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Civ 4 the List: Units


  • Civ 4 the List: Units


    This is meant as a discussion of two principal aspects of the game: what units should appear in the game, and the effects of the various unit attribute flags.

    Of secondary importance is finding a way to integrate unit statistics with whatever combat method is chosen; it is generally agreed that balancing stats will depend a lot on how combat (stacked vs 1:1 vs other) is implemented.


    One recurring theme across the various lists for each generation of civ was for a unit workshop, similar to smac. I believe this would be bad for civ. While it could reflect the historical range of units if constrained with a uitably detailed complex ruleset, this rulset would be unreasonably complex for a game, forcing an extra level of management. In addition, it would make it extremely hard to mod the graphics, and all but impossible to create mods with fantasy units.

    Most people agree that civ3 had far too few units in the game. The big jumps in the capabilities at each critical tech gave an overwhelming advantage to teh tech leader, as well as giving a somewhat disjointed view of history.

    With assymetric units, there is clearly a strong desire for these functions to be implemented. The main debate is on whether or not units are the best means of implementing these functions. This a decision that should be made on a group by group basis. There is very little desire for religious units or lawyers, but worker functions are evenly split on whether units are the best method to put them in the game.

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    Some sort of unit design allowed?
    Civ4 Units

    Table of Contents

    2.0 Miscellaneous Thoughts
    5.0 Units

    The Ideas

    Organized by: Lajzar

    2.0 Misc. Thoughts

    2.1 Unique Units for different civs

    The first civ to discover a Unique Unit tech (like Iron Working) would have the option of activating that unique unit or not. If they did, then their one and only UU in the game would be Legion or what have you, and no other civ could claim it. If they decided not to take it, then the second civ to discover Iron Working would have the option and then the third Civ and so on, and Civ A could hold out for a UU further up the tech tree.

    2.2 Stacked movement and combat

    Many people want this

    2.3 Require buildings to make units

    Certain units should require a specific city improvement to be present before the unit can be built. This was first seen in Master of Magic.

    2.4 either/or unit

    Certain techs release 2 or more units, and the player chooses which unit is released when he receives the tech; he can never build the other unit. Possibilities are longbowyer/crossbowmen, ironclad/monitor, and forcing specialisation in a particular kind of spy unit. In some cases, a later tech might allow another unit from that grouping to be released.

    2.5 Flavour units

    Let different culture groups have functionally identical units that are different in appearance and name. So only Europeans build knights and crusaders, for example

    The flavour units should have different abilities, names, and graphics.

    In a unit workshop model, civ specific units could be implemented by giving civ-specific bonueses when certain broad classes of units are designed. Romans get a bonus with heavy infantry, US aircraft get range and attack bonuses, UK ships get speed and morale bonuses, Germans get morale and offensive bonuses for infantry, Mongols get such bonuses for cavary, Sioux get attack bonuses for light cav. and mounted archers so forth. This makes each civ's preferred method of combat slightly different.

    In a UW model, Instead of UUs one could have unique technology like Persian elephants, Polynesian navigation (imagine navigating from Hawaii to Tahiti without any conventional navigation tech), American supercarrier "chassis", etc.

    2.6 No Cruise Missiles

    Cruise missiles should not be a seperate buildable unit. Once researched, the cruise missile ability should simply be available to a selection of units. Possibly you should have to make a doctrinal choice in order to make full use of them.
    -[attribution lost]

    2.7 Mobility for special forces and spies

    It would be nice if spies and special forces units could travel in submarines.

    Spies should also have the airdrop order once the appropriate tech is researched.

    2.8 Unit strengths/weaknesses

    In Civ2, pikemen were twice as powerfull against mounted units as other unit. This was removed in Civ3, for no good reason. I believe the idea is sound enough, but I also believe it could be refined further. If some of you have played Panzer General series by SSI, you might know what I mean. Example, you don't roll to cities with tanks, if you're smart, infantry is more effective. AT unit is effective in defence against tanks, but not very effective in offence.
    -Tattila the Hun

    SMAC also had some of this implemented, so fast units were more effective in open terrain, and infantry had a bonus against cities.

