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How to stop massive AI onslaughts?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Killroyan, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. Killroyan

    Killroyan Chieftain

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    I was playing a game as the indians on the 5th setting, continents and marathon speed. Had a good tech lead (artillery, steel) on my opponents. Was leading by 25% in points. Obliterated 1 civ and was destroying the romans who put up a hard fight (didn't want the early victory with axemen but through a tech lead). All of a sudden the Greek decided to turn on me and attack me full scale. I thought, let them come. My city is heavily defended by 2 machine guns, 2 riflemen, 1 grenadier and 2 longbowmen and 60% defense. Round 1 I kill about 6 canons and 10 cavalry. Round 2 I send reinforcements and kill another 3 canons and about 10 cavalry but my city is taken over (city defense still 60%). I check what the comp has and find out there are another 6 catapults, 4 canons and about 20 cavalry coming into my country. With most of my defenses taken out I quit the game there and then. So is there a way to stop this kamikaze canons strat or is this the way to go (was impressed by the ai actually using that strat)? I hoped my machineguns with first strike would be able to take out the canons before doing damage but it didn't work.

    Only options I am seeing here is:
    1. Upgrading all units in the city which I should have done but wouldn't have helped too much if you ask me against this onslaught
    2. Getting mass artilery there and suicide with collateral damage back, but that takes time
    3. Getting maybe a fort near the border to stop the first onslaught?
    4. Going back a couple of turns and give some stuff to the greek to get on their good side?

    So is the mass onslaught strategy the only way to go. At lower levels I never experienced this but against the romans I had a hard time to because they were suiciding dozens of catapults on my army. Do they all get these big armies at higher levels?
     
  2. Yzen Danek

    Yzen Danek Chieftain

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    A good offense is often the best defense. Against massive attacking stacks of units, the most important defensive units in the game are seige weapons.

    A suicide attack with 10 or so catapults/cannons of yours and that massive stack of doom would have been neutered.
     
  3. Killroyan

    Killroyan Chieftain

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    Yeah I agree on that but with the suprise attack and the main part of my attack force on the other end of the island I got into trouble. I totally underestimated the power of siege weapons to be honest. And you can't build to many canons in 2 turns time. So siege is the only way to stop this?
     
  4. cabert

    cabert Big mouth

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    i can see only 2 big options:
    - artillery (or better : bombers) to bring down the SoDs
    - railroads between your cities to bring riflemen reinforcements EVERY TURN. You can switch one very wounded one to one full health, to avoid leaving your other cities without defense.

    One other idea is to send a pet against the attacker. Bribe an AI to attack him, so he'll send some troops for defending against it. When you see SoDs coming, it's usually too late for this.
     
  5. Killroyan

    Killroyan Chieftain

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    Yeah the railroads I have. Should have thought about that, replenishing the riflemen etc... Can still try that. Bombers I don't have yet. Bringing the wounded to my other cities while moving the rest of my defensive force up to the city under siege is a good suggestion. Stupid me. Thx dude.
     
  6. cabert

    cabert Big mouth

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    about the reinforcement thing : it's only good if the AI doesn't bring his whole stack at once.
    Another method is to build an hospital in the target city.
     
  7. Killroyan

    Killroyan Chieftain

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    The Ai has 3 big stacks in my game. Every stack consists of about 6 canons/catapults and 10 cavalry. And then has some more running around pillaging stuff. I have survived the first round and thought I would survive the next round but I guess I have to stuff more units in the city to share the collateral damage to. I think I can get about 8-10 more units so it should work. Hospital is not an option yet. Cavalry, artillery and riflemen is top notch at that moment.
     
  8. Roland Johansen

    Roland Johansen Chieftain

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    These are your first posts so someone should say: Welcome to civfanatics! :band:

    I had such a thing happen to me on my last immortal level, epic time-scale, huge continents map, only it happened with middle age units (knights, catapults). But the amount of units was similar. My city was also defended well and I also brought reinforcements, but to no avail. I even had 2 catapults in the neighbourhood that I used to suicide on the AI stacks of DOOM.
    I was not actually at war but I had moved my main force to another border to prepare for a war. Those units were 5-8 turns away by road.

    There are situations where you lose a city that can't be avoided (reloading is not an option in my opinion).

    I didn't quit the game however. The AI lost about half it's attacking army in the successful attack on that city and had about 20-30 units left. Some were needed to control the city, others needed to be healed. In the time that was needed to advance on my next city, I moved new units to these cities and in a long battle managed to wipe out his attacking stack. Then, the tide of the war shifted and by the end of the war, I had recaptured the city and 5 more cities. I had to stop the war because of high war weariness.

