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Aggression: always a winner?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by podraza, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. podraza

    podraza Warlord

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    I've recently made the move up from being a jabroni struggling on Noble to a Conquesting Monarchian. Next I will dominate Emperor. I already know my strategy, because it will be the same thing that seems to work in every game, and it will be the same strategy that pulled me up from Noble.

    I will attack the enemy early and often.

    I will rush axmen, and if I don't have those, then horses, and if I don't have those, then catapults. Either way, by construction, I'll be coming at them with rushed stacks of something. They (the enemy) will die. I will live off the pillage money while I continue this process. When I reach my UU, that will be nice, but it won't affect the strategy, because I would have been aggressing anyway with the standard unit. Nor does it matter what my leader-specific traits are. While aggression might seem a natural war mongering trait, all of the traits are war mongering traits because war is a total effort. It is a total economic effort, and anything that helps anything, helps the war.

    Whether or not I am successful in winning on emperor will really depend more on my ability to maximize efficiency and not so much on the general strategy. I am efficient enough to do this on Monarch, maybe a bit more practice and I can do it on Emperor. But the strategy will be the same: kill them!

    Now I appreciate that many like to mix it up now and then, try different things, etc. But would we all agree that this is a universally good strategy for winning on high difficulty levels? Attack, destroy, and attack? When is this ever a losing strategy?
     
  2. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

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    When you keep too many occupied cities and thus have to redirect more and yet more cities from producing units to producing economic infrastructure.

    Happiness/health on Emperor is tougher, but if your tactic is to keep small cities whipping units, as I would surmise, then this should not affect you overly much. Happy might be an issue so look out for that.

    Economy also is more difficult, and that's where you might get into more trouble. I'd suggest the Zulu for your first Emperor game as the UB is a natural fit for the warmonger strategy you propose, and also helps with the economy.

    Wodan
     
  3. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    I think on Emperor it takes more than just pure warmongering to ensure a win. If I can simply win by destroying other civs successively, I would've moved on to Immortal long ago.
     
  4. Murky

    Murky Deity

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    I think it depends on the leader traits, UU, UB, difficutly and map settings. Some game setups tend to favor aggression over more of a builder strategy.

    Civs with a good early UU are great for early aggression. Playing as Rome is a good example of that. If you don't take advantage of Praetorians while you can you will probably suffer in the long term for not be aggressive enough.

    Civs with traits than lean more toward building like Industrious and Organized, without a good early UU, might have more problems by being too aggressive early in the game. They would probably be better off building wonders and expanding at a steady pace.
     
  5. InvisibleStalke

    InvisibleStalke Emperor

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    I don't think there is a downside to this approach - unless you overextend and can't recover your research fast enough. I like this approach too and I can usually expand relentlessly without killing my economy - fast whipping of markets and courthouses, deploying specialist cities to get quick research, razing poor sites and the income my armies generate from their victories is usually enough to keep me researching at 50% (although it would probably dip to 0% without the war income).

    And it looks like you have mastered this approach extremely well.

    There are some maps it won't help much on - an isolated continent start for example. And on some maps an early war can be counterproductive - eg a highlands map where there is lots of room to grow at first and taking a long range city can really hurt your economy.

    But this is still only one dimension of play - you might want to try some other strategies for variety/challenge. Try to win on Monarch playing a peacenik (never declaring war first and always accepting peace when offered). Doing this on a highlands map with Ghandi proved to be one of my most fun games.
     
  6. asabahi

    asabahi Warlord

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    It is harder to win peacefully at higher levels. Expansion through aggression is a necessity.
     
  7. Grimus

    Grimus I

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    hehe

    you said jabroni. :mischief:
     
  8. Baru

    Baru Beer Drinker

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    Do you only go for domination or conquest?
    Even if not you should have an early war or two if only to get a few "free" cities but it sounds like you might be forgetting that there are other victories.
     
  9. Piemaster

    Piemaster Warlord

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    I'm not sure the hyper-aggressive style is much better than some others. I think the reason that a lot of people use it is that it either succeeds or fails very quickly. It might be 1970 and 2 hours gameplay time before you realise that your economic sand-bagging strategy is going to leave you second best. On the other hand, if you play aggressively and your first war falls flat then you can just quit the game and start again.

    It's sort of like a minor form of save scumming I guess.
     
  10. Roland Johansen

    Roland Johansen Deity

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    The smaller the map, the better an early aggressive style of play is. On huge continents maps, the war effort might be less useful because it takes a lot of turns to get to your enemy and it takes a lot of turns to conquer him/her. All that time, the enemy can rebuild troops to make the war hurt you more. A war kills one of your opponents. That might be a significant step towards victory on a tiny map with few opponents. But on a huge map, the other civilizations will have grown on to become stronger while you were conquering.

    Also warmongering is more effective on slow speeds as it means that it takes more turns to build an army. This means that the enemy has less options to counter your army because it takes to long to build an army when you are inside his/her borders.

