submit to reddit
Pin it

Civilization V: Brave New World - title

Continuing my series of strategy posts about Brave New World's modified civilizations, I'm going to take a look at strategies for Arabia. Arabia received a modest revision in Brave New World out of the box, having its national trait moderately redesigned. The old city connection economic focus has been regeared towards Brave New World's new trade route mechanic, and a religious buff was also added to make this civ more compelling for Gods & Kings mechanics.

The majority of the Arabian peninsula is harsh desert, and so massive human settlement did not begin until the rise of the Islamic empires of the middle ages. In the early seventh century, the Prophet Muhammad began preaching the tenets of Islam in Mecca and Medina, which united several Arabian tribes and led to the establishment of the Caliphate, an Islamic empire that began to extend its influence across the peninsula and beyond. In the mid seventh century, the Caliphate began conquering territory from the Byzantine empire and they completely destroyed the once-powerful Persian empire that had dominated the region since antiquity. At its height, the Caliphate extended from Portugal, Spain, and Morocco in the west, all the way to the borders of India in the east. Arabia's position as a crossroads between west and east made it a center for powerful trading hubs, and Arabian engineers and scientists developed advanced new mathematical concepts. Goods, knowledge, and religious beliefs from both ends of the known world (and beyond) often passed through Arabian trading bazaars, and much of the knowledge of the classical Greeks and Romans were preserved by Islamic scholars, eventually contributing to the European Renaissance centuries later.

Harun al-Rashid ruled during the mid eighth century during the Caliphate's golden age. He has been strongly romanticized by Arabian authors and scholars, and has even been mythologized in tales included in the Book of One Thousand and One Nights. He was known as a sharp political, intellectual, and military mind, but it is difficult to separate factual accounts from fictitious ones. Even his exact birth date is debatable. He was Caliph during one of the greatest periods of expansion of the early caliphates, but he also almost destroyed the Caliphate by dividing the empire among his sons instead of naming a single heir. This led to prolonged civil war between the sons, but the Caliphate did survive the turmoil.

Civilization V - Harun al-Rashid of Arabia

Arabian uniques in Civilization V: Brave New World

Civilization V - Arabian flag

Brave New World retains the economic focus of Arabia's old national ability, and also buffs it with a religious bonus. The unique building and unit are mostly unchanged, and both are situationally very powerful. Arabia remains a powerful economic force with the revised ability and building that both grant additional supplies of resources.

Ships of the Desert

"Caravans gain 50% extended range. Your trade routes spread the home city's religion twice as effectively. Oil resources are doubled."
Civilization V - Harun al-Rashid

Arabia's vanilla "Trade Caravans" national ability has been replaced with an ability that uses the new trade route mechanics of Brave New World. Instead of providing a passive +1 gold for city connections, the new "Ships of the Desert" ability buffs the base range of Caravans by half. Range extensions from technologies (i.e. Combustion) are not further extended by the ability. Ships of the Desert also doubles the religious pressure that trade routes exert when they originate from an Arabian city, which makes this redesign more appealing for Gods & Kings mechanics as well. Arabia also still receives double quantity of Oil resources.

Caravansaries will extend the total range of the Caravans, for a total of 22 range! The double religious pressure from trade routes applies to both Caravans and Cargo Ships, and Arabian Caravans don't get any buffs to the gold gained by trade routes. Despite the range buff, Arabian Caravans remain inferior to Cargo Ships. It is still recommended that you use Cargo Ships when possible and reserve Caravans only for trade with land-locked cities or for early game when you lack the naval forces to protect Cargo Ships.

Caravan Trade Route Ranges

Note that incoming trade routes do not exchange double pressure, only your outgoing routes do. The increase in pressure also stacks with other pressure buffs such as Grand Temple and Religious Texts, so an Arabian Grand Temple city exerts four times the pressure via trade routes! There is also a bug where any Holy City that has built Grand Temple will permanently exert double pressure of whatever is the majority religion, even if the city is captured and the Grand Temple is destroyed. So if you capture a rival Holy City that had Grand Temple (it will be destroyed upon capture), you can convert it to your religion and then use it as another trading source to exert quadruple pressure.

