THE OFFICIAL CIVILIZATION BATTLE ROYALE X POWER RANKINGS: PART 0

Author: SZAFNGA
Published: 2019-06-15
THE OFFICIAL CIVILIZATION BATTLE ROYALE X POWER RANKINGS: PART 0

Part of the campaign:

THE OFFICIAL CIVILIZATION BATTLE ROYALE X POWER RANKINGS

Replacing Henry Morgan in the Caribbean is Haiti, lead by Toussaint Louverture. But the cards do not favor Hispaniola this time around. Starting on an island can be bad enough, just look at Hawaii and the Phillippines for example. But throw in an AI lacking in competence, Uniques that need to get a Religion or else have little effect in the game, and aggressive neighbors like the Aztecs, Venezuela, and perhaps even Poverty Point, the cards do not look good for Haiti. While he might not be the first civ to go down, due to enemies needing to build a navy, the chances for Louverture surviving past the bottom 10 ToussAINT looking good.
Look carefully, and you might spot a subtle recurring theme among the lower ranked civs. Yes, we haven't got much faith in the island civs of CBRX, and of all of them, Minoa have to have the least desirable start. Mehmed II to the north, Palmyra to the east, Nubia to the south - it's going to be hard for Minos to squeeze even a third city in, and their trade-based uniques aren't going to help much. Minoa's best course of action might be to establish a confident base in Greece early on. Nubia are very likely to expand north, due to their proximity to Beta Israel on their southern border, but the Ottomans have far more options, able to expand into Anatolia or along the Black Sea. If Minos manages to consolidate Greece early on - a fairly defensible peninsula before embarkment comes along - there's a chance they could pull off a huge upset. There are a lot of 'if's there, and while I'm a huge personal fan of this civ and its performance in other AI games, I don't expect to be seeing them past Part 20
I’ll admit I had a hand in memeing the Manx into the CBR, and I love them as a plucky underdog, but the truth is that in almost every test they’ve just fallen flat. They like to give away cities in peace treaties and they don’t expand very much, causing Scotland or a European mainland civ to dominate the British Isles almost every time. As a result, we’ve had no choice but to put the Isle of Man near the bottom. We can pray for a miracle, but it doesn’t seem like there’s much hope for our three-legged friends.
Coming in at 58th we have everyone's favourite uniformed leader, Big Daddy Frederick the Great and his mighty Prussians. Well, mighty might be exaggerating it a little. Stuck between the Goths, the HRE, and the Turks, they've proved to be a resilient but ultimately weak power in tests so far. That said, they do have some things going for them.

Chiefmost amongst these is the Konigratzer March UA, which despite being situational at best, could prove crucial in allowing them to break out of their corner in the Baltic. If they make it to the Renaissance, both their UUs come into play, and the Landswehr and Totenkopf Hussars (sorry, Death's Head Hussars, this one's in English) are very strong indeed. The challenge for Fred, is to survive til then whilst retaining more than about ten tiles. It doesn't look too likely, really- we may have another Hitler on our hands, a domination equipped civ who doesn't survive long enough to make use of the bonuses.
Your first thought on seeing Venice in the game might be "Venice can't win: they can only build a single city!". Then you'd be right about the former, but the latter would be wrong, for this is a better version of Venice that actually gets a couple of cities in Italy. Getting any more than that is unlikely however, as this Venice still shares the peaceful no-troops-needed approach to world politics as the regular version. In theory, a better AI might be able to make something out of this weak but defensible start by taking on even weaker opponents like Minoa, whichever North-African civ gets gangbanged and whomever the Czechs are bullying at the moment. But Venice won't do that: Venice likes to sit back, relax, make a lot of money, and then get rolled over. The only questions are who will take them out and when? The Moors, Czechs, or Ottomans are the most likely candidates, but other civs might also take a slice of the pie that is Italy.
Vavlyo is a textbook example of a leader that will live and die on his bias rolls. While this is true of any leader to an extent a bad roll for your average leader is the difference between a middle tier final placement in the power rankings and a top twenty placement. In Vavlyo's case it's more akin to the difference between a respectable midtier civ like Sitting Bull in MK2 or a Haiti on dry land style performance. Now combine this need for luck with aggressive neighbors on multiple fronts and poor land. Needless to say you can see why the low ranking makes sense. Mini CBRX MK1 was likely a fluke (#selfplug).
Coming in at a chilly 55th are the Yup'ik, led by the scariest-looking (and most Finnish-sounding) leader on the cylinder: Apanuugpaak. After the dominance of the Inuit for much of MkII, you'd be forgiven for being unimpressed by their western cousins, despite their similarities- extending to, even, an appallingly vivid color scheme.

Their early UU, the Aluutiq Warrior, is merely a warrior that can settle cities, so whilst they could garner an advantage from this (the AI does actually use it thanks to BC wizardry, the word goes) the cities themselves don't win games. Into the mix comes a near-useless UB when you take into account Deity AI’s miraculous ability to generate happiness out of sea mist, and you seem to have a civ that'll be running basically vanilla units all game; the fact that their AI ranges from "okay" to "capital captured within forty turns" is more the issue.

Their snow buffs do make their location manageable, however, and I'd bet on them to make landfall in Asia first amongst the Americans, but the proximity of the Haida to their east and the uber-expansive Chinese dynasties on the west means that they're likely to be squeezed into the Bering Sea like a neon-blue frozen lemon- especially with their coastal capital negating any terrain advantage they might have had. Is Winter coming? Probably not from Alaska.
Oh, Korea. Seonjo is CBRX's successor to Mk. 2's notable Sejong, but we're almost as nervous about this Korea as we were about Sejong in the early game, and for good reason. Their uniques are great for naval warfare, getting a free naval unit per coastal cities when a defensive war is declared, a Turtle Ship UU, and a cannon that's stronger against naval units. Unfortunately, Korea is not an island. Korea is a peninsula. And just beyond their peninsula lies some of the most threatening civs in the game, especially the Qing.

