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"Civilization 5" Hints and Tips: Units

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Civ 5 Hints and Tips: Units

Civilization 5 has taken the bold step of removing the unlimited stacking element and instead restricts you to one unit of each type (Military, Naval or Civilian) per hex—the exception being air units which can stack in a city with no limits, and missiles that can also stack on Missile Cruisers (3) or Nuclear Subs (2).

This restriction has totally changed the way strategy works in Civilization—gone are the days when you could create a few super-stacks that roam around your empire when required—it also makes the prospect of taking cities a lot harder as you are limited to close hexes and taking a city can now take longer than a turn as you bring in more forces that could not reach the city due to congestion of units!

General Info About Units

  • There is now a zone of control that stops the movement of enemy tiles. This is really handy if you want to ensure some of your interior cities are well defended, you can effectively set up units in strategic positions to stop enemies exploiting vulnerable cities.
  • Ranged units have a range of at least 2 hexes.

Siege units get 10% v cities, however, they must be set up in order to fire—thus it’s important to plan for this provision, and get your siege units in place as you cannot move and then fire.

  • Most have movement of at least two hexes. Terrain has an effect on movement, with some terrain such as mountains impassible to most units.
  • Site range is generally 2 hexes or more (not taking into account terrain). Terrain such as mountains etc will reduce the visibility of units.
  • Lands units can embark on water (must have Optics to promote). This is useful as you cannot stack units and allows you to get more units off/on the transport when disembarking and embarking.
  • Ranged attacks are more powerful and can kill units.
  • Combat doesn’t always end in the destruction of a unit. This is definitely more realistic, and gives you the opportunity to move a unit away and heal.
  • Number of units is limited to a calculation based on base supply + number of cities + number of citizens. While not a huge problem, if you play a strategy where you have only a few cities, you will find that you will reach this cap and thus must be a lot more defensive that perhaps you normally would be.
  • Siege units get 10% v cities, however, you must be set up in order to fire—thus it’s important to plan for this provision, and get your siege units in place as you cannot move and then fire.
  • Most have movement of at least two hexes. Terrain has an effect on movement, with some terrain such as mountains impassible to most units.
  • Site range is generally 2 hexes or more (not taking into account terrain). Terrain such as mountains etc will reduce the visibility of units.
  • Lands units can embark on water (must have Optics to promote). This is useful as you cannot stack units and allows you to get more units off/on the transport when disembarking and embarking.
  • Ranged attacks are more powerful and can kill units.
  • Combat doesn’t always end in the destruction of a unit. This is definitely more realistic, and gives you the opportunity to move a unit away and heal.
  • Number of units is limited to a calculation based on base supply + number of cities + number of citizens. While not a huge problem, if you play a strategy where you have only a few cities, you will find that you will reach this cap and thus must be a lot more defensive that perhaps you normally would be.

Resources are far more limited, thus you will find that management of a large army is tougher, and you’ll use far more regular units than specialized units than before. This makes trade (especially with city-states) far more important, and access to resources becomes a strategic need.

  • To win the Space Race you now have to build units and transport them to the launch site—this gives an additional element of strategy as you can plan to intercept enemy forces to capture them—or also have your own ship parts captured.
  • Healing units (without a medic) are inactive—units heal quickest in cites and slowest in enemy territories.

Unit Bonuses

With the limiting of stacks in the game, the use of terrain and other bonuses has become very important both in attack and defense. Clever use of the bonuses will give you a huge advantage. Where possible, always place vulnerable units in forest, jungle, or hill tiles.

  • +15% combat with adjacent friendly units (prerequisite: Discipline policy)
  • +15% combat for every friendly unit next to an enemy—this is supposed to represent flanking and is pretty powerful, so always try to surround an enemy when possible.
  • +25% combat for being close to Great General. There is no limit to the number of units that can be influenced in this way.
  • +25% defense in hills, forest or jungle
  • -33% defense in all terrains except hill, forest or jungle-20% combat penalty for attacking across a river.
  • +25-50% defense for Fortification.

Unit Orders, etc.

  • Air Sweep – air units attack units in select tile.
  • Alert (A) –remains asleep until sight of enemy –+25% defense.
  • Attack (Ctrl-A) - attack enemy in target hex.
  • Build Actions (workers etc): there are many actions such as create road, etc that can be accessed in this menu – usually only applicable to workers, work boats, etc.
  • Build Citadel (C) –great general builds citadel and is consumed.
  • Delete (delete key) – delete unit.
  • Disembark – moves unit from boat to land.
  • Embark Mode (B) – move from land to water
  • Explore (Automated) (E) – unit will explore unchartered tiles until canceled. (Note be careful with this as units may stray into City-State territory and ‘upset’ them
  • Fortify (F) – inactive until receipt of new orders - +25% defense.
  • Fortify Until Healed (H) – becomes inactive until fully healed - +25% bonus.
  • Found City (B) - settlers only – form city.
  • Garrison - improves city combat strength by garrisoning unit.
  • Intercept – air unit will try to intercept incoming attacks.
  • Move - Move to target
  • Nuke – launches nuclear missile.
  • Paradrop - ‘drop’ a unit to a different location – can be intercepted.
  • Pillage – pillage the selected improvement.
  • Ranged Attack (S) – use ranged attack on target hex.
  • Rebase - air units become based in a different city.
  • Set Up For Ranged Attack (S) - setup a siege weapon for attack – cannot move.
  • Sleep (F) – unit is inactive until receipt of new orders.
  • Space – skip until next turn
  • Start Golden Age – consumes great person and starts an 8-turn golden age.
  • Upgrade (U) – upgrade to advanced unit (with gold).
  • Wake – wakes a unit.

