Sid Meier's Civilization V

Sid Meier's Civilization V

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Zigzagzigal's Guide to Egypt (BNW)
By Zigzagzigal
Egypt has three different ways to start, typically leading to a cultural victory in the end. This guide goes into plenty of detail about Egyptian strategies, uniques and how to play against them.
 
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Introduction
Note: This guide assumes you have all game-altering DLC and expansion packs (all Civ packs, Wonders of the Ancient World, Gods & Kings and Brave New World)



As the new leader of the ancient land of Egypt, you must understand that their times of triumph and weaknesses are equally important; that the history of the land is not confined to their peak in antiquity but carries through to the issues that face your nation today. That is not, however, to say that ancient history has no relevance. The Egyptian Old Kingdom, from the 27th to 22nd centuries before the common era, saw the building of great monuments which still stand, but collapsed under the pressure of power struggles and drought. The Middle Kingdom, from the 22nd to 17th centuries saw military expansion and better lives for many Egyptians, but collapsed under economic strain and floods. The New Kingdom in the 16th to 11th centuries saw Egypt rise higher than ever before, but in the end its downfall was its wealth - attracting pirates and invading nations. While Egypt would briefly regain power at times, for centuries they were mostly occupied by other peoples - the Libyans, Assyria, Persia and Alexander of Macedon's empire. From the breaking up of Alexander's empire, the Ptolemaic dynasty would emerge in Egypt, returning some traditions once more, but this brief moment of respite was lost when the Romans annexed Egypt, thirty years before the common era.

And so, Egypt would be merely a province of other nations for nearly two millenia - Rome, Byzantium, Arabia, the Ottomans, France and Britain controlling it consecutively. Following the first world war, Egypt would finally achieve independence, but three decades later a military coup would otherthrow the monarchy and Prime Minister. One of the architects of the coup - Nasser - became President. Choosing not to align with Western nations in the Cold War, his nationalisation of the Suez Canal in 1956 prompted an invasion by Britain, France and Israel to attempt to re-secure the strategic region for Western powers. The invasion failed, greatly weakening Britain and France's once-dominant power - Egypt, once again, was to change the shape of the world. Over the following decades, however, the rule of Egypt's Presidents would become increasingly authoritarian. In 2011, President Mubarak (the third President in the line starting with Nasser) would resign following large-scale protests driven by a pro-democracy agenda, but the military which had supported him continues to dominate Egyptian politics. Now, Egypt is in a time of great instability following decades of consistency, but they are also in a time of great potential for economic and political development. So, it falls to you to bring the Egyptian people forward, into this brave new world. Will you focus on Egypt's strategic importance, and try to bring peace to the turbulent Middle East? Or is internal stability your priority in a dangerous time? You must be a leader for the times of strength and the times of weakness in your nation, so it may continue to stand the test of time.



Before I go into depth with this guide, here's an explanation of some terminology I'll be using throughout for the sake of newer players.

Beelining - Focusing on obtaining a technology early by only researching technologies needed to research it and no others. For example, to beeline Bronze Working, you'd research Mining and Bronze Working and nothing else until Bronze Working was finished.
Finisher - The bonus for completing a Social Policy tree (e.g. Free Great Person for Liberty.)
Forward Settling - Deliberately settling a city next to a rival's capital, usually in order to make invasions easier.
GWAM - Great Writers, Artists and Musicians. These are the three types of Great People who can make Great Works, a major source of tourism for cultural Civs.
Opener - The bonus for unlocking a Social Policy tree (e.g. +1 culture for every city for Liberty's opener)
Tall empire - A low number of cities with a high population each. "Building tall" refers to making an empire a tall one.
UA - Unique Ability - The unique thing a Civilization has which doesn't need to be built.
UB - Unique Building - A replacement for a normal building that can only be built by one Civilization.
UU - Unique Unit - A replacement for a normal unit that can only be built by one Civilization or provided by Militaristic City-States when allied (this only applies to land UUs that are of Civs not in your current game.)
Uniques - Collective name for Unique Abilities, Units, Buildings, Improvements and Great People
Wide empire - A high number of cities with a low population each. "Building wide" refers to making an empire a wide one.
At a glance (Part 1/2)
Start Bias

Egypt is biased to avoid jungle and forest. This means you're more likely to start on open terrain (which is good for your UU) as well as reducing the likelihood you'll need Mining and Bronze working early on to clear nearby vegetation (allowing you to focus more on helpful early wonder technologies.)

Uniques

Egypt's UU and UB are pretty early on - the former helps to provide early defence (or even attack) while the latter is useful throughout the game for supporting your empire and preventing unhappiness problems. Egypt's UA will be helpful throughout the game, though on higher singleplayer difficulties, it may take longer until you can make good use of it (as computer opponents have extra starting technologies and hence can secure early wonders before you have a chance.)

Unique Ability: Monument Builders

  • +20% Production bonus when building National Wonders or World Wonders

Unique Unit: War Chariot (Replaces the Chariot Archer)


A mounted ranged unit
Technology
Obsoletion
Upgrades from
Upgrades to
Production cost
Purchase cost
Resource needed

The Wheel
Ancient era
2nd column
(3th column overall)

Chivalry
Medieval era
2nd column
(7th column overall)
None

Knight**
(135Gold)*
56Production*
310Gold*
None
*Assumes a normal speed game.
**Upgrading requires 1 Horse resource

Strength
Ranged Strength
Moves
Range
Sight
Negative Attributes
Positive Attributes
6Strength
10Ranged Strength
5Movement Points
2
2
  • May not melee attack
  • No defensive terrain bonuses
  • Uses all remaining movement points when entering rough terrain
None

Positive one-off changes

  • 5 moves, up from 4 (+25%)
  • Does not require Horse resources

Unique Building: Burial Tomb (Replaces the Temple)


Building of the Faith line

Technology
Building required
Required to build
Production cost
Purchase cost
City restriction
Maintenance

Philosophy
Classical era
2nd column
(5th column overall)

Shrine
None
100Production*
500Gold*
None
None
*Assumes a normal speed game.

Base output
Output Multiplier
Specialist
Great Work slots
Other effects
2Faith
2Happiness
None
None
None
  • Enemies that capture this city receive twice as much gold as normal

Negative changes

  • Enemies that capture this city receive twice as much gold as normal
    • This stacks with Songhai's Unique Ability or the double-gold-on-city-capture ability of Landsknechte (those two bonuses do not stack with each other)

Positive changes

  • 0 maintenance cost, down from 2 (-100%)
  • 2 extra happiness produced
At a glance (Part 2/2)
Victory Routes

Note these scores are a matter of personal opinion based on experiences with the Civilization. You may discover a way of utilising the Civ more effectively in unconventional ways.

Cultural: 9/10
Diplomatic: 7/10
Domination: 6/10
Scientific: 6/10

Culture from wonders is added to tourism with Hotels, Airports and the National Visitor Centre making Egypt's UA excellent towards a cultural victory (not to mention the fact nearly all Great Work theming bonuses are on wonders.) Alternatively, a maintenance-free happiness-giving Temple is great for building wide, taking a religion with a couple of faith buildings and Sacred Sites, and going for a cultural victory in a very different way.

Aside from those routes, your UB grants happiness cheaply, making it excellent for building wide with. Wide-building Civs are generally better at diplomatic victories than tall-building ones (and the saving on gold maintenance helps for bribing City-States.) Egypt's UU is good for early rushing, and building wonders faster gives you better odds at grabbing science wonders such as the Great Library, meaning Egypt is a little above-average in any victory route.

