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In-Depth Guide to Offensive Wars (in progress)

Discussion in 'Strategy Section' started by amateurgamer88, Feb 15, 2019.

  1. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 Emperor

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    Unless you go Progress, building a Worker from scratch takes awhile. The turns early on can matter a fair bit, especially if you go Authority where you try to snowball as it's an early game policy tree. In addition, getting horses isn't very reliable, even with strategic balance where they can potentially spawn three tiles away from your capital. Going for Animal Husbandry and not getting horses is a pretty big setback.
     
  2. Minh Le

    Minh Le King

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    Terrain isnt always rough, horsemen are significant stronger than any ancient/classic era units, so you would want to use them assap, unless you have a spearman or archer type UU. The mobility of Chariot and horsemen make them ideal for hunting barb. They come a little bit later but they will get the result twice as fast.
     
  3. displayer

    displayer Chieftain

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    But you're making a worker anyway (unless there's a high-level strategy where you don't use them at all). With the extra production from Authority, making one will be even faster. And if you do have horses, you'll be able to make chariot archers and horsemen.

    It's true it'll be a slight setback if you don't have horses, but if you do then it's best to research Animal Husbandry early. Even if you don't have horses, at least it will lead to some other techs that you'll want.
     
  4. Minh Le

    Minh Le King

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    Actually not building a worker early is what set you back in the early game. You just need one worker. You can either build one, buy one, or steal one. Strategic resources gives big advantage in the early game and early successful war is always about pillage your enemies strategic resources. Horsemen and Knight are very strong its always better to use them as soon as possiblrle, they give huge power spike for a warmonger. If your enemies have horsemen when you have an army of spearmen and archers its gonna be tough.
     
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  5. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    You definitely get horses more often that you don't get horses. With strategic balance, its usually right next to where your settler begins. Its great information to have before you start settling cities, and if it is in the third ring the earlier you reveal the resource the faster your borders grow that direction.
     
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  6. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 Emperor

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    I guess it depends where you neighbors are at. If they are around 10 tiles away, I think getting something sooner will make your life better. I will have to try a game where I beeline for Horsemen and see how that goes. Just wish I have more time.

    I will admit that I don't know the best timing for Workers. Too early and they can't improve anything. Too late and you miss out on yields. It's something I'm still learning.

    Regarding Animal Husbandry, it's a weird tech in that it doesn't lead to anything useful if you don't have Horses. Walls and Barracks are great but, if you're on the offensive, something like Statue of Zeus feels a lot better. That's just my opinion though.

    They do give a big power spike but, for me at least, timing them is a bit harder as, by the time I get them in reasonable numbers, the AIs will be further ahead in tech and might have Walls by then. For Spearmen, you can at least focus on Warriors early on and upgrade them shortly after for a fairly big boost in military. I guess I just haven't found Horsemen working as well as they have for you.

    Does the border growth work that way? I thought they only take into account the tiles directly next to your existing borders and not tiles that are even further away?
     
  7. Minh Le

    Minh Le King

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    Animal husbanry reveal horse, cow and sheep which add a lot of hammer to grassland or plain tiles. Its a very useful tech I dont know why you get the weird impression.
    Going for Status of Zeus and spearman rush only work if your neighbour is super close, and you have many useful city states nearby to demand tribute from, and you have a Spearmen type UU (i.e Greek). Otherwise, the lifespan of a spearman is short, they become obsolate very quickly, while horseman remain strong until medieval.
    You mentioned a barb hunting phase in the early game, so I'd say the best units for barb hunt are Chariot/Horseman. Spearmen are useful to rush a nearby neighbour before they get wall up, not for barb hunt.
     
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  8. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    It does.

    For the record, I do like rushing spearmen with authority, but with progress I'll often skip that tech for a while.
     
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  9. doublex55

    doublex55 Prince

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    Is chariot archer actually worth it to build now? Skirmishers+ have always been amazing, but I know chariot archer used to be complete trash.
     
