Into the Renaissance Russia Strategy (Deity)

Into the Renaissance – Russia Strategy (Deity)

So. This happened. I defeated the Mongols on Deity Difficulty. Whereas I described in The Yokes on the Mongols how that was virtually impossible, I now succeeded. Encouraged by writing the blog post about the victory on Emperor (but the failure on Deity) I decided to give it one more try.

Part 1: Land Rush and Defense

Chapter 1: Settling to contain the Mongols

Civilization 5 Into the Renaissance Russia Deity City Map
Russia’s expansion on Deity

Quick recap – I’ve tried and failed playing Into the Renaissance Russia on Deity twice:

  1. First I concentrated on good cities and economy and wanted to wage early war with the Mongols
  2. Second I blocked their spawn area completely, which only caused them to spawn elsewhere

Now in this Deity attempt I went for the (in retrospective) obvious way:

Block the Mongol spawn area not completely. Key to success is placing your cities so they can still spawn. But none of their settlers must escape!

On the right you can see how I placed my cities.

Especially in the early stage of the game, money is important. Use your luxury resources!!! I sold everything I could to Europe. Every spare luxury I sold to the Netherlands, Austria (at the start), Byzantium, the Ottomans (at the start). Once I met the Celts and Ayyubids I even traded with them. Most of them were friendly until the late game. With this great (friendly) relationship 1 luxury resource gives — depending on the era — 143G, 165G or even 200G.

Use this money to buy land and improvements. Mainly tiles near the Mongols. Ideally do this before they spawn, so you don’t get the relationship penalty and provoke an earlier war.

Chapter 2: Initial Build Order, Social Policies and Research

Without immediately going for Liberty the settling strategy wouldn’t work. You’ll need the free settler immediately. The ability to build more settlers faster is incredibly valuable for Russia, since there is plenty of land yet to settle. Going for Honor quickly after that is required to deal with the Mongols.

  1. Liberty
  2. Republic – +production in cities
  3. Collective Rule – for a free settler plus bonus on producing settlers
  4. Tradition – (turn 5) for more culture in your capital
  5. Legalism – (turn 18) for 4 free culture buildings in your first cities
  6. Citizenship – (turn 27) for a free worker and faster improvements
  7. Representation – (turn 40) less culture for policies and GOLDEN AGE 1
  8. Honor – (turn 49)
  9. Warrior Code – (turn 60) for an early General +production bonus on melee units
  10. Military Tradition – (turn 74) for +50% XP for all units
  11. Meritocracy – (turn 88) Happiness for city connections, also finishing Liberty granting a Great Engineer
  12. Discipline – (turn 103) +15% bonus for melees flanking each other
  13. Military Caste – (turn 116) Happiness and Culture from city garrisons
  14. Professional Army – (turn 130) Happiness from defense structures and decreased upgrade costs

The above is the social policy part for the first two thirds of the game. In the last third, I headed for Commerce (141), Trade Unions (152), Mercantilism (164) and Protectionism (172), bringing me from 20 Happiness 🙂 to 58 Happiness 🙂 again.

The initial build order shows the early focus on expansion and then military units to cope with the Mongol threat. Also I realized: The weaker you are – the earlier the Mongols will attack. They will grow stronger no matter, but as you’ll mainly fortify your units in defensive spots in your (friendly) territory, every unit of yours is precious!

Moscow St. Petersburg
(turn 7)
(turn 32)
(turn 40)
1. Scout
2. Scout
3. Worker (4-9)
4. Worker (9-12) 1. Worker
5. Temple (12-18) 2. Walls (16-23)
6. Settler (18-26) -> Novgorod 3. Krepost (23-29)
7. Settler (26-33) -> Rostov 4. Composite Bowman (29-33)
— Monastery — (27)
8. Composite Bowman (33-36) 5. Composite Bowman (33-36) 1. Walls (32-42)
9. Pikeman (36-40) 6. Composite Bowman (36-40)
Units… 7. Composite Bowman (40-43) 1. Walls (40-50)
8. Market (43-50) 2. Krepost (42-50)
9. Market (50+) 2. Krepost (50+)


The research path is quite straightforward: Civil Service (for Pikemen, turn 35), Guilds, Machinery (for Crossbowmen and faster movement on roads in your vast empire, turn 91).

