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Recon Pay Terrain Cost -- All-you-can-move Buffet edition


Aug 12, 2016
This mod is now divided into components. All components except 'Core1' and 'Core2' can be used independently if desired; mix and match with other mods, build-your-own recon overhaul etc.

NOTE: The scope of this mod project is recon movement ONLY. For other recon-related things, please see Exploration Heritage (XP-related recon mod) and Counter-Reconnaissance (ability-related recon mod). Otherwise, feedback and suggestions are welcome & encouraged: All recon movement-related ideas are fair game, from the mundane to the exotic.

Core Mod Components
Spoiler Core Mod Components :

Component NameDatabase ChangesIntended Gameplay EffectCustomModOptionsLuaInspired By
0. Recon Pay Terrain Costremoves 'Ignore Terrain Cost' from all recon unitsAdd some sanity to recon movement by eliminating stacked double movement promos with ignore terrain cost. Of the two, double moves are more customizable for almost same effect.nonenonemany CF/VP forum discussions via which I was gradually converted from thinking this didn't matter
1. Free ZoCremoves 'Ignore ZoC' from TB2 and gives it free to all reconThis is a better recon-defining ability than ignore terrain costnonenonen/a
2. Exploration BalancerAdds a 2-stage movement balance promo to pathfinder, scout, explorer:
  • new pathfinder can move 2-plots per turn in all terrain via double bonuses
  • post-combat, pathfinder loses the double movement bonuses equivalent to TB1 (but keeps TB2 & 3's double bonuses)
  • in its newly built, pre-combat configuration, unit can withdraw from 1 melee attack per turn.
  • In the post-combat configuration, withdrawal replaced by ignore ZoC (redundant if also using Core1 component)
  • each unit upgrade subsequent to pathfinder starts with an additional level of TB-line double bonuses removed, ie pathfinder starts with TB1&2&3 equivalents, scout with TB2&3's, explorer TB3's only. So after combat, pathfinder is left with TB2&3's, scout with TB3 equivalent, explorer no more double bonuses
  • pathfinder starting promo effectively same as ignore terrain cost on its own, ensuring early balance for goody huts regardless of starting terrain
  • Player is encouraged to avoid combat to keep an exploration-oriented recon. post-Combat recon of same era requires 1 additional level of TB promo to restore pre-combat movement (ie post-combat, pathfinders will want TB1, scouts TB1 & 2)
  • withdrawal ability, lost after first combat but not on withdraw itself, allows player a lot of choice for when the unit will convert from exploration to combat type
  • if not using Core1: pathfinder/scout that gets attacked and loses early movement bonus & withdraw will be compensated with ZoC bonus. Explorer and beyond have to get it normally via TB2.

Recommended Mod Components
Spoiler Recommended Mod Components :

Component NameDatabase ChangesIntended Gameplay EffectCustomModOptionsLuaInspired By
1. Water Scouting
  • adds the naval equivalent of the scouting line bonuses, ie scouting vision promo gets +1 embarked vision, scouting movement promo gets +1 embarked movement.
  • Minor embarked defense bonus
Fills out scouting line with what seems to have been intended, ie existing text says +1 vision, it doesn't say +1 land-only vision...nonenoneRecon Terrain Specialization mod
2. Fast Rivers
  • adds invisible "Riparian" feature to all feature-less river plots
  • TB2 allows double movement in Riparian plots
  • VP status quo recon are fastest in rough terrain, moving 4+ plots in jungles/forests while only 2 in open plains/grasslands, which is thematically jarring to some.
  • With Core0, they are no longer faster in rough
  • This component makes them fast along rivers instead
  • once at start of game to assign riparian plots
  • after each time a feature is removed. ie if a forest is chopped, lua checks if it is a river plot and should now be riparian
Recon Terrain Specialization mod

eXtra/experimental mod components
Spoiler Extra Mod Components :