It is also worth remembering that Ships of the Desert spreads the majority religion in that city, regardless of which religion it is. You can use this to spread a rival religion into your own cities if you want to buy that religion's buildings; otherwise, make sure you convert the city to your religion so that you are not accidentally spreading a rival religion!

The final element of Arabia's trait is double quantity of Oil. This only applies to Oil resources located within Arabian territory. Oil from City-States and trade deals are not affected by this ability, so if Arabia doesn't have any sources of Oil within their territory, then they receive no benefit from this aspect of their trait. If an Arabian player does have domestically-produced Oil, then they will be able to enjoy a greater capacity for training advanced late-game units such as Tanks, planes, and Battleships, or the excess Oil can be traded away for other resources (like Aluminum or Uranium) or for gold.


Civilization V - Arabian Bazaar

Game Info: "Provides 1 extra copy of each improved luxury resource near this City. Each source of Oil and each Oasis provides +2 gold. Trade routes other players make to a city with a Bazaar will generate an extra 1 gold for the city owner and the trade route owner gains an additional 1 gold for the trade route."

Civilopedia Strategy: "The Bazaar is the Arabian unique building, replacing the Market. The Bazaar provides a gold bonus to the city. The civilization gains one additional copy of each luxury resource provided by a city possessing a Bazaar. The Bazaar provides +2 gold on Oil and Oases."

Replaces: Market.

Civilization V - Bazaar buffs oil and oases
Bazaar buffs Oases and Oil (even offshore Oil).

Requirements: Currency technology

Cost: 100 Production (same as Market).

Effects: +2 Gold (+1 from Market), +25% Gold (same as Market),
+2 Gold on each Oil and Oasis worked by the city.
Generates +1 Gold for each incoming trade route (for both Bazaar owner and trade route owner) (same as Market).
Also provides a duplicate copy of each improved luxury resource near the city.

Specialists: provides 1 merchant specialist slot.

The Bazaar is a very powerful economic building that is available early in the game. It effectively provides duplicate copies of each improved luxury resource that is near Arabian cities. These extra luxuries do not grant any additional happiness for Arabia, nor do the grant any additional yield of any kind. They can only be sold to other civs via a trade deal. Note the luxury tiles do not have to be worked by a citizen in order to get the extra copy, and you get one copy for each improved tile. So if you have 3 improved Silk within your 3-tile city radius, you will get another 3 copies of Silk to trade (for a total of 6 Silk).

You will receive an extra luxury from the Bazaar even if you settle on top the luxury, as long as you have the prerequisite technology to unlock the normal improvement.

Civilization V - Bazaar doubles luxuries under a city
The Bazaar will double luxuries that are on the same tile as the city.

The Bazaar also buffs nearby sources of Oil and Oases, both of which are very common in desert regions - which is beneficial, since Arabia has a desert start bias! Oil is also common in Ice, Tundra, and equatorial regions, so Arabia can possibly gain benefits by expanding into such areas. The bonus yield is granted to the underlying tile/resource, so it does not require that the Oil be improved with a well.

The Bazaar becomes more powerful on larger games with more civilizations, since Arabia will have more potential trade partners to sell the duplicate luxuries to.

Camel Archer

Civilization V - Arabian Camel Archer
Game Info: "Fast Medieval ranged Unit, weak to Pikemen. Only the Arabians may build it. It is a ranged unit, unlike the Knight which it replaces."
Civilopedia Strategy: "The Camel Archer is the Arabian unique unit, replacing the Knight. The Camel Archer is a powerful ranged attack unit, allowing it to do damage to enemies 2 hexes away. It can move after combat. The Camel Archer is less powerful than the Knight in melee combat. As a mounted unit, the Camel Archer is vulnerable to Pikemen attack."

