Civilization V: Civilizations & Leaders Guide

When I first started playing Civilization 5, one of the first things I looked for on the internet was a list of all civilizations and their leaders. I found a few, but none of them gave a convenient list of each civ, their leader, the unique trait and the special buildings and units they provide. I still wanted to have such a list, so I decided to make it myself instead. Hopefully it will be useful to some other people – please do feel free to drop a comment if you have something to add or feel a correction needs to be made somewhere. After all, Firaxis is still heavily patching Civ 5, and some of the stats might change.

This guide has been updated with the Gods & Kings and Brave New World Expansions.

Civilization: America

Civ 5: George Washington

George Washington

Special Ability: Manifest Destiny: All land units have +1 sight and a 50% discount when purchasing tiles in cities.

Unique Unit: B17: Replaces the Bomber unit. Starts with Siege I and Evasion – which reduces damage from air interception by 50%. This normally takes a few upgrades, so this is a great unit for the early stages of the late game.

Unique Unit: Minuteman: Ignore terrain movement costs. 15% combat bonus in Rough Terrain. Gains points toward Golden Ages from victories. This is a decent unit, but it’s obsolete quite quickly.

Comments: America’s +1 sight for land units should not be underestimated when it comes to exploration or preventing Barbarians from spawning near your territory. Position units strategically to get the most out of this. The 50% discounts when purchasing tiles is honestly not that great, it will save you a bit of gold here and there but it won’t make a significant difference. The B17 is fantastic when laying siege to cities, but doesn’t come into play until very late in the game. The Minuteman can be useful for further exploration. America can work for any play style, but never really shines compared to other choices.

 

Civilization: Arabia

Civ 5: Harun al-Rashid

Harun al-Rashid

Special Ability: Ships of the Desert: Caravans gain +50% extended range. Trade routes spread religion at double effectiveness. Oil (strategic resource) provides double quantity.

Unique Unit: Camel Archer: Replaces the Knight and provides a ranged unit rather than a melee one. Attacking over 2 hexes is extremely valuable on such a fast unit at the medieval stage of the game – this is a great unit.

Unique Building: Bazaar: The Bazaar replaces the Market and provides an additional copy of each luxury resource being worked on by the city. Oil and Oasis tiles yield a bonus of +2 gold. This is fantastic for trading, especially if said resource is scarce.

Comments: Arabia has lost it’s +1 gold bonus to trade routes in Brave New World and had it replaced with +50% extended range to caravans and an increase to the spread of their religion. The double oil benefit is far more important than it might seem, but you will not notice it until the late game. Oil is a requirement for many of the stronger units in the late game, and allows you to field large numbers of carriers and bombers. The Bazaar is still a very powerful building – but Arabia has lost a little of it’s economic capability with these changes and is slightly better suited at a religious pursuit now. Don’t be too tempted with the additional range of caravans as trade routes over land are nowhere near as lucrative as those by sea. Arabia is still a decent trading nation purely due to the Bazaar and the prospect of Oil exports later in the game.

 

Civilization: Assyria

(Available from the Brave New World Expansion)

Civ 5: Ashurbanipal

Ashurbanipal

Special Ability: Treasures of Nineveh: When a city is conquered, steal a Technology from its owner. The former owner must already have discovered the technology, this must occur through military conquest and can only happen once per city.

Unique Unit: Siege Tower: Replaces Catapult. Is a melee siege unit rather than ranged, but does not require set-up. Strength 12, Cover I promotion (ranged defense), +1 to sight, +200% bonus vs Cities and most important of all: any units within 2 hexes gain +50% attack bonus vs Cities.

Unique Building: Royal Library: Replaces Library. Gains a Great Work of Writing slot. Once filled, this gives +10XP to any units trained in the city. This stacks with barracks and other bonuses.

Comments: This one is incredibly straight forward. Assyria is made for conquest and has some of the best tools in-game to make said conquest happen fairly early in the game. Rush to Siege Tower technology and if you can get your Siege Towers in range of enemy cities, you’re pretty much unstoppable. These units are devastating to cities and if supported with the right units are close to unstoppable as they can turn mediocre siege units into more than adequate ones. A city surrounded by units which are supported by one or two Siege Towers will only survive under the most fortunate circumstances. Combined with the ability to outright steal technologies, your main focus should be on your military forces and expanding through conquest.

 

Civilization: Austria

(Available from the Gods & Kings Expansion)

Civ 5: Maria Theresa

Maria Theresa

Special Ability: Diplomatic Marriage: Pay 500 gold to Puppet or Annex an allied City-State.

Unique Unit: Hussar: Replaces Cavalry. +1 Movement (vs. Cavalry 4), +1 Sight, Enhanced Flanking. A faster cavalry unit designed to overwhelm your opponent with. Great unit both for scouting and rapid assault.

Unique Building: Coffee House: Replaces Windmill. Does not require open terrain. +5% production to everything (vs.  +10% for only buildings), +25% great people generation. Needless to say, this is a great building.

Comments: Diplomatic Marriage makes Austria and incredibly unique and dangerous opponent. This ability allows Austria to absorb a City-State completely, taking over all buildings, units, unique resources – everything. As long as you can sustain this with your happiness and gold income, you can make huge leaps forward in terms of economic and production power. The hussar is a dangerous unit, flanking comes very easy and combined with some promotions and a Great General, Austria can become close to unstoppable.

 

Civilization: Aztec

Civ 5: Montezuma

Montezuma

Special Ability: Sacrificial Captives: Gives culture for each enemy unit killed.

Unique Unit: Jaguar: Since the Jaguar replaces the Warrior, you receive this benefit immediately. Jaguars receive a combat bonus in Forests and Jungle, moves quicker through those and heals 25 damage when it defeats an enemy unit in battle. Obviously this unit is quickly obsolete, but it is a fantastic unit to start with.

Unique Building: Floating Gardens: Replaces the Water Mill and gives +2 additional food to each lake tile the city is working(!) in addition to the normal flat +2 food the Water Mill already provides. Also provides +15% Food. This is a fantastic building, but extremely situational.

Comments: Sacrificial Captives is a rather unusual ability, but the culture you acquire from killing enemy units can really add up in the long run. The floating gardens are great since they were buffed, and the Jaguar is a fairly powerful starting unit. It’s obviously best suited for a militaristic approach, as you absolutely must take advantage of your Sacrificial Captives. If you are unable to win through domination, dig in and push for a Cultural Victory – anyone fighting you is only helping your cause.

