I really dont understand how to use them effeciently, all thier techs and the like distract me so much so that by the end of a 40 minute treaty I'm barely out of Imperial age.
Im not sure how thier congress works with Union VS Confederate.
I really want to play them well but I struggle to because I cant figure out what to pick
Any help is appreciated thank you
Colour me surprised! They are BEST in 40 min treaty. They have extra technology for each unit and each research, which makes them extremely powerful in late game. Full upgraded Rifle man is almost OP. Even Ashigaru cannot match him. Seriously, 60+ attack, 3x Bonus vs cavalry at range, 18+ Range, 400+ HP.....what else do you need? Not only them, ordinary melee cavalry unit also have high stats. Artillery are quite good. Sharpshooter takes down artillery and infantry. Only if they had permanent stealth like in empire earth!! Gatling gun eats infantry. You have several choices in military.
You're correct. They have too many choices. First try a single player game vs AI to get a hang of it.
In Union, Gatling gun and buffalo soldiers are extremely good. Buffalo soldiers are like Howdahs. They have high stats and added to that, they don't have the pathing issues like Howdahs. gatling gun is extremely good vs infantry and mediocre vs anything else.
In Confederacy, sharpshooter and cavalry corps are extremely good. Sharpshooter has high attack in long range and they have bonus vs heavy infantry and artillery. But they have mediocre HP, so they are vulnerable in short range and melee. Cavalry corps are like mahout but they have higher attack (lower HP) than mahout and they too don't have any pathing issues like mahout.
If you concentrate on booming and required technologies at first and when you have resources then remaining technologies, then it will be good. Else your strategy might break.
Research all economy techs, SOME military techs depending on your strategy, all arsenal techs. Usually you're better off ignoring navy, unless you and enemy are separated by water. Usually, i won't research full upgrades for all units before creating army. I full upgrade only necessary units first. I research remaining upgrades if I have sufficient resources after I created army (touch pop limit).
UPDATE: It totally slipped my mind, but Rifleman have 2.0 ROF instead of 3.0 like other ranged heavy infantry. That means they fire for every two game seconds instead of three.