Replaces: Knight.

Requirements: Chivalry technology, 1 horse resource, and 1 gold per turn maintenance (same as Knight).

Obsoleted: Military Science technology (same as Knight)

Cost: 120 Production / 240 Faith / 460 Gold (same as Knight) [Standard speed].

Attack Type: Ranged, Combat Class: Archery, Combat Strength 17 (-3 from Knight),
Range: 2 hexes, Ranged Strength: 21 (+21 from Knight).

Movement Speed: 4 (same as Knight).

Bonuses: no defensive terrain bonus (same as Knight), may not melee attack, and can move after attacking (same as Knight).

Civilization V - Camel Archer is not weak to Pikes
Contrary to the Civilopedia description, Camel Archers are not vulnerable to Pikes!

The Camel Archer is somewhat unique among unique units in that it is one of a handful of uniques that is a different combat type than the unit it replaces. While the generic Knight is a melee Mounted unit, the Camel Archer is an Archery mounted unit. Despite the Civilopedia Strategy description indicating a vulnerability to Pikemen, the Camel Archer is actually immune to the anti-mounted bonuses of Spearmen, Pikemen, Landsknechts, Lancers, and any unique replacements for those units. But since the melee strength is less than the generic Knight, the Camel Archer is still somewhat vulnerable to melee attacks from Longswords and other Knights. Even though they don't get the mounted bonus against the Camel Archer, enemy Lancers will still be a threat, since they can chase down your Camels and have enough raw strength to do a lot of damage.

The fact that the Camel Archer is a ranged unit instead of a melee unit does have some other advantages and disadvantages. One perk is that if you upgrade a Chariot Archer to a Camel Archer, it will retain any ranged promotions that the Chariot had acquired. This makes Chariots much more useful for Arabia in the early game. The Horseman (which is Mounted-melee) also upgrades to the Camel Archer.

The other side of the coin is that when upgraded to Cavalry, the unit still becomes a Mounted-melee unit, and so it will still eventually lose the usefulness of any ranged promotions that it has accumulated. You can try to minimize this problem by focusing your promotions on universally-useful promotions such as March, Cover, or Logistics while a Camel Archer, then take the normal Drill and Shock promotions after the unit is upgraded to Cavalry. If you're lucky enough to highly promote a Horseman, March, Medic, Mobility, Sentry, and Blitz are useful promotions as they can be used when upgraded to a Camel.

Because its type is "Archery" and not "Mounted", the Camel Archer does not benefit from the production bonus of the Stable. But it can benefit from the Temple of Artemis instead.

Upgrade annoyances aside, the Camel Archer is devastatingly effective! It is very mobile and has even higher ranged strength than the Crossbow! It can move in, make a powerful attack from range, and then retreat from harm's way. It also does not have the penalty against cities that regular mounted units have, so it is fairly strong against cities (though still no comparison for Trebuchets), especially since it can attack without taking bombardment from the city. During the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, Arabia can potentially bypass building siege weapons if it has a handful of Camel Archers.

Civilization V - Camel Archer siege
Camel Archers can siege cities with virtual impunity and are effective city-sackers with or without siege support.

Despite being a camel-mounted unit, the Camel Archer still ironically requires Horses in order to build. This differentiates it from other non-horse mounted units like the Indian War Elephant, Carthaginian African Forest Elephant, or the Siamese Naresuan's Elephant, which do not require Horses. So make sure you have access to Horses during the Medieval and Renaissance periods!

General strategy for Arabia

Arabian players should focus on both trade units and religion at the start of the game. You should consider building a Shrine as your first or second build choice in your capital in order to ensure that you get a good pantheon and a head start towards your first Great Prophet. Opening Piety and adopting the Organized Religion policy should also be an early priority (preferably before you build your second city, so that you can take advantage of the Shrine discount).

