General Leader Discussion

I wonder, how does the Portugal UA work? Since apparently it says that you gain science/gold/GA/GG everytime your Caravan/Cargo Ship moves, does that mean I get them after the end of my turn?

Also, since by start of Classical era you can already get 2 trade route slots by picking up Trade and Sailing, each giving effectively +4 science/turn, doesnt that make the UA give as much as Babylon's UA Great Scientist (assuming you plant them), but also give gold AND GA/GG points?

You will get those yields at the end of your turn, I believe. If someone pillages your Caravan/Cargo Ship before your turn, I think you already got the yields as you trade units already moved. This UA is certainly very powerful early on as it gives a ton of yields, especially if you go tall. In addition to Trade and Sailing, Petra can help you get another TR and a Caravan if you can build it.
After almost a year since the last discussion and plenty of changes since then, what are the thoughts of the community regarding which civs are best&worst both in human hands and as the AI?
After almost a year since the last discussion and plenty of changes since then, what are the thoughts of the community regarding which civs are best&worst both in human hands and as the AI?

Well, to me it really depends on what kind of bonus the civ has :
  • Civs with a lot of "easier win" bonus, built-in synergies in their kit or simply bonus yields for doing what the player would have done anyway seem to work very well for the AI : Songhai, Rome, Zulus, Morroco, Iroquois, Brazil, Ethiopia, Netherlands, Mongols, Sweden, Siam, Poland etc.
  • Civs which require more investment, specific policies and beliefs to have good synergies and have "win more" bonus are a lot more hit-or-miss for the AI : France, Austria, Portugal, Korea, Japan, Persia, Russia.
That said, there are some specific civilizations that are worth mentionning here :
  • America, China and Carthage have quite underwhelming UB that don't impact your game that much in the long run (mixed opinion also on the Korean and Swedish UB and the Hunnic and Shoshone UI) ;
  • Progress Carthage or Tradition Arabia are very consistent in their power (although Carthage tends to overextend and run out of gas later, most notably I think because its bonus don't scale well) ;
  • With its current bonus, France is very favorable to human players, who can steamroll a game if they manage to get early conquest. AI however don't seem to use the combat bonus that well, and so it has very mixed results with it ;
  • Siam is simply a civ you cannot ignore in your game. As an AI, it tends to become a powerhouse as early as the Classical era ;
  • With the current quality of the military AI, civs with heavy combat bonus like the Zulus or Songhai are usually big threats.
Anyway, that's just my little opinion.
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Strongest AI civs, at least in my experience, are consistently Songhai, Zulu, Poland and Ethiopia, that's why I love playing against them.
After almost a year since the last discussion and plenty of changes since then, what are the thoughts of the community regarding which civs are best&worst both in human hands and as the AI?

So I have played most civs on Huge - Highlands (Deity, Standard speed), which is quite detrimental to naval civs, and I'll take that into account. I also play with ruins enabled.

General observations:
- Some civilizations just do not scale well with map size. The prime example is Venice: the number of GMs you get isn't affected by map size, so the number of cities you have is the same on small maps as it is on big maps. While Venice is competitive on smaller maps, it 100% is free real estate for the neighbors on huge maps, whether in the hands of the AI or the human. Another civ that scales bad is the Netherlands.
- Some civilizations just don't have a well-defined theme going for them, taking benefits from very different eras, which feels quite odd.
- Some civilizations, such as Austria, France or India, are "glass cannons", either having a fantastic game or being a pushover for whoever is near them, depending on how their early game goes (Austria: RNG on city-state quests; France: being able to capture cities early; India: getting their religion going).

AI civs:
- Songhai is one of the biggest outliers: it has very consistent bonuses and very high early-game production, as well as building production modifiers that carry into the late-game, while having an early-game UU that is very strong as well. Coupled with its aggressiveness, starting next to Songhai is generally an instant re-roll.
- The Iroquois have an insane early game, sometimes having triple the score of other, middle-of-the-pack AI without needing any conquest to reach that point; however, their bonuses become insignificant towards the Renaissance, and they end up their games as a bottom-of-the-barrel civ despite their insane start. I feel as though a look needs to be taken at their Longhouse UB.
- Similarly but to a much lesser extent, America AI has a phenomenal start, usually snatching several Ancient and Classical wonders, before progressively losing their momentum.
- As Hinin mentioned, Siam is very good and very consistent; I must always watch out for them starting towards the late Medieval-early Renaissance when they get their UB, UU and start pumping diplomatic units.
- On the flip side, I have rarely ever seen Babylon perform well in my games, generally being invaded early on despite their UB and UU (including once by Germany, which doesn't have a strong start).
- Morocco is also quite a poor performer, mainly because they usually get DOW'ed by everyone for nearly the entire game, and aren't very good at defending themselves.
- Venice. Nuff' said.

