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Standing Army in Peacetime: Rule of Thumb?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Jhaeman, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. Jhaeman

    Jhaeman Chieftain

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    I'm trying to figure out the best size for a standing defense-only army in peacetime, if I'm aiming for a non-Conquest/Domination win. (premise: average difficulty level) In past versions of Civ, I've had a rule of thumb of two of my best units in each city, which was usually enough to slow down attackers at the beginning of a war while I ramped up military production if necessary. IIRC, this was also usually enough to dissuade most other civs from attacking unless they had a major tech advantage.

    In Civ IV, I've read (and experienced) that military might plays only a marginal factor in the decision of other civs to declare war on you. What "rule of thumb" do you have for the number of military units per city during times of peace (and assuming you're not planning war)?
     
  2. aitkensam

    aitkensam Chieftain

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    One warrior for military presence happiness bonus (if needed) and that's about it. If you can't build warriors then either set up an inland city with no road connection to build warriors or build cheapest unit available. No point wasting hammers! :)

    Of course you need to watch diplo situation but you can usually see when someone is likely to declare (WHEOOHRN or Monty/Shaka) and prepare accordingly.

    Prep would usually involve sticking a stack of good defensive units (Archers, Longbows etc) in the border city that the enemy is likely to attack. Let them suicide stack, take peace, continue towards peaceful victory condition. Other cities still just one warrior.

    This would be different in modern era but by then hopefully diplo is sorted out (through religion / civic / trading diplo bonuses).
     
  3. elitetroops

    elitetroops Chieftain

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    Agree with aitkensam. Best weapon of defense is diplomacy. One warrior, or cheapest unit available, is my standard city garrison as well. If someone attacks me, then there's usually enough time to prepare a few city defenders to hold them back. Though usually I aim to fight only offensive wars.
     
  4. Culture Bomb

    Culture Bomb Chieftain

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    Depending on what resources are available, I'd probably have more than one unit in my bigger cities for the happy bonus with Hereditary Rule. Then if someone does declare war I can use these as my defence force as well.
     
  5. dohh

    dohh Chieftain

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    Shortly: these two army and peace dont fit together... U wont need one at peace time.
    There are some exclusions how ever. For example getting a band of CR3 swordmen from early suggessful attack and You decide to keep them until You have rifling.
     
  6. MegaLurker

    MegaLurker Chieftain

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    As little as possible. So unless you're building up for a war that means you might not even have a unit in every city. If you're running Hereditary Rule you often have cities that won't grow past their happy cap without a garrison so a unit there is better served in a bigger city with more food.

    Having very little unit maintenance is one of the things that allows you to keep up with the AI tech rate at Deity (along with bulbing, tech brokering, and sometimes espionage).
     
  7. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    Of course if you plan to take down a few nearby barb cities some units can be useful. Very situational.
     
  8. Peteyboy

    Peteyboy Chieftain

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    I think neighbours plays some relevance, not so relevant on weaker levels, but I have found progressively as each level rises the tendency for some AI's to DOW when they see weakness. Often the problem isn't dealing with 1 AI is when you can't get peace, and before you know it you've got numerous AI's on you, which whilst they may not conquer, slow you down.

    Players like Toku who often you can't get to pleased (especially early doors) will DOW if they see considerable weakness. I'm not sure who I include in the dangerous neighbours list - but any AI who DOWs when pleased depending on tech differences you should watch out for.
     
  9. elmurcis

    elmurcis Chieftain

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    Toku has attacked on pleased (and open borders) 1 turn after he moved out his previous war stack from my teritory.. That really was surprise attack...
     
  10. Thrar

    Thrar Chieftain

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    As others said, let diplo be your army. Only have troops beyond garrison if they serve an explicit and worthwhile purpose, e.g. taking barb cities or sometimes upgrades, as mentioned.

    If you have a neighbor you can't get off your back, make sure the war happens on your terms. Hit them first, don't wait for them to build an army and attack you. Sometimes, peace just isn't an option, so make sure you win the inevitable war.
    For this, make sure you understand your neighbors!
     
  11. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Chieftain

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    What about cultural victories, more or less in isolation or after some early war? One does not really want to start another war, but has to wait many turns for the three cities to achieve their status. I usually try to build a considerable up to date navy and not too shabby defenders for the coastal cities, otherwise Ragnar or some other agressive madman will certainly attack.

    Players really good at diplo can probably involve the agressive AI in wars among themselves, but I haven't really tried (even less succeeded) doing this.
     
  12. Talar

    Talar Chieftain

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    I recently picked up Civ again and lost two games in a row now to what appears to be the AI:s "sensing my weakness". I can never keep up with the AI power meter.

    Just "building up when needed" doesn't work for me unless I'm lucky enough to have a good choke-point where I can hold them off. But usually they will just move in with a doomstack + lots of catapults and take a border city within 2-4 turns. How do you counter something like that when playing light on unit maintenance?

