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The Germans

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by Ision, Mar 28, 2004.

  1. Ision

    Ision Master

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    I have decided to do a review on each CIV. My intention is to encourage debate and hopefully to help others (and myself) in their game play.

    The Germans

    Along with the Romans, the Germans have a unique mystique with many players. This mystique is derived from Germanys world-renowned achievements in science, the arts and military prowess. Yet despite the mystique, Germany rarely ranks among CIV players ‘favorites’ and is quite often derided as a poor CIV choice. In my opinion the ‘verdict’ on Germany as a CIV is in many ways unjust and highly prejudiced by the generally poor AI handling of this CIV. In my experience Germany is among the most poorly played and underrated CIVs in the game. The reasons for this are primarily within the dynamics and design of CIV 3 and not the CIV itself. However, once the nuances of this CIV are figured out, playing as the Germans can be highly rewarding.

    Germany is Militaristic and Scientific, a trait combo that shines the most in the late game – but can confuse a player at the start. A slow starter (slow early expansion), Germany often needs to put off its warmongering prowess until the Middle Ages after it has consolidated itself and built a smooth infrastructure. While perfectly capable of pulling off a decent early archer rush, Germany is not among the better militaristic Civs for this strat. Germany is built around the late game ‘rush’. A few well-planned early wars along with a well-built economy – can see a mid-sized Industrial Age Germany explode into a huge empire. The Germans can ‘catch-up’ better than most CIVs in the game. A common government route for Germany is the Republic to Communism path. The ‘balance of power player’ that seeks to build and war in equal amounts will find Germany to be an interesting choice. As a Culture/Space race option – the Germans, while not among the top – are no slouches. Small ‘bite-sized’ wars, followed by build rushes are a German specialty. The German trait combo needs patience and timing to pay off. Patience and long-range planning with this CIV are essential.

    First and foremost among the criticisms of Germany is the late Industrial Age UU. This is an UNFAIR criticism that requires a player to be honest with himself to understand why. Most players play at levels that they can dominate – that being the case the typical CIV game is one that is over, in all but name, by early Industrial Age. The Panzer is a terrifying unit and among the greatest ‘game-breakers’ in the game. The Panzer is the ‘Chinese Rider’ of the Industrial age – a 16-8-3 ‘blitz ability’ 100 shield tank unit – the Panzer can steam roll and outgun all others of its time period by virtue of its ‘blitz’ ability. Blitz ability is simply the expenditure of a units movement points in exchange for another ‘round’ of attacks. ‘Blitz’ allows the Panzer to advance into enemy territory – and often attack in multiple rounds! That sole enemy infantry that usually survives with only 1 hit point against tanks will be hit yet again by the Panzer – storming cities and finishing off a weakened enemy is the Panzers specialty. This ability, like the Riders 1 extra movement point, is an enormous advantage in any game that still hangs in the balance.

    Secondly, among the criticisms is the ‘late golden age’ argument. This argument is a FAIR one. The late industrial age UU means that Germanys only means to an Ancient or Middle Age ‘golden age’ is by wonder building. That said, a patient German player can selectively nail 1 Ancient Age wonder and a well timed Middle Age wonder to trigger his Golden Age. Nevertheless, this fact alone leaves Germany as a less than desirable ‘always at war choice’ and hampers even a standard warmonger approach.

    Summary: The single greatest problem with this Civ is that it tends to be a ‘jack of all trades & king of none’ – the trait combo and late UU are good for peaceful building, but hamper the ‘degree’ that you can be peaceful – solid for warmongering yet hampered in the ‘degree’ to which you can pursue a heavy warmongering strat. As a warmonger Civ Germany is a solid 2nd tier Civ - a game-breaking UU, the militaristic trait boosting elites and cranking armies along with a science trait to keep that military up-to-date. As a Builder Civ Germany is once again a nice solid 2nd tier choice – a science trait for cheap Libraries and Universities along with a methodical and conservative military expansion makes them a good choice. Basically, if you like to play the extreme end of peace or war - Germany may not be for you, but if you enjoy the ebb and flow of changing strats, and the challenge of a balancing act – look no further.

