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Horse archer rushing

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by vicawoo, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    I'm looking for advice on a "perfect" horse archer rush, meaning needlessly specific, minute advice is especially welcome. I'd like to get it to the point where it can be as specific as that early axe/chariot rush someone wrote early this year. My noobie horse archer rushes tend to be REX transitions, but I'm sure people can do better.

    Some useful topics would be:
    critical ratio of attackers
    the window of attack (longbows of course), especially dates on immortal/deity
    number of workers/number of cities (variations): example, for axe rushing usually you aim for a 3 worker/2 city attack. Approximately how much time do you lose for your 4th/5th/6th city techwise, and how long will it take an "average" city to become fully operational.
    tech path variations. Example: TheTeamInMe advocated a writing first, fast settled great scientist horse archer rush. Maybe you could do a 4 to 5 city, no pottery/writing horsebackriding beeline. Or maybe fast pottery, fast cottage is better.
    Variations on skipping buildings in your nth city. Example: axe/chariot rushes you can opt to skip the second city barracks for 2 extra units, and focus your chops in your capital. Or let's say you opt for a 3 city horse archer rush, do you skip the granary and maybe stable in the 3rd city.
    Optional: Worker timings. In axe rushing I will stall growth earlier to build workers to compensate for forested hills/more chopping.
    Optional: compare the results to just REXing so we can answer the "it depends" conditions.

    If I receive enough comprehensive information, I might try to compile into a guide with credits where it is due.
     
  2. Grashopa

    Grashopa Emperor

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    Your 4th,5th or 6th city will not help if you are actually rushing. Getting to HAs should be obvious depending on the map as to what you need for the beakers. And you always get the stable in. On immortal the HA rush looks good if you have a chance at taking out or crippling an extra AI or 2. And being able to hit say 3 cities the first turn of the war is nice so long borders make me think HAs.

    What you really want is a collection of forums games where people went HAs. Heres one of mine. Later in the thread I do some more HAing.

    Immortal/normal
    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=8458068&postcount=22

    Someone did an HA rush on deity in a semi isolated spot with Darius as the AI I think. Worked out great since everyone else got boxed in and cultured to death.

    TMIT had a great game where he took out 3 AIs total, ended up seeing Monte's stack walk by him after his first war, and took the opportunity to wipe out Montes SoD and finish him off + the guy Monte was attacking. If someone remembers that one.
     
  3. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    Here's a more dynamic method of evaluating different horse archer rushing strategies:
    I'm going to steal some maps and challenge people to build as many horse archers as possible, by whatever time period they feel is appropriate.

    Immortal University: Wang Kon. I've included the initial save, and a save right before the techs start branching.
    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=369926
    Spoiler breakdown of 3 city, HBR beeline :

    Variant 1: no pottery, no writing, BW->HBR. 3 city, 3rd worker at size 3 at second city. At 900 BC (initial attack), 1 chariot, and about 8-9 HAs produced. Montezuma destroyed around 500 BC, 20 HA's produced by then.

    City by city build orders
    City 1:
    Worker
    Warrior
    Size 3:settler
    Warrior x 2
    Size 4:Settler
    Barracks
    Size 5:worker
    Stable (65)
    HA* (to 6)
    City 2:
    Barracks
    Size 3:chariot (partial build)
    worker
    stable
    complete chariot
    City 3 (53):
    Barracks
    Stable (70), HA*

    Numbers in parentheses are settling/completion dates

    Notes:
    Wang Kon is financial and we have easy access to commerce (fur).
    -I go BW before HBR to get access to the forested hills in time.
    -our 3rd city, composed of a cow and 2 hills, built barracks+stable in 17 turns while growing. So a city should take <20 turns to begin contributing. Mathwise, the cost is (100 food/hammers + maintenance x T), benefit is (T-20) x hammers_per_turn, where T is turns from the city settlement.
    -Granaries with 2 pop whips are about 1 to 1.5 hammers per turn at cap, so it should take 40 to 60 turns to pay off.
     
  4. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Probably the hardest part of using HAs is how you actually fight with them - it's a lot more important than most attacks vs the AI.

    But writing before HBR vs not depends on commerce ---> high commerce starts can skip it.
     
  5. Gwynnja

    Gwynnja Deity

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    Could you be more specific?
     
