Discussion in 'Civ3 - Strategy & Tips' started by anarres, Jan 13, 2003.
The best kind!
<gently bows out of this thread>
Yep most of those mentioned and some of the others like
Hit and Run
Take the Gift
Catapult the Galley
Dodge the Bullet
So that's how you keep the casualty rate down.
I have to watch Matrix again.
The movie... Not you Matrix :lol
CB so you pretty much agree with anarres?
I think everyone uses the special tactic called 'positioning'. You position your units the way you see the game and according to your level of experience.
Dodging the Bullet (or SOD) really involves being able to react to the SOD when the AI finally launches one your way. At that point you get a chance to evaluate the strength of the attack. Sometimes it might be a good time to consider peace which is usually 100% effective. Sometimes you let them wander all the way into your territory to minimize the chance of their escape as they face the 'Gauntlet'.
If you take the time to play a more strategic game, you probably have more fun, not to say 'Overrun' is not fun sometimes.
Maybe due to Civ2's emphasis on the year one wins, I've approached all my Civ3 games with the same goal: to win as quickly as possible. This even applies when I also want to build the best civ, as Zachriel put it, because then I go for a cultural victory... as fast as possible.
Like most players, my basic battle strategy is local offensive superiority. Playing domination, I start fighting with five vet archers or horsemen, and never stop. There's less tactics here than in any other type of game, because by the end of the first war, you already have the largest army in the game, and there's little point in feinting.
With all other victory conditions, I only use one prong, and that prong is comprised of the smallest possible number of offensive units. (I find building a large army almost as boring as building lots of artillery, and rarely have enough troops for two prongs). In these games, my goal is rarely to wipe out a civ, but rather to prune or cripple it in a series of oscillating wars, since they're often more useful alive as trading partners. I have always assumed that since I always win, and start fighting sooner because I built less units, this is the fastest approach to a war in which my goal is 2-5 cities. But this seems to run counter to the conventional wisdom here - the bigger the army, the better - and I'd like to know why.
On the subject of coastal defense, artillery and a destroyer are usually enough, but sometimes the AI pauses just outside artillery range. That's when bombers are more useful. If I can't think of what else to build at that late stage, I'll give each of my coastal cities one destroyer and two bombers.
Bigger is a relative term. In general, whoever gets to the batlefield first, with the greatest advantage in firepower will win the battle. A small army, well placed is more usefull than a large army poorly placed.
I've fought wars on a shoestring, but it's a lot easier if you've got the whole boot.
CB, I have to confess that I missed your point two posts ago completely. Only now I understand that you meant what you said. The use of the smilie and the strategy names that I have never heard before made me think that you just mock the people who use 'fancy strategies'.
Could you please list what each tactic means or post a link to somewhere I can read for myself?
OK, so in the cold light of day, after some cooling down, I realise that I should apologise to Zachriel.
This is not the first time I have been rude to someone, and probably not the last, but I am trying
I should have been clearer from the start that when I play, I play to win in the quickest time. I started this thread to establish whether any of what I called 'fancy' tactics could have a place in my everyday playing of the game.
I should have also been more clear about the fact that I fully respect people playing in a 'realistic' manner (such as pretending not to know what techs are ahead and always using whatever units are current, and a million other ways). I also respect people who like to have big modern age wars, and I must agree that it can be fun on occasion.
The argument between Zachriel and myself was moving away from what I considered to be the thread subject (i.e. it was becoming an argument over the way you should play, not a discussion about whether these tactics can be useful in winning the game quickly). It was because of this that I got frustrated at Zachriel's comments, and instead of responding in a neutral manner I was rude and asked Zachriel not to post here.
Although both Zachriel and myself are well aware that these boards are not ours to 'own', or to say who can and can't post, Zachriel handled my outburst with some grace, and left the thread.
So, I apologise to Zachriel for my unreasonable manner. I look forward to posting with you again.
I try to use any "fancy" tactic I can. I mass artillery. I stack hordes of units. I use forward building workers. I try to get alliances before going to war, sometimes I build cities to get close enough to start my push, and anything else I read about.
None of this works very well. The computer almost always is so far ahead of me in tech that without bombardment and massed units I'd loose my whole army. I only play on monarchy too.
I've tried playing more like I did in Civ II with just massing units and keeping them pumping out. It just doesn't work for me. I guess because I'm too sorry ass of a player to keep up with the AI in tech and my knights die in hoards trying to take simply little towns full of riflemen.
