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Privateers for Dummies...

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by 6K Man, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    Not sure if this has been said before, but I hope this is a starting point for some, anyway. Comments, corrections, additions welcome…

    Privateers

    Privateers may well be the most versatile and useful units in BtS. They have the ability to wage war without war weariness or diplomatic penalties, while still collecting GG points and xp far beyond what can be gained from barbarians. At the same time, they can pay for themselves by pillaging and blockading AI cities – and the money doesn’t come out of thin air, it comes out of the pocket of your AI victim.


    The “classic” use of Privateers is to cripple one’s opponents by starving them, pillaging their cash and improvements and sinking their less-advanced navies, while simultaneously gaining cash, GG points, and a highly promoted navy of your own. My focus is on that approach, but they have other uses:

    - they can be used to block both hostile and non-hostile AIs from settling lands that were inaccessible before Astronomy. Used in this way, you only need a handful of Privateers, in groups of 1 or 2, and a few Caravels or Galleons to use as a picket line to spot the approaching AI Galleons. This is an easier trick to pull off if only 1 or 2 AIs have Astronomy, and when Frigates appear, you can forget about attacking escorted convoys with your Privateers – it’s just not worth it.

    - they can patrol your own coastline, sinking those pesky AI Caravels that may be carrying Spies or Great Merchants. This only requires a few Privateers that can be based in your cities, venturing out only to sink AI ships. Consequently, they’re at little risk and don’t need to be stacked for defense. Note that you can continue to use Privateers this way until well beyond Chemistry, if you’re careful.



    Not surprisingly, Privateers are most useful on archipelago or other water-heavy maps. They require Chemistry and Astronomy (and Copper or Iron). Your window of opportunity to use Privateers will be longer with Tech Brokering turned off (if you don’t consider that to be too easy). The +1 move from proving the world spherical is extremely helpful to have, both for tracking down stray AI ships while blockading, and for fleeing when Frigates make their appearance. Being able to start at Combat 1 (through an event/quest, settled GG, or otherwise) is also helpful, as will be noted.



    Tactics: When using Privateers to blockade AI cities, always do so in groups of 3-4 Privateers. Groups of fewer than 3 Privateers run the risk of being counterattacked, and more than 4 is usually overkill. The reasoning here is that the AIs will very seldom attack a stack of Privateers which contains 1 vessel with 5+ health if all they have to attack with is Galleons and Caravels. So, ideally, you have 3-4 ships in each stack, and they will rotate among the following roles – one to attack with, one to scare away counterattacks/pillage/blockade, and one healing up after attacking last turn. Beware the temptation to pick off that last Caravel with your one healthy Privateer… if your attacker sustains a lot of damage, the AI may go all out and try to take out your stack, if none of your ships are at 5+ health.



    The best cities to target tend to be large AI capitals (obviously, coastal). By the time Privateers are available, most AIs are running Bureaucracy, and their capitals are large, economic engines. Blockading such cities can easily yield 5-9 coins per turn. Not only that, but by blockading, you are depriving the AI of the use of all water tiles in a 3 tile radius of your blockading Privateer. This can be a significant hit to the AI, both foodwise and commercewise. Plus, as you’ve probably noticed, capital cities seem more prone to have multiple food sources – and if these are fishing/whaling boats, they can be pillaged for additional cash. Finally, the AIs will often concentrate a large number of ships (Galleys, Triremes, Caravels, and later Galleons) in their capitals – and if these ships come out, they can be picked off by your increasingly more dangerous Privateer stack.



    (A quick note on AI ship tactics: Don’t be too nervous if you see a large group of Galleons and Caravels in the city you are blockading. As I have noted, as long as you have a Privateer in the 5.5 health range or better, they won’t attack you, even if the other Privateers in your stack are in the 4 or 3 range healthwise. The AI simply doesn’t sacrifice ships in battles that would be futile for the individual ship, even if such sacrifices would almost certainly allow their other ships to wipe out your Privateer stack and free themselves from your economic chokehold. It also seems to regard Galleons as exclusively transport units rather than as naval superiority units, so it usually attacks with Caravels when it attacks at all. I have seen as many as 8 Galleons and 22 Caravels in one AI city, hiding out from my stack of 3 Privateers. I did take care to ensure that at least one Privateer in the stack was always at full health, though!)



