Now: How to do that when England starts with 3 (!!!) settlers? After my 2 failed attempts, I dare say: Liverpool is the answer. Found the city exactly on the spot you see in the picture below. In this scenario a new city can’t be founded within 3 tiles of another city. Founding Liverpool right there makes sure after York, England can’t found any other city on Great Britain – neither West or South-West of it, nor at the East coast. If you’re lucky – and you need to be – England will send Settlers north at the East coast, where they’ll wait dumbfounded because they can’t settle. Block them with your Swordsmen, to make the way to Ireland as loooong as possible. If you can spare some money – buy a tile right in their way.
The build order reflects the need for an army big enough to defend against England, but small enough not to drain your economy.
(founded turn 4)
(founded turn 12)
(founded turn 23)
|1. Settler (Dublin)||—||—||—|
|2. Worker 3||1. Market||1. Work Boat||—|
|3. Settler (Oban)||2. Worker 4||2. Work Boat||—|
|4. Composite Bowman 2
(purchase the 1st with Faith)
|3. Walls||3. Worker 5||—|
|5. Pictish Warrior 1||4. Pictish Warrior 2||—|
|6. Composite Bowman 3||1. Work Boat|
|Turn 31 (Turn 30: England declares War)|
|7. Pictish Warrior 3||4. Walls||2. Work Boat|
Infrastructure and Movements
The worker builds a road directly from Edinburgh 2 tiles SW to the coast. This will shorten your way to found Dublin by at least 1 turn, because your (2nd) Settler can embark in the first turn, move 3 tiles on water and disembark in the second turn and found Dublin in the 3rd turn of its existence. Meanwhile your first worker continues to build the road down to Liverpool. From there, as long as the English are peaceful, build at least 1 more road further SW (heading for York).
Once your first Swordsman has done all he can blocking English Settlers: Embark, move around England and meet France. As soon as possible you’ll need to bribe France into war with England. But we’ll come to that.
Never take our Freedom – War with England
England declared war on me in turn 30. By then I had 4 cities, 2 Pictish Warriors and 1 Swordsman, 3 Composite Bowman (one of them bought with Faith – make use of your religion here!). That initial army will have a hard time defeating the English onslaught. But it worked. Remember: Always keep your melees garrisoned (and healing!) and shoot catapults first! Usually one melee attack (the first with a fresh unit) brings a catapult down to 30% HP. Finish it with one city bombardment and a bowman.
Liverpools position also helps a lot! There’s no place England can maneuver – you’re protected by hills to the SW and by forest, a river and grassland between it. You can fire all across the hills and the grassland, so no catapult should be able to fire (more than once) at your city. Unless your unit is at about 80HP (healing 20 each turn) always use promotions to heal in this state of the game.
Turning the tables – Conquering England as the Celts on Deity
Most likely England will have built a city on Ireland as well. Go for that city first. You can’t afford units landing in your back, while marching into South England. Strategically well placed roads can help bringing units from Edinburgh to the Irish battlefield in only 2 turns. This is essential, since you’ll lose a unit every 2 turns and it needs to be replaced! I razed Nottingham (turn 51-53), because its position would have allowed one more city at the west coast of Ireland. In fact England even sent a Settler there while I besieged Nottingham. Bottom line you don’t want more than 2 cities on Ireland, to not drain your economy.
In terms of Social Policies: Complete the Honor tree next. Start with the free Great General and then go for double XP.
With your units returning from Ireland and the reinforcements produced in the meantime, press on York, which always will be at the location of Bristol (I wonder why I never renamed it…). A citadel helps a lot and in this game I even built only 2 citadels, where on Emperor I had built 3. One more spare Great General to play with later. York fell in turn 78, overwhelmed by melee attacks and several Composite Bowmen. In turn 83 I made peace, demanding Hastings (at the tip of South England). It would be a pain to conquer, because the land doesn’t allow bombardment and on land only 1 melee unit can attack. I normally raze it.
