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Unit Strengths by Era

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  • Unit Strengths by Era

    What are your thoughts on the units, per era? Any favorite combined arms strategies or exploits? Any upgrade holes? How potent do you find the unique units versus their era peers?



  • #2
    Although i havent played the official version of the game in quite a while, (i prefer using my mod) I find that you should be able to upgrade Calvalry to tanks! it would make a big difference, since calvalry is the standard of the day and then the tank is.

    im thinking about crating a system where each era up units get a standard 5 point upping in each stat, so then as you go up less units will be killed by older units, of course it would all have to be tweaked and such, but it could straighten out some of the inaccurate combat results.


    • #3
      I said it in another thread of the same title, but I'll repeat it here I suppose.

      IMHO cavalry are overpowered. You can get them a good 6 techs before nationalism brings riflemen into the game which is a minimum of 24 turns for you to exploit your cavalry vs an enemy which has, at best, musketmen as its defenders.

      A six attack, 3 move attacker in an era when the best defender is defense 4 is overpowering.

      I'd make them 5/2/2 instead of 6/3/3.

      Otherwise, musings by era:


      Swordsmen seem nice, but its horsemen that ultiamtely dominate. Retreat makes them immortal, and I can rush with 10 horsemen and take city after city whereas I'd take some losses with 10 swordsmen.

      Otherwise, I think immortals and mounted warriors are marginally too strong, but that's just me.


      Balance seems about right except for the whole cavalry thing. Of course, the whole cavalry thing is a big deal.


      I hate to say this, but if I'm attacking a defender who doesn't have rubber, I'd rather use cavalry than tanks. Cavalry matches up well enough against riflemen to rush a city, and it is movement 3 which means I can cross two squares of grass and still attack at the end of the round. Tanks end up pausing outside of a city and getting counterattacked. A cavalry pack can still hit at the end of the round.


      Mech infantry should be move 3, bombard units should be able to sink naval vessels, otherwise I have no real cause for complaint.

      In terms of the unique units in general:

      Some of them like mounted warriors or immortals are very potent forces. A mounted warrior has 50% more attack than a normal horseman which is huge as it gives him a probable win against entrenched spearmen. Immortals with their 4 attack are slow as mud but they'll own any defender they run into, even hoplites.

      Some are useless to the extreme e.g. french musketeers. It has an extra attack, but who uses musketeers to attack? Its a defensive unit, it should be 2/5/1 not 3/4/1. The American F15 is another marginally useful special unit. Its just not all that much better than a normal fighter.

      Basically, most special units are ordinary units +1 to some attribute. +1 in an ancient era unit is huge e.g. it takes a 1/2/1 spearman and makes a 1/3/1 hoplite. Its now 50% more effective. Consider that a +1 on a late game unit has proportionately far less effect. Likewise, a +1 on the wrong attribute (musketeer) has zero effect.
      Last edited by pcasey; December 12, 2001, 22:39.


      • #4
        whooo, boy. You're in for it now, Jeff...

        I'll just mention a few things, but there will be a bunch o' rants here before long:

        Mounted Warriors are the most dominant UU in the game. This could be intentional to make up for crappy civ strengths, but pop rushing this unit will win any game on any level before the end of the Industrial age (standard maps and smaller).

        Cavalry are next up, pop rushing or cash rushing them, it's possible to have a very powerful offense long before opponents get Rifelemen to help in defense. Pretty much game over if you choose to use them.

        All civs should get the normal units in addition to UU's so that lower units can keep up on their upgrade paths. I understand not upgradeing _to_ a UU because of their power, but older units should still be able to upgrade to something.

        UU's should be able to upgrade as their equivalents would. If this could make it possible for them to disappear and therefore the civ can't ever have a GA, too bad. Use 'em or loose 'em.

        The retreat ability dominates the game. A combined-arms approach is very useful for non-fast units, but a hoard of horsemen is _far_ superior to an equal horde of swordsmen or swordsmen+cannon because they live longer, get promoted, and yield GLs. With fast units, no combined-arms are necessary.

        The AI can't use bombard units for crap.

        The AI can't defend against fast units (especially Cavalry) for crap.

