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  • Unique Unit Grades (including PTW UU's)

    Just for fun, I thought I'd run down my assessment of the Unique Units, particularly the new ones from Play The World.

    My assumptions are that you're playing Emperor or Deity on a standard size map with 8 civs, so combat is fairly important, and you're frequently strong-arming techs out of other civs in the Ancient and early Middle Ages.

    I also assume that while you may have some difficulty obtaining Horses or Iron in the Ancient era, typically by the time Knights show up you've conquered a couple of neighbors and getting both is easy.

    I think the ideal time for a Golden Age is the early Middle Ages, just after you switch to Republic. Typically around 300 AD or so.

    The earlier the Golden Age typically the better, because it fuels expansion. However, it's a bit of a waste to do so in the Ancient era, both because many of the extra shields are lost to Despotism, and because the extra trade isn't as important when you're extorting tech instead of researching it.

    Move 2+ units are also preferable to Move 1 units, both because they get to the front faster, and because of the Retreat ability. Any sustained war needs relatively low attrition in the attacking forces, which means either fantastically better attack than defense (i.e. 3:1), heavy bombardment, or a fast attacker.

    <b>A</b>
    These units give a serious advantage when they show up.

    Arab Ansar Warrior. Move 3 makes a huge difference in time moving through enemy territory, often cutting the time required to overrun an enemy civ in half. Cheaper than Knights, and the loss of 1 defense isn't something you miss at all. Like all Knight UU's, timing of the Golden Age is perfect.

    Aztec Jaguar Warrior. A Jaguar Warrior force has a much higher upkeep than a Horseman force, since you need twice as many. Attrition tends to be a lot higher too. However, they're incredibly cheap, are available on turn 1, and require no resources in a period when getting Iron or Horses can be an issue. A Jaguar Warrior rush can occur even before an Archer rush, and is cheaper. They do trigger a Golden Age too early, though.

    Chinese Rider. Same benefits as the Ansar Warrior, but more expensive.

    Iroquois Mounted Warrior. While it has the unfortunate effect of triggering a Ancient golden age, the Mounted Warrior takes the preferred Ancient attack unit and increases its strength by 50%. Since it takes a long time for Knights to show up, the longevity, strength, and early appearance of the Mounted Warrior make up for the premature Golden Age.

    Zulu Impi. Impi are a perfect counterpart to Horsemen, a cheap defensive unit that can keep up, and even retreats if things go against it. Since they're defensive, you don't build as many Impi as horsemen, but they do significantly reduce the attrition of your Horsemen.

    <b>B</b>
    These units give a nice advantage, but aren't as significant as the <b>A</B> units.

    Egyptian War Chariot. Not being able to traverse jungle or mountains can be a problem, but they're cheap, and available well before Horsemen. The main advantage is the same as the Jaguar Warrior, a strong early rush when the enemy has almost nothing but Warriors and Spearmen.

    German Panzer. Speed 3 is fantastic with Blitz units. The only reason they aren't A is that they come so late that the game is often decided before they show up.

    Japanese Samurai. The extra defense point is nice, though not as useful as an extra attack point would be. Doesn't need Horses, but that's often unimportant.

    Mongol Keshik. Cheaper than Knights, with an unimportant loss of a defense point. The ability to cross mountains cheaply is specialized, but can be extremely nice when otherwise a mountain in enemy territory would stop you dead. Doesn't require Iron, but that's often unimportant. Good timing for a Golden Age.

    Ottoman Sipahi. 33% stronger than Cavalry for 25% more shields, and the bonus is on attack, rather than the less useful defense bonus of the Cossack. The extra attack helps reduce the attrition rate against Riflemen, which usually show up shortly afterward, but doesn't help much against Infantry.

    Russian Cossack. The extra defense point can be nice, since the speed of Cossacks mean they far outrun your defensive units. Timing of the Golden Age is nice, but not ideal.