Similar Civs and uniques

Overall

Based primarily from the similarity of their respective unique abilities, France is the Civ most alike Egypt. Both depend on building wonders as a primary source of tourism, but both can alternatively adopt a wide-building cultural strategy; Egypt via Sacred Sites and France by placing more emphasis on their Chateaux.

Brazil and India are other Civs that can pull off the tall-building cultural approach effectively.

Same start bias

Egypt is biased to avoid forest and jungle; so are the Huns. Siam avoids forest but not jungle, while the Zulus avoid jungle but not forest.

Similar to the UA

Aside from France's UA, a wonder-based bonus can be found as part of Korea's UA, although that only affects one world wonder (the Great Library) and two national wonders (the National College and Oxford University) by giving you a science boost if they're built in your capital. All five science buildings (Libaries, Universities, Observatories, Public Schools and Research Labs) also have the bonus and are easier to build.

Similar to War Chariots

The other Chariot Archer UUs are the Hunnic Horse Archer and India's War Elephant. All three Chariot Archer UUs can be built resource-free and have early-rush potential, but have rather distinct bonuses. Chariot Archers are the fastest, War Elephants are the strongest and Horse Archers fall somewhere between the two.

Similar to Burial Tombs

The only other Temple UB is Songhai's Mud Pyramid Mosque, which like the Burial Tomb is maintenance free, but differs in offering two points of culture instead of happiness and lacks the penalty of your cities being worth twice as much gold to attackers.

If you're placing a lot of emphasis on Burial Tombs to support wide expansion, their role becomes more alike that of Celtic Ceilidh Halls. Both Egypt and the Celts can pull off a wide-building cultural strategy with a strong religious component.
The Three Paths
Before we start discussing Egypt's uniques, it's important to note that they each pull towards a different playstyle, and as such, to get the full potential of one, you can't really get the full potential of the others. All three of them are good for heading towards a cultural victory, just in somewhat different ways.

  • Focusing on the Unique Ability is the standard, lowest-risk option, involving building tall and going for a cultural victory. In this route, the War Chariot will be mostly used defensively while the Burial Tomb will be mostly used for getting over the typical mid-game happiness slump. This guide will generally assume you're taking this path unless it specifies a different playstyle.

  • Focusing on the Unique Unit is slightly riskier than purely focusing on the UA, but can reward you with a defeated rival early in the game (and hence one less player to influence with tourism.) You'll probably only make a single conquest (or at least set someone back somewhat) so you'll need to switch to one of the other paths once War Chariots are obsolete. The big downside of using this strategy is that in building lots of War Chariots, you'll have to forgo some early wonders.

  • Focusing on the Unique Building is the highest risk/highest reward option. It involves building cities in huge numbers and using religion towards an early cultural victory. The problem is you'll run up against serious happiness troubles if your cities get too tall, making it hard to make good use of your UA.

This gives Egypt a fair amount of flexibility whether to build tall or wide. It's perfectly valid (and rather effective) to scout out your surroundings before sticking to the path that best fits it, giving Egypt somewhat of a hidden strength.
Unique Ability: Monument Builders
Note: In this guide, "wonders" typically refers to World Wonders (which can only be built once in the world) unless stated otherwise.



Egypt's most straightforward and probably most powerful feature is the ability to build wonders (both National and World Wonders) faster than anyone else. It takes a lot of risk out of building some of the more competitive World Wonders, and saves quite a few turns in building Guilds and other National Wonders. As nearly all Great Work theming bonuses are attached to wonders, (both national and world,) and culture from World Wonders is added to tourism with Hotels, Airports and the National Visitor Centre, the UA's best-suited towards a playstyle heading towards cultural victory.

The early-game

Don't just dive into building early wonders as soon as you have the technologies - you'll need to build up your capital's infrastructure first. The Tradition Social Policy tree greatly helps out there (as well as providing a further 15% bonus to wonder building - for a 35% total bonus - making many wonders surprisingly affordable.) On the other hand, you shouldn't start building a wonder too late - even with your UA's bonus and the bonus from Tradition's Aristocracy, there's a good chance you'll miss out if you delay a lot.

So, when should you start building wonders? That depends on your playstyle...

  • If you're focusing on building tall and wonder construction, start fairly early with things like the Great Library, Temple of Artemis, Hanging Gardens or Petra. They're all great early wonders for giving you a strong start (though in the highest difficulty settings, some may be unviable to pick up even for Egypt.)
  • If you plan on focusing on your UU, you won't really have time for early wonder building as you'll need to get plenty of War Chariots built. Wait until the late-classical or early-medieval eras before starting.
  • If you're focusing on building wide and using your UB to its fullest potential, you may be able to get one or two early wonders going, but later on, your cities won't be large enough to support wonder building.

As is always the case, don't neglect National Wonders if you can help it. Getting the National College up and running before turn 100 (on normal-speed games) will ensure you can keep up with science, and getting Guilds (Writers', Artists' and Musicians') up as soon as possible means more GWAMs, more Great Works and hence more tourism.


Above: The first bonus in this example is Tradition's Oligarchy. The second is Egypt's UA. The third is marble, which offers a 15% bonus to the production of ancient or classical-era wonders.

The rest of the game

For the medieval eras onwards, the standard playstyle as Egypt is rather straightforward. Be sure to keep your science rate up, and you'll be able to grab a huge array of wonders. The best world wonders for Egypt to focus on are outlined in the "Wonders" section following this one.


Above: Cultural Civs need gold less than the other three victory routes (science, domination or diplomacy. Score isn't a real victory route for reasons I don't have space to explain here.) This makes it a good idea to use your Trade Routes for delivering food and/or production to the cities

Hotels, Airports and the National Visitor Centre add tourism in cities based on culture generated by terrain and world wonders. In order to maximise the tourism potential of wonders, try to get the Cultural Heritage Sites resolution passed in the World Congress. While you're at it, Arts Funding will be good too, for upping your generation of GWAMs.

Ultimately, Egypt's conventional playstyle doesn't really diverge from the standard cultural playstyle - get plenty of GWAMs generated, build plenty of Archaeologists when they first come available, try to fufill as many theming bonuses as possible and get Hotels and Airports up and running quickly.
Wonders (Part 1/2)
Normally, I'd put this section later in the guide, but wonder-building is crucial to Egypt's core gameplay hence meriting its earlier placement. This section deals with the best world wonders for Egypt, arranged alphabetically in each era. Of course, wonders not listed here might still be worth building if you have the spare production (both for making use of the Cultural Heritage Sites resolution and to deny other Civs them.)

Note that in this section I'm generally assuming you're building tall in the conventional Egyptian playstyle. Exceptions to this are wonders labelled "wide-building Egypt favoured".

Ancient Era

Great Library
Theming bonus wonder - 2 Great Writing, different Civs and eras for theming bonus

A good candidate for the game's most powerful wonder, as the science bonus combined with the free technology so early on a huge difference. Your UA gives you a better chance of getting it built on high difficulty settings than other Civs normally would, so you can get a really strong start in a situation other Civs wouldn't be able to manage. If that wasn't enough, the Great Library offers a rare Great Scientist point, which means you can start generating them earlier than anyone else, and offers the game's first theming bonus (though typically you'll be in the renaissance era before you'll be able to fufill it.)

Pyramids (Liberty Only, wide-building Egypt favoured)

For the strategy of building very, very wide detailed in the UB section, you're going to need to develop the production of cities quickly so they can get Burial Tombs up and running to counteract their unhappiness from population points. The Pyramids' faster Worker speed really helps out there.

