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Teach me how to fight.

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Chippeth, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. Chippeth

    Chippeth Chieftain

    Aug 24, 2011
    So basically, I bought Civ5 a couple years back on a whim (vanilla release too, ouch!) and became obsessed. It's kind of got me into playing strategy games and I persevered though all the patches and expansions until I got really, really hooked.

    However, I know it's a common sentiment that Civ4 is better (or, at the very least, different enough to be interesting) so I bought the complete edition a couple months back.

    I've slowly figured out how to play, and I love it! My economy never really crashes, I don't fall behind in science and I can handle diplomacy well enough. I've won on Settler, Chieftain and Warlord already, and have a few unfinished games on Prince.

    Why are they unfinished? I just can't wrap my head around combat in Civ4. I've read all the tutorials, watched a few Let's Plays and experimented enough ingame, and have learnt nothing.

    I'm okay with defending. Archers/Longbows/etc in cities, a few mounted units to protect my improvements. Actually going out and attacking another civ and, god forbid, capture a couple of cities is a complete mystery to me.

    I personally think it's the stack warfare system. How big should a stack be? Should I ever send units alone? What is collateral damage? What the hell is a first strike?!

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. It's this small thing that is hampering my enjoyment of a fantastic game.
  2. sinimusta

    sinimusta el capitano

    Mar 27, 2013
    Warfare in civ4 can roughly be divided into two doctrines: mounted or siege warfare. The idea with siege warfare is to make a stack that has about 50% siege. Siege will bombard down city defenses and suicide and do collateral damage (damage other enemy units in enemy stack). Other units in the stack defend against enemy counter attacks and mop up after siege has done the damage. For example during classical age axemen are good stack defense, swords with cr promos make good city attackers and spears are needed to counter mounted units. Sometimes one unit can do all these jobs: for example war elephants are good stack def and city attackers at the same time. Also you should always try to have a medic unit in the stack and maye also a scou unit which is some mounted unit with two promos: withdrawal and sentry.

    Mounted warfare is all about speed. You should not have siege to slow you down if you use a lot of mounted units, you just push through the defenses with numbers. Good tactics will help, like threatening multiple cities at the same time. This doesn't work well during medieval era, since castles give huge defensive bonuses and pikemen will kill knights. The options for mounted warfare are either very early with HAs or even chariots or during renaissance with cuirassiers and later cavalry.

    Not always the goal of a war is to take enemy cities. Early worker steal will help your empire a lot and don't be afraid to use warriors for this even if enemy has archers; AI is quite passive when it comes to taking back the stolen worker.
  3. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

    Sep 6, 2011
    Very early ancient stack: 5-10 units

    Early classic stack: 15-20 units

    Later than that: Whatever, you should have enough units at that time, if not, l2p.

    Question for me is if you UU / HA or if you Elepult. Sizes are give for those types of units.
  4. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Deity

    Dec 5, 2005
    As a rule, you want your attacking stack to outnumber the enemy units in the city by more than two to one. In the very early game (before siege units are available) it's around 3 to 1. There's a discussion in this thread.

    Normally, when attacking a city, you will bring an entire stack, and then on one turn attack with one unit at a time. (It is possible to push with multiple units at the same time, but that doesn't change the fight at all - just the mechanics of the interface between game and player).

    Basic rhythm of a siege war. You bring a stack of units - half will be catapults, half will be other stuff. The other stuff defends the catapults while the catapults destroy the city defenses (bombard). When the defenses are low enough, you then begin your attack.

    The first few units to go in will be catapults. They are expected to lose - that's one of the reasons that we bring so many. They may not even injure the defending unit, but they will do damage to a bunch of other units. After two or three catapults, the usual circumstance is that the defending city will have one somewhat healthy unit, and a bunch that are in really bad shape.

    At that point, you stop with catapults, and send in attacking pieces to kill the one healthy unit.

    Then you destroy everything else.

    The idea for a prolonged war is to repeat this pattern over and over. That's usually done by continuously generating more catapults to replace the ones that are dying, and taking care of the veteran attacking pieces (because having more experienced units with extra promotions is a big advantage in the next war).

    As a rule, you want to kill all of the cities defenders in one turn. The enemy supply lines are shorter than yours, so you have to worry about the arrival of healthy reinforcements. Also, the defending pieces that live often have a couple promotions coming to them, which gives them some free heals.

    At higher difficulties, you may need to push harder, and make do with less - you shouldn't let some other AI win because you are trying to fight a perfect war.

    Having enough troops is often achieved by city specialization -- having a significant number of cities that forgo their infrastructure to train more troops.
  5. Si_Lurker

    Si_Lurker Warlord

    Oct 13, 2004
    Also AI is intelligent enough to reinforce cities. Don't expect to show up with 4-7 units infront of their 2nd or 3d city and then expect to wait for reinforcements and win,

    If you want to go to war, you need to prepare, build one or two stacks of 5-20 units (depending on era opponent) and attack. AI doesn't handle multiple front warfare well, so if you attack with two stacks in different places, you will have advantage.

    Another tactic is fast stack (chariots, horse archers, knights, ...) You will need about 20 and you just attack, heal the wounded ones and proceed with healthy to next city. Disconnect their metals by pillaging improvements. AI under fast stack attack just crumbles as you overrun their entire civ in 15 turns and they cannot react.

    AI usually has 2-5 defenders between classic and medieval unless they expect attack, so 10 horse archers can take any of their cities before they start rushing defenders and reinforcing.

    If you were playing in multiplayer, a fast stack of your own is best counter to fast stack of oponent as you can move it to the place of his attack.

    Also if you go to war, do it quickly and decisively. Have all your cities build units, accumulate gold, then go less science and have few scientists to research Code of Laws, Currency and Civil service.
  6. Andrei_V

    Andrei_V King

    Jan 14, 2006
    On Prince level (or below) you can try Warrior rush. Just build 5 Warriors as fast as you can (before any Workers, Settlers, Barracks etc.) and attack your nearest neighbor. Most likely the city will be protected by a single Warrior, sometimes 2. With 5 to 1 (or even 2) you have a real good chance. Having 2 good cities that early will give you a head start. Try on slow speeds first (Epic or even Marathon.)

    After that you can try something like Chariot rush. Hook up Horse, build/chop/whip like 9-10 Chariots and go conquer another civ or two. The trick is to do that fast, before AI hook up Copper/Iron and start building Spearmen.

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