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Help with getting rushes right

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Culture Bomb, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. Culture Bomb

    Culture Bomb Warlord

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    I always tend to neglect my military and try to build too many wonders or too much infrastructure, so I've been trying to deliberately cure myself of this by practising early rushes.

    I've read some strategy articles about this, and even watched some of TMIT's 'How to Play' youtube videos. However, I must be doing something wrong, as I find that even when the rushes are successful I end up in a worse position than if I had just expanded peacefully until all the good city sites are taken.

    Maybe I'm not starting my rushes early enough, so my enemies have time to build up their forces, or I'm not getting the best timing on my chopping/whipping...

    The problems I tend to face are:

    1. A lot of resources are used building my army which could have been used to build settlers etc instead, but since I almost always lose a lot of units during the war, my military still ends up being weak, leaving me vulnerable to other AIs declaring war on me. By then my cities have had all their forests chopped so can't quickly replace the lost units.
    2. I may capture 1-2 good cities, but have to raze the rest because they aren't in good places or are too far away. So I have to build settlers anyway to claim the land, and I could probably grab more land quicker by just building settlers in the first place.
    3. Even if I do manage to capture a wonder, it's often not one I would have chosen to build as it doesn't work as well with my later strategies.
    4. It often leads to my first settler building a city in a sub-optimal place so that it can get a resource like horses or copper quicker without needing a border pop. This may be good in the short term but worse later.

    Maybe I should be be starting out by trying a leader who has a good UU for early rushes like Vultures or War Chariots, or just concentrate on getting the micromanagement of chopping/whipping better.
     
  2. OJimiJam

    OJimiJam Warlord

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    The important thing to remember is rushes arent the be all and end all. If you have room to expand peacefully to a good number of cities (say 6-8) then that could be best. Rushes come into your own when you dont have such good land, or when your closest neighbour is better dead than alive (maybe monty, joao, anyone you dont really like)
     
  3. CivMcNut

    CivMcNut Having Fun At It

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    What will get you going with a solid early rush is build an army of lets say 8 swordsmen, 7 axemen, and 6 catapults, and attack with all them in one big stack of doom fairly early in the game (as soon as you get construction). You have to make a big effort to build your forces up. Many times your capital city will be the only city really churning out the troops, but once you have what seems like an excessive amount of troops you can launch your offensive and really rip through an enemy civ fast. Remember that if you're going to be building an early rush force, you don't want to be building wonders, as they take away a lot from your troop generating capacity.

    As for razing cities I would think about the type of victory you're going for. If you want conquest then razing is the way to go. If you want Domination, you want to keep every city (even the crummy ones) as you'll need the land area to win the game. If you want a space race, you'll probably want to keep most of the cities, as you'll need a lot of science from all over, and it's better to start with a city that's already established than building one from scratch. Culture victory you can probably raze most cities you take over except for enemy capitals, as they can make excellent culture city sites.

    Many cities just kind of take up space and don't really do as much as you'd like them to. Many people on the forum suggest specializing such cities, like make one a commerce city, make another one a production town. Usually if you have one food resource in the city's BFC it will at least be medicore. Many times that's how the maps roll, there's just not a lot of decent land out there. You just have to make the most of what you got.
     
  4. michmbk

    michmbk Emperor

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    The above isn't an early rush, it's more of a medeival war. Are you looking for assistance with a true early rush, where your target likely has 3 cities or less? If so, I found that practice really helped me here. I practiced racing everything as fast as I could to get a force together. I started to have a sense for what would be a strong enough force to hit a target. My general guides are to try to have 8-10 axes by turn 60-70 on normal speed, or 10-12 chariots. If there's a special UU, maybe a little longer, like to have 8 keshiks by turn 85 or so.

    Once you've done enough rushing, it becomes a feel thing - you know about how much it will take. A protective target - add an extra axe or two. Gandhi as your target - can get by with a bit less.

    Rushing is also situational - not needed in some games. To me the key is to scout the land well in the first 20-25 turns, and make a rush decision then. Your early techs will be the same no matter what (likely some form of AG/AH/Mining/BW, with perhaps one other tech thrown in). If you have decent land nearby, no need to rush. If you're boxed in, then amass a force quickly. Chopping, whipping - speed is the most important thing. The faster the force is pulled together, the fewer units you face. I prefer mounted units when I can, because they're faster.

