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Too Many Units?

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Strategy & Tips' started by WeirdoJoker, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. WeirdoJoker

    WeirdoJoker Chieftain

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    Playing Vanilla: As Aztec Democracy, standard-size map, already retired Persia & Zulu, playing against Iroquois, Babylon, America (same continent); and England & Germany (other side of the world). (There's also 1 island shared by several.)

    I have around 538 Infantry, 79 Tanks, 43 Cavalry, 21 Artillery (I just use these for defense, I don't cart them around anywhere), not to mention naval units. My unit costs are 711, which is now dragging down scientific development because my income is only 1175. (I'm not too worried about maintenance and corruption; should I?) Am I doing something wrong? Should I just go out and conquer (at least, on my continent), MPPs be damned? The units are (except for a few) stationed in cities; does that make a difference?
     
  2. tjs282

    tjs282 Unabashed immigrant

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    Without a screenie or savegame to look at, I still have a few questions:

    What difficulty level are you playing at?
    What VC are you aiming for (if any)?
    How many towns do you have?
    How are your units distributed?

    Because if you're playing at Emp or below, and are at peace with your neighbours, and running a Democracy (which gives no free unit-support, neither under Vanilla nor Conquests) -- and especially if you've got at least a skeleton railnet up and running (and can therefore shuffle units to any danger area in a single turn) -- then yes, it certainly sounds like you have far more defensive capacity than you need. For example, since Demo does not allow military-policing, there's absolutely no point in garrisoning your innermost towns, which are not in any danger of being attacked (even if an AI-Civ has Helicopters or Paratroopers, they still can't drop directly on an unguarded town).

    Also, the AI-Civs respect attack-units (i.e. projectable power) more than defensive units, so building (many) more defenders than attackers makes you look a lot 'weaker' than you actually are. Although you will get War-Happiness from being DoW'd, that won't last very long under Democracy, if you're just taking the punches, instead of dishing them out: having enemy units inside your borders (possibly?), or pillaging/bombarding your territory (definitely), or attacking your units/cities (definitely) during the IBT, is what adds to your War Weariness-points. That means that even if you're 'turtle-ing' (which is fine, if that's how you want to play), the best way to respond to AI-incursions is still to go out and kill every hostile unit on your turf ASAP, ideally on the same turn as they arrive.

    So if you're (now) playing for a peaceful win, then depending on your diplomatic relations with your neighbours, you can almost certainly reduce your unit-numbers, expecially your Infs. I would suggest the following as a (much more) reasonable/useful homeland-defence force:
    • 1-2 Infs per border- or coastal-town, plus a reserve stack of maybe 8-10 more Infs in your capital (for reinforcements) -- I would guess this would mean maybe a quarter(?) of your current Inf-numbers
    • Same number of Tanks (including 6-10 per offshore island, if you have any)
    • No Cavs (except for eCavs which might give you an MGL, why keep Cavs on the books when you have/can build Tanks instead?)
    • Maybe 2-3 times as many Arty as you currently have (to be sure of redlining all hostile ships and landed units, for your Destroyers(?) and your Blitz-capable Tanks to sink/kill with minimal risk)
    Unneeded units could/should be disbanded into needed buildings (Cavs give 20 shields per disband, Infs give 22 shields)...
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
    Synsensa likes this.
  3. WeirdoJoker

    WeirdoJoker Chieftain

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    1. Chieftain. I'm increasing my difficulty first with increasingly larger worlds before I go to a higher difficulty.
    2. Not aiming for a particular one right now ... that's part of the dilemma. I have eliminated Diplomatic as a possibility, though, and maybe Domination (in case I want a Conquest).
    3. 21 towns, including ones I've captured.
    4. With so many units, a few towns have a token amount depending on their remoteness. Most towns have a rather generous amount (considering 538 Infantry, 116 Tanks, and still some Cavalry, plus some Artillery and naval units).

    I have more units than I've ever had before ... cranking them out at an incredible rate. But I've built everything I can build already, except in a few captured towns I'm still building up. (Railroads nearly everywhere by this point.) Again, that's why I don't know the best way to go, except maybe for Conquest despite other civs' MPPs.

