The Hittites

It is said that the noise was deafening, the blaring trumpets – the pounding hoofs of horses pulling the largest chariots known – the dying screams of the vanquished – these were the last sounds heard by the once great empire of Babylon. Their demise was at the hands of a new and vibrant warrior culture known as the Hittites. The inventors of iron and perennial foes of Egypt, the Hittites make their appearance in C3C.
Commercial and Expansionist, the Hittite trait combo is not among the most synergistic in the game. A Commercial trait that provides extra commerce in large cities and reduces corruption is a ‘snowballing’ trait whose effects become far more pronounced over time. Unlike other traits that Commercial will accentuate better in the early game, its effect on Expansionist is not as great. Along with this is the Expansionist trait that will give the Hittites the ability to more effectively explore the map, locate resources and contact other civs – while popping goody huts for warriors, gold, techs and the occasional settler. Expansionist is strictly an early game trait designed to help keep up with, or surpass the performance of other civs in the early game. Starting with Alphabet and Pottery, the early beeline of Philosophy, a free Code of Laws, and Republic is tempting. On average however, the Hittites are better served with a beeline to Philosophy strat, picking up Polytheism as the free tech (in some lucky cases the Hitts will pull off Monarchy, having got Poly by trade or goodie hut). With the exception of an unusually great start with 3 or 4 nearby luxury resources, an early warmonger strat for this CIV with a Monarchy and later Communism government is usually the better choice. The reasons for this will become apparent from the rest of the article.

As a peaceful/builder civ the Hittites are very mediocre at best. Their starting traits give no half-priced anything, as such the Hittites pay sticker price on every single building they create. This could be mitigated greatly if they were to have faster workers (less needed/higher shields) or higher pop growth – but this is not the case. Add to this the fact that they have a 30 shield ultra early UU that requires a higher than average early commitment in shields for units and barracks over temples & libraries. Building with the Hittites requires patience and long range planning (and on average a few expansion wars as well). In time the commercial effect begins to take its toll thus allowing for mass builds and build rushes. Assuming a few successful early wars and a large empire – a Hittite late culture commitment can pay off, if nothing else by the sheer numbers alone. In the early game a player is far better served foregoing any Ancient Age wonders and as few temples and libraries as possible, with marketplaces being the late ancient/early middle age exception.

The essential element for the Hittites early is settlers/workers and above all combat units – while true of every civ to varying degrees, this is especially more critical to the Hittites given their early builder limitations. As a warmonger CIV the Hittites can be quite effective. Their early expansionist mapping often gives them an edge on enemy positions and crucial strategic resources. Add to this a mobile 2 movement UU available with the Wheel tech, and you have a civ poised to do well at war. However, the Hittites do not begin the game with immediate access to archers, spearman or their UU – that, and the builder limitations already stated, does not make them among the better early rushing Civs. Nevertheless, a focused Hittite player can begin a series of bite-sized wars from mid to late ancient – oscillating from one neighbor to another in short wars of limited objectives (2 to 3 strategically important cities), growing in a methodical and patient manner while weakening their immediate threats. Once in the Middle Ages they can take a breath for some infrastructure building, before beginning the whole process over again with ever growing objectives. On average the Hittites will not have the built-in infrastructure to rebound well from a failed early war – early on, be conservative and methodical. In time the snowball effect of your spider-web like growth and the Commercial trait cash will allow your ambitions to increase.

The Hittite UU is the 3-Man Chariot, a 30-shield, 2-2-2 horsemen class unit that requires access to horses to build – its 2-2-2 stats making it the most powerful of the ultra-early ancient UUs. Given a good start, this durable little beast can over-run virtually any neighbor. The 3MC can be quite effective until the advent of Pikes and Knights. Unfortunately, at 30 shields the ability to mass them early is difficult, furthermore the wheeled status of the unit makes it quite difficult to field properly on a map densely covered with mountains/jungles/or marshes. This fact re-enforces the need to maximize your expansionist trait’s early scouts – it is essential that you determine early whether the 3MC will be the core of your attack force, or whether you will need to mass Archers and Swords instead. Perhaps more than any other Expansionist civ – the Hittites rely on the power of Expansionist for their success. Later in the game the Hittites will lack an all-terrain 2 or 3 movement point unit until it either researches Chivalry or beelines to Military Tradition (the wheeled 3MC replaces both the chariot AND the horseman). Given this, an astute Hittite player may opt to build more Archer/Swords and Cats early (keeping only a few 3MCs to initiate the GA), and aim for a large Middle Age military of lower shield Longbows/Med-Infantry and Trebs. Naturally, if your start has been fast, your shield output high and the terrain suitable – a strong 3MC commitment is in order.

Summary:

The Hittites are a difficult CIV to play well, requiring a greater attention to detail and a full maximizing of their traits in order to be successful. While this is true of a few other civs as well, unlike them there is no mitigating factor(s) such as great trait synergy or an overwhelmingly dominant UU. The Hittites tend to be an awkward and overly methodical civ that fails to display a true dominance in any specific area. Play with the Hittites tends to be ‘bland’ in comparison to other civs- regardless of your play style – there’s simply nothing to get excited about. As a builder/culture CIV they are very late bloomers (if at all) and thus 3rd tier. On water maps they will struggle far more than most. As a warmonger CIV they show greater promise (especially on larger maps), but in my opinion they still fail to break into the top 20 (out of 31 total civs) – therefore 3rd tier. Overall: a lower end 3rd tier CIV.

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