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Stacks of Doom

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by HughFran, May 20, 2016.

  1. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    Yes, the real use of airships is for intelligence-gathering. Since you can only have 4 per city, they won't make much impact on an enemy SOD. They can also be helpful when taking cities as they can damage the strongest defenders and raise your odds pretty significantly.
     
  2. rah

    rah Deity Supporter

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    Yep make sure you've got clear land for a killing zone and have a few more mounted to do flanking damage. If you eliminate their siege, your stack will defend much better.
     
  3. Crzykiddo

    Crzykiddo Chieftain

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    One of my best civ games was due to the MULTIPLE stacks of doom. I was a peaceful player, letting the AI's around me gather in strength. In the modern age the Holy Roman Empire decided that I should be dead and decided to attack. I'd wager he had over 100 units scattered over a few stacks, with 20+ units incoming from other stacks. After the loss of my first city, I almost quit, as it seemed hopeless, but instead of giving up I adopted Nationhood and drafted the hell out of my empire, building siege units to counteract their stacks. In the end, I lost 3 cities, but then pushed them back and held strong. It was certainly my best game to date. The satisfaction of feeling utter helplessness and turning it around to conquer them is unmatched, and I have never had such a great feeling since.

    In my experience, I'd have to recommend to build cavalry, as the AI without any functional siege is a dead AI, as they'll literally attack with even the worst odds. With a force larger than yours, and with little or no siege yourself, flanking horse units will likely save your city, assuming you have enough defenders to overcome the onslaught from their attacking units. If you have well promoted units (City defender for cities), then the damage they do to your units will enable your fewer number kill them, if they don't use siege. This is why flanking is so important as it is a potential gamebreaker.
     
  4. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    There are ways to manage AI stacks of doom. I only play on Monarch/Emperor, so I seldom see really big AI stacks, but in my most recent game I was facing off against 30+ unit stacks regularly, and a couple of 70+ ones.

    Obviously siege and flanking can weaken an AI stack. Artillery and Machine Guns are immune to collateral damage from other siege, so the latter are always great city defenders in bulk, and the former are good versus massive stacks of older units (e.g. Cannon, Grenadiers, Cuirassiers). Consider the Drill line for Infantry if you’re defending with those instead of MGs. Drill’s especially great against weaker units and greatly reduces collateral damage.

    Cavalry, on the other hand, are crummy defenders – no defensive bonuses or defensive promos are available to them. All they can do on defense, really, is soak up collateral damage. It would have been a different story if you were able to use the Cavalry to flank AI siege before it had a chance to slam you… but if you aren’t going to use Cavalry for that purpose, don’t bother throwing it away in city defense. Hammer for hammer, Longbows would have been better.

    Beyond that, there are lots of dirty tricks you can play. I’ve trapped AI stacks before war started by closing borders, or bribing another AI to close borders with my enemy. You can trick them to move to flat/open ground before killing them with siege/flanking. You can cut roads in AI territory behind the stack to block retreat or reinforcements. You can beg strategically to buy 10 years of peace. Etc.


    But the key point, for me, is that you’ve just lost one city to the AI SoD. So what, even if it was an important city? By the sound of things, the AI suffered far greater losses than you did (if they were attacking with Muskets and Maces). Retake the city while the AI stack is still recovering, and the AI should be a pushover after that – it’s not going to be able to conjure another megastack in less than 15-20 turns, most likely.
     
  5. Colon

    Colon King

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    Never understood why so many people have issues with stacks, or why there even is that name stack of doom. If the AI has a big stack it just means he has a big army. And if you are doomed because of their big army you should have paid more attention to yours.
     
  6. vincentz

    vincentz Programmer

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    For me its mostly the lack of clear info a stack gives. I would rather have 4 stacks of 20 units coming at me than 1 stack of 80. I also think it would be tougher to fight 4 stacks of 20 than 1 of 80, especially in late game where you can bomb the hell out of a stack. When managing stacks myself, I think it could be fun to "micro manage" stacks as well (not 1upt micro manage as that is a nightmare), but making a couple of combined arms stacks could be fun imho. Visually I think it would look more awesome with multiple stacks.

