View Full Version : Combat Strategy ??? Tips and Advice!


Colonel Kraken
Nov 09, 2005, 08:05 AM
So, I understand RTS rock-paper-scissors strategy game play because I can choose who to attack with what. But Civ IV? The computer chooses the best defender for the unit you're attacking with!

Someone might say "Use Swords against Archers" and another might say "Use Axemen against Swords" on and on. Guess what? You don't get to choose which unit to attack!

So, I don't get it. How's this supposed to work? How am I supposed to successfully attack? I have successfully attacked. Don't get me wrong, but it's pretty silly. You basically have to find the best odds you can get (as small a disadvantage as possible) and just sacrifice a few units until you can knock the strength of the defenders down enough to be able to attack successfully.

Praetorians? Don't get me started. Everyone raves about 'em. Not me. I tried 'em. They don't do jack because I can't attack the units in an AI stack the Praetorians have an advantage against. So, yeah, I brought along different types of units: Horse Archers, Elephants, Archers, Axemen. No luck because the defender always gets to use the most appropriate defender for that type of attacker! :crazyeye:

I just don't get it. Am I the only one who thinks this rock-paper-scissors thing does NOT work for Civ they way they have implemented it?

WetWarev7
Nov 09, 2005, 08:11 AM
I'm still getting used to it, but I like it so far. In Civ3, the AI would defend with the best unit possible, and I think Civ4 just takes this one step further, buy calculating the best defensive unit vs the unit you are attacking with.

In RL, any general worth his salt would do this. He wouldn't just have a generic defensive unit, he would place his units to his best advantage.

I'm not sure if I like the battle odds calculator, seems kinda like cheating, but I don't know how I would ever decide what to attack with without it.

jkp1187
Nov 09, 2005, 08:16 AM
The RPS strategy works best if it's a lone unit. Of course, if there's a stack, nail 'em with a catapult or two and THEN attack.

narmox
Nov 09, 2005, 08:16 AM
Siege units (catapults, cannons, artillery) are your friend. Weaken the whole stack till you can pick off the defenders one by one wiht your best attackers. Worked for me to overtake the Roman and Chinese empires

Colonel Kraken
Nov 09, 2005, 08:20 AM
Well, in real life you wouldn't have an archer be able to defend against a horde of anything. In real life you'd have rows of spearman flanked by horses backed up by archers with swords ready to charge or counter-charge. You would NOT have these silly one on one combats.

Don't get me started on real life.

I'm talking about game mechanics, and I want to understand how this is really supposed to work. In Civ III, you defended with the best defender, but it was not based on situation. It was based on the best combat value period --not, well, in this situation it's good. in this situation it's bad.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Civ III had a superior combat model (God forbid!). I'm just saying it was much MUCH easier to "get it" and understand why things worked the way they did and what you needed to do to win.

I want to know if you can actually employ an attack strategy in Civ IV in which you can actually have an advantage becuase it seems to me you cannot. In Civ IV, a stacked defender is ALWAYS at an advantage against a stacked attacker.

I'm looking for some thoughts from some of you who have figured out the real ebb adn flow of the combat model in Civ IV so I (and everyone else!) can get some real advice on solid strategies to employ.

Thanks!

Colonel Kraken
Nov 09, 2005, 08:23 AM
Excellent. Could we get an understanding of how seige units work?


I was under the impression that seige units cannot damage units unless they actually attack (as in losing your unit to attack). :crazyeye: Or, is that only for city attacks?

Help me out here!

icon41gimp
Nov 09, 2005, 08:32 AM
You will have to sacrifice units, either through suiciding seige units or having to attack their best defender unless you can conduct air strikes w/o fear of interception.

Dragonlord
Nov 09, 2005, 08:46 AM
The nice thing about the new combat model is that attack and defense are very nicely balanced!
Yes, a stack of combined-arms defenders is a hard nut to crack, because it will always use its best defender - but then again, that same stack is vulnerable to artillery! And yes, you'll have to attack with the artillery, risking its loss - but artillery units are relatively cheap and get a retreat chance to boot, so who cares? Regard your cheap artillery units with few promotions as expendable and don't forget to always build some more!

So - use the RPS against single defenders and soften stacks with artillery THEN attack them with the appropriate units vs. the strongest defenders left - here's where your bonuses come into play again!

WetWarev7
Nov 09, 2005, 09:05 AM
I'm talking about game mechanics, and I want to understand how this is really supposed to work. In Civ III, you defended with the best defender, but it was not based on situation. It was based on the best combat value period --not, well, in this situation it's good. in this situation it's bad.

I want to know if you can actually employ an attack strategy in Civ IV in which you can actually have an advantage becuase it seems to me you cannot. In Civ IV, a stacked defender is ALWAYS at an advantage against a stacked attacker.

I'm looking for some thoughts from some of you who have figured out the real ebb adn flow of the combat model in Civ IV so I (and everyone else!) can get some real advice on solid strategies to employ.

Thanks!

When you attack the AI, it will chose the best defensive unit for the unit you are attacking with. If you are attacking with Horses, it will choose spearmen, etc. You need to keep this in mind when building your army. Scouting is very important to get a clear understanding of what the enemy can attack/defend with, and you can build your units and stacks accordingly. If the enemy has an ambundance of horsemen, build spearmen, if you see alot of swordmen, build axemen, etc. It's still RPS, just with many different types of rocks, paper, and scissors....

You need to pay more attention to terrain, and choose your battles wisely. If the enemy outnumbers you, or out-techs you, try drawing him into the forests/hills, and play defensivly, if you are playing agressivly, try drawing his units into open areas where there is little or no defensive value.

If you see an enemy stack coming for you, harrass it everytime it enters a 0% def bonus tile. You'll lose some units, but your cities will be better able to withstand the final attack. I allways try to have a mix of roaming units inside my borders for this. And there is something to be said about clearcutting corridors that you know your enemy will be using when he's coming after you.

When in doubt, catapault!

Lorteungen
Nov 09, 2005, 10:08 AM
The nice thing about the new combat model is that attack and defense are very nicely balanced!
Yes, a stack of combined-arms defenders is a hard nut to crack, because it will always use its best defender - but then again, that same stack is vulnerable to artillery! And yes, you'll have to attack with the artillery, risking its loss - but artillery units are relatively cheap and get a retreat chance to boot, so who cares? Regard your cheap artillery units with few promotions as expendable and don't forget to always build some more!

I think the new combat system is a huge improvement over the previous games. Still, I certainly wouldn't call it balanced. The defense has a huge advantage! Although the AI rarely does it to any great extend it is in the same position to use siege units against your stack. Sure, you can spread out your stack a bit to maybe cover 3 squares instead of one. However, since you can only (in my experience) deal collateral damage to 6 units/attack and you will almost certainly need at least 12-15 units to attack an average city, that advantage is pretty much gone unless your really spread out thin and basically surround the city. The enemys catapults will deal as much (if not more) damage to your stacks per attack as you will to theirs.

Another thing is that the rock-paper-scissors system in civ4 is more like rock-paper-bubblegum. The system isn't circular. This makes it less transparent and more interesting but also flawed in some ways imo.

Now correct me if I'm wrong but cities w/ archers are countered by catapults (and swordsmen) who are countered by mounted units who in turn are countered by spearmen who in turn are countered by axemen. Swordsmen are also countered by axemen (including those pesky preatorians). But what counters the axemen? Other axemen? They get the same bonus against each other so it cancels out. So the defender wins out because of the terrain bonus. Mounted units perhaps? The mounted units aren't strong enough to take out an axemen with any sort of terrain bonus so with an axeman in your territory walking around in the forests and hills you either have the choice to ignore him or sacrifice a unit or two. This is especially frustrating with the barbarians. I think the problem is that there are no promotions that gives you a bonus for attacking in forrests and hills, only for defending. Furthermore you can give you mounted unit a melee bonus but only for 25% while the axemen can easily get a 50% defensive bonus in forrests straight from the factory, making him extremely tough. This is seriously unbalancing the combat system imo and giving the defense a much greater advantage than I think they should have.

