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Is there any reason whatsoever to attack cities with melee units?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Question, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. Question

    Question King

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    Other than to land the last hit and capture the city, or for the melee seige units obviously.

    A 20 pop city with a castle has about 45 strength. That will eat riflemen alive and even units stacking bonuses to get 45 strength will kill themselves trying to melee it (and get one shotted by the city and its defending units next turn).

    Attempting to use sea beggars with logistics + coastal raider 3 resulted in the above happening. I would attack twice, get brought down to less than 50% hp by my own attack, deal neglible damage to the city, then the city would one shot it next turn. I gave up and went back to frigates.

    Naval wise, theres also no reason to build more than one or two melee units as ranged naval units massively outdamage melee ones. A frigate has more ranged strength than a privateer, and the same combat strength. The frigate wont take damage when it attacks, so the privateer is at a disadvantage from the beginning. It gets worse when destroyers have no upgrades but battleships upgrade to the vastly superior missle cruiser. Ground ranged units have less combat strength than melee ones, but this doesnt apply to naval units for some reason.
     
  2. Sharples

    Sharples Prince

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    In vanilla, yes there is. But in BNW? Not really unless you're going a quick Legion rush.
     
  3. beetle

    beetle Deity

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    I think the point of logistics on privateers is to attack and retreat. Heal, attack again later. But they are weak, so you need a bunch of them. As you observe, not nearly as efficient and effective as frigates. But with the extra promotions out of the gate, Sea Beggars at least make the strategy feasible. I find it really hard to get a single privateer to logistics, let alone a small fleet. Mostly I only build privateers because destroyers with the Prize promotion are lots of fun.
     
  4. Question

    Question King

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    The problem is that theres no real advantage to that either.

    I just tested it and a sea beggar with about 40 strength deals about 23 damage to a strength 48 city, whereas a frigate with much lower strength deals about 22 (according to the pre-battle popup), so theres not much of a different in strength in the first place. The sea beggar took 38 damage from hitting the city and will need at least 3 more turns to heal back up to full. As you use more sea beggars, each of them will need 3 more turns to heal to full whereas only one frigate would be getting damaged each turn from the city's attacks.

    I think melee naval needs a major boost....something like cover 1 and move after attacking would make a difference.
     
  5. beetle

    beetle Deity

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    The privateers are also getting you some gold each attack. But I agree it's not worth the bother. It is more fun though!

    That would be very nice. I also think its a shame that naval units, unlike everything else, never can get a proper repair promotion.
     
  6. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    This won't change your basic point, which is correct, but you can at least speed up the healing process of your privateers by parking an embarked unit with Medic I and II where you plan to do the healing. Note that the units to heal should be in adjacent tiles -- for what ever design reason, a unit parked on the same tile doesn't get Medic benefits.
     
  7. persisT

    persisT Chieftain

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    I have never tried to attack cities with many melee units (ships or not), i only had 1-2 just for the last hit. But personally i always build just a few melee units (with the exception of mounted ones, which is another situation) since they dont bring anything particular on the table. When you get the infantry is the only era that melee units seem like a good source of attack but even then infantries will be soon replaced by paratroopers (which is something you dont say as a traditional melee unit).
     
  8. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

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    Main time to attack cities with melee units is after you've bombarded it enough that you can take it over with your melee units that turn, when by contrast if you waited til it actually hit zero health it would take take an extra turn or two.

    A secondary time is units with either the second attack or move after combat promotion and sufficient MP can after a given turns bombardment drive in from outside the zone, melee attack the city and run clear out of the city bombardment zone (Privateers, Tanks), in this case it's almost like an extra bombard.

    Destroyers that started off as Privateers in a city with an Armory (and so they started with Coastal Raider III), can also get some gold attacking a weak city at very low risk of being killed. (This goes double if playing the Dutch)

    As I recall, the Huns have a very good early UU for taking cities even with it being a melee unit.

    There are also some interesting circumstances if you've already been at war 5 turns (and so the AI is willing to talk) that if you damage the city really badly even if you don't take it the AI will be happy to give it to you in the peace talks.
     