Civilization V - early Piety
I founded a pantheon by meeting 2 religious city-states, earned my first social policy from ancient ruin culture.
I adopted Piety before building a Shrine in my capital, saving several turns of precious early-game production!

Pressuring the Heathens one Trade Route at a time

Both Animal Husbandry and Sailing (and the two trade routes that they unlock) should be early priorities, even if you are landlocked. Try to settle in places that will allow relatively fast food growth and good production. You want to try to avoid sending your trade routes to your own cities, since they will most likely be too close to your Holy City to take advantage of the double pressure from "Ships of the Desert". Remember, that trade routes do not produce religious pressure if the target city is already receiving passive pressure from that religion from the source city (within 10 tiles or 13 tiles with Itinerant Preachers). You'll want to take advantage of your increased Caravan range to start pressuring cities that are further away. This spares you from having to buy Missionaries with your early faith and allows you to focus instead on producing a second Great Prophet in order to enhance your religion and get primo beliefs.

If you send your trade routes to cities at the maximum range, then once the city converts, it will passively pressure other nearby cities (further extending the range of your religion).

Religious Pressure
NormalArabian Trade Route
ConditionPressureWorld ReligionPressureWorld Religion
Quick Speed
Standard w/Grand Temple18223645
Religious Unity (to Friendly CS only)18223645
Religious Unity (to Friendly CS only)
w/Grand Temple
Religious Texts (pre-Printing Press)11142228
Religious Texts (pre-Printing Press)
w/Grand Temple
Religious Texts (w/Printing Press)13162733
Religious Texts (w/Printing Press)
w/Grand Temple
Standard Speed
Regular w/Grand Temple12152430
Religious Unity (to Friendly CS only)12152430
Religious Unity (to Friendly CS only)
w/Grand Temple
Religious Texts (pre-Printing Press)791518
Religious Texts (pre-Printing Press)
w/Grand Temple
Religious Texts (w/Printing Press)9111822
Religious Texts (w/Printing Press)
w/Grand Temple
Epic Speed
Standard w/Grand Temple8101620
Religious Unity (to Friendly CS only)8101620
Religious Unity (to Friendly CS only)
w/Grand Temple
Religious Texts (pre-Printing Press)561012
Religious Texts (pre-Printing Press)
w/Grand Temple
Religious Texts (w/Printing Press)671215
Religious Texts (w/Printing Press)
w/Grand Temple
Marathon Speed
Standard w/Grand Temple45810
Religious Unity (to Friendly CS only)45810
Religious Unity (to Friendly CS only)
w/Grand Temple
Religious Texts (pre-Printing Press)2256
Religious Texts (pre-Printing Press)
w/Grand Temple
Religious Texts (w/Printing Press)3367
Religious Texts (w/Printing Press)
w/Grand Temple

Religious Texts is probably the top enhancer belief for Arabia, as it allows your religion to spread even faster, and it will be doubled by "Ships of the Desert". If Religious Texts is already taken, Itinerant Preachers is also a good option if you have easy access to sea trade routes, as it allows your religion to passively spread to cities further away. This means that you can pressure cities at the maximum extent of your sea route range, while closer cities automatically receive pressure. Both of these enhancers become even more valuable if they are obtained earlier, since it is much easier to spread a religion into a city without any religions than it is to compete with existing religions. If you acquire these enhancer beliefs before your neighbors adopt a religion of their own, then you'll have a great chance of converting all their cities, which will likely lead to a lot of bonuses from your founder belief as well as moderate diplomatic buffs!

Civilization V - Arabian Trade Route religious pressure with Religious Texts & World Religion
Religious Texts and World Religion all stack with Ships of the Desert and Grand Temple.
Shown here: 2 Grand Temple cities (Mecca and captured Jakarta) exert 45 pressure of the home citys' religion.

