Strategies by Espark

There are several core strategies to Polytopia than can be broadly applied to any map and any tribe. Most of these come from Gerenuk's strategy guide.

Looking ahead

Take the example of deciding which technology to pick to upgrade early cities. Often you can choose between multiple technologies to upgrade the first cities. For example Fruit or Fish. To make your choice you can consider.

  • Do other cities need the same?
  • If you leave Fruit for later, it may get blocked by an opponent by him standing on that field (which is less likely to happen with Fish)
  • If you choose Fish, you may uncover whales.
  • If you choose Hunting, you may follow up with Forestry for future upgrades or chopping.
  • Fruit may uncover Crops (which is especially true for Vengir or Elyrion)

Another example is researching tech before taking a village. Tech becomes more expensive after you take a new village. Therefore, consider researching useful tech just before taking a new village. Avoiding the tech cost penalty can save 1, 2 or 3 Stars depending on tech tier. But if you take a city and upgrade it to capacity 3 instead, you gain 2 Stars. So there are cases when you could delay taking a city or get a city upgrade instead of tech.

Chopping trees

If you decide to chop trees, only chop them if you really need this money to make fighters or you want to research more tech before capturing a village right now. Otherwise you can just as well chop later (if the opponent does not block it) - or not chop, hence keeping your options open.

Researching tech

Research tech only when one of the following applies:

  • you need that tech to make a particular unit
  • you want to upgrade a city to the next level with such resources and you have enough money to afford the tech and the full upgrade
  • you are just about to capture a village, since tech gets more expensive with more villages
  • it is fishing and you are hoping to see whales
  • you want to get a resource before an opponent steps on it and blocks it

If none of this applies, definitely wait for later - you may change your mind for various reasons that may appear.

Partially upgrading cities

Do not partially upgrade cities, because it just binds stars and takes away flexibility. You may want to make other choices later. The only reason to buy city population without upgrading would be if you are afraid an opponent might block your resource field soon.

Maximizing economy

Building a strong economy is crucial, especially in the early game. There are two aspects to the game economy, “Income," also called stars per turn (SPT) and stars which you get once “Stars”.


You get income from cities and ports. The value of income can be best thought of as “turns to return” (TTR), i.e. how many turns it takes until you get your investment back. The lower, the better, of course.

  • upgrade city to capacity 3 = 2 TTR (choosing workshop)
  • upgrade city to capacity 4 = 1 TTR (provided you choose 5 Stars instead of Walls)
  • port with customs house = 5 TTR (slightly worse if there is less than one port with 2 customs houses per city)
  • upgrade city to capacity 3 instead of chopping = 4 TTR (3 TTR if a road is used and only 1 chop)
  • upgrade city to capacity 4 instead of chopping = 7 TTR (not great; 5 TTR if road)
  • sawmill, forges, windmills may have okay TTR
  • if Polaris, ice banks are very good for your economy in the late game, but not very good for short games
  • everything else has worse TTR and does not help economy. so it is mainly for getting giants later or creating ports with customs houses

Therefore, upgrade your cities to capacity 4 as soon as you can. You do not have to upgrade beyond that, unless you start thinking about having giants. In particular, upgrading your capital to Workshop makes a big difference, since at first you have rather little Income.

Keep in mind that some games may be over before turn 20, so choose the turns to return wisely.

Remember that Income is lost forever, if you do not increase it this turn, whereas Stars can be taken any time later just as well. So not upgrading a city soon as possible makes a difference, but taking whales/ruins/chop later often does not.


You get stars from whales, chopping trees and ruins. While you can take them any time, it does help having them early, since you may research tech early and avoid the penalty of research from your number of cities.

  • Whales: If researching whaling costs you less than you would get from the whale stars, get it right now. Otherwise you can wait (unless you really need Aquatism).
  • Chopping trees: Some people like to chop a lot. But it seems to make sense to leave enough trees to upgrade cities to at least capacity 4 (there is nothing better than 1 TTR income). Only if you plan to get more giants, you may consider chopping less.
  • Ruins: There is a separate section for it
  • Upgrading a city to capacity 4: Choose the 5 Stars unless you are really expecting this city to be under heavy siege soon. Most cases, choosing walls is not worth the lost stars.