Heroes
Nov 09, 2005, 10:19 AM
Now correct me if I'm wrong but cities w/ archers are countered by catapults (and swordsmen) who are countered by mounted units who in turn are countered by spearmen who in turn are countered by axemen. Swordsmen are also countered by axemen (including those pesky preatorians). But what counters the axemen? Other axemen?

Well, the following units +50% vs. melee units:
Axeman, Maceman, Samurai, Crossbowman, Cho-Ko-Nu, Conquistador.

narmox
Nov 09, 2005, 10:21 AM
lol you don't know what counters what. Axemen have a bonus against melee, so obviously you don't send melee units against them. Send some chariots or horse archers that have bonuses against melee units (promotions!!!) instead ;)

etc etc. There's a counter for EVERYTHING and every strategy (including the counters themselves). It'll just take a while to learn them all.

WetWarev7
Nov 09, 2005, 10:28 AM
I think the new combat system is a huge improvement over the previous games. Still, I certainly wouldn't call it balanced. The defense has a huge advantage!

Defense allways has an advantage. The old saying "The best defence is a good offense" does not hold true when you are talking about troop to troop fighting.

I'd rather fight someone from behind a barricade or fortification than out in the open any day.

And I do like that there is a counter for every unit, and a counter for every counter. Keeps things interesting.:goodjob:

Arathorn
Nov 09, 2005, 10:30 AM
In Civ IV, a stacked defender is ALWAYS at an advantage against a stacked attacker.

Exactly. And that's the way it should be. Defense should be easier than offense.

But (there's also another side) a full defensive stack safe against all types of attackers is large -- archer, mounted, foot (at least), so it's susceptible to artillery (catapult, cannon, artillery). Yes, you may well lose the artillery unit (I think I've lost more artillery units than all other units combined in Civ4), but the stack will be weakened. Pick the most weakened member and attack with the unit that does poorly against that type of unit (say, knight vs. pike). Then, pick the stack apart because they longer have defense against one unit type (mounted, in this case). You lose one; they lose 3.

On the flip side, you can use this defense-focus to your advantage. Instead of fighting to gain cities, you can fight to slow a foe. Pillage their land with a stack of units (you get gold and they lose power). Pester their fishermen with boats, so they lose food and commerce. Tear up fishing nets. Make them attack you, on occasion.

The weakness of defense is that it has no initiative and can't really move from A to B. This is why city attacks can work. The defenders are stuck and the attacker can bring up the artillery and win the day with collateral damage. If the defender is in your land pillaging with a stack, you should be able to maintain very high kill ratios, again using artillery to weaken the stack and then using their inability to reinforce to your advantage. Once a weakness has been found/created, it can and should be exploited.

Arathorn

Gato Loco
Nov 09, 2005, 10:33 AM
Perhaps you could upgrade some horse archers with several flanking promotions and use them to soften up the defenders. With any luck, a few of them will withdraw, leaving the axes weak enough to fall to your swordsmen. Or if you're a feudal theocracy you can get as many as three city raider promotions on your own axemen to even the odds. Or you just pillage the surrounding countryside, take your money, force a peace treaty, and go home. Capturing cities is supposed to be hard and you won't do it without taking casualties.

Lorteungen
Nov 09, 2005, 10:44 AM
Well, the following units +50% vs. melee units:
Axeman, Maceman, Samurai, Crossbowman, Cho-Ko-Nu, Conquistador.

That's great but it's of little use since all of these units are either UU's or much later units. Any unit should have a counter in it's own age.

lol you don't know what counters what. Axemen have a bonus against melee, so obviously you don't send melee units against them. Send some chariots or horse archers that have bonuses against melee units (promotions!!!) instead ;)

lol and you do? Yes, obviously you can send units with superior experience against it and have a better chance at victory but the axemen will have promotions too. I'll see your melee bonus and raise you one mounted bonus.

Defense allways has an advantage. The old saying "The best defence is a good offense" does not hold true when you are talking about troop to troop fighting.

I agree, the defense should have the advantage as long as they're defending SOMETHING. Like a city. Or a fortress. Even if it's fortified. That is not the case when some axeman wanders into your territory and sticks to the forrests and hills however. That's an offense in my book. It's STUPID that the AI can walk into my territory, right past all my border units and still be considered to be the defensive party!

On the flip side, you can use this defense-focus to your advantage. Instead of fighting to gain cities, you can fight to slow a foe. Pillage their land with a stack of units (you get gold and they lose power). Pester their fishermen with boats, so they lose food and commerce. Tear up fishing nets. Make them attack you, on occasion.

Yes, but what's keeping them from doing the same thing? Then we can both walk around trashing each others lands knowing that the one that tries to actually defend his countryside will be at a disadvantage because the offender gets the defensive bonus.

Lorteungen
Nov 09, 2005, 10:47 AM
Perhaps you could upgrade some horse archers with several flanking promotions and use them to soften up the defenders. With any luck, a few of them will withdraw, leaving the axes weak enough to fall to your swordsmen. Or if you're a feudal theocracy you can get as many as three city raider promotions on your own axemen to even the odds. Or you just pillage the surrounding countryside, take your money, force a peace treaty, and go home. Capturing cities is supposed to be hard and you won't do it without taking casualties.

Again, promotions are cool but when talking about balance in the game it's wrong to compare a level 0 axeman to a level 3 or 4 horse archer. With the right civics you can have your axemem out with 50% forrest bonus right from the bat. And how do you intend to take out a level 4 axeman? A level 7 horse archer?

I think some of you missed my point. The rock-paper-scissor system in incomplete. I think it's silly that they gave the melee bonus of the ancient age to.... a melee unit. This ruins the whole system. It should be addressed imo, for example by giving catapults a bonus vs. melee units. That would (I think) end the circle and give a better balance to the system. I guess they took it out not to make the catapults too powerful but as it is the system is broken.

WetWarev7
Nov 09, 2005, 10:51 AM
I agree, the defense should have the advantage as long as they're defending SOMETHING. Like a city. Or a fortress. Even if it's fortified. That is not the case when some axeman wanders into your territory and sticks to the forrests and hills however. That's an offense in my book. It's STUPID that the AI can walk into my territory, right past all my border units and still be considered to be the defensive party!



Good point. There should be a penalty to defense when in enemy territory - unfamiliar territory, etc...

narmox
Nov 09, 2005, 10:51 AM
ok here's something not just related to combat in civ4 but life in general:

IT's always better to look at the possibilities and solutions than the limitations. See what you CAN do to improve your odds and get what you want, rather than spend all your time focusing on why you cannot get it. Get it? :)

EridanMan
Nov 09, 2005, 10:56 AM
Combat strategy in Civ-IV is all about the preparation for war, not the battle itself (IMHO), aside from simple, obvious tactics like fast-unit pillaging and intimidiation (keeping his workers in his city (and thus not improving) and his militiary tied up trying to catch your fast units), really- the only way to garantee a victory in Civ-IV is to beat him before the war even starts... I mean - it truly is an 'art of war' game - don't go to war until your certain that you will win... don't try to take an opponents city with anything less than a 3:1 advantage on his defenders, unless the tech difference is obscene (I.E, tanks vs. Longbowmen)...

Don't be afraid to mobilize for a total-war, Once you make the decision to go to war, EVERY city in your civ should start turning out offensive units... I generally build 2 8-unit stacks, and THEN declare war and sweep over your oppenent... A short mobilization for total-war will have less of a detrimental effect on your economy than a long-protracted engagement.

the other thing to keep in mind - every single time you loose- fail to take a city with a stack or whatever- you have just done your opponnent a huge favor- Experience and promotions are huge in Civ-IV, don't give him a chance to make that archer into a Level-II city defense + Hill Defender up on that hill, you'll never crack that nut- make sure that you knock him out on the first turn.

