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The Vikings

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by bg2soatob, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. bg2soatob

    bg2soatob Chieftain

    Dec 4, 2003
    Though they existed for only about 300 years, the Vikings’ reign of terror upon Britain and Scandinavia was so powerful that they were granted an honorary place in Civ 3. The Vikings (or the Scandinavians, whatever) are also one of the few Civs that are made accurately; when you play the Vikings, you really feel like this is how the Vikings worked in real life. This is mainly due to the UU being well-done, but the interesting combination of traits also contributes to this.

    The Vikings are militaristic and seafaring, which makes a great battle combination. The seafaring trait provides almost as good an advantage as expansionist and commercial combined, with your curraghs finding the good spots along the coast and your coastal cities getting bonus commerce. The UU is comparatively late for a militaristic Civ, although it’s not nearly as bad as the Germans. Also, you get compensation – the Berserkers are among the best UUs in the game, winning the title “first marine unit” by a margin of about an era and a half. Your ships provide fast and safe passages to your enemy’s doorstep, surpassing fortresses and the like easily, and then your berserkers charge hard and fast from the safety of their ships (unfortunately Galleys, not Longships).

    A slight word about the power of marine units. It is impossible for a land unit to attack a sea unit, but a unit in a transport can freely attack a land unit. With a high attack and low defense, this allows the sea unit to freely chop away at the opposition, and the unit cannot be touched until he finally beats the city and settles in. Basically, the only way to defeat a berserker (without a great defender like a musketeer) is to wait patiently for him to conquer the city, then attempt retaliation. Or you could build a navy, but that strategy tends not to work so well in the middle ages.

    If you know how to do it, the Vikings are possibly the best warmongers in the game. The trick is to build your master plan around one moment – the discovery of invention. Because the berserkers are so costly, the best plan is to build dozens of archers in the ancient era (but don’t forget to build enough Galleys to carry them) and perform a mass-upgrade the moment you get Berserkers. Even with the extra commerce from seafaring, you will probably be short(it’s 150 per upgrade!). Just lower your research to 0% - a true Viking cares little for science anyway - and upgrade extra archers gradually. Attacking with waves of galleys, each with two powerful Vikings – you should average one or two cities per turn. Also best is to send a few Pikemen with them to secure the cities once they’re captured; Berserkers’ only weakness is defense.

    The seafaring trait lends itself towards early economic mastery. In addition to the extra commerce in coastal cities (and you will build coastal cities, right?), you get to be the first to discover the Civs on the next continent, since the AI will not use the ‘suicide galley’ trick (where you send galleys into the deep-end, hoping one will survive to find the New World). This helps you greatly since you can multiply any gained tech several times through trading. However, this tends to disappear later in the game, when everyone meets everyone anyway. The latter two eras are particularly rough on the Vikings, since their UU is basically obsolete once the Cavalry come along. Cultural and economic build-up may seem to work early on, but the advantage will vanish by the time you research sanitation (in real-life, the Vikings never made it there). So the only way to win, other than through an ancient or middle-aged conquest, is through establishing a huge empire in the middle-ages. This can only be done with Berserkers. Stick to your historical role and you should be fine; make sure you’ve conquered a few Civs (you will basically dominate the whole era) and amassed a big enough advantage before you lay down and head for the space race.


    If you know when to strike and how to strike, the Vikings can produce the most deadly military blow in the game. Their only weaknesses are a UU that takes a while to build, which can be overcome by using their economic mastery from the ancient era. Although the Vikings don’t offer that much variety when it comes to playing styles, there’s nothing more satisfying than tearing up a continent with your lunatic warriors. An excellent choice for warmongers of all levels.
  2. Heroes

    Heroes Heroes of Might and Magic

    May 19, 2005
    Thank you, bg2soatob! Finally somebody continues the great reviews of Ision! :beer:

    A minor correction: Viking UU is berserk, no "er". :cool:

    And the Ision style ranking: A topmost warmonger in continent and archi maps, also good warmonger in pangea map. Not too bad as builder, but why bother doing that. Overall a first tier civ. :viking:
  3. zerksees

    zerksees in remission

    Feb 19, 2003
    Wadsworth Ohio USA
    Clarification: In C3C the Vikings are militaristic and seafaring. In PTW they are militaristic and expansionst.


