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 Civilization IV - Beyond the Sword

 
   
 
 
Civilization IV - Beyond the Sword

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Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword

Complete Civilization and Leader Guide

by gmims44

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This FAQ is my guide to all 34 civilizations and 52 leaders in Civilization IV:
Beyond the Sword.  It began as a small project on the Civ IV message board one 
day when I had some free time, and over the course of a couple months it 
eventually turned into the 13,000-word monstrosity you see below.  The guide is
based on my expertise from nearly four years of playing Civ IV, during which 
time I'm sure I've played every leader at least twice (most of them a lot 
more), plus way too much time spent discussing this game on message boards.

This guide is not intended to cover all aspects of the game or every possible 
strategy with every leader.  Rather, it is intended to give the reader a basic 
overview of the strengths and possibly the weaknesses of each civilization and
leader, hopefully to inform and entertain those who are looking to improve
their game.  Keep in mind that every game will play out differently depending 
on the map and the behavior of your neighbors, so the information here is 
largely general suggestions on how to play to the strengths of different 
leaders and not by any means hard and fast rules.  This FAQ is also written 
from the perspective of an Emperor/Immortal-level player, and while most of the
infomation here is equally true at any level, some things may be more or less 
effective at lower difficulties (Incan Quechuas being the most notable 
example).  I won't even mention Deity, because that's almost a completely
different game, and the 1% of civ players who can actually compete on that
level certainly aren't going to learn anything from this guide.

A table of contents would be kind of pointless, so instead I'll just tell you
that the list is arranged with the civilizations in alphabetical order, so if 
you're looking for a specific leader just find their civ.  Ctrl + F also works.
Hope you enjoy the guide, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free 
to e-mail me at anamishguy@gmail.com.

The original topic, where most of this guide can be found:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/919352-civilization-iv/53865709

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America

Starting techs: Agriculture, Fishing

Unique Building: 

Mall- A Supermarket with +20% gold and +1 happiness from Hit 
Musicals, Hit Singles, & Hit Movies. This a very good UB held back by the fact 
that it comes so late in the game. Still, for a late-game war, the gold bonus 
can be a significant help if you're rush-buying units with Universal Suffrage, 
and more happiness is always welcome when dealing with war weariness.

Unique Unit: 

Navy SEAL- A Marine with 1-2 first strikes plus the March promotion. Marines 
are somewhat of a niche unit, but if you find yourself in a situation where you
want to launch amphibious strikes in the modern era, SEALs are a noticeable 
upgrade. The March promotion means they can start healing right after they've 
attacked instead of waiting a turn like most units, so stick a medic in the 
transports with them and you'll be ready to attack again earlier than usual. 
Good in some situations, but not a game-changing UU by any means.

Leaders:

Lincoln (Philosophical, Charismatic)- Two strong traits make Lincoln one of the
best leaders for running a specialist economy. Stonehenge is a particularly 
attractive wonder for Charismatic happiness and early gpp. If you have stone or
marble you might choose to build wonders to help take advantage of 
Philosophical's bonus (obviously go for the Pyramids if you have stone to help 
your SE), or you can build units instead and take advantage of Charismatic's 
warmongering benefits. Or both. Unfortunately a specialist economy doesn't have
good synergy with America's UB, but like I said, it comes too late to make much
of a difference anyway.

Roosevelt (Industrious, Organized)- Having an economic trait to go along with 
Industrious is nice, because a large factor in building wonders is getting to 
their required tech first.  Roosevelt is well suited for archipelago-type maps 
where all or most of your cities are coastal, as starting with Fishing puts him
closer to the Great Lighthouse, which combined with the Organized trait will 
allow for lot of expansion without the need for many cottages.  He may also be 
a good candidate for a specialist economy even though heís not Philosophical, 
since he can build the Pyramids more easily and the gold saved by Organized is 
really useful when you donít have cottages.  Whatever your strategy, these are 
two good long-term traits that will help you out.

Washington (Expansive, Charismatic)- I really love this trait combination. The 
extra happiness from Charismatic means larger cities, and the benefit from 
Expansive is not so much the extra health, but the cheaper granaries and 
workers. You'll end up with bigger cities earlier, plus more workers to build 
enough improvements for those bigger cities. That strong early game should set 
you up well to do some always-fun Charismatic warmongering.

---

Arabia

Starting techs: Mysticism, The Wheel

Unique Building: 

Madrassa- A Library with 4 culture instead of 2 plus two slots for priest 
specialists in addition to the normal two for scientists.  A very underrated 
UB, especially considering that buildings double their cultural output after 
1000 years, so Madrassas built in the BCs will quickly be producing 8 culture 
per turn.  The extra specialist slots also mean you can set up a decent gp farm
before Code of Laws, and it's easy to get great prophets for shrines or to bulb
religions if youíre pursuing a religious strategy.

Unique Unit: 

Camel Archer- A Knight that doesn't require horses or iron.  It also has an 
inherent 15% withdrawal chance (like a cuirassier), which paired with Flanking 
I & II gives a 45% withdrawal chance.  That can be useful for both attacking 
cities or as active defense against enemy stacks entering your territory, as 
flanking damage from retreating Camel Archers will damage and eventually kill 
enemy catapults and trebuchets.  Not a great UU, but sometimes you may be glad 
to have it.

Leader:

Saladin (Spiritual, Protective)- Saladin is generally considered one of the 
weaker leaders, mostly because Protective is such a weak trait.  Going for 
Buddhism or Hinduism isn't generally recommended on higher levels, especially 
because his second starting tech isn't a food tech, but his UB does support a 
religious strategy, so it may be worth the risk and the slower start.  Saladin 
is a good candidate for a cultural victory due the Madrassa and the Spiritual 
trait for cheap temples (meaning faster cathedrals), plus the fact that he 
doesn't offer any particular advantage for any other type of victory.  If you 
do go the religious/cultural path, strongly consider the Apostolic Palace, 
University of Sankore, and Spiral Minaret to make your religious buildings 
better.  An interesting leader who may encourage you to try a strategy you 
wouldn't normally use, but not one to choose when you've just moved up in 
difficulty level, and not very likely to appear near the top in your hall of 
fame.

---

Aztecs

Starting techs: Mysticism, Hunting

Unique Building: 

Sacrificial Altar- Courthouse replacement that reduces anger duration from 
sacrificing population by 50%, plus it only takes 3/4 the number of hammers to 
build.  Easily one of the best UBs in the game, as more frequent whipping in 
the Slavery civic is a big hammer advantage.  Get high food sites and 
sacrifice your population like mad to take full advantage of it.

Unique Unit: 

Jaguar- A 5-strength Swordsman with free Woodsman I (and Combat I, but 
technically that's from Monty's trait) that doesn't require Iron and is the 
cost of an axeman.  They can strike quickly through jungles and forests with 
Woodsman II from a barracks, but on the higher difficulties at least, your 
target is going to have a pretty robust defense which probably includes walls 
and Axemen by the time you get Iron Working, so don't count on a Jaguar rush to
wipe out a rival or even capture his capital.  A better use for them may be to 
just capture a couple of the more vulnerable border cities then run around in 
the enemy's forests, cutting roads, plundering, and basically choking him into 
irrelevance so you can wipe him out later.  Even if you don't really use 
Jaguars, save at least one for a great general super-medic, as it's the easiest
unit in the game to get to Woodsman III + Medic III for 40% healing per turn.

Leader:

Montezuma (Spiritual, Aggressive)- Even though you start with Mysticism, don't 
found a religion.  You'll most likely be conquering a few holy cities 
eventually anyway, and with Hunting as your other starting tech, you really 
need food techs asap to get off to a decent start.  Always consider the 
possibility of an axe rush with an Aggressive leader (actually with any leader,
but Aggressive leaders are particularly good at it), but if that's not an 
option, I recommend going for the Oracle to get Code of Laws pretty early and 
get Sacrificial Altars built.  Monty's Spiritual trait has great synergy with 
his UB, as it lets you jump in and out of Slavery as much as you want over the 
course of the game to keep those altars soaked in the blood of your loyal 
subjects.  Anyway, with all those extra hammers from whipping twice as often 
plus Monty's Aggressive trait, your path to victory should be fairly obvious.

---

Babylon

Starting techs: The Wheel, Agriculture (the two most expensive starting techs, 
and Pottery is only one turn away)

Unique Building: 

Garden- A Colosseum that gives +2 health.  Not terrible, but not nearly as 
helpful as many other UBs.  If you actually build it around the time you get 
Construction, youíre more likely to be doing it for the normal +1 happiness 
than the extra health.  You probably won't bother building it in most cities 
until later in the game when health starts becoming an issue.

Unique Unit: 

Bowman- An Archer with +50% against melee units.  Incredibly useful if you 
start next to Shaka or Monty, but not likely to affect your game much 
otherwise.  Maybe you'll get better odds in a fight or two with barbarian 
axemen or something.  Not a very highly-regarded UU overall.

