AI Would be Twice as Good at Conquering If They Changed Catapults to "Support"

UWHabs

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When they first announced support units, I actually thought this had a decent chance of happening. I mean, it makes sense - they're basically units that should get crushed on the open field and are basically always brought along with other units. Would even add an extra bit of intrigue with the Spec Ops then able to target siege units directly.
 
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From what I've observed, the AI already has a propensity to bring siege weapons to attack cities. Not always, but frequently, and more frequently than it brings battering rams.

So yes, I think this would materially improve the ability of the AI to be a threat to take cities.
 

Archon_Wing

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Maybe just start catapults with 3 range but make them a bit weaker. I mean, that's the whole point of sieging stuff after all
 
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This is a No Brainer and long overdue.
1. There is no historical evidence of Siege Catapults (the heavy stone-throwers) being used against troops. The only two such incidents that I know of, by Phillip and his son Alexander, involved smaller bolt-throwing catapults protected from enemy troops by a fortified position or a river using their long-range bolts against massed enemy troops. In the open field, the Romans used 'carrobalistae' during the middle-late Empire, but they again were small bolt throwers, not the big Siege Engines represented in the game.
2. Ditto for other Siege Engines until after the Renaissance. The Bombards and Trebuchets took hours to load and even longer to relay and aim at a new target. The only troops in the field they could expect to hit would be those who are asleep or sitting down to dinner: they have to stay put for at least a couple of hours to be targeted.

So, move Both Catapults and Bombards to Support, lose the largely redundant Siege Tower.
That gives a Support Line of:
Battering Ram (Ancient Era)
Catapult (Classical Era)
Military Engineer (Medieval Era)
Bombard (Renaissance Era)
Medic (Industrial Era)
Observation Balloon (Modern Era)
Anti-Air Gun (Atomic Era)
Mobile SAM (Information Era)
Drone (Information Era)

And a Separate Siege Line that starts with:
Artillery (Modern Era)
Rocket Artillery (Information Era)

IF you think that truncates the Siege Line too much, then Catapults and Bombards could keep their Siege Promotions, which is appropriate, and be Upgradable to Artillery. Effectively, they get the 'advantage' of being Siege Units, but the characteristics of Support Units in that they can stack (advantage) but cannot defend themselves alone (disadvantage). I would think that would 'average out'...
 

MarigoldRan

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Someone should Mod this. It's not that hard to change.

Of course you'll also have to change AI behavior to:

1. Build the "support" catapults.
2. Protect the "support" catapults with some unit.
3. Or keep catapults the same but give them 3 range. Probably the easiest change.
 
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... keep catapults the same but give them 3 range. Probably the easiest change.

Make Catapults the longest ranged unit in the first half of the game and I guarantee you Every Gamer will build armies of Catapults 'supporting' Melee or Anti-Cavalry Units, and never build another Archer again.

This would skew the game, just as the OP Battering Ram does now. Because its effects cover the entire perimeter of a city, you can conquer a Civilization one city at a time with just one Battering Ram, and it stays effective from Ancient to Medieval Eras. Not good design.

Instead, give Catapults a modest factor against troops, which makes them a little more flexible than the Battering Rams that precede them, make the Battering Ram effect only the unit they are stacked with, and then give the Military Engineer the additional effect of giving a unit it is stacked with the Battering Ram ability to 'by-pass' walls (in this case, by tunneling under them!) BUT a Military Engineer stacked inside the city negates the attacking Military Engineer (Counter-Mining!).
Then the Bombard should, like the Battering Ram, have virtually no Ranged Effect on troops (they fired, on a Good Day, maybe once every few hours - any effect on troops was entirely accidental, usually by blowing up in the middle of their own troops) BUT Bombard's factors against Walls should make all Ancient and Medieval Ways effectively worthless - a very good reason to actually build Renaissance Walls, which almost no one does now.
Finally, when we get to Artillery, it should be the first 'siege' unit that also is extremely effective against Troop Units: artillery from 1914 to the present day far exceeds all other combat arms in its ability to cause casualties, despite all the publicity given to air power and tanks. (Full Disclosure: I was an artilleryman in the US Army for almost 20 years, but that statement reflects the findings of both the German and Soviet staffs studying WWI and WWII, and the French, British and US Army staffs who studied WWI)

These changes would, I think, put siege units in their place as specialized units required for taking fortified cities, and requiring careful handling to accomplish that goal. Right now, a Battering Ram or two is pretty much all you need to take any city from Ancient to early Renaissance, and all the other 'siege' units before Bombards are 'nice to have' but not really necessary. That is a waste of the programmers' and artists' time spent on those units, and makes the game play in regards to city attack that much more one dimensional.
 

acluewithout

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The battering ram needs a major debuff. I’d like to see its ability halved, or maybe reduced based on wall level. I’m okay with Knights using Rams, but they shouldn’t be useable by light cav.

