The Celts

For the Civilopedia entry on the Celts, click here.

The Roman historian Pliny wrote that after a 7-month siege of Rome itself, Brennus offered not to sack the city of Rome in exchange for 1000 pounds of gold. The Romans accepted these terms, but during the weighing of the gold accused Brennus of cheating with altered weights. It was then that Brennus uttered his famous response, “vae victis”. Playing as the Celts in Civ 3 will find you uttering the same words – and more than once!

Agricultural and Religious, the Celts in C3C are a formidable foe indeed. Here is a trait combo that truly shines at giving the player the flexibility to play either peaceful builder and/or aggressive warmonger with equal power. The agricultural bonus of 1 extra food in every base city square (for cities next to rivers only) gives the Celts that slight edge in early growth that can be so pivotal in maintaining pace with the early expansion of the AIs – and at times, even out expanding them! Add to this the ability to produce extra food from irrigated deserts and half priced aqueducts, and one can easily see how this trait has instantly supplanted Industrious as the CIVers favorite choice. Along with Agri, the Celts are Religious, which gives half-priced Temples and Cathedrals – the Celts are often able to pursue both a hard REX and some culture building from very early on – as well as having the religious luxury of minimal anarchy times during government changes. Lastly, as a water Civ (arch maps) the Celts make a nice average CIV, with their cheaper aqueducts and the always-useful higher growth rate – they are however, far stronger on Conts and Pang.

As a culture CIV the Celts can more than hold their own against the majority of the Civs in the game. From early on the synergy between the traits pay dividends to the culture player. Agri works on Religious by having faster city pop growth; in the early game this allows for the Celt player to rush build his half-priced temples a turn or two faster than usual. Conversely, these half-priced temples (and later cathedrals) allow the Celt to maximize his city shield production by adding happiness that lowers the number of necessary entertainers and/or military police while maintaining a decent science research rate. The net result over time is a series of culture buildings that are among the oldest and highest culture producing in the game. In combination with a minimal war strategy and a highly selective Wonder building program, the Celts can make for a strong Culture/Space Race Civ.

Normally this section of the review covers the warmongering power of a CIV. With the Celts however, this is impossible without first making reference to one of the most efficient UUs in the game – the Gallic Warrior. A 3-2-2 swordsman class unit that requires iron, at 40 shields the GW is THE most expensive military unit of the Ancient Age – and for good reason! Any cheaper and this unit would put the Celts completely over the top in power. In essence the GW is merely a swordsman with 1 extra movement point. But of all the weapons in CIV 3, ‘speed’ is the single most deadly. The 2 movement points of a non-horse unit that hits as hard as a swordsman gives the Celts a terrific and long lasting (strong until the advent of Gunpowder units) UU that is outclassed by very few.

While no slouch as a peaceful builder, it is at war that the Celt can be a truly magnificent CIV. The early game will often see the Celt player bee-lining to Iron Working and building warriors instead of spearman in preparation for an attempted mass upgrade to GWs in late Ancient Age. Yes do build as many warriors as possible – on average it simply is not as efficient to build 40-sheild GWs from scratch than to upgrade by commerce. Given a sufficient number of GWs, the Celt player can devour his closest neighbors in short order – thus sealing the games fate in the very first age! Unfortunately for the Celts, the 40-shield cost of the GW does not lend itself to easily amass a sizeable force of these beasts. This downside calls for meticulous planning by the Celt player along with a frugalness in gold spending that borders on the obsessive. With the Celts you need to save every single penny possible, consider lowering the research slider slightly (or even a ‘zero’ research gambit – buying and/or beating the techs out of your neighbors) and consider holding off on paying to open embassies with your neighbors – I cannot emphasize enough that if you want to get the most out of the GW you have to be a supreme TIGHTWAD in the early game. As a result the Celts often benefit from waiting until late in Ancient Age before going into full warmongering mode. That said, given a decent start and strong enough bank account, the Celts can propel themselves as an early warmonger and maintain that pace for the rest of the entire game. The despotic Golden Age for the warmongering Celts is not as bad as for most CIVs, the sheer power of the GW (like the Persian Immortal) mitigates the impact – nevertheless, it is preferable to be in Monarchy or Republic.


A solid well-rounded CIV that is efficient irrespective of the map type or player style. A top flight warmonger CIV and an efficient culture CIV with the built-in traits and a UU that lend themselves to an ease of play, the Celts are an excellent choice for newer players and experts alike – Overall a top end 2nd tier choice.

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