Aircraft Units

AJ22PIZZA

Chieftain
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Jun 3, 2014
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93
I was wondering what others think about aircraft and their uses. I personally think they're useless, as you have to build an aerodrome and then the production heavy planes, when you could just build more tanks/artillery. They also seem to have poor range, but the air strip improvement might give more. The AI never seems to build them either so you don't even have to build them out of necessity.
 

Arms Longfellow

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Dec 22, 2005
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184
It seems not worth it to me to go through the trouble and delay of setting up Aerodrome infrastructure, then building the planes. Getting any decent amount of bombers would cause a significant delay in the attack timing that could be done much more quickly by making more artillery. I would only consider air if I was forced to move through ridiculously narrow and difficult terrain to assault the enemy cities.

However, I haven't tried air since bombers were buffed in the latest patch.
 
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stormerne

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In a scientific game or cultural game against the AI (not so much multiplayer), I often find time to beeline bombers (but never biplanes or fighters). And later I'll upgrade them to jet bombers.

There are good reasons for this:
  • Risk free: the AI will not have defenses against them before you've pretty much won the game.
  • Strength: bombers hit pretty hard. They did before the buff and even more so now. Jet bombers hit even harder. Because the AI won't have any defense, your bombers maintain their attack strength on repeated runs.
  • Response time: compared to ground troops, if you're playing defensively, it's far quicker to respond to incoming threats.
  • Wide coverage: compared to ground troops, it's far easier to relocate/rebase bombers and far quicker to send them to a wide spread of targets. The range is good (10 regular, 15 jet) because you can rebase to follow your attack wave.
  • Economy of ground forces: bomber squadrons will remove all walls and defenses so a single ground melee unit can take the city. This can be especially useful on difficult and non-Pangaea maps. Move the ground unit into city limits to give target visibility for air units, send in the bombers until all defense is gone (retreating ground unit temporarily if it takes more than one turn), and capture city with the single ground unit.
  • Economy of time: defensive wars can be over really quickly. Most AI opponents will want peace in a very short time. Then you can get back to what you were doing beforehand.
  • Economy of UI use: compared to ground troops, it's far less effort to send in the bombers in a standardized attack irrespective of geography than maneuver a whole army of ground troops in a way that changes according to the target's surroundings. TL;DR: fewer clicks. Of course, the latter is precisely what some people like to do, so YMMV!
  • Flexibility: bombers can be stationed not just at aerodromes (4+), but at airstrips (3) and city centers (1). Airstrips are very useful at empire peripheries adjacent to potentially troublesome neighbors and they're very quick and easy to build. Build or buy bombers quickly at your high production cities and station them at the borders. Rebase as your attack wave spreads.
  • Reputation: there's at least one foreign AI civ agenda that admires a strong airforce.
I realize much of this is personal preference, but don't diss the bombers!
 

MIS

Prince
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Aerodromes can also give you a couple of Eurekas.
 

king of nowhere

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the only thing I can add to the excellent things stormerne said is that there is a limit to how much ground troops you can stuff into an area and use to attack an enemy, while you can put an almost unlimited amount of bombers in the same place.
yes, of course you can defeat the AI without planes, even at deity, even with a smaller and technologically backwards army, because AI is very bad at using units. I once repelled an information era invasion force, killing an helicopter army and modern armor corps, with two crossbows and a handful of swords. I don't have experience here, but I'd surmise they are not useful against humans either; the one time I tried multiplayer, in half an hour I can never stay in a game more than five minutes before everybody disconnected/quitted, so I don't think human games tech flight that often... regardless, planes are strong, and after you pay the initial price of the aerodromes (which provide very useful transportation anyway), they aren't particularly expensive.

EDIT: on the other hand, it is worth remarking that since the AI is at the moment incapable of defending against them, using airplanes feels like shooting on the red cross, even at deity, and it makes the game too easy for my tastes.
 
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Chibisuke

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Messages
268
I haven't normally used bombers, but I tried them in my last deity game. They were useful, but as support for my ground army not as a replacement. One other thing that they were handy for - picking off stragglers and random units that the enemy sent into my empire (i.e. random helicopter or tank that the AI sends in to harass your interior cities while your army is near the borders). I don't know if I will use them every time since they do take a long time to produce, but they are very versatile.
 