I don’t know about catapults. I’ve tried using them a few times and it’s always a disaster. I’d love to hear suggestions about how to make these units work. Anyway, I think maybe all they need is a buff against ranged attacks - or for support bonuses to count against ranged attacks.
 
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The battering ram needs a major debuff. I’d like to see its ability halved, or maybe reduced based on wall level. I’m okay with Knights using Rams, but they shouldn’t be useable by light cav.

I think making the Battering Ram's effects only apply to the unit it is stacked with will do the trick: it mans that one unit can be the target for an counterattack from inside the city and any firing from the city. Right now, one Battering Ram can enable a half-dozen units paced all around the city to ignore the city walls, which makes the Ram significantly OP.
As for limiting what units or types of units can 'use' Rams, that's more dicey. The problem is, men on horses can get off of those horses when necessary: Alexander the Great on several occasions dismounted his Companion Cavalry (Hetairoi - Horsemen in Civ VI) and sent them up the scaling ladders to take a walled town, and both Huns and Mongols did the same with their cavalry. One possibility to encourage a 'normal' infantry + Battering Ram combination might be to give a Defensive Support Bonus to Battering Rams or Catapults Only when stacked with Melee or Anti-Cavalry units. That would make them much more viable in combination with infantry, but more vulnerable to enemy counterattack when used with (presumably dismounted) Cavalry or (poorly armed and armored) Ranged units.

I don’t know about catapults. I’ve tried using them a few times and it’s always a disaster. I’d love to hear suggestions about how to make these units work. Anyway, I think maybe all they need is a buff against ranged attacks - or for support bonuses to count against ranged attacks.

I'm not as certain about what Catapults need to work 'balanced' in the game, because frankly in 1000+ house of playing Civ VI, I don't think I've built 5 Catapults total. If I'm playing a Domination Game of any kind, I just build 1 - 2 Battering Rams, and then no other Siege units until Bombards. This alone may be an indication that Catapults and Siege Towers are 'meh' units if the same pattern holds with most gamers. But, making Catapults Support Units would, at least while they are stacked (as they should always be) make them much less vulnerable to ranged counterfire
 

acluewithout

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I’ve made catapults before, but they always get massacred by city range attacks. They do some good damage once you get a shot off - but they usually take so much damage I never get there and rams are so much better. I’ve been thinking about using them only after walls are down, but I just don’t feel I need them then.

I agree that logically “horsemen” could get off their horses to use a ram, but if they do they shouldn’t keep their same attack values! Not letting horsemen benefit from rams, and giving them a -17 vs walls and cities, is a bit of a kludge but would balance things more and focus light cav on pillaging and harassing.

I don’t think the AI could cope with only one unit benefiting from a ram. And a player could always just cycle the ram through its attacking units, putting the AI at an even bigger disadvantage. Really, I think fxs should just ditch rams and siege towers. Your melee etc units should just gain a limited “destroy” walls ability after you research some tech (reflecting that they are now using rams), that improves when you research other techs (representing siege towers, and later dynamite / tunneling) , which might perhaps get boosted by certain promotions.

Honestly, I’m all for 1upt, but rams and siege towers manage to be both overpowered and tedious in the hands of human players, and impossible for the ai to use. Just get rid of them.
 

Pietato

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Yeah, siege and support need reworks.

The AI does built catapults, but sucks with them. I invaded Germany, and he defend with 15 catapults. All he did was fortify them on hills, though...
 

Arent11

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Maybe just start catapults with 3 range but make them a bit weaker. I mean, that's the whole point of sieging stuff after all

Make archers better at melee/1 range & catapults/artillery the only 2 range. & change the damned movement rules back to civ 1, including infantry only having 1 move & cavalry only having 2 moves.
 

acluewithout

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Just so I'm clear: are catapults actually designed to take down walls?

I usually pull down walls with a ram, and then either smash the city either with my melee units (which means they get a little injured, requiring healing from fortifying or pillaging - and I don't like pillaging farms, because that stops those farms counting for feudalism) or smash them with arrows (which can take a while and so is quite tedious).

I wonder if catapults are designed to be for after the walls come down? So, you should be using them to smash the city rather than archers after walls have come down.
 
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isau

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My Combined Tweaks mod gives all Siege units base 3 range and removes the no move and shoot rule (instead Siege units have -1 movement versus all other units, which means 2 moves in this mod since the base moves for the mod are 3.) It does result in the AI being marginally better at taking cities while keeping Ranged units useful prior to their arrival.
 

TheMeInTeam

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Just so I'm clear: are catapults actually designed to take down walls?

I usually pull down walls with a ram, and then either smash the city either with my melee units (which means they get a little injured, requiring healing from fortifying or pillaging - and I don't like pillaging farms, because that stops those farms counting for feudalism) or smash them with arrows (which can take a while and so is quite tedious).

