Defensive Wars?

Discussion in 'Strategy Section' started by Viralvoid, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. Viralvoid

    Viralvoid Warlord

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2018
    Messages:
    200
    Location:
    From the Slums of Manila
    I've been struggling from early aggression from AIs. I know that AI has a bonus amount of production etc. In my last game, I barely defended my outpost city from a Mayan invasion. My army consists of 4-5 warriors, but he managed to have almost 1-2 horsemen, a few warriors at chariots. Luckily, I protected my city, because it is founded on a hill, and has a river on the attacker's side. This is my ancient era scenario, I managed to fend this off with the help of the geography and minor tactics. Recently, I realized that quantity is better on higher difficulties, It was odd that I have to build a barracks before building an army (which was very wrong) in ancient era, which delayed my glorious protectors.

    My main concern is in the latter part of the game. I barely went offensive when someone declared war on me, and I know that it might hurt my empire economically. The infrastructure could help fending off enemy lines, and so, the siege units, and other units of the AI could become stronger technologically and in quantity. I wanted to know how you guys deal with such defensive war without going on an offensive stance, thanks.

    -Is my army composition important on defensive wars (pure melee or something?), and what could be the best position on defensive wars?
    -Is the flank promotion really that good on defensive war?, and which promotion tree is the best for each unit class?
    -About the pathfinder, do you complete its trailblazer promotion tree? or simply focus on survivalism and medic promotion.

    I hope Athena helps me when Zulu attacks me once again.
    and I hope this is not a redundant thread :(:(
     
  2. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    8,477
    A strong melee line with medic ranged units in back can hold a long time. Medics are very important, your units can’t hold for long without them.

    Citadels are great to hold a key border. The strength is nice, but honestly better is that you can attack without Movig the unit. Great for the finishing blow.

    Use horse units to go on pillaging sprees. This is the offensive part of your defensive war. It will help you accrue war score and give you money to offset your expenses.
     
    Viralvoid and vyyt like this.
  3. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2013
    Messages:
    2,868
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    This is the most important part: Yes! Army composition is vitally important. A melee front-line and ranged back-ling are essential. Using horsemen and skirmishers to flank and tear apart enemy formations is important too.

    For melee units you can either promote them with flanking bonuses for more offensive power, or drill into stalwart (+35% CS on defense) to be a better wall. Ranged units should be a mix of Accuracy+medic, barrage for damage and siege units. Especially if fighting defensively siege units with splash damage can crush enemy lines very well.

    A main goal should be to keep your units alive. Level 4 promotions are vitally useful, and ranged units with 3 range add so much extra damage that you become in a really good place.

    As for where: Look for anything where you can force asymmetrical fights. If there are a few hills surrounded by more forest that you can make a choke-point it's great. "I'm the only one who can use ranged units? Sounds straight unfair!"

    Fighting in forests is even better when you can spam roads over them so you move at higher than full speed and your enemies move at half speed.

    As mentioned horses and highly promoted scouts are great at pillaging cities and forcing the AI to pull back forces to deal with them.

    Also as tradition you would be highly benefited to puppet cities and vassalize nations along your boarder. Even if you've only got a core cities it really helps to have a nice buffer of cities you don't care about, especially when your AI vassal's land is where the battle happens. Who cares if he's pillaged. Who cares if you need to let one of his cities fall and then take it back? Not your problem if the buildings are busted.

    Hope some of that helps.
     
    Viralvoid and vyyt like this.
  4. Moi Magnus

    Moi Magnus Emperor

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2015
    Messages:
    1,867
    Can confirm that. You absolute don't want to loose it, but correctly used (and assuming some luck on the terrain and city positions), a Survivalism 2 scout can:
    1) Surprise kill some siege units.
    2) Capture some workers (don't try to protect them, they are just way to lure ennemy units, and if with some luck you can keep them... that's always good)
    3) Lure ~3 units out of the battlefield: those units cannot attack your city (since it would allow your scout to pillage everything), and cannot attack your scout (since you have more mouvement)

    It allowed me more than once to buy enough time to build castle and/or sign a peace treaty.
     
    Viralvoid likes this.
  5. chicorbeef

    chicorbeef Emperor

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,486
    Gender:
    Male
    Army composition. You're not going to get a lot done with a few warriors.

    I think Horsemen are just the best at defense early on. You have the mobility and strength to one-shot Catapults and often Archers, and you can fight toe-to-toe with both Spearmen and Swordsmen. You can easily retreat them when they have low health. And Horsemen are available relatively early and are not too out of the way so it's not hard to get a squad of about 4 of them early.

    Make sure you have a couple of ranged units to defend coastal cities too. Look for how many tiles a ship could attack your from.