        I'll probably be back later with more specific thoughts...
        I'm not giving in to security, under pressure
        I'm not missing out on the promise of adventure
        I'm not giving up on implausible dreams
        Experience to extremes" -RUSH 'The Enemy Within'


        • #5
          Originally posted by ancient
          Although i havent played the official version of the game in quite a while, (i prefer using my mod) I find that you should be able to upgrade Calvalry to tanks! it would make a big difference, since calvalry is the standard of the day and then the tank is.
          I believe the intent here is to make it harder to attack. If there were a continuous upgrade path from the ancient era through to the modern era for with Horsemen->Knights->Cavalry->Tanks->Modern Armor, that would make it a lot easier to be the dominant power through the whole game, as you'd just have to get the biggest army first and then incrementally add to it and upgrade. The way it is now, you're forced to build attack units anew every time, which sort of resets the balance.

          With regards to the broader question, I think, for the most part, there aren't so many problems with the current units and strengths to much as with the way the AI uses them. Some of the Unique Units are also under/overpowered. I'm thinking Man-O-War and Musketeer in the former category, and Mounted Warrior and Jaguar Warrior in the latter.


          • #6
            Oh oh! Excellent question Jeff!

            Ancient Era:
            Swordsmen are too good for the money....all the defensive power of a spear-chucker, more stopping power than anything else (UU's being the exception). Slow, but that only prompts you to combine them with massed catapults, and in concert, you will very seldom lose a unit. Also, it's very easy to leave behind one or more swordsmen to garrison, cos they are, after all, just as good as the standard defenders of the day.

            Throw in 4 horsemen to travel with the army to beat back any attrition attacks (which are most times archers, and easily dealt with by horsies), and you have an all but unstoppable force.

            Middle Ages:
            First person to get Chivalry doesn't need combined arms. Six knights can route the biggest ancient era army the AI can put together. They can't simply roll through the AI's empire, of course, but they can do enough damage that the slow moving troops coming in behind can mop up and hold. The AI is slow to upgrade it's spearmen defenders when Pikes become available, so you're looking at a 2:1 attacker's advantage before combat modifiers, and even with combat modifiers, you'll likely not take many losses on account of knight-retreat.

            Industrial: Yeah, I know you get cav in the middle ages, but it's on the tail end of one of the branches to the tree, so I counted it as "early industrial" before you have enough of them to matter (playstyles may vary this of course....if you beeline for them, they'll eclipse knights in the middle ages). Still, early industrial era, nothing else comes close. Even with riflemen defending, massed cav (again, retreat function) will simply wear the defenders out, especially if backed up with cannon (combined arms of 2-3 riflemen to hold the line, 6-8 cannon (upgraded catapult), and 10 or so cavs can pretty effectively lay waste to an enemy civ. Once Infantry hit the scene tho, it's time to pull back till tanks, as the equation tips in the defender's favor again.

            Modern: Nothing stops those early tanks in sufficient number. If you have a significant tech lead (4-5+), tanks can even be used as defenders in cities until your plodders can catch to hold the line while the tanks raid deeper.

            HP: I would be very interested in seeing an editor option to allow for giving each era's troops a hp bonus though, such that an elite ancient era warrior tops out at five hp, but an elite middle ages knight tops out at 6 (on the thinking that the knight's battlefield experience is more applicable to the era than the warrior's, and should be reflected in some way. Arguably, you could say it IS reflected in the knight's higher A/V, but I would contend that this is a function of better technology. Battlefield experience is, by design, measured in HP in civ3 (conscripts have 2hp, elites have 5). I'm thinking that a 3000BC Warriors battlefield knowledge, however, ought not serve him as well as a "modern" knight's understanding....just a thought.

            As to UU's....

            The only ones that, IMO, ought to be examined more closely are:
            Immortal - The least "overpowered" of the bunch, mostly on account of it's slow movement. It's a powerhouse of a unit mind you, but not unbalancing, IMO (tho some may argue that point).

            Aztec Jaguar: The only UU I would give serious consideration to building in the modern era. For the money, you just can't by a better terror-unit. Fast, able to slip deep into enemy territory and disrupt things, capture workers, tear up improvements and roads....generally make a grand nuisance of themselves, and in the ancient era, I'd argue that they're very nearly broken. No pre-requisite techs, cheap to mass produce, retreats when wounded against almost everything, capable of bringing down much more expensive horsies and chariots, overruning towns en mass....awesome, perhaps TOO powerful UU.

            Iroquois MW: Same basic thing applies here that applies to the jags, except at least there are some pre-requisites and they're not quite as cheaply mass-produced. Still, for the money, you can't ask for a better killing machine unless you're playing Aztec.

            Exploit wise, the only thing I see is that the AI has a tendency to keep too many ancient era units around, so when you come rolling through with massed knights, it almost FEELS like an exploit.....Archers taste good with ketchup, or so the knights tell me....