The best war strategy is the player who best prepares for war... period.

Arathorn
Nov 09, 2005, 11:01 AM
Yes, but what's keeping them from doing the same thing?

Your units positioned at key locations -- like hills you need to protect? If they're in forests, they're probably not pillaging anyway -- most stuff to pillage is on flat lands. Once they move there -- BAM! Horse archer (has the advantage) In your territory, you have the benefit of better movement. You can block off various passages/tiles/plots and guide the interloper to flat land for the kill, or goad him into attacking you, where you have the terrain advantage.

In a larger sense, though, yeah, both lands get pillaged. War is hell, sometimes. If you're not prepared, it can be doubly so.

What I generally do is use Civics, barracks, and promotions to my advantage. OK, so the axeman's best counter may be an axeman. I'll have an extra promotion, so I've a reasonable shot at winning the first combat (on level ground, of course). Promotions lead to better chances. If I lose the first one, I'll mop up and still have a 1:1 kill ratio, but my unit is now promoted. I'll be more ready the next time they come in.

Arathorn

Kolson
Nov 09, 2005, 11:03 AM
Yes, but what's keeping them from doing the same thing? Then we can both walk around trashing each others lands knowing that the one that tries to actually defend his countryside will be at a disadvantage because the offender gets the defensive bonus.

But this is where the strategy actually comes in. If both of you are out pillaging land and avoiding battles you cant win and trying to exploit the other player's weakness, then the better strategist will prevail. The person who is able to plunder more efficiently, or choose his battles better, or build the larger/more balanced military will win.

This is not a bad thing.

Lorteungen
Nov 09, 2005, 11:08 AM
ok here's something not just related to combat in civ4 but life in general:

IT's always better to look at the possibilities and solutions than the limitations. See what you CAN do to improve your odds and get what you want, rather than spend all your time focusing on why you cannot get it. Get it? :)

Nope, I don't. First of all it's game. The rules are made by people, not by god, so they can be changed. As a general rule of life I'd rather look to see what I can do to improve something than to live with something that is less than what it could be. Besides, this is a discussion board and what better subject than how to improve the game.

Colonel Kraken
Nov 09, 2005, 11:16 AM
There are some good observations here and I appreciate it.

The reason this thread started is because of the apparent inequity I saw. I had two nations attacking me (the scum!) which wasn't so much a problem . . . so I thought. I had plenty of Praetorians, Archers, Horse Archers, etc. However, whenever I moved into a position to attack an AI stack, NONE of my units had better than ~ 0.75 to 1 odds against the selected defending unit. I thought, heck, why is everyone praising these Praetorians so much? They aren't worth jack.

I guess, from what most of you have said, you MUST have catapults to attack . . . otherwise you really can't expect to attack successfully without sacrificing a lot of units.

Interesting.

Now, if we can only make a mod that does not force you to sacrifice a catapult to attack a stack of units. :crazyeye:

Tell me if I'm wrong, but I assume this was done so someone couldn't use catapult stack of doom over and over. The only thing I have to say against that then is this: use catapults in return to cause collateral damage! I simply do not understand the rationale of making the seige unit sacrifice to attack. :confused:

Thanks for all the tips. Keep 'em coming!

Vizzini
Nov 09, 2005, 11:24 AM
Don't get me started on real life.

I'm talking about game mechanics

The two are related. You seem to think that you can capture a defended city without losses - and in both real life and in this game's mechanics that is simply not possible without extensive use of siege units like artillery or bombers.

You will take losses in almost every attempt to take a city (certain exceptions apply of course), so plan ahead and bring a substantial attack force... 3 to 1 attackers to defenders is a good margin. (ie, if there are 4 defending units bring 12 attacking units) If the defender out-techs you, make it 4 to 1 or even 5 to 1 before you actually commit to the attack.

This was true when the general said it, it is still true today: "The firstest with the mostest wins"

Edit:
However, whenever I moved into a position to attack an AI stack, NONE of my units had better than ~ 0.75 to 1 odds against the selected defending unit. I thought, heck, why is everyone praising these Praetorians so much? They aren't worth jack.

Terrain terrain terrain terrain. When operating in the open you absolutely must pay attention to terrain. Lure your opponent into flat terrain - attacking them while they're on hills, woods, or worse a wooded hillside is almost suicidal.

Arathorn
Nov 09, 2005, 11:25 AM
Now, if we can only make a mod that does not force you to sacrifice a catapult to attack a stack of units.

Sure, it's easy to make catapults overpowering again. Just set their retreat percent to 100 in the appropriate XML file and you have a unit that won't die on the attack. It'll do collateral damage and you can redline foes with ease and not pay any price for it. You can do that with all the artillery units, if you want.

I'll stick with gameplay balance myself.

Arathorn

WetWarev7
Nov 09, 2005, 11:36 AM
I guess, from what most of you have said, you MUST have catapults to attack . . . otherwise you really can't expect to attack successfully without sacrificing a lot of units.

Thanks for all the tips. Keep 'em coming!

That's one way of doing it, and certainly the best when laying seige to a walled city(in game or RL), but it's not the only way, and it's important not to get stuck on one strategy. You may have all your cats heading toward the enemy's capitol when you notice a large enemy stack heading towards yours and if you're not flexible/adaptable enough, you're doomed. Barbs are really good for practicing different techniques - they won't capture your cites, and they are allready holding a grudge against you. :p

phungus420
Nov 09, 2005, 11:47 AM
This game give units on defense a huge advantage.

When you go to war, bring artillary.

Have a 3-1 combat advantage if you intent on takeing a city/hill.

But my best advice, and what works for me in MP games is simpy, do not attack. Fight a war of atrition. Take your stack, and wander around your opponents contryside pillaging everything. You will make alot of $$ in the process, and he will be fored to fileld his units against you (giving you the combat advantage). When I fight in MP, this is what I do, and it works every time. Every time I've failed in a war is when I got greedy micalculated the odds and tried to take a city. You don't need to do this if you are wrecking your opponents economy. That's my advice, and trust me it works. Although most don't have the patience to do this. (also this is a mostly MP thing to do, agains the AI it is much easier to take cities).

Myrrdin
Nov 09, 2005, 12:01 PM
Anyone tried making faint attacks against the AI? I have noticed how the AI tends to draw away units from cities far from the front to help combatting your attackers. So maybe it's worthwhile to begin a campaign by moving a decently sized stack (6-8 units) close to a city far from your intended target(s) and fortify them in some good defensive position. I'm not sure that it works, but it might be worth a shot.

Draax
Nov 09, 2005, 12:04 PM
I was annoyed at first about this issue too, but some thought and practice fixed that. I remembered reading somewhere that all else being equal, defenders have about a 10:1 advantage over attackers in a siege. That's where you start at. Gotta work from there or you'll throw 10x your enemy's soldiers into the blender.


Some siegecraft and misc attacking strats/tactics that I've developed (keep in mind that we're all still learning this game so have a grain of salt handy):

Strategy:
-Time your unit production. Your goal should be to spend as few turns as possible to create your entire army. Using only part of your civ to produce a steady stream of units really really hurts you in the long run. Use every feasible city to create your mounts, then your melee, then your defense units, then your siege units. Ideally these come out sorta as waves.

-When making units, always always have your civics set to vassalage and theocracy if you have those available. Period. No exceptions. With a barracks, that puts your units at I think 8/10 XP right off the bat. Huge.

-If you don't have roads to the enemy border, build'em. Again this really isn't an option if you're planning on conquest. Roads aren't absolutely necessary for raiding, but that's a different subject.

-Oh and while I'm thinking about it, religion is beautiful. Think of missionaries as intelligence and cash. Any city you've preached the word to gives you vision. Great for ambushing and counter-ambushing. So plan ahead and spread the good word brother.

