Civilization III: Military Strategy & Tactics

You can call this the Warmongers' Corner. These articles deal with planning and execution of war, as well as effective usage of units.

Capital Isolating War-Strategy

(Reposted by WUM)

This is Stiel´s strategy for war:

* Be prepared before you go to war. Defend your homeland, just in case.
* Isolate your enemy's capitol by bombarding, bombing and/or pillaging ALL (rail)roads around the enemy's capitol IN ONE TURN.
o This way you enemy will be deprived of strategic resources. They can't build the most modern units anymore. If you land your infantry on a mountain while at war, the AI will commit suicide. See
After that your enemy can only build ancient troops, which will make the war FAR more easier!
o Also your enemy will be deprived of luxury-resources and will probably fall into disorder, especially when you get other civs also to declare war or make a trade-embargo against you enemy. This disorder will prevent your enemy to build new (weaker) troops, so you can almost run him over completely.
* Next turn, you conquer most of his cities, BUT NOT THE CAPITOL, keeping the smaller ones, razing the bigger ones. (where you have your settlers build new cities to fill up the open gaps. those cities will profit of the infrastructure that's already there)
* Then, you ask for peace, demanding all his money (lump sum) and possible techs and the remaining cities, so he will only have the capitol left.
* You DO NOT conquer is capitol, unless you conquered ALL of his other cities. This way the capitol won't move and the civ is completely crippled.
* You can also choose to let them live with a few cities. You can use them as slaves by demanding money from them every now and then (this makes up for the corruption and waste you have to live with in you newly conquered cities).

If somehow you need a couple of turns more to do this or get reinforcements to keep the conquered cities occupied, DO NOT FORGET to KEEP the capitol completely isolated. Not one road should connect to their Capitol.

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Cracker's GOTM9 Japan Campaign Site

Some people will snuffle and ask why anyone would go into this much detail on an example of the CIV3 game, but I wanted to briefly emphasize that this focus came about from my desires to share how I played just one small piece of the GOTM9 game while hopefully providing something that would be of value to other players.

Nothing in this website is meant to imply that this is exactly the approved solution of how you should play this game or this scenario. What I discovered from many hours of playing succession games with a number of other players, is that many, many people who try to play Civ3 end up victimized by not having a good handle on some very basic game play skills. Most of these issues are not necessarily intuitive so they would not be the instinctive thing that someone might do as a first choice.

My hope is that in sharing this detailed level of a replay long with some example save files that people can load and try for themselves, that many of these examples will help other people to use these skills in their basic game play so that they will be free to enjoy and experiment with the game on a higher level.

To view the GOTM9 Japan Campaign Site, please click here.

Creating and Using Leaders


Leaders appear infrequently but can have a very large impact on the game. They have the unique abilities to rush wonders and to create armies.

This article describes rules which affect the appearance of leaders, techniques which can increase your chances of getting a leader, ways to use leaders, and some game strategies based on leaders.

Rules Affecting Leader Production

You can only have one leader at a time. If you have a leader who hasn't been used for anything yet, there is nothing you can do to produce a second leader at the same time. You must use the existing leader first, to rush something in a city or to build an army. You can check whether you currently have a leader by seeing whether one is displayed in the F3 display under "available leader."

You can however produce more than one leader in one game turn. If you get a leader, then move him to a nearby town and use him immediately, afterward you can get another leader in the same turn.

Each time one of your elite units wins a fight against a rival, there is a 1 in 16 chance that a leader will appear.

If one of your cities has built the small wonder "Heroic Epic" then your chance of getting a leader improves to 1 in 12 when you win a fight with an elite.

You can not get a leader by fighting a barbarian. Only fights won against rival Civs have a chance of producing a leader.

You can get a leader when an elite wins while defending as well as from attacking. The chances of getting a leader from a successful defense are 1/2 the chances while attacking, i.e. 1 in 32 without Heroic Epic, 1 in 24 with Heroic Epic.

When one of your elite units produces a leader, the game asks you for a new name for the unit. There's no need to give a name if you don't want to, you can just hit Escape. (Escape is better than hitting Enter because this way the unit's name will still be updated if you later upgrade the unit.) What is important is to remember which of your elite units have produced a leader. This is easy to check because every elite unit which has produced a leader has its experience level changed from "Elite" to "Elite*".

"Elite*" units, i.e. those which have produced a leader, are "used". No matter how many more fights that unit wins it will not produce another leader.

When you upgrade an "Elite*" unit, e.g. upgrade an Elite* Horseman to a Knight, the unit's experience level is reduced to veteran and it can produce a leader after it wins a promotion to become elite again.

Techniques to Improve Chances for Leaders

First a bit of background about unit experience levels. At any time each of your units is at one of the following experience levels:
Conscript: 2 health points, popped from a hut or drafted
Regular: 3 health points, built by a city without barracks
Veteran: 4 health points, built by a city with barracks
Elite: 5 health points
Elite*: 5 health points and has produced a leader

Each time a unit wins a battle it has a chance of being promoted to the next higher experience level.

To get leaders you need to win many battles with elite units. On average you will get one leader for every 16 battles won by an elite.

There are a limited number of battles you can fight in any given turn. Your enemies will only produce a certain number of units, and there are only so many barbarians available to fight. For the best chance of getting leaders you want to maximize your chances from the available battles.

Your first priority should be to avoid building regular units. You want to build barracks first and then build veterans. The early part of the game is an exception - it is usually more important to get units out exploring, and perhaps even to hit an enemy with an early rush attack. But after the early stages, never build units without first building a barracks. You don't want to waste fights getting your regular units promoted to veteran - it is better to use those same fighting opportunities to get veterans promoted to elite or to get elite wins to try for leaders.

The following notes describe when to use units according to their experience level. These are just general guidelines. In any given situation there may be over-riding priorities such as a crucial defense or a high priority target. But often these guidelines can be applied while pursuing your other goals:

Conscript & Regular:

As soon as you have some veteran units, stop using Conscripts and Regulars in fights. In Despotism or Monarchy use these inexperienced units at home as military police. In later governments disband them or save them for quick production boosts in cities when you want to rush a build. Don't fight with them, they waste promotion opportunities better used by your more experienced units.


1) Use them against barbarians to try for promotions to elite.

2) Use them against rivals after any available fights which can use elites (see notes below.)

3) When attacking a strong defense with a stack you may want to use veterans before using elites. This is a tradeoff. If you don't have good odds of winning with an elite, of course your odds are even worse with a veteran. Nonetheless, if you are producing new veteran units at a good rate back home, I suggest using veterans first when the odds aren't good. You'll lose some of them but you'll weaken the target, and that creates opportunities for your elites to finish off the defenders with less risk. I prefer to lose a few more veterans when it gives me more chances to safely use elites and get chances for leaders.


1) If possible don't fight barbarians, use a veteran instead. An elite can't produce a leader from this fight but a veteran can get promoted.

2) If you have an unused leader try to avoid fighting with your elites at all. Use veterans instead. Depending on the overall game situation, consider slowing your advance on the enemy (due to not using your elites) until your leader has been used to build something. The reason for this is that every time you use an elite while you have an unused leader, you are "wasting" a fight which might have upgraded a veteran to elite (if a veteran were used) or which might have produced a leader (if the elite were used after the current leader has built something.)

3) Try to pick off the easiest enemy targets first with elites. There are two reasons:
(a) You increase the chance of a win. Which means you reduce your chances of losing. And you don't want to lose elites. It takes a lot of elite wins (on average) to produce a leader. You want them to survive to keep winning and winning until a leader pops up.
(b) Sometimes you'll win easy fights without even losing a health point. Then the elite can try again on the next turn vs. having to sit on the sidelines for a while to heal.


1) If the unit can be upgraded later in the game try to avoid using it at all, just set it aside for later upgrading.

2) If the unit cannot be upgraded later (e.g. Cavalry), or if you have urgent need of it, use it as your first attacker when attacking a strong defense. Maybe it will win. If it loses hopefully it will at least weaken the defender for your subsequent veteran and elite attackers.

Other factors (subjects other than fighting):

I think it is often advantageous to not upgrade elite units to a newer unit. E.g. if I've just learned Military Tradition, I will upgrade veteran and elite* Knights as quickly as possible, but I'll hang on to some elite Knights. They can wander around near the battle front looking for opportunities against weak or injured enemies. Any easy fight they find is a "free" leader chance, vs. an upgraded Knight (Cavalry) who will have to earn a promotion to elite before it can generate a leader.

"Militaristic" civilizations are slightly better for generating leaders. Their veteran units have a better chance of being promoted to elite in each fight. So they get more elites from the same number of fights, which results in more chances to generate leaders.

The Luck Factor

Each time that you try for a leader there is only a small chance of getting one. So game strategies which rely on getting a leader quickly at a particular time should be avoided - there's too much risk that it will take a long time to get one when you need it.

But it is entirely reasonable to plan on getting a number of leaders over a period of time. In the long run probabilities will work out and you can expect to get some leaders.

Because of the low odds in each fight there can be a great variance in how long it takes to get a leader:

1) Without Heroic Epic there is a 1 in 16 chance of getting a leader.

2) The best of luck is when a leader pops up on your very first fight with an elite unit. This will happen, but on average just one time out of every 16 times you try it.

3) There will also be runs of bad luck. There is a 1 in 16 chance ( for those who want the math, (15/16) ^ 43 ~= 1/16 ) that you'll have a run of 43 elite wins in a row before you get a single leader.

To get a feel for what can be expected in real play, suppose that we play a large number of games and that on average in each game we win 64 elite fights. If we look over a hypothetical average set of four of these games we'd see that:
1) There were a total of 16 leaders produced in the four games.
2) There was a wide variation in the number of elite wins between successive leaders. Sometimes it took just a few wins, sometimes a lot.
3) Once a leader appeared immediately, on the first try after the previous leader.
4) Once it took about 40 elite wins between one leader and the next.

Of course there's no rule which says that a particular set of four games with sixteen leaders would work out that way. But by the time you look at a larger number of games (say 20 or so) this overall picture will be reasonably close to the pattern you'll experience. It is a useful enough pattern to form a basis for your expectations and planning, i.e.:

1) Don't count on getting a leader quickly. A run of 50 elite wins without getting a leader is to be expected once in a while. Longer runs are possible but the odds do diminish. For example, a run of 40 is about a 1 in 13 chance. A run of 80 is about a 1 in 170 chance.

2) Do make plans which assume you'll get a leader eventually, as long as you are prepared for a long run when necessary. E.g. I think it is a reasonable strategy to plan on using a leader to rush a Forbidden Palace in captured territory, given that you are ready to keep on fighting for a while until you get the leader.

Heroic Epic

Building the small wonder "Heroic Epic" increases your chances of getting leaders to 1 in 12 elite wins (instead of 1 in 16.)

So why not build Heroic Epic as a matter of course in every game? There is a tricky tradeoff - you must have a victorious army before you can build Heroic Epic. And the only way to get your first army is to use a leader to create it.

I feel that early in the game armies are not worth having for their own sake. So I won't use an early leader to create an army unless the Heroic Epic more than compensates for the lost leader.

To work that out let's consider two cases for using a leader:

1) Create an army and build Heroic Epic. After doing this we expect a leader to appear on average every 12 elite wins. So 48 elite wins after this time we expect to have had 4 more leaders which we could use to rush wonders.

2) Don't create army, don't build Heroic Epic. The first leader rushes a wonder. In the next 48 elite wins we expect to get 3 more leaders. At the end of that period we'll have had a total of 4 leaders used to rush wonders.

So 48 elite wins after the first leader the two cases come to the same thing - at that point four "useful" leaders (i.e. not counting the leader used for the army) have been produced.

At any time before producing those four leaders we're further ahead to not build Heroic Epic. The first three useful leaders come sooner without it.

At any time after producing those four leaders we're further ahead by having built Heroic Epic. We'll average one leader per 12 elite wins after that instead of one per 16.

In a typical game I'd expect to get from 3 to 5 leaders before the mid-Industrial Age (they're most useful before that time I think.) I often want to use them as quickly as possible. E.g. I might feel that Great Lighthouse would be helpful and that a rival is closer to completing it. So I don't usually go for Heroic Epic. It won't gain much in the long run with just 3 to 5 leaders, and in the short run I'd rather seize the opportunity to rush something right away.

OTOH, in a game where I plan to go for a lot of leaders (e.g. if going for 20K culture in one city and planning to rush a lot of wonders there with leaders) Heroic Epic seems well worth building. With Heroic Epic you can expect to get 12 useful leaders from the same number of elite wins as would produce 10 useful leaders without Heroic Epic.

Another factor: With Heroic Epic, the "luck factor" becomes a bit more predictable. As noted earlier, without Heroic Epic there's a 1 in 170 chance of needing 80 elite wins in a row before a leader appears. With Heroic Epic the risk of 80 elite wins in a row not producing a leader is reduced to 1 in 1050. There's still a lot of variability but the chance of long leaderless streaks is considerably reduced. That's helpful in a game where you are trying for a somewhat regular supply of leaders.

A special case: Suppose you get a leader at a time when you have no particular use for one. If you expect you'll be saving the leader for a long time before using it, it can be a good gamble to create an army, build Heroic Epic, and hope to get a new leader before you next have a use for one.

If you do go for Heroic Epic, don't take chances with your army's first fight! I recommend stacking the deck heavily. E.g. load two veteran Knights into the army and then have it attack a wounded archer on grassland. (Imagine losing that first army attack - you've used the leader and you still can't build Heroic Epic, not a result to be contemplated.)

Using Leaders

What's the best way to use a leader? It depends on your long term strategy and the situation in the game. The following notes describe possible uses, with the ones I feel are most important first:

Palace or Forbidden Palace:

Having two separate productive regions, one around a Palace and one around a Forbidden Palace, can double your empire's productivity and is a high priority. There are three ways to accomplish this:
1) The "Palace jump" technique. This can be highly effective but takes planning and often involves some compromises (e.g. keeping all other towns small at the time of the jump, and stuffing workers into the target city.)
2) Build a Forbidden Palace. This compromises speed vs. overlap - if the Forbidden Palace is close to the capital its effect is less, if far from the capital it takes a very long time to build.
3) Rush a Forbidden Palace (or a new Palace if Forbidden Palace has already been built near the original capital) with a leader.

I think this is often the best way to use the first leader. Sometimes the first leader will appear before you have a productive region ready and it may be better to use the leader for something else, gambling on getting another leader for the Palace/FP.


There are so many useful ones! Which wonder to rush depends on the map and your overall plans. I find the following wonders especially powerful, depending on the game circumstances: Pyramids, Great Lighthouse, Great Library, Sun Tzu's, Leonardo's, JS Bach's, Hoover Dam, United Nations. In some games the science producing wonders are also particularly good to have.

If you are building a particular wonder and you get a leader, it can be nice to use the leader to rush the wonder in another city and to shift your existing production to a new wonder which is less urgent.

It is of course best to use leaders to rush wonders in cities which can benefit most from them (for example with science improving wonders or continent-based wonders), and also to use them in cities where not many shields have been invested in the city's current build. The leader can as easily rush the wonder from a starting point of zero shields as from 90% built. Whatever shields the city has invested in its current build are essentially wasted when you rush production with a leader.

Save Leader For Later:

Often you'll be in a position where there's something urgent coming in a while but you can't build it yet. E.g. there might be a place you want to rush Forbidden Palace but you haven't yet taken it from a rival, or you might be 10 turns from learning Literature and rushing Great Library is a high priority for your game plan.

It is a judgement call whether to hold the leader for the upcoming priority vs. using it for something else now and hoping for another leader to appear in the meantime. If you save the leader you'll be wasting chances to get another during that time, but you'll be sure of getting your priority build. If you use the leader you're taking a chance that a long leaderless run follows and you won't have a leader when you really want one. You'll just have to decide in each situation, balancing the odds of getting another leader against the urgency of the build. E.g. you might work it out like this: "It will be 5 turns before I learn Literature; I'm averaging about five wins with elite units per turn, 25 such wins without a leader would be about a 1 in 5 chance, so it is about 80% odds I'll get another leader in time if I use this leader. But if I don't get the Great Library my whole plan is toast because I'm so far behind in tech. And I know France is close to it. So I'll hold the leader, it is not worth the risk." Or you might apply the same reasoning in a situation where no one else has a significant build started and come to the opposite conclusion, you might figure you can build the Library the hard way if necessary, or that you can afford a low chance risk of missing it, and therefore at 80% odds you might as well use the current leader now and go for another leader.


The priority of using a leader this way depends on how important you consider armies to be. I seldom consider armies worthwhile before well into the Industrial Age, so up to that time I only use a leader to create one if I want Heroic Epic.

Late in the game, if there are no wonders to be rushed, I often use leaders to create armies. At this point armies can be useful in attacking Infantry defended cities. Might as well create some when there isn't a more urgent use for the leader.

