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Unit Tactics for Sid Meier's Civilization


  • Unit Tactics for Sid Meier's Civilization

    Orginial Civilization Units & Tactics
    1. Land Units
    2. Sea and Air Units
    3. Non-Military Units
    4. General Tactics
    5. Military Tactics

    Land Units

    A Militia unit is generally made up of a mob of disorganized citizen- warriors. A militia unit can move one space per turn. When you assign a city to produce a militia unit, it requires ten resources, less than anything else. In the beginning, build one. Maybe more to explore, but anything else you can build would do better. This is obvious, but just don't build them. (Factors are Offense, Defense, Moves) Their factors are 1/1/1. They don't require any special knowledge.

    After the Militia, you can get the Phalanx, your primary defense for the first three thousand or so years. The only step up (in Civ1) is the Musketeer. So, build them in quantity, but be warned.. unless they are just a bulwark for Catapults or Chariots to counterattack from behind, they wear out quickly, and become obsolete even though they are the best defensive unit before the Musketeer (what you say?? you have lost Knights on the defense? Well, we think you are wasting your time. Don't use an expensive, mobile, attack unit where a Phalanx would do adequately. And yes, we know that Knights can attack back. Fine. Do it your way. So why are you here again?). They require Bronze Working to be built. Their factors are: 1/2/1.

    Not to be confused with Civ2's cavalry. In Civ2, they are Horsemen. In essence they are explorers. They cannot attack well, or defend well, and are basically half the unit a Knight is. They require Horseback Riding. Their factors are: 2/1/2. And although I have successfully used them in an attack, it is rare and usually in the first 500 or so years, when Militia are the primary opposition.

    The legion is not all that great, at least in Civ1. But you might disagree. I know some people who adore legions... they like their cheapness. And, true, they are the power of the first 1000 years or so, but they will never reach their historical reign of 2000 years or so, around A.D. The knight is just developed to early. So, build them if you want, do not if you do not. Their factors are: 3/1/1. Note that Civ2 has them being 4/2/1. Major upgrade, and it makes them a powerful unit, but do not duplicate the AI's obsession with building them. Elephants are more useful. If you want that extra DP, build a phalanx, or better yet, a Pikeman.

    The chariot, basically, rules. It is fast, powerful, and do not worry about its defensive weakness. That is not important. Use your Chariots in combination with Phalanxes when attacking cities, or by themselves when attacking on the plains (or forest) (or mountains) (or whatever). Pump out Chariots as quick as you can, especially the Veteran Chariots. Note that a veteran Chariot is the same as a Catapult on the attack, only faster. Their factors are 4/1/2. In Civ2 they are significantly lower, and the Elephant has the same factors as a Civ1 Chariot. They require the Wheel. Get it early, use it, build them, and above all, get into a war with them!

    Build them. Really build them. Then build more. And get them in Barracks, cause that 9 attack factor can be real nice. With Catapults, the basic tactic is not to attack anybody in the open. Catapults work best from behind the City Walls, pounding the attackers, and from inside a fortification with a Phalanx, right up against the enemies' cities. In the field, they will be slaughtered by the faster Chariots, so do not them there. Try to keep one in every city until you get Cannons.

    Knights are not all they are made up to be, but they will work better than any other unit but the Catapult for any job, so use them. They are excellent for offensives where you cannot get a Phalanx to your conquering in time, and you need some defense. Basically, they provide a compromise, and we never liked compromises. But if you do, they are your best option until you get Mech Infantry (as a compromise, they will be obsolete before then).

    Musketeers are very useful. They also make the Knight practically obsolete, since it is difficult to attack a fortified Musketeer (3 defense times 1.5 = 4.5) with a Knight (4 attack). Although the odds there are only slightly in favor of the Musketeer, with nice terrain to defend in, that really grows. For instance, a Musketeer in forest (x2) and fortified (x1.5) is a 9 defense (3 defense * 2 = 6 * 1.5 = 9), while even a veteran Knight is only a 6, that is 3:2 in favor of the Musketeer (even if it is not veteran). Always keep the odds in your head.. do not attack without a quick calculation. Generally when working with Musketeers, remember to never use them for attack (I am not trying to insult your intelligence with that, but this page is devoted to stating the obvious, plus a few tricks). Also, fortify them, I showed you why above. That 150 percent strength really adds up.

