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General Strategy to Counter Zulu Freaks in MP

Discussion in 'CivRev - Multiplayer' started by vman, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. vman

    vman Chieftain

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    So, it seems like more and more people are doing the Zulu rush strategy in MP games... I'm hoping to start a thread collecting wisdom in effective ways to counter Zulu players early on.

    1) What I'm finding is that even if they focus all resources on going after a capital early on, they still end up pulling ahead in science/growth AS LONG AS THEY GET AT LEAST 1 AI CAPITAL. That's the 'hill to die on' so to speak - if you can prevent them from getting an AI capital, you can pull ahead in science, rush to beat them to some key defensive techs, and then start cleaning up AI or their underprotected cities early on.

    2) Some of the Zulu strat depends on luck of placement - if they're on an island, or far corner of a map and not close to you or AI, you can typically count on them leading a good part of the earlier impi rush advantage (though a halfway decent Zulu player can usually still do OK if they get lots of huts, rush settlers, and know how to compete scientifically.

    3) I have the best luck countering with a good growth or science CIV - like the Chinese or Japanese. If you can rush research BW early on, and get contact with other AI's, then you can build up your own archer armies quickly, and if you know the Zulu are going after AI's to snag capitals early on, you can sell them BW in time for them to pump out some archers and stave off defeat (and make some cash in the process)

    4) Alternatively, sometimes I'll try to pump out archer armies, and camp them in the Zulu capital's wood/production resources. This can keep them from pumping out too many units, and starves their growth while you leap ahead in science. If you're lucky enough for them to be on a map with a hill blocking a strategic choke-point, this works equally well to camp archers there, and back them up later with a horse army to take out challengers.

    The problem I find is that is is EXTREMELY difficult against a reasonably competent Zulu player if they happen to start really close to you or another AI. Let's face it: AI's don't typically do a great job of defending themselves strategically, especially early in the game, and that makes them ripe for the picking as a second capital city to get science going early on. You can say 'rush HBR early and take them out,' or 'offense is the best defense' but by the time you get the tech, pop off an army of riders and get to them, they've usually already got BW and are getting settled down for defense.

    Any thoughts or suggestions? I think they only way people will stop overusing this civ is if there can be some good counters that consistently even (or reverse) the odds. Truth is, a bad player with Zulu is still bad, and usually not too hard to take - but a good player with Zulu that can adjust strategies after an early random loss of his first Impi armies or a less-than-ideal placement can still be a real pain in the ass, and stay competitive in science through the game, especially if they know to set up some good gold cities around dye one they get the era bonus of 50% gold production, etc.

    Thoughts? Let's stop these Zulu r-tards!
     
  2. Hertsh

    Hertsh Darwinist

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    I don't know of any general rules on how to stop the zulu rush, but I think the choice of Civ is what you can do, but there are probably other things as well.
    I chose the following Civs
    1) Greek - Hoplites from the beginning
    2) French - Quick research of Masonry and you have a free wall
    3) German - Veteran warriors can counter attack
    4) England - Loyalty gives good defence

    Any other input would be appreciated by me as well.

    BTW, I'm surprised that noone has written a Zulu strategy guide in this forum. Too straightforward/intuitive perhaps?!
     
  3. vman

    vman Chieftain

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    I'm not so much concerned with defending myself, per se- I can always start as the Chinese, for example, and get to BW quickly, or start as the Greeks with hoplites, etc. That's not the problem with Zulu rushes - the problem is, even if I can defend myself, the AI capitals and cities they typically can gain early on give them the science advantage as well. If they have 1-2 more cities than me early on in the game (and they know how to play) it ends up being a HUGE advantage later on - they usually pick up some critical early techs with the conquest of foreign AI civs, and if they're lucky enough to gobble up the French, or Egyptians, they can also get huge early perks of culture, wonders, etc.

    The way I see it, they either need unlucky placement, or we have to figure out a consistent way of impeding their early progress in capturing foreign AI civs.
     
  4. Kadazzle

    Kadazzle Emperor

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    Fixed the English mix-up? and added Russia.
     
  5. Hertsh

    Hertsh Darwinist

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    :) Of course, you are right. However, we have obviously not yet answered the question from vman. Unfortunately I don´t have the answer to the question, although my simple answer is that any of the above Civ´s can manage the zulu rush and thus focus on its own strengths in the game and hopefully win over zulus in any case.
     
  6. bonafide11

    bonafide11 Worker

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    It is definitely tough to beat anyone who takes a second capital city early on, regardless of who it is. I think your best bet is to apply pressure early, if possible. The longer you wait, the more advanced the Civ will become, and it gets harder and harder to catch them.
     