City Improvement:

In some games it can happen that you have massive forces in the Industrial Age or Modern Times, with many elite units, and during a war at this point you get a lot of leaders. Sometimes you even get more than one per turn. By this time leaders aren't very valuable. You've got all the wonders you can, you have as many armies as you want. In the occasional game where this happens I use the leaders to rush city improvements. Might as well save some money and rush expensive builds such as Universities, Mass Transit, Battleships, whatever seems most desirable.

Leader Farming

It is possible to take extreme measures to increase leader production, trading off other game elements such as rapid expansion to improve the chances for more leaders.

I think of leader farming not as a single technique but as a combination of things where the overriding emphasis is on getting leaders, even at the expense of other factors.

In many games this can be a useful technique for some short period(s). For instance at a time when a few wonders are available and you can't build them all before your rivals. At that time it may be worth putting extra effort into leader production to see if you can get one or two extra wonders that way.

In some games it can be useful to go much further, leader farming through most of the game. For example this can be helpful in getting an early 20K culture city victory.

The first part of leader farming is, of course, to use all of the techniques described so far. In addition to those techniques, here are some ways to leader farm more aggressively:

1) To carry this approach to the maximum you'd like an appropriate map. Ideally you'd play as a Militaristic Civ, on a Pangaea map (or at least a map where you can easily reach a good number of rivals), and you want to reach a position where you have a few large rivals who are nonetheless not as strong as you are. A technology lead or a resource advantage, resulting in you having stronger attackers than your rivals' defenders, is helpful.

2) Attack your opponents slowly. You don't want to cripple their production, you want them to keep producing units (preferably weaker than your own) so that you can keep fighting.

3) At any time when you do not have a leader, attack your rivals' exposed units aggressively with your elite units, trying to produce a leader. If you feel you don't have enough elite units then also attack with veterans to get some of them promoted. The right number of elites is hard to say, it depends on circumstances and your style. Generally I'd like to have at least 5 to 10 elites attacking each turn. After attacking exposed enemy units, if you still have elites who can attack this turn then consider attacking some enemy cities with them. You'll have to balance between reducing their territory (and thus their long term ability to produce new cannon fodder for your troops) vs. getting a leader quickly by continuing to attack. This balance depends on your long term goals and the number of other rivals available after the current ones. Where possible without over-killing them, attack with all of your available (i.e. healed) elite units each turn until you get a leader. Don't use veterans during this phase unless you feel that you need to promote more of them to elites.

4) As soon as you get a leader, rush him to the city where he'll be used. Every turn he takes to get home slows you down. Try to have shortest routes set up in advance from the warfronts to home, including having ships ready at water crossings. If you produce a leader while taking an enemy town, consider finishing off that town with veteran units before moving the leader - capturing the town before moving the leader might let your leader use roads to shorten his trip home by a turn.

5) During the turns your unused leader is moving to where he's going to be used, fight only a holding action. Pull your troops back from the battlefront and fight only any enemy units which come after you into your territory. Use only veteran units to fight those invaders - any fights you win with elites while your leader is heading home are wasted, these fights can't produce a new leader. Instead use veterans to get some of them promoted to elites.

6) Plan ahead for the turn when your leader reaches home. On the turn before that, move your elite units into positions ready to attack. On the turn when the leader gets home, use him and start attacking with elites right away, repeating the whole cycle until you get your next leader.

7) Use one of your early leaders for an army and build Heroic Epic. If you're planning to farm a lot of leaders Heroic Epic is definitely helpful.

8) Look for chances to cripple your rivals' ability to produce advanced units. For instance if you are at the Chivalry/Feudalism stage of the game, try to pillage your rivals' sources of iron and horses. This will help you in two ways: a) Your rival can only produce weaker units, resulting in a higher rate of success for your units, and b) Your rival will produce cheaper units and will thus produce more of them - you'll get more leader chances by killing three enemy archers than by killing two swordsmen!


I think that producing leaders is not an exact science. Techniques to improve your chances must be adapted to circumstances to fit with your overall strategy. And leader production remains at heart a matter of luck. Sometimes they may seem to fall from the sky. At other times you may want to curse the random number generator. I wish you more of the former!

I hope you enjoyed reading this and found some useful tips in it.

May your leaders appear often and at the best of times!

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Death from Above: C3C Airborne Operations


The following Advanced Flight tactics are offered as a supplement to the tactics already in one’s personal "playbook". The author does NOT intend to debate the unit’s overall value, hold these tactics out as "best", or substitute paratroopers for other tactics and units. The author concedes that these tactics may not be the best alternative for a given situation.

Having said that, many players enjoy experimenting with various units, including specialty units like the ‘Paratrooper’. This article is directed to that audience, and to anyone who enjoys analyzing tactical problems and possibilities. While this is an open forum, I would sincerely appreciate it if discussion could be limited to these tactics.

On Tactics and Strategy

This article presents tactics, not strategy. Before implementing these tactics the strategic decisions of when and why to fight should be made, alliances formed, etc. If you're considering paratroopers your war-machine should already be approaching the point of no return. This article shows methods to embrace that moment in a flexible, aggressive manner, using Advanced Flight units.

Death from Above: C3C Airborne Operations

The title of this article probably caused several people to have thoughts like: "A late industrial/early modern era invader that attacks no better than a Rifleman? How on earth do you invade anything with that? Are you nuts?"

At first glance, paratroopers appear limited, perhaps useless. The Conquests version of the paratrooper appears weaker than ever for invading, with a 4/9 Attack/Defense compared to the 6/8 CivIII para. At 90 shields he costs no more than an infantryman, but the real cost is the technology. Before we examine tactics using Advanced Flight units, let's get to know paratroopers.

"If you continue your foolish attack your losses will be tremendous."

During the Battle of the Bulge the Germans asked for a meeting to discuss surrender terms with paratroopers surronded at Bastogne. The American officer sent to meet the Germans used those words when delivering a written statement from his own Commander to the Germans demanding their surrender. The American General's written response was a single word:


Paratroopers are audacious. "Jumping out of perfectly good airplanes" is not normal behavior. Audacity is found in many soldiers, but it is a prerequisite for paratroopers. With a one-way ticket to combat, retreat is not an option. Likewise, these tactics are not for the faint-of-heart. We're talking about putting "devils in baggy pants" right in the AI's back yard, right from the word "Go!"

"Invading with Paratroopers? Attacking with defensive units is nuts."

Attacking with defensive units is not intuitive; you must "unlearn what you have learned". The paratrooper does not need to be a strong attacker. In C3C, two other units profoundly increase the power of the paratrooper.

Critically important in an airborne assault is the role of air power, especially bombers. Fighters are used for reconnaissance, but the bomber has a far more central role. You simply cannot have too many bombers. Bombers are not new to CivIII, but an important change was made in C3C: Lethal Bombardment.

Another key unit: workers. In C3C workers can do one very powerful thing: build an airfield in a single turn, right on the edge of your empire. This extends the effective range of paratroopers and helicopters. The full potential is that you can place an airfield in parts of your territory that you didn't own at the beginning of that turn. Any paratrooper with full movement points can move to that airfield on rails and get airdropped on the next target.

D-Day Minus One

Analyze the terrain along your border and around the enemy cities. Envision where you want to put your units. Move your workers to the tiles where airfields are needed, and build them. Put helicopters on the airfields if you plan to use them. Put your bombers in the city (or on the airfield) that you plan to use as a base. Also, never forget to keep a sufficient number of strong defenders on that airfield. This must be done the turn before you invade.

The Airborne Assault - "Arrive and Survive"

This is the basic tactic for taking cities with paratroopers. It is worth considering when crossing mountains or hills that would slow tanks to an infantryman's pace. Geography is rendered almost irrelevant. Paratroopers arrive at the city's gates from over the mountains as quickly as fast units could threaten any city on open terrain. The concept is simple:

1) Perform reconnaissance with fighters.
2) Airdrop paratroopers on selected empty tile(s) next to the city.
3) Bomb the city relentlessly.
4) On the following turn, Bomb the city some more. Ideally, you want to kill all defenders.
5) Move the paras into a lightly defended (perhaps undefended) city.

This is beautiful combined arms stuff. Lethal bombardment reduces the need for powerful attackers. The paratroopers’ mission: survive to the next turn. With lethal aerial bombardment, a decent defensive rating makes sense for the paratrooper.

Additional Tactics

Leapfrogging: Combined Arms at Speed

When tanks become available, many abandon combined arms in favor of an all-out tank assault. Though effective (and fun) Combined Arms can be applied in new ways with Advanced Flight units, while maintaining the speed of tank assualts. Often, in rough terrain a city can actually be conquered faster with paratroopers than with tanks.

While conventional infantry are stronger defenders and attackers, they need helicopters to be airdropped. Though helicopters can carry more powerful units, repositioning them costs the turn’s movement points. Any paratrooper standing on rails can move to an airfield and then be airdropped, a unique type of speed. After a city is taken, workers can move in to complete any rails needed, build a new airfield next to the city just taken and paratroopers that have full movement points can be dropped the next six tiles into enemy territory. Caution: don’t drop them beyond the range of your bombers.

Armor Support

When advancing tanks across open terrain, consider using Advanced Flight units to reinforce the armor. This can blunt a strong AI counterattack. Here you can get a little creative. If you've got a few helicopters, you can put Infantry in there with the tanks. If you have a lot of guerillas or TOW Infantry, you can drop paratroopers, and airlift the guerrillas. The goal: protect the tanks so they are in better condition to attack on the next turn.

Hammer and Anvil

Under most circumstances the game favors concentrating all invading forces onto a single tile. The respectable defensive value of Paratroopers opens up the possibility of surrounding or cutting off a city thus preventing the AI from reinforcing it. This can be accomplished by dropping stacks of paratroopers beyond a city while advancing tanks towards the city. Any forces the AI sends to reinforce the city must fight through the units that were airdropped beyond the city. Although this tactic carries risk, it has potential in choke point cities that have coastline or unimproved mountains on one or two sides.


One widely discussed paratrooper tactic is to drop paratroopers onto a resource to pillage it. This can also be used on key transportation junctions or luxuries (which carry strategic importance when cities get past size 12). An advantage over simply bombing the tiles is that your paratroopers will have to be killed before the AI can repair the roads.

Research Implications

Many players research Motorized Transportation quickly to get Tanks. If you plan to use Paratroopers, consider researching Flight first, then Radio and Mass Production. Use that time to build a large number of bombers.

Advanced Flight units can add some variety and fun to your game. They can also add some flexibility to your military. To those who think they are useless, here is my response:


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Early Industrial Railroad Intrusion

I've no idea if this has been posted before or not, apologies if it has, but it worked well for me in a recent game played at Regent level. At the start of the Industrial Age I virtually crushed my two strongest neighbors in 1 turn.

Wars in the modern era, when the world is covered in railroads and you have stacks of Tanks or MA's, can be very quick. You can travel long distances taking may cities in a single turn. This strategy aims to emulate this at the beginning of the Industrial era, using roads and Cavalry instead of Railroads and MA's. Its a 3 step tactic to erecting a very long path 20 or 30 tiles deep into the enemy's territory, virtually wiping them out and stealing their capital or Wonders, all in 1 turn!


- Lots of workers
The number of these you need depends on many things (see STEP 2 below). I usually use between 80 or 100 on a 8/10 city, 25-30 tile Intrusion.

- Lots of Cavalry
Depends on level, I use about 40-50 for a 8-10 city Intrusion on Regent, that's usually enough to get what you want - their capital and wonders deep in their territory.

- Must be connected by road with the enemy your Intruding.
- Enemy must have at least a basic inter-city road system.
- A few spare defensive units for the final stroke of the Intrusion.


Military Tradition
Steam Power
Replaceable Parts helps, but is not essential.

You also need either -

The workers and cavalry all stacked next to the border of the enemy your performing the Intrusion on ..or...
A good enough rail system for you to move units fast around your territory.


Attack the nearest enemy city to the border with your cavalry and take it!

Your territory has extended to include the city just taken. Move a worker onto the first bit of road in your new territory, start building railroad. Do this with as many workers as it takes to force-build the railroad right away that turn. The number of workers it takes will depend if they are workers or slaves, whether or not you have Replaceable Parts, what government type you have, and the terrain. It will take differing amounts, but on any grassland, plain, desert or tundra, it doesn't take that many. Even hills and forests are possible to force in 1 turn, especially if you have Replaceable Parts.

Repeat step 2 in the direction of the border nearest the next enemy city (which must be within hitting range of your Cavalry). When you have built railroad right up to the border again, repeat Step 1.


When you have taken as many cities as your stash of workers and cavalry will allow, use your spanking new Railroad connecting all your shiny newly captured cities to move defensive units up to them to defend the inevitably feeble retaliation, if there is any retaliation at all after such a pounding.


If there isn't an enemy city within firing range of your cavalry, the Intrusion stops.
If you run out of workers, you cant force build any more railroads and the Intrusion stops.
If you run out of cavalry, you cant take any more cities and the Intrusion stops.
If there is a break in the road, meaning workers cant move and begin building railroad in the same turn, the Intrusion stops.

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Everybody's Unique Unit: The Marine

People like to discuss units on Civfanatics forums, especially Unique Units. Specialized units are often discussed; Longbowmen, Guerrillas, Paratroopers, and Marines. Starting with a question like "Do you ever build unit X?", newer players join in and learn the mechanics of the game, while more advanced players join the discussion and gain (or share) insight into using units more effectively. Tactics are offered here for using one specialized unit effectively: the Marine.

What is a Marine?

The CivIII Marine appears to be a foot soldier that attacks better than Infantry, and doesn't defend as well. What separates the Marine from all other units (save the Viking Berserk) is his ability to attack from the sea. He is by nature an offensive unit, both in attack/defense statics, and his proper place on the battlefield. His full potential: a shock troop, leading an invasion from the sea.

The Marine is perhaps the most uniquely offensive unit in Civ Warfare.

Think about it; offensive units can be used defensively and vice-versa. Cavalry can skirmish against enemy units within your own borders; an offensive "tactic" within a defensive "strategy". Defensive units like infantry can be used to protect a stack you're using to invade the AI. Using Marines to their full potential involves attacking another civ on another shore. We're not just contemplating war, we're talking about invading. And not just an invasion, but invading overseas. Few military offensives are more ambitious or audacious than a "D-Day" style invasion.

"So you're going to take an AI continent with Marines?!?!?"

Not at all. Aside from taking those pesky one-tile city-islands, or island-hopping campaigns, the bulk of the invading force will not be Marines. Marines are the tip of the spear. These tactics aim to give the AI the shaft.

A note on "Tactics and Strategy"

This is a "grunt's-eye-view", written about tactics, not strategy. While "strategic" questions are more important, Marines don't get to ask the "Who, When and Why" questions, and they're not answered here. If you're considering Marines, you're contemplating war. You should have an objective in mind, whether you want to grab a resource, or a continent. Maybe you've got a potential ally in mind who (you hope) will declare war with you a turn or two before your D-day, and absorb your enemy's first counter-punch. These are questions of strategy that you should answer for yourself before building (or at least before deploying) Marines. There's a lot of great advice to help with strategic questions in the War Academy and forums, but not here.

"Break Glass in Case of War"

These tactics are designed to seize and maintain the initiative from the opening round of an invasion. If you like, war can begin with an opening attack from the sea. The basic idea is to hit the AI fast, hard, and deep with your initial invasion. These are the basic goals of these tactics:

1) Take, and hold, a coastal city in the AI territory, on that first turn of the invasion.
2) Take, and hold, a second AI city, again, on that first turn.
3) For the next few turns, move significant quantities of follow-on forces, to maintain the offensive.

Why take two (or more) cities? Simple: if you're going to go through the trouble and expense to invade another continent, you might as well take as much as you can, as soon as you can. If you take the resources to take 2 cities and choose not to, that's one thing. If you don't (or can't) muster enough of an invasion force to take (and hold) 2 cities, you need to take a step back and rethink your strategy.

These tactics use 3 basic types of ground units:

1) Marines: minimum 1 CivIII transport full, 2 boatloads in C3C. 2-3 boatloads should suffice.
2) Good defensive units: (Infantry or Mech) 2 boatloads minimum
3) Fast offensive units (Modern Armor, Tanks, even Cavalry) minimum 2 boats
of Tanks, quadruple your boatloads (or more) if resorting to Cavalry.

...and 3 basic types of naval units:

1) Transports
2) Something (anything) to protect the transports
3) More Transports

This unit mix is the foundation, not the whole house. If you have (or can build) a bunch of carriers, bombers, and battleships to provide fire support to "soften" the target, even better. If you want to bring some artillery to the party for the follow-on attacks, the more the merrier, just remember you'll need more transports. Using fire support is great fun; though not fundamental to these tactics, it is tactically sound (and wise). The most important naval unit for these tactics is the transport. You almost can't have too many of these. This is also intended to be more of a recipie than a blueprint. Think "1 part Marines, 2-3 parts Infantry/Mech, 2-3 parts Tanks/Modern Armor, add fire support to taste. You may substitue 8-15 parts Cavalry if Tanks are unavailable. Be sure to have more units on hand for second helpings".