  9. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    Hmm or perhaps ranged naval needs a nerf? The fact that you can very easily level Frigates up to extra range (already third promotion if I'm not mistaken) and that their movement makes it extremely easy to move in a large number and shoot on the same round in a city with just moderate coastal exposure makes it extremely difficult to defend against a naval attacks, particularly if someone reaches Navigation before you (Caravals vs. Frigates, lol?).

    My suggestions would be:
    • All naval ranged units have their base range lowered by 1(!)
    • All naval ranged units have their melee combat strength reduced to make them more vulnerable to melee naval units
    • Cities can build a naval fort to defend against naval attack

    First point alone would have pretty significant impact on naval game play, but when this is said, I think the whole idea of melee ships doesn't really make much sense (apart from the Trireme and Ironclad and perhaps the Caravel), because didn't pretty much all ships carry canons as their primary means of offense after invention of those? Rather I'd like to see all ships (save perhaps those exceptions) have a range of 1, but with some having bonuses vs. cities and others having bonuses vs. other ships.
     
  10. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    Just moving Range back one promotion would help a lot.
     
  11. Vitruvius

    Vitruvius King

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    Some melee UUs can be powerful.

    Berserkers (they come really early before cities have castles)
    Impis
    Legions (high strength)
    Mandekalu cavalry (can attack and move with no penalty)
    All armor units especially with lightning warfare

    There's also a siege promotion that people seldom take. I always build siege promoted xcoms to snipe capitals far away.
     
  12. Callonia

    Callonia Deity

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    Reason 1: Your Melee is strength 60, city strength is 20? Its faster to rush in with a melee unit.

    Reason 2: You have more melee than ranged.

    Reason 3: You lack Iron for frigates so you opted to wear it down by force with alot of privateers just cuz you don't really like that AI.

    Reason 4: A big battle just finished and all your defenders is now moving into the attacker's territory to take his cities.

    Reason 5: On average, an melee unit is more faster than ranged units in terms of movement points. Mongolia/Huns is the exception to the rule and such.

    Reason 6: Your ranged units is too faraway.

    Reason 7: Your melee will only lose a portion of it's health attacking the city not 51% of it's health so why not?

    Reason 8: You are certain that the melee unit will survive attacking the city then getting hit by the city's ranged fire plus the garrison inside and retreat safely.
     
  13. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    Related to these is attacking with a melee unit for the sole purpose of having it serve as the target of city fire (as a wounded unit), rather than your more vulnerable ranged or siege units. I often use scouts for this as well -- move a scout that I no longer need into range of the city -- the city will target the scout before any other units (stupid AI).
     
  14. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

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    Actually the way I see it the main reason ranged units are so powerful is that there are way too many things whose range starts at 2 hexes.

    Ideally, both cities and just about every ranged unit of every type should start with a range that's 1 less of what it's currently.
    In addition the Longbow which should be given a different free promotion instead of range.
    Gatling Guns / Machine Guns / Bazookas whose range already starts at 1 would stay at 1 but would have their movement points cut from 2 to 1. (That's right, fire OR move but not both in the same turn unless on roads/rails.)
     
  15. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    Moving range back one promotion helps, but not a lot. Range basically allows you to take cities with zero loss instead of losing perhaps one frigate, but even without range, it's generally possible to get at least 6 frigates within range AND attack city on same turn which should be enough to take the city under most circumstances - exception being if city is located in the end of a bay which limits number of available water tiles.

    Of course having melee naval units can help you defend your cities, but again because of range 2 and high maneuverability of ships, it's pretty easy to cherry-pick naval units 1 by 1 without losses even without range promotion.

    Both of these issues would imo. be dramatically reduced if native range of ships was 1. This would put a natural limit on the number of ranged ships that can attack cities each turn and it would make melee ships much less vulnerable.
     
  16. Mutineer

    Mutineer Deity

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    a few notes, BS do not upgrade to missile cruisers. Or they did not in game I play.

    Tanks actually work reasonably good in taking cities, because they can move after attack. Attack, pillage or move out of range of cities.
     
  17. GoStu

    GoStu King

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    I'll use melee units to attack cities when they won't take >50% hp damage for doing so. I like that melee units gain +5 XP for every attack they make vs. the +2 of Ranged (+3 vs cities). I generally promote my infantry for maximum survivability though, with Cover being their first promotions after Shock or Drill as appropriate. Later I get Medic, and only later do I do further up to grab March. Done properly these units are more or less immortal as in groups they can heal 25 hp/turn and shake off most comparable ranged attacks with ease.
     
