Scramble for Africa Germany Strategy
Unlike the other European nations in this scenario, Germany clearly starts with weak preconditions: While Portugal, France and England already have huge colonial empires, Germany has only two cities. Italy can use it’s mainland for production and Belgium colonizes the Congo in a rush using river steamers. The Scramble for Africa Germany Strategy is maybe the most specific of my guides so far. I’m not sure whether it allows many variations that lead to victory.
In a nutshell
Here’s the Dos and Don’ts for playing Scramble for Africa as Germany:
- Do NOT let yourself be surrounded by Belgium
- Do NOT go for the happiness tree first, but choose the discount on unit and tile purchases
- Never open your borders to any other European
- Build two corridors: One to the south to get the longest rail line, one to the east to march on Ethiopia
The first steps playing Germany in Scramble for Africa are a balancing act between getting your economy up and producing enough settlers to complete the longest railway. As already explained in the Italy Deity strategy and in the Rhodes Colossus steam achievement guide having the longest railway is crucial for coming out of the scramble victorious.
This is how I managed the balancing act:
- Turn 1
- Set cities to production
Swakopmund produces a settler, Douala produces a cargo ship
- All troops head east: The settler from Douala heads east with protection – you need to get your 3rd city ASAP blocking Belgium as good as possible. The riflemen from Swakopmund need to stop the English settler(s) from coming too far north. You can’t block them on open land though. Since you’re not at war they can (using their 2 movement) just walk “through” your units. You have to block rough terrain (hills, forests etc.) where settlers can’t pass easily.
- One worker from Douala builds a lumber mill, the other a railroad east, same does the one from Swakopmund.
- All your Brandenburg Class gunships head south towards (and around) the Cape of Good Hope to make contact with all City States at the African east coast. If it’s cheap – get open borders with England or Portugal, but do NOT GIVE them open borders!
- Set cities to production
- Turn 3
- Your 1st trade route Douala -> Agadir compensates your loss of GPT (caused by setting cities to production).
- Douala builds Ironworks next. This takes about 8 turns, but it’s totally worth it, because the earlier you leverage its production boost the better!
- Turn 4
- Found Yaounde somewhere east, maybe a little south of Douala. I had to reload this – I wanted to go 1 tile further, but then Belgium had founded a city too close.
- Do NOT let Belgium surround you! Buy some tiles if necessary and in budget. Remember cities first expand towards resources in range – so if there’s spices or bananas or dyes in your way you need to get these resources. Not for the sake of the resources, but for not being blocked by Belgian borders.
- Yaounde builds another worker – you need to get some railroads started to be on par with Belgium’s unique ability – they can walk along rivers at 1 movement cost!
- Turn 11
- Douala finished Ironworks and builds an explorer (time to scout the land). Put a cargo ship in the queue.
- Swakopmund has finished its settler (took a little longer due to unhappiness) and also builds a cargo ship.
- By now in my game, Belgium had founded a city about 5 tiles further east from Yaounde. This was the first time I doubted winning with Germany will work.
- Don’t waste time right now building plantations around your jungle cities in Kamerun – you need to get railroads beyond your newest cities, so the next settlers reach their destinations quicker!
Blocking Belgium and establishing the North-South connection
- Turn 13
- Using the railroads built so far, your Swakopmund-settler heads NE and founds Lome which immediately starts a worker.
- Yaounde finishes its worker and starts a water mill, if it’s at a river. If not go for amphitheaters.
- Turn 14/15
- After Swakopmund finishes its cargo ship (which brings production to Douala) build another settler (9 turns).
- Turn 17
- Douala has finished the explorer who goes scouting and a cargo ship which brings production to Swakopmund.
- Douala starts the next settler which should take about 4 turns.
- If you’re slowly being surrounded by Belgian cities – have your workers build railroads both NE of Yaounde and SE – The southbound track goes towards Sokoto eventually, while the northbound track heads towards the city states of Bornu and Segou.
- Turn 19
- Lome finishes the worker and starts an amphitheater. The worker of course joins in building a railroad north and/or builds one or two improvements on the (hopefully) near luxury resources to deal with the happiness problem.
- Turn 21
Douala finishes the settler and squeezes in another cargo ship. After that – queue in another settler. Your newest settler heads south as the Douala-Swakopmund (north-south) railroad has highest priority! Try to position your new city so you can buy tiles to connect to Yaounde AND nobody can settle between you and Sokoto.
- Yaounde finishes the water mill and builds an amphitheater.
- Turn 23
- Douala finishes the cargo ship (#4) and builds the next settler.
- Swakopmund finishes the 2nd settler in the south. It heads north past Lome. Again: Search for a position between Lome and Sokoto, so nobody else can build there.
- I now started building a Brandenburg Class in Swakopmund. Don’t do that! It’s total waste!!! I’ll talk about that later…
- Turn 26
- Douala finishes the 2nd settler in the north and builds the next cargo ship. Send this settler somewhere between Bornu and Segou. If you’re lucky, there’s 1 or 2 spots to found a city (3 tiles away from other cities in every direction).
- Meanwhile your 1st northern settler should have arrived somewhere between Yaounde, the Belgian cities and Sokoto to found Bagamayo (build order: worker, amphitheater, bank).
- Turn 27
- From then on Douala builds only cargo ships until you have all 7/7 trade routes.
- Your 2nd southern settler closes the gap between Sokoto and Lome by founding Bamenda (build order: worker, amphitheater, bank).
