Sid Meier's Civilization V

Sid Meier's Civilization V

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Civilization V Military Strategy Guide
By skonk
This guide goes into detail about the tips and tricks of anything that has to do with military in Civilization V
Civilization V will only be relevant for another few months or so, but I am making this guide anyway. In case Civ VI is a flop, you might find it useful.

In this guide, I will talk about all the things you see listed on the side down there. One way or another, they relate to your military in this game. What I say assumes you know the mechanics of the game and want to know how to use them in your favor.

If you want to know anything else, leave a comment about it and I may add it into this guide. Otherwise, here it is.
Let’s start off by assuming you’re being killed. Lovely. The most important strategy when you are being invaded is to kill as many of the enemy units as you can while preserving your own units. Your focus should be on killing melee units and siege units, as they threaten your cities the most.

There are two major ways in which you can approach defensive wars, but they are not mutually exclusive:

Both of these strategies are valid depending on the circumstances you are in. Many of these situations are listed here under their respective strategies.

A: Focus on destroying units by targeting the majority of your attacks on them
• Your city is in immediate danger of being captured
• Their siege unit is in range of your city
• Their unit is already weak or damaged
• Their unit has recently been attacked or has been attacked frequently and might earn a Heal Instantly promotion.
• You want to capture a great general or other unit under it.
B: Do as much damage to weak or vulnerable units as you can regardless of starting health.
• Their unit has not been upgraded and might soon be if it moves back into its own territory
• You have a technological advantage
• The city of yours being invaded has a high strength for the current era
• Their unit (preferably melee) is embarked
• A stronger unit can easily kill a ranged unit
Other defensive strategies:
• Don’t bother killing cavalry unless a siege unit is in danger. The AI tends to let them run into your cities, which they have a penalty against. When they do that, it should be easy to finish them off.
• If you can instantly kill or cripple a defenseless or embarked unit, you should do so. The only instance in which you shouldn’t is if your city is in immediate danger of being captured.
• Attack siege units first. They will do the most harm to your city and don’t take damage when they attack.
• If a melee unit is well-defended, (well-defended units typically have the correct promotions for their terrain or are near a great general), hold off on attacking it until it moves. It can’t stay in one place forever. Eventually, it will run either into the city or retreat. As long as you kill the threatening units, it won’t be an issue.
• Don’t launch a counter attack until you expel the enemy units from your territory. As long as their military is stronger than yours, The AI will still think it is winning even if they lose a city. They will probably try to retake it or demand it back in a peace treaty. Be sure to weaken their army as much as possible before negotiating peace.
When Should You Be on Guard?
You can predict if a Civ is going to attack you or leave you be. There are many factors to this and it is mostly based off of numbers that the player doesn’t see, but there are tells that you can look for. These tells can often be seen in your relations status in the diplomacy screen.

• You should always be aware of your diplomacy status with a civ on your watch.

1. GUARDED or AFRAID: If a civ is guarded against you or afraid of you, they are not likely to attack you. If they are one of these, odds are you have a stronger military than them or have a better overall empire. There is an exception to this, but I will get to it later (the last bullet).

2. HOSTILE: They may be hostile for a number of reasons:
A. They greatly covet your lands
B. Your warmongering has exceeded their tolerance for warmongers (Some Civs have a higher hatred of warmongers than others, and even then are more likely to turn hostile to them)
C. The likeliness to be hostile for that civ is naturally high and that was just the luck of the draw

3. NEUTRAL: This is where the chance for war gets a little sketchy.
A: With some Civs, their neutral diplomacy title might mean they are genuinely neutral toward you. Usually, if you have no contested borders and/or an embassy in their capital, they are really neutral toward you. Under these circumstances, you have nothing to worry about.
B: However, it may still say Neutral if they covet your lands. If it says this, you should be on guard. More often than not, they are not truly neutral.
C: There is a third, and probably the most consistent form of neutrality. If you know a Civ dislikes you (hates your warmongering, covets your lands, major disputes etc.) and they have a larger military than you, they may turn “Neutral” instead of Hostile. This is only for Civs with a low likeliness to be hostile. Those who turn Neutral when they obviously hate you are all but guaranteed to attack you sooner or later.

4. FRIENDLY: Ah, friendly civilizations, do you even really exist? This diplomacy status can be just as ambiguous as neutral.
A: Just as with Neutral, some Friendly Civs honestly want to have a makeshift alliance with you (never a lasting one). If you have a Declaration of Friendship with a Civ, they will tend to not attack you unless their loyalty is low and they covet your lands. If you have played a few Civilization games, you may know which Civs are trusting and which are no so (I have a whole guide dedicated to that (
B: Other times, a neighboring Civ can appear to be friendly if you have an embassy in their capital or no major interactions at all. If this is the case, roughly a third of the Civs are likely to attack you (unless they have a more vulnerable neighbor).
C: If you recently went to war with someone, their diplomacy status might be stuck on Friendly when really they are likely supposed to be Afraid. In this case, they will almost never attack you.
D: In rare cases if they dislike you, they may still show up as friendly if they have a high likeliness to be deceptive (see NEUTRAL C)

