A guide on how to play Persia with the Vox Populi(Community Balance Patch) mod. Persia is an incredibly powerful timing based warmonger. But unlike other timing pushes, which are almost all based on a unique unit, or perhaps a building, Persia instead relies on getting extra powerful golden ages.
These guides are designed to help players who are new to Civ but still interested in Vox Populi, familiar with Civ but new to Vox Populi, or even those well versed in Vox Populi who just want to see if there’s anything they didn’t know about a particular civilization. I am actually a big fan of Zigzagzigal’s – [steamcommunity.com] Civ guide series, and it really helped me learn a lot about the game, and I wanted to bring a similar experience for fans of the Vox Populi or Community Balance Patch modpack. For those interested in the modpack it can be downloaded here – [civfanatics.com]
Anyways, without further ado, onto the Persians!
Before I go into depth with this guide, here’s an explanation of some terminology I’ll be using throughout for the sake of newer players.
Beelining – Focusing on obtaining a technology early by only researching technologies needed to research it and no others. For example, to beeline Bronze Working, you’d research Mining and Bronze Working and nothing else until Bronze Working was finished.
Finisher – The bonus for completing a Social Policy tree (e.g. +33% Great Scientist rate and +25% growth in all cities from rationalism.)
GWAM – Great Writers, Artists and Musicians. These are the three types of Great People who can make Great Works, a major source of tourism for cultural Civs.
Opener – The bonus for unlocking a Social Policy tree (e.g. +25% Great Person Rate and +100% construction of guilds in Artistry)
Tall Empire – A low number of cities with a high population each.
UA – Unique Ability – the unique thing a Civilization has which doesn’t need to be built.
UB – Unique Building – A replacement for a normal building that can only be built and used by one Civilization.
UI – Unique Improvement – A tile improvement that can be made by workers that doesn’t replace any other improvement that can only be made by a single civilization
UU – Unique Unit – A replacement for a normal unit that can only be built by one Civilization or provided by militaristic City-States when allied.
Uniques – Collective name for Unique Abilities, Units, Buildings, Tile Improvements and Great People
Wide Empire – A high number of cities with a low population each.
XP – Experience Points – Get enough and you’ll level up your unit, giving you the ability to heal your unit or get a promotion.
Brief Unique Summary
Persia does not have a start bias. None of their uniques interact with terrain so that’s fine
Unique Ability: Achaemenid Legacy
Golden Ages last 50% longer, and 10% of your income (after expenses) converts into every turn
During a Golden Age, you units get +1 and +15%
Unique Unit: Immortal(Replaces the Spearman)
A melee unit
|Technology||Obsoletion||Upgrades From||Upgrades To||Resource Needed|
|Strength||Ranged Strength||Moves||Range||Sight||Negative Attributes||Positive Attributes|
Positive One-Off Changes
- Higher combat strength (13 instead of 12)
- Obsoletes at Gunpowder rather than Steel
Positive Stay on Upgrade Changes
- Heals 10 extra hp per turn when healing(Faster Healing)
- 25% when defending(Armor Plating I)
Unique Building: Satrap’s Court(Replaces the Courthouse)
|Technology||Building required||Required to Build||Production Cost||City Restriction||Maintenance|
|Base Output||Citizen Yields||Specialist||Great Work Slots||Other Effects|
|1||1& per 5|
- Can be built in any city
- Has no maintenance cost
- +1& per 5
- 1 merchant
- +1 for each engineer, scientist, and merchant specialist in the city
- Production cost increases by 5% for every Satrap’s Court in your empire(Down from 10% per courthouse)
Strategies and Victory Routes
These scores are merely my personal opinions from playing and examining this Civ, you may find other uses for the Persian uniques that make you disagree with a certain ranking
Persia is probably the strongest ancient era rushing civ, and their bonuses still hold up well later on, and even help a lot for defense. This makes a domination victory ideal for them
Longer golden ages gives some extra culture, but it isn’t huge, nor does it help your tourism. However, Persia does benefit from playing the cultural warmonger, so a culture victory could serve a good backup, especially given their odd policy path
More and longer golden ages also helps production a decent bit, but Persia has no benefit to science
Their UB as well as their golden age bonuses gives Persia a surprising amount of gold. They otherwise lack an advantage to diplomacy
Finally, as is the nature of having early military uniques, Persia struggles to found a religion
Unique Ability: Achaemenid Legacy
Persia’s most powerful ability, and the core of their strategy, is that their units get a massive +15% combat strength bonus and even more importantly, a +1 movement speed bonus. Every other Persian bonus is to support this ability. At the beginning of the game, you are almost guaranteed to get a golden age somewhere around turn 40-50, depending on your happiness levels and any events related to golden ages. You’ll want to be ready to strike by the time this comes around.
