1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Catapult rush demo #1: The March of Boudica

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by vicawoo, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    3,226
    I'm going to post some test games of catapult rushes. Here's one from this morning.
    Immortal, Fractal, Normal Speed/Size, and of course civ automatically sets the climate to temperate even if you change it to random each time.
    No huts/events, since people seem to feel it calls into question results.

    Catapult rushes require a lot of tech, as well as a decent amount of production. Ideal conditions are being somewhat boxed in, but too far to rush, and having bronze. It's also nice if you have riverside tiles that cottageable pre-bronze working, and a second city which has that as well. With such a start, you can get construction in turns 80 to 90. If you don't, well, let's see what happens.

    In this specific game, I pick Boudica, because she can get 8 exp march melee units. People say march is terrible, but as long as you have combat superiority over the opponent (catapults), it really speeds up attack downtime.

    Here's the start
    Spoiler :



    Settle in place seems preferable. AH first. Some people like to grow to size 2 while teching fishing, which can be very helpful early commerce (especially horse archer rushes), but growing + workboat build time is about the same as building a worker, even if the worker has nothing to do.
    Spoiler :



    The scout dies, highly annoying. Thankfully, we've scouted the peninsula-like geography and uncovered all the nearby important tiles.
    Spoiler :




    Fairly important early decision: fishing or mining-bronze working first? BW would be decent for a rush. It also gives us access to those riverside tiles for cottages. Also, it gives us extra production. We also want worker techs prepared for when we get our second city out. We go fishing, because we have no other source of commerce right now.
    Spoiler :




    Writing or agriculture or mining-bw next? In retrospect, I probably could have had agriculture out in time before I finished was ready to start a library in my capital, so I could improve the rice to the north.
    Spoiler :





    Next important decision: what size do we build the settler? We could make a workboat and build the settler at size 3, or 4. It also depends where we are going to settle the second city. Unfortunately, most of the land to the east is jungle, and there's no accessible riverside tiles. So I decide to go for the fish city to the north.

    More on this decision: settler will be 100 hammers for 4 food/hammers, until we get the fish. Growing gives +1 food/hammers, at 24 food. A workboat is 30 hammers for +1 food/hammers. Frankly, our production is dangerously low with only one good tile, and we are in danger of not having enough axes in time when we get construction. So we settler as soon as possible, since we don't need a warrior to fogbust that spot.
    Spoiler :




    Now that we have the settler, here's another interesting decision: settle on the plains hill and get the fish along with another plains hill (and no rice), settle on the desert hill, or on the grassland tile.
    Decision: ultimately, we decide to skip the superior plains hill spot because it doesn't have immediate trade route access! With domestic trade routes, it's worth +2 gold, which pays for the maintenance and then some. Without it, we're losing 2 gold per turn until we road it. We skip the desert hill in the hopes we can get a monument so we can access the plains hill later. It also might save 1 gold per turn in maintenance.
    Spoiler :




    And now that we've settled it, we build workboats in both cities. The capital can produce workboats faster and send it to the second cities' coastal fish, but it will take about 5 turns to move it to the fish, so there's no point in bothering. We could also build a library immediately in the capital, but we need to grow at least 2 population while building the library for the specialists, and honestly even then we will want to work at least 1 coastal clams (even without a workboat). I learned the hard way that a library with two specialists isn't nearly enough to get construction in time.

    And another very important point: we found ramses in the east, and AI scouts are doing a reasonable job fogbusting/controlling barbs. Often we cannot afford to build two workboats, because without axemen/chariots/archers, we are in too much danger of barbs swarming us.

    And our warrior died while on a jungle tile, so our worker is doing a tiny bit of fogbusting while he has nothing to do. And since we're going workboat, we should have gone agriculture before writing.

    And the second city should work the plains hill to get the workboat out faster.
    Spoiler :




    No second workboat, we're going for the library straight away. Note with 2 clams and the cow, even with 2 specialists we would probably grow into unhappiness. Grow fast to size 4, then we're going to work our highest hammer tiles to get the library out faster.