    Cannons, the weirdest unit in the game, until Civ2 (ever seen that custom air unit? if you have not, try doing a bit of modification to rules.txt and add custom unit 3, check it out.). Anyway, its weird because of the time period it covers, you use the same cannons in the 1600s that you use with Armor. But that is not that important. The Cannon should be brought up with Musketeers for protection, placed next to a city, and used like the overgrown Catapult it is. See Catapults for more.

    Once you (or someone else, but you are pretty incompetent if you cannot get techs way before the AI) get Riflemen, get ready for some boring wars until the Armored unit (who called it that, anyway? it is a Tank!!!) comes around. Nothing less than Armor has a chance on the Rifleman (a Bomber is not less, a Fighter is). Fortify these cheap boys wherever u feel like, and put them there. Do not bother replacing with Mech.Inf. Good unit.

    This is a fun unit. Send veteran Armor anywhere but cities, cities will have to wait for the Bomber or Artillery. We have sent columns of literally ten Armor at a city (fortified with Mech.Inf., Riflemen, and City Walls), and lost every one to the city, with no gains. But in the field, they can kill anything that moves, since it probably moves slower. Armor is wonderful for handling less advanced computer players with Ancient (pah!) or Medivel (nanny nanny boo boo) technology. Build Armor, but do not get obsessed. For attacking cities, a nice Nuke (just kidding =) or Artillery will do much, much better. Must I say it again? Do not waste your time on advanced Civ's cities with Armor.

    Ahhhhh... finally you can hurt those cities again. The Artillery is (of course) the modern Catapult... so use the same general tactic of supporting it (either with Armor or Mech.Inf.) and getting close to cities, but use its extra move to stay further away from cities on the first attack. After that, you cannot stay away, because then your guardians (the Armor or Mech.Inf.) cannot fortify, because they would have to keep moving around.

    Mechanized Infantry
    Mech.Inf. are a matter of personal preference. Since we are partial to great art (Michelanglo's Chapel) we do not like to get Communism (Labor Union's prerequisite) and void the Chapel (like that Cathedral bonus..). So, we do not even get the tech usually, but that extra defense points and lots of mobility can make a difference.. so its your choice, basically (everything here is, really we just advise you on most of it).

    Sea and Air Units

    These small, early sailing ships are good for exploring coastline or not transporting units. Read that again. They are no good for transportation, since even another Trireme can't lose in an attack on the 'fully' loaded Trireme. That really is bad when u lose two nice big Catapults to one puny 1/0/3 Trireme. Even worse when u lose it to a 4/4/4 Ironclad. Cause that means you are really losing. Requires Map Making.

    This ship is extraordinarily useful in the early game, if you are on a small continent, especially. Although they are fairly weak, they do not have the death at sea penalty that the Trireme has. Therefore, build Sail units often, and do not bother to replace them with Frigates (but that is something for another section). Often, it is good to place a siege unit (Catapult, Cannon), plus a diplomat, and a defensive unit (Phalanx, Musketeer) on the Sail as an initial military contact party, if you wish to do battle, or think they might try to attack your Diplomat. For peaceful contact, place some Caravans and/or Diplomats (the mix is your preference), onto a ship and send them to seas in search of a continent.

    The frigate is nothing special, in Civ1. Although upgraded in Civ2, there is not that much reason to get the extra defense factor, attack factor, or hold capacity that the Frigate has, especially when Transports are just around the corner. However, they can be slightly more useful than Sail, just do no't waste your time upgrading your fleet unless you expect to b stuck with them for a long time.

    At last, you have an offensive ship. Or so the manual claims (or was it Rome on a 640k Day, we cannot remember). But in reality, this ship will not last a minute against a dug-in Phalanx, so use the Ironclads you build for sea defense, keeping people from reaching your continent, killing barbarians, and protecting your ships from the same. Repeat: do not attack land units, except for the odd Settler, Caravan, or Diplo-dude.

    Why does the Transport come before the Cruiser? If anyone knows, please email us with the answer. Anyway, the Transport is a wonderful invention. There is really no need for that extra attack power you get from an older ship, like the Frigate or Sail, and the eight unit carry capacity (plus an extra movement) can come in mighty handy. hehehe. There is not much to say.

    Now the most worthless ship in the game... the Cruiser. Do not bother with them, unless you have not got Steel and are in desperate need of naval strength. The AEGIS Cruiser from Civ2 is much, much better. Anyway, that is about it, here, also. Other than do not use them to bombard, just to catch Transports.