• If any Civ believes you are building new cities too aggressively, they have the chance of attacking you. Even the most peaceful Civs find this too much to bear.
• Usually, a difference in ideology is an issue of diplomacy rather than war. A few Civs see it as more serious. Civs including Bismarck, Askia, Enrico Dandolo, and others often see it as a reason to go to war.
• If you build wonders another Civ wanted, it is not a big deal, even less so than a difference in ideologies. Usually. Ramses and Nebuchadnezzar II can attack you for that. They are the only two I have seen attack over wonders, but there may be others.
• There are situations where the entire world seems to hate you. Maybe you went to war one too many times or you are the lone wolf with the Freedom ideology. In any case, There is a chance that most if not all of the Civs in the world will declare war on you in a span of a few turns. Even if you are one of the strongest militarily in the world, this can occur. This is the only exception to the Guarded and Afraid rule I talked about earlier. As long as there is at least one Civ with a superior military strength, be on guard.
Offense Part 1
Now that you have expelled your enemies from your land, it’s time to have your bloody revenge! His armies are scrambling, his resources are depleted, and you have the upper hand… so now what?
You could potentially make a major mistake now. It’s a mistake that so many Civilization players make all the time, and it frustrates me to watch. That mistake is making peace. It doesn’t matter if you are losing money or dealing with unhappy people. Wipe them out. There are tremendous advantages to doing this instead just settling for some gold and a luxury resource for 30 turns. At this early point in the game, everyone is competing to settle new cities and gain a foothold in their surrounding lands. Why not skip the step of building a settler and stopping the growth of your capital? By capturing enemy cities early on, you save time by gaining more land and a solid population to work with. Larger empires are nearly always more powerful than smaller empires (unless you are good at creating tall cities). You gain more science, gold, production, luxury and strategic resources, and places to store great works. Not only that, but the warmongering penalty is reduced. Some Civs will not so much as bat an eye when a neighbor is conquered this early. You may suffer some initial blows you’re your happiness and GPT, but it is early enough in the game that you will recover in no time. I guarantee it will be worth it in the end. However, as the game progresses, it becomes more economical to take cities via peace treaties.

Making peace with them now will only encourage them to attack you again, next time with an even more powerful military. In the future, you might not be able to stop them at all.

Now that I am done with that speech, it’s time to get to the meat and potatoes of this guide: actual strategies. Here, I will give three scenarios, each with its own strategies. The difficulty of
war in these scenarios is in ascending order.

1. You just sent an invader packing and have the advantage.
• Odds are, if you are being invaded, the invader is a close neighbor. As your neighbor, they probably have a city or two that you want to gobble up. There are a few ways to do this, but I will first talk about taking it by force.
• If you military is well-equipped, you should have little trouble taking over cities of enemies whose soldiers were just killed in your lands.
• I recommend taking over cities with little defense first, such as a city on flat land, and then taking a city on a hill in a peace treaty. Attempting to capture a well-defended city, especially in the early stages of the game, can result in the loss of more of your soldiers. This can, in turn, lead to less favorable peace treaties.
• Set up as many units as you can around the city you want to capture, but still out of range of the city’s ranged attack. When the time is right, move your melee units close to the city and keep your ranged units 2 tiles away from the city.
- If possible, station an archer 3 hexes away from the city at first. When you move the rest of your units into position, move it to 2 hexes away, and then fire. This is all about maximizing the damage you do to the city compared to how much it does to your units.
• Try as hard as you can to keep your units alive. In doing so, you have a better chance of favorable peace treaties. If a unit becomes wounded, you should swap it with a backup unit if you can. If not, you can pillage a tile improvement for some extra health, but it will not be able to heal normally until the next turn (unless you are playing Denmark). If its death is inevitable, either keep it in a defensive position for enemy units to run into or attack a weaker unit nearby.
- Here’s where you can trick the game if so desired. The AI tends to attack units that are already wounded rather than those that actually threaten the city. If you have an advanced or well-trained unit (usually melee), you can keep it within 10 HP of being fully healed. The city and the units inside and around will likely focus their attacks on it, even if it has a high defense. If you let a slightly wounded, yet strong unit or two tank most of the damage, your ranged and siege units are less likely to die.
2. You are attacking a weaker neighbor for their land (assuming their army is still in their territory)
• If they do not already hate you, try to sign an Open Borders agreement with them. Send a scout or two into their territory to see where the majority of their soldiers are and gauge how fast they can travel to the city you want. Better yet, wait until they go to war to attack them.
• Unless they are at war or preparing to go to war, their units will most likely be spread throughout their territory. After you declare war on them, they will send them all to the cities you threaten. Try as best you can to position your units near the city you want to attack first without them confronting you about it. This can be tricky, as the relationship between the number of soldiers you have camped outside their borders and their willingness to confront you about it is dodgy at best. In the case that they do ask you to move them, you are better off confirming that you are going to attack them than withdrawing. If you say you are just passing through but declare war, you will suffer a diplomatic penalty with other civilizations.
• Alternatively, you can set up in your territory, declare war on them, and let them come to you. They usually camp outside their cities nearest you, so bombard them with ranged and siege units if they do.
• If you capture a city by land or water and you see units that could potentially take it back, you could immediately ask for a peace treaty. It may not be as favorable as you would like, but the alternative is losing the city. This only works if you have been at war for a long time. If you quickly take a city at the start of a war, the AI will almost never make peace until they have tried to recapture it.
• The trick to capturing cities and not letting them get recaptured is predicting how much defense and health a city will have when you capture it. The total defense of a city will almost always decrease when you capture it. Defensive buildings are not retained upon city capture. The only ways defense can increase if you capture a city are if you are in a later era than them or if you have adopted Their Finest Hour policy from the freedom tree. The more defensive buildings a city possesses on capture, the LESS health it will have. If you conquer a city with a high defense and are not more advanced than your enemy, your city’s health will be red. This makes it easy for an enemy to recapture it. If you think this will happen, you should kill all the melee units near the city or surround it with your own units. The only way to correctly predict if an enemy has the manpower to retake a city is through practice. When in doubt, just try to kill everything near the city first.
Offense Part 2
Steam has a limit to the number of characters in a guide section so here's the rest of Offense:

