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The Early Rush

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by Sisiutil, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. PreLynMax

    PreLynMax Your Lord and Master

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    You're wierd. *giggle* :rolleyes:
     
  2. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    I know this guide says that chariots are weaker in a rush, but I disagree.

    You need more of them, but only to a point.

    This is because of the AI changes that Sis mentions in the guide: They'll build and whip units in response to an attack, especially if units draw near. Because of this, chariots hold an advantage in that for 20% culture cities or less, they can hit the city on the turn of declaration. They can get to pretty much any other city in 2 turns barring unusual terrain. This is often the difference between 2 archers and 3-4 archers. Coupled with early availability and travel time, IMO they're just as solid on the rush as axes, but you have to get there early...

    Mobility is underrated in civ IV. All of my highest scoring games involved domination using 2 move units (one exception was that I went to melee after immortal rushing 2 civs on monarch, but even then I took advantage of a 2 move unit, albeit on of the best in its era).

    My best score ever was over 230k on a standard map, and this involved a horse archer "rush" on emperor that translated into a pre-1500ad domination using HAs then knights then cuirassers. Exclusively (well, spies helped after HAs).

    Don't knock chariots, if you can research AH early they are a dangerous rush unit, and probably worth taking a shot at.

    Generally though, BW will follow shortly after for chopping etc. BW is a bit safer too as the copper/iron resources combined are far more likely than horses. All considerations.

    But I actually like the chariot rush more, having done a lot of both.
     
  3. Jerrymander

    Jerrymander Epistemologist

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    you could set the GG threshold really low and pop a bunch, make warlords, and give all your axemen Morale. \o/
     
  4. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    I've posted a revised version of the guide in the first post.
     
  5. Monsterzuma

    Monsterzuma the sly one

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    There is an error in the guide: Chariots cost 30 hammers to build, not 25. This creates a bit of a misleading picture. If Chariots came at the cost of Archers, it would be them that everyone would be praising instead of Skirmishers and Prats.

    One of the most common reasons for me not to rush is food abundance. Food-heavy starts work so well when used a settler pump that tailoring them to a rush approach never compares well.

    Edit: another thing; Skirmishers are not weak as rush units. I recommend you look up some of Iranon's posts on this unit. The extremely low cost ensures that it fights at a very high cost-efficiency. To say it fights as efficiently as axemen is a conservative claim.
     
  6. Monsterzuma

    Monsterzuma the sly one

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    Another recommendation:

    A focus on cost-efficiency would help substantiate many of the claims well. Also instead of using complicated math like another poster suggested, you could test the number of units needed per defender by using world-builder instead.
     
  7. V3N0M

    V3N0M Chieftain

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    Just did my first early rush today. With 3 warriors I got the hindu holy city and wiped out the aztecs
     
  8. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Still not giving chariots any love in the guide, and that's sad. I don't want people led away from them in situations where they're favorable. They are at least as good as axes for early rushes...

    1. AH is a tech you will frequently research to hook up basic livestock
    2. As you say, they move faster
    3. They face lower #'s of units than any other early rush unit except the quecha, by far.
    4. Their counter only keeps up with them along roads or as zulu.

    I've taken out 2 civs with both stock chariots and stock axes on immortal/normal at one point or another, but with chariots that's more common due to war speed.

    By the way, skirmishers get more first strikes and as such aren't nearly as gimped vs archers as one might expect...
     
  9. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    Good points, TMIT, and I will give Chariots a little more TLC if and when I get around to revising the guide. I also grew wary of them because of the recent addition to the game of barb spearmen, but as you've pointed out elsewhere, if you effectively fog-bust, barb spears won't be an issue.
     
  10. EditorRex

    EditorRex Master of Allusion

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    Sisiutil,
    Have been playing a long time without knowing about this strategy and have used in my two most recent games and love it. Still trying to perfect it however. Same thing has happened to me in both games. (I'm playing Prince, Epic speed on Huge Fractal map, 10 nations, and I'm Bismarck.) First game, I rushed neigboring DeGaulle, taking his first two cities with Axes, plus a couple of Chariots and Spearmen for a good stack mix. Iron came in to play during the rush, so I got his last four cities with swords. I had 3 of my own cities (copper, horse, iron), and took five of his, and razed one as well. OK, I probably should have razed more of his cities. Economy got in trouble quickly. Still, I knew how to cure that. Pulled troops into my borders. Developed Sail and Currency. Built Markets. Developed Pottery and spammed cottages. But by the time my economy has recovered, I find that I have absolutely no military edge. I do have some good cities and a decent slice of territory. But I'm very vulnerable to attack. Catching up on that is doable, but it seems like it takes a lot more effort than it should.