    Spoiler :




    Second city, we make a warrior I believe to do some limited fogbusting while growing. But now we can make workboat or monument for that plains hill or worker. We go the worker because even with our nice second to take over production while our capital is busy working specialists, we are going to behind in production (60 hammers in fishing boats already, 90 in a library, easily could have been a 3rd city), and chopping forests is going to help when bronze working comes online.

    Another decision is that we could have saved while waiting for the library to finish, then went 100%, but we opt for a faster bronze working instead at the cost of some free beakers. When we turn off research is a big question.
    Spoiler :




    Note we switched to the fishing boatless clams in the capital for extra commerce. We build a warrior next in the capital for the garrison happiness. Even charismatic leaders can't deal with the -2 unhappiness at size 6.

    And our beakers per turn are finally respectable at 29 - 3.

    Spoiler :




    After teching pottery, we have a great scientist, which we academy. We could have bulbed mathematics, which is sometimes necessary if we are forced to tech iron working, or settled it, if we have very low beakers per turn and can't cottage any riverside tiles.

    Our 3rd city has also had the choice of a monument, a fishing boat (for the clams), a worker, and a settler, and we go for the settler since we really need more production and we need to hook up copper soon.

    We saved some gold for the academy, but we are inclined to tech mathematics a little faster for the extra chop hammers. Sacrificing some beakers for hammers.

    Those cottages right now are more important than the hills, so we're trying to get those up as fast as possible. We replaced the scientists specialists with the riverside cottages after our first great scientist. Those are extremely important for our construction timing, even if they are very late.

    Spoiler :




    Finally revolt to slavery so our second city can whip the monument instead of relying on the desert hill, which will later give access to the plains hill. We want to do that in advance of construction, preferably. Note we prioritize it before the granary, for those timing reasons.

    And we will prioritize another worker before that granary.

    Also because our capital is our only riverside cottage source, we WILL NOT whip it until construction, even if we have to chop the granary or grow into unhappiness. An extra 10 turns of riverside cottages is too important.

    Spoiler :




    Our copper city finally settled, along with the daring fogbuster and roading worker. It will go monument first, so it will have the fish in a timely manner before the rush. Then we will go granary (no other production), then catapults. If we have time to build a barracks before construction, then we will. But 0 exp catapults still bombard and collateral just fine, and they are preferable to get the magic 8 catapult number.

    Spoiler :




    Turn 93 construction, not so great, but acceptable. But note our unit count is very low, so we actually delayed construction a few turns from settling a 4th city for extra production. This sort of balancing between tech and production is very important. The capital finally has a granary (delayed due to building a worker or settler I believe, which delayed unhappiness). The second city has an almost complete axeman and a spearman in queue to save upkeep costs, and we have an axemen or two while we're still in the free units limit.

    And our beakers per turn is 37, hurrah. We're running largely off the gold we saved pre-academy, although due to a 4th city to the south (grassland cow, 2 mines), I had to save up a little more gold.


    Next turn, we switch to catapults in all cities with a granary, and 2 pop whip, if possible, and switch tiles to mines if possible. Our workers are prioritizing mines and chopping forests. Our 4th city isn't even roaded to yet, which isn't a problem since catapults don't require resources. We will trade to road as late as possible to get reinforcements/our main stack moving.

    Spoiler :




    Posting later today: the buildup and the war.

    And of course the 4000 BC save and construction save.
     
  2. NihilZero

    NihilZero WHEOOHRNY

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,161
    Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
    Great post, nicely played and clearly explained. I wish there were more posts as detailed as this. It's a sub-optimal setup for any kind of rush, the Celts are always slow and seafood can be tricky to manage, particularly in forested and jungled terrain.
     
  3. Grashopa

    Grashopa Emperor

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Messages:
    1,307
    Whether you go catapults or not, this game shows the power of writing and libraries.
     
  4. splanchnic

    splanchnic Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    As a beginner I find this kind of post very helpful and interesting to read. Thanks for taking the time to so clearly explain your options and thinking.
     