3. Two evenly-matched armies meet
• No cities on the menu here, just units fighting other units.
• Unless you have a few units promoted with Sentry, you may want to let your enemy make the first move if you are fighting them in their own territory. If you let your units go into enemy territory and don’t leave them with enough movement to withdraw if needed, they may be killed. Once you see what they do, you will have the opportunity to attack them before they attack you.
• More often than not, the first types of units to meet are melee. Letting them run into each other will result in heavy casualties on both sides. Most civs are ready and willing to do this, which makes sense because they are given production bonuses and other advantages on middle and upper difficulty settings. Unfortunately, you do not have those luxuries. You should try to preserve your units unless you are churning our new ones in no time. Refrain from attacking with melee when the predicted battle outcome is Stalemate or Minor Victory unless you can kill an important threat. Let your ranged and siege units do most of the work if you can.
• Do not be afraid to lose ground. If you choose to give up ground in order to kill a threatening unit or two, you should be able to easily get it back. As long as you don’t spread your army out too thin, killing a position-grabbing unit should not pose a challenge.
• Try to avoid using melee units to kill enemies that are within the range of a city unless you know it can survive. What I like to do in this situation is attack those units with melee units first and then finish them off with ranged units. That way, I will not be sacrificing a unit to a city. The AI almost never uses this strategy, so you can sacrifice an outdated unit or one on the brink of death so that a stronger enemy unit is drawn into city fire.
• Beyond that, strategies in other sections still apply. Always save your game before you start a war or make a risky move! If something goes wrong, you can always reload a save.
Honor: Is It Really Worth It?
The Honor policy tree is usually the go-to one for a player who knows they want to try for a domination victory. But is it really worth all that culture when you could improve your empire in another way? Let’s analyze it piece by piece.

Initial Honor Bonus [Adopting Honor gives a +33% combat bonus against Barbarians; from now on notifications will be provided when new Barbarian Encampments spawn in revealed territory. Gain Culture for the empire from each barbarian unit killed. Unlocks building the Statue of Zeus wonder.] : Unless you adopt Honor before any other policy, this bonus will be used sparingly. If you adopt it early enough, the barbarians you kill can provide you with a decent amount of culture. However, if you want to take advantage of the other decent policies first (such as the culture from Legalism or Tradition), this will lose its value. You may find the Statue of Zeus useful, but remember you sacrifice production that could be going into soldiers.

Discipline [+15% combat strength for melee units which have another military unit in an adjacent tile.]: This policy is probably your most valuable one in this tree. A 15% bonus in combat strength for just having two units next to each other is a great advantage in early wars, and especially if two powerful armies meet.

Warrior Code [+15% Production when training Melee units and a Great General appears outside the Capital. Great Generals are earned 50% faster. ]: A free Great General is always nice, but you generate your first one in no time at all. The production bonus is almost negligible as well. I recommend choosing discipline instead.

Military Tradition [Military Units gain 50% more Experience from combat.] Vary useful in creating well-trained soldiers fast, but only if those units survive long enough to make full use of it. If you tend to lose many units in battle, I don’t recommend it.

Military Caste [Each City with a garrison increases local city Happiness by 1 and Culture by 2.]: This policy looks good on paper. Garrison units in cities that you capture to make up for lost culture and happiness. Only, all these extra units just sitting in your cities means your unit maintenance will be very high. This may be counteracted with the Oligarchy in Tradition, but again, you only have a limited amount of culture to spend if you are a dominator.

Professional Army [Gold cost of upgrading Military Units reduced by 33% and construct Barracks, Armories, and Military Academies 50% faster.]: A warmonger can never have enough money, and this policy looks like it can cut your tremendous military costs. Unfortunately, it does not save you as much money as you might think. Upgrading most units does not eat up cash at too bad a rate to begin with. You only have to upgrade units about once an era. Plundering cities and pillaging tile improvements can earn you that money right back.

Final Honor Bonus [Adopting all policies in the Honor tree will grant Gold for each enemy unit killed. Also allows the purchase of Great Generals with Faith starting from the Industrial Era.]: This is pretty hard to give up, but remember you need ALL of the Social Policies for Honor in order to get this bonus. As long as you kill enemies, you will have an easier time funding your army even if you are losing gold per turn. The ability to purchase Great Generals is not that useful unless you have lost yours in battle.

My final verdict is that Honor is not worth the culture that you spend on it. I have had plenty of success in wars without even touching it. If you really want to, you could grab Discipline and Military Tradition for an added military advantage, but they are not necessary. As long as you know your tactics, you can focus on other policy trees.