    Scandanavian Berserk. On land, the expense and slow speed of the Berserk make regular Knights a better choice, much as Horsemen are a better choice than Swordsmen. Against Musketeers, they suffer more attrition than you really want. However, on ships, though, they effectively have move 3 or 4 through enemy territory, which is a tremendous advantage, provided the enemy has a fair number of coastal cities. Good timing for a Golden Age.

    <b>C</b>
    These units give a minimal advantage, or a small advantage and trigger a premature Golden Age.

    Babylonian Bowman. Makes a decent Archer rush, since you don't need to mix them with Spearmen, but the window in which they're useful is quite short.

    Celtic Gallic Swordsman. 50% stronger than Horsemen for 66% more shields. A Swordsman force does require less upkeep than a Horseman one, and it's possible you may only have Iron in the Ancient era. Unfortunately, the Swordsman doesn't upgrade to either Knights or Cavalry.

    Greek Hoplite. Great defensive unit, and very cheap, but you shouldn't spend a lot of time defending. Attack, attack, attack. Hordes of these don't help that much.

    Numidian Mercenary. Pretty much a Hoplite that costs 50% more with a nearly useless extra point of attack. A C- unit due to cost, but the extra point of defense does help.

    Persian Immortal. Attack 4 makes them seem quite powerful for an Ancient unit, but they're slow, and Horsemen almost always get the first attack and hence eat them up.

    Roman Legion. Good defense, not as cheap as Hoplites, but capable of attack as well. Too slow for a good attack unit.

    <b>D</b>
    These units convey no advantage at all. The only point of building them is to trigger a Golden Age.

    Conquistador. Incredibly expensive and weak. The ability to raid into enemy territory isn't all that important, generally only netting you a few workers you would have picked up later anyway. Now and then they might be useful for pillaging a critical enemy resource.

    English Man of War. While technically 50% stronger than Frigates, the window between Frigates and Ironclads is often just 8-10 turns.

    French Musketeer. The extra attack point is useless, and Musketmen are poor units anyway.

    Indian War Elephant. Requires neither Iron nor Horses, but otherwise uninteresting.

    <b>F</b>
    These units are not only bad, it's nearly impossible to trigger a Golden Age with one.

    American F-15. Comes way too late in the game, improves a unit that's virtually useless, and improves Bombardment, which is a role better suited to Bombers anyway. Deliberately triggering a Golden Age with a F-15 is quite difficult.

    Korean H'wacha. Which the bombardment strength is reasonably good, the H'wacha shows up just before Cavalry. Cavalry have no trouble at all overruning Musketmen, and only slightly more with Riflemen, and taking H'wacha along negates Cavalry's huge speed advantage. When Infantry shows up, so does Artillery, making the H'wacha obsolete. Worst of all, it can't trigger a Golden Age.

    - Gus

  • #2
    while I reading this, I wondered if the Legion is now less valuable than it was before PTW? I have not use Zulu in a long time, but I would think the Impi is a bit more useful now than it was as there are more paths for upgrades. I actuall have not look to see if it can be up graded all the way to guerilla or not.

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    • #3
      Re: Unique Unit Grades (including PTW UU's)

      Originally posted by GusSmed
      Aztec Jaguar Warrior. A Jaguar Warrior force has a much higher upkeep than a Horseman force, since you need twice as many. Attrition tends to be a lot higher too. However, they're incredibly cheap, are available on turn 1, and require no resources in a period when getting Iron or Horses can be an issue. A Jaguar Warrior rush can occur even before an Archer rush, and is cheaper. They do trigger a Golden Age too early, though.
      The too early (sometimes 2-city) GA is a major issue.

      Ottoman Sipahi. 33% stronger than Cavalry for 25% more shields, and the bonus is on attack, rather than the less useful defense bonus of the Cossack. The extra attack helps reduce the attrition rate against Riflemen, which usually show up shortly afterward, but doesn't help much against Infantry.

