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Garrisoned units. Ranged or Melee?

Discussion in 'Strategy Forum' started by ExpiredReign, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    For ever since I started playing CivV I have always garrisoned ranged units and used their small firing attack as an addition to the city's own attack.

    I know there has been a change with garrisoning melee units, in that the combined strength of the unit and the city is used.

    Has anyone done some balancing tests to see if one or the other is better?
    Also has our shifting of unit strengths in the mod made any significant change to this mechanic?
     
  2. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    I still use the ranged units myself. But I haven't tested it much to see if it's actually much weaker in feel or defence.

    The main advantage is it automatically protects the ranged units from counterattack so they can keep shooting at full strength. Since they're usually weaker, this means the city attack isn't as strong, but the combo of both is usually strong enough to at least cripple the enemy vanguard as it approaches and buy time to bring up any reinforcements. The other advantage is the archer doesn't have to move to keep garrisoning. A melee unit has to move back or have another move in its place if it attacks (and wins at least).

    There are probably circumstances, terrain usually, that make a difference here such that the archers would make more sense posted on a hill and to use spears or swords to garrison the city for maximum coverage of an approach.

    For a coastal city, I'd almost always use a ranged unit plus some ships to screen and turtle back and forth. I could see an argument for using melee units there more than inland actually (at least until you get airplanes and artillery). Ships are pretty strong for raiding and much faster so a higher city strength might be more valuable than being able to counterattack.
     
  3. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    Ah, I think you misunderstood me.

    If you garrison a melee unit in a city, I am pretty sure it's :c5strength: is ADDED to the city's :c5strength: to give a higher total.

    An example: (figures are not accurate)

    A city with walls and castle and a reasonable population may have a :c5strength: of 35.
    A melee unit with a :c5strength: of 20 would give that city a total of 55. The unit isn't actually moved in and out of the city to fight itself, it's purpose is to augment the city.

    Same city but this time with a ranged unit with 15 as it's :c5rangedstrength:.

    So enemies approach and the first example would mean there is numerous times when the full 55:c5strength: is used against the enemies attack, if it is the enemies turn. On our turn we get one shot at full strength to fire. However, I believe if we haved moved our melee unit during our turn it is considered no longer as a garrison and hence the city's defenses return to 35 during the next phase of the enemy's attack.

    In the second case the city's defenses only total 50 during the enemies turn and on our turn we get two shots but they would be on 35 & 15, but against two targets.

    So what I am getting at, and I think I will do some experimenting on this, is.
    Does the additional shot by the ranged unit make up for the decreased :c5strength: that ranged units usually have?
    Or to put it another way, should we put our strongest melee units as garrisons to bolster the city's strength?

    Related to that. Doesn't the garrisoning action negate all the promotions that a unit might have? Except for maybe, healing adjacent units.

    It is quite possible I have completely misunderstood the garrisoning mechanic.
     
  4. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    I did a bit of experimenting to see what different garrisons give the city.

    Firstly these are vanilla values that I am using and may be slightly off with regards other situations.

    1) There appears to be only one terrain that makes a difference in city strength.
    Hills give a 25% boost to the strength of the city, all other terrain boosts/penalties mean nothing.

    2) The strength progression isn't set in stone but is close to +1 :c5strength: per extra 2 or 3 pop. I would like to see the formula somewhere, just haven't looked hard enough yet.
    So a city of population 1 with no building improvements like walls will be 8:c5strength: on anything except hills where it would be 10.

    3) It makes no difference how the unit is stationed in the city as to how the bonus is added. It could just end it's turn and provide a boost or it could be on Alert or Fortified.

    4) It is about 25% of the unit :c5strength: that is added. It makes no difference if the unit is MELEE or RANGED, the 25% is just the same the unit's :c5strength: not the :c5rangedstrength:.
    So our Pop. 1 city without a garrison attacking a Barbarian Archer would do about 28 -30 damage to it in the open (without terrain penalties).
    With an Archer the City damage could be about 33 or 35, but the Archer could also do damage itself.
    With a Warrior that gives an extra 2:c5strength: to the city the damage inflicted would be about 4 to 8 :c5strength: more. Then the unit could attack, but take damage and thus it's :c5strength: next turn would be less.

    5) As far as I can tell this means you only need to add the units with the greatest :c5strength: to get the best result. I think the choice of MELEE or RANGED amounts to personal preference. The extra damage the RANGED unit inflicts may not really be worth it.

    6) Contradicting myself about the last point, the extra attack may be useful in eliminating two near-dead units near by.

    I figure none of this is truly helpful, but there you are. I have at least learnt something.:D
     
  5. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    I agree the point is to determine if the ranged unit may not really be worth it and I'd say its probably situational.

    1) Correct, it's just hills that matter. They add 5 :c5strength: (I think). This is unchanged in the mod.

    2) For the following values change from default
    (Default >> Mod)
    Base City :c5strength:(8 >> 5) (this means hills could effectively double strength rather than add 25%).
    Population :c5strength:(40 >> 25) (1/4 of population is added, so it adds 5 :c5strength: at size 20 instead of 8).
    Unit Divisor (500>> 200)
    This means the unit strength is divided by 2 instead of divided by 5. It is not one to one. An archer garrisoned would be +2.5 :c5strength:, and +9.5 :c5rangedstrength: (subject to LoS limitations and adjusted by promotions), while a spear would be +5.5 of both (with no limitations or bonuses). Plus 11 :c5strength: but only one time and then it would heal or deal less damage and only right around the city. You could not attack units bombarding or on approach without surrendering the garrison strength bonus.
    In default this would be +1 from the archer and +2.2 from the spear, which makes the archer always superior as a choice.

