Civilization 5 Conquest of the New World Scenario Native American Strategy

How to win Conquest of the New World playing a Native American civilization

First of all: The Native American strategies in this guide apply to playing on Deity difficulty. This means you’ll have a much easier time winning this scenario on lower levels of difficulty. I didn’t play on any difficulty other than Deity, so this guide is basically a log of several failed attempts including a summary of the things I learned at the bottom.

My first attempt failed after only a few hours when 2-3 French Conquistadores overran my little Incan empire consisting of not much more than the initial 2 archers and 2 spearmen. This one is not worth talking about.

Failed attempt #2: Playing the Aztecs because they generate Faith from combat

My location was north of the equatorial rain forest. This causes too early conflict with the Europeans, who easily captured my capitol. Fortunately 1 turn later I got my sixth social policy and chose “Horsemen of the Plains” granting me 6 free Comanche Riders. These are the only competitive units the Native Americans will have until very far into the game.

With them I was able to recapture Tenochtitlan every time. And I also captured all the treasures the Europeans generated so my Gold income was massive. In the end I had a reasonably sized army including some veteran crossbowmen, but all of that came much too late. Also the unmolested Inca had already outpaced everyone, because he was all alone in South America.

Failed attempt #3: Playing Shoshone because of their expansion ability

Deciding for a Native American civilization in Conquest of the New World isn’t easy. Next I wanted to try the Shoshone and indeed: When you want to settle vast land, denying it to other settlers (distance: 7 tiles, 6 tiles between two cities) whilst also getting the precious resources, the Shoshone unique ability is great. Newly founded cities automatically expand to the most precious resources close by. In this attempt I was in South America and saw almost no European military offense:

Native American Strategy Fail #4: Shoshone, same map, one more city

In above attempt I waged a draining war against the Iroquois in the South. This time, playing the same map (loading the initial save game) I settled south of the choke point, kept them at bay with a citadel and eventually conquered most of them. What helps tremendously is building the Texcotzingo Wonder in the capital, granting +4 Faith (2 VP per turn) but more importantly +6 Food, which will grow your capital like nothing else.

But even with the additional faith from

  • Tipis (+2 Food, +2 Faith)
  • Earth’s Bounty (+2 Faith from each Iron, Gems, Gold, Silver, Copper and Salt)
  • combat

I wasn’t able to keep up with them. I scored more than every other nation per turn, but France scored even more. Thinking about this, whilst being on a conference I had one great idea: Spending the initial Gold (2000 even on Deity) on allying with Cultured City States!

Failed attempt #5.1 and 5.2: Shoshone with 2 Culture City States in North America

I thought I won the jackpot: Finding a map with 2 Cultured City States, which I allied with immediately, and settling the 2nd city next to Cerro de Potosi (+10Gold and spawns treasures randomly). This made me grow quite strong quite quickly. My neighbor the Mayans got quite angry and attacked me with a looot of units.

In my second try of this map I immediately declared war on the Mayans, keeping them at bay. Unfortunately I soon had to realize that my priorities were off: It was still North America so eventually the Europeans came for me. With 2 Conquistadores, France captured a city in one turn and I abandoned this game.

Native American Strategy Fail #6: Not blocking all the land

Conquest of the New World Native American Strategy Shoshone fail 4 - War with Europeans
War with Europeans

Next attempt: Nice land, potential for gaining a lot of Faith from forests later. Unfortunately the land was too vast to cover so my relations with the Europeans were really bad. They allied my City States and declared war on me. Not much one can do in this case.

Failed attempt #7: Too early war with neighbors

Conquest of the New World Native American Strategy Shoshone fail 5 - War with Aztecs
War with Aztecs

The Aztecs somehow couldn’t compensate being next to me. Honestly: I think the AI playing as Aztec is intent on waging war, because of them gaining Faith from combat. Bad luck if they pick you. Also I again violated my principle and settled in North America, because the land was great and I had 2 Cultured City States. Just don’t do it.

Native American Strategy Fail #8: AGAIN not blocking all land

What use is El Dorado, when your land is so easily accessible and you leave one (just one!) tile free? My peninsula was nicely landlocked by 2 City States (one of them Cultured), but I could be surrounded by navies. Also France was conquering all Iroquois already in turn 50…

Failed attempt #9: Things out of your control

Sometimes even many cities on great land can not guarantee victory. In this game, the Europeans were all too dominant in the west with no AI Native being able to slow them down. In a game like this mostly Frances score increase tremendously every single turn with a human player being unable to close the gap.

The many maps I’ve tried

There’s several other criteria that influence success of failure of you playing a Native American civilization in the Conquest of the New World scenario:

How easily can the Europeans reach the Pacific? If there are many access points then they can in no time bring ships to your backwaters in the West. A huge disadvantage.

How easily can the Europeans make contact with (your) Cultured City States? Every bit of culture they get on top only gets them to reach advanced Social Policies faster, which in turn weaken your position.

How much resistance do the other Native American AI players pose? If they’re lost quite early — not only will the Europeans by stronger, but they will also come for you earlier.

How many islands are there off your shores? The more cities the Europeans can settle that are not even accessible to you, the stronger their presence in the Americas.

Conquest of the New World Native American Strategy Maps
Several Maps I started playing, but didn’t continue


Conquest of the New World Native American Strategy

Here’s the summary of my experiences with this Civilization 5 Scenario in a condensed form:

  • Don’t even play a game where you’re in North America
    This is vital for the Native American strategy: In the North the Europeans will come at you too early, in a time where the land is not settled. They’ll gain a foothold that quickly is stronger than your capital. Oh and they want your land.
  • Block all the land
    Cities can only be founded leaving 3 spare tiles between one and the next city. So you’ll found cities within 6 tiles from each other. This is the only way to use up all the land and denying it to other civs.
  • Play maps with 2 Cultured City States
    Without their culture boost you’ll get Comanche Riders too late. You’ll need all those valuable Social Policy bonuses for defense, happiness and faith.
  • Settle as few cities as possible at the coast
    Coastal cities are weak to defend. The Europeans will come with Privateers and Frigates and will capture your coastal cities within 1-2 turns.
  • Bribe the Europeans to War with each other
    The best tip playing the Native Americans: Take everything you have in doubt. The last luxury resource, whatever it takes. The longer they wage war against each other, the better for you.
  • Once you have Comanche Riders, declare war on your neighbor! Why?
    First: Because the Europeans will like you much more if you’re also at war with one of their enemies.
    Second: To train your Comanche Riders (don’t lose a single one of them).
    Third: To generate faith from combat with the religious Pantheon you’ll chose.

Following these 6 points I was successful playing Conquest of the New World as the Shoshone on Deity. Good luck to you, fellow Indian! Leave a comment and let me know how it goes! 🙂

2 thoughts on “Civilization 5 Conquest of the New World Scenario Native American Strategy”

  1. I haven’t tried deity yet but would it be possible to drop trade routes to leech science from a european? While they are warring with someone else of course. Afaik trade routes between civs will also slightly deter war.

    1. Hey Jaguar Man, good point!
      Indeed trade routes with the Europeans boosted my Science +100% playing as the Shoshone on Deity. Still coastal cities post a risk. I’d only advise this whilst being in South America.

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