Best early military strategies

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Askthepizzaguy, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. Askthepizzaguy

    Askthepizzaguy Know the Dark Side

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    Greetings fellow forum members! This is my second thread.

    I'm interested in your thoughts on which early tactics and early units are best for each faction. I hope I can find enough contributors to make this thread useful!

    All suggestions welcome!

    Faction specific strategies:

    For example, we know that with Greece you're going to want to take advantage of your phalanx unit as early as possible, it's a fairly strong early spear unit, useful in all kinds of situations. Spamming these units is fairly simple. Combine them with axemen and swordsmen, and you have a very potent all-infantry force with little research needed.

    You will want to research the techs for those units asap, especially on a cramped board. For a larger, more open board, it's not a priority.

    General military strategies:

    Spamming axemen is good, but spamming macemen is better! Be the first to get macemen and then convert your empire into a total war nation. Get barracks, walls, roads, forts, national wonders, civics in place to be ready for war, and then spam yourself a mess of macemen, and some catapults.

    Maybe some archers to defend any cities you take. But honestly, with enough macemen you don't need any other unit for a while, until technology makes it obselete. Macemen/axemen are the perfect counter to anything except chariots, and a few spears takes care of that problem.

    Hence, phalanxes and axe/maces make for a deadly combination, especially if you're short on horses.

    Catapults are still necessary for fortifications, but if you're fighting a defensive land war early on, you only need macemen and spears. Archers are fine for last resort city defense, but macemen in forts on hills are just as good for guarding your borders. Don't let the enemy pillage your infrastructure! Meet them at the border, or better yet, outside your border. You don't HAVE to attack their cities to wear them down. Catapults should be your finishing unit, made after you've all but won the war, by defending your empire, pillaging their territory, and worn down their army with strong defense of your border or simply surrounding their cities and inviting them to attack your units.

    Don't have a full stack camped outside their city unless you intend to attack it. Instead, spread out your units and cover their vital spaces, block traffic in and out of the city, in other words, lay seige.

    If you cut off their resources you don't need to worry so much about counterattacks, or worry that they might "discover" a way out of their situation. Having your production and research crippled, infrastructure torn apart, and treasury wasted on ineffective units means you've been dealt a stinging defeat. Even if you miraculously defend your empire and rout the enemy forces, you've been crippled and will not win the game, unless you beat back the attacker and cripple his empire AND he is your only enemy left.

    _____________________
    These are just examples. I've been away from the game for a while, just picked it back up again so I'm a little rusty. Do you have any faction-specific or general tips for early warmonger situations?

    Try to keep the tips relevant to the early part of the game. No gunpowder.
     
  2. Molon Labe

    Molon Labe I committed the faux pas.

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    Aelf created a comprehensive UU guide that probably has a lot of what you're looking for in your faction category.

    Personally, I think creating 10 axes will net a far better ROI than 10 macemen. If you're going to use your military in your game, the earlier you use it the better.

    In games where I'm playing aggressive, which are the lion's share of my games, I try to take out one or two civs early. As in immediately. Build more infrastructure and catch up on other techs, then go take somebody else out with maces and the like when I have the techs. Of course this depends on maps, neighbours and other factors.

    If you're waiting for maces, cats and those sorts of things, you're not getting nearly the benefit you could be. I also wouldn't call that an early military action.
     
  3. tempuraki

    tempuraki Warlord

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    My two cents:

    sometimes it's good to declare war, sit back, and wait for the enemy to appear in your border and clean them up in your turf first. why?

    1. better great general rate.
    2. limited movement for them so AI's reinforcement can't come in time, but yours can. in addition, limited movement means enemy can't pick where to go, so you can direct them to an empty lot where they don't get the defense bonus, by parking your unit in that forested hill before them.
    3. your units heals faster, while AI's heals slower.
    4. AI usually spams a lot of units, this way you take most of them out in the comfort of your own backyard, and then attack when the AI have nothing left to defend.

    now, having a bunch of axes and maces is great, but how?

    that's where the whip comes in. this is a very popular human warmongering move, and is especially useful if you have a decent size empire with several well developed cities. let all your cities build axe for one turn, then whip them all. you might want to build another set of axes using the overflows from whip for one turn, then whip a second time.

    the second round of whip is usually necessary when you are massing axes, because early in the game the AI usually are on par with you in tech. odds of axes vs archers is not always good. but if you are massing maces, you might get away with whipping one round (unless vs longbows), because it's later in the game you should have more cities to whip from, and if you beelined for CS then chances are the maces are not going to meet a lot of resistance for a while.

