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Combat Strategy ??? Tips and Advice!

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Colonel Kraken, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. Colonel Kraken

    Colonel Kraken Chieftain

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    So, I understand RTS rock-paper-scissors strategy game play because I can choose who to attack with what. But Civ IV? The computer chooses the best defender for the unit you're attacking with!

    Someone might say "Use Swords against Archers" and another might say "Use Axemen against Swords" on and on. Guess what? You don't get to choose which unit to attack!

    So, I don't get it. How's this supposed to work? How am I supposed to successfully attack? I have successfully attacked. Don't get me wrong, but it's pretty silly. You basically have to find the best odds you can get (as small a disadvantage as possible) and just sacrifice a few units until you can knock the strength of the defenders down enough to be able to attack successfully.

    Praetorians? Don't get me started. Everyone raves about 'em. Not me. I tried 'em. They don't do jack because I can't attack the units in an AI stack the Praetorians have an advantage against. So, yeah, I brought along different types of units: Horse Archers, Elephants, Archers, Axemen. No luck because the defender always gets to use the most appropriate defender for that type of attacker! :crazyeye:

    I just don't get it. Am I the only one who thinks this rock-paper-scissors thing does NOT work for Civ they way they have implemented it?
     
  2. WetWarev7

    WetWarev7 Chieftain

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    I'm still getting used to it, but I like it so far. In Civ3, the AI would defend with the best unit possible, and I think Civ4 just takes this one step further, buy calculating the best defensive unit vs the unit you are attacking with.

    In RL, any general worth his salt would do this. He wouldn't just have a generic defensive unit, he would place his units to his best advantage.

    I'm not sure if I like the battle odds calculator, seems kinda like cheating, but I don't know how I would ever decide what to attack with without it.
     
  3. jkp1187

    jkp1187 Unindicted Co-Conspirator

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    The RPS strategy works best if it's a lone unit. Of course, if there's a stack, nail 'em with a catapult or two and THEN attack.
     
  4. narmox

    narmox Chieftain

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    Siege units (catapults, cannons, artillery) are your friend. Weaken the whole stack till you can pick off the defenders one by one wiht your best attackers. Worked for me to overtake the Roman and Chinese empires
     
  5. Colonel Kraken

    Colonel Kraken Chieftain

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    Well, in real life you wouldn't have an archer be able to defend against a horde of anything. In real life you'd have rows of spearman flanked by horses backed up by archers with swords ready to charge or counter-charge. You would NOT have these silly one on one combats.

    Don't get me started on real life.

    I'm talking about game mechanics, and I want to understand how this is really supposed to work. In Civ III, you defended with the best defender, but it was not based on situation. It was based on the best combat value period --not, well, in this situation it's good. in this situation it's bad.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Civ III had a superior combat model (God forbid!). I'm just saying it was much MUCH easier to "get it" and understand why things worked the way they did and what you needed to do to win.

    I want to know if you can actually employ an attack strategy in Civ IV in which you can actually have an advantage becuase it seems to me you cannot. In Civ IV, a stacked defender is ALWAYS at an advantage against a stacked attacker.

    I'm looking for some thoughts from some of you who have figured out the real ebb adn flow of the combat model in Civ IV so I (and everyone else!) can get some real advice on solid strategies to employ.

    Thanks!
     
  6. Colonel Kraken

    Colonel Kraken Chieftain

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    Excellent. Could we get an understanding of how seige units work?


    I was under the impression that seige units cannot damage units unless they actually attack (as in losing your unit to attack). :crazyeye: Or, is that only for city attacks?

    Help me out here!
     
  7. icon41gimp

    icon41gimp Chieftain

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    You will have to sacrifice units, either through suiciding seige units or having to attack their best defender unless you can conduct air strikes w/o fear of interception.
     
  8. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Fantasy Warlord

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    The nice thing about the new combat model is that attack and defense are very nicely balanced!
    Yes, a stack of combined-arms defenders is a hard nut to crack, because it will always use its best defender - but then again, that same stack is vulnerable to artillery! And yes, you'll have to attack with the artillery, risking its loss - but artillery units are relatively cheap and get a retreat chance to boot, so who cares? Regard your cheap artillery units with few promotions as expendable and don't forget to always build some more!

    So - use the RPS against single defenders and soften stacks with artillery THEN attack them with the appropriate units vs. the strongest defenders left - here's where your bonuses come into play again!
     