So what do you choose then in place of Honor? As for your first policy branch, I recommend Liberty. The initial bonus and Representation can replace the culture you lose by taking cities. Meritocracy is a very powerful happiness provider for large empires (which you will become). If you ignore Citizenship and Collective Rule, you may be able to choose one or two policies in Tradition or Honor instead.

A domination victory can also seriously be helped with Rationalism and Commerce.
Science is a warmonger’s best friend, and rationalism gets the job done. Personally, I would rather be outnumbered than outgunned. A technologically equipped civilization can take on more primitive armies that may be larger. I recommend taking Secularism as soon as you can, as specialists become fairly common. Sovereignty provides a nice gold bonus that can fund your army. You may or may not need Humanism or Free Thought depending on your science. If you choose to focus on your ideology instead, you won’t lose much by not taking them.
What I like about the Commerce policy is that you can adopt policies in it whenever your economy needs saving. I highly recommend taking Mercantilism, as you will probably purchase many units in the future (plus the science is helpful). If at some point your culture is better than average, you could take Protectionism for a powerful happiness bonus.
Your Ideology
If you are going for a domination victory, your ideology should be Autocracy. Freedom obviously isn’t suited for one and Order just doesn’t cut it when it comes to military bonuses. Here, I will judge each of the policies offered in each of the three tiers. Next to the name of the policy is the number in the order in which I suggest adopting them. They are presented in the order that they appear in the autocracy ideology tree, NOT in the order in which you should adopt them. You can really adopt them in any order you like, but these are just suggestions.


(3) Elite Forces [Wounded Military Units inflict 25% more damage than normal.]: Always nice to have if you are in the middle of a war or plan to go to war soon. Your order of adopting this depends on your current political situation.

(5) Mobilization [Gold cost of purchasing units reduced by 33%.]: Although purchasing units is costly, you may not need it if you are well off in terms of military strength. I would hold off on adopting it unless you are struggling to capture cities (or keep your own)

(6) United Front [Militaristic City-States gift units twice as often when at war with a common foe.]: This one is probably the least effective policy in the tree. If you are a warmonger, odds are you haven’t been paying much attention to city-states. There are too many other important policies to grab.

(1) Futurism [+250 Tourism to all Civilizations when a Great Writer, Artist or Musician is born.]: Adopting Futurism early enough allows your tourism to explode. Your accumulated tourism will be strong enough to let you compete with more culturally inclined Civs. Let Autocracy reign supreme!

(7) Industrial Espionage [Spies steal technologies twice as fast.]: I know I hammer the point of keeping your science up to date, but this policy isn’t adequate. Rationalism policies are more useful in that regard.

(4) Fortified Borders [+1 Local Happiness per Castle, Arsenal and Military Base.]: Happiness is always nice, but this Fortified Borders is not as powerful as some of the tenant 2 policies.

(2) Universal Healthcare [+1 Local Happiness from each National Wonder.]: Great if you need some emergency happiness. Adopting it early enough gives you a nice buffer, allowing you to take over more cities.

Now here comes the hard part. All of the tenant 2 policies are powerful and you have to ditch 2 of them! I recommend adopting as many of them as you can before trying to fill up tenant 1.

(3) Militarism [+2 Local Happiness per Barracks, Armory and Military Academy.]: You can never have too much happiness, and happiness you get from buildings that you already have is even better. If you have to choose, go with this one rather than Fortified Borders from tenant 1.

(5) Lightning Warfare [Great Generals receive +3 Movement. Armored units receive +1 Movement and +15% attack bonus, and ignore enemy ZOC.]: A very frustrating policy. The extra movement for great generals is next to useless since they usually stacked on units with 2 movement. But having armor units that can zip around enemy units is hard to give up. Unless you tend to use armor units strategically, you may not need it.

(1) Police State [+3 Local Happiness from each Courthouse. Build Courthouses in half the usual time.]: Get it first. Get is now. There could not be a more useful policy than this one. If your happiness is low, this will more than fix it. Plus you can turn those puppet cities into useful, unit-producing cities faster.

(2) Nationalism [Unit Maintenance cost reduced by 33%.]: Another must-get policy. Save money. Create more soldiers. What more needs to be said?

(6) Third Alternative [Strategic Resources provide double quantity. +5 Food and Science in Capital.]: Just by reading its description, you can tell it is incredibly powerful: doubling your strategic resources. You don’t need it. Autocratic civilizations such as yourself tend to have large, sprawling empires. You must be seriously unlucky if all the resources that you need are not in your empire. The only exception may be oil for planes and battleships. You will probably need a lot of those.

(4) Total War [+25% Production towards Military Units. New Units receive +15 XP.]: With this policy, you will be churning out new, well-trained soldiers in no time flat. That is, if you want to spend time letting your cities build them. In many cases, purchasing units may be better. You should either get this or Mobilization, but not both because it wastes culture.

LEVEL 3: I didn’t give an order for the policies in the final tenant because they are entirely conditional. Instead, I give strategies for using them. Now you will decide if you want to stick to a domination victory.

Cult of Personality [+50% Tourism to Civilizations fighting a common enemy.]: An easy way to influence fellow autocrats. I don’t find it very useful unless you are going for a cultural victory (Futurism is different, as it targets every other Civ and not just autocratic ones). It doesn’t provide any advantages for other victories. You seldom fight alongside anyone else to begin with if you are looking to dominate the world.