      Russian Cossack. The extra defense point can be nice, since the speed of Cossacks mean they far outrun your defensive units. Timing of the Golden Age is nice, but not ideal.
      The Sipahi is definitely an A (and in any case better than the Cossack). While they are expensive, this cost will mostly be paid in gold (mass upgrade from knights) and often be mitigated by Leonardo's. At the same time they adress the principal threat to Cavalry, emerging better defensive units (Riflemen). While it is not a MW the better chances for promotion and lower losses at a time when one big push can end the game (before the stalemate of industrial) make it a first-rate UU.

      Now, compare that to the extra defense of the Cossack...

      For the GA the Sipahi is quite late but the Ottomans can trigger it with a combination of Pyramids/GW/HG and Great Library also just at the right time (early Medieval).

      Roman Legion. Good defense, not as cheap as Hoplites, but capable of attack as well. Too slow for a good attack unit.
      Legions have actually been improved by the new upgrade path to Medieval Infantry. At least now they aren't a dead end.

      Comment


      • #4
        I realize that this guide is geared towards attacking, but I feel that both the Hoplite and the Numi. Merc get a bad rap around here.

        I really like the Merc, and by extension, the Hoplite.
        Why?
        It's a Pikeman.
        At Bronzeworking.
        I build defenders 1 time, in the early Ancient Age, and I don't have to upgrade until Nationalism.

        I haven't done a cost-analysis on these, but I'm inclined to think an Ancient Age pikeman is far more valuable than it's given credit for, both in terms of upgrade costs and in terms of relative military strength in the eyes of the AI. What are the odds he's going to harass my 3-defense, fortified in towns, ancient era pikeman with his Archers? Surely there's a weaker enemy somewhere nearby...

        And here's a challenge for you warmongers...
        I recently started a Monarch game and got Egypt - my two neighbors are Greece and Carthage - two UUs I hate to have next door. I'll need an RoP or lots of Galleys to attack either of the other two AIs, Spain and Rome.

        How do you wage early war on Carthage and Greece? Or even Rome? As far as UUs go, I think the Hoplite and Merc are strong, not because they grant you an offensive, expansionist bonus, but because once you've attained numerical superiority, it sure is tough for the AI to counter-attack, assuming they're even willing to dash themselves against your extra early Pikes.

        That's just my opinion, though, and limited to Monarch at the top-end.
        "Just once, do me a favor, don't play Gray, don't even play Dark... I want to see Center-of-a-Black-Hole Side!!! " - Theseus nee rpodos

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        • #5
          The only point attacking Greece in early game would be to on purpose trigure their GA with say Swordmen. (So your own GA isn't trigured)

          Otherwise, I would wait for Knights or Calvary.

          Carthrians though have an expensive UU, so you may be able to beat them if you attack with enough War Chariots. Or you could on purpose upgrade them to Horse Men if you don't want the GA.

          Romans are very agressive once they have some Legionaries. It may be a good idea to lauch a preemptive war to secure the Iron if you know where it is and the Romans haven't connected it yet. But if the Romans have Legionaries, I'd recomend waiting for Knights or Calvary.

          (Main reason I'm menting Knights is that your playing Monarch level. On Emperor level, I probably wouldn't be mentioning Knights unless you already had more cities than your oppoent by then.)

          Additional note about playing Eqypt. Until your GA starts, you can just build War Chariots and upgrade them as you build them all the way up to Calvary. (Every time you discover a tech, you'll need to change orders back to War Chariots)

          A similar advantage exists for all the Ancient Era and early middle ages UUs.
          1st C3DG Term 7 Science Advisor 1st C3DG Term 8 Domestic Minister
          Templar Science Minister
          AI: I sure wish Jon would hurry up and complete his turn, he's been at it for over 1,200,000 milliseconds now.

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          • #6
            Isn't the Num. Merc. a pikeman with an extra offense point (that comes with BW)? Sounds like a good deal to me... or do people just generally think 30 shields is too much for an ancient defense unit?
            "I used to be a Scotialist, and spent a brief period as a Royalist, but now I'm PC"
            -me, discussing my banking history.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Unique Unit Grades (including PTW UU's)

              Originally posted by GusSmed

              Scandanavian Berserk. On land, the expense and slow speed of the Berserk make regular Knights a better choice, much as Horsemen are a better choice than Swordsmen. In theory, you could haul them around on Galleys, adding 15 shields to the cost of using them, and both make them relatively immune to counter attack and upping the effective speed from 3 to 4. I haven't tried it though. Good timing for a Golden Age.
              Haven't tried it? Then do so. You'll be in for more of a treat (and game breaker) than you might think.

