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The Koreans

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by Keirador, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    An ancient Korean proverb describes Korea as a "shrimp among whales", referring to the three great powers of China, Japan, and Russia that surround the small peninsula. Despite its small status, Korea has historically been able to use cunning diplomacy and shrewd defensive wars to retain its independence. A player who chooses Korea will have to show similar slyness in order to prosper.

    At first glance, Korea appears to be a copy of Greece, but with a cannon Unique Unit. While true that Korea, like Greece, is Scientific and Commercial, Korean play is markedly different. Scientific and Commercial are both traits that are most powerful in the mid- to late-game. So, a Korean player has the potential to become a deadly late-game threat, ahead in technology, with a productive empire and a prosperous economy- if they can survive that long. The logical inverse of Korea's ability to thrive in the late-game is its inability to keep up in the early ages, especially the rapid early expansion phase. Besides starting with two of the most prized techs, Alphabet and Bronze Working, Korea has almost no other advantages to use in its early development. One is hard-pressed to find a Civ that expands and grows slower than Korea. This is devestating when one takes into account that the eventual outcome of most games are decided before the age in which Korea can shine.

    Korea is primarily geared toward being a builder Civ. Any Scientific Civ has the potential to be a builder, because scientific improvements are consistently the highest culture producing buildings. Add to this the Commercial trait, which works on cheaper libraries and universities by fighting shields lost to waste, producing those buildings even faster. The result can be some of the earliest libraries and universities in the game. Unfortunately, only under ideal conditions is Korea free to concentrate on culture.

    Korea, especially in the early game, tends to play distressingly weakly in the military area. Though a warmongering strategy with Korea can work, it is only possible if the player has used Korea's building strength to create a strong and productive infrastructure to outproduce aggressive neighbors. In the ancient ages, a Korean player is most vulnerable and would generally be wise to avoid war, perhaps even appeasing powerful hostiles with gifts.

    It is in the unique unit department that Greek and Korean play so drastically differ. Greek Hoplites are incredible defenders that are immediately available and not obsolete until the development of cavalry. This shields the Greeks from their early-game weaknesses. Korea has no such saving grace. The Hwach'a is a mildly intriguing unit that replaces the cannon. Its stats are identical to the cannon's, but it has the power of Lethal Land and Sea Bombardment, and does not require iron to build. While a very helpful unit because of its ability to eliminate enemy stacks without risk, it is by no means a game-breaker. They are poorly placed in the tech-tree to be effective- to get them early would require a deviation from the upper, peaceful branches of the Middle Ages tech tree; a deviation that does not benefit a builder player like Korea. To arrive at the Hwach'a as one of the last items researched in the Middle Ages puts them both too late to be very effective, as well as giving the Korean player an awkwardly timed Golden Age. (For those not in the know, a Korean Golden Age is triggered when a Hwach'a bombs a unit out of existence.)

    Summary: Though Korea is crippled by its weak early game, it is most hurt by comparison to Greece. There is no reason to play Korea that is not better served by playing Greece, except perhaps the sheer challenge. If Korea can survive long enough, it is a 1st rate builder; but its 3rd rate warmongering and general early unreliability, as well as a novelty UU, give it a 3rd tier status.
     
  2. Pfeffersack

    Pfeffersack Chieftain

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    Again a very nice review!

    I agree they are more difficult to play than Greek because of there UU.But if you manage to survive, the Hwacha becomes literally deadly especially on higher levels, where the game lasts until Ind/ModAge.I usually don't upgrade the Hwacha, but instead add them to stacks of artillery.Artillery redlines the enemies (especially city defenders), Hwacha kills them, Infantery can move in without firing a shot and a risk.You can even produce MGLs with Hwachas...the GA might not be perfectly timed, but it gives the possibilty to mass produce the Hwacha.

    So my personal rank would be 2nd tier (the traits are among the better and have synergie, the UU can be deadly and is longlasting), although I see the difficulty in surviving the ancient age.
     
  3. majk-iii

    majk-iii Eeh?

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    i too would rather rate them as a low 2nd tier then a third one...
     
  4. Mr. Hyperbole

    Mr. Hyperbole understated cynic

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    Keirador; another excellent review(I believe Ision would have been proud). I was about to agree w/Pfeffersack majk-iii and rate the Koreans as a low 2nd tier...but on reflection I agree with you. Good trait combo but an akwardly placed UU(though it does happen to be one of my favorites). If I had to place them I would say that they're a high 3rd tier...plenty of other Civ's are easier to play(though, again, Korea is one of my favorites; another reason I hate agreeing with you on this one)but I've some really fun games playing as the Koreans.
     
  5. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    I was conflicted about putting the Koreans in the third tier, and they would be on the high end of that third tier, but I still consider them more difficult to play than the existing second tier. If I wanted to keep the size of the tiers fairly equal, then either America, Egypt, Sumeria, Byzantines, Aztecs, Zulus, Japan, Germany, Russia, or France would have to be bumped down to third if Korea was to take a second tier status. I just didn't feel right about that.
     
