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Combat Bonuses - A Thread Comparing the Combat of Civ V and VI

SirNovelty

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A few notes before I begin:
1.I will not be discussing the merits of 1UPT combat in this post. There's plenty of other threads for that.
2. The intro to this thread has been severely abbreviated because I lost all my notes listing every combat bonus in both of these games....consider yourself spared, but the point that now has to be taken much more on faith is that Civ V's were effectively quite ineffective compared to those of VI.
3. When I say "Combat Bonuses" in this thread, what I am referring to specifically are Bonuses that a player's Units receive that have nothing to do with their tactical position relative to other Units, or their own Promotions. So this means any Civ/Leader-specific stuff, Policies/Tenants, Religious Beliefs, Diplomatic Benefits, and Wonder Effects. Terrain Bonuses, Flanking/Support, Anti-Cav, Melee vs. Anti-Cav, Promotions, Great General/Admiral Effects will all be considered as "Tactical Bonuses", because as you'll see their prominence is outside the scope of this discussion.

Introduction: The Underdiscussed Difference in Civ V and VI's Combat

I've often noticed that discussions around the combat in the Civilization series has been very big picture, especially with the omnipresent 1vs.xUPT debate, and consequently the little differences can get lost. While Civ V and VI have very similar combat on the surface, I find that a lot of little differences between them have added up to a very substantial difference in how they play out. These smaller changes are numerous, the movement system, promotion trees, unit classes, resource system, effects of walls, power of cities, and much more changed between the final versions of these two games.

One change that happened quite quietly not exactly to the combat, but around it, was the prominence of Combat Bonuses. In Civilization V, Combat Bonuses were relatively insignificant, you needed to stack quite a few to make a meaningful difference in individual combat. Now, comparisons cannot be made directly, because these games calculate combat differently, with comparing the relative strengths of the units, and Civ VI only caring about the absolute difference in numbers. One really direct example is between Civ V's Just War and V's Crusade. Both are beliefs that boost your CS in enemy cities following your religion. V's Just War boosts CS by 20%, one of the larger individual bonuses in the game you can get against other Civs. Between equal units without any other Tactical factors however, this 20% difference would give a melee attacker an average damage of less that 33, with 30 being the default if both units are of equal strength. In comparison, VI's Crusade provides a CS boost of 10, which translates to an average damage of 40, with 30 once again being the "default." To achieve the same effect in V requires a difference of 50%, so we can say that VI's Crusade is 2.5x more effective than V's Just War. For further reference, I'm pretty sure the strongest Combat Bonus against other Civs you'll find in V is Clausewitz's Legacy, a Level 3 Ideological Tenant providing a WHOPPING....25% boost. So it's about half as effective as Crusade. Oh, and it only lasts for 50 turns. The very common +4 or 5 bonuses you'll find in VI are about as powerful as the strongest of V's individual bonuses, so it's fair to say VI made these much more central to how combat plays out. The question of this thread then, is how that has effected the game?

Decisive Attacks

One of the most obvious, and I would guess intentional, effects this has had is to make successful attacks much quicker and decisive. In Civ V any successful war against any kind of defense was a deliberate affair, with solid front lines slowly being eaten away by concentrated attacks, until eventually the defenders were picked off, and the city was whittled down. This can happen in Civ VI, but in singleplayer at least it's not how things usually go, and honestly if your wars take a long time it's a sign you prepped for them badly. Proper offenses in Civ VI are quick, with the invaders crushing each defender with ease, often wiping 3-4 units on a single turn, it's not uncommon for an AI's military score to be reduced to zero (or whatever their pathetic and ineffectual navy amounts to) within 5 turns of meeting their attackers. Walls can be a slog, but they can also be destroyed lightning fast with the right tools at any stage of the game. If it wasn't for the sluggish movement, cramped maps, and how binary playing against walls can be, I'd say Civ VI's combat is downright offensively oriented, because prepping an attack is incredibly rewarding when done correctly. I think this is probably intentional, it's hard not to come away from Civ V thinking combat should be faster, and Civ VI has an emphasis on letting individual player actions have larger effects (chopping, killing a Religious unit, stronger promotions, etc.)