    to mass mace, build axes the turn before CS is discovered, then a turn later, the production for axes is converted to maces, and you can whip without panelty.

    build several farms so you can grow your cities back quick, but you don't really need it unless you are a chronic whipper. If you are just gonna whip once in a while to take advantage of your shiny new maces, then it's not that important.

    monty is a good leader for whipping because his unique building shortens whip unhappiness. also, being spiritual helps because you can switching back to slavery so you can whip later. this is not that useful early, because you don't have any other civics to choose from, but it is very helpful when you are whipping later, for rifles and even infantries and tanks. In my last game I whipped infantries just once from 10 cities to take out shaka who was defending with rifles, but decided not to whip the tanks to take out the justinian/ceaser coilition because it would have taken me 4 turns (2 turns to switch to slavery, 1 turn to build the tank, 1 turn to whip), where as if I just build the tanks, i get tanks in 3-7 turns in most cities.

    actually, you might not want to do this whipping strategy. it's a hard habit to break once you've tried it. I've first tried this when people on this forum were raving about this "SE/FE" thing, and since then, I've have several planned space victory games turned into domination victory because i just couldn't resisit kicking AI's behind with my superior army. That or i was losing the tech race and had to do something.
     
  4. petey

    petey Prince

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    Well, if you want the best military strategy, that would be to go into world builder at 4000BC and put a Modern Armour next to all the AI's Settlers.
     
  5. Askthepizzaguy

    Askthepizzaguy Know the Dark Side

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    What's the best alternative, or counter, to spammed axemen?

    Is there a unit or tactic that certain civilizations or terrain might provide against the endless axemen rush?
     
  6. tempuraki

    tempuraki Warlord

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    Chariots is a natural counter, but that's dependent on horse, so cut your enemy off the horse and you should be ok. you don't want to find yourself fighting crossbows, but that's more of a problem for macemen becasue it comes later. Axemen can fight axemen pretty well, so a stack from each side pretty much cancells out.

    then there are the early UUs. Mali's UU is a better archer, so that can be hard to take down. Roman UU is a better swordsman so that's harder to kill as well. those are two from the top of my head. But if you can make your axe rush truely endless, then perhaps the only thing that can stop you would be the ocean.
     
  7. axident

    axident Emperor

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    Dog soldiers will annihilate axe rushes. And they are protective and get Totem Poles as well. Just leave them Native 'mericans alone now, y'hear?

     
  8. Fronx

    Fronx Warlord

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    My tip differs a bit from this (quoted) part.

    Macemen isn't ideal against ... macemen. Have Crossbows against enemy Macemen. Because Crossbow isn't melee unit, enemy Macemen do not get the +50% modifier against it, but your Crossbow does get it. 6 str Crossbow with +50% to melee is much better against enemy Macemen than your own 8 str macemen against other, countering each other out.


    So consider Crossbow as a spear: have some in your stack as defence against certain unit(s).

    Plus I think Macemen can handle Chariots, but because of elephants (and lukcy horse archers) you want to have some spears in your stacks.
     
  9. axident

    axident Emperor

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    I don't build very many maces--the reason being that if you have maces, you probably also have cats or trebs. If you have cats or trebs, you can redline enemies and therefore it doesn't matter WHAT you use to mop up. So my attack stacks end up being: cats or trebs, many crossbows, a few spears and pikes, a healer chariot or two, and many of my veteran axes and swords from my ancient wars (with one or two targeted to get to Level 6 for West Point).
     
  10. LionQ

    LionQ Noble

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    Crossbowmen are underrated and definately of much use in an early medieval stack.
     
  11. Askthepizzaguy

    Askthepizzaguy Know the Dark Side

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    I tend to agree. I was just about to finish off Peter of Russia when he mounted an heroic defense against my attackers using crossbows. Potent little buggers against my spammed axes.

    He was still in a lost position, but the war dragged on so long that he also cost me the victory. Just another reason why war should be your last resort. Still, I'd rather be prepared.
     
  12. alcaras

    alcaras Warlord

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    Note: in BtS, Phalanxes replace Axes, not Spears.
     
  13. MrWhereItsAt

    MrWhereItsAt Warlord

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    Yeah, but you must need a LOT more cats/trebs than you do Macemen - Cats/Trebs tend to do a lot of dying against practically any type of enemy. Say three or four lost on one city lets you stroll in - you'd better have a decent 20+. A Half dozen cats/trebs with 10 Maces and a couple of other mixed troops would do you better, I think - less troops lost means less WW, and your reinforcements can actually improve your stacks instead of just replacing dead troops.
     

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