Rating the Unique Units

I often get PMs asking me how I rate a particular UU. It is hard enough to rate the CIV themselves considering the numerous variables involved, while trying to keep a balanced view between the 3 play styles (warmonger, balance of power, peaceful builder). Rating a UU in a vacuum, without any context to the specific map, difficulty level, player skill level, terrain or victory type sought – is perhaps an impossibility. The best one can do is to create a standard that is based on a host of assumptions. In an effort to be fair one must attempt to remove themselves from their own biases that have been formed as a consequence of their personal play preferences and most importantly from the difficulty level that they typically play within. This last bias can often blind a player completely. A player struggling terribly to keep up with an AI in the early game (regardless of difficulty level) comes to far different conclusions than a player that is playing at a level in which he and the AI are on a far more equal footing early (I completely dismiss the opinion of players playing ‘well below’ their skill level – the game conditions in which they play often leads to very unsound conclusions).
The standard I will use rest on these assumptions: the world size is standard or large, the map type Continents, the game is un-modded, the victory conditions are space, culture and domination, barbs are roaming or restless, terrain is ‘standard’, world age is 4 billion. There are others, but I think you get the idea – I have tried to use the ‘middle’ points and avoid the extremes while also taking into consideration the settings that I believe are player favorites. I will use a tier system of 3rds (best 10, next best 11, last 10) in which to categorize the UUs. Any attempt to numerically rate the UUs is doomed – without a broader categorization an already difficult task becomes impossible.

Anyone familiar with anything I have written is also aware of my philosophy on unit value – or lack of value. My philosophy is derived from 3 elements: my hands-on use of every UU in actual game play, the basic strategic principles that I have learned from my life-long playing of war games of all types, and conclusions I have derived from my reading of military history. Fundamentally, the valuation is as follows: 1) speed 2) offensive power 3) cost-efficiency 4) longevity/viability prior to obsolescence, and 5) defensive power – all within the context of their respective unit class. I do NOT intend to debate the merits, or lack of merit in how I have weighted these elements. Some type of standard must be used otherwise the debate falls into a series of arbitrary arguments that cannot be measured or quantified even in a limited sense.

The truest bottom line to the UUs is that they are as good or bad as the game conditions at the time of their arrival and the player’s skill level with that particular unit. Nevertheless, we all love to speculate, compare, measure, and debate them. In that spirit I offer the following UU ratings:

1st Tier: Rider, Immortal, Sipahi, Ansar Warrior, Mounted Warrior, Dromon, Hoplite, Gallic Swordsman, Panzer, and the Berserk.

2nd Tier: Babylonian Bowman, Enkidu Warrior, Impi, Jaguar Warrior, Samurai, Swiss Mercenary, Legionary, Man O’ War, Javelin Thrower, War Elephant, and the Keshik.

3rd Tier: War Chariot, Chasqui Scout, Cossack, Musketeer, Numidian Mercenary, Hwach’a, Carrack, Conquistador, 3-Man Chariot, and the F-15.

So there it is! Enjoy yourselves – ripping both each other and me to pieces!

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