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Civilization V: Brave New World - title

Continuing my series of strategy guides for the civilizations of Brave New World, I have now moved onto legacy civs whose strategies have changed somewhat due to the expansions' features. One civilization that received an indirect upgrade by the changes introduced in Brave New World is Dido's Carthaginian empire. Even though her actual ability didn't change, the new trade route mechanics changed the function of the harbor, which subtly changes how Carthage should be approached by Brave New World players.

In the ancient world, the Phoenicians exercised near absolute dominance over maritime trade in the south Mediterranean. Phoenician control was centered in Tyre, whose colonies paid tribute but were not directly controlled by Tyre itself. When Alexander the Great destroyed Tyre in 332 BC, the Phoenician colony of Carthage began claiming control over Tyre's former colonies in Sicily, Sardinia, Morocco, and Iberia, and established itself as the commercial center of the Western Mediterranean. This economic success and naval supremacy lead to three Sicilian Wars with Greece and three Punic Wars with the Roman Republic. The third Punic War resulted in the sacking and conquest of Carthage by the Romans.

Historical records of Dido are very limited, and historians debate her historicity. The sources available indicate that she was the daughter of an unnamed King of Tyre, who named both her and her child brother, Pygmalion, as heirs. But when the king died, the people refused to acknowledge Dido as heir, and only Pygmalion was recognized. Pygmalion had Dido's husband, Acerbas murdered in order to claim Acerbas' vast wealth, and Dido stole away Acerbas' gold and fled Tyre along with some attendants and senators. She landed in North Africa, where a local Berber king granted her an amount of land that she could encompass with a single oxhide. So Dido cut the oxhide into small strips and encircled an entire nearby hill upon which the city of Byrsa was founded. She would later also found the city of Carthage before sacrificing herself in a pyre in order to remain faithful to her deceased husband and escape a marriage proposal from the Berber King. She would later be deified by the Carthaginian people, making it difficult to determine if the stories are genuine or just legend.

Civilization V - Dido of Carthage

Carthaginian uniques in Civilization V: Brave New World

Civilization V - Carthage flag

Regardless of her real-world historicity, Dido is certainly not legend in Civ V, as she debuted as the leader of Carthage in the Gods & Kings expansion. Carthage has military, economic, and naval uniques that make it a moderately well-rounded civilization that has a bias towards early-game militaristic strategies.

Phoenician Heritage

"All coastal Cities get a free Harbor. Units may cross mountains after the first Great General is earned, taking 50 HP damage if they end a turn on a mountain."

Civilization V - Dido

The primary benefit of Carthage's national ability is that they receive free harbors in any coastal city that they own. This includes natively-founded cities, conquered puppet cities, and annexed cities. Harbors are a fairly expensive building, especially for coastal cities that often lack high production. Carthage gets them for free immediately upon founding or capturing a city, and Carthage does not have to pay the 2 gold per turn maintenance that normally goes along with harbors. Even though you have the harbors, Carthage still needs to research The Wheel in order to establish city connections, as this tech seems to be a prereq for city connections regardless of whether they are coastal or land-based. Founding (or capturing) all their cities along the coast effectively allows Carthage to immediately establish city connections without having to pay the upkeep for harbors or roads.

Perhaps the stronger effect of the free harbors is associated with the new trade route mechanics of Brave New World. In Brave New World, the harbors provide a 50% boost to cargo ship range and a small boost to gold produced by trade routes to other civilizations. Most civilizations would have to wait until researching the medieval Compass technology in order to acquire these benefits, but Carthage starts the game with them! This makes Cartheginian cargo ships more profitable than other civilizations' cargo ships at the start of the game. They can reach cities further away, which is vital in the beginning of the game when your cargo ships are locked to coastal routes, and it generates a small sum of extra gold from those trade routes.

Civilization V - harbor

Having access to more distant trade routes gives Carthage more options for trade partners. They can fulfill trade requests from city states to gain influence, establish trade routes with more distant civilizations in order to foster friendly relations, trade with greater resource diversity, and spread religious pressure. It also means that they can ship food and/or production to their own cities that are founded further away, and are more likely to be able to sail around a continent or peninsula in order to reach their own cities on another coast of the same continent.