Leader:

Hammurabi (Aggressive, Organized)- Hammurabi is a pretty decent warmonger.  
Aggressive helps you win a large empire and Organized helps you afford it.  
What else is there to say?  This is a very forgettable civilization and leader.

---

Byzantium

Starting techs: Mysticism, The Wheel

Unique Building: 

Hippodrome- Replaces the Theatre and gives +1 happiness for horses instead of 
dye, plus an extra +1 happiness for good measure.  Even better, it also gives 
+1 happiness per 5% culture rate instead of the usual 10%, so every notch you 
bump the culture slider will give you +2 happiness instead of 1.  Thatís quite 
useful for dealing with war weariness.  Also, while the normal Theatre has two 
slots for artist specialists, the Hippodrome has none, though I can't imagine 
when this would ever matter.  If you're going cultural, then you'll use Caste 
System to farm artists, and if you're not, then artists are the last thing in 
the world you want (well, maybe except for spies).

Unique Unit: 

Cataphract- A Knight replacement with 12 strength instead of 10.  The only 
difference between these and cuirassiers is that cuirassiers have an innate 15%
withdrawal chance and can flank attack cannons, and Cataphracts are 10% cheaper
to build.  Considering that a cuirassier attack can be effective even though 
they come significantly later, obviously Cataphracts have great offensive 
potential.  Just send in spies beforehand to be ready to start revolts and 
youíre good to go.  The only downside is that Guilds is inconveniently located 
on the tech tree at a time when youíre normally gunning for Liberalism, but as 
long as you plan to use them, in my opinion Cataphracts are good enough to 
justify the detour and possible loss of a free tech.

Leader:

Justinian I (Spiritual, Imperialistic)- Yet another civilization with no 
starting food tech, so you should avoid the temptation of an early religion and
just research what you need to get your food resources hooked up and your 
empire off to a fast start.  Imperialistic is nice for cheap settlers, but 
those fast great generals also call for some warmongering, donít they?  Unless 
you have a good opportunity earlier, like an obvious axe rush or a dogpile 
situation, I recommend peacefully building and teching until your 
aforementioned Cataphracts are ready to do their thing, then using those to put
yourself into a winning position.

---

Carthage

Starting techs: Fishing, Mining

Unique Building: 

Cothon- A Harbor with one extra trade route that is also 25% more expensive to 
build.  Obviously this UB is highly map-dependent, but just as obviously it can
be pretty great on some maps.  I really love how you can run State Property and
still get most of the benefit of Free Market (besides corporations), or you can
just have Free Market on steroids.  And itís not like Hannibal needs any help 
teching anyway.

Unique Unit: 

Numidian Cavalry- A Horse Archer replacement with 5 strength instead of 6, but 
+50% against melee units and a free Flanking I promotion.  The usefulness of 
this UU has been debated over and over, but in my opinion itís just not that 
great.  Yes, theyíre better against melee units, including spears, which would 
normally be a strong counter unit, but theyíre worse than standard horse 
archers against archers and longbows, the primary defensive units of their time
period.  If theyíre worse at attacking cities, then why would I want them?  
Well, I suppose since theyíre strong in the field theyíre good if someone is 
likely to attack with mostly melee units and catapults, but that doesnít seem 
like anything worth prioritizing Horseback Riding for in most games.

Leader:

Hannibal (Financial, Charismatic)-  Pretty straightforward: just use his 
awesome traits to go for any type of victory you want.  As with any Financial 
leader, build riverside cottages for instant 3-commerce tiles, and with 
Hannibalís larger cities from Charismatic, you can work even more cottages 
earlier.  At some point, youíll probably want to build up an army and go beat 
up some of your inferiors, and my favorite time for that is the renaissance and
early industrial eras, when you can really turn a tech lead into a serious 
military advantage, like cavalry against muskets or mass cannons against, well,
anything.  Hannibal is simply one of the best leaders in the game, and heís 
easy to play since youíll probably want a cottage economy with him.  A good 
choice for both new players and anyone moving up in difficulty.

---

Celts

Starting techs: Mysticism, Hunting

Unique Building: 

Dun- Replaces Walls and gives a free Guerilla I promotion to eligible units.
That only includes archery units and gunpowder units before Rifling, because 
the Dun becomes obsolete with Rifling just like normal walls.  If youíre likely
to be attacked and your border cities are on hills, then this UB provides a 
little extra protection.  Offensively, Guerilla-promoted troops can give you 
extra stack protection when moving through enemy territory if you can stick to
hills, and any unit you get to Guerilla III gets +25% hill attack and more 
importantly, a +50% withdrawal chance, making them pretty nice attackers.  I 
donít usually research Military Science for grenadiers, but doing that along 
with Steel (theyíre close to each other on the tech tree) before getting 
Rifling could be worth it to build some Guerilla III grenadiers with Theocracy 
or Vassalage to go with your cannons.  Still, I consider the Dun a UB thatís 
just kind of fun to play around with, not one that gives me a really 
significant advantage like some others.  It certainly belongs in any discussion
of worst unique buildings.

Unique Unit: 

Gallic Warrior- A Swordsman that can be built with just copper and comes with a
free Guerilla I promotion, plus access to the other Guerilla promotions, which 
is something no other melee unit has.  If you want to attack some cities on 
hills then it might be good to go for Guerilla III with them, but otherwise 
youíll probably just use them like normal swordsmen.  Like the Celtic UB, the 
Gallic Warrior is an interesting but not particularly powerful UU.

Leaders:

Boudica (Aggressive, Charismatic)- Both Celtic leaders have nice trait combos 
to somewhat make up for below average uniques and bad starting techs.  
Obviously Boudicaís advantage is highly promoted units, and youíre not using 
that advantage unless youíre at war.  Once again, skip early religion in favor 
of food techs for a faster start, since you should be conquering holy cities 
later.  Theocracy and/or Vassalage make sense to strengthen your units even 
further, and as your wars go on, settled great generals will really start to 
give you some powerful armies.  At just 8 exp, Boudicaís melee and gunpowder 
units get four promotions, something that takes 17 exp for most leaders.

Brennus (Spiritual, Charismatic)- A more well-rounded leader than Boudica, but 
his traits still push him towards war.  Spiritual is often overlooked as a good
trait for warmongering, but being able to change civics at will is a useful 
ability when building up an army.  For example, build infrastructure for a 
while in Organized Religion, then switch over to Theocracy to build units, and 
back and forth as much as you like.  Switching into Nationhood to do some 
drafting is another powerful option that becomes much more attractive when you 
donít have wasted turns of anarchy.  Honestly, I think Boudicaís traits are 
kind of overkill and Iíd usually rather take Brennus to war.

---

China

Starting techs: Agriculture, Mining (the only civ with this very good 
combination)

Unique Building: 

Pavilion- Exactly like a normal Theatre but with a +25% culture multiplier.  
May push you in the direction of a cultural victory if you were leaning that 
way.  Otherwise itís just a little extra border push.

Unique Unit: 

Chu-Ko-Nu- A Crossbowman that does collateral damage, plus it has 
an extra first strike.  A very good unit, so some people like to go for them 
early by getting Metal Casting from the Oracle and running an engineer 
specialist from a Forge to get a great engineer to bulb Machinery.  Personally 
Iím not so convinced that theyíre powerful enough to warrant a beeline like 
that, since catapults plus swordsmen/axemen can do virtually the same thing 
plus take down city defenses first, but itís something to consider.  They 
certainly make any medieval stack much better, though, and itís worth building 
a lot more of them than you would normally build if they were ordinary 
crossbowmen.

Leaders:

Mao Zedong (Expansive, Protective)- A crappy Protective leader.  Iím generally 
a fan of the Expansive trait for cheap workers and granaries, but itís not 
enough to keep Mao from being one of the weakest leaders in the game.  As 
mentioned above, Chinaís UB can be helpful for a cultural victory, but thereís 
really no specific strategy that Maoís trait combination lends itself to.  Just
play the map and do the best you can, and if you win maybe you can take some 
pride from the fact that it was due entirely to your own skill.  Once you can 
win with Mao, youíre ready to move up in difficulty.

Qin Shi Huang (Industrious, Protective)- Qin is well suited to pull off the 
early Machinery gambit described above with the cheap Oracle and cheap Forge 
from Industrious if you want to give that strategy a try and see if you 
disagree with me about its effectiveness.  Beyond that, discounted wonders and 
a culture-multiplying UB are definitely helpful for a cultural victory.  For 
any other type of victory his traits arenít as much help.

---

Dutch

Starting techs: Fishing, Agriculture

Unique Building: 

Dike- A Levee that gives +1 hammer to water tiles in addition to river tiles 
and can be built in any coastal city without having to be on a river.  Somewhat
map-dependent, but itís good enough that it alone arguably makes the Dutch the 
best civ to use on water-heavy maps likes archipelago and medium & small where 
good production can be hard to come by.  It comes fairly late with Steam Power,
but thatís only fair, because itís the only UB thatís like having a national 
wonder (Moai Statues) in every city (and your Moai city will be really 
amazing).  Consider buying them with Universal Suffrage in low-hammer coastal 
cities that are working a lot of ocean tiles, because theyíre fairly expensive 
to build and the sooner you can get that extra production the better.

