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The Incas

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by Ision, Jul 17, 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 Incas

    Imagine for a moment that CIV III was a 2-stage horse race. 31 horses all lined up on a huge mega-track with a flat ¼ mile track that leads into a 20-mile rough cross-country track. Some would argue that the horses that broke out early at full speed will lose the marathon – winded and burned out, unable to capitalize on their early lead. These sprinters being better suited to a fast flat-track, but lacking the stamina on those hills. Others would say that as long as they don’t stumble too often on that rough cross-country terrain, and pace themselves well– they will translate that slight early lead into victory. So place your bets gentlemen! My money is on horse named Inca!

    Out of the starting gate, the Incas are often the single most explosive CIV in the game. Expansionist and Agricultural, the Incas trait synergy is difficult to measure compared to other trait combos, and their UU magnifies this even further. Among the trait combos, it is perhaps the most one-dimensional. It has a singular purpose – speed. In all other aspects of the game, this trait combo is bested by nearly every CIV. Expansionist, the Incas begin the game with a scout and immediate access to their scout-replacement UU – the Chasqui. Like all Expansionist CIVs the Incas posses the ability to pop goody huts without generating barbs. Goody huts that will yield free; gold, techs, units, maps, and even the occasional settler. Their faster scouts allow them to more rapidly explore the map giving them an advantage in spotting crucial resources, mapping enemy territory and in making better decisions about where to found new cities. Furthermore, the scouting advantage often leads to early contacts with neighboring CIVs, the early contacts often lead to the Incas having an advantage in tech trading and brokering – the result being an advantage (depending on difficulty level and player skill level) ranging from ‘catching up’ better to the tech/growth leaders - to cases of ‘being’ the early tech/growth leader.

    The agricultural bonus of 1 extra food in every base city square (that borders a river) gives the Inca that slight edge in early growth that can be so pivotal in maintaining pace with the early expansion of the AIs. Add to this the ability to produce 2 foods from irrigated deserts. The Agri half-priced aqueducts along with immediate access to granaries complete the best of the REX traits. God forbid that an Inca scout pops a goody hut for a settler, it is not a common event – but neither is it a rare exception, - the Inca that does so any time in the early game will have added a rocket booster to an already fast start! Agri working in combination with Expansionist has enormous potential results – faster high shield cities from pop growth, faster mapping, faster contacts/techs, faster settler/worker production and faster combat unit production. Add up all those, “fasters” and the results are often record-breaking ‘high scores’ for the Inca player.

    The Incas differ from other expansionist civs in this: on average, they are better at it. One reason is the Chasqui Scout, a 1-1-2, scout class unit with the ability to treat hills and mountains as regular terrain. Unlike a regular scout, the Chasqui has the ability to attack and defend, this increases their survivability from barb attack over long stretches of exploring – thus increasing your odds of reaping more contacts and goody huts over the long term. Also, Chasqui’s can substitute for a warrior and pop enemy workers or settlers. Another role the Chasqui can assume is similar to that of the Aztec Jag. It can be used to dart in and out of enemy territory pillaging terrain improvements, popping workers and diverting enemy units from other activities. Lastly, an often overlooked advantage of this unit is that in spite of being available from the beginning of the game, you will more often than not be able to initiate your GA at a time of your own choosing – the unit being greatly ignored as it passes through AI territory (its scout status), being made in very small numbers, and its ability to avoid battle with near impunity make it a much safer ultra-early UU. Unfortunately among the mega-scout type units, at 20-sheilds the Chasqui is hugely expensive for the role it plays. In order to build these units where their cost does more good than harm a player must meticulously plan to the very last shield when, how and if to build a Chasqui(s). Even then, the unit is quite a gamble. A true boon or bust unit, difficult to employ well even among the most skilled of players.

    The Incas have a great amount in common with the America CIV, in many ways they play alike. Sharing many of the same strengths and weaknesses – so much so, that what follows will have a greatly familiar ring to it. Both warmongering and building with the Incas are conducted in the same style. Whatever the Incas may lack in quality is easily made up in quantity. The trick to the Incas is to translate that early lead into a permanent state of affairs. It is here that the ‘newbie’ loses patience and the veteran begins to cement his dominance. The Incas have no half priced culture buildings of any sort. To offset this it is imperative that the Inca maintain his expansion as long as possible. He may not crank out temples and libraries as fast as others – but he will have more. He may take longer on those barracks and airports - but he will have more. His cities may not produce as much science, food, or commerce as other Civs – but he will out produce them nevertheless. With Inca – size MORE than matters - it is an absolute must! A warmongering Inca is often better served with a late ancient swordsman rush, than ultra early warring. A beeline to Iron working, followed by warrior upgrades and heavy swordsman production, in conjunction with a Chasqui ‘strangler’ strat’ you will often see an Inca launch one of the most devastating swordsman rushes in the game – extending an already powerful REX phase even further. The key to this Civ is simple. It’s a numbers game. Press that advantage to the limit – and the Inca will eclipse even America as king of the Expansionist. With the Inca, ‘momentum’ is everything, grab that momentum early – and never let go!

