Conquests Review: New Units and Changes to Old Ones

Conquests introduces a number of new units and makes changes to even more old ones. Just to avoid confusion, I'll mention that everything said here deals only with the standard game (NOT the nine Conquests scenarios). These stats also come from the last beta version, 0.41a, and potentially could have changed again before the expansion went gold. What you see here, however, should be pretty much accurate on the whole. Also keep in mind that the new civ unique units are discussed on the previous page and so are not listed here.

<--- Crusader
Meet the New Units
                                                                                                                    Flak --->

Trebuchet (0/0/1) bombard (6/1/1): This is one of the units which was widely promoted in advertising for the Conquests expansion. It's really not all that significant in the actual game, however. The trebuchet costs 30 shields and nicely fits the gap between catapults and cannons. It becomes available halfway between those two units as well on the tech tree, being enabled by Engineering. The attack animation is pretty cool, but this unit is kind of a no-brainer. Build them if you need a bombardment unit in the Middle Ages. Still, it's nice that Conquests gives you another option to play around with in the standard game. Also keep in mind that like the catapult and cannon, the trebuchet is a wheeled unit which cannot cross mountains or jungle tiles without a road.

Cruiser (15/10/6) bombard (7/1/2): The Cruiser is a new naval unit designed to fit the space between destroyers and battleships. They cost 160 shields, which is halfway between the 120 shields of a destroyer and the 200 shields of a battleship. They also have the "radar" ability, which if I remember correctly allows them to spot submarines on the map. Like most of the other big ships, Cruisers are enabled by Combustion on the tech tree. Not surprisingly, Crusiers upgrade to AEGIS Cruisers, should you get that far on the tech tree. Like the trebuchet, this unit simply adds more depth to naval combat in Civ3.

Curragh (1/1/2): This is a new very early naval unit with no transport capacity. Curraghs cost 15 shields, are enabled by Alphabet, and can be upgraded to galleys after discovering Map Making. Their role is simply to serve as scouts on the seas, looking for other civs and pushing back the blackness on the map. Curraghs are a necessity on archipelago maps now that the rules of contact and map trading have changed. If you don't go out looking for the enemy, you'll be left in the dark. Curraghs are actually a very solid addition to the game, and now I find myself surprised to go back to PTW and not have use of them.

TOW Infantry (12/14/1) bombard (6/0/1): This unit was added to Conquests in order to provide a defensive unit for resourceless civs in the Modern Age. TOW Infantry require no resources and are enabled by the discovery of Rocketry. They aren't as good as Mechanized Infantry by any means, but are a definite step up from Infantry. Guerrilas now upgrade to TOW Infantry, by the way. I don't really like this unit that much because it degrades the importance of resources in the Modern Age, but those who aren't fans of the resource model of Civ3 will be very happy indeed to see this unit. The bombard attack, incidentally, simply menas that this unit gets one "free shot" at an attacking unit if two or more of them are stacked together, the same as was the case for naval units in earlier versions of Civ3.

Flak (1/6/1) air defense 2: Flak is one of two anti-aircraft units created for the expansion. It costs 70 shields and is enabled by Flight. I'd like to tell you how these things work, but I really don't know since the anti-aircraft units weren't added until the very end of the testing process and I didn't get a chance to try them out. All I know is that these things are somehow designed to shoot down planes. They upgrade to the other air defense unit, the Mobile SAM.

Mobile SAM (1/6/2) air defense 4: This is the Modern Age version of air defense. It costs 100 shields and can be built after discovering Rocketry. Again, I don't really know how they work, but with air power so massively increased in strength they should be important units to build, especially in multiplayer games taking place in Modern Era starts.

Ancient Cavalry (3/2/2) +1hp bonus: This unit is not one that can actually be built, but still deserves mention for its role in the standard game. Ancient Cavalry are produced every 5 turns by the new wonder the Statue of Zeus until it is obsoleted by the discovery of Metallurgy. Ancient Cavalry as a unit are extremely strong, basically a Mounted Warrior with an extra point of defense AND an extra hit point. On tiny and small sized maps, they are easily strong enough to wipe out entire civs, and even on larger maps big gains can be made. Be very wary of these units should a neighboring civ build the Statue of Zeus.