    I like the fact that the AI is capable of capturing a city. And I like it even more to kill every last unit that participated in that attack. :ar15:
    Maybe you could have tried to keep the rest of your cities in a determined defence. In your description, the AI had also lost a rather large amount of units. Maybe, you could remove some defence from cities that weren't threatened to these threatened border cities. And of course, you should begin building new units, from the moment that he declared war.

    Edit: one thing that I did that seriously helped was remove some defenders from the city that was about to fall. The city had survived 3 serious attacks and there was no way that it would survive the next attack. I left the 3 rather healthy defenders to defend the city and moved the seriously wounded units (some 6 or so) out to defend the next cities. The 3 healthy units are still remembered as heroes (they took out another 7 or 8 AI units). I had time to heal the wounded defenders in the next cities to await the AI's next advance.
     
  9. Holycannoli

    Holycannoli Chieftain

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    That scenario happened to me. I chalked it up to stretching myself and my army too thin early on. I was originally attacked by Huayna with stacks of cannons and cavalry, and not only holding him off but making incursions into his lands as well. Nobody was gaining any ground. Luckily I was Catherine so my cossacks had a distinct advantage, since my army was quite a bit smaller than Huayna's.

    Then Caesar chimed in. He quickly transported tons of cannon and cavalry and I got sandwiched. I did not last long after that.

    It was one of my first games of Civ IV so I've since learned to build a much larger army instead of spending time building every single building I could in my cities.
     
  10. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Chieftain

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    Yeah, the old "Two phalanxes/spearmen can defend any city" calculation doesn't work anymore. The AI WILL wear you down. There've been some good suggestions so I won't bring those up.

    One thing that happened in a recent game was that I had invaded (on another continent) one of Montezuma's cities (partially to draw him away from Hatshetsup who was one of my friendly civs and whom I'm grooming for later votes in the UN phase of the game -- don't want to see her eliminated).

    Fortunately, the city was a coastal city, so once I captured and subdued it, I was able to upgrade my grenadiers to machineguns, who promptly dug in and waited for the inevitable counterattack. Well, sure enough, Monty came callin' and brought some knights, riflemen, and catapults with him. The catapults did a fair amount of damage, but I was able to -- for about three turns -- hold him off. By the end of the third turn, both machineguns were destroyed, and I was down to a few Redcoats on defense. They probably could've done ok, but I figured "Screw this." I'd already gotten Hatshetsup to make peace with Monty, and decided to do the same. So, now, fool that Monty is, I've got a city in his backyard which will soon be buying an airport for MASSIVE troop deployment when I hit the modern age with infantry while he's still using riflemen and knights.

    The point? Diplomacy can often be an effective means of waging war. When Alex attacks and you defeat him after maybe one round or so, if you've bloodied his nose bad enough he may be willing to sue for peace. After Round 1, you could consider asking for peace. After round 2 (but before you click "end turn"), ask again. He might go for it. Buy him off, even. Give him a mess of gold. And then build up your troops and attack him first.

    Alex is a notorious backstabber, too. He'll declare at ANY opportunity, if he's got the troops and senses you don't (and even sometimes when he DOESN'T have the troops). Keeping that in mind, your goal should be to eliminate or irrevocably cripple him so that he is no longer a threat.

    Suing for peace may not work, especially early on. But sometimes you can get a peace treaty relatively quickly if you've taken out enough of his units.


    Remember, you have to use ALL the tools at your disposal: diplomacy, money, science, military power, etc. All of it. Bribe him, sic a pet AI on him, beg for mercy, whatever. The goal is to get him to back off long enough for you to rearm and kick his philosophical ass. :)
     
  11. cabert

    cabert Big mouth

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    good point from solo4114!
    if you're not in shape to strike back, you should sue for peace asap.
    Killing most of his first stack is a very good incentive.
     
  12. Bushface

    Bushface Chieftain

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    I have the reverse situation. Washington is defending, and seems to have an endless stream of grenadiers with Garrison 2 coming up to replace those he already has in place: the new ones immediately fortify, while the older ones, already fortified, take the brunt of my attack while the new ones gain defence. So I'm bringing up a stack of 14 catapults, two with Barrage 3 and the rest with Barrage 2, which I shall hurl to their glorious dooms to whittle his men down to a more manageable strength before my own troops in successive waves swamp the city. I'll be getting cannon in a few turns, so losing catapults doesn't worry me.
    Other strategies ? Split my forces and attack in more than one place ? Not attractive, because it would take too many moves for my catapults to crawl across enemy lands. Send an army round the back, by sea ? I'd love to, but I have only one coastal city and that is just a three-hammer fishing village, half a continent away. No ships. Bribe another civ to help ? That won't work either, as there are now only two others and they simply do not have comparable technology as well as being right across at the far side of my vast and ever-expanding empire. They've been left alone to be dealt with later, like cherries on a cake, and with a similar fate in waiting.
     
