Cherub Baltic's Rostja tips

This is one of the best posts I've ever seen in any forum. If you truly want to get to grips with the Rostja scenario, then you need to read this. Take it away, Baltic!

1) Preparation. You should try to perfect your skills before you get to Rostja. Starting Rostja while you are still having problems with some basic concepts would cause the mission to appear too hard, unmanageable. On the other hand, if you are skilled and don't set yourself any additional target (time, prosperity), playing it could lead to boredom, as the mission would be too long with nothing to do - just waiting for monuments to be built.

Both Dahshurs and On are ideal training grounds. In Dahshur I learned how to start the city effectively and how to build pyramids. On helped me a lot with logistics, because it is laid out on several islands.

2) Choosing the layout. On starting the mission, pause immediately and check where the ostriches (4 flocks) are. These are breeding grounds, new ostriches will reappear there, even if your hunters killed them far away. Near them is the right place for housing, but remember you can't build right on the breeding grounds. Check resources, production and trade possibilities, valid places for docks, valid places for Pyramid complex. Try to place the pyramid complex as near to river as possible, build docks, check whether all transport routes (from future mining area to docks and pyramid) will be straight and decide where to place the housing blocks and how large, depending on food available in the vicinity. Calculate the correct distance of housing from docks, so that there is enough place for 2 rows of warehouses. Try to remember the layout. Set speed to 10%, restart mission and start building. One of the first things you place should be Pyramid complex. Save often, especially just before building sg. vital or expensive and go back to one of your saves if you realize it wasn't done correctly. Your city should consist of several blocks (settlements), not connected by road - at least 3 : mines&quarries, docks, monument building centre.

Just to give you the picture, this phase takes me some 20 minutes on average, but can be much longer in some missions. Any time a new trade route is available, you should stop and consider how it will help, what changes do you have to make and what are potential problems that can arise when you open the route (dock & SY capacity, production rate, new goods available or the same in bigger quantity etc.)

3)Starting the industry. Funds are limited, although you get a bail-out. The only way to earn money is to mine gems and produce jewellery from them. You can sell a fair amount of both every year, plan a special gem-mining area with jewellers and accepting storage yards nearby. All trade, at least in the beginning, has to be conducted via Nile; you'll need 2 docks and a lot of SY near them.

First housing block should be near docks, second not far from mining area - and both close to food source. Start hunting the ostriches immediately, build markets, but set them to "Don't buy" for all items. Only when you have at least 800 meat in a granary, change orders for game meat in the respective market. To start quickly and spare money at the same time, I used concentric blocks (standard or condensed variant). Quick supply of food helps to reduce costs of starting. Set up gem mines and jewellers as soon as you have free labour and immediately open the routes and export as much as you can. Don't be afraid to go into debt for a short time (up to 1 year) when the exports are running - but try to avoid it before. Place third small patch of housing near the pyramid to supply labour access to camps, guilds and SY; this housing will never get water or food, but you should provide it with good medical care. Build some more houses in "better" parts, then add basic entertainment (jugglers, maybe musicians). Build palace and tax collectors, set tax to 12-14%; don't try to collect taxes from any areas below Cottage level. If you use more than 12%, don't leave it for long - always make a break for a few months (with tax around 9%) as soon as you get first message about people complaining about high taxes. BTW, wages... I'm using Egypt+2 as standard, as I was in C3, but have no proof how it works now. Anyway, the higher taxes are, the more significant is how much you pay to workers.

Don't forget the gods, Ra's blessing (double trade income for 12 months) can be a turning point. When you have recuperated from palace building costs, check free labour and if possible, build Temple complex to Ptah. As soon as it is built, gem mines and jewellers should produce more quickly, giving you the possibility of higher exports. Adding Altar of Amon later does the same to quarries, Oracle of Thoth is virtually useless in this mission and I didn't build it - but can help where papyrus is scarce.

Build some additional housing block(s), but be cautious and consider the amount of food available on site. As the labour pool is increasing, build more work camps, later some stone quarries (5 for the beginning, 9-10 is enough for the whole mission. Having started export industry and plain stone production, concentrate on optimisation of trade.

