Here’s a strategy guide that will help you to win the Scramble for Africa Scenario for Civilization 5 playing as the Ottomans on Deity and getting the “Ottoman Carpentry” steam achievement.
If you survive the first 20 turns and established your base, Ottoman Carpentry is big fun and really straight forward: You have it in your hands – reinforce the fleet, conquer Ethiopia, drain gold from Egypt, it’s all up to you! Here’s how I did it:
- Scramble for Africa – Setting
- Ottoman Carpentry
Scramble for Africa – Setting
In this scenario there’s three different “factions”, listed below. Every faction has a different way to score for Victory Points (VP) and thus comes with different strategies.
During the Scramble for Africa Europeans can not declare war on each other. That means they will declare war on most African civilizations and be at war with at least 1 civ at any time.
- Italy is your main opponent, will declare war on you very early and is THE biggest threat to your first three – all coastal – cities.
- France is your direct neighbor to the west, Algiers being his capital, and can be an annoyance during the first turns.
- Germany depending on the quality of the central African land will settle SW of you, threatening your coal-cities.
- Belgium remains limited to central Africa. It should be no threat to you, but you might need to pass his territory to take out Ethiopia.
- England plays only a minor role for you in this game – you will eventually take out some ships and capture Gibraltar.
- Portugal, although extremely powerful, will be a South African power in this game. His fleet will be yours, as will Lisbon.
Europeans score for land (double), cities and population.
The Sub-Saharan Civs score for culture. They can declare war on each other, but this is of absolutely no relevance for your Northern African dominance.
- The Boers will be long extinct by England and you probably won’t ever meet them.
- The Zulu might send a scout north, but will also have been overwhelmed by England and Portugal without ever playing a role in your game.
- Ethiopia deserves an extra paragraph. See below.
Northern African Civs
The Northern African Civs receive VP for Gold per Turn (GPT) and can not declare war on each other.
- Morocco will be your best friend. He’s under constant fire by France and England pushing from the south and thus keeping the Europeans at bay. Don’t let him die! Later in the game you might want to anchor your fleet in its waters, so Europeans can’t attack him from sea and/or capture Agadir.
- Egypt is a strong competitor for score – especially since there’s no enemy except Italy (which will come for you first). Furthermore it has an incredible GPT output! You’ll need to weaken him early, to make it in the end.
If you have played this scenario before, you will know: Ethiopia is your enemy #1 in terms of score. It scores for culture like the other Sub-Saharan civs but is placed in very well defensible land and is impregnable to Europeans. This is
- because they’re unable to launch a proper attack with more units than Ethiopia kills each turn,
- because the Mehal Sefari, Ethiopias unique unit, is a real tank, starting with Drill 1 (+15% combat bonus in rough terrain),
- because the Social Politics grant Ethiopia a huge defensive bonus (+15% in their territory and another +15% for an adjacent friendly unit),
- because of Ethiopias unique power granting them a +20% combat bonus against a larger civ aaaaand finally
- because probably 2 natural wonders will be in his territory: Source of Nile river (granting a promotion that causes its units to heal at the double rate) and Mt. Kilimanjaro (granting a promotion that gives its units +10% combat bonus and double movement in hills).
Have you counted? Doesn’t matter: They’re damn hard to kill. You will do it anyway eventually.
You need to weaken Egypt, take out Italy and Ethiopia and make loads of money to win. All of this is possible. The strategy in the second half of the game is to take cities and sell them to either Morocco or Egypt. The general rule here is: If the city is right beside the players main land – you’ll get more GPT. If the city had been a capital before – you’ll get more GPT. The latter will be the case with Algiers (France), Palermo (Italy), Lisbon (Portugal) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).
- Tripoli Cargo ship -> Bengazi for production of a settler (8 turns)
- Tripoli Caravan -> Tunis for production of a settler (10 turns)
- Bengazi Caravan -> Tripoli for production (you might want to send this somewhere for gold, but your loss will be equalized by incoming caravans, so take this additional production)
- Tripoli builds a stable and rifled cannon
- Sipahis scout the surrounding
- 1 slightly SW as far as you would found a city, then turn East
- 1 heads directly SE towards Ethiopia (if you’re fast enough depending on the terrain, you can attack at least one settler before they found their 4th (or so) city
- Send your riflemen to the French (Algerian) border and fortify them.
