FIRE! — Making War in Civilization II

FIRE! — Making War in Civilization II

Written by Marc Fisher

"Attrition is not a strategy. It is, in fact, irrefutable proof of the absence of any strategy. A commander who resorts to attrition admits his failure to conceive of an alternative. He rejects warfare as an art and accepts it on the most non-professional terms imaginable. He uses blood in lieu of brains."

— Dave Palmer, historian and soldier



Chapter 1. The Tools of War

  1. Combat units
  2. The Impact of Technology
  3. Weighing the Odds

Chapter 2. Military Doctrine

  1. War for a Purpose
  2. Defensive War
  3. Limited War
  4. Total War
  5. Operational Strategy
  6. Dislocation & Disruption
  7. Tempo & Preemption
  8. Intelligence
  9. Naval Operations
  10. Special Operations

Chapter 3. Politics and War

  1. Cease fires and Treaties
  2. On Machiavelli
  3. Shorting out the Senate
  4. Taunting Your Enemy

Chapter 4. Conclusion



"There is only one purpose to which a whole society can be directed by a deliberate plan. That purpose is war, and there is no other."   – Walter Lippman

I am an ardent Civ2 gamer, and I have a long-standing interest in military history which has been brought to life by the Microprose game, Civilization II. I came to realize that many profound works on the subject of war and history can be applied to playing this wonderful game. Herein is my first attempt at an analytical paper since my college days. The difference (other than my advanced age) is that this seems to have been a great deal more fun!

The first qualifier I must lay out, of course, is that the level of the Civ2 war-planning AI is less than desirable. Mostly, it seems to be pretty straightforward in terms of a "build unit;send unit to nearest threat;attack" loop. You’ve probably already had good success fighting the AI on its own terms.

So, then, here’s the challenge: why stoop to the mindless logic of a machine? You are the cognitive, intuitive human in this equation. You should approach any war with a well-formulated strategy for victory and for an advantageous position once peace breaks out. Unlike the AI, you can plan ahead 10, 20, 50 game years or more. To allow yourself to slip into shoddy strategy or aimless operational planning would be a waste. It would be the hallmark of an amateur gamer.

The second qualifier involves the scope of this piece. You don’t have to have wars in Civ 2 (though they’re hard to avoid). In fact, in most cases you will have far greater success in the game if you focus on peaceful building and research first, and cope with wars as they happen. But this piece is not about how to build large cities with alot of happy citizens. It’s about war – how to fight it and how to win it.

Civilization II is a copyright of Microprose Software, Inc.

(Note: In the following document, I will use the terms "computer player" and "AI" or "AI Civ" interchangeably. AI means "artificial intelligence".)

Chapter 1. The Tools of War

"The best strategy is always to be very strong" – Clausewitz, On War

I’ve divided the available combat units in Civ2 into three categories for simplicity. The ultimate warfighting style, using maneuver and speed, is difficult to utilize before the player has modern units such as armor, bombers, and battleships. Thus it is imperative to taylor your war decisions to the tools you have available, as much as to your strategic goals.

In the following tables, "Att." means attack value. "Def." means defense value. "HP" is the hit point total, and "FP" is the firepower value of the unit.

1.1. Combat Units:

a) Ancient-Midieval

I have always viewed the Ancient-era forces as mere stop-gaps in defending myself until I can discover Gunpowder. The offensive values of some of the above units are respectable, but their defensive quality is abysmal.

Still, due to the overall condition of my civilization during this era I find myself engaging in strategic Defensive War, more often than not. To do that effectively, I rely on settlers building permanent fortresses in key squares along my borders and around my cities. Inside my cities, I use City Walls heavily to enhance my defensive value until the advent of Gunpowder. With such a structure to protect my forces, I can launch short raids and local counterattacks to exact a heavy punishment upon any invaders. Because of the low values of these units, Veteran status can be a nice advantage. I try to build barracks in a few cities, and after I discover Feudalism I build the Sun Tzu wonder to give myself the benefits of Veteran status.

In my opinion, the kinds of units you can build at this stage of the game do not allow sufficient maneuver and striking power to engage in Total War on anything but the smallest maps.

b) Gunpowder

Not until you can build gunpowder-based units will you begin to see any significant combat staying power in your military – demonstrated by the Hit Point values above. The catch is that your opponents are likely to discover Gunpowder at about the same time you do, if not before. Note, too, that the Firepower rating of these units is still low. That means that battles are liable to be long and bloody – for both sides.

Dragoons, and later Cavalry, are usually the mainstays of my offensive ground forces in the post-midieval era. I never use these units on defense unless I have no other choice – they are strictly for offense. Whenever I can, I always have musketeers or riflemen (or fanatics) following up my cavalry closely, in order to hold the ground they’ve siezed.

