Along with the Romans, the Germans have a unique mystique with many players. This mystique is derived from Germanys world-renowned achievements in science, the arts and military prowess. Yet despite the mystique, Germany rarely ranks among CIV players ‘favorites’ and is quite often derided as a poor CIV choice. In my opinion the ‘verdict’ on Germany as a CIV is in many ways unjust and highly prejudiced by the generally poor AI handling of this CIV. In my experience Germany is among the most poorly played and underrated CIVs in the game. The reasons for this are primarily within the dynamics and design of CIV 3 and not the CIV itself. However, once the nuances of this CIV are figured out, playing as the Germans can be highly rewarding.
Germany is Militaristic and Scientific, a trait combo that shines the most in the late game – but can confuse a player at the start. A slow starter (slow early expansion), Germany often needs to put off its warmongering prowess until the Middle Ages after it has consolidated itself and built a smooth infrastructure. While perfectly capable of pulling off a decent early archer rush, Germany is not among the better militaristic Civs for this strat. Germany is built around the late game ‘rush’. A few well-planned early wars along with a well-built economy – can see a mid-sized Industrial Age Germany explode into a huge empire. The Germans can ‘catch-up’ better than most CIVs in the game. A common government route for Germany is the Republic to Communism path. The ‘balance of power player’ that seeks to build and war in equal amounts will find Germany to be an interesting choice. As a Culture/Space race option – the Germans, while not among the top – are no slouches. Small ‘bite-sized’ wars, followed by build rushes are a German specialty. The German trait combo needs patience and timing to pay off. Patience and long-range planning with this CIV are essential.
First and foremost among the criticisms of Germany is the late Industrial Age UU. This is an UNFAIR criticism that requires a player to be honest with himself to understand why. Most players play at levels that they can dominate – that being the case the typical CIV game is one that is over, in all but name, by early Industrial Age. The Panzer is a terrifying unit and among the greatest ‘game-breakers’ in the game. The Panzer is the ‘Chinese Rider’ of the Industrial age – a 16-8-3 ‘blitz ability’ 100 shield tank unit – the Panzer can steam roll and outgun all others of its time period by virtue of its ‘blitz’ ability. Blitz ability is simply the expenditure of a units movement points in exchange for another ’round’ of attacks. ‘Blitz’ allows the Panzer to advance into enemy territory – and often attack in multiple rounds! That sole enemy infantry that usually survives with only 1 hit point against tanks will be hit yet again by the Panzer – storming cities and finishing off a weakened enemy is the Panzers specialty. This ability, like the Riders 1 extra movement point, is an enormous advantage in any game that still hangs in the balance.
Secondly, among the criticisms is the ‘late golden age’ argument. This argument is a FAIR one. The late industrial age UU means that Germanys only means to an Ancient or Middle Age ‘golden age’ is by wonder building. That said, a patient German player can selectively nail 1 Ancient Age wonder and a well timed Middle Age wonder to trigger his Golden Age. Nevertheless, this fact alone leaves Germany as a less than desirable ‘always at war choice’ and hampers even a standard warmonger approach.
The single greatest problem with this Civ is that it tends to be a ‘jack of all trades & king of none’ – the trait combo and late UU are good for peaceful building, but hamper the ‘degree’ that you can be peaceful – solid for warmongering yet hampered in the ‘degree’ to which you can pursue a heavy warmongering strat. As a warmonger Civ Germany is a solid 2nd tier Civ – a game-breaking UU, the militaristic trait boosting elites and cranking armies along with a science trait to keep that military up-to-date. As a Builder Civ Germany is once again a nice solid 2nd tier choice – a science trait for cheap Libraries and Universities along with a methodical and conservative military expansion makes them a good choice. Basically, if you like to play the extreme end of peace or war – Germany may not be for you, but if you enjoy the ebb and flow of changing strats, and the challenge of a balancing act – look no further.
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