Civilization 5 Into the Renaissance Scenario Strategy and Achievement Guide

Into the Renaissance Steam Achievements

The Into the Renaissance Scenario for Civilization 5 lasts 200 turns from 1095 AD to 1595 AD. The first 100 turns span 3 years each, whilst the second half of the game progresses in turns of 2 years, totaling in the 500 years it took Europe from the High Middle Ages into the Renaissance. The Into the Renaissance scenario comes with 12 playable civilizations and 6 mostly challenging Steam Achievements. Read about some of these achievements in this post and get an overview of the Into the Renaissance strategy guides for the harder achievements. Further below you’ll also find general advice on this scenario.

Before you get cracking on Into the Renaissance Strategy guides, you might want to have a look at the Into the Renaissance Map.

Maybe you already have all scenario specific Steam achievements and want to win the scenario on deity difficulty with all nations? Scroll down and dig through the Into the Renaissance strategy guides for playing on deity difficulty.

Renaissance Man

Renaissance Man Steam Achievement

Unlocked: 12 Sep 2014 @ 9:24pm

Win the Into the Renaissance scenario.

This is the catch-all Steam Achievement for this scenario. You get it with your first victory, regardless the level of difficulty you play(ed) on.

Mehmet the Conqueror

Mehmet the Conqueror Steam Achievement

Unlocked: 8 Sep 2014 @ 7:40am

As the Turks, conquer Istanbul on Deity in the Into the Renaissance scenario.

There’s only one deity achievement for Into the Renaissance. Here’s the guide that will help you through: Into the Renaissance – Mehmet the Conqueror Steam Achievement Guide.

Never take our freedom!

Never take our freedom Steam Achievement

Unlocked: 29 Sep 2014 @ 7:57am

Win as the Celts on Emperor or above in the Into the Renaissance scenario.

The second achievement I did. I tried playing on Deity first (two times actually) and failed. Then I did the achievement on Emperor. When I started writing the Never take our Freedom Steam Achievement Guide I got motivated to try one last time on Deity difficulty and succeeded!!! So the guide linked concentrates on Deity – what works there, will definitely lead you to victory on Emperor. It also briefly describes the earlier failed attempts and what to do better.

Reconquista Who?

Reconquista Who Steam Achievement

Unlocked: 5 Oct 2014 @ 11:42pm

Win as the Almohads on Emperor or above in the Into the Renaissance scenario.

I did this achievement on Deity difficulty as well. It works and after playing with the Turks and the Celts, knowing the tactics, the dos and don’ts, it wasn’t particularly hard anymore. The essence is: Although it’s tempting and the land is good: Don’t settle Africa! Settle Spain instead and give the Spanish a hell of a fight! Africa will wait for you. Read more about it here: Reconquista Who? Steam Achievement Guide!

Richard the Lionheart

Richard the Lionheart Steam Achievement

Unlocked: 18 Oct 2014 @ 7:55pm

As England, conquer Jerusalem on Emperor or above in the Into the Renaissance scenario.

This one seems like “Never take our Freedom” in reverse. This time you play England and have to take out the Celts. But it’s much harder! Mainly because you can’t prevent them from surrounding you and need to press on them early, only to conquer Great Britain. Also: It’s not enough to just conquer cities following Islam – it has to be the holy land! It has to be Jerusalem. Of course you can “cheat”, chose a random Europe map and hope for Jerusalem to be where Antwerp or Cologne are, then play on Emperor and make the achievement. But hey: Where’s the challenge? Here’s how I did it on Deity difficulty: Richard the Lionheart Steam Achievement Guide

The Yokes on the Mongols

The Yokes on the Mongols Steam Achievement

Unlocked: 2 Nov 2014 @ 3:56pm

Win as Russia on Emperor or above in the Into the Renaissance scenario.

Woah! The heaviest achievement so far. Even harder than most of the Scramble for Africa achievements. Why? Because even on Emperor, where normally things go easier, this one was incredibly hard! How to get this achievement you can read in the Yokes on the Mongols Steam Achievement Guide.

