Early Wars?


Jan 12, 2002
I've been playing in warlord for a few months, and decided to move up to regent. In my first couple games, I tried to expand early on as quickly as I could, but was only able get 10-11 cities max. In the early-to-mid game period, around the start of the middle ages, I get attacked by my larger neighbors and end up in a long drawn out war, where I lose all my money, and stint my tech tree, and eventually my cities. In my 3rd game I attacked as soon as I got the swordsman, and was able to gain about 5-6 more cities, and do better later on. Is starting a war early on the absolute only way to hold your own later on in the game? I always preferred to play conservative, and spend my money on techs. Or is there some trick to expanding that I am neglecting?
Even at the lowest difficulty level, wars are easier early in the game. At regent, the AI is more agressive and if you don't kill them, they will kill you. The best strategy for me is to expand as much as possible before going to war and defend every city with however much is necesary. When all territory has been used up by you or the AI, build up a preemtive military force and move it to the borders...

That, of course, is assuming the AI waits until you have expanded to fill the space before attacking ;) :D.
It's not the absolute only way.

What I see you doing is expanding and then be dog-piled upon. Perhaps you should balance a bit more. Get some defenders and if war is declared on you, sign other civs into alliances against your "bully".

If you have sufficient defenders the AI will not very likely declare war on you. You can then build up a force to capture some cities, if you desire, or go a complete other way. It's all in the game and many strategies are possible.

You have to balance your game. Expanding properly is not easy. You have to have settlers fast enough, scouting units to find the good sites, defenders to prevent a dog-pile on you, workers to improve your lands so you can grow and produce faster so you can get those settlers build, and many more things.

But the best advice I can give you is to Micromanage your cities and workers every turn. That'll prevent a lot of wasted shields, food and worker-actions. Do you Micromanage ?
I had this problem too when I first started playing on the Regent level. Work on micromanaging your first couple of cities so that you can get maximum growth and shield production from them. This way, you can crank out the settlers faster and start dropping cities.

My approach is to keep on dropping cities until there is no more room to expand and then do a little more micromanagement to increase shield production, and then build a formidable army. Mainly offensive units with some good defense around the borders, and in cities that need extra happiness. If you are not a comfortable size at this point, it is good to pick a civ that borders your own and concentrate on building an army to cripple them. Usually, the most powerful of your neighbors is a good target (since the other ones aren't getting any bigger, you will typically become the most powerful civ after you have crippled your biggest opponent). Switch as many of your cities as you can to build offensive units (mainly swordsmen, but archers will work too if you're in a pinch). Choose a few key cities that you are intent on taking and that will seriously cripple their empire, while boosting your own. When you have a good sized stack of units near each city, initiate a war with that civ and go for those cities. (Once the attack has begun, they will send the counter-attack at you which may make you want to go after smaller cities instead...but do not do it.) Stay with the attack. Once you've taken the key cities, either raze them and plant new cities in their place or build immediate culture to keep it from defecting back over to your enemy. At this point, you can make peace if you choose or continue with the attack. Either way, your empire will have expanded to a much more comfortable size that will give you some serious control over the remaining outcome of the game. (That is if you play your cards right.)

There are some other great articles in the War Academy and on these forums concerning some of these issues. Try searching around and reading some of those ones too.

Good luck with future Regent games!
Try to play with aztecs and you'll love (very) early war.

Build 3 jaguars and discover a close civ. Build more 1 or 2 cities.

Then build barracks and tons of jaguars to atack as soon as possible. You will easly win some cities and double your empire.
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