An extra benefit of Carthage's Phoenician Heritage is that after they generate their first Great General, their units will be able to cross mountain tiles. Mountain provide extended visibility similar to hills, but they don't count as rough terrain. It costs only one movement point to enter a mountain tile! This is necessary because ending a unit's turn on a mountain, however, will result in a loss of 50 hit points due to attrition. If your unit is already at or below 50 hit points, it will die if it ends its turn on a mountain. Avoid sending your land units long distances, since the pathfinding logic is not smart enough to avoid ending turns on mountains, so your unit might die of mountain attrition before it reaches its destination. Even the Inca are not allowed to cross mountains. This is an ability that is completely unique to Carthage (at least until helicopters show up); use it wisely.

Don't leave units on mountains, or they will take damage [LEFT]. Also, avoid
moving units long distances [RIGHT], as the pathfinding may cross mountains that might kill your unit.

This power can be very valuable for sneak attacking an enemy on a flank that they may not be defending, and allows your units to escape from combat along routes that the enemy will not be able to follow. You can hide your units on the other side of a mountain (where they will likely be invisible to the enemy), then suddenly cross in order to catch them when they are vulnerable and/or unawares. Make sure that your mountain-crossing unit can move after attacking or that it will be able to kill the enemy unit and move onto its tile. If you move onto a mountain tile, attack an enemy, and fail to kill it, you'll be stuck on the mountain and will take 50 HP of damage. In some situations, it can also give you access to areas of the map that would otherwise be locked out to you (for settling or accessing ruins, etc).

Your workers will even be able to build roads on mountain tiles! This can open up shorter city connection routes if mountain ranges lie between your cities. It can also make it easier to complete the "build road to city state" quest, since the city state can't park its own unit on the mountain and prevent your worker from building the road that they want you to build. Just be warned that building the road will take longer because you'll have to babysit your worker by moving it off of the mountain to heal before it dies from the attrition. Having two or more worker alternating between building on the mountain can speed things up.

Civilization V - roads on mountains
Carthage can build roads along mountains to keep their city connection routes short.


Civilization V - Carthaginian Quinquereme

Game Info: "Strong Ancient Era Naval Unit used to dominate the seas through melee attacks on naval units and cities. Only the Carthaginians may build it."

Civilopedia Strategy: "Only the Carthaginians may build this unit. It is a stronger version of the Trireme, including in Combat Strength. Like the Trireme it is a melee attack unit, engaging units at sea or cities (but it has no ranged attack). The Quinquereme cannot enter Deep Ocean tiles outside of the city borders."

Replaces: Trireme.

Requirements: Sailing, and standard unit maintenance (same as Trireme).

Obsoleted: Astronomy technology, Upgrades to: Caravel (same as Trireme).

Cost: 45 Production | 220 Gold (same as Trireme).

Attack Type: Melee, Combat Class: naval melee, Combat Strength: 13 (+3 from Trireme).

Movement Speed: 4 (same as Trireme).

The Quinquereme is a situational unique unit, since naval warfare is generally very limited in the early game (outside of archipelago maps). The unit's sole benefit is its increased melee combat strength, but it is a significant upgrade (30% higher than a trireme). The unit can be a very effective tool for barbarian-hunting, as it can crush barbarian galleys within a turn or two. Use them to protect Carthage's valuable (and profitable) coastal trade routes in the early game.

Civilization V - Quinquereme city siege
Quinqueremes are potent at sacking weak cities that don't have garrisoned archers or catapults.

The Quinquereme could also be a potent weapon for sieging coastal cities at the beginning of the game. They aren't as effective as the Byzantine Dromon, but they'll do. You'll probably need some support from land-based bombardment (from archers or catapults) to be effective. A couple Quinqueremes with Coastal Raider promotions can turn the tide in your favor when capturing a rival's coastal capital. The higher combat strength also increases the unit's survivability against cities, which means that you can even use them to capture gold (similar to ancient privateers) against cities that you don't necessarily want to capture - even cities that are defended by an archer and/or catapult. Just be sure to have a safe path to retreat and heal. If your opponent's cities are garrisoned with composite bows, crossbows, trebuchets, or galleasses, then your quinqueremes will be severely overmatched, and an attack on such a city would be a suicide mission.

