Guide to Exploration & Movement
Exploration the Old World
While exploration is functionally similar in Old World as it is in Civ, there are some important differences to be mindful of.
First, on turn one, your scout unit won’t be able to get in the water. Early in the game, you’ll get to select a law, choosing either Epics or Exploration. If you pick Epics, then every enemy unit you kill will earn the city closest to the battle an extra 10 culture.
If you pick exploration, then your scout units will be able to jump in the water.
I personally prefer Exploration, but I’ve had great games where I selected Epics too, so ultimately, it comes down to a matter of personal preference and the kind of game you’re playing.
Either way, the basics of exploration are, take to the high ground as much as possible so you can uncover more terrain tiles, and hide in the forest so you don’t die. Scouts are stealthy. If you end your turn in the forest, barbarians and enemy Nations can’t see your scout, which is great news because scouts are fragile. They die easy, so scouting is dangerous.
There are three primary reasons to scout.
- First and most obviously, as a newly founded Kingdom, you need your eyes up and your fangs out, and you need those things as fast as possible. Your scouts are your eyes. You can’t know where your settlement options are, which means you can’t really plan anything, until and unless you scout your immediate area, and then beyond as time and circumstance permit.
- Second, scouting gives you bonus resources, both when you discover new special tiles, and when you park on one and spend an order to harvest from the tile, which is a thing. Yes, it costs an order, but it provides a significant enough resource boost that it’s often well worth doing. You can only harvest periodically though, so once you’ve harvested a given tile, you can move on, continue exploring later, and then circle back to the tile later to harvest again.
In addition to that, there are ancient ruins in the game which are akin to “goody huts” in Civ. These invariably trigger some kind of event and you’ll get something for the discovery, although exactly what you get is impossible to predict.
- Third, discovering new noteworthy landmarks gives you +1 Legitimacy (+2 if you’re the first person to discover it) and Legitimacy is the currency of the realm. It’s what keeps you being the King, so anything that increases Legitimacy is good. Therefore, exploration is good.
In practice, you can expect most of the ancient ruins to be gone around turn 20-25. After that, there’s not much point in actively looking for them, though you may still occasionally stumble across one in some out of the way corner of the map.
I have found that the most likely places for ruins are around barbarian camps and empty city sites, so make it a priority to nose around those places when you find them. Also note that city sites tend to reflect real world city sites, which means you’ll usually find encampments on the coast or along rivers.
This then, begins to inform a scouting strategy. Find the coast and follow the rivers, taking the high ground as much as possible to uncover more tiles, and ending your turn in the woods whenever possible so you don’t die. In any event, ruins are a short-term phenomenon. As I mentioned by around the turn 20-25 mark you can expect that most will be gone.
By that point, the nature of the scouting game begins to change. It becomes more about scouting strategically and with an eye toward continuing your expansion. Sure, the scout’s initial efforts revealed the first couple of spots you can expand into, but by turn 20-25, there are still plenty of blank spots and unknowns on the map.
The thing is though, the blank spots closer to home are way more important than the blank spots in obscure corners of the world, so by around turn 20-25, start bringing your scouts closer to home and thoroughly scout out the areas you think are your best candidates for future expansion beyond getting your “core four” cities up and running.
Scouts can also be used to hide out and keep an eye on enemy (or AI Nation or Barbarian) troop movements to give you a heads up when something changes, and they can opportunistically occupy and hold a city site until you can get a settler there. More than once, I’ve stumbled on the site of a recent battle where an AI Nation has just destroyed a barbarian camp, but couldn’t move onto the tile to claim it. My scout swooped in and claimed the tile and voila! Free expansion site! So keep an eye peeled for opportunities like that.
Also, be aware that you can do an “Uber Scout” if you don’t mind giving up a turn. Here’s how: At the start of the turn, move your scout to the limits of his abilities. Then, use the “Forced March” option and keep moving him until you run out of orders.
No, you won’t be able to do anything else that turn, but it’s a great way to uncover a simply explosive number of tiles in the early game, which could lead you to finding multiple ruins in a single turn, triggering all sorts of cool events and gaining a variety of resources.
Worst case, even if you don’t find any ruins you still get some awesome intel, and early map discovery is the basis for your expansion strategy, so the more you know and the sooner you know it, the better you’ll be able to plan.
Obviously, this is impractical in some cases, but if you can spare a turn to do it, it almost always pays good dividends.
Later in the game, scouting becomes less and less important, because you gain new tools that enable you to uncover broad swaths of the map in other ways (infiltrate a rival AI and steal their Kingdom Map).
