1. We have added the ability to collapse/expand forum categories and widgets on forum home.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. All Civ avatars are brought back and available for selection in the Avatar Gallery! There are 945 avatars total.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. To make the site more secure, we have installed SSL certificates and enabled HTTPS for both the main site and forums.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Civ6 is released! Order now! (Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR)
    Dismiss Notice
  5. Dismiss Notice
  6. Forum account upgrades are available for ad-free browsing.
    Dismiss Notice

Using Explorers Revealed

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by gzollinger, Mar 12, 2002.

  1. gzollinger

    gzollinger Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Messages:
    24
    THE EXPLORER

    I recently started using explorers and I wanted to share my pleasant experiences. Most of the treads I have read on the explorer are along the lines of "they suck, they come much to late to explore anything". It is true, by the time you get explorers, there usually isn't much map left to explore. The key to using them is not to think of them as an explorer, but to think of them as a special operations unit.

    THE FACTS:

    Explorers get 2 moves, and treat all squares like they have roads. Unlike the scout who's moves are treated like there are no roads, the explorer can run across your neighbors territory in a couple turns.

    They aren't considered a thret by the civs you are at peace with, so they can move freely through their territory. Rarely, if ever will they get forced to leave.

    They are cheap. They cost 20 shields, the same as an archer or spearman. By the time you get them most any of your cities can produce them in 2 turns. Note: for some reason you can have a city producing 35 shields and the explorer still takes 2 turns to build. Seems like there is a minimum number of turns to build this unit. However they are so cheap, you can have cities that are otherwise unproductive popping them out in 2 turns and you don't waste any production time in your good cities that are pumping out your military. I have noticed that if you enter your golden age, the 2 turn minimum is lifted and you can build Explorers in one turn. Maybe someone out there has something to add on this.

    They can pilliage (small point, VERY important).

    STRATEGIES

    Pillage: The obvious use is to pillage. Just ask yourself, what value would you place on being able to pillage every resource (strategic and Luxury) that your opponent has, on the turn that you begin your assault? For what amounts to the cost of a couple of infantry you can instantly deprive your target of all these valuable resources. Also, any important roads for travel, or roads through the mountains you will be attacking from can be removed without wasting valuable moves from your military units. Also, because of the 3 moves, many of your Explorers will escape for the next offensive, or run around as fodder trying to pillage even more while drawing out the enemies offensive units, thus making them susceptible to yours. I have tried to use military units to cut off these resources and roads, and it just doesn't work well. Not only do you lose valuable attacks, but it is very difficult getting your units within reach of the enemies resource squares. You also tend to have to sacrifice a couple of expensive cavalry/tanks because they get over extended trying to reach that oil or saltpeter square.

    Recon: In a recent game I played, my friends, the French stood between myself and the Chinese. I found myself without a source of coal and the French were holding 2 sources and were the obvious choice for me to go after to get the resource. They also had a few excellent wonders in two of their cities. My trouble was that my military was meager. I was building a few cavalry but I didn't have enough to take out the french. Luckily the chinese declared war on the French and the fighting commenced. I was able to send several Explorers up into French and Chinese territory to act as recon and provide me with free valuable information of how things were going. I could see that the chinese were able to get the upper hand and were pummeling the French cities. Using this information I was able to wait until the French capital was down to a couple of injured units before I move my small force of cavalry in to take the cities. As a result I had PERFECT TIMMING, I was able to take all but two worthless cities (That China got) from the French with a veryyyy small force of cavalry. Without the turn by turn iformation that my explorers received, I would think I could have lost an army 4-5 times as large to capture half of the French cities.

    Blockade: This falls into the gray area of cheating. Explorers block units just as effectively as Modern Armor, when you are at peace. Say for example that I had a source of coal in my previous example and I wanted help my friends the french from getting beat on by my friends the Chinese. I might want to do this if I wished the French to remain a buffer between myself and the much larger Chinese. If there was an appropriate choke point, I could keep China from sending units by land all together. The French could more then keep up with units from China sent by boat. Barring that, surrounding the French city with 8 explorers would allow the French to build back up defenders if the city were about to fall. Even something like slowing down the Chinese Cavalry so that they end up finishing a turn at the gates of the city instead of attacking the city can do wonders for affecting how a war will turn out.

    SUMMARY

    Give the Explorer a try before dismissing him. Accurate information wins wars and there is no better source of information then the Explorer.
     