Korea just simply does everything wrong. They are a defensive naval civ when their only naval threats are a rather weak Shikoku and the distant Canton Pirates, leaving themselves wide open to invasion by land. They're not particularly expansionist or militaristic either. It wouldn't be surprising to see Korea gobbled up before they even have a chance to use their UUs, as they're just so vulnerable to any Qing invasion. Korea's only hope is if the Qing get off to a bad start, and while that's possible, the likelihood of such an opportunity is low and the likelihood that Korea will capitalize on that opportunity is even lower.
Is it Tonga Time? I think it's Tonga Time.
With only a one tile island to start with, Tonga looks to be a contender for worse civ ever. Thankfully, they have some tricks up their sleeves that may help them in the coming Royale. With their expansionistic AI, food based monument replacement, and bonuses to marine combat, The Tonga will most likely be kings of the ocean, carving out a small empire of islands. However, these are all one tile islands, and will do very little in the long run. If Siaosi wants to win in the long run, he'll need to make a break for the mainland, and wrest control of some land. Otherwise Tonga Time may be very short.
Although Scotland look set to be the dominant civ starting in the isles after a string of disappointing performances from the Manx, it's not going to do them much good.
Scotland is infamous for settling slowly, which will allow other civs to establish colonies in Ireland, Wales and even Iceland while Scotland does nothing.
With the Viking menace to the east and the HRE and Moors to the south, Scotland's chances are slim.
Their ranking at 52 is more that we can expect the other civs to do even worse rather than Scotland actually accomplishing something.

In terms of UCs, once again, Scotland doesn't have much. Both of his uniques arrive in the medieval era by which point, Scotland will likely already be too far behind for them to matter or be dead. Scotland also rarely bother with their UI. On paper the clan castle is a powerful improvement, providing extra experience to units trained in nearby cities and spawning combat units after DoWs, despite this, Scotland have one of the worst track records of any civ.
Emir Abdelkader, military general of Algeria in this new world, has a well-reputed history of fighting against the odds in real life. Living in an era of colonialism, Abdelkader was only 22 years old when France invaded his homeland, Algeria, in 1830. France was a European superpower, and in this day and age it would seem impossible for someone to defeat them in such a disadvantageous position, but that is exactly what Abdelkader set about doing. Ultimately, he would lead a resistance movement that would halt France in its track, eventually forcing a treaty where a new Algerian state was born, Abdelkader at the head. In the cylinder of the CBRX, Algeria again seems to be in a disadvantaged state. Seeded 51 of 61, they are squeezed into a corner of Africa, which is perhaps the strongest continent around, and have mighty enemies nearby. That said, Algeria does have a few things going for it over others. A UA based around increasing city defenses is great as a defensive option against the melee unit spam seen in Deity AIs. Unfortunately, this comes alongside a faith focus, which in the past has not been a sign of strong civilizations. Algeria also has a unique great general that is simply better in every way to a normal one, which means in a game where many great generals are generated (and used), Algeria will have the advantage. Finally, Algeria has the Zawiya, a university replacement that boosts great people production. Algeria’s ranking may be low, but with a talented military leader like Abdelkader, who in tests of the game has led the great nation of Algeria to vast conquests and glory, and strong uniques, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see him rise, greater than anyone could imagine.
These question-mark-clad warriors of mystery, looking at the raw Voronoi map, appear to be in a rather good location by European standards, with all of France and some of Germany and Denmark to play around with. Their neighbours are the Moors, with their uncertain-at-best reputation; the Czechs, with their cramped Voronoi; and the Scots and Manx, who, let's just say, should be as worried about the Vikings as about each other, never mind any potential threats from the south. However, their testing record is... mixed, to say the least. Havel has proven to be a force to contend with in most tests, and certainly isn't as doomed as his Prague TSL suggests he is. The Moors are another vaguely unexpected force in the area, and have been known to expand well into the HRE's Voronoi, and if that happened in the real CBRX it would be a major blow to the Empire, given that it is in far more danger of a two-front war than the Moors are. Lastly, there's the Vikings, who have been known to establish beachheads in the Benelux and strike into the Holy Roman core, if I recall correctly.