  7. Kadazzle

    Kadazzle Emperor

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    The problem with that, is that in order to apply offensive pressure early, you must have teched/be teching Horseback Riding. Considering they're only defending with warriors at this time, you could easily take them out with Horse's.

    On another note, just putting defense in your cities, while cornering them through expansion also works.

    Keep in mind though, the best defense is offense. To stop a rush you don't need archers. Just one warrior is sufficient, but if you have offensive units at your capital, attack them before they attack you. Most good offensive units have a higher attack then defense.
     
  8. MorteEterna

    MorteEterna Prince

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    Out of those 4 civs, only greeks could have a little chance to beat them, only if you know how to use them

    Maybe, I found the issue:

    You play only against noob zulu

    You never played MP seriously

    And I say this, because french are IMO the worst civilization of the world of civ rev. and you can't beat them with these little bonuses. Maybe if the zulu is a noob and works on balanced he could come too late
     
  9. bonafide11

    bonafide11 Worker

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    I've had success using the English to beat Zulu rush after they've taken another capital or two. Zulu players (and a lot of other players in general) often neglect their navy, so if you can make it the modern era, build a fleet of cruisers, and surprise attack one of their capitals. With naval support (and fundamentalism will help), your knights will still beat their riflemen. If you wait until they get modern infantry, you'll likely have a problem though.
     
  10. MorteEterna

    MorteEterna Prince

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    If you were in modern era, I think he was a noob zulu player (as I said).

    I doubt he was good, because he should win with 2 free capitals, plus gold, etc..
     
  11. MKElderGod

    MKElderGod Warlord

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    WTF there is no such thing as he should win because of any circumstance. This is what makes the game balance. There is always some weakness or lose to any and every situtation.
     
  12. Kadazzle

    Kadazzle Emperor

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    Even though Morte said it in a rather cocky? way, he is right. If you take out an extra capital, it acts as a second settler pump/unit pump. If you make one capital pump out settlers, and use the other one for pumping out archers, you can do some rapid expansion. If you're not worried about being attacked, you can use them both to pump out settlers. At that point, you really should've ran away with the game.
     
  13. bonafide11

    bonafide11 Worker

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    Well, the second capital definitely gives the player a huge advantage, and more often than not they *should* win the game after taking a second capital early on, but you guys are overlooking quite a bit of other variables.

    The map and the surrounding tiles make a big difference with the rapid expansion you're able to do. Sometimes you're not able to expand as much as you'd like, or the cities you can build don't allow you to focus on production or science as much because of where they're located.

    Also, if you're focusing on just building archers and settlers early on, and your opponent has the English and is able to get knights early, they'll be able to take your cities pretty easily.

    Not to mention the possibility that someone will be able to culture flip your cities with either a great person or the amount of culture they're producing.

    Or a number of other possible outcomes...
     
  14. steeemer

    steeemer Chieftain

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    Morte - I couldn't disagree with you more. I won't pretend the French are the best, but they definitely are not the worst.

    That said, if you try to play the early aggressive game the French don't do too well.
     
  15. MorteEterna

    MorteEterna Prince

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    And who would you put as the worst? There is a worst civilization. Russia? No, the map bonus is better than pottery. Russia are really good if used well.

    Mongols? Used in the right way with keshik as fast as possible, then while attacking you work on science to reach medieval era, you can do a good job. French start with, a cathedral. Does this stop a rush? No, it doesn't. Does a free wall stop a rush? +50% defence? Are you kidding? 1,5 defence won't stop a rush, you are going to waste 30 beakers. Better to do bronze working + archer that is much better.
     
  16. steeemer

    steeemer Chieftain

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    Gee Morte, I guess I forgot that the only way to play the French is to rush masonry to get the free walls and wait for a rush attack to finish me off.

    You are right. The French do stink.

    BTW - There is a good thread discussing a French strategy and at least one reply from someone who tried it and really enjoyed success playing the French. There is also a poll for "what civ do you play the most". 2 out of 9 answered French and 2 out of 9 answered Russia.
     
  17. MorteEterna

    MorteEterna Prince

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    You "answered" your doubt. 9 players. Do you know what is the meaning? Only few players here voted and unless you don't put here 100 votes is hard to say that 50% of players ( just an example ) like French or Russia. Maybe you don't understand what I said, but maybe some math will help you:

    1 warrior army:

    Palace +50%
    Fortification +100%
    Walls +50% (or 100% but no palace bonus)

    9 defence

    --1 warrior army with archer (SAME beakers-production request)--

    Palace, Fortification +150%

    7.5 defence

    1 archer, Palace, Fortification +150%

    5 defence

    It's much better than 9.