  18. Question

    Question King

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    None of those are particularly good at taking out cities. Im not even sure if the impi spear throw affects cities. City strength appears to scale per era based on the seige units strength vs cities, which makes attacking them with anything else inefficient. Theres no point attacking a strength 40 city with strength 20 Mandekalu cavalry when you need trebs to do any decent damage.

    The most efficient plan in the absence of special units (like seige towers, keshiks, etc) seems to be to just bomb it to pieces with ranged units and then move in one unit to take the city. Before you get range 3 units, that means using a melee shield to hopefully distract the AI while your seige units bomb the city to 0 hp.

    I think a mod that lowers city strength would really help here, with a corresponding reduction in seige unit bonus vs cities. Anyone know of one? "Weaker cities" on steam workshop isnt getting any useful results...

    Ranged naval excels against coastal cities because they have no setup time, no terrain movement costs and generally, no terrain blocking direct fire. Before you get frigates, it can get really annoying because galleons cant go into ocean tiles though. However naval units cant get seige bonuses so that kind of balances it out. I think one flaw of the core game is that land seige units dont get indirect fire till artillery, so that means before then a city in hilly terrain is near impossible to take. I had a city once in the middle of a large patch of hills + forest and the AI couldnt take it despite surrounding it with tons of units. But thats easy to fix with a indirect fire mod.

    As it is, it can get really difficult to take coastal cities. Lets assume this is a intelligent player with his own navy + one land unit + one naval unit in the city. The city and its garrison should be enough to take out one frigate per turn alone, and in city strength scales MUCH better than naval strength. Arsenals come out a lot earlier than battleships and make large cities immune to frigates basically. For some reason there is a massive tech gap in naval units between frigates and battleships...i think it would really help if there was a ranged iron clad unit at the same time as you get melee ironclads.

    Or you can bombard the city to 0 hp by firing on it every turn at 3 tiles with your artillery at no risk to yourself. Theres no reason to waste time healing unless you have extra tanks sitting around who could use the xp.

    Also not really related, but i just saw a mod on the workshop that claims to fix a cover bug where it doesnt work for ranged units. Does anyone know if thats true for BNW?
     
  19. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    The discussion that led the author to create that mod was post-BNW.
     
  20. Ryoga

    Ryoga King

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    That's okay I guess.

    You did something wrong.

    Buy Iron from another civ, buy the favor of a CS that has iron, settle a new city where there's iron. Give up on conquering until you get battleships.
    Unless your enemy is weak or you don't really need to worry about victory those options are better.

    What is better to garrison a city? A ranged unity that can fire every turn without ever getting damaged (and losing strength) or a melee unit that you'll have to retreat after a few turns or let it die?
    Your defenders shouldn't be melee or more melee than ranged.

    I don't think that rushing an attack is a good idea. You generally want to place all your units around the target (outside its range) and then move them all at once, so if a unit is faster it will just need to wait for the others.
    But regardless of that I find that even if cavalry units are fast that doesn't compensate for the turns they'll spend recovering the health lost after conquering a city.

    Don't fret, wait.

    In case you have more than one city that you want to conquer, the least damage your melee unit takes the faster they can recover and move onto the next target. Of course if that's the last target and you are sure your melee won't be killed, then go for it.

    That is sometimes a good strategy, it may depends on a few factors.
    1) you know that your siege weapons would be killed, but a melee unit might survive even if weakened.
    2) You know that one of your units will die no matter what: better be a melee (but you need to have some backup)


    So well in general melee units are not very good in Civ but it's not like they don't serve any purpose. The first purpose is of course to conquer, since ranged can't do that, the second is to work as shields for your ranged units (although that doesn't work for naval units). I often move my melee near AI's melee units but instead of attacking I defend (unless it's safe to attack). The point is that melee units will attack while defending, so I'll just let the AI initiate the struggle.

    I know I have a very conservative approach, but I see no strategic benefit in losing your units if you can avoid it, that's a waste of hammers.

    I don't quite understand what's the benefit of double attack on melee units frankly, I'd rather have a "heal every turn" promotion on them, on the big picture they'd attack more often that way and would die less frequently.

    The same is true for Air units: Repair -> Logistics.
     

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