    Thanks for taking time to write this up. I respectfully disagree with some of your assessment of the Vikings however.

    I question the practicality of the UU. What if you are on panagea or continents? Most of the cities will be inland and you can't do amphibious assault.

    In addition to the cost of the unit you also need ships to carry them further increasing the cost. Additionally those defensive pikes also need to come on ships. If you need a lot of ships anyway (like archipelago maps) the additional cost is not as bad. What is the cost of the UU in shields? I think a 30 shield UU that attacks at four (like the immortal) would be far more effective most of the time.

    There might be more value to the Vikings when playing against human players, because the threat of a Viking amphibious assault would have to be respected, but again only an issue on coastal cities.

    The AI tragically misplays the Vikings too, choosing to land the UU next to the city rather than direct amphibious assault. I was afraid of them until I saw that behavior. Other than the usual grief from an aggressive militaristic civ I find them to be little challenge in the hands of the AI.

    I do not think I could rate them tier 1.
  4. Heroes

    Heroes Heroes of Might and Magic

    May 19, 2005
    You don't need amphibious assault to make berserk useful. They are already great without being marine, the ability of amphibious attack is just one more bonus.
  5. Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Prince

    Jul 19, 2005
    Because the Beserk's are so weak in defence, they are best used amphibiously.
  6. Son_Of_Dido

    Son_Of_Dido Prince

    May 31, 2005
    Thank you!

    You beat me to the punch here; this is the Civ Review/Strategy guide I've been thinking about writing for a while now, since A) nobody has done one for the Vikings yet, and B) I've found them to be tons of fun.

    You've said most of the things I'd have touched on in a Vikings strategy article. I would like to add that I think it's worth it for anybody playing The Vikings to build (or conquer) Leonardo's Workshop -- as it will cut the large Archer-Berzerker upgrade cost in half -- and The Great Lighthouse, which will turn your Galleys into sea-safe 5-movement-point bringers of bearded axe wielding death. It may also be worth it to take the Great Library from whoever is nice enough to build it for you (the sooner you get to Invention and the Berserks that come with it, the better).

    They're not much for the builder, unless your definition of "build" is "build lots of military units" (and I do mean lots. One of your first 2-3 cities should be "Barracks; archer, archer, archer, archer, archer [x infinity]" I'm going to experiment more with my fledgling "specialized city" plan; i.e. City #2 does nothing but archers, city #3 starts building galleys exclusively while city #1 continues to take care of settler expansion 4th and subsequent cities will churn out even more archers. Archers -- the berserks of tomorrow -- should replicate like a virus.)

    The tough part is, especially I imagine at the higher difficulty levels (which I need to experiment with more) is trying to stay in the tech race. They start with Alphabet, so I think making a beeline for republic is the way to go (you'll need to generate a lot of cash anyway, for later, when you're upgrading your archers into our beloved axe wielding amphibious maniacs). So on one hand, you want your research slider up as high as possible to get to invention as quickly as you can, yet on the other hand you want the tax slider up high because you need to generate a lot of cash (especially if you go for Republican government early on).

    It's important then, I think, to use the Seafaring trait to your advantage with the Vikings, establishing early contacts and trading your techs from the republic tree to work your way up the other ancient era research branches.

    Once you have Invention, though, yes, it's time to make your military move; don't bother with research after that; crank up the tax rate, start upgrading your archers.

    Ragnar Lodbrok says: "No strategic resources? NO PROBLEM!" The fun, or perhaps scary, thing about the Viking military is that you can make it into a total hellraiser without any strategic resources. Galleys don't need horses or iron. Archers don't need horses or iron. When the archers are upgraded to Berserks, they still won't need horses or iron. Catapults don't need them either. And that's all you need to build.

    Berserks are pretty weak on defense though, but there's one good way to guard against that; keep them on offense. Also, fielding a large quantity of them helps. Of course, that also means you need to build lots of galleys, especially since galleys can only carry two land units at a time. Definitely exploit the Amphibious ability of the Berserks; they're the ONLY unit that can do that, until marines come much much later.
  7. Swiss Bezerker

    Swiss Bezerker Emperor

    Jan 14, 2005
    somewhere up north
    vikings are great because it allows you to go for invention with something to look forward to.
    heh heh heh. bezerker

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