4) Developing trade. As I already mentioned, start exporting as soon as possible. You should export maximum quota every year, that'll give you enough income per year to stay in positive balance once you safely get there with most of the city built. When mines and jewellers are overproducing, your getting SY cartpushers never return with bare hands to the dock area SYs, exports run smoothly and you'll have enough stored to comply as soon as some request comes, without affecting the trade. Don't be afraid to assign enough labour force and money for such production, especially don't be afraid to build gem mines (these are really expensive) right in the beginning, even though it will probably throw you into debt. Export is the only way how to earn enough money.

Next you should set about importing limestone. The pyramid complex base could soon be completed (depending on how many camps you built), and you'll need some supply of it to start with. Start importing it as soon as you can afford it and don't import anything other, until you have imported 40 blocks from every city that is trading it (you have 1 at start, 2 other routes open later). As the ships enter map near from docks, you can have 40 blocks imported in September, and - depending on financial situation - import other goods or wait for another year. Don't forget to switch again to limestone import only right in the moment when a new year starts. Always import something if you can afford it - you can use it later.

Water trade route to Iunet opens after complying to one of the requests, land route to Dahshur after saving it with your armies. Both new routes bring in additional limestone imports; from Iunet you can buy granite needed for grave goods, from Dahshur barley and beer - in case you want to upgrade the housing.

5) Transport. Divided city with efficient transport speeds both trade and monument building, and also helps evolve the housing gradually if you wish to do so. Divide the city into separate settlements not connected by road, and build enough SY in every part of the city to move the goods as needed. If there is a connecting road, getting cartpushers use the road no matter how long it is (roadblocks don't work for this!). If there isn't any, they take the bee-line to their destination - shorter than any possible road. Stone pullers behave precisely like a getting cartpusher. The docks should always be independent and all goods should be brought there (and from there) by getting. Otherwise you risk that dockers will roam the city for months every time they'll try to buy something that is stored in more places.

Dock area: Before you start importing limestone, one dock with 5 SY set to getting 1/4 of one export item, 1/4-1/2 of the other, and accepting the rest of something that does not require handling (e.g. wood or limestone) is enough. Such setting should help to avoid the "labour-lost-when-getting" problem in SY. Later you'll need to add a second dock and 4 more SY, set to accept 3/4 of limestone and 1/4 of clay.

Mining area: This can be either 1 or 2 separate parts (gem mining, quarries). My solution was one housing area with several blocks and a long road winding along the rocks. Gems were mined in northern part, plain stone quarries occupied the southern part. You'll need some 3-4 SY for gems and luxury goods, and at least 4 (better 5) SY for the plain stone.

Monument area: Several solutions are possible. SY cartpushers are able to bring only 1 block of stone per trip, therefore I decided to move only the limestone from docks to the monument (unavoidable, as you need to have free space in SY near docks). Plain stone was stored near the quarries and stone pullers brought it from there (4 blocks per trip).

6) Monument building. You have three monuments to build - Large pyramid complex, Medium pyramid and Sphinx. You should know enough about pyramids by now; Sphinx requires stonemasons, carpenters and some wood (not much, probably 1000); no stone is needed. Although the manual states that building several monuments at once can cause problems, I never had any. On the contrary, the only time when I was having problems was when I was building a single monument.

Basic things you should do to avoid problems : Build the pyramid complex close to water, and so that the tunnel touches the shoreline (not floodplain). If the tunnel is too long and your stonemasons can't finish it later, build gardens between the end of tunnel and shoreline. Make sure you don't build any structure so that it touches the monument at any point; also if you want to place two monuments nearby, leave at least one tile of free space between them. (Just for safety reasons, sometimes it doesn't matter.) Start building large pyramid complex first, start Sphinx when complex is 30% complete and small pyramid latest when the Sphinx is complete.

