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Navy vs Army, Marines, AirForce

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by King Phaedron, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. King Phaedron

    King Phaedron Chieftain

    Oct 9, 2017
    Playing my 3rd and 4th game of Civ5 (King Level) one with islands, the other on land; I wound up doing a detailed comparison on the effect of playing a pure Navy game vs an Army game. The Land game was Shoeshone on Lakes, where I mainly used Tanks with full honor and Order. For the Navy game I was Polynesia with Autocracy and Exploration on Oceania. The maps with no oceans are actually smaller then they should be. This is due to a limited amount of land variables.

    1.) Join the Navy, not the Army! (and lol at Marines with Pennicillin)
    Navy is straight out better, in every possible conceivable way.

    Cargo Ships > Caravans, both in range and double quality. True, Cargo Ships take longer to build then Caravans, but to really be useful you will build Caravansaries, whereas the Harbor also accomplishes the more important mission of building up City Connections. In the long run, you can only build x number of trade vessels, and unless plundered, you keep reusing them. So Caravans being cheap is a moot point, you get what you pay for, and when all is said and built, Cargo Ships bring home the big manager salaries.

    Harbor > Roads and Railroads. Harbors require 2 maintenance, don't use up a load of worker time to build, and cannot be pillaged, removed, or plundered. They also allow you to establish city connections with islands anywhere in the world, whereas land empires are better off staying in one spot.

    Galleas / Frigate > Crossbowman, Gatling Gun, Machine Gun, Bazooka, etc. One of the big problems with army units is that Archers, Bowmen, and Xbows, are great in the early game, but their progression is a dead end. Notice how the "Man" is gone. The elimination of the Human Element is a symbolic clue as to their utter uselessness. These are piss poor wannabe melee units that don't benefit from honor, and lose their range. Their is limited room at the front line. Early on, Crossbows are great, but beyond that nothing but Tanks and Artillery are really worth using in a land game. (Until Paratrooper, Xcom, and GDRs of course)

    Privateers > Land units. Although they earn gold through pillaging, only the Privateer can convert units, using them or selling them later. Pillaging often hinders you, if you capture the city or make peace and decide you want to trade for their x pillaged luxury. It is very useful for healing though, when invading by land, but land units take too long to reach their targets on water maps, going full navy is more efficient. Mass pillaging accomplishes little in terms of crippling city development, and you might as well capture the city anyway.

    Battleships, Missle Cruisers, and Destroyers > Tanks, Infant Trees, Artillery, and whatever else. Their movement and range are much better, and there is never rough terrain in the ocean to slow them down. After a surprise betrayal on the Navy game I captured and razed 19 cities within a few turns. Modern Armors on the land game vs Rifleman and at most a few Prachina, could not begin to match that level of conquest.

    Marines < Infant Tree. What a joke. You get a unit with 65 combat strength AFTER you have already researched what you need to get 70 combat strength infantry. The Marine was ALWAYS a Joke, from the days in Civ2 when it was introduced, it was inferior to the cheaper Alpine Troops with better movement. Amphibious Warfare is a joke, especially when you can capture cities with Privateers and Destroyers. Whatever supposed advantage Marines claim to have means nothing, they are simply too slow.

    Land = Limited. If your cities mostly consist of tiny islands, you will almost never need ground troops. There will be little if any room for barbarians to spawn, and any enemies who would invade you are better to destroy with navy before they set foot on your land. Land units will be useful for early game exploring, clearing barbarian camps, getting ancient ruins, and dealing with enemies that occupy the same land you do. Also later in the game, if invading a large continent start with the coastal cities and build airports. This is less useful, since you only need to take capitals for domination, instead of capturing every city in the world.

    2) City Connections, and the lack thereof

    On a land map, you need to keep your cities in your starting area and expand or conquer what is nearby. Going for Domination you wind up with foreign cities you can't form city connections to, and any automated workers you have will wander off, and attempt to build roads halfway across the world, that won't connect anyway because they will wind up relying on roads in other Civs territory where they can't build the final road within their territory, so they can never connect with your capital anyway.

    Harbors > Really really > Roads and Railroads. At the end game for Kamehameha I was making over 1200 gold per turn. At the end game for Poccatello I was making about 500 gold per turn, AND I captured Machu Picchu (+25% from City Connections) AND I had Wagon Trails (first Commerce, reduces maintenance cost of road and railroads) In the long run it makes a HUGE difference. 2 Gold Maintenance from every Harbor vs roads and railroads, although the railroads are giving you the +25% production, at the end game for both games, all of my cities are set to wealth, so even with the production bonus from railraods, AND Order Ideology, five year plan, party leadership, mines and quarries up the bazoo, it still does not compare to Exploration's first two policies and all of your cities being coastal and connecting via Harbor, on Autocracy.