Stonehenge

If you really feel like you'll struggle to get a religion going (even when aiming to get your UB fairly early on) then Stonehenge is a great help there.

Temple of Artemis

An excellent wonder. It's uncompetitive, gives a universal 10% food bonus to all your cities (that's better than the "growth" bonus suggested by the wonder's tooltip) and even helps you build War Chariots faster (due to their classification as a standard ranged unit.)

Classical Era

Hanging Gardens (Tradition Only)

A brilliant way to rapidly grow a city to a size capable of building plenty of wonders. Additionally, it's the only way for you to get a Garden in a city away from a lake or river for the 25% Great Person bonus.

Oracle

Like the Great Library, this is one of the only ways to get Great Scientist points prior to Universities. It also gives a free Social Policy, excellent for finishing Tradition or getting started with Aesthetics.

Parthenon

While this is the game's earliest source of tourism, (thus meaning plenty of time to accumulate,) infrastructure wonders such as Petra or the Hanging Gardens will have a bigger impact over the course of the game, so favour them first.

Petra

If you've got a city near plenty of desert hills, this wonder turns it into a powerhouse, able to rapidly snatch future wonders for the rest of the game. Not only that, but you'll also get an additional Trade Route to help your food, production or gold out.

Medieval Era

Alhambra

Build this in a city with plenty of Great Works, and watch the culture roll in. This can also get melee units three starting promotions with an Armoury, excellent for defence.

Borobudur and/or Hagia Sophia

Especially good if you're building wide and need to spread your religion quickly to all your cities without spending faith, but for the rest of us it's a chance to really make use of a good Founder belief such as Tithe.

Chichen Itza

As Egypt, your Golden Ages should come from sources other than Great Artists - you need them for their Great Works. As a result, it's a little harder to time Golden Ages, so extending them will be great for ensuring they're useful even if they start at an odd point in time.

Great Mosque of Djenne (Piety Only)

For maximum effect, build this followed by Borobudur in the same city. Even without it, the Great Mosque of Djenne is a powerful wonder for helping to spread your religion. For any Sacred Sites users among us, the wonder gives a free Mosque and hence +2 tourism with your belief, without you having to spend any faith.

Machu Picchu

A bit low on money due to using your Trade Routes for production or food? Need a little more faith? Machu Picchu offers both. Not the highest-priority wonder for Egypt generally, but still useful enough to merit building

Notre Dame (Wide-building Egypt favoured)

At this stage of the game, building wonders at all is difficult for the city-spamming Egypt players among us. Nonetheless, if you succeed with building the Notre Dame, you'll get a very useful 10 points of global happiness (unrestricted by the city's population, unlike happiness-giving buildings) as well as 4 points of faith.
Wonders (Part 2/2)
Renaissance Era

Globe Theatre
Theming bonus wonder - 2 Great Writing, same era and Civ for theming bonus

Great Writing slots are pretty hard to come by (especially later in the game) so any you can get will be good. Plus, there's the matter of the theming bonus for extra culture and tourism.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

A rather competitive wonder, but as Egypt, so long as you pick up the technology reasonably early, getting the wonder shouldn't be a problem.

Porcelain Tower (Rationalism Only)

Worried your science rate isn't quite enough? Get a free Great Scientist, and make Research Agreements 50% more effective, and while it might not entirely solve your problem, it'll certainly make a huge difference.

Sistine Chapel
Theming bonus wonder - 2 Great Art/Artifact, needs art of the same era and Civ for theming bonus

Aside from letting you chew through Social Policies like no tomorrow and resisting rival cultural Civs more effectively, picking up this wonder denies Civs that generate high amounts of culture (e.g. Siam) from getting it and making your job harder.

Taj Mahal

Offers a 10-turn Golden Age (in normal-speed games) helping to up culture, gold and production outputs.

Uffizi (Aesthetics Only)
Theming bonus wonder - 3 Great Art/Artifact, needs art of the same era and Civ for theming bonus

The Uffizi is another useful stepping stone on the way to cultural victory. It doesn't exactly have the easiest requirements to complete - consider holding off using the free Great Artist until the industrial era to make timing it easier.

Industrial Era

Louvre (Exploration Only)
Theming bonus wonder - 4 Great Art/Artifact, needs 2 art and 2 artifacts all of different Civs and eras for theming bonus

Offers the greatest theming bonus of all, but comes with the most complicated requirements. It's not actually as difficult as it sounds to meet it - once you've uncovered around 3-4 artifacts, it's almost certain you'll have two of different Civs and eras, and as for the Great Art, all you need to do is have two and trade one of them with another Civ.

Modern Era

Broadway
Theming bonus wonder - 3 Great Music, same era and Civ for theming bonus

One of the trickier of the theming bonus wonders to fufill the requirements of, seeing as Great Music cannot be traded (unlike Great Art, Artifacts and Great Writing.) It's worth keeping a Great Musician around until the modern era to prepare for this wonder.

Cristo Redentor

The good cultural output of this wonder lends itself nicely for use with a Hotel, Airport and the National Visitor Centre for a decent tourism output, too.

Eiffel Tower

A straightforward source of 12 tourism.

Neuschwanstein

This wonder has a pretty high cultural output, meaning an above-average tourism contribution with a Hotel, Airport or National Visitor Centre.

Statue of Liberty (Freedom Only)

Extra production for all specialists is great for getting those last few wonders built quickly, or maybe for spamming Archaeologists.

Atomic Era

Great Firewall

The main reason for picking this wonder up is to deny other Civs from getting it, as it prevents the doubled tourism output from the Internet technology operating against the Civ that builds it. If a rival Civ with a high culture output manages to grab it, it'll make your job significantly harder.

Sydney Opera House
Theming bonus wonder - 2 Great Music, same Civ but different eras for theming bonus

The last of the theming bonus wonders is also the only terrain-restricted one - only coastal cities can build it. While the requirements of the theming bonus are easy to meet, you might want to consider using your Great Musicians for concert tours at this late stage of the game - it'll be worth more tourism, and more importantly, you can focus that tourism on a specific rival Civ.

Information Era

CN Tower (Wide-building Egypt favoured)

The Sacred Sites strategy detailed in the UB section should lead to an early cultural victory. But what if it doesn't? That's where this wonder and the Media Culture tenet come in handy. The two together means a 34% tourism boost in all your cities, as well as an unhappiness-free point of population. If you've got a lot of cities, the impact will be rather pronounced.
Unique Unit: War Chariot


The War Chariot is either a reasonably useful defensive unit or the one thing that completely propels your early-game (and hence, the rest of your game, though at the cost of being able to build early wonders.)

The mechanics of the unit

Before going into over-arching strategy, let's look at what the generic Chariot Archer can do, and how the War Chariot builds upon it. Chariot Archers are fast ranged units with a surprisingly high damage output for an ancient era unit. Their main weaknesses are the fact entering hills or forest (assuming no road) depletes all their movement points, their horse requirement, and their lack of defensive bonuses. Unlike Horsemen, the 50% bonus against mounted units that Spearmen have doesn't actually work on Chariot Archers, they're constructed faster with the Temple of Artemis rather than Stables, and they use ranged promotions.


Above: Marshland does not count as rough terrain for the purposes of the "rough terrain penalty" Chariot Archers and War Chariots have. Nonetheless, it'll still use up three movement points (and units in marshes are particularly vulnerable to damage) meaning it's still a good idea to avoid them.

