Scramble for Africa – Praise the Victories Steam Achievement Guide

Boers Deity Strategy

Praise the Victories Steam AchievementIn this strategy guide you will learn how to win the Scramble for Africa Scenario for Civilization 5 playing as the Boers on Deity and getting the “Praise the Victories” steam achievement.

If you survive the first 20 turns and established your base, Praise the Victories is big fun and really straight forward: You have it in your hands to become a culturally dominant South Africa, repulsing the British Empire.

Praise the Victories in a nutshell

  • Only play with a good start location that provides lots of room for farms
  • England: DOW in turn 1, to get its cities ASAP
  • Zulu: Avoid war – don’t settle near him, he’s your meatshield against Portugal
  • Portugal: Avoid war at all costs (or see alternative approaches at the bottom)
  • Pump out culture like crazy!

Starting Location

The start location is essential for winning this game. The best combination you can have is a lot of flat land (to build your special farms with +3 food and +1 culture = 4 food, 1 prod., 1 culture on plains) or hills next to a river where you can also build farms. Helpful is being surrounded by mountains for defense. Those should be towards Portugal (NE), because in most cases you will need to conquer England to win this scenario. Yes: Conquer England.

First steps

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa Boers Deity Second City
Settle Bloemfontein well away from Zulu land

Turn 1 – Don’t settle next to the Zulu. Move your 2nd Settler NW towards Germany (Swakopmund). Found Pretoria in turn 1, so your movement range is limited. Being on a hill helps to have a city cannon shoot across surrounding hills later.

Pretoria builds a cannon. Max for production, build improvements around Pretoria with both workers. When the first cannon is finished – build a 2nd one. You’ll need two cannons. Watch out for your workers. Do not lose one of them! Garrison your Foreign Volunteers in a defensible position. Do not be tempted by killing red or yellow damaged enemy units with not full health unit of yours. You might end up being surrounded the turn after and lose it.

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa Boers Deity War on England
Pretorias starting location surrounded by plains

Declare war on England! In turn 1! Why is that important? Well: England gets stronger every turn. Later you won’t be able to compete with their production, so you’ll have to take down their initial army now. Bring ’em on!


Turn 11 – Citadels are defensive structures. Right. But nothing deals as much damage to enemy units than a well positioned citadel. Use your first Great General to build a citadel above the forests at the south coast (but out of range of Port Elizabeth).

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa Praise the Victories Offense Citadels
Use Citadels as Offensive Structures
  • It’ll damage every passing caravan, eventually earning you some money
  • Your unit is protected from naval ranged attacks
  • Units standing in the forest can’t attack you for at least 1 turn (thus getting at least 30 dmg before the first attack)
  • Units attacking you first are out in the open and easy targets for your first cannon(s)

Using citadels offensively helps a lot with defeating the English units. As your production is very low you will have to defeat the English with only your four Foreign Volunteers and the two cannons you produce. For every single English unit defeated you will – literally – praise the victories!

Praise the Victories – 1st half: Conquest

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa Boers Deity Capture Port Elizabeth
Capture Port Elizabeth

Turn 26 – I managed to capture Port Elizabeth. Now this is a gamble: When you’re at war with another power arriving with gunships (or England has privateers which can take cities), you might wanna use your cannons to take out those units. Never mind the Ships of the Line. They shoot Port Elizabeth to 0 HP every single turn. But that’s good – ships shooting at that city won’t shoot your army at Cape Town.

Turn 34 – Having placed the two cannons well out of range of Cape Town you should be able to take it about this time.

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa Boers Deity Capture Cape Town
Capture Cape Town

Move an infantry in range (to see the city), unleash your artillery salvos and move your infantry out of city range. Only leave it there if a new English unit threatens your cannons.

In the meantime boost culture in your capital. I built both Musicians and Artists Guild in Pretoria and had them working from the turn they were finished. Also construct the National Epic. Creating a great person 25% faster is a MUST HAVE. I built the Writers Guild in Port Elizabeth.

Meanwhile Germany had declared war on me. But not many troops were coming from Swakopmund. The English city north of it was a bigger threat to my 2nd city. Try to make peace with England as soon as you control South Africa.

Turn 48 – I took Swakopmund using the usual tactics: Bring two cannons in range, move an infantry in sight, shoot. Unfortunately there’s hills around the city, so your Foreign Volunteers have to involuntarily stay there. If there’s not too much damage (e.g. city+frigate or city+melee attack), fortify and heal +10 for a turn. Remember: You will want to conquer the city as soon as it’s down. Make peace with Germany ASAP after that.

Praise the Victories – 2nd half: Culture

Push your economy, buy the necessary culture buildings in your 2nd city. You need an opera house in all cities to build the Hermitage in Pretoria (+50% culture).

Look at the ranking. If you see an unmet player being in the lead – that’s Ethiopia! That’s your enemy number 1.

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa Boers Deity Zulu down
In Turn 64 Portugal conquered Ulundi

Turn 57 – The Zulu declared on me. I had to reload, as my military was really weak (because my 2nd city never really produced much) and what I had was North at the Anglo-German front. So I bribed Portugal against Shaka, who of course couldn’t stand a chance and got annihilated until turn 64.

By then – using open borders with Portugal (best friend) – I had scouted the North until I met Ethiopia. I bribed all Europeans against it. As of a thread on that might have been a bad idea: Ethiopia, just like us, gets culture per enemy unit killed. And that culture counts for Victory Points (VP). So it might be better for your culture-race against Ethiopia, if they wouldn’t be at war with the Europeans. In the end the Europeans are just too dumb to capture an Ethiopian city and limit their culture output.

