What are your "base" cards for every civ?

I’ve noticed that regardless of the strategy the player uses, there are cards that are always included in decks, kinda like must-have cards or base decks, so to speak. Whether they are used to buff the strength of a civ or to compensate for some of it’s drawbacks, what do you consider are the cards that all or almost all decks must have when playing a civ?

As an example, this are the cards I always use in every inca deck. I think this cards are basic for incan strategy, but I’d lime to know what do you guys think. Would yo add or remove some card from here?

I use: the 2 llamas for the Kancha house opening
The 3 travois for map control and maybe native rush
The villagers card to give a boost to my economy if the match drags to lategame, along with the town center + 5 vils
Free techs for the farm and state buildings along with terrace farming
The kallanka limit increase to get more pop
The town center travois+5 villagers
The jungle bowmen 2nd age upgrade and the chimu runners 3rd age gold upgrade
And the buffs to infantry speed and food production from houses.

I’d like to know what are your base decks for your main civs, the ones that synergise well with any strategy. You can also add cards that you use in almost any strategy except one or two, as the idea is to have a template to work with and adapt.

3 Vills, 4/5 Vills, 700 Gold, Mint, Refrigeration.

Everything else, is optional.


Endless supplies of wood, gold and food, and endless Settlers.

This is my base for cards for all civs.


All my decks are very similar across all civs. I always prefer to turtle and get as many upgrades to help me in the long run as possible. I just play against the AI, I’m not really into the competitive scene, so I won’t suggest my deck to anyone looking to go on ranked matches.
Anyway, here are the cards that I always try to bring to the games:

  • [Explorer/War Chief/Monk Upgrade] For early exploration and better treasure gathering.
  • Advanced Trading Post The discount on wood is pretty useful in the early game and the extra HP makes it easier to rescue it from an enemy raid.
  • Advanced Arsenal For extra upgrades, duh.
  • Castrametation I really like to use defensive buildings, so the ability to rebuild destroyed forts and outposts is a must have for my playstyle.
  • Extensive Fortifications Extra HP for defensive buildings and the ability to build more of them… As I said, I like my defensive buildings.
  • [Church Unique Upgrades] Usually offer some interesting upgrades and units that aren’t normally available for that civ.
  • [Factories] Infinite free resources, what’s not to love?
  • Fencing School and Riding School Depends a bit on the civilization and their strengths, but I usually like to have these two on my decks in case I need to quickly raise an army to defend myself or to keep pressure on the enemy.
  • Medicine Faster and cheaper villagers, always nice to have for booming and in case I need to rebuild my economy quickly post raids.
  • Economic Theory, Sawmills, Exotic Hardwood, Royal Mint and Refrigeration For me, these are the basic gather rate cards, increasing about 30% of the gather rate in each of three main resources.
  • Distributism, Colbertism and Capitalism are also always useful, specially in the early game.
  • [Two Infinite Mercenary Armies] or Native Allies Armies if the civ doesn’t have mercs available.
  • The remaining slots I try to fill with military upgrades or cards that improve some of the civ’s unique mechanics.
  • If it’s a naval map, then Advanced Docks, Rendering Plant and Improved Warships are also must-haves for me.
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card you choose will depend on which civs you choose, but usually 3vils, 700w, 700f (or 700g), and unit cards will be required.

If you are looking for late game, you may want to consider an upgrade cards.


Japan :
Heavenly Kami, 2 Orchard Rikshaw, Shogun Tukugawa , ashigaru attac, refrigeration, royal mint, 700Wood, close combat, daimyo Masamune, Bakufu

Both Wood Trikle (age 1,age 2) , British Raj, Green Jackets, Elephant combat, Elephant handlers, royal mint, food silos, Dravidian martial Art (arguably,some ppl dont see it as a basic card, but I do), Camel attack(try having both but atleast 1 is compulsory), Rum Distillary, Infinite Urumi (very rare cases 0.01% when u wont include this)

It only benefits Melee units, specially Rajputs, which are never used.

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as I said some ppl dont consider as a basic card, but i do :slight_smile: , as it affects sepoy in melee and sowars in raiding

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age 1: 3 villagers cards if available. Land grab, economic theory, civ specific cards (like heavenly kami, virgina company etc) resource tickles. age 1 is very dependent on civ and usually boosts civ specific bonuses.
age 2: 5 villagers cards if available, 700F, W, G. At least a unit shipment, most often 2.
age 3: villager cards if available, G and F gather rate upgrades. Depending on civ maybe crates. At least 1 unit shipments + 2 falcs / civ specifi unit…
age 4: factories (if available).

On top of that I then add unit upgrades, additional unit shipments depending on civ and purpose.

Your deck varies substancially if yo go on a team game or in 1vs1 or water or treaty.

Although there arent staple cards for different decks i would say that for:

Water booming you should always have Shooners, 700w, 600w, Rendering Plant, Fish Market, 2 Caravels (or similar), Whale Oil; (Advanced dock is optional)

Treaty either 20 mins or 40min you will need to have all the Mill and Estate Cards + Royal Mint + Refrigeration (or their equivalent). You should also have all the vils cards and Extra TC card (except if you are playing ports). (The extra TC card not only ships a TC but allows you to have 4 TC to boom from), Land grab (except for asian civs).

European Civ - Factory and Robber Barons are mandatory (except if you are going dutch and you plan to revolt to South Africa), Advanced Arsenal (for team games and treaty), the Church card (for Spain, Dutch, Ottoman, and Russia is essential) (for Ports, French German and Brits is more situational)

Asian Civs and Native Civs Their play style is too diffent between them hence there are not many common cards.
For asian i would recommend always having 700w + 300export + 700g but the rest is dramatically different.

For Native - The Warchief Upgrade (High Priest of Ixtillion and the Lakota chief Upgrades) the vils cards Land grab, and an eco upgrade for Age II because you cannot sustain the same eco as the other civs (due to the lack of Steel Traps and Amalgamation until you get your farms and estates up).

For the rest there arent many common cards. You should prioritize Unit shipments on 1vs1 and more eco and unit upgrades on team games.

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These are only useful for Warchiefs

Only for Ports and Otto

For treaty or 4x4 games, other wise not really useful

Dont know any players who use this, apart from treaty

This is actually essencial for several civs especially on treaty or boom.

Colbertism and Capitalism are also always useful, specially in the early game. Who uses these cards? Distributivism okay - for India and Russia.

They are good but usually you can only go for one of them unless is a treaty deck

Too expensive and diversified. Never seen anyone using these cards.

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He’s talking about his personal Playstyle vs AI. As it seems, he wants to have a lategame focused match. So it doesnt matter, whats viable in competitve multiplayer matches. Your answers are mostly correct, but off topic :slight_smile:


The Portuguese one is good too, if paired with Bandeirantes card, because you get 2 upgraded Explorers, and they tank quite a bit.
For the other ones, it is really not worth it.

I suppose the Chinese Explorer upgrades could be good too, when paired with Walk the Rice Paper card, that also gives you another Explorer (and those can convert enemy units into Disciples) but WtRP is only available in Industrial, while Bandeirantes is a Colonial card, and by then you have better options.

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Yeah, but that’s 2 cards.

I’d rather have the explorer upgrades available baseline from age 1, with like 100f+50w cost.

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I do. :man_shrugging: