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Combined Operations by the AI

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Bushface, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. Bushface

    Bushface Deity

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    I have just had a very nasty shock. I have only two rival civs remaining, who have a mutual defence pact which also means that they have a mutual attack pact. One declared war on me, followed of course immediately by the other. The first one bombed one of my cities without his plane being hit by even one of the four SAM units I had there, or should I say I didn't see a message to that effect among those which were coming up thick and fast, then destroyed a couple of my tanks using artillery. This was followed by a seaborne invasion by eight cavalry from two transports which must have been lurking in the ocean and would have taken at least four turns to get across the expanse between his coast and mine - so this attack had been long in the preparation, Then my other enemy landed 11 cavalry and an artillery on another coast from a flotilla of three transports and a destroyer, which slipped unnoticeably past my destroyer screen. Very good joint planning. All this action happened off screen while the "you have built . . " panel was up, meaning that I could not click on any of the little teardrops pointing to where the occurrence had taken place before the teardrop disappeared. A right old mess. I do have sufficient strong forces to get rid of the invaders, but not in time to stop them from doing horrible damage to my developments.
    My real peeve is that I can see no way of stopping these invasions even if I had known they were coming, unless I had an unbroken line of ships off my coast. Even with the Sentry promotion a ship can only see for 3 tiles each way, so an enemy ship can be out of sight both at the start and end of its move - even if that move takes it through a tile adjacent to your ship and the area is on screen. And does anyone know a way of holding the attack messages for long enough to be able to take note of them and/or see just where things are happening ?
    By the way, I do know which enemy port the destroyer and one of the transports sailed from, because I have a spy there. Whence the other two transports came is a mystery.
     
  2. arcan

    arcan Warlord

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    Mutual defense pact doesn't imply mutual attack pact. A few time, the one I had a defense pact with ended it because I had declared war one someone else...
     
  3. Bushface

    Bushface Deity

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    I find it impossible to believe that two civs should decide independently to declare war on me unless they were in cahoots. Moreover, each of them must have been preparing their attacks for several turns. Another aspect is that I am sufficiently powerful to thrash either of them separately, but against the pair the power balance is much more equal, which is why I did not initiate the war.
    I ask again: can such an invasion ever be prevented ?
     
  4. jpowers

    jpowers Emperor

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    First, Bravo to the AI development team! I have yet to see that kind of behavior in one of my games, but I haven't been playing much on higher levels of difficulty.

    As for seeing fleets arriving, I would use aircraft recon every turn. Base some in your coastal towns and some on carriers. It's a bit of micro-management, but worth the time.

    The mutual defense is canceled when one of the civs starts a war, so it's not automatic that both will declare. But if there are 3 civs left and 2 of them are sufficiently happy together to have a defense pact, that means the 3rd civ is the 'worst enemy' of the other two...
     
  5. MrCynical

    MrCynical Deity

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    A defense pact is immediately broken when a civ declares war, so that wasn't what caused it. More likely the first civ to declare on you immediately bribed the other to attack as well. It's unusual to see the AI coordinate an attack that well, but it isn't unusual that they'll have a small naval attack force parked just out of your visual range. I've quite often found them sitting two or three squares from the border of the city they've decided is the most inviting target. It sounds like each of your enemies had one of these stacks ready, and so as soon as one brought the other into the war they could launch an attack immediately.

    The most effective way I've found to deal with them is to have a few destroyers patrol a fair way outside your borders every few turns, and if you find one of these stacks it's a sign you need to get your retaliation in first. They can generally go from well in the fog of war to unloading in a single turn, so you rarely get a chance to intercept them. Either that or you have to get enough ships to create a solid wall between them and your coastline, so you get a turn between the declaration and landing to sink them. This requires a fairly strong navy though.
     
  6. Armorydave

    Armorydave Prince

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    You can turn on "show friendly nations moves" and you will see units approaching your borders even if they end their turn outside the LoS of any of your units. If my ship screen is weak and I don't have LoS into a ton of other nations cities I will turn on "show friendly moves". If you have LoS into a lot of foriegn cities turning on "show friendly moves" can be a pain.

    There is a log book under where the attack messages appear. If you open it up it shows all the combat that has ever occured with the most recent actions at the top of the list.
     
  7. Bushface

    Bushface Deity

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    Sounds useful. But exactly where is the access to this log book, and how do I open it ?
     
  8. oagersnap

    oagersnap Emperor

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    Press Ctrl + Tab in the game.
     
  9. Polopapolo

    Polopapolo click, psht, Whoop ass !!

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    I usually park my navy at the the other civ's borders instead of close to my own. This gives me more time to act when I notice an infantry laden transport moving out... and heading my way!

    Unless it's an archipelago map, you should be able to get a ship outside each enemy port.

    I always upgrade my naval units with navigation 1 and 2. Add to that the circumnavigation bonus and you've got some pretty swift destroyers for catching up to those transports.
     
  10. punchandpie

    punchandpie Warlord

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    Submarines are good for that type of strategy as well
     
  11. BirraImperial

    BirraImperial Pura Vida!

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    Do you have flight? Use your planes to patrol your borders, ussually I can spot an invasion force from, say Isabella or Montezuma some 4-5 turns before they declare war on me for no reason.(of course I've become to expect that from them).Even bombers on coastal cities can cover huge ammounts of territory.
     
  12. Bushface

    Bushface Deity

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    @various posters - thanks for you efforts. However, some of the ideas I was already using (destroyer screens, with extra visibility - no use, because of the 'slip pas in one move' problem), blockading their ports (no use setting up a blockade in peacetime, because your ships get pushed away when war starts, and no use in wartime if your enemy starts the war and rushes out and away in the same turn), and air reconnaissance. The latter is a somewhat obvious idea, and I shall implement it as soon as I can build aircraft: Saladin beat me to that, and would NOT trade it for reasons of his own which I now understand. Stinker !
    I missed the ctrl-tab log access on p.173 of the manual because it lurks among the multiplayer keys, and I play only on my own. But I know now: again, thanks.
    None the less, nobody has come up with a preventative technique other than the 'wall of ships', which with the geography of my game would need 46 ships. Even so, what's to prevent my opponents from bursting through ? Charge up with a speeded-up sacrificial battleship, then a couple of destroyers, and follow through with fleets of transports. True, the invader's ships might well get sunk, but they'd have done their job of getting their troops on yo my precious land.
    And another thing. A destroyer has just sunk one of my fishing boats. When I try the same thing, I cannot attack my opponent's: I get no combat odds shown when my ship is adjacent to the boat, and on moving on to the same tile my ship and his boat sit peacefully side by side. How come ?
     
  13. MrCynical

    MrCynical Deity

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    That's rather weird. I've definitely sunk enemy work boats in the past, you simply sail on to the same tile and they are destroyed immediately, like workers.

    It's true the wall of ships approach requires you to have overwhelming forces or much more advanced ships. It's slightly more effective than it sounds due to a slight error in the AI's tactics, which means they won't separate the escort from the transports, and so won't attack unless they have more escort ships than transports. Exploiting this feels a little wrong though, and the AI does usually bring a couple of spare ships. Unfortunately there isn't another option unless you spot the enemy fleet lurking offshore, which happens quite a lot, when you can take premptive measures.
     
  14. al_thor

    al_thor Prince

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    I think you have to "Pillage" the resource don't you?
     
  15. Bushface

    Bushface Deity

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    Yet another observation. If the invading fleet has three transports and an escort, then to stop even part of their forces from getting through you must attack with at least two ships (which with luck will sink the escort and one transport), leaving two transports to sail on. To get rid of the whole lot your attack has to be with at least four ships, one for each of the invading fleet, and the single attack by each of your ships must be successful: here the collateral damage done by a battleship could help, but it absolutely has to sink the escort. As with all attacks, it helps to have more units than the force which you are attacking, especially with the rotten luck I nearly always have in combat.
    More. If you are attacking two transports on the same tile which have different cargos, one of which poses a greater threat than the other, how (if at all) can one decide which one to attack ? This assumes that the transports themselves, which do such defending as they can, have identical characteristics. It would, for example, be better to sink a ship loaded with four artillery rather than its companion which has four catapults. Which one would the AI choose as first defender, given that it should not know if you are going to attack the survivor anyway ?
     
  16. al_thor

    al_thor Prince

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    Just like your land units sitting on any other improved tile (fishing boat is an improvement). There really isn't a boat per se on that tile, think of it as a mine or oil well, or pasture. Needs to be pillaged manually, doesn't happen automatically.
     
  17. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    learning about the enemt fleet one turn in advance is a crucial advantage. It lets you bring all those extra units and rush those few extra infantry.
     
  18. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

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    Also, if you look on the upper left, you'll see a leeetle tiny icon that does the same thing. It's just above where the messages appear, and remains even after they go away.

    Wodan
     
  19. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

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    That's a pretty awful combo of attacks.

    That said, I've learned the hard way to keep a response/defense force of my own within striking range of any spot on my coasts.

    If I have islands, then I need that force on a bunch of transports. Price of doing business.

    Keep in mind, that 8 move transport fleet that the AI is using to sneak in from the Fog and unload all in the same turn? You can do that too. Not to his territory, but to your own with your response/defense force. Especially before you get railroads, this can be a very handy trick. Instantaneously transport 8-12 Tanks or your choice of Marines/Infantry/etc to any spot within 16 tiles? Nice. :D

    Wodan
     
  20. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    surely a screen of submarines and a large force of bombers is the best way to get rid of those nasty suprise attacks? costs a lot though i guess.
     

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