Strategies with nukes in multi-player

Alphard

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Do you have any advice on nuke use and countering in multiplayer games? We are in the middle of a modern war with my friend and since nukes are involved for the first time, we are looking for strategies and tactics involving them.

Right now I have nukes and he does not. We are situated on different continents. His production is larger than mine and conventional forces 50-100% stronger than mine, however I have a stockpile of tactical nukes. SDI-s are up. So far what we have discovered for ourselves:

Attack
- Use tactical nukes mostly as they have a significantly better chance of getting past SDI than ICBM-s
- Use nukes for defence, taking down enemy attacking stacks (especially good at sea)
- Use nukes for attack to soften town before taking it without endangering siege weapons and air units
- Fallout takes significant time to clean up, so strategic bombing of tiles might be a good option but we do not know yet if it really pays off

Defense
- Build SDI
- Keep units in small stacks and at least 2 tiles apart (no two stacks in range of 1 nuke) so that the use of nukes would be expensive production wise for the attacker. A nuke costs about as much as a missile cruiser and has about a 66% chance of getting through. 1 nukes has only a low chance of killing a cruiser, so it should be safe to keep ships in 4-5 high stacks. It is important to have more ships around to protect said stack when it has been damaged with a nuke from attacks by conventional forces that try to finish them off.
- Keep airships in the air to spot those subs that try to sneak to your mainland with nukes


So my question would be
- Any more advice on nuclear war in a multiplayer game?
- Also - what would be your estimate... how much of a stronger 'conventional only' force does a player need to succeed against an opponent with nukes given about similar empire size and playing skill?

Thanks
 

coanda

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Do you have any advice on nuke use and countering in multiplayer games? We are in the middle of a modern war with my friend and since nukes are involved for the first time, we are looking for strategies and tactics involving them.

Right now I have nukes and he does not. We are situated on different continents. His production is larger than mine and conventional forces 50-100% stronger than mine, however I have a stockpile of tactical nukes. SDI-s are up. So far what we have discovered for ourselves:

Attack
- Use tactical nukes mostly as they have a significantly better chance of getting past SDI than ICBM-s
- Use nukes for defence, taking down enemy attacking stacks (especially good at sea)
- Use nukes for attack to soften town before taking it without endangering siege weapons and air units
- Fallout takes significant time to clean up, so strategic bombing of tiles might be a good option but we do not know yet if it really pays off

Defense
- Build SDI
- Keep units in small stacks and at least 2 tiles apart (no two stacks in range of 1 nuke) so that the use of nukes would be expensive production wise for the attacker. A nuke costs about as much as a missile cruiser and has about a 66% chance of getting through. 1 nukes has only a low chance of killing a cruiser, so it should be safe to keep ships in 4-5 high stacks. It is important to have more ships around to protect said stack when it has been damaged with a nuke from attacks by conventional forces that try to finish them off.
- Keep airships in the air to spot those subs that try to sneak to your mainland with nukes


So my question would be
- Any more advice on nuclear war in a multiplayer game?
- Also - what would be your estimate... how much of a stronger 'conventional only' force does a player need to succeed against an opponent with nukes given about similar empire size and playing skill?

Thanks

You might get better MP-specific advice in the Multiplayer subforum. My understanding is that MP games reaching all the way to nukes are really rare.

I don't play MP, so this is all based on SP experience. That said... if you have nukes and he doesn't, you should be able to win unless he's about to get them himself. If he's 15-20 turns away from them, by the time he gets there he should have few or no coastal cities left.

Carriers with fighters to recon enemy fleets/armies and to spot good targets for nukes. Subs to carry nukes. Transports with 1 marine on board to land on coastal towns in which all defenders have been eliminated by nuking - take the town and rather than try to keep it, just raze it on the spot and give up the marine as a sacrifice for the cause. A couple modest naval forces roving to pick off any pickets he posts to try and intercept your subs. If he gathers his naval forces into a large stack to take on your force, nuke it then mop up.

Each coastal city you take and raze is a hefty hit to his production and research - and it's a bigger hit to his ability to produce a navy of his own with which to hold you off.
 