Unique Unit: 

East Indiaman- Replaces the Galleon and has 6 strength instead of 4, capacity 
for 4 units instead of 3, and the ability to travel in rival territory without 
the need for open borders (like a caravel).  May save you a few hammers on 
galleons if youíre transporting units overseas, and difficult to take down if 
your opponent doesnít have Chemistry yet, but really not that big a deal.

Leader:

Willem van Oranje (Financial, Creative)- Cheap Libraries from the Creative 
trait work well with Financial to make Willem an excellent techer.  He doesnít 
have a military trait, but if you go to war with a tech lead then that doesnít 
matter so much.  Or you can just do what Willem does best and tech all the way 
to space.  As mentioned before, the Dike makes him a beast on water-heavy maps,
but Willem is still an excellent leader even without his monster UB.  When you 
play him (or maybe when you play the next game after using him) youíll 
understand why the Financial trait is a crutch for so many players.

---

Egypt

Starting techs: Agriculture, The Wheel

Unique Building: 

Obelisk- A Monument with 2 priest slots.  This isnít a very great UB, but it is
an interesting one as it allows for an earlier great person than is possible 
any other way. Great prophets are nice when settled early in the game, or 
alternatively, you can use them to bulb religions to help with a cultural 
victory, which should be a serious consideration with both Egyptian leaders.  
One downside to the Obelisk is that Hatshepsut is Creative and thus doesnít 
need them for culture, but itís still worth building at least one to start 
generating some great people.  With Industrious Ramesses, building Stonehenge 
might be a good way to get them.

Unique Unit: 

War Chariot- A Chariot with 5 strength instead of 4 plus immunity to first 
strikes.  Regular chariots are already sometimes more desirable than axemen for
rushing due to their speed, so a chariot with the base strength of an axemen 
that ignores archersí first strikes?  Yes, please.  Assuming you have horses 
nearby, the odds of pulling off a successful rush go way up with this UU, and 
that makes the entire rest of the game easier.  Theyíre also nice barb 
protection except for the occasional barbarian spearman.

Leaders:

Ramesses II (Spiritual, Industrious)- Everything about Ramesses (except maybe 
his War Chariots) screams for a peaceful builder game and eventual cultural 
victory.  Build wonders in your three culture cities, found religions with the 
great prophets from your UB, and build cheap temples from those religions to 
get cathedrals earlier.  Also, as I mentioned with Roosevelt, Industrious 
leaders are good candidates for specialist economies thanks to their discount 
on the Pyramids.  It seems particularly appropriate to build them as Egypt.

Hatshepsut (Spiritual, Creative)- Not so bad at cultural victories herself for 
some of the same reasons as above, but instead of cheap wonders she gets two 
culture per turn plus cheap libraries and theatres.  Personally, Iím a little 
less likely to play the peaceful builder game with Hatty, opting instead to 
leverage the Creative trait and good UU to try to claim a lot of land early, 
and settling my great prophets to help fund expansion rather than bulbing 
religions.  Her strong early game can really set you up for success, and the 
flexibility of the Spiritual trait helps you out down the road.

---

England

Starting techs: Fishing, Mining

Unique Building: 

Stock Exchange- A Bank with an extra 15% gold multiplier, for a total of 65%.  
This UB is great with Englandís two Financial leaders, as youíll have 
potentially more gold to multiply.  It will help you keep your research higher,
and it particularly shines when you shut off research and go 100% gold to 
upgrade units or rush production.

Unique Unit: 

Redcoat- A Rifleman with +25% against gunpowder units.  Essentially a free 
Pinch promotion, except that you can still put Pinch on top of it for even more
strength against other gunpowder units.  That makes Redcoats less vulnerable to
grenadiers than normal riflemen, but itís still probably best to bring along 
something else for stack protection if your target has Military Science.  For 
the most part, youíll just use these like normal riflemen and enjoy better odds
in some of your battles, or theyíll allow you to bring slightly fewer siege 
units and get the same odds.

Leaders:

Elizabeth (Financial, Philosophical)- Philosophical is already a great trait 
for research thanks to earlier great people and cheap Universities; combine it 
with the Financial trait and you have the strongest techer in the game.  That 
makes Elizabeth one of the best (some would say the best) leaders overall, and 
the fact that she has the Stock Exchange on top of that is just absurd.  Just 
set up a great person farm early and try to get great scientists for Academies 
in your best cottage cities, and watch your tech rate take off.  Elizabethís 
fast research can lead you to a space victory, but as we know, a tech advantage
can easily be turned into a military advantage, so more violent victory options
are also a possibility.  Her UU comes at a great time for a cottage economy, 
when most of your cottages have grown into towns and you can really start 
taking advantage of them with civics like Universal Suffrage and Free Speech.

Victoria (Financial, Imperialistic)- Though somewhat overshadowed by the 
awesomeness that is Elizabeth, Victoria is still a strong leader.  The 
Financial trait works well with Imperialisticís cheap settlers to fund rapid 
early expansion, so you can claim a large empire and actually be able to afford
it.  Of course, Imperialistic offers discounted great generals as well, so it 
makes sense to leverage the greater production from those extra cities into an 
offensive force to ensure that the sun will never set on your empire.

Churchill (Charismatic, Protective)- A good trait and a crappy one.  People who
love the Drill promotions like Churchill, though, as itís pretty easy to get 
Drill IV units with him.  Drill IV Redcoats are quite nice, and itís not that 
big a deal for them that Churchill wonít get a tech lead as easily as the other
two English leaders, because redcoats donít get a bonus against outdated units 
(besides muskets) anyway.  Charismaticís higher happiness cap does provide an 
economic benefit, so Churchill isnít completely one-dimensional, but war is 
still the recommended way to go with him.

---

Ethiopia

Starting techs: Hunting, Mining

Unique Building: 

Stele- A Monument with a +25% culture bonus.  Itís the same bonus as Chinaís 
UB, except it comes earlier and obsoletes with Astronomy.  A skilled player 
could probably leverage the Stele into an early culture victory, but I donít 
tend to go that route with Ethiopia.  The fact that Zara Yaqob is already 
Creative makes this UB a little redundant, but it can provide some extra 
insurance against losing tiles to rival culture, and sometimes it can let you 
settle right up in someoneís face and end up claiming tiles that you really 
have no business controlling.  Iíd still take most other UBs over this one, 
though.

Unique Unit: 

Oromo Warrior- Now weíre talking.  Oromos are Musketmen with 
immunity to first strikes, a free first strike, and free Drill I and Drill II. 
That means with just a barracks and Theocracy/Vassalage or a settled great 
general you can produce Drill IV Oromos, giving you units with 4 to 7 first 
strikes that suffer 60% less collateral damage and have +10% strength against 
mounted units (youíll probably still want pikemen or elephants in your stack 
for protection from knights or cuirassiers).  Regular musketmen kind of suck, 
but Oromos are amazing, and even more so because their promotions carry over 
when you upgrade them, so your Drill IV Oromos become an army of Drill IV 
riflemen.  I recommend going for Steel first, though, as cannons and Oromos are
a potent combination, and delaying Rifling for a bit will give you a chance to 
build more of them before they become obsolete.  The extra first strikes will 
keep you from taking much damage against units damaged by your cannons, so you 
need less time to heal and can keep your attack on the move.

Leader:

Zara Yaqob (Creative, Organized)- A strong trait combination.  Creative is 
always nice for getting off to a strong start, and while Organized isnít quite 
as good as Financial for financing early expansion, itís still a strong 
economic trait, and later in the game it can sometimes actually save you more 
gold per turn than Financial would gain you.  The most notable thing about 
Zaraís traits, though, is that they give him the largest number of discounted 
buildings of any leader: Libraries, Theatres, Colosseums, Courthouses, 
Lighthouses, and Factories are all half price.  Thatís a lot of saved hammers 
that can potentially go into other things, like Oromos, for instance.  After 
all, it would be a shame to waste a strong UU and a trait that can finance a 
large empire, wouldnít it?

---

France

Starting techs: Agriculture, The Wheel

Unique Building: 

Salon- An Observatory that gives one free artist.  This is 
another UB thatís mostly just useful for cultural victories.  Fortunately, two 
of the French leaders are Industrious, so thereís a chance that you may be 
going for a cultural victory (especially with Louis), and thereís also a decent
chance that you built the Pyramids to run a specialist economy with 
Representation, in which case the artists will provide some extra research.  
In other cases you may not even notice it, unless you build it in your National
Epic city and end up with unwanted great artists.

