View Full Version : Five Pillars For Success

Sultan Bhargash
Nov 25, 2001, 05:20 PM
Here are some tips, especially for those who have just come over from Civ 2, but also for anyone who wants more to think about as they build their empire...

Mongol Horde
Nov 28, 2001, 08:57 AM
Cheers mate, these tips really helped.

Nov 28, 2001, 12:01 PM
Pretty good. I disagree with some stuff. Like:

"There is no point at all in making catapults and cannons ... and artillery"

Just because you can't use them like you did in Civ 2 does not make them useless. They are SUPPORT forces, not attack forces. Besides blasting down city defenders before sending in the troops (I kept it to a minimum in Civ 2 to avoid destroying improvements, but since you have to rebuild temples and stuff to get the benefits, I don't care so much), and they are excellent city and force defenders.

I usually send 3 or 4 with my attacking force. If any defenders come near, I blast them down to one before sending out a mobile unit to finish them off. By keeping the defenders off your forces, you help ensure your forces have only suffered minimal damage before reaching your offensive target.

On the harder levels, when you can't always ensure that you have vastly superior forces and every attack unit counts, bombarding counter-attackers is really useful.

Nov 28, 2001, 01:04 PM
And oops:

"[To get a high score in Civ 2] You zealously took care of pollution and set the barbarians on high, and at the last minute you jacked your luxury rate up to 100% and built one-person cities with all of your engineers. Well, the last two tactics still hold, but the first two are passť in civ 3."

In Civ 3, bumping up the happiness on the last turn has mimimal effect on the score. Your score is averaged across the entire game so a last turn switch doesn't really do much.

Sultan Bhargash
Nov 28, 2001, 01:42 PM
Thanks for the replies, you are right about the happiness being factored over the course of the game. I still hold firm about the uselessness of artillery, and having just won a domination victory, have a few more comments about tactics: it is much more worth it to have all of your cities producing cavalry, later tanks, later modern armor, than to have any wasting time on planes, boats, or artillery pieces. The only time I use artillery pieces is when I capture the enemy's in the field, and then only until I can get them to newly captured cities, where four of them can be disbanded to make a temple on the first turn that you captured the city and it is still in resistance; the temple comes out, the resistance ends early, and soon your new city's border expands and the people stop starving and you can get that much closer to your enemy. Artillery could help your odds if you are fighting equal or stronger forces, but why would you be doing that?
Another strategy I didnt mention is building cities at the edge of your opponent's border, then rush jobbing temples and if necessary libraries, until your cultural border is flush against their city. THis means you can march all your forces to their gates without being called on it, and launch your attack when ready.
I have to admit that try as I might, I cant get a cultural victory. Does anyone know the criteria? I had 94,000 culture points and was more than twice either of my opponents but I had to go ahead and do the domination when it got close to retirement and I wasnt going to be satisfied with a histographic win. Also: why arent there films for anything but a space win?

Nov 28, 2001, 02:50 PM
What level are you playing on? I didn't use artillery on the easier levels but found, as I moved up the difficulty scale, artillery support for defense really helps a lot.

"it is much more worth it to have all of your cities producing cavalry, later tanks, later modern armor, than to have any wasting time on planes, boats, or artillery pieces."

There is a difference between something being less useful than something and useless. Just because B is less than A doesn't mean B is = to zero.

"Artillery could help your odds if you are fighting equal or stronger forces, but why would you be doing that? "

In a recent game at Monarch as Egyptians, I was on a continent with the Romans and Greeks and doing ok. Then suddenly, my Saltpeter ran out. None of my friends had any extra they could trade me so I attacked the Greeks to take theirs.

At the time, I had knights, catapults and a few musketman that were made before my source ran out. They were in roughly the same situation. I could have taken the time to nuture a friendship, but I was planning on kicking them off my continent eventually anyway.

I used the catapults as artillery support - some stationed on the border in fortresses (previously built) to weaken counter-attacking forces and some traveling with my two assault forces to knock down defenders (both in the field and in cities) before my knights finished them off.

I played without artillery support (in the generic sense) until I moved up to Regent. At that level and higher, I find they are useful for defense - especially if you are in peace-mode and suddenly find yourself attacked. Artillery units in the front-line cities buy enough time to build up and move your forces.

