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Be the defender

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Strategy & Tips' started by pillium, Nov 23, 2001.

  1. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

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    Ironically, this is one of the more realistic aspects of the game. Pillaging does hurt the attacker. Always has. Remember, the "scorched earth" policies of the U.S. Civil War and WWII were used defensively. Russia pillaged her own roads, her own rails, her own cities, and her own farms. This cost the lives of many Russian civilians, who promptly starved to death. However, in many cases, the civilians themselves preferred the possibility of starvation to giving up their lands intact to the German invader. And the effect was devastating to the invaders who couldn't move quickly and had serious supply problems. While you don't get supply problems in CivIII, you certainly do slow down the attackers mobility, and a city is much less valuable until the infrastructure is rebuilt.

    Is CivIII perfect? Of course not. But it isn't supposed to be a combat simulation, either. Fundamentally, CivIII is a resource management game, and it absolutely excels at that.
     
  2. BlackFiend

    BlackFiend Chieftain

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    In Civ III, there is a replication of this.

    The utils spent in creating, say, a Cavalry, is worth 640 gp. Built over time, the cost is reduced, but time is also spent, which represents gp and utils of production that could have went toward some other important longer lasting wealth (not necessarily gp) generating improvement.

    If three cavalry are lost trying to take a city that will be so corrupted that it only produces 1gp/turn, that is a loss of 1920 gp!

    Even if, over time, it could get to producing 10gp/turn, it would take 192 turns to equal out the cost benefit losing those three cavalry units!

    Since in CIV3 units are considered completely disposable for termed gain, we have no issues with it. In reality today, such a loss is unthinkable. But then, that reality is a new reality. Not too long ago, tens of thousands of troops could get expended for the benefit of a few more hundred yards on the front line, or some strategic location.

    Recently, in my CIV 3 game, I sent over 80 cavalry, 45 infantry, and 2 dozen artillery to extricate a single oil resource from a nation. I razed half a dozen cities, cracked two foreign armies, and battled through I can't even count how many rifleman and cavalry he dispatched to counterattack my advance. I didn't even need the oil. I'm just sitting on it in case my domestic located oil resource goes out.

    Only because of War Weariness, and the fact that other nations were moving in to settle in the wake of my battles did I call for peace. Otherwise, I would have fought them till obliteration just for a few dollars more. Why? Because my nation was bigger than theirs, and I had the ability with a superior navy to deliver that much hardware for my singlular goal. Their cities were pretty much worthless to me. In fact, they were more valuable destroyed than kept, because I couldn't afford one of them turning on me and cutting my supply line road of railroad I was building as the army marched.

    When one of the few cities I did keep turned back to enemy control, my supply line was cut for building more railroad! So I had to double back, retake the city...raze it, then build a new city with my own loyal cultured people, so that I could continue the advance and still get plenty of fresh troops deep into their territory.
     
  3. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

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    Well, except maybe for that black sticky goop that they pump out of the ground over there. You know, the stuff we ship over here to run our entire economy? I think it is pretty safe to say that Iran is still a net plus for the USA. Couldn't say that about Vietnam, though....
     
  4. Aabraxan

    Aabraxan Mid-level Micromanager

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    May I ask how you got the these numbers?
     
  5. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

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    If you can find an AI in a game which uses a line-of-supply model which does even an adequate job of challenging a human player, I want to know about it. That's one reason why the best combat games are tactical. Protecting lines of supply in addition to strategic locations is very tricky business, especially since lines of supply are flexible. It is hard to get a computer to compare all possible supply lines and rate how easy it would be to defend them, let alone actually execute an adequate defense. Experienced humans can often make this assessment at a single glance. Having concrete supply lines would be realistic, but it would not be a quick and easy addition to the game.

    Computers are very good at resource management, which is why that is at the heart of the game, and has been since CivI.
     
  6. psweetman1590

    psweetman1590 Chieftain

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    I beg your pardon, are you reading what I'm typing? I said in that portion that you so graciously quoted:
    Does that answer your questions?

    It does not, however, affect the tactics of warfare, and thus I don't think it's sufficient. You can argue all you like that it represents lines of supply, but the effect is not the same. Wrecking a nations economy is not the same as cutting off troops on the front line.

    Edit:
    I agree. I never said it would be easy. But I think that this is perhaps THE most important change that could be made to improve the way wars are fought in civ.
     
