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Pre-Industrial Age Wars

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Strategy & Tips' started by Globex, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. Globex

    Globex President Scorpio

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    When fighting industrial age wars, I like to build fort cities in CxC placement right up to the enemy borders and have my large army of workers rail the tiles around them. I then send my artillery to red-line enemy units and cavalry to finish off defenders and raze the enemy cities. I hate fighting wars before the industrial age because my units usually die against defenders and my armies suffer huge casualties. Do you have any tactics that you find useful for ancient and middle age wars? The only tactics that I have is: build a huge stack of swordsmen/knights and charge towards the enemy core destroying all cities in my path. Also, I have read many posts on these forums that say that catapults and cannons are useless because they miss a lot. Would it be worth it to build an army with combined arms instead of a stack with only one kind of unit in it before the industrial age?
     
  2. gmaharriet

    gmaharriet Ancient Crone

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    Check out this article from the War Academy, Warmongering 101 by scoutsout. http://www.civfanatics.com/civ3/strategy/warmongering101.php Section 3 has a great discussion of using combined arms in the Ancient Age and, since catapults are not very accurate, my suggestion would be to bring lots of them.

    Anyway, the article discusses both one-dimensional warfare in addition to combined arms, and other topics as well. I re-read it frequently. I've played Sucession Games with scoutsout, and he's truly amazing at warfare.
     
  3. Aabraxan

    Aabraxan Mid-level Micromanager

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    While the AA artillery units do seem to miss a lot, they're far from useless. You just need to take lots of them. Obviously, they're nowhere near as nice industrial-age artillery, but that's to be expected. A lot depends on what resources you've got. Obviously, if you don't have horses, you won't be building horsemen. No iron means no swords. But if you've got Math, you've got cats. In truth, I probably never build enough cats, but I always build some. In addition to redlining defenders, they let me count them.
     
  4. Nergal

    Nergal Chieftain

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    Its definitely resource dependent, at the worst a stack of spearmen, archers and cats is enough though. Depending on the civ maybe a UU like Babylonian Bowmen. If you have Maths and Ivory then SoZ is possible, Ancient Cavalry kick butt and are really good against spearmen. Look for Iron or Horses, take out the nearest civ with them as early as possible, pillage and fortify on their resources, let them die trying to kill fortified spearmen then take, or destroy their cites with archers and cats. Link up the captured resources and build Swordsmen, Horsemen, maybe Med Inf and Knights and keep going. If you can wipe a civ out before you or they meet anyone else if wont damage your rep and you can act all innocent.
     
  5. MAS

    MAS Chieftain

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    The main tactic is: Concentrate your forces on your target.

    If the AI defends their cities with 2 spears, bring a stack of 6 horseman, and you will be quite sure you can take the city. Then replace the ones that lost, heal the ones that are damage, and move the complete stack to the next target. Also, don't stop building units till after the war. Focus!

    Catapults are useful, though they miss a lot, you can compensate by building a larger stack of them.

    The main problem with this is that you will probably conquer a lot faster by investing all those shields in attack units instead, and just charge.

    So their main use is in the following situations:
    #1 You want to avoid WW. While lost of catapults are costly and conquer slow, you will be ensured you lose few units, so you will have very little WW.
    #2 You are playing an AW variant game at a higher difficulty, or you are playing SID. You can't win by outproducing the enemy, so you must win by increasing the kill/loss ratio in your favor. These are also the situations where you would build defensive units such as spearman.
     
  6. rysingsun

    rysingsun Chieftain

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    the big problems i have with catapults are:

    1) they eat up a lot of gold at a time of the game when unit support is low.
    2) they hit infrastructure in cities. artillery don't. therefore three times as many are needed.
    3) it takes so long to build up that force of 30 that i'm going to need that they and the rest of my army will be obsolete by the time i have that many -- and they are expensive to upgrade.

    in AW catapults are quite useful, not so much to attack cities, but to attack units out in the field, which they always target before improvements.

    back to the OP, i think i'm in agreement that the way to fight an aa war is to brute force it. the way to fight an IA war is artillery.
     
  7. psweetman1590

    psweetman1590 Chieftain

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    No, as far as game mechanics are concerned, they will always hit the units first. Unless I'm missing something big here....

    And you shouldn't need thirty catapults. For taking once city at a time, you can make do with less than half that number. You don't need to completely redline every defender. Just taking one hp off of every defender will practically garauntee you an easy win.
     
  8. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

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    In addition to what folks have said about artillery, in the Middle Ages, I wouldn't put much stock in knights. Beeline your research straight for Military Tradition, and crank out Cavalry. Cavalry's ability to move 2, attack with a siginifcant attack factor, and then retreat if losing, make them a very potent force. Used correctly, cavalry can take on anything up to (and sometimes including) tanks. Of course, by beelining to Military Tradition, you hope to spend most of your time fighting things much weaker than tanks.