    Summary: An extremely unforgiving civ – early mistakes are magnified in their repercussions. To play well, this civ requires a player that is highly skilled within his difficulty level. A ‘finesse’ civ, the Incas require greater planning than most, with an obsessive attention to detail in the early game. That said, for the player willing to make the commitment, the payoff is often huge. An outstanding Pang/Conts map civ (mediocre performance on Arch) with an explosive early game, the Incas stack up with the best of them; 1st tier overall.

    Below is the link to my other Civ reviews:

    link to all the other civ reviews
     
  2. Longasc

    Longasc Chieftain

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    I have not played them, but you seem to favor the combo of agricultural and expansionist.

    The Incas get a first tier even with their rather special scout/warrior unit?

    Hm... I am obsessed with the Arabs right now, I think the Answar Warrior and the Will of Allah allow the Arabs to become Monarchy or Republic earlier and kill them in the early Middle Ages.

    You put it bluntly, I think they are potentially good, but harder to play than many other civs. No cheap temple. No faster workers. No discount. Pure growth and expansion.

    I rate them a 2nd tier civ, born of ignorance, never played them. They also have an ugly leaderhead and unspeakable city names. :)
     
  3. Silvestri

    Silvestri Chieftain

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    Now, you know - most of the precolumbian languages aren't that hard to pronounce. The trick is (most of the time) to say as a whole, without any hard stops (in comparison to English, where you do all the time. Ex. Lon-Don, War-Wick, Man-Ches-Ter)...it may feel a bit funny saying those names out loud, but you'll get used to it ;) Dunno, perhaps this comes very easy to me, being a Dane and having a language that is almost incomprehensible to the rest (99.5 %) of the world

    And - Chasqui is pronounced Tjashkwi :cool:

    But, I actually agree with you on the Inca's - I've played them, and they are not for the weak of strategy - a nice combo and all, but the Chasqui sends it down to a second tier - no number 1 here. But....perhaps I should give it another try.
     
  4. yankees

    yankees Chieftain

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    ision you forgot more thing great about incas. the chasqui will last longer than normal scout so you no have to build so many scout this is very much overlookd. also with higher barb setting the inca are stronger even more when you know you not get barb near early citys this help very much at higher level and high barb set. also, for warmonger player the chasqui is very much good you can have a strangle strat like you say with neighbor and have much longer rex while you no fight so much. for war this civ one of the very best in game. the triat mix is super power. one of best civs in the whole game. i must say this civ very very very hard for player to play good. players that have problem with expansoin civs will have even more problem with inca. player must have very high skill and know many differant strats for inca. very bad civ for beginer player best civ for super fast start!!!!!!!! inca in same group like maya persia greek iro civs.

    thank you again for very good artciale!!!!!!!

    Y
     
  5. Longasc

    Longasc Chieftain

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    How many normal Expansionist scouts do you build usually? (Standard Map / Huge Map)
     
  6. rcoutme

    rcoutme Chieftain

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    One other thing you seem to have missed, Ision. Agricultural civ cities get extra food if next to any water (river, lake or coast) not just a river.
     
  7. Ision

    Ision Master

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    rcoutme,

    You are perfectly correct. I didn't exactly miss it - these civ reviews are statring to wear on me. Perhaps a long break is in order - Thanks for your observation.

    Ision
     
  8. Pfeffersack

    Pfeffersack Chieftain

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    River and (small) lake yes, coast (of the ocean) no.In fact it comes down to rivers and lakes with less than 21 tiles (hope I remember the number correctly - anyway the easiest way to check is food production of coast tiles in a stretch of water without presence of a harbour; it is 1 for salt water, 2 for freshwater).
     
  9. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    Nice review Ision but I disagree about the 1st tier status. Theres to many negatives.

    1. Its map dependent
    2. Marginal UU
    3. Difficulty level dependent (expansionistic has less effect due to rapid AI expansion and less/no settlers popped from goody huts)

    Without a little luck (free city/settler) they don't expand any faster than any other agricultural civ- and most of these have a better 2nd trait or UU or both.