- Your worker should start building a road south
Germany and France DOW on me. This might seem bad, but preventing France from destroying Morocco is a good thing. I would even recommend declaring war on France early every time to achieve this.
Portugal and Belgium DOW on me (leaving Italy and England as the only peaceful Europeans). This is not bad at all, since you will never see any units from them.
England declares on me, so I bribe Italy against Egypt. In this scenario there’s a diplomatic flaw in how the Europeans behave. Although overly powerful they don’t like to declare war alone – and while being at war with everyone already, Italy lacks a partner!
Found Sabha and Tobruk south of the Sahara, to finally get coal and some luxuries. Either city should be right ON the coal, so you can build ironclads!
So far Italy has not sent any troops against Egypt, which is disappointing. But also it’s a strange lucky game I had there with Italy not declaring war on me! So here’s a survival guide:
In 9 of 10 games I played, Italy declared war on me before or in turn 1. If they declare on you before that – you might as well start over. You can try to exploit the diplomatic flaw in Scramble for Africa by declaring on everybody else before, so Italy doesn’t find a partner. Maybe you’re lucky. Also I think diplomacy here strongly depends on the order of players turns…
Anyway: If Italy attacks you, reload 1 turn before and sell Bengazi to Egypt for GPT. Your settler should be finished by now and on its way south. See whether you can bribe Italy against Egypt then. This could save you. If this doesn’t help, sell also Tunis (either to Egypt or to Morocco) and gather your troops around Tripoli. Beware that most likely Tripoli will fall.
Two cannons in the hills south of the city can both bombard Tripoli and the Italian fleet, or embarked units. Do so and reconquer Tripoli. This is a good way to destroy the fleet, but your capturing unit dies, once they retake the city. An early cavalry comes handy here as it can withdraw from the city after capturing it.
Also the timing is essential here – the Italian fleet needs to be occupied with Egypt already to NOT retake Tripoli every single turn (obviously because you only have a limited number of melee units).
The Mediterranean Campaign
While fighting the Italian navy (ab)use the Quicksave function. One time I played 2 turns in 2 hours, because to win, every single time you attack (and destroy) an Italian vessel, you need to capture it. Even a just captured and half-dead Italian Caio Duilio-class ironclad can withstand 1-2 enemy attacks and thus shield your own units. So even when they die they served you. This is truly Ottoman Carpentry. If the capture doesn’t trigger (80% chance, but it’s way less), try other attacks before in that turn and attack again.
As soon as your own coastal cities are save, prepare to go for the Italian cities. Both Cagliari (Sardinia) and Palermo (Sicily) can be bombarded from Tunisia. Do so and rush in with an ironclad of yours. For Catanzaro (Italian mainland) you either need some (captured) frigates or spare ironclads out of range. Two can attack per turn and without ranged damage you’ll need 2-3 turns.
After that, send necessary troops to Egypt and reconquer your and the Egyptian cities. Bring 4-6 ironclads into the Red Sea (you’ll meet a Portuguese fleet there). The rest of your fleet heads west to support the battle of Algiers. Gibraltar brings you one more save+reload session with the English fleet. You might sometimes NOT want to capture an enemy ship. These privateers can be in the way and prevent you from attacking ships behind them (pretty narrow there).
Turn 20-70 Timeline
- 26 – Italy makes peace with Egypt (without having had one single combat)
- 37 – make peace with Germany
- 37 – sell Bengazi to Egypt and bribe Italy to war
- 39 – Italy captures Bengazi
- 40 – build a citadel towards Algiers (facilitating my offense there)
- 42-48 – Italy captures Alexandria, Egypt reconquers it about 3 times
- 47 – captured Algiers (Morocco for 190 GPT)
- 53 – Italy and Egypt make peace while Suez has almost fallen (fail!)
- 54-56 – heavy naval battles at Gibraltar, bombard the city with artillery
- 57 – capture Gibraltar (and send cannons back east)
- 59 – make peace with Belgium for 58 GPT
- 61 – captured Cagliari (Sardinia) after bombardment by African based artillery
- 64 – captured Palermo (Sicily)
- 67 – captured Catanzaro (Italian mainland)
- 69 – make peace with France for 65 GPT
End of the Mediterranean campaign:
Eventually you will capture Lisbon (me: turn 71) and make peace with Portugal and England. I got 170 GPT for peace with Portugal and 121 GPT from England. Also I sold Palermo and Lisbon to Morocco again, for a lot of money.