    Once you have your stack ensconced outside the AI city, you need to do 4 things:



    1. Blockade (the cannon icon). This is fairly easy. A Privateer can always blockade, even if it has already attacked or pillaged a sea tile and has no movement left. You need to be within 2 tiles of the city to completely cover all possible sea routes out of the city for maximum effect (periodically, the blockade radius will appear around your ships, like the flight radius does for aircraft). So, you should always have one Privateer blockade the city at the end of every turn. No more than one, mind you – multiple ships blockading from the same tile have no additional effect, AND if a ship is blockading, it doesn’t automatically wake up the next turn. If you have 1 ship blockading and the others healing, make sure you check the stack next turn to make sure you don’t miss an opportunity to nab a Trireme or Caravel while your stack is “sleeping”. Blockading will net you some cash per turn – the most I have seen is 9 gold, but it’s usually about 2-6 gold. So, if you have 6 stacks of 18 Privateers, you could easily be raking in 30 gold/turn, - certainly enough to pay for their own unit maintenance, and maybe to finance some additional expansion…?


    2. Pillage (crossed swords icon). Also fairly easy. If the AI has fishing boats within range, pillage ‘em. That seems to yield about 2-6 gold, and the AI will eventually build workboats to replace the missing improvements, diverting production from other areas. Note that this counts as an attack and will use up a movement point.


    3. Sink ships. This is where you rack up GG points and XP for your Privateers which will eventually make them very dangerous. Even on a coastal tile, a Privateer will have 90% odds or better against most AI Galleons, Caravels, or Galleys/Triremes. I try to only attack with 95% odds or better (ideally 98%+) but if my Privateers are unpromoted and at full health (6), I’ll risk them at slightly worse odds. I won’t lose much sleep over a 0 xp ship losing an 88% battle… it’s got to earn XP somehow. Conversely, I’m really hesitant to throw a wounded veteran Privateer in at odds worse than 95%... there’s a risk/return calculation to be made, and I don’t want to risk a level 7 ship just to take out one extra crummy Caravel.


    You will note that I didn’t mention Work Boats. I think these are best ignored, frankly. If you sink a workboat, there’s no xp or GG points in it for you, and if you leave it, it will eventually turn into an improvement that can be pillaged for cash, as noted above. The 30 hammers the AI invested in the workboat is gone, either way.



    4. END YOUR TURN IN A STACK. I can’t emphasize that enough. If you have one wounded ship at 3.3 health and it’s away from your other 2 healthier ships, it’s probably a goner if the AI has any ships in the vicinity. If you are going to move 3 tiles to sink a Caravel, remember that you won’t be able to rejoin the stack (until Refrigeration) and the other ships will have to move to meet your attacking Caravel on the way back. This will slow down your healing. Whenever you can, it’s good to end your turn on a coast tile for the defensive bonus, and on a tile where you can blockade more than 1 city at a time. But neither of these considerations will usually outweigh the need to keep your wounded ships together with your healthy ones before the AI can respond.


    Promotions: If you’ve planned things well, you may have a coastal military city with a settled GG or 2, and perhaps later on with a Military Academy, Heroic Epic and/or Drydocks. The point is, if you can build Privateers with 2-5 XP to start, you should. Each stack of Privateers should have one ship with Medic I as soon as possible. Medic I is the difference between a stack of 3 or 4 ships that can take turns attacking each turn and then healing quickly to attack again 1-3 turns later, and having a stack of 4 ships that can only attack every 3 turns because the healing process is so slow. So your first goal should be to get one ship per stack to Medic I. After that, it’s a matter of preference. Received wisdom suggests that the Drill line of promotions is best when fighting weaker units (as your Privateers should be) to avoid taking much damage in a win, but I tend to prefer the Combat line for 2 reasons. The first is that Combat leads to Blitz, which will be very helpful in the future, and the second is that your ships should already be healing quickly due to the Medic, so avoiding damage via Drill isn’t as crucial. If for some reason my ships are operating alone (such as when trying to keep the AIs out of an unsettled continent), I prefer Drill. I haven't considered Flanking, as you should be attacking with the odds prohibitively in your favour, anyway.



