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Civilization 5 America - Leader: Washington

Civ Bonuses, Strategies, Unique Units and Buildings

Civilization Name:  Civilization 5: America LeaderAmerica

Civ Leader: Washington

Civ Bonus: Manifest Destiny:
All land units have +1 sight. 50% discount when purchasing tiles.

Unique Unit: B17
Requires Oil, Radar Tech
Replaces the Bomber unit. The truly special thing about the B17 over the bomber is that it starts with Siege I and Evasion. Evasion requires 2 promotions for any other bomber to get it, and reduces damage from air interception by 50%. Siege I will give you +33% combat strength vs cities. Given these two promotions and those you may receive from any military training buildings in your City, the B17 comes out as one sweet Bomber that will serve your Civ well for a late-game Domination win.

Unique Unit: Minuteman
Requires Gunpowder Tech, Obsolete with Rifling - Upgrades to Rifleman
The Minuteman gets around better than a regular Musketman. It treats rough terrain as if it were normal, eliminating penalties from moving into forest and allowing it to always move two tiles. They also start with Drill I, which gives them a combat bonus in this terrain. With the sight bonus, they are awesome at spotting incoming enemy units, fighting in undeveloped territory along the edge of a Civ and setting up an attack on a City. If you build up Warriors or Swordsmen and later upgrade those units to Minutemen, know that the Drill I promotion is wasted if you've already got it and you won't be bumped up. It's better to go with the Shock line of upgrades for these units. You'll end up with strong, balanced units by the time you've put in the Minuteman upgrade. Drill will help when you can position your units on hills/forest/jungle when facing ranged opponents, but by the time Minutemen are around more battles will be fought on clear ground and Shock will help you there.

A scout upgraded to archer sees another goody hut in the distance, which another unit would not be capable of seeing at that range. This is one of the strengths of playing America
Demonstrating an American Ground Unit's +1 Sight and how it can be helpful in the early-game.

The American Civilization's Special Ability gives them the best Scouting, so use that to your advantage and start your build order with a Scout. Explore the continent you're on and you'll find the Americans are better at finding Ancient Ruins for their random rewards than most other Civs. You'll also meet City-States first, which gives you 30 gold as opposed to 15. You will have full knowledge of the land around you, which will give you the ability to pick the best places to found a city. Look for areas with Luxury resources that you do not yet have access to and places that can support very large cities from having food resources. The vision will help you prevent Barbarians from spawning in your territory. So long as a unit can see the surrounding area, Barbarians won't come. Use your idle military to spread out and prevent them spawning. Playing heavy offense against Barbarians with Warriors, and later Swordsmen, will give you a strong standing Army throughout the ages that can later be upgraded to their Unique Unit, the Minuteman.

American Military Units getting to see an extra tile may not seem like a big deal, but bonuses that don't affect a Civ's stats directly can be overlooked. This one helps you, the player, just as it does above. You will be able to avoid attacks more easily, seeing incoming units before they see you. The vision advantage is particularly helpful when you're using ranged units, but any land unit can benefit given it allows you to make smarter moves when you're at war than would be possible without this vision.

The other part of their Special is the ability to buy tiles at 50% discount. This amounts to some seriously low prices, like 25-30g for a tile that has a gem on it. The sooner you buy the workable 3-tiles around a City, the sooner it can begin to expand to the 4-5 tile zone, where you can get access to resources but not work the tiles in the City. If you have the Gold, you can easily grab important resources in the area around a new City and allow Culture to slowly get the rest.

America's Unique Units come in the mid and late game, both capable of accomplishing a fast land grab if you prepare ahead of time by having multiple cities capable of producing them quickly, so that you can wage war while the Units are still relevant. Both of them are wonderful units, but if you do not use them, you are likely better off playing another Civ - perhaps one with a Unique Unit that comes available during an earlier Era when you are more likely to engage in warfare.

If you are going to take advantage of the Minuteman, your freshly-constructed Minutemen should come out of Cities previously prepared with a Barracks and Armory so that they will get two upgrades. The Minuteman starting with Drill I allows you to go with Drill II and Siege, giving them a 50% attack bonus against Cities. This will help immensely in their survivability. Minutemen alone can take Cities, but you should consider a mix of them along with Crossbowmen because of the Crossbowmen's ability to attack from range, hitting cities and softening targets for your melee units to finish off. If you send your troops in with the right formation, the Crossbowmen can fire first in a round, followed by the front-line Minutemen. Repeat until the City is yours. You can go right for an enemy Capital and take Cities adjacent to yours. Try not to grab too much - you may need to advance technology and give your Cities time to settle down before you smother them in unhappiness from Annexing too many Cities. You can certainly do it - Dominate and roll right into Riflemen. The B17 may never be necessary if you play aggressively enough with your Minutemen when they are first available, but that all depends on the size of the map and what year you discover Gunpowder and begin Warring with your neighbors. If you have Minutemen and your target is still using Composite Bows and Swordsmen, you are at an obvious advantage.

