Would you say that offense vs. defense is balanced?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by aapo, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. aapo

    aapo Chieftain

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    Dozens of games with equal-sized empires on pangaea map got me thinking why there are so few reasons to wage war with others. Defenders get eight benefits over attacker, which is why the only way to really stand a chance is to build those huge stacks of doom against 5-defender cities.

    1. Tile defense (e.g. being situated on hills/forest)
    2. Unit promotions (e.g. woodsman gives defense bonus but no attack)
    3. Cultural defenses
    4. Walls/castles
    5. Defender chooses best unit to defend against attacker
    6. Defender can use roads on their territory to reinforce cities, attacker can't.
    7. War weariness affects only attacker; both wins and losses count
    8. Diplomatic penalty for declaring war
     
  2. Nurgle84

    Nurgle84 Warlord

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    You forget something quiet important. The aggressor is also the only one who can benefit from a war. The defender cannot conquer cities as long as he stays the defender, he must become the attacker to do so.
     
  3. sourdiesel

    sourdiesel Warlord

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    I think in some circumstances a defender can win advantage from a war, although this is more true in multiplayer. If someone runs a gambit and throws a big force at you which you successfully defend against, you are often in a great position to launch a counterattack.
     
  4. DementedAvenger

    DementedAvenger Prince

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    And when you DO run the counterattack, you are no longer the defender.
     
  5. Malachi256

    Malachi256 Prince

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    IMHO the key disadvantage of the defender is their infrastructure. All improvements, but especially cottages, are vulnerable and valuable.

    Once road systems are effectively dismantled, an attacker can also bypass the more heavily defended cities.

    If your only goal is city conquest, though, it's usually just a matter of bringing lots of throw-away siege units =)


    edit: Another key advantage is surprise, especially against the AI. You should be able to claim one city with little trouble.
     
  6. LegionSteve

    LegionSteve Motörhead

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    The effectiveness of siege units is another big disadvantage for the defender.

    If they try a totally static defense, as long as you bring enough siege you will crush them.

    If they try a more active defense, some (not all) of the advantages the OP listed will benefit the attacker's stack defenders. Plus some of their units will die attacking your stack and they need to build more.
     
  7. bestsss

    bestsss Emperor

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    >>1. Tile defense (e.g. being situated on hills/forest)
    >>2. Unit promotions (e.g. woodsman gives defense bonus but no attack)
    You sure, check W3 again.

    >>3. Cultural defenses
    >>4. Walls/castles
    One spy, or 5 bombard siege to rule 'em.

    >>5. Defender chooses best unit to defend against attacker
    Which does really helps vs collateral, or air, or flanking. That brings me to the point: have you seen what naval carriers can cause... and aside nukes there is no real defense vs.

    >>6. Defender can use roads on their territory to reinforce cities, attacker can't.
    And the attacker can pillage everything there. Try gunships w/ march (upgraded mounts), pillage everything, so they can't even touch you.

    >>7. War weariness affects only attacker; both wins and losses count
    One can remove war weariness completely. And it's not ONLY the attacker, it depends on the cultural influence. If you are a bit smart you invite to get attacked in some border city... worse of all or CR spec dominate the AI there.

    >>8. Diplomatic penalty for declaring war
    Big deal. Seriously, by the time you are in war mode, you can care less about the wimpy AI thinks about you.

    To sum it up: The defense is only strong only until you don't have siege or early UU.
     
  8. DigitalBoy

    DigitalBoy Emperor

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    Will post more later but one thing to consider, the aggressor is planning a war and builds lots of units accordingly. The defender usually hasn't built as many because they don't expect on being at war (and if they do expect to be declared on, they don't know when, so they can't know when to build units when they'll be needed until the war's started).
     
  9. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    In 1:1 defense pwns offense

    But as long as the collateral damage enters in play, the offense is by far the winner.
     
  10. 99wattr89

    99wattr89 Warlord

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    Balanced until one side has nukes, which makes it a walkover.
     