    Make sure that you keep tabs on AI research. Espionage does this the best, of course, but it’s fairly expensive – opening the diplo screen and checking what techs they are seeking from you is ok, but it doesn’t tell you how close they are to getting the crucial techs. If someone is getting close to Chemistry and already has Astronomy (or vice versa), start anticipating where the Frigates will be appearing from and how you will make your escape. Naturally, directing your espionage towards your most advanced opponents will help with planning in this way.



    The end of the road: Eventually, someone is going to research Chemistry and Astronomy, and that will spell the end of (most of) your fun. Yes, C4-C5 Privateers can beat Frigates. GREEN Frigates. Again, think risk-reward… if you’ve gotten many Privateers up to 17 xp or more, get them to a home port ASAP and save them until they can be upgraded into extremely dangerous Destroyers (Blitz Destroyers are the bane of any wooden navy)! AI Frigates will tirelessly hunt down your veteran Privateers, and this is where having the +1 spherical world bonus comes in really handy. Note that the AI ships won’t pursue your Privateers into your cities in 3.17 – although they could in some earlier editions of BtS.



    Having said that… not all AIs will start producing Frigates at the same time, and you may still be able to prey on the backward ones for a while longer. This is less rewarding and I don’t expend much effort here, as you don’t gain as much by hindering the weak AIs as opposed to hindering the strong ones. My approach here is twofold: Use less-promoted Privateers (so I won’t be heartbroken if they get ambushed by Frigates) and bring them home at the 17 xp mark, and try to have an early warning system of 3-4 Frigates or Galleons posted outside the visibility range of the Privateers, to apprise me of approaching Frigates. Note, as well, that your Privateers can’t “hide” under one of your Frigates in the open sea… the AI Frigates will happily ignore your Frigate and sink your Privateers out from under it. Unless, of course, you’re at war!



    For due diligence purposes, I’m going to also warn you to watch out for when AIs discover Physics. I have never had an AI use Airships on my Privateers – and even if they did, they could only knock my ships down to 4.8 health, which is still better than a Galleon/Caravel. But still… consider it a potential threat.



    I haven’t really considered the merits of attaching a GG to a Privateer, just because I seem to be able to get several of my regular Privateers up to the 26-37 xp range in most of my games fairly easily. I wouldn’t try making a super healer, just because your stacks are going to be fairly small and won’t get so unhealthy as to need Medic III healing (they’d probably get killed before they could heal, if they were that weak). I also find that my Privateering usually leads to late game naval dominance anyway, so a GG-led ship with 80-something xp would be overkill.
     
  2. UncleJJ

    UncleJJ Chieftain

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    Nicely written article, well done. My experiences of using privateers correspond with all you've written.

    On dealing with frigates when they emerge, I've found that it is possible to eliminate them by aggressively attacking them first with superior numbers, at least for a time. This allows you a longer operating period and also continues to give you GG points in peacetime even if your losses increase.

    Frigates normally patrol in pairs and if you have enough privateers you can sink them with a 1 for 1 ratio. Many of the patrolling frigates are simply upgraded caravels and have no promotions or only one. If you build privateers with drydocks and Theocracy or Vassalage then they can have combat 2 straight away. That is enough to give them a a decent chance of winning if they attack and if they fail the damage means that a second privateer can finish off the damaged frigate with a nearly 100% chance.

    To do this effectively you need to have more privateers in a stack (6 is a good number) and you need to keep building them and send replacements. Don't let the frigates attack you as they will probably kill your best privateer as this will defend first. As soon as they come into range send in the newly built sacrificial privateers and follow up with the better promoted ones if needed. The sacrificial ones have a fair chance of winning and gets lots of exp points (and hence GGPs) if they do suceed, if they fail the frigate just gets 1 exp for defending and you can finish it off with another privateer. In hammer terms this is a good trade off as a privateer is 80 hammers and a frigate is 90 and even better if you used a drydock to build the privateer and the frigate didn't.
     