  2. damunzy

    damunzy recovering former mod Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2000
    Messages:
    4,977
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Good points on using an Explorer, this should be added to the tips section. I wonder, do they cost resources to build, meaning are they like native workers or foreign?
     
  3. Benjamin Miller

    Benjamin Miller Deranged Helicopter Pilot

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2002
    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Ack! You're right! :D Methinks I might have to use the explorer now. Although it still comes waaaay too late, the pillaging should help alot. Unfourtunetly the AI always asks me to leave, even when I put a harmless scout in the AI's territory. And again, this should be added to the war acadamy section.
     
  4. narmox

    narmox Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2001
    Messages:
    1,338
    Location:
    Canada
    On my last game before I stopped playing for 3 months, 1 explorer saved my empire. Thanks to it, I could easily track the movements of the 60 American swordsmen, archers, longbowmen and spearmen that threatened my faraway south american cities defended by a grand total of 4 riflemen and 3 cavalries. I still had to spend 9000 gold over 30 turns to keep up a guerilla-like defense against them (losing 3 cities and founding 7 or more in the meantime).

    Anyways. The point is the explorer is good at recon missions, I agree with that :)

    Oh yes, forgot to mention a few additions: seems that it treated _all_ squares like roads, so in essence, I had 6 movement points per turn, not just 3. Also, even in war they weren't considered a threat. I know at one point I wasn't looking and I ended its turn right besides a huge stack of Americans. They juist walked past him...
     
  5. Lt. 'Killer' M.

    Lt. 'Killer' M. Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2001
    Messages:
    7,475
    :goodjob:

    quite a few good thought! I never realized that the Ex can use enemy road. That`s good to know!

    As for being asked to leave: they do, but never do they force me to automove, nor do they come again and get annoyed as long as it is only scouts or explorers!
     
  6. Shabbaman

    Shabbaman rebuffing the rebels

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2002
    Messages:
    3,584
    Location:
    the new civduelzone.com!
    I'll build one right away ;)
     
  7. Shabbaman

    Shabbaman rebuffing the rebels

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2002
    Messages:
    3,584
    Location:
    the new civduelzone.com!
    Post it on the strategy forum?
     
  8. royfurr

    royfurr "Klotzen, nicht Kleckern"

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2001
    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    USA
    gzollinger-

    I, too have thought of the explorer as a "light infantry"/reconn unit, with the ability to pillage as the icing on the cake. (Was really wishing they came earler, as I could make good use of them in early wars).

    Are you using a mod? My explorer only gets 2 move, not 3. Of course with all terrain as road, that means 6 (not 9) tiles per turn. Pretty good though!

    One thing I had NOT noticed is the enemy more or less ignoring them, (both before or during a war), I'd usually tried to stay far away from enemy units, thinking they could be easiely captured, and possibly used in the same fashion against ME. Has this happened to you (ie (a) them being captured and (b) used in this fashion by the AI?)

    Last but not least, I had NOT used them for "blitzkreig" massive pillaging of an enemies entire resourse base on the first turn of a war, because I feared that it would brand my reputation, much like using a ROP to position an invading army and then attacking. If you use ONLY Explorers (no conventional units) and ONLY pillage on the opening turn of a war, does this result in a reputation hit or no? (does the use or lack of a dec. of war make a difference?)

    Anyone who knows, beyond smart gzollinger, throw out a reply. The "commando" mass pillage sounds like a great tatic, although to be used much less frequently and selectively if it DOES cause a reputation hit. ANYONE know?


    Finally- anyone know (haven't tried this, easy enough though)- can explorers capture workers? I'd doubt it, thats why I haven't tried, but who knows?

    CIv on. Good post, gzollinger.
     
  9. gzollinger

    gzollinger Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Messages:
    24
    You are right, they do only get two moves, but treat territory like a road for a total of 6 moves on enemy land. I will update the original post to reflect that. Also, I haven't noticed any significant hit on my reputation when doing it, but I don't know of any qualitative ways to measure that, so maybe someone else can weigh in. I also, don't belive they can capture workers or take empty citys and things like that. I have however had an enemy kill them before, but I didn't have any offensive units around, and my Explorer was just pilliaging. Perhaps the computer uses a precedence, and if your explorer is hanging around military units, then the computer will hit them first.