    Next game, same set up, except Marathon speed. I take out Justinian with a rush, using Axes and Chariots heavily, plus spears to defend the stacks. I have 3 cities (Capital, Copper, Horse) and take 4 of theirs, razing one. Difference here is that I'm now only guy on continent, though I can reach most others without crossing any oceans, so I do have contacts. Good news in this game is thus that I'm not very vulnerable to military attacks for a while. Same economic problems as before, with same solutions. And same result. My power rating is the lowest in the game and I'm currently working hard to catch up before my opponents get the naval capacity to invade my continent.

    In the first of these two games, I was able to use diplomacy and limited wars with a neighbor to get enough money and military experience to catch up. Even so, I find myself playing defensively going into the industrial era and will be too far behind my opponents for my Panzers to give me the winning advantage I'd hoped for. In the second game, my military isolation prevents that strategy, but has me having to pursue a scientific strategy while trying to chip away at my military disadvantage where I can.

    In neither game am I out of the running for the Domination victory I'm pursuing, but I also don't feel like I got any edge from the early rush that I was able to hold on to.

    So here's my question: With a successful early rush that leaves you in possession of nearby cities, lots of veteran troops and a crapping econonmy, what is a good recommended tech, expansion, military and economic strategy to ensure that you fix your economy without losing your edge?
     
  11. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    Your question goes far beyond the early rush and into the broader topic of how to win the game. But I'll answer it as best I can.

    First off, I always find that currency is a huge, huge tech for me, especially after an early rush. First, there's the extra trade route; second, there's the ability to trade resources for gold (and thanks to the rush you should have some surplus resources for trading... don't you?). But most important of all is the ability to sell techs and maps for lump sums of gold, and to get "money for nothing" by asking your friends for gifts and badgering your enemies for tribute. Once I get some money in the bank, I almost always spend it on deficit research--running the slider at 100% until I'm broke. Rinse, repeat. This is also why I like to be the first to Economics for the free GM, who promptly goes on a lucrative trade mission. "Pointy stick research" can supplement this--go to war and pillage and/or take cities to supplement your treasury. It's better than leaving your army of veterans sitting around, getting fat and obsolete while their maintenance costs drain your treasury. Your army represents an investment--make sure you get the most out of it.

    Obviously, the money in your treasury can also be spent on unit upgrades to keep your military and your power ranking in the pink. Just be selective; a Rifleman with a shock and/or cover promotion quickly becomes obsolete as your opponents modernize. Siege units die quickly, so I usually prefer to sacrifice them and only upgrade the few lucky survivors that have several promotions. And if you can build modern units with equivalent promotion levels, save your cash.

    I usually run a hybrid economy and make heavy use of slavery. Running specialists and producing Great People allows me to research >1 tech path simultaneously (one through regular research, the other through lightbulbing), at least in the early and mid-game, while the latter allows me to build infrastructure with astonishing speed. Remember to judiciously trade the techs you research and lightbulb. Espionage can help you here, letting you know which techs your rivals are researching (which you then don't have to, since you should be able to obtain them through trades if you manage diplomacy adequately) and which ones they're avoiding that make good tech trade bait. Earning enough EP to make your opponents' current research target visible is a priority for me in my games. This is also a great way to earn more gold: sell techs when your rival has them 2-4 turns from completion in return for the contents of their treasury.
     
  12. EditorRex

    EditorRex Master of Allusion

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    Thanks. I've been doing a lot of that (although I need to experiment more with spying early in the game), so I'm probably on the right track and just need more practice to avoid the pitfalls.

    More specific followup question: Any basic order on tech reseach in the late phase of the early rush?

    For example, I'm doing an early rush. I'm Germans and started with Mining and Hunting. First tech research: Bronze. Then, I've been doing something close to what you recommended, depending on terrain. Wheel, Animal Husbandry. Now I'm ready to rush. While I'm building/chopping/whipping my army and defeating the enemy, is there a particular tech strategy I should follow? I've been pursuing Fishing (for food/commerce), Sail (for trade), Writing (for open borders), Iron if I have time, possibly Agriculture, and then move on to the more advanced stuff, Alphabet, Currency and Mathematics. Using this strategy, I've totally neglect Masonry and the religious techs. So far, I'm around this point when I defeat the first enemy and go into recovery mode. As soon as possible, I try to trade my techs for whatever I can get. It seems like Horseback Riding, Metal Working, Feudalism, Machinery, Civil Service and Guilds are all obvious goals if I'm playing a military strategy. I also like Compass for Harbors. I've been ignoring the Aesthetics tree and trading for it later.

    See problems with my thinking on this? Anything you'd recommend that I've been missing?
     
  13. huayna_capac

    huayna_capac Chieftain

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    great article! Should`ve read it before I figured it out myself, would`ve saved me some time - without some luck as to resources, space, etc., I find immortal level hard to win without a rush...

    just as a side note, though: in your article, you mention the religion defense bonus. True, can be a hassle. But for me, those AIs that founded a religion are not a less favourable, but actually most likely target for an attack.