  6. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Yeah I had to go somewhere while making that post so I cut it short. Here are some things to consider when using HAs:

    1. AI troop production: Horse archers are expensive (same :hammers: as catapults). One of their biggest advantages is that they move faster than other units. Because of this, it is important to cut the AIs ability to rapidly produce more units. All things being equal, hit the production cities hard ASAP. Every turn the AI lacks these cities saves you :hammers: in units you have to ultimately kill.

    2. Strategic resources: HA vs archer is leagues better than HA vs spear. The disparity between strategic resource or not for the opposition is roughly as large as when using non-prat swords...we're talking 10% odds vs 70% odds here. If you can cut their metal, it's a big deal.

    3. Forking: In other words, threatening multiple cities at the same time. This tactic is stronger in MP, but not irrelevant vs the AI. The premise behind this is to cripple the AI while avoiding fighting larger stacks in cities until close to the end - preferably in their weaker :hammers: cities.

    4. Stall Wall: AIs have offensive stacks too. These often come packed with melee, some of it spears. Rather than dealing with this using HAs, it is often very efficient to stuff 4-5 archers (which you must have access to in order to build HA anyway) in a hill city and let the AI stack move it into your borders. Your HAs go around, while the archers rip their offense to shreds. Note that this is also a highly effective medieval strategy using longbows similarly, and one of the rare good uses of protective.

    5. Judgment: You are relying on speed, but also on not losing droves of your expensive units. Often attacking a city with good defenses right away can be a trap. If you stall out too early, it can be game over. Judgment involves both the timing of your attack and whether or not you want to hit the target city now or later. 15 HA vs 7-8 hill defenders is fairly bleak...try to force those defenders out by going for other cities.

    Longbows themselves do not signify the end of using HAs, but they are close. Once the AI starts upgrading axes/swords to maces, spears to pikes, getting castles, etc it is much harder than dealing with the longbows. Longbow first strike is useless and the higher base str on the other units matters more because the HAs are not enjoying bombardment. Longbows do, however, slow down a HA push enough that I won't do it unless I'm already huge from previous wars or I am executing a :backstab: on the target AI while it's fighting someone else just to poach cities - when you're sitting on 20 HA taking a few cities with 2-3 longbows while the AI stack is somewhere else feels nice.
     
  7. budweiser

    budweiser King of the Beers

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    If I HA rush I use 1 or 2 cities. Often only the cap builds a stable. The cap HA then attack to weaken and the HA without stable finish up. Or vice versa depending on who is defending. No second stable saves time. One time it took me to 1AD to clear 1 AI in a duel situation but afterwards it was an easy builder win.
     
  8. budweiser

    budweiser King of the Beers

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    Here is a nice save for a HA rush. Or is it?

    I did an HA rush and had to stop in 200BC. I even used clear cutting and slavery here.

    Spoiler :


    200BC
    6 cities - 4 in 'France'
    Great Light House in Paris is mine.
    Have Alpha and 10 turns of peace.

     
  9. NihilZero

    NihilZero WHEOOHRNY

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    Wow, intercontinental HA assault! I'm impressed. I would never imagine that could work because of having to ferry your HAs by galley.

    edit - ah, on closer inspection I see that you already had cities on the other continent. That makes it a bit more manageable.
     
  10. budweiser

    budweiser King of the Beers

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    The situation quickly becomes quite un-manageable. The first time I tried this, I tired to play nice with DG after the 200BC peace and out tech him to a military advantage, but the cost of the overseas cities was tremendous. The second time I kept up the pressure and he was gone by 200AD. I still ended up with 6 cities on the southern land mass, some costing 19gpt in maintenance. By 800AD I have barely recovered by whipping courthouses everywhere.

    Never-the-less, had this been a single land mass duel, I would be in a commanding postion now.
     
  11. KingMorgan

    KingMorgan Deity

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    Rusten had a nice HA rush on a Deity map, posted in here years ago. it was playing as Cathrine iirc.
     
  12. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    You generally only need 2-3 galleys tops, because it's unlikely you produce more troops than that on the home continent/turn. First couple shipments send initial stack in waves, but reinforcement clusters aren't any different from roads after that.

    The 2 drawbacks to galley intercontinental invasions are 1) colonial expenses and 2) micro hell.
     
