Exploration unit. Available right from the start of the game.
- Common abilities:
- Ignores Terrain Cost
The Scout is available from the start of the game, and is designed primarily for exploration. Its ability to move through any terrain without considering its normal movement rules allows it exceptional mobility, especially when crossing vast expenses of forest or jungle.
The Scout has a melee attack, but it is so weak that it's best to avoid combat, instead outrunning the attackers. The Scout also has a unique promotion: Survival, which not only grants it additional healing outside your territory, but also a defensive bonus that allows the unit to survive attacks and move on.
The Scout is vital in the early game for exploring the world, locating Barbarian encampments, and discovering Ancient Ruins, Natural Wonders, city-states, and other civilizations. Remember that the Ancient Ruins benefits are only available to the first civilization that explores them, and that discovering a city-state first grants you double the normal Gold reward. Build at least one Scout as soon as possible; some players will build one first thing after setting up their capitals.
The Scout is very useful for taking out Barbarian encampments when you need your other troops to defend the city. The Scout has a bonus when fighting against Barbarians, and can be surprisingly strong against Barbarian Warriors and Archers. The Scout can level up quickly so that you can get the Scout's upgrades.
The Scout becomes obsolete (unprocurable) with the discovery of Scientific Theory. Scouts are a "special" unit, in the sense that they're outside of the regular upgrade chain - there is no equivalent later era unit to which the Scout can be upgraded with Gold. They can, however, be upgraded by the "advanced weapons" bonus of an Ancient Ruin, in turn giving an Archer that ignores terrain penalties. This special unit, nicknamed "scarcher" by the community, can then be upgraded by normal means and will retain the path finding bonus all the way through the tech tree.
Scouts form the eyes and ears of early civilizations. These fleet-footed warriors are not supposed to engage with enemy forces - they're supposed to find the lay of the land, discovering any potential threats or treasures. A civilization that doesn't know what's going on in the world around it is blind to both peril and opportunity.