Empire Earth - Custom Civ Designby Ueriah
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Always keep a selection of premade civilizations at hand. Approximately 50% of the games out there allow custom civs. If you don't have one geared for a specific genre, you will find yourself at a noticeable disadvantage from players that do. Keep at the very least four civs, one for each of the four major genres of conflict... pre to dark, middle to industrial, ww1-modern, and digital to nano.
Name the civ something that you will remember and associate with thier abilities. Or better still, name them according to something according to the genre, ie. "17th Division", "Kingdom of Prussia", etc. Avoid names like "FastCalvRush" as they may facilitate your opponent with some sentiment of what to expect.
You will notice that as you choose a cultural advantage from a given selection, the cost goes up by a number of points, thus making it more expensive to place all of your eggs in one basket as opposed to scattering your points about liberally. You have ten points to spend on troop upgrades, and you can not increase a troop trait by more then two in that manner. Therefore, the maximum troop upgrade is 3, 1 from the civ bonus and 2 from spending points upgrading that given troop type. Thus is born the first rule of thumb: if you are designing a well-rounded military, spend two selections on them and built thier upgrades to match thier civ bonus.
[Example: I am designing a civ for the Atomic epochs. I decide that I will be using my infantry as a raiding supplement to my armor and planes. I decide speed and range will keep them moving in, attacking, and falling back, so I upgrade range and speed for my starting civ bonuses. When I build my first Marines, I spend my 10 points of upgrades for 2 speed upgrades, 2 range uprages, and I'd probably throw the other one into Attack.]
There is an exception to the first rule of thumb... the civ built around a rush. This brings me back to "use the right tool for the right job"... if you are a rusher, you will find that a custom civ can make you that much faster by streamlining your rush for maximum efficency. In order to best use the right kind of civ for your playing style, you must first make some honest consiterations about the style of gameplay which you are most comfortable with.
Consider these questions:
--Do you find yourself attacking within the first seven and a half minutes of gameplay on RM, oftentimes rushing into an undefended base?
--Do you find yourself oftentimes being placed in a defensive sitution as opposed to being the one on the offensive?
--What sort of troops do you find yourself mass producing for this set of epochs? What does this troop type cost? Are you finding yourself too low on those resources to make as many of this troop type as you might like?
--Are you winning games because you are often ahead in epochs? Are you losing games to players with troop types that are not available to you? At the end of a game, where you among the fastest to advance to the next age? What were you short on? Is this a pattern?
--How are you deploying your troops? For example, are you keeping ranks of musketeers in front of the field cannons, or are you using them to patrol your base? What civ bonuses could help them do thier job with the most efficency?
--Do you find you play best during the early game? Or are you better at the counter-strike after whittling down invading armies? Do you find you are not able to generate troops fast enough to get them to the battlefield? Does lack of wood keep you from building multiple units at once?
You get the idea. You have to identify your own personal strengths and weaknesses in order to build a civ that will work in the manner that is best for you. There is no such thing as "a perfect civ" any more then there is such a thing as an unbeatable troop combination. What works really well for one player might not work at all in the hands of someone with a differant style of play.
With that in mind, I shall walk through the construction of a custom civ and explain the reasons that I choose the things that I choose. Hopefully this can help give you "the feel" for designing a civ that is suited to your own style of gaming.
Salt Bay Buccanneers
Designed for use during games from Ren to Indust on water based boards. Up until now I haven't had a good "water-based" civ for these epochs, and I've noticed that my land-based civ for the same epochs seems a little ill matched against any civ with a couple of good water bonuses. I'm usually able to prevail so long as I can stick to the land game, and I can sometimes help even offset my terrible naval presence with a few prophets. So for this civ, I decide to take some naval bonuses while giving a few inherrant bonuses to my land troops and economy as well.
For naval bonuses, I decide to give all battleships, galleys, and transports (as well as subs and carriers should the game go on that long) 20% cost reduction as well as 25% hit point increase. The navy will cost less to produce and be sturdier. I'm hoping that the cheaper boats will help with the cost, and the greater hit points means they will be hopefully still around after a fight to head back to docks and heal. It's tempting to buy additional increases, such as speed, but the expodential increase of cost would suggest I might be better spreading things out a bit.
Since the Prophet's ability to wreak mayham with a hurricane, I try to account for thier use in my gameplay as well. They have a 20% cost reduction, as well as 20% greater range. The cost reduction will help save on the gold, which will be used for the backbone of my naval economy.
All citizens and fishing boats enjoy a bonus to speed. Chances of a small fishing fleet with this civ seems fairly likely, and it's an inexpensive bonus.
For land based troops, I break the troops up by the cost of the ore involved in thier creation. For iron, I plan on creating ranks of ranged infantry. I also plan on having cannons to support the ranks. The purpose of the ranks of ranged infantry will be to absorb some enemy fire as well as dishing out volley after volley... again, high hit points mean that the ranks will survive longer, especially if there is some medicial attention available. So I choose the 25% hit point bonus for ranged infantry. For cannons, I increase thier range by 20%. For gold based troops, I decide to beef up calvary a little bit as well. I give both ranged calvary and sword calvary a 20% bonus to speed to allow them to engage the enemy faster. Additionally, I give the sword calvary better armor (with this and full armor upgrade they are the bane of musketeers).
Most of the troop types that this civ will excel with involve gold, whether it's going for the calvary or for the navy. The only thing that iron is getting used for is ranks of musketeers and cannons, and a few well managed iron piles should be able to take care of that. As for gold, well, the naval stuff is a little bit cheaper, but to help out even further we are also going to take the gold bonus. The wood bonus is still affordable and with that, cheap sturdy boats, cheap prophets, and fast calvary, this civ is looking to have a good balance of economy with military.
The final points will go into the 15% increase to pop caps. I play multiplayer exclusively these days, and if there are even 4 people, you are limited to 300 troops a piece. That's just not enough. The final stats for the Salt Bay Buccanners are:
Ranged Calv +20% Speed
Sword Calv +20% Speed
Citizens & Fishing Boats +20% Speed
Field Cannons +20% Range
Infantry Ranged +25% hit points
Battleships 20% cost reduction
+25% hit points
Galleys, Transports 20% cost reduction
+25% hit points
Economy - Wood - 15%
Economy - Gold - 15%
Religion - Prophet 20% cost reduction
Pop Cap +15%
As you can see, a little bit of preparation and forethought can allow you to have a custom civiliation suited to your own individual taste of gameplay.
Don't be afraid to "tinker" with your civ. If you can, try to keep track of how your civ does after a few games, and perhaps adjust your civ to meet your own growth as a gamer. Don't limit yourself to one style of play. Using the Bucanneers for our example again, if you find that after four or five games, you are wishing that you had faster boats instead of more hit points, then by all means make that adjustment, play a few more, and see how things pan out for you.
If you wish to keep track of what works for you, prehaps jot down a couple of notes after a game with a specific custom civ. "Buccanners, lost game due to inability to match opponent's production." "Mulligan's 17th Militia won game by producing only iron and food." You get the idea. After a while, those scraps can identify trends that you might not pick up on from casual gameplay, and help you design your civ accordingly.
May the vultures not peck out your eyes as your corpse festers on the maggoty battlefield...
Hmm, perhaps a closing that's a little more optimistic...
May you cackle as your opponent's eyes are pecked out by vultures as thier corpse festers on the maggoty battlefield...
No, that's still pretty disgusting... uh...
Good luck with your non-festeringness. And your custom civ too!