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa Boers Deity Ethiopia
Enemy No. 1

When you have enough money you also will want to sell the State Museums (your unique buildings) in conquered cities. Immediately buy a new one. Why that? Because the ones you conquered don’t contain a piece of art. They were built as European museums. Rebuild it and get that free great work!

Turn 79 – Eventually I allied with the City State of Mogadishu and declared war on Ethiopia myself. In the following turns I invested my last Great Artist into having a golden age, boosting my culture in all cities. Here’s the statistics of the last third of the game and the close call to defeating Ethiopia:

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa Preise the Victories Boers Deity Statistics
Statistics on the late game

In the end Mogadishu (!!!) captured an Ethiopian city, sealing my victory. Had that not happened all those 100 turns and certainly more than 8 hours of playing the Scramble for Africa scenario would have been wasted…

Social Policies

Go for the General first (#1 in the military side of the tree). I then took #2 from the military tree, too, to support my defense against England. Then select all three culture-improvement policies. Improving your culture helps you fill the military tree faster.

Diplomacy: War and Peace

Diplomacy in Scramble of Africa is simple: Europeans hate Africans and like to declare war often and regardless of their attitude towards you. Don’t trust them if they’re “Friendly”. There are a few remarkable things though:

  • They don’t like to declare on you alone! If you get declarations of war – reload and declare war on one of them before (ideally one far far away). That can postpone the declaration by the other for quite some turns.
  • They’re less likely to declare on you when they’re already at war! This means: You can be safe when you bribe them into war with another player. Unfortunately in the late game Morocco gets destroyed by France, Ottomans and Egyptians by Italy. The Zulu can’t compete with Portugal. So it’s only you and Ethiopia left.

Here’s some remarks on diplomacy with the other European powers when playing the Boers on Deity in Scramble for Africa:


Early war – no problem, Swakopmund doesn’t produce much and he has not many gunships this early. Later, unless you took and garrisoned (artillery) Swakopmund, you want to avoid war with Germany.


In all my games I only saw three French units. One lancer (no problem) and two frigates, which can’t conquer cities. No problem.


No problem – Italy can’t send many units. But if there are still English Ships of the Line bombarding your city, you don’t want that single gunship (Caio Dulio Class) capture your city.



Alternative approaches

Check out So far I basically saw 3 alternative approaches (of which only one includes war with Portugal):

No war against Europeans in the early game

This allows you to build up your military and defend later in the game. Defending against the Zulu is easy and if the Europeans don’t declare on you, you can even conquer the Zulu.

I find there’s a high risk in this approach. Mostly because you can’t trust the Europeans. It’s highly unlikely you won’t be at war the first 30 turns to build up peacefully. Also: A Zulu who defends against Portugal is better than you doing it.

You can try to keep the Zulu alive though: Simply surround one of his city with units or workers. So no melee unit can capture the city.

The Boer fleet

Pump out some privateers in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town and capture the English Ships of the Line. Use this fleet against the Europeans if they declare on you. You will depend on pillaging cargo ships though as this approach is heavy in unit maintenance costs

Both this and the above approach consider being at war with Europeans and getting culture VP for kills. Definitely better than having Ethiopia get those kills, but nonetheless a risk, since you never know when your defense is gonna collapse.

Scout early and contain Ethiopia

If you can squeeze out a fast unit early, do so. Send it through Portugal to find Ethiopia. With all the defensive promotions in the later game Ethiopia won’t lose cities. Maybe in the early game it can be contained. With both Italy (Deity) and Ottoman (Deity) I tried to contain Ethiopia early. Sometimes you’re lucky and can capture an unprotected settler, thus crippling Ethiopia’s early expansion. I doubt this is possible playing the Boers.

Praise the Victories – Conclusion

The Scramble for Africa Deity achievements kept me busy for longer than the Fall of Rome did.

The annoying thing is that you can’t rely at all on the AIs attitude towards you. They will declare on you randomly at any time. In Fall of Rome at least you could rely on always being at war – here the uncertainty drove me crazy. Also Ethiopia played by the AI is entirely overpowered. Both with the Ottomans and the Boers they are the key player to be topped in score.

Nonetheless the Praise the Victories Steam Achievement really feels like an achievement! It’s very challenging, thrilling until the end and extremely satisfying once you made it!

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: Boers-AutoSave_Initial_0000-AD-1881-January.Civ5Save

Further reading:

45 thoughts on “Scramble for Africa – Praise the Victories Steam Achievement Guide”

  1. This is one of the hardest achievements in the game, if not the hardest. How luck based is avoiding war with the Zulus and Portuguese? The first time the Zulus swarmed me because I didn’t settle far enough west. Then I moved the city farther west and the Portuguese and Germans teamed up on me. They weren’t much on land, but when I captured Cape Town the Portuguese kept sending endless ironclad fleets I simply couldn’t repel with the cannons I could build and the ships I was able to build.
    So I restarted, moved the city south and that triggered a Zulu invasion. I managed to placate the Germans but the Portuguese still declare war on me by turn 14 or so. It just doesn’t seem possible to avoid Portuguese invasion, so do I just need to completely reroll?

    1. It really is the hardest achievement! Check out the recommendations on war and peace in the Scramble for Africa Scenario Guide. If you can bribe other nations to war each other, you can delay your own involvement. Without this, it won’t work. And even if this works, it’s no guarantee. If even after reload-galore you can’t change the outcome, then yes, unfortunately a complete restart is inevitable. Often it’s also the turn order that determines the fate of this game. If you get a great map, but a terrible turn order, that’s maximum unfortunate πŸ™

  2. Thank you for the detailed guide, it is super useful!! Finally manage to win with ~8000 scores. This also serves as my last achievement of civ5 – finally 286/286!