    Still I have had some really explosive starts with this civ, and I freely admit I'm not very good with the expansionist trait except on the lower difficulty levels.
     
  10. Longasc

    Longasc Chieftain

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    Hm Zardnaar, I found Expansionist to be pretty useless on Monarch, but I learned to love it on Emperor/Demigod. I popped too many barbarians, this really made me mad... Expansionist was a great cure. So I say I value it lower on lower difficulties but much higher on higher difficulty levels.
     
  11. yankees

    yankees Chieftain

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    i agree with Longasc. i spend all my beginer stage of civ play not understanding expansionist triat. now i at emp level and trying to learn demi i finally have skill to play expansionist trait correct. in many way this trait become more of expert trait when you go up in level. i find inca civ is the best of all expansionist civ in game america is very close and maybe ision should place them in top tier with inca. i believe that trait mix of exp with ind or agri so strong that game makers had to make uu weaker or civ would be too strong over all other civ.

    Y
     
  12. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    I'm perfectly able to admit I'm wrong but I still don't like the expansionistic trait much. Its a very boom or bust trait to me. Even without bonus settlers/cities it can give you extra gold/techs/maps etc but so can the other traits. At best you have to admit though for 2/3 maps the trait will be marginal and the Incas have a marginal UU(worse than what it replaces). If you have no barbarians on is there no goodie huts? I always have them on but if so with random settings its possable to have no goodie huts. On the higher difficulty levels you only seem to get maps and a handful of gold- and the AI expands very fast and grabs huts with warriors/spearmen. You're never going to have 100% agreement on these boards but if you look at Isions review list you can see what the top tier (top 10) civs are starting to look like. Theres at least 3 civs rated as 2nd tier on that list I would consider better than the Inca over 50% of the time. Who here believes the Inca are better than the Celts for example(Celts better UU then its Religeous +UU vs Expansionistic trait)? The Inca are a good civ no doubt about it but top tier I'm dubious about. Everyone has thier own playstyle though
     
  13. Ision

    Ision Master

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    Thanks for the comments Zard. Your input is ALWAYS appreciated. Here's my 2 cents to some of your observations:

    Not at the same odds they don't - you are FAR more likely to do so with expansionist.


    very true - on the other hand if you do have barbs on (4/5ths of the options) then there are goody huts - one must look at this from both angles. for the purposes of my reviews I always assume the middle point - roaming/restless.


    Not quite, on 1/3rd of the maps they will be marginal at best - on 2/3rds of them they will be at least average, but in my expierence the Incas are usually above average on conts and exceptional on pangs.


    That is an overstatement- your popping goody hut ratio does go DOWN, but it does not disappear altogether, and on large or huge maps you will still find your share. However, the barb count does go WAY up, as well as the barb power. At the higher levels the ability to safely pop even 1 or 2 nearby huts without producing a bunch of barbs is often a huge bonus. The negative effects of 3 to 6 barbs running aorund your first 1 to 3 cities during your early REX is not to be underestimated. Another thing not to underestimate at the higher levels is the value of perfect/or near perfect early city placement - the scout gives you that edge. The cumulative results over time, in both sheilds, growth and at times resources, of having those first few cities built in the perfect location and in the perfect direction from the start location can be quite extensive.

    Absolutely not - what they have is a UU that is only marginally better than the unit it replaces due to the higher cost. That said, a well done strangler strat can often turn that marginal advantage into something much better.

    Thats my 2 cents - but to each his own. One last thing for those reading, I have absolutely NO intent of revisiting the 'whats the value of expansionist' debate again - been there, done that - and far too often.

    Ision
     
  14. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    I suppose thats a difference Ision. I tend to use the random factor to rate a civ where you go for a middle of the road approach. I prefer a normal scout over a Chasqui- I think the difference between 10 and 20 shields is huge. I would rather build 2 scouts vs 1 Chasqui.
     
  15. Redemption

    Redemption Chieftain

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    What a great review! Can you make an article on the Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Dutch etc.? It's hard work but it's worth it. It'll be great to have a comprehensive review of all civs. Anyway great work! Kudos too to the other reviewers!
     
  16. RFHolloway

    RFHolloway Analyst in the UK

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    I like expansionist, and don't tend to pop huts at demigod or above without it as the chance of barbs is just too high for me. Undoubtedly the chasqui scout is a great unit, there are times however when I find myself wishing that I had the option of an ordinary scout. It is this lack of flexibility that niggles a bit in an otherwise great CIV.
     

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