For the 3 added from cities, 1 of it is from gold, 2 is from the god king pantheon
While that first golden age is guaranteed fairly early with minimal effort, the rest you’ll need a bit more work to get. The Persian UA further helps with this by giving you 1 golden age point for every 10 gold you produce, so you’ll want to try and generate as much gold as possible. Keep up on building gold buildings and on keeping up trade routes, especially in peace time, and you should be alright
Persian golden ages also last 50% longer, giving you more time to conquer. While every unit benefits from the combat and movement bonus…
And by every unit I do mean every unit
I do believe some units can benefit more from the movement in particular then others. Melee units benefit massively from the extra movement, as they can move onto rough terrain and still attack. Siege benefit in a similar way, both for rough terrain as well as moving in enemy territory. Mounted ranged units I believe are an excellent choice for Persia as well, since with that movement they can pull off similar things to Mongolia, or the Shoshone UU. Naval ranged in the early game can also be effective, particularly the galleass, as you can do England levels of naval attacks, albeit on a limited time frame.
Steal the England, Venetian Arsenal, and Great Lighthouse patented strategy of starting 3 tiles from a city, moving 2, shooting, and retreating back where you started
There are many ways to generate golden ages, some even unique to Persia (which we’ll take about more later) but there is one way that is extremely powerful you should keep an eye on
While somewhat nerfed from Brave New World, Great Artists are integral to a strong Persia in the mid and late game. While most civs who care about generating Great Artists want them for their great works, Persia wants them for their ability to generate golden age points. The amount they give is based on how much golden age points and tourism you’ve generated recently, and is also increased by any themed works you have. So you want to keep on top of generating all GWAMs, not just Artists. Don’t just pop an artist immediately either, save them to trigger a golden age when you are ready for war. In Brave New World, it was possible to achieve a strategy known as Forever Golden, where you could maintain a permanent golden age once you could generate enough Great Artists. With the nerf to Great Artists making them generate golden age points instead of triggering a golden age, I’m not fully confident this strategy is possible anymore, however, with a few artists around, you can likely chain at least two golden ages together, which should give you enough momentum to conquer at least one if not two civs with ease.
Unique Unit: The Immortal
While Persia’s UA is their strongest military bonus, and would already make them a top early rushing civ, it’s the Immortal that makes them the best at it, and even without the extra movement and strength, they’d be a great unit. Getting to Bronze Working and churning out Immortals is top priority, you’ll want at least 3 or 4 before your golden age triggers, and you’ll probably want to make at least one or two more mid-war
You have no idea how many times the AI interrupted my attempts to screenshot the healing by asking for a trade deal
The Immortal heals for +10 hp when they heal, no matter where they are. So even in enemy territory, they heal as fast as other civs in friendly territory. This means they can heal more effectively while entrenched on the front lines, you don’t have to pull injured units as far back to heal effectively, and even in friendly territory they’ll be back in top fighting shape in no time. They also have higher base combat strength, and a +25% combat strength bonus on the defense. So with your golden age, you have units that attack for 15 combat strength, two less then a swordsman for no resource cost in the ancient era, and that defend for 18, even more then a swordsman. They also have 3 movement. This will be unstoppable for any civ as long as you attack as soon as you get your golden age. No ancient unique unit, nor any early defensive bonuses can stand against this. Not even walled cities are guaranteed to be able to fight back against this
1 turn left of the golden age, just in the nick of time. Of course I would’ve been able to take this even if it ended, as I had already wiped out Morocco’s main army.