    And remember, you can rush archers with 3 defence, while going for masonry you only got warriors with 1.5
     
  18. steeemer

    steeemer Chieftain

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    Morte - This is a forum, a place for people to share ideas and opinions. Simply stated, I disagree with you. I don't think the French are the worst civ. I am not trying to make you look bad or insult you. I just don't agree with your opinion.

    I was being sarcastic with my last statement. Just a little light hearted fun.

    Your response begs for a comeback, but I am just going to leave it be.

    Chill out dude. You are taking this forum way too seriously.
     
  19. MorteEterna

    MorteEterna Prince

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    Seriously, I like to share opinions, but it seems in this forum you want to reast in the old opinions. I told you why archers should be better than the free wall, and maybe you still don't understand.. That's not only an opinion, but a fact
     
  20. TheTopCat

    TheTopCat Chieftain

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    I love Zulu rushing; they're one of my favourite Civs. So, I'm (reluctantly) putting up a few thoughts for interpretation.

    Thinking from the point of view of how I go about rushing, my strategy tends to be to churn out Impi warriors one after another, forsaking growth and research and spending everything I get from Barbarians and Villages on more Impi Warriors. So the first 10-20 turns my only city would be investing all resources in picking up Villages and Barbarians and desperately trying to find other Civs before they have researched and implemented Bronze Working.

    An Archer Army ends all charge. It's that simple. In a Zulu rush strategy, my worst nightmare is to have spent everything on Impi Warriors and not take more than one city. If I know the enemy has an Archer Army, then the next thing to try and do is contain that enemy by strangling their city (placing my Impi Warriors in each land tile around the city to stop resources being available) until a later time when I can beat the Archers.

    I haven't really thought about how I would counter this, but from experience and from my own opinions, here are some Civs you could look to use (in no particular order):

    1) Greeks: Democracy, Courthouse & Hoplites should prove a good counter, with the 50% research/gold bonus under a Democracy you should be able to leap ahead on the Tech front, Courthouse makes the aforementioned strangling difficult (though not impossible ;) ) and Hoplites speak for themselves.

    2) English: Longbow defence plus Monarchy culture bonus can provide a solid foundation to build on with a view to getting Knights as early as possible and taking the fight to the Zulu. Culture expands borders for a slightly earlier warning.

    3) French: Cathedral culture bonus and Pottery with a view to Masonry. Although an archer army alone should suffice without City Walls, with City Walls two fortified Archers should prove adequate (one for luck, just in case) and again culture will expand those borders for an earlier warning.

    4) Aztecs: units heal after combat victory and 25g, this is a big advantage and I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet. Two fortified archers should suffice early on but go for an army for that extra insurance.

    5) Spanish: Navigation, Galleons could prove useful for finding Atlantis, escaping overseas and Naval Support. Though a little sketchy.

    6) Japanese: +1 food from sea regions allows research and growth for rushing Bronze Working, +1 Samurai Knight attack for when you want to take the fight to the enemy.

    With all the above, if I suspected a Zulu rusher in the midst, I would still look to try and get one maybe two Barbarians/Villages under my belt whilst concentrating on 'rush-proofing' my Capital city.

    If you’re facing a Zulu rusher, watch out for the Chinese! They start with Writing, which if a Zulu rusher gets their hands on means Spies will come and destroy your City Walls and Fortifications.

    Eventually you need to think about expanding (unless you're the ultimate OCC player, in which case you carry on and do your thing) and you ideally need to do it in a place where the Zulu rusher won't be able to find it. If the geography permits it and you've been lucky enough, your Capital may be plugging a bottle-neck on a peninsula (not sure what a peninsula is? Land surrounded by water on three sides. Still not sure? Wikipedia is your friend). Build your city/cities behind it and let your Capital be the best defence. Alternatively, you may need to build an Archer Army to escort the Settlers and protect the new founded city; or you could just escape overseas. (If you are confident using the French and their culture, you could use the city conversion tactic to get ahead for a culture victory.)

    Another geography tip: build your cities on hills for a 50% defence bonus, if the resources around make it worthwhile. The opposite is also worth noting: try not to build cities next to hills; it gives the attacker a 50% bonus.

    Just remember that if you do try to adopt the above, your objective is not just to survive, but to go on to win! Depending on your playing style and the circumstances you'll need to adapt accordingly. You could always try to beat them at their own game and ‘out-rush’ them (just had a thought, three or four Zulu rushers in one game, now that would be messy).

    Another quick tip: if Barbarians give you a Galley, try sticking your attacking unit on the Galley. A Zulu rusher may leave their Capital empty because they've so many land units moving out of their Capital, they think they'd spot any attacks coming (not by sea though). You might just be able to waltz into an empty Capital straight off the boat, making the rusher look a little silly.

    If all else fails, just pray that you start on a large island on your own with lots of Villages and Barbarians!

    Good luck, hope this helps :goodjob:
     

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