Crusader (5/3/1): Another unit which can only be produed by building a wonder. The Knights Templar produces a Crusader every 5 turns until being obsoleted by Steam Power. These units are essentially super-MDIs, with an extra point of attack and defense. They aren't very fast though, and I definitely would prefer Ancient Cavalry to Crusaders given a choice. Just be aware that they're out there.

<--- AEGIS Cruiser
Changes to Old Units
                                                                                                              Stealth Bomber --->

Explorer: These guys have been moved up to Astronomy instead of Navigation, to facilitate exploring and finding other civs more easily. Other than that, the Explorer remains exactly the same unit.

Marine (12/6/1): This unit got a significant stat boost to make amphibious invasions more feasible, as well as giving civs without oil a chance to compete. Marines still require rubber and can perform amphibious attacks, but their attack has gone from 8 to 12 to make them a more dangerous unit. At a cost of 120 shields, they are still inferior to tanks, but not by as much.

Paratrooper (4/9/1) and Modern Paratrooper (6/11/1): The original paratrooper has now been split into two units who both have the "airdrop" function. The Paratrooper is enabled by Advanced Flight while the Modern Paratrooper requires Synthetic Fibers. They are both much more defensive units in nature than the old paratrooper; their clear purpose is to airdrop behind enemy lines to pillage resources. This is still a specialty unit without much point in most games, but they are a little bit more useful than before.

Archer (2/1/1) bombard (1/0/1): No, archers don't really have a bombard attack, but they do get a "free shot" at an attacking enemy now. What this 0-range bombardment means is that if two or more archers are stacked together, or an archer is in a stack with another unit being attacked, the archer will get a "free shot" at the attacking unit just like bombard units do when in a stack with other units. It's not likely to appear very often in games, but you should still be aware of it when making battle plans. A number of other units also had this ability added, like the TOW infantry listed above.

Longbow (4/1/1) bombard (2/0/1): Another example of a 0-range bombardment added. See above.

Radar Artillery (0/0/2) bombard (16/2/3): The power of radar artillery has been significantly increased in the expansion. While staying at 16 bombard strength, they now get two moves instead of one and an extra shot with each bombardment (3 shots instead of 2). The extra move even lets them fire and then move back to safety, something which they could never do before.Perhaps most significantly, since the building the spaceship now requires researching Robotics, these units may actually come into play in standard games. And just as a warning - stealth bombers combined with radar artillery are just about unstoppable in Conquests.

Naval Units: Most ships had their movement rates increased since this was a common player complaint. Rather than comment on each ship individually, I'll only discuss the changes if they are particularly significant and just list the new stats for the rest.

Galley (1/1/3) transport 2: same as before
Caravel (1/2/4) transport 3
Frigate (2/2/5) bombard (3/1/2): definitely a more dangerous unit now
Galleon (1/2/4) transport 4

Ironclad (5/6/3) bombard (6/1/2): Ironclads now require a new, optional, tech called Ironclads to be built. This tech is usually skipped by the AI and thus prolongs the age of sail long into the Industrial Age. If you do choose to research this extra tech, Ironclads are now beasts of the seas, easily able to sink all wooden ships with impunity. This change adds a lot more strategy to naval combat, and I give it a BIG thumbs-up.

Transport (1/2/6) transports 6: lower defense and transport capacity means that you now need frigates/ironclads to defend these units
Carrier (1/8/7) transports 4 air units, air defense 1: now moves much faster and has minimal air defense
Submarine (8/4/4): subs actually have enough attack to sink other ships now
Destroyer (12/8/8) bombard (6/1/2) air defense 1: much faster and with minimal air defense added
Battleship (18/12/5) bombard (8/2/2) air defense 2: comparatively much slower to other ships; also has air defense
AEGIS Cruiser (15/10/7) bombard (6/2/2) air defense 3: stats significantly increased, still has the ability to detect subs
Nuclear Submarine (8/4/5) transports 1 nuke: a little bit better, but still used mainly to deliver nuclear weapons

Air Units: All planes have had their operational range greatly increased; doubled in most cases, actually. Most of them have had lethal land and sea bombardment added as well. I don't really like the addition of lethal land bombardment in terms of balance, but irregardless of what I think, it's still in there. Building a strong air force is now a necessity for all players as soon as Flight is discovered.