The Continental Campaign
Reconquer your own and Egyptian cities and sell them off to Egypt. After that, have all your units head down towards Ethiopia. This should start around turn 70 latest. Also: Once your attack starts, ally with the City States around Ethiopia. This will draw some of its attention (units) away from your front.
Bring some 2-6 workers, too. Why workers? The mistake the Europeans make while attacking Ethiopia is bringing in troops one tile per turn (on rough terrain). To defeat Ethiopia, you need more troops than he can kill per turn! And to do this you need roads! Build roads in Egyptian territory towards Ethiopia. Have your artillery placed so you can fire on Ethiopian units and reinforce from behind with Cavalry.
Cavalry is ideal against them: Four movement is more than enough to rush in from 2 tiles behind the front, cross the first hill and head into Ethiopian territory. The defenders will attack your cavalry. If it gets promotions – heal it and attack again. If there are not enough movement points left and you’re out of horses – disband the cavalry and build (buy) a new one. In your two southern cities you should be able to buy 2 cavalries per turn.
Don’t stop building roads at the border (like I did)! Even while advancing on the Ethiopian cities – build roads in their territory. This will eventually be yours and your units need to move fast. Also: On your roads, a cannon can move 2 tiles, set up and fire again!
Once you conquer a city – check out for enemy units. If it looks like you can hold the city (no melees around to conquer, or no artillery to bombard), hold it. It’ll draw enemy attacks for at least one turn. If you can’t hold it, sell it to Egypt.
Turn 70-90 Timeline
- 70 – capture Asmara (Egypt for 60 GPT)
- 71 – capture Bengazi (Egypt for 66 GPT)
- 72 – capture Alexandria (Egypt for 50 GPT)
- 73 – advance into Ethiopian territory
- 75 – open borders with Belgium to advance on Gondar
- 76 – ally with Bornu and Bunkeya, both close to the Ethiopian border
- 77 – start of Golden Age, advance on Addis Ababa and Gondar
- 80 – place rifled cannons around Addis Ababa
- 81 – captured Addis Ababa (Egypt for 210 GPT)
- 83 – captured Gondar (Belgium for 50 GPT)
- 84 – captured Adwa (Egypt for 46 GPT)
- 86 – captured Harrar
- 86 – England and France DOW on Morocco
- 87 – march on Axum and Lalibela, the two remaining Ethiopian cities
- 89 – captured Axum
- 90 – captured Lalibela, annihilating Ethiopia
With Ethiopia down, Egypt is #1 in score with 3492 VP. I rank second with a score of 3489 VP. But by now making 900-1300 GPT it’s easy to catch up with Egypt!
Turn 91-100 – War weary Robert + Ottoman Empire
Right after Ethiopia was extinct, everybody (really everybody: Portugal, Germany, England, France, Belgium) declared war on me. By now I was really war weary. Heavy reloading while capturing enemy fleets made me eager on just finishing the scenario now. So I bribed everybody (for really little GPT and the occasional luxury) to war against Egypt.
I supported both Egypt and Morocco in this war: I bought one Cavalry in my SE cities and one ironclad in Gibraltar and gave it to them. Nonetheless Egypt lost 1 city to Germany, Morocco fared pretty well against France and England.
Social Politics and Trade Routes
In the end I spent 45-60 on unit maintenance. So taking the middle tree proved a good choice:
- Improved wares -> +1 GPT from each market
- Conscription -> Unit maintenance cost reduced by 33% (so otherwise I would have spent 60-90)
Also you won’t do much fighting in the Sahara, so no need to go for the military tree. I assume this one is for Morocco, while the last one is for Egypt.
Once you have 3 social politics – start selling culture buildings. This saves you another 10-20 GPT across all your cities.
Bottom line: Social politics don’t matter at all!
What matters is trade routes! Always max out your trade routes! But don’t send them to Egypt – he’s getting more GPT than you do! Once you sold Algier or Palermo to Morocco – establish trade routes there. As soon as you have freed Gibraltar from the English – establish trade routes to Agadir. I never used land-trade routes, after the initial production push.
The Ottoman Carpentry achievement is more challenging than Praise the Victories (Win the Scramble for Africa playing as the Boers on Deity), but it’s also more fun!
Ottoman Carpentry is very random at the start: There’s little you can do against Italy coming for you, France and other Europeans declare war on you at random. Also you strongly depend on the land you find in Africa. But as pointed out at the start: Once you survive the first turns – it’s in your hands to win it!
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