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The Case For Knights: Opinions

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by CrusaderKevin, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. CrusaderKevin

    CrusaderKevin Pilgrim in Arms

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    Haha, nice. I like it when the kinghts (surprise, right?) charge up and then, without the horses moving a single inch, the poke their lances forward and kill the longbowmen who somehow never fired a shot, but prefered to throw thier longbows at them!
     
  2. CrusaderKevin

    CrusaderKevin Pilgrim in Arms

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    You have GOT to go here and watch this at about 3:25 into the vid if you like knights!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbYRs6b4DQI&feature=related
     
  3. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    The only (but major) knock on knights is their location on the tech path. They are down a slower research line that the AI prioritizes. Essentially on high levels if you tech for guilds first, you can't trade anything away (and you're likely to get beat there be at parity), while if you go for education/liberalism, you CAN trade (even for guilds...) and will have better research. Not only that, cuirassers barely come later and are markedly superior to knights.

    I'd go guilds on a rapid expansion conquest, lower levels. You can beat the AI to the medieval techs and without its production/tech bonuses smoke it at war. You'll probably need the gold multipliers to help pay the bills then anyway, so why not?
     
  4. Skallagrimson

    Skallagrimson Deity

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    I like defensive stacks of war elephants when I can get them. Give them shock and flanking to survive the one "coverage" pikeman in the enemy stack (or sacrifice a few rookies if they stack more than one pike), and then murderlate the crossbows they stacked as an answer to pikemen, and the remaining knights. Best yet, Khmer ballista elephants.
     
  5. mirthadir

    mirthadir Emperor

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    Yeah the single biggest problem with using knights offensively (and given how the AI plays that why people like units 99 times out of 100) is that the elephant is better. The phant comes earlier, requires only a single resource, and doesn't require spy support. When you compare knight/pike/lb vs HA/spear/archer vs cav/rifle it doesn't do all that poorly; it is just that the phant too much overlaps it in useful era and unless you have a major espionage pile the two moves are rather useless on the offense as you need the slow boat siege for any assault.
     
  6. Charonicus

    Charonicus Warlord

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    I like knights. I've had a few games where they've proven invaluable. For a start, when amassing the stack, they storm through one's own borders, saving precious turns. I tend to give them combat I and II and then give one Combat I and Medic I (Heal after a move :D). They seem to have better survival rates. I had one game where a bunch of knights took a city and not one got other 50% odds yet they all won, and even when they don't they tend to withdraw. They also flank cats (I think) which is handy.

    My tactic when knights come in is to build tons of them and add them to the existing stack of macemen from previous wars. I then take the cities, using a mix of macemen and knights (with siege support) and leave the macemen behind on defensive duties. The maces get their melee bonus and I leave them unpromoted so they can be upgraded to rifles with city garrison while the knights carry on to the next city. :)
    I also tend to keep a pikeman or spearman with combat I and medic I in the stack anyway so even if the knight medic dies I still have an unlikely defender there.
     
  7. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    TheMeInTeam:

    The problem you're seeing is based on your difficulty-level. On levels above Emperor (and in some cases on Emperor), the AI techs so quickly that prosecuting a war anytime beyond BronzeWorking Axe Rushes and before Curies tends to be very costly in terms of hammers and tech.

    Below those difficulty levels, you can have a tech lead heading into Guilds, and research Guilds primarily for the hammer bonus under Caste to facilitate production - and still have time left over for winning Lib. In fact, you can let some other AI win Lib and still benefit from the beaker discount, while focusing on taking over nearby Civs.

    Conversely, the AI's proclivity for teching Guilds allows you to arrange a possible trade for it to acquire Knights in a timely fashion. It won't be a beeline, but it can net you a solid advantage in a medieval-era war anyway, especially if your enemy doesn't have HBR, Horses, or Guilds himself.

    Aside from the obvious benefit of Knights, Guilds also opens the line to Gunpowder, Banking, and from Gunpowder, Chemistry and Steel.