The following actions are for Great Persons and will consume the Great Person:

  • Build Spaceship – must be in capital, will help contribute towards Spaceship.
  • Conduct Trade Mission – improves city-state relations and gives gold bonus, consuming great person.
  • Culture Bomb – makes tile plus adjacent tiles part of your borders.
  • Discover Tech – research towards a new tech.
  • Hurry Production - hurry production of city wonder.

Unit Details

The below table lists all the units and their statistics.

(Type Key: A-Air, Ar-Archery, Am-Armor, B-Bomber, C-Civilian, F-Fighter, G-Gunpowder, M-Melee, Mi-Military, Mo-Mounted, N-Naval, S-Siege.)

Unit (Type)CostMovesStr / ranged str / rangeBonus / PenaltyRequired ResourceOther

Atomic Bomb (A)

850

-

-/-/10

 

Uranium

Can be stacked on Carrier

Helicopter Gunship (A)

450

6

50/-/-

v Armored Units, no terrain penalty

Aluminum

 

Archer (Ar)

70

2

4/6/2002

 

-

No melee attack

Bowman (Ar)

70

2

6/8/2002

 

-

 

Crossbowman (Ar)

120

2

6/12/2002

 

-

 

Longswordsman (Ar)

150

2

18/-/-

 

Iron

 

Longbowman (Ar)

120

2

6/12/2003

+1 Range

-

 

Chu-Ko-Nu (Ar)

120

2

6/10/2002

 

-

Can Fire Twice

Tank (Am)

450

4

50/-/-

 

Oil

Can move after attacking

Panzer (Am)

450

5

60/-/-

 

Oil

Can move after attacking

Modern Armor (Am)

700

4

80/-/-

Penalty defending and while attacking cities

Aluminum

Can move after attacking

Giant Death Robot (Am)

1000

3

150/-/-

No defensive Bonus, penalty attacking city

Uranium

Can move after attacking

Bomber (B)

520

-

-/60/10

Vulnerable against fighters

Oil

 

B-17 (B)

520

-

-/60/10

 

Oil

Has Evasion and Siege 1

Stealth Bomber (B)

800

-

-/80/20

 

Aluminum

Has Evasion +100%, Recon

Settler (C)

89

2

-/-/-

 

-

Can Found Cities. City growth stops during production

Worker (C)

70

2

-/-/-

 

-

Improves tiles

Work Boat (C)

30

4

-/-/-

 

-

Builds fishing boats and offshore platforms

Great General (C)

-

2

-/-/-

+25% bonus to nearby units

-

builds Citadels

Great Artist (C)

-

2

-/-/-

 

-

builds Landmark

Great Scientist (C)

-

2

-/-/-

 

-

builds Academy

Great Engineer (C)

-

2

-/-/-

 

-

builds factory

Great Merchant (C)

-

2

-/-/-

 

-

builds Customs House

SS Booster (C)

700

2

_/_/-

 

-

 

SS Cockpit (C)

1000

2

_/_/-

 

-

 

SS Engine (C)

1000

2

_/_/-

 

-

 

SS Stasis Chamber (C)

1000

2

_/_/-

 

-

 

Fighter (F)

420

-

-/50/8

v Helicopters

Oil

has Intercept, Air Sweep, Recon

Zero (F)

420

-

-/50/8

v fighters and helicoptors

Oil, Iron

has Intercept, Recon, Air Sweep

Jet Fighter (F)

600

-

-/70/10

v Helicopters

Aluminum

has Air Recon, Air Sweep

Musketman (G)

120

2

16/-/-

 

-

 

Musketeer (G)

120

2

20/-/-

 

-

 

Minuteman (G)

120

2

16/-/-

 

-

tiles cost 1 movement

Rifleman (G)

200

2

25/-/-

 

-

 

Janissary (G)

120

2

16/-/-

 

-

Recovers all health after winning battle

Foreign Legion (G)

300

2

36/-/-

+20% bonus in foreign lands

-

 

Anti-Tank Gun (G)

300

2

32/-/-

+100% vs. Armor

-

 

AA Battery (G)

300

2

32/-/2

+100% vs. Air units

-

 

Paratrooper (G)

350

2

40/-/-

 

-

paradrops up to 5 hexes

Warrior (M)

40

2

6/-/-

 

-

 

Scout (M)

25

2

4/-/-

 

-

Not slowed by rough terrain

Spearman (M)

50

2

7/-/-

+100% vs. Mounted

-

 

Swordsman (M)

80

2

11/-/-

 

Iron

 

Brute (M)

20

2

6/-/-

 

-

 

Hoplite (M)

60

2

9/-/-

+100% vs Mounted

-

+100% vs Mounted

Legion (M)

90

2

13/-/-

 

Iron

builds forts and roads.