AJ22PIZZA

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picking off stragglers and random units that the enemy sent into my empire
Couldn't you just use a tank or machine gun to pick off the stragglers? Late game I'm always pumping out gold, so I could just buy a tank (or two to make a corps) in one turn instead of building the infrastructure needed for planes.
 

darkace77450

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As much as I'd like to use them, I don't. They come too late, require too much production to build, and are a luxury when it comes to warfare. I'm sure the developers intended the use of aircraft to be the reason we build aerodromes, but for me aerodromes wound up being the reason I don't to using aircraft. If we could build them independently from that district the same way we build land and naval units without encampments or harbors then I'd be more inclined to use them for the fun of it.
 

cazaderonus

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Got to admit that so far i have not had any use for air units. Built a few because why not but never used them.

I agree that aerodromes being mandatory to build any air unit is a bit silly.
 

king of nowhere

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Messages
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I haven't normally used bombers, but I tried them in my last deity game. They were useful, but as support for my ground army not as a replacement. One other thing that they were handy for - picking off stragglers and random units that the enemy sent into my empire (i.e. random helicopter or tank that the AI sends in to harass your interior cities while your army is near the borders). I don't know if I will use them every time since they do take a long time to produce, but they are very versatile.
it is exactly the role they are used for real: as support for ground troops, or to damage the enemy's economy. this game sometimes is more realistic than we give it credit for.

Couldn't you just use a tank or machine gun to pick off the stragglers? Late game I'm always pumping out gold, so I could just buy a tank (or two to make a corps) in one turn instead of building the infrastructure needed for planes.
yes, you can, but airplanes do it better. they have a much greater action range, and they can bomb straggler units without taking damage or being attacked afterwards. they are easier to move from one end of your empire to the other.
and if you have so much gold that you can buy tanks like that, what's the deal of building aerodromes? instead of building tanks, build aerodromes and buy tanks. Meh, I always find myself without nothing to build past the atomic era anyway; I can win any war with the upgraded units I've been using since the ancient age, I'm built all useful districts, and unless I want to reshape my army or build a bigger army to wage war on multiple fronts, I tend to start long projects so that the city won't bother me asking orders for another few turns. May as well build aerodromes.

As much as I'd like to use them, I don't. They come too late, require too much production to build, and are a luxury when it comes to warfare. I'm sure the developers intended the use of aircraft to be the reason we build aerodromes, but for me aerodromes wound up being the reason I don't to using aircraft. If we could build them independently from that district the same way we build land and naval units without encampments or harbors then I'd be more inclined to use them for the fun of it.
Alas, there's a real weakness of the system there. Aerodromes are only good for making airplanes and moving troops around. With all progress made with civilian aviation, airports should be useful for so many things - from extra trade, to extra tourism, to improved diplomatic relations caused by people intermingling, improved culture and research generatedby the exchange of people and ideas... no, aerodromes are only good for war. all civilian and scientifical progress we had in the last century is completely missing from the game, and the only advancements you have past the atomic age are related to war. and stadiums, you need bread and circus to keep your people appeased while you go to war. it gives the whole game a darker subtext, which is much conflicting with the overall positive atmosphere of progress and improvement that I associate with a game where you take a bunch of cavemen and bring them to be a space power
 

Victoria

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Alas, there's a real weakness of the system there. Aerodromes are only good for making airplanes and moving troops around. With all progress made with civilian aviation, airports should be useful for so many things - from extra trade, to extra tourism, to improved diplomatic relations caused by people intermingling, improved culture and research generatedby the exchange of people and ideas... no, aerodromes are only good for war
The problem is that some of the features you speak about are there but you gain them by getting the tech, not building them, which is a bit crazy
 

king of nowhere

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The problem is that some of the features you speak about are there but you gain them by getting the tech, not building them, which is a bit crazy
yeah, you get tourism bonus for teching aircrafts. i figure hordes of tourists can flock to your museums and wonders as soon as you know how to fly an airplane. looks like they come with biplanes landing in fields, since you need neither the airport, nor the technology to build any more advanced aircraft
 

stormerne

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As much as I'd like to use them, I don't. They come too late, require too much production to build, and are a luxury when it comes to warfare.
I'm not sure I agree. It depends to some extent on the difficulty level you're playing. Emperor may be the dividing line here: below that you'll easily have plenty of time to build and use bombers to devastating effect. Above that, perhaps not.

