Do You Mainly Use Single Or Mutiple Attack Forces?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Daily Barrage, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. Daily Barrage

    Daily Barrage Chieftain

    Aug 9, 2007
    When you are planning an attack do you mainly use one attack force and take the opponent city by city or do you split your forces and attack multiple targets simultaneously?

    Obviously this is dependent on situation as there are times when you can clearly attack multiple targets with impunity and times where you clearly cannot afford to split the force up.

    I'm interested in what you do the majority of the time when the outcome isn't as clear cut.

    Any other strategy ideas regarding multiple attack forces and multiple targets welcome.
  2. manu-fan

    manu-fan Emperor

    Sep 20, 2006
    Single, single, single.

    That is, until I get Cavalry. At which point I'm usually ready to attack more than 1 city at a time. This also applies to Tanks :)

    Earlier wars, I have one GG MASH unit in a stack and probably about 6 or so siege weapons, so I can only really support 1 SoD.

  3. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

    Oct 6, 2006
    New York City
    Difficult to really say for me, depends on the situation. I have done both.
  4. Spiceweasel

    Spiceweasel Warlord

    Aug 1, 2007
    I like to have 2 or 3 armies marching on different cities, when I can. But it mostly depends on how many units I have. It's not worth splitting one good army into two bad ones.

    Of course, it also depends on the size of the border. If the territories are laid out such that I *have* to take cities in order (they're on a long skinny peninsula, for example), then there's no point in trying to keep separate armies.

    And sometimes you need to leave behind rear-guard forces as well.
  5. ShunNakamura

    ShunNakamura Warlord

    Jul 21, 2005

    I almost always start with one attack force. However, I split it up as I get into territory. This is because not all cities are defended equally. No reason to slow down your large SoD taking little undefended cities. Just break off enough units to blitz through thouse weak cities[I usually break off my cavalry since they can take the enemy city and get back to the stack.... thus leaving me with a greater force when I finally get to the capital. that or if the poor fella left a bunch of weak cities the cavalry can blitz through them much faster than the 1 move troops].

    The exception is if there is lots of coast, I have access to them by land, and I have access to amphibious units[vikings or modern war]. Than I do a land assault and a sea assault. The sea assault takes the coastal cities while my slower siege and land units assault his land base. The AI doesn't deal well with that sort of combined assault.
  6. Silence101

    Silence101 King

    Jul 24, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    As you mentioned, this is really situational. It often depends on what I'm trying to accomplish. Also, if you have a tech advantage, it may be easier to split up your attack force. If all I'm trying to do is take a few cities, I'll probably go city by city with one attack force... yeah, but there's even exceptions to that.
  7. petey

    petey Prince

    Mar 7, 2002
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    I usually start with a big one and then split it off later as he runs out of defenders and you don't need the whole stack to take them down and you can finish off the war quicker.
  8. shmily_dana

    shmily_dana Warlord

    Mar 7, 2006
    One main force, one or more smaller guard forces on the flanks. (Flank forces could include navy to keep the enemy from droping a transport load in my rear). The flanks forces will eventually move up to take smaller cities.
  9. Tennyson

    Tennyson Prince

    Jan 27, 2004
    I like to have two armies operating, but I'm usually constrained by the number of siege weapons I have - splitting them in twain would not do any good most of the time.
  10. Winston Hughes

    Winston Hughes Wrathful Warlock Retired Moderator

    Oct 2, 2006
    A state of unquenchable rage
    I often attack head-on with one or two main stacks (depending on how wide the front is), while sending a couple of smaller stacks to probe for weak points, pick off isolated units, and pillage improvements. For the former, a good mix of troops is essential. For the latter, however, the key is mobility - either mounted units or troops carried by naval transports work best.

    These mini-stacks have a fourfold purpose:

    Firstly, they can provide valuable information about enemy troop numbers, types and locations.

    Secondly, they can disrupt the flow of enemy units to the front line.

    Thirdly, they can raise a fair bit of cash to keep the war effort going. Pillaging is fairly profitable. But cities defended by a single weak unit (or, on occasion, no unit at all) are like a big pile of money just waiting to be stolen.

    Finally, they can ruin the enemy's economy, ensuring that when peace is declared he/she has a major rebuilding effort to undertake, and thus ceases to pose a threat for some time afterwards.

    An example:

    Spoiler :

    In my current game (playing as Hannibal of the Vikings :cooool:), I'm just wrapping up a war against India in which I combined a single SoD (15+ units, inc. several cats) with three opportunistic mini-stacks (4 units each - 1 mounted and 3 melee).

    The SoD was sent on a direct path through enemy territory to capture the cities I wanted to keep for myself.

    Meanwhile, the mini-stacks have been prowling the coasts in Galleys (protected by Triremes, of course), landing wherever an opportunity presents itself, moving inland to strike at key improvements, then returning to the boats before the enemy can respond. They've captured seven workers, destroyed innumerable roads and improvements, killed five or six individual enemy units caught out in the open, and razed three lightly defended cities far from the front line.

    The main stacks have captured the cities I wanted, killing a whole load of Indian troops in the process. But it's the mini-stacks which have dealt the more telling blow to my opponent - his economy is in tatters and the loss of so many cities (albeit mostly crap ones) has seen him plummet down the score table.

