View Full Version : The Zulu


Zardnaar
Jan 30, 2005, 04:11 PM
The most famous Zulu king was Shaka. Known for his ruthlessness even by 19th century and Zulu standards he was eventually murdered by his own brother. The details of his rule are probably better left to a Historical Filth article by Kafka in the history section of CFC. Shaka was known for introducing the assegai to the Zulu. The assegai is a short handled long bladed stabbing spear where other tribes used a more traditional and ineffective throwing spear. Zulu power was broken by the English in 1879.

In the game they are expansionistic and militaristic. Widely percieved as perhaps the two weakest traits in the game they are a poor combination. The expansionistc trait can be hit and miss. You start with a scout unit and can build more. Its main use is to grab goody huts and explore the surrounding terrain. If you get lucky you can get a new city or settler from a goody hut near your capital effectively doubling your expansion rate.
However the higher the difficulty level the more likely it is that you get a handful of gold, a conscript warrior or a map. It is also crippled on island maps where you may not have any goody huts at all on your starting island. However you do get to start with pottery for the all important settler factory start. In Conquests though the agricultural trait also gets this benefit and more, so its overall effect is minimal as its easier to trade for or start with. Once you exit the ancient age the expansionistic trait has little to no value however. Hopefully you make the most use of it as you can such as getting perfect city placement as for the rest of the game you're stuck with it.

The militaristic trait is another trait percieved as weak. You get to start with warrior code and it gives you half priced military building such as barracks, harbors and the almighty coastal fortress amoung others-erm bad example perhaps. Also your military units get promoted faster which leads to more elite units to try and generate military great leaders with. The trait has little value outside of warfare though. Several other traits indirectly contribute to a civs ability to wage war and the militaristic trait seems optional. When combined with another trait suited for warfare and a civ with a great unique unit (UU) it can be great. Which leads me to the Impi.

The Zulu UU is the Impi. It has a ADM of 1/2/2 that costs 20 shields and requires no resources to build. Basically a fast spearman it is a awkward unit to use as in civ you generally have two options for warfare. 1. Stack of Doom using a large amount of slow units with artillery or 2. Blitz - a large amount of fast attackers such a Knights or Tanks which rely on speed, attack power and numbers to punch their way through an AIs lines. The Impis attack value is only 1 - one of the lowest in the game while its speed of 2 makes it useless for a slow moving stack of doom. Overall its useless in either primary role units in civ tend to fall into. It is however better than a normal spearman and is good to use if you need to quickly reinforce a city or if your armys advance has left your core far behind. The Impi also makes a great pillager unit that is cheap.

Overall the Zulu are a 3rd tier civ. One big problem is that with the expansionistic trait and ancient age UU is that once you hit the middle ages all you have left is the militaristic trait to carry you through to the end of the game. As a builder civ they are hopeless when compared to most of the civs, For the warmonger player at best they're a 2nd tier civ as the UU is weak and the trait combo doesn't excel at that type of game. The AI can't play them very well either and your only option seems to be constant warfare to keep up with the AI- something that becomes harder to do as you go up the difficulty levels. Overall a very poor civ in most aspects and probably one of the worst in the game.

punkbass2000
Jan 30, 2005, 07:25 PM
Well written, though I do think the Impi is a bit better that you make it out to be. It's nice for Horseman/Impi stacks, as well as being a good pillager. An Impi army is the AA version of the Conquistador, IMO. But, as you point out, it's not that nice. I agree with your overall rating.

Jopedamus I
Jan 30, 2005, 11:52 PM
Nice and accurate review. Zulu really is one of the worst 6 civs in the game. Impi is ok UU if used intelligently, but not even close of being any gamebreaker UU.

Hunter Noventa
Jan 31, 2005, 12:26 AM
Despite being one of the worst they always manage to annoy the hell out of me. Who would have thought?

Bravo on the accurate review!

Pfeffersack
Jan 31, 2005, 02:34 AM
I share the overall view of the article, too.However, the Impi has one other nice speciality - since it is fast, attacking fast units can't retreat.In most cases I think thats an advantage since the enemy is more likely to suffer losses.

