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muskets on the move

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by pi-r8, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    This game was my attempt to combine several concepts that I've been thinking about lately. The basic plan was to quickly tech gunpowder, and then use an army of guerrilla 3 muskets to conquer the world. Sounds crazy, right? It started withthis thread where people discussed just how useful musketmen actually are. I had tried doing a "musket rush" before, long ago, so I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into here, but I've learned a lot since then and wanted to see if I could pull it off now.

    Next was this thread, and many other similiar ones. I'll admit that I'm not very good at using specialists- My usual strategy is to build the great library, combine it with the national epic + two scientists, and then forget about specialists and use cottages for all my other commerce needs. But it seems pretty clear to me that if you want to reach renaissance or industrial tech as fast as possible, and particularly if you don't have good land, then specialists/bulbing are the way to go. My plan here was pretty simple: get gunpowder as fast as possible, and do as much damage with pure musketmen as I possibly could.

    The final piece of this plan was the tactics for mounted warfare that I've learned. this thread is a nice demonstration of that. The basic idea is, instead of using seige, you use units that can withdraw to do "collateral damage". A catapult can damage 5 units, but they'll all die in the process. A flanking 2 HA can only damage one, but at least half of them will live , and they'll probably do more damage to that one than the catapult would. It seems weird to attack when you've sometimes got less than 1% odds of winning with the first units, but it really does work as long as you've got enough. Combined with the ability to quickly attack whatever city is weakest, before they've got time to reinforce it, and you've got an army that can win quick, decisive victories.

    Muskets only have 1 move, and they can't get the flanking promotions. Or can they...

    Guerrilla 3 muskets will have 2 moves over hill, and a 50% withdrawal chance. They'll also get a 25% bonus when attacking hills, essentially canceling out the hill defense bonus. And of course, they'll be almost invincible when defending hills. Unfortunately it's a bit hard to get many of these- most leaders will need 10XP in order to make Guerrilla 3 muskets, and it's hard to make units like that early in the game. However there is one civ that can make them with only 4 XP- the Celts!

    The Dun seems like a UB that wasn't entirely thought out. The description says "gives Guerrilla 1 to all land units built in the city" but it omits that the only elegible units are recon, archery, and gunpowder units. Since the Dun, like all walls, obsoletes with rifling, that means that the only units that benefit from it are archery units and muskets. Oh, and grenadiers- I didn't get to use them in this game but I'll definitely try that next time.

    I chose Boadicea as my leader. Brennus probably would have been a better choice, since he's spiritual and I was switching civics a lot, but I just can't pass up the chance to use the raw power of Boadicea. Aggressive/charismatic = war all the way.

    I'll put up the game in the next post.
     
  2. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    The settings are emperor/tectonic/normal speed/standard size. I'm pretty comfortable at this point playing on immortal, but since I was doing a lot of new things I had to go down a difficulty level to make it work. It was still quite a challenging game. Tectonics means that there's lots of hills to exploit with this strategy. Normal speed increases the benefits of having two moves.

    Spoiler :
    Here's my empire in 700 AD, just before getting gunpowder. Quite small and pathetic really. I got blocked in early by Cyrus, and only had enough land to make 5 cities. I got 3 great scientists- 1 for an academy in my capital, another to bulb education, and another for a golden age to help finish gunpowder/switch techs/prepare for war. Possibly I should have used him to tech philosophy so I could get liberalism.

    Spoiler :
    You can see from the demographics how truly pathetic my empire was at this point. I barely had any production at all.

    Spoiler :
    I was doing quite well in tech, though. Anyway, as soon as I got gunpowder I began chopping/whipping like crazy. I was whipping every 2 turns in my capital, and using hereditary rule to keep the unhappiness down. I raised an army and declared war on Cyrus.

    Spoiler :

    Hee hee hee. He probably thinks that the massive defense bonuses will protect his capital, and didn't think I would attack it so quickly. Most of his units are in my territory, threatening Vienne. I simply snuck in the back, and attacked immediately. I didn't waste time bombarding, I just attacked straight away with the catapults, and then the muskets. Look at those defenses :crazyeye:

    walls + castle (ignored by my muskets of course)
    80% culture
    fortifed CG longbow
    and I'm across a river too

    It didn't even matter though, I still won :) I didn't have any Guerrilla 3 units yet, because this was my first war. In retrospect I should have traded for theology before doing this. Also, I probably should have focused my espionage on Cyrus sooner- I didn't have enough to incite a revolt, yet.