Once I get tanks, they become a lot less useful but in ancient and medieval times, catapult and cannon can be very useful for defense if you are running thin on forces. I don't use the later artillery much - especially once you have railroads and can move your tanks instantly where they are needed.

I also use them to knock down forces so my Elite forces are pretty much assured of a win, increasing the chances of a leader being generated.

Again, just because there may be an alternative which is, debatably, better but does not mean they are entirely useless.

Nov 29, 2001, 05:59 PM
I have to admit that try as I might, I cant get a cultural victory. Does anyone know the criteria? I had 94,000

100,000 total cultural points will get you the cultural victory.

Also: why arent there films for...

Do you mean replay films?

Sultan Bhargash
Dec 02, 2001, 07:56 PM
Thanks for the tip- I did finally get a cultural victory, it was down to the wire even though I had built the big culture wonders and had temples and libraries in every city, cathedrals, unis, research and colloseums in most others. I would like to a see a movie like the space ship launch movie; it could show battles for conquest, performance for culture, handshaking for diplomacy, etc.
Evanciv- OK, OK, artillery is not completely useless. I hadnt thought about using it for defense; on offense I consider it important to come with overwhelming force, which for me means minting as many horsemen, knights, cavalry, tanks or modern armor as I can, leaving no time to build catapults (you have to admit, catapults are virtually worthless, whatever you think of cannons and artillery). If you are hanging back on defense, it might indeed be a good idea to have artillery to chew on attack units, but again if you are going to spend time building units, they ought to be either the best defensive or offensive available, and for my shields, artillery, attack boats, and planes just dont fit the bill. Think of it in terms of Civ 2; did you spend alot of time building spies to sabotage away enemy hit points without killing the enemy units? No, you built a kick ass offensive artillery piece...
That being said, I wont argue anymore, I am not the world's greatest tactician, I just wrote about what I thought was the most enjoyable course of action. Thanks for the comments, SB

Richard III
Dec 03, 2001, 03:42 PM
Originally posted by Sultan Bhargash
Artillery could help your odds if you are fighting equal or stronger forces, but why would you be doing that?

Well, because it's more efficient for a human to fight the AI with an inferior force. I think I've fought only one war with superior forces (according to my crappy mil advisor, anyway).


1. I devote more energy and resources to peaceful and economic builds, because I've got a Paul Kennedy "Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" attitude to civ2/3 and war - strong technology and a strong economy can always catch up to a strong army given enough time.

Which then translates to Tactical:
2. Focusing your inferior forces on a weak point, with strong artillery support, dramatically increases the likelihood of victory in a city without serious casualties, which lets you maintain a steady pace of advance (one offensive leap per column of 6-10 units every three-four turns) without the need to resort to wartime production (figuratively or literally) at home to replace those casualties.

I agree that catapults are useless. But then, I rarely fight voluntarily until the industrial age anyhow.


Dec 24, 2001, 09:44 AM
Every artillery piece you build and support is one less real combat unit you make and can afford. Considering how spotty their attacks are, I would almost always prefer real combat units. The only thing I do with artillery that is useful is park a few of my best defenders on mountains near strategic resources to blow the crap out of the cities and improvements. You can often get teh AI to throw his whole offensive might against such a place, allowing you to invade a much weakened civilization from its other side.

The one thing artillery does for you is that there is no chance of them taking damage during their attacks, so they have no dowtime. But, it takes so many of them to make a difference, costing so much money, that you are almost always better off with a lot of multimove attackers instead, who usually don't die attacking cities.

Dec 24, 2001, 09:45 AM
Hey sultan, where is that Lincoln quote found. That is awesome.

Dec 24, 2001, 02:39 PM
"There is no point at all in making catapults and cannons ... and artillery"

We always would prefer a technological, or numbers advantage in battle, but we don't always have a choice. Sometimes, we have to fight and fight hard. When attacking a well-fortified city, that would normally chew up your Knights/Cavalry/Tanks, use bombard and lots of it, over several turns if necessary. Pound the enemy until they can no longer resist, or they are forced to leave their caves and attack on open ground.