Human civs:
- France can snowball very hard thanks to their culture/production bonus (right now it is +40% for each, for 1 turn per 2 citizens the city had pre-capture, and stacks in duration).
- The Shoshone's ability to choose ruin bonuses has led me to have some insane starts, having founded by turn 45 on standard speed, with a 12 pop capital (using Progress) and a large tech lead over other civs. This ability scales extremely well with map size, as you have more tiles thus more ruins per civs on large maps. Having a start that powerful is far enough to carry me for the rest of the game, to the point of feeling like I'm playing on Settler.
- Similar to France, Rome and Spain can snowball pretty hard once you get the conquest train going. Rome especially has the obscene advantage of being able to conquer without taking the slightest hit on their economy (thanks to their ability to keep buildings, and their GAP on unit kill). Spain, if the human picks Zealotry, can just chain-buy units with faith and full promotions, and throw them at the enemy like cannon fodder (although I think this is more of an issue with Zealotry).
- Russia can go for the landgrab build (God of the Expanse + 2 Tradition policies + 3 Authority policies + Burghers + Angkor Vat), which is incredibly OP as long as there is land to acquire, so much so that it may be more profitable to raze a city with large borders and plant a fresh one to have it expand borders, just for the bonus yields. The AI does not go for this build because it never picks policies from 2 different trees in the same era.

Theme issues:
- France and Germany feel like patchworks to me. The Chateau comes from the 15th and 16th centuries, Mousquetaires from 17th and 18th centuries, and Napoleon ruled at the start of the 19th century. Furthermore, France is heavily focused on offense with their UA, which is historically accurate for Napoleon, whereas the Chateau is a purely defensive building. Seeing as though Napoleon sought to be remembered for his Code Civil (the formal integration of customs into a universal law, that later became the predominant type of law in the non-English world), I thought this could replace the UB and act as a unique National Wonder, perhaps replacing the Printing Press. Similarly, Napoleon was a master of artillery, and I'd gladly see a Cannon or Field Gun replacement rather than another Tercio/Fusilier replacement, which there already are many of.
- Similarly, Germany feels out of place. Realpolitik is about cutting your losses rather than doubling-down on your gains, and I'd gladly see such a mechanism implemented with city-states (e.g. bonuses if you have a trade route or city connection with a city-state). Also, the Hanse, while powerful, feels like a one-trick pony, being only able to provide % production increases at the cost of sending all your trade routes to city-states. Whereas historically, Bismarck's Germany has traded with many major nations, including Sweden (which would later carry on during WWI), notably to get raw materials.
- Lastly, Austria's power resides entirely in its UA, with the Coffee House and the Hussar being very marginal. The gold increase in Diplomatic Marriages does not prevent Austria from progressively marrying every single city-state on the map, and the increase in city-state rewards can bring Austria a very powerful early game, enough to ally city-states in the Ancient/Classical eras. I'd much rather have some part of Austria's UA be bound to the UB, for instance having a limited number of Marriages (and fixed cost) and no quest reward bonuses in the UA, but each Coffee House allows another Marriage and increases rewards from city-state quests.

Anyway, those are my thoughts, apologies for the wall of text.
Emperor (these games tend to end in mid industrial):

Always a top threat:
Songhai , double move for cav on rivers is way op
Siam , early CS bonuses makes them kick off early
Carthage , need to beware if carthage expands a lot early

Very rarely does well:
France , too hard for AI to use UA? and while chateau is ok Kasbah is a LOT better
Germany , takes too much time and work with CS to get use of a soso bonus that disappears when someone just kills the CS.

Consistantly good (probably more here):
Netherlands , culture from trade is strong and kicks off early
Russia , science on border growth is good for AI
Morocco , trade and kasbah are both strong
Arabia , UA and UB good for AI.
After almost a year since the last discussion and plenty of changes since then, what are the thoughts of the community regarding which civs are best&worst both in human hands and as the AI?
AI is still beat with straightforward civs. Civs with more complicated min-maxes are more challenging for the AI (Denmark comes to mind).

The difference in AI military wise now, compared to years ago, is huge.
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