Perfection is the original game mode of The Battle of Polytopia. Its unique format, with a single focus on score, a set time limit of 30 turns, and bot opponents, raises particular considerations and rewards careful play. This guide introduces players to general strategies and noteworthy concerns to keep in mind when playing Perfection.
There is only one "secret" to getting higher scores: Customs Houses. Not using them is the major thing holding people back at 40k. Using as many Customs Houses as possible is the simple way to dramatically boost your score.
But let's go back a bit. If you’re gunning for 100k+, see hipp000’s “Tips”. If your goal is 75k or so, skip this paragraph and the next one. But if you're still struggling to get 3 stars, the first thing to consider is the difficulty of your opponents: You should always be playing against Crazy bots. This may be a bit counterintuitive at first, but it's much, much easier to get higher scores playing against Crazy bots than Easy bots. Why? The difficulty bonus. The base difficulty bonus is 100% for Easy opponents, 120% for Normal, 140% for Hard, and 180% for Crazy. You’re leaving out a lot of points on the table by not playing against Crazy opponents. And, truth be told, they're not that hard to play against after some experience. Although they are more aggressive and have a greater income in their capital, they're still pretty, well, dumb. Notice that harder difficulties don't make the bots any smarter!
However, you may still be having difficulties defeating all your opponents in a timely matter, especially if you're a newer player. If so, start by playing 1v1. The difficulty bonus per opponent is only 10%. Note that playing against Hard instead of Crazy opponents reduces the difficulty bonus just as much as playing against four fewer opponents! Reducing the number of opponents is a great way to make your games much easier and more relaxed. Playing against a few opponents makes a ton of room for economic growth at the beginning, ensuring that you're much stronger than the bots when you encounter them.
Also disable tribes that are hard to play against like Vengir and the special tribes.
Now, we can start talking about actually playing the game. Of course, in terms of learning how to play Polytopia, nothing beats playing and learning from experience. However, since most don't have a more experienced player guiding them through single-player games, the next best thing is case studies with commentary. For Perfection, I highly recommend watching Tupp's videos, like the one here. (His other videos are also great!) Watch at least the first twenty minutes of that video (I recommend watching at double speed). It highlights the utility of Riders, especially when combined with Roads during combat; the versatility of clearing Forests; and the basics of Customs House placement. (By the way, here is another example of 1v9 Perfection by James, if you want to see someone besides Tupp play.)
Note that there are some differences between playing 1v9 and against few opponents, though. For example, when playing against fewer opponents, you should be using Workshops instead of Explorers. Workshops are a massive income boost, especially early-game. For most games, I don't use any Explorers at all. They're quite expensive, costing one star per turn left in the game. Explorers should only be used to explore the seas (as using an Explorer for that is considerably faster than using Boats) or occasionally to scout enemy positions. (Most of the time when playing against bots, using an Explorer for the latter reasons is necessary: Gaining vision as you fight typically suffices.) Playing 1v9, the balance shifts: Meeting other tribes provides either stars or technologies, so it is advantageous to take an Explorer and meet many tribes. If you're very lucky, you'll get a Knight on T1 or even T0.
Also, I'd like to reiterate the importance of exploiting the 5 stars bonus for upgrading cities to level 3. Especially in conjunction with clearing Forests, this can be used to upgrade cities (particularly newly captured cities) very quickly, sometimes even multiple cities in one turn.
(By the way, building Lumber Huts is fine when you need the last one or two population to upgrade a city.)
While you are engaged in combat, try to keep the number of units you train to a minimum. You don't want to have a huge army of units remaining after you've already eliminated all your enemies. This especially applies to super units. You want as many Parks as possible (they provide 200 more points than a super unit). Only take super units that can greatly contribute to combat (it's early-to-mid-game and the city that is being upgraded is close to the battle). And do take advantage of the strength of Giant Battleships! Not only are they strong in their own right, but the bots love attacking them, even with land units.
During the mid-game, you want to build your Customs House infrastructure. I don't have much to say about this beyond common sense: try to place your CHs so that they are adjacent to as many Ports as possible, and take advantage of places where one Port can be adjacent to more than one CH.
One thing that experienced players like to repeat is the fact that only temples placed by turn 19 can level up all the way. (Temples level up every three turns, including the turn they were placed.) However, I think that this isn't that important, as you will be placing temples until the very last turns of the game. If you haven't finished maxing out your CHs yet, focus on that instead of building temples.
If you have units left over, disband them to get stars and build temples. Temples grow in point value, while units do not. However, since disbanding only returns half the cost of the unit rounded down (and takes away the points the unit was worth), disband units that cost 3 stars only on turn 19 or sooner, and disband all other units only on turn 22 or sooner.
You may also consider buying Spiritualism to build Forest Temples, which cost only 15 stars. However, building Forest Temples is almost always not worth it. First of all, Forest Temples are only cheaper when built in natural Forests (the ones you've mostly cleared or built Lumber Huts on). And clearing a natural Forest provides 2 stars, so the effective cost savings per Forest Temple is only 3 stars. At that rate, there just aren't enough natural forests remaining to justify the cost of Spiritualism (especially if you have to purchase Archery first or if the purchase delays the construction of temples and causes them to level up less). Or you may choose to forgo Free Spirit and use Spiritualism instead. But not only is Free Spirit cheaper and leads onto Chivalry but also it lets you disband your units.