    So... Carpet of Stacks of Doom for me ;)
     
  7. rbj2001

    rbj2001 Warlord

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    I play with quick combat (offence), because I control which units attack each round, and normal speed combat (defence), because I like to see which units are getting killed, and it's more exciting in a way. There have been times when an AI attack has lasted for like 10 minutes - but those are very rare (@vincentz, thanks for the Ctrl-O tip - might use this in future!).

    I'm not sure exactly how long a single unit animation takes - maybe 10 seconds max? That would mean at least 240 enemy units in this case (assuming they fight down to their last man) - so quite why OP would expect 24 defenders to win, I'm not sure. What is pretty amazing is that they held up long enough to take 240 attacks.

    OP should not be so touchy about criticism of his Civ skillz. It should be obvious if you are getting crushed by 200+ unit stacks that you are doing something wrong. We all have a level of skill that is not infinite, and need to choose our game level accordingly. Hence why I don't play Deity. If you want to win every game, play on Settler difficulty. But clearly that's no fun, so you are going to lose sometimes. Learn to lose well. Getting angry is self-defeating. Also learn to take advice graciously, especially when people are just stating the truth.

    You have to learn how to deal with big stacks. It's just strategy, and the fun in the game is working out successful strategies. At the end of the day, it's a level playing field, and whatever the rules, it's about outwitting your opponent.

    If I'm in a situation where the enemy is approaching a city with a huge stack, I have to decide whether I can successfully defend. If not, I abandon the city, often with the view to re-taking it later, and preserve my troops. It depends a lot on the troops I have. I can retreat entirely, and wait until I've spammed more units. But often my stack has a lot of siege weapons and city-raiders. So I'll leave a few strong city defenders in the city, then wait with the rest of my army on a hill or in a forest outside the city until after the attack. The following turn, I can pick off their best attacking and siege units, who will be sitting damaged and undefended outside the city. Then I fire my city-raider siege weapons at the stack in the city, while they have no cultural or fortify bonuses, devastating them with collateral damage, before picking them off with my CR maces etc. They can't move their stack away because I'll simply re-take the city... but if they stay, they're going to get killed to death by my city raiders.

    Another tactic is to take out all their siege units using knights etc. Give them the flanking promotions and they have a decent chance to survive, no matter how poor their winning % is - which is good, since you only do flanking damage if they survive. You will need a lot of these units for this tactic to be successful.

    There are lots of other strategies, which you'll have to work out or read up on.

    I have no problem with huge stacks. There are ways of dealing with them. But sometimes a huge enemy stack is just a sign that you have lost the game. Don't take it personally.
     
  8. Lennier

    Lennier Emperor

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    It's called a stack of doom because the AI is doomed once my stack(s) enter its territory.
     
  9. yarp72

    yarp72 Chieftain

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    People always complain about stacks of doom, but they're so easy to combat. All you have to do is hit them with siege units or anything with collateral damage while they're on a tile with 25% defense or less. If you use 5 or so siege units, then anything else, it'll demolish the stack. If you can't kill all of them in one turn, the stack is now weak enough that it'll be mincemeat in the next 1-2 turns.

    Whether it's a stack of 30 or a stack of 200, you fight it the same way. Hit it with siege first, then throw anything else at it. This is why you chop your forests and cover your tiles with roads. You can keep your siege units out of range from their troops so that you always get to make the first move, and the enemy stack never gets more than 25% defense bonus.

    Never let the enemy stacks get to your city. Hit then very soon after they enter your borders, if not immediately, and keep at least 10 siege units on hand. Chop your forests, build roads, and keep your units out of sight. As long as you don't fall horribly behind in tech (at which point you've pretty much lost anyway, so it doesn't matter) and you do all these other things you can defend against a stack of any size.

    Oh, and if you're trying to use a stack of doom, use a great general on a scout and give it all the medic promotions and keep it in the stack. This way no matter where your stack is, it will heal fully in a few turns. If you want to be really annoying and pillage their land, send in stacks of 5. That way it's not worth it for the enemy to use siege, and it's prohibitive for them to use normal units as your best unit in the stack would counter them.
     
  10. ikotomi

    ikotomi Prince

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    I'm not saying it's perfect, but I find the simplicity of the stack preferable to the sheer tedium of moving an army around in Civ 5.

