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With what unit do you like to explore, initially?

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  • With what unit do you like to explore, initially?

    In the past, I'd always began by producing a settler, switching to horseman as soon as the tech became available (researching it first), but I've always been disappointed in its longevity. First of all, I enjoying playing on king level, so I don't need to produce warriors for riot control. Also, I hate losing units. If it's for a good cause, I'm cool with it, but I simply hate losing that first explorer (horseman) to a damned barbarian hut or over-zealous opposing civ. Granted, the horseman travels farther, faster, but the terrain never seems conducive to a "stroll across the plains." It's usually filled with ranges of hills, mountains, and other treacherous lands. Also, the horseman has no holding power if another civ is encountered. He cannot hold a bottleneck to keep the enemy from expanding.

    As a result of all of this, I've been starting to use a phalanx as my first explorer. He's easily researched, costs the same as a horseman, and has much more staying power. He's much less likely to be killed by a stray barbarian (especially if on rough terrain) and can hold a bottleneck, temporarily at least, to keep the opposition from expansion. I tend to produce one explorer with my first three cities and am finding the "border guards" much more to my liking. Sure, it's a matter of taste, but isn't everything?

    What do you think? What unit do you prefer?

    ~work like you don't need the money~
    ~love like you've never been hurt~
    ~dance like nobody's watchin'~
    ~live like there's no tomorrow~

  • #2
    I like to use a combination of Horsemen and Phalanxes for the exact reasons you noted!

    This brings up another question - does anybody ever actually use the Explorer unit?

    - Tim
    Official Homepage of the HiRes Graphics Patch for Civ2


    • #3
      At the very early stages, I just use warriors. They are cheap and there won't be a unit available that can really hold it's own in battle anyway for quite a while to come. (What good is a phalanx if he stumbles across a village from which comes pouring a horde of barbs?). Horsemen vs. Warriors: for the price of one horseman, you can get two warriors. Combined, they have the same movement rate as one horsie, more if you consider that a horse more often than not can't move two squares a turn while exploring. Plus, all those warriors are great for martial law when they return from their explorings. After the initial stages, it really depends on the situation.

      Ceterum censeo Romanem esse delendam.
      Hasdrubal's Home.
      Ceterum censeo Romam esse delendam.


      • #4
        I play at king level, and my first exploring unit is...a warrior. They're cheap, and you typically pull a horse or chariot out of a hut sooner or later. Besides, you want your first group of cities to be fairly close together, and since settlers move at the same rate, the rate of exploration is "good enough".

        Another reason is that I always make a beeline for monarchy, so even the "easily researched" preq techs are out of reach for a while.

        Mindeye: I play on huge, young worlds, where thick, continent-stretching forests are not uncommon, so yes, I find exploerer units to be very useful.
        No, I did not steal that from somebody on Something Awful.


        • #5
          I use worriors. Horseman are useless I never us them. All they are good for is to die, and thats all they do well.
          Don't invade Russia in the winter time.


          • #6
            This from a fellow Mongol? Hmmm.

            Personally, I've started using horsemen a lot more for exploration. I used to used phalanxs almost exclusively, but that lead to me being boxed in, time after time, in mp games.

            Horsemen cost the same as phalanxs, and, if the hut is on a plains, river, or grassland square, a horse can at least take down one barb, if you play it right.

            Besides, while warriors cost half as much, the upkeep costs are the same, and that adds up fast.

            I occaisionally use explorers, if I end up in a heavily-forested area (for instance, northern Europe/Siberia).

            Of course, as soon as chivalry is availible, I switch to knights-best of all worlds.

            "pax et bellum"
            -KhanMan the sayenly lesser Lesser Sayen
            Odin, Thor, and Loki walk into a bar together...


            • #7
              I start with warriors.They are all you have sometimes and are cheap and expendable.4 warriors can cover more ground than 2 horseman.Both would be 40 sheilds.Hopefully the first group of warriors find units.Preferable 4 legged ones.Archers are sent back to the cities horses continue in the direction the warrior was heading so the warrior can go another way.

              Sometimes I explore with diplomats.

              I actually use explorers.They are very good on larger maps.Also very good for mapping enemies in MP as they ignore ZOC.Move in,move out.

