Civilisation - Scorecard Version 2.1
(by Mike "Captn" Kidd, AI-Designer at Ensemble Studios)
Mike Kidd: "I love playing random civs. But pretty much everyone gets into this situation once in a while: You draw a civilization that you don't play often, say Persians. You try their strong suit and use a small boat boom to launch an early castle age Knight attack. Your opponent has Pikemen waiting, so you shift to plan B, and invest heavily in Swordsmen. You start your attack, upgrade to imperial, and...what's this? No two-handed swordsmen or champs? Argh!
I hate it when that happens.
What I needed was a single-page quick reference, that I could check in a matter of seconds while a random civilization game was in progress. I wanted to know which lines were good for each civilization, without checking for all thirteen technologies that upgrade Cavalry Archers. So I made my first attempt at a scorecard, rating each unit line for each civilization with an A-B-C-D-F grade. I implemented it as a spreadsheet, by assigning values to all the unit upgrades, technologies and civilization bonuses that affect each line. Then I asked for help around the studios.
Karen Swanson (UI designer) pointed out that the ABCDF - system isn't universal, a 1-10 numbering system might be more universal. Kevin Holme and Alex Quintana pointed out some very questionable weightings I had used in the first draft, and completely re-did the numbering system. Kevin also had the suggestion of making "10" mean "all the upgrades and no special bonuses". This allows units that are "better than perfect" to score higher than 10, like those Saracen Camels or Turk Hand Cannoneers. And Greg Street and Kevin Holme also helped out catching several errors and omissions in round 2.
Here's how to use it: Let's say you get Persians in a random civilization game, and your Knight attack isn't working. Looking across the Persian line on the chart, you'll see that their Swordsmen line gets only a 4, so that would be a really bad choice. They get a 10 for all stable units, and also a 10 for Hand Cannoneers. (Dang! That would have been great against those Pikemen!) They also score well in Bombard Cannons and all non-Galleon naval units, and their Archer line is decent enough to use as a complement to whatever I choose. Or suppose you draw Celts. OK, don't bother building an archery range, go for infantry and siege.
Now, the disclaimers. First, this chart is based on post-imperial strength for simplicity. Many units that are rated low here are just fine during castle age, but they run out of steam later. Second, the spread (the range from 10 to the lowest score) is completely arbitrary. The worst Camel line gets a 9, because everyone gets the heavy camel upgrade and the range of effectiveness (excluding Saracens at 12) is pretty minor. Archers, on the other hand, have a huge range, from 5 for the Franks and Celts to 6 for the Spanish, up to 11 for the Mayans. Mayan archers are so dominant over the other three that I felt this spread was justified. Third, the weightings of technologies and bonuses are subjective as well, I believe this summary is pretty accurate (Spanish Archers really do beat Celt Crossbows in imperial), but I'm sure there will be quite a few numbers that not everyone will agree with. Finally, this chart takes into account price discounts and build speed bonuses, but ignores economic bonuses and unique units, again for simplicity, and because economic and UU- bonuses get into "apples-and-oranges" situations pretty quickly. So, the Huns DO get credit for their lower-cost Cavalry Archers, but the Celts don't get any extra credit for their more efficient woodcutting.
I hope you find this chart useful, especially if it encourages you to explore the wonderful world of random civs. Good luck, and good gaming!"
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