"So now we attack, right?"

Not just yet. These tactics require a bit of forethought, planning, and prepositioning of forces. "Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics."

Here are some key things to be done in the planning stages:

1) Identify that first target city on the AI coast. Maybe you'll choose the one with the shortest sea-lane to your shore, or maybe you'll choose the one nearest the resource you want to grab. If the sea lane is longer, you'll need more transports.

2) Identify a second target within striking distance of this coastal city. Maybe it's another city up or down the coast, or it might be inland. Maybe it's got that strategic resource or a wonder you covet; perhaps you simply want to take out that metropolis to deny the AI a productive city. By "striking distance", imagine you already have that stack of fast attack units stationed in the coastal city; you should be able to attack your next target IN THE SAME TURN. Visualize the 9-square radius around the coastal city you're going to take. If you will have to cross 2 enemy squares to hit that city, you'll need Modern Armor or lots of Cav (or Panzers or lots of Cossacks). If there's a city that you can hit after crossing only one enemy square, it's a great target for Tanks!

3) Position 1-3 transports within range of that first coastal city - even before you can build Marines or Tanks... By "within range", imagine for a moment that you already own that coastal city, and these transports are full. You should be able to move the transports into the city and UNLOAD them IN the city (in one turn). To avoid rep hits or angering your enemy too early, this position should be outside the cultural boundaries of the target. The AI will be good and furious in due time.

4) Position "convoys" of transports from one of your ports to these forward transports. The idea is to be able to move one "boatload" of ground units to the forward position in a single turn. (The mechanics of the "one turn" trans-oceanic move should be discussed elsewhere on this site). If you can build a 2-3 deep convoy, that's fine, but the basic idea is to be able to move one transport load of follow-on forces across the ocean in a single turn, and to do it each turn until you can't fill a boat at the back end. Stop and think about this for a minute. To pull this off, you'll need 3 (likely more) full transports at the front, at least one transport at each "ship hopping" point along the way, plus a minimum of 5 transports in the city at your end of the sea lane. Did I mention that you'll need some transports? Let's see, one boatload of follow-on forces times 5 turns of following-on is about 30-40 infantry &/or mech &/or tanks &/or modern armor... (Rome wasn't built in a day...)

5) Position "escorts" on the tiles occupied by the transports. In CivIII, Destroyers; Destroyers and/or Cruisers in C3C. The escorts should be as fast as the transports so you can "patrol the lanes" that the transports will be using, and have them finish the turn on a tile used by a transport. Battleships are a bit expensive and (in C3C) slow for escort duty. Though Subs are a bit slow for escort duty, using a few for scouting or hitting AI ships can't hurt.

Okay, we've done our planning and reconnaissance, pre-positioned our forces. For whatever reason, it's time to wage war against that AI across the sea. It's time to...


If you brought fireworks to the party (bombers, battleships, etc.) now is the time to set them off. After "softening up the shores", move the transports containing Marines to the square adjacent to the coastal city, wake 'em up, and attack from the sea. Usually the marine that kills the last defender will be down to a hit point or two...

Now pause for a minute to take in the scene while the smell of cordite rises through your nostrils. You've got two important things here: an AI city, and options. You may move the transport into the city, unload a fresh marine or two, and fortify them IN the city. If you've got several left, you can withdraw them to a rally point to be assembled with other units for future use.

Next - grab at least one transport full of defenders (Infantry or Mech), move that transport into the city, and UNLOAD it. Since they have their movement points intact, you have options. Depending on how many defenders you brought along, you can either fortify them in the city, or in the squares NEXT to the city. You'll need more troops for option #2, but you can form a perimeter AROUND the city just taken. This can provide good defense for the city, and allow a pre-positioned counterattack in case of a culture flip. They'll also prevent the enemy from reinforcing the city in the event of a culture flip. The fundamental tactic is to secure the position - how you do it is a matter of technique, and the resources available.

For the final phase of the initial attack, move the transports with the fast attack units into the coastal city, and UNLOAD them, with all their movement points intact. Attack, and take, that second city. If you've got enough fast units to take more cities, then by all means do so. Just don't press the attack to the point that you can't hold what you've taken. If at all possible, get defenders into the cities you've taken.

The AI's next turn will determine how well you've planned and executed your invasion, and whether or not you've underestimated your enemy. He/she will throw most of what they've got at you in the counterattack that will ensue. If you did as Sun Tzu advises and "made many calculations" then you should be able to keep what you took. Now you use your pre-positioned transport convoys to start moving at least one transport load of troops into your new territory each turn for the next 5 turns...

Pounding the Shore with more Waves

Remember item #4 in our preparations? Transport convoys, and some additional (not "extra") transports in the home port at the beginning of the sea lane? Now that you've taken a nice piece of the AI's territory, you maintain the intitiative with units that were still on your shores when you sent in the Marines. Using railroads and ship-hopping, you should have no trouble moving a full transport load of units to that coastal city you took and unloading them with all their movement points intact. On the second turn of the invasion, some of the units you used in the first turn will need to heal for 1-3 turns until you can use them in combat again. Resupplying your offensive with at least one transport full of fresh troops each turn for 3-5 turns will allow you to maintain the initiative. Three full transports in C3C would be 18 units; 24 in CivIII. If you can only muster or move a couple dozen units, they should be tanks. If your convoy of transports is three-deep (and you have the units) then by all means move a combined arms mix with some Infantry and Artillery.

Parting Shot...

So there you have it, a basic recipe for an amphibious invasion. Adjust (and scale) it to suit your style and needs. There certainly are a lot of things you can add to this recipie to suit your taste or the circumstances of your game - this is intended to be the "main course".

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Expansionist Chariot Gambit with ICS Topping

An exploit of AI stupidity if ever there was one...

The Settings:

Large landmasses are where this works best. Huge Pangaea maps, especially with Warm/Wet/5 Billion year settings are optimal. Many of the same principles work on smaller maps though. The fewer the AI the less resources will be on the map, which is a good thing. 8AI is my favorite setting on Huge maps.

The Civs:

Obviously Expansionist Civs. The Americans and Iroquois are the two most suited for this style of play. Any of them can do well.

The Attributes:

Play your Civ to its strengths. The Iroquois can upgrade to Mounted Warriors for an earlier rush as well as pop rush Temples at will. The Americans use the Industrial attribute to build the most cities possible. Zulu's build Barracks, Russians build Libraries, and the English don't build anything.

The Plan:

Chariots are my new favorite military unit. War Chariots are good too, but it's better to be Expansionist. Chariots cost twice as much as Jag Warriors while having the same stats, require horses, and can't pass Mountains or Jungles without roads. Pretty good eh? So good in fact that you should hold off on obtaining Horseback Riding as long as you can.

What to do with these Chariots? Build them. As many as possible. Forgo Ancient Era wars with Horsemen and/or Swordsmen just to build more Chariots. In the average city you can fit a Chariot or two between Settlers. The timing is perfect if you make the proper terrain improvements.

Of course you can only build Chariots after Horses have been hooked up. Usually that takes a while to do, so in the meantime build Scouts. Try to hook up the Horses by the time the 20th Scout has been produced. Those Scouts explore the map, meeting the AI, gobbling up goody huts, and most importantly, stand on hills and mountains (with Iron in them) doing nothing but telling the AI Workers to go build roads somewhere else. Just make sure that you 'research' Horseback Riding with no funding, otherwise your Scouts will make your Chariots obscolete before you can even build them!

When you meet your neighbors, make sure and give them Masonry if they don't already have it. You want the Pyramids to be built close to home.

Now that you've settled into the Chariot/Settler cycle it's time to cover city placement. An Ancient Era 'productive' powerhouse needs 2 things. Each of those things is a tile that produces 2 food. That means just about any city site will do, build them everywhere, always covering up the worst food terrain with your city. A city can't build anything unless it's a city, having Settlers walk around is a waste of production. So build them tightly packed.

Once you hit the number of cities corruption limit is where the fun really begins. Cities that are corrupt just cut out the Chariots and focus on more Settlers, or Workers if they are in short supply. Buy the Workers from the AI when you can, especially as the Americans. Each city becomes 2 every 30 turns. They are 'worthless' anyways, why not claim every available nook and cranny with them? Who knows where that future Saltpeter or Rubber will turn up...

By 500BC you should have a commanding lead in number of cities compared to the AI on any difficulty. Always check the F8 screen, powergraph, to see where you stand in relation to the AI. Once you get a noticeable lead on any of them, renegotiate your peace treaty. Make note of size 1 cities the AI has before going into negotiations. Check each of these for availability. The ones that are unavailable have resources nearby. If you can't see them, they are still there. Send a Scout to stand on a likely area that resource may pop up. Even if you guess wrong the Scout can sometimes get in position before the AI builds a road there. The cities you can extort just keep building Settlers like the rest. On any difficulty other than Deity you can hit the domination limit on a Pangaea game without fighting a single battle!

As you get a few luxuries built up, pop rush until your happiness levels can barely take it. A good rule is that for every 'spare' two luxuries, you can pop rush 1 time every 40 turns. Spare in this case means anything above the point where a city can be size 3 and not in disorder. If you've been keeping to the ICS settler flood, you should have plenty of spare luxuries. The only question is what to pop rush? If the city is size 4, rush the Settler. If not, rush a Chariot (or a Horseman if you've somehow been tricked into recieving Horseback Riding)! Then you can rush another if you aren't going to war anytime soon.

Eventually the AI will make it to the Middle Ages, don't worry. All this time of spending no money on research should have built up a big bank account. Along the way your maps should have kept the AI without any spending money. Sell them every turn! The key is to save up as much as possible before Chivalry hits. 5-10k is a good target range. The higher the difficulty level, the less time you'll have to save up. Sell ROP's to every civ except your closest neighbor (target) to further increase your income. The AI pays for ROP's according to number of cities and/or territory ratio. Not sure which. Either way they should be paying from 5-10 gold per turn each once in the Middle Ages.

Now the time has come for your Chariots. Trade for Chivalry and build a Barracks near the borders of your target Civ. If at all possible, target whoever built the Pyramids first. Upgrade all the Chariots you can to Knights. You should now have anywhere from 50 to 100 Knights, and none of the AI should have any Iron. It won't matter at all that your Knights are just regulars...

The chariots you haven't been able to upgrade should follow along, being used to quell resistance in captured cities. First leader should build Sun Tzu's. Having a Barracks in each newly conquered city is the perfect compliment for the offensive.

At the same time begin disbanding a few core cities, freeing up room for more production later on. Target suspected Saltpeter sites (from earlier peace negotiations) with your Knights. Your armies should be invincible until the advent of Nationalism. Enjoy!

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Fort Cities

There are five types (maybe more ) of Forts (temporary cities) that can be implemented in Civ 3, each with a different purpose: Offensive Forts, Chokepoint Forts, Culture Bomb Forts, Stealing Forts and ZoC Forts. Each has a different purpose and can be very useful against opponents, especially of the human sort.

Chokepoint Forts

These kinds of forts are some of the more obvious ones. They exist in order to prevent access between two points of a continent and can only be crossed when attacked. They are perfect locations for cities, as they are highly defensible and MUST be attacked in order to be passed.

Zone of Control Forts

These forts are designed to assert control over a particular region on the battlefield. They can be bypassed, unlike chokepoint forts, but they provide an excellent reinforcement stationing and healing point. With Walls and a Barracks on a hill they can be very tough nuts to crack. And since the the units are within a city an enemy won't be able to see what you have there and will be attacking (or bypassing) blindly.

Stealing Forts

What these are designed for is to steal something from the enemy... whether you intend to use it or not depends on your situation.

They can be used to steal resources or roads/RRs, and can be very crippling when used at the right time. They can be landed by naval invasion or surprise to steal resources or block retreat access.

The prime example of these in use was during the Gathering Storm-Vox Controli war in the Apolyton Intrasite PTW MP Demo Game I. GS landed two Settlers, one to steal Vox's iron and the other to cut off Vox's main Immortals army in the south from their core in the north (building a city near a chokepoint). This stole Vox's iron (and ability to upgrade more Immortals) and their only north-south road, meaning there was only a skeleton force remaining inside Vox's core to defend with.

Culture Bomb Forts

These are forts placed with the intent of flipping an opposing civ's city. Most often used against AI cities placed in inopportune locations, they aren't very effective against human players, who either build culture improvements when they see this tactic, or they will simply conquer the city.

Best performed by Religious or Scientific civs that can produce cheap Temples and Libraries, the goal is to steal as much of the other city's culture (by one or more cities) as possible, giving the greatest liklihood of a flip.

Offensive Forts

Also known as "Combat Settlers," these are the kingmakers in the Civ 3 world. They can completely open up a front to invasion where an opportunity did not previously exist. While these forts can be used as ZoC or Chokepoint Forts, their primary purpose is in stealing culture and roads/RRs from the enemy. This gives extra mobility to offensive units, allowing them the ability to attack cities and/or units that were previously safe from attack.

I will use a visual example to illustrate the power of this strategy.

Here is a screenshot of a situation where an Offensive Fort is about to be sprung.

Here you can see the Chinese are bearing down on the Romans (no UUs). The Chinese have 10 Swords, 5 Horses, 5 Catapults, 4 Spearmen, a Settler and a couple Workers in its stack on the wines, with the Romans having 8 Swordsmen and 2 Catapults next to Viroconium (the target army).

The Roman Sword stack appears to be out of harm's way because of the cultural boundary… only the Chinese Horses should be able to attack… but that is before the fort city is built.

Now that the Offensive Fort has been built, some of the Roman culture and a Roman road has been "stolen" by the Chinese… meaning the Swordsmen and Catapults now have the ability to attack the Roman army instead of just the Horsemen. The difference between these two situations is quite clear… 5 Horses against 8 Swords and 2 cats can be pretty ugly, whereas with their entire army able to strike the Chinese should be able to destroy the main Roman army.

This case can be further twisted, assuming there was a road on the tile with the wines. This would allow the Settler to sneak from out of sight of the Romans, building the Fort the same turn. If your opponent is able to see the Settler a turn in advance, then they may catch on to what you're doing. Having roads already in place (for example, when you're fighting in the core of your opponent where a lot of roads exist) can really throw a wrench in a good defense.

A single city has completely changed the outcome of the war. Used in conjunction with other Offensive Forts, a civ can be brought to its knees quite quickly, and this is their best application in order to give the attacker the advantage.

Offensive Forts are best when used against other human players who will maneuver their large stacks instead of hiding them or sending them out piecemeal like the AI. When combat frequently involves tactical withdrawals and general jockeying for position and the better ground, having a trick like this up your sleeve really opens up the offensive options for a civ, especially in the early game when mobile units are harder to come by and not as tough as their 1-move counterparts. However, do not discount their effects later in the game - every RR tile you grab is one extra completely free tile for movement purposes and can often open up cities to attack that were not previously.

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General Points on Modern Warfare

These are war strategies that I have developed during two long wars in which unexpectedly backfired on me. These have only really been tested on chieftain, where the AI is comparably dumb to other levels. So they might not work too well. And these are really towards modern warfare.

1) Whatever you do, do it quick: Long wars can drag you into war weariness if you don't allow the government to manage citizen moods and even if you do that it can lead to starvation. Allowing the war to progress on also gives the AI the chance to pillage your roads, maybe starving out your population. If the war is long there'll be more resistance, resentment, and hardship. Though Democracy has the highest war weariness, if you let the governor manage moods it won't be a problem.

2) Decide on the objective: This is really important. If you expect to keep all captured cities, then don't mobilize; if you do, make the war quick. Done wrong, mobilization through a long war cripples the ability to keep your cities; you can't build any culture improvements. I was once tied into a long war (doesn't the stupid AI ever die? I had that 'settler in a ship' thing with France) and I was increasingly fearful that a city could culture flip. Mobilization backfired badly that time, and it paid to decide on an objective the next time I went to war.

3) Be wary of the AI: If you sign mutual protection, get the AI in a war, and they like the enemy, they'll end the mutual protection and get out of the war. Be careful too about refusing embargos or alliances, because they'll sign an alliance or embargo against you if you decline. An entanglement of alliances, protection pacts, and trade embargos can involuntarily tie you into a one-on-four scenario. Also make sure that the enemy has no MPP ties or lots of trades going on. The AI can be double-dealing and nifty. If you don't watch it, you could be at war with 3-4 civs at once. Disaster erupted when I was at war with the Americans; China, who had an MPP with me, signed an MPP with America, and I was at war with them.