Chariot Archers typically make good anti-Barbarian units owing to their high speed - you don't need to build many of them to be able to react against attacks from any direction. Being the earliest unit in the game with a strategic resource requirement, it's often hard to build high quantities of them, anyway.

Enter the War Chariot

War Chariots build upon a major strength and cover a major weakness of Chariot Archers. With no strategic resource requirement, it's far easier to churn out an army of them, while their extra speed makes them even harder for enemies to catch.

If you're planning on playing peacefully thoughout your game, War Chariots are still useful defensively. Egypt's start bias of avoiding forest and jungle makes it reasonably likely you'll start near plenty of open terrain for War Chariots to make use of their high speed in. Building a couple and patrolling the areas near your lands is a good way to find Barbarians and enemy armies before they get too close for comfort.

But if you really want the full potential out of your War Chariots, you'll need to put aside the early-wonder-building your UA offers (and the rapid expansion your UB goes well with) and focus on churning out as many War Chariots as you can afford, then use that army to attack an opponent's capital before they've got a defence up and running. You'll need a melee unit in order to capture the city - Horsemen are the best choice due to their speed, but if you can't manage them, Spearmen will be adequate.

Being able to launch a successful attack with War Chariots is not a ceraintly. If there's too much rough terrain around, it'll take too long to reach enemy cities. If you lack horses for building Horsemen with and no opponent is nearby, it'll take too long to get a melee unit to their capital. Be prepared to have a backup plan (such as switching to infrastructure building or rapid expansion) if launching an early attack becomes impossible.

Conclusion

War Chariots are fast, strong and fairly affordable units. Having the rare combination of very high speed and no resource requirement makes them excellent for rushing, and they're also great for scouting or fending off Barbarians with.

Special promotions kept on upgrade

None. Note that any ranged promotions you gain on your War Chariots will not work on Knights, with the exception of Logistics.
Unique Building: Burial Tomb


The Burial Tomb is a real odditity among unique buildings. While it may seem similar to Songhai's Mud Pyramid Mosque in that both it and this are maintenance-free Temples, there's a key distinction. Songhai's UB, taken to its full potential, changes their playstyle little and complements their other uniques well. Egypt's UB taken to its full potential pushes in a very different direction to their other uniques.

The Standard Egyptian playstyle

Before looking at that full potential, let's look at what Burial Tombs do for the standard wonder-building Egyptian playstyle. First of all, their technology. They come with Philosophy, which is a great technology to pick up early anyway due to the National College, which requires it. It's one of the strongest National Wonders around and really helps get your science output going early on.

What about the building then? Well, its maintenance-free nature is great for saving you cash in the classical-to-early medieval eras, where International Trade Routes don't have a particularly high gold output yet while plenty of gold is being spent on unit and building maintenance. While building Temples early for most Civs would really strain their finances, Egypt can manage it. And manage it you should - if you're building tall, you'll typically be at a disadvantage at gaining faith and hence starting a religion.

No maintenance isn't the only advantage of Burial Tombs; they also offer two points of local city happiness each. A Shine and Burial Tomb together is 40% more expensive than a Colosseum for the same maintenance cost and happiness, but Colosseums don't offer faith, nor do they get boosted further by beliefs and the Piety Social Policy tree. Making use of both Colosseums and Burial Tombs should give you plenty of happiness to get through the usually happiness-starved midgame, and avoid the need to build more expensive Zoos and Stadiums later on in the game.

So, for most people who play as Egypt, the Burial Tomb is nice, but not exactly groundbreakingly powerful.

The Sacred Sites Playstyle

Thanks to Burial Tombs, Egypt has access to a really unconventional route that only really themselves and Byzantium can pull off - the Sacred Sites playstyle. It's a very risky playstyle, and one that is likely to be too risky on higher difficulties, but offers a change of pace from the regular methods of achieving victory.

Here's a rough outline of what it entails.
  • The Sacred Sites Reformation belief adds 2 tourism to all Mosques, Pagodas, Cathedrals and Monasteries - the four buildings that can be purchased via faith with their respective Follower beliefs.
  • This early tourism can be enough to win an early cultural victory if you can get enough faith buildings going before opponents can build up a strong amount of culture.
  • In order to get lots of faith buildings, you'll need loads of cities producing lots of faith.

So, lots of faith + faith building Follower beliefs + Sacred Sites = potential for a really early cultural victory.

The main difficulty of this strategy is the need for lots of cities. This isn't like a regular building-wide strategy, but more a case of building as many cities as you possibly can without the unhappiness becoming completely overwhelming. The happiness-giving and maintenance-free nature of the Burial Tomb really helps out here, but it won't do all the work of maintaining a very wide empire for you. You'll need to micromanage your cities so they don't grow too tall (the "avoid growth" option really helps here) while having enough production to build happiness and faith buildings.

It'll probably help greatly to let your capital grow, even if you're not growing your other cities much. That's most obviously because you'll need somewhere to build Settlers, but it's also worth having the capability to spam War Chariots if needed for a rapid defence (very wide empires tend to be very vulnerable to attack) as well as for building happiness and faith wonders. Borobudur and the Hagia Sophia are particularly useful to help spread your religion through your cities without having to spend faith, meaning you'll have more available for buying more faith buildings with.

As a final point, consider that faith buildings get more expensive as you enter new eras. You'll need to be careful with how you research, or else you'll end up with far fewer faith buildings (and therefore far less tourism) than you'd otherwise have.

Confused? Well, don't worry. This strategy is unconventional to say the least, and is incredibly risky. You can play as Egypt perfectly effectively without even considering this route, as most people do.

Grave Robbing

There's one more feature about Egypt's Burial Tombs, but it's not something you should generally need to worry about unless you're playing against Egypt. When an Egyptian city with a Burial Tomb is captured, the Civ capturing it gets double the normal amount of city-capture gold. This stacks with the double-gold-on-city-capture ability of Landsknechte or the triple-gold-on-city-capture part of Songhai's UA (though not both - the bonus of Landsknechte doesn't stack with Songhai's UA.)

Arguably, this means Egyptian cities become more lucrative invasion targets for warmongers as they'll get plenty of gold if they successfully take their cities, but then again, all the wonders they'll have thanks to their UA will attract invasions anyway.

Summary

  • No matter your playstyle, it's a good idea to build Burial Tombs fairly early to secure a religion
  • The happiness on offer either supports conquests, rapid expansion or helps you save production by allowing you to put off building Colosseums, Zoos or Stadiums
  • So long as you defend your cities well, the downside of your UB is nothing to worry about
Social Policies: Building Tall
Egypt's different playstyles encourage different Social Policies, and hence separate sections. If you're focusing on your UU, you may use either of the two Social Policy routes depending on which route you want to move into once your UU's no longer relevant.

Assuming you're playing Egypt in the traditional tall-building cultural way, Tradition will be a good starting point. After that, Aesthetics is obvious for helping out with tourism outputs. Finish up with Rationalism so you don't fall behind technology-wise and miss out on important late wonders as a consequence.

Tradition

Opener

You'll need a good mix of food and production if you want to build wonders, and getting tiles faster ensures you can get to those strong food and production spots sooner.

Oligarchy

It might seem strange not going for Aristocracy straight away, but it's not really viable to start building wonders this early on, and Social Policy gain is fast enough in the early years for this not to be a problem. Instead, head towards Landed Elite so you can get a strong early boost to infrastructure.

Garrisoned units are now free to maintain, saving you a little more cash. Saving cash means you don't need to run as many International Trade Routes, allowing you to use more internal ones for food and production. More food and production in a city will really help it out at building wonders.