    I did many research for this achievement, and I would say this is the probably the toughest one among 286 achievements, given so many randomness and chaotic surroundings. I also checked some other videos and guides. Again, Kalle’s guide is wonderful. Plus, for anyone keeps playing civ5 (in 2023?) Here is a little thoughts based on Kalle’s guide.

    1. There are two possible beginnings. The common one is staying in south Africa. The uncommon one is moving to east Africa, occupying the places that would be taken by Ethiopia in later game. I didn’t try the later one, but it is worth trying.

    2. In the case you stay in south Africa, there are two possible sub-cases: (1) There are mountains between you and Portugal so Maria cannot send her massive troops to you; (2) No mountains between you and Portugal.
    – In the first sub-case, just following Kalle’s guide, taking two cities of England, controlling the south Africa. Then, send a large navy for scores. You will need to have at least 6000 scores – usually 7000+ score to beat Ethiopia, since in this case Ethiopia will get massive scores from eliminating Maria’s troop. Maria would probably not bother you in this sub-case.
    – In the second sub-case, also following Kalle’s guide to take two cities of England. This must be quick, ideally within 35 turns. Maria usually won’t be able to send massive troops to you since Zulu can help you (RIP Zulu). Then, full production in Foreign volunteers and rifled cannon, trying not to lost units while weaken Maria’s troop with cannon and citadels. You don’t need to hold the two English coastal cities. When you realize you would lost them, selling them to other civs (e.g. France/Belgium). They will give you a good price (~150GPT) for Cape town. User the money to buy new rifled cannon. Once your troop grows enough bigger to fight with Maria, start to build things that generate culture. In this sub-case, 60% culture would come from eliminating enemies, and 40% culture would come from your cities (in the later turns). Do not worry to much about Ethiopia in this case – Maria’s troop comes to you, and Ethiopia won’t have enough kills, usually.

    Thank you again for this wonderful guide!

    1. Thank you for the compliments and congrats on the 100%! This was definitely the toughest, with the randomness driving me crazy. Happy you made it! (And: Plenty of people still playing Civ5 these days, I have changed from scenarios to asynchronous multiplayer with GMR, which is slow, but crazy intense.

  3. Oh man, thanks again Robert for the great write up. I did a lot of research on this scenario before attempting it, including your guide and civfanatics forum threads. Just wanted to re-inforce the strategy shared here and what worked for me if anyone is still attempting this in 2022 or beyond.

    I re-rolled the map about 6 times before getting a start with a good amount of flatland next to a river for Pretoria, and committed to it. There were some defensible mountains to the north and north east, nothing super but it was something. Stuck to the main strategy of declaring war with England on turn 1, settled Bloemfentein to the north west near Swakopmund(not the best terrain for a defensible position unfortunately), and rushed 2 cannons. Zulu’s were piling on my borders around turn 11, even though I tried to settle westward from them, so I bribed Germany with a luxury to go to war with them. This was successful, and the only time I was ever successful using bribes for civs to declare war with one another, it never worked in my game any time after this. I pressed on Cape town once i had two cannons, and used a GG to drop a citadel 3 tiles away. I had attempted to set it 2 tiles away initially, but the city damage plus rifled cannons/and ship of the lines do way too much damage to make it a reliable strategy.

    I took Capetown on turn 26, and Zulu wardec’d me on 27. This blunted my momentum to take Port Elizabeth, and I had to burn a GG for a citadel outside of Pretoria to defend against a dozen impis while still fighting off English Rifleman and cannons. I thought I was f’d, but held the line and got 3 rifled cannons behind the citadel with 3 foreign legion meatshields and just let the impis break themselves on the defenses. Worked beautifully, and they negotiated peace on turn 33. I then rushed Port Elizabeth and took it on 37.

    I took most of my army to Swakopmond and pressed the assault, started on culture buildings around turn 45, a little late probably but I needed all the previous turns to produce enough units to continue the defense and attack. Meanwhile, Portugal was dominating the Zulus, and they wiped them out around this time. I had no Zulu meat-shield and Portugal was on my borders as early as turn 45 with a massive army. This is a good time to state that I fully took advantage of declaring war on any civ before they joint attacked me with Portugal, this was critical, as many have already mentioned. By the end of the game I was at war with France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, and England, and never made peace with any of them. Portugal never declared war on me because of this. If I was ever at peace with any of them, I’d get jointly war declared by Portugal, this seems critical to have any chance at all in this scenario.

    I continued to push culture hard, two culture epic buildings in Pretoria plus Hermitage, sadly I was really late with National Epic and Hermitage, despite really trying to get it early. I maxed out culture per turn around 80 with 235/per turn, not counting military kill culture. I also started my Boer fleet late, only started to gain ground in the mid sixties and sizeable in the mid 70’s. I was steadily racking up German/Belgium and English kills, and fought them next to Swakopmund and Port Elizabeth with the help of cannons next to those cities. This was key, otherwise you’ll start taking too much damage with your navy. Have the cannons and frigates burn them down, and use privateer to convert. I was never able to get a net gold per turn since the start, and by the end I was hovering between -110 and -70 GPT. Up until about turn 75, this had no negative effect, but after turn 75, I started getting disbanded units every turn. It wasn’t a problem though because I was always gaining new units with privateers, and it allowed me to build a highly mobile road network for cannon movement. I think the tradeoff was worth it.