  10. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    They are pretty bad. But they upgrade to skirmishers, the upgrade is cheap, and they can be useful if you build the Terracotta Army.
     
  11. Minh Le

    Minh Le King

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    I find them pretty useful, its just you have better things to build and horsemen are better.
     
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  12. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    I see them plain bad in harsh terrain, debatable otherwise. At least, they can be produced very early, so that's your first high mobility unit versus barbarians, in case you want to chase them (get the bonus on kill).
     
  13. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    That's a good reason to build them quickly. The other advantage is residual — promoted skirmishers once you upgrade.
     
  14. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Agreed. I always figured they had a purpose in Epic/Marathon speed plays, but in Standard by the time you get your horses and basic infrastructure up you have moved on to horseman.

    Nothing wrong with the unit per say, its just the timing.
     
  15. Minh Le

    Minh Le King

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    Yeah, and probably all of my horses will become horsemen :D. Unless I have too many horses.
     
  16. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 Emperor

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    Unit Composition II

    Classical Era vs Ancient Era

    As we have all experienced, technology difference can make a big difference. This is made more obvious when we and our neighbor are in different era. Let's first talk about the situation where we are ahead in technology and reached Classical Era ahead of our neighbor. This is usually the case for lower difficulty and, for higher difficulties, there's a much smaller window of this happening. Regardless of the difficulty, it's always important to have a tech lead and those in the next era can often give you a very noticeable advantage. Unlike previously, I'm going to go with scenarios depending on what techs you have went for in Classical Era.

    Sailing:

    In the situations where we decided to go for Sailing as our first Classical Era tech, there are probably a bunch of Coast tiles so we are using maps like Archipelago. Sailing unlocks the first two naval units and they are actually exceptionally powerful. Just like the Horsemen of the Ancient Era, the melee naval unit, Trireme, is extremely powerful against cities without Walls. Even a city garrisoned with a Archer will struggle against a Trireme if it lacks Walls due to the powerful :c5strength: CS of 14. This :c5strength: CS alone will devastate coastal cities that lack Walls. You must also remember that ranged units like Archer has the promotion (not much of a promotion though) called Naval Target Penalty (-20% :c5rangedstrength: RCS against naval units). Even if you have a number of Archers, their impact is going to lessened. With proper timing, your Trireme and actually help you snowball very quickly with the capture of a few enemy coastal cities. However, it's obvious that we won't always have enemy cities without Walls (as Walls can be unlocked during Ancient Era). What then?

    The other naval unit unlocked by Sailing is the Dromon. This ranged naval unit is actually quite dangerous and, when working with Trireme, can really turn the tide of wars. The Trireme's biggest flaw is that it cannot move after attacking. Luckily, the Dromon does have this ability so, for coastal cities that only have one Coast tile bordering the city itself, then Dromons will give you a chance to attack the city more than once each turn. In addition, the Dromon has a :c5rangedstrength: RCS of 15 and that's extremely powerful at this stage of the game. If your enemy have Archers that your Dromons can target, you can quickly badly wound or dispatch those Archers so fewer units are attacking your Triremes. Despite the Dromon promotion of Naval Inaccuracy (-25% :c5rangedstrength: RCS against land units), the damage output from this unit will make your enemies hesitate to make their ranged units to a tile adjacent to a Coast tile. If the purpose of your Dromon is to take cities, then they don't have such a penalty and can whittle down the health of a city relatively quickly. Get a bunch of Dromons with a Trireme or two and you'll be taking cities fairly faster.

    Writing:

    I can understand that Writing isn't a military tech but it does have a big significance in your future war efforts. This tech focuses on the longer term as it provides you with the Library (and Great Library if you can get it) that will give you a significant boost to your :c5science: Science. Prior to the Library, we only have Councils that give 1 :c5science: Science (unless you have Tradition and got Ceremony that sees them give 2 :c5science: Science). The fact that the Library gives 2 :c5science: Science and a Scientist specialist slot means that, regardless what policy tree you picked, you will get a noticeable boost to your technologies. That technology will pay off if you are the first to enter Medieval era but more on that later.