African Forest Elephant

Civilization V - Carthaginian African Forest Elephant

Game Info: "Powerful early game Mounted Unit. Weak to Spearmen. Only the Carthaginians may build it. This Unit has a higher combat strength than the Horseman which it replaces and strikes fear into nearby enemy units. Helps produce Great Generals more quickly."
Civilopedia Strategy: "The African Forest Elephant is a Carthaginian unique unit, replacing the Horseman. The Carthaginian Elephants are slower but more powerful than the Horseman. They can move after attacking. They also strike fear into nearby enemy units, giving them all a negative combat modifier. Success in combat with an Elephant has an increased chance of generating Great Generals."

Replaces: Horseman.

Requirements: Horseback Riding technology, standard unit maintenance (same as Horseman).

Obsoleted: Chivalry technology, Upgrades to: Knight (same as Horseman).

Cost: 100 Production (+25 from Horseman) | 200 Faith | 480 Gold (+90 from Horseman).

Attack Type: Melee, Combat Class: mounted, Combat Strength: 14 (+2 from Horseman).

Movement Speed: 3 (-1 from Horseman).

Bonuses: Can move after attacking (same as Horseman), Great Generals II,
Feared Elephant: -10% combat penalty for adjacent enemy units.

Penalties: No defensive terrain bonus,
- 33% when attacking cities (all same as Horseman).

The African Forest Elephant is one of a handful of unique units that has give-and-take between itself and the unit that it replaces. It has moderately stronger combat strength and extra promotions that come at the cost of increased production cost and lower movement speed than the horseman that it replaces.

Civilization V - Feared Elephant combat penalty
Feared Elephant causes adjacent enemy units to suffer a 10% combat penalty against any unit.
In this example, Rome is at war with Carthage, but attacks a barbarian.
Both the legion and barbarian are penalized from proximity to the elephant.

The primary benefit of the African Forest Elephant is its "Feared Elephant" unique promotion. This promotion doesn't benefit the elephant directly, but instead subjects adjacent enemy units to a 10% combat penalty. It is identical to Polynesian Maori Warrior's Haka War Dance promotion. This penalty applies regardless of whether the enemy unit attacks the elephant, another Carthaginian unit, or in fact any other unit (including barbarians). It also applies whether that enemy unit is the attacker or a defender. Thus, the African Forest Elephant is an excellent support unit for yourself and your allies. You don't have to directly attack in order to reap benefits from it. You might be tempted to try to position your elephant so that it is adjacent to multiple enemy units. While this would negatively affect the combat strength of all adjacent enemies, it will also allow your opponent to attack with flanking bonuses, which can easily overwhelm any penalty that Feared Elephants imposed. Note that the Feared Elephant combat penalty doesn't stack, so you can't use multiple elephants to increase the 10% penalty, but multiple elephants can take advantage of flanking bonuses themselves.

The increased combat strength means that African Forest Elephants are also good in a fight, and engaging in combat with them grants bonus points towards spawning a Great General. This can help you earn a general in order to unlock your mountain-crossing ability, and can also be used to spam generals for creating citadels.

The Great General promotion will carry over when the elephant is upgraded to a Knight; however, the Feared Elephant promotion will not carry over with the upgrade.

Strategies for becoming a Phoenician Queen of the Coasts

Civilization V - cargo ships
You still need The Wheel for city connections.

Carthage's free harbors strongly incentivize Carthage to focus its expansion along coasts and islands. You'll get free harbors in all coastal cities, but will still need to research The Wheel in order for them to establish city connections. This can be a large boon to Carthage's economy in the early game, since most other civs will have to invest time from workers to build roads, and also invest maintenance costs to upkeep those roads.

Even though the free harbors make roads unnecessary for Carthage, you should not neglect roads completely! Harbor-based trade is a little bit more volatile than road-based trade, as a single barbarian or enemy naval unit sitting within a few tiles of your city can "blockade" the harbor. This prevents the city from working any sea tiles within range of the enemy naval unit's "blockade", and it temporarily breaks any city connections going through that city's harbor. If a barbarian galley shows up near your capital, your entire city connection network will instantly come crashing down! Research Sailing and keep a quinquereme stationed in your local waters in order to destroy or scare away any such connection-breaking enemy ships.