    Why? playing a rush, you usually do not produce wonders or great persons ( else you`re doing it wrong! ). Thus, choosing which enemy to attack, I usually rush whoever founded a religion, because it makes it way easier to finance all those cities - after capturing them, produce a prophet ( the first usually comes quite fast, research priesthood which is cheap if necessary ), and get that +1 gold per city.

    I admit it is not all you need - currency and code of law are still very important - but priesthood is on the way to code of laws, and the money usually helps early on and is simply great to have later, especially when you get currency and a market in that founding city.

    In my experience, this makes the rush more worthwhile and gives me much more satisfaction in the end - after a rush, one tends to have a lot of cities...

    Well, that`s just my 2 cts, sry if it was mentioned before, did not read entire thread...
     
  14. huayna_capac

    huayna_capac Chieftain

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    @EditorRex: you did not mention pottery for cottages? Much better for commerce than fishing, it takes only 10 turns for a cottage to catch up with a sea tile, then it just gets better. Build them as soon as possible and your finances go up by themselves ( slowly, but steadily )

    My strategy after the rush depends. As mentioned in the article, code of laws and currency are good to have when you have so many cities (besides, there`s almost always more you might want to build)

    In general, mathematics is nice - opens up some good possibilities like currency, or construction for more war ( see article - another way to get money is to simply conquer the next guy... )

    If I conquer a religion, I tend to research priesthood, code of laws.

    Code of laws is usually one of my first targets anyway - it is essential to reduce city cost, with a lot of cities, you can later get forbidden palace, and, if you are really quick, it might also get you that religion - on Prince level, that should not be too hard I think. Also, you can get caste system, which I like a lot because I tend to play non-creative, so building new cities becomes way easier - just use an artist, wait a couple of turns, be happy, instead of spreading religion or building a monument or generally investing hammers and thought ;)

    I try to avoid horseback riding by the way. It is quite expensive to get early on - so unless I want to use elephants, which I like, or have a UU, like carthage, I tend to ignore this tech until I rush with cuirasseers much later in the game.

    In order to repair myself, I tend to get writing soon. That way, I can go to low tech rates ( happens when you have too many units ) and simply use scientists for researching the tech I need to get back on track financially. As a bonus, a great scientist or two appear. Those can be used for example to get Alphabet ...

    As the cities I use for rushing tend to have food to enable them to use mines, they should also be able to build a library and then just get a scientist or two.

    This depends a little on who you play, though, it of course works best for philosophical leaders.
    And it is not a long-term concept.

    By the way: I would choose if I were you - either macemen as the next attack unit or knights. I personally prefer macemen - slower, but they have city attack. And they get real nice later when you have riflemen - upgrade, riflemen with city attack - yay :)
    And knights usually are not strong enough to get by without catapults anyway, which only move one - so, same deal. Also, opponents tend to get pikemen which can be really annoying, with macemen, this problem is not so bad. And: macemen require bureaucracy, which I like.
    If my opponent gets knights ( they usually do ), I tend to counter with either war elephants ( if I get ivory ), or just defend ( I usually simply play nice, I don`t care to give a tech or some resource to keep the peace, again, religion works like a charm ) until I can get gunpowder and then military science ( great tech for liberalism ) later. Cuirasseers are my favorite rush unit later, because they tend to be the first strength 12 unit on the map and I usually conquer at least one civ with them when I choose to do so.

    Well, hope that helped some. I tend to write too much, sry bout that ;)
     
  15. huayna_capac

    huayna_capac Chieftain

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    @monster: I second that. Skirmishers are pretty good rusher IMHO.
     
  16. EditorRex

    EditorRex Master of Allusion

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    Huayna,
    I like your advice. On the knights vs. macemen question, I have to go with Macemen based on my experience so far.
    -- If I rushed with mostly Axes and maybe some swords, this is a natural promotion. (I'll still promote my chariots to Knights when the time comes, just to have few in the mix and give me speed if needed.)
    -- I can ignore the Guild/Banks/Economics tree momentarily, and quite likely trade for it. I know some folks will think I'm crazy not to go for Econ, and Grocers and Banks are both nice. BUT, around this time I'm usually pursuing Education/Liberalism. I've had a few games where I got Education ahead of everyone and traded it to get Guilds and Banks just before getting Liberalism, then used my free tech to pick up Economics.
    -- The civics involved make sense. I never use Mercantilism. I often use Bureacracy (especially peace time). Granted, at some point in the game I do like to get Representation/Free Speech/Emancipation/Free Markets/Free Religion going for an extended period while I focus on the heart of the industrial and modern tech tree, but I should be able to trade for Econ by the time I get Democracy and can do this switch in one step, preferably during a Golden Age, since I'm not typically playing a Spiritual leader.
     