  3. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    Thanks for the feedback. :) I see what you're saying when it comes to Frigates - if you're lucky, a C2 Privateer could kill a green Frigate (7.2 vs. 8) and unless you're really unlucky, a second Privateer could finish off a wounded Frigate. A 1:1 kill ratio might be a bit optimistic, though - unless you make a point of not attacking Frigates on Coast. And the AI does seem to have a habit of throwing its naval units in piecemeal, instead of waiting to concentrate 3-5 Frigates.

    There are a few problems with this Frigate-killing tactic, as I see it, though. First off, if you are blockading AI cities, there's a decent chance that you'll be attacking and defending on Coast tiles. Trouble is, the 10% Coast bonus helps the unit with higher base strength more - and as you said, you won't want to be defending, anyway, because that would put your lovely level 6 Privateer at risk. Moreover, if you are close enough to blockade, the Frigates can attack and retreat into the AI city before you can counterattack. So it's hard to maintain a blockade (with the necessity of keeping your ships together) if you are trying to preemtively kill Frigates on Ocean tiles. So you wouldn't have the same economic benefits, essentially. You'd still get GG points, but so would the AI, and you'd be fighting a war of attrition. Nothing wrong with wars of attrition if you have better production, but you wouldn't be getting as much bang for your buck as you were pre-(AI)Chemistry.

    Second - on a large map, it'll be harder to get Privateers to the trouble spots as they come up. So you're right - you'll need to stack 6+ Privateers to be confident of taking out anything more than a sole Frigate and still keeping your stack alive for more than another turn or 2. Trouble is, with a stack of 6 Privateers, you're running into decreasing economic returns - you have to pay for maintenance of units in the field, and the 2-9 :gold: you get from blockading may not add up to a profit.

    Finally - and we should all be so lucky as to have this problem! - if you have a Drydock(s) to be producing C2 Privateers out of the gate (with a GG or Theocracy/Vassalage), you may also have (or be close to having) Combustion (& SciMeth). Unless you delay the ability to build Destroyers, you may not be able to keep adding Privateers to replenish your losses vs. Frigates. I usually try to delay Combustion (once I hit Railroad, I'll try to grab the free GP down the Sci Meth line, if they're still available)... but it I find it really hard to delay Destroyers too long once the AI has Frigates.

    But on a smaller map - and if only 1-2 AIs have the ability to build Frigates - then I can definitely see your approach working. But you'd really have to stay on top of things... it sounds like the AI could reach a critical mass of Frigates and you'd really have to run for it. :eek:
     
  4. cripp7

    cripp7 Playin' Bored

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    Of course attaching a GG to a Privateer is fun. Have a C5, Leadership(double XP) which can be upgrade to a massive destroyer that can take on pretty much anything on the water.
     
  5. Yuufo

    Yuufo Chieftain

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    Thanks for the article.

    I would also consider Navigation I and II promotions, which come after Flanking I. Together with the curcumnavigation +1 they can make you reach 7 movement points, allowing you to flee from Frigates instead of fighting them. Move six tiles, then Blockade a city for the gold. If you can at least see the IA cities, be prepared to escape the Frigate arrival. And when these Frigates are too numerous, just use your move bonus to get quicker to less advanced civs.
     
  6. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    I tried a privateer strategy on a huge map with 11 civs. The problem is you cant patrol 10+ Ai elsewhere. This is assuming you have not taken out any of the Ai on your island.

    The Ai are pretty aggressive when replacing caravels and galleons. Also upgrading to frigates when they have the tech. (1 turn later)

    Its then a case of numbers. How many privateers do you build?? 10? 20?? 40?? The ai could have 10+ ships circling its island.

    Even using privateers in my game the far off Vikings were still able to send a fleet of 12-13 ships to dump a stack of units by my capital. Sending your fleet to other side of map leaves you some what undefended. You cant be everywhere at once.

    I think privateers are useful for creating GG. Destroyer GG's are fun.

    On a recent game I was shocked when the Aztec research Chemistry really early. I had beat them to liberalism but this wasnt slowing them down. For this strat I would probably go liberalism and nab astonomy.

    Then theres the opportunity cost of researching vs developing production cities to knock out the units. Also realising that each city building privateers is not building banks, universities etc.