    Mathematics:

    If Sailing is the most game changing on maps with lots of Coast tiles, then (in my opinion) Mathematics has the largest impact on land wars. This tech provides two very powerful units that can greatly shift wars in your favor. Not other land units in Classical era can have such an impact due to when these two units become available and their contributions to your war efforts.

    The first unit is the Skirmisher which is the first versatile ranged mounted unit. I said first because the Chariot Archer that precedes this unit ends its turn in rough terrain. The Skirmisher experiences no such hindrance and that makes it very dangerous to deal with regardless if you have flat or rough terrain. The Skirmisher has 12 :c5rangedstrength: RCS that can quickly whittle down your enemies if they have few counters. While units like Horsemen have the mobility to catch Skirmisher, rough terrain actually sees Skirmishers capable of hit and run tactics that will eventually knock a Horsemen out of commission. A Spearmen, an unit designed to deal with mounted units, simply can't catch a Skirmisher unless they get very fortunate. Archers need terrain in their favor as they need to both fully utilize their 2 range while also be safe from Skirmishers. Generally, Archers will pale against Skirmishers.

    The second unit is the Catapult. The Catapult is designed to take cities. Cities without Walls will fall in a few turns while those with Walls won't last long unless the defenders have a way to deal with Catapults. Getting this unit can make wars noticeably easier as taking walled cities is one of the tougher tasks you face. With Catapults, you won't need a ridiculous number of turns taking cities and the turns you save can help you snowball faster. It also allows you to do riskier wars since you can end wars sooner by forcing your opponent to accept your peace deals after taking one or more cities. The Catapult is dependent on the terrain but, under the right circumstances, it can fire at cities with impunity.

    When you unlock Mathematics, you have a few different unit compositions that are dependent on what techs you got leading up to this tech. You don't need Bronze Working to get Mathematics so there's a chance you might not even have Spearmen available. At this point of the game, Warriors are horribly outdated so they aren't even worth the effort. If you happened to grab Bronze Working before Mathematics, Spearmen is a decent unit to have in your army. While Spearmen aren't exactly spectacular and won't be relevant for long in the Classical Era, they can help serve as meat shields in rough terrain to buy your ranged units like Skirmishers and Catapults time to whittle down your down.

    With limited unit supply, a handful of Spearmen is more than enough. If you have choke points, these Spearmen can buy you a lot of time to even the playing field with your enemies. Your army will be consisting of one or two Catapults with a decent number of Skirmishers. Where's the Archer in this? Like the Spearmen, you can get access to Mathematics without unlocking Archers. While Archers have their uses, Skirmishers, more often than not, can anything Archer can achieve and then some. Now, you might be wondering that taking cities requires melee units and a handful Spearmen isn't going to be enough, especially if they are likely sacrificed for the victory of wars. There is a military tech that you must unlock for Mathematics and that's Military Theory.

    Military Theory gives you access to Horsemen and it's a very powerful unit for Ancient Era and good portion of the Classical Era. They have mobility and hit hard. Their weakness? Horsemen don't enjoy rough terrain defensive bonuses so they actually can't take hits very well unlike the Spearmen that can do better in rough terrain. Horsemen should be included in your army for flanking and hit and run tactics while avoiding taking unnecessary damage. An army composition of a handful spearmen for meatshield, Horsemen for flanking, Skirmishers for quickly whittling down enemy numbers and Catapults to quickly take cities can be quite deadly. While terrain and available resources like Horses can play a big role in your exact composition once you unlock Mathematics, the composition I suggested above likely gives you the best versatility in most cases.

