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Guided Missile: 60 Hammers of Suck?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by TheMeInTeam, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. Robert Mokler

    Robert Mokler Chieftain

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    I think guided missiles are are quite useful in the right situations. As part of a naval stack they are essential: firing a salvo of missiles at an opposing naval stack will often decide the battle if you have brought enough with you.

    But the best use I've ever gotten out of them was actually on land during a multi player game. I used them to kick off an attack on a neighbour that was getting close to a culture victory win. Because of the map layout I could only reach one of his three culture cities, and he put every mech inf he had into defending it, along with every jet for air cover. He had seen me coming before even I did! So at first I thought it would be a blood bath attacking the city, until I realized that I could put as many missiles as I wanted into my city opposite my target and soften his defenders with one large bombardment of missiles instead of using air power.

    I had a large navy that was useless to me for this war, so I stripped all the subs and missile cruisers of their missiles and had every city building them for a few turns before the battle, and re-based 40 or 50 missiles into my staging area the turn before attacking. It worked better then I would have thought: all of his best defencive troops had taken damage, and I was able to take the city with relatively light casualties.
     
  2. nfw

    nfw King

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    If you can make multiple per turn, and they aren't such a pain to micromanage they'd suck less.
     
  3. Lennier

    Lennier Emperor

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    Wouldn't nukes have been more efficient?

    That's the general problem with guided missiles; why use them if you can build nukes?
     
  4. Unconventional

    Unconventional Young Emperor

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    Maybe to avoid diplomatic penalties? ( If you are not in a winning position yet and you don't want to upset some powerful AIs)
     
  5. nfw

    nfw King

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    Nah, I actually enjoy modern era conventional wars.
     
  6. Yxklyx

    Yxklyx King

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    I thought I came across a thread once praising missiles to high heaven. If you don't have an edge in Air Power then missiles are the way to go when on the offensive.
     
  7. floydmcw

    floydmcw Warlord

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    Guided missiles were useful in my most recent game. Earth map, Emperor, Epic, playing as Brennus. I claimed half the New World and my economy went to hell until I got State Property. Everyone was several techs ahead of me.

    Gandhi was making a push for culture so I built up an infantry/arty army and took half his cities. He just had machine guns and not a lot of them. While I was finishing the war, Augie built 3GG and then THE INTERNET. I was researching Radio, so it was like, "I read about this strange invention called The Internet in the newspaper. Maybe in the future when man can send voices through the ether, I shall hear about this new-fangled contraption."

    Fortunately Augie was already in a war, did not have big garrisons, and was my neighbor. I took out his first city (which had Mech Inf), and was stuck deep in a culture well. It was difficult to bring in replacement artys. Also half my production was in the New World, I had not built Airports, so my replacements were chugging across the ocean.

    Under these circumstances, GMs were useful, because I could teleport them into the culture well and use them to knock a few HPs off the toughest defenders. I'm sure Artys would be more cost efficient. And it's not like they won the game for me, I probably could have won the war without them.
     
  8. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    I also had a game where Guided Missiles helped me win a war far faster. I also had Rifling and Artillery, but did not have Railroad, Combustion, Flight and Radio (for Bombers). One of the AIs had just completed Rocketry. All the other AIs barely had Rifling and Steel. So I had an Spy steal Rocketry; Great use for all the Espionage points generated by Jails and Intelligence Agencies. My offensive against my current target was going well. I had a large number of drafted Riflemen which were too expensive to upgrade to Infantry, so I just upgraded Cannons to Artillery (Artillery have good survival rates against Riflemen in fortified in hill cities whereas Cannons do not). I also had a few Cavalry and Spies to perform Support City Revolt missions. Of course I pounded all defenders down to 80% strength with Airships. However, the AI counter attacked my forces quite well using dozens of Cavalry and I took heavy losses of Infantry, Artillery and Riflemen. Both the AI's and my forces were at about half their former numbers. I no longer had enough Artillery or killing (Infantry/Cavalry/Infantry/Artillery) units to take his remaining city (his original capital on a hill) on the continent (he still had several island cities and I didn't have Marines yet). I was forced to upgrade about one Rifleman to Infantry to serve as MPs in captured cities with one or more Riflemen as needed.

    To capture his capital, I needed more units than I had. The MPs in the captured cities where already down to 1-4 units and I'd thin them out too much by leaving just 1-2 units and use the rest to rebuild my SoD. Even worse, I was down to just a few Artillery and they would not cause enough collateral damage. I diverted 16 Infantry already in Transports headed for a second AI to land on the opposite side of the continent and use open borders with the other AIs there to get to thd front, but it would have taken over 10 turns to get them to the front.

    So I planned to build a 1-4 Guided Missiles in all my cities that could build at least one without using Slavery in a 4t period. After 3t it became clear I already had enough, although I still didn't know how effective they would be. Based on this thread, I was preparing for the worst. I first tried them against Riflemen in a one plot island city. They each caused nearly 40% damage. After Airship attacks and one Guided Missile per defender, I was able to take the city with the same number of Riflemen attacking from a Transport/Galleon. When I attacked the AIs capital with a Guided Missile it caused only 20% damage. What happened? Checking the enemy capital city with my passive espionage visibility, I noticed that it had Bunkers which greatly reduces damage from air attacks which includes Guided Missiles. I had already lost my Spy in this city (no way to sabotage the Bunkers), so just used nearly twice as many Guided Missiles to take the capital. There is no Guided Missiles per city limit, so I had moved all my Guided Missiles into a well defended captured city within four plots of the enemy capital. I'm glad I did; otherwise, it would have cost me an extra turn to rebase enough Guided Missiles to get the job done.

