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The map stretches from the eastern Mediterranean to the middle of what's now Iran and south to show much of the Red Sea, with a significant length of the Nile. Big boring Sahara Desert and Arabian Desert with oases but mostly a long way from irrigation sources.
If you choose to be Elamite (or maybe one of the others) at Chieftain level, you can use the Cheat mode to ascertain the following (listing west to east):
- Greeks (6 cities, 31 advances, 3 Wonders including very useful Marco Polo) occupy Crete, Rhodes, and Cyprus (not positioned exactly as in the real world).
- Nubians (5 cities, 31 advances, Pyramids) are on the southern Nile.
- Egyptians (19 cities, 46 advances, 7 Wonders) spread over the northern Nile and have Gaza and another city near it.
- Canaanites (9 cities - all with palaces - and 24 advances) have most of the eastern coast of the Mediterranean and the Jordan valley, with a lot of desert mixed with plains, hills, etc.
- Mittani (5 cities, 37 advances) are in fertile northern Iraq.
- Kassites (8 cities, 32 advances) are in fertile southern Iraq.
- Elamites (3 cities, 35 advances, Sun Tzu) are in mountainous western Iran, with road links internally and to the west.
- Barbarians, insignificant in and east of Mesopotamia, are a force to be reckoned with in the south-west and Israel/Jordan, having squadrons of Stealth Fighters east and west of the Nile with a few apparently nameless cities (one of which has The Oracle) and other units in both areas and near the Jordan. Capture those cities fast! If you are Egyptian or Nubian, the stealth fighters and balloons are a big problem.
Playing at a higher level, you find the same advances for each nation. If you are Greek, Marco Polo lets you check out everyone's advances without cheating, and as you are allied to everyone you can exchange advances with everyone so as to reach about 50 on your first turn and a few more later until Marco Polo is obsoleted.
At Prince level, Greeks can achieve a "Decisive Egyptian Defeat" if they capture the three Objective cities in the Sahara while the Egyptians have few objective cities except what they started with. Talk tech with everyone while Marco Polo is still operative. Start expansion with a city on the African coast with three bonus tiles, to which your bombers can fly, then pour Mech Inf southwards to take barbarian cities - and in a final push in the last few turns you surprise the Egyptians and get any they have taken.
At Prince level, Mittani can capture most objectives while keeping Egypt in check. Ensure that you capture the barbarian city south-west of Haleb early and exchange tech with anyone who will listen. Those western forts will be valuable for a while.
Status at startEdit
- Advances that all nations have are shown italic; all others show how many nations have each. Note that it is possible to own units that you cannot yet create (e.g. Elamites' 12 Paratroopers, several nations' Armor, and presumably Barbarians' Stealth Fighters).
- Stealth Fighters that seem to remain in the air for ever
- Ships on land tiles
- "Test Units" - number 7 acts as a Settlers unit
- Multiple capitals for some nations