4) Seize on the AI's weaknesses: The AI doesn't efficiently strategize or care about their cities. See what the AI does, and then defeat it. In one war the AI kept on sending hordes of Longbowmen and Calvary across my borders and kept on pillaging. I parked MAs along the border and systematically destroyed stack after stack after stack of troops. About cities: Far-flung cities (you know, the one that they trespass in your territory ten million times to exploit a tiny hole) generally have no culture improvements and guarded poorly. Capture and raze those cities first.

5) Take advantage of zone of control: Mechanized Infantry and Modern Armor are two of the best examples on zone of control; both of them have zone of control. If you're conducting modern warfare, park lots of these units along borders; when units come to invade, they'll automatically shoot, eliminating large stacks of enemy units and making it less likely that you'll lose those units. This is only effective when the blasted AI is dumb enough to keep on sending unit after unit to the same spot. ANY unit that has a zone of control is a helpful unit. AGEIS cruisers, radar artillery, and fighters - they can fortify your defense capability.

6) Know what units can destroy what: Don't send out horsemen if they can get beat by spearmen. Infantry vs. Riflemen is slaughter for both sides of the battle. Submarines are good for spotting AI subs. Cruise missiles can destroy conscript units. Radar Artillery can liquidate a seemingly hard city takeover to easiness. It seems stupid, but it can save a lot, in failures, unit destruction, and defeats.

7) Don't underestimate power: Transports should never be unescorted in the world of battleships and destroyers. An injured Modern Armor can't beat a stack of healthy longbowmen so easily. Cruise missiles can achieve every time what Radar Artilleries can't. One-unit cities can be recaptured. Pitting units that have similar A/D/M ratings can end up in disaster for you (Riflemen vs. Infantry).

8) Count on defeats: It's hard, but it's going to happen. Modern Armor can fall. Cities can be captured and razed. Make sure that you are constantly building units to replenish lost ones or to better defend cities. And you're sleazy with dealing with the AI. Sometimes the AI will suddenly will send in hordes of troops like they've only started to fight.

9) Expect the unexpected: This is crucial to fighting in a war. Units may unexpectedly fall, cities may be captured. The AI could be underestimated and have more units than you think. War may never go as it is planned. It's crucial to remember that.

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Holy Jihad! The Great Power Of the Religious-Militaristic Civs

HOLY JIHAD! The Great Power Of the Religious-Militaristic Civs
A User's Guide to Taking Over the World*
By Domandest

For some, beauty in Civ III is getting immensely wealthy from trade. For others, it's about getting eons ahead in tech. For still others, it's about being beloved and winning a diplomatic victory.

Then, there are those, like me, who are sick of this wussy crap. For us, beauty is in simply bringing as much of the map as possible under the color of our civ! We megalomaniacs revel in our own glory as we watch during the replay as vast swaths of land get gobbled up by our civ's color, as other civs recede and ultimately disappear forever.

Admit it: this is you! Maybe you've really always wanted to grab as much territory as possible, but always find yourself thinking about reputation reprecussions, controling hostile populations, overexpansion, unproductive fringe cities, war weariness, etc.
Fahhgitaboutit! With the RELIGIOUS-MILITARISTIC (R-M) CIV, under DESPOTISM, these problems fade into utter irrelevance. You will be free to concentrate the entire time on 100% territorial expansion. Guaranteed.

R-M civs have three major advantages which make territorial conquest simple, even all the way up to Diety. Here they are:
1) Ease of building barracks - fewer production points needed means these can be rushed after only one turn, and same for:
2) Ease of building temples
3) Increased probability of attaining leaders (especially because most units will start Veteran, due to advantage #1)
4) The ability to control much territory early in the game means a greater chance that strategic resources will be yours later in the game.

How do you put these advantages to the best use?
Let's split the game into two periods. The first is what we'll call Rapid Expansion. The second period we'll call Hyperpower Blitz, which begins when you securely hold a continent, and maybe others, but further rapid expansion becomes unlikely. Nonetheless, by this point you are the sole hyperpower (as indicated on the histograph), even if there are other great powers. Note that especially on pangaea maps, the first stage of rapid expansion may win you the game without need for the second stage.

I. Rapid Expansion
Follow these simple pointers, and this first stage becomes one of rapid and unfettered territorial growth!

1. Butcher, don't Produce.
Stay in Despotism. Found cities based upon growth ability: e.g. by haystacks and flood plains if possible. After producing only one shield, early units can be rushed at the expense of only one population point. Because this is an R-M Civ, the same is true also of both barracks and temples! Right off the bat, then, you should rush a barracks in every city, and a temple too in every city you found or conquer. What this means is that you'll be producing the best trained units for easy conquest. Easy territory, not to mention cultural growth. You might sound like a boorish civ, but with temples built immediately, you'll have the initial cultural edge over most other civs.

2. Bully, don't Research.
You might consider the zero research option. Prey immediately on nearby civs. Begin conquering cities IMMEDIATELY. As soon as one is conquered, contact the preyed-upon civ. If this is their first founded city, which is likely, they will speak to you, and not only that, but for peace they will trade all their tech, as well as all their gold and even gold per turn! Bullying is important both for tech and for gold, which is important because if your treasury runs too low, your barracks, temples, and units will get disbanded. HAVE NO MERCY. Once you've made peace, and this civ acquires more techs and founds new cities, once again begin the war (reputation schmeputation!) and once again take all his/her techs and gold and anything else (workers, communications, even other cities if they're willing, in which case rush a defensive unit into these ASAP). You'll find that so long as you keep rushing veteran offensive units - even warriors and archers at the beginning will be extremely effective - you can prey upon multiple civs at once without overstretching your military capability. Note also that if for some reason you DO need to buy a civ for a military advance, say, from a more distant civ that discovered it first, buying should be easy. You're not spending money on anything else, so your account should be accumulating to the point where it would be surprising if you weren't the wealthiest civ.

3. All Hail the Great Leader!
Attack effectively to increase your chances of getting leaders. This means only using veteran units to attack barbarians (elites never produce leaders against them) and using elites when possible to attack IF NO LEADER IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE. If a leader is available, another leader won't appear, so take the opportunity to give your veterans that extra dose of experience. This leads to the next point:

4. Leaders Build Wonders, not Armies
Use your leaders ASAP. Forget about armies. You're already the most militarily powerful in your vicinity, even in Deity. What you want are wonders. But not just any wonders. The first thing you want, you NEED, are PYRAMIDS. Faster growth for your cities means faster production of units. Remember, when you're rushing units, city growth is all that matters! Other wonders you might find important are Leonardo's Workshop, for easy upgrade abilities (but since you're not spending any money youll soon find yourself rediculously wealthy, able to afford all upgrades) and Sun Tzu - not really for yourself since you'll already have barracks in every city, but to deny it to an opponent. If a nearby civ builds any of these, concentrate all efforts on capturing that city.

5. Plan for the Long Term
A. The Swordsman Connundrum
Swordsmen are great for this stage, but they don't upgrade, and once opponents discover Feudalism and get pikemen, you'll wish they did. Make sure you have a healthy dose of upgradable units as well. With barracks everywhere, upgrading units will be easy as pie later int he game. Don't throw away this advantage with an unhealthy glut of swordsmen.
B. The Resource Imbalance
As mentioned above, the more territory you control at an early stage, the more likely it will be that strategic resources later in the game will be under your control. Maximize these chances by bringing under your control those territory types most likely to provide these resources. This is especially important for oil and rubber, which is to a certain extent predictable.
C. The Core Area
As we'll see, later in the game, the core area becomes significant once again. At some point, when you feel it is possible, use all your other cities EXCEPT your core to produce units, and meanwhile invest in the core's infrastructure to increase production potential. Use a leader to build a FP in a strategic location and do the same thing in that zone as well (if this still allows the necessary military production to take place from cities outside these cores).

SUMMARY: In this stage all (or most) of what you need is cynicism. Attack other civs not only to increae territory, but to plunder them for gold and techs as well as for the opportunity to create leaders. Continue these wars at will. Your military power will increase exponentially as you build (rush) barracks and units in each captured city, and your culture will rise as you rush temples into them. Continue this expansion for as long as possible. Eventually you'll have taken over your continent and maybe others as well, but further quick victories seem unlikely.

II. Hyperpower Blitz

Now, brute force won't win anymore without a bit of brains. Strategy matters now. But not in the wussy sense. Strategy in this stage means choosing your enemies wisely, and deciding in what order you want to attack them. Considerations include:

This means that if your closest competitor is quite strong, but does not own 33% of the world's territory, YOU MAY NOT ACTUALLY NEED TO ATTACK YOUR CLOSEST COMPETITOR! You may even be able to befriend them! See? R-M civs can do realpolitik too! (If you've taken over all the other territory except that civ and you still haven't won, then pursue a war, and soon youll have conquered enough to win without having to wipe out that civ, which may be an impossible task.) Even if this civ seems to become super-powerful, advances beyond you in tech, etc., remember, this is not necessarily signinficant as the territory is not necessary. It only becomes a problem where this civ actively seeks to rival you in territorial expansion. In this case, an all-or-nothing gamble war against this civ might be the most macho and therefore appropriate action.

2) Use your Core Area
Rushing units later in the game becomes more difficult, as they can no longer be rushed in one turn. Here is where your long-neglected core area will now come in handy. As we saw earlier, hopefully you had some foresight and upgraded this area's production capabilities. If you've had a glut of leaders, hopefully you've built the FP somewhere strategic as well. Invest further in the top-producing cities by strategically rushing population increasing structures such as aquaduct or hospitals and rushing factories and power plants (waiting a bit after beginning production so the toll on the population isn't excessive).

3) Attack for Strategic Resources
Both to accumulate yourself, or deny others. Another R-M advantage is useful here, which is ease of building HARBORS, (only one turn before you can rush them) meaning your strategic assets are easily transferrable across continents. Once you gain a foothold ona continent, you can therefore begin to very soon rush your best possible units there.

4) Ruthlessly Invade!
What you're after are large continents that are politically fractured. You can even sign ROP agreements with one civ on the continent to get your units in, blitz the other civ(s) then turn against the ROP civ. It's dirty, but again, reputation schmeputation. If you've chosen to cozy to your nearest rival because you've decided their territory is the 33% you don't need, then still, worry not - breaking an ROP won't hurt your rep so much that this relationship will be jeapordized. (If you're worried, make some trades with this civ and pretty soon he/she'll be 'polite' again in no time.)
While pursuing wars on other continents, the same rules of ruthlessness as in the first period apply. Note that there are good pointers for attacking in the modern era (if you even get to that era without winning first!) These include putting down infantry onto mountaintops connected to the enemy's railroad system so the AI will instantly wipe out its entire offensive army in a single turn.


CONGRATS! You should be rapidly spreading your color across the map, thanks to your ability to maximize the advantages of your R-M civ. Happy hunting!

*NOTA BENE: This article is not as directly applicable to C3C. However, the advice is useful if you account for the specific modifications of C3C.

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How To Use Artillery Defensively

There has been much debate about whether Artillery is useful and the best way to use it. Moonsinger wrote an article in the War Academy on how to use Artillery offensively. This article is about how to use Artillery defensively.

I always produce Artillery units. The most common use for them is to reduce the population of an enemy city so that the units in the city do not get a defensive bonus when you attack. However, Artillery can also be used to weaken attacking units before you attack them. This strategy is valid for any level.

  1. You should plan ahead to use this strategy. Once you discover Metallurgy, have a couple of your outlying, less productive cities, start building Cannon. The Cannon is a fairly ineffective unit because it only has a one tile range. Your intent is to stack the Cannons in one central town and then upgrade them to Artillery when it is discovered. This allows you to get a head start on building up a stack of Artillery without adversely impacting your production.
  2. Once you enter the Industrial Age you should discover Steam Power quickly and then devote all of your Workers to the construction of railroads. The best way to do this is to use stacks of Workers for the construction. First develop a spidery network of railroads from north to south and east to west. The goal here is to be able to move units quickly from one end of your territory to another. Once you have the main rails in, then make sure all cities are connected. Then worry about filling in other spaces. Do not leave this job to the Governors. They focus on railing resources and don't care whether you can move units quickly from one end of your territory to the other.
  3. Once you discover Replaceable Parts you should upgrade all of the Cannon to Artillery. You are now in a position to withstand almost any ground attack. Those attacks will come in one of 2 ways:
    1. If you are at war with a civ on another continent, then the AI will have to land units from its ships. The Transport is the best vessel for this as it can carry 8 units. I will use that in my examples as it is the worst case scenario. You can sucker them into landing at a place where there are only plains, desert or grassland by leaving a nearby city undefended and putting some old units on any coastal hills, forests or mountains. They will then be unable to achieve a defensive bonus from the terrain when they land.

      The AI is terrible at maritime invasions and will invariably unload only one Transport at a time. Sometimes it will be smarter and unload 2. Very, very rarely will it coordinate an attack with more than 2 Transports. Therefore, you can expect 16 units, at most. Your worst fear is that they will all be Tanks or Modern Armor. But, not to worry. With Artillery, they don't stand a chance. Once they land they can't move until the next turn. Just move your stack of Artillery two squares away by rail and bombard them all down to one hit point. Then your offensive units can have a field day destroying them and becoming elite at the same time.

      How many Artillery do you need to do the job? For a stack of 8 Tanks that are a mix of veteran and regular, you will need about 3.5 Artillery for every Tank. Therefore, figure on about 28 Artillery to reduce a stack of 8 enemy Tanks to one hit point each. This is an unscientific analysis, but you will find it close enough in practice. Therefore, to be able to easily defeat 2 Transports loaded with Tanks you will need 56 Artillery. This is easy to achieve if you start early and build consistently.

    2. The second alternative is a ground invasion from an adjoining civ. In this situation the AI acts in a more intelligent, coordinated manner. It understands combined arms and uses them. However, it will invariably attack by the shortest, most direct route. Therefore, unless you are surprised by the attack, you can move defensive units into your border towns to protect them. Fortify the border towns before any attack because the AI knows where you are weakest and will attack there. They will bypass heavily fortified towns to attack a weaker town behind it. This gives you an opportunity to sucker them into a killing field.

      Station your Artillery in a city or terrain which gives a defensive bonus and protect them with 2 or 3 Infantry. The AI will not attack a stack of units protected by 3 Infantry, especially if it is on terrain with a defensive bonus. The 2 square reach of the Artillery allows you to use the terrain to your advantage to bombard the enemy units. They also have the disadvantage of only being able to move at most 3 squares in your territory, while your units are very mobile on your roads and railroads.

      Once you blunt the enemies initial attack, you can use your Artillery in the traditional manner, to reduce their cities population before sending in your offensive units.

  4. With regard to seaborne invasions, artillery is also useful in redlining many ships once they approach the coast. This not only drives back many invaders, but also greatly limits naval shelling of the coast. Add the odd destroyer to your ports to pick off the redlined vessels, and the enemy navy will start shrinking pretty fast. [Added by Txurce]
  5. As you can see, the Artillery is an essential unit for warfare in the Industrial/Modern Eras. It is cheap, powerful and can be used both offensively and defensively.

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How to Use Artillery Effectively

Artillery is great! However, it can move only one tile per turn inside enemy territory. Well, that's no good! If you do that, you could tie up your entire tack of artilleries at least one turn before you can use it against enemy city. If you have a tack of 100 artilleries, we are talking about loosing 100 chance of bombardment. Plus, I want my all my artilleries to be extremely mobile and stay far away from the frontline until they are needed.

1. First I move a settler three tiles away from the enemy city. Don't forget to include at least four infantries to defend your settler.

2. By the next turn, you should be able to build a temporary outpost and use it as a base to attack the enemy city. In this case, the enemy capital city of Zimbabwe is the target. Immediately build the railroad and move your stack of artilleries into position. I also move on a cavalry unit next to the enemy city so that I can see if my artillery hit its target.

3. Now, start bombard the enemy city to dirt. In this case, Zimbabwe is defended by six infantries. You need to reduce all defenders hit point to 1.

4. After taking the city, I disband my outpost and get ready for taking the next city. Any artillery that didn't get a chance to fire, I just move them against another city. With this method, my stack of 100 artilleries, I can take at least three heavily defended cities in every turn. The war can start and end very quickly for the enemy. Artillery rocks! Artillery and cavalry are my #1 units. By the time I get tank, I usually already control the whole world.

Oh, I forgot to mention one thing: After I liberate/capture a city, I would normally use that city to rush produce more settlers or workers. The good thing about producing settlers and workers in a recently captured city is that we don't have to pay for their upkeep. If you produce a worker, that worker will be treated as slave worker (work twice as slow as normal worker). If you produce a settler, that settler will have your former enemy's nationality; therefore, you don't have to pay upkeep for them. I normally have a stock of at least a couple dozen settlers without having to pay for their upkeep. Beside, you want to reduce the number of foreign citizen in your city anyway. The less foreign citizen, the less likely they do a culture flip...and producing settlers/wokers is a best way to reduce them.