If neither of these beliefs is available, then Religious Unity becomes a good fall-back option. It will double the pressure in friendly City-States, which will allow you to use your trade routes to quickly spread your religion into City-States before competing civs can. Note that this only works if you are at least friends with the City-State, so pay attention to any missions you can do for them--or better yet, if they ask for a Trade Route, send it to them! You will become friends (+40 influence) for sending the trade route and your route will then exert 4x pressure. If you adopted the Papal Primacy founder belief, then you will get the +15 resting point whenever the City-State finally converts.

Reforming your religion with Jesuit Education will allow Arabia to buy late-game science buildings with faith, and can help make Scientific Victory much easier! If you don't care to try for a scientific victory, or Jesuit Education is already taken, then Evangelism (Missionaries' Spread Religion action erodes existing pressure from other religions) and Unity of the Prophets (Inquisitors and Prophets reduce this religion's presence by half (instead of eliminating it)) will help keep your religion a majority in most cities, which can help you to make your faith the World Religion when the World Congress gets founded. This can help with both Cultural and Diplomatic Victories.

Don't neglect Inquisitors! After you enhance your religion, you may want to buy an Inquisitor to station in each of your major trade hub cities. This will prevent rival civs from using prophets to convert your city, which would cause your trade routes from that city to spread a rival's religion at double pressure.

While you're getting your religion up and running, you should work your way to the Currency technology in order to unlock your Bazaar and start trading away excess resources. If you want to focus on spreading religion and trade, then you will also want to emphasize exploration and go for Astronomy and Printing Press fairly early. Exploring the map and meeting all other civs will make you the defacto leader of the World Congress to ensure that you can propose World Religion. Of course, if Polynesia, Portugal, or other dominant sea-faring powers are present in the game, then it will be unlikely that you will found the Congress.


During the Classical and Medieval eras, Arabia should put high-priority on trade and religious wonders.

Civilization V - Petra wonder


Top priority will likely be Petra. Arabia has a desert start bias, and the Currency technology also unlocks Arabia's Bazaar unique building. This wonder will grant an extra trade route and Caravan that you can use to pressure an additional city to convert to your religion. The extra food and production in one of your desert cities will be icing on the cake!

Civilization V - Colossus wonder


A close runner-up to Petra is the Colossus. This one will be harder to complete, since you'll have to detour to Iron Working to get it (which isn't in-line with any strong tech paths for Arabia). You'll also have to settle a coastal city if your capital wasn't coastal. It will grant an additional trade route and free Cargo Ship, which can be used to provide early-game pressure to cities that your ships of the desert can't reach.

Civilization V - Temple of Artemis wonder

Temple of Artemis

If you're planning on taking advantage of your Camel Archer during the Medieval and Renaissance eras, then the Temple of Artemis can be very helpful. The Camel Archer is a ranged unit, and so Artemis will provide the production bonus for this unit. The faster growth will also help to offset the normally poor food generation of Arabia's desert start bias, which will free up more of your trade units to pressure foreign cities rather than ship food to your own cities.

Civilization V - Artemis speeds Camel Archer production
Camel Archers are "ranged" units, and so Temple of Artemis buffs their production.
Civilization V - Hagia Sophia wonder

Hagia Sophia

If you want to spend all your faith on religious buildings and units rather than save up for a Prophet, then you can try to beeline for this wonder in order to get the prophet necessary to enhance your religion. This is particularly useful if you adopted Holy Warriors. You'll probably already have built a Temple, but this wonder will make that Temple cost no maintenance.

Civilization V - Great Mosque of Djenne wonder

Great Mosque of Djenne

Your bonus pressure from trade routes should reduce your reliance on Missionaries and free you up to use your faith towards religious buildings, military units (if you adopted Holy Warriors), and Prophets. But you will likely need missionaries at some point anyway, and this wonder will make sure that the few Missionaries that you do produce will pack as much of a punch as possible!

