The Persians

For the Civilopedia entry on the Persians, click here.

Industrious and scientific, the Persians are a strong production and research workhorse. Persia, along with Egypt has been a perennial ‘newbie’ favorite since the inception of CIV III. New players often struggle with proper worker management, tech research, and combat. Persia has the built in traits and Unique Unit that help mask a new players weaknesses in these areas. This masking has often-lead ‘newbies’ to crown Persia the title of THE best Civ. Experienced players know that there is no ‘best’ Civ, and yet they often rate Persia among their personal favorites. The reason for this is simple; played correctly Persia can dominate a game from beginning to end in a manner that few others can rival. Few AI Civs present as frightening an Ancient Age neighbor as the Persians, and for good reason!

For the peaceful builder Persia offers many advantages. The dynamics of the Ind/Sci combo make Persia a quality builder Civ. Those faster workers, work to Persia’s advantage well into the Industrial Age. This is a 2-fold boost for the builder. Faster workers equals higher shield production and quickly built commerce producing roads. Those shields and extra money usually translate out to faster build times. In tandem with this is a scientific boost that speeds research times, gives half priced libraries and universities, and even provides a free tech at the beginning of each age. Once the Persian infrastructure is up, few Civs can compete with their rate of researching techs. A Persian strategy that prioritizes researching ‘Literature’ will give them early access to those half priced libraries and the resulting cultural and scientific benefits. Persia quite often finds itself as the first to research a tech. The advantages they gain from this are significant. It allows them a head start on those Great Wonders (a head start compounded by their high shield production), a higher chance at a SGL, and the ability to become quite rich playing tech ‘broker’. While not the best of the builder Civs, they can more than hold their own. The player seeking a cultural or space race victory will be well served by Persia.

As a warmonger Civ Persia can be an absolute terror. Those industrious workers quickly laying roads right up to their neighbor’s front door, high shield towns/cities boosting combat unit production, and a science boost that provides the tech parity or tech lead that ensures an up to date military. All of these work in Persia’s favor, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, makes Persia such a battlefield nightmare as their UU – the Immortal. Every UU is useful, albeit to varying degrees. The impact of most UUs is slight, their greatest value being the ability to initiate a Golden Age. This is not the case with the Persian Immortal. A 30-shield 4-2-1 swordsman level unit, the Immortal presents the single most powerful offensive unit of the Ancient Age. Nothing in the Ancient Age packs the punch of the Immortal (not even ancient cavalry), and it will continue to dominate until the advent of Knights. Defensively even the Greek Hoplite will take a deep breath when confronted by this unit. A common Persian strategy is the beeline to Iron Working, without actually connecting the discovered iron. The Persian can then mass-produce low cost 10-shield warriors while amassing enough gold for a mass upgrade. In large numbers those Immortals can unleash a fury that no Civ can withstand. The ease in which Immortals rip apart neighbor after neighbor can quickly spoil a warmonger. Yet another upside to this UU is that its 4-2-1 stats are competitive well into the Middle Ages, and are not truly outclassed until the advent of Cavalry! While not a Militaristic Civ, Persia can certainly play like one – and outperform most of them.

On the downside, C3C has seen the toning down of the Industrious trait. While still an excellent trait it does not dominate as it once did. However, this is somewhat mitigated in Persia’s case from the boost ‘scientific’ received in C3C. Another downside is their average at best performance when playing island maps. One is hard pressed to find another significant downside.


The excellent all around qualities of the Persians will see them continue to be among the favored Civs. Their UU alone will draw players to them with regularity. Name the category – culture, space race, war, UU, expansion.- and the Persians, while perhaps not THE best, are better than average. Their greatest strength is a lack of any significant weakness. Persia remains an undisputable top tier Civ that can compete with any Civ – on any level – in any style.

Discuss this article in the forum