              The Zeppelin was better when I gave it less attack power and Theory of Gravity as pre-req.
              The only thing that matters to me in a MP game is getting a good ally.Nothing else is as important.......Xin Yu


              • #8
                Horsemen. Tempo is key in the early game - you need to break past the choke points before they're closed off, and find the huts before the other guys do. Sometimes that extra move can make all the difference. And if you run into a lightly defended city, your horse can teach them a lesson.


                • #9
                  I'll explore with any unit that is available, because exploration is key early in the game.

                  I usually use warriors, because I don't need a new tech to build them. They can be out cruising the board early. They don't take long to build, and who cares if you lose one. If I get a mounted unit from hut... fine, I'll use that.

                  I don't usually go for Horse early. I'd rather get to monarchy as fast as I can.
                  But, if the science path is blocked, I might take it... it all depends on the game situation.

                  Now, I've never been a big fan of explorers.
                  But in a recent game with Xin Yu, I saw them used in the proper fashion. He sent out a combo of an Alpine unit and an Explorer. What a killer combo. They could both move three squares no matter what the terrain was (and when you play on small worlds, bad terrain is the standard) and the explorer could get the alpine unit past zones of control. The vet alpine unit could usually defend itself against most opposition. I'll be using this combo in the future.
                  Keep on Civin'
                  RIP rah, Tony Bogey & Baron O


                  • #10
                    Explorers are very handy. Put your unit in a ship and explore the coastline. If you find a coastal goodie hut on rugged terrain you can tip the hut and, if necessary, get back to the ship.
                    If you can not think of a good reason to build something other than a caravan, build a caravan!


                    • #11
                      That combo can also be used to help uncover some of the inland squares every turn too.
                      I've used that combo before when I have bribed an explorer, but I rarely build them.
                      I just hate the fact that they are counted as a supported unit!
                      Keep on Civin'
                      RIP rah, Tony Bogey & Baron O


                      • #12
                        I explore with whatever is available to start, preferably hut units, if not warriors. Once i get writing, I'll send out a couple diplomats and they become my front line exploration units since they are movement 2, ignore ZOC, use no support and in a pinch can rally the natives to his cause
                        Insert witty phrase here


                        • #13
                          1. Haven't tried this yet but in large map games where I've left a lot of unpopped goody huts scattered around I've been wondering whether I could afford at some point to get a settler unit (no doubt raised in the fair town of Dublin or Cork) to act as a gang of navies dedicated to building roads up to and in the vicinity of the huts. Then one of my horsemen explorers could use the roads to complete exploration quicker and the extra speed conferred by the road might allow him to escape emerging barbs when his luck is out on popping a hut. Of course, if the barbs encircle the horseman when they come out (don't you just hate it when that happens!) the tactic will have failed.

                          In the long run the navies' work invested in the roads will not be wasted either.

                          A bit elaborate maybe. After all I've probably got diplos and some cash by the time I could do this. But I might give it a go, just to see.

                          2. Incidentally I've tried and tried to combine legions and horses (from huts) in some way so that the legions can kill emerging barbs before they have time to do any damage. All I've managed so far tho' is to lose a few legions as well as the horseman. Anyone made that idea work?

                          3. A bit later I quite often explore with diplos but of course that's not going to be an option right at the beginning.

                          4. In deity the first exploring units are, of necessity, settlers. Even after I've founded, the second settler is sometimes primarily an explorer for quite a while. Especially if i've been blessed with a river site. But the only hut he pops is one on a mountain or in the arctic/antarctic. I've never seen a barb come out of a mountain hut and any which emerge into the cold seem to freeze to death before they can do any damage.

                          East Street Trader


                          • #14
                            I also like using diplos to explore. I do hate sending them out naked (by themselves), but I can usually solve that problem with a few dollars later on, and get a non unit out of the deal.

                            But, there is nothing worse than having your diplo discover another unit with it's last movement point. Can you say "toast"
                            Keep on Civin'
                            RIP rah, Tony Bogey & Baron O


                            • #15
                              I usually tip a few huts with my Settlers in the hopes of getting some exploring NON units right from the start. I'll take what I get, usually Archers or Horsemen. Once I have Monarchy, Writing is usually my next goal and so Diplomats are my units of choice for exploration. Since you can always see barbs in the parts of the map that you "know", I send my Diplos right for the barbs to pick up some more cheap recruits. If I find the AI, my Diplo can establish an embassy.

                              The Explorer unit is off my typical tech path. It also requires support and although it ignores ZOC, the AI can demand that you remove it. Two Diplos can explore AI territory better than any number of Explorers.