As you build your temples, keep in mind that by the end of the game, you want to max out the levels of your cities (to get as many Parks as possible). So keep space for monuments, Forges, Windmills, Ports, etc. as necessary. Count how much more population you will need to upgrade each city after you finish building temples, and plan out where you will build your monuments. You don’t want halfway-upgraded cites at the end (the “extra” population serves no use).
During the last few turns, the temple-building mania comes to a close. First of all, leave yourself enough stars to buy all the technologies at the very end of the game. (The technologies themselves are worth points: Tier one, two, and three technologies are worth 100, 200, and 300 points, respectively. And you get a monument for buying them all.) Keep in mind that Philosophy reduces the prices of other technologies by 20% (rounded down). Here’s a handy spreadsheet of technology costs. And make sure you get Meditation by turn 25 to get the Altar of Peace.
But before you buy those technologies, max out your cities and grab those parks by constructing the population-providing buildings you’ve been saving space for. Turns 29 and 30, temples you build won’t level up, so they aren’t worth building anymore (unless you need them for population). If you have a few stars remaining at the end of turn 30, turn them into units.
Congrats on making it through this guide! And enjoy your high score! If you want a detailed breakdown of what you got your points for, see the Wiki article here! And if you are curious about some general guidelines for estimating whether a game can score 100k:
- 20 SPT by turn 10, 100 SPT by turn 19
- All tribes eliminated by ~T15 (if you’re not aiming for 100k, it may be okay to more slowly deal with weaker tribes)
The goal of Perfection is to get as many points as possible in 30 turns. Points are given for every city you have (and upgrading your cities), your territory, monuments, units (5 points per star in unit cost), and Temples. (Vision also gives a small number of points.)
The more opponents and the harder the difficulty, the greater the difficulty bonus is. Therefore, most high scores are Crazy 1v9 games. For 1v9 Perfection, take a look at hipp000’s “Tips” and Tupp's YouTube videos!
Economy is the most important aspect of Perfection, and Customs Houses (CHs) are the only way to achieve a lot of SPT. Early- and mid-game are about expanding and building Ports and CHs.
In the last few turns, buy all of the technologies because they are worth points (T1 techs are worth 100 points, T2 200, and T3 300). Make sure to buy Meditation before Turn 25 to get the Altar of Peace monument!
Getting high scores is really about getting a lucky spawn. The most important factor is the number of cities on the map, but, of course, you cannot determine how many cities there are until the mid-game. Therefore, when spawning, just look for obvious things like where your opponents are located (in a 1v9 game, you want opponents that are close to get a lot of bonuses from an Explorer but without flanking you, limiting the amount of resources you have) and abundant resources (especially ones that you can easily harvest). Ruins. On the other hand, island spawns or unfavorable terrain, e.g. many mountains (except for Xin-xi and other similar tribes), could warrant a restart. (But keep in mind that island spawns may contain a lot of Whales! It could be worth getting Fishing first to see if there are Whales instead of immediately restarting.)
For perfection, temples are very important: they are the only way to get high scores. You want to maximize the number of temples you have turn 19 so they can achieve their maximum level by turn 30. Other turns to achieve levels: turn 22 for level 4, 25 for level 3, and 28 for level 2. Do not place temples on turns 29 and 30 because they will not upgrade (unless there is no other way to get the last population you need to upgrade a city). Also, do not place temples randomly. Try to level up cities to get parks, but, in general, do not block spaces that could be used for sawmills, forges, etc. For domination, obviously never place temples. Generally, mountain temples and water temples on ocean tiles are the best because you really cannot build anything else on a mountain/oceans. However, if you use normal temples, make sure not to place them on tiles that could be used for windmills, forges, etc. Forest temples are only cheaper if you build them in natural forests, and Spiritualism has a cost, so unless you have Archery, it is usually not worth it to get forest temples. Keep in mind that each forest temple only saves 3 stars (you get 2 stars for clear forest). During the end of the game, keep in mind that you eventually have to switch from building Temples to leveling up all your cities. Max out the potential of all your cities; get as many Parks as you can. Also, grab all the techs. Make sure to get Meditation before turn 25 in order to get the Altar of Peace monument! In addition, do not build any Temples turns 29 or 30 because they will not level up (unless you need the last one population to upgrade a city).
Perfection 100k Strategy by James
- Play Kickoo.
- 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.
- 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.
- Harvest the two fish and pick Explorer instead of workshop.
- Restart if you didn't get multiple techs and at least one +5 Stars from the tribes the explorer meet.
- 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.|
- 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:
- Ports that you need for finishing leveling up your customs houses,
- Units that you absolutely need for finishing off a tribe
- 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 29 and 30 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.
- High Score Perfection Tips: with 174k Bardur and 179k Kickoo Example by u/hipp000
- Tupp's Polytopia Guides (YouTube channel)
- https://www.reddit.com/r/Polytopia/comments/9r1lu3/road_to_100k_perfection_expanding_and_aggression/, part 2:https://www.reddit.com/r/Polytopia/comments/9pmudo/road_to_100k_perfection_turns_01/
- https://www.reddit.com/r/Polytopia/comments/ntrz8p/100k_with_free_tribes_in_perfection/ free tribes only