England is perhaps one of the most underrated civs in the game. I suspect that in a world of Immortals, Mounted Warriors and Hoplites and a suspect trait combo in vanilla Civ3 and PTW, England would have limited appeal. However Conquests introduces the seafaring trait and a vastly powered up UU – the Man O War. England is one of my personal favourite civs and can be very powerful. It’s also alot of fun to play. Some civs excel at certain aspects of the game, Babylon for culture, Maya for rapid growth, Greece for scientific research, etc. England does have its own little niche it can carve out though – commerce. Few if any civs can match England’s gold per turn. One big bonus for me though is it gets to start with alphabet and pottery techs – instant granaries and a head start on a tech tree the AI tends to neglect. You can easily get philosophy 1st most of the time and get a head start on any Great Library prebuilds should you choose to build it.
[b]Show Me the Money[/b]
England has the commercial and seafaring traits which have a synergy between them. Each coastal city of England generates an extra 2 gpt due to both traits effects stacking. Although it doesn’t sound like much it can add up to thousands of gold during the game. The Seafaring trait can bring in additional gold on island and continental maps. You should be the 1st civ to discover isolated AI civs which often have several hundred gold to buy techs with. England can easily become the tech trader of any game. Due to all the excess gold you get, England can easily afford to rush build marketplaces – which leads to even more money. Throw in cheap harbours and early contacts you can import luxury resources before the AI civs make contact with each other. England’s best form of government is Republic followed by a switch to Democracy once it is discovered. With lowered corruption from the commercial trait, a democratic government, trait synergy and well developed infrastructure the money just rolls in. It’s a vicious cycle of gold pouring in but someone has to do it.
[b]England’s Golden Age[/b]
You generally trigger England’s Golden Age (GA) in one of 3 ways: building the Colossus, Magellan’s Voyage, or by the Man O War. I don’t recommend the Colossus as you don’t start with Bronze Working, the AI will probably beat you to it and there’s better things to do with the shields at that point of the game. Most likely you will trigger a late middle ages GA as a republic or a democracy. Either way you will be laughing all the way to the bank. Also there’s a few wonders worth building and expensive city improvements (cathedrals, university, banks) or units (cavalry, cannons) to build around this time period. Your GA should be a big catapult to vault England into the industrial age with well developed cities, a huge bank balance and probably the tech lead as well (except on deity/Sid levels of the game). Toward the end of the middle ages/early industrial England gets to build its UU……
[b]The Man O War[/b]
Possibly one of the most powerful UU’s in Conquests, the Man O War is just too versatile. Naval supremacy, city bombardment, strip coastal improvements, port defense, and enslavement. With enslavement you can build a huge fleet that requires very little upkeep. Rather than thinking of the Man O War as a naval UU start thinking of it as a highly mobile catapult more or less in infinite supply. Your fleet will out class any AI navy and will only get bigger the more ships the AI builds. Use bombardment to redline any ships you attack and try to enslave them. Personally my redlined Man O Wars are used for bombardment while my full strength ones make the kill. Your fleet never needs to return home to repair. I tend to stack my ships in a big fleet of doom or make wolfpacks of 3-6 ships to encounter and sink as many AI ships I can find or to rapidly strip all improvements off an AI civs coast and bombard their ports. Often I’ll end up with “colony” cities scattered around the maps. Such “colonies” usually have a luxury or strategic resource I want or a wonder the AI have built. Treat the world as your cherry tree picking whatever coastal city you want. The Man O War also doesn’t become obsolete – they can easily sink and enslave ironclads and during the age of battleships and carriers they can still bombard AI cities and strip improvements. If they’re enslaved they don’t even require upkeep.
I like England but it does have numerous negatives. It’s a slow starting civ. Agricultural, expansionistic and industrial civs will probably outgrow you. England is punished perhaps more than any other civ with a bad start. No early UU or militaristic trait to help out if the AI manages to box you in. Also you don’t get much in the way of cheaper buildings – harbors and then nothing until commercial docks. It’s a power comes later in the game – generally during the middle ages as you can rush build improvements in key cities which can then concentrate on churning out military units. Since you will likely use republic at some point of the game with the high unit upkeep you will probably need a smaller army than the AI civs. In fact you will probably be weak militarily until the late middle ages – a more aggressive civ can end the game by then. Also while a top tier civ on island and continent maps, it’s 2nd tier on pangea maps – although to be fair it is the best seafaring civ to have on a pangea map as England’s main strength is its traits effects stacking for gpt. It’s not really a builder civ or a warmongering civ. England’s strength is its economic performance and plays very differently to most of the other civs.
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