 

Civilization: Babylon

(Available from the Digital Deluxe Edition, or as DLC)

Civ 5: Nebuchadnezzar II

Nebuchadnezzar II

Special Ability: Ingenuity: Free Great Scientist when Writing has been researched. Increases the rate at which Great Scientists are born by 50%.

Unique Unit: Bowman: Replaces the archer and gets +2 ranged Combat Strength and Defensive Strength compared to the standard archer.

Unique Building: Walls of Babylon: Replaces the Wall. Gives 6 defensive bonus vs. the normal 5 and costs less. Provides +100 City HP vs. +50. Together with Bowman, this gives Babylon a great early defense.

Comments: Babylon is obviously meant to be a scientific civilization in Civ 5, and it provides you the early defense bonuses to handle it as well. It is highly recommended to use that initial Great Scientist to build an Academy somewhere, as the early techs are not expensive enough to waste him on rushing one. Construct anything that enhances the production of great people, as the Great Scientists are of extreme importance to your scientific dominance. It is worth noting that the free Great Scientist does not increase the cost of producing your next one.

 

Civilization: Brazil

(Available from the Brave New World Expansion)

Civ 5: Pedro II

Pedro II

Special Ability: Carnival: During Golden Ages, Tourism output is doubled and Great Artists, Musicians, and Writers are earned 50% faster.

Unique Unit: Pracinha: Replaces Infantry. Any kills made by the Pracinha provide points toward Golden Ages.

Unique Tile Improvement: Brazilwood Camp: Can only be built on Jungle tiles and provides +2 Gold and +2 Culture. This stacks with the bonus provided by universities as it does not clear the jungle tile.

Comments: This civilization is completely tailored toward the revamped cultural victory in Brave New World. As you need tourism to dominate other civilizations and work towards this victory condition, triggering golden ages is absolutely vital. Luckily, Brazil has a great tool-set and unlike many others can even use strategic wars to accelerate their progress towards a non-domination victory type. Find a weak neighbor whom you’ll already easily dominate culturally, and then literally farm them to trigger golden ages.

 

Civilization: Byzantium

(Available from the Gods & Kings Expansion)

Civ 5: Hagios Theodora

Hagios Theodora

Special Ability: Patriarchate of Constantinople: Choose a bonus Belief when founding your Religion. This bonus may come from any category, provided it’s still available.

Unique Unit: Dromon: Replaces the Trireme. Receives a 50% bonus vs. naval units and has a range of 2. This unit is superior to Triremes in every sense.

Unique Unit: Cataphract: Replaces the Horseman. Strength 15 vs 12. Moves slower (3 vs 4). Unlike normal Horsemen, this unit can fortify. I’m not sold on this unit. It’s really best used in a defensive manner and this needs to be kept in mind when planning your long-term strategy.

Comments: Byzantium is clearly meant to be used is you wish to pursue founding a religion. However, you don’t actually get a bonus to faith which helps you achieve this, and the huge risk with this civilization is that you might not get to found a religion at all, thereby completely negating your unique ability. If you do manage to found a religion, use your bonus on a founder or enhancer belief. You normally only get one and you can get an enormous advantage over everyone else if your religion becomes dominant.

 

Civilization: Carthage

(Available from the Gods & Kings Expansion)

Civ 5: Hmlkt Elissa Dido

Hmlkt Elissa Dido

Special Ability: Phoenician Heritage: All coastal Cities automatically gain a free Harbor. After the first Great General is born, units can pass through Mountain Tiles. Units that end the turn on a Mountain Tile lose 50 HP.

Unique Unit: Quinquereme: Replaces the Trireme. Strength 13 vs. 10. A stronger Trireme, nothing more and nothing less.

Unique Unit: African Forest Elephants: Replaces the Horseman. Strength 14 vs 12. Moves slower (3 vs 4). Does not require horses. Very likely to spawn Great Generals. -10% combat penalty to adjacent enemy units (does not stack). Do not underestimate this unit. It might be slow, but the fact you don’t require horses is actually extremely significant.

Comments: Carthage is another rather unique civilization. The ability to pass mountain tiles with land units can give you a huge strategic advantage on some maps. Free harbors is outright amazing, as you don’t pay any upkeep costs on these either. This essentially means that you build up a trade network with no effort entirely free of any cost. You want to focus settling on the coast with Carthage.

 

Civilization: Celts

(Available from the Gods & Kings Expansion)

Civ 5: Boudīka

Boudīka

Special Ability: Druidic Lore: Cities next to an unimproved Forest Tile produce a bonus +1 Faith. Cities next to three unimproved Forest Tiles produce a bonus +2 Faith.

Unique Unit: Pictish Warrior: Replaces the Spearman. +20% Combat bonus outside Friendly Territory. Killing enemy units provides a one-time Faith bonus equal to half the Strength of the killed unit. No Movement cost to Pillage Improvements. Does not get a bonus against Mounted Units.

Unique Building: Ceilidh Hall: Replaces the Opera House. Adds +3 Happiness to the +4 Culture which the Opera House already provides.

Comments: The Celts are obviously aimed at founding a religion. You can often achieve this without even building a Shrine. Later in the game you probably want to build Lumber Mills on your forests, but I’d recommend trying to keep at least 1 forest unimproved as the bonus faith does add up. The Celts are best used in a manner which enables your faith to support your primary goal. A cultural victory seems the way forward, but you can really go any in direction.

 

Civilization: China

Civ 5: Wu Zetian

Wu Zetian

Special Ability: Art of War: Birth rate of Great Generals increased by 50%. Great Generals grant a +30% combat bonus, instead of +15%.

Unique Unit: Cho-Ko-Nue: Replaces the Crossbowman. Fires twice in one turn, which makes this unit extremely useful and much more powerful than its normal counterpart.

Unique Building: Paper Maker: Replaces the Library. The Paper Maker gives an additional +2 gold when compared to the Library, which translates into a net income of +3 gold per Paper Maker due to the 1 gold maintenance on the Library.

Comments: China is a bit of an odd one to place. You get a bonus to the military side of things, a gold bonus to libraries in the form of the Paper Maker and a unit which fires twice a turn in the mid game. The gold bonus can add up very quickly, increasing your gold income without losing focus of research, and is a fantastic building when you consider that markets and banks increase this bonus even further. China is very well suited for military victories, but can do very well in the Space Race as well.

 

Civilization: Denmark

(Available as DLC)

Civ 5: Harald Bluetooth

Harald Bluetooth

Special Ability: Viking Fury: Embarked units have +1 move and  only 1 movement cost for moving from sea to land. Melee units are charged no movement cost for pillaging improvements.

