Advertisement
Civilization Fanatics' Center  

Go Back   Civilization Fanatics' Forums > CIVILIZATION IV > Civ4 - Strategy & Tips > Civ4 Strategy Articles

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old Sep 11, 2006, 10:15 PM   #1
Sisiutil
All Leader Challenger
 
Sisiutil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 6,896
The Stack o' Doom: Effective Composition and Use of Offensive Military Stacks

The Stack o Doom:
Effective Composition And Use Of The Offensive Military Stack In Civilization IV


A Civilization IV strategy article by Sisiutil

Version 2.0 - January 2nd, 2009

Attached, in PDF format.

Comments and constructive criticism are encouraged and welcome!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Stack o Doom v2.pdf (140.3 KB, 40626 views)
__________________
Stories and Tales: Princes of the Universe Part I / Part II
The All Leaders Challenge Games (ALC Bullpen thread)
Civ IV Strategy Articles: Strategy Guide for Beginners / Intermediate Tactics & Gambits / Stack o' Doom / Early Rush / Leader Traits

Last edited by Sisiutil; Jan 02, 2009 at 12:46 PM.
Sisiutil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 11, 2006, 10:44 PM   #2
DaviddesJ
Deity
 
DaviddesJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Burlingame CA
Posts: 4,303
When you have high-combat-value units attacking low-combat-value units, Combat promotions are often about as good as City Raider, and a lot more flexible. A common case where this applies is swordsmen vs archers.

CR2 swordsman vs CG2 archer in city, fortified, with 20% cultural defense
6 vs 3*(1+0.45+0.50+0.25+0.20-0.55) = 6 vs 5.55 = 1.08 to 1

Combat-2 swordsman vs CG2 archer in city, fortified, with 20% cultural defense
6*1.2 vs 3*(1+0.45+0.50+0.25+0.20-0.10) = 7.2 vs 6.9 = 1.04 to 1
DaviddesJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 12, 2006, 06:47 AM   #3
MrCynical
Deity
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: The Dreaming Spires
Posts: 4,502
A few general nitpicks, and also some more detail on changes with Warlords:

There are a number of mentions in the pillaging section (particularly section 2.3.1) of sticking to forest and jungle tiles. In the ancient to classical eras these aren't going to have any improvements except maybe a road (which there's rarely much point in pillaging on its own). While these tiles are more defensible, sticking to them doesn't help in the main objective of pillaging. For that reason I also wouldn't recommend the woodsmen promotions for a pillaging stack.

In section 2.3.2 you highly prioritise roads as a pillaging target. Except maybe in my very first rush I usually find the enemy empire has such an extensive road net that (barring bottlenecks due to terrain) pillaging roads in general is slow and unproductive. This may be a quirk of the high difficulty levels I play at.

In section 3.1.1 I'd query that war elephants are good city defenders. While they have a high base stength they don't get defensive bonuses, so most of the contemporary units are better at defending cities. On terrain other than cities they are rather better defenders relative to the other units available, as the defensive bonus is a smaller component of te overall strength for a defending unit.

In 3.1.2 I'd emphasize that in many ways the trebuchet is a direct city attacker in its own right, not just a supporting bombardment/suicide unit. With strength 4 and 100% vs. cities they match the basic maceman under most circumstances, and are better vs. crossbowmen. They often have a well over 50% chance of winning vs. contemporary city defenders once you've bombarded away the city defense (especially if you give them city raider promotions). Even if they lose you do collateral damage (and as I've said they often will win outright), and they have a chance to retreat. With warlords the trebuchet has really become the city attacker of choice, not the maceman. For this reason I would always give city raider promotions to trebuchets, not barrage.

In section 3.3 it is worth mentioning in warlords that you can merge a great general into a city which gives +2 xp to all units built there, allowing easy access to level 3. Also in warlords barracks only give 3xp, not 4. There is however the stable city improvment, which gives an additional +2 xp to mounted units, and is available very early, allowing level 3 mounted units to be easily built, though not other types.
__________________
"The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not." - Eric Hoffer.

Want to learn the true power of corporations in BtS? - Try my article on the power of Sushi!
MrCynical is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 12, 2006, 10:05 AM   #4
HectorSpector
Chieftain
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 58
SoDs are so untactical, I wish they would rid the game of them somehow.

What they need to do is allow siege units to barrage stacks from within a city, and have a much higher chance to withdraw. Stacks of a certain size should be visible from a greater distance too, ideally proportional to the number of units in the stack.

