Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by henyo10, Mar 14, 2009.
Which is better?
Depends on the time and the place.
One large vs. few smaller, hmm, how about several even larger stacks?
Concentrating your troops is generally a good strategy. However, if you hold an exploitable advantage (military tech lead, cultural reach for simultaneous multi-city strikes, etc), quick multi-pronged strikes can be more effective.
That said, again, quality is even better in quantity!
Invade with one SoD and watch the enemy concentrate all their artillery on it - said SoD becomes pitifully weak. Invade with several smaller stacks and your enemy has to split their artillery attacks too.
Smaller stacks are more vulnerable to siege counter attacks. It's easier for enemy to wipe them completely one by one. Often it's better to attack with one big stack first.
I usually have one main stack, but often I'll have a smaller secondary stack depending on the geography. For modern wars, I like to drop a small stack of Woodsman-promoted Paratroopers (plus a medic) behind enemy lines if they still have forest somewhere to see if the AI will attack that instead of my main stack. A stack of 24-str units with 50% defense from the forest + 50% defense from Woodsman II is a tough thing to dislodge.
Early game - one large stack tends to be my preference.
Later game, I often tend to fight wars on two sides, or with the same AI on two fronts, so I tend to break up into two 50+ unit stacks to try to devastate faster. I often fail to do the second medic unit though - that's one thing I need to think about more often so both stacks can heal lightning fast.
I organize my stacks in what I call Combined Armed Army Groups. Generally, 9xMelee (predominantly CR), 9xSiege, 4xMounted, 4xStack Defenders (Drill Promos), and a Medic. I just keep my Gunpumps producing more stacks and replacing losses, while my other cities produce garrison troops. For the mid-game post-Gunpowder push, I'll try to start with 4 to 6 such groups. By the end of the game, about 15 is fairly normal, although I've had 25+ on a couple of occassions (I play Huge/Marathon, btw). The most important thing is the Siege - if you have enough Siege all you need after that is mop-up troops. Attacking on multiple fronts with multiple mutually-supporting stacks gives the AI fits; it will generally counterattack all it's troops on a single front, after that it's a cake walk.
Oh, and try to bring along a Scout / Explorer or two with each stack. They're cheap and expendable and are great for probing ahead of an advance and exposing the AI stack before it can counterattack, which gives you the initiative to smash it with your Siege first.
It depends on the size of the enemy SOD. If your opponent is about equal to you in power rating, you can bet they have a comparable SOD so it might be a good idea to just use one SOD until you take out their SOD. If you're considerably higher in power, 2 or more SODs would be better as you can take out their cities quicker.
Usually not, AI build more walls/racks than human, also keeps more defense units in inner cities. Ussually it is not problem while you are in 0.8-0.9 department.
Yeah, they could have a comparable SoD (and sometimes do) but they often prefer to keep their garrisoned troops in place where they're easier to defeat piecemeal.
It depends on the situation for me. Assuming at least 20 cities in an AI empire on a single landmass, I will send my "worst" stack (Low experience City Raider macemen / riflemen with 10 cannon and medic III pikes / riflemen, or modern armour with 10 artillery and medic III mech infantry for late wars) in first, to draw AI troops. Then, my main stack, with high experience City Raider riflemen, infantry or mech infantry. Siege and medics are of identical make-up for both stacks, with 4 medic II as backup for my super medics. Early axemen rushes for me tend to un-organised, with what little siege I can get. The reason I use City Raider mech infantry in my main stacks is the extra promotions from earlier wars, and March backed with Medic III is brilliant for quick offences.
For smaller empires or empires with lots of island cities, I tend to use 1 larger stack, similar to the "worst" stack mentioned earlier, but with 50% more City Raiders and Medic II.
My rule is if after catapults use two stacks unless the AI/person only has one or two cities. The reason i like multiple stacks is because you can take cities before they can fortify them, and you know whats fun you play as someone creative like willy on a pangrea map and expand so much that there cities are only one tile away. Also the great thing about multiple stacks is that you take down an enemy faster than one stack (i once took down brennus in 10 turns. The bad thing about multiple stacks is that you have to be really organized and equally balance the two or three.
I'll usually invade with 1 huge stack, then capture a city and split it up, eventually haing a few smaller stacks rampaging.
If geography permits though, i'll start with 2 fronts and eventaully unite th 2 stacks somewhere.
Rule of thumb: the SoD should be big enough to be able to kill the enemy forces in reach and still have some backup units to defend form counter-strike. Anything bigger than that is useless and would be better used in another stack.
This said, 1 SoD vs more than one stack balance can shift a lot , even from one turn to another in the same game......
Once the stack becomes larger than 5 units it's basically the same thing as a fully sized stack. Catapulting something that has less than 5 units though means the catapult is not doing it's full collateral potential. So, it's marginally better. Still, late game it's pretty impractical to try and wear out the enemy's siege like this since the enemy will have so many.
If you split your forces then you should have 1 stack that's threatening enough to bait all of your enemy's seige into hitting it and your second stack should be strong enough to destroy at least 1 city.
Walls and barracks only give the power rating of of a warrior if I'm not mistaken so that really won't make much of a difference. The AI will tend to have it's border cities with enemies more heavily fortified, but it's inner cities and cities bordering friends will have fewer units. The rest go into their SOD.
It really depends for me. At the start of a war, I'll usually have one big stack. But as the war drags on and the enemy loses its ability to effectively counterattack, I'm more likely to split up my stack to speed up the war. This usually depends on whether or not I had the good sense to build enough siege or if I have enough espionage to incite some city revolts (the former usually is not the case; the latter usually is). On the other hand, if I'm preparing to invade an enemy who has a couple of poorly-defended cities close to my border, I'll usually make a separate, smaller stack or 2 to deal with those cities. I enjoy reading the recap at the end of a game and seeing myself capture 3 cities on the same turn at the start of a war.
Late in the game, though, this tends to change quite a bit. In my current game, I have 3 separate stacks on the offensive. I have a stack of tanks and cavalry, a conventional stack of infantry and siege, and another stack of paratroopers. If you can get air superiority, you don't need to send siege with your stacks, and your wars can move much faster.
1st stack is a pillage stack with mounted units and a bunch of protectors (IE 6-7 knights, 3 macemen with shock promo and 2 x-bow). Pillage resources/towns and let the AI focus on that for a few turns.
2nd stack is your massive main stack and will attack from a large distance away from your pillage stack. This throws the AI into absolute disarray. Preferable a split front war with your pillage stack coming from the opposite or adjacent direction from your main attack stack.
Of course, you need to recon with spies to be sure that your pillage stack won't be eaten up right away!
In my experience in Prince level games, this is generally the best way. As soon as you enter the enemy's territory, they will try to counter your SoD with their SoD. There's your big fight. You should have one big-ass stack that can destroy their's and still roll over a city or two. After that, you can heal, reinforce and split into other stacks. If you're out for cities, make sure you have enough siege units to support multiple stacks. If not, go forth in many small stacks for all your pillaging pleasure.
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