Unique Unit: Berserker: Replaces Longswordsman. +1 Move, free Amphibious (no attack penalty when attacking over a river or from the sea).

Unique Unit: Norwegian Ski Infrantry: Replaces Rifleman. +25% in Snow/Tundra/Hills (unless Forest or Jungle is present) and half movement cost.

Comments: Denmark has clearly been designed as a military civilization, with extremely specific bonuses. Best used on island maps to take full advantage of the Amphibious nature and embark bonuses. The ‘free’ pillaging option is pleasant, but doesn’t make as big an impact as the bonuses from Germany and Japan. Not the best faction, but under the right circumstances there are some pleasant advantages. Denmark is best played in  a hit & run style method – pillage improvements, raze cities and hit your enemies where it hurts.

 

Civilization: Egypt

Civ 5: Ramesses II

Ramesses II

Special Ability: Monument Builders: +20% Production bonus towards Wonders.

Unique Unit: War Chariot: Replaces the Chariot Archer. They have 1 additional move point compared to the Chariot Archer, and don’t require the horses strategic resource.

Unique Building: Burial Tomb: Replaces the Temple. Burial Tombs give +2 happiness when compared to the Temple. Maintenance cost 0 vs the 2 for a Temple. This can be of great help if you are trying to build a fairly large empire. This building comes with the downside that your enemy will get twice as much gold when they conquer your city.

Comments: The +2 happiness bonus for all your cities should certainly not be sniffed at, as it provides an easy mechanism to deal with your expansion early on. With the Piety social policy track you can further utilize the happiness by converting excess happiness into culture. The War Chariot provides a great early attack unit, which can be spammed to your desire. You will definitely want to make use of the +20% wonder production to get some early wonders, and a good production city is of great benefit to Egypt. As a result, Egypt is particularly well suited to cultural victories, but can do very well on the others too.

 

Civilization: England

Civ 5: Elizabeth

Elizabeth

Special Ability: Sun Never Sets: +2 movement for all naval units. Receives 1 bonus Spy at the Renaissance.

Unique Unit: Longbowman: Replaces the Crossbowman. The Longbowman has a range of three hexes, making it a fearsome ranged unit in the early stages of the game.

Unique Naval Unit: Ship of the Line: Replaces the Frigate. Comparing the Ship of the Line to the Frigate, bearing in mind that by default the unit benefits from the Sun Never Sets ability, it really provides a fantastic vessel. The Ship of the Line has 7 moves vs. the 5 a frigate enjoys, +1 sight and does more ranged damage than the frigate and is slightly cheaper to build!

Comments: The Ship of the Line combined with the +2 movement bonus, truly dominates the seas for the entire mid period of the game. If the map contains a lot of water, England is going to be very powerful if played properly. The Longbowman provides an excellent unit for long-range support to your attacking forces, and England is a great choice for a military victory through conquest. The Great Lighthouse provides an opportunity to really add to your advantage, and any enemy civilization which manages to build this before you will close the gap somewhat. The Exploration social policy track is almost mandatory with England. With the arrival of Gods & Kings – England now enjoys the huge benefit of having 1 more spy than any other civilization.

 

Civilization: Ethiopia

(Available from the Gods & Kings AND the Brave New World Expansions)

Civ 5: Haile Selassie

Haile Selassie

Special Ability: Spirit of Adwa: Military units gain a +20% Combat Bonus when fighting rival Civs that own more Cities than you.

Unique Building: Stele: Replaces the Monument. Provides +2 Faith on top of the +2 Culture a monument already provides. Awesome for an early leap in faith.

Unique Unit: Mehal Sefari: Replaces the Rifleman. +15% combat bonus in Rough Terrain (Drill 1), Variable combat bonus when fighting near the Capital. This combat bonus is at its most powerful, +30%, when the unit is inside the Capital and becomes weaker the further away the unit is.

Comments: Ethiopia is perfect for a defensive strategy, focusing on a Cultural victory. It’s clearly designed to be kept small, ensuring you benefit from Spirit of Adwa. The Stele is an utterly amazing building, providing double the benefit of a Shrine at no cost or penalty whatsoever. You will be able to found a pantheon so quickly that really nobody will be able to stop you from founding your religion first – short of faith boosts from ruins. The Piety track is mandatory for Ethiopia as it boosts both Faith and Culture extremely well.

 

Civilization: France

Civ 5: Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte

Special Ability: City of Light:Great work theming bonuses are doubled in the French capital.

Unique Unit: Musketeer: Replaces the Musketman. Musketeers have a combat strength of 28 (vs 24), and they are the most powerful units of the renaissance era.

Unique Tile Improvement: Château: May be built adjacent to luxury improvements, but not other Châteaus. Provides +1 Gold and +2 Culture to the tile when worked, which increases to +3 Gold and +3 Culture once Flight has been discovered.

Comments: France is a fantastic choice for Cultural victories. France has undergone a major change in Brave New World, with a change to its Special Ability focusing it more on tourism directly, rather than just culture. They also lost their foreign legion units and gained the Château. Whilst this plays into the theme of the Civilization, France has lost a lot of the former early strength and is now much better suited for a pure cultural victory, fully focused on creating as much culture and tourism as possible. The Musketeer remains an impressive unit, but you should fully focus on creating a capital filled with wonders and pure cultural output.

 

Civilization: Germany

Civ 5: Otto von Bismarck

Otto von Bismarck

Special Ability: Furor Teutonicus: Land Unit Maintenance costs reduced by 25%. When defeating a barbarian inside a camp, there is a 67% chance of converting them to your side.

Unique Unit: Panzer: Replaces the Tank. The Panzer is completely superior to the standard Tank, providing +10 combat strength and +1 movement. On top of this, they can move after attacking – showing the Blitzkrieg tactics the Germans pioneered in World War II.

Unique Building: Hanse: Replaces the Bank. In addition to the normal benefits a bank provides, adds +5% production per Trade Route with a unique City-State.

Comments: It goes without saying that Germany is aimed at Military victories. Their bonus encourages you to hunt barbarians and if luck is on your side you will expand your army and gain some experience early on. In the early late game, the German Panzer is one of the most terrifying offensive units, and your ability to move after attacking allows for true Blitzkrieg tactics. Your absolute priority in this stage of the game is to secure enough oil to keep your war machine going.  Remember the Arabian oil bonus? These guys are particularly well suited as long-term allies! Since Gods & Kings, Germany now also gets a 25% reduction in Unit Maintenance costs, enabling you to field a much larger army. This makes Germany even more amazing than before. With the Brave New World expansion, Germany’s Landsknecht has been replaced by the Hanse. This can end up providing a significant production bonus, which should not be underestimated and only supports the German war machine.

