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AI toys with a city in order to get XP


Nov 20, 2023
I'm playing Egypt at Immortal, hopelessly behind but safe due to AI attacking each other.

Screen shot shows last city of France at zero defense points, surrounded by Aztec ships, NONE of which can take the city.

This seems to be an example of what I said in another thread about AI toying with a city like a cat with a mouse, simply to get more XP.

They continue to attack with Battleships and Aircraft, allow Subs to get hit by city -- at least 10 turns so far.

Any other explanation?


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They have melee units, some not too far away. Yeah it could be a "dumb robot" repeating the same bombardment, but it sure looks like "training" units with more XP. I've done it myself a few times -- stall capture a couple turns so artillery etc could get another promotion before I take the city.
It's actually a convenient way to see if a city is so far gone that you can conquer it with a very weak unit. Check the before/after XP of a bombardment that looks like it brought defense "health" close to zero -- if no change, that means it is in fact zero.
I know several members here have cautioned against attributing too much intelligence to AI. However, even though an AI invader is generally reluctant to pillage, I wonder if this example of Aztecs dallying for dozens of turns before wiping out France is another subtle strategy: the last city of France (a single tile island, as shown in screen shot above) started with population 5, but Aztecs strangled it by cluttering the sea tiles until it was starved down to 1. That reduced unhappiness when conquered.
Here's another one, which I see as evidence that the AI just turns stupid in late game. Inca have reduced a Korea city to zero defense repeatedly but lost an Infantry by embarking it WITHOUT covering it with a ship. So it got zapped in one shot by the city. They still haven't taken the city, nor embarked their second Infantry within striking range while *covered* by a battleship. Is there logic to this?

Playing Maya at Emperor level in Vanilla.


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No logic at all. The AI is just dumb and terrible at combat. It will often embark units into harms way, even ranged units lol - I don't think it realizes they can be one shot in the water. And it also often fails to bring enough melee units to capture a city (except Shaka, the Impi causes him to bring plenty of them). Most frustrating is when I'm trying to help my CS ally take an enemy city and even when I've ranged the city to zero and give them melee or calvary units they do stupid things with them.
I have over 100 wins in the past few years, mostly space race, every civ at least once at Prince and King levels.

Only one time did I actually see a CS capture another CS due to its alliance with an AI opponent. As I mentioned on another thread (and confirmed via Aspyr customer support), there is no way to stop two CS from fighting each other, even if you become allies of both after their AI-instigated war began.

Frankly, I'm befuddled when I see incompetent AI attacks on other AI, which contrast sharply with well-organized tactics to surround one of my cities, bombard from a distance, etc.
I'm wondering if we should have an entire thread "dumb AI". I saw something shortly before winning a space victory as Maya at Emperor level today: Korea had built 4 spaceship components and was keeping their last Booster *outside* of Seoul for some reason. Polynesia joined my attack (which I started in order to weaken their space race, successfully surpassing them). A Poly infantry killed the Artillery protecting the Booster, which disappeared immediately. Serious loss.

Has anyone seen this kind of "dawdling" of AI that is involved in space race? I've played games where it seems the AI accumulates several components to launch at once, like a surprise move toward space victory in order not to attract attention building up slowly. I didn't have a look at their territory in those games, so I'm not sure if the AI just kept their component within a distance to launch-on-same-move. Anyone here ever use that strategy of concealing/surprising your spaceship components?
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