    2.9 Sea Combat and Transport

    If a "marine" unit attacks a ship, it should have a chance to capture it, if it first manages to defeat any transported infantry. Most age of sail ships should be able to carry a single "marines" unit.

    Different units take different amounts of transport spaces. "marines" take 1, regular infantry 2, cavalry 4, vehicles 4 or more. This allows for ships to have space for marines but not other units.
    -Tall Walt

    I like that, much better than one ship getting sunk with all units on board.
    -La Diva

    2.10 Loyalty

    Military units created in cities with foreign citizens might become of foreign nationality, and might not be as patriotic.
    -La Diva

    5.0 Specific Unit Suggestions

    First up, the big list of different units that have been seen/proposed. How many and whether these all get used will obviously depend a lot on the actual combat model used. For some modern units, I have designated them with their conventional modern acronyms. I think this gives a modern flavour of its own.

    *these units are culture-specific units
    **these units are SF or alternate technology units
    ***these units are government-specific units

    5.1 FOOT UNITS

    5.1.1 Offensive Infantry

    Foot Knights (aka medieval infantry)
    *Legion (Romans)
    *Samurai (Japan)

    5.1.2 Defensive Infantry

    Spearmen (aka phalanx from civ2)

    5.1.3 Primitive Missile Infantry

    *Longbowmen (aka longbowyers) (English, Japanese)

    5.1.4 Advanced Missile Infantry

    Arquebusiers (a very early musket)
    Musketeers (aka musket men)
    *Minutemen (America)
    Riflemen (1880s)
    ***Fanatic (fundamentalism)
    Machine Gunners (ww2)
    ***Stormtrooper (fascism)
    Infantry (modern)

    Essentially, Minutemen (1770s) were a local militia, kind of a local Conscription, to put it in Civ terms. They used a long hunting musket that was more accurate, deadly, and longer ranged than military muskets. Also, rather than standing in formation, they fired from cover. In ADM terms, I'd say lower attack, higher defense (perhaps with an exceptional retreat ability), and lower movement.

    5.1.5 Aquatic Infantry

    *Berserker (viking)
    Corsairs (musketeer contemporary)
    Marines (ww2)

    Suggestions for the "marine" special ability include:
    - More flexibility for where they can unload (normal units only unload into friendly cities, or only from special "shallows" sea tiles)
    - Chance to capture ships when attacking
    - Bonus when attacking land-sea, or between coastal tiles.

    I would just say "Viking". A Berserker is something individual, not to do with sea warfare.

    A corsair is just a pirate. A musketeer contemporary would be Marines, mostly the British Royal Marines but also the early US Marines, such as in Tripoli. They can only land on beaches. A unit of Marines was carried aboard all Age of Sail warships.

    We have to call it *something*, and "marine" is too closely aligned with the modern concept to be usefully applied to a musketeer contemporary unit. Similarly, "Viking" is already taken as the civ name (in certain contexts) to be used for a civ-specific unique unit.

    5.1.6 Airbourne Infantry

    Air Cavalry
    **Rocket Ranger (tesla-tech)
    **Space Marines

    ww2 Infantry equipped with parachutes. Can airdrop out of a city. Should not be able to instantly airdrop directl;y into a city, as this made rushed assaults way too easy (and parachuting into a dense urban area of skyscrapers en masse strains my disbelief suspenders)

    Air Cavalry
    Modern Infantry supported by transport helicopters. Can airdrop into or out of a city. For game balance, the same restriction on hostile city drops should probably apply.

    Rocket Rangers
    Soldiers with backpack rocket jets. Pure science fantasy out of the mind of Tesla and 1930s pulp literature.

    Space marines
    Should have very long range airdrop ability, and "marine" ability, along with very good stats for infantry.

    5.1.7 Other Specialist Combat Infantry

    Alpine Troops
    Jungle Troops
    Desert Troops
    (insert terrain here) Troops
    Special Forces (ie SAS etc)

    (terrain) troops
    ...are just cutting things too fine. It would be good if we were just simulating WWII, but it's too much detail for Civ, IMO.

    This unit flag would still be useful for certain unique units, and should at least be kept in the code for scenario designers.

    Special forces
    The question is what do they do? Maybe they can attack their choice of a unit in a stack, but they're pretty weak (because they're a small unit). Another possibility is that they add combat power without adding to stacking limits. Maybe ADM 1/1/2 invisible until they attack; maybe anonymous unless defeated.