    Is the whole strategy based around not being attacked and if it happens you die?
     
  13. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Chieftain

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    No, I think the strategy is based on good diplomacy, keeping the AI happy and/or in conflict with each other. There are probably threads on diplo somewhere. There is yt-playthrough (deity) by Tachywaxon (and probably others, but this is the only one I remember) where (with two neighbors) no units but warriors are used until the huge buildup of trebs, cuirs etc. around 1000 AD or even later to crush one of the unsuspecting AI. I myself have no idea to work this kind of diplo, but it apparently can be done.

    In some "emperor+" guide it is said that in the BCs one should build around 6 units apart from basic warriors/archers (i.e. chariots, axemen) to avoid falling too low on the power rating. But this is not for the diplo masters who can probably save this expense. Other will go and attack an AI in the BCs with HA or cats or whatever before the AI does.
     
  14. Jet

    Jet No, no, please. Please.

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    It's not possible to give a general rule of thumb because it varies too much with the difficulty level, your skill at diplomacy, and your and your civ's ability to raise an army quickly. Not to mention the game settings and the specific map and your specific neighbors.

    I believe the AI code says that unless you're close to the AI's power level (and "close" might even mean equal or greater), it doesn't matter whether you have 20% of the AI's military power or 80% - with that range, it's all the same for AI war calculations.

    Quoting DaveMcW's signature: "Build at least 6 cities . Press Ctrl R to turn on resource bubbles . Build 1.5 workers per city . Check F9 Demographics often . Stay near the top in soldiers". That is a good rule of thumb up to Monarch or maybe Emperor, where your bonuses vs. the AIs make it relatively practical; and it's easier to learn how to do than manipulating the AIs through diplomacy.
     
  15. Jet

    Jet No, no, please. Please.

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    For more information, there are posts about the war declaration AI code somewhere in this subforum, with much more detail.
     
  16. Peteyboy

    Peteyboy Chieftain

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    That is I find the biggest problem on really high levels - So many games go down the drain because you can't afford to upkeep a sufficiently large army. Just lost one now, where whilst I was slightly ahead technologically (Only I had Cannons, and had just researched Rifles) - I could never live with an AI (Sury) who DOWed me with a SOD of 107 units (15 Trebs, 40 knights, 30 odd Macemen + other stuff) even with drafting Rifles, I wouldn't survive, but as usual 1 DOW isn't the problem, Sury got Hannibal to DOW me (both were 0.5 superior strength) and needless to say I'm history.

    I reflect on the game - I know I couldn't compete militarily, the AI's advantages are just insanely superior, you have to get enough turns of Rifle/Cannon to start catching up. So could I have kept the peace Diplomatically.

    Pre-War I had Open Borders +2, Peace +1, Fair Trade +2, -1 Past Events, -1 DOW Friend (very start of game, I was Inca) -2 First Impression, -1 Refused to join war.

    Thus 0 - I needed to find +3 from somewhere. +2 if I'd given him Steel. Perhaps could have matched religion (Had been Free Religion from Shwedagon) - But if I adopt his religion I would risk Cathy (another neighbour DOWing me) 0.6 to me and i'm -2 as it is.

    I think maybe its all about sucking up - make all AI happy, until you're ready (but you have to rely on the AI not getting too far ahead, i.e trading Steel/Rifle before you get it) Alternatively you find a better way to fund an army....!

    In fact the only Immortal games I've won are always peaceful - 2 Cultural Victories + 1 Space Race, at no point did I go to war in any of those games, despite being 0.1 to most AIs - But I see so many posts about winning these tough levels with an army!
     
  17. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Chieftain

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    Are you playing with aggressive AI? While I have done only a few Immortal games (I am still struggling with the early game there, depending on map and neighbours) I have never seen such a huge stack in the mid-/lategame.
     
  18. xploring

    xploring Chieftain

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    You can gift them resources. Hook up trade network early and you can gift them unused resources like health ones at no cost usually. Civics and gifting cities are other ways suggested on the forum.
     
  19. Tatran

    Tatran Chieftain

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    Even at Monarch level the AI is able to create a SoD of ~200 modern units (mechs, gunships, etc).
    Despite having a SoD of ~100 units, mainly mobile artillery + armour,
    most units of that AI stack survived and my own stack was decimated (too many losses). Game over.

    Sometimes an AI is out of control before you can do something about it.
    Julius Caesar on a different continent (3 continent game) with more than 50 cities around Optics while
    the rest of the players have only have ~25 cities, you know the game is a loss.
     
  20. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Chieftain

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    o.k., these are apparently different settings from the ones I play. On normal speed and normal/standard size (usually fractal) maps I do not think I have ever seen an AI with 20+ cities (I usually play Emperor). If there are three times as many cities, probably the stacks scale correspondingly.
     

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