Into the Renaissance General Strategy

On things you can’t control

With the Into the Renaissance scenario being 200 turns long a lot of things can happen. Some things are just not in your power to influence. There’s a balance of power that can shift in your favor or against. I played this scenario a lot of times and here are my observations.

Spain and the Pyrenees

The Pyrenees are the strategically important mountain range between Spain and France. Now if Spain settles at that mountain range and in Southern France, the French can’t access the Iberian peninsula anymore. They’ll send some settlers there nonetheless, but they won’t be powerful there. The entire Iberian peninsula will be Spanish.

This makes Spain incredibly powerful: Improving their economy, research etc. They’ll probably have a gigantic fleet, score Exploration Victory Points (VP) and conquer the Almohads (Morocco) eventually. Also there’s a chance they’ll be allied with most city states (CS) , preventing Austria from claiming those CS by marriage.

If France settles South of the Pyrenees, they will have longer and more resource intensive wars with Spain. Spain will be less, France will be more powerful. If France gets to have a port at the Mediterranean, they’ll also settle colonies in Africa.

You see: France and Spain rise and fall with control of one pass in the Pyrenees. A weaker or more powerful France or Spain might play for or against you, depending on who you play.

Austria and the City States

Austria has the unique ability to incorporate CS, which they have been allied with for 5 turns. Now if other nations struggle, Austria will do this with more and more cities. This weakens other nations again, as they won’t be able to benefit from the City States.

If Austria is your direct opponent: That’s bad. In my game with the Turks, I could bribe a powerful Austria against Byzantium – that was a good thing, as many Byzantine troops had been bound in the west, fighting Austria.

Luther’s Protestant Reformation

Now about 2/3 in the game (after build up and when wars and conquest start… the fun part) the Protestant religion is being founded in the City State of Wittenberg, Germany, where my girlfriend comes from. It spreads 7 times as fast as other religions and can have a tremendous impact on the game:

I’ve seen games, where Protestantism spread to the Netherlands and France and even converted them: This meant in my Deity game playing the Celts I scored many VP capturing Protestant Dutch cities. But it also gives Spain the opportunity to score points by capturing French Protestant cities!

In an extreme game I’ve seem Protestantism spread through most of central Europe and even convert Vatican City itself! But then again: If Wittenberg joins Austria by marriage before the reformation, they will relentlessly use inquisitors to stifle the reformation, so the entire continent stays Catholic.

Combat and Conquest

In normal games of Civilization research and technology play a much bigger role than in this scenario. This is both blessing and curse: While more and faster technological research makes warfare more versatile it also means strategy and tactics change frequently, depending on your and your opponents technological level.

The Into the Renaissance scenario is different: Both Pikemen and Crossbowmen will be the backbone of your military until the end. I always prefer Crossbowman, because they’re no melees and don’t need to move to attack. When the time comes and the economy can support loads of units, I mainly spam these. They also don’t need any resources unlike Longswordsmen or Musketmen or any mounted unit. The bigger empires (the AI!) will always have loads of those, because they’ll have resources in abundance. We have to make due with the little we have.

City capture

Normally when you capture a city, you’ll want to hold it. In the Into the Renaissance scenario, this might be different, too. If you move your capturing unit out of the city (most mounted units can do so in the same turn as the capture, as they can move after attacking), you might want to let the opponent capture the city again. Here’s why:

  • Capturing the city again the next turn gives XP to all your attacking (ranged) units.
  • If you want to raze the city (not unlikely in densely populated AI territory) what faster way than to decrease it’s size to 1/2 with each capture?
    A city of 30 (15 after capture) would be in resistance for 15 turns!!! Liberated by your enemy (7) and recaptured by you (3, always half and rounded down) will only revolt for 3 turns!
  • A city with an “enemy” religion will grant you VP on re-capture, while the opponent it belongs to doesn’t get VP (the religion will be his most likely).
    In the example of the 30-city above: You’ll get 750 VP for the 1st capture (30*25), 175 VP for the 2nd (7*25) and even if the city would be at 1 and goes back and forth between you and your enemy that’s a steady stream of 25 VP per turn.