Unique Unit: 

Musketeer- Identical to Musketmen in every respect except that they get two 
movement points.  So they can get to the front quicker, but the problem with 
Musketeers is that when it comes to combat, theyíre no better than the unit 
they replace, which unfortunately isnít especially strong.  Youíre not going to
capture any cities with these guys without siege units, and bringing those 
along pretty much negates the double movement.  The best use Iíve found for 
Musketeers is to send them along with knights to do some plundering, as they 
can keep up with your mounted units and protect them from pikemen.  If that 
doesnít sound like a terribly useful UU to you, well, youíre right.

Leaders:

Louis XIV (Industrious, Creative)- A strong contender for best leader in the 
game for a cultural victory (itís between him and Ramesses) due to his traits 
and UB.  As always, that doesnít mean you necessarily have to go that route, 
and sometimes you canít depending on how the game is playing out, but thereís 
really nothing about Louis himself that pushes you in any other direction.

De Gaulle (Industrious, Charismatic)- For starters, Stonehenge is a huge 
no-brainer with a Charismatic leader who can build it for half price.  You can 
play the peaceful builder game with De Gaulle just like with Louis, but 
Charismatic is also there to help you out should you feel the need to 
ďliberateĒ some rival territory.  Thatís the way I usually like to go, so I 
just use De Gaulleís Industrious trait to grab a few of the more helpful 
wonders when Iím not preparing for war.  I havenít mentioned it before, but 
the Industrious discount on national wonders is nice as well to save you some 
turns and hammers that can be used on other things.

Napoleon (Organized, Charismatic)- Napoleon has excellent traits for playing 
like Napoleon.  Organized is great for funding a large empire, and Charismatic 
is great for getting you one.  In my opinion the strongest warmongers arenít 
the leaders with all-out war traits like Boudica or Tokugawa, but leaders like 
Napoleon with a war trait and a good support trait.  If you like playing the 
peaceful builder game for a space or culture victory, choose one of the other 
French leaders.  Napoleon is meant to conquer the world.

---

Germany

Starting techs: Hunting, Mining

Unique Building: 

Assembly Plant- A Factory with four engineer slots instead of 
two, and you can build it 50% faster if you have coal.  That second bonus is 
particularly nice with Frederick, who already gets double production on 
Factories from his Organized trait.  This isnít a great UB by any means, and 
itís one of the latest in the game, but Factories are still powerful buildings,
and getting them up slightly earlier is nothing to complain about.  If youíre 
at war theyíre particularly good, because you can build them quickly after 
getting Assembly Line and start cranking out infantry sooner.

Unique Unit: 

Panzer- A Tank with +50% vs. armored units.  This unit looks great on paper, as
it destroys regular tanks and even gets winning odds against modern armor.  In 
practice, though, how many tank vs. tank battles do you usually get in a 
typical game?  Unless your games are a lot different than mine, probably not 
too many.  Itís worth it to build a lot of Panzers, but mostly just because 
tanks are so good, not because their bonus is likely to be decisive.  Just use 
these like normal tanks and be pleasantly surprised when you actually get 
another tank to fight.

Leaders:

Frederick (Philosophical, Organized)- Two good traits make Frederick a solid 
leader.  Philosophical may encourage you to go with a specialist economy, and 
as mentioned before, the discount you get from Organized is helpful if you do, 
since commerce is less abundant with specialist economies.  Frederick is pretty
versatile, but personally I like to go for a military victory unless Iím pushed
in a different direction, and heís not bad at all for that.  One nice thing 
about specialist economies is that war weariness isnít a problem because moving
the culture slider doesnít affect your research nearly as much as in a cottage 
economy.

Bismarck (Expansive, Industrious)- Another leader with solid but not 
spectacular traits.  As with any Industrious leader, Bismarck can build wonders
and go for a cultural victory, though heís not as well-suited to that kind of 
game as some other leaders.  A better strategy may be to use his Industrious 
trait to grab the Pyramids or Great Lighthouse (depending on the map) as well 
as other useful wonders like the Great Library, and just leveraging the bonuses
you get from those help get yourself into a winning position.  His Expansive 
trait is particularly nice with the Great Lighthouse for cheap harbors to take 
advantage of your extra trade routes.  Also, since cheap granaries and workers 
are useful for getting your cities up and running earlier, you may have a 
better shot at some early wonders than you would otherwise.

---

Greece

Starting techs: Fishing, Hunting

Unique Building: 

Odeon- A normal Colosseum gives +1 happiness and +1 happiness per 20% culture 
rate.  The Odeon adds another +1 happiness, +3 culture, 2 artist slots, and +1 
happiness from Hit Singles.  Any UB that gives extra culture is useful for a 
cultural victory, but extra happiness and stronger borders are helpful in any 
game.  If you do go cultural, the Odeon along with a Theatre will let you 
generate great artists pretty easily even if youíre not in Caste System.  Also,
while culture-producing buildings like Libraries and Theatres are always 
destroyed when you capture a city, Colosseums can survive and automatically 
turn into Odeons, giving you instant culture in conquered cities just as if you
were Creative (Pericles already is, but itís a nice little bonus for 
Alexander).

Unique Unit: 

Phalanx- An Axeman with +100% defense against chariots, which cancels out the 
+100% attack that chariots get against axemen.  While itís kind of nice to have
axemen that arenít ridiculously vulnerable to chariots, especially when 
rushing, itís not like itís so difficult to just build one or two spears for 
protection, especially since Greece already starts with Hunting.  So basically,
Phalanxes gain you 1 strength on a unit or two when axe rushing, but only when 
your target has horses.  Not the worst UU out there, but pretty weak.

Leaders:

Alexander (Aggressive, Philosophical)- A good specialist economy warmonger.  
The main weakness of a specialist economy is that itís not as good as a cottage
economy by later in the game when cottages have all grown into towns with Free 
Speech and Universal Suffrage, but itís stronger earlier in the game before 
those cottages grow.  So let your neighbors grow some cottages for you while 
you use your strong early game to build up an Aggressive army to go and claim 
them.

Pericles (Creative, Philosophical)- Possibly the strongest non-Financial techer
due to both cheap libraries and universities, and of course Philosophicalís 
earlier great people.  The half-price libraries are fantastic with 
Philosophical to let you generate some really early great scientists to speed 
your research along.  You can use your strong early game to play like Alexander
if you want, but going cultural should also be a consideration with these 
traits and Greeceís UB.  Pericles is a very strong leader and probably the one 
I would recommend for anyone trying out a specialist economy for the first time
(him or Gandhi).  

---

Holy Roman Empire

Starting techs: Hunting, Mysticism

Unique Building: 

Rathaus- A Courthouse that reduces maintenance by 75% instead of 50%.  This is 
many peopleís choice for best UB in the game, and itís easy to see why.  The 
Rathaus will save you a ton of money over the course of the game, allowing you 
to fund a large empire while keeping your research going.

Unique Unit: 

Landsknecht- A Pikeman with +100% against melee units in addition 
to the normal +100% vs. mounted.  This is another UU that looks a lot more 
powerful on paper than it actually is in practice.  The problem is that if you 
want to use them on offense, theyíre going to run into longbowmen, in which 
case youíre better off with mostly macemen to go with your siege units. As 
stack defense, theyíre decent but not quite as good as crossbowmen against 
macemen, and you still need knights or crossbows/longbows to protect your stack
from enemy crossbowmen.  Your primary use for the Landsknecht will still just 
be for defense against mounted units.

Leader:

Charlemagne (Imperialistic, Protective)- A strong contender for weakest leader 
in the game based on his traits.  One thing that he can do well, however, is 
claim a large amount of land with his cheap settlers from Imperialistic, which 
works well with his UB that can pay for it all.  The danger, though, is 
over-expanding and crippling your research before you get to Code of Laws, so 
to prevent that, I strongly suggest grabbing the Oracle to get CoL early.  
Mysticism is a useful starting tech in this case since it starts you closer to 
Priesthood for the Oracle, but as I usually recommend, get your necessary food 
techs first instead of going for Buddhism or Hinduism.  Charlemagne does not 
have a very strong early game, and the Rathaus is a fairly expensive building 
(Courthouses without the Organized trait are 80% of the cost of the Oracle!), 
but once youíve got them built theyíll help you come back, and theyíll keep 
helping you for the rest of the game.  Your best path to victory is probably 
war since Charlie isnít much good at anything else, and happily, Courthouses 
are among the most likely buildings to survive the capture of a city, in which 
case they of course turn into your UB and help fund your conquest.

---

Inca

Starting techs: Agriculture, Mysticism (unique)

Unique Building: 

Terrace- A Granary with +2 culture.  A Granary is almost always the first 
building you want in a new city unless you need a Monument for culture, and 
with the Terrace you obviously donít.  That saves early hammers and helps you 
get off to a faster start.  Also, like the Greek Odeon, a Terrace can provide 
instant culture in a captured city if its Granary survives, which it usually 
does.  It's almost like having a mini Creative trait.