    The tip is to have a huge window where you can use your privateer. Not sure best way to tech there ultra fast. hmmm
     
  7. TheDS

    TheDS Regular Riot

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    IME, stacking larger stacks of Privateers merely leads to larger AI stacks of Frigates (and SotLs). When someone gets to Frigates, it's time to leave their waters. You might be able to gang up on the unpromoted Frigates, but not for too long, and a 1:1 kill:loss ratio isn't a good one. Even when I'm throwing down 10x as many hammers as he is, I tend to have better things to build than a unit that is now obsolete and easy prey to unseeable, just-built new Frigates. The AI isn't afraid to jump into Theocracy just to get C1 Frigs out there.

    Also IME, whenever you can, you want to have as few pirates-per-city as possible. If you can find a nice little backwater, you might be able to get 1 pirate on 5 cities, and then have others patrolling nearby, or on their way to patrol zones, and let THOSE hit stragglers. Each individual pirate can cost as much as 4 gpt (average is just over 2, I'd say), and each city tends to only be worth 2, sometimes 3.

    I would NOT put a stack of 3 Privateers somewhere unless I could see they had a lot of ships that needed killing in that area, and even then, I'd tend toward 2, and not necessarily in a stack, either. If the cities are just far apart, I might have to cover 4-6 cities with 2-4 Privateers, and they might wind up being close, but I tend not to assign more than one single extra Privateer for ship-killing or defense purposes, unless I see a lot of ships to kill/defend against.

    Therefore, by my reckoning, I tend to be able to block (if I have a large enough lead to do a massive building program) 30-40 cities with 15-20 Privateers, plus another 15-20 for hot-spots, and then some stragglers to fill in gaps when I get overzealous with ship-killing.

    My biggest pirating excursion saw me building a total of about 60 pirates, not being able to cover everyone before the top AIs started building Frigates, and then a massive anti-pirate effort, followed by retreating my pirates to quieter waters and eventually upgrading them to DDs to wipe out the AI fleets and vassalize.

    Oh, before I forget (again)....

    While reading your article (good one, btw), it occurred to me that the AI's vulnerability could be extended by an influx of spies to pillage Iron mines. Frigates, SotLs, and Ironclads require Iron, and if you can keep their mines blown, you can slow their building program, and therefore keep your blockade up longer.

    This is a self-reinforcing program, too. As long as your pirates can perform a COMPLETE blockade of the enemy, and your spies can keep getting in and blow all the Iron mines on the continent, the AI can't trade for Iron and will hopefully have a hard time keeping it connected. This is a very player-intensive strategy - that is, you the player will have to work hard to do this, to load new spies on the ships, get them in position, and use them. It will also probably require you to devote a significant fraction of your economy toward EPs.

    I haven't tested this - I way underutilize the EP system - but I see no reason why this wouldn't work if you were able to stand all that player-work.
     
  8. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    My current game is a huge map/Prince/11 civs game as well. I focused my Privateering on the Civs that a) didn't like me, b) were closest to me on the PG, and c) were the most advanced technologically. All with the aim of slowing them down. There's not nearly as much value in trying to cripple your friends, or further cripple the already backwards AIs (unless you plan on attacking them shortly).

    I aim to build 20-40 in most games in which I employ Privateers, and rarely deviate from that number. Thus my emphasis on protecting wounded Privateers from AI counterattacks. You'll get the most value per hammer, IMO, by taking a cautious approach and leaving for greener pastures when the Frigates start appearing.

    And you aren't trying to be. Excessive privateering is no good if it is at the cost of leaving your homelands undefended, or necessary infrastructure unbuilt. Thus, I'll try to crank out 8-12 stacks of 3 Privateers and stop, as opposed to building them nonstop at the expense of other defenders.
     
  9. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    I never seem to have trouble finding ships to sink - in most cases, the AIs will send out a Caravel/Galleon/Trireme every couple of turns. Sometimes 2 or 3, and rarely, you'll see a colonizing/invasion fleet of 3-4 Galleons and 4-8 Caravels. It's those times when I wish I had a stack bigger than 3 or 4 Privateers - but if I am halfway lucky, I can get 4 or 5 wins before the odds get dangerously low.

