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Civs that surprised you

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by DarthSheldonPhD, May 20, 2013.

  1. DarthSheldonPhD

    DarthSheldonPhD Warlord

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    Hey forum - long time lurker/first time poster,

    I'd like to emphasize that this is not a best-civ-poll, as there have been dozens of those, all of which have culminated in people yelling at each other about personal opinions and preferences.

    Rather (although admittedly similar), there have been some civs that I've delayed trying for quite some time because they seemed so lackluster on paper. When I finally gave them a shot, I was blown away by how much I underestimated their effectiveness. Here's my experiences and I'm looking forward to hearing what your experiences were:

    1.)Kamehameha: Being a player that prefers exploiting concrete numerical per-city advantages such as Napoleon's +2culture/city or Wuzi's +2gold/city +1gold in saved maintenance, I found a lack of strategical advantage in being able to embark earlier, having a warrior UU, and having a tile improvement available only on coastal tiles and giving a meager +1/culture. BOY WAS I WRONG!!! The turn1-enabled embark gives you the pangaea-specific advantage, early access to all 7 trading partners and all city states, without the pangaea-specific disadvantages, constant encroachment during the land-grab phase and swarms of units marching up from all sides. On small landmass maps, you get first dibs on all the best city locations. In melee-on-melee skirmishes, you have a retreat option that the opposition cannot pursue you. Speaking of melee, the maori is like the jag in that while it only possesses a modest advantage to a limited unit, that advantage transitions with the unit as it upgrades from warrior all the way to mech infantry (side note: what does a dancing mechanized armor unit look like?), effectively making it advantageous the entire game. But unlike jags, maori's advantages aren't terrain dependent. And finally maoi statues= incredible. I didn't realize they functioned similar to terrace farms in that they receive an additional +1 culture for each adjacent maoi. On a regular coastline, that means a string of grassland produces 2food/3culture and on irregular coastal areas, you can have 2food/4-6 culture. later on add +1 gold to the already incredible tile and an additional +1gold during golden ages (provided the tile had no previous gold allotment) turning a small patch of resourceless grassland into a patch of 2food/5culture/2gold super-tiles. Altogether, a civ that I feared I'd have to employ strategies for a vanilla civ (no UA, UB, or UU) turned out to have some of the most useful advantages.

    2.)Pachacuti: similar doubts as with the polynesians; the Inca seemed to have no real definitive numerical advantage in any area: cheaper tile maintenance, which basically just means roads, movement over hills, a terrain specific improvement that only gets real boost if it happens to be next to mountains, and a UU whose sole advantage is that it's better at losing. Again, I was way off. The movement bonus with hills is like all movement and sight bonuses, don't look that hot on paper but implementation proves their value to far exceed expectations. As long as a unit survives the initial counterattack, it can flee without being pursued, essentially giving every land unit a similar hit-and-run ability of keshiks/CamelArchers in hilly areas. Slingers rule for a similar reason as the maori, they carry their advantage through upgrades, and they just... don't... die... Which means by the time they reach Xbows, they're about to get range promotions, becoming REALLY dangerous - causing all that damage, able to hit melee units from a range that they can't attack the next round, and even if they do catch up and get to attach, the Xbow just retreats. Finally, terrace farms are almost as good as polders but MUCH more applicable. Any hill, mountainside or not, becomes self-feeding (producing 2 food with either civil service or fertilizer), making hilly areas the home to stable growing production powerhouses where other cities wouldn't be able to have a city at all. And when they're by mountains, especially multiple mountains, that's when things get a little ridiculous, cities with multiple 5food/2hammer tiles, and those aren't even the tiles with resources.
     
  2. LoneRebel

    LoneRebel Emperor

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    Yeah, the fact that the Maori Warrior's and Slinger's unique abilities carry on through upgrades is what makes a seemingly modest ability pretty effective.