Civilization V - Forbidden Palace

Forbidden Palace

Having strong religious pressure means that you will likely be able to fully convert at least one or two other civs to your religion. Having extra delegates from the Forbidden Palace will ensure that you have the votes necessary to declare your religion as the World Religion. This will further increase the rate at which your religion spreads, which means you'll receive even more benefit from your founder belief. The added tourism in your Holy City can also be very beneficial for Cultural Victories. Of course, you'll also need to adopt Patronage, which is not a particularly useful policy tree for Arabia unless you are specifically committing to a Diplomatic Victory.

Other wonders can be very helpful depending on your specific strategy. Notre Dame, Taj Mahal, and Big Ben are great if you decide to play expansively. The Statue of Zeus can provide a boost to your conquests with Camel Archers if you want to play aggressively.

The "Silk Road" travels through Arabian Bazaars

Obtaining a diverse spread of luxuries is key to maximizing Arabia's economic opportunities. If you can corner the market on a particular luxury (or two), then you will guarantee that you'll have trade opportunities. Just be sure to prevent the World Congress from banning your luxuries!. But remember, there are limits to how many copies of a luxury you will need. Don't bother settling near duplicate luxuries if you already have at least as many copies of a particular luxury as there are civs in the game, unless you want to monopolize it and can afford the happiness.

In Brave New World, there are 20 standard luxuries (including Marble) that can appear on the map. Marble will always appear on every map since it gives the +15% wonder production bonus for Ancient- and Classical-era wonders. The others will be random unless you play on Huge maps, in which case, all 20 should appear.

Maximum # Standard Luxuries by Map Size
MapMax Luxes MapMax Luxes

In addition to these, two (2) Mercantile City-State luxuries will appear but can only be obtained by allying with the City-States. If Indonesia is in the game, then three (3) more may become available.

Note that if there are only 8 players, including yourself, you only really need to acquire 8 copies of a luxury (4 tiles if you have Bazaars). Any excess will go to waste. Other than for the tile yields for your cities, the only benefit of having more copies will be to deny those tiles to other civs, so you can get the monopoly or at least reduce the competition.

Civilization V - Money from Bazaar resources
This composite shows how the Bazaar can provide a lot of money early on.
Here, I am selling excess Marble, Incense, and Salt that is earned by the Bazaar for 25 gold!

Sell Indonesian Spices in your Bazaar, but not Porcelain and Jewelry!

Keep an eye on Indonesia if they show up in your game. If they acquire their unique spices (Nutmeg, Cloves, & Pepper) by settling on other landmasses, then Arabia can potentially profit from capturing those cities. Arabia does keep the luxuries if they capture these cities (granting 2 copies of the resource), and if they build a Bazaar, they will have a total of three (3) Indonesian spices, which can be sold.

Civilization V - Arabian Bazaar yields extra Cloves from acquired Indonesian city
Acquiring an Indonesian "Spice Island" and building a Bazaar in it, yields +1 Cloves for 3 total.
Shown here with all 3 sold to other civs.

Even though Mercantile City-States have unique luxuries also (Porcelain or Jewelry), Arabia can not capture those luxuries because the resource is deleted upon capture and only re-added if the City-State is resurrected. So don't bother capturing Mercantile City-States expecting to get these rare luxuries.

"Black gold" fuels late-game Domination!

Arabia's Camel Archer is a very strong unique unit that can make Arabia into a dominant military power in the medieval and renaissance periods. The double Oil quantities from Ships of the Desert can extend this military dominance into the modern era as well, since Arabia can support a large army of Tanks, Battleships, and planes! If warring is your goal, then you may want to consider Holy Warriors and / or Religious Fervor so that you can take the faith that you're not spending on Missionaries and use it to buy military units.

It can be very tempting to play aggressively with Arabia due to these bonuses, but be careful about how you use your aggression. The remainder of Arabia's uniques are trade-oriented, so you want to avoid angering potential trade partners. You have plenty of opportunities to make friends early by selling excess luxuries and by converting other civs to your religion. The extended range of your Caravans could allow you to bypass your immediate neighbor and focus your religious pressure on players beyond. You can then try to bribe your brothers in the faith to attack your heathen neighbor in order to maintain trade relations and Bazaar customers. Always try to create coalitions of allied civs for your war efforts, so that you can minimize the warmonger hate that the surviving allies will feel towards you.