    Masonry:

    Masonry is an interesting tech as it can help your military efforts differently from the other techs. First, this tech unlocks Watermill and Arena that can provide your city with a hefty amount of :c5production: Production. When it comes to war, :c5production: Production is very important for building up a military quickly for a quick attack before your neighbor is fully ready and replacing units if necessary to keep the momentum going. While these two buildings allow you to produce units even quicker, they pale in comparison with the Wonder unlocked by the Masonry. The Terracotta Army gives you a copy of each unit you have and they will spawn at your capital. If you had a couple of Archers, Spearmen and Horsemen at the time the Wonder is built, then you'll get an Archer, a Spearman and a Horseman at your capital. The more varied your composition is, the more units you can gain from this Wonder. This Wonder will bolster your forces faster without tying up production at multiple cities and, if your capital has a Barracks, then all of them will get a promotion as well. A properly timed Terracotta Army can get your war machine going very quickly.

    Iron Working:

    Iron Working has three aspects to it. First, it unlocks a Swordsmen that's quite powerful for its time. Since Spearmen is more or less obsolete at the start of Classical Era, Swordsmen will be your trusty front line unit that gets defensive bonuses in rough terrain. With a :c5strength: CS of 15, this unit can give problems to Horsemen under some situations. They also begin with the Shock I promotion so, in numbers and with proper positioning, they can be quite dangerous. Their mobility is one of their weaknesses but their contribution to your composition cannot be underestimated. If Iron Working is your first Classical Era tech, then you'll certainly want a couple of these units in your army. Normally, you'd want some Horsemen for mobility and Archers for ranged support with Swordsmen. While it's true that you can go for Swordsmen without the techs that unlock Archers and Horsemen, such a approach doesn't seem great except for lower difficulties (and, even then, I question how ahead you can get).

    The second aspect is the Forge. This building can be quite powerful under certain circumstances. For instance, a city with plenty of mines can get a lot of :c5production: Production from this due to Mines gain +2 :c5production: Production. The bonuses are further improved if you have a bunch of Iron resources too. As stated in the Masonry section, the extra :c5production: Production allows you to be ready for war sooner. Unlike Masonry, Iron Working actually gives you a unit to add to your army. The third and final aspect is the Heroic Epic National Wonder. If you build this in a large :c5citizen: Population city, it can add a few more :c5production: Production. The biggest bonus is the Morale promotion that gives +10% :c5strength: CS to all units built or will be built. How strong is that extra :c5strength: CS? At this stage of the game where you won't have a bunch of promotions, that boost will be felt for sure. Generally, this will be built in your capital and, since units prior to its completion also benefit, you can certainly finish getting the rest of your units so you don't have to wait for this National Wonder.

    Other Techs:

    As you probably noticed, the techs I've been mentioning are those that belong to the first column. What if you get other techs? If that's the case, then you are quite ahead of your neighbors. In such a scenario, then you have a lot of room to experiment with your composition or simply keep your tech lead and prepare for war once you hit Medieval Era.

    Ancient Era vs Classical Era

    As you move up in difficulty, the odds of the AI getting ahead of you in tech are more likely. Despite their tech lead, there's no guarantee that they will be safe from you depending on a number of factors. Below, I will be using the same format as above and highlight those factors that you can use to your advantage. To know what tech they AI unlocks, you can always check your tech tree and see which Classical Era tech is cheaper. This important piece of information can make a huge difference.

    Sailing:

    On a water heavy map, there's a chance that the AI will go straight for Sailing. If you happen to share a land border with that AI, then here's an opportunity that can open up to you. Assuming that you wanted to go aggressive against this AI, you might be beelined for either Military Theory or Bronze Working. With your opponent possessing only Warriors and Archers, then you'd have quite an edge, especially if you unlocked and have access to Horsemen. While it's true that, once the AI gets Triremes and Dromons, your war will get noticeably harder. However, a well timed attack can potentially result in the AI losing a couple of cities and fall behind. Then, you can steadily widen the lead until you can swallow up this neighbor of yours.

    Writing:

    When your neighbor enters Writing, there can a few problems that might arise if you don't take action. On higher difficulties, the Library will give the AI a pretty big :c5science: Science boost as they start pulling away requiring you play catch up until late game. Once the AI has a noticeable tech lead, you will struggle to take on the AI alone unless you have UU that will give you a sufficient edge in winning wars. Otherwise, you will have to wait for your neighbor to be distracted and attack when it's the weakest. Luckily, the AI is actually quite vulnerable if it beelined for Writing and, if your military production is already in progress, you can capitalize on the situation.