Unique Unit: 

Quechua- A Warrior with a free Combat I promotion and +100% vs. archery units. 
This unit alone can virtually win the game for you in the early BCs if you find
a rival capital close by (slower game speeds make longer distances possible), 
though it should be noted that itís only effective on Monarch and above when 
the AI civs start with archers.  You can either work a hammer tile and start 
producing Quechuas from the first turn of the game, or get a worker first and 
give your initial Quechua more time to make sure thereís an available target, 
though youíre going to need more Quechuas that way because youíll be attacking 
later.  Donít mess with Protective leaders or anyone with their capital on a 
hill, and make sure to capture their worker or workers before you wipe out 
their civilization.  If you can pull it off, a Quechua rush can net you a 
second capital before anyone else has even built a settler, and thatís a huge 
advantage that will make the rest of the game easy and can potentially lead to 
a really high score.  Even if you canít rush, Quechuas are still excellent 
barbarian protection, and unlike normal warriors, you can still build them 
after getting Bronze Working and Hunting, giving you a cheap option for 
garrisoning cities and increasing your happiness cap in Hereditary Rule.

Leader:

Huayna Capac (Financial, Industrious)-  You might think that with such a 
potentially game-breaking UU the Inca should have a fairly weak leader, but 
instead they have one of the best in the game.  In fact, when you also consider
his uniques, more experienced players rate Huayna as the best leader in the 
game than any other leader.  For starters, itís easy to grab the wonders you 
want with Industrious when you also have the Financial trait to get you to 
their appropriate techs faster.  So Huayna can easily play the peaceful builder
game for a culture or space victory, but with strong teching and help from 
wonders, you wonít have any problems taking him to war either. You can even 
potentially go for an early religion without slowing yourself down too much if 
you have corn, wheat, or rice in your capital, since your other starting tech 
is Agriculture.  The only problem with Huayna is that if you use him too often 
youíll probably develop bad habits, since playing with him is almost like 
playing at a difficulty or two lower.  

---

India

Starting techs: Mysticism, Mining

Unique Building: 

Mausoleum- A Jail with +2 happiness.  Usually you wonít build Jails unless 
youíre dealing with war weariness or trying to increase espionage, but the 
extra happiness from Mausoleums makes them well worth building regardless of 
your situation.  And of course, if you are dealing with war weariness, the 
Mausoleum is excellent at dealing with it.

Unique Unit: 

Fast Worker- A Worker with 3 movement points instead of two.  Fast Workers 
donít actually work any faster, but the extra movement point lets them do 
things like move into a forest and start chopping or building a road on the 
same turn in addition to being able to quickly get wherever you need them.  The
turns that they save you are especially significant in the early game and will 
help you get off to a faster start, and all those saved turns really add up 
over time as well.  So this is a very good UU, but one thing to note if you 
like to play on marathon speed is that itís far better on normal speed, because
while they move the same on any speed, that one turn of movement saved on 
normal is equal to three on marathon.

Leaders:

Asoka (Spiritual, Organized)- You may not suspect it, but Asoka is actually a 
very good warmongeróperhaps one of the best in the game.  Organized is a great 
economic trait for warmongering not just because it can help pay for a large 
empire, but because unlike Financial you still get its full effect even when in
full production mode, i.e. working hammer tiles instead of cottages.  Iíve also
mentioned before with Brennus how the Spiritual trait is very useful for 
seamlessly switching in and out of war mode.  Combine Asokaís traits with a UB 
that eats war weariness for breakfast and you have a leader whoís more than 
capable of taking you to domination.  Quicker chops from your UU make both 
Indian leaders good at pulling off an early rush as well.

Gandhi (Spiritual, Philosophical)- Gandhi can run an excellent specialist 
economy with the Philosophical trait and the ability to change civics as often 
as you need without penalty.  Donít let the fact that heís a 98-pound weakling 
fool you into thinking that he canít smack some people around almost as well as
Asoka, though heís perfectly well suited for a peaceful victory as well.  If 
you want to role-play a bit and go diplomatic, Spiritual is unquestionably the 
best trait for it, as it lets you easily manage diplomacy by switching 
religions or civics whenever you need to (donít underestimate favorite civic 
bonuses).  Whenever another leader asks you to change religion or civic, you 
can just agree and switch back a few turns later, and still keep the diplo 
bonus for having agreed.  Gandhi is a well-balanced leader whose traits can 
help you with whatever type of victory you choose.

---

Japan

Starting techs: Fishing, The Wheel (unique)

Unique Building: 

Shale Plant- Replaces the Coal Plant and gives a +10% hammer 
bonus, plus it doesnít require coal.  A production bonus is never something to 
complain about, but like the German UB, the main problem with the Shale Plant 
is that it comes so late in the game.  Itís really nice in the rare event that 
you donít have coal, though, and you can build it in your National Park city 
where normally a Coal Plant would be useless, so overall itís not a terrible 
UB.

Unique Unit: 

Samurai- A Maceman with 2 first strikes and a free Drill I promotion, plus 
access to the Drill promotion line.  Considering that these guys also get 
Combat I from Tokugawaís Aggressive trait and can easily get two more 
promotions from a barracks and Theology/Vassalage, this is obviously a powerful
UU.  Warring in the medieval era is usually pretty difficult because longbowmen
are such good defenders, but Samurai can really level the playing field or even
tilt it in your favor. Plus, theyíre easily the coolest-looking unit in the 
game.

Leader:

Tokugawa (Aggressive, Protective)- Thereís certainly nothing subtle about 
Tokugawaís trait combination, but unfortunately thereís nothing too good about 
it either.  His only real strength is promotions on his units, so war is the 
only thing he can do remotely well, and whenever youíre not at war itís 
basically like playing without traits.  Toku gets much better once you reach 
Gunpowder, as his gunpowder units will get three free promotions, but the 
challenge is reaching that point and still being in a competitive position 
since he gives you zero economic help (other than the tiny bonus of cheap 
Castles once you get Engineering).  You should definitely go to war before the 
gunpowder era, though, especially since you have samurai, because basically 
your only hope is to conquer enough good land to overcome your weak traits.  If
you can win peacefully with Tokugawa, youíre playing at a level below your 
ability.  Actually, if you can win at all with him, it may be a sign that 
youíre ready to move up in difficulty.

---

Khmer

Starting techs: Hunting, Mining

Unique Building: 

Baray- An Aqueduct that gives +1 food.  This UB is a little boring, but not 
terrible, considering that food is the basis for everything in a city.  The 
most obvious benefit is faster growth, but that one food is also half a 
specialist, or maybe a watermill instead of a farm.  Itís far from the best UB 
out there, but itís still probably worth building earlier than you would 
usually build aqueducts, at least in cities with decent production.

Unique Unit: 

Ballista Elephant- A War Elephant that targets mounted units first when 
attacking, but only outside of cities.  This is almost universally acknowledged
as the worst unique unit in the game.  First of all, ivory is one of the rarest
strategic resources, so thereís a good chance that you wonít even be able to 
build it.  Second, since you only get the ballista elephantís bonus outside of 
cities, itís really only useful in your own territory, unless you get lucky 
with a stupid AI who parks a stack of units right next to you while youíre 
invading.  So if you have an enemy stack in your territory with horse archers 
or knights, but not other elephants, then and only then is the special ability 
of the Ballista Elephant actually useful.  Itís just an incredibly niche 
ability, and the result is a UU thatís barely different from the unit it 
replaces (war elephants are still good, though).

Leader:

Suryavarman II (Expansive, Creative)-  Sury comes flying out of the gate with 
perhaps the strongest early game around.  With Creativeís free border pop and 
Expansiveís half-price, easily whipped or chopped granaries, every new city you
settle will be up and running in record time.  Besides giving quick access to 
your fat cross and being good for blocking off other civs, Creativeís cheap 
Libraries are also nice for running scientist specialists and keeping your 
research going during the early expansion phase.  True, Suryís traits kind of 
fade by later in the game, though he does get four other cheap buildings, but 
making the most of them for a strong start will have long-term effects.

---

Korea

Starting techs: Mysticism, Mining

Unique Building: 

Seowon- A University with an extra 10% research multiplier for
a total of 35%.  It probably wonít be in any conversation about best unique 
buildings, but itís still a nice little bonus. Another nice thing is that you 
donít have to change your typical strategy or build order at all to take 
advantage of it, since Education is a priority tech on the way to Liberalism 
and Universities are buildings that you always want as early as possible 
anyway.

Unique Unit: 

Hwacha- A Catapult with +50% against melee units.  Since archers and longbows 
are typically the best defenders in their era, you probably wonít get to take 
advantage of the Hwachaís bonus much on offense.  By the time you weaken the 
non-melee units in a city enough with your Hwachas to actually get to the melee
units, theyíll likely be weakened enough by the collateral damage that regular 
catapults could do just as well against them.  In the field, unless you get a 
lone melee unit or a stack of nothing but melee units, all the Hwachaís bonus 
means is that theyíll attack the non-melee units first.  There are some 
situations where that could be at least a little bit useful in getting you 
slightly better odds, but itís far from spectacular.  I donít really like 
medieval warfare with Financial leaders anyway, since Iíd prefer to be growing 
cottages, so Iím not a big fan of this unit.