Overall, I'm going to call the Elected Emperor of Holy Rome mid-tier when looking at Europe, lower-mid tier when looking at the entire cylinder, and dead last when looking at how informative their name is
It's the 5th largest island, in both the real world and the CBRX cylinder. Little known fact but despite being right off the coast of Africa, it's first inhabitants were actually related to the Indonesians and Polynesians of the Pacific. And Madagascar shares the same problem as those Pacific civs: they're stuck on an island which, although sizeable, is simply not enough to be competitive. To have a chance, Madagascar absolutely need to settle a foothold on mainland Africa and then they need to keep it. Island starts can succeed (see Iceland) but in the CBRX, Africa is full of powerhouse civs with lots of land, unlike CBR2 Europe. More likely is that Madagascar will become the Maori or Hawaii of the cylinder: living on their island, doing OKish, maybe peacefully, maybe sniping a few random cities if they're lucky... until eventually a bigger civ discovers boats and comes visit.
Oman is an peculiar situation to write about. On one hand they have a fairly infertile desert start and a rather mixed AI game track record . On the other hand you have the times they rolled a great bias set and became the powerhouse of the game they were featured in. Case in point: AdmirialCloudberg's AI Middle East game.This has happened all of one one time to my knowledge so needless to say the low ranking makes complete sense.
Out of all the island civs, Haida is probably the strangest. Beginning on the remote Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia, which have an IRL population of just a few thousand, they are surrounded by rugged mountains and forested hills and islands that could be both a blessing and a curse. The surrounding terrain could give them an impenetrable core, or it could trap them and doom them to irrelevance. However, they do have the advantage of starting next to Yup’ik, who are known to be pretty weak, and they also have a unique trireme that heals HP when ending its turn next to a forest. Forests are everywhere, so they’ll be hard to invade in the early game when their War Canoes are at the peak of their strength. In test rounds, Haida has sometimes collapsed, and sometimes they’ve dominated Alaska, the Yukon, and BC, even expanding into Siberia and in one test as far away as Japan. In the end, Haida has a shot at being a contender, but it would be reckless to bet much on it.
Shikoku is the Japanese civ this game, and is expected to settle Japan. However, tests have shown that Shikoku struggles with this, and often loses Hokkaido and northern Honshu to the Qing, Korea, and sometimes even Haida (with one exception where a bug caused them to reach the atomic era when everyone else was in medieval - don't worry that won't happen this time). If they fail to settle properly in the real game, you can expect a swift exit. But if they do get their cities up before any foreigners show up, they should have enough land to take on neighbour Korea and get a foothold on mainland Asia. After that the going will be tough as the Chinese civs in the game are quite good; an interesting avenue for expansion might be to take on the Haida and the Yup'ik in order to establish a powerful transpacific empire.
The Sulu start off on a tiny island, and will most likely die on a tiny island. Rarely having expansionistic tendencies, Sulu will fall into one of two categories: Philippines or Indonesia. On the first route, Sulu will create a decently sized empire, most likely on the backs of their Trireme UU, before being carved apart by its neighbors like Canton and Papua(Much like the Philippines). The other is that Sulu will turtle up in Melanesia, twiddling its thumbs before its neighbors decide to take over (see Indonesia in MK2). The odds are not in favor for Jamalul , but who knows, perhaps he can prove us all wrong.
There's a number of things bearing down on the Seljuqs, and most of them start with P: Palmyra, Parthia and... well, Persia. The unenviable desert of the Persia region is not ideal for building a world-conquering army (unlike in real life, apparently). Fortunately, Alp gets a UI that grants extra yields on desert - though what those yields are depends solely on what beliefs the city follows, so it's something of a crap-shoot. Oh yes, and back to those two neighbours - Palmyra and Parthia, both nations with more of a proven track record, and both with few places to expand but into the Seljuks. That said, Alp Arslan fans might be able to count on a natty UA that boosts all ranged unit strength by 20%, as well as half-cost upgrades. Building an army full of ranged units with no melee units is a classic AI move and a fast track to irrelevancy, so let's hope that UA isn't reflected too heavily in Alp's biases. It's an uphill battle for Alp, which is why he slots fairly low in our rankings, but it's by no means insurmountable - worth an outside bet, maybe.
In 43rd, things aren't looking too good for the Kuikuro. Not only are they trapped in a jungle, they're trapped in a jungle with competent enemies all around them. Their UA, allowing improvements without needing to remove jungle, doesn't aid in militarily. Outside of WLTKDs, their UU warrior is simply another warrior. Their UB grants production on jungle resources, hardly a military bonus. Between their geographic and geopolitical situations, the Kuikuro really just don't have things in the bag. The fact that their AI has a penchant for surrendering all its cities doesn't help matters. While they can certainly hunker down in their unsurrenderable jungle capital, and pray the surrounding AIs don't know what to do, that's hardly a recipe for success... Even if it grants some degree of longevity.
Xia are a tricky civ to read the pulse of. On paper, they shouldn't be any worse than any of the civs around them, as they don't have that much less space to expand than most of the other civs around them (Qing's Voronoi space is one thin line with Beijing at the far end of it, and Qin's is half desert). However, AI reputations got the better of some of the early predictors, and Xia getting walled in by Qing was consistently mentioned far more often than the reverse, despite both being very much possible. Then there's the matter of the early tests being effectively worthless for ranking the China region because they featured a bugged OP Qing that has since been nerfed. The old preconceptions, including the one about them having an awful AI (based on experiences of an early version of the mod, apparently), seem to be fading away, though, thankfully.

That is not to say Xia isn't at a disadvantage to some extent. The reputation of Qing as a great AI is somewhat deserved, although they have been known to disappoint occasionally, and Qin aren't to be sniffed at either. That being said, Xia are a solid upper-mid-tier AI in my experience, and given how many people are predicting an upset Czech victory in Europe, it seems only fair to say that Xia, too, has a chance. Welcome to the OG rice fields, familial fornicator.
The Turks, the Ottoman Empire, are in an interesting position. Ranked low and surrounded by hungry foes, it will be difficult for Mehmed to break out and stake a claim for himself in the Mediterranean. The Ottoman UA is reminiscent of Sparta’s UA from Mk2, gaining military units for practically free, though not as plentifully as Sparta. Strong unique units accompany this, but it remains to be seen whether or not they will be useful in the hands of the AI. Whether or not Mehmed can establish an empire to rival the real-world Ottomans will rely on his ability to secure his borders and make use of his powerful uniques.
The Russian civ this game is Muscovy, the first that had Moscow as its capital. In real life, Muscovy went from a small village in a minor Rus duchy, to being its own duchy, albeit vassals to the Golden Horde, to defeating the Horde and becoming the Russian Tsardom, and finally conquering its modern day enormous territory stretching all the way to the Pacific. And all this in the space of around 600 years! In the CBRX, Muscovy definitely has the potential to achieve a similar success story as Russia: they have the 8th largest amount of land on the Voronoi diagram! Their uniques are centered around conquering which is always good in a domination game, but their UA is honestly broken: it is a global AoE damage and heal every time they successfully conquer a city. If they get to Russia size, that UA could honestly just melt enemy empires!

