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Warmongering 101 - A Tactical Primer

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by scoutsout, Nov 23, 2004.

  1. denyd

    denyd Emperor

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    Bob_Rulz: When deciding what to attack with, I look at the defender and the situation. Normally any unit caught in the open and vuneralble (archers/LB or warriors on plains) get attacked by any elite attackers I have. When attacking a town, if the defender as 3+ HP left I'll use my horses first (after bombarding) to reduce the HP (and retreat to the SOD) and then finish off the wounded units with swords. The idea is to reduce your own losses while inflicting as much damage as possible on the enemy.
     
  2. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

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    As I type this, I note that denyd provided a pretty good answer - especially from a combined arms standpoint. Here are some other thoughts:

    I think few things "always" apply in Civ war. You need to analyze each situation. For example: You've done a successful "warrior to swords gambit", and taken some AI cities. You are now building your reinforcements. Since the front lines are now farther away (from the success of your initial offensive) it may make sense to build horsemen to reinforce your swordsmen that are already at the front...since the horsemen can get to the front faster. This gives the added advantage of transitioning to a 'combined arms' approach, and using some of the tactics denyd describes...

    Another example: I know I left Unique Units out of the article (deliberately) but consider the Zulu Impi. Since it's a fast defender, horsemen cannot retreat from it. If fighting the Zulu it makes a lot more sense to attack cities defended by Impi with Swordsmen than Horsemen.
     
  3. Mistfit

    Mistfit Deity

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    As per usual Scout great article!

    A little addition to the Kill Zone:
    I'm not exactly sure of the name of the improvement I believe it may be "battlement" it is the one that you can build after the fort. These are great if you have a choke point, extra workers, and an enemy with fast units.

    I used these for the first time in the COTM where we were The Aztec (or Incan I can never remember the difference) anyway the one with the ability to capture enemy units and turn them into workers. We had the Iriquois across a 3 tile straight to the NW of us. I took all of my extra workers and built the "battlements" across the choke point and I camped all of my catapults with in reach of the "battlements" I then proceeded to declare war on the Iriquois. He sent a huge rush of Mounted Warriors across my battlements and had to stop dead in his tracks because the battlement stops all movement. I then proceeded to pound him with my cats and mop 'em up with my swords. This made the initial onslaught of the war much easier. I trounced through his territory because he had expended most of his energy on the first attack.
     
  4. Pook

    Pook Bloviating

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    Scoutsout, your advice on not chasing strays has helped me enormously.

    I had an archipelago map where one other civ and I started. Since I had to move two tiles at game start for my first city (my initial position was in desert surrounded by 2 oases and 6 desert), the AI civ got a big headstart. I had the only iron on the island, but when the inevitable conflict came I was still very much outnumbered- i.e. lots of archers against my few swordsmen and a swordsmen army. I won, but it was bloody and time-consuming. Using your advice, I went back and refought the war, this time not chasing strays at the border or in AI territory. Result: 2/3 the time to win, and fewer casualties for me.
     
  5. bob rulz

    bob rulz Prince

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    Thanks for the advice denyd and scoutsout. I always use swordsmen and rarely use horsemen, but I figured horsemen have to be in there for some reason lol, so I decided to ask the experts what they're good for besides a quick early strike.

    Oh, and the advice on not chasing strays...maybe I should try that, that might be one of my problems.
     
  6. Sir Bugsy

    Sir Bugsy Civ.D.

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    I'm so proud! Well done scout!
     
  7. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

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    @Mistfit, Bugsy: I appreciate the compliments; those mean a lot to me coming from you guys.

    @bob rulz and Pook: I'm glad you were able to take something from this and use it. Winning your first difficult combat makes it easier (and more fun) to win your next ...more difficult combat.

    Now go forth and :hammer: !!! :D
     
  8. Pook

    Pook Bloviating

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    Totally agree- barricades are awesome. One of my proudest civ 3 moments was when I was the middle civ on a banana-shaped continent between two more powerful neighbors. I built an 8-tile-wide 3-tile-deep line of barricades with railroads (yes, I had a lot of workers with a lot of spare time) across a narrow point of the continent, destroyed the roads on the far side, and goaded one neighbor into attacking me. Even with a 38 unit Stack of Doom, they didn't stand a chance. My 30+ artillery weakened them as they advanced across barren terrain, only to face my infantry fortified in barricades. The AI took a grand total of 2 barricade tiles, and I quickly beat them back. After this initial onslaught, it was a cakewalk.

    I may need to write my own strategy article on invading "backward" island civs. I don't know what it is about me, but I often find myself in the position of having to amphibiously invade a technologically weak but numerically stronger foe. This sounds easy, but if you've ever had 8 artillery, 8 infantry, and 8 cavalry get shredded by a horde of "primitive" longbowmen, you know what i mean. I've found that the key is surviving the initial onslaught.
     
  9. sysyphus

    sysyphus So they tell me

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    Good stuff here everyone, but one thing on my mind:

    It seems to me that catapults are near useless, mine always seem to fail, with only a rare hit. Am I alone on this? Am I missing something?

    Also, woudl someone mind explaining the acronym SoD?
     
  10. Pook

    Pook Bloviating

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    I agree, catapults are nearly useless. There's an algorithm elsewhere on this website that goes through the math of calculating the odds of an catapult/artillery-type unit doing damage. Part of the formula is that it's directly proportional to the ratio of attack strength to defense strength. With a low attack strength, it's unlikely that a catapult will do significant damage to the kinds of fortified defensive units it's likely to attack.