  7. JDAllison

    JDAllison Prophet of Doom

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    @anaxagoras:

    Yep, totally agree. Well, almost. One historical point: In 1864, President Lincoln promoted U.S. Grant from General of the Army of the Potomac to General of the Army - something that had not yet been done effectively. Grant ordered William T. Sherman to take the Army of the Tennessee and march on Atlanta, GA and then on to Savannah, GA. Sherman was to completely destroy anything he could find that would assist the CSA in continuing the war effort. As a result, they pillaged as they advanced. The Confederate General of the Army of Tennessee*, General Joseph Johnston, didn't have the manpower to fight Sherman in an open battle, so he fought a withdrawing action, trying to nip away at the Yankees' flanks.

    I should have explained myself better in my post above. But that is one instance of using scorched earth against the defender, rather than against the attacker.


    *Confederate armies were named after military departments, while Union armies were named after bodies of water (particularly rivers). Thus, the Union army was the Army of the Tennessee and was faced by the Confederate Army of Tennessee. No extra charge for that! ;)
     
  8. Marsden

    Marsden Keeper of the HoF Annex Hall of Fame Staff

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    I think it's pretty safe to say all the tanks, planes, and HumVees are burning up a lot more than they are "bringing in" so there's no net gain there. But if you have access to tanker manifests and pipeline logs I might be wrong. I know gas prices certainly haven't gone down. And this doesn't even take into account the human cost.
     
  9. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

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    OK, "safe to say" was probably uncalled for (in my original post, I mean). I don't have any tanker manifests, and neither do you. But it is not correct that Iraq is "not producing anything of value" to the U.S. It most certainly is. Whether or not that value outweighs the cost is certainly debatable.

    As to your comment on the human cost, I don't mean to minimize that aspect. We were talking about it from the perspective of the game, and we all know that the human cost in the game is not much of an issue. In the real world, it far outweighs the monetary costs (or at least it should - I'm not sure that's actually the case with the present U.S. administration).
     
  10. Marsden

    Marsden Keeper of the HoF Annex Hall of Fame Staff

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    Please don't be insulted, I didn't think you didn't care about the human cost, but I probably should have said "unit" cost.

    I wasn't sure how exactly to reply to your comment so I tried a less is more approach. Let me try this way.

    I think Iraq would be about 21 tiles on a map with Baghdad in the center, basically a OCC, and there's probably 3 oil tiles in those 21. Now, USA probably has at least 3 oil tiles, say 1 in Texas, another nearby between Louisiana and Oklahoma, and another in Alaska. So adding 3 more oil really wouldn't change much. Now if Japan, with no oil tiles, grabbed Baghdad, that would be a bigger benefit, then Japan could build tanks and bombers and ships.

    I just don't think it's an economically good situation. Black fiend has a good point, too, in days passed it wouldn't be a big deal to lose a few thousand soldiers. The US lost more men taking Shuri castle on Okinawa during WW2 then the whole Gulf War so far, but then it was just part of the job and now it isn't.

    I'm not going to comment on the current administration because I don't want to degenerate into a political discussion, I don't think any administration has really ever treated people better than others, they all do the same thing and call it something else.
     
  11. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

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    No worries. I'm very hard to offend, and certainly wasn't insulted here. :)

    Yeah, in the game as it stands now, you're probably right. The game doesn't really model strategic resources all that well, though. If the game modeled this more realistically, the U.S. might have three domestic oil sources, but it would need to have access to eight, meaning the three Iraqi sources would be quite helpful (assuming one or more of them aren't pillaged, in game terms).

    I don't really know if it is a net plus or net minus, economically, and I'm not sure we ever will know. I do know that the flow back and forth is non-zero. I also think your original point about an overseas venture being a resource drain was much more true of the U.S. involvement in VietNam than in Iraq.
     
  12. Snarkhunter

    Snarkhunter Chieftain

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    If the US has 3 oil tiles, then Iraq has between 6-15, depending on how you trust the proven reserves figures. No matter how you slice it, they have way more than we do--because we've been draining ours dry for over 150 years. It's moot, because currently we don't get any oil from Iraq; our imports come from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, and Nigeria. Virtually none of our oil comes from the mideast in any form. Required reading: Hubbard's Peak, by Ken Defeyes. He's got an interesting website, too. Unless you meet with an unlucky fate, if you are reading this, you are almost certainly going to live into an era without natural oil, and possibly without any oil at all. The peak is past, we are living on the downslope--and China & India are industrializing.
     