            The AI seems not quite to know how to cope with a mounted-troop rush by a human opponent (we were actually just discussing this in another thread, making your question here all the more timely!), and when faced with a single combined arms stack, the AI generally avoids it like the plague, allowing it to march upon city after city, instead of nettling it to DOES counter invade your territory, and generally does that intelligently and efficiently (making for critical resources and weakly held cities, dropping troops off via ship to flank), but it does so at the expense of not dealing with the wampum army sitting there eating its cities.

            My two cents on it....

            The list of published books grows. If you're curious to see what sort of stories I weave out, head to and do an author search for "Christopher Hartpence." Help support Candle'Bre, a game created by gamers FOR gamers. All proceeds from my published works go directly to the project.


            • #7
              Obviously Immortals and Mounted Warriors are very cool in the Ancient Era(especially MW with its mobile capability) but I would think these units would probably be destabilizing in a multi-player environment.

              I havent built a musketeer yet......even as the French. I seem to go after Nationalism ASAP so I normally go from pikemen to riflemen. Musketeers were a major unit for me in Civ2 MP and seemed to mark a turning point in the game.

              The advent of enemy infantry (and even riflemen) forces you to mass produce lots of artillery to conduct successful offensives. The only artillery I built in Civ2 MP was howies at the end of the game.

              Ironclads seem rather ineffective and I have lost many to frigates and even caravals. Ironclads were another unit from Civ2 MP that marked another turning point in the game.

              Armies dont appear to be that effective in industrial /modern times and if Im LUCKY enough to get A leader before that I will use it to rush build a wonder or FP.
              " First France......then the WORLD!"


              • #8
                Nap brings up a very good point, Armies are totally and completely underpowered. No good player will _ever_ build an army with a GL if the game is close. Rush-building a wonder or an FP is _always_ a more efficient use of the GL.

                Once the game is secure, some people will play with armies, but I personally still won't build them because they're less useful than the original units (especially if the original units had blitz), and yet they cost either a GL or beaucoup shields. The idea of it being a super unit that doesn't die isn't important in light of the retreat ability or the use of artillery support. Why pay to reduce the effectiveness of my units?

                I forgot the best unit in the game: the Privateer. Just stack it with the best ship you have at the time, and it gets more powerful as time goes on! Of course this is because the AI will attack it and get beat by your other ship...

                Now there's combined arms, for ya!
                Last edited by David Weldon; December 12, 2001, 23:16.
                I'm not giving in to security, under pressure
                I'm not missing out on the promise of adventure
                I'm not giving up on implausible dreams
                Experience to extremes" -RUSH 'The Enemy Within'


                • #9
                  Ancient Era:
                  Chariots are to weak, their attack value should be 2 in my opinion. They also should cost more than the horseman. So 2/1/2 chariot for 40 shields and 2/1/2 horseman for 30 shields might be more balanced and accurate.
                  Immortals are to powerfull in this era, the other UUs are balanced.

                  Medival age:
                  Longbowmen are not useful, they can be attackted and killed by almost anything. They require protection of a pikeman to travel to enemy cities. Since a knight costs as much as a pikeman and a longbowman, knights are the natural choice for offensive units. I belive longbowman should have ranged attack capabilities in addition to its attack and defance values.
                  Cavalty is to powerful against musketman when it first arrives, but it's completety useles agains infantry. Having two types of mouted soldiers with firearms(like dragons and cavalry of Civ II) would make the cavalry more balanced in both situations.
                  Muskeeters are not better than musketman because neither attacks. Other UUs are balanced for their time.

                  Industrial ages:
                  Marine is not strong enogh as it should be, it has to be better than infantry both in attack and defence, something like 10/12/1. The range of paratroopers is very limited, which makes them useless.
                  Panzer is the only UU, which I find effective and balanced.

                  Modern times:
                  The only thing I see wrong is the fact that Syntetic Fibers(Modern Armor) can be researched before rocketry (reveals aluminum which is required for modern armor). Space flight should have been a pre-req. for Syntetic fibers.


                  • #10
                    Nobody has brought this up yet, so here goes.

                    Nukes and Air Superiority.

                    Before I begin I have to admit that I have not applied the patch yet. I want to finish my current game first. So I know my second point may be moot.

                    1. Nukes (ICBMs). I have seen enemy nukes hit my cities with approx 40 or 50% success rate after I have completed Strategic Missile Defense. I have been hit 4 times out of 8 or 10 AI attempts. Conversely, I have launched about 20 nukes back at the AI and have only hit twice. This is all in the same game. I am stretching the boundaries of probability and am beginning to suspect a bug.

