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Privateers seem quite powerfull

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by SantaX, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. Rusty Edge

    Rusty Edge Deity

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    Yes, read O'Brien if you get the chance. For that matter, try C.S. Forrester.

    I did like the British Man of War UU with enslavement feature in Civ III ...
    I guess that's why it's my avatar.


    During open warfare, once everyone becomes aware of it, only the fastest merchantships and smugglers traveled alone. The slower ones stayed in escorted convoys or got captured.

    Privateers/pirates are for profit "cherry pickers" that use their speed to pick and choose their chases and fights. If they think they'll take more damage than the prize is worth , they won't engage. If they think the prize is vauable, they'll chase it far. They didn't try to stop all traffic.

    A military blockade is designed to close the port, allowing nothing in or out.
    They will shoot to sink rather than chase and board so that they won't be drawn out of position, allowing several ships to escape while they capture the first. They would like to play privateer for the profit, but they have to hold their position.
     
  2. Zetetic Apparat

    Zetetic Apparat Warlord

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    It's not that marginal. I've easily doubled my actual cash income for a decent number of turns using Privateers.
     
  3. Breunor

    Breunor Deity

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    There are probably issues of what we would call 'semantics' here. The term 'frigate' is not used universally and so there is potential for confusion.

    I think in game terms, frigates are the military ships that were weaker and faster than the ships-of-the-line, that is, as used by the British and french for instance in the 18th century. There was always substantial debate about whether these ships were more useful, less useful, etc. than the capital ships. These frigates were the main pirate hunters. So, I think in game terms you have the choice of the faster frigate vs. the heavier hitting ship-of-the-line, and then the even slower and more powerful ironclad.

    These military frigates were usually more than a match for pirate ships, as the game shows, but as others have poitned out, often pirates could evade them. And there weren't enough in the glory days of piracy.

    But, yes, many of the pirate/privateer ships were called 'frigates' both now and even at the time, or at different times in history, so using terms from a single source may not clear up the confusion.

    I think it is similar to the use of the word 'dragoon'.


    Best wishes,

    Breunor
     
  4. DomA

    DomA Chieftain

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    I "tested" privateers a bit last week-end. I used an old save and used them a lot more for 100/150 turns and compared to my real game. It's not really accurate, because I had four coastal cities building only privateers and that hurt.

    This was at a low level (warlord), with the Dutch and a few productive coastal cities.

    I had around 30 of them active on average (lost and had to replace about 15 over the 100 turns).

    I had 1 or 2 per Island patrolling to destroy all sea ressources, and a few stacks of 3 to kill all ships I met (only one civ had frigates and galleons - the other all had caravels at best). Some of the AI rushed to bring its caravels/triremes/galleys/galleons in their ports when they saw my stacks coming :lol: Having the bonus +1 movement for circling the world can do a lot of damages there, as they can't outrun you!

    I blockaded all the coastal cities of three weaker civs - it hurted everyone (one of the stronger civs eventually sent frigates to relieve the blockade - I guess it was hurting their trade as well - like it was hurting mine).

    In general, the results were that I hurt the teching of the weaker civs quite a bit by stealing and stiffling their trade, and for one civ I had enough espionnage points to know I also hurt its pop expansion (most of the cities were several pop smaller than in my "real game" - up to minus 3 Health if they had the 3 seafood ressources, and they can't work the sea tiles if they are blockaded - it's bad if they relied on a Lighthouse to feed the city and also force him to build aqueducts in a few of his inland cities). A side benefit is that it keeps the blockaded AI busy building caravels/workboats/aqueducts/granaries etc. - that was quite useful against Tokugawa - the more ships he built, the less he could build and maintain that big army of his, and the more starved I kept him,, the less he could use slavery.

    One civ (Victoria) waited to build stacks of caravels before sending them to attack my blockaders (that's how I lost quite a few before giving up on blockading that civ), but the other two sent single unit after single unit that all got crushed. I became Tokugawa's worst nightmare as he only had triremes for amost of the 100 turns... at sea I was untouchable :D

    Victoria with the Great Lighthouse lost its benefits and seemed somewhat hurt in tech, but the city that got the worst deal of all is the japanese one that had the Moai Statues and lost its hammer bonus.

    My own teching went better, as the money from blockades was substantial and I could push my science slider up 20% without really losing money (well, I ran in the minus per turn but made just enough from blockades/plunder to turn a small profit - not bad for +20% science). A downside is that some of my cities lost their foreign trade with the blockaded enemy cities.

    I had one GG over the period, without war.

    Another very good use for privateers is that I suspect now that the AI tend to use caravels to send spies oversea. Keeping a few privateers around, I destroyed every last one of them approaching my coast. It seems to work - I caught no spy in my territory in the whole 100 turns - which was a little unusual (though on Island maps spies are far rarer, few civs bother to send them by boat at all it seems - this may also have been because Toku on my continent was busy and could not build as many spies as he used to)

    Other benefits :

    -by the time the privateers become obsolete or ineffective and better ships are available, the AI has no old navy left to upgrade, while you have privateers that got very good promotions. I guess it's a good idea to retire the privateers to your ports when they start having rivals and keep them to upgrade them later.

    - The "privateers strategy" was effective over the Japanese. They got seriously behind in tech and their army was nowhere as big nor as well upgraded after 100 turns. In my real game, Tokugawa declared war on me and seized three of my cities with huge stacks of inferior units. After the privateer campaign, what happened is that the Koreans, friendly to me, declared war on him and he ended up a vassal and a non-threat.

    The cost in hammers was huge (I'm not sure it's worth it overall and as part of a more serious strategy) and I remember losing a great many privateers in other games on Noble when the tech advantage wasn't so much in my favour, but it's good fun to try once.