Diminishment of Tactics

The decisiveness of attacks has come with what I see as a downside in Civ VI's combat model however, that being a de-emphasis on tactical positioning. While a defensive war in Civ VI might make extensive use of terrain to exploit movement rules, offensive wars tend to involve a concentrated and complete rush at enemy armies, with the Combat Bonuses making up for any tactical deficiencies. If I have a base +15 CS over my opponent, I don't need to care much about the small amount that rivers or forests are eating into that advantage. In Civ V combat would frequently involve multiple turns of back-and-forth over important positions, with positioning as many units as possible to be able to control key tiles being a core part of prosecuting a successful war. Advantage was often generated in little chunks at a time. In Civ VI a proper invasion moves from any given point quite quickly. Furthermore, masses of units are rarely necessary in Civ VI, while in Dom having more units to fight on more fronts is valuable, individual fronts can be easily handled by a handful of powerful units just running through an entire empire without real resistance. In Civ VI proper prep completely negates the tactical gameplay, and I'm still not sure how I feel about that. What is clear however, is that Combat Bonuses have made War Prep much more complex and involved than in Civilization V.

The Increasing Complexity of War Machines

In Civilization V prepping for an attack was a pretty straightforward affair, and really invasions only fell into two categories: 1. Tech Rushes. 2. Wars of momentum. The former involved diverging from the science path of the tech tree after a certain point to rush to a powerful military technology, meanwhile stockpiling gold and units that will promote into the unit you want to attack with. Then you upgrade them all on the turn you get the tech, and attack, hoping the technological advantage would shift combat sufficiently in your favor. In practice there was about one or two specific units each era that could be used for this, with some being much more flexible than others, and your civ was unlikely to add more than one unique timing. The second kind of invasion would usually occur after the first kind went very well, where a player decides to press their advantage further, and as they go on they get more economy and highly promoted units to back their aggression.

In Civilization VI, things are much more varied. The aforementioned Crusade is a common build-around tool for Dom, tech rushing still exists, players might exploit Giant's Causeway, policy cards and government types can play a key role, most war civs have widely applicable bonuses, etc. However, while sources of advantage are much more numerous, the player's goal is usually to stack a large number of them, so aggressive builds often rely on the Civ/Leader bonuses to distinguish themselves. Still, combat prep is a much more complicated and nuanced affair than in V, usually involving every element of your decision-making over many game layers for many turns, requisite with that effort it is much more rewarding. Overall I'd call it a total improvement in a vacuum. However, it's come with two side effects.

1. The weakening of the tech tree: Civ VI already made efforts to weaken Science through the civics tree, and it was a very overcentralizing mechanic in V. However, this decentralization has made comparing player's capacities at any given point much harder. While military score can tell you current military strength, and economy can give you some idea how fast it can increase, the effective military strength a player can wield if they use all their tools properly is quite hard to discern. It's also meant that developing a military often comes at less of a trade-off, because in V tech tree progression was much more clearly delineated between advancement and military power for much of the game. It can also be much harder to match a neighbor's strength if you feel them coming for you, because you might not have access to things like Crusade, or Taxis, etc. There's a lot of asymmetry in Civ VI, and while wars have always favored defenders, the predominance of Combat Bonuses heavily and inextricably benefits players who are planning on a war, in a way that often can't be replicated after the fact, or pivoted to if situations change.

2. Less "Quirky" Combat Bonuses: Civilization VI has leaned on giving players +CS as a military bonus for almost all big universal cases where the player must be rewarded with military power. A couple Wonders give you units or XP, but those are kept quite willfully niche. Some of the policy cards do different things, but they're also limited in what they can offer as players can freely switch between them. When I look at Civ V, it's hard not to notice how many of the universal Combat-Related Bonuses were not about boosting your power. The Honor tree gave culture on Barbarian Kills, and gold on kills after, not on a Civ Ability, but as something anyone could take. Alhambra gave a free promotion to every unit you produce....not enough XP to get an extra level, one instance of a particular basic promotion before any XP bonus is applied to the unit. The Great Wall gave your opponent a migraine. The Freedom Tree provided a bunch of free units. There seemed to be a much bigger emphasis on giving the player stuff to play with, rather than improving their numbers. Granted, one could look at any of these examples and see that V had a very difficult time balancing these bonuses (or anything else in the game for that matter), so it's easy to imagine why the straightforward number boosts were leaned on more for VI. The flipside of that however, is that the pre-eminence of these Combat Bonuses has made the more complicated bonuses less desirable, because direct power is very easy to access in large quantities. Players don't build the Venetian Arsenal to make ships efficiently, they build it to be silly.

