QIN SHI HUANG (CHINA)
- Can expend builder charges to finish early game wonders faster
- Inspirations (bonuses toward specific techs you get for completing mini-objectives) grant 60 percent of a tech’s cost instead of the normal 50 percent.
- Crouching Tiger Cannon: A ranged gunpowder unit available much earlier in the tech tree than its peers
- Great Wall improvement: Provides defense and gold in the early game, transitioning to culture and tourism in the late game
Who was he?
Often called 'The First Emperor' Qin Shi Huang founded the Qin empire, from which we get the westernized name 'China.' He ended the Chinese Warring States period and became the first documented ruler of a unified China in 221 BCE. Much of what is considered China today was added to its cultural sphere during his reign. He is also responsible for constructing the original Great Wall of China, though it was then mostly an intermittent, wooden fortification, and not the unbroken stone structure from centuries later we think of today.
Can you say “science victory?” Qin Shi Huang definitely can. He’s a great ruler to try out the new Inspiration system. If you really focus on the tech boosting sub-objectives tied to each branch on the tree, you can end up way out in the lead science-wise. It’s an interesting and very different way to play Civ, and I highly recommend giving it a try. This path can also compound with priority access to ranged gunpowder units to make China a military juggernaut in the early-mid game. And if all else fails and your best-laid plans crumble before your eyes, the Great Wall can catapult you toward culture victory in the 11th hour.
- Can build religious buildings faster, and they grant science and culture in addition to faith (simulating the fact that the Arab world was a leader in science and art throughout much of the Middle Ages)
- Has legally binding, irrefutable dibs on the final Great Prophet to be recruited if they don’t have one already
- Mamluk: A medieval cavalry unit that heals every turn no matter what
- Madrasa: A temple that generates science in addition to faith
Who was he?
Saladin was a sultan of Kurdish origins who ruled over parts of modern day Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Israel, Yemen, and Arabia at a time when the Islamic world was locked in a fierce battle with Christian crusaders. He managed to take back the city of Jerusalem for Islam, which had been in crusader hands for almost a century, and fought off efforts to recapture it by Richard the Lionheart of England in the Third Crusade.
Science and Faith are Saladin’s two most obvious paths to victory, but the ruggedness of the Mamluk cavalry could also help set you on a path to domination in the mid game. Since you’re likely to have your pick of religion bonuses and be generally ahead in tech, using two pillars of the science/faith/military triangle to support the third is probably wise, no matter which win condition you choose to be your ultimate goal.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT (AMERICA)
- Units get a bonus to combat strength on their home continent
- Bonus tourism from National Parks
- Rough Rider: Mid-game cavalry excellent at fighting in hills, and generates culture for each enemy it kills
- Government legacy bonuses (permanent benefits you gain by sticking to one government type for a long time) unlock twice as fast
- P-51 Mustang: An atomic era fighter with extended range that’s good at killing other fighters
- Film Studio district: Grants a large tourism bonus in the late game.
Who was he?
The 26th (chronologically) and first (in terms of badassery, if this writer might weigh in) President of the United States, Roosevelt may be best known for organizing and leading the rugged volunteer cavalry unit known as the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War. Often portrayed as the quintessential American cowboy, he famously espoused the foreign policy philosophy of “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” He was also an avid outdoorsman, and established many of America’s national parks.
Guns and action movies are the beating heart of Teddy’s America. They make an excellent military civ, particularly when it comes to dominating a continent and defending it from foreign invasion. Once such a foothold is established, you have two particularly strong options: Go on and conquer all the rest of it with help from superior air power, or hunker down and sprint for a culture victory. If you opt for the latter, it might be wise to prod some rival superpowers into coming and fighting you where you have home court advantage, since any Rough Riders you still might have sitting around can keep generating culture for kills.