Scouts (and their dogs) are used primarily for exploration in the early game, and are highly recommended as one of the first things to build because of how important your surrounding terrain is. While not helpless, they are relatively weak, so they should generally try to avoid battle. Scouts will gain experience whenever they visit a tribal village or discover a natural wonder.
Note that, unlike the Scout in Civilization V, who started with an inherent promotion allowing him to ignore all terrain penalties, the movement of the Scout in Civilization VI is not that great when he's a rookie. Yes, he has 3 MPs, but with the new movement rules that doesn't help him much in dense woods/rainforests or hilly areas. However, the very first Promotion he can acquire allows him to move faster through certain types of terrain, and here is the crux: you have to choose wisely what his first promotion will be! Depending on your choice, his movement may be boosted considerably, or not. Also, when crossing a River, the Scout is subject to the same movement rules as other units. Furthermore, one may be able to take advantage of the "one unit per tile" rule by using one's Scout to block an opponent's troops from approaching the player's border, or to stop the player's opponent from moving their units to an ally's territory in preparation for war.
Barbarian Scouts should be prioritized whenever possible. Should they spot a city, they'll attempt to find an outpost to report to and spawn a raiding party. Barbarian Scouts that have found a civilization will be marked with a red exclamation point (!). Pursuing them is extremely difficult due to their 3 MPs, so use multiple units that exert a Zone of Control or force Scouts to hug the coast or a chokepoint in order to restrict their movement. On top of this, their mobility makes them able to appear from areas you can't see to plunder trade routes.
Civilopedia entry Edit
Over the centuries many people have been termed "scouts" (including teenagers in neat uniforms camping out and earning "merit badges"). But fleet-footed warriors adept at wandering the wilderness and spying on the enemy have existed since the days of hunter-gathers. These "specialists" were the eyes and ears of early civilizations, spreading out from settlements, exploring new lands, and seeking the enemy. In time, they became ever more specialized, and are an inherent and vital part - even today - of any military formation. Knowing where the opponent is and what he is up to is still vital to avoid getting slaughtered.
- While barbarian Scouts are accompanied by wolves, Scouts belonging to the playable civilizations are accompanied by German Shepherds.
- As part of an ongoing promotion with 2K Games, Firaxis has released a "Scout Cat" skin as DLC. When enabled, it replaces all of the in-game Scouts' canine companions - including the barbarians' wolves - with domestic cats.