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The Lazy Man's War - "Let's You And Him Fight"

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by wilbill, Jan 19, 2004.

  1. wilbill

    wilbill That Old Time Religion

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    "I caught a cleat on the starting block coach...."
    Emperor level, I'm the Mayans , it's 470 BC. I didn't get a real good expansion as soon as I'd like since my first two cities were heavy on flood plains and light on shields. My third city became my settler factory and I have 8 nice cities now, but I'm rushing to settle some fairly attractive open territory on the peninsula to my North and Southwest.

    "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right..."
    Egypt and Germany have me hemmed in on the South and Southast and although I'm not extremely weak militarily, I have no Iron. I do have Ivory but I'm several turns away from Mathematics and the ToZ and I don't have anything to trade for it right now. The Vikings are to my North. Unfortunately they're closer to the only nearby source of Iron and may well get it before me. I really don't want a bunch of Berserkers parked on my borders but may not be able to help it. Starting in the middle of a continent like this isn't my favorite place to begin a game because it's easy to get squeezed between a couple of early powerhouses. In this case all 3 of my neighbors are certainly larger than I am and I don't really like the idea of picking an early war with any of them. It's pretty likely I could find my Javelins going against Swordsmen or Berserkers. Those guys attack wearing smelly old bearskins, for crying out loud.
    Normally at this point in the game, I'm ready to wage at least a spoiling war against a neighbor to "liberate" a couple of cities, but that slow start put me off schedule.

    "Cleo sees a 'Welcome' mat where none exists..."
    Starting this turn, several (6) War Chariots have begun infiltrating my Southeastern borders. They're not in one stack and they're not coming directly at any of my cities. I have an embassy with Cleo, but no ROP. Biff (nickname for my military advisor) tells me I'm "about average" compared to the Egyptians and Vikings and "weak compared to" the Germans. I'm pretty sure that weakness is due to Bismarck's ability to build a few swordsmen, not due to a huge numerical advantage. I've been working with Biff on providing a little better military intelligence but no results so far.

    "What to do, what to do?"
    Although Egypt's agression level is mid-range, I have been sneak attacked by them before. But this doesn't really look like an attack against me. The chariots aren't all headed toward one of my cities and it appears they're actually moving through my territory to get to Scandanavia. It's gut-check time. Do I tell Cleo to get her asp out of Mayan territory? Or do I trust my instinct that she's really just passing through on the way to have a word or two with Ragnar? I've decided there's very little chance the Egyptians are going to attack me.

    " Almost no chance? "
    Now in the situation I've described there's no guarantee that Egypt will declare war if I toss them out - or that they won't. If it was Germany the odds would be a lot higher due to their higher agression level. But any civ with several offensive units in my
    territory is a potential threat to decide to fight instead of leaving. As I said, the Egyptian chariots aren't in a stack. They could have gone straight to one of my unexpanded size 2 cities on the border and attacked in one turn. But they didn't. I have an embassy with Egypt and Cleo's attitude is polite - about as good as it's likely to be at this point in the game. Add to that the fact that I have Bismarck sitting nearby with a very agressive attitude, swordsmen, and a long history of getting into a fight whenever there's one available. I really don't want to get dogpiled right now and this has the makings of one. If I'm right, the only real downside is that I'm going to have some foreign troops blocking a couple of my roads. A nuisance, but one I think I can live with.

    "Pucker factor..."
    Yeah, that's right. I'm considering letting the Egyptians stain the sacred Mayan soil. I've decided that Cleo's forces probably aren't going to attack me, but are on their way to kick some Viking butt.
    "But, wilbill", you say. "Egyptian troops would NEVER trample through MY territory without paying the price. I can't stand the thought of foreign devils crossing MY nation while I stand idly by and allow it. Better death than dishonor"
    Okay, fine. If that's the way you really feel. But let me describe what happened before you write me off as a wimpy builder who thinks a Diplolmatic victory is the ultimate Civ 3 experience.

    "Imagine that. I was right..."
    Yep, sure enough. 5 turns later, those chariots are in Scandanavia attacking the first size 1 city they encounter. Of course there are more Egyptian units moving through my territory on their way North by now. And, wonder of wonders, Germany joins Egypt in an MA against Scandanavia. Looks like I had my opponents figured corrrectly.

