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Old World Beginners Guide: Tips & Tricks

Old World Beginners Guide

Here’s a rather long write-up, replete with advice, tips and tricks, odds and ends, and lessons I’ve learned from playing multiplayer cloud games over the past few months. Whenever I made a mistake or saw something cool, I tried to note it down. I’ve gone through my notes and put together this guide — which, to be fair, grew quite a bit while I was writing it since everything in Old World is related to everything else 🙂

This post assumes basic familiarity with how Old World works. My aim was to elucidate some of the interesting interactions and easy-to-miss mechanics. If you’re not familiar with the basics, I’d strongly recommend playing through the tutorials or reading the excellent old-school manual, which you can find under Extras -> Manual in the main game menu.

Additions, corrections, and comments most welcome — one thing I love about Old World is that all the systems interact with each other in satisfying and elegant ways and consequently there’s always more nuances to learn about.

And have posted VoDs of some cloud games where I tried to explain each turn as I played it: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUdReTPaCH4KSrsfuzqrvpg

Lastly, the game has a very active discord with tons of friendly people willing to help out with questions or to play multiplayer games together. Join at https://discord.com/invite/BNVpEgJ


  • Legitimacy is king. Legitimacy is orders (0.1 orders per point of legitimacy — so 200 legitimacy = 20 orders). Legitimacy is family opinion (1 opinion per point of legitimacy — 100 legitimacy is +100 family opinion).
  • Legitimacy comes from events and from cognomens. Cognomens are titles your leader earns. The ‘pedia lists them all (in the Cognomen section) and you can see what it takes to unlock them.
  • An early game source of legitimacy is also scouting — you get +2 legitimacy for being the first to discover (and name) a landmark, but only +1 legitimacy for finding it later. Scouting a lot can also get you the Explorer line of cognomens, for a nice legitimacy boost in the early game.
  • Cognomens can be a very significant source of legitimacy that’s easy to miss — up to +100 legitimacy at The Great.
  • You also get legitimacy from previous rulers’ cognomens, with diminishing returns the further back they are (1/2 from the previous ruler, 1/3 from the one before that, then 1/4, 1/5, etc.)
  • But new rulers start with no cognomen — just “The New” — which gives +0 legitimacy. Be ready for the legitimacy loss when you’re preparing for succession.
  • You can also get negative cognomens from losing units and cities. These are brutal and can be very difficult to recover from. (It’s not usually worth abdicating to get rid of them unless you know you won’t just get another negative cognomen on the new ruler — abdicating is -10 legitimacy on its own).
  • You can take advantage of negative cognomens by attacking enemies just when their new ruler has inherited, immediately giving them a negative cognomen, tanking their legitimacy even further, which pisses off their families and causes them to have fewer orders.
  • Be wary of your opponents attacking you when you have a new ruler assume the throne. Expect them to!

Economy and production

  • You can only build the units the map allows you to. Consider what your terrain gives you before you tech to longbowmen with no forests around.
  • Each unit not only has a production cost, it also has an upkeep cost that drains a resource every turn. You’ll need to plan ahead to ensure you can support the units you produce. You can see the upkeep costs in the ‘pedia.
  • Avoid units that require upkeep of a resource you don’t have plenty of (e.g. wood-upkeep units when there’s not a lot of forests).
  • Wood upkeep in general is toughest to manage because Forestry and Lumbermills come relatively late.
  • Chopping is incredibly order intensive since you need to move workers around to forests and chop them, and then wait for the forests to regrow. It’s a d10 roll to regrow, so chopping is effectively 2 wood/turn, assuming you have the orders to sustain it.
  • Ranges also take wood upkeep. Be cautious about building too many of them before you have lumbermills.
  • Think about what you need. Don’t just blindly build improvements — they take gold upkeep, called maintenance in the game (-2 gold per improvement). If you have +200 food a turn, you probably don’t need another farm if you’re also at +5 stone a turn.
  • Balancing your economy properly so you can build the units you want to build and execute the strategy you want is a key part of the game, if not _the_ key part of the game since everything follows from what your economy allows you to do.
  • If you have spare orders, you can use Scouts to go on “harvest loops” of valuable orders. But you should also build more workers or more units so you don’t have spare orders!