    I'd suggest playing just the first 75 turns or so of a couple games, to practice this part of it. It helped me to get a feel for timing the rush.
     
  5. yanner39

    yanner39 Emperor

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    Good info. How far does your target have to be for the early rush to be viable? Say you settle a second city near copper (probably on copper to speed things up) and your 12 tiles away? IS 20 tiles too far? I guess it depends if your rushing with Axes vs. Chariots.
     
  6. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    This is where either a dotmap or BUG's in-game dotmap feature become very useful. Once you've explored enough of the map, plan your first few city locations. Once you do that, check to see if your neighbours are likely to claim those city spots before you, especially the higher quality city sites. Again, this is where further exploration of the map (and, as michmbk said, having a feel for things, such as a good understanding of the AI's settling patterns) will help you.

    If the AI seems likely to contest your early city sites, gear up for war. If the AI is too far away to contest those early city sites, plan on a peaceful early game. The advantage of the former is that the AI will likely build several of your planned cities for you--thus you won't regret spending the hammers on units instead of settlers.

    If you want to practice early rushes as michmbk suggests, use the custom game screen to add more civs to the map, thus ensuring you'll likely have someone nearby encroaching on your territory.

    Now to answer another question, regarding the loss of units. In an early rush, you will inevitably lose units since you don't have any siege weapons to enhance their survival rates. However, there are many ways to mitigate unit loss.

    • If you have more than one possible early rush opponent, choose the easier one; i.e. avoid attacking a Protective leader, or a leader with a formidable early UU, or one who lucked out and has copper in his/her capital's BFC.
    • Have your earliest units fight barbs as you build your army. They will earn XPs towards promotions that make them stronger.
    • Attack cities with weaker, cheaper, lower-promoted units first, expecting them to die. If using Chariots for this purpose, give them Flanking promotions to increase their chances of surviving a lost battle so they can be used again once they heal.
    • If you have enough espionage points and Alphabet, use a spy to start a revolt in a city with high cultural defenses; a revolt temporarily lowers the city's defenses to 0%.
    • If one of the target cities has a formidable defensive force, send your stack to other, smaller cities first. This will often draw those units out into those other cities, or even into the open, where they can be destroyed more easily.
    • Along the same lines, look for opportunities to kill units on open terrain. The AI will often move units around during a war, and it's easier to kill a unit out in the open than if it's fortified inside a city.
    • Reduce your opponent's ability to build defensive units. Pillage his/her copper and/or iron. DO NOT pillage horses--Chariots are easier to kill than Archers, so let your enemy keep building them. Pillage mines and food to reduce the enemy's hammer production and whipping potential. Pillaging also yields gold, so there's a bonus there as well.
    • Try to have some type of medic unit in your early stack. I like to try to generate a Woodsman III unit from one of my first Warriors (later upgrade to an Axe) for this purpose. You can also attach your first Great General to a Chariot and give it Combat I/Medic I, II, & III. This may help unit survival, as your units will heal faster and be better prepared to weather a counter-attack. In addition, being able to heal your units faster should mean you can execute the war more quickly; this enhances unit survival because the enemy has less time to build units.
     
  7. dworkin

    dworkin Chieftain

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    I found a great aid to early rushes is to dedicate my 2nd city as a unit producer. With only barracks and a steely resolve to build only military units and not shiny things I find I often have sufficient numbers to take on our most hated enemy, (insert neighbour name here).
     
  8. CarlH

    CarlH Warlord

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    absolutley. In fact, other than a worker (maybe 2), settler (for second city) and a barracks, your cpaital should also only be pumping units.
     
  9. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    This is a very good idea, though it can take a while to get the 2nd city up and running.

    In addition--and along the same lines--don't overlook the long term. Above, I mentioned planning out your cities. At the same time, you should plan their purposes/specializations based upon their terrain, resources, and so on. (I like to use the sticky note feature (Ctrl+S) to ensure I remember these decisions.) This will help your economy recover after the war as you can dedicate those cities towards their top priorities (cottages & commerce, running specialists, producing units, et cetera). In addition, it may help you determine which cities to keep and which ones to raze.
     