With all this potential, why then is Muscovy so far down in the power rankings then? The answer lies with its leader: Ivan the Terrible, who seems to have misunderstood that the "terrible" in his name is supposed to reflect the brutality with which he massacred his enemies, not his skill at civ. Indeed, despite starting with the 8th largest amount of land, Ivan will rarely settle it, allowing other civs, like the Sami, Golden Horde or even Goths to form long snakelike empires that wrap around Muscovy and grab that land from under his nose. Ivan prefers to fight in early wars against his neighbours but isn't good at that either, and will usually stalemate, leaving him with nothing to show for it. Muscovy will most likely follow its real life counterpart in becoming a vassal to the Golden Horde, but unlike its counterpart, its story will end there.
Alaric has performed better than expected in the test games, but they still barely manage to eke out of being in the 40s. While they may not have the most land to work with in a Euroclusterfluff, their aggressive nature, and uniques made for domination games, will almost always resulting in them getting some more elbow room. However, this bloodthirstiness often means reprisal from enemies, and with an equally aggressive Golden Horde nearby, reprisal could mean elimination. The Goths will have their work put out for them as they try to carve out a place for their people in Eastern Europe, but it remains unlikely that the Goths never expand out of Eastern Europe and become anything more than a regional power.
Libya truly is the definition of a median civ in the CBRX. Not only is it pretty much in the middle of the pack of of all the civs, it is also the median civ of all the civs within its immediate vicinity. Stronger than Algeria and Nubia, but not as much as Benin or Songhai. It's efforts across the Mediterranian are challenged by Venice and Minoa, weak civs, the Ottomans, a slightly less weak civ, and the Moors, the big threat.

But thats enough caring about the sea of water separating Libya from Europe and instead we should be focusing on the sea of sand that lies between Libya and the civs below the Sahara. These civs have proven to be very intimidating and they are frequent threats to Libya. If Libya can anchor itself against the sea and put up a substantial defense to their south, they should be able to persist long into the game. The threats from Algeria and Nubia aren't as substantial because Algeria will have a hard time surviving againstg the Moors already and Nubia's army composition of a billion ranged units for every melee unit will not threaten Libyan cities.

Libya's chances to win the royale are slim and they will most likely be eaten up by a power from the heart of Europe or Africa that have had ample time and neighbors to feast on. But if Libya manages to pull a miracle, and I mean a miracle, they can have a damn good shot at it.
Coming in at 37th, is Piye of Nubia. Situated right on the Nile, Nubia brings an early archer replacement with siege bonuses, making it great for early assault. Unfortunately, the AI tends to make A LOT of these units, to the point that melee units may be a rare sight in the Nubian carpet. This also means that it can be difficult to penetrate the Nubian defenses, and with weak neighbors like Minoa and Oman, there is room to grow, provided Beta Israel doesn't move north. All in all, Nubia will probably end up like the Ayyyubids in Mk2: A nice start, but falls behind, eventually dying to a neighboring African civ.
The Evenks... In 36th, they're just under the middle of things. Understandable, as their start does leave a good bit to be desired. For starters, they've got the 11th place Khamug Khaganate, the 7th place Qing, and of course, the 1st place Kazakhs as neighbours. Trapped in between these great powers, the Evenks will need to fight hard to survive. While they do have their unique ability, Bugadyl, that helps in killing enemies, as well as reindeer archer spam, that's unlikely to be enough. While not a bad civilization, the Evenks are victims of their geography. Any expansion that aggravates their much stronger neighbours is liable to be checked, and checked hard.
New Zealand narrowly misses the top half of the rankings this time, mostly because of the starting locations of the Australian civs. With both on the same coast as Seddon, actually getting a foothold on the mainland will be difficult for the kiwis. If both were on the west coast, New Zealand would likely be top 5. However, if anyone can break out of an island start it's Seddon.

Well known for his imperialism, annexing the Cook islands and expanding New Zealand's territory both in real life and past AI games.
Seddon's nemesis this game is not the Aztecs or even Australia but his TSL.
Coming in at 34th, Maratha is a distinctly middle-of-the-pack nation in everything from AI and uniques to available land, most directly comparable to Sri Lanka in both location and potential. Their uniques focus on a slight uptick in the number of melee units, and while that's useful, it's nothing earth-shattering. Likewise, their AI is not particularly bad, but it's also not particularly strong either. As for their land, they have a decent chunk reserved at the tip of India, slightly larger than Sri Lanka's in extent and similar in location.

The one place where they aren't average is their neighbors. Maratha is distinctly isolated due to their location in the south of the subcontinent, nearly as much as Sri Lanka, so while Oman and Nepal can reach them, India is the one nation that Maratha will share a border with early game. I say early game because Nepal has a good chance of acquiring a major border with Maratha rather quickly. This is a double-edged sword for Maratha. On one hand, they're hard to take out early, as they are difficult to coalition, but on the other hand, their opportunities for expansion are likewise limited.

As a result, Maratha is likely to be a middle power for a while, akin to how Sri Lanka was a consistent yet unremarkable force that lasted well into the late game but didn't accomplish much for all that time. Does Maratha have the potential to achieve greatness? Maybe, but the chance is slim.
Murri is one of several civs in CBRX for which regular power ranking sort of stops working. For want of a better term, I'm going to reveal my true Nate-Silver-wannabe colours and call Murri an extremely elastic civ. That is, there are fairly few scenarios in which the Murri do averagely well – they're either going to get eliminated (or enrumpened) early on, or they're going to be in the top five. The Australian landmass doesn't lend itself to peaceful coexistence between Ganuurru and Hawke, and so, leaving aside the smallish but very real possibility of Papua or New Zealand coming out on top, one of them is going to vanquish the other and become the new Henry Parkes. So far, it looks like Hawke has the better hand, but the khaki-clad Red Kangaroo could definitely pull off an upset here.
When the game started, I knew nothing about Beta Israel other than the fact that they were Ethiopian, but it turns out they've a surprisingly rich history - and that Beta Israel is the name of the people, like the Maya or something, and Semien was their kingdom. Gudit, or Judith as it anglicizes to, was a brutally powerful ruler who laid waste to the region and in the game, they are based around that.

