Tobold's Blog
Sunday, March 31, 2024
A winning strategy for Millennia

Millennia can be played with a wide range of different strategies, which work best when taking into account the geographic conditions of the map you are playing on. But in this post I would like to describe a relatively simple strategy based on military expansion, which should work on most maps. If you find Millennia daunting in its complexity and don't know how to do better than the AI opponents, this is one possible way.

We start our winning strategy by selecting the Homeland: +Culture perk on the setup screen for a new game. That means that at the start of the game, you gain 3 culture each turn instead of 2. As you need 8 culture for the first culture power, it only takes you 3 turns to get there. As first research we select Tribal Elders, and we build a scout cavalry in our first city. We use our two warbands to scout in different directions, because finding Tribal Camps would help, but don't send these units too far off the starting city, in case we need them to defend against barbarians later.

In turn 4 our culture power is ready. We use it for Local Reforms on our city. That increases our culture gain per turn from 3 to 4.5, and our knowledge gain from 2 to 3. When the Tribal Elders research is finished, we research Scouting, afterwards we research Defenses, and finally we move onto the Age of Bronze. After our first production of a scout in the city is finished, we build the Council, which has been unlocked by the Tribal Elders research. We spend our Government points first on Tribal Farming, then on Oral History, and finally on Tribalism (Reformed). We do *not* save points for a settler. Setting reminders with CTRL-click on these Government perks is helpful. Whenever our culture power is ready again, we keep spamming Local Reforms on our only city, which gets even more efficient with the Council building and Oral History to maximize knowledge production. In the early stages this is far better than the Eureka culture power, and it also buffs all other production values of the city.

This way you should be guaranteed to be the first nation to reach the Age of Bronze even on higher AI difficulties, before turn 20. Now you select Discipline as your first Age of Bronze research. And you choose Raiders as your first national spirit. Within the Raiders national spirit, you are going first for Marauders, then for Outlaws. Every perk in the Raiders national spirit gives you 2 more raider band units. So what you are trying to go for now is a sort of snowball effect: By going after barbarians and their camps first, neutral cities second, and AI opponents third, you are trying to collect a lot Warfare XP through combat; which you then spend on Raiders perks, which gives you more raider band units, and thus more combat. While stacks of raider bands can be useful for their speed, their combat efficiency is better if you mix the raiders with archer units and leader units. I would recommend waiting until you researched Discipline to upgrade your warbands to spear units before promoting them to leaders, as that way you get the much better level 2 leaders.

We deliberately neglected building up our city. Of course after the Council building you should build whatever satisfies the needs of your population and grows your city. At some point during the Age of Bronze you might want to interrupt the Local Reform spamming by using Create Town instead. But generally we concentrate on knowledge and culture, and our military.

We do not want to enter the Age of Iron. What we do want is the Age of Blood, which requires killing 6 non-barbarian units. Typically conquering two or three neutral cities does the trick, but we wouldn't shy away from attacking AI opponents either. If we have already researched 3 technologies before triggering the Age of Blood, we catch up on some other research before advancing to the next age. It is best to not accept diplomatic proposals like open borders, because getting from there to war takes longer. Declaring hostilities early can be an advantage.

By turn 40 at the latest we should have reached the Age of Blood. This is a crisis age. There is going to be a lot of warfare between everybody, and there are more barbarians than before. The warfare will also create chaos points (although we vassalize conquests mostly and raze them only if they are really in the way). The chaos points will create more chaos events. Luckily some of the chaos events will also affect all other nations, and being at war with each other, and all the barbarians will force them to fight. The general idea for the Age of Blood is that we are much better prepared than anybody else. We have the spawn raider warfare power to quickly bolster defenses of our cities. And we don't stop taking more cities, neutral or from AI-nations. We can also stop to spam Local Reforms now. Ironically we can afford a peaceful revolution to change our government to Kingdom, which is probably better here, due to all the vassal cities we have.

Once you gain the Victors power of the Raiders national spirit, your armies heal on attacking. That allows you to play even more aggressively. You continue conquering everything in reach during the Age of Blood, and when it ends, you make peace with everybody. Now from the Age of Kings on, you can play with whatever national spirit and playstyle you want. You might be slightly underdeveloped economically, compared to a more peaceful game, but everybody else will be too. And you should have taken control of a rather large chunk of land, possibly even the whole continent on a medium-sized continents map. That allows you to ultimately build much bigger cities, which will be an advantage in the later game. Compared to a peaceful run, in which the AI nations tend to grab land aggressively and don't leave much for you, you should now be in a much better position for the rest of the game.

Here’s where we learn whether Paradox reads your blog! If so expect an upcoming patch to obsolete this article. :-)
This isn't me, but PotatoMcWhiskey posted a video of himself winning Millennia in 114 turns, using something very closely resembling the strategy from my post.

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