Fighter (4/2/1) bombard (3/0/1) range 6: Fighters now have a longer range than bombers did in original Civ3. They have lethal sea but not land bombardment.
Bomber (0/2/1) bombard (12/0/3) range 10: bombers have both lethal land and sea bombardment and are extremely dangerous with a range of 10 tiles
Helicopter (0/2/1) transports 3, range 6: still an essentially useless unit, but at least now it can carry more units and has a larger range
Jet Fighter (8/4/1) bombard (3/0/1) range 9: Use them to shoot down bombers. Like fighters, jets have lethal sea but not land bombardment.

Stealth Fighter (8/6/1) bombard (6/0/2) range 12: Not only are they almost impossible to intercept (5% chance to catch as opposed to 50% for standard air units), stealth fighters also have the new "stealth" ability. This lets you choose any unit in a stack to bombard rather than having to attack the unit with the highest defense all the time. Stealth fighters also have lethal land and sea bombardment and a very large 12-tile operational range. Very dangerous unit.

Stealth Bomber (0/5/1) bombard (18/0/3) range 16: Perhaps the single most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the game. These awesome units now have both lethal land and sea bombardment (with an attack of 18!), a massive range of 16 tiles, are virtually impossible to intercept, and also possess the stealth attribute. They are more than worth the very high 240-shield cost. Fear the Stealth Bomber.

<--- Hwach'a
Unique Units and Miscellaneous
                                                                                               Scientific Great Leader --->

Leader (0/0/3): The most important difference about leaders is that they have now been separated into two groups: military great leaders and scientific great leaders. Military great leaders are the same as what has always existed in Civ3, leaders randomly spawned from an elite victory in battle. Military great leaders have had their function scaled back a bit; they can still create armies and rush city improvements or small wonders, but NOT great wonders anymore. The reason for this is that military great leaders were intended to be used mostly for armies, so the designers of Conquests eliminated their wonder-rushing feature to encourage this kind of play. Considering how random military great leaders are, I greatly welcome the switch. Scientific great leaders are also implemented in a random fashion though; whenever a tech is discovered first by a civ, that civ (and only that civ) has a chance to spawn a scientific great leader. The probability is low, 5% for scientific civs and 2% for non-scientific civs, if I remember correctly. Scientific great leaders can still rush wonders, or use an ability called "increase scientific output" which increases all scientific beakers produced by 25% for 20 turns. This is also called a scientific golden age. Scientific leaders also cannot create armies. While scientific great leaders are implemented in a somewhat halfhazard fashion, I greatly approve the reduction in massive swings of luck by toning down military great leaders. On the whole, I feel these are positive changes.

Army (0/0/1) transports 3: These units have had their power significantly increased in Conquests, making them MUCH more desirable than they were previously. Since armies were already quite good, this is saying something significant. Armies now have the ability to always see everything up to two tiles away, regardless of intervening terrain; in other words, they can see over mountains and the like. Armies also have an interesting new feature called "auto-pillage", which lets them pillage the tile they are standing on at no movement cost. An army with three movement points could theoretically pillage the tile it was on, move and pillage that tile, move again and pillage THAT tile, then still attack. Fun stuff. But the best feature of all is that now armies heal much faster. Armies can now recover hit points in enemy territory, even without the Battlefield Medicine small wonder, and they recover them even faster in territory you control. An army spending a turn at rest in one of your cities now recovers not 2hp, but 1/2 of its total hitpoints. With a barracks, this is increased to 3/4 of its total hitpoints. That's a big difference! A 20 hp army used to take several turns to heal if it was in the red; now resting for one turn in a city with barracks will restore 15 of its 20 hp. In short, armies are now actually more than the sum of their constituent parts, and there is a very strong incentive to build as many as possible.

Jaguar Warrior (1/1/2): There was a lot of arguing as to whether the Jag was an overpowered unit or not in the beta. A general consensus emerged that it was too cheap at 10 shields, but would be nerfed too badly if the cost were increased to 20 shields. So the designers compromised, and made it cost 15 shields (by the way; all shield costs do not have to be multiples of 10 in Conquests). Other than changing the cost of the Jag to 15 shields, there was no change to the unit.

Bowman (2/2/1) bombard (1/0/1): Defensive 0-tile bombardment "free shot" added, same as with the Archer.