On the rare occations when I succeed in running over an AI, it is always because I've out massed them and use artillery better. But that's just my experience at monarch, huge or large map and 1.29f patch.
As Thoth says, it is all about timing. I find that if I build enough units to make a sustained attack possible, the end result is a quicker victory.
To be explicit: if I can take enough of their useful core cities in the first wave, and I have enough production to produce a second wave (while my first wave heals itself) to then wipe them out completely, I consider it a big enough army. There is of course the added bonus of no filps and lots of happy foreign citizens.
When I produce smaller armies, and hang on to their cities and make peace, wait 20 turns, etc. I find that they immediately go in to full army production mode and prepare for my second attack. If you decide to attack before the 20 turns you suffer a big drop in attitude ratings, and if you don't make peace the cities are more likely to flip.
I find that wiping out a civ, or at least forcing their palace to a useless far-flung city (which minimises flips) a much better option than leaving them with any kind of empire to play with.
Obviously this works much better earlier in the game when AI empires are smaller, but it can work well later in the game too.
If all units were always available then this wouldn't be so useful. One of the things that this lends itself to is mass upgrading. Skipping Chivalry and building a large army of horsemen just before Military Tradition is something I often do. You can stockpile gold for ages, and suddenly have a massive army ready to take on whoever you want.
People may consider this 'fancy', but I just see it as an easy way of building a large army. If it required skill or finesse, I would call it 'fancy', but it is not rocket science...
You are right that when you are so far behind it is futile to throw knights at riflemen, as the AI can probably produce them much faster than you can produce Knights to take them down. In this case you can not fight an ongoing war with the AI, instead you must use 'fancy' tactics to take even the odd city.
If you are finding yourself way behind in research in the middle game, try looking at some of the 'early game' stratagies from the Strategy and Tips forum, and the Strategy Articles sub-forum.
There are many articles about how to trade in CivIII, and trade is so much more important than in CivII. It is possible to use map trading and contact trading to keep up with the AI, and even get a tech lead. Using non-agressive forms of government (republic and democracy) should be considered to keep up with the tech pace, and even a warmonger such as myself can spend half the game in one of these governments, stockpiling gold for upgrading or to get techs quickly.
Anarres, I can see why amassing a large army and hitting the AI with a crippling first blow, followed by a second wave, leads to a quick victory. Early in the game, my usual 5-6 offensive units that grow to 12 amount to essentially the same thing. But as the game progresses, I wonder if the time invested in building a much larger army - during which time I am already at war - tilts in favor of a large army or a smaller one. The answer probably lies in one's goals: if it's taking an entire large civ, then there's no question a larger army works faster in the long run. I avoid building large armies in non-domination games because I'd rather focus on research and improvements. In effect, I'm trying to apply my resources more efficiently in pursuit of my goal (space or culture victories). As a result, I take what I need - elbow room, resources, the hamstringing of a rival - with the minimum force required. In most cases, this doesn't lead to a long war... but even if it does, it doesn't matter as long as war weariness and culture-flipping aren't a problem. Since my wars tend to last less than 20 turns, ww remains under control; flipping is an occasional annoyance that doesn't cost me all that much.
Having said all that, I'm tempted to pause long enough in my next game to build a tsunami, and see how it "feels" in comparison to my usual "just-in-time" method of warring.
I agree with your points Txurce, and I do the same as you when going for other types of win.
If there is no big civ to take, or just a small one to extinguish, then I build the right sized army for the job, but if I am going for conquest I often find it best to just keep on going until my units are too obselete. I then switch to a decent government, get back the techs from peace negotiations and research, and normally upgrade all my units to the next level (I prefer the horse/knight/cavalry path).
(First, we wish to thank anarres for his willingness to overlook our arrogant, pompous, bloviating, haughty, domineering, affected, self-important, bandwidth-hogging, overbearing manners, often referred to in the vulgar tongue as "Zach-Speak," and for inviting us to contribute once again to this worthy thread.)
I still believe that the use of Fancy Tactics are essential for most any warmonger. Some definitions for the purposes of this post:
(not at issue)
Workers as part of invasion force
Prudent use of Terrain
Having at least parity in technology and production. This qualification varies considerably depending somewhat on player ability and game level. If you have to seriously worry about whether you will win the next war, then you are Not Ahead.