Legalism

Legalism offers free culture buildings, which aside from speeding up Social Policy and tile acquisition, makes it easier to reach cultural buildings further down the line, such as Museums.

Landed Elite

Some food and a growth bonus helps to get your off to a strong start, ready for building wonders. Combine with the Temple of Artemis and/or the Hanging Gardens for even faster growth.

Aristocracy

If your culture output is somehow extremely low or your production is extremely strong early on, it may be worthwhile to pick this up sooner. Nonetheless, picking up Aristocracy too soon will be usually be a waste as building wonders very early on typically isn't viable.

That disclaimer out of the way, on to the good stuff. Combined with this UA, this offers you a 35% production bonus for wonders compared with other Civs without this policy, assuming no other bonuses such as the marble resource. So long as your production is adequate and your science reasonably strong, there'll be very little in your way in regards to taking lots of wonders.

Monarchy

If your maintenance-free Burial Tombs aren't enough to relieve any gold or happiness issues you may end up running into, Monarchy will probably be.

Finisher

And now for even more growth. Having more than one good wonder-building city ensures you can grab as many as possible. Generally, you should have at a major wonder city (where single-city-infrastructure wonders such as the Hanging Gardens as well as high-priority wonders in general are built) and at least one other city for mopping up less important wonders. Getting as many theming bonus wonders as possible in the same city will really pay off with the National Visitor Centre, but it's not absolutely crucial for victory.

Aesthetics

Opener

Faster GWAM generation means more Great Works. You may end up generating GWAMs faster than you can build buildings or wonders with slots for them, but that's no problem - just hang on to them until you do have the slots.

Cultural Centres

This lets you chew through cultural buildings. Got plenty already? Take Fine Arts first instead and this afterwards. It'll still be handy for getting Broadcast Towers built faster, ready for the tourism boost offered by the Media Culture tenet.

Fine Arts

In a tall, wonder-building playstyle, it's common to have plenty of excess happiness around so you can make good use of the culture offered here.

Flourishing of the Arts

This will offer quite a considerable boost to culture considering it's much easier for you to ensure as many cities as possible have wonders in than it is for other Civs. Additionally, you'll get a free Golden Age for even more culture, a little more production to help out with wonders and some gold, too.

Cultural Exchange

One of the most important Social Policies around for cultural Civs due to the significant boost to tourism it can offer. Any Trade Routes you're not using internally should be used to trade with Civs with high culture outputs, and make sure you can keep up Open Borders with them. The boost to tourism with a Civ from having a diplomat in their capital isn't affected, but it's still an important thing to do. The shared religion bonus in comparison is much harder to pull off, so it may be better just to concentrate on the other tourism bonuses.

Artistic Genius

A free Great Artist is helpful, but unless you've got plenty of Great Art slots available, it's probably best to go for Cultural Exchange before this.

Finisher

With your ability to build wonders rapidly, getting lots of theming bonus wonders shouldn't be too hard (so long as you get their technologies reasonably early.) This finisher doubles the effect of theming bonuses, meaning a considerable gain to culture and tourism. Coupled with Cultural Exchange, it's fairly clear how crucial these are for cultural victories.

Aside from the tourism boost, being able to buy GWAMs with faith really helps with those late-game theming bonuses. It's a nice way to tie your UB and UA together.

Rationalism

Opener

There's two components to the race to build wonders. One, the actual construction of the wonder, is something you have an advantage to. The other, researching the wonder's technology, is something you don't (aside from if you've managed to use your UA to grab the Great Library early or something like that.) This makes the science bonuses offered by Rationalism (such as this Opener) crucial.

Secularism

Tall cities will have a lot of specialists, and lots of potential for science with this policy.

Humanism

Just because being a cultural player means you'll generally focus on generating GWAMs and passing Arts Funding in the World Congress doesn't mean you can't generate some Great Scientists as well. After all, generating a GWAM doesn't raise the cost of Great Scientists, nor does the reverse apply. Prior to Plastics, use your Great Scientists to place Academies, and beyond a few turns after you've got Research Labs up, use them to rush technologies for the maximum potential.

Free Thought

Basically another global science multiplier considering you should have Universities in all your cities.

Sovereignty

Save a little cash here. Not a lot, but it's better than nothing.

Scientific Revolution

Cultural Civs generally have more spare cash than those seeking other victory routes as, after all, you can't buy wonders, Great Works or Archaeologists. Take a leaf out of the books of scientific Civs and use that cash for Research Agreements. It'll help you get to those good wonders and tourism buildings sooner.

Finisher

Grab an expensive technology for free, or get to a good wonder's technology sooner by getting its prerequisite (or both.)
Social Policies: Building Wide
If you're a little crazy and want to win the game via the Sacred Sites method, you'll have a somewhat different Social Policy route to take. Liberty and Piety will both be useful (the exact order depends on how fast you want to reform your religion and grab Sacred Sites.) After that, if you haven't won yet, you'll probably need Rationalism to ensure all your cities don't weigh down your technology gain.

Liberty

Opener

All your cities can now expand their borders without Monuments. Putting off building Monuments is a choice you may need to make in order to ensure you can build as many happiness buildings as possible to support all the cities you'll have.

Republic

Your small, mass-produced cities will need to start building Shrines and Burial Tombs very early on if you want to keep your faith and happiness high, and the extra point of production offered here will really help out there.

Collective Rule

A crucial policy in the Liberty tree for the Sacred Sites playstyle as it allows you to more easily spam Settlers. You'll need to build as many cities as your happiness and faith can keep up with if you want this whole strategy to work.

After this point, now's a good time to switch to the Piety tree. If you're having trouble with happiness though, finish off Liberty first.

Citizenship

Faster Worker speed helps you to get luxuries improved faster hence more easily keeping your happiness positive.

Meritocracy

While not the greatest Social Policy around for happiness, it's better than nothing.

Representation

Building new cities won't slow your Social Policy gain quite so much now.

Finisher

This is a rather interesting one. You could get a Great Scientist and plant an Academy to keep your science rate up, but consider also getting a Great Engineer to rush Petra in a city near plenty of desert hills, or a similar infrastructure wonder - it'll really help out for having a city capable of building wonders without having to be so tall it drains your happiness dry. Alternatively, a free Great Prophet is a good way to enhance or spread your religion without having to spend faith, letting you buy more faith buildings instead.

Piety

Opener

Trying to build Burial Tombs in tiny cities isn't exactly the easiest task around, but this Opener really helps. Now, the cost of Shrines and Temples together is slightly less than two Warriors or three Scouts, which shouldn't be too hard a task for any city.

Organised Religion

Now let's really get the faith rolling. Cities with Burial Tombs will now be generating at least 5 faith each. Multiply that by all the cities you'll have and you should be able to grab a new faith building every few turns.

Mandate of Heaven

Cheaper faith buildings can only be a good thing when your core strategy relies on them.

Religious Tolerance

An interesting, if often weak policy. If a rival religion has a faith or happiness Pantheon in particular this can work well, but otherwise this is just a stepping stone on the way to Reformation.

Reformation

Here's where the fun really starts. If you've got lots of cities, with a decent faith output and a religion with two faith buildings reformed with Sacred Sites, you've got good potential to win the game early with more tourism than anyone can deal with.

Theocracy

Burial Tombs are already maintenance-free, and with a 25% gold bonus, they essentially become a fourth gold building to complement Markets, Banks and Stock Exchanges. Not the best Social Policy around, but nonetheless one that'll help in covering the cost of maintaining lots of Shrines and suchlike.

