Dido, the founder of Phoenicia, makes a return to the Civilization series. The Phoenicians will be a strong contender for any of the available victory conditions since their strengths don't push them in any specific direction but rather gives them an all-round early game advantage. A perfect civilization for those who want to play on higher difficulties but struggle during the early eras.
Dido has been the subject of many a legend and has been the inspiration for many poetic works. After being forced to flee her home city she later arrived in North Africa and was given a small piece of land by the king of Iarbas. This would later become Carthage, the cornerstone of the mighty Phoenician empire.
Leader Ability: Founder of Carthage
Phoenicia has one of the most unique special abilities ever offered in Civilization in that they can move their capital city to a more preferable location. To do this, you'll need to build a Cothon, their unique district, as well as complete a unique city project in the new city.
Dido's unique ability also increases the usefulness of Government Plaza's by granting a 50% production bonus to the construction of districts in the city where the Government Plaza is built and increasing your trade route capacity for each building in the Government Plaza.
Unique District: Cothon
This might be one of the strongest unique districts the game offers. The Cothon replaces the Harbor and offers +50% production towards all naval units and Settlers in that city. Also, any damaged naval units who come to heal in this city will be completely repaired in a single turn, regardless of the amount of damage they suffered.
Unique Ability: Mediterranean Colonies
Phoenicia starts the game with a slight technological advantage in that they have the Eureka for the Writing technology already unlocked.
Furthermore, any city founded on a coast, on the same continent as the Phoenician capital will not suffer any loyalty pressure from neighboring civilizations. Finally, Settlers gain +2 movement and sight when embarked and don't suffer any of the additional movement costs when embarking or disembarking.
Unique Unit: Bireme
One of the golden rules of Civilization is to never send your Settlers out unprotected. Since Phoenicia's Settlers are encouraged to sail the seas, it only makes sense that they receive some proper protection. Their bodyguards in the early game come in the form of the Bireme an Ancient era naval unit which is stronger and faster than the Galley which it replaces.
Additionally, the Bireme also protects nearby embarked trader units by ensuring they cannot be plundered when within 4 tiles of a Bireme.
Many seasoned Civilization players find themselves trying out harder difficulty settings only to be crushed by the AI due to the incredible early game advantage they receive. Phoenicia might be the answer to those players who need a new challenge but whose strength lies in the mid to late game.
Phoenicia will be a perfect civilization to play on maps that contain a lot of water due to the various buffs their navy receives. Expand your empire early on and you should claim the oceans as your territory throughout the entire game.
Finally, their ability to move their capital city throws a giant spanner in the way things have worked till now. If you're in danger of being conquered by a warmonger, you can disrupt their process by ensuring your capital city is not part of their collection. Also, as many of us have found, your initial city is not always the strongest in the later parts of the game so Phoenicia can ensure they always get the most out of their capital city.