Bombard, bombard, bombard.

Jan 02, 2002, 12:39 PM
Mr Sultan:
When you get to Monarch level do you find that the AI cheats massively? That was my exp last night. Large size, playing Zulu on monarch level difficulty. I destroyed the greeks and built up half of my continent. Japan remained on my land mass (several other civs were stuck on another land mass). Well upon attacking the Japanese with much stronger forces (cavs vs. their swordsmen, warriors, spearmen and a few samurai), I found the AI began to allow his units to slice through mine like butter. This was not a once off spearman vs. tank disaster (I have won on Monarch before). This was his samurai cutting up riflemen stacked three to a city!!! I got so mad I turned the game off. By the end he had stacked samurai 30!! high and began attacking, and he repaired his men while they were on Zulu ground, how? Field med was no where around. I had 10 cavs in each of two cities and he crushed them. Impossible. My cavs were losing to spearmen on open ground, then getting killed by swordsmen while stationed in the jungle.

I have two theories: (A) the power of an attacking unit declines over time. I mean that your cavalry get weaker as the game moves on. So as you near the tank, the cavs lose to even a warrior. Then the tanks start out strong and weaken over time. And so on.
(B) Alternatively, the AI measures your success and counterattacks with whatever it takes to give you the user an interesting game, even if it has to cheat with each attack. This would explain why Civs I have never met are "annoyed" with me when I first meet them (even with a clear dip. record)!!

Just a side note: very good article on Civ strategy (although you need to make it clear what difficulty level it applies to). Last, do not underestimate Militaristic and getting those leaders to rush wonders...


Luc bin Laden
Jan 04, 2002, 09:42 AM
[SIZE=4][FONT=courier new]NORWAY?[SIZE=1]
Whatta ya mean Norway?

Dag Hammarskjold was from Sweden, not Norway!

And if it wasn't for the US fascists in Washington (CIA killed the Swedish prime minister in -86), Sweden WOULD rule the world - "thank you very much".

Btw, the US Fascist also killed Hammarskjold. In their cover up story they called it "Plane Crash".

Ron Gretz
Jan 04, 2002, 11:12 AM
Originally posted by dfhny
Mr Sultan:
When you get to Monarch level do you find that the AI cheats massively? That was my exp last night.


Hey Dan,

I think there are levels of cheating built through out the game to some extent.

I am learning Civ3 and am playing at the 2nd level of difficulty (warlord I think).

In this game, the chinese are on another continent. There best naval unit is the frigate. The best lands are cavalry, riflemen and cannon. I have already progressed to tanks, infantry, artillery, battleships, destroyers and marines.

I have had cases where I mass 3-4 arty pieces against a city, do a prebombardment with all 4 guns then literally hit the city with tanks and cavalry with no effect (only 3 riflemen defenders). I watched 3 tanks, 5 cavalry and an infantry all get taken down to 1 hp while no damage occurs on the defending riflemen who have already lost their walls.

Then, on a counter attack, the AI will throw a cavalry unit against a stack of 2 tanks and he will carve through 1 of them as though a not knife through butter.

This occurs repeatedly. I am being forced to stack arty and infantry with my tank units just for defense; all the while on an offensive operation.

It is all rather frustrating to be 60-100 years ahead technologically and have units considered advanced by the average of the other civs to be destroyed helter skelter as opposed to occasionally.

I also suspect that the same is occuring with how AI civs grow in the early game. I struggle with having just 4-5 cities by 20AD.

Then look at a post game movie and notice that by the same time, the AI civs will have 8-10. So it really makes me wonder what incentives the AI civs are being given.

Doubtful Teeks
Jan 04, 2002, 11:56 AM
I was playing regent with the Iriqouis on a medium sized continent with the Americans with me. A got off to a good start with 5 cities by 1500 bc. I traded maps with the Americans, and they had 11.

Jan 05, 2002, 12:01 PM
I was noticing myself that the only time I build catapults was the first game, I've never bothered with cannon, but artillery IMHO do earn their keep if you build 3-5. Also, Rocket artillery is an utter joke: by the time you get robotics your enemies will have it as well but they will likely be using the technology to rush manufacturing plants to build SS parts. Rocket artillery is kinda like a wierd alternate to stealth bombers, like if you are getting attacked in the last 50 turns... but nobody seems to attack anyone who has robotics in the year 2000, do they?