 

Civilization: Greece

Civ 5: Alexander

Alexander

Special Ability: Hellenic League: City-state Influence degrades at half and recovers at twice the normal rate.

Unique Unit: Companion Cavalry: Replaces the Horseman. The Companion Cavalry improves upon the Horseman by 2 additional attack power (14 in total) and +1 movement. Essentially, this is the classic era Blitzkrieg unit, as Horseman already have the ability to move after attacking. It also comes with the ability that increases the chance to spawn Great Generals.

Unique Unit: Hoplite: Replaces the Spearman and give an additional +2 combat strength (total 13). Bear in mind that these units get 50% combat strength bonus vs. cavalry, so that this unit ends up with 19 combat strength vs. the standard Horseman’s 16.

Comments: Greece is incredibly well suited for a Diplomacy victory, and absolutely screams for use of the Patronage social policy track. Both of the unique units are for the early stages of the game, allowing your to rapidly expand your influence and defend your city state allies – which are well worth defending provided that all your bonuses are focused on them. You can also exploit the abilities of the Greeks to pursue any other victory, just be selective in which City States you choose to align yourselves with and be able to back up any protective statements you make.

 

Civilization: Huns

(Available from the Gods & Kings Expansion)

Civ 5: Atilla

Atilla

Special Ability: Scourge of God: Starts with Animal Husbandry already discovered. Pastures yield a bonus +1 Production. Conquered Cities are Razed twice as fast.

Unique Unit: Horse Archer: Replaces the Chariot Archer. Does not require horses. +15% combat bonus VS units in open terrain (Accuracy I). Rough Terrain Movement penalty removed. +1 melee strength. A great unit and with the removal of the horse requirement can be build in large quantities.

Unique Unit: Battering Ram: Replaces the Spearman. This is an unique unit which can only attack Cities with a +300% bonus. It upgrades to a Trebuchet instead of to the Pikeman.

Comments: This will not come as a surprise but the Atilla and his Huns are best suited towards Military pursuits. There’s only one strategy and that is to conquer and puppet as many enemies as possible. Nobody will trust you, but the early game goes fast and hard for Atilla. Extra production from Pastures makes raising armies even easier, and the Battering Ram makes conquering cities early in the game a breeze. Use this to your advantage but don’t completely eliminate your opponents yet: you actually want them to settle more cities which you can then conquer. Why bother settling yourself if you can let other people do all the hard work for you?

 

Civilization: Inca

(Available as DLC)

Civ 5: Pachacuti

Pachacuti

Special Ability: The Great Andean Road: No movement penalty in hills. No maintenance costs for improvements on hill tiles, half maintenance costs elsewhere. Note that the Wagon Trains policy in the Commerce track stacks with this, making roads and railroads completely free anywhere.

Unique Unit: Slinger: Replaces the Archer. -1 Melee combat strength, ability to withdraw to an adjacent tile if attacked at melee range by non-fast units. (E.g. Cavalry, etc.)

Unique Building: Terrace Farm: Tile improvement. +1 Food to Hill Tiles, +1 Food if adjacent to mountain. Requires Construction.

Comments: The Inca have some truly unique bonuses, which should not be underestimated. Yes, the Iroquois receive the same movement bonus for forest tiles, but hills cannot be destroyed – where forests become less common as the game progresses. Having more powerful farms can be a huge bonus to early growth, especially since the Inca start bias ensures mountains and hills will be present around their capital. The slinger is brilliant in the early game, as it’s much less vulnerable than the standard Archer unit. Please note that whilst the ability to withdraw on this unit is excellent, it makes them poor escorts for civilian units as the slinger could withdraw and leave the opponent to follow and immediately capture the civilian. So don’t use them to protect your settlers or workers!

 

Civilization: India

Civ 5: Ghandi

Ghandi

Special Ability: Population Growth: Double the Unhappiness from the number of Cities, but Halve the Unhappiness from Population size.

Unique Unit: War Elephant: Replaces the Chariot Archer. Does not require horses. Compared to the Chariot Archer, the War Elephant loses 1 point of movement, but has +3 melee combat strength and gains +1 ranged power as well. Rough Terrain movement penalty does not apply for War Elephant’s either. These are truly fantastic in the early stages of the game.

Unique Building: Mughal Fort: Replaces the Castle. The Mughal Fort is a great improvement compared to the Castle. It costs 10 less production to build and gives +2 culture to top it all off. Once flight has been researched, it starts providing +2 Tourism.

Comments: India is a fantastic choice for players who like going for big cities and is great at having about 3 cities with an enormous population. In my last game with Arabia I ended up with 27 cities, most of which were size 10, and some of them well above 20. Still, I had a higher population count in my game with India, with only 3 cities. India is best suited for any victory which doesn’t involve conquest. Note that Brave New World changed the +3 Gold on the Mughal Fort with +2 Tourism, making India exceedingly useful at Cultural victories. Large cities with huge tourism output are extremely powerful when going for this victory type, just don’t forget those great works and archaeological digs!

 

Civilization: Indonesia

(Available from the Brave New World Expansion)

Civ 5: Gajah Mada

Gajah Mada

Special Ability: Spice Islanders: The first 3 Cities settled on other continents than where Indonesia started each provide 2 unique Luxury Resources and can never be Razed.

Unique Unit: Kris Swordsman: Replaces the Swordsman. Gains random upgrades after combat, such as 1 additional attack and move per turn, or fully healing. The upgrade can also be negative in the form of cursed blades, but generally speaking some of the bonuses are incredibly powerful and well worth carefully preserving well into the end of the game.

Unique Building: Candi: Replaces the Garden. For each religion with at least 1 follower in the city, gain +2 Faith per turn.

Comments: Indonesia is a bit of a mixed bag. Whilst the special ability is really useful for trading with other civilizations it does have rather situational use after the first set. The Kris Swordsman units can turn out incredibly powerful, but Indonesia has nothing else backing this military power up. We then have a Candi which goes into the religious side of things. Indonesia is decent at several things, but master of none. Still, it’s a fun civilization to play and I’d recommend playing them with a focus on religion and military. If you wish to play as a trading nation, Venice, Portugal and The Netherlands would all be better choices.