                    The truly queer thing about the AI use of nukes is target selection. My original city (no longer capital) was targeted once (it hit). Most of the other attempts and hits were at cities of marginal value to me (no-where near fully developed, and only 6 to 12 pop). One marginal city was hit twice and targeted at least one other time.

                    The AI was no-where near any of the targeted cities with ground units (or any others for that matter) so the tactical situation cannot explain the targeting. Likewise, most of the cities were not air or sea links in my trade network, so disruption of communications was not the goal.

                    The AI launches at most 1 nuke per turn at my cities (maybe this affects the odds?). I launched 6+ on 1 strike and 10 later in another strike. 1 hit each. I tried a single ICBM on several other occasions with no luck.

                    2. Air Superiority. I am listing this mostly for those who think that aircraft were totally a waste before the patch.

                    The only thing I can see that is broken is that none of my Jets have ever done anything if set to AirSup. The AI Jets come after my Bombers with annoying regularity. So I couldn't figure out how to escort my Bombers... Except that if I lead with my Jet Fighters. First all of the Jets bomb targets in the area. This brings up the AI Jets. 50-50 my Jet dies or their Jet dies. I assume the odds would be affected by the 2 FP of F15's. If so they are not so useless after all. After all the Jets have gone in, then the Bombers go in. If you have more Jets than him, your Bombers will mostly be left alone. If not, well... air superiority is most often won with quantity.


                    BTW. Yes, I agree with everyone else. Immortals are too good. Take that 4 attack away from them and give it to the Legions. They deserve it.
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                    • #11
                      There needs to be an increased potency of early gunpowder units versus older units. You are likely looking at either modifying the way HP works or giving an HP bonues or era bonus in combat.

                      Combat should make sense - not with a predetermined outcome, but I shouldn't be losing subs to frigates...

                      Please expire UUs that don't make sense. I don't want to build any more legionarys when I have mechanized infantry available.



                      • #12
                        Playing most of my games as the French, I have yet to build a musketeer. I'd rather build a cheap pikeman and upgrade him as soon as I can. I too would also like to see an option to build/upgrade to a regular unit instead of a UU.

                        I disagree that upgrading to a UU is too powerful. I'd say it nicely offsets the fact that you have to wait for your UU. Not only that, but as pcasey pointed out, a +1 in the ancient era is huge compared to a +1 in the middle or industrial age, and this could be another balancing point to the upgrade.

                        Otherwise, I can pretty much agree with everyone else, especially about cavalry. In most every game so far I go the cavalry route instead of towards Democracy. Why not? As soon as I have a 6.3.3 units, suddenly my empire doubles or triples in size.


                        • #13
                          I don't know how you can solve the critiques of the AI use of force. It seems to me that you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.

                          I think it's Vel who said that the AI will not attack large stacks of combined arms next to its cities. I do not necessarily agree. I think that at the time that you have your stack next to its city, the AI has usually shot its bolt and cannot launch any meaningful attack.

                          The AI can too easily be enticed into suicidal attacks against Inf stacked with Arty in Mountains (or anywhere else for that matter). Also, it will go after the weakest enemy units, not those that can do it the most damage.

                          I recently landed on the continent of a well developed AI (all possible techs). I landed in Mountain with 8 Marines, 8 MechInf, 8 RadArty, 16 ModArmour, and 1 Army with 4 more MechInf. The landing was adjacent to an AI city. The AI junked approx 10 of its ModArmour trying to climb the rocks to our positions. By the time it let up, most of my units were still at full health. ie the AI had no hope of winning the battle with the forces it was able or willing to commit. So why did it bother? Couldn't the AI calculate overall odds of success and then stop being suicidal?

                          Actually, what I have observed is that the AI goes ballistic with any and all non-garrison troops as soon as it has targets in a war. Once you chew through this reserve, the AI is left with city garrisons only plus what it can produce in any given turn. So to begin a campaign you will see a storm of AI units. This storm slows to a drizzle as you destroy the AI and it only has current production on any given turn. At this point you can park stacks next to its cities and pop them 1 by 1.

                          If you can solve this problem, you will have an AI far superior to any TBS that I have ever seen. I have never seen an AI that could not be drawn into some Stalingrad like situation or other.

                          However, selection of which terrain to attack and forces to commit is nothing compared to my next point.

                          The AI will attack the weakest units first. I mean by stack, not within a stack.

