- Forward the Hegemony: Whether you like it or not, CivRev 2 tends to balance in favor of military might in the early and mid-game. Before long, other nations will be declaring war on you (though their threats are relatively toothless on normal difficulty) for no apparent reason. The best method I’ve found for keeping them at bay is implied power. Raising a standing army, but not using it against anyone, delays conflict, and usually keeps armies from laying siege to cities. Another worthwhile trick is having more advanced units in one respect than another nation. For instance, if you have high-power sea or air vessels, land-only civilizations leave you alone more often.
- Find Atlantis… and Everything Else: Every map in every Civilization game has ancient and natural wonders. These are structures that, when discovered, provide benefits to your faction – free of charge. In CivRev 2, one such wonder – hidden on every map’s ocean – is Atlantis. This is arguably the best discovery, as it provides an explosion of finished technology free of charge. The trick is you can only find it with an open-water sea vessel – such as a Galleon. Rushing naval technology makes finding it first quite easy, with some added benefits: ruling the sea gives you a leg up on land-oriented enemies, and most other wonders are located on islands anyway. With galleons (or the Lighthouse of Alexandria) you can access those as well.
- Check your Tree: In the early goings it doesn’t really matter what you choose to research. Everything has its benefits, and really, you’ll want most of the starting tech anyway. After the first quarter-dozen projects, however, you need to start thinking of your future. Technology takes longer and longer to produce, so you need to prioritize. The best way to do this is by checking the tech tree’s late-game options and picking one or two absolute musts. By tapping them you can see the prerequisites for those projects, and the prerequisites for those prerequisites. Start working towards them early, instead of shotgunning momentarily useful tech, and you’ll have a leg up over the competition.
- Prepare for Battle: If you’re fine with a little bloodshed, and a military victory is for you, don’t be too aggressive. It’s easy to build an army of sword-slinging warriors and throw them at an enemy’s gates, but it’s a seriously bad idea. Without the scouting skill you won’t know how many foes are hidden within cities, and entrenched units always fight with an advantage. It’s better instead to use siege weapons – like catapults – to whittle down enemy defenses before engaging with armies. It’s pretty embarrassing when you build up a massive battalion, only to have it cut to ribbons on the offensive, and lose your cities the next turn because they’re undefended.
- Pick a Path Early: On the topic of planning ahead, it’s good to know where you want to go. If you’re like me, and prefer technological victories, you can work towards the proper research while gaining the added benefits of high technology. A military victory, on the other hand, might want to consolidate power in a single metropolis before raiding other civilizations. Your path to victory isn’t set in stone, but since Revolution 2 campaigns don’t last as long as the main series you don’t have the time to dawdle.
- Fortify: There’s little you can do to avoid going to war – CivRev 2’s AI simply demands conflict. That doesn’t mean you have to fight directly, however. If you’d rather focus your production on wonders and infrastructure there’s a simple two-step combo to defend yourself. A ranged unit, like an archer, plus the wall structure provided by Masonry technology will allow you to fire on enemies from your city at distance, and hold off sieges more easily. That means only a few turns on military components while you focus the rest of the game on culture, economy, or science. Seriously, though. Walls are important.
- Delaying Tactics: Oftentimes – very, very often in fact – warring cultures will hit you up for money or resources in exchange for small moments of peace. Some demands are reasonable, others are most certainly not. However, if you’re not focusing on military production you might have to concede. Since the game’s AI is so focused on violence, using your vastly superior culture and tech can keep you off their radar for a time. It can feel like a cop-out, but it’s better than the alternative – getting your cities and their archers crushed under the boots of some warlord’s tanks. That’s not to say you want to give up everything. If someone asks for 1000 of your 1137 gold, you won’t be able to pay off the next bully knocking on your door. That’s when using the counter-offer system helps, and you pray your scientists develop spaceflight in time.
- Thin the Competition: For whatever reason, every civilization seems to want your hide and no one else’s. Eventually, most or all of the bloodthirsty cultures will gang up, and either pummel or extort you to death. It’s a numbers game, but there’s a way around it. Rather than wait for the inevitable, you can pick one close or otherwise enticing faction for immediate destruction. By doing so, you’ll not only gain a great deal of cities and resources, but be able to manage the late-game demands of bullying nations.
- Cripple the Competition: If violence isn’t your style, there’s another way to delay enemy military might. Dedicate one city to the production of one spy for each capital city early on and you can interfere with opponent’s production speed almost constantly. You’ll lose – or at least slow – the available production of that city, but the long-term benefit is slow-moving opponents that can’t keep up with your rapid development. Russia’s Catherine, with a 50 percent bonus to spy production, is especially good at this.