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Is Barrage broken?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by OTAKUjbski, May 28, 2008.

  1. OTAKUjbski

    OTAKUjbski TK421

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    :wallbash: Barrage ... is it worth it? :suicide:​


    For starters:

    • I'm using the latest Bhruic Unofficial 3.13 BtS patch & supplement.
    • My math is based on World Builder tests and this Collateral Damage Calculator originally posted by VoiceOfUnreason here.
    ----

    I have until just recently used the Barrage I, II & III promotions without any detailed consideration or examination of their effect.

    After running a couple tests and comparisons, I've convinced myself the Barrage promotions are broken and worthless.

    I'll start with two simple examples:

    Trebuchets, Macemen vs Longbowmen

    This is a situation I often find myself in. Let's go to the extreme and say I'm dealing with Sitting Bull, who has a stack of Drill I, CG3 Longbowmen defending his city on flat land.

    On my side of the fence, all of my units start with lvl 4 experience (3 promotions), and the city's defenses are already reduced to 0%.

    The Macemen are all given CR3. The Trebuchets essentially have the choice of City Raider (CR1, CR2, CR3) or Barrage (B1, B2, B3) or unpromoted (lvl1) ...

    Usually, I'd promote some of the Trebs to Barrage III and suicide them to more severely damage the defending stack -- ensuring my city raiders a higher chance of survival once one or two of the best defenders are knocked down.

    But let's look at some of the numbers now ...

    Promoted Trebuchet vs Drill I, CG3 Longbowman: (Combat Odds)

    • lvl1: 18.6%
    • B1: 18.6%
    • B2: 18.6%
    • B3: 18.6%
    • CR1: 27.2%
    • CR2: 51.5%
    • CR3: 74.7%

    lvl1 Trebuchet vs collaterally damaged Drill I, CG3 Longbowman: (base LB Strength, Combat Odds)

    • Damaged once by lvl1: 5.5, 22.3%
    • Damaged once by B1: 5.5, 22.3%
    • Damaged once by B2: 5.4, 23.4%
    • Damaged once by B3: 5.3, 36.5%
    • Damaged twice by lvl1: 5.0, 39.7%
    • Damaged twice by B1: 5.0, 39.7%
    • Damaged twice by B2: 4.8, 42.5%
    • Damaged twice by B3: 4.7, 44.0%

    CR3 Maceman vs collaterally damaged Drill I, CG3 Longbowman: (base LB Strength, Combat Odds)

    • Undamaged: 6.0, 28%
    • Damaged once by lvl1: 5.5, 57.6%
    • Damaged once by B1: 5.5, 57.6%
    • Damaged once by B2: 5.4, 59.1%
    • Damaged once by B3: 5.3, 59.9%
    • Damaged twice by lvl1: 5.0, 63.4%
    • Damaged twice by B1: 5.0, 63.4%
    • Damaged twice by B2: 4.8, 77.2%
    • Damaged twice by B3: 4.7, 78.6%
    Artillery, Infantry vs Mechanized Infantry

    This time, only the Artillery are promoted (up to 3 times) and have the same choice of remaining unpromoted or following either the City Raider or Barrage promotion line.

    Promoted Artillery vs lvl1 Mechanized Infantry (Combat Odds)

    • lvl1: 6.1%
    • B1: 6.1%
    • B2: 6.1%
    • B3: 8.2%
    • CR1: 17.3%
    • CR2: 37.9%
    • CR3: 65.0%

    lvl1 Artillery vs collaterally damaged lvl1 Mechanized Infantry: (base MI Strength, Combat Odds)

    • Damaged once by lvl1: 29.8, 7.6%
    • Damaged once by B1: 29.4, 7.9%
    • Damaged once by B2: 29.1, 8.2%
    • Damaged once by B3: 28.8, 15.1%
    • Damaged twice by lvl1: 27.5, 16.8%
    • Damaged twice by B1: 26.9, 17.7%
    • Damaged twice by B2: 26.2, 18.5%
    • Damaged twice by B3: 25.6, 19.4%

    lvl1 Infantry vs collaterally damaged lvl1 Mechanized Infantry: (base MI Strength, Combat Odds)

