Here is part 3 of my guide to the toughest achievements in Civilization 5, covering the Gods and Kings expansion. If you’re just joining us, you may want to check out part 1 which covers the base game, and part 2 which covers the pre-Gods and Kings DLC. Some of the strategies covered in those installments will be referenced here, so keep that in mind as you continue reading.
Religious and Civ-specific Achievements
There’s a whole batch of new civ-specific achievements in the Gods and Kings expansion, and most of them are fairly self-explanatory. You can refer back to part 1 for general strategies – things like changing your start age, playing on a duel-size map, or picking a particular map type can make some of these faster.
There are a few tricky ones, however:
For Longest. Name. Ever., you must found a city with the name “Llanfairpwllgwyngyll.” This is a city name for the Celtic empire, and it’s one that takes quite a few city foundings (30+!) in order to get. Plan to play on a fairly large map in order to have enough room for all of these cities. I found that it worked out well to do Holy Father at the same time. The Celts get a faith bonus for settling near forest tiles, so pick the Skirmish map type and set the terrain to forests.
Play a standard size map with only one AI player. Gandhi works well, as he’s unlikely to expand. Make sure you’ve got a bunch of city states – I picked 15, just to be safe. Settle, settle, and settle some more until you’ve got the required number of cities, while stockpiling gold and spreading your religion as far as you can. Pick the Papal Primacy belief and send missionaries to as many city states as possible. When you get Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, blow your gold on city state alliances and you’ll get both of these in short order. You can go on to win if you want, but with all the forests and the potential for having to micromanage dozens of cities, I’d almost suggest getting Celtic Thunder in another game.
Yoink! used to require that you become an ally and diplomatically marry another civ’s allied city state within one turn. However, this feature was rebalanced. Thus, you must now acquire a city state via diplomatic marriage that has at least 15 military units. The rough part here is that on low difficulties, city states have a maximum number of units that is too low for this achievement to work properly.
You’ll have to play on a fairly high difficulty – I picked Deity. Remember that you don’t have to win. Start in the Information Age. Pick the Patronage tree to boost your city state influence. Produce a whole batch of cheap units, and amass a tidy sum of gold. Meanwhile, send a spy to the city state to bolster your relations. When you have a good dozen units and 2,000 gold or so, save. Then, pay the city state to become their ally. Wait a couple of turns (due to the fact that diplomatic marriage requires a 5 turn cooldown after the alliance starts). Then, mass gift the units. Wait another 3 turns, and use the diplomatic marriage option. Do note that you should continue to stockpile gold, because as the game progresses you’ll need more to complete the marriage.
We are Family sounds simple enough, but I’ve seen people complain that it doesn’t unlock. I can confirm that it did not unlock for me during my Celtic run, where I played on a standard size map against Gandhi. Despite the fact that everyone was my religion, it did not unlock. I was able to get it in a quick ancient-era hotseat game, on a Standard size map, with 2 civilizations and no city states. After establishing religions in both capitals, I sent Great Prophets across to each opposing capital. The first time I converted the opposing capital to my religion, it didn’t take. Later, the pressure from the holy city flipped the religion back, and I tried again. On the second try, it unlocked. There’s definitely something glitchy here, but hotseat games do work for it. You may have to attempt this achievement multiple times.
Into the Renaissance
This is a large scenario, and the longest of most any timed scenario to date, weighing in at 200 turns. The overall goal is simply to amass the most score in those turns, with special score bonuses that include:
- Holding the holy city for your religion, or Jerusalem, which awards 10 points per turn
- Winning the Holy Roman Empire election, which is held every 25 turns, and awards 250 points per election won
- Conquering cities that follow another religion, which awards points based on the size of the city that was conquered – 25 points per population unit
- Sending Caravels west to the Americas is also worth 500 points for the first one, with consecutive Caravels worth 100 points less, up to the obvious maximum of 5
Of course, you can ignore any and all of these objectives to focus on gaining score in some other fashion. However, these score bonuses are somewhat powerful, especially when you’re at a disadvantage otherwise.