    Below is the link to my other Civ reviews:

    other Civ Reviews by Ision
     
  2. Aramazd

    Aramazd Chieftain

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    :goodjob: Great review Ision
    but Panzers are 16/8/3 blitz
     
  3. Happyman

    Happyman We are Borg

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    Wow Ision once more this is great!!!
     
  4. yoshi74

    yoshi74 Tourist from Mars

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    Great article, but still some disagree ;)

    The additional movement of the tank is a lot weaker than the faster knight unit. For two reasons.

    1. Having a unit witch can move 9 tiles on roads is awesome to get fast reenforcements and is also a great in the enemy territory.
    The rails in the IA nullify the advantage for reinforcements purpose. And in the enemy land their rails decrease the speed advantage.

    2. The industrial age is the time of combined arms. The Rider combines the best attack AND the best defence of the early middle ages. The panzer on the other side lacks in the part of defence. The 3rd movement point is usefull and saves some time, also allows the panzer to move back into cover after an attack. But it alone could hardly stand against wide culture borders, big cities protected by infantry and counterattacks from cavalry/tanks.

    Conclusion: The panzer is a strong unit in the IA, but IMO not near the power of the chinese rider at their time.
     
  5. Ision

    Ision Master

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    Yoshi,

    I would say that the 'impact' of the Panzer is not as great as that of the Rider. However, within the 'context' of the age in which the Panzer arrives - and the CIV to which it belongs - its impact is profound. In that sense a comparison to the Rider is appropriate.

    Ision
     
  6. Jawz II

    Jawz II Oh Dear

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    i played ze germans once

    it was fun,its was my 1st time on emperor so it was hard,but panzer armies spank teh ass!

    i even added one elite panzer to my cavalry armies after i got pentagon

    that was a good game
     
  7. dze27

    dze27 Monarch

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    Nice review!

    I've played the Germans only once in an epic game and had a good result with them, although this was in Vanilla Civ. I got my Golden Age with my first Panzer victory and just switched most cities to produce Panzers and that was decisive (Regent level, but when I was still not always comfortable on that level).

    I think Militaristic as a trait is better in C3C than Vanilla since Armies are a lot better so Germany is probably even better now. The real problem is early expansion.

    I agree that the AI seems to handle this civ poorly, in general.
     
  8. Adalid

    Adalid Chieftain

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    Well written as always Ision. I've lurked here for ages. I guess I will throw in my $.02.
    The Germans were the first civ I ever tried going all the way back to Civ I. When CIV III was released I immediately plunged into it as Germany. I couldn't wait to unleash my inner Guderian. Was I in for a surprise. All the criticisms you raise are reinforcements for my many early failures as Frederick. I long ago abandoned the Germans but after reading your review i think it is time revisit them
     
  9. Ision

    Ision Master

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    Many thanks to everyone for their comments.

    Ision
     
  10. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    I played my 1st Civ3 game as the Germans, I thought it would be like civ 2 and I didn't know what traits, strategic resources, luxury resources and great leaders were. The AI would sell me techs for 1gp. Bonus.

    I'll have to try them out again one day.
     
  11. Longasc

    Longasc Chieftain

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    Hittites! ... ooops.... :rolleyes: who said that?

    I like the article, however the Germans are still not to my liking. I agree that for some reason the AI does not play the Germans well, I experienced it myself and heard it from so many others that they "always" suck... must be their high aggressiveness setting.

    But this is way OT, I am really looking to a complete review of each civ in the end!

    This would then be Ision's history of nations. ("The mediocre Germans", hehe....and "the hopeless Hittites" lol)

    One more serious thing, I deem Bombers much more gamebreaking than the Panzer could ever be, and they are no UU.
     
  12. Ision

    Ision Master

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    NO WAY - bombers are great, and may even be overpowered - BUT - only ground units can TAKE cities - and taking them is the goal.

    You can argue that the bomber is the best SUPPORT unit, (artillary lovers will argue with you) - but that is all.

    Ision

    PS: thanks for your comments and kind words.
     
  13. bradius caesar

    bradius caesar Chieftain

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    Hmmm, I've definately just been thinking of the Germans as just kind of that civ that's over there. I think I've only been them once or twice, way back when I first got the game. I don't know why not either, I didn't dislike them, but my strategy always tended to circle away from what would be good for them.