Fastest possible Domination or Conquest Victory
Age of Offensive Warfare
A period of the game when the Attacking units, especially fast attackers, hold the advantage.
(e.g. Cavalry v. Riflemen, Tanks v. Infantry)
Age of Defensive Warfare
A period of the game when Defending units hold the advantage.
(e.g. Swordsmen v. Pikemen, Infantry v. Infantry)
Assertions for Consideration
If you are Ahead, and are in an Age of Offensive Warfare, then you should consider an attack.
* A fast war will reduce culture flipping and war weariness.
* Leveraging limited resources with Fancy Tactics is not often necessary and will usually just slow the attack.
* Fast attack units with slow defenders bringing up the rear is the most efficient method in most cases.
If you are Ahead, but in an Age of Defensive Warfare, then you have a choice. You can try and postpone war until an Age of Offensive Warfare or you can attack using Fancy Tactics.
* Attacking immediately can enlarge your empire, while others may hold back. This may result in a quicker overall game victory.
* Adds flexibility for any player's warmongering toolkit. For instance, just the threat of such an attack may be all that is needed to wring concessions from your rival.
* If forced into war, you can counterattack to gain territory, or a general action can usually be delayed through an active Fancy Maneuvers defense.
* WARNING: Being caught in a long war can result in falling behind in technology compared to uninvolved parties, and war weariness may set in.
If you are Not Ahead, Fancy Tactics make the best use of your limited resources. If the enemy has Tanks, deprive them of Oil; if they have the best farmland, destroy their irrigation; blast their cities with Artillery; provoke them into an attack and whittle away at their Stack-of-Doom; whatever it takes to get Ahead.
I have a similar conquest strategy, as I said earlier: build a half dozen archers or horsemen, attack, and never look back. This approach doesn't lead to too many two-prong opportunities either, as it doesn't take long for one's civ to be dominant, and just roll over everyone else. Playing domination, I follow the same research path, stopping at chivalry if on a pangaea map, cavalry on anything else. In these games I switch to monarchy and stay there, and pretty much build only barracks and temples (sometimes not even temples). I haven't tried a more balanced approach in domination games, but can imagine that on a true archipelago map my lack of research and infrastructure could be a problem.
Very good thread anarres. I'll come to the point quick, then continue at length.
I make extreme use of advanced (aka fancy) tactics, and find it the most enjoyable part of the game. In fact, I often handcuff myself to make sure that I don't have sufficient force to just "mass up and go get 'em". Each player should of course play in a way that's fun for them, so don't take it as a comment on the relative merit of different styles But you did ask if anyone uses them.
Zach's list in his latest point is helpful. As I look at that list, indeed the ones listed as fancy are staples in my warmongering diet.
- Resource denial - flat out my favorite
- Multipronged attacks - must be used with care, for a real
purpose, not just for their own sake
- Diversions - Not often, but they've been helpful at times
If you considering choosing a civ on the very opposite side
of where you intend to attack a 'diversion', then frequent
- Massive Bombardment - I was never a big fan of this until I tried
it, specifically in games where my offense units were far worse
then the defenders
- Pillaging - I'm starting to make more use of this
- Combined Arms - absolutely, very frequently. For any given
situation and timeframe, I decide whether it calls for a blitz
or a slower attack that cuts casualties. If the latter I invariably
use combined arms
- Attrition - If you mean attrition of my units, I absolutely hate seeing
my own units die. If you mean letting the enemy loses tons of
units vs a defensive strongpoint, yes, on occasion
- Piecemeal attacks - oscillating war? Yes, that's the most efficient use as far as number of units needed vs concessions gained
Let me comment on a few of Zachery's "points for consideration"
> If you are Ahead, and are in an Age of Offensive Warfare, then
> you should consider an attack.
This and his following points are very good. If you're ahead and in the age of offensive, you've won the game
> If you are Ahead, but in an Age of Defensive Warfare, then you
> have a choice. You can try and postpone war until an Age of
> Offensive Warfare or you can attack using Fancy Tactics.
Also a good point.
But those leave out two realms, frequent encountered on deity:
- You're behind and in the Age of Offense
Flat out the very best time for use of these fancy tactics. If you can't catch up in the Age of Offense, do you want to wait for Inf (or Mech Inf) to catch up? Here is probably where folks NOT accustomed to advanced tactics will not try a war, or will try with conventional means, get slaughtered, and drop back to a lower difficulty for next game Try some of these tactics, in particular, resource denial, combined arms, and bombardment.