    Spoiler :
    persopolis was a nice prize :)

    Spoiler :
    I didn't have any more catapults, but I had some guerrilla 3 muskets now. Susa was no problem at all, and after that his Empire crumbled rapidly. This was one of the best underdog-style military conquests I've ever pulled off. It was seriously a case of Alexander conquering Persia.

    I made sure to eliminate him quickly. If he had survived as a vassal state, I wouldn't have been able to draft in the cities I conquered from him.

    Spoiler :
    At this point I had enough land that I probably could have just sat back, developed peacefully, and won the space race. But I wanted to really push the limits of what muskets could do, so I needed to go to war again soon. Unfortunately, my only neighbors were Shaka and Charlemagne, and Shaka had just vassalized Charlemagne.

    My original plan was to focus on Charlemagne, and try to kill him completely while just defending against Shaka. However, the Apostolic Palace declared war on Tokugawa, which caused all of Shakas units to be travelin through Charlemagne's territory, toward big T. That gave me an idea- I would strike quickly at Shaka, and conquer all his cities before his units had time to return.

    Spoiler :
    Here's the army I used to attack him, with many G3 muskets. I was able to take that hill city the first turn of the war, without any siege, and I don't think I lost any units attacking it.

    Spoiler :
    At this point his units started to return from his war against Tokugawa. I might have been able to take Ulundi, but I decided to just take Nongoma and end it. I had done enough damage to make Charlemagne break free. That hill zone was like a paved highway for my units- I still didn't have engineering, so my units moved just as fast through his territory here as they did through my own.
    Spoiler :

    Now that Charlemagne was independent, I had no trouble crushing him and taking his capital. I finally had engineering, so I used trebs to make this easy. I was a little worried about his grenadiers, but they really weren't a problem at all. They don't get a bonus against muskets, only against riflemen.

    Spoiler :
    At this point Surya unexpectedly attacked me. I had great relations with him until this point. This war was HILARIOUS:lol:. He came charging into the hill zone (luckily I had open borders with Shaka) with an army of almost all mounted units. Mounted units don't get the hill defense bonus, but my G3 units still got the attack bonus when fighting them :) I had just started making cannons, too. I think the kill ratio here was something like 50:5. He did capture that one city before I had time to defend it though, and he gifted it to Shaka :mad:.

    Spoiler :
    Now that I had cannons, I had no trouble finishing off Shaka. After that there's not much to say. I had so much land that there was no longer any challenge.

    Spoiler :
    One funny thing happened though. Surya attacked again, using cavalry this time, as well as his vassal Tokugawa. I still didn't have rifling ( I went straight for infantry), but my guerrilla muskets were still strong enough to defend my hill cities. This is 700 years later, and they're still winning battles for me. I built about 100 muskets over the course of this game (most of them drafted).
     
  3. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    I'm not sure how optimal this strategy really is, but it was a ton of fun playing this game. It's certainly possible at least on emperor level, and it would have been much more effective if I'd gotten liberalism/nationalism sooner (I lost liberalism by just a few turns). Drafting helped a lot here. Next time I do this, I'll go for grenadiers after getting cannons, to make things even more lopsided. I'm also curious whether this is possible with other leaders. An army of G3 Janissaries or Oromo warriors would be magnificent, and with Suleiman's philosophical/imperialistic traits, it might just be possible to get that quickly. Getting 10XP units out of the box is hard though. This might be a case where it would actually make sense to attach GGs to individual units. A G3 Janissary with tactics would have an 80% withdrawal chance lol, and would still be able to do a lot of damage.
     
  4. blitzkrieg1980

    blitzkrieg1980 Octobrist

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    Sounds like Muskets != fail... in fact, it sounds like (when used properly) they are win.

    EDIT: But to be fair, Boudica starts off gunpowder units with combat 1. So that means the base strength of your muskets was really 9.9. Not a huge advantage, but definitely an advantage over non-AGG leaders.

    It musta been the withdrawals. I was just flippin some numbers in my head.

    Longbows are one of the most powerful defense units in the game (given their era, of course).
    Let's look at a standard medieval longbow on a hill (since that's what we're talking about).

    Longbow: 6 + 25%(innate city) + 50%(innate hill & tile) + 45% (CGI/II) + 25% (fortify) = 14.7

    And that's not even including the cultural defense which you said you didn't reduce in that first war.

    Amazing! I've gotta try the Guerrilla 3 musket rush.
     
