As per the discussions about what to build first, and how to fight the barbarian hordes, people are underestimating Scouts. I build 3-5 Scouts in early game (along with slinger and settler) and they are a great long term investment. Here's why: 1. They have good movement and can catch the Barbarian Scouts and stop them from getting back to the barb camp, thereby preventing the flood of barbarian horses. 2. No, they usually can't kill a barb scout on their own, but because of ZOC (zone of control), they can pin the barb in place or force it to move a certain direction... where your slinger or warrior can finish it off! 3. Because I'm using them for combat a lot (and I never lost one), they get XP and get upgraded and become even more useful. 4. They are super useful for herding other countries' units so they don't get in your way. Most importantly, you can stop a pesky foreign settler from encroaching. (Without declaring war). It takes some maneuvering, and you have to put the scouts a few deep, but it can work. BTW, foreign settlers can move THROUGH your units, so plan accordingly. 5. When you get to the industrial era, scouts upgrade to Ranger (3 movement, 45 melee and 60 ranged combat), and if they have the Guerrilla (can move after combat) and Ambush (+20 combat in all situations) promotions, they are quite nasty! Based on my experience, Scouts are the most cost effective units you can buy in early game, and they remain useful for most of the game.