    I may certainly use privateers for blockades in a real game to slow down an aggressive rival like Toku if he's behind it techs and building an army like crazy, and I'll keep using them to destroy seafood ressources and to destroy all enemy ships around my coast.
     
  5. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    Maybe a better use of privateers once frigates become available is not to blockade cities for a long time, but for quick hit-and-run raids on their sea resources and maybe to blockade for 1 turn. Once you've done that retreat to the 'deep' ocean where the AI can't kill you.
    The point of this is too scare the AI into building a lot more frigates and so wasting hammers. I don't have bts yet (will do very, very soon), but from my Warlord games the AI seems to concentrate all of its fleet in 1 city. If you stay away from that city, by the time the AI has dispatched a frigate to hunt you down, you've already escaped.
     
  6. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    In BTS I've found the AI is fond of sending it's Frigates all over the map hunting down privateers, even those blockading a potential rival.

    How much were you making? The privateer itself coasts 1:gold: per turn of course, but that's pretty minimal. I haven't managed to engineer a proper beeline to privateers yet in a game, but do they make up to 5-8:gold: per turn? Do multiple privateers blockading from the same tile all get the same gold?
     
  7. Spearthrower

    Spearthrower Thrower of spears

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    I'd guess that Zetetic Apparat means doubled his cash income after expenses! :D

    By that point in the game you are probably pulling in well over a thousand per turn, you're just putting it into science rather than the treasury.

    The highest single privateer blockade I have had was 8gpt from Catherine's capital that had the Temple of Artemis. Most blockades range from 1 - 3 gpt. Personally, I think they just pay for themselves (1gpt for the unit and 1gpt for supply on average).... but the havoc they cause is priceless! ;)
     
  8. Rusty Edge

    Rusty Edge Deity

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    Sometimes the A.,I. builds airships that knock you down 30% max, and those airships have a decent range. And I've seen the A.I. build caravels in all of it's cities on the blockaded coast in combination with airships- maybe the airships are built inland.

    Anyway, I agree that the disrupt strategy is valid ... but it's not quite as easy as it sounds.
     
  9. hoopsnerd

    hoopsnerd Prince

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    It might be marginal... it might not be, depending on your situation. Let's build an equation to see just how marginal it is...

    ((Avg. Amount of gold plundered per turn - unit cost) * Number of turns a privateer can successfully plunder)) / number of shields a privateer costs.

    This is total speculation since its relative how long they can pillage... but it'll be ballpark.

    (5gpt - 1gpt) * 100 turns / 160 Shields

    So, given 100 turns to pillage... a privateer would bring you a 3.1 Gold return on a 1 Hammer (they're shields damnit) investment. That's better than building wealth (although more risky -- they could die), but it's not knocking my socks off either. Good balance I suppose... And the negative impacts on the enemy not-withstanding. I would say that if you were having a "cold war" with a fierce rival in a coastal environment that privateers would be valueable, but they wouldn't be worth building if you and your nearest enemies have your most important cities built inland.

    Edit: Feel free to correct my equation if it's missing anything.
     
  10. Zetetic Apparat

    Zetetic Apparat Warlord

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    I usually see 1-5 gpt per blockaded city (number of privateers does not affect gross income), usually from islands away from a Civs mainland (meaning few or no stacked privateers, but often close enough to each other that in the event of a survivable attack, they can group together quite easily.)

    Hitting 8 cities with an average of 2.5 gpt from each and an estimated 6 privateers: Adds another net 12 gpt to my actual available cash income. And that's really erring on the pessimistic side. I've seen at least 25+ on a few occasions for worthwhile periods of time. This probably doesn't impress most players, but it's useful to me, while crippling development of overseas cities.

    However, this doesn't tend to last long. The caravel spam tends to mean that I have to start stacking them (or more often, because I'm lazy and greedy, just leaving them alone half-dead and losing them) after a while and that often vastly reduces how much they can earn. Being able to blockade around an island/peninsula helps though.

    I doubt my strategy does make sense when considering shields (although don't forget the survivors upgrade into nice destroyers) and so forth, but it makes me feel happy in so many ways. :)
     
  11. KaytieKat

    KaytieKat King

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    Hi

    Yeah privateers can be very handy on keeping ur gold stash up. I have had times where my economy was running at like -5 or -10 gold or so but when the gold was added from the priavteers blockading my gold stash was till going up per turn anyways. And they are also handy for getting tons of great generals.

    I do have a question though. I never played multi so I was wondering how useful they would be on multiplayer. I mean would they fool anybody? I kinda picture a conversation going like this hehe--

    Player 1 to Player 2 "hey lets be allies and team up the other guys"

    Player2: sounds fine by me :)

    Player1: cool :)

    ::a few turns later::

    Player1: Hey whose privateers are those pillaging around my cities??

    Player2: No idea

    Player1: well how come they only attack when its your turn to move???

    Player2 ::whistles innocently::

    Kaytie
     
  12. Breunor

    Breunor Deity

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    You also may want to include the 'value' of denying the gold to your AI opponent. This is a bit harder to gauge value given multiple opponents; conversely, you will likely use them against a 'dangerous' opponent (sometimes someone you are friedly with)! They can present about the only way to stop an 'ally' from growing that you want to keep close politically.

    Breunor
     
  13. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    I have seen AI Privateers several times (of course, I'm not sure which AI).

    Most water units can blockade when at war, but not all. Workboats and Caravels do not have the ability.
     
  14. jray

    jray King

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    Or:

    Your Privateer has destroyed an English Caravel.
    Cao Cao (Great General) has been born in Lisbon!
    ::whistle innocently::
     

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