    No enemy units in my borders. Once in a while a ship wanders in, but they never stay long.

    I don't build Destroyers ... I just wait until I can get Battleships, of which I have six. I would gladly get rid of my Cavalry, but don't know what they would go into, because there is nothing left for me to build in most towns except military units.
     
  4. tjs282

    tjs282 Unabashed immigrant

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    Larger map-sizes are actually easier to play on, not harder, since the number of Civs doesn't scale with the land-tiles available (i.e. even on Huge maps with 16 Civs, each Civ has more land available than do each of the 4 Civs on a Tiny map). It takes a lot longer to finish a Huge game though...

    Also, playing Chieftain doesn't teach you how to win at higher levels: quite the opposite, since the Chieftain-AI is so badly crippled (everything costs them twice as much as it costs you). I'd suggest you skip straight up to Regent, where the 'only' production-advantage the human player enjoys is his/her brain...
    If you want to win a Civ-game, then ideally you should start each game with a specific VC in mind, and pick a suitable Civ for that VC, even if every other map-setting is Random. That helps you to focus on what you need to do to reach that VC.

    Of course, if you'd rather role-play nurturing your Civ to greatness, just sort of bumbling through, and responding to whatever the game throws at you because that's more fun for you, that's your choice -- but playing like that is less likely to result in a 'win' per se, never mind a quick/efficient win.
    Do you mean that you disabled the Diplo-win option at the start, that you've been such a jerk to the other AI-Civs that they all hate you forever (and will never vote for you), or that you just don't want to go for it?
    That's... not very many, for a game that's gone nearly all the way to the end of the Industrial Age. Can I take it that these towns have been placed at something approaching Optimal City Placement (Cxx(x)xC, distance 5-6 between towns)...? If so, you might be interested to know that most of the better players here argue for placing towns initially at CxxC ('tight placement', distance 3-4), which generally gives better results for the early game -- which is the more important bit! Basically, since you won't be able to use all 21 BFC-tiles of an OCP'd town until Sanitation comes in, more than halfway through the game, planting towns in that pattern to start with means most of your territory gives no return on investment.

    As a compromise between these two, you might want to try placing towns at C1xxC2x(x)C3, and then abandoning C2 later, after C1 and C3 have Hospitals: Imagine placing 3 x 3 'permanent' cities on a 'perfect' OCP grid, covering a total area of ~15x15 tiles with their BFCs, but having four 2x2 blocks formed by the unused 'corners' of those BFCs. By placing one additional 'throwaway' town somewhere in each of the unused 2x2 corner-blocks, all 13 towns would then be able to get up to Pop11-12 in the early game, and still have enough tiles available to keep (nearly) all their citizens fully employed. After Sanitation, the permanent towns would get Hospitals, while the corner-block towns get shrunk/disbanded by building Settlers/Workers, freeing up tiles for the 9 potential Metropolises (which could also rehome those Workers/Settlers, for faster than natural growth).
    You have >25 Infs per town?!? That's at least 10 times more than you 'need', especially for Chieftain level, running a government that can't use mil-pol. Were you just building them because you couldn't think of anything else...? Even Wealth might have been better: you'd have far fewer useless units (you can't really use Infs for attacking, and passive-defence is not the way to win wars), and a lot more gold-income that way...
    This is partly why your economy's suffering. Building everything everywhere is -- sorry -- a typically n00b mistake, which I used to make myself. Unless a building contributes to your intended win-condition, it's just costing you gold which you could be using for something else.

    Aztecs in Vanilla are REL+MIL, giving them cheap Temples, Cathedrals, Raxes and Harbours, i.e. they're best at doing War or Culture (or the one followed by the other!), and beating techs out of their victims until they're big enough to research stuff themselves (if they haven't already killed everyone by that point). So why build Libs before they're needed? Or Banks?
    MPPS aren't a problem, especially not at Chieftain. Pick your target, make MPPs with all their 'friends', then declare war but DON'T commit any aggressive actions against them on their territory (killing their units on your territory will not activate hostile MPPs). Allow the target to commit the first act of aggression (maybe leave a Worker somewhere vulnerable): once they do, all their Protectors will DoW them, which will break their MPPs, allowing you to go on the attack without fear of reprisal.