Ten turns later, I declared war on England again. Some of my Composite Bowmen had been upgraded to Welsh Longbowmen, some Pictish Warriors to Pikemen. London got captured in turn 99, only 16 turns later than in my Emperor game!!! Speaking of Welsh Longbowmen:
The Celtic Unique Units
|Pictish Warrior||Welsh Longbowman|
|The Pictish Warrior has 2 key advantages: It earns you faith once you kill an enemy unit. Didn’t happen too often for me as I mainly defended with them, but it might be a nice bonus taking out some enemy archers or catapults (without endangering your Pictish Warrior). The second treat is: Pillaging doesn’t cost a movement point! So you can for example move an injured Pictish Warrior into enemy land (with a worker), pillage a farm, repair it, pillage it again (healing 50 HP!) and still attack an adjacent enemy! Unlike the “earning faith” ability, pillaging without movement costs stays with the unit even while upgrading to Pikemen.||The Welsh Longbowmen, just like their English pendant come with a range of 3. This is incredibly powerful when besieging enemy cities. Your Celtic special archer is a bit weaker (16) than the English colleague (18), but has another ability in exchange: “Ignores Terrain Cost.” The Welsh Longbowmen can move through hills and forests and still fire!|
The Celtic Unique Ability – Braveheart
Combat bonus (+20%) when fighting units from a civilization with more cities than the Celts.
A nice and very useful trait! This ability might not be very helpful early on against England, as they won’t have more cities than you, if you get everything right. But it will be of tremendous help when conquering the Almohads (or whatever other religious war you fight) later!
Technological Research – The Celtic Expeditions to the Americas
Once the war against England goes reasonably well, you’ll need to build Libraries in all your cities ASAP! The libraries actually aren’t the important thing itself – building the National College in Edinburgh is! So time your libraries well – no reason to have it in one city, while the others lack behind 15 turns. Here’s my Research order and the turns I got those techs:
- Guilds – improving your economy early on is important. Especially some trading posts next to river tiles are helpful.
- Civil Service (turn 57) – Pikemen are nice, although it means you can’t build Pictish Warriors anymore.
- Machinery (turn 82) – upgrade your veteran Composite Bowmen to Welsh Longbowmen for the siege of London!
— ignore Metal Casting! It’s not essential right now!
- Theology (turn 89)
- Education (turn 101) – switch ALL CITIES to build Universities immediately! In your high production cities you can finish the current project first, but the low production cities should switch right now! Why is this important? Once you have a University, set the city to Science focus, so you got some scientists working in the University. This will speed up the next techs:
- Compass (turn 109) – by now you should have all your Universities and set all cities to Science focus. A research agreement back from turn 78 (with the Netherlands) finished in 103, helping to research Compass in only 8 turns. So don’t waste the money from your England-conquest – invest it wisely!
- Astronomy (turn 120) – Once you start researching Astronomy – start building University of Oxford. But DO NOT finish it before finishing Astronomy! Ideally it should finish the very next turn, so you can choose:
- Exploration (turn 121) as your free technology!
Getting Exploration this early should give a quite high chance to score the full 1.500 VP for Exploration. Immediately (like really really immediately) start building Caravels in your 5 most productive cities. Switch all cities to production focus, de-prioritize all other projects. In parallel: Research Metal Casting next and as soon as that’s done: Buy workshops in all your cities to even more speed up production of Caravels.
- Caravel 1 – scoring 500 VP in turn 133, built in turn 131 in York
- Caravel 2 – scoring 400 VP in turn 135, built in turn 133 in Dublin
- Caravel 3 – scoring 300 VP in turn 135, built in turn 134 in Cork
- Caravel 4 – scoring 200 VP in turn 137, built in turn 134 in Edinburgh (and had to sail all around Scotland)
- Caravel 5 – scoring 100 VP in turn 138, built in turn 136 in Liverpool
I was surprised to already see a French Caravel on the Atlantic Ocean. France didn’t score though, so it seems the AI uses Caravels solely to explore and then “accidentally” scores. This is quite likely for Spain and France, since they will explore the unknown area between Spain and the border of the map.
After scoring all Exploration VP, I researched first Metal Casting (building workshops and Ironworks) and then Navigation. Seaports tremendously improve production in your coastal cities!
Never take our Freedom – Operation “African Liberation”
Right after conquering London, embark your units into the English Channel. Buy open borders with France if necessary, and move your units towards Africa. Take most of them. Only leave the weakest (or not upgraded Composite Bowmen) as garrisons in your cities (for Happiness and Culture). The timing should be okay: Soon after that you’ll research Compass, allowing for faster embarked movement and to finally cross ocean tiles. The army I shipped South consisted of:
- 3 Swordsmen
- 3 Welsh Longbowmen (2 of them already veterans with Logistics)
- 3 Pikemen (former Pictish Warriors)
- 2 Catapults (which were useless, because the heavily fortified Moroccan cities already killed 1 Spanish Trebuchet per turn – Catapults wouldn’t stand a chance)
- 1 Horseman
I had arrived in Northern Africa in the late 110s. Positioning my units around the first Spanish city, I could place 3 Longbowmen in a way all 3 could fire on Granada. And so the war started in turn 121! Problem was: Spain also attacked the Almohads at that time. This is both blessing and curse. It’s nice to have someone help you, deal with the Moroccan fleet etc. But also it’s a threat to the goal: We need to capture those cities to score victory points – Spain must not score!!!