    • Undamaged: 32.0, 26.4%
    • Damaged once by lvl1: 29.8, 30.4%
    • Damaged once by B1: 29.4, 31.0%
    • Damaged once by B2: 29.1, 31.8%
    • Damaged once by B3: 28.8, 44.7%
    • Damaged twice by lvl1: 27.5, 47.7%
    • Damaged twice by B1: 26.9, 49.0%
    • Damaged twice by B2: 26.2, 50.4%
    • Damaged twice by B3: 25.6, 52.2%

    Conclusions & Observations:

    In the first example, promoting to CR3 increases the first Trebuchet's chance of survival by +56.1% while promoting to B3 doesn't increase that chance at all.

    In the second example, the increased Combat Odds due to B3 versus Gunpowder is laughable at best.

    Similarly, a single CR3 Trebuchet's lvl1 collateral damage increases the chances of a CR3 Maceman surviving by +29.6% while a B3 Trebuchet's collateral damage increases the chances of a CR3 Maceman surving by +31.9% (only +2.3% better).

    In both cases, the first three B3 siege units had <50% chance of survival, while all CR3 siege units had >65% chance of survival.

    In the case of the Trebuchet, lvl1 and Barrage I both had the same effect.

    ----

    Basically, Barrage doesn't do crap on siege engines. It does a modicum of damage which is far from accurately represented by the misleading "+20%, +30% and +50%" claims made by their tooltips.

    By comparison, the City Raider promotions give an overall considerably better chance of survival for the stack -- particularly the siege engines.

    It's also worth noting Drill II completely nullifies the already minimal effects of Barrage I, and Drill III completely nullifies Barrage II and even 10% of Barrage III!

    NOTE: I haven't yet run this test on Tanks, but I presume a similar concusion will be made when said Tanks don't already start with good Combat Odds.​

    ----

    What say you?

    Is the Barrage promotion broken on Siege Engines?

    ========

    Intrathread links (ToC):

    Barrage vs CR (Trial 1: Cats & Swords vs Longbows)
     
  2. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Chieftain

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    I agree, barrage is useless against 2-3 defenders.

    Wait until you are up against 6 defenders to use it. ;)
     
  3. OTAKUjbski

    OTAKUjbski TK421

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    That's what I used to think too.

    Maybe you should re-read the OP.

    Consider: A Barrage I Trebuchet will never do anything more to a stack of units (regardless of quantity) than will an unpromoted Trebuchet ... chew on that. ;)
     
  4. tycoonist

    tycoonist Chieftain

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    can't say i have ever used it since i found out i could get accuracy through CR
     
  5. silverbullet

    silverbullet Chieftain

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    I agree, it's useless for siege weapons. I sometime use it for tanks, to have a quick war with an SOD of tanks and spies/ships to take down defense. I am not sure it's better then city raider tanks in the long run though.
    One advantage of barrage tanks is that their collateral damage harms machine guns, which are immune to siege.

    Can you run similar test with the following settings:
    A city with several infantry defenders, machine guns, and marines.
    CRII tanks vs. CRI barrageI tanks vs. Barrage II tanks, or a mixture.
    Which SOD produces better results?
     
  6. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Chieftain

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    Why don't you set up a more realistic test.

    Defender:
    6 longbows

    Attacker:
    6 catapults
    12 swordmen

    Goal:
    Minimize casualties


    And forget those silly B1 trebuchets, that's a known rounding problem.
     
  7. OTAKUjbski

    OTAKUjbski TK421

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    @ DaveMcW: How many promotions does each unit (attacking & defending) get? 2 or 3?
     