In normal games it’s quite hard to get veterans with a dozen promotions. In this scenario this should be the rule if you want to be successful. Normally veterans, always fighting in the forefront get caught up between opponents newest, technologically advanced units and might not survive. Into the Renaissance ends technological research at… well… the renaissance! If you’re not storming the enemy lines in a mad rush, but wisely and carefully, you should be able to easily get veterans with all kinds of promotions! My normal promotion path – and I really follow this with every single unit is this:

Ranged Units   promotion-accuracy1Accuracy 1 (15% vs. open terrain) / Barrage 1 (15% vs. rough terrain) promotion-accuracy2Accuracy 2 (15% vs. open terrain) / Barrage 2 (15% vs. rough terrain) promotion-accuracy3Accuracy 3 (15% vs. open terrain) / Barrage 3 (15% vs. rough terrain) promotion-logisticsLogistics (1 additional attack = faster following promotions) promotion-rangeRange (+1 range = shooting without getting damage from enemy units) promotion-marchMarch (heal every turn)     In exceptional cases (unit with logistics being attacked in enemy territory) I grant the March promotion before going for Range.Melee Units   promotion-shock1Shock 1 (15% vs. open terrain) / Drill 1 (15% vs. rough terrain) promotion-shock2Shock 2 (15% vs. open terrain) / Drill 2 (15% vs. rough terrain) promotion-shock3Shock 3 (15% vs. open terrain) / Drill 3 (15% vs. rough terrain) promotion-marchMarch (heal every turn, especially important while operating in enemy territory) promotion-cover1Cover 1 (33% defense against all ranged attacks) promotion-cover2Cover 2 (33% defense against all ranged attacks) promotion-blitzBlitz (1 additional attack) Melees need March much earlier, simply to increase their chance for survival. Same goes for mounted units.  

You’ll see: Even while you’ll be the last one in the “People with the pointiest sticks” rating, the civilization with the smallest army, you’ll conquer empires! In that regard, I honestly believe the game shouldn’t count military strength for this rating (I think this is the sum of all combat strength values of all your units). What should count instead is the sum of all XP your units have gathered! Because in reality, 4 of your veteran crossbowmen with 250 XP each and 10 promotions make up for an enemy army of 20 units!

Into the Renaissance strategy for Happiness

Civilization 5 Into the Renaissance Strategy for Happiness Micro management
Micro-manage your local city happiness!

As I played all of my games on Deity (except for Russia, goddammit, that was hard!!!) happiness is always a problem. In the beginning your cities will have zero local city happiness and without luxuries already your 3rd city of 3 will drag your happiness rating below zero.

The only way to handle this is to really really micro-manage city growth. Also this is the main reason why I adopt the Tradition social policy tree. With Legalism as the first (or 2nd, however you count) policy there you’ll get a free Amphitheater in your first four cities (you’ll rarely have more in the beginning anyways). When you approach zero happiness, use this Amphitheater to slow down and finally stop your growth and benefit from it: Switch to manual specialist control, use the Great Artist slot in the Amphitheater (this will greatly boost your culture output) and set the city to production focus. Some cities might still grow. Fill your storage, but before the city grows, activate the “prevent city growth” check box.

Normally during the first few dozens of turns my cities don’t grow bigger than 3 or 4, the capital being an exception at 5-7 population. Once your first steps are completed (see build order in my Deity guides), build some coliseums (+2 local city happiness) and reactivate growth. Ideally enable growth the turn before the colosseum is finished. With coliseums in all cities – try to squeeze in the Circus Maximus (+5 happiness). That should help grow your cities to 5-6 and will boost your economy.