-Bear in mind that strategy from history is valid here. Starvation was/is a key factor in siegecraft. Use it.

-Be sure to keep your units upgraded. It's cheaper and faster, and produces higher quality units. If necessary, put your research down to 0% for a turn or two and upgrade everything when the new tech is available. I've had my starting warrior survive for a full game and end up with over 20 XP.

Tactics:
-I go mounted/raid units first because I like to "shock and awe" like it's 1999. I place them as close to the enemy boundaries as possible, spread as widely as possible. As soon as they're in place, I blitz. My goal here is to generally raise as much hell as possible. First priority is units. I steal as many workers as I can quickly reach, and kill any military units that are in transit. I don't f*ck with spearmen or elephants. They'll eat me. Second priority is food and special resources that aren't adjacent to an enemy city. I raze them to the ground. It's a decent bit of cash and it's going to nicely set up my next phase. Then I get the hell out of dodge. I heal when I'm back on friendly ground.

-The melee wave should be out now. Axes, spears, and swords, oh my! This is where those roads come in handy because melees are slowasses. This is my next step of (pre)siege. My goal here is to park on the tiles next to a city. Same priorities as before, only I don't raze. I just fortify my guys on top of farms, mines (especially good since you get hill defense), special tiles, etc. I'm masterfully baiting the enemy here. He has to choose between coming out to meet me and losing his defense bonuses, or starving and not producing anything. Even if he kills my guy, I win because I can then kill his guy next turn. That's one less unit in his city, and I still control the tile.
Oh and another high priority is chokepoints. Spears and axes are great choke defenders. If I'm really concerned, I park a spear/axe combo in a chokepoint and build a fort there. I really hate having my own tactics used against me, and this is a good counter to raid units.

-My ranged units and freshly healed raiders should be en route now. I use them to harden injured or valuable parts of my army. This is where I finish surrounding a city. Note on longbowmen: I almost always put 2 levels of city defense first as that's what I'm going to do with them 9/10 times.

-Finally, my siege units arrive. I level collateral damage first and always. Heh, I've never had one survive long enough to get anything else. First I bombard the city until its defense % is lower than 5. Then I sacrifice siege units until my combat odds are a sure bet. Then I conquer the city, permanently parking longbows there and temporarily parking injured units there. I plan for a culture bomb if possible.

-If you managed to read this far, have a cookie on the house.

Edits
Good christ there were a billion posts while I wrote this book.
Yes, siege units are expendable. This is historically accurate.
Oh and Vizzini here you go:
War is a matter of getting there the firstest with the mostest.
I love that quote.

WetWarev7
Nov 09, 2005, 12:12 PM
-If you managed to read this far, have a cookie on the house.

Can I have a cracker instead? :p

Good post. I hadn't thought of building my army "on the fly" like that. How do you remain flexible with this plan? It's a good offense, but how do you handle it when another enemy(or ally) sends stacks of troops into your territory from the other direction?

Draax
Nov 09, 2005, 12:31 PM
Can I have a cracker instead? :p

Good post. I hadn't thought of building my army "on the fly" like that. How do you remain flexible with this plan? It's a good offense, but how do you handle it when another enemy(or ally) sends stacks of troops into your territory from the other direction?

Hmm I wasn't clear enough on the planning part then. My bad. I don't build my army "on the fly" per se, I just build it fast as hell. I prepare for building it well in advance. The preparation via religion, roads, forts, relationships, etc. takes a long time.

I kiss as much ass as possible early game in order to seed my missionaries far and wide. Then I pick a direction that I want to advance in, and really cultivate relationships in the other direction. That helps protect my rear.

As for remaining flexible, I mainly just try to minimize risk with allies, religion, and forts. Religion is like cheating. It gives you vision and helps you watch troop movement.

I have been nailed a couple of times but usually the timing works so that my raiders are back home and healing when this happens. I lose a few tiles but then my fast-movers are available to buy me some reaction time.

Edit: I really can't say enough good things about religion. Your state religion gives you vision anywhere it is present. Early game I prioritize religion as much as I can. Founding more than one religion is such a huge advantage it's silly.

petey
Nov 09, 2005, 12:41 PM
I like the Theocracy + Vassalage mode to build units. In terms of using it in case of defense, too, one option would be to switch all cities to this for a few turns and build three of four units in each city, then switch to Organized Religion and building production for a few turns and then switch back to produce units, etc.

This would cause a lot of anarchy, but would be a good way to maximize the benefits of a Religious trait, which I've always seen as kind of useless, but would actually be really good here. If you switch back and forth and synchronize production in all your cities with the appropriate civics, then it would be a really good trait to have.

Brutus2
Nov 09, 2005, 01:06 PM
My goal here is to park on the tiles next to a city. Same priorities as before, only I don't raze. I just fortify my guys on top of farms, mines (especially good since you get hill defense), special tiles, etc. I'm masterfully baiting the enemy here. He has to choose between coming out to meet me and losing his defense bonuses, or starving and not producing anything.

Wait just a minute!!! Are you telling me that just parking a unit on a farm or mine within an enemy city radius will prevent them from getting that resource/food/happiness, etc? You don't have to actually pillage it to remove it from their resources?

Say an enemy has one source of Ivory. I park a unit on that tile but do NOT pillage the camp. He will no longer be able to make War Elephants, even though I did not pillage the camp and it is still within his cultural borders?

Draax
Nov 09, 2005, 01:18 PM
Wait just a minute!!! Are you telling me that just parking a unit on a farm or mine within an enemy city radius will prevent them from getting that resource/food/happiness, etc? You don't have to actually pillage it to remove it from their resources?


Yes sir :)

Look closely at the tiles your units are standing on. The graphic changes. Rice farms flood, cows leave their fence, plantations wither, etc.

Speciou5
Nov 09, 2005, 01:28 PM
Regarding the original post about the defender getting to choose who fights. The trick to beat this is to overload on a unit. If the defender has 3 axemen and one spearmen either overwhelm the spearmen with cavalry or wound the spearmen and proceed with cavalry. If the defender has 3 axemen, 3 spearmen and you have 3 swordsmen and 3 cavalry, then you probably shouldn't be attacking 1:1 (unless you are very desperate) without an advantage such as artillery to collateral them.

The tip is to send mixed forces such as Swordsmen, Axemen, and Horse Archers and overload. If you can't overload and are matched in strength, find some advantage. But that shouldn't be too much of a problem because you should have some advantage if you are the aggressor. If you don't have an advantage, make one. If that fails fight a costly war, hope your opponent has poor strategy and tactics, or sue for peace. But you really should have stopped at the first condition.

snepp
Nov 09, 2005, 01:34 PM
Yes sir :)

Look closely at the tiles your units are standing on. The graphic changes. Rice farms flood, cows leave their fence, plantations wither, etc.

I don't believe this is accurate. Parking a unit on a tile will prevent the city's citizens from working that tile, but the empire will still recieve the resources from that tile. Pillaging is required to deny access.

dh_epic
Nov 09, 2005, 01:44 PM
The defender has an advantage in that their "best" unit will always defend. They get the "defender's choice".

You have to be prepared to lose units. The first few attackers will be used to weaken the best defenders. After that, the battle changes.

I find it's smart to take advantage of promotions. If you're attacking a city, city siege is a no brainer. City Siege 2 can be enough to overcome the huge defensive advantage of a lot of units.

Brutus2
Nov 09, 2005, 01:49 PM
I don't believe this is accurate. Parking a unit on a tile will prevent the city's citizens from working that tile, but the empire will still recieve the resources from that tile. Pillaging is required to deny access.


So basically you do have to pillage a resource improvment (iron, oil, ivory, wine, silk, etc) but you do not have to pillage a standard worker improved tile if your goal is just to stop them from working that tile (farm, cottage, workshop, etc)???

