With Industrious and Religious the Egyptian has a unique set of traits that lend themselves very favorably to a tremendous ease of play. Egypt along with Persia has been a perennial ‘newbie’ favorite since the inception of CIV III. New players always struggle with proper worker management and happiness issues. Egypt has the built in traits that help mask a new players weaknesses in both areas. This can be a double edge sword however. Newer players that begin with Egypt tend to find all the other CIVs inadequate by comparison. The traits that ease play can also mislead players into the belief that Egypt is “THE” civ to play. Ironically, experienced higher-level players find themselves coming back to Egypt later on, not for ease of play, but because these really are a terrific trait combo that lend themselves to both builder and warmonger alike. If there is one word that best describes the Egyptians it’s – flexibility.
The builder will find Egypt a joy to play. Industrious shield production combined with cheap temples and cathedrals makes Egypt a top choice for any builder. The greatest asset to the builder is the early availability of temples. Egypt can crank these out like no other CIV. Early built temples add up to monstrous cultural points by the mid-game. Given a good start, the Egyptian player will be able to duplicate his temple driven Ancient Age culture burst, with a Middle Ages run on Cathedrals.
The warmongering Egyptian will also find cause to celebrate the ease of his temple building ability. Need quick happiness to keep the war rolling – Egypt has an answer. Need to expand those borders and avoid a culture flip – Egypt has an answer. Then there’s the Egyptian UU – need a solid, fast, and cheap early unique unit for Ancient Age war – Egypt has an answer. Don’t let a warmongering Egyptian get his hands on Sistine Chapel – cheap Cathedrals doubled in happiness can make Egypt, even in ‘Democracy’, an unbelievably long lasting warrior. While not a first tier warmongering CIV, Egypt can more than hold its own.
The greatest strength of Egypt is for the ‘Balance of Power’ type player – the builder/warmonger who aims for whichever victory type best presents itself during the unfolding of the game. The type of player that does not want to rule the earth, but wants to be its uncontested superpower. Here is where Egypt and her trait combo shine the most. Good in both building and warring ability, the Egyptian can easily alternate between short to medium length wars interspaced with 20 to 40 turns of infrastructure building. By mid-Industrial game he will find that the final outcome is assured. This type of player will most appreciate the dynamics of the Ind/Rel trait combo.
On the downside is the frequently derided Egyptian War Chariot. For a CIV that may have the most flexible trait combo – they have quite an inflexible UU! The War Chariot is a wheeled offensive unit with 2-1-2 stats and a 20-shield cost. The wheeled status of this UU unit makes it the most map/age/temperature dependent of the land UUs in the game. Play a large continents map at 5 billion years and the War Chariot may be a better UU than any other in the Ancient Age. An extremely cost efficient unit that can be quickly mass-produced – you will over run your neighbors (across those nice deserts and grasslands) in no time. On the other hand – if you play random maps or a 3 billion age map – you may find this UU forever stuck uselessly behind a myriad of swamps or mountains, unable to move and near useless on defense. It also suffers in that any early attack by another CIV, and you may find yourself with an unwanted Ancient Age Golden Age. There’s little middle ground with the War Chariot – usually it’s boon or bust.
So how do the Egyptians fare with C3C? After playing a few games with Egypt again, I have come to the following conclusions:
Firstly, the toning down of the Industrial trait has had a negative impact on the strength of all 7 PTW Industrial CIVs. However, 6 of those 7 have had this mitigated by having had a change in some other respect. For example; the Americans F-15 is improved and expansionist is a better trait, The French musketeer is improved, the Persian science trait is more viable, the Chinese Militarist trait is even stronger for warmongering. – Egypt and only Egypt, among all the Industrial CIVs took the toning down hit without any mitigating change in C3C. Secondly, look at any poll taken prior to C3C that asks, “which is the best trait”, and Industrious is invariably #1 with Religious 2nd or 3rd. This is no longer the case. C3C has seen the advent of the Agricultural trait and the re-emergence of the Science trait. The net result here again is a loss for the former status of Egypt.
In summary, Egyptian play in and of itself remains essentially the same. What has changed is the effects of that play are slightly weaker. Egypt will maintain its status of one of the top – “newbie” favorites. However, among experienced and higher level players they will definitely fall to a middle of the pack – 2nd tier.
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