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By Sean Slicer
An in-depth look at what the Incan civ has to offer, this guide will cover a multitude of potential strategies and your options when playing Pachicuti.
Each Civilization(henceforth referred to as a 'civ') in Civilization V has 3 unique aspects. For the Inca, we're looking at a special ability, a unit replacement, and an exclusive tile improvement.
Unique Ability: Great Andean Road Units ignore terrain costs when moving into any tile with Hills. No maintenance costs for improvements in Hills; half cost elsewhere.
Unique Unit: Slinger(replaces archer) One of the first available ranged Units, this Incan Unique Unit replaces the Archer. The Slinger is no more powerful than the Archer, and is even more fragile if subjected to a melee attack. However it possesses a promotion that gives it a good chance to withdraw to the rear before an enemy melee attack can occur.
Unique Improvment: Terrace Farm Yeilds 1 food and can only be built in hills. +1 extra food for every mountain ajacent to the farm.
Riding The Great Andean Road
In this section we'll be taking a more serious look at what the Great Andean Road actually does. Tile improvements(which really means roads since they are the only improvments that cost maintainence) built in hill tiles cost you no money to maintain. This means that if you need to either build a road in a flat tile or a hill, always build in the hill. The money you can save from this will really add up over the next few thousand years! Since these roads are free, build as many of them as you want to aid in movement, your wallet won't be any the thinner for it. Tile improvements built on flat terrain only cost half of what they usually do. 2 roads per 1 gold per turn(gpt) in maintainence usally just means that you get to save some cash that other players won't have. This is especially useful when connecting a large(referred to as wide) empire. Units pay 1 movement point in hill tiles regredless of forest or jungle. The ability to move through hills as if they aren't there plus getting an easy pass through wooded hills makes the Inca great for early scouting, since they can move farther, earlier- without being obstructed by terrain that would keep other civs bogged down. Combine this with mount kilimanjaro for super mobile soldiers that are nearly invincible in elevated terrain. This ability has a number of marginal benifets, including faster, more effective workers that are able to reach resources sooner and also move onto hill tiles and construct roads without having to wait a turn. Combined, a penchant for cheap roads and easy transport through hills gives the Inca the potential to be the speediest civ in the game.
Dealing with Slingers
The slinger is one of the earliest units to ever arrive in the game, being unlockable at archery, which can be researched from turn one. The Slinger has 4 melee strenght compared to the archer's 5. This is one way that the slinger is actually weaker than the unit it is supposed to build on. Slingers will more easily perish when attacked by melee units like spearmen or swordsmen than archers would. Slingers retreat in melee combat when they have other tiles to move to and are not being attacked by mounted units This means that despite its weakness, slingers will very rarely see physical combat, if they see combat at all(one might ask oneself who builds regular archers in the first place). In reality, the pros and cons of the slinger are too small on too insignifigant a unit to help or hinder your time playing the Inca. I don't reccomend building them, as early rushes in Brave New World are highly risky and often hurt both countries involved economically during a crucial point in the game. If you want to use them to bust barbarian encampemnts, don't let me stop you, but they aren't suited to professional warfare.
Mile High Megacities and the Terrace Farm
Terrace Farms can only be built on hills and provide 1 base food. Every adjacent mountain to the farm provides 1 extra food to the farm. Being exactly idential to the farm but with extra food from mountains, the terrace farm can be used to produce phenominally prosperous and productive cities in otherwise food-scarce highlands. The Terrace farm does NOT replace the regular farm, it is simply an exclusive improvement in the game that only the Inca can utilize. The real challenge with this excellent bonus is deciding when to use them over mines. In general, more food means more citizens to work more tiles, so for every 10 food you produce in a city, you should put about 8 production into either lumber mills or mines. In this picture, the terrace farm is producing 5 more food than a farm could by virtue of all of the labeled mountains it borders.
While any course to victory or policy tree would be complementary to the Inca, one tree stands out for having particularly good synergy with the Inca. Tradition Bonuses to food, extra happiness and gold from population, and free aquaducts all complement the player who seeks to use the terrace farm to its fullest potential, growing mega metropolisis and reaching for the stars.
The Inca don't have any traits that lead them towards one victory or another- they can leverage their unique bonuses to do whatever they want without problem. This doesn't mean that those abilities don't lend themselves to specific victory conditions, however. Domination The ability to quickly transport large hordes of units across the map is a huge boon for the more aggressive player. This also allows the player to be a little more effective when positioning their military as well. Incan catapults can move onto hill tiles while seiging cities and set up in the same turn, making them less vulnerable.
Science As any upper-level civ player will tell you, food=science. More food means more citizens which means more science even before scientific buildings like the library or the public school take effect. These buildings reward the player for a higher population, which the Incans can certainly deliver on given their powerful terrace farms.