                          Go to war with the AI along with an ally who is technologically disadvantaged. In my case it was an ally (German) providing Cavalry fodder to grease the wheels of my conquest of an enemy (Greek) AI. Every turn, Greek Tanks and MechInf would attack German Cav and Inf until they were all gone. Then, on some turns they would attack a few of my exposed Tanks or MechInf (if there were any). On my turn I would destroy the exposed Greek Tanks and MechInf. This went on for about 20 or so turns until the Greeks lost their Rubber and could no longer produce Tanks or MechInf. It should have ended sooner, but it took me a while to realize how effective Strategic Bombing can be in this game (hint, it's the Resources people).

                          The point is similar, but more complex than my first one. There the AI had only one stack to consider. It decided on a suicidal course of action. Easy to fix (or I think it should be). With 50 or 60 plus units in the field, of varying quality and in various terrain it is much more difficult. If you could design an AI that could beat me and my allies in the second situation, I would be in awe. Beyond awe, I would know that Compu-Comp lives.

                          So why the XL post? Exploits.

                          1. Start a war. Put good defensive units in excellent defensive terrain. Add AI. Shake well, then serve.

                          2. Why would a disadvantaged AI lead the charge in a war? If an AI is at war along with allies and has inferior tech units, it should not lead the charge. In my war with the Greeks the Germans constantly drew up next to or placed themselves ahead of my Tanks and MechInf. This would be very hard to programme, but would be excellent if it could be done.

                          Both points relate to how the enemy AI selects targets for attacks. My observations are that it is not excellent in selecting targets that will benefit its long term goals (survival in both cases).

                          (")_(") This is Bunny. Copy and paste bunny into your signature to help him gain world domination.


                          • #14
                            I have quite a few thoughts on this issue, but I'll stick with one for now.

                            The Musketman. Totally ridiculous. Hate to be blunt, but this unit is so nonsensical that cutting yourself off from saltpeter to get two pikemen is far superior.

                            For 60 shields you can get 2.4.1 and four or so hitpoints, or 1.3.1 with effectively eight. One defense point for four hit points seems like a good trade to me. The 2 attack is effectively worthless - no one's going to attack with 2A muskets when 3A swordsmen are around. Looking at it from a gameplay point of view, Muskets are really 0.4.1 for 60, with Pikemen at 0.3.1 for 30. Every time I get Gunpowder, I do so knowing that I am accepting a downgrade in my defensive capabilities (in order to get Cavalry later on).

                            I can accept tanks losing to spearmen now and then, I can even accept full-health elite marines falling to bombarded-to-2hp Pikemen (the Marine attack is far too low, and the unit appears to have been created with no substantial gameplay role to fill - but that's something else entirely). What I really dislike is the discovery of gunpowder KNOWING that I am losing defensive ability by doing so. I recognize that you're trying to make the game less tech oriented (given the Modernization As Strategy type things in Civ 2) but there are enough checks to that kind of thing already. Something needs to be offered to make Musketmen a better deal for their price. A defensive raise, a cost decrease, even a special ability forbidding retreats from it, anything to make people want to build muskets (aside from the graphics).

                            This is really more of an MP concern, of course, but the SP AI considers muskets an upgrade, and therefore builds them, despite the fact that it essentially means handing industrial advantage to the human player who does not build them. Not to mention that mass fast-unit works better against four hit points as opposed to eight.



                            • #15
                              Strategic Bombing.

                              I have observed that all of the AI Workers hide in cities during a war.

                              This makes it too easy to disable the AI and win any given modern war.

                              1. Start war.

                              2. Bomb with Air units or bombard with Naval units all of the AI's critical Strategic Resources. ie Rubber, Oil, Aluminium.

                              3. Game over as the AI comes at you with Longbowmen. Yes, I have seen the AI revert to Longbowmen after loosing its Rubber.

                              Any human would park enough Workers to build a road in 0 turns on 1 source each of Rubber, Oil and Aluminum if in a serious war. If the AI bombs out all the roads to the resource, the workers rebuild it and voila, we're building Tanks again. The AI does not do this (gang up Workers) so it is unusually susceptible to Strategic Bombing.


                              BTW. When you use these suggestions, you will give us a code to allow us to disable the improvements, won't you?

                              This has got to be the first thread on any non-SM board where the topic boils down to *tell us how to beat you and chain you*; *yes, ohhh yes, chain us and beat us*. Aren't we colluding with the enemy by helping you?

                              But seriously. I'm impressed that you are asking. I interpret the question as genuine desire to make a better product by going to the source (experts or at least self-considered experts).

                              Good on ya
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