After this I went for Physics, Steel, stole Economics from the Netherlands (turn 101) and headed for Education and Humanism (turn 143) and built loads of Opera Houses to create Hermitage in Moscow.

The Mongols declared war on me in turn 52, which was challenging, but could be handled. The units accumulated until then managed to fight them off. The main goal in this phase of the game is to intercept most if not all of their settlers.

The Mongols can not build settlers but get reinforcements (several units plus 2-3 settlers!) every some turns:

  1. spawn in turn 40
  2. reinforcements in turn 50
  3. turn 60
  4. and turn 70.
  5. They still got reinforcements in turn 85 and
  6. IIRC in turn 100

With every batch of reinforcements they also received settlers. You have to defeat (intercept) them! Overall I intercepted 6 Mongolians settlers. Only two settlers slipped through my lines, founding cities south of my blockade of the Mongolian capital.

On top of war with the Mongols both Sweden and Austria declared war on me in turn 57/58. The Ottomans joined this effort in turn 67. At this point I was desperate: War with 3 major powers whilst having still the thorn of the Mongols in my back. I did not see one single Austrian or Ottoman unit.

Sweden even captured Yaroslavl from me. I liberated it in turn 74, granting my first 75 Victory Points (VP).

Austria agreed to making peace in turn 81, giving me 250G. The Mongols made peace with me as well, handing over Samarquand!!! The timing couldn’t have been better: In turn 92 Austria sent more settlers east. Fortunately I could declare war in time to intercept these settlers, too.

Chapter 3: Defeating the Mongols

After declaring war on the Mongols together with the Netherlands in turn 127, I fought off their army. This time there was no peace. In turn 136 I attacked Old Sarai in full force, with all I had, and captured it one turn later. My first 375 VP.

New Sarai fell one turn later, 138, granting another 275 VP for their population of 11. This was the end of the Mongols.

Chapter 4: Further Expansion and Troubles with Europe

The initial cities all had only one single goal: Contain the Mongols. Further Russian expansion on this level of difficulty has only one goal, too: Grabbing as much land as possible and denying settlements to the other civilizations. I’ve founded:

  • Yaroslavl (turn 57)
  • Yekaterinburg (turn 83)
  • Yakutsk (turn 95)
  • Vladivostok (turn 96)
  • Smolensk (turn 120)
  • Orenburg (turn 140)

Global Politics

On the bigger picture I got really lucky in this game: The Ayyubids and Ottomans declared war on Byzantium in turn 83. In turn 122, shortly after the first Austrian offense ever (4 units), France declared war on them in turn 125 and they focused on that. Even though France and Austria made peace in turn 149, it still prevented them from amassing huge armies. The very moment I made peace with Sweden in turn 127 for 1.000G, I declared war on Mongolia.

In turn 156, right after my offense started getting stronger, both the Netherlands and Sweden declared war on Austria. This was the best that could happen: All my opponents were now in constant wars with each other:

  • Austria waged war with Sweden in the North, Netherlands in the West and Byzantium in the South
  • Sweden waged war with Austria
  • The Ottomans waged war with Byzantium
  • Byzantium waged war with the Ottomans in the East, the Ayyubids in the South and Austria in the North

Part 2: Russia’s Great War vs. Sweden, Austria, Ottomans

In turn 151 I captured the first city from another civilization than the Mongols. At this point, I was strongly behind in Victory Points, not convinced I could ever win this. In the final 49 turns of this Deity difficulty game I captured 28 cities of opposing religions, that’s about 3 cities every 5 turns!!!

