Dec 6, 2001
Arendal, Norway
In my never-ending quest for the perfect Civ game (the game where everything works as planned and nothing is wasted), the subject for discussion is Submarines.

Do you build them, and in case what type?
How do you promote them?
For what purpose do you build them, and promote them the way you do?

I've been a fan of flanking promotions and speed (navigation), since it makes the sub go fast and have a very high withrawal chance, but at the cost of being more fragile while in combat.

Discuss, and elaborate!
the only purpose is to get spies to the enemy

otherwise the other ships do a better job at whatever it is a submarine can do.
Both, normally a couple of Subs as they tend to be the first modern day naval unit I can build.. the rest all Attack Subs when I can.

I tend to go for Promote Strength, personally, with normally being first to circumnavigate and other water bonuses I find their range ok as is.

Er I build subs to carry cruise missiles until I can get stealth (I think??) to build Missile Cruisers. Attack subs, I just build them so I can hide them under the ice and play hunt for the Red October.
Attack subs with flanking promotions have a high enough withdrawal chance to use for softening up enemy battleships etc, and I often use them for that. They're also needed to track down enemy subs in the later stages of the game (i.e. when destroyers and airships are no longer available to detect them).

Ordinary subs are only minimally useful. One or two can be of use for moving spies around or for getting a tactical nuke into the right place, but once the missle cruiser is around that role becomes largely obsolete.
The next 3.13 patch should slightly increase subs role but they are always understimated. I will go to tweak xml to give the proper important role.

Why do subs have always been treated by Fireaxians like cosmetic units good only to waste money ? :confused:
How is it changing subs, and why the distinction between subs and attack subs? In combat (except against other subs) aren't they identical? And out of combat, isn't the only difference that regular subs can transport spies and such?

Anyways, in the games I've played, sea combat and intercontinental combat has been largely superfluous... I mean, its too much of a pain to even bother- and if you start winning, you get WTFPWNED by the intercontinental colony maintenance costs...
I use subs to carry tactical nukes. I havent generally got many promotions on the subs due to the fact i usually try and evade the enemy
I am under the impression someone inside Fireaxis crashed with a luxuos car into a submarine..maybe falling from the harbour basement....this is the only reason to explain their deep hate versus one of the most important unit of the story and also of the modern times.

Starting from legendary u-boats ( I think Civ IV ignored them all completely :mad: ) those subs made the story just like their terrain counterpart did on the ground,I mean Panzers.Well, the Panzers have obtained not only the presence inside Civ IV but they also acquired the special status of " special unique unit ".

U-boat have been removed instead :mad: :confused:

In addition to the WWII era, even another recent fundamental era have been removed from Civilization 4 , the cold war era talking from submarines point of view have been delibarately deleted. Why ????????????????

U-boats before, nuclear subs vessels later and Virginia class segment played and are playing a fundamental role into last 80 years tactical warfare but Fireaxis seems to ignore this part of the story.

I only hope someone of those programmers will sooner or later take a look at story warfare books,maybe the next Civ release will also take care about of subs,meanwhile I'll try to insert a u-boat into civ 4 and will try to tweak modern ones to reflect the reality and not a fantasy world,after all this is civilization,not Final Fantasy XII :lol: :lol:
go for flanking I + sentry promotions and use it to scout ahead of a little fleet of ships, who can then focus their upgrades on combat.

But really I find their main use is destroying fishing boats, a job where occasionally you might also see an opportunity to sneak in on transports/carriers.

If you get more promotions after Sentry, go for Drill. If you get an extra first strike they will punch above their weight. Strength is no good, anything a sub can't already sink is going to be promoting on strength too.