  11. aapo

    aapo Chieftain

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    - I got about 8 axemen with shock promotions from event and city raider (I & II), one archer and spearman for defense and 5 catapults, trying to take down Dutch capital in Warlord difficulty game, which was fortified with 2 chariots, 5 archers and 2 axemen. My initial group was lost (15 vs. 9), but I was able to take him down eventually, at which point that combined territory was about the size of the rest of the opponents.

    Collateral damage can't kill units, it will only damage them to ~50% something health with catapults at least. After that it's usually reasonable to try to attack them with normal units, but health loss is still heavy. Protective leader with longbows is just insane. I'll usually hold until I have neat tech lead and cavalry to begin attacking. Either that or wait until tanks and blitz to mow down massive hordes of obsolete defender units that AI loves to build. I'd like to see war as sharp exchange of cities and territory, but current mechanics favor creating be-all and end-all invasion forces.
     
  12. Harvin87

    Harvin87 The Youth

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    I find ridiculous that ships next to the coast have a defensive bonus... thats just nonsense....
     
  13. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Except the defender can choose to use siege of its own, and it will just about ALWAYS be able to attack first. So unless the defender has his pants down, he has a stack of his own and with collateral will handily demolish an equal-sized incoming stack.

    The defender has a heavy advantage for pretty much the entire game...
     
  14. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    That is counter strike :p ...

    Well, we obviously are using 2 diferent versions of what defense means. I used the real act of simply defending ( one unit or army is the attacker and the other is the defender while trying to decide who controls a tile ) and you used the broad definition of the attacker being the party who is trying to conquer land and the defender the guy who is trying to push the ofender out ;)
     
  15. xchen08

    xchen08 King

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    It makes perfect sense to me. Everything listed with the exception of promotions and the best defender protecting the stack is directly a result of fighting on one's own soil, which comes with a steep cost unless you very carefully prepare. And the promotions thing is just false because of city raider, as well as offensive bonuses of WIII and GIII. The best stack defender thing makes sense too, since utilizing it means sacrificing the initiative, and getting pounded by siege.
     
  16. Continental Op

    Continental Op Warlord

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    Of course defence is stronger than offense in battles. Have you read Clausewitz's On War? And still, offense is the only way to win the war. After all, you can only get negative victory out of defensive warfare. That's why offense is stronger than defence in the end, and the only way to win the war.
     
  17. bestsss

    bestsss Emperor

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    That implies that defender has comparable in size/power army however one can't turtle w/ so huge army home (simply no point). If no turtle involved that's a counter attack w/ awaiting a good moment to deploy it.
     
  18. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    If the defender can't stay within at least 75% of the attacker's power, the defender deserves to lose.

    "That's a counter attack"

    Yes, it's a counter-attack in your own territory (which is still defense), and due to the way siege works absolutely the best move against huge stacks most of the time.

    So I guess I can change my answer a bit:

    - If you are fighting intelligently with a good troop mix, the defender is heavily favored.

    - If you are fighting like an idiot or the AI and just sit there taking collateral, the attacker is favored.
     
  19. PieceOfMind

    PieceOfMind Drill IV Defender Retired Moderator

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    When it comes to earning xp, defending and attacking are not identical. It might be because of the "defender picks best unit to defend against attacker" problem but on defense you only earn half as much xp as you do on offense. Simplest example: two equal strength units with no defense bonuses - attacker would win 4xp, defender would win 2xp.

    Generally speaking, I would argue the attacker has the advantage. This is because civ is a turn based game and if you are talking about the actions carried out within a single turn, the attacking player has the initiative. He can choose which battles to engage in and which to avoid.

    Once he ends his turn, he is no longer the attacker! ;)

    This is yet another way to make the distinction between attacker and defender, from the two interpretations already highlighted by rolo.
     
  20. Elkad

    Elkad Emperor

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    Defender having a heavy advantage is the way it should be. Throughout history, basic military strategy has been to bring 3:1 odds on offense to win the battle decisively. In fortified positions even greater odds are needed.
     

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