[GS] Are Early Siege (Catapults) any better post September Patch?

acluewithout

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I've been playing around with Siege units recently (actually, just Catapults). The results are... interesting.

Siege didn't actually get a direct buff in the September Patch, but they've had some indirect buffs, e.g. buffs to production generally (this helps because there's almost not +% production bonuses for Seige), and Rams etc. being less effective (both because Rams got nerfed directly, Walls got buffed, and Cav can't use Rams etc any more).

So, using Siege, this is what I've seen.

On the plus side:
  • Siege units really do just melt Walls and City Defences. This is really great too, better than Rams, because it means my Melee units aren't getting "exhausted" (i.e. injured) smashing against Cities - and this is really helpful given the AI keeps building fricking x-bows which really, really hurt, and so I'm finding I need to conserve unit health more.

  • I can actually get Siege units into place and attack provided I'm really, really organised. I have to bring a 3 to 4 in range of City Defences at once, with units in front to protect them, and ideally with other units the AI will be tempted to target instead of the Siege units. Then, hopefully, I can get some shots in before my Siege units start taking damage. It also helps if I have some well placed roads.

  • Siege don't really obselete like Rams do, and aren't limited to dealing with only Walls, which makes them more useful than Rams in some ways,

  • I'm also finding the odd Catapult is really handy in Coastal Cities for dealing with Sea Barbarians - my God, the Sea Barbarians are everywhere. Every game, I build a few Galleys, and they're just too terrified to leave the harbour...
On the down side: Siege take ages to build and, at the same time, still die really, really quickly. They are almost as hard to keep alive as Anti-Cavalry (...hey, isn't there a thread about AC... oh yeah...).

I haven't manage to deploy Siege with a Great General, which I know can allow for move and shoot. And I know the Stable gives +xp for Siege, but haven't got around to trying that either yet. I also haven't tried really combining Siege and Anti-Cav - that just seems too hard at the moment.

Ages ago, I thought Siege needed a buff, e.g. better defence v ranged attacks. I'm not so sure now. I'm finding I can manage to use them - well, "just about" - and they are kinda fun in their own way. They do need maybe a Medieval upgrade because Catapults really, really struggle with x-bows. But I think they're actually pretty okay now, just very tricky to use.

Thoughts?
 
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Denkt

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Siege units are probably the most useful units, simply because if you want to get rid of the walls, especially later in the game you are probably going to use some sort of siege unit, land, naval or air. They work best with cavalry because cavalry have the mobility to clear out enemy units and siege unit can then work on the city. The speed of cavalry also mean they can go around pillage if the siege take time.

They do take a long time but you can build alot of them parallell and you don't need that many Before you can conquer a large amount of cities in Quick order.
 

acluewithout

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Yeah, I agree they work very well combined with Cavalry. It's also handy having some Ranged units with them as well, which can either help chip away at the City Defence or help protect the Siege units.

Basically, you get the Walls down, chip the Cities health down, and then run over the City with Cav. Works well, although keep the Siege units alive long enough on Immortal is still hard.
 

Denkt

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It get alot easier once you have a great general and 3 move siege units. That extra movement is a huge deal so getting an encampment early can pay off big time.
 

kaspergm

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I think Siege Weapons are pretty good, but suffer from the huge gap between Catapults and Bombards. The Steel And Thunder mod adds the Trebuchet to fill the gap, which is welcome (I still don't think this has been added to actual game, no?). The Trebuchet actually can survive one or two attacks from medieval walls without instantly dying.
 
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Land ranged end up feeling strong against sea units because prebuilding and rushing to crossbows while the sea units are at gallyies and triremes.

Catapults do have one of my favorite attack animations. If possible I try to get the crew weapons promotions from killing barbs with the pults' before trying to use them on a city.
 

TheMeInTeam

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They're worse off against walls than they were before, because walls get more chances to shoot at them.

Artillery + balloons get the job done nicely, siege before that is really iffy. Not only is it very expensive to build 4 catapults, delaying the attack, but these units take up spots that could be occupied by archers/crossbows, which are much less useless against enemy units.