So if the city has a cow pasture and I park a unit on it, they no longer get the +food because they can not work that tile but they still get the +health effect of having cows as a resource??

Brutus2
Nov 09, 2005, 01:55 PM
-When making units, always always have your civics set to vassalage and theocracy if you have those available

I would also reccomend keeping an eye on what civic your neighbors are switching to. If you see a message that your pesky neighbor who is already annoyed with you has just switched to Vassalage and Theocracy you can guess what's going to happen next. :devil:

snepp
Nov 09, 2005, 01:58 PM
So basically you do have to pillage a resource improvment (iron, oil, ivory, wine, silk, etc) but you do not have to pillage a standard worker improved tile if your goal is just to stop them from working that tile (farm, cottage, workshop, etc)???

So if the city has a cow pasture and I park a unit on it, they no longer get the +food because they can not work that tile but they still get the +health effect of having cows as a resource??

You got it. ;)

Draax
Nov 09, 2005, 02:00 PM
I don't believe this is accurate. Parking a unit on a tile will prevent the city's citizens from working that tile, but the empire will still recieve the resources from that tile. Pillaging is required to deny access.

I'll experiment tonight. I know the graphic changes because I noticed it just last night. I moved onto an enemy's pasture and the cows moved. I moved to a silk plantation and the plants dried up and turned a tan color. I moved onto a rice farm and it got all weird looking. Then again I'd been without sleep for a couple of days and could very well have been seeing things. :)

They may still receive the benefit, though. Dunno. I haven't been trying to deny benefits, but to starve population of food and production.

snepp
Nov 09, 2005, 02:07 PM
I'll experiment tonight. *snip*

I just setup a world builder test, parking enemy units on various resources of mine, both inside and outside of my city radius, and didn't lose access to any resources.

I think putting units on resources should deny that resource, why does it "need" to be pillaged if you have control of that tile. Also, having units parked on a city's only road to a resource could count as cutting off the connection.

Edit again...

Just realized something, naval units deny citizens the ability to work all adjacent squares, definately need to make better use of this.

Geon
Nov 09, 2005, 03:30 PM
Even if he kills my guy, I win because I can then kill his guy next turn. That's one less unit in his city, and I still control the tile.


I have found that even a 1 movement unit if attacking from a city to an adjacant square with a road can still retreat back into the city on the same turn. The only way to stop it is pillage roads, and roads are always pillaged last. So I say pillage pillage pillage. Sure making towns grow again hurts, but all the other improvements are just a worker away.

Also I have found fast unit pillaging way easier in SP than MP. Fast units are easy targets against spears. The AI doesn't make good use of spears and axes, but another human sure does. I try and cut off his transport network and vital supplies such as horse and especially iron/bronze, but I do this knowing that my fast units are usually sacrificed in doing so(if they even make it). It is worth it though, especially if he can't make axe/spears for a few turns or maybe permanently if he is low on spears initially and I send harrassers faster than he can reconnect his supplies. or if my plodding axe/spear/sword mini stacks can reach them and fortify on em.

Heroes
Nov 09, 2005, 06:08 PM
Again, promotions are cool but when talking about balance in the game it's wrong to compare a level 0 axeman to a level 3 or 4 horse archer. With the right civics you can have your axemem out with 50% forrest bonus right from the bat. And how do you intend to take out a level 4 axeman? A level 7 horse archer?



Promotion is a part of balance, IMHO. Because aggressive trait gives a free combat 1 promotion to melee and gunpowder units, and some civics and wonders add XP to new units. By selecting these things, you can make your new soliders stronger than their veterans.
BTW: Heroic epic is a great national wonder: +100% production for military units. To build it you need a level 4 unit, which means an ancient age war, --or killing many animals? :lol:

Colonel Kraken
Nov 09, 2005, 06:20 PM
Regarding the original post about the defender getting to choose who fights. The trick to beat this is to overload on a unit. If the defender has 3 axemen and one spearmen either overwhelm the spearmen with cavalry or wound the spearmen and proceed with cavalry. If the defender has 3 axemen, 3 spearmen and you have 3 swordsmen and 3 cavalry, then you probably shouldn't be attacking 1:1 (unless you are very desperate) without an advantage such as artillery to collateral them.


Cool advice. Thanks!


I find it's smart to take advantage of promotions. If you're attacking a city, city siege is a no brainer. City Siege 2 can be enough to overcome the huge defensive advantage of a lot of units.

I think we're all at least intelligent enough to realize this obvious part of the combat system! I probably had not made myself clear. I was expecting to lose units. But, I was hoping that my Praetorians with Combat 1, Combat II, and +25% versas melee units (and other such power combos, etc.) I would be able to do some damage and make a killing. Instead, the AI had some sappy bimbo archer defending like he was some kind of king of the battlefield. :crazyeye:

Sure, it's easy to make catapults overpowering again. Just set their retreat percent to 100 in the appropriate XML file and you have a unit that won't die on the attack. It'll do collateral damage and you can redline foes with ease and not pay any price for it. You can do that with all the artillery units, if you want.

I'll stick with gameplay balance myself.

Arathorn

Don't assume I dont' want gameplay balance. But it's also nice to have game mechanics and such make sense to the game player. Things that may balance a game but simply don't make sense to the player don't exactly make for a great game. Besides, if both attacking and defending "artillery" type units have the same capability, where's the imbalance? :confused:


I would also reccomend keeping an eye on what civic your neighbors are switching to. If you see a message that your pesky neighbor who is already annoyed with you has just switched to Vassalage and Theocracy you can guess what's going to happen next. :devil:
:lol: Excellent advice!



Just realized something, naval units deny citizens the ability to work all adjacent squares, definately need to make better use of this.

Adjacent land tiles? :eek:

Heroes
Nov 09, 2005, 06:28 PM
I like the Theocracy + Vassalage mode to build units. In terms of using it in case of defense, too, one option would be to switch all cities to this for a few turns and build three of four units in each city, then switch to Organized Religion and building production for a few turns and then switch back to produce units, etc.

This would cause a lot of anarchy, but would be a good way to maximize the benefits of a Religious trait, which I've always seen as kind of useless, but would actually be really good here. If you switch back and forth and synchronize production in all your cities with the appropriate civics, then it would be a really good trait to have.

Many revolutions are only good for spiritual leaders for no anarchy. If you are not spiritual, as a comprise, how about sticking in vassalage + organized religion? A new unit with 6 XP is enough to gain 2 promotions, you don't need the extra 2 XP so badly that you would like to sacrifice +25% benefit in building production and to have much anarchy.

snepp
Nov 09, 2005, 06:53 PM
Adjacent land tiles? :eek:

No, sorry, should have been more specific. Naval units stop citizens from working the tile they're on, and all adjacent water tiles. :lol:

narmox
Nov 09, 2005, 07:27 PM
To build it you need a level 4 unit, which means an ancient age war, --or killing many animals? :lol:

experience from animals is capped at 5 XP, and for barbarians it's capped at 10 XP, so don't waste time with them if your unit has that much. Instead what I do is once an exploring warrior has reached 5 (or 10) I return it to my cities and cycle it with a new one with no XP, so at the very least a large part of my units will have 5-10 XPs before even my first war (with or without the help of barracks!)

mrnoface
Nov 09, 2005, 07:46 PM
Well, I can't really say I'm happy with the combat system in Civ4. :cry:

Archers and musketmen crushing my armors... this is soooo unimaginable in real life! Of course they have some advantages because of defense bonuses but I can't really agree when 3 out of 5 armors being defeated by older units in several combats.

I mean, what's the point of having more firepower? In one game I even used WorldEdit to put 50 Panzers to crush those pesky China and Spain, and guess what? Although they couldn't build any units better than musketman/rifleman (they came up with infantry later) 30 of my tanks were gone! :sad:

MiamiBigAL
Nov 09, 2005, 07:47 PM
But this is where the strategy actually comes in. If both of you are out pillaging land and avoiding battles you cant win and trying to exploit the other player's weakness, then the better strategist will prevail. The person who is able to plunder more efficiently, or choose his battles better, or build the larger/more balanced military will win.