Number of cities versus Tech penalty

While getting more cities makes tech more expensive, you can still compare the cost and benefits. A new city may give 3 or more income every turn. If you assume that the extra cost per tech is about 1 to 3 with every new city, you can certainly compensate the additional tech cost, even if you plan to get a tech every turn. On the other hand, you see that some of the city income goes into additional tech cost, so more cities is not extremely different from fewer. However, the moment when you plan to reduce tech research, it makes quite a difference when you have many cities. Once you have 2-3 cities, you can afford about 1 Tech per turn, unless you have to invest more in army. Even with more cities, you can also only afford about 1 Tech per turn, but you will have money left for more army with more cities. Assuming you get not more 1 Tech per turn, you can see that an upgraded city yielding 3 Income certainly makes up for the penalty on tech when you have a larger number of cities. See the appendix for a little upgrade math. Having about 20 Income at turn 10 would be good, but requires a little luck with accessible cities. 30 Income at turn 10 is doable under normal conditions with nice land. But even much more is theoretically possible if you are really lucky.

Additional overall strategy guides

Strategies by Tribe

Tribes fall into two categories based on the the tech they start with. "Turn 0" tribes can upgrade their capital on the first turn. These include Bardur, Imperius, Kickoo, and Zebasi.

Although Luxidoor doesn't start with a tech, their already 4 SPT means they are free to use the 4 stars that other "turn 0" tribes devote to a workshop and make a second warrior.

All of the the remainder typically need 9 stars to buy a tech and upgrade their capital, making the earliest opportunity to upgrade the capital be on the third turn, also called "turn 2".

Also, each tribe has variations on the resources and terrain generated in their territory.

The ranking of tribes, also called tribe tiers, is controversial and varies based on game version and player preference.

Tribe Tier List for Teamgames by Prophet on reddit

Tribe rankings by Vorce

General t0 Tribe Openings

Make a workshop and go explore. Stay away from water. If you go diagonally twice on land, you may uncover slightly more clouds (even though the chance of finding a village does not increase). Also remember that villages are never on the very edge tiles. Make a 2nd warrior to explore another direction, unless there is really only one direction.

Tribes are also categorized based on their skill trees. Human tribes use the same basic skill tree. Non-human tribes each have unique technology and units. Non-human tribes include Polaris, Aquarion, and Elyrion.

Tribe specific strategies

Perfection 100k Strategy by James

  1. Play Kickoo.
  2. Try to play with 9 Crazy AI difficulty because the bonus percentage for that is definitely worth it if you can handle the crazy AIs. If 9 Crazy AIs are too difficult, practice this strategy on a lower difficulty but still with 9 AI to get a feel for how the strategy should work, and then move back up to Crazy when you are better at it.
  3. Restart until you have at least 1 whale, ideally more than one whale or a spawn where another tribe's capital is only separated from yours by 1 tile. 
  4. Harvest the two fish and pick Explorer instead of workshop.
  5. Restart if you didn't get multiple techs and at least one +5 Stars from the tribes the explorer meet.
  6. Chose either economy or combat.



6a. Level up your capital to level 3 by harvesting fish if your spawn had 5 to start with, if not, get the Hunting tech or Organization if you have more fruit than game. 6b. Rush tribes with warriors and hope to take cities by the AI being dumb like attacking with a unit standing in a city and leaving an injured unit there that so that you can easily kill it and capture the city
7a. Level up your capital to level 4 by using only 1 port and 2 fruit/game/lumber huts depending on what tech you got for step 6a. Ideally by this point you have already captured your second or third city. Level them up to level 3 using fruit, game, or lumber huts; chop all forests that weren’t needed for leveling up these cities. Purchase the Riding tech. 7b. Continue to explore and take over tribes using a combination of warriors and riders (and archers if you were given the tech, but never purchase the archery tech). If you are attacked by Vengir, a tribe with a Giant from a ruin, or a tribe spamming enough archers or riders that they are overwhelming you, then get the shields tech, let them injure themselves by attacking your defenders, and mop them up with your other units.

8. Don’t level up your capital to level 5 or any other city to level 4 until you get the Roads and Trade techs.

  • Exception #1: if another tribe is beating you by a lot in combat, then it is probably worth it to get your capital to level 5 early for the giant.
  • Exception #2: if getting border growth on a city would give you access to a whale or lots of forests you could chop down, then it is probably worth going ahead and leveling it up.

Connect all of your cities with roads, and build a customs house next to your port. From now on, focus only on getting customs houses surrounded by ports.

