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how do you use catapults correctly?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Antmf, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. Antmf

    Antmf Chieftain

    Jul 12, 2007
    Or do they just suck? I build catapults and attempt to take a civ or city state and because they have to be so close to city they get destroyed very easily. Unless I am doing it wrong. Please let me know. Thanks...
  2. MerchantCo

    MerchantCo Merchant

    Feb 14, 2013
    You can only use the catapult's two range if the unit's visibility isn't blocked by hills/mountains/forest/jungle. I prefer to place the catapults on hills near the city that you are besieging.
  3. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

    Apr 3, 2004
    You also need more units than just the single catapult.

    you need
    1)additional units that the city will shoot at .. damaged melee or other catapults/ranged units
    [must be in range 2]
    2) 1 melee unit to take the city
    [must be in movement range]
    3)unit to provide vision on the city (siege units have poor vision)
  4. StrideColossus

    StrideColossus Warlord

    Oct 30, 2010
    It's quite hard to use catapults in BNW, cities quickly become too strong quite early to make them effective. If the city has a composite bow garrison and/or walls you can forget it unless you're prepared to lose a lot of units, the city/garrison will virtually one-shot your catapults.

    One trick is to get an injured unit into the firing line of the city since the AI will generally target injured units, if you can keep that unit alive (medics, pillaging) that might give you enough time to get your catapults in range and set-up. You can also cycle injured 'targets' in/out of the cities range.

    Generally it's better to IMHO to ignore catapults altogether and get lots of composite bows - they're more mobile, will still do decent damage to a city if you have enough of them, and of course they're much better for defence/barbs/scouting as well.

    Other than that turtle up and wait for unique units or flight/artillery :ar15:
  5. Jaybe

    Jaybe civus fanaticus Supporter

    Sep 24, 2001
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    You don't take cities with catapults, you take them with melee units.

    First, you approach and 'siege' the city with melee unit(s) and the city and defenders strike back at it (or them), inflicting damage. The AI will now try to KILL those troops, and while they attempt to do so is when you bring in your catapults, set them up and start using them.

    The trick now is to ALWAYS have a damaged unit or two to distract the AI from the units it SHOULD be attacking (as in your 'cats'). Perhaps have one just a little damaged in reserve to relieve one that is about to die.

    If you have no damaged units to distract from your 'cats', it may be necessary to attack the city with a melee unit even though it won't capture it. Your unit will become damaged though, and better IT being damaged than your 'cats'.
  6. Socratatus

    Socratatus Emperor

    Jul 26, 2007
    Pretty much what the others have said. Get ordinary troops ahead infront of your catapults, then bring catapults behind. the city should attack the troops and your catapults will have a chance to start bombarding.
    Look on the map for HILLS. Hills are not very well defined, it all looks flat (just like it does to me when I first started). Move catapults away from hills or on top of them. Hills BLOCK a catapults 2 hex range. Oh and never bring just one catapult!

    Personally, I think the elevation effect\graphics of hills are terrible. You can`t tell what is really high which means you bring ranged weapons to a hill side without knowing.
  7. Alzadar

    Alzadar Warlord

    Dec 9, 2012
    Hill vs plains is pretty easy to see for me, the only problem is flat forest vs forested hill.
  8. TyBoy

    TyBoy Prince

    May 24, 2006
    He probably knows that. Because their strength is so low they get absolutely wrecked by ranged attacks from units in the city and the city itself. It seems like an oversight from their redesign to me.

    Personally, I just don't use siege weapons until artillery. Archery units are a lot more versatile and upgrade through the game now.

    That's not the only way to go though. If you do want to use siege units early on for their city damage or just to get xp on them what you need to do is trick the AI into leaving them alone. You should be able to do that by having another damaged unit in range. A melee unit with the right promotions on rough terrain healing each turn can eat city attacks for a while before it has to retreat. You have to make sure to move it in before your siege units.
  9. Catan_Settler

    Catan_Settler Prince

    Jan 23, 2008
    They correct way to use catapults is: to not build them. Ever. And delete the ones military city states gift you.
  10. Matthew.