  1. Turn 151 – Adana, 10 – 250VP
  2. Turn 161 – Bodrum, 4 – 100VP
  3. Turn 166 – Feldkirch, 14 – 350VP
  4. Turn 166 – Marsin, 10 – 250VP
  5. Turn 167 – Linköpping, 16 – 400VP
    — Austria asks for peace (500G, 11GPT)
  6. Turn 170 – Malmö, 18 – 450VP
  7. Turn 170 – Amasya, 8 – 200VP
    — Steal Chemistry, build Cannons
  8. Turn 173 – Sinop, 7 – 175VP
  9. Turn 173 – Skara, 20 – 500VP
  10. Turn 174 – Traun, 25 – 652VP
  11. Turn 177 – Lödöse, 14 – 350VP
  12. Turn 177 – Waidhofen, 2 – 50VP
  13. Turn 177 – Trabzon, 5 – 125VP
  14. Turn 179 – Växjö, 18 – 450VP
  15. Turn 180 – Antalya, 15 – 375VP
  16. Turn 180 – Polotsk, 7 – 175VP
  17. Turn 182 – Turku, 22 – 550VP
  18. Turn 182 – Amstetten, 19 – 475VP
  19. Turn 184 – Diyarbakir, 12 – 300VP
  20. Turn 186 – Eisenstadt, 18 – 450VP
  21. Turn 187 – Ankara, 22 – 550VP
  22. Turn 189 – Riga, 16 – 400VP
  23. Turn 189 – Aleppo, 21 – 525VP
    — Incl. Notre Dame
  24. Turn 190 – Vantaa, 18 – 450VP
  25. Turn 190 – Villach, 18 – 450VP
    — Preventive war vs. the Netherlands (Great General at Maastricht, east of Warsaw)
    — Applying Order, boosting Happiness 🙂 from 41 to 75 🙂
  26. Turn 192 – Denizli, 15, 375 VP
  27. Turn 192 – Bursa, 13, 325 VP
  28. Turn 197 – Erzurum, 7 – 175VP
  29. Turn 197 – Mugla, 20 – 500VP
  30. Turn 198 – Jyvaskyla, 198 – 250VP
  31. Turn 198 – Strängnäs, 198 – 425VÜ
  32. Turn 198 – Innsbruck, 198 – 350

The population of those cities altogether was 406! Imagine: 406 population!!! In the Into the Renaissance scenario this grants you 10.150 VP!!!

Into the Renaissance – Russia (Deity) – Conclusion

What an incredible satisfaction: After failing several times with this, putting the Yokes on the Mongols on Deity is a great feeling. Not only that: With Russia’s vast land and cities basically only working bonus tiles, I was able to build the Civilization 5 Into the Renaissance Russia Deity Expansionstrongest economy ever on Deity. I had almost all luxuries, keeping Happiness 🙂 at such high levels that frequent Golden Ages were guaranteed. This enormous empire came with a price though: Overall playtime was 22 hours and 44 minutes 😉

This led to the highest score I ever got in this scenario: 14.679 !!!
Even normalized, in the overall highscore list it was a record Augustus Caesar score of 22.240.

Actually with the first failed approaches in the Yokes on the Mongols blog post I was on the right track: You have to contain them early. I only didn’t really know how. Now this post is the recipe for doing it right, which makes this very post a nice conclusion to all the Into the Renaissance scenarios.

Bonus Content: Social Policies and Happiness

Civilization 5 Into the Renaissance Russia Deity - Social Policies
Social Policies & Happiness

People keep asking how to support Happiness in such a vast empire. Bottom line it’s a combination of social policies and city micromanagement:

  • no city grows larger than 10, or later with Theaters 12 (stop city growth in the city screen)
    • I made an exception for Moscow and St. Petersburg and allowed them to grow to 15 / 16
  • Aristocracy in Tradition grants +1 Happiness for every 10 citizens in a city (so growing from 9 to 10 has no negative impact on Happiness)
  • Military Caste in Honor grants +1 Happiness for a garrisoned unit – so make sure there’s a unit in each city!
  • In this scenario Professional Army still grants +1 Happiness for each Wall and Castle
  • Applying Order grants +1 Happiness per City
  • Meritocracy grants +1 Happiness per City connected to the Capital
  • Colosseum and Theater grant a combined +5 Local City Happiness

The above means an accumulated +11 Happiness in a city. So the only negative impact (on Happiness) in a city of 11 comes from the penalty for # of cities and potential specialists in those cities. For cities with Horses you can build a circus and they can grow even +2 more!