Samurai in a metro or city are wonderful at stopping cavalry. Cav have 6 A, Sam have 4 D *1.5 (city) or *2.0 (metro). Maybe if you bombarded the samurai garison with the artilery that wern't worth building first you could take them. ;) Incidently swordsmen 3 A, Cav 3 D so they are ideal for eliminating red-out cavalry.

Starting on monarch the AI starts with 3 more units, +7 on emperor, +15 on deity. I have to say that's cheating! I suspect it gets even worse if they're an expansionist civ on a big map, b/c the goody huts will further increase their tribe. So it costs them more money? No they give more free support as well.

Jan 08, 2002, 05:35 PM
so...i play like this always...(i normally play in warlord):

1-Build about 5 to 7 cities very a net of roads around them and the the first turns just matter off building some workers 2 spierman do defend the towns and settlers...

2-the first offensive is highly succeffull if you have a very close enemy...go to militar tech advances and after building barracks in all cities start bulding offensive units and put them near the border...when you think it's enough...declare war (if you attack before you declare war, your repution goes very low), and then attack your enemy until you completely eleminate them...

3-this part is the most boring part...never make war because everyone already have good units...and defensive units are very good against this part normally bettween 1000 A.C and 1900 A.C i just simply...grow grow grow...peacefully...i build everythinh i have to build and i keep more and more money without losing speed in tech discoveries...very important: build 1st marketplaces and banks to make money!!!...

4-YEAHH THE TANKS ARRIVE!!!...i love's the best offensive unit for me...very speed...outstainding offensive and good's time to kick the ass off one or more of your enemys...just build tanks...and tanks...and tanks...and tanks...declare war...put everyone against them...massive attacks are much much better than isolated simply go from city to city until the last is yours!!!...:)

5-ok now you are the most powerfull...and it's almost 2000...just buld things in your are already the most powerfull of the planet...make SS components if you wanna...but normally your conquers are well for you in 2050 to win the game...:)...after 2050...and you have future techs...just declare war to everyone...and if you wanna to conquer suggest you to build some nice and cool ICBM and blow up with the planet...


Jan 08, 2002, 11:25 PM
skirmish--- you will find with the patch and at higher levels that the AI is reluctant to let you build 7 cities w/o declaring war (on standard size map). Moreover, the starting terrain on REgent and above sucks, so your cities grow much slower.


Jan 17, 2002, 08:08 AM
I don't think that it's a matter of opinion alone if catapults are better or worse than archers. It's math: 1 Archer + 1 Catapult is less effective than 2 archers. Archers can actually destroy and not only causing minimum damage. Catapults/Cannons are useful for people who enjoy the precision of using 10 units to kill one single opponent unit without accepting any degree of damage.

Overall the "Pillars" Guide belongs to the more useful ones. There should be more focus on haggling because that's what the game is about, I think.


Jan 17, 2002, 10:04 AM
Originally posted by Mapache
Catapults/Cannons are useful for people who enjoy the precision of using 10 units to kill one single opponent unit without accepting any degree of damage.

"Precision" can be very important in a tough combat. Remember, not everyone is in a winning position every time. I once had to take a city, fortified with infantry, but only had riflemen. Cannon made the operation successful. No number of riflemen could have taken that position. As it was, my men suffered great losses.

The "killer phalanx" does not exist for those with bombard capability.

Jan 19, 2002, 12:53 AM
re: Mapache

Catapults in my game get used if I am being attacked at higher levels: if I capture a town in a strategic position as a despotism I whip out 1. barracks, 2. spearmen, 3. spearmen, 4. walls, 5. catapults. They play an important role if you want to stop your idiot neighbor until military tradition. They tend to throw a lot of production at thinking they can capture the city with numbers of troops, if you have like 3 forts like this they get stagnated and you will be able to take them out getting advanced well before them. This works great if you change to repuplic b/c the city above costs a lot less to maintain than the armies that would be need to take it, and if they do take it, it will be so costly they will likely offer a truce after taking it. If they do take it you aren't loosing too much, after all.