Sargon of Agade
Jan 31, 2005, 02:40 AM
Okay, so will Ision's Rating of it as a 2nd teir be edited and this article be linked to other civ reviews? Do you know why in the 3 teir system set up by Ision the Zulu were anything but a 3rd tier civ? Will there only be 9 civs in the 2nd teir now and one more in the 3rd or will the highest 3rd teir be elevated and switched with the Zulus?
Sorry I am so inquisitive(almost or at the point of annoyance) its just the civ reviews have to be some of the best written articles submitted to these forums, and almost all of them fit in well with my experience with the game. The Zulu and the Russians used to be my favorite civs, As a beginer the Militaristic trait looked so appealing and that combined with expanionistic trait made me think that the Zulu were the best civ ever... The Impi is one of the weakest land based UU, and is only useful in set circumstances... There is really no reason to pick the Zulu over the mongols, even though the mongol's aren't the best civ, their UU triggered golden age has better timing at the very least. Great review, keep up the good work, SoA

budweiser
Jan 31, 2005, 08:46 AM
You guys must be missing something. I'll grant that I wouldnt want to play the zulu on an archipelago. But on a continets or pangea map, I can see the zulu learning the lay of all the land, making a granary/settler factory early, making contacts early, tech trading to parity, isolating a victim, rushing with impi, horse, etc and triggering a despotic GA. This should be enough to let you acquire huge tracks of land during the first age and be one of the first players to get into the second age. You really have two ways of getting land in the first age, this is a important. Come to think of it, starting with pottery also puts you on track to get mapmaking so an island start would not be too bad. There, that's a positive spin.

I have inspired myself. I am going to try this out tonight.

Mad2rix
Jan 31, 2005, 02:05 PM
IMO the Zulu mostly play well on smaller Pangaea maps, while the Mongols needed to take a lot of time on larger Pangaea maps to expand more territory so they could produce as many Keshiks as possible before trigging well-timed GA. Still, they're very dangerous and aggressive if playing against them as I don't trust them unless they're stranded on an island. There are very few games that either of these Mil, Exp. civs declare themselves MONSTER CIVS depending on how they manage to maintain their empire.

Zardnaar
Jan 31, 2005, 02:09 PM
Okay, so will Ision's Rating of it as a 2nd teir be edited and this article be linked to other civ reviews? Do you know why in the 3 teir system set up by Ision the Zulu were anything but a 3rd tier civ? Will there only be 9 civs in the 2nd teir now and one more in the 3rd or will the highest 3rd teir be elevated and switched with the Zulus?
Sorry I am so inquisitive(almost or at the point of annoyance) its just the civ reviews have to be some of the best written articles submitted to these forums, and almost all of them fit in well with my experience with the game. The Zulu and the Russians used to be my favorite civs, As a beginer the Militaristic trait looked so appealing and that combined with expanionistic trait made me think that the Zulu were the best civ ever... The Impi is one of the weakest land based UU, and is only useful in set circumstances... There is really no reason to pick the Zulu over the mongols, even though the mongol's aren't the best civ, their UU triggered golden age has better timing at the very least. Great review, keep up the good work, SoA

Ision probably likes them better than I do. Keep in mind Ision tier system is a gudeline only and is only an opinion.

Eran of Arcadia
Feb 17, 2005, 10:15 PM
Although they might be bad to play, it's a pain playing against them. In every game (oddly enough it was like this in the traitless Civ2) they are the ones that build up fast, then make sneak attacks and raze my cities. On the othe hand, it's so satisfying to wipe them out - revenge is sweet like that.

zerksees
Dec 16, 2005, 10:41 PM
I have to politely disagree with this assessment. Here is my 2 cents:

In fact my first emperor win I switch from playing the Persians and played the Zulu. I happened across a war academy article (http://www.civfanatics.com/civ3/strategy/levels.php) about how to win on emperor and deity level.

Expansionist is probably not the best trait, but in order to thrive later in the game you have to make it through early on. Impis are a great tool for defense, pillaging or collecting slave workers by whacking settler escorts and getting the workers from the settler.

Finding luxuries or resources is a huge benefit to scouts, yet that was not considered. If I know a luxury is there (or iron maybe) before others, I can get my settler out there and claim it. Besides the possible benefits of goody huts. I will admit the advantages of expansionist dwindle as you go up to demigod, deity and Sid levels, but below that it has value.