This is not a bad thing.


You could use that argument for any situation.... Why don't we make warriors with 10 strength instead of 2, because it would still be fair because everyone can get warriors and the better strategist will win.

I guess I'm the only one who agrees with Lor. It would be nice to have a symmetrical RPS system in the ancient era. Right now it DOES seem like you can make a stack of solely Axemen without worrying too much about what defenders you're going to face.

I'm not saying the game is entirely unbalanced at that era, as I think the Axemen having 5 strength instead of 6, like horse archers, are because of its anti-melee capabilities whilst still being a melee unit. However, it would be....shall we say, "tidier", if there was an anti-axeman unit that wasn't just an axeman, especially when it's such a useful attacking unit.

The same could be said for ranged units, bar the existence of que-chas, but being defenders, that's more acceptable ;)

Jazz_Newton
Nov 09, 2005, 07:57 PM
That's one way of doing it, and certainly the best when laying seige to a walled city(in game or RL), but it's not the only way, and it's important not to get stuck on one strategy. You may have all your cats heading toward the enemy's capitol when you notice a large enemy stack heading towards yours and if you're not flexible/adaptable enough, you're doomed.

I can't understand why you're using this as an example of bad game design. If you over-commit your attack force, get counter-attacked and don't have any contingency plans in place, you DESERVE to get smashed. In CIV (or pretty much any other computer game), in football (or pretty much any other sport), or in real-life war.

snepp
Nov 09, 2005, 07:57 PM
Well, I can't really say I'm happy with the combat system in Civ4. :cry:

Archers and musketmen crushing my armors... this is soooo unimaginable in real life! Of course they have some advantages because of defense bonuses but I can't really agree when 3 out of 5 armors being defeated by older units in several combats.

I mean, what's the point of having more firepower? In one game I even used WorldEdit to put 50 Panzers to crush those pesky China and Spain, and guess what? Although they couldn't build any units better than musketman/rifleman (they came up with infantry later) 30 of my tanks were gone! :sad:

Artillery and bombers.

Colonel Kraken
Nov 09, 2005, 08:03 PM
Sure, it's easy to make catapults overpowering again. Just set their retreat percent to 100 in the appropriate XML file and you have a unit that won't die on the attack. It'll do collateral damage and you can redline foes with ease and not pay any price for it. You can do that with all the artillery units, if you want.

I'll stick with gameplay balance myself.

Arathorn


Incidentally, I happened to notice tonight that bombers can bomb units in a city with impunity (except the occassional SAM --whoop-de-do). Are these imbalanced as well? ;)

snepp
Nov 09, 2005, 10:41 PM
Incidentally, I happened to notice tonight that bombers can bomb units in a city with impunity (except the occassional SAM --whoop-de-do). Are these imbalanced as well? ;)
I think so, but I might be a bit biased given my recent migration towards building bombers/stealth over artillery. Keep in mind my entire post involves little thought, and under no circumstances any meaningful calculations.


Arty Bomber Stealth
Cost 150 140 200
Range 1 8 12
Damage Limit 70% 50% 50%
Max Units 8 6 6
Bombard 25 15 20
Withdraw 25 n/a n/a
Evasion n/a 0 50
Survival* 25% 30% 65%
Annoyance** High Med Low
*Effective Survivability. I just made that up, it's basically BS. Artillery can upgrade their withdrawl ability or strength, or a combination of the two, giving a consideratly higher percentage. Bombers and Stealth is assuming Jet Fighters defending (70% intercept), actual survival percentage is considerably higher when you consider that few interceptions result in death, only a damaged aircraft.

**Annoyance factor for the player to use. Arty with their 1 movement dragging behind your tanks takes the cake. Bombers constantly intercepted is slightly annoying, but expected.

Let's see. Arty can cause collateral to more units at a time, and take them down to a lower percentage. This is assuming you have the patience to move them into place. Bombers and Stealth will give you a much lower death rate, but require more of them to accomplish the same objective. Looking at the numbers it might be beneficial to knock down defenses with artillery (quicker), cause initial collateral with bombers/stealth, deal more collateral with arty (they've got a much higher survival rate now), then finish them off. Though by the time you bring the defenders down to 50% by bombing, it's unlikely you're going to be losing any tanks, so bringing them down an additional 20% with arty isn't likely to benefit you much unless they're highly upgraded/on a hill/across a river.

Doh, I didn't factor in the material requirements. Artillery doesn't require anything, bombers need oil, stealth need aluminum and oil.

I guess I just plain don't like artillery. Bombers can attack naval units, bombard defenses, deal collateral, have a significant range, higher survivability, and are faster to redeploy (warring on the other side of the world? no problem).

Increasing artillery's ability to be transported would help. I don't necessarily want to be able to move them into enemy territory and fire on the same turn, but give them some way to keep up with the tanks (same can be said for infantry). Here's what I propose, a troop transport capable of loading 4 units (1 artillery max, to simulate towing), that has a movement rate of 2. Unloading would function like the naval transport, using up the unloaded unit's movement point for that turn.

:p

Edit: Heroes reminded me of artillery not having access to the flanking promotions, yet another strike to artillery's standing in my book.

Heroes
Nov 09, 2005, 10:49 PM
experience from animals is capped at 5 XP, and for barbarians it's capped at 10 XP, so don't waste time with them if your unit has that much. Instead what I do is once an exploring warrior has reached 5 (or 10) I return it to my cities and cycle it with a new one with no XP, so at the very least a large part of my units will have 5-10 XPs before even my first war (with or without the help of barracks!)

That cap thing is very helpful, thanks. So I guess an important thing is to get a 10 XP unit and literature quickly to unlock heroic epic. Even without marble, it just costs 200 hammers, while it will save thousands of hammers.

Heroes
Nov 09, 2005, 10:56 PM
I guess I'm the only one who agrees with Lor. It would be nice to have a symmetrical RPS system in the ancient era. Right now it DOES seem like you can make a stack of solely Axemen without worrying too much about what defenders you're going to face.

I'm not saying the game is entirely unbalanced at that era, as I think the Axemen having 5 strength instead of 6, like horse archers, are because of its anti-melee capabilities whilst still being a melee unit. However, it would be....shall we say, "tidier", if there was an anti-axeman unit that wasn't just an axeman, especially when it's such a useful attacking unit.


Why a stack of axeman is safe? Axeman's base strength is just 5, and they cost 35 hammers. Both chariot (4, 25, 20% withdraw) and horse archer (6, 50) should be effective against axemen.

Heroes
Nov 09, 2005, 10:59 PM
*Effective Survivability. I just made that up, it's basically BS. Artillery can upgrade their withdrawl ability or strength, or a combination of the two, giving a consideratly higher percentage. Bombers and Stealth is assuming Jet Fighters defending (70% intercept), actual survival percentage is considerably higher when you consider that few interceptions result in death, only a damaged aircraft.



Flanking is only available to mounted, armored, helicopter, and navy units, not siege weapons, -- otherwise it would be imbalanced. :)

snepp
Nov 09, 2005, 11:52 PM
Flanking is only available to mounted, armored, helicopter, and navy units, not siege weapons, -- otherwise it would be imbalanced. :)

Ahh yes, of course. Though in my defense I did say little thought would be involved. I'll tack that on to my list of reasons I prefer bombers. ;)

WetWarev7
Nov 10, 2005, 07:37 AM
I can't understand why you're using this as an example of bad game design. If you over-commit your attack force, get counter-attacked and don't have any contingency plans in place, you DESERVE to get smashed. In CIV (or pretty much any other computer game), in football (or pretty much any other sport), or in real-life war.