The resource market

  • The listed price in the top bar is what it costs to _buy_ that resource. Selling it nets you only half (until a very late law, Trade League).
  • Prices will move in response to your actions and those of your opponents.
  • You can use prices to try to divine what your opponent might be doing — is iron really expensive despite you not using a lot of iron? Expect lots of iron-using units from your opponent!

Overall Strategy

  • Know your victory condition. Are you planning to win on ambitions? Conquest? Points? Double victory?
  • Try to figure out your opponent’s victory condition. Beware Ishtar Gate-powered Double victories!
  • You probably need to build more military units. I can’t emphasize this enough. Old World is fundamentally a war game at its heart. Yes, you don’t have to always fight, but having the option of military power is very valuable.
  • Key non-tradable yields to prioritize, in rough order of priority:
  • Orders — If you don’t have orders, you can’t do anything. Orders are life. More orders lets you do more things. The sooner you get more orders, the more things you can do (like do things that get you even more orders).
  • e.g. Building a garrison on turn 10 instead of turn 20 gets you 5 extra orders. Whenever your economy can afford to, prioritize city improvements that give you more orders.
  • City-based training — This is how you make units. You want to be able to build more units faster than your opponents. Sufficient numbers of units solve many problems. You do not want to run out of units while your opponent still has a lot of units!
  • Barracks everywhere you want to produce units. Ranges too once you get Lumbermills and can support the wood upkeep.
  • Ideally Apprentice Officers x4 at least everywhere, better specialists if the opportunity cost isn’t too bad, you have Judges, or you have tempo and aren’t getting attacked.
  • Science — Because of how combat works, stronger units are better. Like much better since they are more order efficient, pack a bigger punch, and are harder to kill. You need science to unlock research that lets you build stronger units.
  • Civics — Incredibly useful for so many, many things. Laws. Hurrying production. Appointing Governors. Appointing Councillors. Steal Research missions. Pacify City missions. Religious Conversions. I’m probably forgetting something, Civics have so many uses. You can never have enough civics.
  • You can’t do everything. So don’t try. Pick what you’re going to do and build your nation to do that.

City settlement considerations

  • Ore is the most important special resource to settle. Prioritize it!
  • Make sure to focus on training in cities that have ore and ideally found those cities with a military family.
  • Marble is very important of Statesmen/Sages seats because it can give you city-based civics, which you want for those Seats’ special projects. Marble is also great in your capital since you can sometimes unlock capital-specific projects (Decree via the Constitution law, Inquiry via a Scholar leader)
  • If you found your capital as Patrons, you can buy Decree / Inquiry via the Patrons’ ability to hurry production projects with gold. (Or, for Greece, Olympiads, to super-charge your capital’s training production).
  • When settling a city, keep in mind rivers.
  • Rivers can provide a defensive bonus (it’s -50% attack to attack across a river, unless a unit has the Amphibious promotion)
  • Rivers offer an easy way to connect your cities to each other. No need to build roads if you have rivers.
  • Hills are also worth settling on since ranged units on hills get extra range and building improvements on hills takes an extra turn (but settling a city on a hill is just a benefit)
  • Remember that certain wonders (Oracle, Necropolis, Acropolis, Mausoleum) require hills, so don’t settle on a hill if you want to build one of those in that city and don’t have any other hills near that city
  • Towers (Walls -> Moats -> Towers, requires Martial Code) can also get you one extra range which can make your city a terrifying fortified platform for an Onager or a Mangonel (hello 7 range Mangonel if you put one in a Towers city on a hill)
  • Coasts are also worth keeping in mind. Coastal movement is the most efficient movement in the game. The more coast you control with your borders, the easier you can move units around. Prioritize settling city sites that have access to the coast (the city doesn’t need to be on the coast itself, it just needs the borders to be coastal).