Alphard

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You might get better MP-specific advice in the Multiplayer subforum. My understanding is that MP games reaching all the way to nukes are really rare.

I don't play MP, so this is all based on SP experience. That said... if you have nukes and he doesn't, you should be able to win unless he's about to get them himself. If he's 15-20 turns away from them, by the time he gets there he should have few or no coastal cities left.

Carriers with fighters to recon enemy fleets/armies and to spot good targets for nukes. Subs to carry nukes. Transports with 1 marine on board to land on coastal towns in which all defenders have been eliminated by nuking - take the town and rather than try to keep it, just raze it on the spot and give up the marine as a sacrifice for the cause. A couple modest naval forces roving to pick off any pickets he posts to try and intercept your subs. If he gathers his naval forces into a large stack to take on your force, nuke it then mop up.

Each coastal city you take and raze is a hefty hit to his production and research - and it's a bigger hit to his ability to produce a navy of his own with which to hold you off.

Thanks, good advice.

Unfortunately we have disabled razing cities in game setup exactly so that burned ground tactics would not be viable, forcing us into a real war, nut just cheap stabs.

Also, his fleet is about 2x larger than mine and although getting through his pickets here and there is easy enough, all the ships that go close enough to his continent are basically sacrifices. I have considered using just very large stacks to sail to him, but he is loaded up to his neck in guided missiles which allow him to easily give slight damage to all ships in my stack and let him attack these weakened units with impunity.

Anyways, I will try my luck on the multiplayer forum in a little while.. I didn't want to cross-post at once.
 

Revent

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Well, it seems to be that you're playing with someone who's better than who I often play with! In that case, just something I wouldn't know but is it possible to raze a city with SDI so that he can't attack with nukes! I personally like para trooper and nukes combo. Works amazing at razing cities. If its possible to raze the city that built SDI to destroy it, I would try to do that and then just use ICBM's!

However, if that isn't possible, I would just use a combination of tactical nukes along with marines and para troopers.

Fallout is actually pretty good! Especially if he hasn't learnt Ecology yet in which case, create a fallout on his uranium by bombing it repeatedly (or once) and then bomb his high production cities to create fallout on mines and hills. Send a high unit movement over with commando and pillage as many towns as you can, destroy happy resources and health resources meaning the cities will become less happy and starve.

Edit: Since you can't raze cities, I would pillage everything in sight! That way even when he does take back his cities, they are not productive and a complete burden on him!
 

Alphard

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Well, it seems to be that you're playing with someone who's better than who I often play with! In that case, just something I wouldn't know but is it possible to raze a city with SDI so that he can't attack with nukes! I personally like para trooper and nukes combo. Works amazing at razing cities. If its possible to raze the city that built SDI to destroy it, I would try to do that and then just use ICBM's!

However, if that isn't possible, I would just use a combination of tactical nukes along with marines and para troopers.

Fallout is actually pretty good! Especially if he hasn't learnt Ecology yet in which case, create a fallout on his uranium by bombing it repeatedly (or once) and then bomb his high production cities to create fallout on mines and hills. Send a high unit movement over with commando and pillage as many towns as you can, destroy happy resources and health resources meaning the cities will become less happy and starve.

Attempting to destroy SDI is a good idea.. Although in our game I would not be able to raze the city, since SDI is a national wonder I think it should get destroyed when I conquer it. I will try it, but considering that he also frequents these forums, this looks like a far shot at the moment :D He will probably pile more defence to that sector now.. Though.. I wonder what kind of forces he can muster for protecting a particular city.. Nothing that can withstand nukes I bet. He will be probably able to take the city back later but the SDI would be burnt if I can take the city even once. Good good...

Strategic nukingis is also something I will have to try more extensively. I just need to figure out if 1 sub and 3 nukes is a fair price to pay for destroying his enhancements and fallouting some 10-18 squares (on average - considering 1 nuke gets intercepted and water tiles are not affected by fallout). The first thought is that it would probably pay off initially.. I can produce nukes and subs fast enough to shoot off at least 1-2 bangs every turn and there is no way he can clean up / improve that many tiles every turn (not yet at any rate - if he builds 100 workers in 3-4 turns, I might be in for a challenge there as well). Will try this as well.