With Military Caste (the way I play, the 4th social policy in Honor) you’ll get +2 culture and +1 local city happiness for each city garrison. Later with Theaters (+3 local city happiness) you’ll be able to grow cities to 10-11 and that’ll be the maximum for most cases (again, with the exception of the capital – usually this is my production center and thus I always let it grow).

In the late stage of my Turkey game when I conquered half the map and eventually marched on Vienna, I had so many cities, that managing them was a cumbersome job. I even took notes, which city can support what population without draining my overall happiness. I counted the maximum happiness those cities could reach and let them grow to that size.


Protestantism is a blessing!!! In cities following that religion, shrines and temples suddenly provide +3 happiness!!! That’s great! +6 happiness per city, because you’ll have all shrines and temples anyway! It’s not only a big improvement for the game mechanic “happiness”, it also frees a lot of time: You simply won’t need to micro-manage that much.

Into the Renaissance Strategy Guides (Deity) ordered by score

The Into the Renaissance scenario intrigued me a lot since my first game. After a holiday in Turkey of which I spent a week in Istanbul, I got inspired to play the Turks in this scenario. After making their Deity achievement, I wanted to win this scenario with all playable civilizations – on deity difficulty! Here’s the overview and links to the Into the Renaissance strategy guides, I created up to now.

I also provided my initial save games so you can play the maps that I won. If that helps you, please Facebook-like or Google+1 this page at the bottom to help others find the page! Cheers!

Status: Achieved (Deity), 6055 VP

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa English Victoria

It shouldn’t be much harder to win on Deity playing England, than it is with any other civ. In my game however I conquered the holy land, including Jerusalem. Here’s how: Richard the Lionheart Steam Achievement Guide

Download my initial savegame: England-deity-AutoSave_Initial_0000 AD-1095.Civ5Save

The Ayyubids
Status: Achieved (Deity), 7121 VP


Good fun, scything through Turkey to finally get to some cities to score with. Also this game was the crusades reversed: The Ayyubids marching to Europe, not vice versa. Have a read through the Into the Renaissance Ayyubids Strategy guide (Deity).

Play the same game? Here’s my initial save: Ayyubids-deity-AutoSave_Initial_0000 AD-1095.Civ5Save

Status: Achieved (Deity), 7818 VP


This will be interesting, as Byzantium is really the most “surrounded by enemies” civilization in the entire scenario. In my game Austria was nice with me, so I only had to conquer Turkey: Into the Renaissance Byzantium Strategy guide (Deity).

Initial savegame is here as usually: Byzantium-deity-AutoSave_Initial_0000 AD-1095.Civ5Save

The Almohads:
Status: Achieved (Deity), 7944 VP


The good thing: It’s possible to win on Deity. The bad thing: It’s hard. Press on Spain early and you can defeat them. After that it’s easy to score big, because you follow Islam and the Iberian peninsula is an ideal starting point to conquer Catholic or Protestant (who cares?) France. Read more about it here: Reconquista Who? Steam Achievement Guide.

Download my initial savegame: Almohads-deity-AutoSave_Initial_0000 AD-1095.Civ5Save

Status: Achieved (Deity), 8276 VP


Playing Spain was tricky. Fun in the end, of course, but challenging, as many nations want to settle the land that is rightfully yours! Have a scroll through the guide here.

Here’s my initial savegame: Spain-deity-AutoSave_Initial_0000 AD-1095.Civ5Save


Status: Achieved (Deity), 8347 VP


I’ve never seen Maria Theresa convert to Protestantism, but playing her, that was the first thing I did. Playing Austria was a lot of fun. Without the pressure of getting an achievement I played much more lightheartedly. Here you can read about it: Into the Renaissance Austria Strategy guide (Deity)

Download my initial savegame: Austria-deity-AutoSave_Initial_0000 AD-1095.Civ5Save

The Celts
Status: Achieved (Deity), 8503 VP


You’re being trapped on a tiny little island together with an overly powerful England. Here’s the detailed Never take our Freedom Steam Achievement Guide!