 

Civilization: Iroquois

Civ 5: Hiawatha

Hiawatha

Special Ability: The Great Warpath: Units can move through forest and jungle tiles in friendly territory as if they were a road. These tiles can be used to establish trade routes upon discovering The Wheel. Caravans can move through any forest or jungle tile as if they were roads.

Unique Unit: Mohawk Warrior: Replaces the Swordsman. Does not require Iron. The Mohawk Warrior gains a 33% combat bonus when fighting in forest and jungle. If these are available in large numbers, you can use this to your advantage but it is rather situational.

Unique Building: Longhouse: Replaces the Workshop. The Workshop normally gives a 10% bonus to production, but the Longhouse changes this completely. Instead it gives a +1 bonus to production for each forest tile the city uses. Unfortunately it’s extremely situational, and you absolutely must have forest tiles to gain some benefit.

Comments: This is one of the civilizations which has a nice idea behind it but is far too situational to be of use long-term. If you want to hit the Iroquois where it hurts, cut down their forests and they lose any and all advantages they enjoy. Nevertheless, the ability to create trade routes without road improvements reduces the upkeep costs and makes for a nice bonus. Mohawk Warriors are very strong but only if they are in Forest or Jungle Tiles – and the Longhouse is fantastic but only if you have a lot of forest available. As a result, the Iroquois need to be played in a very specific manner and might not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you do have plenty of forest and jungle tiles available however, this can be a powerful nation which can use these forests as a natural defense mechanism versus invaders.

 

Civilization: Japan

Civ 5: Oda Nobunaga

Oda Nobunaga

Special Ability: Bushido: Units always fight at full strength, even when damaged.

Unique Unit: Samurai:  Replaces the Longswordsman. Samurai are identical to Longswordsmen except that they gain Shock I and Generals II abilities. This increases their combat potential by 20% in open terrain and increases the likelihood a great general will spawn when defeating an enemy. They are also able to build Fishing Boats when embarked, which is of great benefit to developing your cities.

Unique Air Unit: Zero Fighter: Replaces the Fighter. The Zero gains a combat bonus of 33% vs. other Fighters and as such enables the Japanese to dominate the skies. This is invaluable in the early part of the late game.

Comments: Japan is perfectly suited for a Military victory, and gives an excellent example of why the Aztecs are a bit underwhelming. The ability to fight at full power even when damaged allows the Japanese to dominate almost all fights where there are equal numbers. The Zero is a fantastic unit in the early late game and enables you to clear the enemy skies of enemy air units to make room for your bombers. Japan is incredibly strong early on in the game, but remain a force to be reckoned with throughout the entire game. It’s not until the late game that other Civilizations can fight on mostly equal footing, due to the technology and infrastructure that should be available to them at this point.

 

Civilization: Korea

(Available as DLC)

Civ 5: Sejong

Sejong

Special Ability: Scholars of the Jade Hall: Specialists yield a bonus +2 Science. Great Person Improvements yield a bonus +2 Science. A tech boost is awarded whenever a Science Building or Science Wonder is completed at the Capital. Wonders that trigger this bonus include the Great Library, National College and Oxford University—not the Porcelain Tower. Buildings that trigger this bonus include the Library, University, Observatory, Public School and Research Lab. The Great Library’s free Library does grant a second science boost, assuming a Library isn’t already present in the Capital.

Unique Unit: Hwach’a: Replaces Trebuchet. Bonus vs cities removed. 26 ranged strength vs. 14 for a Trebuchet. This is a siege unit designed for combat against normal units, rather than cities.

Unique Naval Unit: Turtle Ship: Replaces Caravel. Strength 36 vs the 20 for a Caravel. Loses all Caravel benefits, including extra sight, deep ocean access and retreating when attacked in melee. Bear this in mind – as the Caravel is generally the first ocean-faring ship and the Turtle Ship is not suitable as an ocean faring attack ship.

Comments: Korea is one of very few true scientific civilizations, possibly the only one besides Babylon. You gain a fair few tech boosts equal to research agreements, as well as a science increase from specialists and improvements. Korea’s unique units are completely aimed at defending your own cities, and replace units you would otherwise have been able to use for offensive purposes. If you are aiming for a Domination victory, Korea is not the civilization to pick. Rationalism is an absolute must-have for Korea.

 

Civilization: Maya

(Available from the Gods & Kings Expansion)

Civ 5: Pacal

Pacal

Special Ability: Long Count: After researching Theology, a Great Person of your choice appears at your Capital every 394 years. Each Great Person can only be chosen once.

Unique Unit: Atlatl: Replaces the Archer. Unlocks with Agriculture. Slightly cheaper than the Archer.

Unique Building: Pyramid: Replaces the Shrine. +2 Faith instead of the usual +1. +2 Science.

Comments: Having instant access to the equivalent of an Archer is absolutely amazing. As added bonus, you can put off researching Archery for a little bit – though you will still require it quickly for Trade routes. (It’s a per-requisite towards The Wheel). Being able to both generate more Faith as well as generate more science very quickly, gives the Maya a nice early advantage. You will notice that the Maya use their own calendar instead of the normal dates and each 394 years you can choose a free great person. This gives the Maya a huge advantage. The Maya are great at using Faith to boost a specific victory condition, especially science, but culture would work equally well.

 

Civilization: Mongolia

(Available as free Downloadable Content as of October 25th, 2010)

Civ 5: Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan

Special Ability: Mongol Terror: Units fighting City States receive a +30% combat bonus. All mounted units receive +1 movement.

Unique Unit: Keshik: Replaces the Knight. Gains 2 additional moves (total 5!), has 15 combat strength vs. the Knight’s 20, but gains a 16 strength ranged attack. Gains promotions at double rate, and contributes double amount of experience towards earning a Khan. Receives no penalties against cities, but cannot melee attack. An incredible skirmish unit.

Unique Unit: Khan: Replaces the Great General. Gains 3 additional moves (total 5!) and heals all adjacent units.

Comments: I’ve brought in Captain Obvious for the commentary on this one: Mongolia is aimed at military victories, taking out city states after they’ve done all the hard work to build up. The Khan provides a fantastic level of support to their insanely fast armies. No, seriously – the Mongols are outright dangerous in conflict and there is really no other strategy but to divide & conquer.

 

Civilization: Morocco

(Available from the Brave New World Expansion)

Civ 5: Ahmad al-Mansur

Ahmad al-Mansur

Special Ability: Gateway to Africa: International Trade Routes give +3 Gold and +1 Culture. Other Civilizations gain +2 gold for each trade route they establish to Morocco.

Unique Unit: Berber Cavalry : Replaces the Cavalry. Gains +50% Combat Strength in Desert tiles and +25% Combat Bonus in Moroccan territory.