Promotions kept on upgrade
- +10 hp healed(Faster Healing)
- +25% combat strength when defended(Armor Plating)
Unique Building: Satrap’s Court
Satrap’s Court may replace the courthouse, but make no mistake, the main purpose of this building is not to help stabilize conquests (although it can still do that) The main purpose of Satrap’s Court is to help you generate more golden ages.
Despite being a courthouse replacement, you can build Satrap’s Court in every city, and build it you should. It gives 1 golden age point and 1 gold for every 5 citizens, making it one of the strongest sources for generating golden age points in the game, or at least one of the most scaling. It also has a merchant specialist, and makes all merchant, scientist and engineer specialists give 1 gold. It may seem like it’s bonuses are just as if not more so for gold then golden ages, and it is to some extent, but not only is that still very useful for a warmonger, don’t forget you also get more golden age points the more gold you have, so it helps doubly so for your golden ages.
3.4 gold and 2.4 golden age points, ain’t too shabby
One last thing to note is that normal courthouses get 10% more expensive for every single one you build. But the Satrap’s Court only increases by 5% for each one built. This may seem to merely compensate for them being built in all cities, but as primarily a warmonger, most of your cities will be conquered, so this is still likely saving you production.
Persia should take the cultural warmonger route of Authority to boost early conquest into Artistry to get more GWAMS, especially Artists, and then into Imperialism to further your conquering
Opener: Little bit of production to help early unit and building construction, plus easier barbarians and some culture out of them and any other units you kill to boot
Dominance: Get some science out of your kills too. The healing should mean even less unit downtime, important given your limited windows of power
Tribute: The extra yields on occasion, whether from border growth or bullying city states, are nice
Imperium: You’re bound to be conquering a lot of cities, so this will probably add up to several techs and a few policies
Discipline: More happiness and more gold means more golden ages means more conquest
Honor: Should help add some units from time to time.
Finisher: Sometimes a quick purchased unit is exactly what you need.
Opener: Guilds normally take a lot of production, and now they don’t!
Humanism: Most notable is the golden age points from works of writing. Make sure to keep up on those in particular
Refinement: This should give quite a bit of happiness, which should help offset any conquering you may or may not be doing
National Treasure: I’d recommend an Artist, or perhaps a General if you’re desperate for one
Heritage: Some Golden Age points, although you’ll probably be conquering more wonders then you’re building. The university bonus is nice though
Cultural Exchange: Given your frequency and added length of golden ages this is extremely significant for you
Finisher: Extra artifacts for more theming for more golden age points from artists for more conquest…
Opener: Your Great Generals now have a lot more mobility. Plus if you need to conquer someone overseas, faster navies can help with that.
Colonialism: You’ll have lots of monopolies by now, get some more use out of them.
Regimental Tradition: Faster Great General and Admiral generation, as well as making them stronger, good to have on the land or on the sea.
Martial Law: You’ll definitely have plenty of puppet cities, and conquered ones too. Both of them will be less of a burden now.
Exploitation: Some extra yields on almost every tile of the empire, and the expanded upgrade positions has some niche use
Civilizing Mission: Gold from conquering cities, and production in said conquered cities, everything you need to push the front line.
Finisher: A stronger navy, and a new way to use air units to help manage unhappiness.