America can be played to win at any type of Victory Condition and works with any Social Policy opener. Don't go Honor unless you will use it to war by the mid-game, else you might as well pick it up later or skip it entirely. Tradition vs Liberty is really a matter of personal preference but the Americans can't go wrong with Liberty. America is already able to buy up large areas of land on the cheap, so having the faster improvement construction time will get them resources faster for trading and making the population happy. The free Settler is nice while on larger maps you can get a Declaration of Friendship with another Civ that has money and trade them for lump-sum gold to buy more Settlers.

Although America is flexible and offers some strategic advantages with its vision range, I am really not fond of playing the Civ. I often play with a Victory Condition in mind and there are other Civs that have better bonuses for specific ways to win. You do sometimes need to adapt, and America's generic but useful bonuses may appeal to some. Unless War is coming at around the time Minutemen come available, a lot of their strength gets wasted. The tile purchasing discount may go unused in favor of paying for unit upgrades or buying buildings. In terms of Gold costs, it will only save what you spend. I find I buy under a dozen tiles in a game most of the time, not bothering to pay for anything unless it's a resource I need immediately or a City can't grow without more food. I've covered the basics here and why their bonus is a little better than meets the eye. To the fans of this Civ, I'll ask that if you have a solid and repeatable strategy for America, please share it below.

Civilization Bonuses, Unique Units, Strategies and Openings
Sid Meier's Civ 5 is a deep strategy game. I created these individual Civilization Guides to highlight the strengths of their specials and unique units. If you have an opener or tip for playing this Civ that you would like to share with other readers, please use the comments form below. Some Guides are in need of update and will be improved to a new standard of quality or altered to reflect gameplay changes in G&K and Brave New World.
ChinaEgyptEnglandFranceGermanyGreeceThe Huns

Comments (3)

Nathaniel Kramer says...
I strengthen infrastructure first, then I go straight to build a large Navy. Even though you do not get a sight bonus (that is better as England) the Navy is essential if you are to protect your invading force, or for bombarding cities to weaken them for the Melee. Once I get to gunpowder, I immediately build lots of Minutemen. I never truthfully use them, but their terrain bonus is usefully when you get to infantry or mechanized infantry. Once I get to electricity and radar, I immediately build up a large carrier force. This means that the B-17 is able to be anywhere in the map. This usually works for me (but I always get a warmongering thing from other civs). Don't know why our unique building wasn't McDonalds.
31st October 2013 7:16pm
Sivfan says...
The minutemen have another attribute that should not be overlooked: the ability to get golden age points on victories. It might not seem like much when you first get it but it can build up fast if you use minutemen (and their upgraded forms) in hit and run encounters, which they excel in thanks to extra movement in rough terrain and increased visibility, you the golden age points really build up.

My personal strategy with Americans is to alternate between war and golden ages once i get minutemen. A war can gather many golden age points, and nothing feels better than entering a golden age while in the middle of a war. If you go honor, you gain gold for each kill as well just gives more incentive to kill stuff.
This was added in the Fall patch and will be edited into the Guide soon. America got that as a bonus, for the Minuteman and America in general felt a little bland before this. I did love the minuteman before and found its mobility very useful, though only for a limited time. Its granting Golden Age points is an unique feature that will help America bloom later in the game, so making use of them heavily is wise as you say. It very much encourages you to push for them and war as soon as they're out in quantity. You're also likely to gain some free Cities from peace treaties without racking up huge Warmonger penalties.
7th December 2013 12:28am
rob says...
Personally I found the sight bonus and the ability to purchase tiles cheaply very useful, as you said, combined with liberty to gain fast improvement construction.
At the time I has several American play throughs, (G&K) I mixed Tradition, Liberty and Honour allowing for extremely fast colonisation of new territory (5 culture in the newly planted city). This almost seemed over powered in the early mid game.
28th January 2014 11:59am
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This site and all original strategy guides created by and © Carl Ratcliff. This is an unofficial Civilization V fansite and I am in no way affiliated with Firaxis Games, Developer of Civ 5 Brave New World and Gods and Kings.