              I used 15 Berserkers to wipe out five civs in about 40 turns. Everything from spearmen in size one cities to riflemen in metropolises would fall.

              The unit is hugely overpowered, both in its incredible high stats and the era in which it is usefull.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by punkbass2000
                Isn't the Num. Merc. a pikeman with an extra offense point (that comes with BW)? Sounds like a good deal to me... or do people just generally think 30 shields is too much for an ancient defense unit?
                Not sure what the anti-merc sentiment is about. As Ducki mentioned earlier, you build 'em early and everybody leaves you alone until Nationalism.
                As far as the early GA is concerned, if you can refrain from attacking everyone in sight for a while, the Numidians can still trigger a GA well into the middle ages. Knock hit points off with Medieval Infantry and let the mercs clean up. I think they're a great unit.
                "Illegitimi non carborundum"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ducki
                  I realize that this guide is geared towards attacking, but I feel that both the Hoplite and the Numi. Merc get a bad rap around here.

                  I really like the Merc, and by extension, the Hoplite.
                  Why?
                  It's a Pikeman.
                  At Bronzeworking.
                  I build defenders 1 time, in the early Ancient Age, and I don't have to upgrade until Nationalism.
                  The Numidian Merc isn't exactly a bad unit, just mediocre. Yes, it's a Pikeman at Bronze Working, and the 30 shield cost isn't out of line for 3 defense. It's just that when you compare it to the Hoplite, which does the same job for 20 shields, you realize Carthage gets shortchanged. The attack of 2 is near-useless - who wants to pay 30 shields for an Archer?

                  Both the Hoplite and the Merc have the drawback that you don't get a huge benefit from building a lot of them. Once you have enough to do whatever defending you need, extras don't help you.

                  By contrast, building an extra Mounted Warrior speeds up the rate you can take cities by that much.

                  The AI, by the way, is kind of dopey about Numidian Mercs. In my last game, I had Mercs attacking my Knights instead of defending. Once I realized it was prone to do this, when a big stack of Mercs wandered by, I'd fortify my Knights and let them attack. Mercs attacking at 2:3 beats attacking them at 4:3, plus I get terrain and fortification bonuses, possibly making the difference 2:4.5 vs. 4:4.5, or roughly double the chance of winning each combat round.

                  And here's a challenge for you warmongers...
                  I recently started a Monarch game and got Egypt - my two neighbors are Greece and Carthage - two UUs I hate to have next door. I'll need an RoP or lots of Galleys to attack either of the other two AIs, Spain and Rome.

                  How do you wage early war on Carthage and Greece? Or even Rome?
                  That's easy. Build more Horsemen. A force of 5 horsemen is almost always sufficient to take a town defended by Spearmen, and 7 horsemen is almost always enough to take one defended by Hoplites, Mercs, or Legions.

                  Against Hoplites or Mercs, bring along a spearman or two to defend if needed. Against legions, if you don't outnumber the enemy enough to wipe them out this turn, run and regroup - don't ever let them attack you.

                  - Gus

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Re: Unique Unit Grades (including PTW UU's)

                    Originally posted by Fosse


                    Haven't tried it? Then do so. You'll be in for more of a treat (and game breaker) than you might think.
                    I've tried all of the Unique Units, or I wouldn't have written about them. What I haven't tried doing with the Berserker is trying to get real use out of their Amphibious ability by ferrying them around in Galleys.

                    On land, they're just not all that good. They're not bad, but Knights are still a better choice.

                    How many coastal cities can actually be attacked this way really depends on the map. On some maps, coastal cities are quite rare. On others, almost every city is a coastal city.