    Even at higher levels (say, up to Emp), you can usually get away with doing this, provided that your borders are secure (and with >500 Infs, they should be!)
    I prefer Destroyers to Battleships: they're quicker to build, they move faster, and for shore patrol, they're really all that's needed: it's very easy to redline enemy ships -- even Battleships -- using Artilllery, then sink them with a Destroyer (a full-health A=12 v/eDestroyer almost always wins vs. a redlined D=12 Battleship). Battleships are useful for guarding invasion-fleets/ Carriers, by taking the initial punches from enemy shipping, but that's about all.

    I'd probably use the Cavs+Arty for homeland defence against incoming fast units (the dangerous ones!), once the war(s) start: bombard to redline, then use Cavs for the kill. Best case, your Cav wins, gets promoted or gives an MGL; worst case, it dies, saving you the unit-support until you've built a Tank to replace it. You could give your reg-Infs some target-practice the same way.
     
  5. WeirdoJoker

    WeirdoJoker Chieftain

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    Wow ... lot of good stuff in there that I did not know or had not thought of.

    Hm ... when I went up in size, it seemed harder with more AI opponents (though I could have a large map with fewer than the max, but that would be no fun).

    I didn't realize this was one of the major differences between the lower & higher levels. Perhaps it's near time for me to upgrade from Chieftain.

    I've thought about that, and have enjoyed the "bumbling through" process, just to see what I can accomplish.

    In this game, I disabled it from the start. Not so much because I didn't want to go for it (though that is also true), but because I once got surprise defeated when I let an AI-Civ build the UN. Didn't even see it coming, and I wasn't even in the running. Of course, I've often been a jerk to other AI-Civs, and I like keeping that option open. Perhaps one of the these days I'll shoot for a Diplo, but it just doesn't seem like an attractive way to win.

    I totally hadn't thought of doing anything like that -- thanks. Usually, I try to space them out in the beginning to get a lot of territory under my control, and/or (depending on the environs of the start tile) to capture specific resources. Then sometimes I will build a city in-between, if I need to reduce population, but it sounds like that's doing things backward.

    This sounds like a great idea. I'll keep it in mind for next game.

    Yes, I built so much because I couldn't think of anything else. Wealth did not occur to me, at least in this game for some reason. Changing production from units to wealth in most places might actually be the answer to the main problem at this point - I can stop building unnecessary units, and have more gold for research. Seeking a military win, attractive as it is, does not seem practical (it's a 2-continent Standard world with both half a world away), and so cultural might be the way to go, unless I go for another space race.

    I've also noticed that it takes a lot of infantry to gain victory even against ostensibly inferior units. It's why I stopped building them once I could build tanks. BTW, is there any advantage in MechInf versus Tanks?

    Well, I knew I was making at least one n00b mistake - and it sounds like several others. (I do not, however, build many courthouses ... only in very remote towns.)

    It usually does not occur to me to beat techs (or whatever) out of the others. I did, however, lose a game very early (America/Standard) when I refused a tech to a Mil civ and I got destroyed when everyone declared war on me. So I guess I could plan that for the future (I'm way ahead in the present game as it is).

    Also had not known this would happen. I had just assumed - obviously, incorrectly - that a DoW automatically instigated the others to declare war as well. This would be a fun possibility for the current game.....

    More good ideas.

    Thanks for all the help. Now I have some thinking to do about how to take it down the home stretch.
     
  6. WeirdoJoker

    WeirdoJoker Chieftain

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    P.S.: I also have often built towns near other civs' towns in order to cause a cultural flip. In the current game, I did that to Persia ... ended up causing all but the capital and one other town to flip. The war was very quickly over.... (And I also don't build Hospital until the town size justifies it, if it gets that big.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  7. justanick

    justanick Chieftain

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    Mech Infs are for defense, there they do excel and are much stronger than regular Tanks. They are however only slightly better at it than Modern Armour. Keep in mind that defensive bonuses apply. A MechInf fortified in a metropolis on plains has a defense value of 18 x (1+0.25+1+0.1) = 42.3. Trying to attack them there with tanks can result in heavy losses. Trying to attack them with units with even lower attack values can result in even higher losses.