Their key element is the UU. An archer replacement with continuous self healing that pillages tiles, which in turn damage enemy cities if they're GPIs and provide yields to the empire. A UU for a domination game if I ever saw one. Their UB increases city defense and allows them to play their faith-based game which, unfortunately, isn't super relevant.

With a weak neighbour in Nubia, a strong one in Zimbabwe, and a on-off one in Benin, the Beta Israel certainly have a chance to do well, but the high expectations of the civs around them are reflected in their rank of 32. Here's hoping they prove us wrong.
Certainly one of my favourites going in, Parthia is not going to have the easiest time in this game.

Fighting the much BETTER horse lord Ablai Khan, this classic civilization from TarcisioCM will be hard pressed to take on the more powerful and complex civs around him.

Keep in mind, it is not impossible for Parthia to succeed. His chances of overall success relies on his southernly neighbour, the Seljuks.

If Mithridates can remake the Parthian Empire of old and take out the Seljuks early or before any major wars, he can certainly become a Middle Eastern and Central Asian powerhouse. Until then, he is in the middle of the pack.
Canada is one of just 2 civs to appear in Mk. 1, Mk. 2, and CBRX (or up to 5 depending on whether you count Muscovy as Russia, North Korea as Korea, and at least one of the four Chinas as China). Somewhat remarkably, it's rank in CBRX is almost exactly what Canada's final rank in Mk. 2 was, placing them right in the middle of the pack.

At first glance, Canada appears to be a strong contender. Their uniques are all geared for war, especially their Wartime Industry factory replacement, which gives bonuses when a unit is constructed based off of its XP (although this was nerfed from what's seen on the CBRX leader list because it was a bit too strong). Their AI, on paper, should also be good, with a 7 in military training and an 8 in expansionism. As a bonus, they have plenty of land to work with.

Unfortunately, the tests have shown that Canada tends to do worse than this first look would imply. Their land is hard-to-use tundra, and their neighbors are truly frightening. The Metis are strong but slightly distant, while the ever-notorious Iroquois start a mere 3 tiles away. These, combined with uniques that don't really shine until the industrial era, mean that Canada's in for a rough early game. That's not to say that they can't overcome these difficulties - if they can defeat the Iroquois early and block Metis's expansion through the strip of land between the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay, they'll be poised to be a strong force in the mid-game. However, unless they can pull this off, they'll be confined to the middle of the pack.
Best known for their massive massive drawings, the geoglyphs, the Nazca are ranked in the middle of the pack, at spot 29. Nazca’s greatest weakness is the competitive continent they’re placed upon. With both Uruguay and Venezuela ranked in the top 10 of these very rankings, Nazca will have to put in their best to have a realistic chance of projecting beyond their home continent. With well-rounded uniques and a somewhat reliable AI, they can’t really be closed out of contention, either. We can only wait and see if the Nazca can cover the world in their geoglyphs, or if they’ll go the way of their real-life counterparts.
Of all the continents, North America has proven to be one of the least predictable, and Poverty Point probably epitomises that best. Their UA is incredibly dynamic, changing almost every era and granting a myriad of different bonuses - some incredibly useful (increased mobility for land units, or plunging rival cities into anarchy), some functionally irrelevant (gaining science from clearing barbarian camps... which don't appear in CBRX). On top of that, they have a relatively low amount of free space compared to nearby neighbours Apache and Métis, but the plains that make up the middle of America provide ample opportunity for early game conquests. Their AI is generally considered defensive; very often Táhera will grab the Great Wall, which would be an invaluable wonder for her in the early game. There's a lot to recommend Táhera then - and yet, as you may have noticed, we've yet to discuss the Apache, Métis or Iroquois. Ultimately, Táhera's position in the corner of the continent is what counts against her most - she's liable to be coalitioned, and really has nowhere to run if she does. Still, a decent wildcard bet - a good early war against one of her neighbours and it's easy to see Poverty Point sticking around for a while.
The little Peacock that could... the Taungoo are certainly deserving of the top half for Part 0. Southeast Asia is a difficult place to make your mark in the BR, but thankfully the usual crowding was taken away! The Canton Pirates plunder China! Guinea seeks to plunder Australia!

What's left? The silent Sultanate of Sulu: The dice roll that determines this small island as a deadly underdog... or peaceful paradise.

So naturally, Southeast Asia is all for the Taungoo's taking! EmeraldRange certainly packed a punch with them, too! Though their brown, unassuming colour scheme and muted art style may make you miss it, this is no Burma. This is a civ capable of massive land battles, making it a direct threat to the Himalayas and India! Watch out, there is a contender in the ring!
Indira's India is more than ready to bury her enemies under the weight of a thousand nukes. Her UB, the Pokhran Lab, gives uranium resources and makes her nukes cost a quarter of the normal cost. With an insane nuke bias on top of that, Indira is set to be much more nuclear focused than even Gandhi. But to reach this point, she first has to reach the Modern Era. She finds herself in a somewhat cramped starting position, next to a Nepal with much more space and with three other civs not far away. If she can keep Nepal away for just long enough to suppress the Maratha in the south, she should find herself in a strong position for the rest of the game.
Golden Horde was an odd pick for the Caucasus region. Having been developed by a less than well known modder who hasn't made a mod in years (Slippin' Jimmy) and with less than stellar art quality. It even needed an overhauled design courtesy of Lime to get into the Royale. The fact that I open with the meta history of the mod says a lot about how uninteresting Golden Horde are as a contender. They are are surrounded by all sides and there UA requires them to lose cities for it to really take effect.
A truly ok civ is the best description for Songhai. They don't dominate the region usually, but they aren't weaklings for everyone to pick on. The fate of Songhai lies in what Beinin does. If Benin fails to militarize properly, Songhai will inevitably take control of the region. If Benin manages to beat Songhai, it is left as a rump state, if not elminated outrite.