    Here's something to try out - DON'T win the lib race. As in, play for a week intentionally trying out other paths to dominance. You don't have to if you don't like it, but the point of this isn't to tech Knights, but to tech anything for advantage other than getting to Lib. You'll find that the Guilds line isn't that bad, and that you can trade it off for techs in the higher branches if you tech it first.
     
  8. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    I know it's buried 1000's of posts ago for me, but I did just that ----> teched clean through the bottom path, spamming workshops and winning a tech-backward domination on emperor, probably somewhere like early June or so.

    I lost lib and didn't even try for it in G major 40 that I submitted (weak but hell, i'll take an immortal/large win ATM).

    My point is that I have a lot of experience trying odd tech paths, but it just doesn't seem to give the same returns as other paths unless you're expanding very quickly/successfully via war. I went the bottom path in madscientist's Sully RPC a bit more recently. You could say I didn't go for liberalism in that one - the game ended and nobody had it yet.........I leaned very heavily on market/grocer/bank in that one so that I could afford more war.
     
  9. schlaufuchs

    schlaufuchs La Femme Moderne

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    Just like you, I hold a special place in my heart for Knights. As most have already stated, Civ 4 tends to be more about city taking, so the majority of my army is cats, maces, and pikes (I play vanilla, so no trebs :( ). However, I still use knight, most of the time, if I'm fighting a major war (the most recent ocurance came when on my Roman Campaign when attacking Darius) The Knights proved very successful mowing down the dumpy little towns on the steppe as their mobility and hight strength allowed them to quickly move in and take down the low pop/low cultural defense cities up there, while my Praets did the hard fighting down in the fertile crescent. So while they weren't pivotal in my war, they did save me the trouble of having to defer an entire slow moving army to take a few dumpy cities, instead using a few highly trained knights to go run amuck up north :goodjob:.
     
  10. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    TheMeInTeam:

    Well, if it wins you the game, then you could say that it gave you enough, didn't it? ;)

    Playing the lib race in many cases allows you to keep up with faster teching AI, but if you don't really need to keep up in tech, it's not all that necessary. You don't have to tech clean through the bottom path to make it work. Sometimes, you can tech through Engineering and Education, and have a nice GP coming up. At that point, the lib race is in the bag, with Guild coming up. I suppose you could do some extreme tech leap at that point to go for Cuirassers, but you could also tech Guilds - Gunpowder (you'll need Gunpowder anyway) to increase hammer output, gold output, go for Chem and take Steel with Lib - it works.
     
  11. futurehermit

    futurehermit Deity

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    knights are on a desirable part of the tech tree if you are running a pure SE, which can involve gunning for banking for mercantilism. also, if you have the pyramids for representation, your tech pace should be very good, allowing you to tech some of the pricier medieval techs faster than you might otherwise.
     
  12. mirthadir

    mirthadir Emperor

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    It really doesn't matter how good your economy is, running to knights will nerf your tech verses the AI in most cases. Tech trading is an insanely effective :science: multiplier; let's just say you can trade each tech three times (with no tech brokering to boot). The first trade is for ~2/3rds of the :science: the tech cost you, the second for ~1/2, and the third for ~1/3. All told then you effectively multiply your :science: output by 150%. This ignores getting faster access to buildings, improvements, and civics which can actually be greater.

    If you are beelining to guilds you cannot trade much of anything away; pretty much everything pushes the AI closer to engineering which you simply cannot afford. Beyond that you have the problem that if you intend to bulb there (the fastest way and the only way to have a shot at archers/spears vs knights) you have to get GE which limits the ability to leverage specs.

    Now I'm willing to try the Oracle, GE bulb, GE bulb slingshot and run wild with Catas, and I've even been known to leverage Lincoln into a knight monster (shock/flankers get a good return rate vs non-formation pike); but it is just too unreliable (not to mention that in the latter shot I'm using my acquisition of vassals as massive fodder/distraction so I can get more vassals and utterly dominate the quantity over quality debate).

    With either of those, though, you are still going to get pretty heavily abused if the AI has war elephants.
     
  13. futurehermit

    futurehermit Deity

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    It's true that you won't have as many tech trade options, but when I go this route I am not as concerned about tech trading, instead preferring to fight at tech parity during the medieval age. This may be less desirable at the highest skill levels.
     