    SoD is the Stack Of Doom, that huge collection of units in a single stack which the AI sends into your territory. It looks unstoppable, however, there are ways you can buy time. You can goad the SoD into attacking one of your strong defensive positions, or you can run it back and forth between two front line cities by alternately weakening one, then the other. This last technique is called "running strings" and some consider it an exploit. I personally do not consider it an exploit because it's what I would do in real life- faced with a Stack Of Doom, I would beef up all my defenses in front of the SoD, stripping other defenses to a bare minumum, including other front-line cities.
     
  11. sysyphus

    sysyphus So they tell me

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    Good advice, thanks! :goodjob:
     
  12. SJ Frank

    SJ Frank Spamalot Co-court

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    A rule of thumb with catapults is that, if you want to use them in city seige, bring a large stack. If you only have a couple of catapults, then you're right, they won't make much difference against fortified defenders. On the other hand, a large stack of catapults is a formidable force against even the toughest defenders.

    How many catapults is enough for city seige? Well, a while ago, some player on this forum made the following observation, that the higher level the player, the higher percentage of bombardment units they have in their army. Emperor players have less than one-quarter of their troops being bombardment units; demi-god players have one-third of their troops being bombardment units; deity player have over half of their troops being bombardment units. (I think the observation was made regarding play on the Succession Games forum, GOTM forum games tend to follow different strategies because the goals of the games are different).

    Now, take a look at the composition of your army. How many catapults do you have? The answer is probably "not enough", and that's why you can not see their effectiveness.

    Once you have witnessed the beauty of the 6 archer/ 2 spear/ 8 cat SoD, you will not turn back ;)
     
  13. nullspace

    nullspace King

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    Bombard units are the only way to get a good kill ratio if you're fighting from a tech or resource disadvantage. This is because they have the unique ability to do damage at no risk to themselves. When playing the higher levels, you'll often be at a tech disadvantage and be fighting an enemy that can build better troops faster than you can. You need a good kill ratio.

    Using long bows to attack riflemen is suicidal because you'll lose several units to each enemy. But if you bombard each rifle down to 1 hp first, your longbows will have a very good chance of winning. A stack of attackers, defenders, and a lot of bombarders takes a lot of shields to build, and a lot of gold to maintain, but once you've got it, it can capture heavily defended enemy cities with very low losses.

    If you've got a tech or resource advantage over your enemies, you can get faster and cheaper results by just building normal attack units. But if you're at a disadvantage, bombard units are about the only way to fight a winning war.
     
  14. InfantryCommand

    InfantryCommand Chieftain

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    This is really helpful for a CIVIII noob, but how big should your force be for attacking? Also, I play on chieftan cause I am still figuring out the game, I cant afford CIVIV and nnever played any other CIV game, but my units like veterans and elites die when the attack veterans and normals from mountains to hills and when I am using things like Cavalry against wounded knights or Cavalry. They always seem to woop me, and I am getting angry. Any ideas?:mad:
     
  15. Ringo Kid

    Ringo Kid Prince

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    There are many variables. A good estimate is two bombard units and two attackers for each defender you anticipate in the target city.

    So if you expect three spearmen defenders, you would want six cats, six archers and several spearmen in your stack. First bombard with the catapults, then attack with the archers. If you have swordsmen, use them too. Attack with the strongest units first, ie Elite first then veteran. Avoid building regular units, just make vets from the towns with barracks.

    And it's important to attack in strength. Wait until you have enough attackers to take the target at once, don't send them in one by one or two by two.

    And welcome. I love all the civ games, been playing them for ten years or so.
     
  16. denyd

    denyd Emperor

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    I disagree with the Ringo Kid. After bombarding my target, I attack first with a Veteran Fast Unit (Horse, Knight, Cavalry, etc) that can retreat if they are losing. Once I'm down to red-lined defenders, I attack with my Elites. That almost guarantees an elite win and a MGL chance. Elites are normmaly too valuable to risk in battle with even odds. In the AA, I rarely build catapults as horses & swords usually can kill the 2 spears the AI defends most cities with. Later in the game, when rifles and infantry are defending larger cities (with radar towers nearby), I will add 6-8 artillery to my stack.
     
  17. Ringo Kid

    Ringo Kid Prince

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    denyd: On the other hand if you use the strongest elite first, you may have more overall elite victories. I am not sure of the math there, I guess it depends how many of your troops are elites.

    And yes, horseman are stronger attackers in the sense that they have the ability to withdraw, so should be used first over an archer. But I would use an elite sword for the first attack over a horseman, because I think that gives you a higher overall attack value.
     
  18. Abegweit

    Abegweit Anarchist trader

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    You will have less if you take this approach. Far less. You have a one in eight chance of promoting a vet to an elite (non-militaristic). If you use them in 50-50 situations, you will have to go through that labourious process all over again. If you use them for mop-up, every elite attack will be an elite victory.

    Certainly it would have a better chance. The problem is that it is too valuable to waste this way.
     
  19. Ringo Kid

    Ringo Kid Prince

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    Perhaps you are correct, I am really not sure. Do you think the Military Great Leaders are more valuable than the rapid expansion you would achieve? Would the turn advantage of getting the territory sooner outweigh the larger number of Armies in the early game?

    In vanilla I like the rushed wonders, but you dont get that in conquests.
     
  20. denyd

    denyd Emperor

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    In Vanilla, armies are much weaker, but the ability to hurry a great wonder more than equals that out. Once you start playing Conquests, you'll find out how powerful an Army can be. With the Pentagon & Military Academy a 4-unit army of Immortals goes from 4-2-1 in vanilla to an 8-4-2 in conquests. An army of that power is unstoppable until Infantry is on the board.
     

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