Askia's AI is decent if not remarkable and given enough time to snowball, will rise to take the #3 spot on the continent before getting ganked by Ndongo or Zimbabwe as Mali did with the Boers and Buccaneers.

Can Songhai achieve greatness? Maybe, but don't hold your breath.
So here are the Moors, the 4th highest rank in Europe and the highest in Western Europe by far. The Moors are consistently above average performer in tests and average in previous AI games. They are great at focusing on science and developing a well defended core.

Western Europe and Northern Africa give the Moors plenty to feast on, while also giving them a large enough buffer from other powerful civilizations. The Moors often expand into France before the Holy Roman Empire can stop them, giving them control of the strategic areas of France and the Strait of Gibralter. This alows them to both a large army and an effective navy.

But this veritable feast in front of them is not always taken advantage of as the Moors are not the most warlike of civs and like many a civ in Mk 2, will watch as other great civs devour its prey before it can. Abd-ar-Rahman III can achieve great things, but nothing is set in stone.
As Qin Shi Huang, here still Ying Zheng, sets onto the world stage, he's got quite the task ahead of him. While he's in the top half, at 22nd place, just out of the top third, he still has quite a few enemies to contend with. Between the Canton and the Qing (and technically the Xia), the Qin have a great deal to do before they can unite China, let alone All Under Heaven. What helps Qin Shihuang considerably however, is his UA. Conquering another civ's capital gives him access to their UUs and UBs. That means that if Ying really starts snowballing, there's no telling where it ends. However, that's all for nothing, if he can't get off his feet.
Our highest ranked civ in the Middle East, Palmyra are a beautifully-hued nation with a lot to recommend them. A strong early game horseman replacement should help them in crucial early wars with the Seljuqs, Oman, Nubia or the Ottomans, while their UA gives extra production in the capital for every single caravan in their territory - a handy bonus given their starting location, on the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. They received a fairly lucky roll of the dice when it came to neighbours, especially Oman and Nubia, who are both located as far away as the region divisions allowed; in other words, they've ample room to build a strong early base in whatever direction they choose. That said, Palmyra's start does suffer from being incredibly flat - it's far easier for an army to swoop into Syria than it will be for Zenobia to divert her troops into the hills of Anatolia or Iran, and she might do well to found some strategic forward settles as defensive outposts. Be optimistic for Zenobia, but don't be too surprised if she squanders her opportunities early on and winds up trapped between larger, easier-to-defend empires
Canton has a unique position in CBRX. On one hand it can arguably been seen as the MK2 Buccaneers but with a better starting position and UA. On the other it can be seen as more vulnerable due to aggressive neighbors like Tangoo,Qin, and possibly Nepal (if they choose to go for the Tibetan area of the map). They have an arguably weak neighbor in the form of the Xia but Canton has also been known to underuse its uniques in some games. In general this poverty stricken group of fisherman turned pirate can fittingly be described in one phrase: "give and take".
Vaclav Havel is one of the most modern leaders in CBRX. Aside from Hugo Chavez, Havel has the pride to hold the most modern leader title.

But let's get into the knitty gritty. Havel is boxed in. Terribly. This is the ONLY reason I cannot place him first.

He has an extremely high production and science bias, meaning he usually soars ahead of everyone at the starting line. This also means that, despite being the second most boxed in civ in all of Europe, he will produce such a large army that nobody can see him as piece-meal.

A few wonders, a few capitals, and high settles (all likely with this civilization), Havel COULD soar... if he doesn't get ganged up on early!
I’m not gonna lie, I barely know anything about Papua. They have a light green color scheme, are north of Australia, and sometimes manage to maintain dominance over the Australian continent. Outside of that, though? I couldn’t tell you a thing. Regardless, with what I do know, I can tell you that Papua can easily become a force to be reckoned with. Any lucky break with the Murri and Australians fighting could very well lead to Papua becoming a major power, and it test runs it has been shown that this is a common outcome.
Of all the civs, Benin is one of the most inconsistent, both in terms of performance and in terms of ranking, as their standard deviation is one of the highest in our rankings.

The reason for this is that the Northern Africa region as a whole varies wildly. Due to the open Sahara desert, conquering other civs early is much easier in this region than in many other regions, and initial settlement patterns have a huge effect on how well a civ does. The Songhai, Benin, and Algeria have all outpaced the others in at least one match, so the exact outcome of this region, even in the first 200 turns, is totally up in the air.

That being said, Benin is generally one of the stronger civs in the region due to a combination of innate defensiveness, excellent defensive uniques, and some of the most defensible terrain in the region. If they settle a compact core, they will be able to hold their own against the other Northern Africa civs and even Ndongo or Zimbabwe to their south.
The land of fire at the end of the world yields us our 16th-placed contender: the Selk'nam. Once making into the top ten thanks to dominant, ocean-spanning conquests in the tests, what we can expect to see from the Beige Brigade (Cream Crusaders?) is expansive, dynamic gameplay, matched only by… Uruguay. Oh dear.

Yes, where Selk’nam shine, so do their Northern neighbors, who can almost effortlessly box them off and present a sizeable barrier to their progress. Then again, we have seen the Southest Americans put up solid resistance, and their build most certainly helps them do so. Their ability to cross Mountains and Ice as well as a double-attacking unique unit mean they are militarily equipped, and with a touch of that Grant AI (see the Pampas for an example) mean they are at the very least capable.