    Assessment:

    Guided Missiles are cheap enough, rebase fast enough and provide enough extra punch to decimate the strongest defenders in a city being attacked. They can also take out strategic improvements, railroads and roads within 4 plots of borders or from most any shore plot (inside borders after the DoW) via submarines.

    With their 40 strength, it seems that they should be able to kill a Rifleman outright most of the time, rather than doing just 40% damage or 20% damage with a Bunkers. So I tend to agree that they don't cause enough damage considering its one time use and cost, four times more than Warrior. Guided Missile Strength should probably be much higher than 40. Maybe 60 to 80. Even Modern Armor or Mechanized Infantry should be able to survive even one Guided Missile, but that might make it too strong? No, it should be that strong compared to what a Tactical Nuke can do; hitting an enemy city or Stack of Doom with two Tactical Nukes will often destroy all units, even when the city has nuclear bomb shelters.

    From a game perspective, a Guided Missile generating collateral damage might make sense, but a true Guided Missile is intended to take out a single target without much collateral damage to nearby units, especially considering strategic bombing often caused a great deal of collateral damage in comparison. So I agree no collateral, but it should kill or nearly kill the targeted unit with a single Guided Missile hit.

    However, assuming one wants to avoid nuclear war, Guided Missiles can with a large production base and huge numbers do as much damage to enemy units without the risk of fallout and its effect on climate. One can put 100 Guided Missiles or more into a nearby city or fort as needed to decimate or even kill all defenders.

    In my opinion, the Guided Missile is weaker than it should be, by under the right circumstances it can be quite effective against heavily defended cities or even enemy stacks of doom where its role is not to kill units outright, but weaken them enough so reusable seige units get better odds and killing units can finish the job.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     
  9. crazyotto65

    crazyotto65 Chieftain

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    Only ever use GM loaded on a sub. After discharging the GM on an enemy destroyer, your sub can usually down it without taking too much damage itself. (I play primarily on Noble).
     
  10. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    Excellent tactic! This should be just as effective on any difficulty level. It seems well worth the expense of a guided missile to have vritually assured destruction of the destroyer as well as mimimal damage to the submarine. I usually load my submarines with tactical nukes which are both over kill and too expensive to waste on a single destroyer.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     
  11. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Problem with using GM in such a way is that you rarely have the techs for them but not better alternatives (IMO arty + rocketry + radio combo is an unusual one :p); your situation involving them was very situational IMO. Rather than dumping :hammers: into say 50+ GM you could instead build a bunch of fighters + bombers which also rebase and hit very hard (bombers have good range, and fighters can do basically anything they feel like within enemy intercept range to trigger it). Alternatively, you could steal your way into fighters or nukes.

    The diplo penalty for nukes hurts, but obviously they're by far the most efficient weapon in the game, especially pre-SDI.

    Top defenders in cities are pretty junky vs lead-off CR III artillery until you're talking about AIs with things like mechinf. Even with CR II arty, your "expected :hammers: loss per lead-off attack" is pretty low in the infantry era. The arty has some chance to survive, while GM has no chance to survive at all. 3 GM costs more than an arty, so if you use up 6 GM or 3 arty, once you factor collateral damage advantage from arty you're probably coming out ahead with standard siege.

    However HE + Theo + settled GGs (after a medic, a good option) easily cranks CR III, and if you have that it's even more lopsided because you're talking about high survival odds for arty. Missiles still have the ranged pillage and rebase advantage, but in that context they sound like a post-war reinforcement unit or something to compensate poor planning rather than something you'd deliberately aim to use.

    They're probably more useful against non-AI, since AI stack clumping + logistics abuse means that the only way it wins anyway is if its SoD :hammers: are too massive to handle, or it nukes you and you can't retaliate.
     
  12. drewisfat

    drewisfat King

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  13. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    I do agree that Guided Missiles are weaker than they should be.

    It may not that unusual to have Rocketry and no other advanced technology. That might a reasonable tech path for a space colony win. Let the AIs slowly research other tech paths and steal them via espionage.

    Yes, good use of Guided Missiles is absolutely situational. They are never going to be one's main line unit.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     
  14. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    AI gets rocketry pretty early though, and if you're going for early space you usually stomp them (HoF type approaches) or beeline internet and get it that way.
     
  15. Lennier

    Lennier Emperor

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    My reaction too; I was starting to get worried about him
     
  16. Sun Tzu Wu

    Sun Tzu Wu Deity Supporter

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    Fine, let the AI research it first. Then the player can steal it with Espionage. That's exactly what happened in my game where I found Guided Missiles extremely useful despite their many drawbacks, although my Victory Condition was Conquest rather than Space Colony. It was Deity Quick Large map with Classical Era start. Quick speed and Large size had a lot to do with the game going deep into the Technology tree before the win. Also, Espionage was heavily used to steal Technologies from the AI. It was a game where the AIs chose the technology direction more so than the player, which is the opposite of games played with easier game speed, map size and difficulty level.

    Sun Tzu Wu
     

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