Component NameDatabase ChangesIntended Gameplay EffectCustomModOptionsLuaInspired By
1. Arctician
  • adds a recon promo with pre-req of TB3 or SV3
  • requires physics
  • allows promo'd recon to cross ice & CS bonus in snow
physics is one tech tier before explorer is available, allowing a brief window where arctic ice exploration might allow a slightly earlier ocean crossingPROMOTIONS_CROSS_ICEnone@Anarcomu congress round 6 proposal
2. Fast Coastal
  • adds invisible "Coastal" feature to all feature-less plots adjacent to water
  • TB3 allows double movement in Coastal plots
  • enemy routes bonus moved from TB3 to SV2
  • see Recommended component: fast rivers
  • helps move recon's fast plots to more thematically-appropriate locations
  • TB3 is over-stacked with abilities with this addition, and enemy routes fits well on SV2, complementing pillaging bonus of SV3 for survivalism recon
  • once at start of game to assign coastal plots
  • after each time a feature is removed. ie if a forest is chopped, lua checks if it is adjacent to water and should now be coastal
Recon Terrain Specialization mod
3. Trees Obstruct Mounted & Armor
  • flat forest/jungle costs mounted & armor 5 movement
  • hilled forest/jungle costs even more
  • with Core0 loaded, mounted's high mobility allow it to move as fast as recon in forest/jungle; this component restores recon (& woodsman infantry) as the fastest units in forest/jungle
PROMOTIONS_HALF_MOVEnone@DoveCDog congress round 6 proposal
4. Change PortAll pre-paratrooper recon can change port ie teleport from one coastal city to another (like great admiral could in vanilla)
  • give early recon unique role as rapid-response force
  • give player better options to defend far-flung island holdings
  • Please report if you observe AI making use of this at all.


  • Recon Pay (Core0) Terrain Cost (v 4).civ5mod
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  • Recon Pay (Core1) Free ZoC (v 1).civ5mod
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  • Recon Pay (Core2) Exploration Balancer (v 1).civ5mod
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  • Recon Pay (Recommended1) Water Scouting (v 1).civ5mod
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  • Recon Pay (Recommended2) Fast Rivers (v 1).civ5mod
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  • Recon Pay (Xtra1) Arctician (v 1).civ5mod
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  • Recon Pay (Xtra2) Fast Coastal (v 1).civ5mod
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  • Recon Pay (Xtra3) Trees Obstruct Mounted Armor (v 2).civ5mod
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  • Recon Pay (Xtra4) Change Port (v 1).civ5mod
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Then Scout+ are permanently slower in featureless non-desert/snow hills.
aye, could add a double move in hills free promo to scout & beyond? alternatively, could add double move in hills to tb3 (or w/e one does the mountain access)? any pref? other suggestions?

edit: also need similar for marsh

edit 2: added marsh double move to TB1, hills double move to TB3. v2 in OP
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Hills double move was never added in VP recon promotions because it counts double with forest/jungle/desert/snow double moves, making a forested hill only cost 0.75 moves.
I think this was fixed then at some point, cuz it ain't double-counting for me:
Spoiler :

above is using the pathfinder promo described in OP, which has all the double moves built into a single promo (both hills/jungle relevant here). Will do a test with a TB scout shortly as well

edit: TB 1&3 (v2 versions as described in OP: TB1 = jungle double, TB3 = hills double) scout works as intended as well:
Spoiler :

I don't recall perfectly, but I believe the doubled-up effect of concern was somehow related to "ignore terrain cost"? didn't VP remove hills bonus from tb3 at some point? (we never had marsh on the other hand iirc). There IS a slight difference here between the "ignore" promo vs double-moves-only -- with ignore and no doubles, a 3-move recon can move 3 jungle hill plots, whereas same recon w/ no-ignore, double-only promo can only move 2 plots: Close enough for my tastes however, in fact I like this better than the ignore version, especially when we start factoring in the ignore/double combo moves. Possibly will add +1 base move earlier in the line, not sure yet.

Anyway, appreciate feedback, lemme know if any other worthwhile test-cases come to mind. Where possible I will attempt to negate or mitigate anything really odd with this one, but I am enjoying this quite a bit on current playthrough (using jarcast huge map on 43-civ; highly recommend!)
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I have played a couple of games with this mod and I am really enjoying it. It makes rivers and (to a lesser degree) the other terrain features more like the natural barriers they should be. I also love how this makes both the experience and the upgrade ruins much less OP (because scouts have +1 base vision and higher CS but lose the pathfinder's double movement promo).