I think they should come with Drill I though.
In my BTS Ultimate Ranged Combat SDK I Improved The stealth ability of Subs by adding a seperate XML element for Normal Visibility range and Sealth Visibility. This allows the modder to limit the detectibility of subs (with sonar), while also increasing normal visibility at range (radar). THis is great when you give ships like Missle Cruisers extended long range missle attack ability which will automaticly fire at any ship that moves into range. :cool:
Why do subs have always been treated by Fireaxians like cosmetic units good only to waste money ? :confused:

It's not just subs, it's the Navy as a whole that has never had the proper respect it deserves, and this goes back to Civ III, I think Navy's in Civ games were put in more of an afterthought, something Firaxis needed because they have to have oceans, but something that has been neglected. Granted Civ IV address's Navy's better than Civ III did, but the only really functional and good units in the Navy's are Caravels and more minor, Subs believe it or not.

I mean think about it. Battleships, Cruisers, and Destroyers what do they do other than sail around and bombard things one square from the coast (what happened to tomahawk missles??) Carriers are pretty much worthless with 3 fighters other than to soften up a target slightly at a chance of getting shot down. BUT
Subs: you can spy on your enemy and send out a picket of them to know when the enemies naval armada is coming and where
Caravels: You can sail round the world and get a movement benefit for you Navy AND discover new Civs!!
[edit] Privateers can be useful also if used correctly
Subs: you can spy on your enemy and send out a picket of them to know when the enemies naval armada is coming and where


Nuke enemy armadas to oblivion far before they can do any harm. And pillage enemy sea resources ( that's why I love Ragnar subs: 1+ move can make the diference )

But I must reckon that those abilities are just half of the role of subs in RL. Subs are, before all, hunters: they pursue, engage and destroy enemy ships alone or in team work. And that part of the subs roles is not well worked in Civ IV: the biggest fear of a modern day fleet is a coordinated attack of a sub wolfpack with supercavitation torpedoes ( they reach the target before the sound of the launch, making passive sonar completely innefective ). Compare with BTS.....

Supercarvitation is fast (800km/h), but not faster than the speed of sound.

Sounds in sea water (1500 m/s) travels much faster (x5) than in air (331.3 m/s)

So, Passive sonar should still be usefull, the main problem however, is that you won't be able to outrun the torpedo again ;)

Though increasing the speed of a torpedo does theoretically confer a significant tactical advantage to the combatant employing them, supercavitation has its drawbacks as well. In short, naval tactics have evolved to the point that the use of supercavitation is not of undisputed benefit, and the navies that employ it tend to be those that have not perfected sophisticated guidance systems for their torpedoes.

Naval combat frequently occurs over significant distances; the Mark 48 torpedo, the staple torpedo of the US navy, has a range of five miles with unconfirmed reports of ranges in excess of twenty miles. The maximum speed of at least 32 miles per hour, (unconfirmed reports indicate speeds upwards of 60 mph) meaning it can reach its maximum range in a matter of minutes (ten to twenty, depending on the figures used). A supercavitating torpedo traveling at 230mph would still take over a minute to reach a destination five miles away, and around six minutes to reach a target twenty miles away. This is more than ample time for a target to dodge. But whereas conventional torpedoes are capable of homing in on a target using either wires connected to the launching ship or active sonar, the nature of supercavitation precludes either method of guidance. The supercavitating engine would sever any wires attached to the torpedo, and the bubble of vapor surrounding the torpedo both enables it to travel at very high speeds and prevents the use of sonar. Supercavitation also produces an incredible amount of noise, which alerts the target to both the torpedo and the location of the launching sub.

A common submarine tactic is to quietly launch a torpedo, but not to activate it until the firing sub has moved a few hundred yards away, then activating it and guiding it to the target. Supercavitating torpedoes are only capable of being "dumb-fired" directly from the launching vessel, which would immediately reveal its position, a lethal mistake in modern naval warfare. As the torpedoes produced by the American navy - and sold through arms contracts to allied navies - have incredible guidance systems, interest in supercavitation has been rather muted in the Western naval community.
The problem is not subs, but naval combat in general, because no proper counter system is in place none of the naval units work particularly well since they have no real role, especially once you get to the missile cruiser, stealth destroyer era's.