  5. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    Yeah, a lot of times the first musket to attack only had like 1-5 % odds of victory. That's fine. All you gotta do is damage it enough that the next one can kill it. Being damaged reduces unit strength so much that usually 2 is enough to kill a longbow like that. When half of that first wave of "suicide attackers" withdraws instead of dying, you can get reasonably favorable kill ratios that way.

    It'll probably take 2, maybe 3 muskets to bringdown one longbow like this. Let's say 12-14 (rough estimate) are lost killing 10 longbows. If half those withdraw, you lose only 6-7 muskets for every 10 longbows. Not bad at all! Compare that to losing 4 trebuchets and also spending 10 turns bombarding the defenses, and then facing a lot more defenders.

    oh, and I didn't reduce the culture defense at all in the second war, either :)
     
  6. Gliese 581

    Gliese 581 Your average civ junkie

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    Have you considered the french? Their UU has 2 moves after all. They need 8XP though with Nappy or De Gaulle.
     
  7. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Screw the french. Just tack GII on janissaries and be done with it.
     
  8. Gliese 581

    Gliese 581 Your average civ junkie

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    You need G3 for withdrawal.
     
  9. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    ironically I think the French would be the worst civ to use this strategy with. Well, maybe not the worst, but since they're already getting 2 moves they don't get much benefit from the guerrilla line. I'd rather use musketeers to do this on flat terrain, and then skip guerrilla and take combat or drill promos instead. I still think G3 Janissaries would be fearsome, but I can't think of any good way to create a big army of them.
     
  10. JammerUno

    JammerUno Chieftain

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    Better yet, D4 Oromos and forget about the G altogether.
     
  11. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    They're not strong enough to fight on their own. They're great when combined with pikemen and cannons, or when upgraded to rifles, but if you just use them on their own they're not strong enough to break through the longbows, not fast enough to attack cities before they're reinforced, and they get run over by knights.
     
  12. Ian Kognitow

    Ian Kognitow Deserter

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    You had mentioned great generals. One thought might be--especially with help from great wall--to save great generals from early wars rather than settling them. Barracks+vassalage+theocracy already gives new units 6xp. Now, attaching a great general to a stack of 5 Jannissaries will give each an extra 4xp. While I imagine one would still want to make a great medic first (especially in this case to heal the withdrawing G3 Jans), it's quite conceivable to at least have 2 other great generals in reserve by the time you hit gunpowder. That would provide 10 G3 Jannissaries ready to lead the invasion force, while other Jannissaries would still be starting out with 6xp and having an easy way to 10xp by cleaning up after the 10 leads.

    Also, as something of a tactical thought: if there are multiple hill tiles leading up to an enemy city, actually have whatever G3 guys you have hang back a turn if expecting the AI to throw some units, though without their full SoD, at your stack outside their city gates. The G2 Jannissaries should still be strong enough to easily hold up to the few cats, trebs, or maces they might throw out while again picking up easy xp/3rd promotions. Then, move in with the existing G3s to take the city while those lead G2s promote/heal up to swiftly move on to the next city.
     
  13. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    The problem remains getting gunpowder quickly enough.

    What route do you use? Education + bulbs or going through feudalism ---> mach ----> guilds ---> gunpowder?

    Going through education is more beakers, but it might be faster. Alternatively, one could do a philosophy bulb and then use the resulting tech trades + money grubbing to deficit research towards gunpowder through guilds quickly (PHI bulb isn't very off-track, since you probably want CoL, math, and alphabet anyway and meditation is easy to get).

    The other issue is that if you're gunning the bottom path ASAP, you're going to hit guilds first. Guerrilla III muskets will do better than knights on hilly terrain and are 10 hammers cheaper. However, nothing upgrades to them, they come later, and they have limited movement without the hills. While they do ignore walls/castles, knights ignore first strikes. Overall the muskets are a bit better but only if you can get them to guerrilla III IMO.

    I find it reasonably hard to use either knights or muskets without support, even against just longbows. Cuirassers are probably the first unit I can routinely get some favorable K/D from without help (I can just barely beat 1:1 attacking into enemy territory with knights, which puts me behind in hammers).

    Musket/treb/pike is very strong with tech trades off or on slow speeds though. Muskets soundly own everything in the field around then except knights.
     
  14. Ian Kognitow

    Ian Kognitow Deserter

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    Wouldn't Education make the most sense by allowing gunpowder to be taken off of or followed up by Liberalism - in either case allowing Nationalism/drafting to come next?
     
  15. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    The standard lib path is pretty fast and taking nationalism would allow a lot of units to be drafted quickly, but then you don't get good promos.