Unique Tile Improvement: Kasbah: Requires Chivalry. Can only be build on Desert tiles. Adds +1 Food, +1 Gold and +1 Production as well as +50% Defense for units stationed there.

Comments: Morocco adds an additional alternative to the set of trading nations and comes with some very powerful bonuses. Morocco is one of the few civilizations which can thrive in Deserts, which enables you to take territory which other civilizations may completely ignore. Morocco works best if you ensure you always have trading partners. Their military bonuses are best used defensively, within Moroccan territory. Morocco is capable of competing for Diplomatic and Cultural victories, but is simply not as good at it as some of the other choices. If you find yourself with a lot of desert available and manage to rush the Petra, you do have a chance at becoming a dominant force, but this is so situational that I can’t recommend Morocco in a competitive game.

 

Civilization: Netherlands

(Available from the Gods & Kings Expansion)

Civ 5: William

William

Special Ability: Dutch East India Company: Luxuries you trade away still grant your empire 50% of their usual Happiness. The Protectionism Policy grants an additional +1 Happiness per exported Luxury.

Unique Naval Unit: Sea Beggar: Replaces the Privateer. Improves on the Privateer by receiving Coastal Raider II and Supply, enabling the Sea Beggar to heal anywhere on the map.

Unique Tile Improvement: Polder: Unlocks with Guilds. Provides +3 Food to Marsh or Flood Plain Tile yields. Gives an additional +1 Production and +2 Gold to Tile yields after researching Economics.

Comments: The Netherlands have the potential of becoming an economic powerhouse. The happiness bonus might look a bit tame on paper, but it means you can trade all your resources away for other resources and or diplomatic favors whilst still enjoying the happiness bonus. In 1 on 1 trades, even if you trade away your only copy of the resource, you still receive a net gain of 2 happiness, plus you’re working on good relations with another nation. The Polder is an amazing tile improvement once you reach Economics. Never ever remove a marsh if you’re playing The Netherlands, those Polders will give your cities an enormous boost later in the game. As an added bonus, they look awesome. The Sea Beggar is a pimped Privateer, and allows the Dutch to be extremely competitive at sea. These units are fantastic both for naval warfare (any ship you defeat joins your navy) as well as capturing coastal cities.

 

Civilization: Ottoman

Civ 5: Suleiman

Suleiman

Special Ability: Barbary Corsairs: Naval Unit maintenance costs are reduced by 67%. All Naval Units gain the Prize Ship Promotion.

Unique Unit: Janissary: Replaces the Musketman. The Janissary gains 25% additional combat strength when attacking making it a very powerful unit of the Renaissance Era. In addition to that, the Janissary has the ability to heal 50 hitpoints destroying an enemy unit.

Unique Unit: Sipahi: Replaces the Lancer. +1 Sight, +1 Movement (5 vs 4) and no movement cost to pillage improvements.

Comments: The Ottoman Civilization is obviously created with a Military strategy in mind. They have been buffed since the original release in which I stated that they were incredibly underwhelming and not worth picking over other civilizations. This is no longer the case. Their special ability makes the Ottoman Empire one of the most dangerous adversaries on maps with large amounts of water. If these guys hit the seas, you should be worried. Obviously you can field a huge navy at relatively little cost – and the Prize Ship promotion is hands down the best Naval unit promotion in the game. You will build up a giant navy by hunting and capturing Barbarian ships early on – meaning you will not only defend your coastline but press other civilizations extremely hard if you want. Once you near the Renaissance, switch to an extremely aggressive strategy and make the best of your unique units. Once the Ottoman war machine starts rolling, it’s very hard to stop.

 

Civilization: Persia

Civ 5: Darius the Great

Darius the Great

Special Ability: Archaemenid Legacy: Golden Ages last 50% longer. During Golden Ages, your units receive +1 movement and a 10% combat strength bonus.

Unique Unit: Immortal: Replaces the Spearman. Compared to the Spearman, the Immortal gains +1 combat strength (total 12). They also heal at double rate, making it a useful unit to go barbarian hunting with.

Unique Building: Satrap’s Court: Replaces the Bank and gives +2 happiness and +2 gold in addition to the usual 25% gold bonus.

Comments: Persia is all about its special ability around the Golden Ages and your absolute priority is gaining Chichen Itza. Where other players gain a 10 turn Golden Age, you’d at that point be looking at 20+, providing a huge bonus to your Civilization as a whole. Every tile with at least 1 production and 1 gold receives an additional production and gold, giving you a massive bonus to your gold and production output. The Satrap’s Court is an extremely nice building compared to the regular bank, which helps you deal with unhappiness as well as provide additional gold income. During Golden Ages, focus your cities on production and get those buildings, wonders and units pumped out. It’s tempting to waste a Golden Age on building up gold – but it’s much better to use them to gain a lead over your opponents. Where possible, keep your Golden Ages going – it’s more than possibly to keep up a Golden Age for over 100 turns if you play your cards right.

 

Civilization: Poland

(Available from the Brave New World Expansion)

Civ V: Casimir III the Great

Casimir III the Great

Special Ability: Solidarity: Receive a free Social Policy each time you advance into a new Era.

Unique Unit: Winged Hussar: Replaces the Lancer. Compared to the Lancer, the Winged Hussar is faster and comes with Heavy Charge which forces defenders to retreat if they receive more damage than the Lancer. If an opponent can’t retreat, they instead take additional damage. Also gains Shock I (+15% Combat in Open Terrain).

Unique Building: Ducal Stable: Replaces the Stable and gives +15XP to mounted units in addition to the normal bonus to production. +1 gold to pastures and has no gold maintenance.

Comments: Poland is extremely well suited for a domination victory. Whilst a strong focus on military normally comes at the cost of social policies, Poland completely negates this by giving you a free policy every single time you advance an era. The Winged Hussar is capable of dominating the mid-game battlefield if used correctly. The Ducal Stable completely supports this by giving a net gain rather than the usual upkeep loss for building stables. Many people would say that Poland is well suited for a cultural victory and in old expansions they would have been right. However, with the changes to how cultural victories work I no longer feel that social policies are quite as important to that victory type and Poland is much better suited for conquest.

 

Civilization: Polynesia

(Available as DLC)

Civ 5: Kamehameha

Kamehameha

Special Ability: Wayfinding: Units can embark and move over oceans immediately. +1 Vision Range for embarked units. +10% Combat Strength if within 2 tiles of a Moai.