                    - Gus

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ducki

                      I really like the Merc, and by extension, the Hoplite.
                      Why?
                      It's a Pikeman.
                      At Bronzeworking.
                      I build defenders 1 time, in the early Ancient Age, and I don't have to upgrade until Nationalism.
                      so is the legion. its 30 shield cost, need iron and def of 3 is exaclty that of from pikemen. Wat I do as romans is build all out legionaire as both defense and attack throughout anicent era to Nationalism. Only inner empires have spearmen since they are cheaper and they dont require as much protection. Once Nationalism comes, I invert my units. SPearmen gets upped to riflemen, and Legions stay in as MP.
                      :-p

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                      • #12
                        Why do you consider the immmortal that weak. It is -IMHO- one of the game's best UUs. Using the attack of a knight for half the price makes them useful -even against musketmen. I would say, the immortal is the best UU on medium maps or smaller.
                        www.civforum.de

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                        • #13
                          I gotta agree about the Immortals. It's not for nothing that so many talk about how the Persians are one of the best civs in the game, that Immortals are truly lethal and that they turn up at a perfect time for crushng everything. We went to great lengths in the Civ3 Democracy game to ensure Persia did not get access to Iron and then crushed them so that they would never get it.
                          Consul.

                          Back to the ROOTS of addiction. My first missed poll!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Re: Re: Unique Unit Grades (including PTW UU's)

                            Originally posted by GusSmed

                            What I haven't tried doing with the Berserker is trying to get real use out of their Amphibious ability by ferrying them around in Galleys.

                            How many coastal cities can actually be attacked this way really depends on the map. On some maps, coastal cities are quite rare. On others, almost every city is a coastal city.

                            - Gus
                            Send out some galley-loads, Gus. It's truly eye-opening. I hadn't expected such lopsided results, but then I sent out a mini-armada and razed the coastal layer of a far more powerful civ like I was peeling an orange.

                            I was so impressed I wrote it up:
                            http://apolyton.net/forums/showthrea...threadid=68665

                            Granted, this particular situation unfolded on an archipelago map. Still, I am now convinced this unit can do major damage in many other settings and scenarios.

                            Against any civ with large cities on coastlines, sea-borne zerkers cannot be effectively opposed until Magnatism -- and then only at the expense of floating a navy of Frigates. Zerkers totally tip the balance of the game in intercontinental warfare, and they do it exactly when I (at least) tend to need help the most. The golden age comes right in the middle of that medieval wonder-building sweet spot -- and (typically) right at about the time that I've secured control of my own continent and am ready to open my initial beachheads overseas.
                            aka, Unique Unit
                            Wielder of Weapons of Mass Distraction

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mazarin
                              Why do you consider the immmortal that weak. It is -IMHO- one of the game's best UUs. Using the attack of a knight for half the price makes them useful -even against musketmen. I would say, the immortal is the best UU on medium maps or smaller.
                              When I first started playing, I thought the Immortal was great. However, Horsemen, despite having half the attack for the same cost, are much better units.

                              Against well played Horsemen, the Immortals never get to attack, so they're just expensive Spearmen. On the attack, that 4 attack which sounds so great still results in higher attrition during an assault than a Horseman attack, because they can't retreat when the rolls go against them, which they often do.

                              They're also slow, which means that they must spend at least one turn and usually two marching through enemy territory where they can be attacked, whereas Horsemen often can attack from safely within your territory. Even when they must stop in enemy territory due to a wide Culture border, they can often pick and choose locations where counterattacking them is difficult or impossible.

                              As I said in the initial post, you want your ongoing casualties to be light. Damage down to 1 HP is fine, provided you don't lose the unit. Acceptably low attrition requires either 3:1 attack:defense, a speed 2+ unit against speed 1 defenders, or bombardment.

                              3:1 isn't available all that often with speed 1 attackers. Berserkers against Spearmen is the only case I can recall. Sufficient Bombardment is hideously expensive until Artillery, and speed 2+ units are a better alternative except during the period between the introduction of Infantry and the appearance of Tanks.

                              - Gus

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