Settler Conquest Strategy


Jan 8, 2002
Often when attacking, it can take several turns to reach the enemy city because the roads and rail in enemy-controlled territory are unusable. This ties down forces and subjects them to possible counterattack, as the enemy can freely concentrate forces on his rail network. Use settlers to start cities on the edge of your territory that will expand your territory up to within two squares of an enemy city. That way, you can move artillery and armor into the two square attack range and take the city in one turn.
That seems a bit silly to me, one would end up with a lot of useless and badly placed citys... It just doesnt seem worth it...
That strategy might actually have some merit. If it's late in the game and he has his railroads built up, and you have settlers to burn, you could use raze all his cities, build your own on the in-between spots, and have pre-improved terrain for your new cities. Then you don't have an impossibly huge number of crowded cities, and the likelihood of flips is greatly reduced.

But having said that, I don't think it fits my playing style, but I'm sure it could work for some folks who are into razing cities all the time.
If you put a few decent defensive units in each city and then start rush-building Temples or other culture-producing improvements, you will control more territory (and with a luck, a road or two). Nice way to grow and stockpile offensive units for the eventual attack.
The concern over small useless cities is silly. Speed is everything in war. One must examine the trade-offs involved. In a war where railroads are in the game, the player has several issues:

1)War typically requires changing to communism or monarchy and the longer one uses these governments the greater the risk of falling behing technologically to a republic or democracy one is not at war with

2)Settlers are cheap at this point in the game and are certainly more expendable than tanks or calvary lost to counterattack while trying to get in range of an enemy city

3)You can always build a settler or worker on the last population to get rid of the city after you are done

4) If the AI sees and army near own of its cities it will draft citizens to defend it
I agree, scbrowne, that speed is important in a war. In fact, I thought the whole purpose of your strategy in the first place was to speed up the attack, and you've stated some of the very good reasons for wanting to do so.

But I feel a strong urge (don't ask me why I just do) to point out that speed isn't everything in a war. You attack to serve some purpose. There's land you want, there's a threat you want to eliminate, there are resources you're after, whatever it is, that's your end goal, not just moving fast. If you're taking the territory with a goal of being able to do something with it, then it's important that you not mess up the territory in the process of taking it. Caring for your true objectives is anything but silly. Going to war for no real purpose other than to move quickly and destroy territory is, IMHO, very silly.

Personally, I use workers instead of settlers. If the rail network is incomplete, they complete it as far forward as they can. Additionally, I hold back my cavalry (and modern armor if I have it) for exploits of breakthroughs. The third movement point makes a big difference. Before my first move, I plan my attack carefully. I try to see which cities I should take first that once under my control lead to other nearby ones, of those which ones will be 2 squares away, which will be 3, which might have to wait until the second turn, etc. Then I count up my assault troops and figure how many I'll need, how many I'll probably lose, and how much movement they'll have to expend to get to their targets, and finally start the advance.

Once in a while I come up against a high-culture city that takes more than 3 movement points to reach and attack, so it would take two turns. In those rare cases, a settler plopping a city on the border would let me get in quicker. But these situations are usually caused by rough terrain, especially mountains, and since you can't put a city in a mountain square, this tactic won't help me there. There might be a few occasions where it would help for my playing style, but not many.

This is not to say it's a bad strategy. It just doesn't fit my playing style. I don't expect everyone to follow my particular doctrine, and the tactic you described will probably work well for a lot of folks whose style is different from mine.

For me, blitzkrieg is all about punching holes first, then moving fast units through those holes. Use slow units to make the holes, and fast units to exploit and wreak havoc behind enemy lines, moving forward faster than he can recover. If plopping a city down helps you advance faster, it's a good thing. If it's not a great boost, it's probably not worth the effort and expense. I think it depends most on how you approach an assault and what your goal is in that assault.
One thing I've found--which is probably ludicrously obvious--is that in late-game wars, I always have a couple of settlers at the ready. Because of hte limited range of bombers and the danger of posting your air force in a conquered city that could flip at any minute, I raze the cities then immediately start a new one as a kind of advance guard and operations post for all of my artillery/bombers, etc.
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