    Skip to the end, Ethiopia was ahead of me the whole time and I was slowly gaining ground, when Italy and France declared war on Ethiopia and I panicked because I knew Ethiopia was poised to gain a ton of culture from these wars. I initiated war with Italy and France myself and was now in a 5 way war, and I let their fleets meet my defenses in Swakopmund and Port Elizabeth. I racked up a lot of culture kills every turn, saved my last great artist to pop a Golden Age on turn 94 when it became available, and popped my last great writer on turn 99. Final score 7820, Ethiopia 6826. I was really worried Portugal was going to declare war on me, but after turn 90 I was feeling confident. Italy also slowed Ethiopia by taking one of their outlier cities on turn 90. Feels great to finally take down such a brutal achievement, guess it’s on to the last tough one, Ottoman Carpentry. Anyway, just wanted to show that the strategies shared on this site are solid, did this without a special save map and first attempt after studying.

    Appreciate you sharing these strategies with us!

  4. Thanks a lot for your guides! I’m almost done with the achievements now, just got the Fall or Rome and Civil War ones left, plus this one with the Ottomans. I usually follow your guides at the start and then take my own route after a bit when things don’t go according to the guide anymore.

    This one was the hardest so far. I was 1k points behind Ethiopia and gaining only a matter of tens per turn with 30 turns left, I thought I was screwed. Then England DoW’d me and I realized how much culture ship kills bring! Thankfully I had been amassing a navy to capture some coastal city in the hopes that they’d give me the necessary VPs. In the end I managed to win with a few hundred points, but it was a close call (and Portugal was looking seriously scary). From the start of the game, the Zulus were at war with Portugal and England, and I managed to station my troops and declare war to nab their two cities at the right moment, which helped a lot. I also managed to “avoid” war with Portugal by reloading every time they DoW’d me and declaring war on their DoW partner the turn before. A LOT of save-scumming this round, but honestly all’s fair in love and deity.

    A kind of scummy trick I’ve never seen you mention: the AI will always capture workers with melee units. If you want to lure out their melee units so you can bombard them safely, just put a worker in their movement range.

    1. That is a nice trick indeed! Happy the strategy worked out for you. I still remember the countless tries I’ve had just finding a suitable starting location… And then the endless suspense throughout the game: Will I catch up in time or not? Quite an emotional rollercoaster πŸ™‚

  5. I don’t know if I were really lucky or what but this challenge did’t feel so hard to me. Won on my first try (ok restarted turn 9 once because of stupid little thing that bugged me) with 7000+ VP vs Ethiopias 6000-6050. I took Englands 2 closest cities at the start and Germanys one a bit later. At the last few turns i also took one more from England near the Swakopmund. Portugal killed Zulus at the early-mid game.

    I held my lad troops on forts amd citadels best i could (only on hills or resources like sheep). Did lose some here and there but nothing serious. After land battle was won i tried to constantly be at war with 1-2 naval powers but not Portugal since she had borders with me. Farming 3-4 Englands frigates gave me enough firepower with some 2x attacking cannons to stop any naval attack. Privateers acted as cannon fodder and captured more privateers.

    1. Whew, huge congrats then! πŸ™‚
      From dozens of playthroughs with Native African civs, both North-African and Sub-Sahara, I can say that Ethiopia scoring only around 6k is extremely rare. They average around 7.5k and reach even more in games where they successfully wage war. So I would agree that your game was a lucky setup indeed. But even that still requires some skill to withstand against England, Portugal and the other Europeans.

  6. The trick mentioned here about avoiding 2x war declarations was a godsend! Had Belgium bribe Portugal to war again and again, then saw the trick. Loading a save and declaring war og Belgium changed eeeeverything!

    Casually guaranteed my win on turn 57 cause of the trick

  7. After a week of struggle I ended up winning with a save I found on reddit here:

    I went with the defensive strategy that poster used, though I only won after a great writer bomb and re-declaring war on the British to farm culture off their units. Your guide for this achievement has some good information but I think you got very lucky not having European navies shred your coastal cities to pieces/Portugal not declare war and swarm you. I tried your method twice myself and got shredded by the British ships of the line trying to take the Cape colonies once, then on my second attempt Britain didn’t have much of a navy there for some reason but I ended up swarmed at sea and over land after taking Namibia, by France and Portugal.

    My victory rested on using the terrain of that save to defend while I got culture buildings up and running, and near the end popping a Great Writer for +500 culture, a Great Artist for a second golden age, and re-declaring war on the British with 7 turns left to farm points off their units. And I only won by 150 points. I feel like that method with that save is *probably* consistent, though I also probably got lucky with Ethiopia being hemmed in by Europeans and not zooming further ahead. And with the RNG needed to get such a good, defensible terrain…yeah, this is a doozy of an achievement all right.

  8. Hehe, I like your comments here a lot!
    Still: I’m very much okay with you summarizing your experience in one comment and with your permission then would remove the single smaller ones. Could be helpful for other players then. πŸ˜‰

    PS: Completely agree that even in the off chance of Boers working out there’s still an element of chance when Ethiopia prevails and wins the game. Which sucks big time, since there’s nothing the player can do against it.

  9. I don’t understand how you can clear out the waves of units England sends from Cape Town. My units are bombarded from sea and my volunteers are critically wounded half the time.

    1. Check out the first pictures of the guide: First units stay close to Pretoria (out of range of Englands Navy) and heal quicker. Don’t attack – defend only and let the enemy clash and die against your defense. Then use citadels offensively: Provides a tremendous defense bonus. See where mine was placed – not many ships can bombard that position.

    2. So I managed to take the two Cape cities and make peace with the British on turn 24. However Germany settled a city basically between Pretoria and Bloemfontein, which I settled per your guide. I’d have to take that city in addition to Germany’s Namibian coastal city, which means boosting my military and happiness, before anyone else declares war on me. Or I could write Bloemfontein off, take Ulundi and fortify with that instead.