- You're behind and in the Age of Defense.
Two choices, wait and play a builders game until the age of offense (usually the best course), or whip out your best bag of tactical tricks and use a *limited* war to gain some quick concessions. Pick a weak target, bring the maximum combined arms (or blitz-speed) forces you can, hit hard, and stop before the AI can recover and roll over you. This can be done, but it's not easy, prone to failure, and should only be tried if you have a very good reason for not waiting. It's very likely that massive bombardment and resource denial will be essential (the latter so that his troops drop back down to the defense of the 'last' era)
I'll point to a few more detailed examples.
- I'll add one fancy tactic called "Siege" which has aspects of pillaging, combined arms, attrition, and interdiction. Let's say I have a target that is a metropolis (or bigger) and well defended. Let's make it worse and say it's the "Age of Defense" I'll bring a large combined arms stack and position them as close as I can, then declare war. A few cav or explorers rush ahead and cut what roads they can. A diversion elsewhere helps too. Big stack moves up to city, then surrounds it. All 9 tiles, or in extreme cases (I've done this *once*) all 20 tiles! Fast unit moves onto and pillages a square, defensive unit moves up then fortifies, artillery moves up then starts to bombard the city. Priority is given to high food squares. Once you kill their food box, the city will drop two pop per turn (one starvation, one in draft). No matter how large the city started, before long it's size 6. Defensive bonus is gone, barracks are no doubt destroyed by artillery, no more drafting, no shields to produce anything, and all roads have been cut off. The city is toast, even if they have infantry and you have rifles. I used the siege tactic in an Emperor game as the French taking Berlin where (by variant rule) I could not use any artillery. The only way to weaken the city was to knock out the defensive bonus and cut off its resources. Reinforcements tried to come, but could not get to city, and were cut down in the open by cav (or was it Knights?)
- In my recent 5CC deity game there was no question of "just make a big army and go attack them". I made very extensive use of resource denial, multipronged attacks, diversions, massive combardment, and combined arms.
That's a long thread, but if you go to the middle of page 3 you'll see a big jpg with arrows and such showing many of these tactics
- Extreme resource denial campaign
Playing as the Iro going for 20K win I realized I was doing great on culture but would lose to an AI space launch in a few centuries if I didn't take action. I had no military to speak of and had to come up with a way to meet my objective: Halt the AI launch. How to do that? Deny Uranium. That's too late. Deny oil or rubber, as means to be able to deny Uraniium later.
The full report is in a zip file at:
But here's the summary of tactics and strats used, to see what a key role they played.
- I have no hope on land, so first we choose to pursue naval superiority, taking the unusual choices of Combustion and Mass Production from the ToE. (Strategy: Temporary tech lead)
- So now I have a tech lead on KEY naval units, and use that to
gain a practical military advantage (Strat: Conversion of one form of advantage to another)
- Problem. We lack rubber AND oil.
- For rubber, we're real CLOSE to one, so we use aggressively close settlement and rushed harbor to get that online (Tactic: island invasion beginning with beachhead development)
- Once WE have oil, make FIVE full fledged naval task groups for shore-resource bombardment (Tactic: resource bombardment)
- Germany declares war on us. We get *entire* world in MPP against him (Tactic: force foe into a multi-front war / diversion)
This is accompanied by naval bombardment of his rubber
- Within 20 yrs the island is fully taken, and we move on to the next one (Strat: US Pacific like island hopping, fueled by naval superiority)
- Two more prongs open up, as we send just enough forces to take Germany's rubber and oil towns on two separate small islands
- Zulu have just one oil, on a coastal city. Tactic: Amphibious assault with marines accompanied by battleship bombardment
- Over the next many turns I plan similar multipronged attacks against every civ on the planet, multiplying my naval superiority to monopolize oil so they NEVER can compete with ships OR planes. Each is followed up with limited war with just enough trips to do the task to capture a modern resource city. Each attack is combined arms with bombardment by air, sea and artillery.
- Oscillating and limited war lets us stay in democracy while they all degenerate into communism. Thus I get first to Fission and see where Urainum is.
- Anti-uranium campaigns are planned vs all uranium sources on the planet (clearly multi-pronged ;P )
- The toughest nut to crack there is Rome, and I have a simultaneous landing in 4 spots: land on aluminum near Ravenna, land on Uranium and Oil, near Antium, land on Uranium next to Veii, land on Uranium hills and mountains near Pompeii. As a bonus in fancy tactics, the first three serve as a diversion against the last one, and I'm able to take Pompeii as a beachhead. With their resources cut off the first attack wave was the only one I saw.