    This is the culmination of naval design throughout the ages. Build them, build more, do not stop to smell the roses, blast the @#$#@ roses!! The Battleship can kill anything, anywhere, at least half of the time, almost always more often. Build large groups (for Battleships, like 3 or 4) and send them in at coastal cities with city walls and some Mech Inf, or send them at that little size 4 Bronze Age puke of a city the enemy built. Your pick... you have got about the same odds, just the prize is different.

    The Submarine should almost never be built. The computer has a "knack" for guessing where you hide them, which nullifies their invisibility, and other than that, they are the weakest modern unit, so do not build them. I have got evidence to support me (try some of the links, someone will say the same for Civ2).

    Why is this available before the bomber? Other than reckon, it cannot do much, and its only real use is to kill bombers while the hang around your cities. Do not build before the bomber.

    At last, a useful unit. Build some, build somemore, and attack. Bombers should be sent out in small groups, and never left stacked except in a city, or else the computer will get them with some Fighters. Use them on cities with City Walls especially. Bombers should b used until the city is empty, then occupy just like you would with a Battleship.

    Now, for a useful unit.. the Carrier! The Carrier should be used to carry one or two Nukes (for emergencies), a Fighter or two, and a bunch of Bombers. That is all for now, folks. Nuclear Missile

    Non-Military Units

    The settler is your best friend; build lots of him. It is real nice to pump out one of these ready-made city kits every 10 turns, can build lots of cities that way. But there is not that much to say; see general tactics.

    The diplomat is useful. Basically, use him to steal techs before you do anything else with him.

    Again, not much to say. (these non-mil units are boring) So just remember to build them before, say 1980 (build them in B.C., when they really count for something. Just a note, but the computer does not build them. If it wants a trade route, it builds a caravan, and *presto*, there is a trade route to wherever. If it wants to lend production to a Wonder, too bad. It just has the ability to pay for part of a Wonder, at a time.

    General Tactics
    • Stealing Technology and Wonders
    • Keeping the People Happy
    • Trading to Improve Your Economy
    • Civilization's Cheat Mode
    • Accepting Peace Treaties
    • Building a Navy
    • Building Irrigations
    • Building Railroads
    • Speaking with Foreign Diplomats
    • Building a Science City
    • Your First City (The Capitol)
    • Building Barracks
    • Breaking Stuff
    • Building the Panama Canal
    • Go Hedonistic!

    Stealing Technology and Wonders
    Always. It is a lot easier, and you can then spend your time on other things, like that Wall you always wanted, or take the time to get Philosophy. Remember you can only get one advance from a city per game.

    Keeping the People Happy
    Especially at Emperor level, the people can be real sour. Developing Religion, and later building Bach's Cathedral (and remember to build that on your biggest continent.. it has a limited effect) and Michelangelo's Chapel (one of the most underrated Wonders in the game... I always build it, and often avoid Communism just to keep it.). Temples and Cathedrals are other good long-term fixes. Colosseums are not. They will drain your treasury way too fast. Entertainers are a short-term and end-game fix only. Do not keep them unless necessary.
    Changing to Republic will double your trade, and let you bring that luxury rate way up, while a Monarchy, Communism, or Despotism will keep you safe for a while with that 3 units = 3 happy people.
    We love the king days are great for spurring that new Democratic city to grow. Get them if you can.

    Trading to Improve Your Economy
    Trade can be established when trade routes are built between two or more cities. Once the trade route is established, sending more Caravans creates more revenue, but does not make the trade route any better. To help boost trade, build Roads and Railroads.
    Also, be sure to trade far away from your own cities. And do not leave it until the end of the game when you have nothing better to do... send them on go to a city, and wait for the profits to roll in.

    Civilization's Cheat Mode
    Just press 'SHIFT + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 0' in one of the older versions of Civ1 (DOS only) and you can do just about anything to the computer you want. Wish they had this in Civ2.

    Accepting Peace Treaties
    Hey, remember this is not Civ2. It does not matter how many treaties you break, the computer does not care. So, in the early game, always accept them -- but remember, they are there to be broken. And do not ever, ever pay tribute it just encourages the AI to come back for more (in exactly 16 turns, same spot, same terms). On the other hand, if you meet a fairly weak Civ, make them pay. Big pay like. Always ask for tribute from weaker Civs, if they are on your continent. If you are on their continent, they only look at power ratios for that continent, so expect them to be bossy even if you are number one in the world.