Siege vulnerability to ranged is a problem. This is something they should be strong against, if they don't outrange cities. Right now the resources required to defend a city with walls + archer(s) is grossly less than the number of catapults require to break the walls and let other units threaten the cities. Even with a GG that's true. It's one thing for the defender to have an advantage, but the current state of the game gives the defender an egregious advantage in this regard.

This is bad for several reasons:
  1. It trivializes an otherwise tough choice on balancing military defense vs other investments, an important consideration in the best civ game and for real history.
  2. It reduces the importance of army positioning/punishment for bad army positioning. Players that claim Civ 6 has more tactical depth than Civ 4 seem to neglect that Civ 6 is much more forgiving on unit positioning.
  3. It trivializes diplomacy, because you can stop serious AI attacks in terms of hammer investment with walls and a couple units (1/3 or less investment). Emergencies, joint wars against player, or even intentional multi-front wars all fail as deterrents because Firaxis has a hard-on for continually buffing defense, despite that defenders had a clear advantage in 1.0 release of this game.
 

Ownsya

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I quite like both the ram and the bombard type siege units. Rams / Siege towers remain useful for taking cities and while many say that catapults aren't too important early on, and this is true, I like to build 1-2 anyway to start getting xp. A Lvl 4 promoted Artillery in the late game is a beautiful thing to have, slap on an obsevation balloon and you get 5 range which is ridiculous, you can shoot one city walls from within the neighboring city center if they're close enough. Siege towers eventually upgrade to the Supply Convoy which shouldn't be underestimated. It just allows your units to cruise that much faster without needing to rest and make the damage taken from city garrison or encampents easier to handle. I like have 2 supply convoys moving around with my tanks late game along with a couple of Lvl 4 artillery with observation balloons.
 

Victoria

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I haven't manage to deploy Siege with a Great General,
Not as good as musket+siege towers. Just switch from Knight+ram to Musket+tower is fine.
It is the combination that is sweet. By the time your warriors are muskets they have 3MP due to promotion and with a GG that makes your muskets as fast as Light Cavalry. Now if only tyhe tower can keep up... I guess there is still that use for LC (attatching siege units) but so high up their promotion tree and my LC are too busy pillaging to get it.
 

Civ Chemist

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Firaxis has a hard-on for continually buffing defense, despite that defenders had a clear advantage in 1.0 release of this game.

To be fair, up until they nerfed battering rams/siege towers taking cities with cavalry + battering ram was far to easy. Even at the current stage of the game you can usually rush a civ horsemen before they build up walls. And if you go straight for castles and upgrade into coursers you can probably take out another civ or 2 without siege units, even if they built up walls in the meantime.
 

acluewithout

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Siege vulnerability to ranged is a problem.

Vulnerability to ranged is a problem. But I think having a Medieval upgrade for Siege would also help - at least then you wouldn't have Ancient Era Catapults v Medieval X-Bows.

I don't know. I'm definitely more tempted to use Siege with the changes to Cav, Rams, Walls etc., although I still find it pretty rough going.
 

Archon_Wing

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Not really unless the opponent has not been building defenses or you have a Great General. . Pike ram is much more accessible and cheaper if you lack resources and swordsmen aren't enough.

Problem is they get shutdown really hard by crossbows. And Crossbows are just a better overall investment.
 

Lily_Lancer

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To be fair, up until they nerfed battering rams/siege towers taking cities with cavalry + battering ram was far to easy. Even at the current stage of the game you can usually rush a civ horsemen before they build up walls. And if you go straight for castles and upgrade into coursers you can probably take out another civ or 2 without siege units, even if they built up walls in the meantime.

I guess the game is balanced on Online Speed, that's why it seems so imbalanced on Standard Speed.

As for me, after playing several online speed games, I deny I cannot rush AIs so quickly in online speed Deity, even with Aztec or Scythia, rushing is a bit painful on online speed. It is T50, you have an army of Eagle Warrior+Horseman+Archers, however you're facing towards medieval walls+Musket.
 

Tech Osen

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Vulnerability to ranged is a problem. But I think having a Medieval upgrade for Siege would also help - at least then you wouldn't have Ancient Era Catapults v Medieval X-Bows.