Finisher

A free Great Prophet lets you spread your religion to up to four of your little cities without needing to spend faith. Is your religion spreading fast enough anyway? Build a Holy Site instead. Lots of faith, some gold and some culture (which will add to tourism with a Hotel, Airport and/or the National Visitor Centre.)

Rationalism

Opener

The main reason for taking Rationalism is to compensate from the rising technology costs the more cities you have. The other reason is that by this point of the game, if you're not clearly on your way to an early cultural victory, you're going to need to shift to wonder-building instead to generate enough tourism to keep up with rival culture outputs. More science will really help out at ensuring you don't get wonder technologies too late.

Secularism

It's a good idea to keep a wonder-building city as a backup plan if spamming cities and religious buildings isn't enough to ensure a mid-game victory. That way, you can get some theming bonus wonders up to keep your tourism generation high for the late-game. Tall cities can support plenty of specialists and hence get a good amount of science from this policy.

Humanism
If you've got deja vu here, it's because this paragraph's copied from the respective one in the previous section.

Just because being a cultural player means you'll generally focus on generating GWAMs and passing Arts Funding in the World Congress doesn't mean you can't generate some Great Scientists as well. After all, generating a GWAM doesn't raise the cost of Great Scientists, nor does the reverse apply. Prior to Plastics, use your Great Scientists to place Academies, and beyond a few turns after you've got Research Labs up, use them to rush technologies for the maximum potential.

Free Thought

Once your cities are done with building Burial Tombs, it may feel like they're not doing much useful. Now, you can make them work trading posts for science, helping to account for the rising costs of technologies for having more cities.

Sovereignty

A lot of cities with a lot of science buildings means a lot of money gets saved with this policy.

Scientific Revolution
Again, this paragraph's copied from the respective one in the previous section.

Cultural Civs generally have more spare cash than those seeking other victory routes as, after all, you can't buy wonders, Great Works or Archaeologists. Take a leaf out of the books of scientific Civs and use that cash for Research Agreements. It'll help you get to those good wonders and tourism buildings sooner.

Finisher

Still not won yet? You really should shift into more standard playstyle now; Sacred Sites alone won't be enough in the late-game. Build a couple of cities tall, manage your happiness very carefully and use this free technology to rush towards wonders or tourism buildings. You're going to have more of an uphill struggle than the typical Egypt player (this is certainly an area where the risk of a high-risk/high-reward strategy comes in) but victory isn't impossible, it's just difficult.
Ideology
Whether you started out by building tall, wide or by conquering, Egypt should generally head into the Freedom ideology in the late-game.

  • If you started out focusing on your UA, building tall naturally leads you to Freedom as it's the most tall-building-friendly ideology.
  • If you started out focusing on your UB but haven't won yet and aren't particularly close, your best bet is to grow a couple of cities tall and start building wonders in order to make up the tourism you need. Freedom is the ideology that helps the most there. Additionally, Freedom has the most reliable tourism boost out of the three ideologies (Autocracy's is powerful but tricky to use and requires warring, while Order's relies on having lots of happiness, which is something a very wide-building Civ is unlikely to have.)
  • If you started with your UU, you should have already moved into one of the other playstyles (as you can't exactly keep conquering with War Chariots into the industrial era) so Freedom will work best either way.

As always, this section just focuses on the first "inverted pyramid" of tenets you're likely to choose, (three level one tenets, two from level two and one level three tenet,) though the exact choices may vary slightly depending on your playstyle.

Level One Policies - Freedom

Capitalism (Wide-building Egypt favoured)

Building wide strains happiness, so you'll need all of it that you can get. Capitalism's happiness bonus is helpfully on buildings with no maintenance cost (rather, they generate money) helping to support what otherwise might be very high building maintenance costs.

Avant Garde

Seeing as there's only ever six specialist slots for GWAMs, bonuses to Great Person Points are particularly important to have.

Civil Society (Tall-building Egypt favoured)

Want to eat those wonders up even faster? Grow those tall cities even taller, so they'll have more people available to work production tiles or the like.

Creative Expression

For tall-building Egyptian players, this is a huge boost to Social Policy gain (if it wasn't fast enough already.) For wide-building Egyptian players, it's both that and a way of preventing further happiness problems caused by rival cultural Civs' tourism.

Level Two Policies - Freedom

New Deal (Tall-building Egypt favoured)

Both Landmarks and Great Tile Improvements gain here. Even if you've just got a small number of Academies, increasing their yield will be good for getting more science.

Urbanisation (Wide-building Egypt favoured)

An additional useful happiness source.

Universal Suffrage

Whether it's longer Golden Ages you're after or more happiness, this tenet's useful for anyone playing as Egypt.

Level Three Policy - Freedom

Media Culture

A straightforward, easy-to-use tourism bonus. The tall-builders among us can use the Cultural Centres Social Policy to build Broadcast Towers quickly, while the more wide-building nations can build the CN Tower for a free Broadcast Tower in all their cities.
Religion
Because you have a faith-generating UB, you'll want a decent religion to go with it. This section covers the best options for each type of belief, although highly-situational beliefs are not included. This includes faith Pantheons, which are still useful to pick up to help ensure an early religion. That's particularly important if you're taking the Sacred Sites route, as it depends heavily on picking very specific beliefs.

Pantheon

If you're building tall, consider taking an appropriate food Pantheon (Sun God or Goddess of the Hunt) as an alternative to those beliefs listed below if your starting terrain allows it. A faith Pantheon is also a good idea as tall empires tend to have a disadvantage to faith gain. In fact, it's good for the wide-builders too, in order to maximise faith output and hence maximise the amount of religious buildings that can be built.

Messenger of the Gods (Wide-building Egypt favoured)

A good way of offsetting the increased technology costs of building new cities.

Sacred Waters (Wide-building Egypt favoured)

So long as you place as many of your cities as possible on rivers, you have a good stab at denting the unhappiness problems from having so many cities.

Faith Healers (Early-rushing Egypt favoured)

In friendly lands, your units will heal half their health a turn. Wounded War Chariots can rapidly rush home, get to full health in two turns or less and rapidly get back to fighting once again.

God of Craftsmen

For the tall-builders, this helps with early wonders. For the wide-builders, this helps get Burial Tombs up sooner. For the warmongers, this is great for spamming War Chariots.

Ancestor Worship (Wide-building Egypt favoured)

Social Policy costs will rise a lot with plenty of cities, so this helps to offset that. It's also a way of getting cities to expand their borders faster without having to build cultural buildings, so you can focus on getting Burial Tombs built.

Monument to the Gods (Tall-building Egypt favoured)

Well, this had to be brought up sooner or later. If you want to rush early wonders, this can up your odds of success a little, but the fact this is the only Pantheon that obsoletes weakens its potential immensely.

Fertility Rites (Tall-building Egypt favoured)

Helps your cities to grow a little bit faster, hence reaching larger sizes sooner.

Founder

Tithe (Tall-building Egypt favoured)

A great source of cash for Research Agreements, buying buildings or units with or suchlike.

Pilgrimage (Wide-building Egypt favoured)

The best option for religious building spammers so long as you can get your religion spread outside your own lands. Grabbing Religious Texts or Itinerant Preachers as an Enhancer belief will go well with this.

Ceremonial Burial (Wide-building Egypt favoured)

It's hardly the greatest source of happiness around, but if you're spamming cities, you'll need all the happiness you can get.

Church Property or Initiation Rites (Wide-building Egypt favoured)

With the money offered here, you can simply buy happiness buildings rather than having to build lots of them, meaning you don't need to spend as long between building new cities.

