Civilization II: List of AI Stupidities

List of AI Stupidities in Civilization II

“We all know the AI cheats!”

Welcome to the ‘infamous’ List of AI Stupidities! First, we would like to make it clear that we DON’T hate Civ2; in fact, we are Civ2 fanatics who sometimes feel frustrated by the not so competent AI in our favorite game. Our mission is to create a listing of AI stupidities which we hope developer of Civ3 (Firaxis) could fix those AI weaknesses so that we could have a better AI in Civ3 — one that doesn’t need to cheat to win.

To make this list as complete as possible, please post any complain against the Civ2 AI to this thread in our forums and we will discuss it.

Stupid AI

Figure 1. The ingenious AI built a “Great Wall” in the South Pole.

Now the List of AI Stupidities:


  • Suicide attacks are far too often.
  • AI players rarely invade you with large armies. That’s why they have a very difficult time taking even one city from you in the entire game.
  • Attacks against invading enemies are totally irrational. AIs may waste 6-7 units trying to get your engineers and defensive invaders and not one on the main attacking force.
  • Ever asked yourself if those AI ship-piles of poor defensive naval units have some profound logic behind them?
  • Why are so many of their units outside, especially inside their own territory?
  • Has anyone ever witnessed a naval invasion by AIs? Or two AI empires actually beating each other?
  • The AI loves to move artillery-type units right up to your cities, where you can easily pick them off before they’re fired. AIs should learn to stack them with a defender unit such as musketeer.
  • If there’s a pond next to a city, the AI will most likely produce a few ships and put them there. This is known as the “pond fish” phenomenon…
  • AIs’ don’t have trireme penalties.
  • AIs can use units other than diplomats and spies to bribe your units.
  • One of the most common failing of AI is not bypassing strong points on the way to an objective. You can set up a kill zone by building a road to the strong point from AIs’ likely areas of approach, put a couple of defensive units fortified on defensive terrain (ex. mountain), and watch bodies pile up until they are higher that the hill you are sitting on! It is almost as easy as putting up a sign the says “TRAP IS HERE, PLEASE ENTER AND DIE”.
  • A barbarian ship wants to land troops to attack my city. I put two settlers there to block the shoreline. That ship would have waited there forever. I finally moved and let them land so they could kill themselves by attacking my city.
  • I just love the way that A1 declares war on one of my cities for not giving into stupid threats telling me to give them advances or money, and then attack a city loaded with howitzers and mech infantry with some out-dated phalanx and knights, knowing before hand that I just kicked their rumps the last time they attacked me. They’ll only wait a few turns in between the attacks, which you know full well wasn’t enough time for them to build up sufficient troops to do any real damage.
  • In the latest game I played, an enemy bomber came over on reconnaissance. It ended up, deep in my territory, on the only neutral square for miles around. So to see what it would do, I surrounded it with a bunch of spies. It would have to blunder into a spy if it wanted to move at all. It stayed there, in mid-air, for over 20 years!! I eventually got fed-up and moved the spies elsewhere, whereupon it flew off. Add it to the list of other unfairness (like AI triremes never sink).
  • The AI correctly uses a tactic of building fortresses to ring their cities for defense, but when I invade for the first time most, if not all of the fortresses are unoccupied. This allows my amphibious force to unload and immediately surround the target city, thus cutting off reinforcements.
  • Sometimes barbarian triremes contain more than 2 units.
  • When you’re allied with someone (This is in Civ 2) they are allowed to launch surprise attacks without first canceling the alliance through diplomacy, which we all have to do.
  • French spy bribed my capital city (with Palace)!!!
  • Two civs whom I’ve never even contacted yet, on a faraway continent, signing a pact to contain my aggression–go figure! Also, the AI doesn’t get rid of its hopelessly outdated units. I’ve seen them with tanks, bombers, elephants and warriors in the same year–what a motley crew!
  • Multiple nuclear attacks on the same city… which has SDI…


  • Ridiculous expansion strategy in the B.C.s
  • No civ can afford improving land with 2-3 cities built. It is insane. AIs, well, you know…
  • Immature Democracies or Republics
  • AIs tend to get Fundamentalist just at the beginning of the modern science race (and they ALWAYS do).
  • Idiotic Wonder policy. Do they ever rush-build Wonders or use caravans to help build Wonders?
  • Well no one has possibly over-looked this one but settlers are still quite stupid. Very few people (if any) use the ‘Automate Settlers’ feature or the ‘Auto City Production’ feature.
  • What’s with those damn caravans everywhere? or engineers walking around but not building any cities?
  • AIs can build irrigations anywhere.
  • When AI units are within the vicinity of your city, you can’t use the production from that square in the city screen, regardless of whether this is a friendly or hostile unit. You also rarely get the option to tell them to move it through diplomacy in a Democracy, therefore the only way to get them to move is to kill it – which again is usually impossible on Democracy and damages your reputation. ARRGHH!!
  • It’s really dumb when the computer opponents move their capital so often. I assume it’s because they lack technology for other city improvements, but it’s still dumb. In the game I’m playing right now each other civilization moves their capital once per turn at least, sometimes more. It’s funny to know that they’re wasting so many resources hehe.
  • How about the units that feel it necessary to go around the world to go two spaces away? If you asked them, they’d blame it on the grid coordinates. They’d rather not cross over the zero line).
  • Failure to locate cities efficiently in relation to local resources. Really annoying when you have to wipe out a perfectly good city just to rebuild it one or two squares away.
  • Launching slow spaceships ahead of me at the first opportunity which would take a dozen or more years to get there. They’re so easy to overtake! All you do is spend just a bit longer building your own and it gets there in only five years.


  • Violations of treaties have nothing to do with the board reality (or at least not enough)
  • Why the extreme hostility to civ NO. 1? It’s historically a small nation’s ticket to paradise (big brother strategy) but in civ AIs just ban you and form such lovely global-alliances that are always recognized de facto by big guys whenever you kick their little allies down. History disagrees.
  • Even if you have a peace treaty with the AIs, they will still keep moving troops into your city squares. This is annoying.
  • It’s very hard to trade maps with AI players, if not impossible.
  • AI diplomacy is highly predictable, and you can manipulate them very easily.
  • AI diplomats can take over your city, but yours can’t!

If you want to contribute ideas to this List or want to discuss current ideas, please post them in this thread in our forums.

This List was created on August 3rd, 2000.