I have just one question, at some point recon units can cross rivers without penalty but I could not find a promotion or tech that enables this. Does the frogman promotion give this ability? It is not stated in the description.

Out of all proposals in this congress I like this solution the most, if you were to propose these changes there you can count on my vote.
thanks for the feedback -- I really enjoy this one as well, though I enjoyed its predecessor even more; I am thinking of merging a few aspects of that one here, namely the ocean scouting branch that mirrors the existing land scouting.

Beyond the ~subtle terrain impact to exploration (which I also find enjoyable), there are two key aspects I really enjoy: recon with mountain access ends turn on first mountain it enters; and better compatibility for other mods that add movement rules to ocean (ignore applies while embarked as well as on land, default recon can move through anything anywhere at full speed).

That's a good question about the river ability -- afaik it should only be available via the frogman promotion; have you noticed it otherwise? iirc the frogman no-river-attack-penalty bonus is applied via a boolean that operates all the river-related abilities -- however the 'ignore terrain cost' also provides this bonus, so it is not normally a noticeable aspect of that promo. I could add an sql command to append in some text to the description; easy fix.

I think this needs some further tweaks to keep survivalism and TB well-balanced choices -- there are a few days left before this round of congress closes. If you have a chance before then, let me know what you think of the following:
  1. the big one is ignore ZoC (TB2) -- without ignore terrain cost, survivalism scout+ is much slower AND doesn't get this key ability. possible solutions:
    1. move it from TB2 to a separate promo that requires either a TB or survivalism promo (prereq should be at least TB/SV 1, could be as high as TB/SV 3). Maybe bundle it with 'can use enemy roads' (from TB3) (AI might find it tricky to make the right choice with this option)
    2. make it redundantly available on survivalism branch (SV3? so TB is the faster route, but still available ~early on other branch) (this option is probably the best one for AI decision-making)
    3. move it from TB branch to SV branch: make TB branch purely terrain focused, so enemy roads bonus to SV3 and ZoC bonus to SV2
    4. just make ignore ZoC inherent to recon ie free promo for all recon units (another option that is easy for AI)
  2. some feel early exploration movement must be as equal as possible for all -- this means the river crossing could be seen as imbalancing:
    1. add the river abilities to the free pathfinder promotion? scout and beyond will still need frogman, but pathfinders will not be obstructed by river (however they'll also be able to attack freely over river)
  3. to some extent, upgrading to scout feels like a downgrade, as it loses the pathfinder free promo:
    1. give the scout +1 base move? this still leaves explorer with the "new" ability of crossing oceans
Let me know as well if anything else comes to mind, I'll revisit whether this would fit well as proposal on Sunday evening
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About Frogman, it does makes sense now; so this promo is really essential as soon as it is available. This can give the commando a few turns of glory while its power spike lasts.

Regarding ZoC, I think the best solution - for the AI and to have a fair start for all players - now that recon are slower and barbs with promos can easily catch up with them is to make ignore ZoC inherent to recon units. If we feel the need to compensate TB2 we can give any of the TB3 abilities to it.

Regarding river crossing, I don't think it is makes exploration that much different for players in the same map and they do exist in every single biome (except maybe ice). I personally like how it is handled as it is.

Regarding scouts it never felt like a downgrade to me, pathfinders are squishy and have limited vision so I am always grateful for an upgrade unit.
About Frogman, it does makes sense now; so this promo is really essential as soon as it is available. This can give the commando a few turns of glory while its power spike lasts.
yeah imo this one could be moved earlier but will leave that up to community

Regarding ZoC, I think the best solution - for the AI and to have a fair start for all players - now that recon are slower and barbs with promos can easily catch up with them is to make ignore ZoC inherent to recon units. If we feel the need to compensate TB2 we can give any of the TB3 abilities to it.
I agree -- I added a 'double heal' in Oasis to TB2 to compensate it. Just a placeholder really.