    3. Update: took German Namibia, now I have to fortify against the inevitable Portuguese attack. I think you got really lucky not having them attack you…

  10. Sadly these strategy don’t send work if Italy doesn’t take out in Egypt.

    1. I’m surprised they didn’t in your game. Almost every game I played around turn 20 or so I got the notification “An unmet civilization has lost their capital”

  11. Yet another update, but I did it!

    My German-Portuguese-Zulu (because of course the Zulu joined in) war just wasn’t doable in the end, so I reloaded back to turn 20 and redid my war with the English. This time I avoided extra wars, took Swakopmund, and used the interim to build up my military. Guilds/national wonders came pretty late, turns 35-50, but building them earlier was what damned me the first time around. Just couldn’t do it in this game.

    Germany and Portugal DOW’d on turn 56, and I couldn’t handle both the German and Portuguese fleets. Naturally I picked the Germans again. Their force of 5-7 super-ironclads was easily manageable without all the Portuguese privateers and frigates, and I absorbed most of them. I can’t stress enough just how powerful those ships are, especially when they get promotions. The Zulu declared on me at this point, but it was a good thing – units for me to kill, since Germany had given up. I took Ulundi with a single cannon and a cavalry over two turns. Honestly… playing the Boers in this scenario is brutal, but I can scarcely imagine how much it sucks to be the Zulus. Their cities are made out of wet cardboard.

    By this point, about turn 70, the rate at which Ethiopia was gaining culture was rapidly outpacing what I could achieve. I was never going to get open borders, much less an army over there – the only person that didn’t hate me was Cetshwayo (I peaced out for his luxuries instead of a city and he was grateful for that.) Looking at my giant navy parked at Swakopmund, and the privateers teeming around the Portuguese cities, I despaired that I was going to have to start a war with them in order to get that missing culture.

    …Then England and Belgium DOWed me. France joined a few turns later. Christmas came early.

    I think that was the first and only point in this game where I felt powerful. An invasion force of privateers met the mighty Boer fleet. Ships crashed upon my German ironclads and shattered; Ships of the Line blasted them from behind their steely bulwarks. Meanwhile, Portugal’s embarked settlers, workers, and even a very confused Great Engineer kept hindering the AI’s movements. After so many desperate losing wars, constant saving and reloading, I was on the winning side of a massacre.

    The total naval dominance lasted for ~15 turns before splintering. I got careless and stopped caring whether or not my privateers captured anything, and ultimately the AI has endless waves of units to throw at me. Belgium only sent 8 or so, but France had even more naval units than England. I saved a few special units at Swakopmund, but by that point it didn’t matter – mid-nineties, far lead. The peace deals I got were just window dressing.

    I’ve come to admit defeat – war with the Portuguese just isn’t doable. Perhaps with heavy naval save-reloading, citadels, a small border, and nobody else at war with you, it could work, but their production is just too strong to compete with. At the same time – I’d have never won this game without the oodles of culture earned from brutal, bloody wars. The fleet I created proved invaluable for catching up with Ethiopia – in the end, I surpassed them cleanly, 8173 to 6821.

    My two cents for this scenario is: once you capture Port Elizabeth, annex it and build a privateer. Its strong production tiles will give you one before you’re done with England. Use it to capture one or two Ships of the Line still besieging the city. Ship kills are worth a lot of culture, and this game is going to throw a lot of ships at you. Also, if you find yourself at war with Germany post-England, get their Brandenburg Classes. They’re almost as tanky as your UU, and murderously strong to boot. I wouldn’t advise outright picking a war with Germany unless you’re desperate for culture, but it’s probably going to happen eventually, so take advantage of what they’ve got.

    I never thought I’d be able to get this tier of achievements, though. I can’t thank you enough for this blog. Storytelling and advice all in one. Maybe I’ll try Ottoman Carpentry next!

    1. Whew… It’s been a while and I didn’t get back to this!
      Thanks for sharing your experience! Those attempts sound like epic games. I agree that in this scenario after a while winning or not doesn’t make much of a difference, since it’s just so captivating playing through with the Boers.
      Congratulations for making the achievement! πŸ™‚

  12. A question – is it worth trying to defend Cape Town in this game, or should you expect to flip it constantly and instead just position some cannons and a cavalry for that purpose?

    My playthrough for this achievement is bookmarked around turn 35, and it’s an interesting game where I can’t figure out how to proceed. Port Elizabeth and Cape Town fell neatly, Elizabeth paid me for peace, Swakopmund is in position to fall. The Zulus are locked in war with Portugal, which is helpful, but the Germans and one other European power I can’t remember declared on me, and they have a significant number of ships in the area. In what I’m going to call the original timeline, I got as far as turn 52, and Cape Town was never captured once, making it an excellent city with good population, a factory, et cetera. However, I had to abandon that timeline because Portugal and the Zulus (who had held out and not lost any cities that I could see!) made peace at that time and immediately DOWed me together afterward, and I couldn’t hold against the dual assaults of Bloemfontein and Pretoria. The Zulus weren’t much threat beyond just trashing all my precious farms, but the Portuguese assault was vicious and Bloemfontein isn’t in very defensible ground. (Which – I balk at restarting considering how many other things went favorably in this game, but that might be necessary.)

