The Rhodes Colossus Steam Achievement
First of all: Why is this Steam Achievement called “The Rhodes Colossus”? It’s named after British Colonialist Cecil Rhodes, who wanted to establish an electrical telegraph line from Cape Town to Cairo in 1892. To picture this historical reference, see the befitting cartoon published in the Punch magazine.
Now while he wanted to establish a telegraph line, we need to build a railroad through the entire continent. This Steam Achievement is pretty challenging on Deity difficulty, but please note that it does not require Deity difficulty! If you’re new to this scenario or want to increase the likelihood of making the achievement you might not want to play this on Deity. For playing on Deity you should read the general notes on scenario setting in the Ottoman Carpentry Steam Achievement Guide. Anyway you can consider this post a strategy guide for beating the Scramble for Africa scenario playing as England on Deity or just get some hints for making the Rhodes Colossus Steam Achievement on a lower difficulty.
The British Start – First Steps
The most important thing right from the start is getting your economy off the ground. In the capital I usually build a stable (because there’s 3 pastries around Cape Town) and Ironworks, followed by Heroic Epic. Once you have Heroic Epic sell the barracks in Western Africa. You’ll never build a single military unit there.
In those western cities (incl. Gibraltar) build cargo ships and optimize for gold. Speaking of it: In Freetown buy the Iron and Gold tile before France gets it! Promise him to never buy land near him again (you won’t do it anyway). Once you have established the most profitable trade routes, usually with Algiers (Morocco), build amphitheaters. Then head for happiness buildings, banks and stock exchanges. Control city growth here – you need to expand a lot and don’t want population in these cities to eat up your happiness.
Move ALL Ships of the Line down to Cape Town! The one from Gibraltar needs a while, but you’ll need all three! Use the riflemen for early scouting and build 1-2 explorers between the aforementioned buildings.
Call to arms
Once you have boosted Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, build some units. With your 3 riflemen from the start you’ll need about 2 Gatling guns and a rifled cannon to take out the Zulu. A cavalry comes in handy as well.
There’s two main challenges whilst making this achievement. It’s things you can only marginally influence, but yet they have tremendous impact on your chances of victory:
To build a railroad north you have to own a corridor of land through the entire continent. This is particularly difficult since north of you are the Boers and the Zulu and north of them both Portugal and Belgium will quickly settle the land.
The second fact is that Egypt is god damn far away from your production centers. I can even tell you how far: About 56 hexes! That said you have to make sure Egypt survives as long as possible. If Italy declares war on the Ottomans in turn 1 or 2 you need to do something. Bribe them against Morocco or whatever. Also I experienced when Italy is at war with Egypt but didn’t conquer the Ottomans before, it never attacks the Egyptian cities. However: Make sure you are the one to conquer Egypt. Trade with the Northern Africans at the start to help and support them.
Strategy and time line
Below you’ll find the strategy guide together with a detailed description of the game I played. Here’s the main points in a nutshell:
- use your workers – build the railroad directly at the front line, build more (rail)roads to support tactical maneuvering of your units
- if the enemy is strong – bribe them to war with someone else, distract his troops and back-stab them ruthlessly
- settle the land efficiently – using the maximum space between cities and buy tiles between them (both to connect and to block other civs)
Bribe Portugal against the Zulu. This needs to happen early (I did it in turn 8), since the Zulu have really weak units and can’t compete once Portugal built its military.
Once you built some units and your first two Ships of the Line have arrived, go to war with the Zulu. I declared war on them in turn 17 and captured Ulundi in turn 18. Naval bombardment helps against any units the Zulu have left from their war against Portugal. Be careful though: Portugal must not take one single Zulu city!
Start building two settlers between turn 20 and 30 and finish the Zulu quickly. I took Nobamba in turn 25 and Umgungundlovu two turns later, destroying the Zulu. By then my explorer saw a Portuguese settler walking through the countryside north of Bloemfontein. Fortunately a barbarian must have gotten him! Never take out barbarian encampments unless they directly threaten your cities! Every barb is a chance to intercept “enemy” settlers.
You should have open borders with the Boers to move your settlers north of their cities. Don’t attack them yet, but bring your units in place – in the south the Boers are your only remaining opponent.
Interlude: Meanwhile in the North
The North stayed relatively peaceful, so Egypt and Morocco declared war on me (turn 22)! As all trade routes should go to Morocco, this would cripple the economy. Should that happen to you: Reload and declare on Egypt. Morocco might not declare on you without partner.
The Clock starts ticking
In my game France and Italy declared war on the Ottomans in turn 31. To make matters worse the Ottomans and Morocco declare war on me in turn 33. Should that happen: Re-route your trade routes. Most of the highly profitable ones will still start in Freetown – take care not to send them to Lisbon or Algiers to avoid pillaging by Moroccan ships.