Um....I wasn't talking about game design, I was commenting on someone posting about allways using stacks of catapaults. I like the game design, and I was saying the same thing you just did - Don't put all your eggs in one basket.:goodjob:

Colonel Kraken
Nov 10, 2005, 07:45 AM
I think so, but I might be a bit biased given my recent migration towards building bombers/stealth over artillery. Keep in mind my entire post involves little thought, and under no circumstances any meaningful calculations.

[*snip*]

Increasing artillery's ability to be transported would help. I don't necessarily want to be able to move them into enemy territory and fire on the same turn, but give them some way to keep up with the tanks (same can be said for infantry). Here's what I propose, a troop transport capable of loading 4 units (1 artillery max, to simulate towing), that has a movement rate of 2. Unloading would function like the naval transport, using up the unloaded unit's movement point for that turn.

:p

Edit: Heroes reminded me of artillery not having access to the flanking promotions, yet another strike to artillery's standing in my book.

Excellent look at these units, Snepp. Thank you. I agree: Artillery are very annoying to use on the offense. Too bad we didn't have a graphic for modern self-propelled artillery. Also, it would be very nice to have a graphic for air-mobile artillery: helicopter transport of these light artillery units. That would make them much more useful.

You know, it's sad to find the Firaxis team decided to do away with some of the fun items from Civ III : paradrop, helicopter airlift, etc. I thought they were supposed to keep the fun things in Civ IV. :(

snepp
Nov 10, 2005, 10:13 AM
Excellent look at these units, Snepp. Thank you. I agree: Artillery are very annoying to use on the offense. Too bad we didn't have a graphic for modern self-propelled artillery. Also, it would be very nice to have a graphic for air-mobile artillery: helicopter transport of these light artillery units. That would make them much more useful.

You know, it's sad to find the Firaxis team decided to do away with some of the fun items from Civ III : paradrop, helicopter airlift, etc. I thought they were supposed to keep the fun things in Civ IV. :(

One thing to keep in mind when we want all these additional toys to play with, if the AI can't make use of them, they're better off not being there. Hopefully when the SDK comes around new unit types can be introduced effectively. Anyway, a couple screenies for the road.

http://www.army-technology.com/projects/crusader/
http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/ch-47-dvic299.jpg
http://www.airbusmilitary.com/gallery/m113load1024.jpg

Arathorn
Nov 10, 2005, 10:31 AM
If you have flight and the opponents don't, then, yes, bombers are inordinately powerful. Of course, catapults before the opponents have them, too, are inordinately powerful -- maybe not to quite the same degree but semi-close. Stealth bombers and their ability to hit frequently even when air defense is up is nearly broken, too. There's just no defense at that point, except to hit the city where they're based.

The thing is, artillery, if you can get them there, ALWAYS will do their collateral damage. Air units can be intercepted (and frequently are, even stealth bombers by WW I fighters). There's a trade-off between them. It takes a LOT of stealth bombers to be able to really wound a city. And, in the meantime, your stack is sitting their vulnerable. Artillery, OTOH, can be rolled up and WILL hit, if they don't die. Definite trade-off. At times, one is better; at other times, the other is better. I *LIKE* that.

Another thing to note, artillery can do collateral damage from a boat. When your opponent isn't in range of bombers, that can be key. A transport full of suicide artillery will deal a lot of collateral damage, so with 2-4 transports working on bring up artillery full-time, naval attacks are quite feasible. Even when landing to try to set up bombers would equal instant death.

Not to mention artillery generally come a few hundred turns before stealth bombers. :)

Perfectly balanced? I dunno, but there are enough trade-offs to make one think...which is a good thing, in my opinion.

Arathorn

leoric
Nov 10, 2005, 10:40 AM
I agree, the defense should have the advantage as long as they're defending SOMETHING. Like a city. Or a fortress. Even if it's fortified. That is not the case when some axeman wanders into your territory and sticks to the forrests and hills however. That's an offense in my book. It's STUPID that the AI can walk into my territory, right past all my border units and still be considered to be the defensive party!

At strategic level of warfare, this is offensive. But dealing with one or a number of units would be operational level, because unit represents a regiment or division, depending on the game epoch (at least, for civ3 - in civ4, we have less units, so they should represent even bigger formations). And at operational level of warfare YOU are on offensive, not barbs! They are just sitting in their camp in the forest, occasionally moving it to another place (remember of lots of 'real' time per turn).
You know, it's sad to find the Firaxis team decided to do away with some of the fun items from Civ III : paradrop, helicopter airlift, etc. I thought they were supposed to keep the fun things in Civ IV. :(
Well, they should leave something to be added by extension packs, shouldn't they? ;-) (I mean, not for good - but for earning money)

leoric
Nov 10, 2005, 11:10 AM
Originally Posted by Colonel Kraken
You know, it's sad to find the Firaxis team decided to do away with some of the fun items from Civ III : paradrop, helicopter airlift, etc. I thought they were supposed to keep the fun things in Civ IV.
Well, the should leave something to be added by extension packs, shouldn't they? ;-) (I mean, not for good - but for earning money)

snepp
Nov 10, 2005, 11:47 AM
Stealth bombers and their ability to hit frequently even when air defense is up is nearly broken, too. There's just no defense at that point, except to hit the city where they're based.

I miss the differences between a bomber and a stealth from Civ3. Perhaps a future mod will make the units different, rather than a different skin with better stats. Remove the stealth's ability to cause collateral, and bring back precision strikes with the abiltiy to target specific buildings. As it is, there's no reason to keep both bombers and stealth around unless you're cash-poor.

The thing is, artillery, if you can get them there, ALWAYS will do their collateral damage. Air units can be intercepted (and frequently are, even stealth bombers by WW I fighters). There's a trade-off between them. It takes a LOT of stealth bombers to be able to really wound a city. And, in the meantime, your stack is sitting their vulnerable. Artillery, OTOH, can be rolled up and WILL hit, if they don't die. Definite trade-off.
I have to agree (even though I don't want to). Trade-offs are good, if they weren't there we would all use one unit for everything, and that wouldn't be terribly entertaining. As for the stack sitting there vulnerable, preemptive bombing is devastating. With units capable of healing only so much between turns, by the time the stack rolls up it only takes a handful of bombers to knock them down to 50% again if you so choose. Artillery's guaranteed collateral cannot be ignored, though as you said, if you can get them there. A tank with a couple barrage upgrades is also an option. Not as good as an artillery piece, but still effective.

Another thing to note, artillery can do collateral damage from a boat. When your opponent isn't in range of bombers, that can be key.
Agreed again, something that I make use of when needed. Usually accompanied by a transport of marines, and a transport of tanks/mech.

Not to mention artillery generally come a few hundred turns before stealth bombers. :)
And the resource requirements. ;)

Perfectly balanced? I dunno, but there are enough trade-offs to make one think...which is a good thing, in my opinion.
Well, there's no such thing as perfectly balanced. Striving for it is good, but expecting it would be lunacy. As I mentioned before, additional options for transport/mobility of artillery would be a welcome addition, something that I believe wouldn't upset the current balance.

MadBunny
Nov 10, 2005, 11:51 AM
Ive found a big stack of units with Withdrawal +% promotions to be highly effective (combined with defensive units and a medic). I once plowed through a enemy civilization with a stack of horse archers with withdrawal promotions. I took over 4 cities without loosing a single unit thanks to the high withdrawal chance and luck I had I guess. Soften up the city with a catapult or two and then charge in with the horses, your of course very vulnerable if you fail to defeat the enemy since most your units will be wounded and in need of healing (thats where having the defensive units come in, preferably position your army(s) in plot with a defensive bonus.

Aeon221
Nov 10, 2005, 12:44 PM
Heh, I have not been able to build forts at all in about twenty games. What the heck unit does it? Nothing in the Pedia about it either... sigh...