  9. WetWarev7

    WetWarev7 Chieftain

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    When you attack the AI, it will chose the best defensive unit for the unit you are attacking with. If you are attacking with Horses, it will choose spearmen, etc. You need to keep this in mind when building your army. Scouting is very important to get a clear understanding of what the enemy can attack/defend with, and you can build your units and stacks accordingly. If the enemy has an ambundance of horsemen, build spearmen, if you see alot of swordmen, build axemen, etc. It's still RPS, just with many different types of rocks, paper, and scissors....

    You need to pay more attention to terrain, and choose your battles wisely. If the enemy outnumbers you, or out-techs you, try drawing him into the forests/hills, and play defensivly, if you are playing agressivly, try drawing his units into open areas where there is little or no defensive value.

    If you see an enemy stack coming for you, harrass it everytime it enters a 0% def bonus tile. You'll lose some units, but your cities will be better able to withstand the final attack. I allways try to have a mix of roaming units inside my borders for this. And there is something to be said about clearcutting corridors that you know your enemy will be using when he's coming after you.

    When in doubt, catapault!
     
  10. Lorteungen

    Lorteungen Chieftain

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    I think the new combat system is a huge improvement over the previous games. Still, I certainly wouldn't call it balanced. The defense has a huge advantage! Although the AI rarely does it to any great extend it is in the same position to use siege units against your stack. Sure, you can spread out your stack a bit to maybe cover 3 squares instead of one. However, since you can only (in my experience) deal collateral damage to 6 units/attack and you will almost certainly need at least 12-15 units to attack an average city, that advantage is pretty much gone unless your really spread out thin and basically surround the city. The enemys catapults will deal as much (if not more) damage to your stacks per attack as you will to theirs.

    Another thing is that the rock-paper-scissors system in civ4 is more like rock-paper-bubblegum. The system isn't circular. This makes it less transparent and more interesting but also flawed in some ways imo.

    Now correct me if I'm wrong but cities w/ archers are countered by catapults (and swordsmen) who are countered by mounted units who in turn are countered by spearmen who in turn are countered by axemen. Swordsmen are also countered by axemen (including those pesky preatorians). But what counters the axemen? Other axemen? They get the same bonus against each other so it cancels out. So the defender wins out because of the terrain bonus. Mounted units perhaps? The mounted units aren't strong enough to take out an axemen with any sort of terrain bonus so with an axeman in your territory walking around in the forests and hills you either have the choice to ignore him or sacrifice a unit or two. This is especially frustrating with the barbarians. I think the problem is that there are no promotions that gives you a bonus for attacking in forrests and hills, only for defending. Furthermore you can give you mounted unit a melee bonus but only for 25% while the axemen can easily get a 50% defensive bonus in forrests straight from the factory, making him extremely tough. This is seriously unbalancing the combat system imo and giving the defense a much greater advantage than I think they should have.
     
  11. Heroes

    Heroes Heroes of Might and Magic

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    Well, the following units +50% vs. melee units:
    Axeman, Maceman, Samurai, Crossbowman, Cho-Ko-Nu, Conquistador.
     
  12. narmox

    narmox Chieftain

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    lol you don't know what counters what. Axemen have a bonus against melee, so obviously you don't send melee units against them. Send some chariots or horse archers that have bonuses against melee units (promotions!!!) instead ;)

    etc etc. There's a counter for EVERYTHING and every strategy (including the counters themselves). It'll just take a while to learn them all.
     
  13. WetWarev7

    WetWarev7 Chieftain

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    Defense allways has an advantage. The old saying "The best defence is a good offense" does not hold true when you are talking about troop to troop fighting.

    I'd rather fight someone from behind a barricade or fortification than out in the open any day.

    And I do like that there is a counter for every unit, and a counter for every counter. Keeps things interesting.:goodjob:
     
  14. Arathorn

    Arathorn Catan player

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    Exactly. And that's the way it should be. Defense should be easier than offense.

    But (there's also another side) a full defensive stack safe against all types of attackers is large -- archer, mounted, foot (at least), so it's susceptible to artillery (catapult, cannon, artillery). Yes, you may well lose the artillery unit (I think I've lost more artillery units than all other units combined in Civ4), but the stack will be weakened. Pick the most weakened member and attack with the unit that does poorly against that type of unit (say, knight vs. pike). Then, pick the stack apart because they longer have defense against one unit type (mounted, in this case). You lose one; they lose 3.