    And of course, in an isolated start, an early military buildup will work against you.

    Still, warmongering is useful on huge maps, but I find that wars usually are later in the game and not right from the start. On a tiny map, your first war might be with warriors (capturing workers) and on a huge map, it might not occur before the classical ages (you can of course have a war before that, it's just a long walk).
     
  11. vilemerchant

    vilemerchant Prince

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    I agree with Roland it really won't work on a continents map because the overseas AIs will be untouched by the war and ahead on tech from trading with each other and not trading with you. It works great on a pangea tho because you'll be able to keep trading with the civs you aren't currently destroying and stay in the tech race.
     
  12. Pogel

    Pogel Warlord

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    From what I've seen, it still helps to be aggressive but you also need to be more canny diplomatically. While you're conquering one AI you need to make sure that the others are fighting each other. If you rely purely on serial conquest then you face the risk of your last opponents racing too far ahead of you. Map size/type and game speed does also factor in, of course.
     
  13. ElJojo

    ElJojo Chieftain

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    It works well on continents, you just have to keep a balanced pace. Even if you're going for spaceship victory, you need to have a good production and science basis, if only to counter the AI's bonuses. A few wars quite early and then you can settle for peace and build a long term economy. The other continent may get a lead at the beginning but once your economy start to grow you should outresearch them, especially if you draw them into wars.
    My opinion is that on emperor you need to use diplomacy. On monarch sometimes I just don't care much about it. But on emperor I have to keep them busy warring or at least doing some trade cancelling.
     
  14. gdgrimm

    gdgrimm Prince

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    On the 80%+ (or thereabouts) of the games that involve multiple continents that can't be reached until Astronomy.

    Of course, if you rig things so that your strategy will most likely work (i.e. play pangea maps only), then it's likely to work. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Wlauzon

    Wlauzon Prince

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    While I would not call it a losing strategy, it can be a boring one.

    But the problem with this game is that the scoring is so screwed up, giving such a huge bonus for early conquest. So yeah, if you are going for high score it is probably the best.
     
  16. slowcar

    slowcar King

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    the difficult thing on emperor and above is to build your economy behind the lines of war. and to stay friendly with at least some AIs :)
    if you kind of start your game with a -1 "you declared war on our friend" it will be getting harder and harder.
    i survived two AIs ganging up on me a few times (on emperor) but trust me, its nothing you want to have :)

    IF you want to go to war the early one is the easiest most of the time as the AI have a quite fixed building- and expansion order and offensive troops come a bit later then they are possibly available to you.
     
  17. Naismith

    Naismith Prince

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    I don't like to play continents for this reason (among others). I just don't like the fact that you can be out of the tech race before you ever get an opportunity to meet all the Civ's. And talk about tedious - assembling an intercontinental pillaging force or army of conquest is fun once in a while, but not really my cup of tea. Using diplomacy to encourage wars on the other continent is probably something I should work on, but that isn't necessarily even feasible in cases where they all have the same religion and just love each other.

    Especially if you crowd the map a bit (or a lot). That is, add another 20-50% more Civs on your map than the default. Then there are lots of nearby cities early in the game for you to take.

    Yes, I've pretty much gotten there, which is one of the reasons I will probably never attempt anything above Monarch level. It seems the higher you go, the narrower your options are (i.e. more warring, at least for me).

    I wish diplomatic victories were easier to achieve at higher levels. Space race victories are boring to me. Domination is better, but a steady diet of that gets boring, too. A true diplomatic victory, say on a Huge continents map at Monarch level doesn't seem very doable. I just don't see any way to get the required number of votes unless you own 50% of the planet - which isn't really a diplomatic victory.

    I realize that at least some of what I'm saying above really just applies to me, given my level of experience, my (lack of) intelligence, and play style. :)
     
  18. acidsatyr

    acidsatyr be water my friend...

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    the fact of the matter is, if you can conquer most of your own continent, trading dont matter so much because land=power and unless there's another monster civ on another continent pre-astronomy, you will rule tech race.
     
  19. asabahi

    asabahi Warlord

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    More land = better economy in the long run. If you are running a specialist Economy more land = more cities = more specialists. If you are running a cottage economy, more land = more cities = more cottaged tiles = more cash. Also you will have more resources, health and happy resources, which means larger cities = stronger economy. I like building, but an early war to expand the borders, weaken AI civs that will attack sooner or later (nappy, monty, Alex), gives me a chance to build a stronger empire, economically and otherwise. At some point in the game, once you have expanded, you can build and go to war at the sametime. What I am trying to say is that if you meet the other continent and they have not been touched by war and are ahead tech wise, if you have a much larger parcel of land, as your empire matures you will sling shot past them in the tech race.
     
  20. ThomasHardy

    ThomasHardy Chieftain

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    I think warmongering is a little harder on emperor. You want to limit the duration of your wars, because happiness is more of a problem than on lower levels.
     

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