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Introduction into Industrial Era


Industrial is the first real late era. You start with three settlers and two workers,  cities are planted with three population and several buildings in them and new settlers are horribly expensive (203 :4prod: compared to 65 :4prod: with ancient start). And most of all each single turn is very important and can make a huge difference.

This guide is focussing on unit based strategies with massive cavalry, Slavery and later on workshops. This is the most commonly played way at the moment. There are limited possibilities of playing with a Financial player and cottages, or complicated bulbing paths to get techs and also options of going for workshops directly. However those are very difficult to play, so I don’t recommend them to teams new on indu. And if you are playing with more experienced players, they probably won’t give a new player those difficult spots. In general they are definitely to be categorized as advanced gameplay, so they only find mentioning in some general explanations, but I won’t explain how to handle them in detail.

The usual format

Industrial is usually played as 3v3 Teamer on Flat Green_RingV3. Key aspects of the map are, that there are only two land connections on the one hand, but an inner and outer sea usable for boating attacks on the other hand.

The start

Also note the three initial Riflemen, that will come to some importance later.

A new city

Most important here is, that you already have a Forge and a Market. This enables you to work both Merchants and Engineers from the start and three specialists in total. Also you get the 25% production bonus from the Forge right away.

Additionaly you can build galleons right away. Together with the three initial Riflemen, this poses a great early threat on sea-maps (which indu is usually played on). You can plant a harbour city, slave/buy a galleon right away and send it to your opponent. This is especially dangerous if you go 2v1 or even 3v1 in a teamer. Because of this never send away your early Riflemen and avoid planting more than one harbour city. If you plant two harbour cities, keep your explorers close by from about turn 5 as well to cover those cities.

The tech tree

There are a few particularities about teching in indu. On the one hand, each tech has a huge effect. E.g. you can tech steel right away, upgrading your best siege weapons from catapults to cannons or go for state property, which heavily boosts your workshops. Whatever tech path you choose, you can get great effects. 3 Techs to Infantry, 3 techs to Machine Guns, 4 techs to Artillery, 4 techs to Combustion.

On the other hand you can tech nothing, that can’t be killed by a massive cav stack. This makes no tech mass unit strategies a very strong option. However if your enemy goes for Combustion, you have a big problem. Because without teching it yourself, even his transport-ships are invincible. His total sea control will then make you very vulnerable to boating attacks.

The second good unit, you can build from the start are Riflemen. Of course Cavalry is better, but you can draft Riflemen, thus get them a lot cheaper. Draft phases usually make a lot of sense at the beginning of the game for every player, because you get some fast and cheap units to defend early attacks. If you play a no tech strategy, you can also draft more longterm, because the unhappiness doesn´t bother you that much – you just raise the culture slider to counter it. However Riflemen have some severe disadvantages: They get countered heavily by Infantry and Machine guns, they are slow – mobility is very important and if you draft you can’t run Vassalage for triple promo or Bureaucracy for a strong tech/production cap.


With Industrial start all Civics except for Police State, State Property and Environmentalism are available from the start. And most of them have their place in an Industrial Teamer. This makes choosing and changing Civics an important part of the game. The usual starting Civics are Universal Suffrage, Bureaucracy, Slavery, Mercantilism and Organized Religion. Those aim at speeding up your start. Universal Suffrage and Slavery are most important, because they let you increase your number of workers fast. Bureaucracy is important to be able to get some more settlers early by chopping forests in your capital.

Later on you usually run Representation together with Mercantilism to increase your tech rate. On the Religion branch you will stick to Theocracy after having spread your religion, though the Philosophical player might change to Pacifism for parts of the game. If you are using cottages, you might switch to Universal Suffrage for production later on.

On the Legal and Labor branch there can be a lot of switching. On Legal you will probably be running Nationhood for parts of the game to draft some cheap Riflemen. On the other hand you can also use Vassalage for triple promo cavs with Mongols or a Charismatic leader. And there is of course almighty Bureaucracy, which is the only chance of getting settlers effectively as non-imp later on and very strong for teching and production in general.

On Labor indu is the era, where Slavery stops being the only option. Slavery is still good in the beginning to quickly get out some early units. Then there is of course Serfdom, which is very useful to speed up your early buildup, after having slaved some workers. Later in the game, you often run  Caste System to improve production from workshops or to be able to put in massive specialists for GPs. If you are using cottages for teching, you might also use Emancipation for a period of time to grow them faster.


The most powerful trait for Industrial is clearly Imperialistic, because of the high settler cost. Without Imperialistic it’s virtually impossible to get settlers effectively anywhere but in your cap and even there you have problems without a lot of chops. Imperialistic enables you to expand a lot faster in the beginning and constantly build settlers throughout the game.

Spiritual is also very useful, because, as explained above, you will want to change your civics quite often. And a single turn of anarchy will hurt you badly in indu. If you have spiritual, you can use serfdom phases and draft phases easily, besides already not loosing 3 turns for the necessary switches at the beginning of the game.

Philosophical plays an important role as well, because you will need Great Artists to secure your front cities with culture bombs. Also using GP for bulbing is very strong. Having at least one Philosophical player on your team is mandatory.