    Maybe you should. They become more valueable at higher settings, there almost all towns get Courthouses relatively soon and Police Stations, too.

    That will not work on any serios difficultty setting. It is one of those false approaches that only work when AI is artificially weak due to extreme low difficulty setting. Flipping towards you can still occuur, but it will be far from likely enough to be a reasonable goal. Mitigating the damage from your cities flipping to AI however does become a paramount concern.
     
  8. WeirdoJoker

    WeirdoJoker Chieftain

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    upload_2017-6-18_0-1-3.png

    Here's my screenshot. If I got +48 gold per turn, it would take me about 38 turns to get Amphibious War. This is my financial problem that I think will be solved by building fewer units and more wealth, even though I want more tanks (notwithstanding that I currently have over 100, and several hundred infantry - all built before I could build tanks).
     
  9. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    I don't know your desired victory condition or the level, but you probably would have played things more effectively if you had 538 cavalry, 79 artillery, 43 infantry and 21 tanks OR 538 artillery (yes!) 79 cavalry, 43 infantry, and 21 tanks (you can attack much earlier with cavalry and artillery than tanks). Here's

    some

    screenshots


    a

    report

    and a

    strategy article:

    along those lines. I think the idea can get summarized by three words: "siege, charge, defend" and has a sort of similarity to the biltzkreg. At least for the next game.

    On top of things like not having to manage happiness much, and the massive production penalty to the AIs, there is no penalty for running a permanent deficit on Chieftain. I STILL wouldn't advise skipping Cheiftain entirely though, as I suspect there exist core mechanics for winning that new players might miss even if they watched tutorials and read here for a week or two. That said I would say that you only play a game or two of Chieftain and then a game or two of Warlord before moving up to Regent. The lower levels also have their challenges for fast or higher scoring difficulties on those levels. Ideal 20k research and ideal spaceship/diplomatic research differs significantly on the lower levels from the higher levels. Actually, I think this holds for conquest, domination, and 100k difficulties also.

    I disagree with both ideas. I prefer the following:

    1. Settle based on terrains and possibly about potential concerns with flips.

    2. Make sure you can use all of the squares within your cultural borders at some point in the game.

    You can permanently crank up research now and not worry about a deficit, which is only possible on Chieftain. You only need to concern yourself with getting the resources and building the spaceship. Maybe build the U. N. to control elections and other buildings for research since you're a Democracy. Or don't worry about the unhappiness... it's Chieftain and you have happiness buildings built already. In general, I think that the depth of the game generally gets best understood by launching the spaceship.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  10. tjs282

    tjs282 Unabashed immigrant

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    Spoonwood:

    WJ's(?) been playing Vanilla for some years now, so I'm not sure how relevant your Civ3Conquests Huge Mayan (AGRI+IND) Deity Histographic-milking game is to his Civ3Vanilla Standard Aztec (MIL+REL) Chieftain Just-bumbling-along game...? ;)

    Your point about Artillery is good though: Moonsinger's Arty-cle was written for Vanilla, but she does mention one of the major drawbacks of bombing towns in that version: you are much less likely to hit the defenders, and much more likely to hit buildings or population. It's not so much fun capturing a Pop1 town when there's nothing left in it but rubble...

    As regards City-placement, should we start talking about RCP...? ;)

    Spoiler Ring City Placement :
    The corruption-mechanic in Vanilla (and PtW) can be sidestepped to some extent, by placing towns in 'exact' concentric rings around your capital: this was termed 'Ring City Placement' (RCP) by CFC-ers, and you should still be able to find the original article somewhere here in the 'Strategy and Tips' section. While you can still play (and win) effectively without it, using it is extremely powerful, because all RCP'd towns then end up with (very) much lower corruption than they 'should' have, even once you've got way more than 'Nopt' towns (Nopt = maximum number of non-corrupted towns per Civ, based on the 'optimal city number' [OCN] for that map-size [which is set in the Editor], adjusted by difficulty-level and whether or not you've built your FP yet). This exploit was removed in Civ3Conquests, 'freeing' the player from needing to take it into account when founding new towns.