  • You can “buy” specialists with gold if you have a Judge governor. Considering they otherwise take many turns to build, this is a great thing to do, especially for Officers in high-training production cities (to minimize opportunity cost of not building units)
  • You can think of Specialists in terms of how long they take to “payback” the investment, compared to what else the city could be doing (opportunity cost). Also remember they give science, which can add up over the course of a game.
  • For example, building an Apprentice Officer in a city that produces +12 training might take 5 turns. That means you “miss out” on 12
  • 5 = 60 training that could go into a unit (it instead goes into your global training pool, which is useful too, but unit production is one of the chief constraints in this game). Since an Apprentice Officer adds 2 training, that means it takes 60/2 = 30 turns to “pay back” the lost training-for-units production that you forwent by making the Apprentice Officer.
  • Buy that App. Officer with a judge and produce it in one turn, and suddenly it pays itself back in 12/2 = 6 turns — a much better investment!
  • Of course, you might not always have the resources to build the unit you want. In that case, investing in a specialist then might be a good idea.
  • Remember also specialists yields get scaled by buildings / governors. I go into how this works at this point in my Training video: https://youtu.be/jkJEeuVphPg


  • Combat math is simple but complicated. It’s simple because this is the formula:
  • (Attacker Attack Combat Strength) / (Defender Defense Combat Strength)
  • 6, rounded up or down in favor of the unit with higher strength
  • It’s complicated because land ownership/borders, terrain, promotions, generals, and family opinion all can apply modifiers.
  • Modifiers apply to attack or defense and apply additively.
  • Rounding can sometimes make it so that an extra promotion doesn’t have the impact you might think.
  • For example, both Slingers (4 STR) and Archers (5 STR) deal 3 points of damage to Swordsman (8 STR).
  • 4 / 8 * 6 = 3 (Slinger v. Swordsman)
  • 5 / 8 * 6 = 3.75, but rounded in favor of the unit with stronger strength (Swordsman), so rounded down to 3 (Archer v. Swordsman)
  • Give that Archer a Combat I promotion (+5% STR)
  • 5.25 / 8 * 6 = 3.9375, still rounded down in favor of the Swordsman, so 3 — so close, yet so far
  • Instead, give that Archer a Fierce promotion (+10% STR vs. Infantry)
  • 5.5 / 8 * 6 = 4.125, rounded down in favor of the Swordsman, but now to 4
  • Commander leader-generals can do incredible damage thanks to taking advantage of Commander’s adjacency bonus and Commander leader’s flanking bonus. I made a brief video about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0RqyMEfEaw
  • Adjacency requires the identical unit. So a Swordsman doesn’t get adjacency from a Macemen, only from another Swordsman.
  • Be very careful about fighting Chariots on flat ground
  • Remember that Saddleborn chariots can flank for an extra +25% attack.
  • Keep in mind flat, unobstructed ground gives -25% defense vs. chariots.
  • These two together can end up making Chariots do more damage than you might expect!
  • And rout lets Chariots attack again if they get a kill
  • You can stop rout chains with Spearmen or other pike units
  • Early game you can get by with a melee-heavy force, but as the game goes longer, you’ll need more and more ranged.
  • Why? There are only so many tiles that you can attack from — there’s limited surface area.
  • Melee can’t do anything if they can’t reach the opponent.
  • Ranged, however, _can_ attack from uh, range. This lets them hit tiles further away.
  • Onagers/Mangonels in particular can hit 4 or 5 tiles away and suffer no range distance penalty.
  • Remember ranged units get +1 ranged on hills.
  • Choose your attack timing wisely. It’s probably one of the harder things to figure out in Old World. Generally you want to attack when you have some sort of substantive advantage (better tech, more units, etc.) and you don’t think your opponent can counterattack you too painfully (or you can eliminate the majority of your opponent’s forces with your initial attack).
  • Prioritize killing units over just damaging units. Dead units can’t counter attack, injured ones can.
  • Force March heroics can be impressive (where you move a unit a huge amount of tiles at the cost of Force March and a bunch of orders) but, unless game-ending, are rarely worth it.
  • Slow and steady (with overwhelming, inexorable force) wins the war. You want to be an unstoppable force that slowly takes away your opponent’s ability to do anything against you. Patience is key.
  • Prioritize units over cities. Cities get taken last, when there are no enemy units around.
  • That said, decapitating your opponent’s capital or best production city can also be worth it, especially if they only can produce their strongest unit (e.g. a UU, or a horse/elephant-constrained unit) out of a handful of cities