Charismatic is an attractive choice as well, because it will let you build triple promo cavs. Since cavs are the predominant unit and the third promotion can be Formation (+25% vs mounted units), this gives your cavs a significant advantage. Also Chm allows you to build double promo ships without steel and tripple promo ships with steel (+4 EP from Drydock), if you have the civics for tripple promo cavs (Vasallage and Theocracy).

Financial can be used to have one player focusing on tech, which is even better combined with Netherlands and dikes.

Aggressive is the last valid option, to get three promotions on Riflemen giving them Formation as well.


The first civs springing to mind, are obviously England and Russia because of their UUs, however you will find them banned most of the time.

But we have a clear winner anyway: The almighty Indians. They would even outrank England and Russia if you could pick them, because the power of early chopping with India is awesome. Chopping a forest in indu on fast speed takes two turns. Fast Worker don’t loose a turn on moving into the forest, so they chop 50% faster. Since chopping is what you will be exclusively doing during the first few turns, this early buildup advantage has no comparison.

Otherwise we are pretty limited, there is:

Mongols, for triple promo cavs without Chm (or more like having two people with tripple promo cavs).

Khmer for the additional food from their UB, the Baray.

Netherlands for the East Indiaman for boatings and the dikes for more production with working sea tiles (latter only being valid on a Fin player).

Bycantine for Hippodromes combined with the aggressive trait, so you can power draft for a quick early stack.

Initial Buildup

Unlike in any other era, you will see your empire virtually exploding in the beginning. Precise micromanagement is extremely important in the first turn and able to obtain huge and immediate effects. Let me show this with a buildup example as Justinian/India:


first moves

Turn 2

Turn 3

Turn 5

Turn 7

Turn 8

Turn 8 I have 5 cities, 10 workers are improving the land with serfdom, my original cities are already working improved tiles only and my religion is being spread. In 2 more turns, when I can switch back to Slavery, all those 5 cities will have the religion, be grown to size 4/5, roaded and have enough improved tiles to work, thus be ready to produce units.

Those screens already show a lot of the important things of industrial buildup:

– take care of getting as many chops as possible into the fatcross of your cap, when planting it

– slave/buy workers fast

– bring in massive chops simultaneously for fast settlers, also use overflow

– never work a settler without getting at least 2 chops, except if that finishes the settler (don’t get single chops when making settlers)

– use culture bug for immediate culture expansion (for more details on culture bug click here)

– immediately chop more workers at the second and third city

– focus on improving resources, especially food

– try not to build roads without serfdom

– spread your religion fast, using chops and multiple cities

Further notes

– check power regularly, to know if you might get boated/someone is planning for an early attack

– make sure not to plant too many harbour cities

– cover your harbour cities with your initial rifles

– go to somewhere around 10 workers at least

– take care of getting horse for Cavalry and iron for ships (copper for Privateers early is good too)

– get out some Privateers  as sentries, later cover them with Ships of the Line

– don’t plant double fronts (more information on doublefronts and city planting in Defending in Civ MP)

Storing chops with working wealth

This is a very important trick, when chopping settlers in other cities then your cap or making them as non-imp. Since you will need more chops and at the same time may not want to pull 6 workers together for a big simultaneous chop, you can work wealth in a city while bringing in the chops one after the other. While you work wealth, the city still grows, while your chops are saved (not converted to money) and only get applied to production when building the next project. If you have stored enough chops, you put them into your settler. This also works with science and culture of course. But be aware, that your city can’t produce anything else in between, it has to put the chops into the settler first, so still hurry up with chopping.

This is a very good means for more settlers. You plant a new city into chops, connect the food and build a few farms, then grow it working wealth, while chopping the forrest. Then put the chops into the settler and finish it by slaving the pop you just grew while choping.

Early Game

After the initial buildup you need to start producing units, regardless of whether you want to continue expanding or not. Now usually is the time to do some drafting, to get some basic defense units. At the same time you start slaving Cavalry. If you want to continue expanding, save some chops at your cities, then chop them into a settler and slave it afterwards. This will require growing your cities to significantly higher population than you are usually running on, so you will have to plan a little ahead. With growing and chops a settler will easily cost you 4-5 cavs as imp, not counting that you need more cover units and possibly stretch your workers. Making more settlers as not-imp is extremely difficult and expensive, requiring massive chops in any case, so ask the imp in your team for settlers. So expanding is all great, because a new city is running within 5 turns with enough workers, but still its costs a significant amount of units, so be careful.

To be able to slave cavs constantly, you need an overflow of about 6-8 food per turn. So if your city has a six-food building two grassland farms is enough to have the city running, if you don’t have food you need more and also shouldn´t slave down the city too far. Rather build too many farms, then too few. When you have the food you need for slaving, your workers will be building workshops, that you will need once switching from slavery to a workshop-eco with State Property.

Now draft some rifles for defense and have your cities constantly slaving cavs. Also you should get some catapults when the overflow fits for defense. Furthermore one city should be building Ships of the Line to secure the sea against boating attacks.