    One other note of clairification, I have had the Explorers asked to leave or they will declare war, but the key to not having that happen, is to keep your explorers away from the imediate square next to the city. Try keeping as many of your explorers in the holes between "farming zones" as much as possible. Also, in the French example I gave in the original post, the French were being weakened by the Chinese, and as a result, they simply wouldn't ask me to leave. I think this also might have to do with how strong the friend is that you are invading. If they feel they are stronger then you, then they are far more likely to ask you to leave.
     
  10. kittenOFchaos

    kittenOFchaos Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2001
    Messages:
    6,802
    Location:
    Brighouse, England
    I've always used the explorer as I love the look of them...maybe not the most efficient reason to build units though!

    Plus they have a terrific fight animation in my option touche'!
     
  11. Lt. 'Killer' M.

    Lt. 'Killer' M. Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2001
    Messages:
    7,475
    I thought that, too, but my last game taught me different: I couldn`t even ask a Spearman to leave right now when he ambled past my capital. I tried each turn, and every time he said yes yes, f*** you - and stayed! For 4 turn (he turned a corner around my town). The other way round I was often asked to leave right away without "touching" a town with, without having a history of agression or having abused ROP or some such.

    Somehow the rules for when it`s leave, please or leave right now are fussy..... :(
     
  12. Moff Jerjerrod

    Moff Jerjerrod Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Messages:
    2,465
    Bravo gzollinger! :goodjob:

    Good thinking on finding a use for explorers. I'll have to give this a try in my next game.
     
  13. No.Dice

    No.Dice Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2001
    Messages:
    217
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    During long periods of peace, i had been using them as spectators to watch the AIs beat up on each other. Park them on a mountain in a hot zone and grab some popcorn. Eases boredom when its not an optimal time to go to war. :D

    Great post, i had no idea they could pillage. :)
     
  14. Citizen_K

    Citizen_K Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2002
    Messages:
    212
    Location:
    The Northwest Southeast of America
    The best part is if you have opponents like the Zulus who just attack everyone on their continent, take it over, and don't bother building or rush-building temples in the cities they've conquered, you can off-load 3 or 4 explorers and just pillage all the roads that don't fall within his cultural boundaries. And b/c those conquered cities take a corruption hit without roads, it takes even longer for them to build up culture when they realize the solution, and meanwhile they aren't getting lux. from those cities and they usually have to do a lot of military unit movement or u building in order to threaten your units out.

    But the ai isn't stupid though, they know what you're doing and so you take a diplomatic hit with that nation. (not a rep. one)
     
  15. Lt. 'Killer' M.

    Lt. 'Killer' M. Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2001
    Messages:
    7,475
    I just used en explorer to pillage the Germans 2 Saltpeter and 1 iron :D

    they were on an island and I landed my invasion at the same time - that kept them so busy then never went for the Ex. :lol: :die!:
     
  16. Shaitan

    Shaitan der Besucher

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    Messages:
    6,546
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Excellent ideas. I wish I'd read this thread a few days ago. I recently lost a dozen tanks that were raiding resources in enemy territory. Oil had disappeared for me so it was vital to take out his advanced resources. I never even through of using explorers. I've never actually built one - who needs to explore anything by the time explorers are available? I'll definitely be building them now though. Thanks for the awesome strategy!
     
  17. bewebste

    bewebste Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2002
    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I think more people would use Explorers if they had simply named them "Elite Ninja Spy" instead. :p
     
  18. Black Fluffy Lion

    Black Fluffy Lion Qxria

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2001
    Messages:
    977
    :goodjob: very good tips. Haven't seen many on explorers before, great thread!
     
  19. The Hun

    The Hun Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2002
    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    I think more people would use Explorers if the whole Firestone incident would go away.
     
  20. Justus II

    Justus II General Staff

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2001
    Messages:
    1,572
    Location:
    Peoria, IL, USA
    I also did not realize they could pillage, that usually costs me several knights/cavarly/tanks every war, because I like to isolate the cities I am attacking in a limited war to cut them off from resources/luxuries etc. Also, they would be useful as a border fill in when on the offensive. I often get in a situation where I capture or raze an enemy city, and someone else wants to rush in and build a city before my borders expand to connect to that area. I usually have to post several units along the old border to block anyone from moving in. Explorers would get there quickly, and be just as effective at blocking movement!
     

Share This Page