    To unlock Writing, you only need one military tech, Trapping. While Archers are pretty decent in the very early game, they have a few major weaknesses like rough terrain and Horsemen/Spearmen. If you have been preparing for war and have gone for Spearmen/Archer or Horsemen/Chariot Archer composition, then you will have a significant edge on your neighbor who unlocked Writing as soon as possible. You can quickly shut down this AI before it gets too ahead in tech count. While the AI can potentially tech faster to claim more Classical Era techs, even AI needs time to unlock techs and units which you hopefully use to cut down the AI down to size. An AI that goes for Writing might be the least dangerous in the short term but, if you do nothing about it, it will give you headache in the long term.

    Mathematics:

    Just as Mathematics can be quite powerful in a human's hands, this tech is equally dangerous if the AI can unlock it. What makes this tech especially dangerous is the fact that AI generally likes to, at least in my games, build quite a few Chariot Archers. As a result, they can get Skirmishers quite quickly and that makes taking their cities extremely difficult. Generally, I don't attempt attacking the AI that unlocks Mathematics first because they can easily force a stalemate in the best case scenario while making a serious counterattack in the worst case. Once they have a couple of Catapults on the field, then you better hope you have good terrain because Catapults that can attack your cities with impunity will quickly do so. When you see a neighbor get Mathematics, your best answer is to either turtle up until you get your own Skirmishers or plan a blitz to hurt the AI a bit so a future war can help you eliminate the AI for good.

    Masonry:

    The only thing you have to worry about from this tech for the AI is the Terracotta Army. Generally, the AI will look at the difference in military score between you and it when it decides if it wants to attack or not. On higher difficulties, the AI will have lots of units and Terracotta Army can give a few more units very quickly to give them the incentive to attack you. A neighbor you might be considering attacking can potentially turn around and return the favor. Very rarely do I see the AI beeline for this tech so I don't even know how often you have to face this scenario. One of the prerequisite tech, Military Theory, gives the AI Horsemen and that should worry you more than Masonry. Overall, Masonry is a bit more threatening than Writing in the short term while it doesn't offer much in the long term that the AI isn't already getting from its bonuses.

    Iron Working:

    Iron Working in itself isn't that terrifying. Usually, it depends on the situation leading to Iron Working that requires some attention. With Bronze Working as a prerequisite, there's a chance the AI got Statue of Zeus. Swordsmen with some decent promotions and Statue of Zeus can be a problem for sure if you don't have Walls. Good terrain can neutralize this threat quite quickly and I very rarely see AI army composition that has Swordsmen and not Horsemen. The extra :c5production: Production for the AI can likely spell more trouble since they can replenish units more quickly after losing any. Therefore, this makes an offensive war on the AI tougher as your Horsemen/Spearmen won't like attacking Swordsmen in defensive terrain.

    _______

    Overall, an AI beelining Mathematics should cause the greatest alarm in the short term while Writing should cause the greatest alarm in the long term. Sailing is up there if your cities lack Walls as those Triremes and Dromons can make short work of coastal cities. Masonry and Iron Working aren't too bad but they might force you to postpone your plans as offensive wars against AIs with these techs can be very grindy and can end nowhere.

    To be Continued...
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
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  17. Favorius

    Favorius I am not a Chief!

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    I love skirmishers as they saved my fledling empire many times against early agression.
     
  18. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 Emperor

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    Skirmishers are indeed that powerful and, offensively, they aren't shabby either. That's why I feel Mathematics can save or destroy empires in the Classic Era! :)
     
  19. ManoloZero

    ManoloZero Chieftain

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    absolutely amazing job man, please keep up with the good work, we all appreciate
     
  20. ManoloZero

    ManoloZero Chieftain

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    just one thing, first ranged naval unit arent dromons anymore
     

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