In depth Civ4 coverage continues with Navy/Airforce Review

Another area where civ4 has become more balanced for me is in the role the sea and air units play. Although I was always primarily a winner by culture in civ3 and space race in civl/2, whenever I *was* faced with aggression, it was usually my armies that did the heavy lifting. I almost never had a navy save for the purpose of transporting units around. Since my rivals didn’t have navies, I could let my tranports roam the seas unattended.

My air force also had a limited role since the units had as high of a chance of taking out buildings I wished to have intact when I took the city as they did of taking out units. I also never used helicopters.

In civ4 the air and sea units have a much greater purpose as their bombardment attack has been tweaked. Instead of taking out city improvements, a bombardment attack reduces the city defense bonus for units protecting the city. With a large enough combined airforce/navy, a player can esssentially eradicate all of the bonuses granted to units protecting the city. When this is combined with the city raider unit upgrades for the attackers, the player can quickly assemble an armed forces division deadly to all who dwell in cities.

Helicopters are now much more useful attack units and are called gunships in civ4. Your remaining cavalry units upgrade to gunships – a strange choice as far as I can tell. I would have upgraded mounted units to a tank unit, but that’s just me. I think they get a certain bonus when fighting ground units due to the fact that they are in the sky. I found them to be less useful than tanks as they are less powerful, but still good units to have – and allow you to transition your attack force into the modern age.
I currently only have one fighter jet, so I’m not sure if they can kill units. However, they reduce an enemy’s strength by a certain percentage which is randomly calculated within some bounds. The highest I’ve achieved has been 18% on the first fighter – not the advanced fighter.

I haven’t used my subs to their fullest capacity yet. However, as they are invisible units unless the foe has the battleship, I wonder if it would be an act of war to block the port cities of those who are not at war with you. Actually, I guess not because in civ4 you can occupy the same space as any other civ you have peaceful relations with and not spark war. However, if you blockade an enemy and they try to send out a ship they have just built, do they automatically fight your sub? Would that not alert them to the presence of your subs? But then again – that IS realistic. Once a sub attacks, others know it exists. It would be interesting to see how this would pan out in a multiplayer game.

Author: Eric Mesa

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