There is only one Deity achievement, but there are several challenging Emperor-level achievements here. The civilizations aren’t evenly balanced, and sadly the Emperor achievements seem to be focused on some of the harder civilizations to play as.
One important note here is that the “Random Europe” map layout can be advantageous. Although some things are typically fixed, there are many variables that can make playing as a particular civilization easier. For instance, the Celts and English always start on an island in the northwest corner of the map, but the holy cities move around, and it’s not uncommon to see them land in northern Europe.
If your religion’s holy city or Jerusalem is close to you, make a beeline for it to get the per-turn point bonus and the bonus to city state resting influence. Even with a significant strong start, you can still be in hot water should the same civ win the Holy Roman Empire election repeatedly. Try to sow discontent among the Europeans to try and prevent this from happening.
You can also attempt to win the election yourself – for this, I’d suggest being friendly with but not choosing anyone in particular to ally with. Refuse declarations of friendship, and sell your resources to others as you can. The civs in western Europe tend to fight so frequently that they will often end up voting for you.
However, city state votes can swing the election, so plan on having a stockpile of gold to forge last minute alliances before the election. If there is competition for city state alliances, consider holding onto your gold and trying to win every other election. There’s no point in buying out a half dozen city states and find yourself bankrupt with little to show for it. The AI isn’t particularly good at timing their alliances, and so you might catch them at a low point if you’re timing things correctly. However, their economies are quite powerful. It wasn’t unusual in the late game to find that an alliance would cost me two or three thousand gold.
Technological progress is going to be slow at this difficulty level. I’d suggest working towards Guilds early, so that you can build trading posts. If you’re playing as one of the civs along the western coasts, researching Navigation to get Caravels may be part of your strategy. This is a pretty cheap way of gaining some extra points without having to invest significant resources. If you send 5 Caravels west, you’ll gain 500 points for the first, and 100 points less for each consecutive Caravel. This brings the score total for building Caravels to 1,500 points.
Iron is a late-game resource here. You’ll probably go the first two thirds of the game not needing it at all, and then you’ll find yourself in dire straits without it. Cannons, Musketmen, and even some of the later naval units require it.
Don’t forget that this is a large, long scenario. A lot of back and forth can happen in 200 turns. There are a lot of variables in play here, and a lot of rival civilizations to deal with. That said, in the next section I’ll attempt to give a general strategy for each of the Emperor-level wins required.
As the Celts, your major issue is the English. There is a shortage of land and they will expand to fill it quickly. Building up military power and wiping them out is important in the early game. You’re likely going to have to expand into continental Europe, so I’d suggest establishing a foothold there early. Don’t neglect your military on the mainland, either, as a sneak attack from the French or Dutch is very likely. Naval superiority is also critical, so don’t forget to build Triremes. You’ve got a lot of Europeans to wade through if you plan on making war with the non-Catholic nations in the south/southeast areas of the map, however.
As the Almohads, you start in northern Africa and are relatively distant from other civilizations. The Sahara can be problematic, though, as much of the area around your start location is likely to be desert. One advantage here is the wealth of nearby European powers you can conquer for bonus score. I suggest crossing over to southern Spain in the early going, and establishing a strong military presence here. You can expand east across the northern shore of Africa at your leisure, since there’s usually nobody in this area.
The final Emperor challenge is the Russians. Like the Almohads, they are kind of far away from the action, although their starting location has quite a bit more going for it. The only problem is the Mongols – they arrive in turn 40 and get sizable reinforcements as the game progresses. They can throw a real wrench in the works if you’re not careful.
Empires of the Smoky Skies
This scenario is somewhat of a breather between the two relatively heavy scenarios that are also featured in this expansion. There aren’t that many truly hard achievements, and you can get them all in probably just one playthrough.