  5. cbucks

    cbucks Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Messages:
    169
    please finish this thread
     
  6. Nothingontv

    Nothingontv Warlord

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2009
    Messages:
    152
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Very interesting. I have recently been playing a lot of games to try out catapult rushes and this post came as a pleasant surprise.
     
  7. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy Deity

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Messages:
    19,424
    Rock on vicawoo. Keep on postin' in the free world.
     
  8. RedKi-rr

    RedKi-rr Prince

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Messages:
    512
    please, don't forget this thread)
     
  9. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    3,226
    Part 2: building up and the attack

    Aside from the war, the biggest thing to note is how long it took to build up enough units for war. This underlines the fine balance between commerce and production in catapult rushes. Perhaps we would have been better off with an earlier 3rd city. Ideally, you can 2 pop whip catapults from 4 of your cities while chopping, producing 8 catapults is 3 turns, then attack. Unfortunately, we would have to have most of our axes/swords/spears pre-construction, which we do not, and cities will have different travel times.

    As mentioned before, here's the fast army strategy: 2 pop whip + chopping workers. Since our army is so small, it's more to prioritize chopping over roads, as what matters is when the last unit of our main attack force arrives, not the first.
    Spoiler :




    Meanwhile to cut corners, our 3rd and 4th cities have skipped the barracks and are whipping catapults (after the workboat). Note what I should have done was skip the granary in the 4th cow city, since its tile usage is 1 grassland cow and 2 grassland mines - not a lot of whipping compared to our 3rd city, which has only a fish and a copper. If we built 2 axes instead at our 3rd city, the rush probably would have been 2-5 turns faster.

    Barracksless catapults of course can bombard just as well as normal catapults, collateral just as well as non-bombardment catapults, they just have worse survival rates.

    Spoiler :




    Our stack is in it's pre-attack position. Note how long 18 turns post-construction, very bad. Some of it had to do with the 5 turns it took just to walk our units there from our 1st and second city, but still we could do better. With rushes, it's always worth analyzing how you could have done it faster.

    Note the composition: 9 catapults, 6 cleanup units. That's 5 catapults to 1 turn the defenses, and 4 (we probably could make do with 3) collateral. 3 collateral will take most archers to near 50%. We have 2 axes scouting ramses' territory, which is how we know our cleanup units are enough (sorry, no screenshots). They will pop back into our stack when we declare.

    Also note we could not attack sooner than this turn, and we're not going to wait for the axe and spear that just arrived.

    Spoiler :




    And it's on. More notes: our workers have roaded to get reinforcements the fastest route possible.

    Mansa declares, but it's obviously a bribe, and poses barely any threat.

    Spoiler :




    5 to bombard, 3 to collateral (I think 1 of the catapults in the first screen shot just arrived). 4 defenders, perfect. Hopefully they will all win (and they should have around 90% odds after all the 3 collaterals), and we can take it in one turn. Otherwise, we have reinforcements.

    And something to avoid: sending siege to weaken units to the 25% limit, when you're not doing any more colllateral damage. You can do it, but it's a waste of siege. Damaged siege = siege that can't attack well, unless you heal it. Healing your stack for 3+ every city is why catapult wars have a reputation for being slow.

    Spoiler :




    As stewie griffin says, victory is mine!

    An important detail: note the to the northwest and the catapult on it. It will be able to move into position to stop nasty warchariots from retaking the city.

    Spoiler :




    Onto the capital. We never stopped to heal.

    He had a wall, but I believe with 8 catapults, we used 2 turns. First round reduced it by 40%, second 5 did 24%. It should work out, and 3 collateral catapults is enough.
    I had an extra 4% on each round, because I went accuracy with my leftover damaged catapult, which I can only do because I'm charismatic. Otherwise it would probably to go in with 9 catapults.

    This indicates that if you second target is a walled capital, you get one turn of healing, from waiting one turn, but you first wave of reinforcements can be all catapults, to replace lost ones and up your stack to 9.

