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Bronze working is interesting…

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by acluewithout, Dec 10, 2017.

  1. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    At bronze working you discover if you have iron.

    If you do have iron, you can then head from bronze working to ironworking, which gives you swordsmen to make out of the iron you just found (cue swordsman rush). Mining the iron you’re going to need for swordsmen also gives you the boost for iron working, which gets you to swordsmen faster – nice. The boost for bronze working is also kill three barbs, so it may be you have already built warrior-line units to do that, which you will then upgrade into swordsmen.

    Or, you head for stirrups to get knights, which you can also make out of iron (cue knight rush). Mining the iron you’re going to need for knights also gives you the boost to the wheel tech, and it’s the wheel tech which gives you the chariots which you will build to upgrade into knights – nice (again).

    The downside to heading down the two bottom tech trees is that you’re not putting science into the infrastructure tree (writing, currency, apprenticeship). But two iron mines, plus another mine, at least gives you the boost for apprenticeship, so you get a slight leg up there. And working iron gives you a little science too, which also helps.

    Only one iron? No problem – bronze working gives you encampments. Build one, and you can build swordsmen or knights with only one iron (leaving aside upgrades of course).

    No iron at all? A sad situation. But bronze working gives you few interesting choices there too…

    First, bronze working lets you build the Jebel Barkal wonder, which gives you two iron. A fairly drastic solution. (…and, while admittedly not the most efficient strategy, if you were going for a culture victory, then (1) building Jebel Barkal would also boost the theatre civic (the boost is “build a wonder”), (2) the Jebel Barkal’s faith can be used to purchase great people, and (3) if you do build some encampments after researching bronze working, then encampment specialists give culture).

    Second, you can still build encampments. Provided you also get walls, your encampments will provide some additional defence against the hordes of iron-rich swordsmen and knights you’ll be fighting off (and, again, note the point about encampment specialists above).

    Third – and the option I find most interesting - bronze working gives you a spearman. Spearman don’t require iron. That’s key.

    I think the idea here is to enable turtling. Basically, you build spearman, and fortify your cities using them. When you do that, I think that makes your cities more defensible – spearman have slightly more combat strength than warriors, and that combat strength is inherited by your city’s defence when a spearman is fortified in the city. Importantly, a spearman’s weakness to melee is not inherited by the city (I think that’s right – sorry if I’ve got that wrong). Spearman can also more safely fight melee in their own cities notwithstanding their inherent weakness, because they heal faster within friendly borders and can hide (or is that cower) in city centres / encampments.


    With no iron, but defended by your loyal (if terrified) spearmen, you might then focus on the infrastructure techs (to get campus, commercial hub and IZ). I think this is why the upgrade to spearmen (pikemen) is a leaf along the infrastructure tech tree (military tactics) – because it’s players bee-lining infrastructure who are going to have spearmen and need to upgrade them.

    Two conclusion from all this. First, spearman (and pikemen) may be intentionally a little weak and pikemen may be intentionally in an out of the way part of the tech tree. They’re designed for defensive play, and are probably a little underpowered to make defensive play more risky / challenging.

    Second, civs that have UUs at military tactics (Hilariously Haranguing Harold / Berserkers, and Hojo / Samurai) may have them there so they can focus on the infrastructure tree – i.e. they can focus on the infrastructure techs, because their units are on the way to IZs (albeit with a small detour), and they won’t need bronze working / iron to build those units anyway.

    TL;DR: spearman aren’t terrible (or, if they are, are terrible on purpose); berserkers and samurai aren’t out of the way at military tactics, instead they’re “on the way” for infrastructure play.

    [edit for formatting]
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
  2. masda_gib

    masda_gib Chieftain

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    Nicely said.
    I personally don't find Pikemen so underpowered. When unlocked, they are the strongest melee unit, stronger than Swordmen and on par with Knights against which they have a bonus. When upgraded fron some spears quickly they are nice to capture cities because they may have more combat strength than the city.
    The one big downside with spears and pikes is that there is no policy to build them faster.
     
  3. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    The problem with pikes is they're gotten with a dead end tech which takes longer to reach than knights, and then they upgrade to.... anti-tank when there may not be a lot of tanks running around and infantry already comes much earlier than that.

    As for spearmen, they're too expensive to produce and if the enemy attacks with something that's not a horse that will also be trouble. . You can build an archer for less and those upgrade into crossbowmen which can be gotten a lot faster than pikes too ; 2 crossbow + encampment + wall is going to blow away most contemporary things and also the chance for field cannons. Or you can build cheap warriors that don't cost maintenance (and don't need conscription as a result) and hope you get niter or upgrade them into infantry someday.