    Imagine the crew of a heavy machine gun able to simply pack up and run away when they get attacked. Or, as you mentioned, the crew of an advanced APC climbing out to do the Haka before a battle. :lol:

    By the way, could you clarify what you meant by Polynesia having the Pangaea-specific advantages while not having the Pangaea-specific disadvantages? I always thought that Polynesia was weakest on Pangaea maps and strong on Archipelago maps. So this is very interesting.
     
  3. Stealth Bumbler

    Stealth Bumbler Chieftain

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    Polynesia and the Inca are actually two of my favorite civs to play, and I was equally as surprised as you are that it shook out that way. I had both of those DLCs for a long time before I even bothered to try them out, but I discovered everything you mentioned when I finally got around to it.

    As for whether or not I can add any other "surprising civs" to your list, I don't know. The Ottomans maybe? I've always liked them more than most people seem to, but then I've always liked running a big navy and fighting on the water. Even with just a few ships for exploration and defense on a continents map, a little GPT saved adds up in the long run (not to mention getting units you didn't need to spend any hammers on.)

    Edit: Thought of another; Denmark

    Started playing them just because I like their UUs a lot, but I found their extra mobility around the water to be a great quality-of-life type buff. Not as powerful a UA as Kammey or the Inca, but with far more useful UUs.
     
  4. Holmium

    Holmium Chieftain

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    Yeah, the Incas are really strong.

    Even though I knew that the Incas would be a good civilization the first time I saw them they offer a very mighty play style. I´ve only played 1 game as them and when I sat up that game I turned the map setting to Highlands (Many Hills and Mountains) so that I could optimize their advantages, to compensate for my "cheaty" set up I turned the AI difficulty one step higher than I usually do.

    Apart from the "superpowers" of Terrace Farms and the not as powerful Slingers the Incas Unique Ability was fun enough. I really felt like the Hills was my civilizations home, it was there where my units belonged. When I moved my troops or scouted the maps I never wanted to move to flatlands again, the hills was no hinder for my Incas, the hills gave me sight and protection which the grasslands couldn't. The movment on hills is what I am going to miss the most of the Incas.

    Never played Polynesia even though they seems a lot of fun.
     
  5. JSMCAG

    JSMCAG King

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    Carthage. Their UA didn't seem that great, I don't use a whole lot of naval units, and the Elephant seemed meh.

    Until I tried them.
    Holy wow, Carthage is a money powerhouse! In the early eras, their Quiqueremes and African Elephants helped me immensely at wiping out Genghis Khan and Harun al-Rashid. Because of my UA, I choose Messenger of the Gods for my pantheon and, because it favors wide civilizations more, I went with various happiness beliefs for my religion.
    Also, I was lucky enough to build the Machu Pichu, and that, coupled with my UA, made one thing possible: Every single coastal city I plopped would bring me profit as soon as it was built. Literally settling a city ANYWHERE on the coast would IMMEDIATELY mean I would gain more money, at the expense of some Happiness.
    Needless is to say, since my religion helped with the one cost building a city had for me, I went NUTS and built cities ANYWHERE I COULD FIND. This went to the point where I would buy a settler frequently, so I wouldn't even have to wait and lose production and food on it, since I could afford it - and when the Commerce policy that grants more happiness per resource came, and the Order policy that gives more happiness per city came, my happiness (and soon my number of cities) went through the roof!

    That was one heck of a fun game! :D Now, certainly, I cheated a bit by choosing Small Continents, but it's pretty obvious that it is by the sea that Carthage shines! :D
    Now, if only Russia hadn't stole the Forbidden Palace... :sad: That was one wonder that I REALLY wanted (along side the Mach Pichu, which I did get! :D)
     
  6. Crafty Bison

    Crafty Bison King

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    One civ I'd encourage people to try is Sweden. I see loads of people go on about how they can't imagine using their GS on a CS etc. etc. In reality, this civ plays really different to how they look on paper. They end up playing exactly how they should; diplomacy through the eyes of a general.
    The other one I'd reccomend is Persia. Fewer people are yet to try them, but they are still super awesome given how reluctant I was to try them because I didn't want a boring culture game (I ended up winning that first one by domination with a giant puppet empire).