    Screenshot from current game (Prince, Marathon) by way of illustration. This is probably my most successful game yet... for some reason, no one's gotten Chemistry, even though most AIs are through to Democracy or Electricity. Weird...

    As noted, I try not to attack when odds are worse than 95%, and usually attack in the 98-99% range. As you can see, I've lost 13 ships (incl 9 Privateers) versus AI losses of 825 ships (mostly due to Privateers). 4 of my lost Privateers were due to a miscalculated attack that left them open to a massive counterattack. I would like to submit these numbers as evidence that the combat odds calculator is broken... in my favour. :)
     
  10. UncleJJ

    UncleJJ Chieftain

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    Some good ideas here, some of which I agree with, and some of which I don't as my experiences are different. I do agree that a combined effort of privateers and espionage is particularly effective. But blowing up the iron mines with spies is a temporary disruption and once it's back online the AI upgrades its caravels to frigates. I find that if you can get a big enough advantage in espionage it is particularly useful for seeing what the AI is building in each of its cities. That way you can see where the frigates are being built and either avoid them or hunt them. Knowing where they are and where they'll emerge from is a good way to maximise the use of privateers.

    Besides simple economic warfare in the early period I use privateers later on as a method of continuing war into a peace. Like espionage it is a form of psuedo warfare that doesn't have a diplomatic consequence and doesn't get WW. Even if the AI has a few frigates I'll often use my privateers to draw those out of port and then either destroy them with overwhelming numbers (as I outlined in my earlier post) or if there are too many then I will declare war and destroy them with my frigates (with privateer help). That clears the seas for a time and lets the privateers function again for a while both in the war and later in peace. It's worth the effort to be able to supress the enemy coastal economy in war and peace and to divert his resources into frigates. I like to have a peacetime war of attrition where I have an advantage in production (drydocks and military academies) and where I can change the rules by suddenly declaring war. Privateers are very useful if used in this flexible way to project power.

    Stacking 3 privateers is OK in the early phase before frigates and while the AI only has a few caravels but once they build up to 20 caravels you could get overwhelmed. I tend to send out fleets of mutually supporting privateers operating in an area, say a fleet of 9 of them, then depending on the strength of the opposition I might split those into 2 or 3 or even more stacks as they blockade some ports, starving them and stopping trade routes, destroy seafood and chase down targets. This fleet can deal with a few frigates on a 1 for 1 basis. But losses need to be replaced otherwise they worn down. I like to have a forward base to operate the privateers from if possible, a pirate haven ;), then if the AI frigates in the area become too strong the privateers retreat to a safe city until the situation can be dealt with.

    Concerning upgrading privateers to destroyers, it is an expensive option. I like to have a few highly promoted destroyers (typically 26 exp and the free visibility) that privateers give. But each upgraded privateer costs 380 gold and a new destroyers only cost 200 hammers part of which can be supplied by the drydock 50% bonus. I seldom upgrade more than 8 privateers to destroyers as I have frigates and SoL to upgrade as well, the rest are expendable. So if I build 40 privateers then I expect to lose 32 of them in exchanges with enemy frigates and before enemy builds destroyers. Privateers can operate against frigates fairly effectively but it is hopeless once destroyers are being used by the AI.
     
  11. UncleJJ

    UncleJJ Chieftain

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    Those are some incredible statistics :eek:, far better than anything I have ever achieved on Emperor. I consider a privateer is worth using if it merely sinks 2 or 3 times as many hammers worth of ships as what was needed to build it. Once frigates are around a 1 for 1 exchange is good enough as I can afford the expense and he can't then protect his coast from economic warfare from the remaining privateers.

    I particularly like using privateers when Imperialistic as the GG points are doubled. You don't need to just attack at high odds. You get more experience if you attack at lower odds so I will consider a 70% attack as a way to get 3 exp, particularly if the privateer is new and doesn't have a lot of experience yet. Attacking at 98% will usually only get 1 exp and I consider the caravels to be an exp point resource to be harvested carefully. So I try to maximise the experience I can get from them. However, I tend to look after the highly experienced privateers better, those with more than 17 exp that is. They tend to be the stack defender and are preserved for upgrading to destroyer.
     