Leader:

Wang Kon (Financial, Protective)- The best trait and the worst trait.  
Obviously the key is to just to take advantage of the Financial trait for 
strong teching, which as always can open up a lot of options for victory.  Wang
Kon is particularly well suited to just turtle up and go for space, as his UB 
works best with a high research slider (usually meaning a smaller empire), and 
his Protective units can fend off attacks.   That doesnít mean thatís always 
the best way to go, but if thatís the way you tend to play then Wang will work 
fine for you.  Kind of a boring leader, but still a Financial leader.

---

Mali

Starting techs: Mining, The Wheel (unique)

Unique Building: 

Mint- A Forge with a +10% gold multiplier.  Though thatís less of a bonus than 
Englandís UB, the fact that the Mint comes earlier makes up for it.  Forges are
also buildings that you want basically as soon as reasonably possible in every 
city anyway, and they come at a time when your economy may be struggling from 
early expansion, so that +10% gold bonus is particularly helpful.

Unique Unit: 

Skirmisher- An Archer with 4 strength and an extra first strike 
chance.  Skirmishers make you virtually invulnerable to barbarians and much 
less vulnerable to an early attack from an aggressive neighbor.  In some 
circumstances, they can even be used for an early rush. Theyíre weaker than 
axemen and slower than chariots, but theyíre available earlier and without the 
need for a resource, and theyíre cheaper to build, so you can strike earlier.  
Something to consider if you find a vulnerable target nearby.

Leader:

Mansa Musa (Financial, Spiritual)- A very strong techer with the Financial 
trait, a gold-multiplying UB, and no lost turns of anarchy.   Thereís not a 
whole lot I can say about him that I havenít said about the other Financial 
leaders; your strategy should be to grow cottages and use your strong economic 
base to propel you to victory.  As usual, the Spiritual trait makes for a 
versatile leader, as itís helpful both for maintaining the peace with good 
diplomacy and helping you prepare for war when the situation calls for it.

---

Maya

Starting techs: Mysticism, Mining

Unique Building: 

Ball Court- A Colosseum with +3 happiness instead of +1, and 
the normal +1 happiness per 20% culture rate.  This UB comes right at the time 
in the game when your cities are usually bumping up against their happiness cap
and youíre looking to increase it, so a single building for +3 happiness is the
perfect answer.  Bigger cities are better cities, so this is an excellent UB.

Unique Unit: 

Holkan- A Spearman that doesnít require copper and has immunity to first 
strikes.  I havenít really found a good use for this unit.  Despite the fact 
that theyíre resourceless and slightly better than normal spears against 
archers, in my opinion theyíre just not strong enough or fast enough for a 
good rush.  If you have copper or horses, youíll be better off building axes or
chariots to rush.  Holkans are good barbarian protection for a while, but 
if/when barb axemen start showing up youíre going to need something else.  I 
suppose if you donít have metal theyíre nice to have, but this unit doesnít 
gain you much over ordinary spearmen.

Leader:

Pacal II (Financial, Expansive)- Another strong Financial leader, so most of 
the things Iíve said about other Financial leaders apply here as well.  Pacalís
cheaper workers and faster growth due to cheap granaries will let you start 
growing more cottages earlier, which is a nice economic benefit, and with more 
happiness from your UB you should have even more cottages to work.  As usual 
with Financial leaders, ride your strong economy to victory.

---

Mongolia

Starting techs: Hunting, The Wheel (unique)

Unique Building: 

Ger- Replaces the Stable and gives +4 experience instead of 
+2.  While a normal stable is already enough to give your mounted units a 
second promotion, the Ger does put them closer to a third promotion either 
through combat or with civics and settled great generals.  Itís not a great UB,
but itís purposeful, as it has direct synergy with the Mongolian UU.

Unique Unit: 

Keshik- A Horse Archer that ignores terrain movement costs and 
gets one first strike, though it loses immunity to first strikes.  If youíve 
never done a Keshik romp, youíve really been missing out.  Theyíre better 
against melee units than normal horse archers thanks to the first strikes, and 
about the same against archers since their first strikes cancel out.  Further, 
the fact that they ignore terrain means you can get them wherever you need them
in a hurry, either to strike at cities or plunder the enemyís metal to keep 
them from building any more spears than they already have.  Give about half 
Combat I & II, and the other half Flanking I & II, plus one medic.  For battles
with low odds, send the flanking Keshiks in first and thereís a good chance 
theyíll survive, then send the combat Keshiks to finish them off.  When playing
as Mongolia, itís worth it after getting the basic worker techs to make almost 
a direct beeline to Horseback Riding to get these guys and conquer a neighbor 
or two.  You will definitely crash your economy with them, but once you recover
youíll usually be in a great position.

Leaders:

Genghis Khan (Aggressive, Imperialistic)- A completely one-dimensional leader. 
Imperialisticís cheap settlers arenít such a big deal because you should only 
build one or two settlers before you start claiming your cities with Keshiks, 
but the earlier and more abundant great generals are nice, especially for 
attaching the first one as a Medic III keshik or chariot.  Speed is your 
greatest ally in a Keshik war, and faster healing means less time for the enemy
to build more defensive units before you can recover and continue your attack. 
Like Tokugawa, youíd better conquer some good land, because you wonít get any 
economic help from your traits.

Kublai Khan (Aggressive, Creative)- I usually play Kublai just like Genghis, 
and I find the Creative trait more useful than Imperialistic when doing so.  
The main advantage is cheap libraries so you can more easily run scientist 
specialists and keep your research going after your keshiks have crashed your 
economy, and free border pops in conquered cities is also nice.  Annoyingly, 
the Khansí Aggressive trait has no synergy with their UU, but it can be useful 
to you later in the gunpowder era.

---

Native America

Starting techs: Fishing, Agriculture

Unique Building: 

Totem Pole- A Monument that gives +3 exp to archery units.  
This UB is more like three additional UUs than a building, as your archers, 
crossbowmen, and longbowmen will all be stronger.  Since Native American 
archery units already get two free promotions from Sitting Bullís Protective 
trait, with the Totem pole youíll easily get City Guardian III or Drill III 
units, making Sitting Bull the ultimate protective leader.

Unique Unit: 

Dog Soldier- An Axeman with 4 strength, but +100% against melee 
units, and it doesnít require a resource to build.  This unit is nice for 
defending against barbarians and enemy melee units, and itís great to have when
you donít have copper or iron, but its big downside is that it can ruin the 
opportunity a perfectly good axe rush, since its lower strength means it sucks 
against archers.  Iím not a big fan of this UU as a result, but maybe Iím 
biased because I love to axe rush.

Leader:

Sitting Bull (Philosophical, Protective)- The Protective traitís synergy with 
Sitting Bullís UB still doesnít keep it from being the worst trait in the game,
but Philosophical is good. As with any Philosophical leader, the key to Sitting
Bullís strength is generating great people early and often, so if you donít go 
with a specialist economy, you at least need a good great person farm.  
Stonehenge might make sense to get your UB everywhere and get some gpp going 
early, since itís not like you need the hammers for an axe rush.  If you want 
to take advantage of his strong archery units for a medieval offensive war, 
Drill III longbows and crossbows along with catapults/trebuchets make for a 
pretty strong stack, as long as you bring along something to protect against 
mounted units.  A below-average leader overall.

---

Ottomans

Starting techs: Agriculture, The Wheel

Unique Building: 

Hammam- An Aqueduct that gives +2 happiness.  Like the Mayan Ball Court, this 
UB comes at a very convenient time in the game, when youíre usually looking for
any extra source of happiness you can get to grow your cities.  The Hammam can 
really save you in games when youíre hurting for happiness resources, or it can
turn a strong position into an even better one.  An excellent UB.

Unique Unit: 

Janissary- A Musketman with +25% against archery, melee, and mounted units.  
This is a strong UU that can hold its own pretty well until grenadiers and 
rifles start showing up, and the fact that itís draftable means that you can 
build up significant numbers of Janissaries pretty easily.  In my opinion, the 
best way to use them is to go straight for Chemistry and Steel after Gunpowder 
and use them along with cannons.  Janissaries may be better in their time than 
Oromos, the other good musket UU, but unlike Oromos their bonus doesnít carry 
over when you upgrade them, so you have to make the most of it while it lasts.

Leaders:

Mehmed II (Expansive, Organized)- Mehmedís traits give him almost as many 
half-price buildings as Zara Yaqob, and probably more useful ones, since cheap 
Granaries are better than cheap Theatres or Colosseums.  All those saved 
hammers are a major source of Mehmedís strength, but the quicker start from 
Expansive plus the economic benefit of Organized would make for a good trait 
combination anyway.  Add very good uniques on top of that and you have one of 
the best non-Financial leaders in the game.