As I close this thread I'll be clear, one can't really isolate a single part of the design of a game as large as Civ. While I've tied the predominance of Combat Bonuses to many effects here, it's important to note that they are rarely the sole culprit. For good or ill, each part of this game's design has to operate within the context of the rest, and so there are many causes to any small trend. That said, I wanted to narrow in on this distinction between V and VI, because I feel like so much talk has been made about whether or not 1UPT is good, relatively little attention has been paid to how it's implemented.
 
Very good summary on the difference in combat between V and VI, and I mostly agree with the points made.

I similarly think that the combat strength mechanic in VI allows for too much abuse, if the player knows how the system works and plays accordingly.
Case in point: My favourite early game rush on Deity does not revolve around a particular unit (like archer, horseman or swordsman rushes), but rather around Crusade.
This is because Crusade, when paired with Oligarchy, gives a whopping +14 combat strength to warriors, making them nearly as strong as unmodified Swordsmen.
And upgrading these Warriors to Swordsmen, similarly allows my Swordsmen to behave as if they were Men at Arms, or my Archers to behave as if they were Crossbowmen.
Add in a strong combat strength ability on top (Taxis, Gifts for the Tlatoani, Örtöö, King of the Eburones etc.), and you can abuse this system pretty hard.

Sometimes this is a good thing though, particularly on the defense.
For instance, I usually play coop with a friend of mine, and he does not properly understand how these combat bonuses work.
This gets him into all sorts of trouble on Deity, as the AI mows him down with superior units.
Whereas if you do play it properly, you can fortify that warrior of yours for two turns on a forest hill, making it able to outtrade a regular AI Swordsman once you factor in the silly amount of combat strength and healing this provides.
The AI can't really handle this, and it all boils down clever use of combat strength mechanics to allow the human to resist an early AI aggressor.


All in all I prefer the civ V system myself, with percentage based bonuses rather than absolute differences dictating a unit's power level.
It's also much more intuitive for most(?) players who don't properly understand or abuse the VI system, as a 20% damage increase to your units is much more intuitive to understand than a flat +4 combat strength value (whose value changes depending on the pre-existing sum of difference between the defender and attacker).
 
I never played Civ V.

I find it difficult to accept however that Civ VI could be described as an offensively oriented military game with the status of city walls.

Renaissance walls and Urban Defenses are both hard stops without counters other than overwhelming sieging force until one researches Bombers, which are an end game tech.

Even Medieval Walls are nigh impregnable without a complete siege. They are only overcome with a Siege Tower and 3 or more Melee units surrounding a city unopposed. Or an unopposed sustained siege with the awkward and immobile Siege Units.

This also means that the AI is incapable of taking Human or other AI cities themselves once Ancient Walls go up and definitely by their Medieval version.
 
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I never played Civ V.

I find it difficult to accept however that Civ VI could be described as an offensively oriented military game with the status of city walls.

Renaissance walls and Urban Defenses are both hard stops without counters other than overwhelming sieging force until one researchers Bombers, which are an end game tech.

Even Medieval Walls are nigh impregnable without a complete siege. They are only overcome with a Siege Tower and 3 or more Melee units surrounding a city unopposed. Or an unopposed sustained siege with the awkward and immobile Siege Units.

This also means that the AI is incapable of taking Human or other AI cities themselves once Ancient Walls go up and definitely by their Medieval version.
If it wasn't for the sluggish movement, cramped maps, and how binary playing against walls can be, I'd say Civ VI's combat is downright offensively oriented, because prepping an attack is incredibly rewarding when done correctly. I think this is probably intentional, it's hard not to come away from Civ V thinking combat should be faster, and Civ VI has an emphasis on letting individual player actions have larger effects (chopping, killing a Religious unit, stronger promotions, etc.)
To elaborate on this, each stage in walls in VI comes with requisite siege units to take them down. Those units are clunky, but with the right Combat Bonuses and enough of them they'll chew through most cities in a few turns. An army either has this capacity against the cities it's fighting, or it doesn't. I would argue it's mostly the movement rules, cramped maps, and to a lesser extent loyalty which swing the odds in the latter direction as often as it is, at least if the player knows what they're up against. This is why I call it "binary."

