Amanitore of Nubia is available in a base game DLC. She also has her own scenario “The Gifts of the Nile”, which like most scenarios has unique tech and civic trees. You need to assert your dominance over the Nile by building seven temples. The scenario combines faith and military tactics in a satisfying way and you can also play it as Cleopatra for a different perspective.
Ta-Seti +50% Production toward Ranged units. Note that this bonus does not apply fully with respect to archers because the Nubian unique archer (see below) costs more to produce. You can get around this by building Slingers and promoting them. All Ranged units gain +50% combat experience. Mines over strategic resources provide +1 Production. Mines over bonus and luxury resources provide +2 Gold.
Kandake of Meroë +20% Production towards all districts rising to +40% if there is a Nubian Pyramid adjacent to the City Center.
The Nubian Pyramid, an improvement that unlocks with Masonry and must be built on Desert, Desert Hills or Desert Floodplains. It provides +1 Faith and receives additional yields from adjacent districts (e.g. +1 Science if adjacent to a Campus). It receives +1 Food if adjacent to a city center. Unlike some unique tile improvements, Nubian Pyramids can be built next to one another.
Amanitore has one unique unit, the Pitati Archer. It is stronger than a regular archer and has one extra movement point per turn. This can be a major advantage when waging early wars on desert terrain. Extra movement means you can get on to a hill and fire, you can cross a river and fire, you can walk into woods and fire. The extra experience you get from Ta-Seti means that powerful promotions can come quickly too. It’s quite easy to get them up to level 3, which can give them the zone of control of a melee unit and the ability to contribute to putting cities under seige.
Victory types and play style
Religion is key. If the map is covered in desert, you might not get the Desert Folklore pantheon (because the AI is pretty hot on the ones that give adjacency bonuses), but Nubian pyramids can compensate. Aminatore’s bonuses for mines mean pantheons like Religious Idols (add extra faith to your existing bonus) or God of Craftsmen (adding extra production and faith to mines on strategic resources) are good backups. You can use the Feed The World follower belief and/or the Gurdwara religious building to produce food in desert cities. An early Exodus of the Evangelists golden age secured on building a Pitati Archer (research Aninmal Husbandry then Archery) and a Nubian Pyramid (research Mining then Masonry), should be possible. This combined with the Missionary Zeal enhancer belief should get your religion spread far and wide. Or you could take the Crusade enhancer belief and splat your near neighbours with Pitati archers after you’ve converted them.
A strong religious start always helps later in the game. If you’re lucky enough to enclose a desert wonder, you might trade Food for science and culture by taking Jesuit Education, or production by taking Work Ethic. As with any Civ, high levels of faith generation can be converted to extra settlers and builders during Monumentality golden ages. The Grand Master’s Chapel can be built while in Theocracy and be used to pump out troops which can consolidate your position on the map and be used as a backup if the Golden Ages don’t come.
You should focus on the desert wonders, especially if you can place them across two cities. This shares the production and if you are lucky/clever enough with your placings you can get two great theatre squares out of them instead of one. Jebel Berkal and the Pyramids are essential, while Petra is amazing if you have lots of hills. The University of Sankoré comes later and is trickier to place, but is worth it if you can manage it - especially if you’ve got Jesuit Education in your religion.
Other nice desert synergies include the Nazca line, which you can get by being suzerain of the Nazca city state. If placed cleverly they can up the food and faith bonuses of your Nubian Pyramids. The suzerain ability of the Mahenjo-Dharo city state gives the fresh water housing bonus to all cities and this can be useful in the middle of the desert. These are both highly situational though, and while they can’t be relied upon to get you started they can help you build momentum.
Another thing to note is that you get a pretty good bonus for building districts, even without a Nubian Pyramid up against the city centre. This presents two more possible strategies. First, you can build the generic districts quicker, meaning more aqueducts, canals and dams. This in turn can help you get some strong industrial zones going later on in the game as each of these districts provide a major (+2) adjacency bonus for the industrial zone. Second, the bonus can also overcome the penalty for building multiple copies of the same zone. To encourage you to diversify your cities, the game makes districts cheaper if you have fewer of that type in your empire. But as Nubia you can just barrel on and produce as many campuses as you like because the gains from diversifying aren’t as great. Conversely, you have the advantage of diversifying your districts more quickly and could have a more resilient empire as a result.
Nubia has a tendency to spawn near desert as their abilities are keyed towards overcoming the penalties of desert terrain. However, these penalties are not immediately overcome, so you can end up vulnerable to early attacks by barbarians and/or other civs. Fortunately, the need to rush archery and masonry for Nubia’s unique units and improvements means that you can set yourself up nicely for defence.
And what happens if you aren’t on any desert tiles? Well, you might spread era points over two ages (you can still rush Archery), so you’ll have to chase barb camps and maybe get a wonder down (Stonehenge perhaps?). The lack of a Nubian pyramid will slow down production of districts in your capital, but it gets the base bonus and bonus yields from the Palace anyway.
As with Alexander, you have to take advantage of your bonuses early because other civs will eventually catch up (especially on harder AI).
If you don’t get a religion, things will be much harder. Buildings like the Grand Master’s Chapel and units like Rock Bands and Naturalists are not dependent on your having a religion, but come fairly late in the game. These should be used for consolidation rather than catch up, so don’t rely on them to save you. I’ll write in another post what to do if you don’t manage to snag a religion.
What to expect if you’re playing against an AI Amanitore
She gets a bit irate if you haven’t built enough districts in your cities. Nubian pyramids help her expand into desert areas and I’ve noticed that she settles a lot of cities. She will also often use a Pitati Archer rush to conquer nearby city states, but rarely declares war on neighbouring civs. At higher AI levels, the difference between your ability to build districts and that of your fellow AI players will mean she will buddy up to them and starting narking on you.
While a human player might use her abilities to place a bias on religion, the AI Aminatore rarely does this overtly. Expect a flurry of missionaries as is often the case with the AI, but late on she will prefer to use the Grand Master’s Chapel to pump out combat units.
If you’re rolling a new game and randomly get Amanitore as your leader, rejoice for you will have awesome archers. Aim for an early religion and early golden ages, pump out the desert wonders and use your archers to back up your religious expansion.