I was close to losing a city with spain deploying catapults. (I had my own religion so he also had +4 on me). They hit my ancient walls very hard. But the moment I upgraded the archer in that city to a crossbow it was done. He already had 4 promotions and could now one shot the catapults.
But I then faced the same problem taking his closest city, it had two niter while I didn't have any and didn't want to have to deal with his conquistadors without niter units. Took quite a bit of effort. Had to wait for Theocracy, wars of religion and Grand Master's Chapel to break through.
 

Starwars

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On higher difficulties, I find it pretty damn hard to crank out Catapults in time for them be useful. Maybe I need to reconsider the way I play but once I get going with Catapults, they're usually pretty ineffective for what I'm up against.

I think once you get to Observation Balloons (or if you get the General that increases movement), the siege units get overpowered. I can't count how many times I've a siege unit sit safely in my Encampent and, with the extra range, have been able to just smash a bordering enemy city down pretty much single-handedly from this position without the enemy being able to do anything about it. You can pretty much win a lot of late wars with a siege unit + observation ballon + some unit to take a city. By that time, the AI has usually built its cities so that once you take one, you can simply move up your siege unit to the encampent/city and continue bombarding the next. It gets kinda stupid. Not saying that it's the most effective and quick way to war obviously, but it just shouldn't work like that, lol.
Lots of discussion has been made whether it's a good idea to have ranged units at all in the game for balance reasons. But if nothing else, once you start to get the additional range that you get in the later game, you can just have the most relaxing wars ever because the AI just can't deal.
 

Civ Chemist

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I guess the game is balanced on Online Speed, that's why it seems so imbalanced on Standard Speed.

As for me, after playing several online speed games, I deny I cannot rush AIs so quickly in online speed Deity, even with Aztec or Scythia, rushing is a bit painful on online speed. It is T50, you have an army of Eagle Warrior+Horseman+Archers, however you're facing towards medieval walls+Musket.

I always play on standard speed, so I can't say how balanced it is on online, but I guess early war would be a lot more painful. But even on standard I have a hard time making an Eagle Warrior rush viable (unless I have a super close neighbor). They are just so expansive and once the AI gets heavy chariots it becomes very difficult to make any significant progress.
 

Lily_Lancer

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I always play on standard speed, so I can't say how balanced it is on online, but I guess early war would be a lot more painful. But even on standard I have a hard time making an Eagle Warrior rush viable (unless I have a super close neighbor). They are just so expansive and once the AI gets heavy chariots it becomes very difficult to make any significant progress.

I really suggest you try online speed Deity. Standard Deity is extremely boring, you lead in everything from the start to the end, and rush up everyone else easily. With Eagle Warriors I can rush 2 Civs at Standard speed, since they are bonused by UA and Oligarchy and actually can be as much as 35~40 strength. A dozen eagle warriora, combined with a dozen archers, and you rule in Ancient and Classical.

On online speed everything becomes much more balanced.
 

Civ Chemist

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I really suggest you try online speed Deity

I just don't like how fast the eras progress in online speed. You have hardly time to use your units for military conquest since they become obsolete so quickly. I feel like standard is just that sweet spot, where you can enjoy the different eras and still produce stuff in a reasonable time.

But except for early domination is online really that much more challanging? I guess it takes longer to overtake the AI but at the end of the day you will still outtech them?
 

TheMeInTeam

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To be fair, up until they nerfed battering rams/siege towers taking cities with cavalry + battering ram was far to easy. Even at the current stage of the game you can usually rush a civ horsemen before they build up walls. And if you go straight for castles and upgrade into coursers you can probably take out another civ or 2 without siege units, even if they built up walls in the meantime.

No, that isn't a fair conclusion. Even in patch 1.0, defending took substantially fewer resources and incurred less losses than attacking. The margin was significant even then.

The AI's failure to defend itself doesn't change the mechanical reality. Invest in a couple units and defender has more vision, more maneuverability, and more attack density than attacker.

A defender without units *should* lose cities very, very quickly. Not only is that more consistent with history, it's also consistent with competent game design (troops out of position/underinvestment in defense is punished).
 
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