Generals and where to assign them

  • A good general on the right unit can make a big difference.
  • Chariots, slingers, and onagers typically attack. Try to put high courage generals on them. (Or wisdom if you want to roll the dice for focus crits).
  • Melee typically are used as front line defenders — they’re there to prevent the enemy’s units from getting to where they want to go. Look for high charisma generals and especially Zealots (to make them that much more frustrating to kill).
  • If you assign a character (e.g. your leader) as a general to a unit with Rout (e.g. Chariot), you can stack a bunch of XP onto that character quickly since it’s +20 XP per kill


  • The promotions you get to choose from are randomly selected, but some promotions have prereqs (e.g. you need Eagle Eye to unlock Marksman). You can see prereqs here: https://www.oldworldwiki.org/index.php/Promotions
  • Strike is great for Chariots since they attack multiple times thanks to Rout.
  • Eagle Eye (removes the range distance penalty) and Marksman (+1 range) are amazing promotions for Ranged infantry. Protect ranged units that get these.
  • Highlander is also great for Ranged since you want them in hills.
  • Guard, Tough, Shieldbearer, Herbalist, and Combat are good promotions to look for on melee.
  • Combat I is underwhelming, but a unit with all of Combat I, II, and III can be terrifying.
  • Protect your highly promoted units as well as you can. Zealot generals are very good on them to give them extra survivability. Commander generals are also great for the adjacency bonus and can make them terrifying.
  • Conversely, try to kill your opponent’s highly promoted units.
  • Holy War gives you a free random promotion. Units just come with it and you don’t need to do anything. It also doesn’t increase the cost of the next promotion.

“Natural” Tier 2 units for each nation

  • If you’re playing with starting techs (i.e. not playing with “No Starting Techs”), certain nations start way closer to some Tier 2 units than others.
  • Keep these in mind to anticipate what your opponent is likely to build.
  • Assyria starts with all the prereqs to be able to research Composite Bow for Archers. They also just need Ironworking and Steel for Axemen.
  • Babylon is closest to Axeman thanks to Trapping.
  • Carthage is closest to Axemen thanks to Trapping.
  • Egypt starts with all the prereqs to be able to research Phalanx for Spearmen.
  • Greece and Rome both need Ironworking to be able to start Phalanx for Spearmen.
  • Persia starts with all the prereqs for Spoked Wheel for Chariots. Beware Persian chariot rushes!

The Royal Family

  • The actual family the Royal Family gets assigned to is based on the family of the _husband_
  • Children are the future, quite literally. Make sure to have children to secure the line of succession (an heir and a spare at least!)
  • You can tutor outside the 4 in the succession line which can get you better governors/generals
  • You can either go into the family tree view (the crown icon) or choose them from the Tutor’s Tutor menu

Family Opinion Management

  • There are six family opinion levels — Furious (-200 or worse) -> Angry (-100 to -199) -> Upset (-99 to -1) -> Cautious (0 to 99) -> Pleased (100 to 199) -> Friendly (200 or better)
  • Each point of legitimacy is a point of family opinion
  • Spymaster charisma improves family opinion (quite significant) [in MP, this is Ambassador charisma]
  • Family gifts (chancellor) is repeatable and gives you +40 for 40y (or an event)
  • Pacify city (chancellor) reduces discontent in a city, which is effectively +20 family opinion since each point of discontent is -20 family opinion for that city’s family. but pacify city takes 100 civics and requires coinage, a somewhat-out-of-the-way tech
  • You can influence the oligarch for another +40, and appoint them to a generalship / governorship (+20) or council position (+40)
  • If you have a religious leader of your faction who is at least pleased with you (unlikely if you just inherited) and the family is that religion, you can ask the religious leader to intercede for you
  • If the family has a religion, you can influence the religion’s leader for another +40 — or have your ambassador conduct a synod with that religion — religious opinion directly feeds into family opinion if the family has a religion
  • Each missing preferred family luxury is -10 per luxury per city so that can add up if you have a lot of cities
  • Additional luxuries are +20 opinion per luxury (or +40 for artisans, since they really like luxuries)
  • Families don’t like it when they’re not on the council. Statesmen _really_ don’t like it.
  • Each family has its own likes / dislikes that also influence opinions
  • You can also reduce discontent gains through a variety of ways, but those are more slow / long-term plays — not really enough when you’re trying to patch up relations after inheritance