Battleships counter destroyers, they themselves are countered by nothing (although the first sub should slot in here)
Destroyers counter the first sub, and are countered themselves by battleships, so there fine (until they get obsoleted who's bright idea was that?)
standard sub's counter nothing an kill nothing since there attack power is just to low, although really they should be the unit to take on capital ships (battleships), an thus create a proper naval counter system of Battleship>destroyer>sub>battleship this counter system is employed for all the other units in the game an even the sailing ship era and is why combat is much better an more tactical for all those other units.
BTS then added more naval units
Stealth destroyer which counters itself
Attack sub which counters itself & the sub no one builds
Missile cruiser which counters itself
see the pattern there? Missile cruiser cannot see anything except other MC
Stealth destroyer has the same combat power as a destroyer an hence can only over power similar targets, I'e the first sub that it can now no longer see
Attack subs new patch ups str to 30, cannot attack stealth destroyers and lack the power to take on missile cruisers

Units need roles as otherwise the optimum makeup is always the same
1 attack sub, to see subs
1 SD to see SD
everything else Missile cruiser/battleship for best str

Land units the makeup changes depending on the units you fight, lots of knights means u need to counter with pikemen, lots of maces, you need lots of knights etc, with naval it always goes back to the highest strength ship with the other acting as spotters, if a proper counter system exisited the strongest makeup would not always be 1 sub, 1 SD max number of capital ships
I'm deeply glad to spot here and there forumers who clearly have a shining vision of the whole naval concept....let's say we performed a risky active ping with our posts but we also found each others , that was wotrthwhile indeed ;)

Now it would be really good if anyone that already performed such a task posted a simple and short way to mod xml files in order to show how to tweak & create Destroyers ,U-boats , vintage subs ala Foxtrot , Kilos , Collins , 688 classes and modern ones in order to show civ fans how do they really work and above all to show which is their real weight inside the real world.

The golden rule could be to estabilish a relationship between the visibility and the effective power of subs..I mean if not detected the modern subs should have a power of around 50 while if detected a power of 30 or less should be enough.

Of course Tomahawk are beeing fired since dozens years from subs and surface vessels therefore at least 12 missiles must come with certain classes from the construction and deployment itself.
IMO, subs (at least attack subs) should have 2 first strikes. What unit is better at surprise attacks than a sub, really?
The first time I built submarines in Civ IV I expected that it would function like a Privateer-- you could attack transports and such without revealing your location or nationality. If you make an attack while a destroyer or opposing sub is present, then your nationality would be revealed. Thus, submarines would have a purpose.

For an easier fix: The attack power of a sub should be higher, and it should have an attack bonus against battleships. To balance it, destroyers would have an attack bonus against subs. This would achieve the counter system mentioned above: Battleship>Destroyer>Sub>Battleship Something needs to change so that you're always asking yourself "is there a sub out there?" instead of boldly sailing around knowing that a sub can't really hurt you.

edit: I think it came up in a thread several months ago, that subs should have an extremely high withdrawl chance, like 90% (but not against destroyers). Your sub should almost always survive an attack against a battleship, transport or carrier, regardless of whether or not the opposing ship was sunk.
I think the main problem with subs in Civ vs. Subs IRL is that the first subs were aimed more at commercial traffic then capital ships or destroyers.

Civ has no commercial traffic, you don't have to protect supply lines or supply ships in Civ. Of course when fighting a war on another continent you may have to ship troops across water, but with the current problem of colonies or cities on different mainlands then your capital costing an inordinate amount of money. It makes for fighting wars over oceans pretty much useless.

Modern subs carry missiles and torps that are effective against any target where WWII era subs could destroy larger ships, it was usually a risk captain's would rather not take. They preyed more on convoys of oil, troops and equipment.

Of course, all this is based on WWII sub simulations and some historical I could be way off... :lol:
@ Fanatic Demon

I've read recentely that Russians had a prototype of supercavitation torpedo that could get to + 1000m/s using a Zinc powder/water jet engine ,with the drawback of being extremely hard to guide. But I agree that supercavitation torpedoes are more useful if you don't want/acheive stealth and you have to rely on superfast attack at short distance

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