Immortal (M)

60

2

8/-/-

+100% vs Mounted

-

double healing rate

Mohawk Warrior (M)

80

2

11/-/-

+50% combat in Forest/Jungle

Iron

 

Jaguar (M)

40

2

6/-/-

bonus in Jungel

-

heals +2 if it destroys an enemy

Pikeman (M)

100

2

10/-/-

+100% vs. Mounted

-

 

Landsknecht (M)

50

2

10/-/-

+100% vs. Mounted

-

 

Samurai (M)

150

2

18/-/-

 

Iron

extra Great General points

Infantry (Mi)

300

2

36/-/-

 

-

 

Mechanized Infantry (Mi)

440

4

50/-/-

 

-

 

Rocket Artillery (Mi)

600

3

18/46/3

+10% vs cities

Aluminum

has Indirect Fire

Mobile SAM (Mi)

450

4

40/-/2

+100% vs. Air Units

Aluminum

has Intercept

Nuclear Missile (Mi)

1200

-

-/-/8

 

Uranium

can be stationed on Missile Cruiser or Nuclear Submarine

Guided Missile (Mi)

200

-

-/70/8

 

-

Destroyed when attacking; can't be intercepted

Chariot Archer (Mo)

60

4

3/6/2002

 

Horses

 

Horseman (Mo)

80

4

12/-/-

 

Horses

move after attacking

War Chariot (Mo)

60

5

3/6/2002

 

-

 

Companion Cavalry (Mo)

80

5

14/-/-

 

Horses

move after attack, extra Great General points

War Elephant (Mo)

80

3

6/8/2002

 

-

 

Knight (Mo)

150

3

18/-/-

 

Horses

move after attack

Mandekalu Cavalry (Mo)

150

3

18/-/-

+30% vs Cities

Horses

move after attack

Camel Archer (Mo)

150

3

10/10/2002

 

Horses

move after attack

Naresuan's Elephant (Mo)

150

2

22/-/-

+50% vs Mounted

-

move after attack

Lancer (Mo)

220

4

22/-/-

 

Horses

move after attack

Cavalry (Mo)

260

3

25/-/-

 

Horses

move after attack

Sipahi (Mo)

220

5

22/-/-

+1 sight

Horses

 

Cossack (Mo)

260

3

25/-/-

v damaged units

Horses

move after attacking

Trireme (N)

60

4

6/4/2002

 

-

 

Galley (N)

50

3

5/3/2002

 

-

 

Caravel (N)

100

6

15/7/2

 

-

 

Frigate (N)

160

5

30/15/2

 

Iron

 

Ship of the Line (N)

140

7

30/17/2

+1 sight

Iron

 

Ironclad (N)

220

4

35/26/2

 

Coal

 

Destroyer (N)

380

8

35/22/2

+3 sight range, +100% vs Submarines

Oil

has Intercept, Indirect Fire

Battleship (N)

500

4

60/32/3

vulnerable to air and submarine

Oil

has Indirect Fire

Submarine (N)

380

5

15/60/3

 

Oil

Only visible to Destroyers and Submarines

Carrier (N)

520

5

30/-/-

 

Oil

carry 3 aircraft

Nuclear Submarine (N)

500

6

30/70/3

v submarines

Aluminum

carry 2 missiles; invisible

Missile Cruiser (N)

320

8

75/60/3

 

Aluminum

has Indirect Fire, Intercept, carry 3 missiles

Catapult (S)

100

2

4/14/2002

+10% vs Cities

Iron

set up to fire

Ballista (S)

100

2

4/18/2002

+10% vs Cities

Iron

 

Trebuchet (S)

170

2

6/20/2002

+10% vs Cities

Iron

set up to fire

Cannon (S)

250

2

10/26/2002

+10% vs Cities

-

set up to fire

Artillery (S)

420

2

16/32/3

+10% vs Cities

-

set up to fire, has indirect fire

Further Reading

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  • Civilization 5 Hints and tips: City States
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  • Civilization V Hints and Tips
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Comments

Samuel Franklin on October 25, 2014:

Some great tips for Civ 5 fans!

hiwaka on March 22, 2014:

Awesome detailed guide man. I enjoyed playing Civilization 5 for as long as I did. Though I agree with the above commenter about a hotkey for units needs order.

Thormodr on February 21, 2012:

I'd like a hotkey for A Unit Needs Orders, but I'm afraid they didn't make one. :(

I can use automate the switch to next idle unit in settings, but I hate the window disappearing from the unit I just moved.

Simon Cook (author) from NJ, USA on February 23, 2011:

cledpham: thanks! I haven't played for a while but I'm sure there is a way - let me check it out this weekend and I'll see if I can remember!

cledpham on February 23, 2011:

This is great info! Thanks! Is there any way, do you know, to upgrade multiple units at once? Likethe old SHIFT-U command in Civ III?