Another important thing you should do now, is working merchants instead of engineers in your cities to increase your research rate. Don’t do that right away from the start, because those two early hammers help quite a bit, but from about turn 10 having that science is vital, especially if you play without cottages (which is common atm), because it will save you important turns on Communism.

Workshops, Workshops, Workshops

As soon as you researched Communism, you will switch to Caste System and State Property and start producing your units instead of slaving them. With those two civics a grassland tile with a workshop produces two food and 4 hammers. As soon as your cities are outgrown you will produce at least a cav each 1.5 turns, in good cities one per turn.

Doing the shift from production via slaving to workshops as smooth as possible is important. So at least 5 turns before you reach Communism, you should check how many workshops you already have and how many workers are available. When you switch your cities shouldn´t be working unworked tiles, so if you don’t have enough workers, quickly slave a few more (better of course get enough workers early already). Also don’t slave your cities down to pop 3 right before you switch. Really growing them beforehand makes not much sense and actually doesn´t work because you don’t get the food from the workshops, yet. Having pop 5-7 when switching is sufficient, but less shouldn´t be. When calculating your workers, consider that now each city will grow each turn till it has about pop 10-12. And they should still all be working improved tiles then (except if only water is available ofc). That’s why you need workshops in advance and still lots of workers.


Attacking in Industrial is very difficult. There is no unit, that cannot be killed by massive Cavalry stacks on open field without loosing more hammers than your opponent. That’s why the massive cav strategies were developed. So you will end up cavs vs cavs. With this the defender already has 50% odd + some retreat. If he uses some (very cheap) catapults his odds rise to 60%-70% and he can just kill the attacking stack. Add to this only two land based ways of attacking and artist bombs and killing those fronts becomes close to impossible on even teams. Time frames for attacking may open up early or soon after having started to use workshops if you developed better, but against an even team it’s very hard to kill this way.

This leaves you with the sea, which is why building lots of ships and gaining sea control is so important. The best chance to kill is to go for fast early boating or massive later boating possibly combined with land attacks. Anyway if they are supposed to succeed, they need to be well prepared and perfectly timed triplings. The surprise moment is another important factor, so you don’t fight the entire opposing  stack.

For more detailed information see our article on boating.

Point Racing

Because of the limited attack possibilities the game will often end with a point race. Considering small map size and the unit-based strategies, this mainly means pop-race. The first thing you have to do, is plant every available spot in your land. As soon as you have the workshops running, your imp player can use a golden age to produce settlers in two-three turns in several cities doing as many as his team needs.

The second important factor is Biology. If you see the game is heading for a point race, tech it by working science/wealth with your workshops. Now you have to build farms and windmills in your entire land about 15 turns before the end. To do so, you pre-work the farms on all your workshops and when the time has come, quickly finish them all within one turn.

If you have the tech/production for tech to spare you can also get Medicine and change to Environmentalism, because your cities will all grow into unhealth and thus make you lose about 1-2 pop per city.

When playing a point race, be careful though that using production for techs and farming your workshops might open up attack possibilities for your opponents, that didn´t exist before. Also be careful with planting too many harbour cities.

So everyone have a lot of fun, with one of my favorite Eras


  1. jaegga
    February 2, 2010 at 21:10

    Wow, really great and interesting. 🙂
    I like the screenshots of the initial buildup. 😉

    Thanks and good job shiz! 😉

  2. Moineau
    February 3, 2010 at 08:37

    Long time ago i did some tests about slavering/serfdom start. As PPP proved me that my slavering start wasnt good in modern/future, these test proved the same in indus (but not so much difference). But you right saying that is a bit harder to play.

    • shizanu
      February 3, 2010 at 11:12

      Actually we used slaving start in modern, since I killed jobe 5 times in 1 hour on the old grid settings because he couldn´t slave some quick units. With Donut its serfdom of course, but its not much of an advantage, because you cant build workshops faster.
      I would be interested in how your tests looked like in indu? Did you buy stuff? and did you chop as much as you want for workers? I think especially if you dont buy and have limited chops that are needed for settlers, slavery is better. Probably depends a lot on the situation, but you just gave me something to do for today 🙂

  3. Gitbliss
    February 3, 2010 at 09:57

    Great article 🙂

    Thank you!

  4. imhotep
    February 3, 2010 at 14:02

    Nice one Shizanu! And Indu is not only your favourite era… 😉

  5. Moineau
    February 3, 2010 at 14:37

    It would take me a bit time to explain why i stoped to slave in modern/future. Not the good place i guess :p

    About tests, i do 2 times the same game (on the same map with same starts etc..) one with slavery, the other with serfdom, and i compare. It was long time ago, i think i went to approximatevely the same. I buy workers at the begining yes. That’s not so much tech lost. And of course i chop some forests for first ones (maybe 3-4), but i , fast, do directly worshops as it’s better as we all know. I think usually i chop one settler and buy an other, and then i stop and do units (more settlers would be really dangerous as it would take some time and then you can die on some good boating rush well done).

  6. milobanski
    March 27, 2010 at 23:36

    yup, thumbs up… one of the most difficult starts. nice article!

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