The time I use archers is to start a war with one of the warlike civs right off if they're on my continents and they're starting positions are weak. Better I conquor them than gaijin pouring over off triremes.

Generally an intact enemy is better than an eliminated one, while you're developing it's well worth it to trade for luxouries than do the work to take them by force. You can do that latter if you want, but other wise the dip you take in a medeival war is too much of a risk of invasion by gaijin.

Feb 27, 2002, 12:46 PM
Yes, the AI cheats -- badly when you are on higher difficulty level. I urged everyone of you to try out the "multi.sav" cheat. Not for cheating, but to see how the AI works. I forgot which level (probably after Prince), the AI doesn't start with 1 work and 1 settler but a dozen of workers and warriors. Basically, by the time you have one warriors, the AI will already build 4 or 5 cities. That's why peaceful victory like diplomatic or cultural victory is more difficult in higher difficulty level.

Personally, I hate that. I don't like to be a warmonger and I was very happy when I learned that Civ3 has so many peaceful victory options but I am very disappointed when I found that peaceful victory is more difficult to achieve than conquest victory in higher difficulty levels.

A side note: I suspect that the chances your unit win in a battle has to do with your "power" -- your army's size as well as your technical knowledge. I notice that when I attack a less powerful civ, given all things equal, my unit has higher chance of succeed. Same thing applied when I attacked a powerful civ. In the beginning, it may take me 10 tanks to take out 2 samuris, but as I get more and more cities from the enemies and my power sugres, I have much better luck. Anyone has the same observation?

Mar 05, 2002, 05:23 PM
Catapults/Cannons are useful for people who enjoy the precision of using 10 units to kill one single opponent unit without accepting any degree of damage.

Interestingly this is what the US have been doing to Afganistan - and this is resulting in a very low war-weariness back in the US.

I wonder whether Civ 3 makes war-weariness depend on whether you're actually losing units in a war? If so - then I see the value of artillery units...


Mar 05, 2002, 06:14 PM
Originally posted by willphase
Interestingly this is what the US have been doing to Afganistan - and this is resulting in a very low war-weariness back in the US. . .

Actually, I was considering the Afghan conflict from a similar perspective. The Taliban is demonstrating the powerful defensive power of infantry. They are currently dug-in in the mountains and are proving very difficult to dislodge. The Allied infantry is advancing very slowly, but advancing and finding cover, advancing and finding cover. Even ten-to-one or more odds will not prevent casualties in this type of battle.

To compensate for the defensive advantages of infantry, the Allies are using bombardment. There is no significant use of armor. Not to minimize the true complexity of the operation, the current battle does show the basics of infantry-bombard warfare as abstracted in Civ3.

In order to stop the unreasonable effectiveness of fast units, they should be made less effective in rough terrain. (But imagine the screams from the tank blitzers, if they did that!).

Mar 05, 2002, 07:16 PM
Originally posted by Zachriel

In order to stop the unreasonable effectiveness of fast units, they should be made less effective in rough terrain. (But imagine the screams from the tank blitzers, if they did that!).

Yes. Civ3 does make an attempt at this by saying that you need to put roads on mountains and other 'impassable' terrain before artillery can negotiate it.

However, putting a road over a mountain would merely mean (in real terms) that the artillery can pass safely across the road, it doesn't (as you point out) mean that any infantry (e.g. guerrillas) lodged in the mountains can't take advantage of this and have an attack advantage.

Well... it's only a game I suppose - they can't cater for the whole sphere of military tactics and strategy. They tried their best :)


Mar 06, 2002, 01:51 AM
Something I think Civ3 kinda neglects is the diminised usefulness of non-modern units, viz. 'Cavalry', in modernity owing to the land mine. In my imaginary better version Marines and Paratroopers -- the least useful units as is -- would get at least twice as much fortified bonus. They can dig in and or setup mines with precsion. Those 2 * million * million dollar aircraft can give the mujahadeen-infantry bombard dammage from '32 squares away' sure, sure, but they can't control the ground, still need the infantry to do that, and the thing is, the AUS isn't going to make any headway preventing saudi 'agents' from running sabatoge missions in the homeland by fighting a long war in afghanistan -- the armpit of the world -- the graveyard of armies since alexander the great -- I find the situation there bonkers because we setup the mujahadeen to block the soviets and pakistan (our ally in the region) setup the taliban. Furthermore, the reduced war weariness has a lot to do with the fact that 9-11 was so dramatic, and the media is cooperating with the propaganda planning wholeheartedly, calling the mujahadeen 'al-queda'. This is nonsense, that's like al-jazeera calling fort benning a 'CIA' compound.