Download my initial savegame: Celts-deity-AutoSave_Initial_0000 AD-1095.Civ5Save

The Ottomans
Status: Achieved (Deity), 8785 VP

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa Ottomans Abdul Hamid II

My first game of “Into the Renaissance”. Quite intense game, some failed attempts, but successful at last: Mehmet the Conqueror Steam Achievement Guide.

Download the initial savegame: Ottomans-deity-AutoSave_Initial_0000 AD-1095.Civ5Save

Status: Achieved (Deity), 9882 VP

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa French Jules Grevy

Religion: Catholicism, likely to convert to Protestantism. France was a wonderful game! Lots of social policies, lots of Happiness in the long term. Read here how I felt like the Sun King!

Here’s my initial savegame: France-deity-AutoSave_Initial_0000 AD-1095.Civ5Save

The Netherlands
Status: Achieved (Deity), 13016 VP


Religion: Catholicism, likely to convert to Protestantism. Finally, as the second to last civilization I’ve finished this scenario playing the Netherlands. Read how I overcame Austria in the Into the Renaissance Netherlands Strategy guide (Deity).

Also: Here’s the initial save: NL-gold-horses-2silk_AutoSave_Initial_0000 AD-1095.Civ5Save

Status: Achieved (Deity), 14679 VP


Maybe the hardest achievement in this scenario. I had difficulties even beating it on Emperor. That might have been due to my ambition to not live in peaces with the Mongols, but to annihilate them, but who knows… Here’s how to put The Yokes on the Mongols. After giving it one more try (the 3rd) on Deity, I finally won with Russia on Deity as well. Because that was quite special to me, I created a dedicated Into the Renaissance Russia Strategy Guide (Deity).

Download my initial savegame: Russia-emperor-AutoSave_Initial_0000 AD-1095.Civ5Save

Download the DEITY initial savegame: Russia-deity-AutoSave_Initial_0000 AD-1095.Civ5Save

Status: Achieved (Deity)


Sweden outranked Russia in terms of attempts. With no other civ have I needed more tries to succeed. In the end no defensive strategy worked. Sweden has to go big like few other civs in order not to be cornered by the Netherlands, Austria and Russia. Soon more on my successful approach AND playing Sweden until turn 300+ to conquer ALL CITIES on the map.

Initial savegame coming soon.

4 thoughts on “Civilization 5 Into the Renaissance Scenario Strategy and Achievement Guide”

  1. If somone is struggeling with the “Yokes on the Mongols”, here’s how I did it:

    Start with the national college in moscow, you won’t have time to build libraries in you cities at the start. And you need some techs quickly. Take liberty, the free worker and the +1 production, the next policy should come soon after, that’s another free settler.

    My first settler went far west, settling a city between Warsaw, Gdansk Riga and Polotsk. I stole ~ 3 workers from Polotsk for this city, later you can sacrifice them to Austria and retake them for influence. Next settle east, near the place the mongols will spawn. Make sure you get all unique luxuries and strategic ressources in range of your cities in the area, you will need them (Kosaks and canons, muscets, frigattes).

    Here’s how I did it:

    Rostow is the only city not next to a river I have settled and will settle, river tiles is your only way to get gold reliable in this game, since there are non trade routes in G&K. And your workers will be faster improving stuff, due to your ability.

    The mongols will turn up at turn 40 to 45. they will quickly spam cities, so be prepared. Don’t declare war right away, wait until you can snatch a settler or 2, even if you have to sacrifice a scout for it.

    I went civil service first, for faster growth in my initial cities, and then machinery, you’ll need crossbows against Keshik.

    AI usually is very bad at handling Keshik, just kill the ones in range, and other won’t harm you (AI can’t move and shoot, but it can shoot and move, prevent that).

    Don’t let the war get too long, I realized the mongols get a bunch of new units, workers and settlers every ~ 8-10 turns for free (they just appear next to their capital). This also explains their rapid expansion. This also means you have to wipe them out completely to make them nor threat in the game.