Civilization V - mopping up with Camel Archer
Camel Archers can chase down and finish off enemy units that retreat behind the lines.

Be sure to use your Camel Archers to their maximum when you have them! Their mobility can be used to chase down and finish off enemy units, as well as provide flanking support if necessary, and they can usually retreat back to safety after attacking. Don't under-value the Camel Archer's city-siege capability. They don't do as much damage as siege weapons, but they can move in, attack, and then move back out of the bombardment range of the city. They can also move far enough into enemy territory to pillage valuable inner tiles and cripple the enemy's economy. A handful of Camel Archers can be a highly effective city-sacking force!

Once Lancers and Cavalry start to show up, your Camel Archers will be in severe trouble, as these fast enemy units can easily catch up to your camels and do massive damage. You may have to back off of your military plans during the industrial era, but once you get to Tanks and planes, you can restart the military machine and hopefully ride your surplus of Oil to a Domination Victory! Just make sure you protect your Oil-producing tiles, since losing a single one to pillagers could cripple a large, Oil-based military.

Even if you decide not to go for a Domination Victory, the excess Oil can be a huge economic boon, as you can maintain a respectable defensive force and still sell away large quantities of Oil for good profits. Just be sure that your own Oil won't be used against you!

Sinking Harun al-Rashid's Ships of the Desert - countering Arabia

Arabia can be a formidable opponent, especially in the hands of a human player. The Camel Archer is one of the best unique units in the game, the Bazaar can be very powerful if properly used, and Arabia is one of the best religious-focus civs after Maya and Ethiopia, and are at least on par with Byzantium, Celts, and Siam. Expect Arabia to found a religion early and aggressively proselytize it. You'll have to work extra hard to spread your own religion in order to offset the double influence from its trade routes. If you find yourself in a religious duel against Arabia, then the Great Mosque of Djenne should become a high-priority wonder so that your individual Missionaries will become stronger.

If you get your own Great Prophet (the Hagia Sophia can give you a free one), you can consider using it to convert Arabia's key trade hub cities. Doing so will cause their Ships of the Desert to spread your religion at double magnitude until Arabia can produce its own Prophet or Inquisitor to convert its cities back. Attempting this will almost certainly incur al-Rashid's wrath! It also probably won't last long, since Inquisitors are pretty cheap, unless your conversion also cripples Arabia's faith generation.

Civilization V - co-opting Arabia's Ships of the Desert
Converting Arabia's key trade hubs will temporarily cause them to more effectively spread your religion.

If converting Arabia isn't possible, then you'll need to hope you can generate enough faith to buy Inquisitors on a regular basis, since stationing Inquisitors in your cities does not block pressure from trade routes.

If you don't have a religion of your own, or don't mind having foreign religions in your cities (i.e. if you are playing as Indonesia), then you should welcome Arabian trade routes into your cities. The increased religious pressure will quickly give you access to follower benefits (particularly buildings) and possibly diplomatic rewards.

Arabia can also be very expansive, and they can use the excess resources from the Bazaar to obtain monopolies or sell luxuries cheap, which can possibly destroy the market for your own luxuries. Don't let Arabia settle cities near your clustered resources! But on the other side of the coin, Arabia can often be a great place to go if you are lacking a particular luxury, since they will usually have extras of everything they own.

If Arabia starts to become too dominant economically, then you may want to attempt to ban one of their monopolized luxury resources in the World Congress. You might find it hard to pass such a resolution if Arabia is on friendly terms with other players and they are benefiting from buying excess Arabian luxuries. Be prepared to dish out the bribes.

Having the Forbidden Palace under your control can help give you an edge against Arabia in the World Congress. This will make it easier to ban their luxuries, tax their armies, and prevent their religion from being adopted as the World Religion. But be careful about antagonizing Arabia, since they can be a significant military threat!