  13. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Chieftain

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    How about pillaging? Attack his ability to produce. All land improvements affect production capabilities -- if you take out his farms, his people begin to starve. If you take out his happy resources or health resources, he'll have other problems like war weariness and loss of income from trade. He may also be buying his armies with gold (if he has Universal Sufferage), so taking out his cottages and such will cripple his economy.

    and of course, there's his mines, workshops (if any) and lumbermills (again, if any). Depending on how close your borders are, you could pull your catapults back to your territory, upgrade them when you get cannons (cannons with barrage 3? NICE!), and send them back in with reinforcements while your current army camps out in his back yard and basically lays seige to him to starve him out.

    You can fortify your troops around his area in a big ol' stack, and eventually he'll get feisty enough to try to take them out -- by which point if they've been hanging out on a forrested hill for 5 turns or more, they'll be almost impossible to dislodge. If you've got some medic units in that stack, you'll be in excellent shape.
     
  14. Juardis

    Juardis Chieftain

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    As soon as any civ declares war on me, I'm positioning units to get within one turn of my border cities. I'm also positioning units on hills/forests adjacent to my border cities. If I can figure out which city the AI desparately wants, I can reinforce that city significantly. If I'm on slavery, I whip reinforcements immediately. If have universal sufferage, I set science spending to zero, and hopefully buy reinforcements (but that takes longer if I have to wait a turn or two to get enough money to buy the reinforcements). The one thing I've learned on prince level is that once an AI declares war on you, immediately go to a wartime footing. Stop building that university or bank and start building military units.
     
  15. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    Bring on the draft!!!! Nationhood assumed. Looks quite good for late game play as you probably have lots of happiness reosources and loss of one population is not huge. Bit confused how you let the AI mass up 40-50 units on your border with only 5 or so units to defend.
     
  16. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Chieftain

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    The AI in question was one of the warlike AIs (Greece). In my war with Monty, he had a TON of units, both in his cities and out and about in the countryside. Made it tough for my cavalry units to get anywhere (in fact, they usually died).
     
  17. Dizzy75

    Dizzy75 Chieftain

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    This reminds me of the relevance of some Sun Tzu:

    “The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”

    I.e. especially with a psycho like Alex, don't depend on him not attacking, be ready to f**k him up if he does. Might mean waiting a few turns before your Roman war (you can rush at LOT of units via choppping/pop rushing/U.S. in just 4-5 turns), but better than losing cities.

    Railroads are a huge advantage in defense in my experience, since you can easily move most of your defenders to 1-2 main cities.
     
  18. Killroyan

    Killroyan Chieftain

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    Thx for all the advice guys. The great problem is that I am trapped between 3 military factions and Shang Qui who declares war from time to time on me to (Julius, Genghis and Alexander are on the same continent) so it is actually a hard game. Even Elisabeth has declared war on me (propably asked by Julius). I just love the fact that the AI can do this. Diplomacy is not an option. I tried it but didn't get an answer from them.

    Problem with these militaric factions is that they have tons and I do mean tons of units. I was invading Julius with about 20 cavalry, 15 riflemen and about 8 canons. I think he suicided over 10 catapults, 10 elephants, 10 knights and 10 macemen on my troops and still had 6 units left in his city to defend. When I captured 3 of his cities all I had left was 3 riflemen in each city. The rest was gone (including reinforcements).

    You guys have given some great advice. I am going to try to play on this evening and will see how it goes when I am convincing Shang qui to work for me (he is my buffer between Alex and me). If he can close his borders on Alex then Alex won't be able to backstab me.

    But the army on my main land was already over 30 units and more were coming. My cities just had about 3 defenders each left. It would be a matter of time before my next two cities would be conquered (including my capitol).
     
  19. aelf

    aelf Noctis Lucis Caelum

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    I play as Alex, and now that you mention it I kinda sympathise with my AI neighbours who must be experiencing the same psychoness I would from the AI Alex. Saladin got half his empire burned down w/o provocation in my current game. Never thought I'd grow to love Agg/Phi, what with Financial so fashionable.
     
  20. Dizzy75

    Dizzy75 Chieftain

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    Just sounds like a rough game - not sure what I'd do if 3 AIs ganged up on me. Probably die.
     

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