  • Governors are a quiet but impactful part of the game. Assign a young governor to a city and watch them learn on the job for the next 30-50 years and give your city bonuses during all that time.
  • Prioritize governors for your most important cities (your family seats, high training production cities). Remember you need a Garrison to have a governor.
  • Builders are great governors for new cities since they take a turn off improvements and a new city has nothing to build but improvements 🙂
  • Judges are great later on to hurry production of specialists with gold
  • Orators are situationally useful, largely because of their high charisma wherever you hard build with civics (your Sages or Statesmen seat, but sadly neither have Orators)
  • You can also do fun things with Orator rushing projects for orders in those seats, since Inquiry and Decree are rushable projects (more applicable for Inquiry than Decree, since rushing with orders for orders is uh, a thing you can do)
  • Scholars and Diplomats are pretty underwhelming as governors, but Diplomats can get you family opinion in a pinch if you need it!
  • In your Inquiry/Decree pump (or anywhere you plan to hard-produce a bunch of specialists), you want your highest charisma governor, and ideally one with Eloquent (+2 civics / culture level)
  • In training focused cities, you want governors with high courage (to increase training %) and ideally Warlike (+2 training / culture level)
  • City Culture Levels: Weak -> Developing -> Strong -> Legendary I -> Legendary II and so on
  • e.g. a Warlike governor in a Strong culture city gives +6 training a turn (+2 per culture level, and Strong is the third culture level)

Hurrying Production / Rushing

  • coming.

Councillor Missions

  • Ambassador: Religious Synod can be hit or miss — there are a good amount of negative events from it. In SP, the Trade Mission is critical — not for trade per se, but for the opinion boost it gives you with other nations.
  • Chancellor: Pacify City vs. Family Gifts — Pacify City is “better” because it actually solves the underlying issue (Discontent) but it is only an effective +20 opinion (forever) instead of a +40 for 40y — it also takes precious civics instead of gold, and lastly requires Coinage, a sort-of-out-of-the-way tech unless you’re on a water map where you want Dromons (since Lateen Sail requires Coinage)
  • Spymaster: Steal Research is a lot of research and well worth doing. Note you can’t steal if they’re not at least Competent relative to you.

Agent Missions

  • Treachery can be incredibly frustrating on a critical opponent city (e.g. their capital, a high-training city, or a Sages/Statesmen seat)
  • You can also time Treachery with when you attack the city itself by planning ahead, for a nice surprise for your opponent.


  • Err on the side of taking courtiers when offered them in events. They not only give you yields based on their stats, they can tutor your kids, and serve as governors or generals irrespective of their archetype.
  • Courtiers from research are usually not worth taking unless they’re 1-2 years and you need to cycle your tech choice to get something else

Sages and Statesmen Family Seats (Inquiry and Decree Pumps)

  • You want to get as many city-produced civics as possible so you can build Inquiry/Decree as quickly as possible.
  • Sources of city-produced civics:
  • Holy City gives you +2 civics
  • Found your pagan religion in your inquiry/decree pump by building your first shrine there
  • As far as I’m aware, you can’t control where world religions have their holy cities
  • Monk specialists
  • Poets give civics per citizen (incentivizing growth in your inquiry/decree pump)
  • Marble
  • Stonecutters
  • Certain Shrines (Ashur, Marduk, and Zeus for raw civics, and then esp. Greece/Babylon which can take advantage Nabu/Athena shrine adjacency bonuses for a lot of base civics)
  • Certain Wonders (Acropolis is +2 Civics/religion in that city, Colossus is +2 civics for each connected city, Musaeum is +1 Civics for each Elder specialist in any city, Pantheon is +2 Civics per Culture Level for all cities with State Religion)
  • Statesmen cities get +1 Civics per family opinion level. Families start at Cautious (+0), which is the 4th family opinion level, which means Statesmen cities get +4 civics just for the family not being pissed off — it’s really strong!