The Ottomans (unless played by you and me) don’t stand a chance against Italy. Tunis falls in turn 33, Tripoli in turn 38 and Benghazi in turn 45. I was lucky Italy signed a peace treaty with the Ottomans in turn 51 after capturing Tobruk.
Sooner or later someone will declare war on the Boers. In my game Belgium and Portugal did so in turn 34. I like to let the Boers live longer to capture their artworks, but I had to declare war on them myself, too. With my units already in place Bloemfontein falls in turn 36. As soon as possible: Found your next city (Mombasa) north of Bloemfontein.
Cities can only be founded 4 tiles away from other cities. Make use of this! You have only two settlers but they should be enough to bridge the distance between the Boers northern city (Bloemfontein) and the city states north and east. I founded Port Sudan in turn 38, leaving no space for other cities between me and the city states.
Once you built the railroad this far, chances are good you will make it! Ally with Zanzibar and Mogadishu (priority 1) and Bunkeya (priority 2) as soon as your economy allows. I was making about 360 to 400 Gold per turn (GPT), so Zanzibar joined me by marriage in turn 52. There’s nothing more to do for your military in the south once Pretoria falls. All your units – including railway building workers – should now be heading towards Mogadishu.
I was lucky Egypt declared war on Ethiopia entirely without my help (turn 50). If that doesn’t happen for you – bribe either one against the other! Do it, even if it’s expensive!
First I wanted to bypass Ethiopia through the Horn of Africa, where I captured a Moroccan city (Tangier, turn 55). Then Egypt declared war on me, even while being in heavy battles against Ethiopia already!
In turn 56 Ethiopia conquered a first Egyptian city (Kassala), it’s reconquered by Egypt 2 turns later, but falls to Ethiopia again. Shortly after that I took Asyut, an Egyptian coastal city at the Red Sea. The coastal railway was too narrow to support all my units heading for Egypt. So I bribed Belgium against Ethiopia (turn 58), brought my units in position and declared war on Ethiopia (turn 59).
Adwa (turn 60) and Kassala (turn 64) fall quickly. Head your navy further north, buy some more ships if it’s well within your budget. Egypt defends ferociously! Nyala, another coastal city, was conquered twice (65, 67) and Aswan was liberated two times! Only in turn 74 could my ground forces support the navy and secure it.
The offensive against Ethiopia went smoother than usually, as it was already weakened. Lalibela (turn 67) and Addis Ababa (turn 68) fell quickly and I could “sue for peace” in turn 71. Try to use situations like this: Demand the strategically best city or the one with the most defensible position. For example cities surrounded by forested hills are incredibly hard to conquer, as your artillery can’t fire across them! I demanded Axum only for the sake of my happiness: The Source of Nile was in its range, granting me +10 happiness!
Egypt struggled once I took Khartoum and Suez and Italy captures Alexandria (turn 71). The noose is slowly tightening on Cairo, which finally falls in turn 76! With the front line immediately enhanced with railroads (!) “The Rhodes Colossus” automatically unlocks when the turn ends!
So you’ve got the Rhodes Colossus Steam Achievement you wanted. Why continue playing? I kept on because I wanted to win the Scramble for Africa scenario on Deity with every single civilization. Here’s how it ends:
With your military dominance the last two Egyptian cities should fall quickly. So far and with only one city left, Ethiopia had still had the lead in score. With one citadel supporting the siege and all units in place it takes only two turns (83, 84) to capture Gondar and wipe out Ethiopia. Now, although not required for this Steam Achievement, you should be first in the ranking and on your way to victory!
In the northwest Morocco was still alive and kept on insulting me. By now I made 1100 GPT, so I bought armory and military academy in Gibraltar and bought one Ship of the Line (promote with Bombardment I and II = +66% against land units) and one rifleman per turn. Four turns later I declared war on Morocco and bombarded the Morrocan cannons directed at Gibraltar, rifleman performed amphibious attacks. Fes finally fell in turn 99.
On Deity difficulty (once more: not required for the achievement) one needs to go for the happiness tree first. If you then take care of improving all your luxury resources, trade some with the AI and ally with some city states, happiness shouldn’t be a big problem anymore.
After that go for the first tree – combat strength against cities helps against Egypt and Ethiopia. Later, with your fourth social policy, the free courthouses will be a nice bonus. If you built enough culture buildings you will get the fifth social policy in time to buy some land and improve your score at the end.
If you check out my Steam Achievements you will see that I achieved “The Rhodes Colossus” already nine months ago. I was playing Scramble for Africa the first time then. I was confused by the scenario and played England on a low difficulty. So it’s not hard to make this achievement, but bringing in the England Deity challenge changes the game a lot! It needs a little luck and (of course) lots of skill 😉 but going for the Rhodes Colossus Steam Achievement is big fun! Try it yourself and share your experience in the comments!
If you found this strategy guide helpful, please like it or Google+1 it and help spread the word! Also, you can download the initial savegame here: England-AutoSave_Initial_0000-AD-1881-January.Civ5Save