When war is declared, I would send an average of three of these foreign settlers into enemy territory in every turn; if the enemy manage to destroy one of my settlers, I would still have many others to play with. Therefore, they can expect their city to be under bombardment in every turns.

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How to Wage an Effective War with a Democratic Government

I assume that your civ has Democracy. This is a draft of my war strategy under a democratic government. So far, it has worked very well for me at all levels (including at Deity level). It works best for a Comericial civ, but it will do well for any civ. I'm not sure if it will work for a small or standard map since I have never played any game smaller than a large map.

1. In all the game that I have played so far, I have always switched to Democracy as soon as I discovered it.

2. I always perform micromanagement during and after I emerge from Anarchy to make sure my citizens in all cities are happy or content. If they are unhappy, I will convert them to entertainer. For some city, some of my citizens may be starving to dead because there aren't enough food to support everyone. That's ok. They may be starving to dead but they die with a smile on their face.

3. By now, I normally control at least 3 luxuries and a continent. I normally set science and happiness to zero and the all my income to buy market and whatever necessary for all my cities.

4. At this point, I would normally make at least 1000 gold per turns. Moreover, I would normally have a leader standing by to rush the Adam Smith Trading company. At Deity level, sometimes I have to take over that Wonder from the AI. It's good to have the Adam Smith Wonder, but if I don't have it, It's not the end of the world. By the end of the Middle Ages, my civ would normally generate 3000+ gold each turn (about 500 less golds for none comercial civ)....However, I am afraid that life is not always that simple. Sometimes, we have to fight for what is rightfully ours, so for the remainding of this post, let's see how we can wage an effective war with a democratic government.

By the time I discover Magnetism, I would have trade the world maps with all the civs and pretty much know where all the resources are, especially luxury resource. I immediately build a dozen galleon and divide them into two groups, no escort is necessary. Since everyone is just recently discover Magnetism, there is no warships to worry about. I create two task forces of 6 galleons each. I load them up with 12 of my best defenders (usually pikemen), 11 of my best fast units (usually knight or cavalry), and one settler. Note: If I have more money, I will throw in a couple more ships with defenders or creating another task force. Each of my task force will immediately set sail for those remote continents wherever the luxury is located at.

"To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but can not make certain of defeating the enemy." - Sun Tzu Art of War.

When my task forces are in position, I will immediately land my troops right next to those cities with luxury resource. Of course, the enemy will ask me to leave or to declare war. What are they thinking? I don't travel half way around the world so that I can just home. Of course, I declare war. Since most of the enemy cities are depend with 2 or 3 defenders and 1 offensive unit, they are no match for my invasion force. I immediately raze that city (which generated some nice slave workers), use my settler and build a city right on the same spot. I immediately fortified all my troop inside, dig a moat around it, rush a citywall during the first turn (then a barrack, and a harbor after that, ...then the temple). Note: I rush build eveything in this city at every turn.

5. By now, the enemy has mobilized his force against me. He probably also gets a few of his buddies to sign a mutual protection pact and to declare war against me too. In fact, the whole world would be at war against me at this point. That's ok, the more war the better.

6. Since I was the one who start the war, my democratic citizens probably start complaining by now. Oh well, it could have been worst. At least they are not religious fanatics. IMO, democratic fanatics are lot easier to deal than the religious fanatics. Anyway, I would do micromanagement every three or four turns to make sure that they are happy. If they are unhappy about the war or whatever, I will converse them to entertainer. For some city, some of my citizens may be starving to dead because there aren't enough food to support everyone and to keep everyone happy. They may be starving to dead but they die with a smile on their face. I would normally repeat this step every three turn to make sure that my citizens are happy.

7. As Sun Tzu said "the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself". Turn after turn, my enemy will try to retake those luxury resource and they will die trying. I only send out my knights or cavalries to finish off the wounded attackers. With 3000+ golds that my civ continue to produce (I always set happiness and research to zero when I'm at war), I continue rush new units every turn at my remote outpost. Now, is a good time to rush some cannon as well. After a while, the enemy will stop attacking, it's also a good indication that they are running out of troops, now is a good time to defeat them.

8. I will only take cities that I can be able to hold. If not, I will burn them to the ground. Those extra slave workers are so nice. Note: Just make sure that you don't loose any city back to the AI. If you loose a city, your people will be very very very unhappy and some of your cities may decide to switch side. After about 20 turns, try to communicate with them to see if they are willing to sign a peace treaty.

9. Signing Peace Treaty: the moment I know that he is willing to talk, I will start a massive offense and try to take as many cities away from him as I can during that same turn, call him up and sign the peace treaty with him. Don't forget to ask him for the world map, techs, towns, and all his gold. Even if I have to give him something in order for him to sign a peace treaty, it's still a victory for me. My original mission is to secure resource; anything else is just a bonus on top that.

In summary: It's so easy to wage war while maintaining a democratic government. At once time, I even at war with the same civ for more than 40 consecutive turns without any problem. The key is to winning is to control all luxuries, only take what you can keep, and be willing to let your people starve to dead. Just remember, they may be starving to dead, but they always die with a smile. After you discover railroad, starvation may not be a problem after that.

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Invading AI Continent in Modern Age

Fighting a war on another continent can be a difficult experience. Here's a tip for making D-Day a little less tramatic by taking advantage of the AI's inability to wage war.

Once the AI has built railroads, he will respond to your invasion force IMMEDIATELY with almost every mobile unit in his entire arsenal. By fortifying your high defense infantry on a mountain with a railroad connection, you can pretty much wipe out his entire army in one turn. Make sure you are already at war with the AI, so he will attack your units on sight.

1. Split your forces in to 2 groups: Have a large invasion force ready - generally two full transports are necessary to be successful in modern ages. Also have a vanguard landing force - which is just infantry.
2. Make your large invasion force a large combined arms force: 1 part mech infantry (high defense), 1 part tank (high attack and speedy), 1 part artillery (bombardment). Make your vanguard just infantry (3-4 units, but large enough to withstand assault)
3. Drop the vanguard on the a mountain square, near an enemy town and one that is connected via rails (or roads, if no rail). Only drop your vanguard, in case he has too many units. You don't want to risk your artillery or high attack units.
4. The enemy will attack with almost everything he has. Since you are on the mountains, you will have a very high defense. Additionally, you will win may of the battles, and almost all of your units will reach elite status - you might even get a great leader out of it.
5. On the next turn, land your invasion force. The coast should be clear and you can now go on the attack without a horde of units coming after you.

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Punishment Strategy

As opposed to the previous Civs, you cannot or should not aim at occupying all cities on the planet; corruption and reconstructing the infrastructure makes it unworthy. However, as the winner is always relative to the other participants, dispatching smaller "punishment expeditions" do work if you are about to maim, hinder and set back an opposing civilization. This includes:

* Destroying their roads to resources
* Burning down their city improvements
* Killing population
* Stopping their shipping to prevent expansion.

All the above can be done by a generally isolationist state, by sending out contingents of 2-3 ships, one transporting artillery pieces and defenders (Artillery and Infantry is the best choice) and the rest escorting the transport.

Upon arrival, you unload the saboteurs onto a hill or mountain (to provide better defense and a prolonged stay) near the target area, which should be a resource site, a traffic node or some large cities. If lucky, your artillery can fire at 3-4 targets of your choice. You can take a worker too, he will build a fortress if needed. Then you start pounding the improvements, then the cities, and any approaching enemy unit. If you have a faster unit at hand, you can even capture workers; transport them home with the vessel if you want.

Meanwhile, the gunships will visit some coastal cities and bombard; they can also kill transport vessels to do more economic damage.

I have tried this strategy against large and distant empires. Although I cannot be sure about the economic balance, I guess the vast damage was worth the 2 Infantry and 2 Artillery: they "leveled" 2 cities of size 11, blocked their Iron source and defended against countless attacking units.

As I did not need their cities, that was more than enough to cripple a rival and ensure my triumph.

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Rogue State Strategy

Most games I've played on Monarch, 8 civs, large map with unmodified rules.

Maybe you know that situation: When it comes to midgame, I found myself nearly always in front but with 2 or 3 major rivals that were too far away to deal with. The early wars are over, Democracy is now en vogue, and the AI begins to discover new techs every few turns, war isn't likely to occure. If you follow the normal path of tech-buying/selling, all you can hope for is a very close win in a world with megatons of pollution, because most civs get competitive.

So I like to pick a civ as "rogue state" (sometimes they pick me ) and goad the whole world in war against them.
I stay in republic, when everybody switches to democracy, beeline for suffrage and police stations and go to war with a big aggressive civ (which is easy to achieve, they always want something for tribute) on another continent.
I sign military alliances with everyone against them, even with small civs far away from them. They want some some reward for this but it's worth it. I don't do much in that war, only build up my military an try to achieve naval superiority if necessary.
If a civ signs a separate peace with the rogue state, I will renew the Alliance as soon as possible.
After 20-25 turns all AI civs get very war-weary, their population sinks, disorder occurs and they are likely to sink in anarchy. (if they make peace - renew the alliance). After 30-40 turns I have achieved my goal - all civs are in less prospering government forms, cities are taken and retaken, they kill each other. I may have discovered some war weariness myself, but i am in republic and got suffrage, hopefully.

Now I've got two paths to follow:

1) Make peace and watch the fight while developing. From my experience the AI is less likely to make peace when in less representative governments and also it seems like some kind of vendetta between them and the rogue state occurs, when I'm forced them to break peace treaties too often. Maybe you are the only one with a rep or demo now, which is a HUGE advantage.

2) Join the party! The rogue state should be in a bad condition by now, having no one to trade with and losing a lot of units, pop and normally their little islands or cities on other continents. And now the smoke is gone I can easily claim their land - they where once a powerful civ, maybe it's worth it! ( I have to switch gov too)

With this method I was able to achieve a huge civ2-like tech lead, while getting rid of a major opponent (at this point I do not trade techs anymore).

Some AI civs suit better as rogue states than others.
The rogue state should be
- one of the major powers of the world, that way you get rid of an opponent, while they last longer than weak civs as "public enemy"
- aggressive, they are less likely to sign peace treaties and switch to mon/comm early.
- militaristic/build units often, to make sure they are not wiped out quickly or make peace because of weak forces.

From my experience germans or aztecs suit best as rogue state, they build large empires, some infrastructure and a lot of units, they are also very aggressive and especially the germans are often in the tech lead. Zulus are not as good, because they build little infrastructure and tend to be backwards. The other aggressive civs like persians or english will do when they got big enough.

I think this strat is not only powerful, but also fun, because a big military power can cause a lot of damage to the other AIs and there is always something happening. To be the "puppetmaster" is fun, too.

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The Lazy Man's War - "Let's You And Him Fight"

"I caught a cleat on the starting block coach...."
Emperor level, I'm the Mayans , it's 470 BC. I didn't get a real good expansion as soon as I'd like since my first two cities were heavy on flood plains and light on shields. My third city became my settler factory and I have 8 nice cities now, but I'm rushing to settle some fairly attractive open territory on the peninsula to my North and Southwest.

"Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right..."
Egypt and Germany have me hemmed in on the South and Southast and although I'm not extremely weak militarily, I have no Iron. I do have Ivory but I'm several turns away from Mathematics and the ToZ and I don't have anything to trade for it right now. The Vikings are to my North. Unfortunately they're closer to the only nearby source of Iron and may well get it before me. I really don't want a bunch of Berserkers parked on my borders but may not be able to help it. Starting in the middle of a continent like this isn't my favorite place to begin a game because it's easy to get squeezed between a couple of early powerhouses. In this case all 3 of my neighbors are certainly larger than I am and I don't really like the idea of picking an early war with any of them. It's pretty likely I could find my Javelins going against Swordsmen or Berserkers. Those guys attack wearing smelly old bearskins, for crying out loud.
Normally at this point in the game, I'm ready to wage at least a spoiling war against a neighbor to "liberate" a couple of cities, but that slow start put me off schedule.

"Cleo sees a 'Welcome' mat where none exists..."
Starting this turn, several (6) War Chariots have begun infiltrating my Southeastern borders. They're not in one stack and they're not coming directly at any of my cities. I have an embassy with Cleo, but no ROP. Biff (nickname for my military advisor) tells me I'm "about average" compared to the Egyptians and Vikings and "weak compared to" the Germans. I'm pretty sure that weakness is due to Bismarck's ability to build a few swordsmen, not due to a huge numerical advantage. I've been working with Biff on providing a little better military intelligence but no results so far.

"What to do, what to do?"
Although Egypt's agression level is mid-range, I have been sneak attacked by them before. But this doesn't really look like an attack against me. The chariots aren't all headed toward one of my cities and it appears they're actually moving through my territory to get to Scandanavia. It's gut-check time. Do I tell Cleo to get her asp out of Mayan territory? Or do I trust my instinct that she's really just passing through on the way to have a word or two with Ragnar? I've decided there's very little chance the Egyptians are going to attack me.

" Almost no chance? "
Now in the situation I've described there's no guarantee that Egypt will declare war if I toss them out - or that they won't. If it was Germany the odds would be a lot higher due to their higher agression level. But any civ with several offensive units in my
territory is a potential threat to decide to fight instead of leaving. As I said, the Egyptian chariots aren't in a stack. They could have gone straight to one of my unexpanded size 2 cities on the border and attacked in one turn. But they didn't. I have an embassy with Egypt and Cleo's attitude is polite - about as good as it's likely to be at this point in the game. Add to that the fact that I have Bismarck sitting nearby with a very agressive attitude, swordsmen, and a long history of getting into a fight whenever there's one available. I really don't want to get dogpiled right now and this has the makings of one. If I'm right, the only real downside is that I'm going to have some foreign troops blocking a couple of my roads. A nuisance, but one I think I can live with.

"Pucker factor..."
Yeah, that's right. I'm considering letting the Egyptians stain the sacred Mayan soil. I've decided that Cleo's forces probably aren't going to attack me, but are on their way to kick some Viking butt.
"But, wilbill", you say. "Egyptian troops would NEVER trample through MY territory without paying the price. I can't stand the thought of foreign devils crossing MY nation while I stand idly by and allow it. Better death than dishonor"
Okay, fine. If that's the way you really feel. But let me describe what happened before you write me off as a wimpy builder who thinks a Diplolmatic victory is the ultimate Civ 3 experience.

"Imagine that. I was right..."
Yep, sure enough. 5 turns later, those chariots are in Scandanavia attacking the first size 1 city they encounter. Of course there are more Egyptian units moving through my territory on their way North by now. And, wonder of wonders, Germany joins Egypt in an MA against Scandanavia. Looks like I had my opponents figured corrrectly.

"Lazy, but not passive..."
During the next 15 turns or so, the combined German/Egyptian forces razed 3 Viking cities near my border. I'd even helped Cleo out by signing an ROP (Gasp!). But I'd been busy, too. I had two cities cranking out settlers so that I could expand to the Northeast as I'd planned (claiming that iron deposit) and plant Mayan cities on the rubble of those late, unlamented Scandanavian towns.
By that point it appeared that the best nearby terrain for me to move into was in the same spot as a couple of German cities. Hmmm. A couple of turns earlier, the first Berserkers had shown up succesfully counterattacking some German units. Looks like Ragnar found another source of iron. The Egyptians had taken moderate losses and were only making token attacks into Scandanavia by this time. So, I decided it was time to go to Ragnar's assistance.

"Military Alliance? No way..."
My empire was growing and thriving as a result of the 3-way war among my neighbors. I'd added 7 cities, kicked up my research spending, improved my military and city infrastructures. I'd finished the Statue of Zeuss so I easily could have started sending Ancient Cavalry against Germany and taken those cities I coveted. But why? What worked once oughta work twice, right? So I offered Ragnar a ROP - which he quickly accepted on the same turn the ROP with Egypt ended. With the ability to use my roads, his army made quick time into Germany, stopping to pick off several German units strung out on their way North. And I had a closeup view of this action since it took place in the middle of my territory. 10 or 12 turns later I planted Mayan cities on the remains of two former German settlements. When the 20 turn ROP with the Vikings was up, I let it go. The delay in getting attackers into Germany allowed the Germans to build up defenses. After a couple of feeble attacks the Vikings gave up. A few turns later Egypt signed a peace treaty with Ragnar and a couple of turns after that, Germany and Scandanavia were at peace.

"You may feel a slight sting, that's pride..."
So yeah, I let 3 civs' troops run all over my territory for about 30 turns. Even gritted my teeth when they fought pitched battles there. During that time, I gained 9 cities, 5 of which I'd have had to fight for if I hadn't let my neighbors do the fighting for me. Do I feel like a wimp? Let me quote Marsellis Wallace (one of the greats of post-modern philosophy) "Pride only hurts, it never helps."