    Building a Navy
    Build a navy even if there is not a great big ocean to cross. Those battleships will decimate anything they can send across land, and from inside a city they can defend better than anything else. If there is a big ocean, all the more reason to build a big navy. Rule the seas and your one continent, and eventually you can rule the world. Just always, always attack before the AI does. There is nothing as good as wiping out his big stack of ten Armor with on Artillery in front of the city he built them in.

    Building Irrigations
    Remember the basic thing about irrigation -- they must have a water source. Some people forget this and get so mad when they cannot build that irrigation on that grassland. As a city gets past the disorder level, you will need to spend more time on irrigation, since it will require two three-food squares to support one Elvis. Generally, always irrigate Rivers, Grassland, and Plains then worry about Jungle, Desert (except Oasis), or Swamp. Unless you are starving, do not waste time on irrigating Forest or Hills. Both are better off producing shields like they were meant to.

    Building Railroads
    Building Railroads should be your top priority as soon as you can build them. They will really boost your cities. Remember there is a 50 percent bonus on everything for having them. Nothing else does so much for so cheap. Also, especially if you are highly military, remember to connect your cities by rail. But do not send the rail system through them, put it around them. Otherwise, will slow you down.

    Speaking with Foreign Diplomats
    Hey, do not follow most peoples advice on them... do not talk unless your on top, or prepared to pay. They will rob you blind. Really do not talk if you are in a Republic or a Democracy, and you are at war with them. Those stupid Senators are always interfering with Foreign Policy.

    Building a Science City
    Before a civilization can obtain military superiority, it is vital to achieve technological superiority early in the simulation (usually). A Science City is one way to increase the speed that knowledge is acquired by your Civ.
    After creating three or four cities, create a city that will become your science city. Within this city, build the Colossus and Copernicus' Observatory as soon as possible. You should also build these improvements: a Library, a Marketplace, a University, and a Bank. Once this city is established, use it to create various wonders of the world. Be sure to use Caravans from other cities to lend help in production of wonders. To further increase your science production there, build several scientists. By the year 1950 or so, you should be cranking out up to 70 or 80 lightbulbs a turn. Be sure to build SETI and double that amazing level of production. Other good wonders to build here are Isaac Newton's College, and William Shakespeare's Theater (keep them happy, and you can focus on making them Elvises and Einsteins).

    Your First City
    Your first city should be built on the best terrain you can find in 20 or so turns. If you cannot find suitable terrain by then, you have lost. Always build on Grassland over River, River over Plains, and Specials that have good or fair food (fair being like irrigated Plains w/ Special Resource) over absolutely anything else. But even better is to find a Grassland in that "perfect four" special resource arrangement. Four is the most specials that can lie inside a city radius, thanks to the algorithms built into the world generator.

    Building Barracks
    Do it. The computer always does, and you gotta be careful, or they will kill you with units that are half-again as good as yours. Just consider: A veteran Chariot is a regular Catapult. A veteran Catapult is better than a Cannon. A veteran Cannon has as much strength as an Armor. And a veteran Artillery or Battleship has so much firepower, it is not even funny. So do not laugh.

    Breaking Stuff
    This can be a lot of fun. Just stick some defensive units, cheap ones preferably, onto the enemies carefully built irrigations, roads, RRs, and industrial improvements, and press that 'SHIFT + P' key. Watch them cities burn, watch them people starve. Watch those units lose their support, and crack that uncrackable city.

    Building the Panama Canal
    Ever been really annoyed by that little strip of land between your size 20 city and the sea? The solution, while easy, is often missed. First, get some settlers (this also works with Civ2, and just as well) together, and send them down there. Next, build a contiguous string of cities across that strip of land. This will work for any amount of land separating water, just not as well for the amount of effort when you do four or more cities. Then, sail ships through the string of cities. To really annoy your opponents, do this near their cities, and send some battleships into that lake next to their super-secure city, and blow it open, drop in a unit, try it, its wonderful.

    Go Hedonistic!
    When you decide you got all the techs you want, do not bother with Communism (if you are dying for the government, build the Pyramids) or Labor Union. Set the tax/luxury rate to 50/50, and watch the people be happy with the new, high tax rate (it is kinda stupid), and watch the treasury fill, and the people practically worship you (like those luxuries!).

    Military Tactics
    There are none (really, i mean it, you must adapt).

    That is all for now, folks.
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