Gunboat Diplomacy
[Gain 6 more Influence per turn with City-States you could demand tribute from. Military units are 50% more effective at intimidating City-States.]: Obviously, this aids a diplomatic victory, but I find it to have more use for other types of victory as well. City-states can give you extra military units and happiness, which can be valuable for a domination victory. More importantly, it lets you compete with the Civs who choose Freedom when it comes to the World Congress. Don’t let Venice’s standing army tax pass!

Clausewitz’s Legacy
[Receive a +25% attack bonus to all Military Units for the first 50 turns after this tenet is added.]: This policy is powerful, but tricky to take advantage of. Make sure it is available to be chosen when you go to war with the Civ you feel most threatened by (there is always one). Don’t waste this bonus if you feel like you can crush your current enemy.
M-e-t-h-o-d o-f Modern Warfare (Let’s infringe on all the copyrights at once!)
Modern war is much more complicated than early wars for a number of reasons. Units are upgraded at increasingly faster rates, causing some armies to be significantly more technologically advanced than others. Ranged units can attack anywhere from 1 to 3 tiles away instead of the standard 2. An entirely new branch of military is introduced with the development of air units. With the World Congress in the works, diplomacy turns more and more complex; you never know when war could be declared. With all these things spiraling above your head, sometimes players don’t know where to turn.

So what is modern war? I consider a modern war one where at least one participant is using riflemen or artillery. Those two units and their successors form the foundation of modern armies. The basic strategies of war I outlined in the Offense and Defense sections of this guide still apply to modern war, but the many new factors of modern war cannot be ignored. In this section, I will explain strategies for using new modern units as well as any changes in offensive or defensive strategies in general. The units that I do not describe are used in the same way as they predecessors.

Artillery: The successor to the cannon, except it has a range of 3 tiles rather than 2. Like the cannon, it does significant damage to both units and cities. Using it to attack cities is a bit easier than it was using cannons, as you can still fire upon a city even when out of its range. Unfortunately, its range of sight is still only 1 tile. To solve this problem, set up a few artillery units 3 tiles away from a city, and have a unit with better sight (preferably a melee unit) move to reveal the city tile, and then move it back. While it reveals the city, fire upon the city using the artillery, letting the melee unit rush in when the city is reduced to 1 HP. You may have heard that Civ players hate “artillery campers”, which are people who use this strategy. However, that is only in multiplayer. Nobody will think it is cheap when you use it against the AI. Defending them can be tricky, as they have a low defensive strength. Melee units can be stationed in between the artillery and the city if desired, but the city would still be able to attack them.

Gatling Guns: These are the new “archers” that have a relatively higher defensive strength than their predecessors, but now have a reduction in range. Personally, I seldom use these in offensive war. If you have upgraded crossbowmen from the last era, it is best to station them in your cities. Their combat strength makes for an adequate added defense and they can fire on enemy units close to the city. They become significantly more useful if you are playing England. When longbowmen are upgraded into Gatling guns, they keep their +1 range promotion. Only in that case would I consider using them on offense. Most of the time, the majority of your land units will be riflemen, artillery, and cavalry.

Cavalry: Like Gatling guns, they have poor defense, but are versatile on both offense and defense. Offensively, you can use them to attack enemy artillery or surprise an enemy unit on open terrain. When your artillery units have done significant damage to a city, they can rush in and capture it. Defensively, they can take out key targets that threaten a city, then move away and heal. However, you only need a few of them to get the job done.

Battleships: Artillery of the sea. With a 3 hex range instead of 2, they can devastate coastal cities if used correctly. Even though they do not have a bonus against cities, they are considerably better at defending themselves, but are weak to submarines. They are even more effective against land units, as most of them can’t fight back. In navy versus navy battles, I like to lure the enemy away from their territory as to not let them heal. It is best to keep one in each of your coastal cities if you can afford to, as even one can ward off a few attackers. It can buy you some time before the rest of your navy arrives (or is created if you don’t have one).

Carriers: Aircraft Carriers are surprisingly not common among the AI, despite their variety of uses. Load them up with bombers and have they knock down enemy ships or cities or fill them with triplanes to defend your own navy. You can even carry nuclear weapons on them! However, be careful: if a carrier dies, so does everything stationed on it. Due to their lack of defense, they often require other naval escorts.

Submarines: A few well-placed submarines can wreak havoc on an enemy navy or both offense and defense. As long as you keep them away from cities and 2 hexes away from enemy units, they will remain unnoticed. Destroyers can see them, but you may be able to attack them before they see you if you do not expend all of your movement when you move them. What I mean is, pick a place where you want to go. Move them 1 hex away from the tile you want them to go. That way, if you see an enemy unit, you can use that final movement to fire on them. If the coast is clear, you can move them to the desired hex.

Planes are surprisingly much simpler to use than you might expect. Just plant a bunch of them in cities under fire, set them to intercept mode, and watch them pick off enemy bombers and triplanes. Unlike regular units, you shouldn’t keep them in most of your cities in your empire. Instead, concentrate them in cities that are being bombed, but make sure you are confident you can defend that city. If a city looks like it might be captured, put them in a different city. The last thing you want to do is lose a bunch of planes all at once. I have never used Air Sweep nor have I seen the AI use it. You can base several of each kind of plane in one city.

