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[LP] How to stop a runaway opponent - Discussion

Francel

Madam Secretary
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Greetings. I would like to solicit input from my fellow "fanatics" regarding the situation of an opponent significantly ahead of all others, colloquially known as a "runaway" civ.

Specific example: The Mayans are approximately 200 score ahead of me (Nader Shah/deity), start of the Renaissance, and it seems a good margin ahead of everyone else too. They are also located on a different continent.

We can assume I will launch an all-out espionage war on the Mayans, this is a given, but I fear it won't sufficiently hinder their progress.

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Option 1: Wage War - They are far away and significantly ahead in terms of technology - by the time I muster a sufficient army and reach their territory, I doubt I will have much success, nor be able to hold any cities I take. This would also hinder my own development greatly.

Option 2: Engage in a proxy war using city-states and other civilizations - I don't have suzerainity over any neighboring city-states currently. I only have one alliance right now. Waging war could backfire and lead to the defeat of my ally, who is also far behind the Mayans.

Option 3: Strengthen my civ by plucking territory from a weaker neighbor. (Option 3 seems like the best strategy, even though I don't like conquering).

Option 4: Mass conversion of their cities may weaken them some at relatively little cost to me, if it can be done. (Also a good choice)

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Anyway, I am asking for input from others - what would you do in this situation? Am I overlooking anything? Thank you for sharing.
 
Just wait for bombers and take one or more of her cities every turn, as long as you have enough bombers.
The AI is completely incapable of defending against those.
I hate that it's possible to play like that against the AI and succeed, but it works even though it's effectively cheating.
 
I’d say it depends on the victory conditions you set for the game. if only score, then yes you need to take actionand 3/4 misght be the solution, but if all VC are activated, I would analyze everything and see if I should concentrate on one specific that I feel I can win because taking the war to another continent IS a chore… 200 score difference by renaissance is really not that much btw, snowball should be about to pickup for you…
 
Do you want to necessarily stop them or just be faster to a victory screen? Also, what are your game settings? And do you target a specific victory or any will do?

In a standard speed&size map with default number of major civs (8) AI is still unlikely to win before t300, and you can (nearly) always win a Diplo victory before that. AI continues to ignore the SoL, so building this wonder as the finisher (with Shah if possible) can give you an exit around t250 even if you don't specifically target this victory from the start. Although, after the recent patch, Poundmaker did build it on an Island Plates map, I was a bit shocked, but still won diplo before t300 without the statue. Monarchy and Renaissance Walls are hard to counter for the AI, even with Orszagasz they can't.

Also, you can steal large amounts of cash from the AI again, now that they build some CH as well, and buy the great works from them, reducing their culture and faith income, send spies to the CSs they have Suzerainty in, to kill their envoys, but this is rather slow, and well trained or specifically trained spies required for this mission, as it is rather risky, so faster operating spies are preferable through promotions and respective policy cards.

You could also make a coalition of allies and try isolating them, as your allied civs tend to ally among themselves as well, if not mortally offended and mutually denounced already.

Or you could make a swarm of light cavalry and send them on a pillage&sucide safari, no need to take any cities.
 
What about razing one or two important cities and then just concentrate on damaging districts. Alternatively, what about just pillaging districts.

How about destroying city states where they have many envoys? You can probably slow their science and culture game by doing that.

It seems to me that decreasing the effectiveness of their districts by targeting city states and if they declare war, target their districts.
 
Build a bomber fleet and use them to pillage enemy districts and improvements, striking from carriers.

Also ignite some partisan uprisings with your spies.
 
What everyone above said. On default settings, unless you got totally curb-stomped by multiple aggressive AIs in the early game, there's almost always a way to pull off some cheesy victory.
 
Build a bomber fleet and use them to pillage enemy districts and improvements, striking from carriers.
No need to pillage even, just flatten the city with bombers and use some sort of cavalry type unit to swoop in and take/raze the city on the same turn after the bombers brought it down to 0.
 
Specific example: The Mayans are approximately 200 score ahead of me (Nader Shah/deity), start of the Renaissance, and it seems a good margin ahead of everyone else too. They are also located on a different continent.

We can assume I will launch an all-out espionage war on the Mayans, this is a given, but I fear it won't sufficiently hinder their progress.

Ah, spies. So ineffectual, and frankly just a nuisance that I'd love to see gone. They're slow. They fail at most everything but the gathering of trivial information. So, 4 gold per turn to maintain a unit that, if it isn't captured, killed, or run out of town empty-handed, merely accomplishes a bit of damage that takes two or so turns to fix. I loathe all the spy junk, and only get spies for defense when I absolutely have to and/or I've got cities that have run out of worthier things to produce.

No, I can scarcely imagine a scenario wherein your spies would accomplish anything beyond being a minor nuisance to the Mayans. Spies just waste everyone's time and resources in this game. They can even be counterproductive. Last night an enemy spy finally managed to do something right and caused three barbarian AT crews to spawn in one of my cities. They didn't survive for one turn, and enabled two of my best units to get valuable promotions.