Civilization V - cargo ships
Free Harbors give Cartheginian cargo ships greater range, and quinqueremes allow you to more easily protect them.

Once you have a quinquereme or two defending your waters, start focusing on cargo ships right away. The extended range granted by the harbor will allow you to reach trade partners further away, including sailing around very indirect coastlines. You can use this extended range to reach cities with greater resource diversity, or to complete trade requests with city states to make some easy friends and allies. These friendly city states can even act as healing bases for any Quinqueremes that you send out to hunt barbarians. Be sure to protect these cargo ships with your Quinqueremes, and try not to let rival civilizations found cities on coasts that you send trade along, as the closed borders will prevent your navy from being able to reliably protect your merchant fleet.

Civilization V - Great Lighthouse wonder Civilization V - Colossus wonder

As is the case with any naval-focused civ, The Great Lighthouse is an obvious go-to wonder, especially if you have sea resources for the lighthouse to buff. Your speedier quinqueremes will be able to better protect your cargo ships. The Colossus is also a great wonder for Carthage to pursue. The free cargo ship can immediately take advantage of your free harbors.

Liberty is a very viable initial policy option for Carthage. You can rapidly settle coastal cities with the extra settlers from Collective Rule, and the free harbors (and the city connections they automatically establish) will ensure that all your coastal cities will immediately benefit from Meritocracy's happiness bonus. The free worker from Citizenship will also allow you to spend some production on a work boat instead of a worker, so you can start linking up any sea-based luxuries. If you get a pantheon, then God of the Sea is a good option for sea-resource-rich coastal cities, and the free harbors (and the city connections they provide) makes Messenger of the Gods pantheon a strong option as well. Completing Liberty will grant you a free great person, which you can use to get a scientist and plop an academy. Combining an early academy with Messenger of the Gods will give you a strong head start in science.

Over the mountains and across the seas

Civilization V - cargo ships
Cross mountains to escape zone of control.

Carthage's early military uniques also makes them a prime candidate to open the Honor path with one of their first few policies. Quinqueremes are very strong against barbarian navies (especially galleys) and can act as small culture farms if a barbarian encampment spawns on a nearby coast or island. You may also want to invest in the Warrior Code policy early in order to get a free general and enable your units to cross mountains. But if there aren't any mountain ranges nearby, then you can delay this policy and just wait until you spawn a general naturally through combat.

Being able to cross mountains will provide exploration and combat benefits if unlocked early. Best of all, you don't need to bring the general with your units in order to cross mountains - all units gain the ability, regardless of whether a general is near. Your scouts will be able to cross mountains to explore the map on the other side (instead of having to find a path around). Your barbarian-hunting units will also be able to escape from combat over mountains if necessary. You can also cross mountains to bypass the closed borders of rivals. Civs like Shoshone and America will have a harder time using their territory to block Carthage's exploration and expansion, unless they want to spend the money to purchase expensive mountain tiles and lock you out. Just make sure that you don't end a unit's turn on a mountain, as that will deal an automatic 50 HP of damage to the unit.

Civ V - Machu Pichu

Since you'll likely be more willing to settle near mountains, you'll be more likely to be able to build Observatories and the Machu Pichu world wonder. Machu Pichu will further buff the value of your city connections (most of which should be free and automatic due to harbors). This will give you even more disposable gold for buying and upkeeping units and buildings, or for bribing city states.

If you're planning an aggressive strategy or Domination Victory, then you should try to leverage your strong early uniques to conquer a foe or two in the ancient or classical era. Use your navy and mountain-crossing abilities if possible, since opponents shouldn't have many viable counters to those tactics this early in the game. If you're really quick about your first conquest, you might even complete it before meeting many other civilizations, thus avoiding warmonger penalties and keeping trade options open for later.

Carthage can cross mountains in order to bypass being locked in by other civs' closed borders [LEFT].
Carthagenian units can sneak attack enemies across mountains [RIGHT], which is typically an undefended flank.