  • You create a theology with a discipline of that religion. It costs 200 civics for Tier 1, 400 for civics for Tier II, and 600 civics for Tier III.
  • Tier 1: Legalism, Mythology, Veneration
  • Legalism seems pretty damn good, unless you’re going for a Polytheism Mythology strat or want to try to aim for a VP victory with monasteries giving you culture.
  • In general, I like theologies that require no extra effort to be effective, and Legalism does great things even if you never build a monastery. And if you do, +2 base civics is very nice. I value civics higher than culture, since you can never have enough civics but really only need Strong culture (and one city at Legendary for wonders, if even that).
  • Veneration’s rebel reduction chance and gold from monasteries seems lackluster in contrast. Rebel reduction is nice but useless most of the time (since ideally you do not have upset families)
  • I usually go Legalism.
  • Tier 2: Revelation, Dualism, Gnosticism
  • Revelation is great for spread, which you’ll probably want to fuel Monotheism orders in all your cities. If you do get around to building temples, the extra 0.5 order per temple is nice.
  • Dualism is also nice — not as effective spread — but you get +1 sci per city with a non-state religion. So if you have other religions nearby, or have spread polytheism… I liked this originally but I think I’m on Team Revelation now since managing multiple religions is painful.
  • Gnosticism feels lackluster. I generally don’t build Archives everywhere (if at all!) and one science per Elder where you’ve built a Temple feels pretty weak, since you’re probably not rocking that many Elder Specialists. I guess if you’re going for some sort of pure science play?
  • I usually go Revelation (if I need my religion to spread) or Dualism (if my religion has already spread, or if I have a lot of cities with multiple religions)
  • Tier 3: Enlightenment, Redemption
  • Redemption is better in the “works when you don’t do anything” category, but +20% Hamlet output is not worth 600 civics. By the time I’m building Cathedrals, +20% Mine / Quarry / Lumbermill output is nice but my eco is usually in great shape by then. And anyway, you can only build 2 Cathedrals per family so.
  • Enlightenment isn’t much better — growth per citizen is a bit strange since growth that late in the game is not that valuable. I suppose there’s value in the discontent per elder monk, but a meager -1 is not much. Again, not worth the 600 civics.
  • As it costs 600 civics to apply one of these, and most of their benefits involve Cathedrals, which I almost never build (or the game is over by the time I do) … I usually don’t get either of these.


  • When improving your city, remember some wonders (Apadana, Ishtar Gate, Musaeum, Circus Maximus, and Via Recta Souk) need to be built next to the city center, so you may want to save them a spot if you’re planning for them in that city
  • Similarly, recall that some wonders (Great Ziggurat, Pantheon, Hagia Sophia) can only be built in Holy Cities
  • Pyramids are really really strong (e.g. they can save you up to 1400 civics(!!) getting 7 laws that you need for your 8 STR UU). Always try to see if you can get the Pyramids (requires an Arid or Sand tile)
  • The Oracle won’t give you 5 tech cards until the turn _after_ it’s built.
  • Example: You finish a tech and the Oracle on the same turn. You choose from 4, not 5 techs.
  • Example: You finish the Oracle. The next turn, you finish a tech. You choose from 5 techs.


