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Two ways I like using Skirmisher-line units

Discussion in 'Strategy Section' started by LifeOfBrian, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. LifeOfBrian

    LifeOfBrian Warlord

    Aug 21, 2019
    There's been lots of discussion about Skirmisher-line units. I'm quite fond of using Skirmisher-line units in two ways in my Deity/standard speed games, one for defensive and one for offensive purposes.

    The offensive one is shown in the two Persian screenshots, apologies for the poor quality. Basically I like to use a great general to make sure my territory borders the enemy city or at max is one flat tile away, then I build a network of rail/roads in my territory next to the enemy city, and then each turn I use 4-5 or more, depending on how much space I have in my territory, Skirmisher-line units to bombard the enemy city every turn, rotating them so they all end the turn safe from destruction, using melee units as a buffer if/when necessary. If the enemy moves enemy units onto my road or somewhere where they'd threaten my Skirmisher, I give priority to destroying them with my Skirmishers and other units (I like to use a few archery and artillery units to pick at random enemy units from safety until they get the range promotion), then proceed with bombing the city. Sometimes I'll also use a couple of mounted melee units to attack the city as well every few turns and safely retreating them until they heal enough to attack again, just to build up their experience for future use. This strategy favours selecting Parthian tactics (plus 1 movement, ignore ZOC) on my mounted ranged units so that they have a larger zone of operations, making it easier to hide them every turn from counterattacks and allowing more of them to attack the enemy city each turn. The bonus from this is that it's a very reliable way of whittling down the enemy and raking up experience, leading to stronger units and more great generals, with low danger of losing your most experienced/expensive units. One of the biggest benefits to me that since you're range-attacking from your territory (if you manage to grab the tile next to the city), you're not suffering from warmongering combat penalty in enemy lands. They are drawbacks, of course, for example the opportunity costs, e.g. you spend hammers&gold&supply cap on this type of units instead of others etc.; you usually have to spend a great general to get close enough to the city, the costs to road maintenance etc.. Also it usually requires early gold investment into buying tiles to eventually be able to plant a citadel, which can be problematic in the early game. I'll also sometimes have to sacrifice a worker or two , usually temporarily, before I'm able to build a road close enough and to chop down forests/jungles (if I can only get within to one tile of the enemy city, like in the second screenshot, I'll sometimes have to chop the tile down so it wouldn't slow down my units too much). With this strategy you often don't have your units in place to pillage tiles around the city, which can be bad, but it can also be good once you conquer the city. I'll usually wait to take the city with the first or second attack of the turn, so I can use most of my Skirmisher units that turn to clear the units next to the city and then station my melee units there to prevent recapture. I'd like to point out that later on Skirmishers with 5/6 or more promotions become deadly even on the offensive in a conventional type of warfare, so I usually employ this strategy early on in the game before I get them experienced up etc. and later on only when I'm dealing a particularly tricky enemy and/or well defended city.

    This is my recent game, with being declared on often by almost all civs, with the Huns especially persistent. Now this strategy is especially useful with Persia's UA, giving one more movement during GAs, but I also used it successfully with other civs. With the first city, I was able to get access directly to the city, but with the Hunnic capital, I could only get to within one tile, but it wasn't such a problem since it was flat and it was behind a river, lowering the dangers of a counterattack.

    The last screenshot is from an old Morocco game in the 9-15 version and it shows the defensive purpose. I'll crisscross the tiles next to my border with roads so I can use my Skirmishers to whittle down invading enemy units before retreating them to safety until the next turn. I especially like to use this strategy in Jungle/Forest covered areas, because I have movement bonuses due to roads whereas the enemy gets slowed down considerably. I'll usually try to have only one or two "front-tiles" (with the recent changes they're usually flat tiles so I don't get the penalty to Skirmishers) meant for my Skirmishers to move to and from, with the rest of my "front-tiles" used for other units, either fortified melee units or archery units that can better withstand an attack - Skirmishers, especially unpromoted, are very vulnerable in rough terrain and against units with anti-mounted bonuses. This Morocco game was interesting because Sweden and Mongolia DoWed me for the vast majority of the early and mid game, while Morocco shines later on due to UB and UU, so I focused on surviving. Eventually my units (not just Skirmishers, but archery and artillery ones) were upgraded enough with promotions that I could field a much more experienced army than the enemy, allowing me to go on the offensive. The benefits from this strategy is similar with the above, mainly that your units are much safer from invading enemy units because you can retreat them, they gain lots of promotions and you get lots of GGs to use later on in any way you deem fit.

    Thanks for any constructive feedback to this. It's possible that this strategy will be shown to be flawed, but that would be great too, since it would improve my game.

    Screenshot Persia.JPG Screenshot Persia 2.JPG Screenshot Morocco.JPG
    SwirlSlayer and CrazyG like this.
  2. MarvelOfRain

    MarvelOfRain Chieftain

    Nov 26, 2019
    Very interesting... I personally use mounted units only very sparingly - 1) to pillage tiles and 2) sometimes when defending in very specific Terrain (a bunch of hills around your city which block line of sight for you but not the enemy). Later I build bunch of tanks since they can close out the game more quickly, but I almost never build more than 1 or 2 Skirmishers in a game (even when going for domination).

    I am however planning to play my next game as Mongolia. I will try to set up with roads and Citadels before important wars, it sounds and looks really helpful.

    Maybe a bit slow for my taste though. 50 turns to take 2 cities is usually not good enough. I try to get the whole war done as fast as possible (20ish or so turns to vassalize them, though 20 turns is sometimes required to crack some tough cities with Red Fort, Himeji Castle, Defender of the Faith etc. so I try to avoid those civs if I can), otherwise I found myself falling too far behind in technology and facing serious War Weariness.

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