If you did invest in faith and are able to found a religion, then you can take advantage of the extended range of your harbors to spread your religion to far away cities via cargo ships. Those cities will then start applying pressure, spreading your religion far and wide. This will be especially powerful if neighboring civs have not begun spreading their own religions, since you won't have to compete with an established faith. The Religious Texts and Religious Unity enhancer beliefs will further strengthen this tactic.

Into the renaissance and beyond

The Exploration policy tree is another good tree to adopt as Carthage. Opening it will buff the speed and sight of your naval units, which will be additive with the Great Lighthouse (if you built that wonder). Since most (if not all) of your cities will be coastal, they'll all benefit from the improved productivity of Maritime Infrastructure. Naval Tradition and Merchant Navy will add +1 happiness and +1 gold to your [free] harbors (respectively), as well as bonuses to lighthouses and seaports. Treasure Fleets will improve the profitability of your cargo ships, and Navigation School will grant you more admirals to help your navy protect your trade fleet or conduct naval warfare.

The Exploration policy tree also makes new city-founding somewhat more viable for Carthage than it is for other civilizations. If you need to settle a base on another continent in order to stage an invasion, that city will get the free harbor and city connection, and it will get on its feet faster due to the faster production from exploration policies. The free happiness from Naval Tradition also means such new cities won't take as big a hit to your happiness.

Civilization V - Harbors buffed with exploration
Exploration policies will buff Harbors with gold and happiness, which are free on any newly-founded coastal city.

By the time Carthage reaches the renaissance, all of your uniques except the mountain-crossing ability will be rendered moot. The Quinquereme and Elephant will be long obsolete, and Harbors will have been naturally unlocked by researching compass. You'll still get the free maintenance from the harbors, which will save you some gold. You can continue to use your mountain-crossing powers to catch enemies off-guard, but even that will be dampened once your opponents start producing artillery and planes.

Civ V - seaport Civ V - privateer

There are two indirect late-game benefits of the free harbors. The free harbors will mean that you'll automatically meet the prerequisite for Seaports in all your coastal cities. These will improve your naval unit production in the late-game, allowing you to field a fleet of privateers slightly sooner than your competitors might be able to.

Once you research Railroad, the free harbors will also provide a free rail connection in all your coastal cities. If you settled exclusively along coasts, then all your cities will automatically benefit from railroad's +25% production without having to invest worker time into building the rail lines, and without having to spend the high maintenance on the railroads themselves. Any inland cities that you may have settled can easily receive this bonus by simply building a small rail line to the nearest coastal city. Of course, you may still want a rail network in order to transport units, depending on the map and circumstances.

The expansive nature of Carthage's playstyle also makes them well-suited to the Order ideology for its per-city bonuses and higher overall availability of happiness. Even the Resettlement tenet can be worth taking for Carthage, due to the greater viability of late-game coastal settlements. Of course, if you focused more on a trade-based empire, then Freedom is probably the better ideology for you.

Your naval focus means that you are a good contender for founding the World Congress, unless you have competition from Polynesia, England, Netherlands, or another heavily naval-based civ. You'll probably want to avoid any trade-banning resolutions or Standing Army Tax, since you will likely have a very sizeable cargo ship fleet and an equally sizeable navy in order to protect them. If you adopted Messenger of the Gods, then you may also be ahead in science and should avoid Scholars in Residence as well. And you'll generally prefer Sciences Funding as opposed to Arts Funding, since Carthage slightly favors scientific victories over cultural ones. World Religion can also be worth proposing if you were successful at using your trade routes to spread your religion. If you adopted Exploration and created lots of landmarks, then Historical Monuments will also be a good resolution to propose.

I haven't really found Carthage to strongly favor any one victory type over the others, and a Carthage player can lean towards any victory type. Culture is probably the weakest victory strategy for Carthage, since there's nothing that really orients Carthage towards early cultural wonders or the Aesthetics policies. Whether you played more aggressively with your unique units, navy, and mountain-crossing will likely determine whether you want to plan for a Domination victory. Alternatively, if you emphasized trade and cooperation, then you should probably plan for a Diplomatic victory. Scientific victories are always a good fallback for Carthage regardless of whether you played aggressive or cooperatively, especially if you have a large, populous empire and have been accumulating extra research all game long from Messenger of the Gods.