I've used this ploy several times with great success. I've also shot myself in the foot with it a couple of times. Before you try it, I recommend that you learn all you can about AI behavior. If those original War Chariots had been in one stack coming straight at one my cities, I would have immediately started moving defenders and building Javelins. If I'd seen Egyptian workers moving away from my borders same thing. If they'd been German Swordsmen, I'd have been very hesitant to trust them at all - and I never even thought about giving the Germans the upper hand with an ROP. But if you know your enemies, have an adequate defensive military, and don't get too caught up in macho posturing, it's possible under the right circumstances to let the AI's do your fighting for you.

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The Pillaging Offensive Strategy

In most games when we as human players carry out a war we usually have a very specific objective. We may need to get a resource, or a lux or capture a wonder or a vantage point. When that objective is met we sue for peace as soon as possible and then move on to the next objective. That's the most common type or war. However, there is another type of war.

This is the long drawn out war of attrition. These wars are most seen in Always War scenarios and in wars during the late modern ages when two titanic powers go for the final showdown to determine who should rule the earth. Since in this war the final outcome is the complete annihilation of one side, any strategy that can provide advantage is helpful. The pillaging offensive strategy excels in this second kind of war to the extent that it is truly game unbalancing.

The specifics of the strategy

For this to work you need an army. Load the army with your best defenders. If you have the pentagon, then even better. Load up four of your best defenders into the army. (Usually, rifles seems to be the least powerful defender with which I have this working. However, I see no reason why it should not work with muskets too, although I have never tried it with muskets). Take at least four cavalries and add them into the stack of defenders. Now make a beeline for your enemies capital. Never move the cavalry out of the defensive umbrella of the defensive army. After a potentially long march that can take upto a dozen or more turns your army should reach the enemy capital. While the army is marching rest assured the AI will not even touch it with a ten foot pole. To quote handy900 "It is amazing to see 12 infantry walk right past a rifle army and never fire a shot! It's like they can't even see it!". In my experience, the AI never attacks a defending army unless it has a very decent chance of winning, i.e. it too has an army, preferebly an army loaded with attacking units.

Once you reach the capital the fun begins. In one turn you can pillage 1 + x squares with the army and x cavalries. The army pillages the square on which it is standing. Then Cav move #1 is to opponent square, pillage on move #2, then move #3 is back to the square where the army is. Be careful with hills, if you are moving from Flat to hills, your Cav's turn ends on move #1 to the hill (in opponents territory). If in mountains or hills already, Pillage with the Horse first (move 1), On move 2, move to the next hill or mountain (the Cav turn will end here - 1 square from where you just pillaged). Now move the army to catch up with the CAV. On Flat lands you can pillage alot faster, but pillaging mountains & hills cripples AI's production & often takes out luxs & resources.

Once the capital is completely disconnected keep the units there so that the capital remains disconnected for as long as you want.

Here is an image of the result you are looking for.

Effects on the enemy

The deleterious effect on the enemy is profound.
(a) Since the capital is disconnected all trades with otehr civs for resources and luxes stop.
(b) The capital, typically the most productive city by way of shields, and science is taken out of commission.
(c) The capital's population crashes in a few short turns.
(d) Lots of workers usually get trapped in the capital, since they never venture out as long as the cavalries are there, for fear of getting captured.

Other options

Also, this stategy can be used very effectively to deny a crucial resource permanently to the enemy. For example, let's say your enemy has two sources of oil. Send one army/cav combo to the capital. Then send two more such combinations at the two oil sources. Once the sources are disconnected and the capital is also disconnected the enemy is reduced to using cavalry as their potentially best attack unit. If this is a modern age war, from then on the game is won. So potentially for just three armies and a dozen cavalries you have stacked the game drastically for your favor.

This strategy has been used to lethal effect by me and handy900. Originally I used only the armies. Hence the pillaging was a bit slow. This was bettered upon by handy900 who introduced the addition of the cavalries. {thanks also to him for the image above, which has been taken from his AW game}

Any comments and ideas on this would be much appreciated.

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Tips on Managing Choke Points

At the beginning of the game, staking out as large a territory as possible is desirable to many people. If you manage to start with a scout and find land bridge of one to two squares between certain areas CLAIM it!.

Very early in the game you can fortify your warrior or scout at this location and nothing can pass through. This effectively denies any civ from getting through to find building sites, other civs to communicate with and villages to plunder. You then become the gate keeper of whether to allow the civ communication with the other one or not.

a one land square bridge is a no brainer to block...


where L is land and x is water and b is the one square. Simply fortify your unit there and when you get a settler put it at that location. ANOTHER BENEFIT to this is that you now have essentially a canal through the continent, saving on distance when the game turns to naval operations.

a look at the more common 2-3 land square bridge


This is still easily solved by placing a city b and fortifying a unit at d.

you can do this with a size 3 land bridge but you must be quick because to assemble a city and get 2 units fortified before the other civs come through takes some doing.

BEWARE, the AI knows the value of single square land bridges. While playing Marla Singers world map, the computer fortified a spearman at one of the single square land bridge spots between north and South America.

If the choice is to continue through the choke point and discover another civ while an enemy civ's scout is on your tail to follow through, it is better to just park it there and deny them that chance. You then become the gate keeper and determine when to let them have communication and sell tech to them.

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Using Explorers Revealed

I recently started using explorers and I wanted to share my pleasant experiences. Most of the treads I have read on the explorer are along the lines of "they suck, they come much to late to explore anything". It is true, by the time you get explorers, there usually isn't much map left to explore. The key to using them is not to think of them as an explorer, but to think of them as a special operations unit.


Explorers get 2 moves, and treat all squares like they have roads. Unlike the scout who's moves are treated like there are no roads, the explorer can run across your neighbors territory in a couple turns.

They aren't considered a thret by the civs you are at peace with, so they can move freely through their territory. Rarely, if ever will they get forced to leave.

They are cheap. They cost 20 shields, the same as an archer or spearman. By the time you get them most any of your cities can produce them in 2 turns. Note: for some reason you can have a city producing 35 shields and the explorer still takes 2 turns to build. Seems like there is a minimum number of turns to build this unit. However they are so cheap, you can have cities that are otherwise unproductive popping them out in 2 turns and you don't waste any production time in your good cities that are pumping out your military. I have noticed that if you enter your golden age, the 2 turn minimum is lifted and you can build Explorers in one turn. Maybe someone out there has something to add on this.

They can pilliage (small point, VERY important).


Pillage: The obvious use is to pillage. Just ask yourself, what value would you place on being able to pillage every resource (strategic and Luxury) that your opponent has, on the turn that you begin your assault? For what amounts to the cost of a couple of infantry you can instantly deprive your target of all these valuable resources. Also, any important roads for travel, or roads through the mountains you will be attacking from can be removed without wasting valuable moves from your military units. Also, because of the 3 moves, many of your Explorers will escape for the next offensive, or run around as fodder trying to pillage even more while drawing out the enemies offensive units, thus making them susceptible to yours. I have tried to use military units to cut off these resources and roads, and it just doesn't work well. Not only do you lose valuable attacks, but it is very difficult getting your units within reach of the enemies resource squares. You also tend to have to sacrifice a couple of expensive cavalry/tanks because they get over extended trying to reach that oil or saltpeter square.

Recon: In a recent game I played, my friends, the French stood between myself and the Chinese. I found myself without a source of coal and the French were holding 2 sources and were the obvious choice for me to go after to get the resource. They also had a few excellent wonders in two of their cities. My trouble was that my military was meager. I was building a few cavalry but I didn't have enough to take out the french. Luckily the chinese declared war on the French and the fighting commenced. I was able to send several Explorers up into French and Chinese territory to act as recon and provide me with free valuable information of how things were going. I could see that the chinese were able to get the upper hand and were pummeling the French cities. Using this information I was able to wait until the French capital was down to a couple of injured units before I move my small force of cavalry in to take the cities. As a result I had PERFECT TIMMING, I was able to take all but two worthless cities (That China got) from the French with a veryyyy small force of cavalry. Without the turn by turn iformation that my explorers received, I would think I could have lost an army 4-5 times as large to capture half of the French cities.

Blockade: This falls into the gray area of cheating. Explorers block units just as effectively as Modern Armor, when you are at peace. Say for example that I had a source of coal in my previous example and I wanted help my friends the french from getting beat on by my friends the Chinese. I might want to do this if I wished the French to remain a buffer between myself and the much larger Chinese. If there was an appropriate choke point, I could keep China from sending units by land all together. The French could more then keep up with units from China sent by boat. Barring that, surrounding the French city with 8 explorers would allow the French to build back up defenders if the city were about to fall. Even something like slowing down the Chinese Cavalry so that they end up finishing a turn at the gates of the city instead of attacking the city can do wonders for affecting how a war will turn out.


Give the Explorer a try before dismissing him. Accurate information wins wars and there is no better source of information then the Explorer.

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Warfare: Attacking & Defeating Enemy on Another Continent

You will find that war is a delicate science. How you proceed depends upon the shaping factors in your game. In this guide, i've been playing on Huge Map, maximum Civs (set to random). The specifics may vary depending upon what era you will wage the war. In this discussion, I will focus on wars waged during the modern era. I ALWAYS play as an Industrious Civ (Either Egypt or France) due to the insurmountable advantage of the Worker's production. These principles/ideas will work with any Civ.

What are your biggest challenges?

1. Established Civs. First of all, when fighting in the modern era, most of your competition is established. Most of the geography in the map should be fully occupied. Most borders have been established and your enemies have had time to develop their armies by now.

2. War Weariness. Most of your wars during this era are longer due to the Civs being established. The longer the war, the more War Weariness becomes an issue, especially if you have the Republic or Democracy as your form of government.

Penetration. You've got to get passed their lines of defense. It is even more difficult when you consider that you have to whether the storm of a serious counter-offensive whatever you do.

Culture/Nationalism. The worst thing is to spend money, time, and resources to capture an enemy city abroad only to have them defect due to culture from the surrounding cities, or revolting due to relatively large cities having large populations of loyal national citizens.

With all of this to contend with, why would one want to fight abroad in the first place? These wars tend to be longer than others and expensive. But, your strategy might be global domination. You might not like the enemy you're about to wage war against (someone may have been a thorn in your @ss and deserves a good annihalition). But the 2 most important reasons are:

(1) Resources. What's worse than discovering a new technology only to find that a key resource is NOT available anywhere within your empire??!!?? This alone may be reason enough to declare war.

(2) Booty. Did the enemy build a Wonder that you covet? Does he have bonus resources that make your mouth water? Consider what are some Booty you can come out with during your campaign.

(3) Competitive Position. Guerilla tactics always suggest that the key strategy depends on if you're currently #1, #2, or #3. If you're #1 in the world, you're attacking your weaknesses. You're always thinking "what would I do against myself to weaken me if I were #2?" In this case, you may be attacking #2 and/or #3 to make sure that they don't threaten your position. If you're #2, you obviously should target #1 in the world. You may decide to attack #3 if AND ONLY IF you feel that that would be less costly and that it would net in you having a better position than #1. If you're #3, then you're going after either #1, or #2 and you're trying to flank their position.

In either event there should be some sort of tangible gain for your efforts, even if that is seeing your nemesis beg for mercy!!!!

"If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail...."

What position are you in going into this war? Usually, I spend the entire game positioning to dominate the world. I say this being a player that is not a warmonger. I generally make a play for my own continent during the Ancient and Middle Ages, then leverage my Industrial strength for scientific supremacy (depending on the difficulty level) and diplomatic supremacy.

Things To Have Before War Begins

Here are some things you want to have in place before you wage your war:

1. Sufficient Cash Reserves. Because you may have to pop rush some improvements, or some military reinforcements, you want to have a considerable amount of cash reserves. I would suggest no less than 10,000-20,000 Gold in your treasury. I've had as much as 100,000+ Gold in my treasury before a campaign.

2. Infrastructure. Make sure that you've setup significant road infrastructures to your points of departure (see "Things To Do"). You also want to make sure your strategic resources are properly protected. If you completely own and control your own continent, then each strategic resource needs to have fortresses built on that tile. You don't need to have defensemen placed there, just make sure they are nearby enough to your resources if needed. If you don't own your continent, then your resources should be heavily defended with defensemen and artillery.

3. Wonders. Try to have built as many wonders to combat war weariness in your Civ. Teh more you have, the longer you can wage war without getting creative. Also, make sure that you have Temples, Cathedrals, Colleseums built in all of your cities. Where necessary and if possible, you may want to develop Communism so you can have the ability to build Police Stations to further combat War Weariness.

4. Decent Air Force. You should have a relatively strong air force. This means you should have a few Carriers (at least 2-3), and at least Bomber plains. Personally, I usually rush to get Stealth Bombers. This is because they go undetected and offset defense by Jet Fighters. If you can't get Stealth Bombers, then Bombers in volume are needed. At least 8 of your cities should have Airports built. Personally, I build airports in every city, due to their hidden strength as a transport (more on this later....).

5. Strong Naval Force. You should have a relatively strong naval force as well. This one is even more important than your air force. Imagine the time it takes to build and assemble a large army to ship somewhere. Now imagine that army being sunk on the way to its destination because you didn't have sufficient defense against naval attacks. OUCH!

6. Friends. At this stage of the game, everyone has friends and enemies. Make sure that if he pulls a few allies into the fray that you have a few key friends on your side as well. Wars in the late game are not always one against the other.

7. Kick @ss Army. First of all, your troops in the modern era should usually consist of Tanks, Modern Armor, Mechanized Infantry, Infantry, artillery and radar artillery, depending on what's available. Whatever it is, you want to have enough ground troops to make a significant penetration. Before you start the war, you should have enough troops to fill around 4-6 Transports. At 8 per Transport, that works out to around 32-48 units. Personally, i'm a planning freak, so I usually don't even ship until I have enough ground units for 2 points of attack, each with a minimum of 4 Transports. If you do the math, that's 64 units minimum. I usually break it down as follows:

8 artillery units (Artillery, or Radar Artillery since both have a 2-tile bombardment distance)
8 defensive units (usually Mechinized Infantry, although regular infantry will due also)
16-24 offensive units (ideally Modern Armor, or Tank as your primary offensives).

The idea here is not to be fair. When it comes to warfare, army size does matter. Depending on the strength of your opponent, you may want to have even more units. You may especially want to include another Transport for defensive and artillery units (4/4 splits).

It is important to note that, if possible you can use armies, BUT USE SPARINGLY!!! Armies not only take up boat space, but ARE HIGHLY OVERRATED! We're talking modern era, so keep that in mind when I say this. Modern Armor can attack 3 times. If you place them in an army, however, they only attack once. So, if you have armies, use them for defensive units. Stack 3-4 Mechanized Infantries into an army. That will be almost impenetrable if you always stack with artillery.

Now, this may sound like a lot to have, but again, we're talking about your late game. You will need these things to ensure victory (in other postings I can share ideas on how to get great position during the Ancient and Middle Ages).

"Before you strike the first blow, your enemy must be defeated in his mind...."

I war is won in stages and it is one on several fronts. It is not just about guns blazing, kill or be killed. Your enemy needs certain things to fight and defend during war.

Things To Do Before War Begins

Here are some things you want to do to your enemy before you set foot on his land:

1. Cutoff Ties to New Allies. Before you declare war, setup Trade embargoes with as many other Civs as will cooperate. Some may need to be bribed, but you don't want him trading for key resources once war begins.

2. Assess Enemy Resources. You want to consider where his strategic resources are coming from. These resources may be resources he uses to build his key military units, but may also include happiness resources. Plan to pillage his resource squares if possible.

3. Economic Warfare. Who is he getting fat off of? When you get trade embargoes, a few of the other Civs will not cooperate no matter what you offer them. These Civs most likely are in bed with your target enemy. They may be getting science, resources, etc. from them. This is another reason why you should plan to attack resources. Not just to stop him from building key units, but also, to cut off his money. He can't trade a resource he doesn't have access to! :evilgrin:

4. Weaken him. Does the target enemy have neighbors? Especially people who share the continent with him? They make for your best allies. Try to convince one of them to join you in a military alliance against your enemy. It may take you several turns to get to your enemy, but his neighbor can be there immediately. Let the neighbors battle it out and diminish his forces while you mobilize and amass yours. :conspire:

"Let the Battle Begin...."

Attack the Head and Tail of the Tiger

You should never just attack from one point. You must assess his land and find 2 points of attack. The attack points must not be adjacent. They must be far enough from each other to divide his forces, but close enough so that when your campaign ends, the cities you conquer should be adjacent to each other.

Your first point of attack will be called the "Head of the Tiger." This attack site should be close enough to some large city. You want to pick an area of his border that is near something you want, and near something he will defend. If you can, this site can be close to his capital, or close to some large city (usually the AI builds wonders in their capital, or in large cities). You can also select your attack Head by his resource placement.