    Matthew. Deity

    Sep 14, 2011
    Catapults are rough to use, but Trebs/Cannon work well. Just send in a slightly injured double cover melee unit and it should pull all attention away from your siege. To the point of almost feeling like an exploit. You only need to survive the one attack anyway. If your group of range and siege cannot drop the city in the very next turn, you are likely doing something very wrong.

    I like to try and start working a couple of siege units in at Trebs to start stacking promos. 2-3 highly promoted rocket artillery is insane.
  11. Aldor

    Aldor King

    Nov 26, 2005
    Try the strategic map, its a lot easier to see terrain types there :)
  12. Bostock

    Bostock King

    Apr 28, 2008
    In my experience an occasional siege unit can be cost-effective, with the key word being occasional, that is one mixed in with the 3-5 archery units and 1-2 melee units you should have brought. If there's enough other targets for the defense to pick then they get to do their thing, and they're worth their cost at doing it. Just don't bother bringing more than one, or perhaps two if you keep getting gifted them (and hate deleting units as much as I do).
  13. goodolarchie

    goodolarchie Warlord

    Dec 27, 2009
    It usually comes down to building a catapult vs building another composite bowman (unless you have some OP UU). Cata's are great with an early "army" of 2-3 CB/chariots, 2 melee or mounted, and their effectiveness scales exponentially the more of them you can move in on a given turn. They give you two things: earlier city capture (good for the surprise), and fewer units lost. A couple of cats can give you a two-turn capture instead of a 5-turn archer volley.

    On Emp-Deity, you won't expect to bring catapults against anything less than composite(s) and 30+ str cities. It's rough. But, as suggested there are a few effective strategies.

    If you can get pikemen, they are the best damage soakers at that stage, with no real counter... they come late though in early war. Cover is an awesome promotion, as is defensive terrain. If you can move and attack the city on that turn (or likely another unit nearby), they will take just enough damage and survive long enough to soak two turns worth of city bombardment.

    Horseman can be great at this also, because they truly wear a "kick me" sign on their back, and they can pillage twice per turn (barring ZOC and terrain) to heal up far more than the pikeman, and you can withdraw them easily.

    By the way, if you build a catapult, you should never lose it. Ideally, put a barracks behind it because as soon as you get the second promo, volley increases its city damage by 50%! It's not easy to get these units xp in the early game. If I can "powerlevel" them off barbs en route to war (usually for the first cat as the second one is building), I will always try to pick up volley. In any case, don't let cities kill your catapults. Back them off if they are at risk, and park them on a mined hill so they can pillage heal+bombard in the event they are targeted.
  14. TheMightyRyon

    TheMightyRyon Chieftain

    Aug 6, 2013
    Generally catapults aren't that good in my opinion. Sieges are best done with a lot of archery units and some melee units to soak up damage from the city. Mounted units are nice too for their mobility. If your going to use catapults though, I recommend putting them on a hill, behind some of your melee units.
  15. Matthew.

    Matthew. Deity

    Sep 14, 2011
    Exactly. A couple of siege mixed in won't be noticeable (in a good or bad way). Until you hit artillery and your two artillery guns stacked with promo's drop city health stupid fast and you can keep the rest of your military for enemy troop clean-up.

    It is still rough to start at Cats though. You need to hard-build/purchase them, which isn't cheap that early in the game. Way easier to churn out archers and upgrade into CB's. Once you hit medieval and Trebs though, they are very easy to work in.
  16. manu-fan

    manu-fan Emperor

    Sep 20, 2006
    I used to build catapults for quick conquering in G&K, but find that approach just doesn't work at all with BNW. So, I don't build catapults. I usually wait until Trebs to attack, once I have my economy on sound footing, or maybe just rely on Composite Bows for the first city or so.

    So, no catapults for me anymore.

  17. joshua43214

    joshua43214 King

    Mar 21, 2012
    The best way to use a cat is to gift it to a CS. The second best way to use a cat is to upgrade it into a treb or even better into an artillery.

    Cats are good for all of 10 turns of game play, get x-bows instead

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