With your Welsh Longbowmen, bomb the Almohad cities. Always bring only one unit close enough to capture it. You might need to hold back fire, so Spain won’t capture cities between two of your turns. I was able to capture all Almohad cities, even those besieged by Spain. In case of Seville this was very very lucky and only a well placed horseman could capture a bombed out city.
- Granada 7 – 175 VP
- Seville 11 – 275 VP
- Kabis 7 – 175 VP
- Tenerife 10 – 250 VP
- Marrakech – 18 – 450 VP
Until Marrakech, the Almohad cities gave me an overall 1325 VP so far. That was only in turn 157. So there were plenty of turns left in which I advanced further into the heart of Almohad Northern Africa. Without any further naval conquest by Spain, they were no competition anymore.
Making peace shortly before the end of the game, Ya’qub al-Mansur of the Almohads offered me four cities with an overall population of 53!!! Getting cities this way does not grant VP, but at this point it was only about maximizing the score, which 50+ more population definitely do.
Bonus Campaign – Celtic North Sea
In turn 147 I signed an Open Borders treaty with the Netherlands. Over the next 10 turns they started moving dozens of units into the Atlantic Ocean and amassed a giant fleet right at my coast. I got scared, so I built some more Longbowmen and Privateers, to protect my cities. I forgot who declared war, but eventually we went to war in turn 169. The next turns took hours with me capturing as many Dutch ships as possible:
With capturing all those ships, you’ll soon exceed your unit allowance (supply). For every unit you own more than your supply provides, your production is decreased by 10%!!! The limit for this is (minus) 70%. Don’t worry about it: From here on, you’ll get money from kills (so you can buy new units in Africa) and your fleet anyway grows every single turn. At one point I exceeded my supply by 50+ units!
Once you have captured or sunk all Dutch ships, heal them (Sea Beggars can heal outside your territory!) and turn them against the Netherlands! With a fleet this size, supported by some Frigates (built with Iron from Northern Africa) you can easily seize all of the Dutch cities at the coast of the North Sea. In my game they were even Protestant, so I got Victory Points for all of them:
- Antwerp 16 (captured turn 186) – 400 VP
- Amsterdam 26 (captured turn 191) – 650 VP
- Rotterdam 25 (captured turn 192) – 625 VP
- Groningen 19 (captured turn 195) – 475 VP
- Haarlem 16 (captured turn 195) – 400 VP
The overall 2550 VP from Dutch cities pushed my score in turn 200 to over 8000! My conquests in Northern Africa and the Netherlands made my empire the biggest of all nations in this game of “Into the Renaissance”.
Never take our Freedom (Deity) – Conclusion
As of the “Messages” tab of the winning/statistics overview this game took me 13 hours, 55 minutes. Of course that doesn’t include loading, saving, a little bit of back and forth here and there. Probably it’s been rather something like 20-24 hours of play time just for the final, successful Deity game. Together with the successful Emperor attempt and two failed Deity attempts this have been about 80 hours play time! By now I can say “Into the Renaissance” is the scenario with the highest depth of gameplay so far! Even better than the Scramble for Africa. 200 turns give you plenty of time to identify with your empire. While the first 50 seem to crawl by, normally they are crucial to later success. 50-150 is mostly build up, while the last 50 turns are purely warfare.
Even in warfare there are huge differences between civilizations and the way you play: Some civilizations rely almost solely on land war (like the Turks for the Mehmet the Conqueror achievement), while others tend to be 90% naval warfare. The Celts are a nice mixture between both: Your navy will only be defending your Celtic homeland and (and maybe later goes on the offense). Meanwhile you’ll have a good share of land war in Morocco, mostly fought with a small pack of veterans. The final map on the right represents that quite well: All conquest in Norther Africa took about 80 turns. The conquest of most of Germanys and Denmarks coast on the other hand was a thing of only 20 turns.
Also: Making the “Never take our Freedom” Steam achievement is an incredibly rewarding experience. That was on Emperor though. Finding a way to repeat it on Deity difficulty, especially after the first failed attempts, makes it even more special to me. This probably is the reason, why in this post I included 3 images of the Main menu, highlighting the fact, that this was really really Deity difficulty.
I hope this provides a bit of help, should you struggle with this Steam Achievement. If you have any questions or comments – post them below!