Civilization Leader: Mansa Musa
Civilization Capital: Niani
Civilization Bonus: Songs of the Jeli – City Centres get bonus Faith and Food for adjacent Desert and Desert Hill tiles. Mines give – production but +gold. Can Purchase Suguba building with faith, production bonus to buildings and units.
Leader Bonus: Sahel Merchants – International Trade Routs get +Gold for every Desert tile in the origin city, + Trade Route in Golden Age
Unique Unit: Mandekalu Cavalry – Protects near by traders from being plundered, Gold for combat victories
Unique District: Suguba – Replaces Commercial District, Purchasing things in cheaper in the city, Major Agency bonus for Holy Sites and River
In many ways, Mali is a very interesting choice for civilization and it is good to see them and Mansa Musa back after their first appearance in Civilization IV. At first look, it is a civilization with one key weakness, production, which will make every part of the early game that much more difficult. However, if you can overcome that start, oh boy will Mali be powerful.
While not getting bonuses to desert tiles directly like Australia or like Canada/Russia with Tundra. Having a City Centre surrounded by Desert means that for one, you will get your first choice of Religious Pantheon, beating out even Indonesia to that goal. But as well as that, you will have a huge boost in food, making even the most inhospitable desert location a good potential target.
This all works well with the rest of Mali’s bonuses that mean that maybe production is not all that necessary when you can just buy your way to victory. You will want to get a Suguba up as quickly as possible and pump out those trade routes. But if you can get to that point, gold will make the difference and be a huge boost to your empire. This gives Mali the ability to go for many of the victory goals.
The design of Mali is much like the Māori, in that in some ways they are really held back, but in others, they shine, and if you can get that gold mine engine up and running then this will be a very interesting civilization to play. Assuming you don’t find Macedon next door that is. Also on a personal note, I do love that it fills the Niger River Valley sized hole in my map.
Mali First Look
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By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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