    The downside of using roads really cannot be understated. On an islands map it is easy to connect every type of luxury resource by making cities all over the world and connecting them with harbors, for happiness, trade, and we love the king day. Even attempting such a thing on a land map is problematic. Even if roads could become maintenance free, all it takes is for one tile to be pillaged and all city connections are lost. "A Chain is only as strong as its weakest link." Chains are for chaingangs, Sea men are Free men.

    3) Admirals Vs Generals

    The Generals Citadel is much better then the Admirals ability, and especially the Khans are better. The problem with Admirals is they are too slow, and their ability to repair ships is only useful when the player is incompetent or the opposition turns out to be a lot more then expected. Even then, its only useful when you insist on capturing a city and are too impatient to settle for a strategic retreat to conduct proper repairs.

    I do not recommend putting more then 2 points into Exploration, the two opening tenets are clearly the best the tree has to offer, and I can barely imagine a situation where you will need to find "Hidden" Antiquity sites. Perhaps if every other player is going for culture and you decide to do late game archaeology.

    Unlike Generals you will almost never need more then one Admiral, so just be patient. True, the Admiral is slow, but this is solved by properly utilizing and maximizing the potential of harbors and a good navy. Use the Admirals port jumping ability and settle cities all over the world. Don't send a navy halfway across the world with an admiral trying to keep up, and then wind up forced to use him to repair your ships because there is no friendly territory within a thousand miles. Only players who do that benefit from fast admirals. The benefit of having cities everywhere, connecting all luxuries, and dominating the oceans cannot be overstated. A fast admiral is mildly useful for a quick full scale invasion, but there are bigger fish to fry on the policy page.

    4) Navy has ALWAYS been the way to go.

    If you played Civ1 and 2, then you be well aware of how Navy has always been much more powerful. In Civ2, the most efficient way to win is to capture every coastal city the AI has, and you can start doing it as soon as you get Frigates and Ironclads. The Key is to treat these captured cities differently from normal ones, similar to puppets. Instead of markets, libraries, make barracks, walls, and engineers. Do not capture a city with one unit. Capturing the city is easy, holding it and preventing the AI from stealing technology with spies is not.

    First, take a couple units. At least one infantry and one mounted unit. Unless your strategy is to depopulate the cities, but the computer will just resettle them later. Unless you need city walls right away, build engineers. Destroy the roads and railroads to hinder diplomats and spies. Do not attempt for any meaningful growth until you have build 2 or 3 forts, and at least two units to occupy them. (So that they can't be bribed) Your engineers can serve as the 2nd unit, when they are done, but keep at least one unit on sleep instead of fortify as spies and diplomats need to be actively defeated or they can slip by your defenses. Finally, have the engineers build hills where the forts are, even if you have to destroy another terrain first. Once you have captured the enemies coastal cities, and have forts on hills, you can make all the irrigations, mines, etc, factories, and other buildings without every having to worry about being attacked or enemy units preventing your cities from working their land. Those cities will be 100% invincible until the AI discovers advanced flight.

    With all Coastal Cities captured and fortified, you never have to worry about an invasion, and even if whatever is left of the AI civilizations does aquire submarines, rocketry, missiles and nukes, the most they can ever do is nuke their own cities. You will never to spend a dime on SDI buildings. Hold the coastal Cities, leave the inward cities alone. Even if you really want to destroy them. It is not efficient to attack inward cities until you have Espionage, so that you can mass produce spies to destroy city walls. By then your captured fortified coastal cities will have factories, barracks, and will produce all units needed to finish the job.

    If for some reason, you did not capture the AI's coastal cities but left them alone the whole game, and let them become strong, with strong science, etc, then you just build a fleet of battleships, and howerter guns, and make sure to begin the full scale invasion before they research rocketry. Facing an enemy in Civ2 that uses Carriers and advanced flight would be fun, but they will never do this. They will get rocketry which is easy to get after advanced flight, and then attack you with nukes, cruise missiles and submarines. So while it would be fun to see, if you actually allow them to get to this point, you have much bigger problems. Even if they were your ally throughout the whole game. If you refuse their demands and they cancel the alliance, they will break the peace with an unexpected, unprovoked, nuclear assault a few turns later.