That said, it's unfortunate that their neighbours are so strong, but maybe, with a little luck, Xo'on Uhan-Té, the X-Man, will find a way to succeed against the odds.
Off the coast of Norway, Ragnar leads the Vikings into what he hopes will be victory. With their strong UUs, a good naval AI, and a host of weak neighbors like Scotland, Prussia and Manx, The Vikings seem primed to replicate history and pillage Europe.

But their biggest threat is also their closet neighbor, the Sami. When the Sami decide to move westward, the Vikings will have a hard fight on their hands, one where their UU Longship will be of limited help. Good relations however, could lead to the two Nordic civs splitting Europe between them, an act that may favor Ragnar in the long run.
The Iroquois only made it into the CBRX by the tiniest of margins, and really only made their way into it at all due to the heated American campaign between FDR and Fillmore. Regardless, Hiawatha is in and now it’s his time to shine. The Iroquois AI is notorious for its wide playstyle, in normal games commonly settling vast swaths of territory before other civs can get to it. Whether this will play out in the final run of CBRX remains to be seen, but alongside Chrisy15’s revamped Iroquois uniques the Iroquois look to be a decent power, so long as they can quickly surpass King’s Canada on their northern border, which they look to do.
High up in the Himalayas, Prithvi Narayan leads Nepal in what he hopes will be better than Tibet's run in Mk 2. With a UA that makes mountains a boon of food, production, AND culture, the Himalayas will be more than just defense. Meanwhile, their competent AI give them a solid mix of expansionism and military skill, which has lead to them being regional in the test games.

However, they must act fast, as the land they have at their current disposal is not enough to ensure dominance. Narayan must win decisively in the early wars, lest he and his country be relegated to the same fate that met Songstan.
Despite being a Firaxis Civ, Montezuma is a contender in many of the eyes of the PR. With a usually agressive AI, and tons of room in Mexico and Central America to expand into, a powerful pair of Uniques in the Jaguar and Floating Gardens, and dozens of dedicated shitposters.. uh.. fans, Montezuma has the makings of a good empire. His biggest obstacles are his equally competent, but non-Firaxis neighbors, Apace and Venezuela, both ranked higher than him. Can Montezuma channel the power of Pedro, and show all the mod boys how they do it in Vanilla world? Or will Aztec dreams of glory go into the dump like Rome's? Either way, one thing's for certain: There Will Be Shitposts
Yes, the boiler civ itself... the Khamugs.

Jamukha, notable for his rivalry with Genghis Khan that sprinboarded the Age of Mongols, does not seem to be throwing punches like his rival did last mark. With a much more spacious opening and access to the Arctic Sea, we may see a proper Mongol navy before the Future Era!

Jokes aside, the Khamug are notable for being one of the three great Horse Lords this mark alongside the Kazakhs and Parthia.

Unlike those Horse Lords, Jamukha has a high scouting capability and an extremely high bonus from his steppe territories. He is awarded for playing the cavalry game rather than being awarded with cavalry like the Parthians.

Jamukha is in the shadow of the Kazakhs due to their extra land, but with enough determination, Jamukha can give the Mongols a second shot at doing what Genghis could not.
We enter the top 10, and Venezuela are here for good reason. Hugo Chavez is an AI who enjoys settling a large but compact empire, denouncing every single person he meets, and then if anyone feels insulted by that he conquers them. Oh, and he also enjoys nukes. All things that make an excellent AI. We might be seeing the second coming of the buccaneers! Their northern neighbour of Haiti is a pushover and barely counts as an opponent. The Nazca and Aztecs are fine but can still be beaten. The Kuikuro are a small fortress but nothing nukes can't solve. The main obstacle to continental dominance is Uruguay, who are looking like the Brazil of this game. Will they succeed where the Buccs failed and win South America? Or will they eventually get eaten up by an unstoppable wave of troops that will engulf the world?
Nzinga is back and is here for revenge. She's the second highest ranked in Africa. She has consistently built a strong empire across tests. She is also in a prime position to attack almost all of Africa if she pleased. It seems like all the cards are in her favor. Nzinga is determined not to have a repeat performance of Mk 2.

But there is a spectre haunting Ndongo - the spectre of Zimbabwe. In Mk 2, Nzinga was killed by an enemy to the south, one that took advantage of her position. Because if Nzinga is in the best position to attack all of Africa, she is also in the prime position to be attacked by all of Africa. Zimbabwe, being the only civ that outranks her on the continent and the overall #2 civ in the entire game, poses a threat reminiscient of the Boers. Zimbabwe, across the tests, proved to be the deciding factor in countering Ndongo.

Has Nzinga learned the lessons of the past or will she fall prey to the same tactics that doomed her previously? Only Reon can tell and Reon ain't leaking.
Coming from a land down under, with the Murri close and looking to plunder, are our favourite green-and-gold nation in 11th. Once having had a whopping deviation of just over 20, ranks for the Aussies ranged from 2nd to 57th for one reason: the Murri being so close by. However, more and more tests seem to reveal that, whilst, as predicted, the winner of their early exchange dominates the landmass, Hawkey seems to be the better placed to do it, and thus he has snuck into the Top Ten.

Not only is he the only... Oh... oh no. Sadly, Bob Hawke died on the 16th of May and won't be alive to see himself in CBRX. That said, despite joining the ranks of now-historical leaders, he’s one with a massive chance to be so once the dust has settled, like Henry Parkes-the-Bus before him. If he does, he'll do it by blasting out culture and golden ages like there's no tomorrow thanks to his specialist buffs, then rocketing forth in science in the Modern Era with his acronym-heavy uniques: the SASR paratroopers and the CSIRO labs, with the former promising to make warring in Asia a real possibility. If they get the chance, they could snowball hard, and this time, there will be no Diggers to clog up production, but rather armies of paratroopers. Lovely stuff!