    I rolled back to the mid-30s (to give myself time to build more units instead of city improvements, and also to not waste a Great General), and while I optimized some other gameplay, the Germans are much more interested in taking Cape Town this go-around. From my save point, I can’t seem to spit out a Privateer in Port Elizabeth fast enough to make a difference. I might be able to defend it narrowly if I pull back my assault on Swakopmund, but which is more important – keeping Cape Town a strong city with many high-level buildings, or erasing the German presence on your flank? I don’t think I’ll have time for both, considering Portugal is very likely to attack me once they get tired of the Zulus and I’m going to need to pull my units north before they do.

    I wouldn’t mind conquering the Zulus myself – Cetshwayo keeps using Great Generals to steal Pretoria’s territory, and Ulundi is precious in that it’s not actually a coastal city. But I simply can’t afford to whittle down the only power in the area that the Europeans might attack instead of me. Portugal is terrifying.

    1. An edit. I started a new game yesterday with this, and I’ve been holding on (turn 47-50, but heavy save-reloading with privateers.) The map was favorable – river hills for Bloemfontein, coal and iron, flat Pretoria with four unique luxuries in range plus a small mountain range between it and Ulundi. The AIs, though… everything this map isn’t. Instant denouncements from everyone. Portugal and Germany DOWed on turn 4 despite me trying to butter up Maria with free luxuries and bribing the Zulus against her, and I had to pick Germany. (The Zulus took a Portuguese city! I’ll even forgive Cetshwayo for stealing Pretoria’s marble.) England put up fiercer resistance in this game than they did in the other, and they chopped forests at the coast, meaning I had to constantly rotate units in the citadel. Captured Cape Town around 33, but then the Germans started getting restless, and… well…

      I wanted to share some useful insight. Sometimes the pair-declaration + declare on less threatening partner = other doesn’t declare fails. I’m pretty sure I know why this is, at least part of the time. The AI may choose the same ‘let’s declare war together in ten turns’ thing that you can do when they propose each other for war. Discerned this the hard way when Belgium and Portugal declared on me on turn 38, and Portugal declared anyway with Belgium already at war. Seeing no other option, and Belgium having two trade routes to Cape Town, I declared on Portugal the turn before for a jump start on their units. Belgium declared on me anyway despite having no reason to do so. Since I met Belgium around turn 26-27, I can only assume Portugal asked Leopold for a DOW then. Likely the only thing I could do to stop this would be to DOW Leopold as soon as I met him, so Portugal never gets the chance to ask.

      So it could possibly be a good idea to immediately DOW Europeans which can’t pose a threat in this game – France, Belgium, and Italy. However, this means you can’t trade with them and they won’t send trade routes to your English cities (which are a desperate economic boon.)

      This war has been brutal. There was a heart-stopping moment that turned hilarious when Portugal immediately covered Bloemfontein with a carpet… of Explorers. Their suiciding on my Foreign Volunteers ended up healing my units; imagine that. But they’ve since brought in artillery backup and a pretty terrifying fleet to Cape Town. Meanwhile, the Germans still refuse peace and are marching on Pretoria. I just don’t have the units to handle them there, and my only possible saving grace is that they didn’t bring artillery. Every one of my cities is under assault, and it’s requiring some careful management to come through this. I would be absolutely screwed if the AI wasn’t so stupid: the German units could easily capture Cape Town or Port Elizabeth, both under constant frigate fire, if they weren’t lured to the otherwise unbesieged capital.

      I had one save where I performed excellently and demolished/captured most of the Portuguese fleet, and Bloemfontein’s assault was finally flagging, but Germany brought in fresh melees and there was no way I could save Pretoria. So I know I [I]can[/I] beat the fleet… RNG’s just being much crueler to me this time around.

      Still. If I can make it out of this with all the important cities intact – while I’ve barely had time for culture buildings, this is giving me loads of culture for unit kills. So this may end up being one of those combat-propelled games. Really, I’ll consider it an achievement if I can just survive to the end.

  13. That was INSANELY hard. Didn’t make it past the early 30s before reloading a couple times, than made it to the mid 60s, reloaded back to the 30s, finally made it to the end, not a moment too soon. I was comfortably in the lead but Portugal had cracked my defenses and was about to probably sweep all my cities. I doubt I’d have lasted another five turns. The only way I survived was by getting into a war with England, France, Belgium, and Germany all at the beginning of the game and refusing peace with them as long as possible. I don’t think I made peace with anyone before turn 68, and the last peace deal was in the early 80s. I never actually made peace with Belgium at all. But what that meant was, as you point out, Portugal never had a partner to declare war on me with, so they didn’t until like turn 90, by which time I’d built up *just* enough of a defensive perimeter to protect my territory for 10 turns.

    It’s kind of irritating that Deity is *so* hard on these scenarios that a lot of them end up forcing you to cheese or go with one specific avenue. It doesn’t really feel in the spirit of the game at all.

  14. I don’t get it, it doesn’t seem to matter how many of their settlers I capture, how much of their land I steal with citadels or tiles pillaged, how many units I kill; mid 20’s the English will come at me with a considerable wave of units I can only assume they are buying and storing offshore.
    Using the autosave above I cannot work a luxury fast enough to give it to Portugal on the turn meeting them, without fail they denounce me the turn after. I’ve had varying success trying to avoid meeting them for as long as possible, but you absolutely will meet them if you put your 2nd city were recommended, just hope the English & Portuguese have declared war on the Zulu by then.

    My latest game, using the autosave & recommend spot for the 2nd city, It’s turn mid 50’s, but I’m surviving.. barely. I’ve SOMEHOW managed to avoid war with Port but the Zulu are gone & I’ve only managed to take port Elizabeth twice with it being taken back the next turn, having had to play it super defensive starting around turn 20 & not getting overrun. 5th place atm, it looks bleak but I’m going to stick with it.