    Tech Exponent (2.8 >> 1) This means that tech still increases strength, but not exponentially as you get lots of tech later.
    City hit points, and hit points from buildings are increased. A max of +800 for a capital/CS in the mod instead of +125 in vanilla, with all cities +100 more than default. Heal rate is unchanged (20).

    I think healing might increase with building defences but I haven't checked and the rate of increase would be the same as in vanilla anyway.

    3) Correct. A unit just has to end its turn there. The advantage of ranged units is that they're not required to move to attack and thus if they kill something, there's no micromanagement.

    4) The advantage of melee units is the higher :c5strength: to use. . The disadvantage of using melee units is that without a front line to counter attack or terrain advantages, your ranged units are possibly dead in a prolonged fight. They can keep shooting from inside the walls just fine at full strength while if you use the melee to garrison rather than screen, archers can get hurt and possibly killed depending on positioning and numbers.

    I think it's probably close enough in game that it does come down to circumstances and personal preferences. With two large armies squaring off or being outnumbered, it's probably better to hide the ranged units and use melee units to screen the city from attack or finish off enemy units on the flank to go after siege or ranged enemy units. If you expect/need it to last more than a couple turns, it's probably much better to preserve the ranged units and keep shooting every turn. The melee units can usually retreat off to the woods to heal up or maybe sub in for a turn or two to heal if the archer can still shoot from behind the city. They're tougher typically to kill and can often escape to fight another day.

    One thing that may alter the equation more decisively with the change to the unit divisor:
    Oligarchy. Adding +50% to the ranged city attack cancels out the archer. You'd get +8 :c5rangedstrength: from a spear instead of 5.5 and that extra bit of strength could add up over several turns to be valuable.

    The other point is naval combat. I'd say you would hide your ranged ships in city and bombard with impunity or turtle back and forth with hunter ships. You may be better off if you have ships around to just use a high strength melee unit to garrison a coastal city in order to deal more damage on defence if they get through the ships.

    I do think the mod has dramatically improved the value of non-ranged units as garrisons (at least pre-GG/MG). I don't think it's eliminated the advantages such that it's always preferable, which is fine. I like the options or the tactical flexibility that may be available this way. It's just not obvious that a ranged unit is inferior to me from looking over the numbers.
     
  6. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    I like horse and chariot garrisons. They can quickly converge from multiple cities along roads to intercept invaders. Horses are powerful against enemy field units, and can garrison after attacking to improve the city strength every turn. I cycle wounded horses to distant cities for healing, and healed horses to frontline cities for attacking. My footmen stay in the field away from cities.

    When my horses are in foreign lands on campaigns of conquest, I garrison cheap outdated units in the homeland for the Military Caste bonus.

    Garrison melee strength adds to the strength of the city for attack and defense. I'm almost certain the game ignores the :c5rangedstrength: ranged strength of garrisons for calculating city defenses. Comparing classical units, a horseman should add 8:c5strength: to a city, while a composite bowman adds 4:c5strength:.
     
  7. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    The ranged strength of any archer garrisons still counts as a separate ranged attack that you would have available. It isn't "ignored" and this ranged ability can be significant in polishing off a siege or archer or incoming spear before it can attack.

    I'd admit horsemen are a more intriguing option than spears because they can move out and attack and move back much more comfortably.
     
  8. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    I really like the mobility of chariots and horses for defense. :)

    Try garrisoning 1 per city in your next peaceful early game, and quickly connect all your cities with roads. Horses and chariots are amazing at instantly responding to threats from any direction. They can gang up & race away to stamp out a barbarian camp, then race back to heal and wait for more threats. Horses along roads can defend an empire as well as twice their number of footsoldiers. The lower unit count also makes a more tempting target for AIs to attack, goading them into a war we can rapidly defend from any angle. Horses are tough to kill, too, since they can rapidly retreat to safe cities for healing.

    I also build a few "dangling" roads leading away from cities toward potential threats, especially if the tiles cross rough terrain or rivers. It really helps leverage the mobility of horses and chariots.

    Horsemen are also perfect for countering siege units, since they attack a catapult's weak melee strength. Archers must face the higher ranged strength of siege units.

    I don't build spears for defense. I use spears as offensive cannon fodder and scouts. I send spears into unexplored territory during wars to see what threats lie in the fog of war. Spears are easily replaced, so it's no big deal when they get ambushed and killed. It's a dark thought from a real-world perspective... but realistic to have expendable units.
     
  9. Kivin

    Kivin Chieftain

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    I hadn't thought of using Horse as a city garrison. Never really occurred to me. I'll try it.

    Some how it never occurred to me that bombarding a ranged unit compares Attacking(Ranged Strength) vs Defending(Ranged Strength) instead of Attacking(Ranged Strength) vs Defending(Melee Strength). That will help me play at higher difficulty levels.

    I use Spears in an offensive and defensive capacity. On the offense, I surround a city with them, hopefully soaking up those nasty city attacks instead of my siege units. On the defense, I make a literal barrier of them between the invading force and my city, with them on fortify mode. In both cases, they are throw away units.
     

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