World Church

A way to chew through Social Policies faster, which is particularly useful for getting Aesthetics finished quickly for its tourism boost, or reforming your religion and getting Sacred Sites sooner.

Follower

Divine Inspiration (Tall-building Egypt favoured)

Usually, it's wide empires that have the advantage to faith generation. Let's turn the tables. Watch the faith pour in! And, come the industrial era, spam those GWAMs! This is a Follower belief that Egypt can make more use of than anyone else.

Pagodas (Wide-building Egypt favoured)

The best of the faith-purchased buildings generally speaking, due to the fact it contributes more happiness than any of the others.

Mosques (Wide-building Egypt favoured)

A good choice for a faith building. With a higher faith output than Pagodas, Mosques are a little more useful at increasing your future generation of faith-purchased buildings.

Cathedrals (Wide-building Egypt favoured)

Great if you need somewhere to put Great Art or Artifacts, but otherwise this is just half a Pagoda for the same cost, generally making this a backup choice rather than the ideal. Still, it offers happiness, unlike Monasteries. It's a hard choice of whether this or Monasteries is the better choice.

Monasteries (Wide-building Egypt favoured)

If you have plenty of wine and incense, this becomes a rather good religious building (aside from not offering happiness.) It's cheaper than the others, too (and hence easier to build lots of for the purposes of Sacred Sites tourism.)

Religious Community (Tall-building Egypt favoured)

Another production boost! Grabbing this makes it harder for rivals to use it against you and hence gives you an even bigger edge for wonder-building.

Feed the World (Tall-building Egypt favoured)

The food bonus may not be colossal, but it does essentially increase the population cap of cities by one.

Swords into Plowshares (Tall-building Egypt favoured)

Grow your cities faster! Taller cities can work more production tiles and get wonders built even faster.

Religious Art (Tall-building Egypt favoured)

A way to get extra pre-Hotel tourism points, although the bonus isn't particularly huge.

Enhancer

Religious Texts or Itinerant Preachers

Probably a must-have choice for Sacred Sites users, but still good otherwise anyway. This allows you to spread religion faster without depending on spending faith, which is crucial if you intend to be using that faith to spam religious buildings.

Reliquary (Tall-building Egypt favoured)

Many wonders add to Great Person Points, and tall cities will naturally fill plenty of specialist slots. Reliquary gives you 50 faith for each Great Person used up, and can nicely account for the fact tall empires tend to have worse faith.

Defender of the Faith

All your wonders and the double-gold-on-city-capture attribute of Burial Tombs are quite a magnet for warmongering Civs. Coupled with the fact that most defensive technologies are on the other end of the tech tree to many good wonders, invasions could become quite a problem. A 20% bonus near your cities will help put off would-be invaders.

Reformation

This section assumes you're building wide and focusing on your UB.

Sacred Sites

Now, it begins. Mosques, Cathedrals, Pagodas and Monasteries now make 2 tourism each. If you've got enough cities and a high enough faith output, it's quite possible you'll be able to make more tourism than your rivals can keep up with and win the game rather early.

Jesuit Education

We've all been in a kind of situation where everything seemed to be going to plan, but then something happened - someone took a good wonder, or suddenly lots of Civs declared war on us... Jesuit Education is there for that kind of moment where it's gone wrong - or in this case, someone took Sacred Sites.

Here's the plan. First, stop building new cities. Second, use your faith production to spam scientific buildings instead of religious ones. Third, grow at least a couple of cities to a point where they can secure wonders. The idea here is to shift into a more ordinary playstyle, and Jesuit Education greatly helps by helping to cover the science disadvantage very wide empires have. In fact, a wide empire with a good-enough infrastructure can actually outpace a tall one in terms of technology gain.
World Congress
Cultural Civs generally have more spare cash available than other Civs, so you can always use it to bribe a few City-States and buy a little World Congress influence.

Note "priority" in this section refers to how high you should prioritise your votes if it comes up, not how much you should prioritise putting them forward. If Babylon wants Science Funding, you should prioritise to vote no, for example. If you could put forward a vote, then it'd be a bad idea to put Science Funding on the table.

Arts Funding

High priority
Vote yes

Cultural Heritage Sites

Very High priority
Vote yes

More culture for wonders will mean more tourism with Hotels, Airports and the National Visitor Centre.

Embargo City-States

Very Low priority
Abstain

No point angering anyone over this vote. You won't really need to trade with City-States.

Historical Landmarks

High priority
Vote yes unless you lack Antiquity Sites and Great Tile Improvements

Landmark culture can be added to tourism, so increasing it is a powerful move.

International Games

Very High priority
Vote yes

If it passes, drop everything and concentrate on contributing to it. That double tourism is very strong indeed and may very well win you the game before it runs out.

International Space Station

High priority
Vote no

If it passes, you should still work on it - the bonuses are good for everyone even if this is generally something targeted at scientific Civs.

Natural Heritage Sites

Low priority
Vote yes unless you have no Natural Wonders

Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Medium-High priority
Vote yes

Scholars in Residence

Medium priority
Vote yes unless you're in the lead technologically speaking

Sciences Funding

High priority
Vote no

Standing Army Tax

Medium priority
Vote yes

World's Fair

High priority
Vote yes
Pitfalls to Avoid
Egypt seems like a very simple and straightforward Civ. And so I thought, until I realised how the three uniques don't entirely synergise. So, as such, Egypt has more pitfalls to avoid than is immediately obvious...

Here's a few.

Diving right into the wide-building Sacred Sites strategy

While I've covered it at great length, the Sacred Sites strategy is a difficult, advanced and high-risk route to play as Egypt. If you're newer to the game, I'd recommend that you play a more conventional wide-building game with a Civ such as Rome or the Mayans first before taking on something like this.

Starting wonder building too early

Even with your UA, your cities need time to develop first. A possible guideline to go by is to not start until you have at least three Social Policies.

Assuming you'll be able to get very early wonders on very high difficulties

On high difficulties, computer opponents start with free technologies, and other bonuses that give them quite a head start to wonder building. Your UA won't necessarily be enough to cover that.

Building masses of War Chariots when not going for an early-rush playstyle

War Chariots are good, but building a huge defensive army with them when you could be building up an infrastructure, building powerful early wonders or expanding your empire is a waste of production.

Neglecting science

There's two components to wonder building; the actual construction and the research of the technology. You'll need to be strong in both if you want to make Egypt's UA work. Otherwise, a 20% production bonus doesn't mean anything when opponents have built the wonders you want before you've even researched the technology.

Never letting cities grow when building wide

If you're building loads of cities, your happiness is going to be strained, and it may be easy not to grow your cities simply to prevent that becoming a bigger issue.

It's a little more complicated than that. If a city has more local city happiness than it has population points, it won't create any more unhappiness if it grows. For example, if a city has a Burial Tomb, a Colosseum and a Pagoda (making six points of local city happiness) and is size 5, growing to size 6 won't be a problem. Of course, if it then grows to size 7 without any more sources of happiness, then it'll start making more unhappiness. As such, you'll need to micromanage your cities and determine when it's a good idea to use "Avoid Growth" or not.

Additionally, it's useful to let one city grow to allow you to use your UA effectively. The Notre Dame offers 10 points of global happiness, making it excellent for supporting more cities, but you're going to need a tall city in order to construct it. Still, be careful you're not...

Trying to build both tall and wide

This will seriously strain your happiness if you have several tall cities in addition to loads and loads of smaller ones. Mass wonder-building and early Sacred Sites usage can't really be both pulled off at the same time.