    "Lazy, but not passive..."
    During the next 15 turns or so, the combined German/Egyptian forces razed 3 Viking cities near my border. I'd even helped Cleo out by signing an ROP (Gasp!). But I'd been busy, too. I had two cities cranking out settlers so that I could expand to the Northeast as I'd planned (claiming that iron deposit) and plant Mayan cities on the rubble of those late, unlamented Scandanavian towns.
    By that point it appeared that the best nearby terrain for me to move into was in the same spot as a couple of German cities. Hmmm. A couple of turns earlier, the first Berserkers had shown up succesfully counterattacking some German units. Looks like Ragnar found another source of iron. The Egyptians had taken moderate losses and were only making token attacks into Scandanavia by this time. So, I decided it was time to go to Ragnar's assistance.

    "Military Alliance? No way..."
    My empire was growing and thriving as a result of the 3-way war among my neighbors. I'd added 7 cities, kicked up my research spending, improved my military and city infrastructures. I'd finished the Statue of Zeuss so I easily could have started sending Ancient Cavalry against Germany and taken those cities I coveted. But why? What worked once oughta work twice, right? So I offered Ragnar a ROP - which he quickly accepted on the same turn the ROP with Egypt ended. With the ability to use my roads, his army made quick time into Germany, stopping to pick off several German units strung out on their way North. And I had a closeup view of this action since it took place in the middle of my territory. 10 or 12 turns later I planted Mayan cities on the remains of two former German settlements. When the 20 turn ROP with the Vikings was up, I let it go. The delay in getting attackers into Germany allowed the Germans to build up defenses. After a couple of feeble attacks the Vikings gave up. A few turns later Egypt signed a peace treaty with Ragnar and a couple of turns after that, Germany and Scandanavia were at peace.

    "You may feel a slight sting, that's pride..."
    So yeah, I let 3 civs' troops run all over my territory for about 30 turns. Even gritted my teeth when they fought pitched battles there. During that time, I gained 9 cities, 5 of which I'd have had to fight for if I hadn't let my neighbors do the fighting for me. Do I feel like a wimp? Let me quote Marsellis Wallace (one of the greats of post-modern philosophy) "Pride only hurts, it never helps."

    Epilogue...
    I've used this ploy several times with great success. I've also shot myself in the foot with it a couple of times. Before you try it, I recommend that you learn all you can about AI behavior. If those original War Chariots had been in one stack coming straight at one my cities, I would have immediately started moving defenders and building Javelins. If I'd seen Egyptian workers moving away from my borders same thing. If they'd been German Swordsmen, I'd have been very hesitant to trust them at all - and I never even thought about giving the Germans the upper hand with an ROP. But if you know your enemies, have an adequate defensive military, and don't get too caught up in macho posturing, it's possible under the right circumstances to let the AI's do your fighting for you.
     
  2. Startaff

    Startaff Shogun

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    Location:
    Milano, Italia
    Great!

    I think courage (and intelligence too) is standing still without being sure if you're going to be hit.

    I was thinking about using that same "divide et impera" strat in my current game, where I'm (slightly) no. 1 but surrounded by at least 4 "uncomfortable" neighbors.
    I just need to get one of them to start the bonfire vs someone else.
    How could I do it without getting caught in the middle?

    BTW, I'm Egypt and they're France, Russia, Greece and Persia and we're (just) in modern times.
    Suggestions?
     
  3. wilbill

    wilbill That Old Time Religion

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    I've always thought of this as a "strategy of opportunity". I've never really tried to maneuver the AI's into going to war with one another. Given time, they usually do anyway.
    Once or twice, I've considered signing an MPP with someone - especially if they've already fought a war with a third civ - then when the inevitable war starts, just sit it out, doing nothing but defending myself, until the 20 turns are up, then cancel the MPP and leave the others to fight it out. Never tried it, though.
     
  4. Startaff

    Startaff Shogun

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    My personal feeling (and pls note that I've a very limited experience) is that pacts (MPP, ROP) are something in which AI's have an upper hand over me.
    They usually break ROPs without any visible consequence.
    They also make peace without respecting the 20-turn deadline of a MPP made with me.
    When once I made the "mistake" of making peace while having an ongoing MPP, I paid it dearly as NO AI ever wanted to do any pact with me for the rest of the game!

    Another thing that drives me crazy is that they regularly pass through my land, simply ignoring my complaints, while I cannot go a few tiles into theirs without being automatically rejected.
    About this, I just came to the conclusion that it's worthwile to sign a ROP so that I'm allowed passage too!
    Is this a correct strat?
     