    5) The Airforce

    The Airforce was the end game for Civ2. One Carrier with 20 units, mostly bombers, and helicopters to capture cities, could destroy an entire civilization in a single turn. If you had Stealth Fighters, even better, since there was no limit to the number of their attacks. In Civ5, the Airforce is purely Defensive. With it's puny 2 units, carriers are not worth using. Enemies may have SAMs and air units generally take more damage then Civ2 bombers, their animations are long and boring, and having dispensed with the out one turn, return to base on the second turn, their strategic usefulness is crippled. In Civ2 for instance, bombers could be used to blockade a vulnurable city or land unit from enemy ground troops by making it impossible for them to cross the space. If you have two bombers to spare, you could effectively capture cities and prevent units on railroads from retaking them. You could use them defensively, as well as offensively.

    Although I'm not saying I don't agree with the changes. It doesn't make any realistic sense for bombers to blockade ground forces, and the Airforce was easily overpowered when properly used in Civ2, but in Civ5 It seems to have been nerfed to a point where it is truely not worth bothering with. They are excellent for defending cities due to their range, and the fact you can have 6-10 air units along with a battleship, and an artillery making a single city nigh invincible (except vs a large army with a SAM.) For capturing anything near the coast, full navy is the way to go, and then land units are needed to capture deep inward cities.

    Air units become even less useful because there are no land carriers. If there are no cities, or at least no cities you intend to capture, but you need to capture a city deep within a continent somewhere, a land unit that carries air units would be useful, as air units could attack without dealing with mountains, rough terrain, citadels, etc. These would be worth using, whereas carriers really are not, and then they start you with a 2 unit limit. That's just adding insult to injury. I NEVER bother with Airforce except to boost defense.

    This system of flight makes fighters pretty lackluster, if not useless. Unless they are SAMS, fighters, or against cities, it should not even be possible for bombers to take damage when attacking. How is dropping bombs on a ground target not considered a "Ranged" unit? Why do bows and crossbows get better range then Gatling Guns, Bazooka, and Machine Guns? You try firing something with bullets vs something that shoots arrows and tell me which has the better range. Archers are basically just an early game treat.

    6) Maximize your Naval Efficiency

    A) Build Every City on the Coast. Get first two Tenets in Exploration.
    B) Settle on Islands all over the world.
    C) Always build Harbors instead of Roads.
    D) Always build Cargo Ships instead of Caravans
    E) Dominate the Oceans, and Sale the 7 Seas.
    F) Try to do this on a map where you control the islands, and the AI Controls the land.
    G) Go to war when there are cargo ships within range, and plunder them.

    If the entire map is tiny islands, the AI will be doing the same thing. It's better if you settle on the Islands, while other Civs are living on Small Continents building roads, Caravans, and ground units to invade each other with, thus hindering their own efficiency. Also maps where there are closed off seas, this is the real reason why the game won't let you build ships to connect cities via lakes. Because the AI is stupid, and builds a fleet of ships that has nowhere to go.

    I found this to be really annoying on the Lakes map as Shoeshone trying to peacefully co-exist with my Spanish neighbors. I controlled a tiny sea with 7 fishing boats, 4 crabs, 1 whale, and 2 fish. Isabella built 2 Triremes and was amassing troops along my borders. I really did not want to build ships in this game, especially with no place they could go. Military advisor was oddly silent, but the economic adviser was worried about an invasion. So I waited for the right moment, when two units were in the water, and destroyed them and a trireme with xbows. One fishing boat was destroyed, even though I left the other trireme alone, the Spanish are extremely petty. They are pillage / plunder happy, always trying to be annoying. Whereas Inca are ruthlessly effficient and tend to only attack if they can kill units.

    I had already taken her capital and wanted to leave them in peace, but it was clear Barcelona had to be razed to the ground. The risk of having to rebuild 7 fishing boats was an unacceptable early game production nightmare, so we decided the petty Spanish could never be allowed to have a city on the coast. I also killed their Catholic religion with an inquisitor on their holy city, and their belief of +1 production per fishing boat became equally useless.

    Of course all of the policies, wonders, etc, are more or less useful depending on the civilization you are playing, their special abilities, your opponents, and the type of map. For a land map Commerce is going to be useful, and if no oceans, exploration is nearly useless. I laugh when I see the AI with admirals waiting around in tiny closed off seas doing nothing. Brazil was in that game, and went full Exploration, despite never having a single city next to the water. My Shoeshone game was not domination however, it was world leader. There were 26 city states, and I also went full patronage and maintained all of them as allies, except the hostile ones. If anyone denounced me, I put them on permanent or near permanent war and locked them out of ever having the chance to steal them away from me.