Not falling for the "isoperimetric problem" - Countering Dido's Carthage

Carthage is a fairly versatile civ and so can be a threat from several different fronts. The free Harbors provide a significant early-game trade buff that can also easily overflow into being a religious or diplomatic buff (by spreading religion or completing trade quests to gain city state influence). Having both a land and sea unique unit also makes them a military threat in both those theaters of war. Both these units are quickly obsoleted, so they're only a threat if you start with Carthage as an immediate neighbor.

Dido is one of (if not the) most deceitful A.I. leaders in the game, and is perfectly happy to declare war if she doesn't like you - or even if she does like you. Be very cautious of any friendships or alliances you may forge with her! She also has very high flavors for naval unit production and water connections, meaning she should prioritize coastal settlements. Her A.I. has an oddly mediocre flavor for trade, despite her powers. She has only a rating of 5 for both land trade routes and sea trade routes, so she's equally likely to use caravans than cargo ships. A human player will probably be more likely to take advantage of the extra range of harbors and build almost exclusively cargo ships.

Civilization V - planes and artillery versus Carthage
Planes and artillery practically neutralize Carthage's mountain-crossing ability.

Due to Dido's deceitful nature, make sure that you stay vigilant on all your flanks, even if Carthage is currently a trade partner or ally. That status may change very suddenly and without warning if Dido perceives an opportunity to attack. The mountain-crossing ability can be a real wild card, as it can be used to perform creative and unexpected military tactics, and can also be used to navigate otherwise impossible obstacles. By the time you have planes and artillery, Carthage won't be able to use mountains as cover for an advancing or retreating army. In the meantime, placing defensive units adjacent to mountains will make it harder for Carthage's units to leave the mountain tile, which can force them to take massive amounts of automatic damage. But the best way to avoid suffering a sneak attack from Carthage across mountains is to either avoid settling near mountains, or to station a couple recon units on the other side of the mountain to keep an eye out for any incoming Carthaginian army. If you still have a scout promoted with Scouting promotions that has nothing else to do, or a horseman with Sentry, then they will make good candidates for patrolling the far side of your mountainous flanks.

Avoid letting African Forest Elephants stay adjacent to your units (especially ranged units) in order to avoid their Feared Elephant promotion. Spearmen and Pikemen are effective against elephants. Also try to avoid letting their forest elephants get easy kills against your units, so as to prevent them from spawning extra great generals. You don't want Carthage to farm great general XP and then use those generals to barricade themselves behind citadels.

You should expect to see Carthage expand almost exclusively along the coasts. If you have a civilization with a strong navy (such as England, Ottomans, Byzantium, or maybe even Venice), then these cities can make tempting targets. But if it's still early in the game, and these cities are protected by quinqueremes, then you might want to reconsider any naval assault unless you somehow have overwhelming numbers. If Carthage is threatening you with their quinqueremes, then you should put high priority on researching Compass and building a fleet of defensive galleasses. Quinqueremes (like triremes) are no match for galleasses. If you're playing as the Ottomans, then your prize ship ability can be used to capture some quinqueremes for you to use in your own navy!

Civilization V - blockading Carthage's port
Blockading Carthage's harbor with a ship can break all their city connections
and crash their economy if they didn't bother to build roads as backups.

If Carthage makes the mistake of not building roads within its territory (because their cities are already connected by harbors), then a sneak attack can be quite devastating. It will take longer for them to mobilize their army to defend their cities, giving you more time to set up a siege before they can respond. If their fleet is off escorting cargo ships or exploring the map, then you can use your navy to blockade her capital and cut off all of her city connection income. Pillage any trade routes while you're at it.


Discuss this strategy on Civfanatics:

or on the official 2K Civilization V forums:

or on Reddit :

Listen to the discussion on PolyCast, Episode 247, 05m56s (January 30th, 2016):

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 (2) -

02/03/2016 02:49:55 #

Very well done, loved reading this and will read all the others.

05/01/2016 22:42:19 #

These are great articles! Glad to see that someone is putting such careful considerations and time into very reasonable opinions of how to play each civ! Bravo!

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