    In a way, it's kind of good that stacks get larger. One thing that always struck me as strange about civ 5 was the sheer lack of scale that 1UPT forces on the design. You'd build like 6 or 7 units out of 3 or 4 cities and then attack, which just doesn't really give the feel of creating a war machine. Even if you needed to build more, god knows you don't want to micro a larger army with random choke points on maps and 1 skinny road from point A to point B.
     
  11. ringwraith18

    ringwraith18 Chieftain

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    I like stacks of doom because I think there should be a connection between your military power, and your economic base. The larger your economy, the larger your stack. Simples.

    The main problem I have with it is the fact that unless a unit dies completely it doesn't take any toll on its owner. If your unit has lost 95% of its strength, you should have to pay 95% of its costs to reinforce it. I think this is the reason games tend to steamroll - you can crush your closest rivals without actually losing any units (except for arty), so you'll just go from strength to strength.

    I'd prefer a quasi-Europa Universalis system, where you needed to replace lost units with Manpower and Weapons, so that wars actually cost something and take a strain on your population and economy.
     
  12. vincentz

    vincentz Programmer

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    Im thinking about making a mod that either cost gold, hammers or food to replace lost health. There are some issues though, f.ex if a ship is on the other side of the world healing, which city should it take from, and it wouldnt really make sense taking f.ex food from a city in that scenario. Gold would make most sense somehow.

    Regarding the stacks: I made a very light UPT mod if anyone wants to try a limiter.
    Im running it with 25 in my mod, which imho is a good balance between the overkill and the 2limited2befun. Also at that amount it doesnt hinder AI too much (if any).
    I can isolate it if anyone is interested. Its less than 10 lines, so very light.
     
  13. ConfusedCounsel

    ConfusedCounsel Warlord

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    There are plenty of costs to fighting wars already. Units you actually do lose, loss of trade routes, trade partners, negative diplomacy hits, increased maintenance for units on the attack.
    Healing itself already has significant cost in terms of the time it takes.

    Economy already is enormously powerful, no need to make it even more important over military might. I really don't see what problem creating a cost to healing will solve. Especially on normal speed.
     
  14. s.bernbaum

    s.bernbaum Mostly lurking

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    Do you consider naval units separately from land units and air units? If for example, you have a fleet with two destroyers, two battle ships, and an air craft carrier, that would be five units already. Put three planes on the carrier and you only have seventeen units more allowed. Since a transport plus its four ground units would be five more for each loaded transport, you can only add three transports for a total of twenty three units on the tile. In addition you can add one transport with one ground unit or two more naval units. That makes naval invasions nearly undoable. You only have thirteen ground units unless you decrease the size of the naval force or leave out the planes. Either of those options leaves your fleet open to destruction by enemy planes and ships.
     
  15. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    Funny, that actually seems like a decent way to balance out stacks. After all, I rarely see huge AI naval stacks, but I assemble them all the time... and the AI has no idea how to deal with them. So, I'm okay with giving enemy planes and ships a fighting chance versus my invasion force (besides, the aircraft carrier doesn't need to be in the stack to defend it versus air attack, which is what it's there for). IMO, invasions shouldn't be foolproof, against an AI with a similar technology level.
     
  16. Macksideshow

    Macksideshow Prince

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    Sometimes you lose and lose hard, it's actually a key point of what makes the game fun for me. There are ways to counter a huge stack as have been mentioned. I very rarely have enemy units inside my borders by exploiting the AI's predictable diplo.

    However, I do support a limit to number of units in a tile but it would be very high (approx 50). Realistically there is a finite spacial limitation to how many things can occupy a given area but at the map scale of civ a tile is very large (ie you can fit a whole city in one tile)
     
  17. vincentz

    vincentz Programmer

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    It is a VERY simple code so far, so my guess (not home atm) would be that since it calculates how many units is already on the spot, and not how many the unit bring with it**, it would be able to cramp in a full transport with units in even though there were already 24 units on the tile. However, at the beginning at each turn it checks if there is above 25 units on the tile and move units to adjecent tiles if there are too many.
    It doesnt differentiate between Air/Sea/Land, so its total units of any kind (including an enemy invisible spy. gonna fix the that though).