Btw we play a pretty large map so our continents are separated by more than 8 tiles and transport cannot cross that distance even with +2 moves.
 

Revent

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Attempting to destroy SDI is a good idea.. Although in our game I would not be able to raze the city, since SDI is a national wonder I think it should get destroyed when I conquer it. I will try it, but considering that he also frequents these forums, this looks like a far shot at the moment :D He will probably pile more defence to that sector now.. Though.. I wonder what kind of forces he can muster for protecting a particular city.. Nothing that can withstand nukes I bet. He will be probably able to take the city back later but the SDI would be burnt if I can take the city even once. Good good...

Strategic nukingis is also something I will have to try more extensively. I just need to figure out if 1 sub and 3 nukes is a fair price to pay for destroying his enhancements and fallouting some 10-18 squares (on average - considering 1 nuke gets intercepted and water tiles are not affected by fallout). The first thought is that it would probably pay off initially.. I can produce nukes and subs fast enough to shoot off at least 1-2 bangs every turn and there is no way he can clean up / improve that many tiles every turn (not yet at any rate - if he builds 100 workers in 3-4 turns, I might be in for a challenge there as well). Will try this as well.

Btw we play a pretty large map so our continents are separated by more than 8 tiles and transport cannot cross that distance even with +2 moves.

Read my edit :) Pillage EVERYTHING in sight! Forget capturing a city first, destroy all the improvements around it and then nuke it to create fallout. Use spies to destroy uranium mines, use units that have lots of movement points with commando to steal workers and to attack single floating units. Have spies stationed at strategic points to keep an eye on everything he's doing. Sacrifice some research for espionage if you need to. Have subs at way points on the ocean. Create rally points and attack his production cities first pillaging all improvements so his production drops meaning he'll be able to build less units. Use spies to bring his big cities to revolt to bring his cultural defences down. Create a junk city in the ice on his continent and airlift a unit from every city on your continent to that city whilst bringing re inforcements via transports.

Hopefully that helps :)
Multiplayer is SOOO much fun!
 

Ghpstage

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Attempting to destroy SDI is a good idea.. Although in our game I would not be able to raze the city, since SDI is a national wonder I think it should get destroyed when I conquer it.
SDI is a project, not a wonder. It cannot be destroyed as it does not exist in any individual city.

From purely SP experience I would say rapid razing by having units chase nukes would be most effective, using the speed of transports, subs, paratroops, and if possible commando units to take and raze empty cities.
Paratroopers in a transport can 'move' before paradropping, this means its possible to take inland cities on the same turn you take a coastal one. Basically you capture a city (nuke and walk in off a transport with anything), keep it and ove a transport carrying a para in and he can then paradrop, you can also move a sub in to lengthen its reach an extra tile.
Commandos are by far the best nuke chasers, their movement isn't impeded by the fallout you create as they move on the enemies rails, they can raze multiple empty cities per turn and if needed have a combat turn to kill off any last defenders (damn missionaries/workers/corp execs :mad:)

Stategic nuking would be most effective when targetting his core cities, a civs power will be concentrated in these and nukes can destroy national wonders afterall.

Two useful notes about nukes in general, the damage in every square is equal, so if you attempt to maximise damage to a city don't just drop 3 on a city tile, instead drop 3 next to the city on different sides.....
and the appearance of fallout removes not only improvements, but features as well most notably this means that it permanently destroys oasis and floodplains!
 

coanda

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@Ghpstage - right advice, but he commented that they turned off city razing in game options specifically to make scorched-earth policies unworkable.

I'm at a bit of a loss actually of how to turn his nukes into a victory in this situation... since I assume it'll be no more than 15-20 turns before his opponent also has nukes, at which point he's just fighting a larger, more-productive empire from basically tech parity. Something with stealth bombers maybe?
 