    For Carthage, yeah they are good but it's all on the back of the UA for me. The elephant is so so and I'd like to see the quinquereme have +1 movement or something; they're much weaker than dromons for my money.
     
  7. Justice1337

    Justice1337 Sofa King

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    Germany - Furor Teutonicus is one of those abilities that seems to break the game's rules, which forces you to conclude that it must not be as powerful as it seems. Then you hop into a game with Raging Barbs and have over a dozen Swords by turn 100, having spent no hammers on them at all. I have to admit that it took a long time for me to try these guya out, just because I gravitated toward bonuses like UA's that give extra faith/gold/happy etc. Those bonuses are a lot easier to evaluate, honestly.

    Netherlands - Having played extensively as Arabia in Vanilla, I judged Dutch East India Company to be quite weak. Then I realized that on Immortal+, I was selling a LOT of luxury resources pre-Market tech, which would usually put my civ into the Unhappy as I expanded past my 3d city. With Netherlands, I've had the best 4-city Tradition starts, and the best Liberty starts I've ever had. Then the gold income keeps constant in the Classical period, since I'm able to retrade the Luxes instead of keep them after the 1st trade like I'd have to with another Civ. In the Medieval period is when the happiness train started, and I traded for foreign Luxes at a benefit, at about half the benefit that Arabia would do it. It just seemed to curve out so well to give me what I needed when I needed it, particularly early.

    Sea Beggars also surprised me a lot. The first one I built reached Logistics so quickly that it promted me to build Armory's in my Naval Ports. Then I saw them coming out of the port with Logistics. This caused crazy results. The Privateer is already considered quite exploitable, and Logistics just eliminates any weakness they ever had. You're not at risk, even against Ironclads, because you just stick and move into the ocean when you don't get the kill. Same with cities. You can honestly just fly by a city you're at war with, smack it for 50'ish gold, and sail on without ever coming into shelling range. Or get a wolfpack of about 6-8 Sea Beggars, find a city on the coast that even has 1 tile of sea next to it, stick it once with each ship and move out of the way for the next. The city falls completely over to that tactic without any available response from the land. And the best part is if you can't hold it, you just move off with the Sea Beggar you took it with, and you lose nothing. I don't think of it as much in terms of the city-raiding and supply promotions anymore, but rather as 5 movement unit with Logistics. Seen in that way, the Sea Beggar is probably just as good or better as the Ship of the Line. Both are perfect Naval UU's because their place in the tech tree allows you to build them at just the right time in the game.


    Aztecs surprised me a lot, but not in a good way. Sacrificial Captives is now an ability that Civ's can get by opening Honor, which says something about its value. Also, Floating Gardens were disapointing. Even if you find a huge lake and build one, the game won't naturally expand your borders into a lake as you earn culture. It will do anything BUT give you the 4f lake tiles that you built the building for. I mean, really, it expands me into nakes Plains instead? I guess it was too hard to code that. I mean, settling near lakes instead of rivers often makes your gold intake low to boot, which means you can't even effectively buy the tiles you want. But no bitterness here. Inca is a much better civ in the areas of food and UU's, and similarly on theme as well.
     
  8. Unresolved

    Unresolved King

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    As already stated, Polynesia is surprisingly strong on water-heavy maps. Not a fan of their UU/UI, but their UA is fantastic on islands/archipelago.

    On the other hand, India is surprising in the wrong way. Their UA looks like it benefits tall empires, but all it does it slow down your first 100 turns, thus slowing your final finish time by a substantial amount.
     
  9. Catan_Settler

    Catan_Settler Prince

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    I too was surprised by India. Surprised at how terrible they are. Their UA is really more of a handicap than a bonus... really seems stupid to me.
     