Musketeer (2/5/1) bombard (2/0/1): I don't like this change, since there was absolutely no need to make it, but regardless here it is. The Musketeer was changed to lose a point of attack and pick up a point of defense. This was a blatant and completely unneccesary attempt to make the musketeer more of "uber" unit when the unit was fine as it was. A silly change, in my opinion. It also had a 0-tile defensive bombardment attack added, as mentioned above.

War Elephant (4/3/2) +1hp bonus: Another somewhat unneeded change, but I like this one. The big pull of the War Elephant was it was a unit that did not require resources, but since iron and horses are generally not all that hard to come by, this was not much of an advantage. Thus a number of suggestions on how to change the War Elephant were sounded out in the beta, and the designers liked this one the best. The extra hitpoint I think reflects well the fact that elephants are tough units to take down. It's not a big change, but a small fix which makes the unit more fun to play with. Good move.

Cossack (6/3/3) blitz added: The Cossack was always a misunderstood unit; the extra defensive point was pretty good, but most players failed to see it that way. Thus the unit was changed at the request of a majority of the beta testers; it lost its extra defensive point and gained the "blitz" capability, letting it attack multiple times per turn. The cost of the unit was also increased from 80 to 90 shields as a result. This definitely makes the Cossack a more dangerous unit, and while I don't entirely agree with the change, it does make me want to try out the Russians sometime soon...

Man-O-War (4/2/5) bombard (4/1/2) enslave added: Let's face it, we all know that the Man O' War was a horrible unit in former incarnations of Civ3, one of the worst unique units out there. It's still not that important on non-archipelago maps, but the unit has gone through a bigtime stat upgrade. It now has double the attack of a standard frigate, higher bombardment as well, and with ironclads now requiring a separate optional tech, this unit can now dominate the seas well into the Industrial Age. Coolest of all is that a successful attack with the Man O' War has a chance to enslave the enemy, creating another Man O' War! This unit can definitely now dominate the seas until the discovery of Combustion, and with the ability to enslave might still be useful a bit after that.

F-15 (8/4/1) bombard (6/0/2) range 9: Still not a great unit, but the F-15 saw a boost in stats as well, in addition to the general increase in air power. They attack the same as Jet Fighters but bombard at a much better rate. F-15s also have both lethal land and sea bombardment as well as the "stealth" ability to attack any unit desired in a stack. Unfortunately, the unit's true purpose should be shooting down enemy fighters to clear the way for bombers, not actually bombarding itself, so even the stat boosts are somewhat dubious in nature. But any stat boost for this unit was badly needed, so it gets my thumbs-up.

Privateer (2/1/5) bombard (3/0/0) enslave added: Wow, there is actually a reason to build these units now! Privateers still have hidden nationality, but now they have the ability that they should have had all along: the ability to enslave enemy ships upon defeating them in battle. Enslaving a ship results in the creation of another privateer. Probably not all that useful in single-player games, but you can piss the hell out of other human players in the Age of Discovery scenario using these things.

Keshik (4/2/2): Now they have the ability to ignore movement costs for both hills and mountains, instead of just mountains. As they should have from the beginning; this change was long overdue. Cost remains the same at 60 shields.

Gallic Swordsman (3/2/2): Bah, the cost of this unit was dropped to 40 shields, which is a bad move because the unit was appropriately priced at 50 shields. Did the BreakAway guys ever play as the Celts? I'm going to go back and suggest they read the Charis Tale Celtic Christmas again...

Hwach'a (0/0/1) bombard (8/1/1): I similarly don't like this change. The hwach'a had its attack strength dropped back to that of a standard cannon, but it was given lethal land and sea bombardment. This was part of BreakAway's silly "every unique unit must be able to start a golden age" policy; I kind of liked the fact that the Koreans were unique and had to get a wonder-induced golden age. The danger is that with enough hwach'as, the player can become essentially invincible and shoot down any invading army with impunity. Be prepared for some abusive playing as Korea.

Guerilla (6/6/1) bombard (3/0/1): Defensive bombardment added, as with other units. Also now upgrades to TOW Infantry in the Modern Age.

And that's it! Finally. There were a lot of unit changes, and you should be able to see how they have significantly changed the game. The next section deals with changes to the tech tree and the new governments added.