[Chilly] What's the best civ design in the game? TIER LIST

I ranked all of the civs in the game based on the following criteria:

  1. Historical Authenticity - How true to history is it?

  2. Game Feel - How good does it feel in-game? Is the design clunky?

  3. Thematics - Does it satisfy the “fantasy” of the civilization?

Let me know what you think! Do you agree? How would you rank the civs based on the criteria above?

You can make your own tier list here.


I agree with your Malian placement. They are historically very off.
Cool as hell civ, but there is just so much about them that is historically very misleading.
Especially the whole gunpowder and not being a dedicated cav civ.

When it comes to the tier list, it’s easy to fall for the trap everything is either S or D tier XD.

Its very easy to let first thought impulses override.

Here is a tier list I made purely based on listening to all the positives + negatives of the civs youve been discussing:

Note this is purely based on my perception of the way you describe the civs with my eyes, if i were to make a tier list purely based on your opinion.

My personal list would be something like this:

Here is my breakdown:

China and Rus = Pretty much what you summed up what makes them great. Aestethically very pleasing and unique, covers their historical referances very well.
I personally love the RUS emphasis on hunting and hunting cabin, pelt-trade is afterall what quite literally -made- the entire Empire and its Conquest of the vast siberian lands.
But not only that but it also represents the shared heritage of the slavic nations very well, especially the one between the Moskovites and Kievan RUS.

Chinese -
Aestethiccs: 10/10
Gameplay feel: 9/10 (A bit to eco-intense and very overwhelming for new players)
Historical Authenticity: 10/10

Rus -
Aestethiccs: 9/10 (Wooden Palisade walls shud have been a Wood version of stone wall instead with battlements to really capture the Wooden fortress feel of the Rus were so famous for)
Gameplay feel: 10/10
Historical Authenticity: 10/10 (Polaxe change on their knights is questionable)

English = Pretty much everything you said in the video, the only reason I put them at A tier and not S tier is because, well, they are rather aestethically Bland? As they share, but with good reason, a lot of the aestethics of the French and some HRE, making these 3 civs visually the same. They could have done more to make them a bit more different, make english farms stand out more as an example, Their archery ranges stand out more with having extra target dummies and so forth.
But another thing with English is game play and feel wise, they feel very, straight-foreward and as a result makes them easy to play. But this funnels a lot of players to play them very mundane and boring, and the way the English play makes you feel it aswell. DESPITE English having a lot of OPTIONS, one of the Civs with Thee most options to play in all sorts of unique ways. Another thing is English is extremely forgiving to play as they are one of the few civs that can almost ignore map controll and stay huddled under their TC and keep protection with their defensive nature, which I don’t mind, This allows you to play all sorts of Risky-strategies with them, but nobody does that, as the mechanics of the Civs just encourages the more safe and standard way of playing them.

English -
Aestethiccs: 6/10 (Nothing really makes them stand out much from their French and HRE cousins)
Gameplay Feel: 8/10 (Has a lot of options, but designed in such a way it molds players into playing a certain way)
Historical Authenticity: 10/10

Ottomans = I find them pretty great and awesome, the unique take on the Janisarries are great, they are suprisingly good despite what the massive amount of Turkbots would argue otherwise. But you have to use strategies and emphasize on tactics in order to use Janisarries, but if you can succesfully employ them, it is extremely satisfying and rewarding.
The Ottoman Siege is almost perfect with Janissaries complimenting them extremely well.
Their weakness is not having any anti-siege siege that is competative in the late game.
However, thats where Sipahi and especially now with their extended range comes into play.
They just require a different way in playing the siege game with them than usual. Instead of Siege with Anti-siege supported by units.
You gotta give the Anti-siege work to Sipahi’s and rely heavily on Janissaries+Rebalderquin to do the brunt fighting, supported by Great Bombars.
What I personally think missing for the Ottomans other than a Horse-archer equivalent, is the Janisarries in my opinion should have ability to build advance siege same as Abbasid, i.e Ability to build Springalds and Mangonels.
Thematically, they are great. and I share your views on the Ottomans.

Ottomans -
Aestethiccs: 10/10 (Ottoman Navy models is Chef’s kiss!)
Gameplay Feel: 7/10 (They have very limited ways to play due to slow build up nature of the civ)
Historical Authenticity: 7/10 (Questionable choises, lack of horse archers, Sipahi’s representation, role of Janissaries)

French = Very similar to the english, reason I rank them even lower is because gameplay wise, I feel they get gimped. It’s just to much emphasis on Royal-knight spam. And very little space on trying out other things, especially their Albeletiers, which I agree with you is a strange choise for a unique unit and has the bad sideeffect just as you say, robbing the Italians from a unit very much their identity.
While thematically, the french are great, suffers a bit on the aestethic side when it comes to architecture, the French does have some of the best looking units in the game, especially their MAA.
But Sadly, again, because the extreme emphasis on Cavalry, and the fact that the Castle-influence, does not effect barracks for some reason, really removes any reason to make French MAA. I really wish they could include the Bonus to the barracks aswell, so that its actually makes it more viable to go infantry based build for the french, with room for knights to actually be knights, a small group of very strong units that you use Tactically to support your main forces. Not being the main force itself.
And because this over-emphasis on Royal knights, is the reason I put them so low.

