Playing Civilization V as Persian King Darius I
One of the most interesting opposing civilizations you will encounter in Sid Meier’s Civilization V is Persia. Equipped with some an interesting military unit and lead by King Darius, they can transpire to be a fearsome enemy if crossed in the early stages of the game, although later on if the Persians have failed to build on any early strength they can prove to be a thorn in your side.
As with starting with any other tribe, playing Civilization V as Persia will bring an interesting set of benefits and advantages, with the special military unit enabling you to leverage some early-game conquest success and increased culture presenting an opportunity for faster development of your preferred government type.
Persia and King Darius – Personality and Strategy
As with all of the historical leaders in Civilization V, King Darius of Persia features some of the traits of his real-life counterpart.
The real Darius was a great administrator and managed to bring wealth and success to the Persian empire during his reign between 522 BC and 486 BC. As such the in-game version of Darius makes alliances with overseas kingdoms and local city states while adopting an expansionist policy against his neighbours.
Watch out for particular strength early in the game when the Persians produce their special unit, the Immortal – if the Persians are your neighbours, a lot of diplomacy will be needed until you can progress to a position of strength over them, through a constant military build-up and plenty of scientific advances.
Playing as Persia – Bonuses
If you choose to play as Persia, along with the Immortal unit (more on that below) your civilization is also blessed with the Archaemenid Legacy which delivers a 50% longer Golden Age as well as delivering a +1 improvement to unit movement and +10% combat strength during said Golden Age.
The Immortal unit is good as a strong and easily produced unit early in the game – similar to the standard Spearman unit, the Immortal is stronger and heals twice as fast, allowing you a strong advantage when expanding your territory. If you follow the general rule of early exploration and expansion then make sure you have plenty of Immortals – as soon as they can be made obsolete by a stronger enemy, a major change of strategy will be required, so expand as fast as possible.
Suggested Civ V Persia Strategy
The main strategy you should be adopting while expanding and improving your land is a combination of developing specific technology, building as many Immortal units as possible to conquer and protect your claimed territory and the development of culture.
In order to play to this civilization’s strengths, you should begin researching the path Agriculture > Mining > Bronze Working which will allow the construction of the civilization-specific Immortal unit.
From this point you should then focus on the progression from Mathematics through Currency > Chivalry > Banking with the required additional technologies in order to build Satrap’s Court.
This building replaces the standard bank improvement, but has the benefit of generating additional Gold (+25%) and +2 Happiness. This unique building first requires a Marketplace to have been built but can prove a major element in maintaining the influence of your Persian empire, and along with selling any spare resources you own this money can be used to pay tribute to city states.
A couple of useful buildings should also be considered for the Persians – the Chichen Itza is unlocked when you discover Civil Service and is vital for assisting with the prolonging of Golden Ages, as is the Taj Mahal. With increased culture and the Archaemenid Legacy contributing to the creation of Great People, Golden Ages for the Persians can be pushed almost throughout the entire game.
While a complete conquest or space victory is always satisfying, the suggested long-term strategy for the Persians is the cultural victory. With the increased length and number of Golden Ages and measured expansion, the Patronage and Freedom social policies can really push your Persian empire towards a massive and potentially early cultural victory in Civilization V.
Screen captures by author