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Makeup of Armies

Discussion in 'Civ3 - General Discussions' started by RobS, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. RobS

    RobS Chieftain

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    I suppose just about everyone will build their armies to always contain the strongest, fastest units. Aside from perhaps one, two or three early-game armies, my late-game armies always consist of 4 Modern Armors, elites if available.
    At one point, some years ago already, I considered building some late-game armies consisting of 3 Modern Armor and either 1 Mech Infantry or 1 Mobile SAM, but thought otherwise of it. The Mech Infantry would slow down the army and I doubted the Mobile SAM would have any noticeable effect at all.

    Does anyone do anything other than strongest and fastest?
     
  2. justanick

    justanick King

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    In general that is the way to go. If there is an early leader, then Swordsmen or Medieval Infantry will be put into the army. Shortly after the (potential) availability of knights one might considers those for usage in armies, but at the respective time that may not be the most opportune thing to do as production is still limited and distances are not too long.

    Once cavalry becomes available cavalry is the way to go. This continues to be this way for quite a while, often till victory. Later on one may have to choose between tanks and cavalry. At times this is not an easy choice, unless you play Germany. With modern armour it again is obvious.


    One army of muskets(Japan's Samurai are much better) can be helpful if you have plenty leaders and need a strong defence against an enemy that already has cavalry.

    Marines(or Bersekers) can be the best choice for an army if you need the ability for amphibious assault and that ability can become quite handy or even necessary. I donnot like to skip such an important ability.

    What i have not tested so far is if an army of 4 mobile SAM are better at shooting down planes than 4 mobile SAM just placed at the same tile(more than 4 donnot help). If the boni of up to 100% for attack and defence apply to air attack aswell, then such a special purpose army can be quite valuable in some special instances.
     
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  3. RobS

    RobS Chieftain

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    Yeah, I've also had armies as early as Swordsmen, which seemed weird and funny.
    I've noticed that cavalry actually have longer range than even Modern Armor, so I've occasionally used those to finish off already weakened enemy units.
    I never thought of Marine armies, that's interesting. I would think one would have to know what one was attacking, since the only time I typically use amphibious units is to attack straight into cities. If you don't know what's in the city, your Marine army could easily end up toast, eh?

    I don't like bean counting, so I don't play on the highest levels. I just started playing this game again, after 2-3 years away. Bought the GoG version. I'm playing on the Monarch level, although I think I used to play the next highest (Emperor?).
    At this level, I'm often able to accumulate empty armies until I have Modern Armor to load them up with, often with at least some elites. That's when the fun really starts. I also rename my armies to numbered Tank Armies, (ie, 4 Tank Army) and Guards Tank Armies if they contain at least two elites. :mischief:

    I never garrison armies inside cities, because of the nuke danger.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  4. justanick

    justanick King

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    Not true. Armies however get an additional point of movement. So in both cases armies will have 4 points of movement.

    Well, with an attack value of 24 and 16 or more hitpoints such an Army would have some fighting strenght. As it can only attack twice per turn the risks of actually losing it are not that big.

    But the idea is to have the attack supported by either espionage (so you know what you will encounter) or strong bombardement by say ships. That will also give you an idea what you will have to expect. But espionage ahead will give you an idea which city you should bombard in the first place, so you really may need both for optimal results.

    The instances where armies of Marines pay up against AI are of course a bit limited.
     
  5. tjs282

    tjs282 Un(a)bashed immigrant

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    But what if you get a Leader even earlier than that?

    My current solo-game (Large, 60% Archi — I think — Emp, as Japan) began as a failed AW-attempt*.
    Spoiler * :
    Although I managed to hold my own through the Ancient Age, I eventually had to give up the AW-ambition once the other 3 Civs went Medieval, and their Knights+Maces started arriving (I had Iron and Horses hooked by that point myself, but had fallen behind on tech).
    Although my spawn-point was in quite a nice section of the largest continent (lots of Grass and Hills, albeit only two 1-tile lakes, separated by 1 tile, for freshwater), I got visited very early on by all 3 of my neighbours (America, Babylon, and Holland), and thus was 'required' — per AW-rules — to DoW them (triggering Babyon's GA when a Bowman won a fight).

    During these initial hostilities, I got an MGL from an eArcher (which itself died over the following interturn). Since all my towns were building units, and I also didn't yet have enough towns for my FP, I decided to build, fill and fight an Army, so I could unlock (and build) HE, and thus increase the probability of generating further MGLs. However, although I had WarCode as a starting-tech, and had either researched or traded for Bronze already (I allowed myself 1 opportunity to trade before DOW-ing), I did not have IW (IIRC, I was researching it, but was not far into it) — so the only units I had available were Archers or Spears (or Warriors!).