- That was it, monopolies on essentially all modern techs, I now went back to peace and won by 20K culture
PS I came to this thread LOOKING for info on a very specific question. If any of you have thoughts or links (!) on DETAILS of pursuing ancient war on deity level (specifically). When to do it, archers? rax first? jaggies? swords or horses? And also, specifically, after how many cities/units, and do you go for their capital, capture, raze? My "five city with some rax then swordsman" approach in my Celtic deity game left me in a position where I was finally ready just as the AI's all reached Feudalism (cough!!) Some tests trying to go faster with archers seemed to go very poorly. And yet I continue to hear "especially on higher difficulty levels, you better get to war and fast or else you'll be hopelessly behind' ! By that do they mean Monarch and Emperor? I'm just not finding any posts that deal with specifically ancient era Deity rushes (Txurce, your comments work just fine up through emperor, but do you mean those to work on deity? I've enjoyed your Deity Beginner posts, but those don't do any ancient war, much less a rush). Thanks! (I'm about to start a deity succession game where the rules will require oscillating ancient war, and I need this info!)
Just a quick post to say that Zach and Charis have convinced me to try some new tactics. My problem is that I never find myself in need of fancy tactics, but I will change that by setting my research rate to 20% instead of 60%. Hmm 'Low tech Deity SG', I see it coming.
I am at work and so can't respond to the many points raised right now, but I will do a full post tonight.
FWIW Charis, I normally do a horsemen rush when I have about 5 cities if there are civs very close. Otherwise I get to about 8 or 10 cities, just to be able to sustain the agression for longer. I do favour mounted units, they seem to give more for the money.
@anarres - oh my goodness, someone stating a question with their own view in a thread, listening to others, and saying "you might have something there, I'm going to give it a try the other way" -- this could revolutionize forums as we know it!!!
There's an open slot in the upcoming Succession game, if you're into such things. The thread hasn't started yet but the prediscussion of rules is at:
It will be a deity lvl game, where you're never allowed to be at peace more than 20 turns. In other words, forced oscillating war whether you're behind, ahead, in offensive era or defensive!
(I'm assuming your resonse on horses after 5 or 8-10 cities refers to deity lvl)
@Zachriel - oops, somehow I missed the fact that you gave good points about the use of advanced tactics when 'behind'. BTW, that's one of the best post prologue's I've seen!
PS Hmmm, an idea going the other way, I should try a game where you hit "Mobilization" and stay there until Mil Advisor says you're strong, then do the tsunami thing (as Txurce calls it)
what are the best ways/tactics for provoking the Deity AI to declare war on you, apart from stepping in their territory each other turn? Normally they are standard set on annoyed anyway...
Charis and Zachriel: oh, is THAT what you mean by "fancy tactics"? Well then, yeah, I guess I use them all the time. The relative exception is multi-prong, which I rarely seem to need, except when going for resource denial. (Then it's sometimes max-multi.)
Charis, your siege effort was very impressive, as was your modern-era resource denial strategy. I agree that pulling off this stuff is a large part of what makes this game fun. I look forward to reading your other linked threads.
Now as to ancient-era deity rushes... I never posted any? That's too bad, because I've rushed in all of my (few) games after the peaceful Egyptian one. My ancient-era goal is gaining sufficient land area and staying in the tech race. One of my earliest rushes was with Jags, where I pillaged my way into favorable peace terms, but I doubt that's what you're looking for. I usually build five or less cities, with one focused on settlers and the rest building barracks and archers. I then focus on a neighboring civ that is not already a budding superpower. (Pre-PTW, I would not target Persia, Rome, or Greece!) Five archers should capture a city from anyone else, so I deploy ten archers to take two in my initial surprise attack. (I switch to horsemen as soon as possible; with some civs, swordsmen may make more sense.) I then head for a third city or, if healthy enough, a third and a fourth. After that third victory, I should be able to gain good peace terms whenever I want. The civ may be pretty resilient, but there's little doubt that it's been crippled. I then weigh whether I'm better off keeping the pedal to the medal and grinding them down to one city, or whether taking a 20-turn break in the war will net me more techs in the long run.
I haven't played deity in a while, but now I'm getting inspired to validate some of the above in a new game.
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