I'll take this opportunity to paint a picture of how V's sieges worked: Until usually Artillery, or less frequently Cannons, you'd have a small swarm of ranged units sitting around a city pelting it with arrows each doing ~5% of it's health over close to a dozen turns, with usually units swapping in and out of the fray to heal as needed, until finally you sent in a melee unit (perhaps 2-3 if you lacked cavalry for fast captures) to make the final blow. Of course there were far fewer cities on the map, but still, it was slow. Eventually you might get the range and double shot promotions to avoid damage and do ~10 respectively, and then you were really cooking. The other big thing that made this viable was that city shots themselves, while available pre-walls, were comparatively weak, at least in my estimation. Heck, in V it was common to bring Workers into Enemy territory just to repair enemy farms that your units pillage, so you can keep getting the health. The only way that V's war is faster than VI's is less cities, and much faster movement around the map.
 
Interesting. I do think on the whole, VI does a fairly decent job at balancing things. We're a long ways from the Spearman defeats Battleship days of old, but with the right bonuses, you can actually still use an older unit for multiple eras. I've definitely made use of Knight armies with Crusade and a couple other situational bonuses being able to stand up to tanks. Or you keep around that one Eagle Warrior army and protect him with your life until you get to musketmen. But those are only in specific situations, where you aggressively hoard bonuses.

I do think you have a few good points where due to a lot of the bonuses being quite strong (like Crusade's +10), that does make a lot of the other bonuses as just kind of bleh. Sure, early in the game when it's warrior vs warrior, I worry about placing guys on a hill, or forcing an attack across a river. But once you're an era or two into the game, there's enough other bonuses that I just treat all that stuff as a kind of generic thing to defeat. There's not too many cases where I really need to re-adjust my plan because someone is fortified on a fort on a hill or something. Unless if they have a well placed encampment in a mountain pass, you can usually just plow right through anything eventually. Sometimes you have to sit back and do a double-take on the combat odds calculations, but in the end you just go.

VI I think also does a fairly good job at giving you different options too. While there's a few strategies that are generally better than others, or there's a few things would be nicer to have balanced, I think the game does a pretty good job on the whole. Some games you do siege towers + melee, sometimes it's all about crossbows, sometimes it's siege units + generals. And if you have a UU, they are generally good enough to build around.
 
Eventually you might get the range and double shot promotions to avoid damage and do ~10 respectively, and then you were really cooking
This (artillery class promotions in V), and the hidden bonus of -85% for melee units attacking walls in VI, are the main reasons why I dislike civ VI's take on city sieges compared to civ V.
The promotions in V mattered a whole lot, and having elite artillery units were invaluable.
Not OP in any meaningful sense of the word, but they felt very valuable to use (and therefore protect) and imo that was a good thing.
Civ VI has that awful wall mechanic that is way too binary - either you don't have them and your city is essentially mowed down in a turn or two without ability to retaliate, or it becomes a juggernaut that is more or less impervious to melee and ranged attacks until the right siege tools are brought in (and hopefully not killed off by the city strike).
That is, unless you abuse combat strength modifiers to get the upper hand, at which point cities can crumble quite fast.
I absolutely detest how binary this feels, and imo VII should return to civ V's city design in terms of cities having a base ranged attack and some defence, and walls adding onto that defence without being the "get out of jail free"-card that they are today.

But those are only in specific situations, where you aggressively hoard bonuses.
I wouldnt even say that they are that specific, as stacking combat strength modifiers is pretty easy to do once you get the player gets the hang of it.
I much preferred civ V's take on it, where there was a real reason why you might want to divert from peaceful tech play (the upper half of the tree) to the military techs in the lower half.
As it is now, defending against an AI (by abusing combat strength modifiers) is too easy, to the point where you can easily be an era behind (military tech wise) and still do fine while you tech for all the juicy peaceful stuff.
Whereas in civ V, if you saw your neighbour A) getting the newest in military tech, and B) starting to amass units closer to your borders, you knew you often had to make an active effort to modernize your army rather than beeline for universities, and fast.