    In the AA, newer players tend to undervalue horsemen. The 3 attack/2 defense of a swordsman looks unbeatable, but don't underestimate the ability of horsemen to move quickly and to retreat when losing. The movement lets you defend your territory with fewer units, since you can shift reinforcements as needed. The retreat ability saves you production, as each unit that runs away and can be healed is a unit you don't have to produce from scratch.

    Make sure, though, that you are the one attacking with both cavalry and horsemen. Neither unit is worth much on defense, so don't get caught. But here again, the speed usually means that you can make sure you are the one who gets to attack. If you are on the strategic defense, defend by counter-attacking. You can get pretty good at this if you practice.
     
  9. d_profesor

    d_profesor Chieftain

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    It means you didnt have enough gold to support your war.. and for that you must consider for a peace treaty or.. if you still wanna continue the war, you should find a way to earn some cash or gpt. Silde your research below 10 % or below. Dont be AFRAID for being backward people, You need those poeple to win a war :D .Like Mas said, "FOCUS", Trade tech with others civ, if possilbe. When you at war every activity must be directly focused or purposed for it. Example, If you build a temple, it should be for war purpose not for culture.

    And let see what you got after the war end. A good war will lead you over the others. Tech maybe, capture wonder, more teritory, gold, worker. If you you dont have those thing or have them for a few or litle after the war, thats a bad war.
     
  10. Nergal

    Nergal Chieftain

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    There is nothing wrong with knights, 4:3 is ok, as strong as cavalry on defense just not quite as fast. Chivalry is quite cheap to pick up on your way to Military Tradition and knights upgrade really cheaply, especially with Leos, which you either build or conquer. The main problem with cats is speed, you need roads all the way to enemy cities so they are ok for an initial onslaught. Horsemen are fine for picking off stragglers and decoying but are awful to attack with. Maybe I've just had bad luck with the RNG but horseman get trashed attacking or defending everytime, Ancient Cavalry run down spearmen, pikemen, riflemen and I've even had elite AC take out wounded elite modern armour.
    If you have to halt a war then yes take the AI for everything they have, if they wont give it then move more troops in until they do.
     
  11. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

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    A knight attacking a fortified knight on open ground faces slightly less than a 50:50 chance to win. Cavalry attacking that same unit is a 2:1 favorite, and it moves faster, too (so you can usually be assured of being the attacker). I understand that they are available earlier, but knights really are considerably weaker. And it is an optional tech.

    Well, with horsemen you do need to be prepared to lose some of them. Their main problem is expense. 30 shields is a lot for a unit with 2 attack factors and whose only defense is to run away. You certainly don't want to be defending with horses against swords! It's much better to hit the swords before they hit you. Baiting is an important tactic, so you only attack enemy units on open ground wherever possible.
     
  12. psweetman1590

    psweetman1590 Chieftain

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    I would say, however, that since you can get knights much earlier, they are more powerful because they allow you to have a larger empire earlier. Plus, if an AI attacks you and you've skipped Chivalry, all you have to defend with are pikes and Medieval infantry, which is... less than ideal. Knights are the tanks of the early middle ages, suitable for both offense and defense. It is, after all, only one tech away, it's not like you're really going out of your way to get it.

    And Military Tradition is an optional tech too, so that's no real argument. :p
     
  13. Bobv13

    Bobv13 Chieftain

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    I'm currently playing in a game where I had no saltpeter and had to go capture it. In that case Knights were indispensable, other wise as a Russian I normally by pass chivalry and go straight for military tradition. Every game is different, that's all I'm saying.
     
  14. anaxagoras

    anaxagoras Chieftain

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    Well, there is certainly more than one way to play the game. Personally, I only build a few pikes, but they're fine to have when I need them, because they are relatively cheap and have the longest upgrade path in the game. MI are not cheap for what you get, so I don't usually build them. Somtimes I'll upgrade vet+ swords to MI. Truly, though, I prefer to defend with horses until I get cavalry. There are definitely some times (like the lack of saltpeter mentioned above) where you don't have a choice, but my preference is usually to skip knights.

    As for knights being MORE powerful just because they are earlier...well, they don't seem that way to me. Remember, knights cost 70 shields to build, which is a very large price in the early MA. One knight costs as much as 2.3 horseman. Unless unit support is an issue, I'd rather have the two+ horses most of the time. Cavalry come just enough later that you generally have more productive cities and the 80 cost - just 10 more shields for a unit more than 50% more effective - is usually easier to bear by then.

    Finally, the one tech out of the way for knights is usually actually two. In order to pay off, you need knights right away. That means you need to research Monotheism in addition to Chivalry. Both of those take away from the time you could be making a run toward Military Tradition, which, although technically an optional tech, most players consider essential both for cavalry and for the Military Academy. If you don't intend to pursue Chivalry, you can skip Mono altogether and trade for it whenever the AI gets it. Meanwhile, both pikes and muskets are automatically on the main research path, in case you find yourself forced to defend.