    But what is even better is if you reload, and DoW the turn before they denounce you, and then just stay at war with them so they can't denounce you, and thus cant influence other civs that are neutral or friendly. This is also more manageable then having to deal with their stupid messages about city states, calling you vermin, befriending your enemies, etc. Just keep declining their half hearted begging for peace during which they try to unload you their crappiest city.

    But the Navy game was ridiculously overpowered. After winning the science victory I declared war on every other Civ in the world, all of whom had already betrayed me or got on my bad side. I captured city after city. I hit a low point of -121 unhappiness and rebels cut off the tiny road from my capital to a city with a harbor, so that I wound up getting -670 gold per turn, going from +700. That goes to show you how powerful city connections really are. I had -40% combat penalty on my battleships, missle cruisers, and destroyers, but I was still capturing city after city with ease. None of my cities ever switched sides. No matter how much the people hated it, Polynesia took over the world, and was absolutely unstoppable. But even after capturing every city, Kamehameha's lust for fighting could not be quenched. Coming from a long history of playing Civ2, I needed to end at least one game of Civ5 with the capture of every city in the world, including city states.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  2. BlackWizard

    BlackWizard King

    Dec 14, 2010
    What a wall of text but Im going to comment only to one point: Dont use automated workers. Workers are best unit(even better that settlers) in game so why would you want to make poor ai handle them?

    You speak about building engineers? You mean great engineers? New cities are very slow to build grea?t engineers. Or maybe you speak about civ 6 instead of 5?
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  3. King Phaedron

    King Phaedron Chieftain

    Oct 9, 2017
    Agreed. I dont use automated workers until later in the game to work on cities I dont care about or do whatever else is to be done. (Usually to make repairs after mass pillaging, but all they ever want to do is build roads and trading posts) It is important, especially early on, to have an idea what you are doing and prioritize it. During a golden age workers try to build trading posts everywhere, but Mines Farms and connecting resources should almost always be first concern.

    No, I did not mean great engineers. That whole section was a strategy commentary for Civ2, where Engineers were the advanced promoted worker / settler and where terrain defense was actually significant and forts were actually important and worth building since they didn't take up the space of farms, mines, etc.

    I like how with future Civ games we can begin to fill in the blanks with regard to Future Tech. I was happy to see Nanotechnology, Internet, GDR Mechs and Xcom. One of the most important will undoubtedly be the patented fully operational ISS Sun Simulator. (Also reproducing the Nikola Tesla patents.)

    How to know when you've been playing Civ5 for too long:

    For me, this is when I look out my window at the partly cloudy sky, and I could almost swear I see a faint grey hexagon pattern and some faint green land borders somewhere. My eyes look at the blue sky and think it is coast tiles, and on just the right day, I look up at the clouds and my brain is telling me they are fog of war. I then look around for signs of land, but of course there is none to be found.

    And should I see the Sun, I wonder if it is really the sun or if the International Space Station has just been completed and the ISS Sun Simulator launched. Then I remember that I don't live in Nigeria and the sun is not flashing.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  4. noto2

    noto2 Emperor

    Jul 11, 2008
    What? Air force weak? Are we even playing the same game? I barely remember playing Civ 2, I played it about 20 years ago, so I can't comment on it, but from Civ 3 onward air dominance has always been the way to go - just like real life. It is the same in Civ 5. Given the same amount of hammers, if I invest more heavily in the air, my overall military capabilities will be higher, either on the offence or defense. Air units are incredible, always have been.

    As for the navy being overpowered, yes, it is, just like in Civ 4, for one major reason - as bad as the AI is at fighting on the ground, it's even worse at fighting at sea. The AI neglects its navy badly. Even in Civ 4, where the AI actually managed to be a military threat because it wasn't hampered by "muh 1upt", it still sucked at fighting at sea. A very comment event for me in Civ 4 was to send a naval group to an enemy coastal capital and take it in one turn - usually to prevent a culture win. This was very easy to do, even if the target civ had a much higher power score than I. The AI simply did not prepare to defend itself against amphibious invasions.

    In Civ 5, at least you can't raze a city in one turn (or raze a capital at all), so that cheesy strategy is gone, but nevertheless the AI is still absolutely terrible at maintaining any sort of naval presence. The combat AI is awful in general, but at least the AI will sometimes maintain a large army that can be a significant obstacle to land based conquest, slowing your progression. The AI almost never seems to build a significant navy, though, no matter the map type. It's very sad. I played many continents games where the final war was a large amphibious invasion complete with battleships and carriers. It would have been awesome to have to fight an enemy fleet, but in the thousand + hours I put into Civ 5 that has never happened. Ever. The AI might have a battleship or two straggling around, or a sub somewhere in the middle of the ocean, but it never seems to build a large fleet.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2017

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