If you buy Cathedrals, that’s +1 more Happiness, so one more step you can grow your city. On top of that Protectionism in the Commerce tree grants +2 Happiness for every Luxury resource. In the late game of Into the Renaissance Russia that meant more than +70 Happiness from Luxury resources.

9 thoughts on “Into the Renaissance Russia Strategy (Deity)”

  1. I tried it on deity and succeeded with a totally different approach. Because the Mongols don’t have any religion when they were spawned, having early contact with them usually does not earn you any victory point at all, which is very undesirable. So, following this thread of thought, I waged war to the catholic city states and civs in the west very soon, while completely ignoring land in the south. I did not even send a scout there. As a result, the mongols only discovered me around turn 80. At the time, I have already built up a huge empire that consists of a large chunk of the east Europe, earning 3000 VPs in the process. The Mongols and I did not have wars until turn 117 when he irritated me by continuously trying to have settlers in between my cities and cut my road connection. I conquered two of his cities that have converted to Catholicism and had a peace treaty with him within 20 turns. After that, I either ask other AI to declare war with mongols or ask the mongols to declare war with others. At the end of 200 turns, I accumulated a score above 22000 VPs.
    For policies, I went for honor right after I got to meritocracy. After I completed the honor tree, I went for commerce.

    1. Woah! Nice! And what an impressive score — thanks for sharing your approach! 🙂

  2. Hello again! I achieved yokes on the mongols on Deity recently. After reading all the responses about the guide, I wanted to share something during my game.
    1. the most interesting thing I found is that we can prevent Mongols to join the game within affordable cost. The capital of Mongols-Old Sarai will spawn at 40 turn with other Mongols units, but the location of Old Sarai is fixed to some extent. It is supposed to located 4 tiles away from the west edge of the map on the 24th row(the first row is the northern edge of the map), and it need a blank two-tiles-length hexagon to locate. Any unit or other civilization’s tile will make the location change to the other even row(2~34 row, Old Sarai can locate at 34 row even there is mountain!). I build two cities on the north and produce 5-6 scout to destroy all the potential locations. After that, 40 turn comes and Mongols does not appear! I want to confirm this fact and hold on to 71 turn. Mongols disappear from the game and probably for ever! Sounds like cheat right? So I do not use this strategy to get the achievement.
    2. Well I just want to suppress the development of Mongols by building a city near Old Sarai while I found the fact above accidently, because in that game Old Sarai is located only 3 tiles away from my third city-NOVGOROD ( the location break the city-found-rule that 2 cities must be 4 tiles away from each other ). Before 40 turn I get warrior code and move the great general to NOVGOROD to build a Citaldel. I left no cities and settles to Mongols before 56 turn with great battle damage and then make peace with Mongols. Mongol will never receive any reinforcement and disappear from the game in another sense.
    3. the strategic resources-horses and iron are important to Russia(for COSSARK and cannon). Unfortunately I found no iron before 120 turn. I already lose the count of Trebuchets destroyed by enemies even I set up a unit to pull hatred. So, try to collect iron and horse before you want to fight.
    Have a nice day!

  3. Here’s how I did it:

    Pick up Liberty and get the free settler immediately on your first turn. Train 4 more settlers and send them progressively towards the Baltic states.

    Avoid moving south. The Mongols won’t get frisky with you if they don’t know you’re up there, and won’t usually send a scout until around turn 50.

    Send a small force to the North Sea coast to stop Sweden from settling there until you’re ready to fight them.

    Bolster your defenses around all of your cities with a couple of units. As soon as the Mongols discover you, bribe Theodora and the Turks to war against them. This will keep them off your back until you’re ready for them.

    Austria will generally declare war shortly after discovering you, often with Sweden (if you haven’t already begun kidnapping his settlers). Fight off their initial wave while continuing to fully develop your main cities.