Ghpstage

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@Ghpstage - right advice, but he commented that they turned off city razing in game options specifically to make scorched-earth policies unworkable.
Doh :lol:.
It could still be used to capture a large number of cities in a single turn though, captured cities lose their national wonders if the taker already built them and suffer a lot of damage, add that to nuking their bigger stacks and cities and it may be enough to put the on the back foot.
I'm at a bit of a loss actually of how to turn his nukes into a victory in this situation... since I assume it'll be no more than 15-20 turns before his opponent also has nukes, at which point he's just fighting a larger, more-productive empire from basically tech parity. Something with stealth bombers maybe?
Not sure what Stealth Bombers could add, if your troops can't reach the cities they hit they'll accomplish nothing, leading back to having fast units again, basically the same naval transports and subs as they can launch attacks from outside the range of those tacticals (SDI will be critical), just against a much stronger defence than you'll face against an AI.

First thing would be to nuke their core cities, to try to slow them down as much as possible.

Initial thoughts post parity would be to build up your forces for a widespread attack just outside airship recon range (more than 13 tiles away assuming they aren't Range promoted), subs with either Nav 1 or the circumnav bonus can close those tiles and move into the city in 2 turns, ending their first turn outside nuke range of the cities, the problem is that the transports need both circumnav and Nav 1 OR Nav 1+2 to keep up and attack those cities on the second turn.

Another option would be to hog the food and hammer corps and wait till GW messes them up far worse than you, resources themselves not being removed by GW :rotfl:
 

Alphard

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Thanks for all the great replies. Didn't even know about nukes destroying national wonders and terrain features.

Too bad about SDI being a project and un-burnable... That was my best option so far. Just to paint a more clear picture of our game:

- I have the only uranium on the map
- Both of our tech trees are researched all up, so we already have tech parity
- He seems to have 2+ mech inf or similar end-level units in all his cities, fighters protecting most of them
- He has no airships and depends on destroyers for sub defense
- The map is toroidal so there are no polar ice caps and attack can come from any direction (similarly, I can attack from any direction)
- He has both Mininc inc and Construction corps but obviously making use of only Mining inc. - thats what gives his production advantage over me. I have sid and jewelers.

I am fairly certain I can keep him off nukes. Even if uranium pops for him, I should be able to nuke it quickly. I guess the only strategy left for me is nuking and pillaging his territory, capturing towns (and losing them again no doubt) just to bring his economy down. "build more nukes" it is...

His best chance is probably going after my uranium as that is the only thing that keeps him from winning quickly at the moment. Fortunately it is at the core of one of my continents and it cannot be reached by missiles from sea.
 

coanda

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- I have the only uranium on the map

Then I see no real hope for him to actually win an offensive war against you. He has to gather forces in one spot to actually take and keep any of your cities, and if he ever does that you can kill him with nukes. Without nukes of his own to clear the way and smooth the advance, he's going to lose many, many hammers for every hammer he costs you.

I know these are generally considered laughable options in multiplayer... but are Spaceship and Time victories turned on? Because I could actually see those becoming relevant in this game...
 

Alphard

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Then I see no real hope for him to actually win an offensive war against you. He has to gather forces in one spot to actually take and keep any of your cities, and if he ever does that you can kill him with nukes. Without nukes of his own to clear the way and smooth the advance, he's going to lose many, many hammers for every hammer he costs you.

I know these are generally considered laughable options in multiplayer... but are Spaceship and Time victories turned on? Because I could actually see those becoming relevant in this game...

All other victory conditions have been disabled, only either domination or conquest is available. We basically used house rules to avoid our own direct conflict until all AI-s were destroyed.. so that we would have a chance to experience a large scale modern war in Civilization. In that respect the game has been a success.

I agree that I could make his attack very expensive. I am not sure how easy my own offense would be though. I guess it will be a slow grind either way.
 

coanda

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Spitballing a couple ideas here...