I wonder if catapults are designed to be for after the walls come down? So, you should be using them to smash the city rather than archers after walls have come down.

Catapult + GG lets you move into range and shoot same turn, and with GG boost and oligarchy this will strip walls with 2 catapults in classical and often with 3 still in medieval, even if you go down grape shot + shrapnel path.

They're pretty crappy vs knights even with the promotions, though once you get +3 range promotion they are pretty safe. Bombards and especially artillery start hitting hard. GG boosted bombards are actually respectable until the enemy cities start getting 80-90+ strength if they have 3 range by then.

#1 problem with this is unlike archers it takes a long time to get catapults out and they suck vs units for too long early on. You can just pick up the siege line at arty +balloons on transition and you're not losing as much in doing so as you are trying to hold off with catapults early.
 

Sostratus

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Just so I'm clear: are catapults actually designed to take down walls?
Catapults' ranged attack is bombard class, meaning it deals full damage to walls. The ranged attack of units like archers deals half damage (-17) to walls. Meanwhile, the catapult attack deals half damage (-17) to units. This is why Artillery units, despite boasting 80 strength, don't completely evaporate infantry units (and the only thing that restrains the dominance of bombers.) Naval ranged attacks, iirc, deal full damage to everything. Certainly, the design strongly suggests siege units should be the city breakers.

Ranged units (pre-machine guns) have the feature of a defensive strength 5 lower than their ranged, while siege units get -12 until artillery (which is -20, but has a monster attack.) They are designed to be very squishy on the field.
I believe in Civ5, ranged units attacking ranged units used the ranged strength for the defensive side of the calculation. I am not sure if this still exists in Civ6- I think they all use combat/melee strength.

Whether compounded by that or not, catapults get absolutely decimated by city ranged attacks. To me, this is a flaw in siege design - AI cities always focus fire our catapults, and we know to take them down when the AI brings them along. Should city ranged strikes deal less damage to siege weapons? Perhaps so: The AI's cities also target other AI catapults first, which spells bad news for invading armies.

Since this thread focuses specifically on the AI, siege units' also could do with a medieval upgrade. They know to bring the siege units, but cities are improving constantly- through building more districts, the era advances, and adding new tiers of walls & garrisons- while catapult units really fall off. This would be like if Scythia was always programmed to have a huge light cavalry flavor regardless of the era, resulting in tons of horseman riding to their doom against muskets. From a player perspective, we all know why we prefer archers and xbows to catapults - they can 'shoot n scoot', and they have a production card.

I still contend that, for a number of balance reasons, production cards should be split to be
-light & heavy cavalry
-melee & anticav
-ranged & siege (+support later)
I mean, have you ever tried to build a domrey? Holy smokes. And we thought hard building khevsurs was rough.
 

Japper007

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I'd welcome this change, besides the AI the human player might actually get some use out of them pre-observation balloons. Catapults just do not work currently, too expensive, too fragile and too slow compared to battering rams and cavalry/melee. In a PVP environment they are just laughable as well.
 

tedhebert

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I’ve made catapults before, but they always get massacred by city range attacks. They do some good damage once you get a shot off - but they usually take so much damage I never get there and rams are so much better. I’ve been thinking about using them only after walls are down, but I just don’t feel I need them then.
.

THIS !

if there was a way to protect them with another unit, it would be great... but needing a GG to make them useful at all isn,t my idea of a good investment.

So yes, I'd never tought of that, but making them support units would probably be a way to make them useful, but... too useful then ? I think that a support unit with an attack capabilty
would just make it too OP... the basic problem really resides in the fact that you can't move and attack on the same turn (unless with GG) and the AI correctly targets them first with wall attacks...

I also feel giving them 3 range from the start would also be OP... this is a very difficult one, doesn't seem to be an easy solution that would not disrupt balance too much...

How about a NEW support unit that would deploy as a defensive shield for the unit occupying the same spot ? I'm at loss for the moment at finding an historical equivalent, but... seems to me that there must
have been something of this sort to defened catapults, no ?
 

Arent11

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I’ve made catapults before, but they always get massacred by city range attacks. They do some good damage once you get a shot off - but they usually take so much damage I never get there and rams are so much better. I’ve been thinking about using them only after walls are down, but I just don’t feel I need them then.

If you think about it - rams & siege towers are directly in front of your walls, however, they can't be directly attacked, because there are always some swordsmen that valiantly throw themselves in the path of your arrows/whatever a city is shooting :D Catapults on the other hand side are really far away on that hill over there, but if you shoot at them, no one interferes.

Honestly, I’m all for 1upt, but rams and siege towers manage to be both overpowered and tedious in the hands of human players, and impossible for the ai to use. Just get rid of them.

In civ 5 rams were just melee units. You couldn't stack them.

Maybe battering rams/siege towers should be just a promotion. Something like "siege equipment" that gives your units a boost against city defenses.
 
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