After I had some fun with the Top 7 List of Unique Units now a Flop 5 of those. Thanks to Moineau for the idea

The idea is to evaluate in what possible scenarios each unique unit can be of help and how much so. Those that have the fewest scenarios where you want to have them are the weakest, the floppiest . That does not mean that each of those units is generally useless. Actually all unique units have a place in a possible scneario in a game, unlike some unique buildings which basically have zero positive effect.

Donīt nail me on the exact order. It was much tougher then with the Top list and it really got pretty random. The order is solely for fun, it would be impossible to nail those units down since they are rarely picked or used in multiplayer games with picked civs (for good reason), so which is better or worse exactly is sheer speculation. For the record, the two units that dogged this list the closest were the Numidian Cavalry and the Oromo Warrior, especially the last one could be on the list just as well, just in itself itīs a pretty nice unit, only it doesnīt have any setup where you would want to pick Ethiopia and produce single move units.

5. Camel Archer
Unique unit for Arabia; Replaces Knight

Immune to first strikes
Doesn't receive defensive bonuses
Can withdraw from combat (15% chance)
Flank attack versus Catapults and Trebuchet
The Camel is a Knight wiht 15% retreat chance that can be build without horse or iron. The 15% are negligible in normal battle situations, thatīs every 7th Knight that would retreat. In longer games you have horse and iron anyway (or are in bad shape..). There are only two scenarios where the camel archer does something better then a normal Knight.

One being that you do a 2-city-rush in a Renaissance start teamer game, where you can be sure to be able to produce Knights from the start without having to plant and hook iron and horse. In a competetive game this though is a strategy that only rarely can work and most of the time will cost you your entirely buidup for the rest of the game. The opponent can have iron or at least copper in near distance on balanced ressources, itīs very likely that he wil get one into his first two cities. Also he can be traded a metal pretty easily by his team mates once his explorer sees that his neighbour is Arabia. The most promising 2-city-rush is the India with horse and iron in first two cities since India can chop forests a lot faster giving it much higher production early on, Arabia 2-city-rush basically can only work against weaker opponents.

The second way of putting Arabia to use is the Industrial Start camel archer upgrade strategy. Usually in an Industrial start you cannot build Knights anymore. This is not true for Arabia though which can build its camels as long as it does not hook iron and horse. Camels are cheaper then cavalry and can be spammed our in quite big masses very fast. A possible strategy in industrial is to pick a Spiritual/Aggressive Bycantine and use Nationhood to the fullest (drafting!!), while staying on the three initial cities. The unhappiness is countered by building Hippodromes (read about Hippodrome here) and putting the culture slider up. All three players safe money and the Arab upgrades all his Camels to Cavalry. Third player gets as many Knights as possible and front players (preferably the Bycantine with his slow stack) gets some Trebuchets and Catapults as well (builds them, next to drafting Rifles). If it works, a player is dead, but in any case the buildup of the team doing tihs is totally and entirely gone. All is farms, no tech build up, no expansion done. Iīve seen more then one game where a kill occured and still the other team won 2v3 with superior producing capabilities for the next 30 or 40 turns.

4. Carrack
Unique unit for Portugal; Replaces Caravel

Cargo Space: 2
Can explore rival territory w/o triggering war
The Carrack has the problem that there arenīt many scenarios for earlier era multiplayer where water plays a big role. Even from such potential scenarios not all would fit the abilities of the carrack. If in a medieval game you have land and water connection between opponets, investing hammers into producing boats might result in losing the land battle. Also Optics, the pre-requisite tech lies on a technological path that has a low priority. Both Compass and especially Optics donīt have insignificant costs to get them early, also to get them instead of other techs first. Also the carrack would shine most if it came very early on a ancient or classical setup where each player assumes he is safe till galeons (Astronomy) and just builds up without any defense units. Then it still is a costly endevour to invest 40 hammers for each 2 units one wants to boat. Finally opponents always have the possibility to build caravels themselves and attack potentially loaded Carracks.

Main argument for the Carrack is the potential surprise factor of getting units into opponentīs land at a time or sometimes place he wouldnīt expect. There canīt be any strategy around this since if it became clear that investing the hammers would result in a "good" attack via boating, people would tech Optics themselves and counter the Carracks with Caravels, fighting for sea control. Carracks only can work if someone is unaware of what might happen or just ignores it. The threat of potentially something happening is actually the biggest argument for the Carrack. Donīt research Optics, donīt build Carracks, just hope your opponent is afraid of them and takes unnecessary counter measures instead at the cost of buildup.

3. Ballista Elephant
Unique unit for Khmer; Replaces War Elephant

+50% vs. Mounted units
Doesn't receive defensive bonuses
Targets Mounted units first in combat outside cities
The Ballista Elephant works only a little bit in defense. In offense it has no additional bonus and it still moves only one tile unlike the prefered stacks of medieval and Renaissance (Knights!) mostly do. So no bonus in offense. In defense it also doesnīt really shine since first of all players rarely attack with mixed stacks of 2-mover and 1-movers hence the bonus of hitting the mounted units first has not many scenarios where it can trigger.Second not in all defense situations can you hit the opposing units, sometimes you have to take the hit. Then the Elephant you build for additional defensive value doesnīt get any defense bonus from being in a city.

2. Conquistador
Unique unit for Spain; Replaces Cuirassier

Can flank attack cannons
Can withdraw from combat (15% chance); +50% vs. Melee Units
Immune to first strikes
Gets defense bonus from tiles/cities
The Conquistador is a Cuirassier that gets +50% vs. Melee Units and profits from defense bonus. The first problem with cuirrasiers is that they are not buildable from the beginning of any era start (mid Renaissance, not anymore in Industrial). The second problem is that they donīt stay for long. Rifles and Cavalry come very quick in the tech path. Next in a normal team game when you attak with Cuirassiers opponents defend with Knights, Cuirassiers and Muscets and catapults, not anymore with pikes, if they did ever. So the bonus against melee units doesnīt applay. The "gets defense part" can be useful here or there, but is rarely useful. So this little bit of usefulness is countered by the sort time you get it and by the fact that cuirassiers only are on the scene for a short period of time.

Main idea for a strategy would be maybe in an Ironman where you research Military Tradition with a priority while building a big stack of Knights and saving money, then upgrading all your Knights to Conquistadors which can attack an opponent whose pikes will be useless against the melee bonus, potentially plowing through his land since he doesnīt have any counter unit at this point. This would be only possible with a tech lead at least against the player you are attacking. Massive Cuirassier upgrading is an option in many Ironman/ffa games, Cuirassiers really would shine in such a scenario.

1. Vulture
Unique unit for Sumeria; Replaces Axeman

+25% vs. Melee Units
strength 6, instead of 5
The Vulture sits on the throne of the King of Flop for only one reason. It has 33% with same promotions flat both in defense and offense against a normal axe. Same bad ratio applies to other battles involving defense or other offense bonuses.The situations where you have to fight versus Axes having only metal occur very often in average ancient start games. Usually youīd build an axe yourself and would have an equal unit taking promotions aside. With the Vulture you simply get less for your hammers in comparison to your opponent.

Though I donīt want to let it be unmentioned that there are two aspecs about the Vulture which are very nice in one specific situation. The main being that with copper in the fatcross you can build the Vulture, a 6-strength-unit while usually youīd have gotten "only" an axe with 5-strength. The difference then gets a meaning if your opponent has no metal and has to defend with archers against which Vultures have better odds then axes. Also in case of horse, the Vulture has generally better odds to survive a battle, still not a good idea though to play solely with Vultures against Chariots .