    Start pushing out into Poland’s cities until they beg for mercy. Don’t accept a surrender until they’re offering a hefty sum. Alternatively, accept any surrender if your Swedish front is being overrun.

    Start attacking Sweden’s cities until they are pushed off of the mainland. They should eventually offer a nice surrender. Disperse your forces along your vulnerable western borders.

    Eventually the Mongols will get frisky with you, but by this point you’re a powerhouse and should be able to readily repel and eventually crush their cities. As they are typically converted to Catholicism, you get great points for this.

    All going well, you’ll be easily 2.5x the score of the nearest computer. Victory!

    1. Hey Robert,
      great to see there are alternative approaches to this tricky as hell game on Deity.
      Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    2. I’ve recently completed deity with the Swedes as well. I figured you’d like to hear my strategy:

      Pick up Liberty and get your free settler. Settle north of the Baltic states at a suitable spot (start all cities with a library). Train a settler in the capital and set your city to production focus. Send your swordsman with the settler and send your worker to improve a luxury resource. Start researching civil service then metal casting. Save up all of your gold except to bribe and purchase key tiles.

      Grab your free worker and send him to the first city. Settle the next city East at the best suitable spot, but not too close to Russia or she’ll declare. Make sure this city is on a hill and defensible. Bring your swordsman along, and train yet another settler.

      Settle your final city south of your capital somewhere nice. This will be your final city. Each city will want to get a library up first, then a market, then a barracks. The exception is the city closest to Catherine, which should train a bowman and then walls first. Slot in workshops as soon as you can.

      Once you’ve completed liberty, take a great scientist and pluck it by your capital somewhere. Diplomacy-wise, you’ll eventually meet Austria, Russia, the Netherlands, and Byzantium. Austria and the Dutch will want to declare friendship with you: Avoid this, as it will prompt Russia into declaring war on you, and we don’t want that yet. Making trades favorable to Russia will help keep her off your back, as well as declaring friendship with Byzantium. The other two won’t like it, but will still remain friendly.

      Pick up Tradition and grab aristocracy to speed up the production of your national wonders, starting with your heroic epic and then national library in the capital. Other wonders can be trained in other cities as needed. You should be heading towards banking then machinery for crossbowmen. After this, grab education for universities.

      If Austria and the Netherlands haven’t already done this for you, bribe them into declaring on Russia around turn 80. This will help weaker her later for us. When the Mongols show up and settle, they’ll generally declare on her as well. The timing for this is somewhat important, as you don’t want to give her time to recuperate, and you won’t be ready for war until around 100.

      Once around turn 100, your four cities should be more or less fully developed. Start training pikemen, with crossbowmen in your capital. Dump any cash and faith you have into purchasing crossbowmen. Ferry your army over to Russia, who’s likely to have become friendly by now. Grab the free culture buildings with your next social policy, then start moving into honor for the culture and happiness perks.

      Once Russia has either made peace with her rivals or once you’re ready, declare. Depending on the state of her army, you can either attack immediately, or let her smash her army into your easternmost city first.

      That’s all there is to it. Wipe Russia out. By the time she’s done, you’ll be well-ahead in score. There’s always the Mongols to the South as well. Victory!

  4. Robert, thank you very much for writing this guide! After it went live, I decided I’d want to try Yokes on the Mongols on Deity myself with that incredible approach on the Mongols of yours. I settled my three cities, blocking the Mongols. On turn 39, they spawned, and on turn 50 already, they declared war on me. The timing couldn’t have been better: I had some troops to defend myself and Genghis didn’t have too many troops in the limited space of his yet. I did want to intercept his settlers, but as so many went southwards, all guarded by units, I decided it was best to take over Old Sarai, which I succeeded at on turn 56. Then I learned why Genghis Khan doesn’t disappear after all cities of his are taken: this was exactly the case, but he still had settlers. He settled two more cities on the shore of the Black Sea on turn 59, which took me another 12 turns to conquer, and another coastal city just south of the Caucasus mountains on turn ~65. That was a great defensive position; luckily, Genghis had nowhere to expand to (he settled one more city, Tiflis, just north of Crimea; unfortunately, Swedish (!!!) troops were attacking me from there, and it took me a while to repeal that invasion to recreate the outcome of the famous battle of Poltava) and was eventually outteched and crushed.