  10. realzhuyi0123

    realzhuyi0123 Chieftain

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    I would like to complain about the Germany which I like best in civ4. The UA seems to good due to the lower military cost and capture of barbarian. But these feature is more effective on the AI. I have to set Raging Bars just as the guy upward says in order to fully utilize this ALMOST BLANK UA. As a famous country (or civ) in :c5production: and :c5science:, Germany just reflect its advantage on the quantity of military which is not good because the units can never stack like they do in civ4. The impact of numerous units of forces on one city is no more than just a few of these (By the way, in WW2, Germany was defeated and one of the reason is the mass production of tank by Soviet. It seems Soviet deserves this UA more. lol).
     
  11. DarthSheldonPhD

    DarthSheldonPhD Warlord

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    Wow - thanks for the feedback guys. I had similar findings with Carthage - as previously noted, I prefer civs that have a bonus culture/faith/gold/etc, instead of early access to a something you're getting later anyway. Carthage, however proves that early access/free build and free maintenance works out quite nicely. And the MoG pantheon is a no-brainer for carthage - it's powerful but you usually have to wait forever for the bonus to hit. Carthage is best for it, also works well with Hiawatha and Augustus.

    To clarify, any civ on a pangaea map has the advantage of being able to walk a warrior/scout around the map and meet most or all civs and CS's. They can't do so on continents/small continents/archipelago/etc as they can't embark at first, and after they attain the ability they are still vulnerable to galleys. Polynesian land units can freely roam a water map as if it were a pangaea, meeting all civs to trade with and all CSs. After galleys show up, the Polynesian embarked land units can evade them by simply entering ocean tiles.
     
  12. Gdown94

    Gdown94 Chieftain

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    I was really impressed by Sweden. Their UA looks underwhelming on paper, but in practice it is very potent. Set up a tall civ, churn out the Great people late in the game, and use each one to get a new city state ally.
     
  13. teddybroosevelt

    teddybroosevelt Chieftain

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    there's an ongoing LP that uses the strategy of playing aggressively and then gifting extra Great Generals and captured Great Prophets to City-States, which is one of those things that seems so obvious that you feel like an idiot for not thinking about it.

    respectfully disagree. (1) Sacrificial Captives allows you to bypass Honor completely, or you can stack it with Honor (also, it applies to every enemy unit, not just barbarians). (2) I think you forget the %15 food bonus the Floating Gardens give you. also they have lower maintenance than a regular Watermill, IIRC.
     
  14. Antiphon

    Antiphon Warlord

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    Arabia suprised me most. I had already expected good from them reading the boards - City sprawl strategy, backed up by Camel Archers at just the right time (Damn, ranged mounted units are so OP in this game, don't you think so?) plus bonus ressources to trade with. But there is one point I think gives Arabia in G&K a whole extra UA - starting bias in desert. With all those floodplains (Desert folklore) I could easily "outfaith":c5faith: the celts and grab Pilgrimage plus Holy warriors. Plus i was lucky (or does it happen every time to Arabia?) that nearby a river ran through a hilly desert - plain hills make for awful lots of production. They in turn made for Petra :D and the mountain next to it held Macchu Picchu :crazyeye:. From then on, it was no contest. I could chunk out Camel Archers every three turns with faith alone and never had to worry about money at all.

    So that you know, I only got the game last year and after a hiatus for months I am currently playing every civ there is on King difficulty, so I win most of the times with not so many problems - but this Arabia game was a whoooole lot of easier, even Chinese couldn't compare, though I still have ca. 12 civs left to try out.
     
  15. Justice1337

    Justice1337 Sofa King

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    Yeah, the Floating Gardens is better than the Water Mill, to be sure. But the UB still doesn't do as much as I thought it would, since its utility is greatly diminished by the fact that you have to buy Lake tiles. When you add that to having to settle next to Lakes instead of Rivers and the accompanying hit of 1 Gold per tile, and you have a UB that's not nearly powerful enough to carry the Civ. Compare to other Civ's with terrain bonuses like Iroqouis, the Celts, and Netherlands, and you are looking at a Civ that should at least be just as good, but isn't.