French -
Aestethiccs: 7/10 (Their units and landmark look great, architecture pretty meh.)
Gameplay Feel: 4/10 (Dominance of knights overshadows alternative option to play the French)
Historical Authenticity: 9/10

HRE = Again, similar to the French and English, suffers a bit on the architectural department, Their units except for Knights, MAA and Landsknecht dosnt stand out much either. Really lacks Diversity in the unit department, feel like they cheaped out on their MAA being a Quazi-unique unit when upgraded with 2h.
HRE was at the forefront at Gunsmithing, so its very strange why in the late game the HRE dosn’t have more emphasis on Gunpowder units, i.e Unique Gunpowder units. Their landmarks are descent looking, And I completely agree with why the hell did they choose a Danish landmark??
But at least gameplay they feel much better than French and English counterpart, the fact they have the whole Relic gameplay going on, they have much wider option of using units, despite heavy emphasiz on Infantry, but Knights, and daresay, archery range units are still very viable if not mandatory to be supplementory to the Infantry focused gameplay.

Aestethiccs: 6/10
Gameplay Feel: 8/10
Historical Authenticity: 8/10

Abbasid = My second favorite Civ to play, especially now, the gameplay wise abbasid feels like its in a very good spot. It always had quite a wide option how to approach the civ, although in the beginning with the eco wing multiple tc build that 99% people went for was pretty boring and dull their latest rework really rejuvinated the abbasids, they have a great unit selection and capabilities in all stage of the game. However, its the very unit selection that is sort of a double edges sword for the abbasid, and the fact that the Abbasid is so all-encompassing, it’s just as you say, it blocks a lot of potential for other Civs to take place, as per description of Abbasids, it covers the Mamluk era aswell, which means it sort of takes the identity to spot of a potential unique civilization such as the Mamluk. Their selection and focus around camels is rather strange, and as you mention, why isnt the abbasid the Scholar-based Civ instead, especially consider it focus so much on the Islamic Golden Age. Which was when Islam was peak when it came to science and preservation of knowledge.
It also makes me feel that the devs really wanted to hit the Arabian 1001 nights feel rather than historical authenticity. instead.
Abbasid for me is a strange case where its own greatness blocks the potential for others to shine, which is kinda offputting for me, nothing reflects this better than the House of Wisdom landmark, a very great game-play mechanical wise landmark which makes the Abbasid stand out even more compared to others, but it removes the possibility to represent the countless of great historical architecture this massive middle eastern empire had.
And yes, their wonder is wtf.

Abbasid -
Aestethiccs: 8/10 (Their wonder and lack of diverse landmarks really puts it down, units and architecture in general looks pretty good, but they really lack the WOW factor some landmarks can give to a civ)
Gameplay Feel: 10/10
Historical Authenticity: 6/10

Dheli Sultanate = While bollywood going to hate me for this, but I actually like the Dheli sultanate being represented here, it’s a rather Niché civilization that not so many people get to know about, and its one of those that kinda fell between two chairs (Is a saying in my language), Not quite accepted amongs the Indiands, not quite accepted among the Persians, and kinda lost its place in history. Which is why I do not see them as a Indian civ but rather an Alternate Persian civ. Aka Persia v1.5
But I think you’re absolutely right when it comes to gameplay mechanic, its pretty lackluster, you kinda feel yo have a very limited option in how to play Civilization. And just like the abbasid, where its unit rooster instead of the blocks the Potential for other civ’s especially when you consider how many Civ’s relied on the Elephant as its core weapon of its armies.
I do like their scholar mechanics but I’d rather have them focus on Technology instead, i.e having faster rather than slower tech ups and access to fair bit of unique tech. (example: Damascus steel (+1dmg), Advanced Textiles(+HP vills), Draw Bar(+Trade income) ) as India was pretty advance for its time and Dheli Sultanate being the literal Crossroad between the Abbasid Science and knowledge preservation and ###### Research and Technology innovation.
They were positioned to have access to wielding a lot of tech ahead of its time.
However one big thing I hate about the Dheli is that their landmarks look like garbage.