I dunno about ground combat denial (low level graphics), but I do know that with ships the square denied is a 3x3 box around the boat (water only). One or two well placed ships can effectively create a loose blockade of any enemy harbor.

V. convenient.

Spies

You can use them to basically know an enemy into the ground. The b e s t thing to do in my book is to set up a little group of mechies, chops, and tanks on a hill next to a square adjacent to a city with a spy in the city. Bomb it to hell, kill anything that trys to get in or out, burn the roads with the chops, use your little terrorist to blow their production... its mean as heck. You can nag a city to death like that.

Burnination

No real counter to the enemy burninating your countryside... except to burninate his first! ...or to harrass the burning column.

Use retreaters and chokes to slow them down (Russian Style!) and then just pray you can beat them up enough that they turn tail and run! Immortals are a great earlier counter to burn columns. The retreat bonus is sick!

Alistic
Nov 10, 2005, 01:10 PM
But this is where the strategy actually comes in. If both of you are out pillaging land and avoiding battles you cant win and trying to exploit the other player's weakness, then the better strategist will prevail. The person who is able to plunder more efficiently, or choose his battles better, or build the larger/more balanced military will win.

This is not a bad thing.

No I totally disagree. Except for the very last thing. If this is what you are doing, then you will both loose.

There is no real strategy, unless your playing vs the AI, or a really dumb human opponent. No one is going to attack units on hills. No one is going to coincidentally have the counter to whatever unit your producing. This superficial notion that player x is going to be defending some hill squares with a stack of units that give a hill bonus is more lucky as hell than someones superior strategy. Or that player x is going to build a bunch of horsemen and you are going to know that and counter it with a stack of pikemen. Looks great on the drawing board, but again I would have to question why somone was building pikemen instead of elephants, swordsman, or horsmen of their own.

The strategy is to be more advanced with the bigger stack. Thats pretty much it.

If your not either of those 2 things then you can expect the war to just hurt both the attacker and the defender. Because, especially against another human, are not going to pull any strategic moves, unless your opponent is just clueless.

As for multiplayer games specifically, I see 2 types of players.

1.) People that build an army. (stacks of 20+ units, with seperate defending stacks in every city)
2.) People that build buildings.

90% of the time the people that buld the army take the cities with buildings and end up having both.

Now there is strategy in what citys you take, picking your enemys and that like. But as for the actual combat, there is no real strategy, unless having a bigger more advanced army is a strategy.

WetWarev7
Nov 10, 2005, 01:28 PM
Stupid double post....

WetWarev7
Nov 10, 2005, 01:28 PM
The strategy is to be more advanced with the bigger stack. Thats pretty much it.

If your not either of those 2 things then you can expect the war to just hurt both the attacker and the defender. Because, especially against another human, are not going to pull any strategic moves, unless your opponent is just clueless.

As for multiplayer games specifically, I see 2 types of players.

1.) People that build an army. (stacks of 20+ units, with seperate defending stacks in every city)
2.) People that build buildings.

90% of the time the people that buld the army take the cities with buildings and end up having both.

Now there is strategy in what citys you take, picking your enemys and that like. But as for the actual combat, there is no real strategy, unless having a bigger more advanced army is a strategy.

I disagree:p . Mobility is a strong factor in wars. If you only attack with stacks, you are going to be moving at 1 tile per turn, unless you have a stack soley comprised of mounted(I'm taliking early eras, here), which is easy enough to counter.

While you are moving one or two or three stacks around, trying to gain and hold a city or two, the other player can move in with non-stacked single units and pillage and burn your entire infrastructure down, and guess what? Those 2 or 3 stacks you started with are all that's left of your technological advantage. You may have gained a city or two, but if the other player is strategy minded and cold enough, he/she will have pillaged those cities and surrounding areas when it became evident that he/she was going to lose them, and done properly, would now also have your entire army pinned down, successfully stagnating your whole civilization. They can then proceed to cut bits and pieces off of your civ at will.

Does it allways work out that way? No. I think the strategy all boils down to being open minded enough to notice and take advantage of all situations. Don't get so caught up with one idea that you get stuck in a rut and open yourself up to a sound thrashing by a creative player.

Alistic
Nov 10, 2005, 01:42 PM
I disagree:p . Mobility is a strong factor in wars. If you only attack with stacks, you are going to be moving at 1 tile per turn, unless you have a stack soley comprised of mounted(I'm taliking early eras, here), which is easy enough to counter.

While you are moving one or two or three stacks around, trying to gain and hold a city or two, the other player can move in with non-stacked single units and pillage and burn your entire infrastructure down, and guess what? Those 2 or 3 stacks you started with are all that's left of your technological advantage. You may have gained a city or two, but if the other player is strategy minded and cold enough, he/she will have pillaged those cities and surrounding areas when it became evident that he/she was going to lose them, and done properly, would now also have your entire army pinned down, successfully stagnating your whole civilization. They can then proceed to cut bits and pieces off of your civ at will.

Does it allways work out that way? No. I think the strategy all boils down to being open minded enough to notice and take advantage of all situations. Don't get so caught up with one idea that you get stuck in a rut and open yourself up to a sound thrashing by a creative player.

Again a superficial situation. What stops player A from seperating his stacks and doing the same thing? Then both players will loose. You are assuming that your stack building opponent is smart enough to build a big army, but seemingly enough a moron. Which doesent fit into "combat strategy" at all.

You are just furthering my point. Where are you going to find an opponent that will let you take seperate units and pillage all your improvements? (ok ok.. you can find one at any given moment online :)) How did you get these units into his territory while he was attacking your cities? Sounds great. It would infact work. Is it ever going to happen? Maybe... But it sounds more like civ3 standard combat procedure than anything creative or of a stretigic mastermind.

Planning on your opponent to make stuipid decisions is not strategy.

WetWarev7
Nov 10, 2005, 02:14 PM
Again a superficial situation. What stops player A from seperating his stacks and doing the same thing? Then both players will loose. You are assuming that your opponent is a moron. Which doesent fit into "combat strategy" at all.

You are just furthering my point. Where are you going to find an opponent that will let you take seperate units and pillage all your improvements? How did you get these units into his territory while he was attacking your cities? Sounds great. It would infact work. Is it ever going to happen? Only on the drawing board.

If he splits his stack, then he is no longer using the 'bigger stack, better tech' strategy, whether it is thought out beforehand, or just a gut reaction he would still be using a strategy. This is also where hilltop and forest defenses do make a difference.

Even if he does split his stacks(for the sake of argument, he's got three), he has to come after my units from those three positions, whereas if I were going on a pillaging spree, my units would be spread over the entire border(or even better, hidden away on his flank before hand). I would have a good chance of getting enough units thru to cover every military resource(that I know about), and the end result is, those stacks of doom are dispersed, the war is on foreign territory, and the threat to my cities is at least temporarily averted.

In the meantime, I would be preparing a second wave of either stacked or nonstacked units, depending on how disorganized the opponent is, and depending on the situation.

These are not all "what if" scenarios. Alot of them are "tried and true" methods. It's easy to say how you would counter them on a message board, it's a totally different thing trying to discover an opponents strategy while in the heat of battle before it's too late....

It would be interesting to have a military GTOM scenario series to try all these different strategies in a contolled setup, because not all players are equal, some ARE morons.:lol:

WetWarev7
Nov 10, 2005, 02:20 PM
These are not all "what if" scenarios. Alot of them are "tried and true" methods. It's easy to say how you would counter them on a message board, it's a totally different thing trying to discover an opponents strategy while in the heat of battle before it's too late....


I know I'm quoteing myself, but I wanted to add this:

What if when you come at me with three stacks of doom of 20+ mounted untis, and instead of attacking cities, you split up in my territory and pilage the crap out of everything in sight? Even if I had better tech, I would be hard pressed to do anything but scream "OH CRAP!!!"

Half the fun of going to war is scaring the socks off your opponent and making sure they remember you....