1. You could play defensive for the long run. If he doesn't attack either, your nukes become proportionally more effective as unit counts rise (if each side has 200 units, your nukes are more likely to get good targets than if each side has just 100 units). And if he does attack... you get all the defender's advantages, which should drive his losses up and yours down.
2. You could try to seize the ocean. If you sink any large fleets he gathers and repeatedly capture his coastal cities, it would have to cut into his ability to fight you on the ocean.
3. You could go for air superiority. Jet Fighters and Stealth Bombers can only stay on certain tiles, so if you force him to build lots of air units to keep you from bombing him out of existence, you greatly increase the odds of finding a good target for a nuke.

I mean in the ridiculously long run, if you let the game run on for hundreds of turns you could probably stockpile enough tactical nukes / ICBMS to eliminate every land unit he has on the map in one turn, even through SDI and even if he had them spread out.
 

Alphard

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I think I might be too impatient for such a strategy :) Also - we already have hundreds of units.. I think he has about 150-200 missile cruisers alone.. plus other ships.

Also, the longer I wait, the greater the chance that he will pop uranium and rush a couple of nukes before I take out the resource. Probably would not be terribly destructive but I'd rather avoid such a situation if possible.

Thanks though :)
 

vanatteveldt

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Why not do hit and run attacks, where you capture a couple of coastal cities (containing some of these 150 missile cruisers) and paradrop one or more 'core' cities after nuking. Sure he will get them back, but not immediately (railroads are gone and fallout is 2 movement) and not in very good shape. It will take a long time to scrub the fallout, regrow the city, rebuild the buildings, and start producing again, especially if he has cottage cities. The cost for you should be something like 3 tacticals per city and the transport, submarine, marine, and paratroops needed, which should be a lot less then the missed production and buildings. If you hit enough coastal cities he will run out of missile cruisers at some point and you can get blue navy superiority.

Good luck!

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rah

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Yeah, I would think carpet nuking would really hamper his ability to produce anything.
 

coanda

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Well with SDI, only about 5/8 nukes would actually hit. Each of those nukes would have cost him 250 hammers, so the average cost per successful nuke is 400 hammers.
He says the other player has a 50-100% production lead, so what he needs to determine before deciding if nuking the other player's land is worth it is, will it cause 600-800+ hammers worth of damage before the other player finishes restoring things?

Included in that 600-800 would be the obvious stuff - units killed - as well as secondary effects - improvements, population, and buildings lost (40% chance of killing buildings, I believe 50% of wrecking improvements and spreading fallout).

At this point in the game (with filled out tech trees) his opponent could afford to just not replace a lot of earlier buildings, but there's still some stuff it would hurt him not to replace. Forge (120 hammers), Factory (250), Power Plant (150+), Barracks (60), Courthouse (120), Drydock in coastal cities (120), Levee in riverside cities (180), Lighthouse in at least some of his coastal cities (60)... a coastal riverside city might well have upwards of 1000 hammers of at-risk buildings, in which case a nuke right there should be expected to deal over 400 hammers of damage.

If you take out 3 workshops and replace them with fallout, that's costing him about 30 hammers per turn; he also can't commit too many workers to the repair effort or you'll just nuke them. So perhaps a half-dozen turns to get the tiles going again, that's another ~200 hammers lost.

Plus every bit of population you take away from him will hurt, although it's easy to double-count this with the destroyed tiles penalty (since lost pop can just stop working lost improvements).

So I wouldn't spray nukes around like crazy, but it could make sense to nuke important coastal cities even if he has no intention of attacking them.
 

Chrysheight

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Nukes are actually pretty weak in Civ4... but they can still wreak unholy devastation if used right... My advice is to use 2-3 of your cities to produce nothing but ICMBs or Tac. Nukes. Then use the Tac. Nukes to destroy improvements and trade routes that are defended, and ICBMs to weaken cities, capturing them. You should also have an army of about 8 infantry, 6 artillery, and 4 modern armor for all their cities. Use a nuke on any city you think is a threat, and use 1-3 marines to amphibiously attack each of their coastal cities. Using a navy to blockade ports and disrupt the economy is a good strategy as well.

Hope this helps... :mischief:
 
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