Bombers: Bombers are the misunderstood love child of melee and ranged units. Station them in your cities to attack enemy units and even other cities from a great distance. Only thing is, they take damage whenever they drop bombs (though not as much as melee units do). Before bombing any unit or city, make sure there are no fighters or anti-air units around that could intercept them. If you are unsure, you are better off not bombing until you are sure there are none around. However, if you don’t mind loading a save game, feel free to test the waters (read skies).

: Nukes are a Gandhi’s best friend. Not mine though. Personally, I tend to use nukes as infrequently as possible. Nukes are more useful in defensive wars than offensive ones. A nuke can incapacitate a unit-producing city with a single click. It can devastate an enemy army if used where enemy units are concentrated. On the other hand, nuking cities when you have the upper hand on offense is essentially throwing resources away. Why nuke a perfectly good city that you can take later when you can nuke the enemy army instead? Better yet, nuke your enemy’s nukes so they don’t use them against you.

Those are the major additions to warfare in the later stages of the game. There are other unique units I will not go into detail describing. For example, helicopter gunships cannot take over cities, but can move over mountains. Other than that they are pretty much the same as a normal melee unit.
Promotions (Melee and Mounted)
Naturally, the way you promote your units is entirely dependent on your terrain and other circumstances. In this section, I will give suggestions for using them beyond terrain and the like. Combat Strength is abbreviated CS.

Shock [+15% CS in Smooth Terrain] v Drill [+15% CS is Rough Terrain]: For your first promotion, you can either increase you unit’s combat strength in flat or rough land by 15%. If you have a lot of plains, grassland, or desert, pick Shock. If you have hills and forests, pick Drill. Whichever you choose, I recommend also choosing the next one of that type instead of the other. For example, pick Drill I and Drill II rather than Drill I and Shock I.

The question becomes: what do you do if your land is an even mix of flat land and hills/forests? Most people would pick Drill to make up for the defense an enemy gets if they end their turn there. That is a good reason; however attacking units in the hills and forests is often a last resort. You usually only do it if your other units are in danger or the unit has no terrain bonus. Attacking a strong melee unit fortified on a hill often does more damage to you than you do to them. You would save the lives of your units by trying to draw them into flat land and attacking them there. Shock will allow you take down vulnerable units very efficiently. If they don’t want to go into that kind of land, bombard them with archers until they are forced to retreat. If your land is of mixed type, then I recommend upgrading most of your melee units with Shock and at least half of your ranged units with Barrage.

Mounted units are different. They are weak on defense, so don’t make them the majority of your army. Their strengths are hit-and-run attacks and quickly capturing cities when there are no other melee units around. I tend to only give them the Shock I and then focus on tier 2 promotions.

Amphibious [Eliminates combat penalty for attacking from the sea or over a river]: I don’t tend to get this promotion often. Improving your unit’s ability to attack over a river is minor, but the improvement for sea warfare can be substantial if you do that often. On an Archipelago, this can be very useful. If you are playing on a Pangaea type map, you should pick a different one. Askia’s units begin with this promotion.

Cover [+25% Defense against all Ranged Attacks]: A +25% defense against ranged attacks is most useful for units attacking cities. If you send a few melee units to attack a city before the others, they will survive longer than would units without it. Use units with cover to tank your enemy’s damage while the other units do the attacking.

Formation [+25% CS vs Mounted Units]: Some AI use cavalry more than others and even then they might not have many horse tiles in their land. Horse units also become outdated later in the game. For these reasons, I don’t recommend getting Formation I or II. If you want, you could give it to your Lancers to have them specialize in killing Cavalry in later wars.

Medic [This unit and all others in adjacent tiles heal 5 additional HP per turn]: Another promotion I get sparingly. Your enemy will focus on as few targets as it can, so odds are it will not affect as many units as it could. 5 health in general does not usually mean the difference between success and failure.

Sentry [+1 Visibility Range]: I do not recommend this for melee units. This is the only promotion melee units can earn that does not help their survival in battle. You will be able to see one tile farther, which is only effective on offense, as you automatically see all of your own territory. Mounted units are more useful as scouts than melee units, so they can potentially make better use of Sentry.

Siege [+50% CS vs Cities] (melee only): Very straightforward. Only upgrade melee units you know you will use to capture cities and let the rest get Drill II and Shock II. If your army consists of enough siege units (that you can protect), you might not even need it.

Charge [+33% CS vs Wounded Units ] (mounted only): The main use for mounted units and their successors is hit-and-run attacks. This kind of attack is most effective against you guessed it: wounded units. A bonus against them is just what you need if you’re using this strategy. You only need to wound a unit slightly for this to be effective. If your army has several mounted units, upgrade them with these, but at least one with Sentry so it can scout around if needed.

Blitz [1 additional attack per turn]: Blitz is less useful than it sounds. Your melee units get an extra attack, but they take damage every time they attack. Attacking twice leaves them vulnerable when your enemy counters. If your enemy is weaker than you, you usually have nothing to worry about. As a result, it is most useful when you already have an advantage over your opponent.

March [Unit will heal every turn, even if it performs an action]: If you get Shock III or Drill III promotions, you are given the choice between this promotion and Mobility (the others are just OK). If by some miracle your melee units stay alive long enough for you to be able to make this choice, I would choose March over Mobility. Your units can absorb more damage and heal at the beginning of your turn.

