The Whetstone Strategy


Jan 3, 2006
One of the more interesting aspects of the changes to seige engines is the ability to use what I call the whetstone strategy: rather than killing off the enemy troops in a city, I keep them around, and send my seige engines to attack again and again and again.

As long as the seige engines are withdrawing because they've reached their max damage rating, they earn XP while the defending troops don't. This allows you to train up seige engines, without risking them in battle.

Ideally, this should be used on a Barbarian city, since there's no war-weariness to be worried about, but you could rack up major XP and a lot of Great Generals by leaving the last enemy city alive instead. Especially pre-Astronomy, so you don't have to worry about the Civ vassalizing to another Empire.

And unlike the Great Pirate strategy, it doesn't ever obsolete. :mischief:
Very interesting idea, I'll have to try it. :goodjob:

The downside of doing this with a barbarian city, though, is that you can't earn GG points.
Siege weapons only get 1 xp per turn, probably to ensure they cant be fastracked up the promotion tree, this is a great strategy to use on a warlord siege as they get 2 xp per turn, and can quickly rack up a good chunk of xp like this, for standard siege units it takes forever
Whenever I use a catapult to attack, not bombard, it dies after causing its collateral damage and perhaps scratching its target. This is because its retreat chance invariably shows as 0.1% unless the target is something like a wounded archer when the figure goes way up to 2 or even 3%.
Why then does everybody else report good results from "suicide" attacks ? In my case, all such attacks are exactly that, suicidal. No way can I use catapults to attack, do damage, and withdraw to recuperate for another go.
do your catapults have the city raider promos?, catapults i find are not great at city assaults to be honest there str rating is just a little to low to get really good odd's unless they have the city raider 3 promotions, it's when trebuchets an later cannons become available that i find siege weapons become really effective at city assaults, trebuchets an cannons with the city raider 3 promo's usally get very good odd's on all but the most hardened defenders
I did this in my last game. I almost wiped out the French; they had 1 crappy tundra city left and were also quite behind in techs. So I brought some cannons and kept attacking them. It went quite nice, but not for long; a dozen of turns later the damned Egyptians just came and razed the city. :(
yeah, those are the disadvantages of using barbarians to train your seige engines: only 10XP max, and no GG points. But then again, you only need 10XP (8 for Charismatic) in order to get CRIII

Of course, the disadvantages of using an enemy's city to train your seige engines is war weariness, "we yearn..." unhappiness, and the fact that you have to be at war with someone.

In my current game, I've been ferrying my new Trebs to an island Barbarian city to throw themselves at the defenders for five turns, in order to get to 10XP and CRIII. I've got five CRIII Trebs so far, and another three on the way. Finally got a source of iron, so once I've built up a decent stack of doom, I can finally take out Pericles, as well as capture the Temple of Solomon.

After I switch to Judaism of course. The Apostolic Palace is Jewish, the three most powerful Civs (including Peri) are Jewish, and I'm producing Jewish Missionaries as fast as possible.
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