Suppose you decided to go into the Civ editor and create the single most efficient warmongering Civ, how would you go about it? You would probably start by giving your Civ the militaristic trait; cheap military buildings, quicker promotions and more armies are essential. Then you would probably add the industrious trait; higher shields to more quickly produce military units from those cheap building, plus super workers to build the roads that move your units to the battlefield fast. Lastly, you would probably create a UU that is timed to arrive at the perfect moment, is hard-hitting, highly maneuverable and long lasting. Well you might as well close that editor, because that Civ already exist – its name is China.
For warmongering, the synergy between industrious and militaristic is unequaled. The 2 traits continue to complement each other from the 1st turn to the last. The militaristic trait allows the warmonger to quickly build cheap barracks – the industrious trait speeds this up even further by producing cities with higher shield output, also industrious workers more quickly improve tiles, which in turn speeds barracks construction yet again. Once the barracks are up, that same ‘industrious trait’ process accelerates unit production. Then there’s the faster road laying ability of the industrious workers – this both improves commerce (which allows for a larger standing military) and facilitates the moving of troops to the battlefield. Once engaged in war China can get those reinforcements to the front faster than most Civs. This alone will decide more than one battle in China’s favor. With militaristic and industrious, China can throw up a sizeable military infrastructure far faster than the vast majority of other Civs. The ultra-early archer rush has become a staple of many China players. Because of the militaristic trait China begins with ‘Warrior Code’ and immediate access to archers. China’s ability to quickly throw up a large force of veteran archers in the early game has become a routine strategy of many players – and few Civs can rival the efficiency of China in pulling it off. One downside of the Mil/Ind combo is that they do not lend themselves as well to quick settler production as other combos. For China early warfare is often a critical part of their expansion phase, an extension of their normal city expansion phase. Many China players favor the Monarchy government over Republic in the early game. The reasons for this are obvious, Monarchy supports large standing armies better and has zero war weariness. The later game often finds you favoring Fascism or Communism over Democracy for the same reasons.
I suppose that at least some comment should be made on China as a ‘builder’ Civ. China can be an effective builder Civ, but this must be done in combination with military expansion. The power of China as a builder is in the sheer number of culture buildings it can produce by acquiring a large empire. A Chinese builder strat is viable – but one must be patient and understand that it will bear fruit in the later game when the numbers (of culture buildings) begins to surpass the power of the other Civs older buildings. That said, China is certainly not among the better builder Civs.
Last but not least, is the Chinese UU – the ‘Rider’. The Rider is a 4-3-3 Knight class unit available with chivalry. The impact of this unit is enormous, and for many players the Rider is THE reason they love to play China as a warmonger. This UU arrives at one of the most critical points in the game (the early middle ages) and its power is often the game breaker. On the surface it is just a knight with 1 extra movement point. But in CIV – speed kills, and the Rider is one of only 2 pre-cavalry land UUs with 3 movement points. That speed combined with it’s solid attack and defense factors makes for a terrifying UU in a part of the game where most other units simply can not cope with the Riders speed advantages. The Rider arrives just in time for China to be out of Despotism and entering the Middle Age wonder rush period. The Golden Age timing of this unit is perfect. Those fat wonders will belong to China – and the Rider is the reason. If you manage to get 2 or 3 early Great Military Leaders – filling those armies with Riders makes for an irresistible force that may seal the outcome of the game incredibly early. The Rider along with the Persian Immortal has an impact on the game that is far more profound and long lasting than most UUs.
As a warmonger Civ China is unquestionably one of the top Civs in the game. However, the toning down of the industrious trait has somewhat diminished the ‘king of the warmongers’ title that China holds for many players. As a builder Civ they are very average at best. Overall China is a 2nd tier Civ – but still a fearsome ‘warmongers’ Civ.
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