9. At this point, the other tribes will probably start making units like swordsmen and catapults that are more annoying to deal with, build battleships as needed to explore and break down defenses. If you got a problem that battleships can’t reach, then it might be worth it to go for catapults. Get giants if you really need them, but go for parks when you can.

10. By turn 19, you’ll want to have all your customs houses close to maxed out, most of the map explored, and the few remaining tribes mostly contained if not close to defeated. Turn 19 is the last turn that you can build a temple and still have it reach level 5. This means that you want to build as many temples on or before turn 19 as possible.

On turns 20-28 spend all of your stars on temples, except for:

  1. Ports that you need for finishing leveling up your customs houses,
  2. Units that you absolutely need for finishing off a tribe
  3. The Meditation tech on turn 26 if you have already defeated all of the tribes, so that you can get the Alter of Peace monument on turn 30.

Build temples especially on turns 22, 25, and 28 as those are the cut offs for temples level 4, 3, and 2 respectively.

11. On turns 19 and 20 focus on buying techs and leveling up your cities as cheaply as possible. Ideally you also want all 7 tasks completed by then end of the game.

Catalog of Tactics by Zakaria

Here's the list from most acceptable to most controversial:

  1. Kill not Wound
  2. Duo Boats
  3. Cascading Catapults
  4. Warrior Spam
  5. Leave the Nest
  6. Wall-less
  7. Chop-Chop

Kill not Wound

When you attack make sure the enemy's unit will be killed on that turn. Simulate your attack on the battle calculator. So pick the weakest unit to attack first.

While ordering the attack from the strongest to weakest and ranged to melee unit works most of the time, but sometimes you need to wound the enemy before your BFG can finish the job. So always try it on the calculator first, use the multi option to try multiple attack order.

If you can only wound (e.g Giant) make sure the wound takes more than 4 HP, cause wounded unit on home area can be healed in a turn. But be careful not giving your enemy free veterancy or Gate of Power by suiciding many weak units to a strong one. Wounding a battleship is still beneficial cause a healing battleship does not attack at the same turn.

The key is to afflict the most damage while sustaining the least. Also, learn about defense bonus and fortify trait.

Duo Boats

Two boats, one in front of the other is an effective move to explore the sea. Move the behind boat first then the other, that way you can uncover two tile fog in a turn. The best positions is diagonal and you could move horizontally or vertically. Also works for rider on the plains.

Cascading Catapults

Two or more catapult each within reach of each other is an effective tactic guarding your catapult position. If any enemy unit reaching one, the other can shoot it away. But be careful with battleship or knight! Also works for mind bender.

Warrior Spam

Always producing warrior on early turn cause they come in handy in battle. Remember 10 warrior could take down defenseless giant. But watch out for your warrior spending stilled your city or tech growth. Use unneed stars for it.

Leave the Nest

Don't be afraid to leave your city unit-less, explore and move your unit away unless there's enemy nearby and could move into your city in a turn. Besides, empty city could produce unit quickly.


It's better to get extra 5 stars rather than build wall unless it's capital or contested city. But even then, you can contest that city back or play super aggressively so the enemy never reach your capital.


It's better to chop down trees and get two Star rather than build sawmill and get 1 population back. Sawmill has 4 Star cost, 2 from the building and another 2 from the tree. Unless you need it for the first upgrade, cut down all the trees nearby!

Play Agressive by TreeBeard

By TreeBeard on Discord from 9/8/2019

A lot of bad/new players aren’t aggressive enough or rather don’t know when to be aggressive so this mini guide will hopefully help you understand how important it is and when to do it and we will be using everyone’s favourite tribe as an example. 

Why play aggressive? 

Playing aggressive can do many things in your progress towards victory. It’s how you capture cities in one push, take out loads of troops in one go, stop your opponent from expanding and force them to spend all their resources on you. 

When to play aggressive? 

There are many different situations of when to play aggressive and i have tried to list some of the indicators that will mean you can easily push. 