  8. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Chieftain

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    I'd be interested in all 9 combinations of 1, 2, 3 promotions for attacker and defender. ;)
     
  9. OTAKUjbski

    OTAKUjbski TK421

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    OMG ... and time consuming.
     
  10. vale

    vale Mathematician

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    Meh its not that tedious to set that up (I'm not volunteering).
     
  11. Everest

    Everest Chieftain

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    I agree with Dave. Barrage will not improve survival chance but damage more defenders. Quite useful promotion for suicide stack-counter catapults.

    Useless against 3 defenders.
     
  12. OTAKUjbski

    OTAKUjbski TK421

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    Barrage does not damage more defenders ...

    Barrage damages defenders more.

    Unfortunately, that amount of additional damage is trivial -- which is the [perhaps vague] point of the OP.
     
  13. InvisibleStalke

    InvisibleStalke Chieftain

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    My rule of thumb is barrage for countering stacks in the field and city raider always for attacking cities. The problem with a purely barrage treb or catapult is that they usually leave the toughest defender completely uninjured.
     
  14. Ibian

    Ibian Chieftain

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    If CR is better for attacking cities, then it makes sense that combat is better for attacking in the field, no?
     
  15. OTAKUjbski

    OTAKUjbski TK421

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    I wonder if Combat is better than Barrage in the field.?
     
  16. johnny_rico

    johnny_rico one more turn addict

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    I've found barrage to be a waste though I have no math/statistics to back it up. I use city raider for attacking cities and promote up the combat line for defensive siege. I don't even really use accuracy that much anymore; rather, I use spies to drop defenses. Once cities have walls/castles, it simply takes too long to drop defenses.

    Regarding the combat catapults, I usually take some along on offense and will use them after the CR siege weapons are done. If the % to survive is high enough for the combat catapults, I'll send them in also. It's worth and XP and helps in GG generation, plus if you can get the cats up to combat 3, they're a pretty nice defensive unit.

    A medic 3/leadership GG siege is also a nice unit.

    Anyway, I'm in the ball park that says barrage is useless but siege has a lot more uses than just CR.
     
  17. Alsn

    Alsn Chieftain

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    The only time i ever invest in barrage is for "defensive" siege(such as catapults or cannons which i reserve for hurting an enemy SoD or a single rank for tanks so that they will actually do collateral damage at all.

    In general though pretty much all fights in a war are either defensive inside a city, offensive against a city or defensive outside a city. The last of those would be a situation where you have a "stack defender" defend for you anyway. In all those situations except the last CR and CG are more useful than pretty much anything else.

    Basically, if you have a very low success chance with your siege weapons then getting barrage is a bad idea because most likely there will be several defenders left at 90% strength or more left when your siege units are dead.
    If you have a very high success chance then getting barrage might make you need less attacks to reduce the entire defending stack to minimum strength but in almost all cases having CG instead will accomplish the exact same thing.

    All in all, barrage can occasionally make a difference but when it does its not needed.
     
  18. Ibian

    Ibian Chieftain

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    At some point the enemy units are so damaged that siege doesnt even get to attack it. The more times my siege fires the more promotions i rack up, so i actually see barrage as a negative for siege weapons. I dont remember the last time i had a war with tanks, but i cant think of any other time barrage might be useful.
     
  19. OTAKUjbski

    OTAKUjbski TK421

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    @ all: On a related note, what % Combat Odds do you wait for before you send in your City Raiders?

    Personally, I look for 75% - 85%.
     
  20. Alsn

    Alsn Chieftain

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    From my very small amount of experimentation done on the subject id say barrage is better in the open field but only because you can usually catch your opponent on open ground where they dont have any defensive bonuses thus giving your siege units a relatively good success chance from the getgo.

    Edit:
    Ideally yes, somewhere around there although if I know all my units have the same or better chance to succeed(since the alt-hover percentage is just against the best defender and not all of them) ill take my chances at anything above ~40-50% if the situation demands it.
     

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