Last edited by HectorSpector; Sep 12, 2006 at 10:10 AM.
HectorSpector is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 12, 2006, 10:34 AM   #5
Cort Haus
Warlord
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: London
Posts: 219
Cats aren't rendered completely obsolete by Trebs. Cats attack stacks in the field with a strength of 5 compared to the Treb's 4, where the city attack bonus doesn't apply. They're also a lot cheaper. So I'd include cats in the list of defensive units for the city-busters.
Cort Haus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 12, 2006, 10:41 AM   #6
Sisiutil
All Leader Challenger
 
Sisiutil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 6,896
Good points above about Trebuchets. I don't have Warlords yet; I should probably remove all references to it from the article, leaving it referring only to vanilla Civ IV, until after I have some experience with it.
__________________
Stories and Tales: Princes of the Universe Part I / Part II
The All Leaders Challenge Games (ALC Bullpen thread)
Civ IV Strategy Articles: Strategy Guide for Beginners / Intermediate Tactics & Gambits / Stack o' Doom / Early Rush / Leader Traits
Sisiutil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 12, 2006, 02:14 PM   #7
CynicalMagician
Chieftain
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by HectorSpector
SoDs are so untactical, I wish they would rid the game of them somehow.
Give the total realism mod a try. It makes it so stacks of 14+ units are 'crowded' and thus suffer -25% strength, lose first strikes, and some other negative modifiers. In practice it means there's lots more smaller armies manuevering around and combat in the field.
CynicalMagician is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 12, 2006, 03:06 PM   #8
HectorSpector
Chieftain
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by CynicalMagician
Give the total realism mod a try. It makes it so stacks of 14+ units are 'crowded' and thus suffer -25% strength, lose first strikes, and some other negative modifiers. In practice it means there's lots more smaller armies manuevering around and combat in the field.
That's more like it.
HectorSpector is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 12, 2006, 03:30 PM   #9
lilnev
King
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 943
Overall a great primer on offensive tactics. I would point to a couple of things:

First, you recommend leaving city raiders outside of the captured city to heal. This will significantly slow the healing process (5% in enemy terrain +10% medic vs. 15% in revolting city +10% medic). If you've brought along the proper city defenders, it shouldn't be a problem to move your raiders into the city to heal.

Second, you recommend using your weaker units first when it comes to step 3 of storming a city. Because the combat system is significantly non-linear, in particular with a discontinuity as your strength passes theirs (just barely stronger has quite a good chance to win, just barely weaker has quite a poor chance), it often makes sense to match up a stronger attacker with a strong (but not quite as strong) defender so that you gain the benefit of that discontinuity. If my best attacker would still be an underdog, then yes I'll send a weaker man in to die for the cause.

Also, do you consider mounted units to be good city storming units? A Knight with Combat I/II has strength 12 vs. a Maceman with CR I/II with strength 11.6, and the Knight avoids first strikes. He is more expensive, and the CR III promotion will put the Maceman ahead, but I still find Knights useful against Longbows. And even more so against Crossbows or Samurai, though those are far less common.

Anyway, great article.

peace,
lilnev
lilnev is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 12, 2006, 03:47 PM   #10
DaviddesJ
Deity
 
DaviddesJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Burlingame CA
Posts: 4,303
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilnev
A Knight with Combat I/II has strength 12 vs. a Maceman with CR I/II with strength 11.6, and the Knight avoids first strikes.
A Maceman with CR2 does not have strength 11.6. That's not how combat works. The City Raider promotions reduce the strength of the defender, rather than increasing the strength of the attacker. This makes a big difference.
DaviddesJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 12, 2006, 05:50 PM   #11
uberfish
Immortal
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,365
Knights are indeed strong against longbows and very useful for picking off stray enemy units in the field. The only problem is pikes are a better counter to knights than crossbows are to macemen, and the AI builds more pikes than it does crossbows.
__________________
Shrine of the Uberfish - Civ4 game reports
uberfish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 12, 2006, 09:44 PM   #12
Sisiutil
All Leader Challenger
 
Sisiutil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 6,896
Revised version posted. Thanks for the feedback, everyone!
__________________
Stories and Tales: Princes of the Universe Part I / Part II
The All Leaders Challenge Games (ALC Bullpen thread)
Civ IV Strategy Articles: Strategy Guide for Beginners / Intermediate Tactics & Gambits / Stack o' Doom / Early Rush / Leader Traits
Sisiutil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 13, 2006, 12:38 PM   #13
lilnev
King
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 943
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaviddesJ
A Maceman with CR2 does not have strength 11.6. That's not how combat works. The City Raider promotions reduce the strength of the defender, rather than increasing the strength of the attacker. This makes a big difference.
Right, I knew that....
Suppose the defender is a Longbow, City Defender I (plus his innate +25%), fortified +25%, no hills or cultural defence. Knight */** fights at 12 vs. 10.2 (6*1.7), no first strike. Mace CR I/II fights at 8 vs. 7.5 (6*1.25), with first strike.
Though I concede the point that Pikemen are a pain, and more common than Crossbows.

peace,
lilnev
lilnev is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 13, 2006, 05:31 PM   #14
DaviddesJ
Deity
 
DaviddesJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Burlingame CA
Posts: 4,303
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilnev
Mace CR I/II fights at 8 vs. 7.5 (6*1.25), with first strike.
Right. Note that 8 vs 7.5 is significantly worse than 11.6 vs 10.2 would have been.
DaviddesJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 17, 2006, 06:16 AM   #15
pigswill
fly (one day)
 
pigswill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: berkshire, england
Posts: 7,462
No cultural defence is a huge assumption; 20% or 40% are more common defence values. If defence is subtracted from attackers chance then knight goes from 12 v10.2 to 9.6 v10.2, mace goes from 8 v 7.5 to 6.4 v 7.5 (at 20% defence); if added to defenders chance then it becomes 12 v 12.3 for knights and 8 v 9 for maces; either way the odds suddenly becomly tilted towards the defender (and it obviously gets worse at 40%, 50%(walls), 60%).
pigswill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 17, 2006, 10:35 AM   #16
DaviddesJ
Deity
 
DaviddesJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Burlingame CA
Posts: 4,303
Quote:
Originally Posted by pigswill
No cultural defence is a huge assumption; 20% or 40% are more common defence values.
If you have macemen or knights, then you usually have catapults too, so you will generally bombard the defenses before attacking.
DaviddesJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 24, 2006, 08:31 AM   #17
aelf
Noctis Lucis Caelum
 
aelf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Kate Spade oligarchy
Posts: 13,802
Maybe it's worth noting that France defies the conventions set for a pillaging stack here. If you're playing France, your pillaging stacks consist of Musketeers and maybe some knights. An assortment of suitable promotions for the Musketeers (CombatI + Pinch/CombatI + Shock/CombatII + Formation/CombatI + GuerillaI) would render such a stack unassailable without numerous units or siege weapons.
aelf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 25, 2006, 08:12 PM   #18
Sisiutil
All Leader Challenger
 
Sisiutil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 6,896
Quote:
Originally Posted by aelf
Maybe it's worth noting that France defies the conventions set for a pillaging stack here. If you're playing France, your pillaging stacks consist of Musketeers and maybe some knights. An assortment of suitable promotions for the Musketeers (CombatI + Pinch/CombatI + Shock/CombatII + Formation/CombatI + GuerillaI) would render such a stack unassailable without numerous units or siege weapons.
Good point. I didn't address the various UUs, many of which are formidable enough to warrant a change in stack composition, as you have so ably asserted. I may deal with this in a future revision.
__________________
Stories and Tales: Princes of the Universe Part I / Part II
The All Leaders Challenge Games (ALC Bullpen thread)
Civ IV Strategy Articles: Strategy Guide for Beginners / Intermediate Tactics & Gambits / Stack o' Doom / Early Rush / Leader Traits
Sisiutil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 27, 2006, 04:36 AM   #19
Phrederick
Warlord
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 263
Some constructive criticism:

I would say that a crossbow should be mentioned as an anti-melee pillage-stack defender; especially if you use an outdated cavalry as a pillager, because then it is the best anti-crossbow.

Flanking only provides a chance to withdraw when attacking, not while defending. Although it opens up sentry, it would be worth noting that if the unit doesn't have enough experience to get sentry out of the gate, flanking isn't necessarily the best promotion. Although barracks + stable do give enough experience... Also, I usually would give the pillaging unit the medic promotion. I guess it's just a difference in style. I don't think sentry is all that useful, because it's hard to predict whether the ai will use that unit you see to attack your stack, and because there isn't much you can do to prevent it.

Also, Axemen have +50% vs melee (at least I thought they did?), and you have it as +25%.

As others have said, woodsman really isn't a useful promotion, unless the stack is badly wounded and needs to hole up and heal.

You should note that when pillaging metals, there is often a defender fortified there. Without a strong pillaging stack, I avoid confronting them and their +25% fortify bonus.

Even though you don't have Warlords, you should still mention trebuchets as city attackers.

I wouldn't say that axes/maces are the best anti-melee stack defenders, because what melee will they be defending against? Axes/maces. Crossbows are much better. I would combine that fourth paragraph under Stack Defenders on page 9 with the first, and mention that the melee commonly defended against are axes/maces.
Phrederick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 02, 2006, 03:52 PM   #20
Mango
Tasty Fruit
 
Mango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: In a tree
Posts: 677
Crossbows are the most underrated unit in the game IMO. The problem is Longbows are better city defenders and most people only use archery units for city defense. Stick some crossbows in your attacking stacks and give them melee promotions. They will wipe out melee counter attackers.
Mango is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Go Back Civilization Fanatics' Forums > CIVILIZATION IV > Civ4 - Strategy & Tips > Civ4 Strategy Articles > The Stack o' Doom: Effective Composition and Use of Offensive Military Stacks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
STACK o' DOOM Stewie0416 Civ4 - Strategy & Tips 27 Sep 26, 2008 10:53 AM
Stack of Doom composition for BTS? a4phantom Civ4 - General Discussions 8 May 13, 2008 10:12 PM
Stacks of Doom. Ultimate_Waffle Civ4 - General Discussions 2 Dec 26, 2007 09:48 PM
The Stack o' Doom: Effective Composition and Use of Offensive Military Stacks Sisiutil Article Comments 0 Feb 14, 2007 07:54 PM
AI Stacks of Doom Oddible Civ3 - General Discussions 19 Dec 18, 2002 05:22 PM


Advertisement

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:15 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
This site is copyright Civilization Fanatics' Center.
Support CFC: Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon CA | Amazon FR