View Full Version : The Koreans

Oct 21, 2004, 01:11 AM
An ancient Korean proverb describes Korea as a "shrimp among whales", referring to the three great powers of China, Japan, and Russia that surround the small peninsula. Despite its small status, Korea has historically been able to use cunning diplomacy and shrewd defensive wars to retain its independence. A player who chooses Korea will have to show similar slyness in order to prosper.

At first glance, Korea appears to be a copy of Greece, but with a cannon Unique Unit. While true that Korea, like Greece, is Scientific and Commercial, Korean play is markedly different. Scientific and Commercial are both traits that are most powerful in the mid- to late-game. So, a Korean player has the potential to become a deadly late-game threat, ahead in technology, with a productive empire and a prosperous economy- if they can survive that long. The logical inverse of Korea's ability to thrive in the late-game is its inability to keep up in the early ages, especially the rapid early expansion phase. Besides starting with two of the most prized techs, Alphabet and Bronze Working, Korea has almost no other advantages to use in its early development. One is hard-pressed to find a Civ that expands and grows slower than Korea. This is devestating when one takes into account that the eventual outcome of most games are decided before the age in which Korea can shine.

Korea is primarily geared toward being a builder Civ. Any Scientific Civ has the potential to be a builder, because scientific improvements are consistently the highest culture producing buildings. Add to this the Commercial trait, which works on cheaper libraries and universities by fighting shields lost to waste, producing those buildings even faster. The result can be some of the earliest libraries and universities in the game. Unfortunately, only under ideal conditions is Korea free to concentrate on culture.

Korea, especially in the early game, tends to play distressingly weakly in the military area. Though a warmongering strategy with Korea can work, it is only possible if the player has used Korea's building strength to create a strong and productive infrastructure to outproduce aggressive neighbors. In the ancient ages, a Korean player is most vulnerable and would generally be wise to avoid war, perhaps even appeasing powerful hostiles with gifts.

It is in the unique unit department that Greek and Korean play so drastically differ. Greek Hoplites are incredible defenders that are immediately available and not obsolete until the development of cavalry. This shields the Greeks from their early-game weaknesses. Korea has no such saving grace. The Hwach'a is a mildly intriguing unit that replaces the cannon. Its stats are identical to the cannon's, but it has the power of Lethal Land and Sea Bombardment, and does not require iron to build. While a very helpful unit because of its ability to eliminate enemy stacks without risk, it is by no means a game-breaker. They are poorly placed in the tech-tree to be effective- to get them early would require a deviation from the upper, peaceful branches of the Middle Ages tech tree; a deviation that does not benefit a builder player like Korea. To arrive at the Hwach'a as one of the last items researched in the Middle Ages puts them both too late to be very effective, as well as giving the Korean player an awkwardly timed Golden Age. (For those not in the know, a Korean Golden Age is triggered when a Hwach'a bombs a unit out of existence.)

Summary: Though Korea is crippled by its weak early game, it is most hurt by comparison to Greece. There is no reason to play Korea that is not better served by playing Greece, except perhaps the sheer challenge. If Korea can survive long enough, it is a 1st rate builder; but its 3rd rate warmongering and general early unreliability, as well as a novelty UU, give it a 3rd tier status.

Oct 21, 2004, 06:10 AM
Again a very nice review!

I agree they are more difficult to play than Greek because of there UU.But if you manage to survive, the Hwacha becomes literally deadly especially on higher levels, where the game lasts until Ind/ModAge.I usually don't upgrade the Hwacha, but instead add them to stacks of artillery.Artillery redlines the enemies (especially city defenders), Hwacha kills them, Infantery can move in without firing a shot and a risk.You can even produce MGLs with Hwachas...the GA might not be perfectly timed, but it gives the possibilty to mass produce the Hwacha.

So my personal rank would be 2nd tier (the traits are among the better and have synergie, the UU can be deadly and is longlasting), although I see the difficulty in surviving the ancient age.

Oct 21, 2004, 09:05 AM
i too would rather rate them as a low 2nd tier then a third one...

Mr. Hyperbole
Oct 21, 2004, 11:03 AM
Keirador; another excellent review(I believe Ision would have been proud). I was about to agree w/Pfeffersack majk-iii and rate the Koreans as a low 2nd tier...but on reflection I agree with you. Good trait combo but an akwardly placed UU(though it does happen to be one of my favorites). If I had to place them I would say that they're a high 3rd tier...plenty of other Civ's are easier to play(though, again, Korea is one of my favorites; another reason I hate agreeing with you on this one)but I've some really fun games playing as the Koreans.

Oct 21, 2004, 11:07 AM
I was conflicted about putting the Koreans in the third tier, and they would be on the high end of that third tier, but I still consider them more difficult to play than the existing second tier. If I wanted to keep the size of the tiers fairly equal, then either America, Egypt, Sumeria, Byzantines, Aztecs, Zulus, Japan, Germany, Russia, or France would have to be bumped down to third if Korea was to take a second tier status. I just didn't feel right about that.

Oct 21, 2004, 08:13 PM
Nice review. I agree with the 3rd tier status. Although not a truely awful civ making Korea is 3rd tier because theres 20 odd civs I would rate ahead of it. Also everyone will have a different 1st, 2nd, 3rd tier group due to difficulty level/play style and personal preference etc.

Oct 27, 2004, 05:49 PM
Would it be possible to alter the most prominent tier rankings in the Civ Review sticky if the change was popularly agreed and logically sound? Like perhaps France and the Dutch trading places, or some other such thing?

After all, Ision originally considered the Celts second tier until that decision was popularly and logically challenged.