    Hopefully by the time someone reads this I will have finally beaten it.

    1. Woah, seems the name you provided expresses your state of frustration on this scenario, Sir.
      I wish you all the best — in barely a scenario one needs as much luck as in this one. AIs declare war seemingly at random and maybe the English are less occupied elsewhere, so they focus on you. Maybe you’re lucky that someone bothers Ethiopia enough to cripple them seriously. Otherwise they might be tough to beat in culture (rendering all these initial efforts useless πŸ™ ). Good luck!

    2. Thank you, I need all I can get apparently. Turn 82ish, I’m in a Distant 3rd, Italy & Ethiopia leading, both unmet, 3k difference in score, 30 culture/turn.. cutting my losses. I’ve been able to take both English cities in a single turn only to lose them right back, if only she’d accepted peace. Jw, if you & others are declaring war on England turn 0 or turn 1?
      One tip I’ve learned, waiting till turn 1, let the English move up to your borders, buy tiles forcing them back then declare war. Again varying success, but it seems to tick the Zulu off.
      Thanks for the other guides as well, they’ve definitely helped me win conquest, vikings & renaissance.

    3. I don’t know if you ever beat it but something that Robert doesn’t necessarily make explicitly clear in the guide (and he may disagree with me) is that your war with the English starts out being totally defensive. It’s paradoxical, but there’s really no point in trying to advance very far until at least one of your cannons is in play, and advancing will often get your units killed. You can’t afford to lose more than one of your Foreign Volunteers while taking the two English cities. I spent the first ten-ish turns mostly just rotating my volunteers’ positions so they could defend and heal, and verrrry slowly, when there was an opportunity, advancing my line so that I’d be ready for the cannon. It took a lot of trial and error and constant reloading to get every movement just right.

  15. Thank you for your guide, it is very helpful. But please explain how did you get 200 culture per turn. I built a lot of farms and build Hermitage. But at 65th turn I had only 80-90 culture. In capital I have ~30 culture per turn.

    1. Hi Zhartaunik, that’s very hard for me to reconstruct now, more than 3 years later, but 80-90 sounds way too little.
      How many cities do you have? They all must have

      • plenty of farms
      • Monument, Amphitheater and Opera House

      so the Culture output must be much higher!
      Check the picture with the graphs after winning: There were plenty of turns with massive culture output. I reckon that is from enemy units killed, for which you gain culture, too! Could also be Golden Ages from specialists. Looking at the Golden Age counter in the pictures there was at least 1 Golden Age.

    2. Hi Robert, thanks for your replay.
      Well, I have 4 cities with all cultural buildings. I leaved German city as a puppet, so let’s don’t consider it. Population in every city is between 10 and 14.
      At 65th turn I had all 3 culture policies. Hermitage I got at ~45th turn.
      Each city produced ~15-20 culture per turn. As one city had Hermitage – it produced 42 culture.
      I didn’t build wonders for writers, artists.. And as result didn’t have additional culture from using them. That was probably my mistake… Meanwhile please advice is there the way to move great works between cities.
      But I think even when I will do this everything I cannot imagine how to gain 200 culture per turn…

  16. Great guide. After several tries I finally won this one by over 1000 VP. I had nearly 8000 VP at the end. I got a good map for farming. The advice on getting culture up and pumping with fully staffed guilds is good, plus going for the Hermitage in the capital was good.

    Taking out English South Africa ASAP is key, too. I played one game in which I spent too much time reaping VPs out of English ships before taking Port Elizabeth (PE). By the time I took it and went for Cape Town, the English bogged me down and by turn 50 I was battling endless cannons in Cape Town that took down my cannons as fast as I could roll them in. The French had also declared and all I could do was maintain territory. I restarted back at turn 0, and played much more aggressively, mostly ignoring the English fleet, and managed to take out Port Elizabeth and Cape Town by about turn 35. Swakopmund turned into more of a battle, as English declared again, and the Belgians joined.

    The advice about the Europeans not wanting to declare war alone is good. If two nations both denounce you, you’ll be at war with both of them soon, so, declare on the furthest one, and the other one will likely not declare on you.

    At the end, I was pumping out 237 culture per turn and my lead grew every turn. Building up a privateer navy with lots of cannon support gave me a good culture boost of destroyed English ships every turn. I refused several peace offerings from them just so I could keep my culturally profitable war going. A network of roads behind Swakopmund kept my cannons in firing position every turn. Eventually I weakened the Brits enough to take Mombasa just north of Swakopmund.

    Sending a horseman inland to look for city states and wonders is helpful. Eventually, you may have enough cash to ally with one. Especially once your culture impresses a few of them and they become friends.

    1. Yeeeehaa! Sounds great! Congratz! Thanks for the compliments and for outlining your approach here! πŸ™‚

  17. Thanks for this guide! I first tried to do exactly as this guide, but I lost to Ethiopia by 600 points. Then I loaded the game again and this time after taking Swakopmund, I started building naval units in the coastal cities. Maintenance costs rise, but really you need to just have positive income gold per turn, cos you don’t have to buy anything really. Then I just declared war on France and Belgium. At some point England too. Then made peace with England for a while etc. It just seems like an effective way to win cos you get like 28 culture per destroyed Frigate and stuff.

    Of course at some point you do have to build the culture buildings to get Hermitage, rather sooner than later.

    I think if you get a Great Writer within the last 50 turns, you should write a political treatise instead of Great Work, cos you instantly get a huge amount of culture instead of not getting as much over time.

    1. Actually, the cutoff for Great Writer political treatise is maybe 25 to 30 turns, not sure. Before that Great Work is fine.