    Since I have seen the AI attack a healthy Zerk-Army on a Hill, using only LBMs and ACavs, I was not convinced that a D=1 Archer-Army would not be attacked (and killed) by Archers/Swords. So, following the 'single-unit-type doctrine', I went with 3 Spears*.
    Spoiler * :
    After I built the Pentagon I topped this Army off with a Musket, and it lasted until the AI had Bombers
    Obviously that meant that my first Army was really only good for defence, and I could only force the AI to attack it (and grant me an Army-victory), by garrisoning it in my frontline town (which was on a Hill, Walled and Barracked). At the time I figured that would be OK, though — because later on I would be able to use it as an invulnerable stack-anchor for my advance into enemy territory (or at least, for moving my frontline further west, to hold a Hilly semi-chokepoint until I could Settle there myself).

    But I'm now wondering if I would have been better off putting a mix of units into that first Army: say, 2 Archers, 1 Spear — or even 1 Archer, 2 Spears?

    Or possibly even keeping the Army empty until I had Swords (this would have required 10-15 more turns of research, though).
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
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  6. vorlon_mi

    vorlon_mi Just One More Turn

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    I end up with mixed armies, for different reasons; not because I think that it's optimal.
    • I try to put the elite unit that generated the MGL into the army. If it was an eArcher or eSword that produced the army, and I already have Medieval Infantry, I will fill the rest of the army with the more powerful unit. If an eKnight produced the army, it might be joined by Cavs.
    • Once I have Knights or Cavs, I usually use my army of "slow movers" as cover for my Trebs and Cannons. March that stack up to the city, and bombard. As a result, my early armies often survive into the Industrial Era.
    • Given that I might have an army of MDI or Knights when I build the Pentagon, I'm not making any of those to fill the 4th slot. I might put a Rifleman into the MDI army, or a Cav into the Knight army. Depending on when I get the Pentagon finished, I might add an Infantry to the Archer/Sword/MDI army for its 4th slot. What to do with a 3-Cav army, when I'm already making tanks? Build another Cav, just to fill the army, or consider adding a tank as the 4th?
     
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  7. CKS

    CKS Deity

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    In this case, a mix of units would have been bad. The bonus to attack or defense values is the total divided by 6 (until you have the military academy), rounded down. Three spears gets you 6 on defense (2+2+2), so you get a bonus 1, and they defend at 3. An archer and two spears only gets you to 5 on defense and 4 on offense (1+2+2 and then 2+1+1), so no bonus for either.

    Keeping it empty until swords would have been okay, though.

    If you need to get a spear army to win early in the game, attack barbs. You can't generate leaders from attacking barbs, but they do make victorious armies.
     
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  8. justanick

    justanick King

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    It seems to me that not doing that would be clearly the better choice. If you upgrade Elite*, then they are demoted to Veteran and can thus be promoted to Elite and later Elite*.

    Instead of upgrading simply disbanding old units can also be a good choice. Archers are a candidate for that. Or you can use them for risky attacks where loses are expected. Whatever suits the situation.

    Waiting would be one option, but chances are that the situation requires a more aggressive approach. So go for a pure army of spearmen if you are certain that this will be the better choice. If you are not certain about this, then a pure army of archers would have been the way to go due to the rounding CKS detailed.


    One major consideration at higher difficulty settings is that you need a full 4 cities per army. This is serios restriction when enemies to derive MGL from are plenty. Early on you need to maximize the amount of armies. Their value far exceeds the possible value of say the forbidden palace.

    But sooner or later you need to actually disband armies so that your limited amout of armies is filled best. For a good while those will be Swordsmen or MDIs. Knights however should probably not be used in armies. Wait for cavalry instead. I am not a fan upgrading units, but upgrading a knight to cavalry is a major upgrade at decent price.

    Now when you disband an army you get a return of 100 shields. But you get no return for all the units in it and they are disbanded just a well. So only putting cheap MDIs instead of expensive knights into an army has merits.
     
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  9. CKS

    CKS Deity

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    It can be a long time between knights and cavalry (especially if you lack saltpeter), and depriving yourself of 3-move armies now just because a cavalry army will be a lot better in fifty turns is silly. If you have so many armies that you can't make more and you are to the point where you can build cavalry or better attackers, I have trouble believing that it really matters whether you are disbanding MDIs or Knights with your armies.
     
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  10. justanick

    justanick King

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    The situation i had in mind is one where shields are a tad more scarce and research is not so slow. It may as well be only 20 turns instead of 50. I prefer to optimize the economy for net commerce instead for shields and thus advance nicely in tech.

    If however the size of your military measured in shields exceeds the production of 20 turns (by a significant margin), then knights are expected to be plenty enough to risk putting them into armies.

    More typical however seem situations where you produce around 200 shields per turn and can have around 5 armies. 20x200/40=100 MDIs. That would be a large military force. In my experience the size of the military hardly ever exceeds the production of 20 turns, at least prior to military tradition. It is military tradition that makes using expensive units efficient.

    As rule of thumb it seems to me that MDIs profit more from being put into an army than knights do.
     