Honorable Titles are the key to victory here, and there’s one for nearly every aspect of your civilization’s progress. They unlock as certain technologies are discovered. If you hold one from the time it unlocks until the end of the game, you’ll earn Quite Accomplished. This is not terribly challenging, as difficulty doesn’t matter. You should easily have the largest collection of steam units or the most wonders if you set the difficulty low enough.
For Sky Admiral you’ve got to destroy a unit with a Flyer that is based at a Sky Fortress. Both of these are air units you unlock through research. The Sky Fortress is similar to a Carrier, in that it can hold a single air unit. Just rebase a Flyer, and choose the Sky Fortress as its destination. You’ll probably want to attack an enemy flying unit for this, as the Flyers are all but useless against most ground troops.
Intrigue is something that you can gain by sending spies to other civilizations. After gathering intelligence, they will report back with the progress of wonders or other plans the enemy has. If you learn a bit of actionable intel – say, one civ is planning a sneak attack on another – you can share this information. To do so, contact them via the diplomacy interface, then click Discuss, and it will be the last item on the discussion list. Gentleman’s Agreement is awarded for sharing intrigue in this scenario, and Intelligence Network is for doing so after another civilization has already shared intrigue with you. Do note that the former is tied to this scenario, while the latter is not.
Fall of Rome
The third and final scenario included with Gods & Kings is the Fall of Rome scenario. Similar to the Korean scenario, you’ve got two allied powers attempting to repel a large invasion force on multiple fronts. This map is considerably larger, though, and the civilization count is higher.
Most of the achievements here are pretty self explanatory, and can be done on any difficulty. It should only take you one game on Settler as the Vandals to get Turks Shmurks!, Double KO and I Sunk Your Imperial Capital!. You can run another game as the Celts for I Missed That Day In History Class. There’s no requirement to win in either of these cases, so you can just go all out achievement hunting.
There’s only one difficulty achievement, but it’s for Deity, and boy is it a challenging one. I’m speaking of Pax Romana Aeternum. You can choose between Eastern and Western Rome, but I found this to be easier as Eastern Rome, personally. The Fort bonus and the extra Great Generals are practically invaluable.
The first 20 turns or so are all about losing gracefully. A massive army has gathered across your borders, and you’ve got little to no units available to resist them. The cities across the border are a lost cause – set them to produce Wealth, and have your units fall back. Bombard enemy units as you can, but otherwise abandon these cities.
Although you can’t hold the 6 or so border cities, you really should focus on limiting your losses and halting the advance as much as possible. Each city you lose gives you a culture boost, which is a bad thing in this scenario. The more cultural policies you unlock, the harder the game gets.
All of your cities default to producing Barracks, and I can’t say that this is a smart choice. In the second level border cities, produce walls, and further in focus on a mix of melee and siege units. Along the Mediterranean Sea, crank out at least a few Dromans. Much like in the Korean scenario, having offshore ranged units is extremely useful.
The western front is less severe than the eastern, so try to focus more of your Workers and units stationed in the middle of your empire towards the eastern border. Workers should focus on creating Forts for defense, and beyond that, removing some of the longer roads within the empire.
There are some very, very long roads that lead around the southwestern perimeter of the Mediterranean that are woefully underused and overpriced. One of your largest economic expenses is maintaining them, though. There are also redundant road links within the central area that can be safely removed.
As in the Vikings scenario, I don’t really recommend building Barracks. The first half of the game is pretty much going to be focused on cranking out units and sending them to the front lines, and being able to heal after a turn’s worth of combat is very useful.
In the second half of the game, you’re going to need to focus on retaking the border cities that you lost during the initial push. This is challenging due to the Deity level AI that is constantly overwhelming you with units, but pushing forward and building citadels where possible with excess Great Generals will enable you to eventually break through their lines.
This is no doubt among the hardest of the scenario achievements, and probably among the hardest achievements the game has to offer – don’t give up, and don’t lose hope! It is possible, it’s just very difficult.