    When you settle cities, look for how many tiles your city can be attacked from by siege units. Ideally you want no tiles where a siege unit can be two tiles away from your city and bombard it.
     
    Viralvoid likes this.
  6. hr_oskar

    hr_oskar Deity

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2002
    Messages:
    624
    Location:
    Iceland
    One word: Horsemen.

    These days I find myself starting most games in the same way: find the nearest tile of 4x horses, grab it with the first settler, tech military theory and build the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse asap. Doesn't matter what policy tree I picked or even what civ I'm playing.

    If I start harassing my neighbour early and follow the initial scuffle up with 4x horsemen supported by a few archers and warriors / spearmen, I can basically take him out if I want to.

    The reason why they are so good is that they can one-shot archers and catapults. It's also vital to pillage any horses or iron the enemy may have (often they don't have any cause I forward-settled on it), because you don't want to fight a lot of horsemen or swordsmen early. With the ranged units dead and strategics denied, the enemy is left with just spearmen to fight. I kill them one by one, luring them to attack my archers (the AI just can't resist it) in a position where they can be killed on the following turn by concentrated ranged fire and massive flanking attacks by my horsemen. Once the army is mostly dead, the cities are easily taken by the horde of drill-powered horsemen and whatever melee I also have. If they've managed to get up early walls, math + catapults should be on the way.

    Yes I am talking about offensive war here even though you asked about defensive wars. I don't want to fight defensive wars anymore because I've learnt that they never end. If you only defend, your aggressive neighbour will come, get wiped out, then build a new army and come again. The healthiest solution as far as I can tell is to subjugate at least 1-2 neighbours, then do whatever you wanted to do in the first place.

    Regarding scouts, I love trailblazer. The maps I play usually have a healthy amount of both forest and desert, so trailblazer 1 & 2 add a lot of mobility. Faster exploration = earlier gains from city states, more chance of ruins, more informed decisions about where to settle etc. I also take trailblazer 3 if there's a lot of barbs or if I'm in an early war with a lot of chokepoints (due to coast/lakes/mountains) where it will help with pillaging and harassment. If I'm just exploring and the environment is safe I usually go trailblazer 1 -> 2 -> scouting 1 -> 2 -> 3, then trailblazer 3 and finally survivalism. However, in recent games I've sometimes taken survivalism 1 after the first trailblazer, if I spot an opportunity to steal a worker.
     
    Viralvoid likes this.
  7. chicorbeef

    chicorbeef Emperor

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,486
    Gender:
    Male
    I don't understand why everybody always wants to say: no, don't fight defensively, always go on the offense. Aggression just isn't viable in a lot of cases in my experience, particularly if you go Tradition. Going for early wonders is a legitimate strategy and you can't go on the offense if you're building the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and trying to get a religion or something.

    Also, OP, make sure that you have an army before the AI attacks, even if you can build one quickly. You don't want the enemy to flood in and pillage all your stuff, keep them at bay, retreat wounded units, harass the front line with mounted units/skirmishers, rush down their siege units if you can save your unit (sometimes you might need to sacrifice but don't make it the norm) and put melee units in key defensive spots. Don't try and rush the enemy down if your forces are not built for it, you can really crash/burn and make yourself vulnerable, plus waste a lot of production on dead units.

    In Tradition games, try to hug up right to your supply cap limit to ensure you have sufficient forces. Settle away from the coast if you can, it'll save you a lot of trouble. Tradition isn't built for the coast anyway.

    For Progress, I find rushing navy/forming coastal empires to actually be a good choice.
     
    Viralvoid and Grabbl like this.
  8. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Messages:
    5,768
    Location:
    Beijing
    I think the idea behind not defending is for situations when you begin near a hardcore warmonger, its often just best to kill or cripple him once, then try to fight for a white peace several times. There are of course situations where defensive wars make sense, like if you get some really good naturally defensible borders (especially true for civs like Inca or Shoshone)
     
    Viralvoid likes this.
  9. Moi Magnus

    Moi Magnus Emperor

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2015
    Messages:
    1,867
    Side note: A long time ago, I used to get out of losing war by becoming vassal of a third party.
    It is no longer possible to be a volontary vassal while at war, but if you are in a situation where you know you will end up destroyed by your aggressive neighbourg, and if medieval time is reached, looking at a powerfull master while still at peace is an option to consider.
    (But don't forget you may need at some point to fight for liberty if you don't want your master to win thanks to all the free yield you are giving to it)
     
    Viralvoid likes this.
  10. Viralvoid

    Viralvoid Warlord

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2018
    Messages:
    200
    Location:
    From the Slums of Manila
    Thanks everyone haha, I'm so grateful, I would be better someday :)

    EDIT: And yeah, this thread made me want to play aggressively, instead of defensively :crazyeye::crazyeye:
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
    ElliotS likes this.

Share This Page