Unique Unit: Maori Warrior: Replaces the Warrior. Starts with “Haka War Dance” promotion (any enemy on an adjacent tile receives -10% combat strength).

Unique Tile Improvement: Moai: Unlocks with Construction. Adds +1 Culture to Coast-adjacent Land Tile yields. Adds an additional +1 Culture to Tile yields for each adjacent Moai. Adds an additional +1 Gold to Tile yields after you finish researching Flight.

Comments: Polynesia is without a doubt the master of exploration at the start of the game. If you have access to the ocean/coast – it’s worth exploring what’s out there immediately, so you can find good spots to settle before anyone else can even reach them. The Moai will give you a lot of additional culture and as you might imagine, Polynesia is particularly well suited for a Cultural victory. Use your early game exploration advantage to meet as many people as you can.

 

Civilization: Portugal

(Available from the Brave New World Expansion)

Civ 5: Maria I

Maria I

Special Ability: Mare Clausum: Resource diversity grants twice as much Gold for Portugal for all International Trade Routes.

Unique Unit: Nau: Replaces the Caravel. Can use Exotic Cargo ability to generate gold and XP. The amount gained increases the further the Nau is from the Capital. You may only use this ability once per Nau.

Unique Tile Improvement: Feitoria: Can be constructed along a City-State’s coast in a spot without a resource. This will give you a copy of each Luxury resource the CS has connected. Resources gained this way cannot be traded. Units stationed in the Feitoria will gain a +50% defensive bonus.

Comments: Portugal is designed to complement the new trade mechanics in Brave New World. The special ability should not be underestimated as this can end up generated an enormous amount of additional gold, if used correctly. Portugal is best used in a diplomatic and trading capacity and can push for cultural or even diplomatic victories through clever use of international trade routes. Portugal’s bonuses work much better in times of peace, so I wouldn’t recommend the path of the warmonger.

 

Civilization: Rome

Civ 5: Augustus Caesar

Augustus Caesar

Special Ability: The Glory of Rome: 25% production toward any building that already exists in the Capital.

Unique Siege Unit: Ballista: Replaces the Catapult. The Ballista is nothing more than a slightly stronger Catapult, with strength 8/10 vs 7/8. It is otherwise identical to the Catapult.

Unique Unit: Legion: Replaces the Swordsman. The Legion gain 17 combat strength over the Swordsman’s 14, but of much more interest is their ability to build roads and forts. You can literally build a road towards your enemy with the same army that will conquer them. Win!

Comments: Rome is one of the Civilizations best suited to an offensive strategy. The 25% production bonus begs you to expand your empire and create a large military. The Ballista and Legion work incredibly well together, giving you the ability to build a road right towards your enemy, conquer their city and move on. In terms of science, push straight for Iron Working and Mathematics to gain access to your excellent units. Rome is well suited for all play styles, but benefits specifically well from aggressive expansion early on. Later in the game, Rome builds cities faster than anyone else, and you can use this to great advantage. Due to the Glory of Rome ability, I would recommend that your goal is to have a large empire (A wide empire rather than a tall one).

 

Civilization: Russia

Civ 5: Catherine

Catherine

Special Ability: Siberian Riches: Strategic Resources provide 1 Production. Horse, Iron, and Uranium provide double quantity.

Unique Unit: Cossack: Replaces the Cavalry. Identical to Cavalry, except the ability to deal +33% more damage against already damaged units. They can easily pick off anything in their era. The 3 movement of cavalry is useful here. A great support unit, and this ability has to be taken into account when targeting enemy units.

Unique Building: Krepost: Replaces the Barracks. Reduces the culture cost of acquiring new tiles by 25%. Russia can quickly expand their borders by building a Krepost in all cities surrounding strategically important terrain. (Which in Civ 5, is almost every single hex in the game!)

Comments: Russia is a fantastic choice for military conquest, with the ability to quickly assimilate a large amount of land, and field very large armies. The doubling of strategic resources makes a big difference when it comes to horse and iron based units early on – and nukes/death robots in the late game. These of course also make excellent bargaining chips and Russia is thus a great choice in larger multi-player games. Consider conquering and otherwise acquiring a monopoly on a strategic resource and then only providing them to your allies. You will effectively starve your opponents from access to strategic assets, giving you a huge advantage in the late game.

 

Civilization: Shoshone

(Available from the Brave New World Expansion)

Civ 5: Pocatello

Pocatello

Special Ability: Great Expanse: Any new cities start with larger cultural borders. Units receive a combat bonus when fighting within Shoshone territory.

Unique Unit: Pathfinder: Replaces the Scout. The unit comes with the Native Tongue ability, which lets you choose your rewards when exploring Ancient Ruins from a list. Is a lot stronger than a normal scout, as strong as the warrior unit. Costs 45 vs the normal 25.

Unique Unit: Comanche Riders: Replaces Cavalry. Gains +1 Movement and is slightly cheaper than Cavalry.

Comments: Personally, I find this the most underwhelming of the new Civilizations in Brave New World. The only real advantage is that you can acquire special resource and luxury tiles more easily, allowing for slightly more flexibility in initial city placements. The Pathfinder is an excellent early unit and should be build instead of warriors as they’re just as strong but allow for greater flexibility with Ancient Ruins. The Comanche Riders really don’t do it for me – the speed is nice but really not as powerful as the units other
Civilizations bring to the table. This Civilization would have been well suited for a ICS (infinite city sprawl) tactic, but this is not nearly as powerful in the current state of the game than it once was, and I can’t really recommend this Civilization for any victory type.

 

Civilization: Siam

Civ 5: Ramkhamhaeng

Ramkhamhaeng

Special Ability: Father Governs Children: Faith, Food and Culture from friendly City-States increased by 50%.

Unique Unit: Naresuan’s Elephant: Replaces the Knight. Unlike the Knight, this unit requires no strategic resources to build. It gets a 50% bonus against mounted units and is an excellent counter to the Knights of other civilizations. It moves slower (3 vs 4) but is slightly more powerful (25 vs 20 strength).

Unique Building: Wat: Replaces the University. Is identical to a University except for +3 Culture.

Comments: Due to the City-State bonuses, going for the Patronage social policy track is an absolute must. This will give you enough food in tribute to enable you to divert more attention to production and specialists – without limiting your growth. Siam is well-suited for any victory type, but really shines when you take full advantage of the City-States. Because of this, both Diplomacy and Cultural victories work especially well.