    I was thinking they should have one or more of marine, airdrop, and hidden nationality flags.

    5.1.8 Heavy Weapons Infantry

    Bazooka Infantry (ie TOW infantry)
    RPG Infantry (Rocket Propelled Grenade)
    TOW Infantry

    There probably isn't enough room in the timeline to allow for all of these. If only oneof these is kept, I'd prefer bazooka - the word sounds like what it does


    5.2.1 Melee Cavalry

    Horsemen (aka hobilars)
    ***Crusaders (theocracy)
    *Chevaliers (France)

    The original hobilars from earliest times fought on foot; the horses were used solely as transports. Horsemen shouldn't fight any better than warriors, but lancers should be quite an early step.

    5.2.2 Missile Cavalry

    Horse Archers
    *Keshik (Mongols)
    *Cossack (Russia)

    5.2.3 Exotic Cavalry

    Cameleers (aka camel riders)
    *War Elephants (carthage, indians)

    5.2.4 Mechanised

    Mech Infantry
    APC (aka armoured patrol car)

    It has been suggested elsehere that these be "land transport" units. However, I think this would be a bad implementation, as most APC units have a infantry squad permanently assigned.

    5.2.5 Assault Vehicles

    War Chariot
    **Steam Tank
    Tankette (ww1)
    Tank (ww2)
    *Panzer (germany)
    MBT (aka main battle tank)
    **Plasma Tank
    **Fusion Tank

    The common point here is heavily armed, armoured, and fast (or some reasonable compromise of the three) vehicles that operate in direct contact with the ground.

    The very earliest tanks (from ww1) were conceived not as fast assault platforms, but as mobile pillboxes for infantry support. Their inability to cross any but the most trivial battlefield obstacles prevented widespread ww1 use.

    5.2.6 Primitive Artillery & Seige

    Seige Tower

    5.2.7 Advanced Artillery & Seige

    Artillery (1880s)
    Howitzer (ww2)
    SPG (aka self-propelled gun)

    5.2.8 AA guns

    Flak Gun
    Rocket Tank
    **War Walker

    I can't help feeling that the AA gun city improvement from civ2 should be dropped entirely in favour of these units.

    5.3 AIR UNITS

    5.3.1 Floating Units

    **Dirigible (aka zepellin)
    Helicopter (combat/gunship versions)
    **Hover Tank (not air cushion - that would be horribly vulnerable; some SF tech here)
    **Grav Tank

    The common point with these units is that they do not need contact with the ground, and can operate over the sea without difficulty. From dirigibles upwards (ie once armed) they can also act as close air support.

    It has been suggested elsehere that transport helicopters be "air transport" units. However, I think this would be a bad implementation, as most such units have a infantry squad permanently assigned as air cavalry.

    5.3.2 Fighters

    Fighter (aka Interceptor)
    Jet Fighter
    Stealth Fighter
    **Cloaked Fighter

    I envision fighters as being a combination of close air support unit and air-air combat unit. They should "auto-bombard" against incoming bombers (aa guns should have the same ability).

    There should be a means of having a fighter escort bombers when a bombing mission is performed. This could be implemented using an extension of the ad hoc stacked movement proposals for ground units.

    5.3.3 Bombers

    Heavy Bomber
    Stealth Bomber
    **Cloaked Bomber

    These should be implemented as bombard units with a very large bombard radius. Some of the very advanced land and sea bombard units should also have larger bombard radii, though not as large as for air units.

    5.3.4 Missiles

    V2 Missile
    Cruise Missile

    The missiles model needs to be changed radically. Given their one-shot nature, the opportunity cost for building them is just too big.

    5.4 SEA UNITS

    I have divided the sea units by historical era rather than by functionality. I think this presentation works better here. Units noted as transport below are *optimised* as transports, and can carry more than other units. Almost all wooden ships can carry a complement of infantry.

    Ship to ship combat shoudl be changed. the normal attack command makes for an assault with an attempt to capture; troops carried can fight as part of an army stack. Thus modern ships will have very low attack factors. However, bombardment should evolve rapidly with modern tech, both in power and in range. Conversely, almost all ships from medieval times onward will have some bombard rating.