The good news is that as you make your way deeper into the tech tree, you’ll gain the tech Portcullis, which unlocks the Spymaster, and this gives your scouts a critically important new thing to do:
- Infiltrate cities.
Infiltrating cities costs 200g for your first infiltration and scales higher from there (+100g per city beyond the first). The process takes 4 years to complete (your scout will vanish for 4 years while he’s busy getting things set up, then reappear, allowing you to reuse the scout to infiltrate another city if you wish).
This not only removes the fog of war from around that city, giving you a perfect view of what’s going on, but it also allows you to see what that city is currently building.
In addition to that, once the spy network is operational, your Spy Master can assign someone from your staff to manage it.
Doing this unlocks two new missions, with appropriate tech. You can either sabotage the city’s defenses (reduce city defenses by 10hp) or you can sow dissent, causing rebel units to pop up.
As mentioned earlier, doing this in isolation, against a single city is interesting, but not terribly impressive. The ability to rock a rival Nation to its foundations by doing it everywhere at once…that’s game changing.
Finally, scouts are absolutely indispensable in terms of supporting a war effort.
They are literally the eyes of your army. If you’re going to war and you don’t have a screen of scouts watching your flanks and various strategic points of the battlefield, you’re just asking for trouble.
The bottom line is that scouts remain relevant for the entire game, and that’s awesome.
More On Movement
So, to review: There are two keys that define how far a unit can move – that unit’s fatigue rating, as expressed by some number of dots over the unit’s head, and the number next to the “footprint” icon when you click on a unit, which defines how many open clear (plains) tiles a unit can move into per point of fatigue.
So for example, take a look at an Archer unit and a Chariot unit. Both will typically have 3 points of fatigue, but the Archer will only have the number 2 next to the footprint icon when you click onto that unit, while the chariot will have 3.
Result? Using all of the unit’s fatigue points, the archer will be able to cross a maximum of six plains tiles before becoming exhausted (3 points of fatigue * 2 footprint = 6 tiles of movement).
The chariot, however, will be able to move a total of 9 tiles (3 points of fatigue * 3 “footprint”). Let’s put better terms to this. Every game year, a unit gets some number of movement points per point of fatigue (the number next to the footprint icon).
- Moving onto a clear (plains) tile takes 1 of those movement points.
- Moving onto a tile with a hill, scrub or forest takes 1 additional movement point (as does actually crossing a river), and moving onto a forested hill takes 1 additional movement point, but…
- All units are guaranteed to be able to move at least 1 tile per point of fatigue.
Those are the things that can slow you down. There are also a few things that can speed your movement up.
Roads, for example. A typical infantry unit with nothing modifying it can move through 2 plains tiles before burning up a point of fatigue.
That same unit could move through 3 road tiles for 1 point of fatigue. Provided that there was a robust road network then, your 3-fatigue infantry could move a total of 9 tiles.
Rivers in your own territory provide the same bonus, and you can improve on this by choosing the “Colonies” law, which gives you a bonus when moving along rivers in neutral territory as well.
Note that when moving along a river, you don’t pay an extra cost for entering a hill/forest/scrub tile.
Also note that roads and city connections are not the same thing! Urban tiles are considered city connection building blocks but they do not contain roads (though the city center itself is considered to have a road).
City connection points don’t necessarily give movement bonuses, so early on, you should decide what your objectives are where your road network is concerned.
If all you want to do is make sure your cities are all connected to your trade network, then you can “tie onto” rivers and one urban tile to accomplish that goal.
If, on the other hand, you want to maximize the ability of your troops to get from one side of your Realm to the other, then you’ll need a more robust road network that runs through urban tiles and through patches of difficult terrain.
Finally, don’t discount the power of an “intercoastal waterway” and its impact on movement.
While road movement is very good and efficient, nothing trumps movement along the coast. For a single point of fatigue, an infantry unit can move a staggering nine tiles, with the caveat that the unit must start and end that fatigue point’s movement on land.
So going back to the original formula, an infantry unit with 3 points of fatigue and 2 “footprint” (movement points per phase) could move 9*3 = 27 tiles via coastal waterway!
On top of all that, there are a few ways you can increase unit movement further.
Taking the “Swift” upgrade will increase your “footprint” number by +1. This bonus stacks, so if you’ve got a unit with the Swift promotion and a general who also has the Swift trait then you’ll gain +2.
If you have a Zealot leader, all of your units will get +1 fatigue and of course, you can have both a Zealot leader and units and Generals with the Swift promotion, so the net result is that you can engineer situations where selected units can cover simply amazing distances…