  6. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    Nice review. I agree with the 3rd tier status. Although not a truely awful civ making Korea is 3rd tier because theres 20 odd civs I would rate ahead of it. Also everyone will have a different 1st, 2nd, 3rd tier group due to difficulty level/play style and personal preference etc.
     
  7. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    Would it be possible to alter the most prominent tier rankings in the Civ Review sticky if the change was popularly agreed and logically sound? Like perhaps France and the Dutch trading places, or some other such thing?

    After all, Ision originally considered the Celts second tier until that decision was popularly and logically challenged.
     
  8. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    Maybe- I'm not sure who has control over Isions sticky thread now. However Ision and myself aern't civ gods. The tier system is just a general guideline and opinion of 2 civers. Several "2nd tier" civs are actually 1st tier depending on dificulty level, playstyle, and skill. Once all the reviews were finished I was planning on giving my list of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd tier civs which was slightly different than Isions. Also the Celts were blatantly (imho) better than most 2nd tier civs by a large degree. The difference between the Dutch and French is alot less clear cut. I personally like the seafaring trait alot. France has no half priced buildings for example and doesn't start with pottery which always helps for settler factories. This alone gives the Dutch that slight edge over them. The French have a better trait combo but the Dutch have a better UU and the best trait in the game.
     
  9. bouncelot

    bouncelot Chieftain

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    Didn't Ision say something about passing it over to Scoutsout in his leaving thread? If that's not it, then it's the mods.
     
  10. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Chieftain

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    Yeah but Scoutsout has only recently got back to me and I'm still not 100% sure whats happening. I'm certain the reviews will be finished but not sure on the format.
     
  11. Aggie

    Aggie Chieftain

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    I wouldn't worry about Isions sticky thread. I'm sure something can be arranged with the mods :)

    I agree about the subjectiveness of the tier system. I for one love the Koreans' traits and their UU (in C3C). I think that the lethal bombardment capability IS extremely important in this game.
     
  12. The Dragon

    The Dragon Chieftain

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    Just a little historical nitpick; ancient Koreans didn't care a fig about Russia. ;)
     
  13. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    You caught me. The proverb did originally apply to China, Japan, and at times Mongolia. Though its ancient sense did not include Russia, the proverb survived to modern times, and recently, especially in the late 19th and 20th centuries, includes Siberian Russia as a "whale" among which Korea is a shrimp.
     
  14. Jopedamus I

    Jopedamus I Immortality is reality

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    Come on! Greece and Korea have same traits and other is ranked 1 tier while the other is in 3 tier!!!UU can't mean that much. Although Greece has better UU, Korea has good UU also. Either Greece is overrated or Korea is underrated...
     
  15. thetrooper

    thetrooper Schweinhund

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    @Jopedamus I: Actually UU can mean that much. The Hoplite is an excellent defender and they are available right from the start. Korea and Greece are weak in the expansion phase, but the Greeks can handle that with their Hoplites (Korea can not). Mid and late game there should not be any differences.

    @Keirador: :goodjob: again, as always!
     
  16. Jopedamus I

    Jopedamus I Immortality is reality

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    I still don't think it means THAT much. And Korea has UU advantage and golden age later than Greece, so in later game it has advantage over Greece. Of course I understand how great UU Hoplite is and I agree that Greece is better than Korea, but NOT THAT MUCH. Korea should be higher than for example Germany, Russia or America. But Its just my opinion. The review was good anyway! :)
     
  17. thetrooper

    thetrooper Schweinhund

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    The ranking system is not absolute of course. It is a matter of personal taste, but there is a reason why experienced players (me not included) prefer some civs over others. And you are entitled to have your own opinion :)
     
  18. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    I agree that Korea can be powerful in the late game, in fact its one of my favorites. Its just too weak in the early game, which, to me anyway, is the most important period.
     
  19. Sukenis

    Sukenis the J'BOOtian Warlord

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    Once again the "outside the box" UU is not discussed. The Korean UU is broken in the hands a human player. Make 20-30 of them and then sit until replaceable parts. All you need then are some infantry (or a single army), a massive amount bunch of artillery to soften units and the Hwach to finish them off. You can fight wars and NEVER take any risks of loosing units when attacking. For a human, this Civ is insane.
     
  20. Keirador

    Keirador Chieftain

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    Yeah, I personally really like the H'wacha. It makes games interesting. Unfortunately the amount of skill required to survive and prosper until the Industrial Age as Korea would usually more than suffice to allow you to win the game without the H'wacha. Actually I believe this application of the H'wacha was discussed in detail in Ision's "Rating the Unique Units" thread. It is only really useful in that specific strategy, which can be considered an unfair exploit. It is fun, though, and gives an immeasurable advantage.
     

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