  10. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    Remember for every 3.5 tiles away from your capital, you have to pay an additional 1 gpt in distance maintenance. A target 20 tiles away will cost 6 gpt not including number of city maintenance and difficulty reductions.

    It's viable to keep one such city, say the capital, but remember that your going to have to work 3+ riverside cottages to offset the maintenance. It may be better to raze additional cities and settle equally productive cities closer to you.
     
  11. mariogreymist

    mariogreymist Deity

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    Rushing the only partner on a continent (if it isn't mansa) is usually a good idea too. AIs will often not trade tech if they have a monopoly, and if there are only two of you, that means they won't trade at all. Rushing is also free of diplomacy pentalties in such instances, and results in a situation where you have land good enough (by the mapscript's standards) to support two civs all to yourself without having to worry about enemies until astro.

    But like OJimiJam said, if you have room to make some good cities and enough total to make your national wonders, playing peacefully and tech brokering is the superior option (assuming >1 continental partners).
     
  12. oawiefga

    oawiefga Warlord

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    Another important factor in the decision to rush is the hammer investment. 4-8 skirmishers can easily take 3 capitals plus their pop and workers on prince/monarch. That is a whole lot cheaper and faster than it would take to train 3 settlers and the workers too.
     
  13. Le Singe

    Le Singe Chieftain

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    I have a question regarding this. Based on the same logic would you consider not rushing one of the other civs if you are on a continent with 2 others? I have sometimes been in the situation where a rush would be good but I’ve been hesitant b/c then I would not be able to trade much.

    One other rushing question I used to rush a lot with pretty good results but ever since I’ve been trying to play at emperor level it seems like when I rush while it helps me some when there are other civs around all it seems to accomplish is make one of the other civs huge and unwieldy. This happens b/c me and whoever I’m at war with do not settle as fast or much b/c we are spending lots of hammers/chops etc on pewpew [military]. I kind of think I’d rather fact two AI's of similar size to each other (and hopefully me) then one AI that is huge (15 cities in early ads or something). But maybe my thinking here is wrong? Is there a way to deal with or mitigate this?
     
  14. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Deity

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    Option 1: Kill both civs.
    Option 2: Get the second civ to friendly so they will trade.
     
  15. Dr.Null

    Dr.Null forIhavetastedthesushi

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    Hit one fast: take his capital and make it your money / production / whatever city. Foreign capitals are very nice. Maybe he's even furnished it with a wonder or religion HQ for you.

    After you take his capital, you can allow him to live on in one of his inferior city locations. Letting him live means he'll take up space on your continent, but once you vassalize him (later), he'll open borders and be a juicy trade partner. If you have Alphabet when you end this first war, you can extort some techs from this guy in trade for his (temporary) freedom. You WILL start a war on him later, when you can make him a vassal.

    Do the same to the second one when you have the opportunity. Take his capital, and make whatever's left of him your vassal.

    You gain three capital cities and two weak trading partners: perfection!
     
  16. mariogreymist

    mariogreymist Deity

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    It depends heavily on several factors, not the least of which is which civ I am playing. If I am Rome, Persia, Egypt or another civ with a great rushing unit, I will sometimes do a very small intial expansion, crowding 2-3 cities around food sources then build baracks/granaries and units (and absolutely nothing else) then attack both civs. (using high food tiles to switch off for happiness issues as I whip units) This is much more appealing on marathon than any other speed, but can be done on epic. The problem with rushing one of two enemies is ending up with the same problem as with leaving just one enemy...no trading AND the need to maintain a significant military. If you're going to be without the ability to trade tech, you are better off not needing more than one military unit/city until astro.

    I am far more inclined to leave both civs alive or kill both than to attack 1 of only 2 neighbors. Who the neighbors are matter too...if one is mansa and the other Toku, Toku's days are numbered and small (if he's in the way of expansion). If the neighbors are both peaceful and tech minded, the idea of rushing decreases in value. If they are warlike, it increases. HV and Pacal as neighbors, and enough room to expand? Don't attack. Shaka and Ragnar? Attack with axes/chariots if feasible. A mix of the two types (less extreme than mansa/toku) means trading with the one and defending against the other.

    Edit: all of which is just a fancy way of saying "What Dave McW said."
     

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