  13. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    These are very nice tactics, such as the production city targeting. From a chariot rush perspective, we tend to hit the toughest, most valuable city first, to weaken all remaining defenders.

    I didn't address tactics for a few reasons. How you use units is somewhat independent of how many units. We're more concerned here of small decisions that influence how many and how fast - which conveniently can be objectively compared. And after all, there are always occasions when you want more units. Let's say I try a 4 city assault approach next time. If I have more units but am less successful, the 4 city is still probably superior.

    Second, for the sake of comparisons, opportunism has a random component. For the IU WK branch 1 game, I sent one of my lone warriors to approach montezuma's copper city on a hill - and he conveniently sent two archers out of the city walls to dispatch it right. I also had workers running around his empire trying to lure out units, but these tactics don't always work, so I prefer guidelines that prepare for the worst but hope for the best.

    Third, ideal micro abuse takes more reactive planning and hence it's much more tiring and time consuming to test multiple variations.
     
  14. NihilZero

    NihilZero WHEOOHRNY

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    I have a few questions to throw in here. How early should a HA rush happen? Is it necessary to tech HBR as soon as humanly possible, or is it preferable to set up some kind of economy first? I have real difficulty balancing such considerations. With Chariots or Axes it's easy - you attack as soon as possible. The longer time frame and the the research time of HBR makes a HA rush much harder to judge for me as there are many more variables involved.

    In a similar vein, when would you decide that a HA rush is superior to a chariot rush? If I have horse and there is somebody nearby I want to take out, I will opt for chariots. When are HAs better?
     
  15. UncleJJ

    UncleJJ Deity

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    I looked at your 200BC save. The problem is simply colonial costs, once you've wiped out France you'll have 2 cities on your original landmass and 6 cities on an offshore one. The simplest way to solve this problem is to move your capital to Paris. That will quash your colonial costs for 160 hammers.

    The reduced costs gives you time to research CoL and build courthouses to reduce normal maintenace costs. Eventually you'll be able to build Forbidden Palace on the original landmass which will keep colonial costs there under control and then build more cities by Rexing.
     
  16. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    Said example game, it looks like BW-HBR, not clear if you skipped pottery afterwards. 3 cities, not sure when the second settler was built. 19 HA's built by 375 BC.

    And I can't find the Rusten game, even using advanced search, Rusten username, keyword horse archer. There's a chariot rush game and a game with Peter, who's Russian like Catherine.
     
  17. drlake

    drlake Emperor

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    I just used an HA rush to take out a neighbor in NC53 at Emp (not naming names because that game is ongoing for lots). Built three cities (all with decent production), pumped HAs throughout the war. The only hitch was that he had built a city directly on iron (I didn't have IW, and couldn't figure out where his Iron was...). Started the rush when I had about 10 HAs, chopped a couple out of my capital to speed the process, and finished my foe off in the BCs. I'll post more with SS in the NC53 thread later.
     
  18. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    He did it in the PYL: Ladies night...or at least the title was similar to that, I believe. It's hard to go off of memory, but since that's a thread I started it shouldn't be too hard to find.

    Edit: He only saw the game to 200 AD:

    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=316790

    But since it's Rusten we're talking about here it's doubtful he'd have had anything but victory from that point as his position looked solid enough. Unfortunately not a lot in terms of early micro for HA other than that he opted for writing before BW (Him and Dave doing that in the past has forced me to pay attention to and sometimes imitate that opening). Limited AI defenses played a significant role in his decision to do this, as did general military security (lack thereof).
     
  19. §L¥ Gµ¥

    §L¥ Gµ¥ Prince

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    I find 4 cities is usually best for a HA rush. Research HBR before archery, as the hunting/archery techs leave me with enough time t build stables before I need them. Upgrade flanking before anything else, as I want these guys to gain experience and become more useful down the line. Attack the core cities first. Cut metals ASAP. Raze cities you can't afford as your 'rush' is coming later, and the AI will likely be prohibitively bigger than you.
     
  20. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Combat is usually > flanking on HA because you can trip a jump point vs archers. Archers can spam defensive bonuses to get > 6 defensive str easily. They can not get 7.2 strength so easily...and only fully fortified protective hill archers or skirmishers can hold vs well vs the combat III HAs.
     

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