  17. EditorRex

    EditorRex Master of Allusion

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    One nit, by the way, you don't need math to get Currency.

    Also, I didn't mean to leave out Pottery and l like your analysis on it being more important than Fishing. I've never experimented much with Caste System, so I'll have to try it. I like the idea of using it in lieu of Monuments to boost your borders, and in lieu of sci-taxes to boost your research.

    Thinking more about Horseback Riding, I guess if I'm playing an Axe (or Sword) rush, there's no good reason to pursue this one. Only if I had to opt for a Chariot rush should I worry about it.

    You mentioned rushing with Curaissiers. Are there any tricks there or is it just the obvious?
     
  18. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    One thing I do very differently from you, EditorRex, is making Aesthetics an early priority. Conversely, the AI usually makes a very low priority of Aesthetics, making it excellent trade bait; it's usually my catch-up tech. I'll invest a few turns in Alphabet after I have it, then obtain Alpha by trading it; I can usually get Monarchy the same way, or by combining it with one of the cheap religious techs (Polytheism, Medication, Priesthood) which I obtained by trading Aesthetics (along with others like Masonry, Monotheism, Archery, and sometimes HBR and, depending on the map, Sailing (all cities inland? = low priority) and even AH (no pasture resources + no need for chariots = low priority)).

    If I have a superlative start--say with sufficient food plus high-commerce tiles like gold or, even better, gems--then I may risk going after Alphabet followed by Aesthetics. But I don't delay the latter long.

    Aesthetics also leads to Literature, another low-priority tech for the AI which enables the best wonder in the game, the Great Library. Great Scientists from the GL allow me to lightbulb my way to Liberalism far earlier than it sounds like you're getting there; I usually have just enough time to get to Economics first after Liberalism. I may have to trade for Guilds and Banking (and not trade Education for awhile), but the free GM is often mine.

    Finally, I usually obtain Currency a little while after the GL is complete, which allows me to trade the relatively-cheap Literature to everyone for some nice sums of gold.
     
  19. EditorRex

    EditorRex Master of Allusion

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    Yeah, I just read Snaaty's strategy guide and some of this sounds very similar. Never tried the Aesthetics first strategy, but it sounds good. I have really been neglecting getting GPs and light-bulbing. (Before starting to try Axe Rush in my last couple of games, I've been playing forever with the Oracle slingshot strategy for Theology with an eye to building the AP. So I've tended to get Prophets and build holy sites instead of light-bulbing early on. But I'm giving up that strategy, so I've got to rethink everything else too.)
     
  20. huayna_capac

    huayna_capac Chieftain

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    well it is basically the same idea as always with riding units ( except elephants ):

    you rush in so fast that the AI is hardly capable of building up forces against you in time to stop you before essential cities/resources are lost.

    Usually when I have Cuirassiers the AI has Longbowmen, the only thing that may bother you is pikemen, which they seem to like, or elephants, which is unlikely.
    Both only live off of their bonusses, though, and are quite easily overtaken with a couple of advancements on your riders, from theocracy, stables, vassalage, generals or whatever suits you. I sometimes meet knights as well, which are inferior, but can slow you down as they are close in strength. But well, that is the reason one always wants the map and an idea of the tech of an opponent before attacking.

    I usually plan with enough units to comfortably take at least two cities when I rush in, not counting small border cities you raze anyway. The first city is used to heal damaged units, that is where I leave my woodsman and healer, when the second city is taken, the bunch from the first advances, and so on.

    I also like them because they are riders and thus easy to push to level 3 - so you can have good healers, scouts ( retreat and visibility ) and so on.

    Cities that are heavily defended can usually be broken using retreating units - because of the relatively high strength they usually do enough damage before retreat so you can get by - but often I just leave those cities until my bombardment units trailing behind get there.

    I personally prefer quick wars ( who doesn`t ;) ), so if I have the pyramids I tend to use police state/theocracy to produce my hordes big enough to take big chunks real fast, then you can either force peace and get tech, wait and upgrade to cavalry, and repeat to eat the rest, or just go on a little further to take it all.

    Keep in mind though I usually use this on civs that are not too huge, because I dislike wading through millions of bowmen and catapults and whatever they come up with until I am equipped with a real mix, but so far, it has worked for me regardless.

    The only thing that really hurts using the cav is when he gets his hand on riflemen, because of their bonus and all that. You can compensate with advancements, but that tends to get messy and complicated, so use them early or don`t.

    In summary, cuirasseers for me are a use it, then throw them out tool to quickly conquer or seriously damage some AI later in the game, as their upgrade, the cavalry, tends to get outdated rather soon, and the helicopters are far away, I usually get rid of most of them when they have fulfilled this goal. Nice thing about them is that they can damage cannons, but to be honest, I do not actually use that too often.

    Hope that helps. Try them, I love it :)
     

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