Your second point of attack will be called the "Tail of the Tiger." This attack site should be closest to your prize. Whatever it is that you've identified that you want to gain from this war, mark that place as the "Tail of the Tiger." It is your primary target, and your secondary point of attack. (More later....)

You will divide your naval forces, air forces, and ground forces for these 2 points of attack. Whatever, you do, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH GROUND TROOPS AT THE HEAD & TAIL!!!!

Phase One: Air & Naval Campaign

Your first order of business is to send your air force. This air force is not your entire fleet. You must always leave some Jet Fighters and Bombers at home to protect your borders. Instead, build 3 Carriers. Each will hold 2 defensive planes (Jet Fighters) and 4 offensive planes (Bombers, or Stealth Bombers). The other plane types are unnecessary. You don't need Stealth Fighters. Everything you need is covered by either Bombers or Stealth Bombers.

You want 2 carriers to accompany your ground troops at the Head of the Tiger, 1 carrier at the Tail. Your carriers must be escorted by heavy naval escort. I would suggest exclusively building Battleships and Submarines (pick your favorite). I know other forms of ships may be cheaper, like Destroyers. However, the sheer power, both offensively and defensively of a Battleship outweighs all other options. Even if you do not have the productive power to produce several of these, make as many as you can. 5 Battleships is always better than 10 Destroyers, etc. You want to have several Nuclear Submarines as well. I prefer Nuclear Submarines, even if i'm not carrying Tactical Nukes because they have an extra unit of movement.
I send my Nuclear Subs out first , about 2 squares ahead of my Battleships and Carriers. This is to serve as a potential warning against enemy submarines laying in wait. You also want to spot enemy Battleships and Destroyers before they see you in radar without them knowing you're coming. The element of surprise is key and must be preserved for as long as possible. (Remember, up to this point he you may not be at war yet. He may simply be mad at you for all of the economic embargoes.)

About 2 squares behind your Subs will be your 2 Carriers and 2-3 Battleships. The Battleships and Carriers will be stacked on the same tile always, to hide your numbers from the enemy. You will lose 1 unit of movement on your battleships because of the Carriers, but that is OK. The key is defending your Carriers in the open sea.

About 6 squares behind your Carriers/Battleships are your ground troop Transports, guarded by about 2-3 Battleships, ideally. Again, to hide numbers, they should all be travelling on the same tile. There is no loss of movement with Transports & Battleships. Both have either 5 or 6 depending on what Wonders you have. Usually, I wait a turn or 2 BEFORE sending my ground troops. This is because you want to give your Air Force a turn or 2 to soften your enemy.

Now, I forgot to mention the Tale of the Tiger. Depending on its location and proximity to the Head of the Tiger, you may want to mobilize the forces you have for the Tale first. These forces should be positioned close to the Tale of the Tiger site. That is, the point where you will land your ground troops. But they must NOT be too close to your enemy. Park them at least 8 tiles away from your site. You do not want your enemy to accidentally discover your surprise fleet. Don't forget - ELEMENT OF SURPRISE!

To conclude Phase One, begin your campaign with an air assault. You first target strategic resources. Cut off his access to his ability to build key military units. That is, target Aluminum, Iron, Rubber, Saltpeter, etc. Bombard these squares until the roads are completely destroyed. If the enemy places defensive units on the resource tiles it will not matter. bombard the roads around the resources! The key is the enemy needs a road to the resource! So, if you can't get the actual resource tile, then bombard the squares around the resources. Next, target the cities themselves. If you're fighting with Stealth Bombers and have the necessary technology, perform Precision strikes, exclusively. This will destroy his cultural and happiness infrastructure! He will produce less when his citizens are unhappy. Set your Jet Fighters for Air Superiority to protect your Bombers and Carriers. If Bombers are destroyed, Air Lift others to your Carriers and keep on attacking.

You want to concentrate your attack at the Head of the Tiger. Don't bomb the actual cities if you can, and don't waste time with bombing military units at this time. YOUR FOCUS IS DESTROYING PRODUCTION POWER AND RESOURCES! If you need to, fall back a couple of squares into the ocean after your Bombers attack. This allows you to pull out of range of his artillery who may park on his border and take aim at your Battleships. At your next turn, move your battleships and Carriers back into position, wake up your Jets and Bombers and attack again. You can bombard with your Battleships as well. Just make sure you do not destroy all of his roads! Many people make the mistake of pillaging all of the enemy's roads. You fail to realize that these roads will soon be yours. Yes, its true that you cannot take advantage of your enemy's roads while he still owns them. However, once you capture a city, within that city's squares, those roads are now yours! You can then continue to move your forces forward at a much faster rate as you use your newly conquered roads! So keep your bombardments focused on key resources.

YOu also should bombard and destroy all land improvements related to production. I don't care if the enemy eats for now. I do care about how well his production is. So, bombard and destroy ALL improvements on Mountains and Hills. If he has any tiles in the area that give financial or production bonuses, bomb those as well. Don't worry about what the city will look like when you take it over. You will be pop rushing several of the things you need anyway, so you will have little use for their production value. Besides, your cities will not be too cooperative in the beginning, which negates the value of these production squares.

Phase Two: Land the Ground Troops

Now that the Air and Naval forces has weakened his production capacity, bring in the cowboys!!! Again, you are still attacking at the Head of the Tiger. However, you should not begin to move your forces from the Tail of the Tiger into position. Still keep them out of range. Move them about 5-6 tiles away from your target point so that when ready, they can move and land in one turn.

Now, the key principle here as you attack the Head of the Tiger is to focus your forces at the point of attack. The first city you target should be near the border or 1 square away from the border.

Land ALL of your troops from ALL of your transports on one tile. Do not land on different tiles for offensive and defensive reasons. When you land your troops, you must realize that you will and must weather the first defensive stand on the ground. As soon as you land, especially if he has an established railroad network, he will send almost his entire ground force at you. That's the real reason why you brought the artillery. As his force attacks, they will first be smacked down by the automatic fire of your artillery forces. Your armies with the Mechanized Infantry will be attacked next. You may lose 1 or 2 defensive units here, but that's OK. Even if you lose all of the defensive units you shipped, their objective was to help you weather this storm. Your key is all the offensive units you brought with you for the Head of the Tiger. Once your turn begins again, attack first with your Air and Naval fleets. This time, focus on the cities you will be attacking! You want to try to weaken the units that will be there. Unlike before, they will not have time to heal this time. Upon completion of your air force attack. Move them down along the border to attack the area away from your point of attack. They will move up the coast line, destroying other key squares for your enemy as mentioned above.

Now that you've weathered his first ground assault, attack your target city, first with YOUR artillery, then with your offensive units. If you planned your attack with enough units, taking this first city will be relatively easy after the softening blows dealt by your Air forces. (NOTE: If you can, this first city can be a border city so that your Battleships can dock and heal if necessary. However, do NOT dock your Battleships until you have defeated the 2nd city at the Head of the Tiger. If the citizens defect too quickly, you may lose your Battleships!).

Phase Three: Attack the Tail of the Tiger!

SURPRISE! SURPRISE! Up until now you've been attacking solely on one front. Now, move in for the kill. Land your ground troops at the Tail of the Tiger and move your 3rd Carrier into position. Use your Bombers to attack scattered ground units and cities. If ther are any key resources that are worth attacking, do so. You will experience a softer resistence to this second attack site.

(NOTE: A key options you may want to use once you have landed your forces at the Tail of the Tiger is your espionage options. You want to view his Troop position! It is VERY expensive, but worth it if your spy is successful. You not only get to see all of his troops beyond your units' radar, but you also get to see City-By-City placement of those troops. This means you can note which cities are most and least defended and attack along least lines of defense.)

You should continue to attack aggressively along adjacent lines. You want to rush buying a Temple and a Colleseum as soon as possible (buy the turn after you capture it. Make sure that at least one production square has been used before you buy so the price can drop) You are now attacking on the ground from the Head AND the Tail. Your attacks are focused, concentrating your forces as much as possible. You will leave the artillery in the cities as defense. Your lines of attack should be such that your Head and Tail attacks are moving towards each other, sandwiching the enemy cities. Leave all of your artillery at the edges of your attack so that you are not hit from behind too fast. If possible this Phase should end with the Head and Tail meeting, which means that the 2 forces will conquer all of the cities between them leaving you with a chunk of cities adjacent to each other. Each city you take over you should immediately rush a Temple ASAP.

Phase Four: Bring in the Second Wave of Forces

Remember that first border city you attacked at the Head of the Tiger? After you conques the second city, you should do something interesting. You see, the question is this: after you rush the temple, what should you build next? More Happiness, like a Colleseum maybe? NO!!! you build an Airport! You remember how I always build airports in all of my cities? Well, once the airport is built on my enemy territory, I immediately airlift more units to this city! Each Airport I own on my continent can airlift one unit per turn. So, I can send several offensive and defensive units to this one city in one turn. In some games, I was airlifting 20 units every 2-3 turns! That's much faster than the shipping them. It takes too long. By air transporting the units, I can keep the pressure on and conquer more cities and penetrate even faster. With the units flying over, you should penetrate through his continent like a knife through butter. You can also Airlift bombers to this, or any conquered city and use them for defensive purposes. I like to airlift Jet Fighters to my conquered cities and run Air Superiority, because the enemy has a tendency of bombing you with his planes.

Conclusion: Finishing the Campaign

Continue to send over troops. Focus your citizen placement on food production and happiness. You can let the governors manage happiness and emphasize food and production over commerse. You want the city to grow eventually, so that you can have some of your own citizens in the city. That way, there is less of a chance of defection. You may lose a city here, or there and some money with it, but your enemy cannot withstand the full force of your campaign using this strategy. March through his continent until you own the whole damn thing. You may want to leave him with one city left just to enjoy his weak, furious behind for the rest of the game. Sometimes, he bails ship and sails to someone else's continent to seak shelter. Whatever, you have just masterfully destroyed your enemy in a campaign abroad and turned this Tiger into a purring Kitten!

I welcome all comments, suggestions, improvements whatever. I am just so excited about this game I can't wait to hear what everyone thinks.

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Warmongering 101 - A Tactical Primer

Tired of being picked on by the AI? Do your spearman fall defending cities that just built a temple? Do you play Persia because you'd rather command Immortals than fight them? If any of this sounds like you, then read on fellow civ'er; it's time to put away the building blocks and go whack somebody.


This article offers help to newer players building their tactical "playbook" and better use some of the more advanced articles in the War Academy. This article's scope is limited to ground combat "Tactics"; there is no big picture "Strategic" help here. Unique Units are excluded to emphasize tactics that can be applied regardless of the tribe. Tactics are presented in conceptual, not formulaic terms. Links to War Academy articles are given that further develop specific topics. The article is divided into parts:
  1. Game Mechanics
  2. One-dimensional tactics
  3. Combined Arms
  4. Defense through Offense
Part 1: Game Mechanics for new players

Each unit has military value, though military use of non-combat units is beyond the scope of this article. Ground combat units' power is expressed as a numerical Attack/Defense/Movement (A/D/M) value, and bombard units have Bombard/Rate of Fire/Movement (B/R/M) values. Comparing the 2/1/1 Archer and the 1/2/1 Spearman, we see the Archer's attack value is equivalent to the Spearman's defense value; these two are an "even" match - before considering terrain. All terrain gives some bonus value to the defending unit. For more on the CivIII Combat System, see Combat System Explained by Valant2. Once you understand these basics, go to the Civ3 References and Guides page and familiarize yourself with a Combat Calculator. If you want a good unit reference to keep next to the keyboard, LoneWolf5050 put together some nice Adobe Acrobat reference files available from the same page (one each for Civ3, PTW, and C3C).

Advice from "Corporal Punishment"

As new players learn the mechanics of the game they meet their Military Advisor, who tells them if the military is "Strong" or "Weak" compared to an AI Civ. This is based on the players number and mix of units compared to the AI's. Is it good advice? Not always. It is important to know that your Military Advisor "thinks" like the AI; who tend to:
  • Value offensive units more than defensive units.
  • Value quantity over quality.
  • Place a relatively low value on bombard units.
  • Recognize Veteran units are more valuable than Regulars.
  • Disregard the speed of fast units; the AI regards a horseman as no more 'powerful' than an archer.
Though I won't go into the math here, three veteran Archers are given more than twice the basic combat value of two regular spearmen under the AIs algorithm. For the math, see Study of Inner Workings of Military Advisor by ProPain.

While there are many ways to use this understanding, I offer some early-game pointers for new players:
  • Once the first few cities are founded, build a barracks in a town with good shield potential and have that city build units (and little else) in the early game.
  • Warriors, left as warriors, have limited military value.
  • Don't rely on Spearmen alone to defend your empire. There is something to be said for a good defense provided by good offense. (More on this later)
  • Build more offensive than defensive units; even if your best option is archers, and even if you don't plan to go to war (yet). The AI will be more respectful if you have a "strong" military, and you'll have something to counterattack with if the AI do come after you.
Part 2: One-dimensional tactics

Each age has a unit that is potentially dominant; one that attacks well and defends as well (or nearly as well) as its contemporary defender.

Ancient Age: Swordsmen and Spears both defend at 2
Middle Age: Knights and Pikes defend at 3
Industrial Age: Tanks defend at 8, Infantry at 10
Modern Age: Modern Armor defend at 16, Mech Infantry at 18.

These units are all capable of one-dimensional warfare. The campaigns involve simple, straight ahead attacks that get-in-the-AI's-face and charge. Essentially we're talking about building a good quantity of a specific unit, putting the units together in a single, simple "Stack of Doom" and invading somebody in a straightforward campaign using just that one type of unit.

Advantages: The campaigns are simple, and can be very effective when the attacker outclasses the defender. Players need to remember to use terrain to advantage (see "combat system") and keep the stack together. Avoid chasing "stray" isolated AI units, this usually gets your own units isolated and picked off.

Disadvantages: One-dimensional campaigns are can stall, even after success. Attrition is the biggest reason such a campaign may stall. As the offensive presses deeper into enemy territory, units are lost in combat and others are left behind to secure what has been conquered. It is important to recognize this point if it comes; if your offensive stalls, it's time to re-group or cease hostilities and consolidate new holdings. Such campaigns can also be extremely costly if the enemy's defenders are as strong as your attackers (examples:Swords v. Pikemen, Knights v. Muskets).

How much is "enough"?

Attack with insufficient strength, and one-dimensional campaigns stall quickly. On the other hand, assembling an overwhelming force may delay the start of a campaign to the point that an opportunity is missed. A stack of Cavalry that may have faced musketmen a few turns ago could face riflemen if invading a scientific civ that just got Nationalism. Key to waging successful one-dimensional campaigns is to recognize when it is successful, and when it is at risk of stalling. More key points:
  • Concentrate forces. Four swords attacking two spears in one location have a better chance of success than two pairs of swords attacking one spear each in two locations.
  • Focus on the objective. Don't "chase strays", or engage the enemy in ways that do not support the objective.
  • City defenders can heal between turns; attackers in enemy territory generally cannot.
  • Attackers must continue to capture territory. Taking casualties without taking territory spells the beginning of the end.
  • Repeated unsuccessful attacks on a city without taking it can spell disaster. If a second attack fails, it is time to stop playing and reconsider your position.
Some Early-Game Gambits using One-dimensional Tactics:

The Archer Rush: Simply build a stack of archers and go whack somebody. When successful, an archer rush can an effective means of grabbing a resource or simply grabbing some territory. The biggest drawback is that a failed archer rush can leave you militarily weak and vulnerable to counterattack. This tactic gets increasingly risky at higher difficulty levels.

The Warrior-to-Swordsman Gambit: This takes planning, and some gold. Since Warriors upgrade to Swordsmen, you can build warriors before you have iron connected, move the warriors to a city with a barracks, upgrade them to Swordsmen, and then simply whack somebody. When done well this is an extremely powerful early game tactic. It can fail dismally if you build nothing but warriors, learn Iron Working, and find you have no Iron. At higher difficulty levels the AI will demand tribute early and often, making it harder to accumulate the cash needed for the upgrades.

The Onslaught of Horsemen: Horsemen may be employed using one-dimensional tactics. Speed kills. Horsemen can attack cities from across the border at the beginning of a war, and the Horsemen's retreat ability helps keep losses lower. An advantage to using horsemen in ancient conquests is the upgrade path. A large number of horsemen upgraded to knights in the early middle ages can be a formidable force.