    **Though if it f.ex. is a land unit stack of three moving onto a tile of 24, only 1 of them would move to the tile, since each unit moves independently.

    But since civ4 rarely have long chokepoints and have 8 directions it can move, a scenario with a fleet would be easily divided into two tiles.
    I made the code in the weekend so havent checked how the AI responds to +25 unit fleets, but im optimistic. While the AI can seem stupid, it is surprisingly adoptable to changes, even to a point where it would find ways of using changes I've made to the gamerules to their advantage and ways I havent even thought about myself ;)
     
  18. gaash2

    gaash2 Warlord

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    Why do people say there are smaller stacks at higher levels .. In my recent emperor games the AI stacks are way bigger than in prince games. Right now I'm plotting how to destroy sitting bulls stack of 60 grens, 20+ cuirs and 30+ muskets and medieval units .. Epic speed huge map not marathon
     
  19. ConfusedCounsel

    ConfusedCounsel Warlord

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    Because to win at a higher level, you must play the game differently. Generally you either tech up to cuirassiers fast, or go on the warpath earlier. It is difficult for the AI to have massive stacks of those units when you get cuirassiers at 1000 or before. Or if you go elepulting, you will outnumber your target 2:1 in cities after your first target or two, meaning you can just have larger stacks.
    Generally you either outtech your opponents to grab an enormous advantage, or simply outproduce them and win with medieval units that won't be outdated till rifles. In neither case your opponent will have time and tech to produce those kind of numbers.

    Occasionally you end up with an overgrown opponent on another continent or far away, but even then you should probably have the tech lead. With cannons (or even artillery) and rifleman (or even infantry) you should just collateral them into oblivion and mop them up.

    That being said, epic speed and huge map both lend themselves to massive stacks over normal settings, so that kind of explains it.
     
  20. vincentz

    vincentz Programmer

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    Proudly presents:
    Unit Healing Cost Gold

    PHP:
        void CvUnit::doHeal()
    // Vincentz Healing Cost
        
    {
            
    int unitHealCost = ((healRate(plot())) * (getUnitInfo().getProductionCost()) / GC.getDefineINT("UNIT_HEAL_COST_MODIFIER"));
            if (
    GET_PLAYER(getOwnerINLINE()).getGold() > unitHealCost)
            {
                
    changeDamage(-(healRate(plot())));
                
    GET_PLAYER(getOwnerINLINE()).changeGold(-unitHealCost);
                
            }
        }    
    // Vincentz Healing end
    Translated: When players (or AI's) turn, each unit goes through a check, setting movepoints to full, do healing, etc etc. This is the call for healing. (used to be changeDamage(-(healRate(plot()))); )
    Now it checks to see how much the unit costs, multiplies it with the amount of healing done to the unit and divides with a modifier set in GlobalDefinesAlt.xml. 100 is 1 gold/hammer healing (pretty high). The higher amount of UNIT_HEAL_COST_MODIFIER the lower cost of healing. 200 is ½ gold pr. hammer. 1000 would be 1 gold pr. 10 hammers healed.

    Thanks for the idea. Testing atm ;)

    edit: some minor changes

    PHP:
    void CvUnit::doHeal()
    // Vincentz Healing Cost
    {
        if (((
    currHitPoints() * 100) / maxHitPoints()) < (healRate(plot())) *5)  
        {
            
    int unitHealCost = ((healRate(plot())) * (getUnitInfo().getProductionCost()) / GC.getDefineINT("UNITHEAL_COSTMODIFIER"));
            if (
    GET_PLAYER(getOwnerINLINE()).getGold() > unitHealCost)
            {
                
    changeDamage(-(healRate(plot())));
                
    GET_PLAYER(getOwnerINLINE()).changeGold(-unitHealCost 1);
                
            }
        }    
    }
    // Vincentz Healing end
    first >if< is my mod specific healing that only allows % healing depending on tile so should be changed to something like : If unit is damaged and healing then...
    Secondly, I think 1000 UNITHEAL_COSTMODIFIER is a good value. It isnt going to ruin anyone, but its a nice emersion to "suffer" a bit when unit is damaged (need to hire new soldiers/repair equipment). Also added an extra -1 when it would otherwise be 0 gold.
     

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