    All of which isn't to say that knights can't be very valuable. I was just trying to present an alternative for someone who said they had trouble winning with stacks of knights in MA wars. If that isn't working, beelining for cavalry might be a good alternative to consider.
     
  15. MAS

    MAS Chieftain

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    @anaxagoras and psweetman1590

    I wouldn't skip knight normally, except if I have Mounted Warrior. Two MW> one knight. An other exception is if I can move directly towards cav before attacking an other civ. (say, if I conquered my continent with horses and need to attack the next continent)
     
  16. Globex

    Globex President Scorpio

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    How about workers? In industrial age wars, they are invaluable because of their ability to build railroads which bring my artillery in range of the enemy cities. In the Ancient age and Middle age, they can only build roads. How do I use them effectively in war and should I use them at all? Should my stacks of workers march behind my stack of units so that they have a path to retreat or should they go in front of my stack so that my army can travel faster?
     
  17. WackenOpenAir

    WackenOpenAir Chieftain

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    That huge stack of knights should simply do the job. If they don't seem to be very effective, build more, or try to get them earlier so that you can attack before they have pikes. The key is not to "just build some knights" but to focus on this. Have almost all of your cities produce nothing but knights or horses. After researching chivalry, you can stop researching. disconnect iron to bulid horses and reconnect it again to upgrade those horses to knights. This way, you can invest both your shields and your commerce into your army.

    It is best to start fighting well before knights usually. Just go to war as woon as you have some horses to do this. Just don't get them too far from home, as soon as you research chivalry, you want to get them back home for upgrading.
    If you do this all properly, and the game does not require navigation to reach every enemy, depending on your skill and the quality of your starting position, it is possible to win the game by domination/conquest with nothing more advanced than knights up to deity level (good skill & good start position)

    Of course, you may not have the skills and start position to win with knights on the level you are playing. In that case, it may seem like a big sacrifice to stop research in favor of upgrading those horses to knights. It is not. Even though the knights cost you so much to make, cost you upkeep, and the wars may cause you war weariness (you should be republic), it is still well more than worth doing this. Conquering some enemies will provide you wonders, luxuries, great leaders, territory, population, cities and you can demand technology from your enemies in return for peace to make up for the lost research. When your conquest is slowing down (most likely when your enemies are getting gunpowder) you can call your knights home, reinitiate research and proceed to cavalry or industrial age.

    The extra territory, cities and population you conquered can be turned into specialist farms to speed up your research. The conquered luxuries will allow your home towns to be happy. Now is probably a good time to build some marketplaces in your big cities for extra benefit from those luxuries. you probably want some extra libraries now as well. (you can build a few of these in ancient age to help you reach chivalry, but don't make too many too early, just 4 or so before chivalry is fine) If you have any chance to conquer the pyramids on your continent, do so.

    To get a good start, it is important to fully focus on food and thus growth in the early part of the game, and start building barracks everywhere in time. Do not waste any time on temples (you don't want these at all) build granaries only in key cities (settler/worker factories) and delay most of your markets and libraries until after the knights. There are always some cities that need a harbor, an aquaduct and a library for border expansion before they can be operational. These cities will never be productive. Don't let them build knights, let these cities worry about themselves and what they need. They are basically just a source of commerce and when they are done with their required builds, boats. Try giving these towns low priority in settling.
     
  18. Nergal

    Nergal Chieftain

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    It doesnt matter about having to bring knights home, if you can build or conquer Sun Tzu's then any towns you capture will have barracks. I've never been unable to afford knights, providing you have enough of them they will make money by conquest.
    The big trick with early warfare is dont stop at all. Build a core of productive towns, plenty of workers to road and mine/irrigate. Once you can produce decent troops keep at it. One mistake I used to make was building a huge army then stopping to build universities or something that took a good few turns. Keep producing troops constantly, the momentum is very important. The only sticking point is revolutions anarchy can take forever.
     
  19. gmaharriet

    gmaharriet Ancient Crone

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    This is, of course, very situational. If possible I take my workers (combat engineers :p ) along with my arty (cats, trebs, etc), protected by a defender or 2 (spear, pike). I try to have enough workers to road both the tile on which my arty are located and the military units (if they are on a different tile). This allows for not just retreats, but speeds up reinforcements, and provides access to a town you've just conquered and kept.
     
  20. ecuwins

    ecuwins Chieftain

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    Most of my wars are pre-Industrial age. It has been repeated in this thread many times. It is repeated in the war academy many times. I will repeat it again -- never stop building units! I have lost many a war because I prematurely "predicted" the wars end. A 7 turn gap in your "gravy train" of units can cost!
     

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