    5.4.1 Ancient Sea

    Sailboat (transport)
    *trireme (greek)

    Sailboats are essentially optimised transports with many features of galleys. Because it lacks rowers (except for minimal steering), it will be slower, but the broader hull allows for more cargo.

    Galley can upgrade to longship, trireme, or fire galley.

    Sailboat can upgrade to caravel.

    5.4.2 Medieval

    Caravel (transport)
    *longship (Scandinavia)
    *fire galley (byzantine)

    5.4.3 Age of Sail

    Galleon (transport)
    Man o War (pl: men o war)
    Frigate (aka ship o the line)
    *bao chuan (China)
    *ko bok sun (Korea turtle ship)

    Galleon can upgrade to man o war. Man o war can upgrade to galleon. This represents the refitting cost. Either can upgrade to bao chuan.

    Can someone confirm the native names for the turtle ship and treasure ship?

    5.4.4 Age of Steam

    Clipper (transport)
    *Monitor (america)

    Dreadnought can upgrade to battleship. It represents an early battleship with steam power rather than oil power. The earliest example was HMS Dreadnought in 1906.

    Coal-fired ships should have an endurance attribute (perhaps 20 turns). Once they run out of fuel, either their movement should be minimal, or they should be destroyed. On the other hand, they are not limited to staying near land at all. Note that although the clkipper appeared contemporary to steam ships, it is a sail ship not steam, and should not have an endurance limit.

    5.4.5 Age of Oil

    Transport (transport)
    Battleship (BB)
    Cruiser (CA)
    Destroyer (DD)
    Carrier (CV)
    Submarine (SS)
    *U-Boat (Germany)

    From modern transports onwards, the restriction on non-marines disembarking only into friendly cities should be lifted. This should be a flag attached to the sea unit ("has landing boats").

    Cruiser can upgrade to aegis cruiser. Destroyer can upgrade to missile destroyer. This represents the addition of cruise missiles.

    Submarine can upgrade to U-boat.

    5.4.6 Age of Rocketry

    Heavy Carrier (CVN)
    Aegis Cruiser (CG)
    Missile Destroyer (DDG)
    Nuclear Submarine (SSN)

    There is a case for making the CVN an american unique unit, but this probably gives a dangerously unbalancing advantage this late in the game.


    Some of these are very questionable, and there seems to be a huge split in the community as to whether these are wanted in the game.

    5.5.1 Diplomacy

    ***Noble (monarchy, feudalism)
    **Empath Diplomat

    It is unclear what the difference would be between these units. Having a diplomat unit required for every time you initiate diplomatic discussions would be too micromanagement.

    Possible mission functions:
    -Establish embassy
    -Restore embassy (after a war/diplomatic spat)
    -View city

    5.5.2 Espionage and Dirty Tricks

    *Ninja (japan)
    **Cyber Ninja
    ***Eco-Terrorist (ecotopia)

    There shouldn't be a clear progression for these units; each should generally have unique abilities, or at least a uique combination of abilities.

    5.5.3 Trade


    5.5.4 Economic Warfare

    Corporate Branch
    **Sub-Neural Advert

    5.5.5 Slavery


    5.5.6 Religion

    ***Missionary (theocracy)
    ***Televangelist (fundamentalism)

    5.5.7 Settlers & Workers

    Civil Engineer
    **Aquatic Engineer
    **Space Engineer
    Combat Engineer

    Let's just say there is an ongoing debate on whether workers are best implemented as units or as public works.

    Sappers are early combat engineers who can destroy city walls and fortifications with (relative) ease. Combat engineers also have teh ability to lay road quickly or act as a roaded tile for all units entering their current tile (choose one).

    5.9 Satellite units

    Drop the apollo/reveal map wonder. Instead, have the following units:
    Spy Satellite - reveals map on a specified large area for 20-30 turns
    Research satellite - provides science points
    Commerce satellites - find special resources, more effiient special resources
    TV satellites - spread culture


    Lots of units were suggested for specific civilizations. If the total number would be increased, this would be a good place for Firaxis to go mining for ideas. As usual, Units was a popular thread.
    -Respectfully compiled: lajzar

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