  1. Shield spamming. If your opponent is sheiks spamming early on then they are essentially throwing the game. Shield are great for blocking chokes points, protecting cities and making ships BUT if you spam them as you would a warrior or rider then you are severely capping your expansion. If your opponent shield spams then you MUST play aggressive. As Kickoo, all you have to do to claim a city is use your ships to attack the units on and around the city and then move a troop onto the city. Since they were shield spamming and defenders have absolutely no attack, they won’t be able to take it back and it’s essentially free cities if you have a battleship.
  2. To claim a single/ multiple city. Although this is most easily achieved mid to late game when you have an economy of around 40spt where you can level up multiple battleships in one turn, if level up 2+ battleships and take out units in a city/cities and if you have a big enough Navy to take out all the units around the cities all in one turn, then you have made a massive play that can sway the tide of a game and give you the win if multiple cities are claimed essentially sinking all your stars into your military to get a massive pay off like this is worth it since you have overpower your opponent before they can react or defend it
  3. If your opponent stops training units. This may sound strange but it is not uncommon for people to sink all there stars into buying a single tech and then won’t be able to train more troops. This is good for you because if you play aggressive you can take out multiple troops and even if you can’t take the city you will have the advantage over your opponent and will easily be able to take it next turn since they didn’t train any reinforcements. To make this tactic more effective then build roads to quickly get reinforcements to the fight and try and carry as much of this momentum as possible. This could even cause your opponents to shield spam in order to protect your cities which unless they only have 3- cities left is a bad move and you should carry on pushing. DO NOT OVER EXTEND AND END UP LETTING TROOPS DIE
  4. If it’s your enemy’s capital. This is especially easy as Kickoo if your opponents capital is on the coast. If you see your opponents capital and it’s undefended then you should try to follow senario #2 advice. If it is protected, don’t be afraid to maybe even wait a few turns to build up or gather spt. Once the requirements are complete and you have a high amount of stars and a big Navy then sink everything you have into upgrading battleships and attacking the capital, of you have 2+ battleships you can take out any 15hp unit unless there’s a wall. Giant battleships are good BUT if you can leave a giant in a ship for it to land on the capital then there is almost nothing your opponent can do to stop you, especially if you clear out any units that could defend the capital. If your playing might this can win you the game

General tips for playing aggressive

  • If your planning a massive push don’t be afraid to build up a navy and get a few battleships before you push 
  • Look for your opponents mistakes and capitalize on them on the same round before they can stop you
  • If you are building up units for a push then try to conceal it where you know your opponent can’t see them or even try to do a mini push with only a few units elsewhere to draw away your opponents resources 
  • Don’t be over extend. This is pushing too far forward with too little troops since your opponents will easily kill them and push you back ext turn.
  • If you have trouble knowing when to play aggressive then try playing and being overaggressive. This may sound dumb but it’s the best way to get a feel for aggression since it’s easier to be over aggressive and dial it back than to be super passive and be more aggressive

Observations and General Strategies by Bakalol

By Bakalol from 05/25/2019

Hello fellas,

as many of you are new to the game and I've probably been one of the more dedicated players I have decided to share my observations and general strategies with you.

1. Tier-list

To start off I'd like to start with tribe strength. As you probably know tribes are not created equally so I've compiled a short tier-list on how I would rate them:

·         SSS: Bardur

·         S: Luxidoor

·         A: Kickoo, Zebasi, Imperius

·         B: Hoodrick and Yadakk

·         C: Xin-Xi, Ai-Mo, Quetzali, Elyrion, Oumaji

·         Z: Vengir, Aquarion

Note that for games played on the PolyChampions server usually only the top 5 are relevant with Bardur being banned frequently. In case of 3v3, Hoodrick and Yadakk become popular choices for 3rd pick. Kickoo is probably close to being S tier on the PolyChampions server due to the restart rule (if you're on an island without any whales).

Vengir and Aquarion are in Z Tier for the following reasons:

  • Vengir obviously plays better on small maps or in games with lots of players e.g. 5v5 or 2v2v2v2v2s as those games are usually not season games their relevance is usually low.
  • Aquarion is just very inconsistent. They can't get Giant Battleships, but their tridents are insanely strong. However, their resources are so poor that many games you will lose before doing anything significant.

2. General Tips

Next up are some general tips regarding the eco tribes except Luxidoor. I know few people do this but I wanted to note this explicitly:

2.1. Turn 0

On turn 0 you should ALWAYS go for a level 2 capital with +1 income! Unless you're playing one of those 8+ player matches there's no reason to go for explorer and I will now explain why not to go for a 2nd warrior:

If you go for a warrior on turn 0 you're paying 2 stars. However, you're also missing out on those 2 stars you would've earned with your capital otherwise already so the warrior already costs you 4 stars.

What is crucial and game changing though is that usually by turn 3 you want to capture your 2nd village if the game is going well.