In the past, when I thought flinging spies around the map was somehow good business, I had games in which I maintained three spies for about 50 turns each, and maybe one of them finally succeeds in bringing home around 500 gold. Of course, during all that, I spent 600 gold maintaining the spies. So, the net result was 100 gold getting flushed down the toilet.

I want the option to execute spies that I capture.
 
No need to pillage even, just flatten the city with bombers and use some sort of cavalry type unit to swoop in and take/raze the city on the same turn after the bombers brought it down to 0.

Jet bombers are just the best, and that's how I use them. The AI don't really use them effectually. I've yet to fight an AI civ that used bombers against me, even when they have the technology and resources to produce them. I don't know why. Once I watched Greece use a single bomber to strike a Korean encampment turn after turn. The Korean city was ignored, and no Greek units came to occupy the encampment. There was no strategy to it.
 
No need to pillage even, just flatten the city with bombers and use some sort of cavalry type unit to swoop in and take/raze the city on the same turn after the bombers brought it down to 0.
This tactic has some issues, would be hard to keep the city with loyalty issues, and a strong runaway ai would just recapture it.

A strong ai will also have fighters/jet fighters that attack land units in range so cavalry and tanks can be decimated before getting to range.
 
This tactic has some issues, would be hard to keep the city with loyalty issues, and a strong runaway ai would just recapture it.

A strong ai will also have fighters/jet fighters that attack land units in range so cavalry and tanks can be decimated before getting to range.
Which is why I specified that you can just raze the city if need be, though generally you can take cities so fast with bombers (1 city per turn, more of you have more bombers) that the 3 turns it takes for a city to flip independent is often insufficient to stop the wrecking ball.
Either way, the goal is just to stop a runaway, and whether you keep or raze the cities, this is how you do it.
The AI generally doesnt use air units at all, and the few times that it does it generally has 1 fighter that it doesnt know how to use properly (often moving back and forth, attacking bad targets, or not attacking at all).
So you can just keep sending in waves of bombers and use a cavalry type unit or two to knock the cities down.
 
Well, you can always burn it all down! 😏
That's my preferred approach too.
Take a fleet, bombard the bejesus out of shore cities, take them & sack them - burn to the ground.
Repeat for more if available.
Then send a settler of your own across - Civ abilities notwithstanding, you will have an easier time holding a city you found than a captured city.
 
I had just have the game (deity, standard size&speed&disasters, fractal map, no modes) to illustrate my diplomatic approach.
Hammurabi W, Teddybear E, Musa NE, Captain Hook SW. Hammurabi ran and never looked back, had GDRs since the mid-game, I was lucky to befriend and ally him, as Teddy suprised DoWed me and in my rush for 5 early cities I've lost my 4th one and was left with 3 for quite a while before I retook it.

In the face of unlucky pincer by Teddy and barbs, I was one turn short to avoid the disaster and it happend: city lost, inspiration delayed, policy cards selection all wrong and so on. Recovering from this catastrophy took some time and I was hopelessly behind in science and culture. Barely peaced out with Teddy, after taking 2 more cities as reparations, Peter sent his Cossacs to play with my spearmen and MaAs and xbows. His corps destroyed, peace with him, another Dow from Teddy. And so on. And Hammurabi was already in Information Era.

He claimed to be of Flat Earth persuasion, btw:

Spoiler :


But I doubt he fully understood what it meant, as he was like this:
Spoiler :

He was a runaway and he actually got to Smart Materials well before t300 :eek:
And he was about to finish the EE.

But I was like this, as usual:
Spoiler :


No bombers, no hassle, no loyalty problems with captured cities. I missed Shah, so the light in the torch came later, but it came.
Spoiler :
 
I had just have the game (deity, standard size&speed&disasters, fractal map, no modes) to illustrate my diplomatic approach.

This. This is why I set the World Congress to 45 turns instead of 30. You can ALWAYS cheese out a diplo victory. I should do a Gilgabro OCC just to prove it.
 
I won world congress but it felt unsatisfying. I also could have won religious because ai didn't dow me for converting or was allied. Also, they are very slow still with science victory.

BTW no niter for for frigates sadly but had 2 aluminum.

Also, Mayan lost their luster after converting their cities, tho their faith was still predominate in the world til the end.
 
I won world congress but it felt unsatisfying.
Hear, hear. Diplo victory is the biggest non-victory because of how cheap it is. Followed by the religious one.

As for AI science victory, as far as I could understand from the game files, AI is still going on vanilla SV tech priorities, although the required victory techs changed a little after GS, the priorities haven’t been updated. So AI tends to avoid researching Nanotechnology until the very latest, unless future era tech tree places Smart Materials directly after Nanotech. AI will not build any terrestrial lasers and might only build Lagrange lasers, if they have some aluminium and don’t use it all up on planes and helis.
 
As others have said spam Bombers from Carriers. Then have some units attack improvements. Burn everything to the ground, including the cities.
 
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