 

Civilization: Songhai

Civ 5: Askia

Askia

Special Ability: River Warlord: Triple gold from Barbarian encampments and pillaging Cities. Embarked Units gain +1 Sight and double defense. Land Military Units gain the Amphibious Promotion.

Unique Unit: Mandekalu Cavalry: Replaces the Knight. Doesn’t have the penalty against cities and is slightly cheaper.

Unique Building: Mud Pyramid Mosque: Replaces the Temple. Removes the 2 gold maintenance costs and adds +2 culture to the existing +2 Faith. Superior to the Temple in every single way; a truly fantastic building.

Comments: Songhai is particularly well suited to both Cultural and Military victories, but can do very well at any type of victory in the hands of a good player. The culture bonus should not be underestimated, and unlike the French bonus this one lasts the entire game. Don’t forget that the removal of maintenance costs is a rather big deal as your opponents are still paying this! The bonus you get whilst pillaging cities can really help in funding a war, by allowing you to improve your infrastructure back home without stopping the production of units. This civ is much better than it might first appear to be and is very power at amphibious assaults.

 

Civilization: Spain

(Available as DLC)

Civ 5: Isabella

Isabella

Special Ability: Seven Cities of Gold: 100 Gold bonus when discovering Natural Wonders (500 (!) if Spain is the first to discover a particular Natural Wonder). Culture, Happiness, Faith and all tile yields (production, food, commerce) are doubled on Natural Wonder tiles.

Unique Unit: Tercio: Replaces the Musketman. +10 Cost, +2 Strength (26 vs 24), +50% combat bonus vs mounted units.

Unique Unit: Conquistador: Replaces the Knight. +15 Cost, No penalty when attacking cities, +2 Vision Range, Double defense when Embarked. Can found Cities like a Settler, but only on different continents from your capital.

Comments: Spain is a very different civilization from others, and requires a very specific tactic. You absolutely MUST explore and find those natural wonders. Once found, benefit from a huge gold bonus and settle them if you can as you get quite the benefit from some of them. Early on, focus on research as your primary expansion phase comes later in the game once you have Conquistadors, which allow you to quickly overwhelm and take over new continents. I cannot stress enough how important it is to scout quickly as +500 gold early in the game is a huge boost.

 

Civilization: Sweden

(Available from the Gods & Kings Expansion)

Civ 5: Gustavus Adolphus

Gustavus Adolphus

Special Ability: Nobel Prize: Gifting a Great Person to a City State grants 90 Influence. When making a Declaration of Friendship, Sweden and their friend gain a +10% bonus to Great Person generation. This bonus stacks for Sweden for each Declaration of Friendship they make.

Unique Unit: Hakkapeliitta: Replaces the Lancer. +15% combat strength when sharing a Tile with a Great General. This bonus stacks with the combat bonus Great Generals normally give. Shares Movement with Great Generals. Great Generals that begin the turn sharing a tile with a Hakkapeliitta gain a bonus 2 Movement.

Unique Unit: Carolean: Replaces the Rifleman. Heals every turn (March).

Comments: Sweden is perfect for people who focus on the late game. You want to play fairly peacefully early in the game and make as many declarations of friendship as you are able. This provides you a huge bonus on Great People. You can either use the Great People normally, or create and instant alliance with plenty of influence spare with any City State. Later in the game, ensure you have a Great General to move with your Hakka as the unit isn’t all that special without one attached to it. When playing Sweden, actively try not to anger too many people as you will lose a lot of your benefits if you end up at war with everyone.

 

Civilization: Venice

(Available from the Brave New World Expansion)

Civ 5: Enrico Dandolo

Enrico Dandolo

Special Ability: Serenissima: Venice can’t build settlers or annex cities at all. You only ever directly control one city, your capital, but the number of trade routes Venice gets is doubled.

Unique Unit: Merchant of Venice: Replaces Great Merchant. Venice can outright puppet City States with this unique unit. Can also conduct trade missions like normal Great Merchants, but at double effectiveness. Venice gains a free Merchant of Venice when they research Optics.

Unique Unit: Great Galleass: Replaces the Galleass. Slightly more expensive than a normal Galleas (110 vs 100), but gains +3 Ranged Strength and +2 Defense.

Comments: This is one of the most unique civilizations added in Brave New World. First of all, you have a nipple on your head. But if you can get past that, Venice is really a ton of fun to play and one of the most powerful trade nations in the entire game. The sheer number of trade routes at your disposal make Venice an absolute economic powerhouse late game. The disadvantage is only being able to play with one city – but this is balanced by the fact you don’t need to build settlers or focus on expansion whatsoever. The Merchant of Venice allows you to puppet strategic city states and your vast wealth allows you to outright purchase any buildings you wish those puppets to make. If played correctly, Venice is an excellent choice for a diplomatic victory and can also be used to great effect in cultural victories. Unfortunately the one thing Venice suffers from is its position on the map. If you’re without trade partners or without easy access to open waters, you’ll quickly fall behind and never really recover.

 

Civilization: Zulu

(Available from the Brave New World Expansion)

Civ 5: Shaka

Shaka

Special Ability: Iklwa: Half maintenance cost for melee units. 25% less XP required to earn a promotion for all military units.

Unique Unit: Impi: Replaces the Pikeman. Before attacking a unit, the Impi throws a spear at them, weakening the opponent before the real combat starts. This spear attack does around half the damage the Impi normally deals.

Unique Building: Ikanda: Replaces the Barracks. Add a unique promotion line to any pre-Renaissance melee unit trained in a city with an Ikanda. This starts with Buffalo Horns, which gives a unit +1 speed, +25% flanking bonus and +10% ranged defense. Due to the normal XP provided by barracks you can immediately upgrade this for further flank and combat bonuses.

Comments: Not unexpected given their history, the Zulu civilization really is only suited for military victories. Whilst quite strong in the hands of a really aggressive player, I personally feel there are better civilizations in the game for military victories. The Impi is an interesting and powerful unit, especially combined with the Ikanda and their special ability but it never really stands up to the Japanese or German bonuses, which are valid the entire game. A very useful tip from Augustus13 on Reddit: If you manage to found your own religion and get the Holy Warriors Belief, you can purchase Impi with faith for the rest of the game and upgrade them as you need. The advantage here is that the unique promotion line given to the Impi by the Ikanda carries over when you upgrade the Impi to more modern units.

the author

Managing Editor of ManaPool, Peter lives in York, UK and is a great fan and master of turn-based strategy games. If he isn't playing one of those, you'll probably find him in a role-playing game instead. He's definitely not afraid to provide a straight up opinion on any game and has a strong like for indie developers. We all start small, after all.