    Here we are comparing bombardment 1 odds (12.2% retreat) with

    Spoiler :




    City raider odds. 58.5% retreat. While it's usually preferable to go city raider, I've seen situations where city raider changes my odds from 24% to 28% ... and with two strong defenders, I'd rather have 5 or 6 extra collateral spread out against the other units. But in this special case, a 35% jump is certainly worth it.

    I've never calculated the value of extra collateral to extra city raider damage, but it probably involves estimating the expected damage using odds vs % extra collateral damage.

    Spoiler :




    7 turns for 2 cities and a capital, not bad.

    He also has a fairly strong counterstack of 6 swords and an axe or two to the southwest, but I'm able to annihilate with some sacrificial siege, leftover units from my main stack, and reinforcements. It's on a forested hill, but my units weren't in great position, so I had to kill off enough units to protect my damaged main stack.

    Spoiler :




    I split my forces to take out the 3rd and 4th city. In retrospect, I shouldn't have done this due to lack of forces. It's also worth pondering here what our reinforcement composition should be. You want new catapults to replace damaged ones, and possibly split the stack. But we also need reasonably healthy axes to continue our attack.

    Spoiler :




    8 exp, the first of our set of our march axes! They heal after attacking, heal after, moving, so they should be full health when they move to the next city, even if they take a round of collateral.

    Looking back, Ramses had a ridiculous amount of land, but in 10 turns we've captured about half of it and are in a strong position to capture the rest. The only question is how quickly we can do it.

    Spoiler :




    It's easy to get bogged down with combat micro if you're not in favor of the grand stack attack. I prefer to micro exp so units can get a promotion, units take reasonable damage and have a decent survival rate. Do you want to risk one of your strongest attackers against their strongest defender, or do you want to sacrifice one of your weaker attackers?

    But probably one of the last keys to mastery would be to have an ideal plan for reinforcements. For now it seems, first wave is all catapults, then possibly a few replacement attacking units then mostly siege if we're looking to split the stack. The secondary stack can efficiently kill those periphery 20% cities with 5 to 6 siege and 3 to 4 units, although unfortunately I'm gambling with even smaller stacks with not so effective results, as we will see later.
     
  10. Fleme

    Fleme Obey the Kitty!

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    1,205
    While you're presenting a good showcase here, I dislike the fact that on both segments you maintain an unhappy citizen in Bibracte - you should've whipped them out.

    Anyhow, with the 'mids that issue is moot so carry on.
     
  11. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    3,226
    The picture doesn't always tell the whole story. In the first picture, I've delayed the unhappiness as long as possible (specialists, switching the clam to the second city, switching clams to riverside cottages, building a settler). Finally, near construction, it's better to save the whip cycle (and commerce) for the catapult.

    Second picture, it's probably in a whip cycle.
     
  12. robvollman

    robvollman Warlord

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Messages:
    113
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    Questions
    1. Didn't barbarian triremes go after your fishing boats? Don't you need a navy to defend?
    2. Did you say that you built Academy with your Great Scientist? If you're on a rush, can you explain again why not bulb Mathematics?
    3. Seems like you waited quite a while to chop down river-side forests and build cottages - could you have done it sooner, why/why not?
    4. I still don't understand why you didn't settle city #2 on the northern hill, can you explain again? Something about trade route - not sure I understand how settling one tile south helps.

    Comments
    - I like how you raised money before the library, knowing that $ is as easy to get pre-library as post-library, but beakers are easier to get post-library
    - I like how you built a library, and arranged to have enough pop/food to immediately create scientists
     
  13. coanda

    coanda Emperor

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Messages:
    1,692
    Great thread/demo. Thanks for putting it up, and if it's not too much work I'd love to see the wrap-up (how far you push the war before taking peace, and how you deal with re-organizing your economy when you're done... just up to turn 135 / 140).
     
  14. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    3,226
    The barbarian galley question is worth talking about, actually barbs in general is worth talking about. In our case, we had to build very few fogbusters because we were boxed in heavily by Ramses - ideal for a catapult rush. Barbs in general will not spawn within 2 units of a unit or within fog of war, and galleys will only detect units within 7 tiles of culture.