Each Ideology is, in theory, only useful for 3 of the 4 victory types. Every ideology gives bonuses to culture, Freedom gives bonuses to diplomacy and science, Order gives bonuses to science and domination, and Autocracy gives bonuses towards domination and diplomacy. I would never, in any other circumstance, recommend you go an ideology not normally suited to your primary victory route. However, given their reliance on golden ages, and the strength that alone gives to domination, Persia is recommended to go Freedom whether they intend to stay domination or go for a culture victory
Level 1 Policies
Creative Expression: More tourism is ok, even moreso for a culture victory, but you are here for the extra golden age points
Draft Registration: If you’ve got the money hanging around, you can keep your cities supporting infrastructure without neglecting your army
Avant Garde: Faster great people generation for more GWAMs
Economic Union(Culture): Extra trade routes to give you more gold to give you more golden age points
Level 2 Policies
Universal Suffrage: This is the real reason you are taking freedom. 50% extra golden age length is massive for you. The free golden age and extra happiness is icing on the cake
Their Finest Hour: Quicker produced air units, plus a stronger special air unit is very nice. The extra city strength also makes it a bit less likely a city is taken from you right after you conquer it
Capitalism(Culture): More happiness and more gold is always welcome
Level 3 Policies
Media Culture: The extra tourism will help your artists give more golden age points
Treaty Organization(Culture): As you’ve probably otherwise been ignoring the world congress, this should hopefully help you at least not get completely ganged up on
Pyramids: The extra settler is nice, but unlike most other civs that’s not why you’re here, as the golden age points from great people is very nice for you.
Statue of Zeus: Might be a bit hard to build given building immortals is more important, but if you can get it capturing cities will be much easier
Great Lighthouse: With this and a golden age, you will be a terror on the seas, especially before renaissance ships
Oracle: You’ll struggle with science as Persia. Since this is on your tech path, it could prove a good boon
Alhambra(Authority Only): You probably aren’t building a ton of mounted units, but if you are, this helps
Notre Dame: Can be difficult to grab, but a free golden age is very nice
Chichen Itza: HIGHEST PRIORITY WONDER. This wonder makes Persia significantly stronger. If you don’t build it yourself, you should go and kill whoever did.
Globe Theatre: While not as important as Chichen Itza, this is still an incredible source of golden age points
Leaning Tower of Pisa: A free Artist or General would both be great for you, plus more GWAMs in the future
Taj Mahal: A free golden age, and a few extra golden age points
Uffizi: A free Artist. What more is there to say?
Brandenburg Gate: More xp is always good to have
Louvre(Artistry Only): A free Artist. You are highly unlikely to ever to theme this, probably more then any other artistry civ, but that’s ok
Neuschwanstein: More happiness means more golden I think you get the point by now
Cristo Redentor: More golden age points. If you are thinking of a culture win the tourism is nice too.
Empire State Building: More gold, plus a free Artist
Statue of Liberty(Freedom Only): More production and a free policy
Pentagon(Imperialism Only): Even faster air units, synergizes well with your freedom policies
CERN: Two free techs is nice for anyone
CN Tower(Culture): Should give you the tourism you need to win
Great Firewall(Culture): If someone else gets this, they’ll be much harder to influence.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Persia relies on huge power spikes rather then consistent strength. Working around this is crucial, and mistakes can arise around not utilizing these power spikes properly
Not Beelining Bronze Working
It is vital that Persia has a strong army up ready for their first golden age, and the best unit for the job is the Immortal. You have a limited time to get them ready though, so beelining their tech and building them immediately is key for an early invasion
Only using Immortals/melee units
For your first war, Immortals are all you need and most likely all you can build. But afterwards, there is no reason to only use them and their upgrades. They are still worth using, but the golden age bonus applies to all units. Don’t be afraid to diversify. Siege units at a minimum should be a part of your army, as even with the golden age bonus, melee units can struggle to take on a city with up to date defensive buildings.
