Known for their rich religious and cultural achievements, India to this very day lives up to its centuries old fame. Perhaps no other modern day nation is so intimately associated with the personality of a single man, in C3C it is the image of that man that stands as its leader-head. It is that image of peacefulness and deep religious heritage, which the game attempts to capture – and to a great degree, it succeeds.
Religious and Commercial, the Indian traits do not lend themselves as easily as others to a flexibility in approach. The very first thing that will strike you in the trait combo is its apparent ‘made to order’ synergy for a peaceful builder, with that combination of extra cash and half-priced happiness culture. In this respect the trait synergy more than lives up to its potential. The half- priced temples and cathedrals of Religious are produced that much faster with the extra commerce from Commercials lower corruption. While Commercial is a trait that usually does not fully impose itself until the later game, in combination with Religious even its smaller early game contribution will exert itself significantly, bearing fruit incrementally with some of the oldest temples and cathedrals in the entire game. Unfortunately, the Indian traits make them among the weakest civs for early expansion and they do not catch-up as well as many other civs. This in turn, often delays them from being able to exert their inherent advantages as a builder as early as they would like to.
If ever there was a civ ideally suited to make the most of representative governments – India is it. Following a Republic to Democracy beeline, with as few wars as possible and a genuine effort to keep good relations with the AI civs – India will often be poised to play the worlds peaceful banker all the while funneling that extra cash into its science research and its ever growing cultural dominance. A solid mid-sized democratic India can often walk through the game from the late Middle Ages on – towards their Culture, Space Race or UN victory. Naturally, from time to time resource scarcity or the evil intentions of some neighbors will force the Indians hand. In this case the Indian should try his utmost to have limited objectives that he can achieve as quickly as possible, exerting the full power of his good relations with others to ensure that his wars are wars of a coalition of allies (with his own contribution being as modest as possible) against an isolated and overwhelmed AI opponent. The peaceful India player that finds no other alternative to a long protracted war, will find his Religious short anarchy advantage gives him the luxury of a long Fascist/Communist stint with a quick return to Democracy when its finally over. Lastly, the Indian player should keep himself in the thick of international affairs, being as charitable as possible to the weak, denying or limiting his trade with the stronger AIs, and being ever ready to wage a coalition war against any AI civ whose growing strength may upset the worlds balance of power.
As a warmonger civ India leaves much to be desired. While it is true that one can conquer the world with any civ in the game (India included), some lend themselves to this far better than others. Their slower early expansion, lack of a trait that accentuates early warmongering, non-military starting techs, and average UU all combine to make a warmongering Indian one that must have greater patience and more limited early objectives. That said, the inherent power of the mid-game Indian infrastructure often leads to a fearsome late game warmonger. On water maps India is among the weakest of the civ choices you can make, outmatched by most of the others.
The Indian UU is the often under-rated War Elephant. The WE is a 4-3-2, knight class, 70-sheild UU available with Chivalry and requiring no resources to build. When discussing this UU players often confine themselves to focusing on how wonderful it is if you lack horses or iron, and how terribly average it is if you do not. At face value this is true, the unit having the exact identical stats as the standard Knight – however there is an overlooked element here. The unit was changed slightly from PTW to C3C, and that ‘slight’ change makes this a far more viable unit. In C3C the WE has 1 extra hit point. Your regulars’ fight like veterans, your veterans like elites, your elites like super-elites! Basically the extra hit-point correctly mirrors the actual durability of an elephant by making it at least 1 combat round harder to kill while giving it at least 1 more combat round of attack as well. This makes for quite a durable UU that will survive many a battle and provide a greater defensive value than its stats imply. The bonuses of this UU seem to compliment the more peaceful builder; smaller military approach to the Indian civ and thus provides an excellent compliment to them – overall, a nice solid middle of the pack UU.
Play with India can often be quite rewarding for the more peaceful builder and trader type players. Certainly among the better peaceful builder civs and an excellent balance of power civ for those that like to war more often in the mid to late game. Nevertheless, in comparison to many other civs their shortcomings are there and obvious (mediocre water-map performance, slower early expansion, lack of early military prowess, lack of dominant UU). Even in that area in which it genuinely excels at, peaceful builder, it will consistently be outperformed by a third of the other civs. India ranks as an overall 3rd tier civ.
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