    But even very good lib times like 200 AD would STILL see longbows defending on emp+. I usually win it closer to 1000 AD for immortal. Even if that could be pushed back with heavy bulbing, the problems are still there. This is true for the guilds path also, though it lets you set up the XP for the muskets and allows caste/guild workshops and a run at cannons (though don't expect to tech well for long).

    Lib path is probably better since the AI loves the guilds path but then if you're not beating the AI down the guilds path, it has all the units you do and muskets vs parity aren't too exciting except as part of a balanced stack (where melee and archery cower in the field against them and pikes handle mounted).

    I just can't picture using them successfully without heavy siege support. Probably the easiest scenario to envision is globe draft (drama isn't a bad trade chip early anyway and the culture/:) from a theater is often useful outright) to get a ton of them quickly after liberalism, using siege as support. Looks strong in situations where you can use theocracy, so you get combat or CG I muskets and have access to accuracy promotions on siege. A combat I musket will have decent odds on medieval defenders after only the most minimal of collateral.

    One thing I haven't tried is to go musket draft + catapults (not trebs) and not bombard...just go barrage and slam 2-4 cats/city. I'm not sure if the collateral would be enough or not for the average city (obviously the super culture cities could be the few you use spy revolts against). Cats are better for pure collateral than trebs and are cheaper...but I do wonder at the K/D here and the hammer effectiveness of it. You are guaranteed to lose 100-200 hammers here (the price of 2 rifles or so) in siege plus some muskets (80 hammers but possibly less if drafted).

    So against an enemy with 10 cities you'd need about 30-40 catapults and at least as many muskets...though some of that could be had after the war starts. The problem with this is that it is comparable in hammers to a rifle, cavalry, or cannon invasion stack but is prone to flanking and involves more units in the absolute sense and earlier. Probably useful against smaller, stronger-tech empires to clip them before they get too advanced (I saw ABCF use treb/samurai on deity against mansa musa once so the concept has been executed successfully).
     
  16. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    In one of the early PYL games I had a fun game with Musketeers at monarch level. I went for lib>nat, gunpowder then just drafted and whipped. Casualty rates were high (I lost 55 out of 99 musketeers) but drafting makes them easy to replace and double movement rate gets replacements in action quickly. I ended up facing cuirassiers but even drafted lv2 muskets beat cuirassiers (you lose one weakening the cuirassier, second musketeer kills weakened cuirassier so its effectively 1:1). I had one medieval seige stack but musketeers took most cities without assistance coz the seige stack was so slow.
     
  17. Gwyddelig

    Gwyddelig Chieftain

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    This is why Civ rocks. We start out with a thread questioning the usefulness of muskets. Many people join in argue back and forth about it. Then someone actually goes out to test the hypothesis using the game itself with the results for all to see and discuss. Brilliant.

    If I'd seen this game about two days ago it would've given me heart for a game where I was boxed in with four cities but strong teching as Boudica. It could've been beautiful...
     
  18. Ian Kognitow

    Ian Kognitow Deserter

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    Well, in either case of teching gunpowder before Lib or getting it from Lib and then teching nationalism normally, there would be time to assemble one or two waves of muskets under vassalage before switching to nationhood for drafting. The unpromoted draftees actually--especialy as Janissaries--besides representing replacement troops could conceivably act as initial cannon fodder rather than cats/trebs or one's veteran muskets. They wouldn't cause collateral but it's really only the first couple CG units that would be a major problem - and insofar as weakening those few tough defenders, even an unpromoted musket will do more initial damage than a catapult.
     
  19. PieceOfMind

    PieceOfMind Drill IV Defender Retired Moderator

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    In theory this should be very doable with oromos. It might be hard to get them starting with 10xp but you don't need to when you have a unit with 2-3 first strikes to start and is immune to first strikes. This is pretty much the best case scenario for earning xp quickly to get to 10xp for the G3.

    If you time your battles just right, and you get your oromos starting on, let's say 5xp, then you'll be at G3 with about 2 victories at high odds, maybe 3 if you really obsess over fighting at greater than 99% odds.
     
  20. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    Ooh I like this idea. This might be the first case where I would actually use a GG on multiple units to promote them lol. Might be hard to tech fast enough while fighting an early war and building the great wall, though.

    Also, I might have overestimated the Janissaries for this. Their only really useful bonus for this strategy is the +25% bonus they get against archers, which is equivalent to a cover promotion. So a 10XP Janissary with G3 is actually inferior to an 8XP Boadicea musket with G3, C1, and Cover.
     

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