    They might spawn close to when we're teching construction. The cheapest barb galley defense is to build a workboat, and let it get chased into AI territory.

    Academy vs mathematics is an interesting question. One issue with mathematics I find, after writing (and bronze working), we're teching 3 techs: mathematics, masonry, construction. Unfortunately, any beakers spent on mathematics is a pure loss if we bulb, and even at 0% we will tech masonry too fast (unless we're philosophical), and we will have way way too much surplus gold. Now if we're teching iron working due to a lack of bronze, there is value in mathematics, in fact it's often the only way to get construction in a reasonable amount of time.
    Also the academy helps tech construction faster, which is significantly costlier than mathematics.

    I chopped the cottages as soon as I had the population to work them (scientists, tiles). Actually most of those (forested) cottages were pre-improved to within 1 turn of completion.

    I didn't settle on the plains hill due to trade routes. I didn't settle on the desert hill because later on I would get access to that plains hill - and I could also use the capital's forested plains hill to build a workboat.
     
  15. Mantic0re

    Mantic0re Prince

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Messages:
    315
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    excellent example of why I don't think I'll ever play at higher difficulties.

    So many layers to the game. Timing multiple key elements like this eludes me.

    thank you for the detail Vicawoo. Keep em comin :)
     
  16. FlyingSwan

    FlyingSwan King

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Messages:
    620
    View attachment phants bfc.CivBeyondSwordSave

    Heres an interesting map for cat rushes,the settings are imm/small/normal speed/pangea/high sea level.Leader is Gengis.

    There are 3 elephants/1 plains cow in the BFC so the cap has immediate production and commerse(with gengis starting with hunting),this start took me down the AH/writing route rather than pottery/writing and I ended up with HBR and construction by turn 93(i think)with 2 citys and about 7 keshiks and library in 2nd city.

    This map has a natural shoreline with a great choke point on it(which is another reason i wanted to share the save)which is nice for a fort,and 2 contrasting immediate neighbours.Ive played this map throgh a few times but havnt beat it yet(farthest ive got is a nuclear war in the 1880s-1st time ive had a city nuked by the AI !)

    @vicawoo would be very interested to see how you would play this map/cat rush.

    P.S sorry i havnt posted a screenshot,still sussing out how to do it.
     
  17. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    3,226
    It's hard to get enough units with 2 cities. Given that you have happy resources, and a nearby gold, it would be a lot easier to horse archer rush. Even with no food, a city working only a gold would be worth for horse archers, but for a horse archer rush you'd need the second city to have more production.

    I have a save where you'd branch, and did the catapult anyway. It's hard to get enough research with 4 city maintenance on a small map, so I probably should have gotten an earlier library in the second city.
    Spoiler :








     
  18. FlyingSwan

    FlyingSwan King

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Messages:
    620
    View attachment gengis.CivBeyondSwordSave

    Your dead right about the HA rush,exactly how I played it.Turn 91 and I,d built 8 keshiks to take out asoka(which was plenty),then I started building phants/cats to deal with shaka.

    Rather than cottage the cap I farmed it,when it reaches size 7 it throws out a decent ammount of production with the ivory and plains hills.

    Like the way you can get 4 citys up :goodjob:Guess everyone plays differently,I still like getting the most out of two citys then capturing the rest,like in this game asoka had kindly built the GW in one city,GL in the cap and the 3rd city was exactly where you built one.
     
  19. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    3,226
    Well, farms means slower teching. For horse archer rushing, it won't matter because you already have gold and the cottages won't have much time to mature. For catapults, you need a higher long term beaker count, and without a few cottages you'd have to rely on libraries. If you do it too early, you're sacrificing production from having a quicker 3rd/4th city, and they won't be established in time for construction.
     
  20. Torgny

    Torgny Warlord

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Brighton, England
    Thanks so much for your very detailed explanations with maps.
     

Share This Page