  12. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    I think I was relying on a lot of whipping to knock out my privateers. (20 or so) It was a very poor start in terms of land. Although i had a good tech lead. Even with 20-30 privateers at times its tough to guard such a large sea border.

    The homelands had riflemen. The Ai were a bit backwards in some ways. I do find the Ai trade much faster with more AI's. I was somewhat distracted with the task of attacking a neighbouring Ai too.

    As for defending against a stack of 4+ galleons 6-7+ caravels. you have to see them coming. This stack travelled from the far side of a huge map just to land on my lands and die. All my units were pillaging my strongest neighbour across the channel from me. I had so many strong enemies. (There were 4+ continents)

    The main issue with this strategy is while you stop one Ai in its track the other 9 or so are still carrying on business as usual. I think this strategy would be fun on a terra map when your guarding the new world.
     
  13. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    Well - I play on Prince (usually Epic, but in this game, Marathon) and I'm sure that if I tried Emperor, the AIs would have Submarines by the time I made it to Chemistry. :lol: And as I noted, this is by far my most impressive Privateering result. Most games, I get about a dozen Privateers up to Blitz (17+ xp) before AI Frigates force me to withdraw. In this game, most of my remaining Privateers are around the 37 xp level, and 2 or 3 are at 50+ xp. I'm cautious with those ones, although really, I needn't bother... this game is in the bag and level 7 destroyers aren't crucial to my success.

    So, what I'm saying is, YMMV... a more representative example of my games would show 150-200 dead Caravels, not 600!
     
  14. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    How many GG did you get from those 850 ships? I hadnt noticed the 850 figure when i read that. Then again Marathan speed would take ages.

    Its all about reaching privateers early!! Case of what techs can you skip completely.
     
  15. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    2,110
    Location:
    in a Gadda Da Vida
    I think at that point I had about 9 GG... but maybe 2 of those could be attributed to conventional warring.
     
  16. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Messages:
    22,206
    Location:
    UK
    Trying this strat again. I have had about 30 ish turns and not a single Ai has built a frigate. Only trouble is finding any caravels. i think they go hiding whenever one of my 5-6 fleets of 4-5 privateer approach.

    Only got 2 great generals so far using Portugeese. I have time yet as no frigates have arrived. Although Chemistry is being devloped.

    I am rather frustrated that the vikings have got 6 caravels and 5-6 galleys in a city. No fighting units to go with it yet. My carrick is monitoring this.

    Perhaps i should be setting up carrick scouting parties to find the enemy units or leaving units outside Ai cities hoping the Ai attack my stacks. I am yet to lose a privateer going for 90% plus odds.
     
  17. Celebithil

    Celebithil Chieftain

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Messages:
    219
    I have one remark on the possible promotions. One of the benefits of going the drill line is that when you kill a (full health, unpromoted) caravel you will still get 2XP, while if you have combat 3 (if memory serves correctly) you will only get 1 xp per kill (due to you having more than double the strength). For me this is a reason to prefer the drill line over the combat line.
     
  18. LuCiver

    LuCiver Chieftain

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Messages:
    267
    Will AI ships follow your privateers into a fort in 3.17, or is it treated as a city? Can someone build a pirate's cove fort in Worldbuilder and give it a test?
     
  19. Supr49er

    Supr49er 2011 Thunderfall Cup

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Messages:
    3,603
    Location:
    Bear Flag Republic
    They will attack your Privateers in your forts, cities, and in your naval stacks.
     
  20. johnny_rico

    johnny_rico one more turn addict

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Messages:
    627
    Location:
    MN
    That's a great article.

    Something I wanted to point out and/or ask: If you perform blockades on an AI taking out their coastal economy, you are if effect reducing the number of trade routes available to yourself, no? If this is the case, then it makes the most sense to aggressively blockade when running mercantilism.

    One of my favorite things to do with privateers is to patrol the islands in a big and small map. Quite often you can sink many galleons loaded with a settler and 2 soldiers intending to create a new city (trade astronomy to everyone and sink tons of hammers). Through this tactic you can ensure the land is available to yourself. The more I play this game the less I've become a domination/conquest player and usually strive for diplomatic and cultural wins. But I still like my combat and privateers do nicely to fill that void in the abscence of conquering nations.
     

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