  5. wilbill

    wilbill That Old Time Religion

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    I don't have much trouble with ROP's, but I'm careful not to sign them unless my military is pretty strong. Can't remember the last time an AI ROP-raped me. ROP's do improve the AI's attitude toward you. If my military is adequate, I'll often have ROP with most or all of the AI's and I don't have them wandering around my territory to much - but that's later in the game after everyone's through expanding and exploring.
    MPP's I stay away from unless, as I mentioned above, I'm looking for a way to get another civ to declare war on me. Even then, I'm very careful about entering into one.
    MA's are useful if you need help in a war.
     
  6. talismanjayuk

    talismanjayuk Chieftain

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    Location:
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    Good post - and a sound tactic

    Im playing my first CIV3 game on chieftan so im a little raw - im playing the americans and i have just mopped up the chinese - i got about 40 odd cities now - but my powerful babylonian neighbour has picked a fight with me and my armies are on other side of map.

    So i got the russians who also neighbour babylon to declare war - it worked like a dream - pithced battles in my territory but a small price to pay for having the russians fight my battle for me!

    So the tactic does work :)
     
  7. yoshi74

    yoshi74 Tourist from Mars

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    Yes, its works. And its one of the great equalizer of this game. Just make sure you are good friend with most civs, else they may do it to you ;)
     
  8. Ision

    Ision Master

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    willlbill,

    excellent article and dead on right!

    just remember - always shadow that enemy force with your own large force until you are certain that you are not the target. I once took for granted the same situation that you had : an enemy force by-passed 2 of my cities - and then razed my capitol! Live and learn.

    Ision
     
  9. Gengis Khan

    Gengis Khan Deity

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    I give you 2 thumbs up for the Pulp Fiction refferences alone.:lol:

    Excellent article!

    talismanjayuk: please PM me, I have a proposition for you.
     
  10. Horse Lord

    Horse Lord Chieftain

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    Man,

    Cool read.
     
  11. wilbill

    wilbill That Old Time Religion

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    Thanks for the comments, guys.
    @ yoshi74 - you're right. If you've been pillaging and plundering across the map, this isn't a good strategy :) .
    @Ision - I probably should have mentioned that I don't leave my interior cities undefended. And I've never really tried this approach later than the Middle Ages. Once you have RR's it would be, I think, a little dangerous not to mention confusing.
    @ Gengis Khan - I work at Duke, but your compliment is appreciated from a friendly competitor :) .
     
  12. Gengis Khan

    Gengis Khan Deity

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    BOOO!!:lol:

    Aww, well I won't hold it against you.;)
     
  13. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    A quick note, beserkers dont need iron.
     
  14. greek-anarchist

    greek-anarchist Down With the Aristocrats

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    hey, just read all these posts; quite a coincidence cause I just used that same strategy in one of my games. I'm the greeks (hint the name GREEK-anarchist...) and i was stuch starting at the bottom of the peninsula with NO resources, and the romans directly above me.
    later i found out that right above the romans were the carthignians. after getting peoples maps(and never trading my own-thats something i never do in conrinents or archipeligo)I discovered the romans, with 5 cities, had 2 spices, 2 wines, and 2 silks!! i was so jealous!! Later i discovered the ottomans on a continent right nextdoor, and the english and germans(who were 1.5 eras behing) halfway across the map. Once I had modern armor, and about 20 of them, I declared rome to get those luxurys so i could stop giving 'em stuff for them.
    I immediatly went to war with them (along with everyone but the carthignians), and 5 turns later I had raised their capital (which keep in mind was 2 cities from my border, and protected by 15 infintry cause they saw me coming) I had a bunch of settelers waiting to come in and rebuild next to the resources. I thought I had seen the last of any enimies for a while, but the big mob of people who were waiting 2 squares away from me turned out to be a bunch of carthignians, who had a MPP w/ rome!
    So its the whole world vs. the carthignians now. I imediately moved 10 mech infintry into the city all of those carthignians were waiting outside of. I didn't atack them because they were on a mt, and I had lost 2 Modern Armor attacking an infantry on a mountain, and I didnt want it to happenm again
    So they attacked that size 2 city w/ 15 mech's in it. Big whoop. 3 of my mechs were injured (which imeditely healed w/ a baracks) and I got a great leader. All they did was waist 5 tanks, 20+ infantry and 10 other outdated units. A couple of their units began to flee home, but i caught up with them with an army i had just built from the great leader i got, i killed their spearman (the toughest unit they had now) and then built the war academy and the other thing you get with a victorius army. All the while the ottomans (who i got to go to war for mobile warfare) were pounding the carthignians on their other border. England and germany were at war too, but they were still in the renisaounce and halfway across the world on a different continent, so they couldnt fight.
    All in all, total loss-5 modern armor and an old calvery
    Total gain-2 spices, 2 wines, 2 dyes, many elite units, a great leader, armys, cities, and the companionship of my friends-after the war everyone was gracious toward me. i believe you're right wilbill, let the AI do the wars, just sit back and reak in the rewards.
     