- Turn 29
Your 2nd northern settler founds Windhoek in the space between Bornu and Segou. This closes the gap between you and Ethiopia. You need to have a broad front to bring in enough units to overwhelm Ethiopia.
So it’s been 30 turns and here’s what we got: We’ve built 1 explorer, several workers, all 7 cargo ships, Ironworks, 4 settlers, which is all it takes to complete the longest railway from somewhere in the north all the way down to Swakopmund.
Germany was the only European I played where I did not go for the happiness tree first. As it’s crucial to block Belgium you need to buy some tiles. Your tiny economy doesn’t yet support spending loads of gold on tiles, so you have to get them cheaper! So my first social policy for Germany playing Scramble for Africa would be the discount on unit and tile purchases. After that come the two happiness policies and last the first policy of the combat tree. You certainly won’t get more than four policies with Germany as you just don’t get enough culture.
The rest of the game – conquering Ethiopia
In my game the other Europeans were pretty aggressive towards the African nations. The Ottomans only survived until turn 9. Morocco died in turn 42, the Boers and Egypt had been defeated in turn 47 and Portugal captured the last two Zulu cities in turn 51. Of course the conquest of the Boers, Egyptian and Zulu cities grant your European enemies additional victory points (VP) for capturing great artworks. All in all – it wasn’t going well for Germany.
Here’s the log of my game. You will see I tried to capture Suez with my Brandenburg-class, declaring war on Egypt. I failed. Italy’s unique unit is just so much more powerful, so they got it. My war with Egypt brought me one Egyptian city when making peace though. This extended my rail line and there were 2 artifacts in city range, but other than that the outcome of the German-Egyptian war was limited.
1 – Italy and France declare war on the Ottomans
- 2 – Tunis falls
- 4 – found Yaounde
- 5 – Portugal and England declare war on the Boers
- 6 – bribe Portugal against the Zulu, so the Boers can resist longer
- 7 – Tripoli falls
- 9 – Benghazi falls, annihilating the Ottomans
- 10 – France, Portugal and England declare war on Morocco
- 13 – found Lome
- 21 – Italy declares war on Egypt
- 23 – England declares war on the Zulu
- 25 – France captures Agadir
- 26 – found Bagamoyo and Italy captures Alexandria
- 27 – found Bamenda and declare war on Egypt, trying to capture Suez (for bonus VP)
- 29 – found Windhoek
- 31 – Italy captures Suez (Egypt), France captures Rabat (Morocco)
- 33 – England captures Pretoria (Boers) and I made peace with Egypt getting Kassala
- 37 – England captures Ulundi (Zulu), France captures Fez (Morocco)
- 41/42 – France captures Marrakesh and Casablanca, annihilating Morocco
- 43 – found Ujiji
- 47 – England captures Bloemfontein (annihilating the Boers), Italy captures Khartoum (annihilating Egypt)
- 51 – Portugal captures Nobamba and Umgungundlovu annihilating the Zulu. This early in the game Ethiopia remains the only native African civilization.
- 55 – marry Bornu
- 61 – Belgium declares war on Ethiopia
- 62 – England and Portugal declare war on Ethiopia
- 67 – marry Sokoto
- 73 – marry Segou
- 75 – I declare war on Ethiopia
- 77 – capture Gondar
- 83 – capture Adwa, which is taken back by strong Ethiopian forces
- 84 – capture Adwa and Bunkeya (which Ethiopia had taken from the English)
- 88 – capture Lalibela
- 92 – capture Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa
- 93 – capture Harar
- 96 – capture Aksum, taking the lead in score
You’ll see the first turns in the war with Ethiopia have almost no effect. This is the time when their big army meets your big army (consisting 60% of the units from bought – pardon me – married city-states). The only way to overcome this “impediment” is by having railroads all over your territory, so you can move units out (dying ones, cavalry) and units in (fresh ones, more cavalry) quickly. Furthermore this allows you to move cannons to hills and fire in the same turn.
Conquering Ethiopia is a necessity, because you not only need the victory points for population and land – you may also need the VP for artifacts buried in their territory and the VP you get for capturing their great artworks.
Unique unit and unique power
While as for most other civilizations in the Scramble for Africa scenario either the unique ability or the unique unit are useful. When playing Germany (on Deity difficulty) neither of them is:
- Unique unit: Brandenburg Class – These battleships are more powerful than the usual gunships, but hey: You won’t use them! It’s nice to have some ships to make contact with the city states on Madagascar and meet Zanzibar and Mogadishu, but that’s it!
- Unique power: Gunboat diplomacy – Germany gains 9 additional influence per turn with City-States you could demand tribute from. City states also do not become upset by your intruding units. The second is pretty useful in the first turns. The first one (free influence!!!) sounds awesome, but is useless. Mainly because overall military power is measured in comparison to all other civilizations. While you’re building your economy, these other civilizations pump out units like crazy! You will never have a military strong enough to gain influence. In the entire game it worked for me once – in the very beginning when I moved all my Brandenburg Class to Mogadishu I gained 9 influence. One turn later I wasn’t powerful enough anymore.
Playing the Scramble for Africa as Germany on Deity is incredibly challenging facing all the disadvantages listed above. For me it was one of the closest games in Scramble for Africa, since Ethiopia only got destroyed in turn 96. Unlike most of the other nations I wouldn’t play it again though, because it’s been a really close call even creating the rail line, with Portugal and Belgium settling all around you. Nonetheless: I finally did it! This satisfaction was totally worth it and I hope this Scramble for Africa Germany Strategy guide can help you get the same satisfaction!
If you have a different strategy for playing Germany – share it in the comments!
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