If you go for level 2 by turn 0 you have 11 (or 10 in the case of :Zebasi: ) stars, meaning you can react to your resources by going for 2 techs usually (in the case of Bardur usually for Forestry + Mathematics by chopping 1 forest) and also saving a lot of stars by getting those techs before the costs increase from capturing the village.

If you went for a warrior on turn 0 you will have 9 resources and thus taking this option away from you for having a warrior one turn earlier.

Your next goal should be to get your cities to level 3 or to get a city to level 5.

Level 4 is useless most of the time as it increases your income only by 1 for 4 resources (so usually 8-10 stars) without adding any benefits. So only use lvl 4 as a means to get to lvl 5!

2.2. Why is lvl 3 so good

Let's look at lvl 2 first to see just how good lvl 3 actually is:

Usually you pay 4 stars to get a city to lvl 2. Unless you're choosing an explorer most of the time your income will increase by 2. This means that after 2 turns your investment of 4 stars has already been returned.

Now if you go for level 3 it will usually cost you 6 and your income only increases by 1. BUT you will also choose the option to get 5 stars, effectively making the level-up cost only 1. This means you have no real downsides to go for level 3.

In case of emergency walls are also really good to hold out until your teammates can help with reinforcements if they're doing well.

2.3. Popgrowth vs Bordergrowth

Now I know a lot of people prefer Bordergrowth over Popgrowth. It's just cooler to have a lot of resources and choices available. This choice usually ends to a lot of people losing since there is no real reason to go for Bordergrowth.

Since Popgrowth grants you 3 pop you it is essentially worth 3 resources (6 stars) I made it a rule for myself to go for Popgrowth when I'm in doubt unless I have some indicators to go for Bordergrowth.

Some indicators may be:

  • Whales
  • Many resources (especially forests for chopping/lumber hut flexibility + better sawmill spawns)
  • No close villages (the space wouldn't be taken up by other villages anyway)
  • Combat zones (can be useful to limit the opponents village size if they didnt capture a nearby village yet but will soon)

What I like to do as a successful strategy is to check on turn 0 IF and how I can get to a giant in my capital the fastest.

If it is possible, I will usually try to do that. Note: Getting a giant early is good for military AND economy. Your capital at level 5 gives you 7 stars per turn (+the monument for the first giant) so it is money well spent. Afterwards I will either rush roads or sailing, depending on the spawn, to attack the enemy while improving my economy.

If it is not possible roads are usually a good investment to expand as fast as possible with an explorer in the 2nd or 3rd village (explorer can also be good if you go for a giant early) while leveling your cities to level 3.

3. Monuments

I see many people using monuments to spawn giants in order to push enemy troops off their cities. I think this is the wrong approach. What I prefer to do is to use the monuments as fast as possible to either get a city to level 3 and use those 5 stars OR to get a giant within 1-2 turns of receiving the monument.

Why save the monuments?

  • Usually if the enemy has his troops on your cities you are already losing. Polytopia is a game where you can snowball heavily, if you don't mess up and once the enemy has his troops in your base you are kinda doomed.

Why spend them right away?

  • Snowball argument: If you manage to put your giants on the enemy’s cities then you won’t need to use your monuments to push the enemy off your cities.
  • Economy argument: Let's say you get your first monument by turn 7. If you used it right away, you would increase your economy by (at least) 1 for every turn that follows. If you meet the enemy for the first time at turn 12 and then he manages to siege one of your cities by turn 14 you already missed out on 7 stars! Plus maybe he doesn’t even siege you early on making you miss out on a lot more.
  • If you happen to get a monument right when your city is being sieged a good thing can be to surround the enemy with troops and then produce a giant. If the troop on the city can't move anywhere it will just vanish, leading to cheap giant kills sometimes.

4. Ruins

I see many players underestimating the power of ruins, neglecting to even spend 2 stars to capture them with a warrior.

Ruins are worth a lot of stars and usually very powerful in the early game.

Just some examples:

  • Nomadic tribe (free resource): worth 6 stars (3 resources) and it gives you more giant potential as those resources appear "out of nowhere".
  • 10 stars: quite obvious and especially early give you 1-2 techs of your choice that can be very useful.

Some general rules concerning ruins:

  • If you uncovered the 5x5 around a ruin (2 tiles in all direction) then there’s no chance to get an explorer.
  • Starting from turn 5 you can get giants and battleships from ruins.

Archived Strategies

An archive of older Polytopia strategies that are no longer updated can be found at Strategies/Archive.

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