Mobility [+1 Movement]: Even though March will keep your melee units alive longer, you may still want to promote a few with Mobility if you can. These units should be reserved for taking cities, as the city will not have a chance to attack a unit with 3 movement if you keep it out of range until you need it. This can work well for artillery camping. NOTE: there is nothing wrong with artillery camping in Singleplayer, but in Multiplayer it is courteous to not do it.

Woodsman [Double movement rate through Forest and Jungle]: I didn’t know this promotion existed for all melee units. I thought it was only for Montezuma’s Jaguars until I read about it on the wiki. Either way, it is not as strong as March or Mobility.
Promotions (Ranged and Siege)
Ranged and Siege:
Accuracy [+15% Ranged CS against Units in open terrain] v Barrage [+15% Ranged CS against Units in rough terrain]: Like Shock and Drill, these first promotions are entirely dependent on your terrain. Keep in mind that giving your archers Accuracy will make them more effective against ships as well as land units on flat terrain. Consider this if you are warring with a coastal civilization or defending your own.

Cover [Same]: Ranged units cannot soak up a lot of damage to begin with. Attacks from other ranged units are the least of your worries. Your enemy is more likely to focus their ranged units on your melee or siege units. Promoting them with Cover sets you back on more powerful promotions later on, including March and the tier 3 promotions.

Volley [+50% CS vs Fortified Units and Cities] : All offense all the time. If the tier 3 promotions aren’t tempting, definitely grab this one if you plan to attack someone. Believe it or not, it is the bonus against fortified units is what makes this promotion worth it. Siege units already get +200% damage against cities and ranged units are not often used to attack cities. Fortified units, on the other hand, can be attacked by both. +50% damage against them offsets the +40% fortification bonus, making them less threatening. They will think twice about attacking your units if you damage them enough.

March [Same]: With ranged units, you may want to rush to Range and Logistics and skip the tier 2 promotions. While this does work out, March is still very useful if you are not overwhelming your opponents. Ranged units can be crippled by cavalry attacks that you do not see coming. March can help them escape or let them survive bombardment by other ranged units. Again, you can pass this up if Range or Logistics is a priority, as it will take a lot of time to be able to reach them.

Range [+1 Range]: With ranged units, you will can choose between this and logistics once you reached your third promotion of Accuracy or Bombardment. Thankfully, the choice for siege is easier: choose Range over its alternatives. This promotion is available to ships as well, and is a must-get for battleships. You can do great damage to cities without taking damage from artillery stationed inside. If your ranged units manage to survive this long, they must be crossbowmen at least. The experience cap is too low earlier in the game. The next units they are upgraded to are Gatling guns, which are in serious need of range.

Logistics [1 additional attack per turn]: Logistics is more powerful for ships and air units than it is for ranged units. Although an extra attack is useful on defense, it can often be difficult to station late game ranged units close to dangerous targets without leaving them vulnerable. As a result, I recommend Range for ranged units, but Logistics for other types of units for which it is available.
Promotions (Navy)
Naval units are separated into melee and ranged. I will specify which by using (M) to represent melee ships and (R) to represent ranged ships.

Coastal Raider [+20% CS when attacking Cities; Steal gold equal to 33% of the damage inflicted on a city] v Boarding Party [+15% CS in melee attacks against Naval Units] (M): This choice is pretty straightforward. Coastal Raider is obviously geared toward an offensive navy while Boarding Party is useful for any kind of naval war. The terrain of your map is the deciding factor when it comes to promoting naval units. If your landmass is largely contingent, cities are most likely not surrounded by water, so there is less room for melee ships to attack. Coastal Raider is less useful in this situation. If you are on an archipelago or another aqueous map, you should promote more of your ships with Coastal Raider. Otherwise, Boarding Party is the way to go.

Mobility [Same] (M, R): One movement can mean the difference between life and death for an escaping ship. Towards the end game, it becomes less effective. If your navy is well off or your opponent has a weak one, skip this promotion.

Supply [May heal damage outside of Friendly Territory; 15 HP healed per turn] (M, R): Ships can’t heal outside of friendly territory normally. This means withdrawing from a naval battle can be difficult if your ships are slower than your enemy’s. If two navies meet, the winner will not be able to proceed without being weakened unless it returns home, leaving the other time to regroup. Supply allows you strategize more similarly to the way you would in a land war. You can attack and then heal, or alternatively, be attacked and then run and hide.

Logistics [Same] (M, R): This is the best promotion for a naval melee ship to have, but only because it is the only tier 3 promotion for them. The best you can do is attack a ship or city and move away after. Attacking twice means it is weaker when it comes time for your enemy to take their turn. It is more useful for ranged ships, particularly battleships. They already have a huge attack. Giving them the ability to use it twice can wipe navies out, weaken cities, and pester units on land.

Bombardment [+33% CS against Land Units] v Targeting [+15% Combat Strength against Naval Units] (R): Both of these promotions work well on offense and defense. Ships with Bombardment can weaken a foe’s land forces in their own territory as well as repel units attacking your own cities. Targeting, as you would expect, serves the same function as Coastal Raider for melee ships. Bombardment works on embarked land units as well, although you do not need it for your ships to be effective against them. Keep in mind that naval melee units can also be promoted to do extra damage against other ships. Sometimes you won’t know how your enemy will attack you until you have already promoted your units. If in doubt, a 50/50 split is not bad.