    Actually, Sweden attacked me even before Genghis did, on turn 48. Even despite the threat on Moscow he cast (and Gustavus Adolphus was close to taking it, as I was sending my units south, to defend against Mongols, and had next to nothing to protect myself against the Swedes as well), this was great, as it allowed to take over his Catholic missionaries and spread the religion all over Russia. Catholicism is great: its building provides +1 Happiness and it allows buying units with Faith! (I never took massive advantage of the latter, but having an opportunity to buy a unit was very useful at a few moments.) Moreover, if you spread it to all of your cities, your Russia technically remains an Orthodox civ, so you can have both “You happily adopted their religion in a majority of your cities” (I though it was a Roman and not a pan-Western-European religion for this scenario, but apparently never mind) and “You follow a different religion” diplomacy modifiers with a Catholic civ; this means your cities will exert religious pressure on neighbors’/enemies’ cities with an enemy religion — one that grants you VP! And, of course, I was able to finally repeal the attack on Moscow by turn ~60, settle a city west from it on turn 68 and begin the conquest of Swedish cities by turn 75.

    As I had to do so much fighting so early in the game, I had no time to build enough settlers to claim the land I wanted first, and I had to take it over. The Dutch (!) settled a few cities in modern-day Belarus and Ukraine; of course, the Dutch don’t belong there. I conquered his cities, which he couldn’t properly defend due to distance from the main part of his country (and we were BFFs ever after). Russia’s unique ability is plain awesome for that.

    I still had problems with happiness. I didn’t have too much culture and didn’t reach the Protectionism Social Policy, maybe in part because I began to take over cities so early in the game and in part because I had to build so many units first. 1 Happiness per city with a garrison is awesome: after adapting that policy, I garrisoned a Scout in every city. A Scout is cheap, worth one or two turns of production, and is still just as good at being a garrisoning unit. On turn 120, I think, I got my first Great Engineer, which greatly accelerated the otherwise practically impossible task of building a National College in Moscow.

    The war with Sweden was a smashing success by turn 140 (there was, however, a break at some point, which I used to train more units and build roads between my cities to deliver them to the battlefield. Also to build some desperately needed infrastructure: Kreposts, Markets, Colloseums, sometimes Amphitheaters. However, it’s important not to make that break too long. I paused the war on turn 85 and reignited it on turn ~110); at that moment, I realized I would unavoidably win the scenario. I began to consider attacking Austria in central Ukraine. I easily took two Austrian cities, and then their armies arrived and gave me a very hard time. I actually thought at one moment I shouldn’t have started that war without even more preparations. As I finally took the Mongolian stronghold in the Caucasus, I scouted Turkey and attacked them. I attacked a little too late, on turn 160 only, but I was limited due to the Mongolian city and the pressure in central and western Ukraine from Austria. I took a whole half of Anatolia, almost surrounding the Byzantines, who on turn ~175 decided to hate me.

    Apart from my adventures in Turkey, I played well in Europe, having recreated the borders of the Soviet Union, missing only two Swedish cities in modern-day Lithuania to do so by turn 199; I took them just after the game was over, on turn 200, limiting the Swedes to their peninsula. Anyways, I finished my game with a great score of 12,308. I had never gone that far with that scenario. Thank you Robert one more time for writing your guide. Great job!

    1. Hi Sunnytuesday!
      Great to hear you enjoyed the guide! Even greater to see you getting active yourself, posting your experience here! Thanks for that and congratz to an obviously amazing game! 🙂

  5. Just a note for those using this strategy on Emperor, you need to settle Novgorod farther west. Since you get a free settler, you place it earlier on and there is more cultural expansion, so the Mongols spawn outside of the trap. I settled a tile to the west and was able to contain the Mongols successfully.

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