    My strategy seems to be evolving, and after reading that, I think I may give it a try once I finish this game I'm on (my first Monarch level game!)

    Anyways, thanks for putting that up there. May have expired me! :jump:
     
  14. jguy100

    jguy100 Chieftain

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    Great article, I think their trait combo is pretty good!
     
  15. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    Ision. Its true only ground units can take cities but I would rather have Tank + Sipihi/Immortals/Mounted Warriors etc than Panzer as a UU.
     
  16. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

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    Yoshi - you've written some good stuff, but I think you're off on a few finer points here...

    I think you're comparing apples and oranges here. While your thoughts on the rider (or Ansar Warrior) are on point, the context is completely different. True, rails make the reinforcement movements a lot different, it's that blitzing capability of the Panzer that makes it so dangerous. In the early middle ages, empires are a lot less mature, and it usually isn't too hard to find some enemy cities that can be reached with regular Knights. In the industrial age, it's tougher to find enemy cities that are 2 tiles from your borders...

    True in the early/mid industrial age, much less so in the latter industrial age. The Panzer brings back the blitzing capability before modern armor. Granted, to make the most of this unit you have to be in a position to attack before the AI reaches the modern age and gets units to counter... but during that window of opportunity, the Panzer blitz can do a lot of damage.
    If you account for skirmishing defensive tactics, yes, the Rider (Ansar Warrior) is a good defensive unit; but it's basically a knight with an extra movement point.
    Though this isn't really 'combined arms'...if playing this unit you should be moving some infantry into position at the end of a turn to do the defending, after the Panzers have taken a big chunk of AI hide.

    The biggest thing that comes to my mind, I can't begin to count the times I was invading with conventional tanks... moving them 2 tiles to a good position outside a city, but waiting until the next turn to attack...now that's waiting on a counterattack...
     
  17. yoshi74

    yoshi74 Tourist from Mars

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    @scoutsout

    Several good points here. But i'am still not too convinced. The blitz ability allows to strike multiple times, the one more movement point allows a field deeper inside the enemy territory.
    Doing some math: Vet Tank vs. fortified Vet Inf. in a size 12+ city. Chance to win for the panzer: 29.9%. So you need in avarange 3 tanks to kill a inf. Some of them may retreat, still the losses can be quite hard. And this is an ideal situation. Cities on hills make the odds even harder, rivers may force you cross them first before attaking. The blitz ability can be forgotten, since the panzer will barely survive the first attack. It is really great in combination with bombers/artillery. But alone most panzers won't have a chance to attack a second time at all.
    IMO a panzer rush can be rewarding, as long as your already stronger as your enemy and can affort the losses. I doubt it will work very efficiantly at the higher difficulties against a strong neigbour.
     
  18. Ision

    Ision Master

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    Zaard,

    If your point is that there are UUs that are better and have greater impact at the time they arive than the Panzer, then I agree - there are. On the other hand, assuming the game I am playing is still competitive, you would be hard pressed to not include the Panzer in the top half of the better UUs.

    yoshi,

    This could be said of every unit in the game - unique or not.


    scoutsout,

    your observations were right on the money!

    bradius caesar,

    did you say 'expire me' ? - while I hope that my reviews inspire some people - I certainly hope that they do not cause anyone to die (expire) - lol


    Ision
     
  19. JMK

    JMK Chieftain

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    Ision I agree with your review :goodjob:
    German is a good Civ to play at high level (Diety / PTW) when the Tech race goes faster; then the Panzer comes on time, your cities are developped, Your GA will allow you to get a Panzer/City/Turn... Game Over.
     
  20. kb2tvl

    kb2tvl Chieftain

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    I generally agree with what is said. When I think of a civ I think of it's traits and UU. I, also, consider what civs are in my culture group and if they are easy to conquer or use to fight other civs.

    The Germans are slow, frustrating and increase the difficulty at a difficulty level. This does not make as much of a difference until emporer level where a dominate UU helps give the edge.

    One other aspect I look at is what wonders are available at cherry times. Two wonders exist in the early mideval period for militaristic civs and with the free tech that scientific's get, this can allow triggering an early GA.
     

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