Part 3: Combined Arms - the human players' edge

Combined Arms is a real world military doctrine that uses different types of units or weapon systems to fight in a coordinated manner. Classic combined arms involves the use of Infantry, Artillery, and Cavalry. In Civ Warfare, Combined Arms concepts can be applied to give the human player an edge in force preservation; improving your kill ratio. Combined arms campaigns are fought more slowly and methodically; but can be just as decisive. Attackers win more often when fighting defenders that are weakened by bombardment. Combined arms warfare in CivIII will generally use combinations of units that meet these needs:
  • Units that defend well.
  • Units that attack well.
  • Units that bombard.
A note on "lobbing things at the enemy".

You don't have to fight many Civ battles to see an AI catapult lob a rock at one of your units as it attacks an AI city. While there is nothing wrong with using bombard units as part of a city's defense, this does not reflect the full potential of bombard units, and it is not really a good application of combined arms. Let's get one thing straight about bombardment units: Although they have defensive value, their classic role is as siege weapons.

Ancient Age Unit Mixes: Using 'classic' combined arms, a combined arms stack would include Spearmen, Catapults, and Horsemen. Archers are a unit well worth including in a stack, as are Swordsmen. Invasion tactics using combined arms are straightforward.

  • Move the units together in a single stack next to a target city.
  • Bombard the city.
  • If you brought fast units (that can retreat) attack with these next (depending on the success of the bombardment).
  • Attack with your highest attack value footsoldiers available, and finish the defenders. Use Swordsmen (if available) then Archers.
The concept is simple. By "reducing" the target (weakening the defenders) you take fewer casualties and have a greater chance for success. By following the bombardment with attacks by fast units, you increase the chances that your swordsmen or archers will attack redlined defenders.

Variation: If your goal is to raze the target city rather than capture it, attack the last defender with a fast unit, so the unit that finishes the job can retreat to the safety of the stack after sacking the city. (You did count defenders when bombarding, didn't you?)

Reinforcing the stack: Some combat losses will occur; fast units may be able to "catch up" to the stack uncovered, but slow units must move more deliberately. High attack/low defense units (archers/swordsmen) are easy prey if isolated. Consider a safe "rally point" to assemble a mix of defensive and offensive units that move to the front together. When assembling reinforcements, consider the archer/longbow defensive free shot in C3C.

The "Poor Man's Army": The most important strategic resource in is Iron. If you don't have it, you need to "acquire it". A combined arms stack of Spearmen, Archers, and Catapults is the "poor man's army" you can raise to go out and take it. If you look for the units that require no strategic resources you will find the components of the poor man's army in other eras.

A note on medeival warfare: Consider the cost of a Knight (70 shields) compared to the cost of a Catapult (20s) or Trebuchet (30s), Medeival Infantry (40s), Longbow (40s), and Pikeman (30s). While Knights are worth including in a Middle Ages combined arms stack, it is worth noting that you can build 2 units for the same 70 shields.

Part 4: Defense through Offense; Zone Defense and Skirmishing

There is truth to the adage "the best defense is a good offense". If an AI sends archers against a city defended only by spearmen, your city just became a punching bag. You can only wait and hope the spearmen hold. On the other hand, if you have 3 archers and one spearman in that city, there is a good chance you can kill some of the AI archers before that first attack on your city. This is "defense through offense" in a basic form. Learning defense through offense is critical to survive an attack by an enemy that is either numerically or technologically superior.

Consider Combined Arms in this scenario. If you have some Catapults in that town, you can knock a few hit points off the AI archers before your archers attack. Concentrated firepower is key to using bombarding units; whether in the offense or defense. The defensive value of bombardment units grows as the game progresses. Zagnut wrote an excellent article on How To Use Artillery Defensively

Zone Defense: A city's garrison should not be the only defense available to that city; nearby cities should be able to reinforce a city under seige. This is one reason that the city-tile-tile-city placement is popular among many players; a city under seige can be reinforced by the garrisons of more than one nearby town. Bombard units can often be placed in such a way that they can help defend 2 or more cities. Whether you pull from the center to the front, or shift units among the border cities; visualize troop movements within your borders so you can reinforce a city at a moment's notice. Fast units can be brought to the aid of a beseiged city quickly, and can be used to reduce the enemy's stacks before they can even close with your cities.

Skirmishing: This simple tactic can be brutally effective against slow moving enemy troops. The concept is simple: Use fast units (Horsemen, Knights, Cavalry) to attack enemy units within your borders, and retreat to the safety of your city on the same turn. If attacking an enemy stack just outside your border, do not attack that last enemy unit. This will leave your unit exposed outside your borders, where it can be easily killed. Ideally, you'll have a barracks in that border town, and all of the tiles within your cultural borders will be roaded. If the enemy comes within range of your bombarding units, then you can apply combined arms with skirmishing.

In Closing

Though most of the tactics are discussed using ancient age units, you will find that the principles can generally be applied with units from any era. I hope that the information provided helps newer players select their tactics wisely depending on their situation. Good Luck!

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WW1 Style Artillery Rush

Many people seem to value Cavalry and mobile offensive units as the best way to break open besieged enemy cities. While I can see this working in Medieval times and once you have tanks, there is that curious gap in the offensive tech tree that is know as the industrial ages.

Since Replaceable Parts can be researched quite early in the Industrial age and it gives you the 6/10 infantry, there can be a long period where the defensive units have a strong advantage over the offense ( 6/3 Cavalry , which doesn't actually have any better offensive stat than the infantry ). You get trench warfare very much like WW1. Many suicidal charges are needed by infantry and cavalry just to kill one defending infantry, especially if they are in a large city :(

This post explains my method for conducting reasonably fast, very efficient war in this tech environment.

Firstly identify why you are in this war:

  1. They started it and you want peace. You're stalling until they will talk to you.
  2. Limited war to get a specific objective: a resource or a clearly defined chunk of territory. Also you might just be punishing them for starting a war, but be clear how far you're going to punish them.
  3. You plan to drive them into the sea and own all of their land.

All of these scenarios can be handled with variations on the same theme: the AI does not understand railroads and does not understand artillery (which becomes available with replaceable parts at the start of the age of trench warfare). All of the tactics below become more effective the larger the map is, as you have a bigger empire's troop output that you can concentrate just as effectively using railroads.

So what units do you have available?

  1. Mounted units upgraded to cavalry. Nice to have them hanging around but don't bother building any more, as they're going to be obsolete soon and they're not key to the plan.
  2. Infantry. Very hard for the AI to kill. Makes your cities very hard to take. Slow to move around, so you want lots spare. Also they're actually going to be doing a lot of the attacking, so you'll be loosing some of them. 50% of your unit producing cities should be making infantry. All of these cities should have barracks
  3. Big Guns. Artillery. Upgrade all those old cannons and catapults (small point here - cannons can't do mountains, artillery can). You just cannot get enough of these. 50% of your unit producing cities should be producing these. If you find that you're not losing too many infantry then up this % to 60 or 70 %. These cities don't need barracks as there's no such thing as a veteran artillery.

The arguments about alliances / RoP and such like we will leave, as they belong in a discussion about diplomacy. They are important, but lets just stick to the tactics of war here.

There are two themes we use:

Firstly, your large stacks of artillery can hit any tile in your empire and any tile within 2 moves of your borders at will. This is because you've built a good rail network , right? The firepower will be delivered without mercy, and any stack of guns will be covered by at least 3 infantry. Armies of infantry can be good for this role, as you don't care if they can't attack as frequently as solo units: they are there as a deterrent.

Secondly, fortified units in cities are very hard to kill. Units moving through open ground are much easier to kill. Any unit that you place in the open (especially if it got hurt fighting) should get a 4 hp infantry escort. Any unit of theirs that shows its face should be gunned down with no mercy. This is after all trench warfare, attrition is king, and anything you can kill easily is much better than letting it get fortified in a big city.

Now the actual tactics, depending on which warfare mode you are in.

A) Defensive war mode. You are numerically inferior to the opposition, so don't plan to make inroads into his territory. He will dutifully send stacks of units at you. Try to hold the hills and high ground near your border with stacks of infantry + artillery. Shred as many units of his to 1 hp with artillery fire as possible. Even if you lack the units to actually kill them afterwards then they are knocked out of the offense and will be retreated to heal. All your artillery should be moved into firing positions and fired every turn. If you run out of targets, save the spare artillery until the end of the turn. Sometimes you'll attack a 1hp infantry with one of yours and still loose, and their infantry gets promoted, thus gaining 1hp. Use your spare shots to put them back down to 1 hp. If you still have spare shots then take out the railroads and roads across the border in his empire to slow down the offense and slow down the recycling of damaged units. If you feel you have some spare infantry / cavalry for offensive raids then use them to attack his 1 hp units. Start with is cavalry ( since its already been bombarded to 1 hp it can't retreat from your infantry ). If you get on to killing his 1 hp infantry then take the units on plains / grassland / desert first. Be very careful about attacking across rivers and attacking fortified infantry. As soon as his 1 hp infantry gets dug in or in hills then there is a small chance your 4/4 infantry will loose, and the whole idea here is to inflict attrition while sustaining minimal actual unit losses yourself. Use his stacks to keep your units in position.

E.g. , you have 15 artillery guarded on a hill by 5 infantry and he has moved a stack of 6 cavalry to the adjacent grassland. More cavalry and infantry is coming up behind. You have 2 spare cavalry on your rail network. Fire all the artillery at the cavalry until they are 1 hp each. Draft in more Artillery from elsewhere if you have it and need to. You can probably afford to unfortified 2-3 infantry. Attack with these, killing the 1 hp 3 def cavalry. Attack with your 2 cavalry as well. Don't kill the last 1 hp cavalry, as this will pull your attacking unit off your defended hill and into the open. If you don't have a spare cavalry available to kill the last unit in a stack ( i.e. attack and retreat again ) then let it live. You have inferior numbers so need to preserve every unit you can.

This tactic also forms the basis of B) Limited war , and C) Total Annihilation war when mopping up his counter attacks. The first 5 or so turns will probably involve much of your artillery shattering his counter attacks, and not much taking of cities, but this phase will pass as you slaughter his offensive troops and take light losses yourself.

This method can be used to hold an enemy with many more troops for many turns. In the end he will agree to peace and you won't have lost too many troops or too much progress vs. the rest of the world.

How you take cities in limited and total war :

Its the same basic method for both.

Points to note about defended cities:

  1. Defenders get 50% bonus if pop > 6 and 100% bonus if pop > 12. They also get 50% bonus if the city is on a hill, 25% bonus of you attack across a river, and 50% bonus just for being fortified. So infantry fortified in a size 15 city on a hill has an effective defense of 10 + 10 * (1 + 0.5 + 0.5 ) = 30 !!!. Versus any of your attackers with attack 6 then they will win 5 / 6 combat rounds. Your 16/16 army of cavalry stands a better than even chance of dying against a single 4/4 infantry !!!
  2. A besieged city will draft further infantry. It can't do this if the population is <= 6
  3. A damaged defender will recover all his hp if fortified in a city with barracks.

So how do you deal with this massively powerful defense? Artillery. Guns. Shooting big shells. Bombardment. Lots and lots and lots of it. You just can't get enough, its like Chocolate or MTV. Too much is never enough. I tend to deal with artillery in my offensive phase in stacks of 20 +. I have been known to fire 50 shots at a single besieged city and then choose not attack it that turn.

When to attack a city :

1. Pop <= 6. If you plan to keep the city then it pays to bombard it all the way down to 1 pop, then you hardly ever get culture flipped. 2. Best defensive unit showing has 1 hp. Ideally the barracks will be destroyed if you are in a multi turn bombardment.

This takes a lot of shooting. Patch 1.17 raised the building and population defense vs. bombardment to 12. When you fire at a city it seems to randomly determine if you target a building, a defender or a pop point. If the pop is already 1 and all the targetable building are already gone them you can still target them, and your bombardment attempt fails on those shots. Getting the last 2 infantry out of a ruined town can take a lot of guns, but if you have to shell then for 3 turns, so be it, at least you are not loosing units and they have all but lost the use of that town in terms of production, culture and population.

Once you are attacking it make little difference if you use cavalry or infantry, as the opponent has 1 hp the cav won't retreat if they're loosing anyway. Lets revisit our besieged hilltop town from earlier:

Pop is now down to 4, we know there are 4 infantry in it because we were paying attention as our 30 artillery damaged each one in turn. The barracks have been destroyed (actually everything has pretty much destroyed, though we suspect there might still be a marketplace standing). The defending infantry now has only a 100% def bonus , as we have reduced the pop from 15 to 4, so a total effective def of 20. The infantry will win approx. 75% (20 / (20 + 6 )) of rounds vs. our attacker, but it only has 1 hp, so must win 4 rounds in a row to actually win the battle. Better still we might be bringing some elite units to the party. P(win vs. vet) = 0.35 for the defender. P(win vs. elite) = 0.27. Yes , you will loose some units taking the city, but probably only 1 or 2, and he has actually lost more infantry in the process than you have.

Even better is the fact that half taking the city doesn't actually cost you anything. If you half take a city by throwing 10 cavalry at it and don't complete the job, then next turn you'll be looking at more healed / drafted / reinforcement defenders, and you'll have 5 dead cavalry and 5 1 hp cavalry. If you bombard the hell out of the town and it doesn't get reduced enough, you just sit tight and repeat next turn. If you really have bitten off more than you can deal with them you'll find that his counter attack forces you to retreat the artillery from the siege and use them to crush to offensive, smoothly transitioning you to a defensive war of attrition with very little pain.

Some words on Maneuver :

Infantry and artillery are slow, but railroads make up for this.

Railroads only work for you if they are outside the enemy territory, so clearly there is some slow moving to be done to actually take enemy cities. Some pointers.

  1. Unless you are totally on the defensive, don't take out roads and railways in the enemy territory - they'll be yours soon enough and you're going to need them to jump your artillery around the place.
  2. Artillery have a 2 tile rage. Sometimes they can hit the enemy city while still on a railroad in your territory, particularity in the opening phase of the war as you fight from across the original cultural boundaries. Often your artillery can reach a firing location only 1 tile into the enemy territory, so you plan 1 go ahead, choose a city to take , move gun stack 1 tile into enemy land, add 5 or so infantry to keep them protected, and fire away next turn. Once you leave your territory your guns and infantry are only moving 1 tile anyway, so you might as well move them onto hills or mountains if any present themselves. Keep them on the enemy roads or railroads however, as once the enemy city falls the territory will be yours and you don't want to waste a turn just getting your stack back onto the railroad network. Higher ground also means to can see what effect your shooting has ( see point 4 ).
  3. The attackers. Its easy to get in a situation where your gun stack has wrecked their city from 2 tiles away, but no attackers are on hand to deliver the killing blow. Forward planning is needed. Always have in mind which city you plan to move onto next. Bear in mind that is might not be next to the city you're currently working on. Your rail network allows you to switch your next attack to a city at the other end of the front. Also remember that the cultural borders shift as you take a town. If you are looking at moving on a city next to the one you have nearly taken, then play out the attack on the city you expect to take this turn first. Then you can see how the cultural border has shifted, and which railroad tiles now belong to you, then move making full use of the newly take RR tiles and attack the next city.

    Often you will have a turns lag at the various units move through enemy tiles into position. 2 possibilities :

    Small gun stack - you'll need multi turn bombardment to reduce the target city.
    Turn 1 - Guns and escort move into firing position.
    Turn 2 - guns fire, escort infantry move adjacent to target city. Additional infantry move onto guns to protect them.
    Turn 3 - guns fire, infantry take city (if conditions are met to assault the city). RR tiles become yours, spare guns move to next fire location......

    Large Guns stack ( Depends on defenses... but 25 + is beginning to be large - only one turn of firing will be needed ).

    Turn 1 - Infantry forward assault team move in to enemy tile. Guns are still busy shooting at previous target.
    Turn 2 - Guns move to fire location with escort. Forward assault team move adjacent to target.
    Turn 3 - Guns fire, forward assault team take city. If the ground to be covered is flat then you can dispense with some of the assault team if you have enough cavalry to deliver the killing blow.

  4. Try very hard to have a unit who can see the results of your bombardment. Either use high ground or a "forward spotter" infantry. This allows you to see how many defending units there are, and when the last one is reduced to 1 hp so you can attack.

  5. Be careful with rivers. They are easy to overlook and can swing the defenders chances higher. Plan your maneuvers well.
  6. Cavalry. Since they have 3 movement they can provide a flexible shock assault squad without planning movement turns ahead. If you had a stack of infantry assigned to take a town and they have a very bad battle ( or you messed up the planning ) then the enemy city might be left standing with a single 1 hp defender. You just know you're going to be looking at another 3 defenders next turn, so now the few cavalry you own that were held in reserve on your rail network can swing in and save you a turn or 2 of re-bombardment.

These tactics will still work when tanks and mech. inf come along, as half the problem with taking a town is the massive defensive bonus given by the size of the town. Def values of units may go up with tech, but citizens will always have def vs. guns of 12.

Guns vs. bombers is a whole other debate ... and a very interesting one too..... for another time

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