Dheli -
Aestethiccs: 8/10 (Very unique looking architecture in comparison to others, but nothing that really makes the pop)
Gameplay Feel: 6/10 (They can certainly be fun to play, but they do have limitations)
Historical Authenticity: 7/10

Mongols = My absolute favorite Civ, There is so much I love about the Mongols, but also so much I hate, or rather, leaves me very dissapointed with the mongols.
Just as you say, they aren’t nomadic, moving base is just far to clunky and not to mention, punishing, its rather a gimmick, or something you can do in teamgames if you are quite literally forced out of your base, but really not something you do to benefit your gameplay, and just as you say, the AI for packing and unpacking is just so frustrating.
Their Landmarks are certainly unique, however they are very lackluster in the gameplay feel, Silver Tree is rather inefficient? to say it so, as Deer stones is just overall better, and you can still go for trade almost just as fast, yeah you dont get discount traders, but you make it up for the much faster movement speed of vills and units tbh, and saves you the cost for the Yam network tech.
But their biggest joke is the Khaganate Casino as I like to call it, a landmark with such a huge potential, made impotent due to RNG in army composition which really dosnt have any place in a RTS game.
Another thing Mongol fails at is Representing itself as Mongols, while it Aestethically looks and sounds like Mongol, and the Khan making you falsely feel like Mongol as first impression, once you play them a bit, you start realising they aren’t really mongol at all.
Mangudai the weakest and least used Cavalry archer in the game, the biggest irony, a Empire made famous by their Horse archers, isn’t using Horse Archers in game.
Their Keshik are certainly cool unit with a very good role, dosn’t compete with knights later on and kinda renders them moot for the late game.
And you start realising that Mongol isn’t a Cavalry Civ, but a Infantry Civ!!!
Because Mongol Infantry is rather very Capable, very mobile with help of Yam network and Khan buffs, aswell as having Imp-upgrades that makes them tonkier, But also Mongols has the Best Siege, which their infantry compliments extremely well by being able to build siege anywhere you need it. Their springalds being the best anti-siege weapon in game, Their ram building speed is almost instanteneus with Imp upgrade.
And infantry compliments siege so much better than cavalry due to movement speed being better matched up.

Mongols -
Aestethiccs: 8/10 (Architecture looks great imo, but they actually lack Imperial models on their units and buildings, except for Keshiks, which really cuts them short aestethically)
Gameplay Feel: 9/10 (They play pretty good, despite not being able to use their Trademark units as much as they shud be able to.
Historical Authenticity: 2/10 (They are not the Cavalry civ they are supposed to be, Raid bounty dosn’t really come into play before the mid-late game, horsemen rather weak and useless in dark age consider everyone has Spears to counter them hard and they have no means to recover HP or HP-pool to maintain a early game presence, while feudal is OK the keshik are still not strong enough to really intimidate the opponent and keep them under pressure, and are outright beat by other Cav civs, Stronger early Mangudai could solve this issue)

Malians = Pretty Much everything you said about them in the video. The Malians are incredible cool Civ to play and their Gameplay feels really nice, although very lackluster in the mid-late to early late game. Due to all them mostly emphasize in Swarm units.
Aestethically they are very pleasing and very distinct which is great. Even if they were to add other African Civ’s it still be easy to identify Malians. Gold and ILALU is hard to miss.
However, the whole unit rooster is just historically wrong in so many levels as you say, and its biggest sin actually overshadowing and preventing other west-african Civs to have a spot, especially the one you mentioned, the Benin empire.
Their Sofa being mis-represented is also a big NO no, and the fact they dont have Heavy Cavalry, aka Knights/Lancers is rather dumbfunding consider this was the -core- of the Malian empire, while they might not had the tech to breed and and make horse armor, they had enough money to Pay2Win that stuff instead.
Which they did, hugely, Henche as you mention, Why they had Sofa’s to Guard their horses.
I feel the Malians, unit wise, need a total Redesign, which sadly also effects quite a bit how the Malian play and their Landmarks would need to change to fit the cavalry emphasis instead.

Aestethiccs: 10/10
Gameplay Feel: 8/10
Historical Authenticity: 0/10 (I would like to give them at least 1 point, but I can’t, they just misrepresent west africa to much)

Wow. That was so fun to read bro. Thanks for the write up!

I don’t even know what to say to follow that up lol. I agree with your line of reasoning for the most part.

Ultimately, a big part of how I organized the list is “am I hype in the faction select screen”. And Delhi’s at the bottom for me because there’s just nothing I’m “excited” for. At least with the French, as bland as linear as they are (you make a good point - Barracks should work with the Keep influence to make French maa have something going for them), I’m excited to queue up as them since I’ll be able to do some Knight shenanigans.

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