Range [Same] (R): This is the alternative tier 3 promotion to Logistics for ranged ships. Your choice should be based off of your naval tendencies in war for that game. If you use ships to bombard cities or land units, Range is more useful. You will be able to stay out of range of cities (and the artillery inside them if you promote battleships) and have more options when attacking land units. If you tend to use ranged ships heavily in naval combat, an extra point of range can help you eliminate naval threats more easily. However, an enemy with Logistic ships will wipe the floor with a navy of the same size or smaller. Take Logistics instead if your nave often meets another.

Armor Plating [+25% CS when defending] v Flight Deck [Can carry 1 extra air unit] (Aircraft Carrier only): Since aircraft carriers can’t attack, the only way to promote them beyond experience buildings is by letting them get attacked. This is not a sound strategy, as they are weak compared to other ships. More importantly, they carry aircraft. “Aircraft” is singular if you get Armor Plating, meaning you will need a lot of them to carry enough planes. If you promote carriers with Flight Deck only, not only are you allowing more planes per carrier, but you are also saving money by producing fewer carriers. They will be more vulnerable to attack, but you should have other ships around to protect them anyway. If you have several bombers on a carrier as opposed to one, they can repel attackers of the carriers that they are on. In short, I only use Flight Deck.

Wolfpack [+25% CS when attacking] (Submarine only): I always promote subs with Wolfpack instead of Targeting. The extra combat strength when attacking can mean your Submarines will not be attacked by enemy ships in the first place. Kill them before they kill you. The bonus for targeting protects them in case they do get attacked, but you will find it will not make much of a difference when enemy Destroyers and Submarines can kill yours in one to two shots anyway.
Promotions (Air)
Abbreviating the two groups like with the naval section. (F) for Fighters and (B) for Bombers.

Interception [+33% CS when intercepting enemy aircraft] v Dogfighting [+33% CS when performing an Air Sweep] (F): I don’t do Air Sweeps. They usually result in wounded Fighters trying to repel attacks from full-health Bombers. Usually the enemy Bombers succeed. If you promote your Fighters with Interception, they are more likely to stop your units and cities from being wounded or killed.

Ambush [+25% CS vs Armor Units] (F, B): A bonus against armor units sounds useful, but the AI rarely builds them. Even in multiplayer, there are better alternatives.

Range [Same] (F, B): + 2 Operational Range: I usually reserve promoting my planes with this for defensive situations. If you have planes stationed in one city, but you need to defend another that you cannot reach, get this.

Air Repair [Unit will heal every turn, even if it performs an action] (F, B): Even though it is available to both Fighter and Bombers, it mostly benefits bombers. You will be able to bomb in more consecutive turns before needing to heal. I highly recommend promoting Bombers with this before moving on to the tier 3 promotions. It is only useful for Fighters if you are doing dogfights.

Logistics [Same] (F,B): Once more, with feeling! As with Air repair, this is most useful with Bombers. Attacking with Fighters often results is death. Bomb twice; that’s all there is to it. If you take Air Repair, this will take a long time to get to.

Sortie [1 extra Interception may be made per turn] (F): You may have noticed that I did not recommend any of the previous promotions for Fighters. That’s because this one is the best. Fighters set to Intercept are twice as useful if you promote them with this. Combined with Intercept I and II, you will have some serious Fighter power.

Bombardment [+33% CS against Land Units] v Siege [+33% CS vs Cities] (B): Which are you doing or planning to do more of? There really isn’t any trick to this decision. I tend to have more bombers promoted with Bombardment if my military is not the first or second in the world.

All units:
Heal Instantly [Heal this Unit by 50 HP]: Once your unit gets enough experience for a promotion, you can alternatively heal them 50 points. Usually you shouldn’t do it unless you absolutely need it. However, you may find you need it more often than you thought you would. My rule of thumb is to not use it unless the unit’s health is <70 and you do not have the option of letting it fall back to heal. Only get it when your units are in immediate danger of being killed or if it will greatly benefit a battle in another way. For example, a wounded melee unit has room to fall back, but if you heal instantly and move it, you can use it to kill a dangerous siege unit. The use of this promotion is entirely situational.
Closing Remarks
Are guides supposed to have conclusions? Regardless, if you have any suggestions or corrections, please let me know.

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Yumslum May 30, 2017 @ 7:31am 
"In case civ 6 is a flop"
ISKS Dec 23, 2016 @ 12:51pm 
Zinic Dec 21, 2016 @ 11:43pm 
Good guide.
Xekratos Dec 20, 2016 @ 10:05pm 
Step 1... Don't play with Gandhi.
Mr.Weegeeman Dec 20, 2016 @ 3:38pm 
tldr: cheat engine
radex Dec 20, 2016 @ 9:33am 
Great tips, would never play with you tho, you'd tear my asshole 😁
Valzalel Dec 19, 2016 @ 12:23am 
Nice work, appreciate the effort.
glowguy Dec 18, 2016 @ 11:36am 
Civ 5 > Civ 6
The Bradass Mofo Dec 9, 2016 @ 9:53am 
Civ 6 is a flop. Civ 5 forever!
Zero I Two Dec 3, 2016 @ 4:35pm 
very good