Another thing I liked about civ V (in regards to peaceful play), was that defending wasn't so easy as it is in VI, and thus it incentivized building forts near the borders.
In civ VI these are largely redundant, and I almost never build them (apart for if I bother with the eureka) because fortifying on woody hills is just too strong and easy to do.
In civ V though, forts could be invaluable in holding a key strategic position for long enough until the attacker started losing momentum.
Citadels (great general ability) were even better for this, and were lovely to use in the right circumstances.
I really miss that part in VI.
 
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Very interesting analysis.

It is worth noting, that this lowers the difficulty even more, as human player has much more room to make his units OP when compared to civ5.
 
Just a note, in regards to the remarked-upon effectiveness of Walls in Civ VI wars and combat.

The major unmentioned boost that walls got in the game is the total lack of any maintenance cost or any kind.
IRL city walls required constant maintenance or they deteriorated to irrelevance in no time. Stone weathers and crumbles, mortar degenerates, wood rots, Cr*p Happens. And that maintenance required skilled masons and workers, as did the original construction of walls - and towers, and gate houses, moats, outlying structures, etc , all of which were present from the Ancient Era.
In addition, city defenses required Garrisons. No 'wall' ever had any offensive or ranged factor unless it was manned by troops armed with applicable melee or ranged weapons. And that was also expensive, another form of 'maintenance' that the game left out completely.

And the expense increased more dramatically than general income increased. When the advent of anti-cannon Vauban or 'Italian trace' fortifications (Civ VI's "Renaissance Walls") required massive earthworks and masonry work covering huge amounts of land to protect a city properly, the cost sky-rocketed compared to earlier stone curtain-walled Keeps and Castles (which were expensive enough to be almost unknown outside of western Europe and the Middle East). So much so that almost simultaneously the great banking families and international banking establishments sprang up to provide (at suitably high interest rates!) the money required for princes to build defenses for their cities.

So, Excessively Effective City Walls have an easy and obvious solution: make them as expensive as they really were in both construction and maintenance, and City Walls will only be built where they are absolutely needed and as they can be afforded. Note that most cities within the Roman Empire were not walled unless they were on or near the Imperial Borders - even the massive Empire couldn't afford to build walls around every city everywhere!
 
All the civ games have had wonky combat mechanics. They're not wargames and the mechanics are sometimes absurdly abstract.

I hope that for civ 7 they hire somebody from matrix games or slitherine to consult on the combat aspects of the game. I can only dream of proper HQ integration and supply line modeling.
 
Full marks for the emperical approach of comparison, something I have to do in my day job. However I do not play civ based on statistics but just how much I like playing it. I beleive the majority of responses to threads come down to an emotive response.

Personally, I believe comparing the combat of one version to another pointless. I believe asessing it's usefulness within an iteration much more useful, how the game feels to play. I had no major issue with V or VI combat. I think +1 range promition is probably the thing that annoys me most and that was toned down in VI a little. I do like the idea of taking thing quickly in a few turns, after all many years go by and it is only 1 part of the game to me.

For the realists in the thread, no matter how hard games try, they cannot mimic reality. How does one mimic a swiss halberdier the morale, and ferocity of them. Morale in general is so damn flaky on the real battlefield it would not be simple to have a mechanic to accuratly make it work. The reality is games have to appeal to a wider audience to sell well or the forums would be smaller. This forum is not heavily attended now but I get the feeling that the combat purists do not make the majority, nor ever did.

To feedback correctly to the OP based on the above (It was a good read), I'll play both but I prefer VI purely for general overal variety in gameplay. And I think some of that is down to a faster combat which you do well to point out.
 
All the civ games have had wonky combat mechanics. They're not wargames and the mechanics are sometimes absurdly abstract.

I hope that for civ 7 they hire somebody from matrix games or slitherine to consult on the combat aspects of the game. I can only dream of proper HQ integration and supply line modeling.
I don't think OOB (order of battle ) would fit Civ , but logistics could make a lot of sense...specially as an alternative to 1upt that doesn't fall into +30 units stacks that players disliked in previous titles.
 