Suleiman (Philosophical, Imperialistic)- Both faster great people and great 
generals make Suleiman a pretty good specialist economy warmonger.  Cheaper 
settlers from Imperialistic make it slightly easier to build the Pyramids 
without crippling early expansion too much, because itís a really expensive 
wonder without stone or the Industrious trait.  Not the strongest leader 
around, and the weaker of the two Ottoman leaders, but Suleiman can hold his 
own.

---

Persia

Starting techs: Agriculture, Hunting

Unique Building: 

Apothecary- A Grocer that gives +2 health in addition to the 
normal health bonuses from resources.  Far from a game-changing UB, but youíll 
rarely play a game where health doesnít start to become an issue, so itís 
helpful.  Itís particularly nice to have all those health bonuses on a single 
building, rather than the +2 health on a separate building, like the Babylonian
Garden.

Unique Unit: 

Immortal- A Chariot with +50% against archery units that also gets defensive 
bonuses.  This is an absolutely frightening early unit, and my personal 
favorite UU in the game.  As long as you have horses, Immortals are easily the 
best unit for an early rush due to their speed and strength against archers, 
and the fact that they get defensive bonuses on top of that is just crazy.  
Iíve even had spearmen lose to my Immortals when they tried to attack them on 
a forested hill.  If you get unlucky and donít have a rush target, Immortals 
are still useful for taking out barbarian cities.

Leaders:

Darius I (Financial, Organized)- As if Immortals werenít enough, Persia also 
gets one of the best leaders in the game.  The commerce bonus from Financial 
combined with the gold discount from Organized gives Darius an amazingly strong
economy that will keep your research going almost no matter what.  As a result,
heís almost as strong a techer as Elizabeth--usually even better by the late 
game--and heís an excellent choice for anyone moving up in difficulty.  Another
leader whoís easy to form bad habits with and who will make you think youíre 
more skilled than you actually are.

Cyrus (Charismatic, Imperialistic)- I would use Cyrus more if Darius wasnít so 
good.  His traits definitely call for a lot of warring, and Immortals are a 
great way to start that off.  The combination of more great generals plus 
Charismaticís faster promotions can also give you some highly-promoted armies 
down the road.  Iíll still take Dariusí economy any day, but Cyrus can be a 
fun leader.

---

Portugal

Starting techs: Fishing, Mining

Unique Building: 

Feitoria- A Customs House that gives +1 commerce on water tiles.  
Unfortunately, the commerce boost you get from this UB isnít very noticeable by
the time you get to Economics, and (non-seafood) water tiles are still the last
tiles you want to work in most cities anyway.  Plus, itís a fairly expensive 
building, and depending on your relations with other leaders and whether 
theyíre in Mercantilism, you may not even have foreign trade routes in all of 
your coastal cities.  Of course, every little bit is helpful, but other UBs are
way more helpful than the Feitoria.

Unique Unit: 

Carrack- A Caravel that can carry 2 units, but more importantly, any kind of 
unit, like settlers, workers, and military.  Obviously having Carracks is a 
huge advantage on maps where thereís overseas land to claim, as you can get 
your settlers there long before the AI gets Astronomy.  The only potential 
problem is that even though you can settle overseas cities with just Optics, 
you wonít get overseas trade routes until Astronomy, which means that the 
cities you settle will be a huge drain on your economy and you can really 
cripple yourself if youíre not careful.  What I recommend is sending a settler 
and military unit for protection to each spot you want to claim, then just 
camping there until you either get Astronomy or an AI galleon shows up with a 
settler of their own.

Leader:

Joao II (Imperialistic, Expansive)-  With both discounted settlers and workers,
Joao is great at rapid early expansion.  Itís really easy to over-expand with 
the Imperialistic trait, but cheaper workers for faster tile improvements and 
faster-growing cities from cheap granaries help you handle it somewhat.  Joaoís
main strength is his ability to easily claim and improve land, so I recommend 
peacefully settling as much as possible and developing it before you start to 
think about war.  Land is power, after all, so when you do finally go to war 
you should have an advantage.

---

Rome

Starting Techs: Fishing, Mining

Unique Building: 

Forum- A Market with +25% great person birth rate.  Getting 
more frequent great people is never something to complain about, but itís 
really not such a huge bonus.  Itís also the only UB that may only be useful in
a single city, assuming you have a decent National Epic city.  You never know, 
though.  You may be in a tight Liberalism race one game and a slightly earlier 
great scientist is exactly what you need.

Unique Unit: 

Praetorian- A Swordsman with 8 strength instead of 6, though it 
loses the +10% city attack.  Praetorians are so powerful that itís actually 
kind of surprising they havenít been nerfed since the original game like 
Redcoats and Cossacks were.  On any difficulty below Deity, they make classical
and medieval-era warfare childís play, and they have a very long window of 
usefulness, as their first serious counter unit (crossbowmen) comes pretty far 
down the tech tree at Machinery (shock axemen also work, but the AI usually 
isnít smart enough to build many of them).  Just get Iron Working early and 
build up a stack of these to smash through a neighbor, and later get catapults 
to go with them if you want to keep going.  The biggest danger with Praetorians
is crashing your economy with a huge early empire, but thatís a nice problem to
have.  Though I really love Immortals, I have to admit that Praetorians are the
best UU in the game.

Leaders:

Julius Caesar (Organized, Imperialistic)- Use your Praetorians early and often 
and youíll be rewarded with more great generals and a larger empire than you 
could normally afford.  Itís wise to go for Code of Laws before you conquer too
much and your research suffers, so you can build half-priced Courthouses and 
recover quicker.  Julius has an excellent trait combination for warmongering 
even without Praetorians, but since you have them, just use them to put 
yourself into a winning position early in the game and never look back.

Augustus Caesar (Industrious, Imperialistic)- Both Caesars are equally good at 
beating people up with Praetorians, but with the Industrious trait instead of 
Organized, it may be better to show a little more restraint with Augustus than 
with Julius.  You still shouldnít pass on an early war with a close neighbor to
strengthen your position, but instead of pressing on like you might do with 
Julius, you can slow down and build a few wonders if you want.  A strong 
Bureaucracy capital full of wonders has nice synergy with Romeís UB.  
Praetorians are still the key to Romeís strength, though, and honestly your 
path to victory is about the same with them regardless of what your traits are.

---

Russia

Starting techs: Hunting, Mining

Unique Building: 

Research Institute- A Laboratory that gives two free scientists.  Thatís a nice
bonus, especially considering all the cities you could have and all the science
multipliers you should have by then, but wow does it come late.  If youíre 
going for a space race victory and you beeline Superconductors, then this UB 
may shave a couple of turns off your launch by getting you to the last techs 
you need a littler earlier.  For other victory types you may not even reach 
Superconductors, and even if you do it wonít make much difference. 

Unique Unit: 

Cossack- A Cavalry replacement with +50% against mounted units.  While Cossacks
dominate all other mounted units in the game, the problem is finding situations
where you can actually use that bonus.  Before the enemy gets Rifling, normal 
cavalry dominate everything anyway, and once they have rifles you need cannons 
for their collateral damage, in which case theyíll damage any mounted units in 
the enemy stack, and normal cavalry could again take everything out.  In both 
cases, Cossacksí main advantage is getting you higher odds in battles where 
youíd already have good odds, hopefully so you take little or no damage.  
Thatís not nothing, but like the British Redcoats, for the most part youíll end
up using these exactly like the unit they replace.

Leaders:

Catherine (Creative, Imperialistic)- With cheap settlers and fast border pops, 
Catherine can claim territory faster than any other leader.  As Iíve mentioned 
before, the Creative trait is good for rapid early expansion not just for the 
border pops, but also for cheap libraries to run scientist specialists and keep
your research going when you crash your economy from settling all those new 
cities.  With the larger empire you should be able to claim, youíll be well 
set up to do some Imperialistic warmongering later after your economy recovers.

Peter (Expansive, Philosophical)- Faster great people, cheap workers, and a 
handful of cheap buildings make Peter a solid leader.  As with any 
Philosophical leader, you might want to go with a specialist economy, though as
Iíve said before, thatís not always necessary as long as you set up a good 
great person farm.  Honestly, even though he arguably has the best traits of 
any of the Russian leaders, I find Peter a little boring.  His traits are 
helpful, but they donít really push you in any specific direction, so just play
the map and let it the way the game is playing out determine your strategy.

Stalin (Aggressive, Industrious)- Is he a builder or a warmonger?  Even though 
Stalinís traits donít seem to go together that well, itís completely normal to 
switch between peaceful building and unit production several times during a 
warmongering game, so go ahead and build a few wonders to help yourself out 
whenever youíre not at war.  Curiously, Stalin is the only Aggressive leader to
start with Mining, making him an excellent axe rusher.  And with a successful 
axe rush youíll usually get a strong second capital, which will allow you to 
build a few wonders while still expanding in the early game.