Mar 15, 2002, 12:19 AM
I don't think a lot of people are still reading this thread, but here's my take. A lot of people have been disregarding the use of artillery in favor of direct combat units. Let me say that nothing, nothing could be further from the truth in higher difficulty levels. While I agree that catapults and cannons are of questionable value, artillery combined with rails forms a powerful combination that allows a human player to survive against the massive AI advantages of Emperor/Deity. With a mobile attack force of Cavalry/Tanks plus artillery on a rail network, a human can first defend against a numerically superior enemy force and then go on the offensive to cripple and destroy much larger enemy cities. It's important to keep in mind that numbers are what matter with artillery; 1 does nothing, 5 do little, but 30 massed together can reduce a city from a booming size 25 to one with no improvments at size 1 in just a few turns. Anyone who doubts this should examine the Infantry succession game in the stories and tales forum, where a group of players have been taking out mechanized infantry with no offensive unit better than marines, thanks to immense artillery and bomber support. The only thing to watch out for is the increased war weariness of excessive bombing.

Mar 19, 2002, 07:20 PM
In the game i just stopped playing i was the Russions with the Romans and Egyptians on my continent and i had no iron left. I was planning an attack on the romans wherein i'd send a nice collection of 8 spearmen to their iron supply and cut off ALL roads (while i pillaged the roads that were outside of their territory with my scouts) and then move in between their weak cities to take Rome with one prong of my attack, and charge down from the north with the other, hopfully removing 1/3 of their empire before they could fend off my units.

Right when i was about to pull out the stops and send my units in, my scouts stumbled upon 10 Legionaries (3.3, as compared to my best unit, 2.1 [the archer, since i had no iron left]) and i just decided to screw it and go after the egyptians.

May 27, 2003, 02:09 PM
You said something about civ attributes...

I think that Militaristic is totally awesome. The ability to make Leaders faster and promote faster gets you a HUGE advantage in warfare. It's certainly better than Religious.

As a result, my favorite civs to play are Chinese, German, and Persian (in that order).

Re: artillery, I have to object. Stacks of Artillery is the fastest way to take out Mech Infantries (or Infantry) with Modern Armor (or Cavalry). It also helps when someone attacks you. Stealth Bombers, when you have enough, can turn a huge metropolis into a barren little village. And of course, Battleships are devastating.

Yes, it takes a while to build. BUT:

1: You should be preparing for war, I don't think you're warring every second of the game and desperately need more Modern Armor.

2: Mobilization helps a lot.

3: Artillery and Bombers are cheap, and you ought to be building Battleships ANYWAY, even if you are playing on Pangea.

4: Artillery and Bombers are great disbands.

Catapults are dumb, I agree, considering you don't have much production at that stage of the game, but Artillery and Radar Artillery can win battles for Cavalry/Modern Armor with NO casualties.

May 30, 2003, 10:43 AM
I don't know what game some of you are playing. Yeah, cats and cannons are pretty useless.

But if you are playing the harder difficulties artillery is one of the most important military units in the game.

You get certain opportunites to have a military advantage over the AI. These come and go. Getting cavalry quickly is one of those, but soon the AI gets nationalism and using cav versus riflemen in metros (size 12 or larger) is like a dead end.

But look at the tech tree. You can get replaceable parts only three techs into the industrial era tech tree. Tanks are something like 15 techs in. Since the AI is not too fast to get to replaceable parts and some of them won't have rubber you can have a long time to produce and deploy large artillery stacks that can reduce AI core cities to mush. Then your cavalry is useful again. By carefully using proper map positioning, settlers and workers to place towns and rails where you need them, you can smash AI realms with massed artillery, a few covering infantry and your leftover cavalry long before tanks are an option.