On the wrong end of a Camel

Avoid conflict with Arabia during the Medieval era and early Renaissance, as the Camel Archer is powerful and difficult to counter. They aren't too bad when the A.I. is in control, since the game's A.I. isn't particularly good at moving and attacking. But an army of Camel Archers in the hands of a human player can be a real nightmare to deal with. Their mobility is their greatest strength, so you'll need your own fast units in order to chase them down and kill them. Proper use of zone of control can also keep the Camel Archers from reaching your more vulnerable units.

Even the Great Wall is of limited use against Arabia, since the Camel Archer is still mobile enough on open terrain to move one tile into bombardment range, attack, then move back out of bombardment range. The Camel Archer can also foil would-be conquerors, as it can bombard invading units and then retreat out of the range of a counter attack. Denying Arabia access to horses can be a great way to counter their Camel Archers, since the Camel Archer still requires horse resources (even though camels are not horses).

Civilization V - Camel Archers versus Great Wall
Camel Archers excel against the Great Wall, as they have enough speed to move in, bombard the city, and move out of range of the city's counter-bombardment despite the movement penalties imposed by the wall.

Once you make it into the Modern era, Arabia again becomes a military threat due to their extra Oil resources. If Arabia starts flexing its military might, then try to embargo them in the World Congress in order to damage their economy and hopefully halt their military production. If they only have a few sources of Oil, then pillaging any one of these tiles can potentially cripple their military. You can also station your military units on top of Arabian oil and oases in order to deny them the bonus yield from their Bazaars.

If you're on friendly terms with Arabia, and you lack your own Oil, then you can likely buy some of Arabia's excess in order to fuel your own defensive needs. Just be careful if you are expecting war with Arabia, since you don't want to depend on imported Arabian Oil only to lose it and suffer a resource combat penalty once the fighting begins!


Discuss this strategy on Civfanatics:

or on the official 2K Civilization V forums:

Listen to the discussion on PolyCast, Episode 211, 37m07s (Oct 4, 2014):

Other Civilization V Strategies

America (BNW)America (BNW)
Arabia (BNW)Arabia (BNW)
Carthage (BNW)Carthage (BNW)
France (BNW)France (BNW)
Germany (BNW)Germany (BNW)
India (BNW)India (BNW)
Iroquois (BNW)Iroquois (BNW)
Japan (BNW)Japan (BNW)
Ottomans (BNW)Ottomans (BNW)
Rome (BNW)Rome (BNW)

Comments (1) -

05/27/2015 22:53:33 #


Contribute Comment


We'll incarnate your avatar from the services below.
PlayStation Network Steam Xbox LIVE Facebook MySpace Pinterest Twitter YouTube deviantART LiveJournal

  • Comment
  • Preview

Grid Clock Widget
12      60
11      55
10      50
09      45
08      40
07      35
06      30
05      25
04      20
03      15
02      10
01      05
Grid Clock provided by trowaSoft.

A gamer's life...

Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

Follow me on Twitter at:

Featured Post

Madden 18 wishlist: offense, defense, and special teams balanceMadden 18 wishlist: offense, defense, and special teams balance01/14/2017 I recently wrote regarding a proposal for improving practice squad and training features by hiding player ratings until the player has played enough games to reveal them. Of course, there's still a lot of other aspects of the game that I'd like to see improved. I was pleased that this year's Madden 17 implemented some items...

Month List

Random Post

'Civilization V' strategy: Harun al-Rashid's ships of the desert spread Arabian faith far and wide'Civilization V' strategy: Harun al-Rashid's ships of the desert spread Arabian faith far and wide09/18/2014 Continuing my series of strategy posts about Brave New World's modified civilizations, I'm going to take a look at strategies for Arabia. Arabia received a modest revision in Brave New World out of the box, having its national trait moderately redesigned. The old city connection economic focus has been regeared towards Brave...