Using your best city to build every wonder

When you're building tall, you'll need to delegate the lesser wonders to cities besides your most productive one. Getting a good wonder at the cost of a merely average one is better than getting an average wonder at the cost of a good one. Similarly, don't start building a wonder in your best city if you're just about to research a technology that has a better one (unless you're clearly ahead technology-wise or have a Great Engineer at the ready.)
Battering Ramesses: The Counter-Strategies
Egypt is great at building lots of wonders, but that's also their weakness - their cities are very attractive to invasion.

Playing against the Monument Builders

Egypt's bonus to wonder building is meaningless if they can't research the wonders' technologies fast enough. Doing some wonder-building as a scientific Civ or focusing a bit more on science as a cultural Civ is a way of making things harder for them. Still, that alone won't be enough to stop them. Sending in a small force near their borders (or even a war to pillage their tiles) should get them focusing on defending themselves rather than building more wonders, giving you some breathing space.

For warmongering Civs, Egypt is a lovely target to aim for. Give them a little time to build a few wonders, invade and reap the rewards of stealing all their bonuses. Egypt makes a good first target in order to give you an edge with those stolen wonders, which you can use to more easily invade other Civs with.

Playing against War Chariots

War Chariots are fast, but only in open terrain. They're the only Chariot Archer UU that keeps the rough terrain penalty, meaning once they enter rough terrain, they're no faster than a regular Archer. For that reason, try luring them into hills or forests. Their low strength makes them easy prey for melee units there.

Mostly open terrain around the battlefield? Using Chariot Archers of your own isn't that bad an idea. War Chariots are only slightly faster, and no stronger in attack nor defence. Horsemen are good as well, once you have them.

Playing against Burial Tombs

"Hey! You! Yes, you! Over there! We've got gold! And wonders! And you get double gold from capturing our cities! Would you mind invading us, please?"

That's essentially what Burial Tombs are saying. If stealing wonders wasn't good enough anyway, you can get lots of gold off capturing their cities. Bring Landsknetche (unless you're Songhai) for even more gold.

Otherwise, Burial Tombs won't actually cause you too much of a problem unless Egypt's building wide. If they are, invasion's the best way of dealing with that. Very wide empires tend to have their defences stretched thin.

A point about Songhai

Civs are often vulnerable around the time their UU obsoletes, as upgrading them all is somewhat expensive. Egypt's UU goes obsolete when Songhai's becomes available, making them particularly vulnerable. But that's not the main reason why Egypt is weak to Songhai. The real reason is that Songhai's UA stacks with the double-gold-on-city-capture feature of Egypt's UB, meaning Songhai gets six times the normal city capture gold when taking Egyptian cities. By the industrial era, that often means four-digit sums of cash.

Strategy by Style

Early-game Aggressors - Attack from a rough terrain-heavy angle to prevent War Chariots being a problem. If that's not possible, bring Chariot Archers of your own (or give your units Cover promotions)

Mid-game Warmongers - Let's just hope Egypt hasn't spammed defensive wonders. If they have, either attack from the sea, (the Great Wall - the hardest defensive wonder to face - doesn't affect the sea,) bring forces significantly stronger than theirs or bribe other Civs to join you. Aside from defensive wonders, Egypt's defence isn't particularly strong.

Late-game Warmongers - Egypt may end up with a very high score by this point, but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll be hard to beat. In fact, they often make a good starting point for a world conquest due to their lack of unique defensive bonuses, high number of wonders to capture and their UB.

Cultural Players - Egypt's edge at wonder building makes them a particularly hard opponent for other cultural Civs. Either focus hard on science gain and hope that makes up for a production disadvantage, or switch focus for a moment and attack them (or bribe another Civ to do so.) Egypt's defence isn't particularly strong (outside of building defensive wonders,) so an invasion should be reasonably effective at slowing them down.

Diplomatic Players - Warmongers will be looking for any excuse to take Egypt's wonders, so a little bribe is a good way of getting Egypt tied up in a war and building units rather than wonders. In the World Congress, embargoing Egypt stops them from getting a tourism bonus from Trade Routes, and passing Sciences Funding helps to slow down their GWAM generation.

Scientific Players - You can use your tech advantage to get a head start at building wonders, making things harder for Egypt. Or, you can scare them by sending a small advanced army nearby. Grab the Great Firewall to make it harder for them to influence you.
Other Guides
Meta-guides

These guides cover every Civ in the game and can be used as quick reference guides.

Civ-specific guides, in alphabetical order

All 43 Civs are covered in in-depth guides linked below. In brackets are the favoured victory routes of each Civ.
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69 Comments
Zigzagzigal  [author] Aug 24, 2016 @ 4:01pm 
Whoops! I'll go and fix that. Thanks for bringing it up.
ShinigamiKenji Aug 24, 2016 @ 1:11pm 
And one last (I hope) thing: in your Arabia guide you mention that the ranged promotions work on melee and vice-versa.
ShinigamiKenji Aug 23, 2016 @ 9:46am 
Just another tip for the wide-building strategy: Machu Picchu and Neuchwanstein are really good wonders for wide play.

Both are uncompetitive due to the mountain requirement, and your UA should help securing them. Also, your science city should ideally be tall and next to a mountain for the Observatory, making it ideal for building them.

Machu Picchu gives you even more faith for religious buildings and the gold savings may be huge. Allying with a few Mercantile City-States is a good use of all this gold, and may potentially solve all your happiness problems.

Neuschwanstein offsets rising costs for Social Policies, and offers some free happiness. Walls and Castles should not be much of a problem to build at this point, and may help defend your Burial Tombs, as well, if you are unprepared for for a surprise war.

I've used both pretty effectively with the Maya and Romans, though in King difficulty.
ShinigamiKenji Aug 23, 2016 @ 9:08am 
Damn, I was already thinking if I could do some insane Keshik-to-Cavalry strategy...

90% bonus in open/rough terrain with 3 attacks and March (possible, if my math is correct) would have been pretty broken, after all. That should have been doable, I finished a Mongolia game with Keshiks at level 9 or 10.

Guess I'll have to make do with only 45%...
Zigzagzigal  [author] Aug 20, 2016 @ 7:59pm 
I tested this quite a lot in the past. It turned out that ranged promotions don't affect melee units (and vice versa), but can appear to do so on the screen that comes up before you attack a unit. Logistics and Blitz are notable exceptions - they still work on units of the other type, meaning a Logistics/Blitz Knight can attack three times in a turn.
ShinigamiKenji Aug 20, 2016 @ 7:09pm 
Just a point I'd like clarified.

I remember reading somewhere that ranged promotions does work if they upgrade to melee. For example, Accuracy II would give an upgraded War Chariot the usual 30% bonus, even in melee. However, they cannot build upon that line anymore, so this unit would have to go through Shock I, II and III to get Blitz, for a total of 6 promotions.

I think it deserves further investigation, so at least those upgraded War Chariots could be used for defence (or meatshields, since they should be worth less after Chivalry)
Zigzagzigal  [author] Jul 5, 2016 @ 1:38am 
It's a pretty good belief on the whole. I think I'll include it to the list.
chrf8t Jul 4, 2016 @ 5:35pm 
What do you think of Reliquary for a tall Egypt? It's an enhancer religious belif that causes you to gain 50 faith when you use a Great Person.
Zigzagzigal  [author] Sep 14, 2015 @ 10:37am 
Seems I missed Egypt out when updating the other guides. Thanks.
The Three Eyed Raver Sep 14, 2015 @ 9:17am 
Great guide. I noticed that you need to update the tradition social policy order.