  18. How can you support your units? How can you earn gold if you have no trading partners? I took both english cities by turn 25 but by then my economy was ruined -20 gold per turn and under 10 units. How can you get enough to buy buildings? I don’t get it.

    1. Good question. Just checked the screenshots: I assume I had maxed out every single city for Gold. In the beginning intercepting English caravans is a source of income. Later in the game some own trade routes balance the loss of Gold.

  19. I’ve tried this a couple times and I’m having a really hard time taking the English cities. Whenever I capture Port Elizabeth, the English embark a land unit and take it a couple turns later by sea. I can’t defend since the ships are keeping the city at 0 hp.

    Also the English cannons are making it impossible to even get close to Cape Town. They typically have 2-3 of them by the time I can take Port Elizabeth and are just slaughtering everything I send near.

    I might just be getting unlucky with the terrain in the English territory, but it’s frustrating to have to re-roll that as well.

    1. Hey Chris, sorry to hear! But yeah, this scenario is a bitch. I don’t remember how many attempts I did. Probably 10 or more. All of them with heavy save-reload gameplay. There simply is no room for error. Either save every turn or set the autosave frequency to 1 turn! πŸ™‚ It’s a pain, but once you get good land, you’ll have enough production for your cannons, once you have those, you will defeat the English.
      On the topic of of the terrain in the English territory: The 2 tiles from the coast inward will always be the same (check out the Scramble for Africa Map). Only everything further inside the “Dark Continent” will change. And you definitely need 2 hills to bomb Cape Town and 1 hill to bomb Port Elizabeth!

    2. Well I managed to take the English cities on another try, but Portugal is constantly declaring war on me no matter what I try. They’re still fighting the Zulus, too. It’s actually kind of funny how it went down last time:

      They first declared war (along with Germany) a couple turns after I took the English cities. So I did the standard trick where I reload and declare war on Germany first. That’s perfect since it more-or-less follows your guide.

      Then after I took Swakopmund, Portugal did it again with Belgium. The crazy part is that it was the exact same turn that I discovered Belgium. So I see Belgium’s DoW message, and then I see their greeting message immediately after. I’ve never seen that before!

      The worst part is that I couldn’t pre-emptively declare war on Belgium in that case. So time to roll a new start!

      What did you do to manage to keep on good terms with Portugal?

    3. Holy crap, I finally beat it. I’ll give a brief summary since things went down a little bit differently than in your game:

      Turn 6: The English get a settler through and found Mombasa halfway between Pretoria and Swakopmund. It’s in very defensible, hilly terrain. This changes quite a bit about the strategy.

      Turn 21: Mombasa captured.

      Turn 26: Port Elizabeth captured.

      Turn 32: Cape Town captured.

      Turn 34: Portugal captures last Zulu city.

      Turn 45: I take a writer as my free great person. I stockpile these for a massive culture boost at the end with a golden age. In retrospect, this first one may have been better spent on a great work. I haven’t run the math on it.

      Turn 53: France and Germany declare war on me. From here on out there is a constant naval war just off the coast of Cape Town. Germany, France and (later) Belgium send endless hordes of Privateers supported by occasional frigates and ironclads. I almost lose Cape Town a few times, but my cannons on the coast wreak havoc and get tons of XP.

      I form a defensive line and defend Mombasa against Germany. I tried several times to take Swakopmund, but every time I took it, Portugal declared war shortly afterwards.

      Turn 61: Portugal becomes friendly to me. I’m still not clear why. I had been giving them lots of strategic resources as gifts, and they became friendly after asking me to renew one of those deals. I use this attitude to get some sweet deals on luxuries.

      Turn 68: Writer earned. (I stockpile these for a massive culture boost at the end with a golden age)

      Turn 70: Belgium and Portugal declare war. I reload and pre-emptively attack Belgium. They join the massive naval battle off the coast.

      Turn 72: Portugal denounces me. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

      Turn 91: Writer earned. (I stockpile these for a massive culture boost at the end with a golden age)

      Turn 91: Great Artist Born. I start a golden age and will burn all three writers at the end for lots of culture.

      Turn 96: I burn all three writers for a little over 600 culture each. I’m 200 VPs ahead of Ethiopia and should win given culture rates. But then…

      Turn 96: Portugal declares war!!! There’s nothing I can do except try to hold them off long enough. But they have so many units that they are literally filling up my entire territory. My first attempt was to hunker down and try to wait until the end. I lose some cities and ultimately lose to Ethiopia by 80 points.

      I reload and try a much more aggressive strategy. I use my admiral to repair my ironclad fleet and aggressively tear into the European fleets. I focus on destroying Portuguese units rather than holding territory, but still cause a lot of damage and delay them. This earns a ton of culture and I ended up a fair bit ahead of Ethiopia. A couple more turns and I probably would have lost everything, though.

      The last few turns in this game were probably the most intense of any game I’ve played. But I really agree with your assessment of this scenario – the AI is such a pain. I had a blast going for Pax Romana Aeternum, but this one was just painful. I think I’ll play on Settler for a while.

      Anyway, keep up the good work! The guide here was very helpful.

      Post-game VP graph:

      (You can see the hopelessly massive invasion in the background)

  20. I this this ach. pRobably is the haRdest one….and youR guide is Relly GREAT !!!! GoRgeous!!!!

  21. Hey, to anyone who reads this, just a tip: the AI won’t attack workers with thier cities. What I did was kill all his units around Port Elizabeth and then send in one of my captured workers (I had a lot!) to give me line-of-sight on the city so I could bombard it. I wasn’t playing on Deity though, so it might be different then.

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