Scramble for Africa Italy Strategy (Deity)

Why a guide for any of the European civs?

Playing the Scramble for Africa as the Europeans isn’t as easy as one might think. The main threat for the African civilizations is being at war with the Europeans. When you’re playing a European civ yourself, the biggest threat is that you can NOT declare war on the other Europeans. The Scramble for Africa Italy Strategy Guide shows what to do to prevent France and Portugal from scoring big without being able to wage war against them. Let’s go!

First steps

Declare war on the Ottoman empire immediately. Two Caio Duilio Class – the Italian Unique Unit, an ironclad with +50% against cities – can take Tunis within 2 turns. The Turks still have no ships and no ranged units. Only Tunis will attack you.

Build a 3rd ironclad in Palermo, while supporting Palermo with production brought in by 2 cargo ships from Catanzaro and Cagliari. These two cities build either more cargo ships (bring in some cash), lighthouse (more food, faster growth), or units (e.g. some explorers).

Your initial army plus what Palermo produces will be enough to conquer the Ottomans.

Do NOT accept and/or trade Open Borders to the other Europeans!!! This, amongst others, is crucial for victory!

Keys to victory

Block the land

Land gives twice the Victory Points (VP) for Europeans in this game. As you are European, you can be sure no African civilization will live to see the end of the game. As you read in Ottoman Carpentry, it’s almost impossible to fight the Europeans. Especially if you’re one of them.

So look at the map:

  • Portugal and England will divide Southern Africa amongst them, crushing the Boers and Zulu.
  • Morocco will eventually fall to France (although they fought for 80 turns in my game).

Now there’s 3 African players left and you have to make sure to get most – if not all – of their land:

  • The Ottomans – you’ll have their cities within the first 10 turns.
  • Egypt – attack him before he gets too strong. It should fall around turn 40
  • Ethiopia – the other Europeans are just not smart enough to beat him. You should!

Getting all this land will not be enough to compete with Frances score! This is why you must never open borders with anybody.

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa Italy Strategy block Europeans
Shows how a city at the coast of the Red Sea can deny the entire coast to other Europeans.

You’ll need to save most of the Sahara and the coast of the Red Sea from being settled by the enemy (all other Europeans). Settle strategic points and connect them by buying land. Conquering some Moroccan cities in the dessert should help blocking the French. Settle south of the Sahara to block the Germans (you can see this on the mini map in picture on the right).

Connect to your Egyptian cities quickly, so no settlers can sneak through. Then settle the coast of the Red Sea (as southern as possible) and buy tiles into land and sea. Nobody must be able to pass north. Otherwise Portugal and England will settle all over the place.

Longest rail line

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa Italy Strategy Longest rail line
The longest rail line, ranging from Tunisia to Mogadishu.

One thing I learned on the longest rail line: I was building my rail line in twisted ways, avoiding loops to make it longer. Not connecting the central African cities, only following the coastline also to make it longer. The scenario mechanic doesn’t appreciate these efforts. The only thing that counts is the maximum distance between two cities connected by rail lines – in my case from Asmara to Mogadishu.

Conquer Ethiopia

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa Italy Strategy conquer Ethiopia
Shows the siege of Gondar, Ethiopias last city in this game.

This runs like a golden thread through all strategy guides for the Scramble for Africa scenario: If not conquered, Ethiopia will always win. In the picture on the right you can see although I conquered each Ethiopian city except one, it still has a higher score. Neither recovery of artifacts or the longest rail line or controlling Suez changes that. You have to conquer Ethiopia. The strategy has been described in Ottoman Carpentry already: Bring workers to build roads, hit and run with cavalry and place rifled cannons on hills. Some cities, like Gondar on the right, are surrounded by forested hills. As you can not shoot across that, a citadel comes handy.

Get the most out of it

You might end up with a paper-thin lead. Here’s how you can make some more points: As soon as Ethiopia falls – sell your military! Not some of it! Every single unit! Make sure to do it in your territory to get some money. Any way this will save you another 100 Gold per Turn, which you should spend in buying land. Click through your cities and see where you can buy the cheapest tiles. Buy as much as you can!

Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa Italy Strategy Sell Military
The “People with the Pointiest Sticks” ranking after I sold my military.
Civilization 5 Scramble for Africa Italy Strategy Deity Win
Win on Deity playing as Italy.


Playing the Scramble for Africa as Italy is challenging despite the huge advantages of the Europeans. Unfortunately the Unique Unit doesn’t provide an advantage in the late game (no coastal cities to attack), which is why conquering Ethiopia follows the usual pattern. Still it’s much fun building an Italian Africa even bigger than the real Italian North Africa and Italian East Africa combined!

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

2 thoughts on “Scramble for Africa Italy Strategy (Deity)”

  1. Very interesting strategy! I played as Italy and I built an explorer right way and convinced the English to open borders me so I can start exploring africa and find as many natural wonders right away. I then conquered Suez first ( VP ), which was easy, and took out Egypt. They have huge swaths of land so that was good for my VP. My navy was upgraded enough to conquer the Ottomans fairy
    quickly. I’m still playing my match but I am ahead of everyone so far. Mind you its only on Prince LOL. I’ll try my strategy on a harder difficulty level.

    1. I’m curious to read of your result and experience! 🙂

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