Thanks for this writeup. It clarifies many of the issues I have with Civ 6 compared to Civ 5. I vastly enjoy the more strategic battles of Civ 5, where I really have to consider promotions and positioning.

I read this post right after playing a Civ 6 session where my neighbour declared war on me. At first, I thought I was in trouble, as I saw four archers and a spearman coming towards my city. I did not have walls, and only a single archer on a hill to defend. The war started soon after I discovered Horsemen. So I bought one and trained another. Those two horsemen plus my archer were not only able to eliminate the attackers (despite them being in forest, etc), but I took the two horsemen and captured two of their cities. I would never have been able to do such a thing in Civ 5. Your post explains why this is.

I continued the above game until just a few minutes ago. I was the target of an emergency war, and not only defended, but essentially wiped out two other civilizations. My science output is more than the rest of the world combined, so after the emergency was over, I just quit and considered it a win. This is yet another thing I wouldn't expect to see in Civ 5.
 
Thanks for this writeup. It clarifies many of the issues I have with Civ 6 compared to Civ 5. I vastly enjoy the more strategic battles of Civ 5, where I really have to consider promotions and positioning.

I read this post right after playing a Civ 6 session where my neighbour declared war on me. At first, I thought I was in trouble, as I saw four archers and a spearman coming towards my city. I did not have walls, and only a single archer on a hill to defend. The war started soon after I discovered Horsemen. So I bought one and trained another. Those two horsemen plus my archer were not only able to eliminate the attackers (despite them being in forest, etc), but I took the two horsemen and captured two of their cities. I would never have been able to do such a thing in Civ 5. Your post explains why this is.

I continued the above game until just a few minutes ago. I was the target of an emergency war, and not only defended, but essentially wiped out two other civilizations. My science output is more than the rest of the world combined, so after the emergency was over, I just quit and considered it a win. This is yet another thing I wouldn't expect to see in Civ 5.
I enjoyed the systems added in Brave New World but found the AI’s ability to play an effective military foil or competitor was also neutered with the release of that expansion. I certainly wasn’t as good at the game as I am now but I do remember the AI in Gods & Kings being quite appropriately aggressive (Ottomans for example) and capable (I lost three cities in fifteen turns to a powerful Ottoman invasion, though I reconquered them, it was no easy feat, and unlike Civ VI, it wasn’t walls creating quagmires at every step that slowed my progress).

In Civ VI, I’ve never found the AI aggressive or capable enough to pose a serious military threat. The walls certainly contribute to this but even nerfing them into the ground doesn’t truly increase the AIs capacity to capture cities. Ive played with a mod that essentially made it so siege units were only required with renaissance walls and even then the AI was “lame” and incapable of mobilizing a force greater than three or four units which swiftly marched to their death.

I understand not everyone desires aggressive and capable military adversaries but at least some times I dream of my allies being swallowed up at break neck speed and a need for me to launch a D-Day style invasion to thwart a powerful AI well on its way to steamrolling an entire continent.
 
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I understand not everyone desires aggressive and capable military adversaries but at least some times I dream of my allies being swallowed up at break neck speed and a need for me to launch a D-Day style invasion to thwart a powerful AI well on its way to steamrolling an entire continent.

I’m almost finished with a session where this sort of thing happened. Germany first blitzed through America. I offered all the non-military assistance I could, but it didn’t help much. After a period of quiet, Germany brought a staggering number of units upon city-state allies and one of my cities. I was greatly outnumbered. Germany was more advanced than myself as well with Artillery and Riflemen against our Musketeers and Cavalry.

Fortunately, my largest cities were prepared with armories, stables, and forges. I had also stationed a squad of cannons and musketeers just off Germany’s northern coastline. This squad was able to just barely take a major city and distract the enemy while my newly created armies came from the south the liberate my allies. Only one cannon managed to escape into the sea before Germany reclaimed the city.

It was a Herculean effort, but the tides slowly turned. Germany ultimately begged for peace, handing over pretty much their entire coffers of resources and gold. I accepted the temporary peace as I upgraded to tanks and legionnaires. As soon as the treaty ended, I began a siege of their capital. I am about 20 turns from a cultural victory, but I will use the remaining time to liberate a few American cities and teach Germany not to mess with the French.

