War - Complete noob questions..


Jul 23, 2007
Hi there

My first time playing Civ so if I say anything that sounds really stoooopid please forgive me.

My first game, I'm playing the English and I'm sharing a huge continent with the Germans.
I was trying for a nice cultural victory but the Germans were being a pain and complaining about my borders and a couple of units I had protecting them.

I read on here that people are dominating with just 6 units (3 melee-3 range) so I decided to give that a go. Someone else on this forum had popped up a really useful diagram of the ideal formation for the troops. I must confess that just trying to get my troops in any kind of formation was difficult. Terrain meant that some were trapped behind mountains or there wasn't enough room to set things out nicely. Also some units were coming from across the 'board' so i was losing track of who was where.

When I finally attacked Germany they kicked my ass. I couldn't keep the formation and attack at the same time. A city was bombarding my troops as well as German pike men. Then another City I hadn't taken into account bombarded me and I ran away and made peace.

I then just amassed a massive army and simply walked in wiping out one City at a time. But with so many troops I didn't really feel in control of the situation. I was just overwhelming Germany with my numbers. Keeping any kind of formation pattern was impossible.

My questions are:

How do you keep nice and tidy formations easily?

When attacking do you move 1-2 tiles at a time, moving slowly into the oppositions territory?

What do you attack city's with? I bombarded them to soften them up but the City then attacked my siege units and destroyed them easily (even if they were on hills) I just then started throwing any troops I had at the cities.

The up shot is, I beat Germany and now have this massive continent to myself (Napoleon is lurking on the right side of the map) but it took far to long and like i say it was a bit of a rush job.

I'm left with a huge army scattered about my map and I've just selected the alert option for all of them. Where do you guys put your armies when they aren't fighting? I'm just finding it difficult to keep track of everything.

Any help tips would be much appreciated!:)


Sep 26, 2010
A cloudy land of apathy
What units exactly did you use? Research is a big part of warfare, so if you're underdeveloped and in war or planning to go on war soon, tech up and upgrade quickly or go the "quantity over quality" path.

I haven't really fought too much in Civ V yet (only wiped out a couple civilizations and destroyed some city-states so far in King difficulty), so I don't have that much experience on Civ V, but here's some points from my experiences:

Really basic formations have worked for me (a melee or couple acting as a meatshield to a weaker unit like an archer, a catapult or a GG, right next to each other, they aren't really "nice and tidy" but meh) and I usually try to do some scouting before I attack so that there would be a minimal chance of a surprise attack (the AI isn't really that smart) or other things, like other cities bombarding me suddenly or something.
The terrain affects a lot too, like, let's say you have an archer and he's surrounded by hills or forests (presuming you're not fighting iroquois on their territory). In that case, your archer is pretty much safe (although I usually have a melee unit with them, in case of x), since the hills and the forests should slow the enemy unit enough for you to retreat on the next turn. However, if you're fighting in a huge area of flat, treeless grasslands, that's trouble. I would try to predict the direction of where the attacks come from, and then try to protect that.
Switching places between units is really useful and it's something that has saved my units many times. For example, switch places between wounded and not-that-wounded units or between melee and ranged units (in case of a surprise from behind or something) etc.
The zone of control is something you could work around with too when making formations, but I haven't really gotten into the game that much yet, so can't really tell anything on that.

When I attack cities, I go with melee first (obviously) and if there's not too much resistance, I start attacking with melee a turn (or two) before the ranged can begin their attacking and it usually goes just fine with no troubles.
However, if there's a lot of enemy units, I try to weaken them and then finish them off if a good opportunity rises, but when they have like 1 or 2 hp left they start retreating and you shouldn't give them a chase or anything unless you can kill it without consequences. And while I'm fighting them, I try to have my wounded units out of the city's bombard range (it was 2 tiles I think) and in the back of the line so they won't get killed. A dead unit isn't particularly useful, so keeping the units alive is pretty important. I try not to take huge risks and only sacrifice my units if I gain a huge upper hand or something. It's pain in the ass to get new units to the battlefield and the promotions get pretty awesome in later stages.

Hope this helps.


Nov 1, 2005
What I like when I realize that a city might be too hard to take is just sitting before it in rough territory and defending. With medic promotion (which you can get as second promotion just by killing some barbarians) you are usually taking just as much damage from city bombardment as you are healing.
So while my unit is fortified near the city getting 2 XP per turn and blocking enemy units from coming through I can safely pillage the hinterlands for gold or bring on some reinforcements.
Sometimes I had units sitting there for 20+ turns till the march promotion. I then retreated them to upgrade them to the next better type and then they went back to take that city single handed.
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