Not building Satrap’s Courts in your non conquered cities
Yes Satrap’s Court gets more expensive the more you have, but the bonuses are too good to ignore. Plus, 5% isn’t a massive increase. Build them everywhere
Only warring during a golden age
You should try your best to keep golden age uptime and trying to always be at war during one, but sometimes there is a great opportunity but no golden age. You should still take that war. There’s a decent chance you’ll go into a golden age mid-war anyways
Ignoring Great Artists
Great Artists are your best way of generating golden ages, as they give you a lot of control over when they happen, something no other source can really claim. Generate lots of them, and save them for when you need them.
Purging Persepolis: Counter Strategies
Persia has hands down the scariest ancient era rush, and afterwards has periods of extreme strength. However, without their precious golden ages, Persia doesn’t really have a lot going for them. It’s all about working around and countering that
Abolishing the Achaemenid Legacy
Persia’s armies become terrifying forces during a golden age, and they have bonuses to make sure they get them. However, there are still counterplay options. Deny Persia as many luxuries as possible, either by preventing them from settling them, or from not trading them any. Not trading with Persia period is a solid idea as well, or at least not giving them any money is a good idea. Taking money though, as long as you aren’t giving them luxuries, can be a good idea though. Denying them certain wonders such as Chichen Itza can severely hamper them too, although that might invite invasion.
Fighting them militarily, whether on defense or offense, is all about observation. Their golden age won’t last forever. While you can’t just look at them immediately and know if they’re in a golden age or not, there are signs of it in their units. Watch how much their units move, if you spot one move more then it should, chances are high their in a golden age. If you are at war with them, just look at the combat interface
Bottom left of the screen
If you see the golden age combat bonus, they got it, but if not, they don’t. The best times to push hard are when they don’t have the bonus. So if you notice they are lacking the bonus, even more so if it just wore out, that is the time to strike
Persia is at their scariest when they get their first golden age and invade with these. If you are on the receiving end of an ancient Immortal invasion, it’s going to be rough. However, not all hope is lost. If you have Persia as a close neighbor early game, it is probably worth it to drop everything and beeline construction. Walls will make it take much more time to take down a city, and with more time, comes the end of their golden age, allowing for an easier counter attack. Immortals are still scary even without the golden age bonus though
Your best bet is to pepper them with ranged units that are well protected by melee units. They can survive a long time if they are defending, but if they’re defending and not attacking, they aren’t actually accomplishing much. With enough peppering, they will go down.
Suppressing Satrap’s Court
Satrap’s Court can give Persia lots of golden age points and gold, but it scales with population. Persia has no growth bonuses, so their best bet is to own lots of cities. If you are at the point where you are concerned about countering this, you’ve likely survived the Immortal rush, so the best counter here is to prevent Persia’s expansion. Take city spots near them, try to ally their other neighbors, etc. If you can do that, Persia will be less of a threat militarily as well. Invasion against you is still possible and dangerous, but less so then if they got lots of cities.
Strategy by Style
Early-Game Warmongers: Do not attack them during their golden age, but even after their golden age, it might be best to wait until Immortals aren’t as dominant. If you have to attack, hit them hard, there is no overestimating Persia at this point in the game
Mid-Game Warmongers: Don’t attack during one of their golden ages, try to avoid mounted units if possible, and try to take out any upgraded Immortals.
Late-Game Warmongers: Same as above, if you take out their upgraded Immortals, Persia will have a generic army if not in a golden age, and only a poor production base and a somewhat above average economy to support it. They should be a cakewalk
Cultural Players: If you can nab any wonders related to golden ages or Artists, it will severely hamper Persia’s abilities to consistently war. It may make you a target though, so keep that in mind
Scientific Players: If Persia is an early neighbor, rush to construction, then swordsman. After and otherwise, you tech advantage, if used to keep on unit tech, should make up the difference Persia gets in a golden age
Diplomatic Players: Embargo Persia, ban their luxuries, and pass Global Peace Accords. This hurts Persia more then the average warmonger
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