I've made a few other changes:
  • added a 'cross ice' promo available at physics, with either TB3 or Surv3 as prereq (ie 1 tech tier earlier than we get explorers, so any ocean crossing exploits are still in correct era)
  • made river crossing built-in to pathfinder promo
  • made pathfinder promo temporary (expires after 20 turns)
  • 'scouting' line promotions all get their water-equivalents, ie scouting that adds +1 movement also adds +1 embarked movement, +1 vision and +1 embarked vision, etc.
This version is updated for VP 4.x+ and WILL NOT WORK with earlier versions... they changed the internal naming of promotions in mainbranch VP

edit: posted this as counterproposal in congress

edit 2: removed attachment, new version in OP
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just parking this here, its not directly related to the mod described in OP -- but it may have some tangential value to those interested in this version of recon movement: without ignore terrain cost, recon are ~as fast as mounted in forest, making for some overlap on their niche. Recent congress proposal sought to make mounted much slower in forest, and thus give recon sole possession of this mastery. In effect, crossing a flat forest will cost mounted/armor 5MP with the attachment.

edit: moved to OP
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Congress provided some insight on where this recon mod needs to go, and tbh I tend to agree. I've played a bunch with this mod now, and I enjoy it, but I also play with other recon changes on top -- on its own this is just a very technical fix to a single issue.

What needs to change is the following:
  1. Turn timer is too gamey for the pathfinder balance promo
  2. Recon should still be fast to some degree -- here we fix the complaint that recon is oddly fast in some peculiar terrains by just not making them fast anymore.

Here's my take on how to address both of these, though at this point nothing's written into the mod, and I am open to other ideas, or refinements to what I outline here.

  1. Pathfinder movement balance promo returns to v2 format ie permanent but lost on upgrade.
    • To mitigate the downgrade feeling of survivalism scout, scout gets its own movement balance promo, but without any of the movement bonuses provided by TB1.
    • Explorer will get similar, but without movement bonuses from either tb1 or tb2.
    • Note that none are getting any of the "extras", like embark or mountains etc., just the double move bonuses
    • Beyond explorer it's up to player to find the right promo mix.
    • maybe the river crossing bonus gets dropped altogether from these movement balance promos
  2. This part especially could use some feedback: it's not necessarily that recon are FAST in forest that's the problem with their movement, it's just the IN FOREST aspect (jungle/desert etc too). Revisiting this mod's predecessor, I had recon moving fast along rivers (distinct from the crossing bonus), and in plots adjacent to water... Their fastest plots were thus flatriver and coastal (not coast) plots. A 2-move recon could potentially move 4-plots along river vs 2 plots in forest or most other terrain, for example. This strikes me as much better thematic fit -- rivers in particular were the highways of pre-development. There are some implementation decisions to be made for this, however:
    • how to distribute the coastal and river bonuses in promo tree? Previous mod took this part too far -- I'd now prefer to just build them into TB branch or maybe other existing promos
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....aaaand we're back. Same mod, different format. See OP.

After suffering a decisive route in congress last round, this mod was in need of a different approach -- all the same stuff is still here, either same or better, and a few extras, but all available item by item, like a recon buffet. Intention is not necessarily to create a congress proposal for next round, though I am interested in having a solid counter-proposal candidate, should anyone re-open the recon overhaul issue that has appeared in congress a few times now.

I haven't yet exhaustively play-tested everything here as of this moment, though all components have been run through at least a few firetuner test cases, and have been confirmed functioning as expected through 20-30 turns. Please help me find any oversights etc. I'll be starting a new long-play game in 2nd half of December, at which point I will probably load all of these simultaneously.

I'm especially interested in feedback on the Exploration Balancer (Core2 component). I think it will play pretty well based on preliminary tests, and should be less gamey than the previous turn timer method we relied on (but still somewhat gamey, there's no way around this -- I hope this new version will add some depth to recon exploration, an "avoid combat" mini-game). Its not as complicated as I made it sound in OP, but hard to describe in text really clearly; please let me know here if you try it, how it plays etc.
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