    On the flip side, you can use this defense-focus to your advantage. Instead of fighting to gain cities, you can fight to slow a foe. Pillage their land with a stack of units (you get gold and they lose power). Pester their fishermen with boats, so they lose food and commerce. Tear up fishing nets. Make them attack you, on occasion.

    The weakness of defense is that it has no initiative and can't really move from A to B. This is why city attacks can work. The defenders are stuck and the attacker can bring up the artillery and win the day with collateral damage. If the defender is in your land pillaging with a stack, you should be able to maintain very high kill ratios, again using artillery to weaken the stack and then using their inability to reinforce to your advantage. Once a weakness has been found/created, it can and should be exploited.

    Arathorn
     
  15. Gato Loco

    Gato Loco Open to Interpretation

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    Perhaps you could upgrade some horse archers with several flanking promotions and use them to soften up the defenders. With any luck, a few of them will withdraw, leaving the axes weak enough to fall to your swordsmen. Or if you're a feudal theocracy you can get as many as three city raider promotions on your own axemen to even the odds. Or you just pillage the surrounding countryside, take your money, force a peace treaty, and go home. Capturing cities is supposed to be hard and you won't do it without taking casualties.
     
  16. Lorteungen

    Lorteungen Chieftain

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    That's great but it's of little use since all of these units are either UU's or much later units. Any unit should have a counter in it's own age.

    lol and you do? Yes, obviously you can send units with superior experience against it and have a better chance at victory but the axemen will have promotions too. I'll see your melee bonus and raise you one mounted bonus.

    I agree, the defense should have the advantage as long as they're defending SOMETHING. Like a city. Or a fortress. Even if it's fortified. That is not the case when some axeman wanders into your territory and sticks to the forrests and hills however. That's an offense in my book. It's STUPID that the AI can walk into my territory, right past all my border units and still be considered to be the defensive party!

    Yes, but what's keeping them from doing the same thing? Then we can both walk around trashing each others lands knowing that the one that tries to actually defend his countryside will be at a disadvantage because the offender gets the defensive bonus.
     
  17. Lorteungen

    Lorteungen Chieftain

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    Again, promotions are cool but when talking about balance in the game it's wrong to compare a level 0 axeman to a level 3 or 4 horse archer. With the right civics you can have your axemem out with 50% forrest bonus right from the bat. And how do you intend to take out a level 4 axeman? A level 7 horse archer?

    I think some of you missed my point. The rock-paper-scissor system in incomplete. I think it's silly that they gave the melee bonus of the ancient age to.... a melee unit. This ruins the whole system. It should be addressed imo, for example by giving catapults a bonus vs. melee units. That would (I think) end the circle and give a better balance to the system. I guess they took it out not to make the catapults too powerful but as it is the system is broken.
     
  18. WetWarev7

    WetWarev7 Chieftain

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    Good point. There should be a penalty to defense when in enemy territory - unfamiliar territory, etc...
     
  19. narmox

    narmox Chieftain

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    ok here's something not just related to combat in civ4 but life in general:

    IT's always better to look at the possibilities and solutions than the limitations. See what you CAN do to improve your odds and get what you want, rather than spend all your time focusing on why you cannot get it. Get it? :)
     
  20. EridanMan

    EridanMan Chieftain

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    Combat strategy in Civ-IV is all about the preparation for war, not the battle itself (IMHO), aside from simple, obvious tactics like fast-unit pillaging and intimidiation (keeping his workers in his city (and thus not improving) and his militiary tied up trying to catch your fast units), really- the only way to garantee a victory in Civ-IV is to beat him before the war even starts... I mean - it truly is an 'art of war' game - don't go to war until your certain that you will win... don't try to take an opponents city with anything less than a 3:1 advantage on his defenders, unless the tech difference is obscene (I.E, tanks vs. Longbowmen)...

    Don't be afraid to mobilize for a total-war, Once you make the decision to go to war, EVERY city in your civ should start turning out offensive units... I generally build 2 8-unit stacks, and THEN declare war and sweep over your oppenent... A short mobilization for total-war will have less of a detrimental effect on your economy than a long-protracted engagement.

    the other thing to keep in mind - every single time you loose- fail to take a city with a stack or whatever- you have just done your opponnent a huge favor- Experience and promotions are huge in Civ-IV, don't give him a chance to make that archer into a Level-II city defense + Hill Defender up on that hill, you'll never crack that nut- make sure that you knock him out on the first turn.

    The best war strategy is the player who best prepares for war... period.
     

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