NOTHING like this ever happened in any of my dozens of Civ 6 games spanning hundreds of hours. Civ 5 is incredible.
 
I’m almost finished with a session where this sort of thing happened. Germany first blitzed through America. I offered all the non-military assistance I could, but it didn’t help much. After a period of quiet, Germany brought a staggering number of units upon city-state allies and one of my cities. I was greatly outnumbered. Germany was more advanced than myself as well with Artillery and Riflemen against our Musketeers and Cavalry.

Fortunately, my largest cities were prepared with armories, stables, and forges. I had also stationed a squad of cannons and musketeers just off Germany’s northern coastline. This squad was able to just barely take a major city and distract the enemy while my newly created armies came from the south the liberate my allies. Only one cannon managed to escape into the sea before Germany reclaimed the city.

It was a Herculean effort, but the tides slowly turned. Germany ultimately begged for peace, handing over pretty much their entire coffers of resources and gold. I accepted the temporary peace as I upgraded to tanks and legionnaires. As soon as the treaty ended, I began a siege of their capital. I am about 20 turns from a cultural victory, but I will use the remaining time to liberate a few American cities and teach Germany not to mess with the French.

NOTHING like this ever happened in any of my dozens of Civ 6 games spanning hundreds of hours. Civ 5 is incredible.
Interesting and really sounds like a great time - what difficulty and what/if any mods are you using?
 
I never use any mods. I haven’t even enabled the expansions yet. I am on prince difficulty. This is mainly a holdover from Civ 6, where I despised playing on any higher difficulties (despite the game being extremely easy) because it negated fun parts of the game, such as building wonders.
 
So, I downloaded a mod that slightly nerfed walls and a separate mod that removed the ranged attack from cities - and it seems like that was able to help the AI a ton with warring. The walls are still strong enough that units cant bull doze them and siege is very valuable but the AI no longer loses all its units shuffling them around while they get picked off and they don't lose 75% of their health per melee attack in an undefended city.

Personally, I don’t think the ranged attack should be removed but I do think it should require a ranged unit garrisoned in the city to make use of.
 
So, I downloaded a mod that slightly nerfed walls and a separate mod that removed the ranged attack from cities - and it seems like that was able to help the AI a ton with warring. The walls are still strong enough that units cant bull doze them and siege is very valuable but the AI no longer loses all its units shuffling them around while they get picked off and they don't lose 75% of their health per melee attack in an undefended city.

Personally, I don’t think the ranged attack should be removed but I do think it should require a ranged unit garrisoned in the city to make use of.
Which mods did you use for this?
 
Which mods did you use for this?
Better Walls and Remove City and District Ranged Attacks

Again, I would have preferred if encampments kept their ranged attack and if walls had them ONLY when a ranged unit was stationed but this band aid fix does seem to help the AI in war a lot. Add Real Strategy and they will also field much, much larger armies than usual
 
To elaborate on this, each stage in walls in VI comes with requisite siege units to take them down. Those units are clunky, but with the right Combat Bonuses and enough of them they'll chew through most cities in a few turns. An army either has this capacity against the cities it's fighting, or it doesn't. I would argue it's mostly the movement rules, cramped maps, and to a lesser extent loyalty which swing the odds in the latter direction as often as it is, at least if the player knows what they're up against. This is why I call it "binary."

I'll take this opportunity to paint a picture of how V's sieges worked: Until usually Artillery, or less frequently Cannons, you'd have a small swarm of ranged units sitting around a city pelting it with arrows each doing ~5% of it's health over close to a dozen turns, with usually units swapping in and out of the fray to heal as needed, until finally you sent in a melee unit (perhaps 2-3 if you lacked cavalry for fast captures) to make the final blow. Of course there were far fewer cities on the map, but still, it was slow. Eventually you might get the range and double shot promotions to avoid damage and do ~10 respectively, and then you were really cooking. The other big thing that made this viable was that city shots themselves, while available pre-walls, were comparatively weak, at least in my estimation. Heck, in V it was common to bring Workers into Enemy territory just to repair enemy farms that your units pillage, so you can keep getting the health. The only way that V's war is faster than VI's is less cities, and much faster movement around the map.

Yeah, cities in 5 are way tougher than cities in 6, generally.
 
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