    That doesn't mean they're useless. Just incredibly niche though. Ironically I think they're more useful when you want to take the offense if you can't make other melee units and you must take a city in the medieval era; use them as fodder to take down city walls with battering rams.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
  4. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    The spearman line is certainly niche. And I don’t understand why they don’t benefit from % production policy cards – that seems like a bug or mistake to me.

    But I don’t think Pikes are really harder to reach than Knights (or at least, whether they are or not is really not the question). I think the way Pikes work is that you’re not spending science on the “land combat tech” line (i.e. archery, horse-ridding, stirrups), but are instead prioritising the “infrastructure” line (writing, currency, apprenticeship). So, for someone prioritising the infrastructure line, Pikes are much easier to get to than Knights, basically because you’re already decided you’re not spending science going down the tech tree which has Knights. Likewise, if you are going after Knights, they are easier to reach than Pikes, but the real issue then is you’re delaying when you can put down districts, because you’re not researching the techs which give you districts.

    Likewise, I love cross-bows, but they're on a whole other tree which doesn't give me districts (although it gives me walls, graineries, and the occasionally useful water mill). That said, it's interesting you get all the wall tech on the same tree that gives you cross-bows - which I think is related to x-bows' defensive uses. And I agree four ranged attacks (city wall, encampment wall, 2 x x-bows), is a world of grief for any attacker, albeit I often don't have encampments and walls in every city, or more than 3 ranged at any one time.

    I'm not sure the spearman line’s weakness to melee is such an issue when you’re using them defensively , because units heal faster in friendly territory, and the weakness is ignored for the purposes of determining a city’s defence when a spearman is garrisoned in a city (…assuming I’ve understood that right, which I may not have). i.e. as I understand it, if a spearman is garrisoned, the spearman’s melee strength determines the city’s defensive strength without counting the spearman’s weakness to melee. The spearman’s weakness will count when he initiates an attack from within the city centre, but then if he takes damage he can just fortify and heal up.

    I’m not a fan of ranged units garrisoned in cities, because it’s the melee strength of the unit which determines a city’s defence. I’d rather place a melee unit in a city – giving the city better defence – and then move ranged units around snipping my attackers. Although I sometimes garrison ranged units in walled coastal cities (which I build a lot of) to help fend off pesky barbarian caravels.

    I’m usually pretty happy when the AI garrisons ranged units – melee with the turtle promotion are pretty safe from them (and can always pillage farm land if hurt), and the city defence is so much lower as a result. A chariot or horseman garrisoned in a city is a much bigger problem – the city is harder to take, and the ruddy chariot or horse keeps darting out and hitting my surrounding warriors etc.. (Of course, ranged are better defenders later in the game when they get the garrisoned promotion.)
     
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  5. Mr. Shadows

    Mr. Shadows Nomad of the time streams

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    BW is always a priority because I need to onow where the iron is before I start expanding in earnest. Good points above, although imho the big reason to build an encampment early is to work projects and get a General. You only need one iron if you upgrade from warriors/ chariots. Walls aren't worth it until the card makes them cheap, and then only for the tourism for a CV. I can control my territory with units long before I can get walls up. Units can defend, win prizes, fog bust, maintain visibility and heal themselves. Walls just sit there until someone hits them, and then they cost hammers to repair.
     
  6. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    The thing about spending science though, is that it is effectively wasted in going into a dead end tree while getting stirrups is required anyways eventually if you want to go through the rest of the tree. Machinery also leads to printing which enables the Forbidden Palace which is also quite big.

    As for the defense of cities; while that can be useful in places that haven't gotten walls, and the occasional coastal city, for the most part if you have to rely on the city's defense strength, you've pretty much already lost as it means the walls (bombard defenses) are gone, furthermore you need walls to make encampments be able to attack. Even barring that and the enemy cannot physically take your city, pillaging and the inability to purge defenders on defensive terrain without a ranged option is going to set you back really far.

    The other issue is mostly that much like any counterunit, is reactionary in nature, and that goes with the assumption the enemy actually attacks with horse units. If the enemy has crossbows or even ships you won't be able to counter them easily. If they don't you're in bad shape, so the strength of a counter unit is in its availability and quickness of being summoned to the battlefield, ie purchasing one immediately in a city for emergency defense. In the end, I think they should be a bit cheaper. Consider that the heavy chariot also doesn't cost resources and can be built for the same production.

    Though there is a interesting use of spearmen. After you get rangers, scouts become too expensive, so I will purchase a cheap spearman (I don't get the pike tech) to explore.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017

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