    Having fast ships and Berserkers makes the Vikings perfect for a hit-and-run approach. But I've used similar tactics to great effect with many other civs. In particular, both Keshiks (thanks to their speed across hills and forests) and Immortals (because they receive defensive bonuses) excel in the land-based hit-and-run role. I haven't tried it with Musketeers, but I imagine they would also be very effective.


    I forgot to mention the Commando promotion - it's not the cheapest thing to get (you'll almost certainly need to use a GG), but a stack of three or four Commando units can be devastatingly effective.
  11. zienth

    zienth Chieftain

    Oct 31, 2005
    Silicon Valley, CA
    If It's not clear cut, I'd generally go with one stack. Better to be sure of taking one city at a time, rather than running the risk of having two attacks that bounce off. :(

    Unless I have overwhelming superiority, I'll usually go with one stack for the initial attack. The first city is usually the toughest, since the AI will throw most, if not all of his reserves into keeping it or trying to retake it. Once you've taken the first city and survived any counterattack, the AI is usually down to modest to weak garrisons and you can often split up into a couple of columns at that point.

    Usually my decision on whether to split up comes down to the size of my siege train. If I don't have at least 8 siege units, I don't like splitting them up. Fewer than 4 siege units per column is too weak for my tastes, unless it's a real mismatch like cannons and riflemen versus longbows. Other considerations like having naval bombardment available against coastal cities and/or aerial bombardment will make me more willing to go with fewer siege units per spearhead, of course.

  12. Cer

    Cer Warlord

    Aug 20, 2007
    That's almost exactly what I was going to say.

    Multiple stacks heading off at different cities is a tactic I will usually only use when I'm fighting an enemy with about one-third my military strength or less. (Usually means he has less than half as many units and lags a bit in military tech).
  13. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

    Jul 17, 2007
    in a Gadda Da Vida
    Same with me. In the early game, I can only manage one stack, and splitting it risks losing battles I need to win. In the later game, multiple stacks become feasible when I have a technological or production (or both) advantage.

    I seldom fight land wars where immediate conquest isn't my strategy, though. So I rarely bother with pillaging stacks and the like - why pillage an improvement that will soon be mine anyway?
  14. Sjaramei

    Sjaramei Prince

    Nov 16, 2005
    1 for attacking (which may be split up if it's only city taking left), 3-4 smaller stacks defending strategic cities/spots. It's much more common for me making more stacks later than earlier. (more units around of course ;) )

    The main reasons for only having one stack earlier ages is to attack as soon as you have a decent amount of units for your stack. And of course the medic unit which i rarely have more than one of. (Woodsman 3 + Medic 3 = Sweet and not that hard to get :p)
  15. Flamer123

    Flamer123 Chieftain

    Aug 12, 2007
    The ai usually have only 1 stack of doom traveling inside its borders. It's already been discussed that if u'll lose a considerably less unis if ur combined forces meet him.

    1) if the computer still has a massive SOD, and its smaller than urs (use a spy to detect it before DOW), use 1 stack and capture city by city.
    2) If u have already defeated it, u can split ur SOD cause the computer won't attack, only defend inside cities.
    3) Most ai's personalities will stop their "refuse to talk" status and agree to peace immidietly after u capture a city/2 cities - regardless of troop strength. That creates the following exploit - if u know the strentgth of the enemy's SOD, and it's too large, divide ur troops to 2 stacks, capture 2 cities very quickly (in 3 turns max), and sue for peace before the enemy's SOD comes around to retaliate. Most ai's will agree on the spot, and u win 2 cities and some $$ tribute.
    Few leaders (like churchil) will not agree to peace even if u capture 2 cities.
  16. vixafox

    vixafox Warlord

    May 13, 2006
    Single. I never seem able to produce enough troops to muster more than one stack. It could be that I am over cautious, since I like to have a stack that I am sure will overcome the defenders.
  17. Indibil

    Indibil Chieftain

    Dec 3, 2005
    At work, most probably
    It depends on the game really.

    I usually try to have a huge SOD and two ministacks for defensive purposes until late medieval times. However, if I do have 2+ high production cities (apart from the Capitol) I can end up with 3 SOD (2 offensive 1 defensive).

    I blame the forums for this as I used to be a builder-type player until CIV-Warlords (though I must ashamedly admit I'm enjoying the warmongering and playing at Monarch level now).
  18. IglooDame

    IglooDame Enforcing Rule 34 Retired Moderator Supporter

    Oct 2, 2003
    Igloo, New Hampshire
    Same as most others - against the AI, a single sledgehammer stack to take cities and a smaller stack to take care of flanks, defeat counterattacks, garrison newly taken cities, and serve as a reinforcement pool. At a certain point of superiority I can split out into two sledge stacks. If I split my attack too early in the game/war, I find that the AI causes me more losses than it would otherwise, so it's a units-vs-turns balance.
  19. LoopyLewis

    LoopyLewis Warlord

    Jul 31, 2005
    UK, Sunny Southport
    It depends on what era I'm in. Ancient is always 1 stack. In the Modern era, I'll attack with two or 3 if terrain will allow.

    My favourite tactic is to land on another continent at both ends so that the AI has to split it's forces to combat both landings. I then hold one city from attack while break out and smash his cities using the other as an anchor :ar15: :run: :whipped:
  20. overdose

    overdose Chieftain

    Sep 4, 2007
    When I played vanilla I used 2 at the time but BtS is significantly harder so single is usually better.

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