    The war may seem a bit useless, since you don’t get any victory points for it (mongols are atheist, or your religion, if theodora converts them), but it’s good training for your units. 80% of my crossbows had logistics after the war. Dschingis Khan doesn’t dissapear when you’ve killed him, you strangely can still talk to him and trade with him, but he has no cities, thus no gold and ressources. I thought maybe he would appear later with some more units and settleres, but it doesn’t seems so.

    Just raze all cities, you will go unhappy for a short time anyway. After the mongols were dead, all western civs declared war on me (except france), and also nearly all CS. Move your army west, and start killing Austria for points. I also did push into Sweden who settled some cities at the north west coast. Those wars are really fun, since your unique ability is so overpowered. You can move next to rivers like through flat terrain, even if it’s hills, forest, swamp. Combined with your 3 movement points for land units you can just move in your cannons, set up and shoot at the same turn, dealing insane damage. Or your crossbows with logistics can move in, shoot, and retreat or shoot another time. So good.

    I’ve filled out liberty and went for honor afterwards, the double xp is good, and later the +1 happiness from garisoned units is huge, all your cities can get “happiness neutral” this way, meaning they only cause the default 3 unhappiness per city and the population unhappiness is countered by local happiness.

    I am currently at turn 165, this is the situation a few turns ago:

    As you can see, the game is won, I just want to see how far I can conquer europe with that high promoted army. I bought tons of frigattes in the black sea and will attack the ottomans too. Maybe I will be able to take Kairo. The only thing I am a bit mad about is the fact that the protestantism religion just disappeared a few turns after it has been founded, since Wittenberg is pressured with ~150 by the surrounding catholic cities, and somehow Wittenberg wasn’t a “holy city” with natural pressure. I would have loved to buy inquisitors and missionaries, bringing the insane religion to my cities (so much production and happiness). I was just a few turns late, I captured wittenber while it was protestantic, but due to city resistance it swapped to catholic before I could buy anything.

  2. Hey there, I’m waiting on the Russia guide! I was planning to finish the Mongols quickly and then start harassing Suleiman for VP, but the Mongols are such a pain to finish, it takes me more than 100 turns!


    1. I don’t have much time at the moment and the Russia guide will be quite a big piece of work. Here’s a quick summary of what I did though: Contain them with your cities, so they don’t grow too big. Build your cities with 6 hexes between them, buy those 6 hexes, so they can’t pass. Survive their inevitable attack and make peace. Once they’re crippled, ignore them, finish them later. Instead: Expand west to contain Sweden and far south west towards Austria (leave a biiiig patch of unsettled land in the center, doesn’t matter).
      You’ll get your VP from some 3-4 cities from Sweden, 1-2 from Austria (BIG ONES) and I got most points from 6 Ottoman cities.

      All of that I did “only” on Emperor though. I’ve seen guides that suggested living in peace with the Mongols, but that would contradict “The Yokes on the Mongols” 😉

    2. I don’t like the idea of living beside the Mongols… they’re… not to be trusted! xP
      As I was playing (on Emperor) I was sending my initial settler down to the black sea and starting to develop both Moscow and down there. Also since I was playing on Emperor, the resources were quite abundant; I could afford to build 2 more cities in between while maintaining a decent happiness and a decent army for when the Mongols start to harass me. I started dealing everything possible with Theodora, but never agreeing with friendship because Maria Theresa would jump on me if I would do that, so Theo was my buddy and Theresa was a hater.

      After 30~ turns I’d have a pretty solid empire (though other civs would disagree) to win the game if I had cities of other religion around me, which I didn’t… but my St. Petersburg was by the Black Sea and gets quickly converted to Islam, which allows me to get Islam Missionaries, which I used to spread Islam to the Mongols which… I was planning to smash.

      It worked out very well except that the Keshiks are super fast; they run away super fast. Its very annoying. Wouldn’t it be for that I wouldn’t be writing this, I would be working on another scenario. But the Keshiks are FAST. I captured the cities, razed them, but their number only grow since they DON’T DIE. Its frustrating, they are too OP.

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