The only spanner in the works beyond the Murri may be Papua, but if they can be held off until a tech- or policy-lead yields dividends, a solution from Hawkey Boi will be swift. All in all, you better run, you better take cover.
Here comes the greatest of the Chinas! Great Qing, aptly named, is clearly the fiercest competitor this side of the Himalayas. Cixi often takes out her foes before any of them have time to even respond, and her uniques have her miles ahead of her competitiors and allows her to unlock bonuses that her enemies would have to wait ages for.

Often devouring Korea and Xia without too much difficulty, Qing becomes the major player in the the region, contained only by the Khamug, Qin, and Canton. On rare occasions, Qing even manages to settle Honshu before even Shikoku does. Qing has many great things going for it: great AI, great uniques, and (personally) a great color scheme.

East Asia is a motley of excellent civs and Qing seem to be the foremost of all of them. A future painted yellow and blue seem to be in the cards for Cixi and, dare I say, all of us.
The Metis come in at a strong sixth place, right behind their North American neighbours the Apache. Which of those two civs will do better is anyone’s guess, but it seems like that either the expansionist Metis or the aggressive Apache will win the continent. The Metis fill roughly the same slot as the Sioux did in Mk. 2, only they start farther north, up in the forests of Canada, which are much more defensible than the plains that the Sioux were forced to occupy. On top of that, they have the most room of any North American civ, and even though much of it is tundra and snow, the AI doesn’t care very much about that. In most test rounds they’ve expanded rapidly, packing cities in as tightly as they can. Their military prowess has been mediocre, however: despite being extremely expansionist, they rarely expand by conquest, and they lost at least one or two peripheral cities in almost every test. In addition, they sometimes exhaust themselves trying to invade Haida, whose capital is on a one-tile-island on the other side of a mountain range. Their 6th place spot is earned through their expansion and their room in which to do it, but whether they live up to the hype depends on what they do with it.
The Apache under Geronimo start off strong in 5th place out the gate, having a strong and militaristic AI, a solid track record in AI games, and uniques complementing their ability to kick ass. Their first UU, the Renegade, a Riflemen replacement, does occur later in the game, but is able to enter foreign lands without an OBT, allowing for a bigger carpet, and gets Survivalism promotions for free, making the Apache unique unit better at staying alive. Their second UU, the Warband, a Cavalry replacement, ignores ZOC, and also gains HP from attacking military units stacked with civilian ones. Given how the AI seems to love having worker carpets, this will surely provide the Warband with free HP every turn. Their UA also gives military bonuses for fighting on pillaged tiles, of which there will doubtless be many.

In addition, the Apache historically outpace their neighbours during tests, to find themselves in positions of strength. While their neighbours, such as the Metis and Aztecs, are certainly no joke, and Poverty Point is in no means a bad position themselves, the Apache are in a position that allows rapid early expansion. If the Apache are able to capitalize upon this, and outpace their neighbours from the gate, they will certainly find themselves dominating North America. Overall, they're a very strong civ, that absolutely deserves their top five position.
The Sami get a well earned top 5 ranking for several reasons. Food based UCs, a good AI and a great TSL will take the Sami far. With extra food from tundra and snow, thanks to their UA, the bad terrain won't be a problem. Previous AI games and the CBRX tests support this.
They can easily box in the Vikings early game, leaving them plenty of time to settle their land in peace.
With infamously bad civs like Prussia and the Nenets nearby Eadni won't have much trouble conquering even more land. Of all the civs looking to take advantage of the land gap north of Muscovy, the Sami have the best chance. The Golden Horde and the Goths have plenty of their own enemies to deal with and Muscovy is depending on a good set of biases to escape an early grave.
These guys are frontrunners, to be sure. A very strong civilization, Uruguay is extremely likely to become the powerhouse of South America.

With the turtly Kuikuro to the North, the spacious Selk'nam, and the flip-flopping Nazca, you would be hard pressed to find a true rival for Uruguay outside of Venezuela.

Hugo Chavez aside, Uruguay has a healthy and diverse continent, likely the best terrain in the game. They are not hampered by a jungle start like the Kuikuro, who will be hard pressed to move units through the jungle tiles that they refuse to chop down. Nor are they isolated on some early tundra like the Selk'nam

If Uruguay does not make it to the top 3 as their ranking suggests, I will be shocked. Pleasantly.
There's something faintly menacing about Zimbabwe. Perhaps it's their position at the bottom of the so-called Dark Continent, waiting to slowly rise up the map and absorb each of their neighbours in turn. Perhaps it's the memories of Paul Kruger's cyborg Boers, starting in a similar location on the map, reminding us that it is well within Nyatsimba Mutota's capacity to claim the Mk2 victory that never was, in the name of true Africa rather than cloud-enabled interlopers. Perhaps it's the vaguely sinister sound of any empire beginning with a zed, skulking at the very bottom of the power rankings spreadsheet. Or it could just be because, y'know, Zimbabwe look like they're going to do really damn well. Originally predicted to be the first casualty of an expanding Ndongo, most tests have shown Mutota to have the upper hand. So yes. We've pretty much all come out as being confident on Zimbabwe, free from the threat of a two-front war that has scared many civs on this new cylinder into possible submission. Feel free to sue us for a quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars if we get it wrong
Our choice for the top spot, not entirely unanimously (Scissor), is the Kazakhs. They have the most room to expand of any civ, and they have powerful abilities that improve their infrastructure. And they’re one of the few civs that was never eliminated in any test. All this together gives them a position that is strong, but a few important factors prevent it from being overpowered. First of all, the Kazakhs may be expansionist, but they tend not to field a huge military and usually maintain peaceful diplomatic relations with other civs. Much like Yakutia in Mk. 2, they like to be strong and then do nothing with their strength. On top of this, their lands are not defensible: wide open plains are a nightmare to hold if the attacking force has a stronger army. With these factors in mind, it seems like the Kazakhs have everything going for them—but whether they become a contender depends on what they decide to do with what they’ve given.

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