    On Arabia, yeah, Desert Folklore is definitely imbalanced. That was a bit of a surprise, especially over a year after G&K's release and nothing's been done about it. There's something wrong when you can out-faith every other civ on the map, and all you built is one Shrine to open the Pantheon. Other than that though, I was surprised about how much Camel Archers end up carrying Arabia, and how little benefit 1g per trade route really is in comparison with a civ like Iroqouis or Inca who get free roads on certain tiles. I'm also surprised by how late I am getting Bazaar's every game. It often seems like it comes just as the other Civ's are starting to close down Trade relations because of expanding borders and what not, particularly since I try to expand pretty wide with Arabia. Overall now, I find their play much more similar to Mongols than to China, Inca, Netherlands, and other Gold-rich Civs. Which is not what I expected.
     
  16. EricTheGreat12

    EricTheGreat12 King

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    the one that surprised me the most is the Celts. Before I played as them, I had a feeling that their UU was stupid and that the boosts for religion was not enough. BOY WAS I WRONG :D
     
  17. tomtom5858

    tomtom5858 Prince

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    For me, it was America. I saw them, and said to myself, "Damn, those boosts are useless except in the very early game." And I was right, but they are incredible then. The extra ruins I found helped my snowball extremely quickly (T20 Collective Rule, anyone? :D) and the tile purchasing let me snag a couple of rather important tiles from city-states (like FoY). The Minutemen were excellent as late-game scouts, and the free promotion made for some !FUN! for the AI after I snagged Brandenburg. B17s were also excellent for destroying cities, with Brandenburg again making for some god-like destruction. They still aren't anywhere near Korea, Babs, Mongolia and the like, but they're still a highly underrated civ.
     
  18. Arachnofiend

    Arachnofiend Perturbed Pugilist

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    You don't have to settle next to a lake, it works with rivers too. It just turns your lakes into irrigated Civil Service grassland tiles; the real bonus is the +15% to food production. That's before factoring in feeding your citizens, by the way. It and the Temple of Artemis are the only buildings that work that way.
     
  19. PrimoXanthous

    PrimoXanthous ~ knightmare13 ~

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    lol
    Dido Phoenician Heritage, allow units to cross mountains after its first general is earned but taking -50% hp when end turn on mountains. did anyone even try to make a road route on mountains just like these????
     

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  20. Princeofnigeria

    Princeofnigeria The illustrious

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    Surprises:
    Russia: At first I laughed at the pathetic ability "oh boy, some of my cities may get an extra 2 production... Yippie!" Well, for starters the gold from selling off the rescources was better than I anticipated, but it was really the cossack that shut me up. Boy, that thing MURDERS! I just have to have a few crossbows, or even just a city and a cannon and suddeny I can curbstomp an army an era above me. These things are BRUTAL!
    America: the +1 sight. Meh. The tile purchasing. Meh. The minutemen. Meh. The B-17. Meh. A geurilla army that can pop in and out of combat, healing in your bloated territory with ease and outmaneuvre your enemies without effort, all while providing a line of sight for your crushing über bombers? EXCELLENT! I was blown away with the synergy washington's unimpressive features had, making it a side far superior to the sum of its parts.
    Siam: I am a culture player, one that loves power. I like to play culture sides that can fight toe to toe with the big boys, often crushing said big boys (France, Etheopia, Polynesia) so I was suprised, after reading all these posts, about how much I hated siam. So boring, no power projection, and those elephants can't go on the offense properly.
    Austria: my first response was that these guys are overpowered arses who will wipe the board every game. After a few games with them... Eh. The cofee house is a pathetic UB, one of the worst in the game, and the hussar is unimpressive. I would take 5 cossack over 5 hussars 95% of the time.
    Not suprised:
    I allways thought polynesia would be a worthy competitor. Not suprised by how much I love them (2nd favorite to etheopia). I thought the inca sounded fine when they werw announced, but never knew just how good they would turn out to be. Netherlands sounded very fun and interesting to play, and I was not disappointed with the beaggars.
     

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