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Predicting enemy Stack'o'Doom

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by goodolarchie, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. goodolarchie

    goodolarchie Warlord

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    You know that feeling you get when you've been making an economic/scientific stretch, perhaps ignoring your military/defenses while you whip uni's, a GE rushed oxford and gun for liberalism? It's that feeling that you get when your neighbor or religious adversary, who you know will DOW at pleased has been quiet as a titmouse for the past 72 turns. I usually welcome these moments, because I enjoy a good turtle. But I've noticed something on Large Emperor+ maps... the AI really starts to procure some devastating stacks of pre-gunpowder units!

    Perhaps it's just me, and I don't get too worried unless I see lots of cats accompanying some brutal midgame UU, but I'm starting to think suicide cats make more efficient defenders than, say, longbowman or macemen. So when Qin shows up at my door with a 30 stack of cho ko nu / war elephants, its pretty hilarious when 4 catapults send his army into retreat, prompting me to nab a few of his cities without a DoW diplo penalty.

    Still, a force that size is pretty devastating considering that army probably took every single hammer he had for the previous 50 turns. And if they had been horse archers instead of elephants -- yikes!

    It really sucks pre-railroad to try and defend/respond to huge DoW stacks on multiple fronts when you can really only move one city at a time with your units. You end up losing border cities, to the effect that if I think incoming war is inevitable I just create a semi-garbage city on a hill, esp across a river just to slow the horde. I'm truly astonished at the size of pre-gunpowder stacks, compared to the 5-10 rifleman/grenadiers that would show up a few hundred years later.
     
  2. Rittmeyer

    Rittmeyer Prince

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    it's always best to attack instead of being attacked. not sure it's always possible though (unless you know all those AI stats - they do nothing for me since currently I play with CivGold).



    not always the case. I've been greeted by some memorable cavarly stacks with 40-50 units... Ragnar.
     
  3. mariogreymist

    mariogreymist Deity

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    In a memorable monarch level game, I once saw a stack of about 100 units (rifles/cannon) from Shaka. I fed it to the fishes. Thank goodness he was on another continent and I had a tech lead. (carriers/fighters/battleships/subs vs a few destroyers isn't exactly a fair fight...25 transports with only ten escorts...bad thinking) He went from power leader to below average in two turns, and was conquered (by my tanks) shortly thereafter. Shaka, Monty, Ragnar and Alex will all make huge stacks of industrial/modern units.

    I have used the "bait" city approach with some success too. I like it vs particularly aggressive neighbors when in a position to have a good tech lead by the medieval period. If there is one obvious city they will attack, I simply do my best to focus my military in that one spot, making it all but invincible. (enough spears to handle a quick HA strike, and enough axes to handle a big stack of swords) Then, when I have Maces/trebs, I strike out for their capital and vassalize them. Those guys make great attack dogs.
     
  4. bestbrian

    bestbrian Just this guy, ya know?

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    This is one of the reasons why Walls/Castles are useful. In this era, you can get very wll fortified cities that will stop enemy stacks for many turns (they AI never brings enough siege, and will stop under the walls and spend turn after turn trying to blow away every last bit of cultural defense), and this buys you the time you need to bring up your own stack and maul the heck out of the AI (siege is nice for this, but Flanking Knights work really well).
     
  5. NonPrayinMantis

    NonPrayinMantis Warlord

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    +1 QFT

    In fact, I wonder why castles are considered worthless buildings by many here. They not only provide catapult retarding defense, but also give +1 culture, +25% espionage, and the best benefit, an extra trade route!

    NPM
     
  6. Rittmeyer

    Rittmeyer Prince

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    yeah, bait cities work and some people advocate that monty is a good neighbour to have, because he is just so stupid. build a city on hills, build six archers, piss him off, wait for him to lose.
     
  7. Oggums

    Oggums King

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    Because people beeline expensive techs (Liberalism) and back-trade for Engineering. Castles will likely be obsolete (Economics) before you can even finish building one.
     
  8. mariogreymist

    mariogreymist Deity

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    I don't think most people find them worthless, but they definitely have a limited use. I almost always have a castle in each choke/border city. In cities which are unlikely to face an attack, the combined cost of walls and castles is too high to be worth it given the relatively short cycle of obsolescence and the quantity of other more :hammers: efficienct :commerce: buildings available during the period where you'd be building them. Markets, Harbors, Grocers and later unis and observatories will all yield more :commerce: per :hammers: invested. In military production cities, which usually don't run many specialists and have little :commerce: to multiply, castles are worth it even when not on a border (and a necessity if you're spain).
     
  9. bestbrian

    bestbrian Just this guy, ya know?

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    In base BTS they're not very popular because they come fairly late, are obsoleted pretty quickly, and require Walls which most folks tend to be pretty down on.

    I find them pretty essential, but I've been playing Legends of Revolution where they come in a bit earlier.
     
  10. goodolarchie

    goodolarchie Warlord

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    This has been my experience with castles. I always trade for engineering, usually after education + liberalism.
     
  11. capnvonbaron

    capnvonbaron Democratia gladii

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    It can really help to have good intel on your neighbors. I almost always go into the espionage screen in the middle ages and start directing most of my EPs toward the closest AI (set as weight 2... all others 1 unless I don't care about them at all, like isolated Shaka or something). Otherwise, station scouts in their nearest cities and keep an eye out.

    Once you can see into their cities you can keep track on whether they have a large stack moving your way, or another civ is moving a stack thru their territory. It can take a lot of the surprise out of their attack and you often have time for a civics change to whip/draft some units to help you out.

    I had a memorable game where I was busy doing a hostile takeover of Pacal when he capped to Alex. Alex had his usual rediculous/scary 20-30 unit stack of knights/muskets/pikes/maces yada yada that he was just itching to use. But because I had good intel on Pacal, I saw Alex's stack making its way toward mine. My stack was next to a city three tiles away from Alex's stack and I had already killed off most of Pacals defense/units, but rather than take the city outright I waited. Sure enough, Alex moved his SoD into that city on his next turn. On my turn, I unleashed my CR2 and 3 cannons, maces, and knights. I mauled his stack to bits, took the city, and continued marching. If he had encountered my stack in the field, things would've been very bad for me. Instead, I continued on, took some of his cities while I eliminated Pacal and lived happily ever after :)
     

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