Stone pullers, stonemasons and carpenters don't need roads to go to the construction site, but carpenter guilds have to be on a road where a SY full of wood is nearby. You are importing the wood, and you should import it as soon as your finances allow it, as it all has to be moved to monument area before you need first ramp (otherwise getting orders could interfere with supplying the carpenters). Set import to maintain 3600, so that there always is something left in the dock area for quick resupplying. Of course, it is best to start wood import gradually - first maintain 400, then 800 etc. Mentioned 3600 is a target value.

You'll need 3 carpenters and lot of stonemasons. 5 masons and 1 carpenter should be working in the moment when base levelling is finished, later you can add more as money and free labour force allows. I had as many as 10 stonemasons in the end. I'm still not sure whether the number and placement of work camps was correct, so I'll let it be - just check in the saves how I did it.

7) Military. Don't forget the military side - there was only one attack (6 soldiers), but also a request to help Dahshur against invaders. If you win the distant battle, new trade route will open. One company of skilled archers can defeat the invasion against your city, and gain veteran status after the battle. Together with another skilled company of archers it is enough to win at Dahshur. I built weaponsmith later and produced weapons from the copper I got as thanks for complying to one of the requests early in the game, but I didn't need the infantry...

8) Gods. I received some very helpful blessings from Ra, doubling the income from trade or increasing the traded amount. Ptah helped all the time, thanks to the temple complex - but his blessings had little influence on the game. I often forgot to throw festivals for several years, so you can get more blessings if you take care to do it regularly.

Some afterthoughts... looking at the saves now, I think I could have done better. Especially in the beginning I could have increased the population quicker, build more work camps earlier and closer to pyramid, and more stonemasons in the beginning. Also the material could have been brought to construction site by getting. But until someone tries it, I can't be sure whether this wouldn't cause other problems I have avoided... Well, that's it.

This is the description of steps taken, as shown in various stages. You can download all of these saved games by clicking HERE:

Rostja 5 - Sep 2507, 1400 population, industry working with full speed (7 mines, 7 jewellers), export about to start. Palace is working some time, collecting taxes. I saved this just before placing the temple complex to Ptah. This will mean going into debt for the first time (bail-out already used).

Rostja 10 - Nov 2504, 2500 population; base being finished, starting stone import. 5 plain stone quarries, 116 blocks stored. Still only 1 dock and 6 dock SY, will expand soon. I will never be in debt again until the end of mission.

Rostja 13 - Sep 2503, 2800 population; just got info about pending attack - 10 months. No defenses, I have to build recruiter, academy and Archer fort quickly.

Rostja 14 - May 2502, 3000 population. First course of the pyramid nearly finished. Attack will come soon. 1 month before the attack it is time to move the soldiers to the right place (fort is far from invasion point).

Rostja 19 - May 2500, 3800 population. In January of this year I started to distribute pottery to some houses. Request to help Dahshur against enemy army. I'll be able to send 2 archer companies only, but it's enough.

Rostja 22 - Feb 2498, 4200 population. 9 masons and 2 carpenters working, material streaming to the pyramid from both quarries and docks. Pyramid 25% complete. In July of this year I'll place the Sphinx.

Rostja 27 - Dec 2497, 4200 population. Storms stopped trade ships for a few months, but even so I managed to trade maximum quantities. Sphinx is beginning to get shape.

Rostja 29 - Mar 2495, 4400 population. Sphinx finished, placing the other pyramid. Beer production started, some beer distributed by mistake (forgot to switch it off in the market). It will take one more year to produce enough beer and create stocks that will ensure stability of housing... Dispatching grave goods gradually, all will be done by Jan 2493.

Rostja 39 - Dec 2488. Population reaches 5000 for the first time in this mission. 10 loads to complete the smaller pyramid, 20 loads to complete the big one. I'm not importing limestone anymore, I have enough stored. Preparing to import reeds instead and give people some education. I'll reach Common residence only, because I was concentrated on speed and didn't want to play around with entertainment, dentists etc.

Rostja 43 - Oct 2485, population slightly under 5000 (problem with devolving block). Pyramids will soon be complete. Basically, this is the end - I don't know of any possibility how to influence the speed of polishing the surface of pyramid. You just have to wait, in 317 months it will be finished.

Cherub Baltic