Unique Weaknesses

Article written by Vaidency
Originally published on 11-15-1999 ; updated on 08-17-2014
Tags: Basics Archives

Ok, we all know that every civ has a unique unit which only they can build, but a look at the tech tree reveals that most civs also have a unique weakness, some tech (or two closely related techs) or unit they don't have that every single other civ does. These unique weaknesses can have substantial effects, too. By now, most players are familiar enough with the game to know what their civ can do; now, keep in mind what they CAN'T do, too

Britons: Only civ without the cannon galleon. A pretty severe liability on big island maps since they have no floating siege ability.

Byzantines: Only civ without blast furnace. This really takes the edge off of their full infantry and cavalry lines; missing those last 2 points of attack really hurts.

Celts: lacks both ring archer armor and bracer, which severely weakens their archers late in the game. They are also one of only two civs lacking both illumination and block printing (the other is the Mongols), which does the same thing to their monks.

Chinese: Oddly enough, they have no unique weaknesses and are a very well rounded civ.

Franks: They are the only civ that doesn't get the arbalest. Don't have ring archer armor or bracer.

Goths: Everybody knows they are the only civ without stone walls and guard towers, which severly limits their defensive abilities. They are also the only civ lacking plate mail, which takes a bit of the edge off of their powered-up infantry.

Japanese: They are the only civ without either gold shaft mining or stone shaft mining, which can hurt their resource gathering quite a bit late in the game. They are also the only civ without the heavy demolition ship, which can make it difficult for them to take back the seas from a well emplaced opponent.

Mongols: They don't have any completely unique weaknesses, but are the only civ besides the Celts missing both block printing and illumination, which makes their monks far less useful for converting powerful enemies.

Persians: They are the only civ lacking the two-handed swordsman and champion, which severly harms their infantry power late in the game. They are also the only civ besides the Goths lacking fortified walls, which gives them less time to react to attacks.

Saracens: They are the only civ without the cavalier, which can cause them to have trouble destroying guarded siege engines and denies them access to a good general purpose unit for offense or defense.

Teutons: They are the only civ lacking light cavalry, which can put them at a disadvantage against cavalry archers and opponents who like to hit and run. They are also one of only two civs (the other being the Vikings) to lack husbandry, which means the cavalry they do have is even slower.

Turks: They are the only civ lacking the pikeman; this can be a pretty big disadvantage against cavalry using opponents, at least until they get a lot of Janissaries. They are also the only civ lacking elite skirmishers, which makes it harder to defend their Janissaries from longer-ranged archers. The lack of two of the three units that don't cost gold can really hurt them in late game, when gold is scarce. Finally, they are the only civ lacking the onager, which also denies their Janissaries some support against enemy archers and skirmishers. They don't have illumination or block printing, which means that they also have pretty weak monks.

Vikings: They are the only civ lacking fire ships, which can put a damper on their navy, even with longboats. They are also the only civ which doesn't get either plate barding armor or husbandry, which really weakens their cavalry late in the game.

I consider these to be every bit as important in formulating my strategies as what the civ's unique bonuses are. It's good to be aware of this stuff.