  • You can get 6 legitimacy (= 0.6 orders/turn and 6 opinion with all families) by declaring on a tribe when you first meet them (it’s an event pop-up). This is really tempting, but keep in mind:
  • How proximate the tribe is. If they’re right next to you, it might not be good to immediately go to war when you have nothing to defend with.
  • Whether they offer any gifts when they meet you. Sometimes they’ll offer some wood or iron and it can be worth taking that. Sometimes they demand tribute instead — then it’s better to take the legitimacy.
  • What tribes setting you’re on. Tribes are much more manageable at Normal and below. At Strong and above, their units have an extra fatigue pip which means they will go further and hit harder. They also are more aggressive. Think very carefully before declaring war on a tribe if you’re playing on Raging tribes.
  • Avoid marrying into tribes unless you plan on being at peace with that tribe forever. There’s nothing worse than your entire family tree losing opinion because you’re at war with their relatives.
  • Never marry into tribes if you have Sages as family. They dislike tribal spouses.
  • Each tribe has a “special” unit that comes with some promotions.
  • This only shows up on 5 STR and 6 STR flavors of that unit line. Here are the units to look out for:
  • Danes – Huscarl line (melee) – Cold (+25% Str from Tundra), Cleave I/II
  • Gauls – Gaesata line (melee) – Ranger, Pierce I/Pierce II
  • Numidian – Libyan Cavalry line (ranged) – Nomad (+25% str from Sand)
  • Scythians – Amazon Cavalry line (ranged) – Shieldbearer (+10% str v. ranged)
  • Thracians – Peltast line (ranged) – Highlander (+25% str on hills)
  • Vandals – Clubthrower line (ranged) – Fierce (+10% str vs. infantry)

Carthage and Tribal units

  • Carthage plays very differently in the early game because you can simply hire tribal units for gold instead of building units yourself.
  • You can hire units by clicking on the unit you want to hire and choose Hire (Unit name) from the menu on the left. You’ll see the gold price listed there. Screenshot:
Carthage and Tribal units
  • You can’t hire units if they’re on a tribal site. In the very early game you might need to wait for a unit to spawn.
  • You need vision of the unit to hire it, so keep a scout or other unit around a camp you want to hire from.
  • Unit prices are based on the tribe’s opinion of you.
  • You can marry into a tribe to raise their opinion of you, as well as influence the tribal leader.
  • Prices go up with each unit you hire.
  • This lets you focus entirely on your economy and also quickly clear tribal camps (hire units, declare war, attack camp with the units you just hired).
  • You can upgrade tribal units to 6 STR with training
  • You can only upgrade barbarians and raiders to 4 STR, however
  • You will need to transition out of tribal units eventually since they effectively cap out at 6 STR and because of the ever-increasing gold cost.
  • Tribal units 2 fatigue makes them less efficient to use.
  • Tribal units don’t earn XP and can’t be promoted (but some come with promotions).
  • Horse tribal units (Scythian, Numidians) can help mitigate this somewhat, since they get 3 moves per fatigue.
  • Zealot-led Carthage can compensate for this (and also synergizes well with getting lots of training to upgrade tribal units).
  • Beware of fighting Champion family units or Steadfast leaders or generals who will do extra damage to your tribal units.
  • Only generals who are related to the tribe a unit was hired from can command that unit. For example, you either need a Gaul or someone who has % Gaul to command a tribal unit hired from the Gauls. Given tribal units’ other limitations, it’s usually not worth bothering trying to get them Generals.

Dealing with Onagers-in-forts

  • In an Onagers-in-forts stalemate, tech to Mangonels to break the stalemate. They get one extra range which can let you push back the enemy Onagers, inch forward, push them back again etc.
  • Polybolos and Cataphracts are also effective at breaking Onager-in-fort stalemates.

Random odds and ends

  • If you conquer a nation’s last city, but that nation still has troops, the troops become Barbarians. They don’t disappear!

Parting Advice

  • Old World is a complex, interdependent game. Everything is related to everything else. The systems all interlock with each other in a deep, satisfying way.
  • The game design is pretty damn incredible in the way that everything works together.
  • That said, because of everything being inter-related, it’s going to take some time to learn the game. It is most assuredly not just another version of Civilization. It is its own thing that needs learning on its own terms.
  • Be patient. Try to keep the mentality of “losing is fun!”
  • If you’re just starting out, get the hang of the basics on the very lowest difficulty level. Get a win, then graduate to the next level. Keep going up and learning and soon you’ll be playing and winning at The Great — and then can step into multiplayer, which is its own difficulty level 😀
  • Good luck and have fun!
Written by alcaras

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