OP: Finally, someone has articulated what I've been thinking about the Civ series through four generations of games now. Although I've only been playing Civ4 for a few days now, I must say I'm greatly disappointed that there have been no real innovations or improvements to the naval aspect of the game. Not only have they failed to add naval units or expand naval play, but in fact, they've actually contracted this aspect of the game with the elimination of privateers (a concept which I enjoyed, even if they were ultimately ineffective.) Alas, here's what they could have done with Civ4: 1. Expanded the "armies" idea to the creation of "fleets" at sea. 2. Created a Ship of the Line class beyond the ordinary frigate, because let's face it, ships of the line were decisive, and the frigates basically stayed out of the way at Trafalgar. They actually did this with the Napoleonic scenario in C3C, so how hard could it have been to do this? 3. Made the Nimitz class carrier the unique unit for America. (In my opinion, the Nimitz class carrier is actually the most appropriate symbol and projection of modern military power the American superpower era.) Based upon my reading of the discussions in this thread, I think people tend to see use of naval units as an adjunct to the wars fought on land. While it is certainly true that a decisive naval engagement can thwart a land invasion (as in 1805), naval power goes far beyond that. Anyone looking for a good (and surprisingly entertaining) read on the influence of naval power should read Arthur Herman's book, "To Rule the Waves." While reading this book, I have to confess that I was secretly hoping that the Civ4 developers were reading it as well. This book demonstrates how a tiny island nation like Britain, roughly the size of Idaho, with no substantial army to speak of, became the preeminent world power through its navy. After reading his book, a Civ player would conclude that a strong navy is not just a deterrent to land invasion, but it is the key to expansion, colonization, establishment of trade, creation of capital, and yes, expansion of culture. All of which are clearly relevant pricinples of the Civ series.