---

Spain

Starting techs: Fishing, Mysticism (unique)

Unique Building: 

Citadel- A Castle that gives +5 exp to siege units.  Though 
Castles are among the least useful buildings in the game and become obsolete 
fairly quickly at Economics, the Citadel is well worth building in your 
unit-producing cities and good enough to warrant avoiding Economics for a 
while, even if you could have grabbed the free great merchant.  That exp bonus 
is really huge, and it means that with just a settled great general or 
Theocracy/Vassalage you can build City Raider III and Barrage III siege units. 
Definitely go for Steel before Economics to build some Citadel-strengthened 
cannons, since even regular cannons can dominate the battlefield in their era. 
The unusual tech path that this UB encourages makes Spain an interesting civ to
play.

Unique Unit: 

Conquistador- A Cuirassier replacement with +50% against melee units and the 
ability to get defensive bonuses.  Before you go for those super-cannons, make 
a quick detour to Military Tradition so you can start building Conquistadors 
first.  A large percentage of enemy armies before Rifling will still be melee 
units like pikemen and macemen, and Conquistadors eat them for breakfast.  Add 
their defensive abilities on top of that and you have a UU that really excels 
at the standard cuirassier/spy blitzkrieg.

Leader:

Isabella (Spiritual, Expansive)- As the only leader with the Mysticism/Fishing 
starting combination, working a two-commerce lake or coast tile and going for 
an early religion is a possibility here.  Isabellaís traits are solid, but her 
real strengths are her UU and UB, as they both help you out in that renaissance
to early industrial period thatís already so good for warfare.  I like to take 
Nationalism with Liberalism then get Military Tradition straight after that for
Conquistadors (you can almost always trade someone for Gunpowder) and go on a 
romp with them.  In the meantime I research towards Steel, and by the time 
riflemen start appearing, my CR III cannons are usually ready to go and the 
romp continues.  I tend to do pretty well with Isabella as a result.

---

Sumeria

Starting techs: Agriculture, The Wheel

Unique Building: 

Ziggurat- A Courthouse replacement thatís available at 
Priesthood and only 75% the normal cost.  Obviously you can fund some pretty 
aggressive expansion with cheap courthouses available so early, and if 
anything, you have to avoid the temptation to build Ziggurats too early, when 
your greater needs are still settlers, workers, and military. Also, an extra 
benefit that some people might overlook is that during all those turns with 
your Ziggurats before the AI gets Code of Laws and builds their own 
Courthouses, youíll be building up a substantial lead in espionage points and 
likely seeing everyone elseís research, which is a big advantage in planning 
your own research paths.  Like the other two Courthouse UBs, the Ziggurat is 
excellent.

Unique Unit: 

Vulture- An Axeman with 6 strength instead of 5, but only +25% against melee 
units instead of +50%.  No other unit in the game has this much base strength 
this early, and while theyíre weaker than normal axemen against other axemen, 
their higher strength makes them better against archers and thus a great 
rushing unit.  Games as Sumeria with no copper or no close neighbors are a 
real shame.

Leader:

Gilgamesh (Creative, Protective)- The Creative trait combined with Sumeriaís 
UU and UB give Gilgamesh one of the strongest early games around.  Definitely 
Vulture rush someone if possible, and in any case, grab as much land as you 
can, because with your Ziggurats you should be able to avoid a crash.  
Gilgamesh doesnít have much to offer later in the game, but as Iíve mentioned 
before, a strong start has long-term effects.  If he only had a better second 
trait than Protective, he could be one of the best leaders in the game.

---

Vikings

Starting techs: Fishing, Hunting

Unique Building: 

Trading Post- A Lighthouse that gives a free Navigation I promotion to naval 
units.  The Trading Post is another map-dependent UB that ranges from 
completely useless to kind of nice.  Itís at its best on archipelago maps in 
the first half of the game when youíre constantly shuttling units around on 
galleys, as that extra movement point is a 50% bonus when you only have two 
movement points.  If you manage to win the circumnavigation race as well (and 
the Trading Post gives you a boost toward it), youíll really have some fast 
naval units.  This UB really isnít a big deal, but at least it has some synergy
with a UU built for amphibious strikes.

Unique Unit: 

Beserker- A Maceman with +10% city attack and a free Amphibious promotion.  
Besides looking pretty badass, Beserkers make great city attackers with that 
extra bonus plus a free Combat I from Ragnarís Aggressive trait.  They also 
allow you to role play as the Vikings by putting a bunch of Beserkers on your 
fast galleys and attacking enemy cities directly from the sea, or you can just 
enjoy their strength in more traditional warfare.  Even if youíre not in a good
position for a medieval war, itís still worth it to build a lot of Beserkers 
(in Theocracy/Vassalage so you can get City Raider II) so you can upgrade them 
to riflemen later, as theyíll keep the Amphibious promotion and give you 
riflemen with the City Raider promotions, which you otherwise canít get on 
gunpowder units.  Samurai may still be the better maceman UU, but Iíve had a 
lot of fun with these guys in the past.

Leader:

Ragnar (Financial, Aggressive)- Highly-promoted armies due to the Aggressive 
trait are even better when you have a strong economy to back them up.  The 
Financial trait is great for funding early expansion, particularly if you axe 
rush a neighbor and thus have lots of extra land to fill, but a potential 
downside is that the cottage spam it encourages means you may not have enough 
production in the medieval era to fully take advantage of the Viking UU.  If 
you want to truly play like the Vikings, then fight the urge to build too many 
Financial cottages and sacrifice some of your tech rate for more production and
bigger armies.  Or you can just play like most Financial leaders and wait until
later in the game when more of your cottages have grown into towns and you have
civics like Universal Suffrage and Free Speech to really start taking advantage
of them.  Ragnar is a solid leader, and thanks to his uniques he can be a fun 
one to play.

---

Zulu

Starting techs: Agriculture, Hunting

Unique Building: 

Ikhanda- A Barracks that gives -20% maintenance and is also 20% more expensive
to build.  In practice, though, itís actually less expensive than a normal 
Barracks due to the discount from Shakaís Aggressive trait.  Other UBs have 
their fans, but the Ikhanda is my pick for best unique building in the game.  
Combined with a Courthouse, the 70% maintenance reduction youíll be getting is 
almost as good as the 75% from the Holy Roman Rathaus, and in my opinion the 
fact that the Ikhanda is available from the very first turn of the game more 
than makes up for that 5% difference.  Before Code of Laws and for only the 
cost of one chariot or work boat per city, youíll be getting five cities for 
the cost of four, ten cities for the cost of eight, etc.  The Ikhanda allows 
Shaka to expand like mad and is a big part of his strong early game, and just 
like with the Rathaus, the amount of gold this UB will save you over the course
of the game is quite significant.

Unique Unit: 

Impi- A Spearman with 2 movement points plus the Mobility promotion.  Impis are
the ultimate early game harassment unit, as they can move around in enemy 
territory with ease, plundering resources and roads and generally choking your 
unfortunate target right out of competition.  While theyíre not the greatest 
units for attacking cities, due to their speed you can usually catch at least a
couple of AI cities under-defended and raze or capture them.  Rather than 
commit the hammers to finish off the enemy like I usually would with an axe 
rush, I like to just keep a few woodsman-promoted impis running around in their
forests to keep them bottled up in their cities while I do some Ikhanda-fueled 
expansion into the land that they would have otherwise claimed.  A civ you 
cripple like that will be easy to finish off later anyway.

Leader:

Shaka (Aggressive, Expansive)- While not such great trait combo on its face, 
Shaka is loaded with synergy.  As Iíve already mentioned, heís one of the few 
leaders who gets a discount on his UB from his traits, and the free Combat I 
from Aggressive also makes his already-good UU even better.  In addition, as if
he needed any more help in the early game, he also gets cheap workers and cheap
granaries from his Expansive trait to get him off to an even faster start.  Due
to all this (mostly his UB), I almost always have more cities by 1 AD with 
Shaka than I usually would with other leaders, which is a great setup for 
success.  Also, as any veteran player can attest, one of the best things about 
playing as Shaka is that thereís no chance of having to play against him.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

And that's it.  Thanks to the people on the Civ IV board who read my topic and
encouraged me to keep going.  I know this game is probably past its prime and 
Civ V is coming out soon, but this was a fun little project, and it was nice to
see that some other people enjoyed it too.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Legal stuff

I guess I'm supposed to have a section like this.  If you want to use this FAQ
for another website or anything other than personal use, please e-mail me at 
anamishguy@gmail.com.  I'll probably say yes, because it's not like I wrote all
of this just to keep it to myself.  Just give credit to gmims44 from GameFAQs
and don't try to claim it as your own work and I'll be happy.

Happy Civving!
 

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