Smart militaristic players will use barbs to promote those Impis to elite, and use them to create great leaders, then build armies.

I too hate playing against the Zulu when they are on my landmass, so there must be something to this trait/UU combination.

I think the key to this game is adjusting strategy to maximize the advantages you are given in your civ's traits, your spot on the map, and whatever other circumstances arise during the game.

Bucephalus
Feb 18, 2006, 03:49 AM
My biggest problem with the Zulu is that the Impi has the wrong stats. Historically, the 'Impi' was an aggressive unit (actually a collection of units but let's ignore semantics). The 2 movement stats are accurate because the Zulu armies could move 50+ miles in a day, and then fight a battle at the end of it, but the Zulu's shortened spear didn't lend itself to defensive fighting. I modded the stats to be 2/1/2 - essentially a fast archer - and they became AA monsters.

Ansar
Feb 18, 2006, 08:42 PM
The problem i see is thart the Zulu would be so much better if they were Militaristic + Industrious and not +Expansionist, i mean , the Impi is fast, so why would they need scouts?:rolleyes:

way2hot2becool
Feb 24, 2006, 10:51 AM
You are so right!
The Zulu, when I used them as a little n00b to civilization, effectively destroyed my performance because I did not learn as much using them nor did I get to learn how to destroy my enemy due to the weakness of the Impi.

FascistRepublic
Mar 05, 2006, 12:32 PM
I agree with almost everything, but for some reason, my CD hates me and acctuly plays the zulu very well:eek: . Their military has always been unstopable, unless you get a nice tech lead on them. Happens a lot, though.

ac196nataku
Mar 05, 2006, 02:03 PM
Does the computer not have the penalty of drawing barbs from huts? Perhaps that is why the Zulu are so good for the AI. All the EXP civs seem to dominate if there are a lot of huts on the map. Many times on the world map, the Zulu are a tech leader even if they only have contact with one or two other civs.

SuperBeaverInc.
Mar 05, 2006, 02:05 PM
Does the computer not have the penalty of drawing barbs from huts? Perhaps that is why the Zulu are so good for the AI. All the EXP civs seem to dominate if there are a lot of huts on the map. Many times on the world map, the Zulu are a tech leader even if they only have contact with one or two other civs.

Expansionist civs get better results from goodie huts.

Ansar
Mar 05, 2006, 02:37 PM
If you are EXP, you cannot draw barbs, its part of the EXP trait.:)

ac196nataku
Mar 05, 2006, 02:53 PM
If you are EXP, you cannot draw barbs, its part of the EXP trait.:)

Doh. I knew that too. So much for my thesis. This is why I shouldn't be browsing the forums in the middle of a take-home math test and a economics project.

fishjie
Mar 05, 2006, 03:08 PM
expansionist trait is so useless. they should have added some kind of extra benefit so that it isn't something that only has value at the start of the game, but gives 0 benefit afterward.

Ansar
Mar 05, 2006, 03:25 PM
The scout has some use if you play a pangaea with goody huts.:D

Also, it can get you early contacts.

ac196nataku
Mar 05, 2006, 09:10 PM
Pushing back maps and contacts makes EXP a lot better. Scouts will not got kicked out of peoples land (although they will complain about it). Also the more goody huts, the better EXP is.

My last experience with EXP was not too bad... I was playing the Razzicle mapin my sig. Basically I was on a cramped continent with about 25 other civs... I got a pretty good advantage from the huts and trading through my contacts that I had obtained. Entered the MA first and am still dominating through the game. It was only warlord though... I'm moving up to Regent. EXP seems like it would be less and less useful at higher difficulties though.

AutomatedTeller
Mar 06, 2006, 12:59 PM
An expansionist civ can get an early lead, and often, getting a good lead is the best way to go. I have found it pretty usual to have expansionist AI's walking by my city with 5 techs and they are often early to mid game powers.

FascistRepublic
Mar 06, 2006, 03:00 PM
expansionist trait is so useless. they should have added some kind of extra benefit so that it isn't something that only has value at the start of the game, but gives 0 benefit afterward.

Exactly. Even though commercial dosn't effect the whole game ethier at at least helps in the critical stages.