  14. TeraHammer

    TeraHammer Prince

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    Knights are high in my top favorite units too! Especially for raiding.
    I've had had great fun with my so called samurai knights when I played the earth18civs scenario as japan and raided europe :))
     
  15. nNemethon

    nNemethon Chieftain

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    Agreed. The only time I tend to build counter units is when a rambling bunch of hephalumps are coming my way, or I intend to attack a heavy elephant enemy. Otherwise, I (usually) stock up heavy on horse archers and macemen with a good compliment of seige units.
    As soon as the time Knights are available, I spend all my rainy-day money and upgrade the horse archers and with all the combat they have already seen, 20 odd of nicely promoted shiny beasts are ready to plunder any enemy and hold off almost indefinately a large scale multi-opponant war (including the macemen of course ;).
    I generally aim at 2 unit types in any stack excepting seige: Physical attackers (axemen, macemen) and fast heavy mounted units. This also helps me avoid confusion as to where I need to send what, where and when. There's always exceptions but I have found it an amazingly effective strategy (learned on here somewhere way back).
    Also, having small packs of fast knights rampaging the enemy resources and terrifying the enemy units to keep them from re-inforcing your target city(ies) helps to smooth the expansion. Several differing promotions can turn a knight stack into a fair hellstorm leaving either rubble or precious holdings (your choice - season to taste :p)
     
  16. CrusaderKevin

    CrusaderKevin Pilgrim in Arms

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    Outstanding examples! It's good to hear about how knights can be used defensively. As for the elimination of multiple unit and having one do many jobs, I believe that the Cataphract handles that nicely.


    My previously tested (twice sucsessful, at least on monarch) theory is: well-promoted cataphracts can fight many a battle for you and have a good chance to carry the game in the medieval era. Even if you fall behind on the tech tree, cataphracts are strong enough to run-down musketmen, and combat IV cats (or even better, cats with pinch) can hold up against riflemen for a little while. However, at that point if the enemy gets that far, then there should be only one CIV left to face you...and you should swoop in while you can. An arcaiac medieval army of valiant, promoted knights cannot stand against TOO MANY industial era gunpowder units for long.....
     
  17. CrusaderKevin

    CrusaderKevin Pilgrim in Arms

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    :goodjob:
    HAHA, I've GOT to try that (albeit historically innacurate for Japan to focus on horseback riders) :goodjob:
     
  18. Skallagrimson

    Skallagrimson Deity

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    I've had cities garrisoned by 2 CR2 infantries get pizzorned out by a stack of 10 knights which I foolishly underestimated. Sure they lose about 6 but the final 4 keep comin' atcha.

    I have a standing challenge to Sid Meier though, which he so far has refused to accept: I will stand in a field armed with an AK-47 and plenty of ammo, and he and 99 of his most skilled horse-riding buddies may suit up as knights and charge at me in an open field. No money or anything at stake, just honor and bragging rights, and of course, our life. :)
     
  19. CrusaderKevin

    CrusaderKevin Pilgrim in Arms

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    Haha, smooth. Even if they were wearing kevlar, you could just shoot the horses out from underneath. Simple. Knights were ony really efective aginst early gunpowder units with short-ranges and long reload times.
     
  20. mirthadir

    mirthadir Emperor

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    And you'd die. The AK-47 can take a 75 round drum mag at best (and that sucker sucks to change). In order to hit each horseman once, you have to hit 2 out 3 times (which at those fire rates is virtually impossible) and throw a slow drum change; all in the time it takes a galloping horse to cover ~750 m (assuming you not only are phenomenally accurate but also have excellent range conditions). Oh and you need to hope your quickly heating barrel neither jams nor causes trouble with the gas action. Given the ability of human wave tactics, from the Zulus to the Chinese, to overcome fully automatic (belt fed), crew served guns; you are toast.

    Even against well trained forces, human waves can be effective; against troops not well drilled or specially trained (i.e. the Iran-Iraq war; Ethiopia -Eritrea) 100:1 numbers overwhelming favours the masses.
     

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