Remember to build at least one Encampment and Armory. You'll be glad of being able to rush Military Engineers when you need airstrips on the borders with your main threats/opportunities.

Here's another suggestion, albeit in a specific circumstance. If, like me, you always have a co-op multiplayer game going, as well as a single player game, why not partition the tech research between you? One player beelines flight, builds aerodromes, then bombers, and later upgrades them to jet bombers, while the other player beelines ground forces. Together you're an unstoppable force.

In any case, just don't forget to seek out Alumin(i)um on the map. It's always an embarrassment if you suddenly find you have to send out a settler to colonize some distant desert tile just to build your airforce. :lol:
 

zxcvbob

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Bombers (and jet bombers, of course) are worthwhile units. They tear up cities. I'm not sure what fighters are for in Civ 6 (the AI's occasionally build planes but they never use them) Especially, what are biplanes good for? Defense against enemy 3-range artillery, maybe? (I don't think I've ever seen AI's build observation balloons either)
 

DeOrator

Chieftain
Joined
May 11, 2017
Messages
5
In a scientific game or cultural game against the AI (not so much multiplayer), I often find time to beeline bombers (but never biplanes or fighters). And later I'll upgrade them to jet bombers.

There are good reasons for this:
  • Risk free: the AI will not have defenses against them before you've pretty much won the game.
  • Strength: bombers hit pretty hard. They did before the buff and even more so now. Jet bombers hit even harder. Because the AI won't have any defense, your bombers maintain their attack strength on repeated runs.
  • Response time: compared to ground troops, if you're playing defensively, it's far quicker to respond to incoming threats.
  • Wide coverage: compared to ground troops, it's far easier to relocate/rebase bombers and far quicker to send them to a wide spread of targets. The range is good (10 regular, 15 jet) because you can rebase to follow your attack wave.
  • Economy of ground forces: bomber squadrons will remove all walls and defenses so a single ground melee unit can take the city. This can be especially useful on difficult and non-Pangaea maps. Move the ground unit into city limits to give target visibility for air units, send in the bombers until all defense is gone (retreating ground unit temporarily if it takes more than one turn), and capture city with the single ground unit.
  • Economy of time: defensive wars can be over really quickly. Most AI opponents will want peace in a very short time. Then you can get back to what you were doing beforehand.
  • Economy of UI use: compared to ground troops, it's far less effort to send in the bombers in a standardized attack irrespective of geography than maneuver a whole army of ground troops in a way that changes according to the target's surroundings. TL;DR: fewer clicks. Of course, the latter is precisely what some people like to do, so YMMV!
  • Flexibility: bombers can be stationed not just at aerodromes (4+), but at airstrips (3) and city centers (1). Airstrips are very useful at empire peripheries adjacent to potentially troublesome neighbors and they're very quick and easy to build. Build or buy bombers quickly at your high production cities and station them at the borders. Rebase as your attack wave spreads.
  • Reputation: there's at least one foreign AI civ agenda that admires a strong airforce.
I realize much of this is personal preference, but don't diss the bombers!
I have very mixed feelings about aircraft, but you make some interesting points here. Perhaps it is better to use aircraft defensively rather than offensively. The only other reason I can think of for building the aerodrome is to teleport your army to another continent.
 

BuzWeaverCiv

Warlord
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
164
I realize much of this is personal preference, but don't diss the bombers!

I couldn't agree more. The AI will make air units, but I can't recall them ever using them. I've yet to see the AI make AA, its been a while. I believe the AI made AA when the game went live, but I've not seen them make any AA units in quite some time. Bomber's provide a tremendous amount of versatility. I'll dedicate my 3rd most productive city to be the designated air unit builder. In higher difficulty games where the AI has amassed combined Army Units you can kill them off with impunity. In my opinion air units are the great equalizer to clear teaming masses of units and they are fantastic for destroying city walls. Every once in while I'll make an Engineer and put down a few air strips too. If I'm playing on a continent map I'll make aircraft carries as well.

I'd agree that you can get away with making ground units exclusively, but I always feel a lot more comfortable once I have a few bombers. They are also great for reaching out to those pesky barbarians or city state rebels. I never have to concern myself with late game wars if I have at least three bombers.
 
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