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  11. jarred!

    jarred! Prince

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    This makes sense. If I research the middle or top branch of the middle age techs, MDI armies would be significantly more valuable than if I were to beeline to MilTrad.
     
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  12. vorlon_mi

    vorlon_mi Just One More Turn

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    Justanick, why are you not a fan of upgrading? On the surface, spending gold to leverage my investment in shields seems like a good choice. I spent 10 shields building a warrior, then spend gold to upgrade it to sword and then MDI. I can spend my shields building more settlers and marketplaces for the extra happy faces. Am I missing the ROI somewhere, given that I'm only playing on Regent level?
     
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  13. justanick

    justanick King

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    What i actually had in mind is to beeline for Military Tradition. This is one of those few techs that you need ASAP.

    The earlier you have it, the earlier you can stop putting shields into lesser units. Also it makes you save money be it in form of unit support or upgrading. Such savings in return help you to advance in tech.

    Because it is quite expensive. You have to pay 3 gold per shield. But when you put shields into wealth you have to pay 4(later: 2) shields for 1 gold.

    So what one has to do is to assess the relative scarcity of shields and commerce. Sooner or later 1 shield is not worth more than 1 gold.

    So from that perspective upgrading is best avoided. In principle building units with shields is preferable to creating them in a more expensive way.

    The one big exception is knights to cavalry because the military value of cavalry is quite high. They reason why some(but not too much either) upgrading can be acceptable is that it is required to get cavalry in numbers within 1 turn of having Military Tradition. This can give you an edge over your enemies that unfolds a value that is greater than the net costs of the more expensive approach via upgrading.
     
  14. RobS

    RobS Chieftain

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    I stay away from building mixed armies because I like to keep it clear in my head about how the army will behave - that is, it's approximate offensive and defensive powers and movement distance.
    So my answer would be to build a fourth Cav, which is something I've often done after already having Tanks or occasionally even Modern Armor. I'll even make an effort to get it to be elite.

    Another question:
    Is there a way to load units into an army in a specific order?
    The reason one would want to do this is to put the elite units into the bottom of the list of units in an army and the veterans (or lessers) into the top, so that those lesser experienced units will have a good chance of becoming elites. If the lesser experienced units are at the bottom of the list of units in an army, they will be the last to fight and very difficult to turn into elites without risking the loss of the army.

    (Thanks for the great discussion on this fascinating game which I've been playing now for almost 20 years. Sure got my money's worth for my Limited "Tin Can" Edition, which is simply beautiful. One of my top three games over the years, along with Empire Deluxe and the original Combat Mission trio of games. :thumbsup: )
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  15. jarred!

    jarred! Prince

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    In a military-minded game yes, but I was speaking more generally. That is to say, I don't think there is a "best" way through the tech tree that will fit every situation.
     
  16. RobS

    RobS Chieftain

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    Are you sure Cavalry armies can't move further than Modern Armor armies, at least over hills or through forests? For some reason I'm under the impression they can, through those terrains. I know they can't over open terrain.
     
  17. Kirejara

    Kirejara King

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    No, Justanick is right. Both Armies with MBT and Cavalry have the same movement.

    But I do not agree with Justanick about the upgrading of older units.

    While it is expensive, it allows my cities to improve their infrastructure (increasing my income and my productivty) and/or additional forces (if necessary ;) ), instead of building basically the same units again and again.

    Also in my current game I have two battle created armies of Knights (or at least their flavor counterparts) simply because there was no salpeter within my reach and I had to defeat the invading Mongols (who turns out after the end of the conflict had salpeter, but did not know the secret of Gunpowder).

    Since the two Armies also had to hold a few times frontline cities, the additional defence point compared to the MDI was decisive.

    Also Knight Armies are later able to keep up with Cavalry unlike Armies composed of MDI. ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  18. justanick

    justanick King

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    Well, my rationale is that sooner or later all improvements, that are worthwhile, do exist. In fact disbanding units in cities with low production can help with that. Cities with higher production however tend to have the improvements that are worthwhile.

    The rationale is a lot clearer in the industrial age than say in early medieval age.
     
  19. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    I would often do ancient cavalry armies in my 20k games, though that was the strongest unit available. One of my HoF saves has a horseman army, I'm not quite sure why I did that.

    There does exist some reason to consider making musketman armies, numidian mercenary armies, or hoplite armies if you don't have access to cavalry or knights, as the AI won't a 3 defensive army prior to tanks and bombers if it has at least 3 units and 7 hitpoints (it might actually be 6 hitpoints, but I'm sure about the AIs not attacking a 7 point army prior to tanks and bombers... I used that fact a lot in my 80k+ HoF submissions and attempts to protect cannons and to a greater degree workers).
     
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  20. justanick

    justanick King

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    Using ancient cavalry and (to a lesser extent) crusaders for armies makes sense. You get those units either way. You cannot save any shields by not creating them, at least not directly. Putting them in armies amplies their usefulness. Disbanding them however gives only mediocre gains.
     

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