Civlization V: How to be evil

| Monday, July 8, 2013
There are plenty of guides for Civilization V.  They'll tell you how to win or what policies to take.  That's nice.  But what if I want to be evil?  We can't all be Washington.  Someone has to be Stalin, or else how would we have the Cold War?  Not sure why he's not an option anymore; that man was amazing at evil and he even got away with it.  So that's what this is for, learning how to be a horrible person in Civ V.

The first thing is to remember that war isn't the only way to be evil.  Oh sure, burning down cities and pillaging the countryside is good.  It's a classic.  But it's overdone.  Even if I'm not trying not be evil I have to burn down a city here and there.  Hashtag yolo (I only know about Twitter from listening to the radio, so I'm not sure whether that's one word or two)

Did you know that great generals, while no longer a source of free golden ages, are able to capture tiles?  That's right!  Drop a citadel and you'll gain control of all the tiles around it.  Against other civilizations this will make them very angry and they may even attack you.  Against city states it will cause a huge drop in standing: 50-60 points, possibly depending on tiles taken.  Anyone can conquer a city state, but to be truly evil you leave it just barely alive, with no land, furious but unable to do anything about it.

Sharing intrigue sounds like a nice thing to do.  But remember, these are spies we're talking about.  Maybe your 'friend' is planning to attack an enemy.  Warn them!  With no element of surprise, that war can drag out a nice long time.  No one knows you did it except the ones you warned.  That's right, you get to talk about your friends behind their backs and ruin their plans.  That's so Mean Girls.

Speaking of hurting your friends, why not take theirs?  Some civilizations rely heavily on city states to bolster their economies and defenses.  It would be wrong to attack your friends, but it would be more wrong to buy off the friends they rely on, crippling them without seeming to be a warmongering menace to the world.  They friend will get mad, but bribery isn't illegal.

While you're at it, why not use those spies to stage some coups?  You only have to kill two spies or steal two techs to get a level three spy.  Throw a bit of gold out to up your odds, then stage a coup.  Bribery alone might up your standing, but a coup also drops that of the other civilization.

Of course those city states eventually start to stray.  Don't let them.  Play as Austria and for only a few hundred gold you can turn allied city states into puppets.  Conquer the world without firing a shot.  Then of course kill the rest of it.

Nuclear War
Don't be afraid to go nuclear.  In Civ V there are much clearer patterns of alliances than in Civ V, so you can drop a dozen bombs and suffer no penalties except with the losers you're nuking.  In a recent game I glassed Greece, yet everyone else in the world considered me a friend.  Once again, learn from Mean Girls: You can be as cruel as you want to people with no friends.

Nukes don't just kill units, they also kill cities.  Two or three are enough to make any city vulnerable to capture.  Drop enough and you can destroy a city outright.  Why deal with the pesky razing over many turns when you can do the same in a single turn?

Water doesn't collect fallout (that's why I only eat low-cost Fukushima fish), so feel free to blast away at those coastal cities without fear of slowing down your navy.  City states seem to like the coast, so why not 'liberate' a few?  Sure, their land might be mostly radioactive waste, but you can't burn an omelet without breaking some eggs.

Fallout is useful too!  Think of it as an instant forest tile, slowing down your enemies.  Even better, it has to be cleaned up before tiles can be used.  So, in the interest of a peaceful, nuclear weapons-free world, be sure to drop a few nuclear missiles on the uranium deposits of other civilizations.  Though to be practical, consider atomic bombs: they spread fallout just as well but cost less in both resources and production.

Lazy War
All of this sounds like a lot of work, doesn't it?  Try being lazy for a change.  Let the other civilizations do some of the fighting for you.

Maybe everyone is mad at some distant country.  It would take way too long to get over there.  Ordinarily you might just ignore it.  That's a good start.  But why not actively ignore it?  When other civilizations tell you how dangerous they are and how you should join them in a crusade against evil, offer to join in.  The result is that you get the diplomatic bonus of 'helping' everyone and only the loser that no one likes gets mad.  I usually ask for ten turns to make sure I've set everything up properly.

What is a proper set up?  Gold deals, of course!  Until you declare war you look like a friendly guy.  So go ahead and sell off everything you can, load up your treasury at the expense of the guy that no one likes.  Remember, demanding lunch money is bullying; borrowing lunch money and never giving it back because of changes in management, that's banking.  Which group gets the larger protests?  While you're at it, why not use some of this gold to buy off their allied city states?  "Divide and capture" is a cliche; "unify almost everyone under your banner and murder everyone else" is the cool thing to do.

Sometimes the friendless loser is a little closer.  In that case, round up some fast units and maybe a few archery types.  Watch where your friends are attacking.  When the city starts to get low, finish it off and capture it yourself.

Miscellaneous Evil
I won't take credit for this one, since plagiarism isn't a useful Civilization strat, even if it is bad, but try this out.  Capture a city state.  Sell it to a civ you don't like.  Declare war and capture it.  Liberate it.  Hey, it's just like what we (that is, US) did with Germany!  Though in his defense, Hitler never held international "who has the most faith" challenges.

Avoid agreements that you can't keep.  Not by keeping them, but by avoiding them.  For example, if you settle one city at a time to box in another civilization they're likely to whine about you settling too close to them.  Of course you want to keep doing it.  The solution: don't keep doing it but instead, have already done it.  Don't settle one city at a time; settle three.  You've boxed them in and can now look like an agreeable person when you agree not to settle any more near them.  Of course there is no more empty land...  Inevitably they'll covet lands that you own and invade, allowing you to bravely defend yourself against the cruel aggressors.

Finally, utilize the domino effect.  One city state wants porcelain and gives furs and another gives porcelain and wants gold.  You could bribe them both.  Or, you could bribe the second one, thereby gaining furs to trigger the standing gain from the first.  I think the longest chain I've managed to get was three plus a branch: two wanted gems, the one with gems wanted porcelain, and the one with porcelain wanted something else.  By bribing the right city state I managed to tip four into my camp.  Maybe this doesn't sound evil, but that's because you're a hippie who fraternizes with Southeast Asian Communists.


Anonymous said...

I'd also recommend converting a nation that has a religion to your faith, then promise not to do it and watch them fume as their newly settled (after the agreement was made)city flips to your religion without you lifting a finger

Klepsacovic said...

I almost never impose my religion on other civilizations, except of course to get rid of those barbarous pantheons. My current game is an exception. After a multi-century war with Denmark I had no qualms with dropping an Islamic prophet in their holy city for Christianity. Because I've converted so many cities and have religious texts, Islam has the most pressure on the holy city. They are not happy.

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