  13. Snarkhunter

    Snarkhunter Chieftain

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    Actually, that's not really the case. They were still pretty bloody, and getting steadily more so, to the point that no general thought WWI would last more than 6-8 weeks: not only would the armies have burned up all their ammo, but the people wouldn't stand for the losses another second. It's more true of the 18th century wars, which did emphasize maneuver over battle--primarily because battle was appallingly bloody & troops took a long time to become veterans. Off the top of my head, I'm hardpressed to think of a time in European history when battles weren't bloody, compared to any other time. There may have been smaller armies, shedding less blood overall, but percentage-wise, it's probably fairly constant until the industrial age mechanized death.

    Actually, the USSR didn't really use scorched earth in '41; they were too busy retreating to do a good job of it & it wouldn't have been particularly effective. When you read von Manstein's, Guderian's, Raus', & other memoirs, they'll comment occasionally on the destruction, but you never get the sense it slowed them down in any way--after all, the Germans weren't doing much in the way of foraging. Things they needed--captured guns, wagons, ammo, etc.--they were able to pick up. Horses were a different story, Soviets seemed to either keep or kill them. Rails weren't scorched appreciably, Germans just had to convert to the narrower European gauge, which they could do at about 20km/day per line. That slowed them down, but it wasn't an example of scorched earth.
     
  14. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

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    I suggest you visit a reputable source before making such claims. The U.S. government published figures say otherwise. See the Energy Information Administration website. According to that source, the U.S. imported 405 million barrels of oil in June of '07, of which 17 million came from Iraq. Saudi Arabia accounted for 46 million barrels, and the Persian Gulf region as a whole for 71 million. OPEC was responsible for nearly half (45%) of the U.S. total imports at 184 million barrels, and imports account for almost two-thirds of the total production consumed.
     
  15. Snarkhunter

    Snarkhunter Chieftain

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    I have. And the amount of oil coming from Iraq is less than 1 day's consumption of oil by the US--effectively no oil, AFAIC. Saudia Arabia accounted for a smidge more than 10% of imports, which is mostly what I had in mind for middle eastern sources--and that winds up being less than 3 day's worth of consumption. In fact, the Gulf accounts for only about 10-12% of total US consumption, and only 17% of imports--and that all happened pretty recently; 2 or 3 years ago the numbers would have been less by far.

    OPEC, of course, is far more than just Middle Eastern producers.

    All this assumes you can trust the figures to begin with. You cetainly can't trust USGS' reserves estimates. Import/consumption figures should be more reliable, but one does wonder.
     
  16. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

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    If you think that a day's worth of oil per month (2.8% of consumption) is insignificant, then you should try to go without oil for one day per month. I think you might find it more significant then. Oh, and that half a million barrels a day - one supertanker's worth, every day - at today's crude prices, is equivalent to $37 million dollars. Per day. Sure, it is less than 3% of U.S. consumption, but that consumption is so prodigious that it is still a staggering total. In fact, it is greater than the amount of oil consumed by all of Iraq.

    Of course. That's why I listed it separately.

    Well, I can't help you there, but if you have a more authoritative source, feel free to share it.
     
  17. Marsden

    Marsden Keeper of the HoF Annex Hall of Fame Staff

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    That's a good point, too, about amounts, but 1 is enough for everything. I had a game a long time ago that was war based only called command HQ that the more you used your units the more oil they used, that would be more realistic. Also, look at the way Civ resources work, you only need oil to build the tanks and planes, not to run them. I said before, what are the tanks made of oil? They don't even need iron! But then other people said shut up that's the way it is, so... But it's much better this way than everyone can build anything at any time, like other games.
     
  18. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

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    Actually, I like this particular simplification. It isn't the most realistic, but once you get used to it, it serves an important limiting function without adding much overhead to the game. Sid is a genious when it comes to removing details that complicate the bigger picture. It always involves compromise, but you end up with a game that's easy to learn and fun to play.
     
  19. WackenOpenAir

    WackenOpenAir Chieftain

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    of topic:

    Do some google searching on the term "peak oil" to see how important some people say a few % of oil consumption can be.
    Warning, you may be strongly disturbed by what you will read :)
     
  20. BlackFiend

    BlackFiend Chieftain

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    I bow to you understanding, as I am clearly a newb in the matter.

    The 640gp is the price one has to pay to "gold rush" a cavalry unit. I am playing vanilla. So it may or may not be different. Also, I could be oversimplifying.

    But does that number seem reasonable to you?
     

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