  15. dreamvirus

    dreamvirus Tai Chi Master 1(1).12.1

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    I've used this tactic since starting Civ3, ever since I realized that it was easy to tell when the AI is planning to attack you and when it's attacking someone else; I had a Deity game as the Inca in which my empire totally hemmed in the Zulu who were stuck on a peninsula. being the Zulu, they were constantly declaring war on other Civs, then looking very stupid as ever since I got powerful enough I kept on asking them to leave my territory, so they couldn't attack anyone...

    Then when it was time to go to war and I had railroads etc, I realized that I had a "secret weapon" - I called it my "concealed Zulu cannon". I declared war on Germany, who the Zulu were already at war with (but no tmaking any impact on, due to not being able to cross my territory). I then signed ROP with the Zulu, effectively slingshotting them across my territory on those railroads and straight into the face of Germany, who rapdily starting having a very difficult life! Hee hee - my settlers were ready to exploit the destruction and I joined in the military fun myself. When the ROP and the war was over, I asked the Zulu to leave again. Next time I went to war I unleashed my Zulu Cannon once again!
     
  16. greek-anarchist

    greek-anarchist Down With the Aristocrats

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    That sounds like fun! ive never grown aroun d a civ, so i have never been able to get them completely confined from the outside world. They are always either on the completely opposite side of the continent or have a city on water, so they can move people w/o going on my territory
     
  17. mac224

    mac224 Chieftain

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    I had a great moment my current game. Out of the blue the pesky Romans, who only had 2 cities on another continent that was dominated by the Persians, landed some units on my coastline. I said move or declare war and foolishly they declared war. First I destroyed all the horsemen that had landed using several riflemen. Then I pursued and sank their galleon with two ironclads. I had just finished one war and wanted a period of peace to consolidate. At the end of the turn I tried to contact their representative but they would have none of me. Decision: Mount an expensive invasion force and conquer Rome, which would soak up military units I still needed on my own continent (Zulu and Russians were still present) and take at least 10 years? Or sit out 20 years of war-weariness? Ah, the third option! So I asked the Persians (who had many cities on the same continent as the Romans) what they needed to declare war. Turns out a measly 850 Gold. I paid them off and ended my turn. Instantly, the message "Romans Destroyed by Persians" popped up. Outstanding!
     
  18. Sir Bugsy

    Sir Bugsy Civ.D.

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    Sirian gave the AI actions a great name - Diety ROP. When you get to that level, early in the game you aren't strong enough to stop them, so you just let them walk all over your farms and mines. To put it another way, discretion is the better part of valor. You live to put up a real fight some day, and hope you can poach as much land from the warring parties as possible.
     
  19. Rohili

    Rohili King

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    I love manipulating the AI. But one difference is I get into the war myself, then ask one civ to ally with me. Soon, that civ will be signing military alliances with other civs, and I will negotiate peace then sit back and watch my target get decimated by the other civs.
     
  20. sadface_sick

    sadface_sick Chieftain

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    Now I've seen a lot of AI opponents do dirty things. I was remaining peaceful once for 20-30 turns. Babylon declaes war on the Iroquois on it's west side, and put an embargo on the Aztecs, which were on the east side. THEN, they try to pillage a road in between the Aztec border and mine. I had a HUMONGOUS trade deal with the Aztecs. Had I not fortified my units on the road, the Aztecs would've became furious with me, and waged war. And at the same time, they tried to sign me up for MPP. Which means that I would be waging war on the Aztecs AND Iroquois, while Germany took potshots at the Iroquois, then they would have the power to take the aztecs, then me. Tricky little blighters, ain't they? :crazyeye:
     

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