    WJ:

    That's an 80% water map, right? While I stand by my broad assertion that increasing the Map-size doesn't necessarily increase the difficulty (rather than looking at it as more opponents = more difficult wars, you could instead look at it as more AI-Civs = more potential military allies and/or research-/trade-partners! Although not so much at Chieftain, because they're all so useless... ;) ); for any given Difficulty + Map-Size, decreasing the landmass-percentage can make a game slightly more dangerous: less land for expansion means the AI-Civs (which 'prefer' to Settle at CxxxxC) run out of space earlier, which increases the probability of their DoW-ing their weakest neighbour(s).

    I am wondering why you're researching Amphibious-War though? It's an optional tech (you don't need it to get to the Modern Age -- that's what the little red crossed-circle means, on a tech-box on the F6-screen), and Vanilla-Marines are pretty weak attack-units, especially once your opponents have Infs garrisoned in Hospital-equipped Metros: Vanilla-Marines have A=8; an Inf fortified in a Pop13+ metro, even just on flatland, has D=10*(1+0.25+1+0.1)=23.5, which means that your Marines are likely to lose around 75% of their combat-rounds. If you want to attack with Marines, you really will need Battleships and Carriers/Bombers, to soften up the defenders.

    (Marines were beefed up to 12.6.1 and 120 shields in Conquests; in addition to the changes Firaxis made to the bombardment-targeting routine -- and with Bombers given lethal land-bombardment as well -- Marines became much more useful for spearhead-attacks against bomb-damaged defenders in potential beachhead-towns)

    Spoiler Shameless shill-ing :
    Disclaimer: I don't work for them and receive no reward for this but... It might be worth mentioning here that Civ3Complete is now available to DL from www.GOG.com, for about 5 LocalCurrencyUnits, and -- although I didn't need to do it myself -- I don't see why it shouldn't be possible to superimpose the GOG-install onto an existing, NoCD-patched Vanilla1.29-install, so long as you don't over-write anything.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  11. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    Well, that was the point of my references to screenshots (a picture tells us more than words). Though for more detail, that's artillery + offensive units + enough defense (or something the AIs won't attack like a knight army before tanks and bombers). My point lay in trying to express how effectively the siege-charge-defend idea can work. Perhaps a better example gets indicating by saying that my notes say that I faced a stack two to three times larger than the screen would fill of immortals, and other pre-industrial units using the siege-charge-defend strategy and killed them all.

    I don't know. How many river or lake squares do you miss by doing this? How often will you end up settling on a grassland or a hill or plains when you would have done to settle better elsewhere? I really don't like the idea of losing river or lakes, especially if I would have to pay 100 shields to build one.
     
  12. tjs282

    tjs282 Unabashed immigrant

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    Don't get me wrong, I agree that I'd rather found towns according to the best location, without being a slave to RCP.

    But even RCP should be used as a guide, rather than an absolute prescription -- because of the 'fuzziness' of the corruption-distance measurement*, you do usually have far more potential sites in any given ring than you'd want to found cities on: you may just need to pick the 'best' ring-diameter for the parts of map that you can see, and/or for any given city-ring you'd shuffle some of the towns a bit closer together, and place others further apart, e.g. to take best advantage of those valuable freshwater/ resource-sites.

    But it's not as if you can always avoid building 'Ducts in any normal game of Conquests anyway...

    *
    Spoiler Corruption-distance calculations :
    WJ:

    For corruption purposes, in both Vanilla and Conquests, distance is not measured in terms of unit-moves, it's measured based on compass direction: going NE/SE/SW/SE, you count 1 corruption-distance unit (CDU) per tile; going N/E/S/W, you count 1.5 CDUs per tile. This means that 2 cities placed CxxC diagonally are 3 CDUs apart, but 2 cities placed CxxC horizontally or vertically are 4.5 CDUs apart. BUT for corruption purposes, the distance is always truncated to the lowest whole number -- so if you wanted your 1st-ring of cities at 4 CDUs from your capital, you have both the 'Distance-4' sites and also the 'Distance-4.5' sites available.