Oct 27, 2004, 07:57 PM
Would it be possible to alter the most prominent tier rankings in the Civ Review sticky if the change was popularly agreed and logically sound? Like perhaps France and the Dutch trading places, or some other such thing?

After all, Ision originally considered the Celts second tier until that decision was popularly and logically challenged.

Maybe- I'm not sure who has control over Isions sticky thread now. However Ision and myself aern't civ gods. The tier system is just a general guideline and opinion of 2 civers. Several "2nd tier" civs are actually 1st tier depending on dificulty level, playstyle, and skill. Once all the reviews were finished I was planning on giving my list of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd tier civs which was slightly different than Isions. Also the Celts were blatantly (imho) better than most 2nd tier civs by a large degree. The difference between the Dutch and French is alot less clear cut. I personally like the seafaring trait alot. France has no half priced buildings for example and doesn't start with pottery which always helps for settler factories. This alone gives the Dutch that slight edge over them. The French have a better trait combo but the Dutch have a better UU and the best trait in the game.

Oct 28, 2004, 02:48 AM
Maybe- I'm not sure who has control over Isions sticky thread now.

Didn't Ision say something about passing it over to Scoutsout in his leaving thread? If that's not it, then it's the mods.

Oct 28, 2004, 08:23 PM
Yeah but Scoutsout has only recently got back to me and I'm still not 100% sure whats happening. I'm certain the reviews will be finished but not sure on the format.

Oct 29, 2004, 05:55 AM
I wouldn't worry about Isions sticky thread. I'm sure something can be arranged with the mods :)

I agree about the subjectiveness of the tier system. I for one love the Koreans' traits and their UU (in C3C). I think that the lethal bombardment capability IS extremely important in this game.

The Dragon
Oct 29, 2004, 07:24 AM
Just a little historical nitpick; ancient Koreans didn't care a fig about Russia. ;)

Oct 29, 2004, 04:03 PM
You caught me. The proverb did originally apply to China, Japan, and at times Mongolia. Though its ancient sense did not include Russia, the proverb survived to modern times, and recently, especially in the late 19th and 20th centuries, includes Siberian Russia as a "whale" among which Korea is a shrimp.

Jopedamus I
Nov 09, 2004, 05:31 AM
Come on! Greece and Korea have same traits and other is ranked 1 tier while the other is in 3 tier!!!UU can't mean that much. Although Greece has better UU, Korea has good UU also. Either Greece is overrated or Korea is underrated...

Nov 09, 2004, 07:49 AM
@Jopedamus I: Actually UU can mean that much. The Hoplite is an excellent defender and they are available right from the start. Korea and Greece are weak in the expansion phase, but the Greeks can handle that with their Hoplites (Korea can not). Mid and late game there should not be any differences.

@Keirador: :goodjob: again, as always!

Jopedamus I
Nov 09, 2004, 08:00 AM
I still don't think it means THAT much. And Korea has UU advantage and golden age later than Greece, so in later game it has advantage over Greece. Of course I understand how great UU Hoplite is and I agree that Greece is better than Korea, but NOT THAT MUCH. Korea should be higher than for example Germany, Russia or America. But Its just my opinion. The review was good anyway! :)

Nov 09, 2004, 08:07 AM
The ranking system is not absolute of course. It is a matter of personal taste, but there is a reason why experienced players (me not included) prefer some civs over others. And you are entitled to have your own opinion :)

Nov 09, 2004, 01:56 PM
I agree that Korea can be powerful in the late game, in fact its one of my favorites. Its just too weak in the early game, which, to me anyway, is the most important period.

Nov 09, 2004, 03:48 PM
Once again the "outside the box" UU is not discussed. The Korean UU is broken in the hands a human player. Make 20-30 of them and then sit until replaceable parts. All you need then are some infantry (or a single army), a massive amount bunch of artillery to soften units and the Hwach to finish them off. You can fight wars and NEVER take any risks of loosing units when attacking. For a human, this Civ is insane.

Nov 09, 2004, 04:46 PM
Yeah, I personally really like the H'wacha. It makes games interesting. Unfortunately the amount of skill required to survive and prosper until the Industrial Age as Korea would usually more than suffice to allow you to win the game without the H'wacha. Actually I believe this application of the H'wacha was discussed in detail in Ision's "Rating the Unique Units" thread. It is only really useful in that specific strategy, which can be considered an unfair exploit. It is fun, though, and gives an immeasurable advantage.

Apr 21, 2005, 07:20 PM
IMO Korean H'wacha will do the job in handling AI's SOD on higher levels in safest way and also a great timing to trigger Golden Age if for those who never build Great Wonders, whose traits actually matches Korean Scientific and Commercial.

Greece are mainly used for defensive position on early - middle part of the game due to their cheap defensive UU, Hoptile.

Invisible Rhino
Jun 08, 2005, 09:14 AM
I put Greece and Korea both in 2nd tier. I think the ultra early golden age you get with Greece balances out the unit value of the Hoplite.

But I may be a bit biased since my 2nd highest score ever I got as Korea :) I completely agree with the review though. I only built three Hwach'as and only used them a total of about six times I think.

It is good to note that they don't trigger a golden age just by bombarding. I thought it over before I used it and was like 'yeah I can get a Golden Age now, that's ok' and then when it didn't happen I was so relieved. :)

In the Modern Era the Koreans are awesome. They have the edge in science and commerce due to their traits and can support huge modern armies and gigantic empires.

Jun 27, 2005, 07:26 AM
I say they're a 2nd tier civ, first class builder, first class warmonger (have you ever used the H'wacha? It rocks), but slow expander.