    If you right-click on the Map-screen of CAII, you can superimpose rings incrementing by any given initial diameter onto the map for town-planning purposes (e.g. by choosing distance 2, you'll also see the possible city sites for the distance-4,6,8,... rings).
     
  13. WeirdoJoker

    WeirdoJoker Chieftain

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    Yes. I had chosen to play Aztecs, but set everything else to random.

    It was either that, or Radio --> Advanced Flight ... I didn't have the option of moving into Modern Times yet, and I have yet to actually use Advanced Flight (and in fact usually skip developing it anyway). Sometimes I use it, sometimes I skip it, and was actually hoping to skip it this time because two AI-Civs are on the other side of the world.

    Edit: Switched to Radio and lots of wealth, maybe that will kick me into modern times.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  14. tjs282

    tjs282 Unabashed immigrant

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    I was just looking back through the posts in this thread, and this caught my eye. When you say 'ostensibly inferior', I wonder what you're expecting of your Infs?

    On defence, sure, Infs fortified in cities or Fortresses will be tough opponents even against ModernArmour, but for attacking they're really not ideal. They have only A=6, which means that out in the open, even on flat ground, an Inf attacking a Rifle (D=6) has <50% probability of winning each combat-round; even against Spears (D=2), Infs still only have <75% probability of winning (i.e. ≥25% probability of losing!) each combat-round. Not only that, but during the late game, when most AI core-towns will have popped their borders at least twice (≥1000 Culture-points) M=1 Infs may need 2-3 turns just to slog across enemy territory (being assaulted on every interturn by every unit the AI can muster), before they reach an attack-position (i.e. your war-fronts will advance only slowly).

    So if you want to use Infs to attack fortified full-health city defenders (no matter how 'inferior' they are!), especially if the target-town's location (on a Hill, or across a River) also gives significant defensive-bonuses, then yes, you will need a lot of Infs to defeat them. The key phrase here though is 'full-health'. If you can knock defenders down to redline, before sending in your Infs, then each defender has to be lucky for 2-3 more combat-rounds in a row than does the attacking Inf -- and that way, you won't need so many Infs to take each city. Think WWI trench-warfare: massive artillery barrages, followed by foot-troops advancing (under fire) from one defensive position to the next.

    But all of the above notwithstanding, you'd really only need to consider using Infs (plus guns -- lots of guns. Or Bombers) as attackers if you have Rubber, but no Horses and/or Saltpeter. If you have got Horses+Salt, it's far better (and slightly cheaper) to build Cavs in high quantities than Infs, because although Cavs are also only A=6, their M=3 stat means that they can run away if they get redlined before their (M=1) opponent does -- which means you should also lose fewer of them during attacks*. Your territorial gains against Culture-popped target-towns will be made much faster as well, since even towns with 1000 Culture-points may be vulnerable to Cav-attacks (from the corner of the BFC) within a single turn. Once you've taken a town(s), that's when you'd use your now-free (rail)roads to bring in your Inf-stack(s) to garrison/quell it.

    (And if you fail to take your target-town within a single turn, but terrain-constraints and/or land-borders prevent you from returning your injured Cavs all the way back to a safe city to heal, that small defensive-stack -- say, 5 Infs + 10 Arty, or an Inf-Army -- could wait adjacent to the border, ideally on high-defence terrain, to give your injured units a safe location to use as a staging-post).
    You have Flight, Motor-Transport and Electronics already. Radio is the only other non-optional Industrial-Age twig-tech that you're still missing, so getting it will definitely Modern-ise you -- no maybes about it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
  15. WeirdoJoker

    WeirdoJoker Chieftain

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    Not as much as I used to. They are obviously better defenders than attackers (though they're not so bad once upgraded to MechInf, IIRC).

    Right. I figured that out after I posted.
     

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