I’ll mention the Galleon and Frigate here, though we’ll delve more deeply into naval strategy later. These two units are worth building in numbers if you have alot of coastline or the enemy is on the other side of an ocean. The frigate is the only combat naval unit you’ll get that can carry troops (2), and that’s good for sneak attacks behind enemy lines or for siezing ports where his fleet is a-building. High marks for both these units until they’re replaced.

On the flip side of that coin, I’ve never built many Ironclads. By the time they’re available, I’m researching Electricity and will be building Destroyers instead.

c) Modern – the Combat Triad

Note that the pattern of higher cost/more power continues in the above chart, but that now the units’ defensive values are catching up. Beware of good defensive units dug in on hills or inside cities – you’ll need an intelligent plan to eliminate or bypass them, or your forces won’t last long.

You begin to receive Modern units at about the time you reach Electricity, Steel, and Combustion. Usually the first truly modern unit you’ll get is the Marine – an excellent combat unit except for its low movement allowance. The two best uses for Marines are Amphibious attack (directly off the ship onto the target square) or as defensive forces in fortresses or cities. They are not optimal for the kind of fast-moving mobile campaigns that win large Civ2 wars.

The Alpine unit is an excellent choice in the modern era. They have good attack/defense values, they’re relatively inexpensive, and their movement rate makes them better than cavalry when your front line is in heavy terrain. There is no better endorsement of the Alpine unit than the fact that the computer player builds alot of them.

Artillery suffers from the same weaknesses as its forebears, the cannon and catapult – it is too slow to keep up with mobile combat groups. The Howitzer rectifies this somewhat, though it only appears late in the game after the discovery of Robotics. I often prefer to use Bombers as my "mobile artillery", since they have few limitations as far as keeping up with the front line. Bombers arrive before Howitzers, and they too ignore city walls.

A word about Paratroops. I haven’t built alot of these in most of my games, mainly because the way I fight a war moves too quickly for Paratroops to have an effective base from which to launch their paradrop beyond the first turn or two of war. I view them as special purpose units, whose best use may be in isolating target cities by dropping them behind the objective. They are also very effective as reinforcements in newly-conquered cities, or as "blitz" elements exploiting a nuclear strike.

"The Navy is a machine invented by geniuses, to be run by idiots." – Herman Woulk, ‘The Caine Mutiny’.

We’ve virtually ignored Naval units until now, and the main reason for that is because the Frigate was the only real seaborne combat unit available. But with the advent of the above units, you have an opportunity to develop the second leg of the Modern Combat Triad: Sea.

First, consider the fact that the computer opponent in Civ2 is very limited in planning and executing long range grand strategy (he has a hard time moving units farther than a fourth of the map). He also tends to send his naval units about without much escort, or else he clumps them tightly and presents inviting targets for nuclear missiles.

You, on the other hand, can build invasion fleets of transports escorted by battleships and aircraft carriers that are capable of dominating the oceans of the world.

A tip for you Submariners: The sub’s ability to carry missiles makes it an extremely powerful bombardment and sea control system. Just remember that, though your sub is invisible to the enemy, he can still see your missiles! It’s a level playing field, though, and you can find his subs the same way. (Note: this "feature" is actually a bug that may be fixed in future versions of Civ 2. As of version 1.09, it remains a part of the game.)

Naval strategy is expensive to implement, but it has the potential of being the key element in fighting and winning a Total War in Civ2. It is the ultimate in strategic mass, speed, and flexibility.

"The third peculiarity of aerial warfare was that it was at once enormously destructive and entirely indecisive."   –H.G. Wells

The final leg of the Modern Combat Triad: Air. The Stealth Bomber and Cruise Missile may be the glamor units in Civ2, but I’ve actually gotten more use out of a fleet of Bombers and a few helicopters since they appear earlier in the game.

Air units (and this includes cruise missiles) provide you with more than hitting power. They also allow you to quickly gather updated intelligence about enemy dispositions and city sizes when you overfly his territory.

When combined with naval force (especially when used with carriers and submarines), air power gives you the final ingredient you need to conduct a true lightning war  against your enemies due to its long range, flexible response and high survivability. The only thing Air Power can’t do is hold ground, and thus it serves as a major support element for your groundpounders.

d) Nuclear Weapons

"What was gunpowder? Trivial. What was electricity? Meaningless. This Atomic Bomb is the Second Coming in Wrath!" – Winston Churchill, July, 1945

Although nukes aren’t as devastating in Civ2 as in reality, they still pack a big wallop. The fact that they don’t leave a massive crater at ground zero makes them emminently useful in combat and opens up a whole new vista in war-fighting strategy.

The main thing to remember about nukes is that, while they eliminate all units in a target city and surrounding squares, they also reduce the city population and leave nasty pollution lying around that can take years to clean up. I normally use nukes on well-defended enemy cities that are strategic "keys" (Occupy chokepoints, contain large buildups of enemy forces, etc.). Smaller targets usually get pasted with cruise missiles instead. Nukes are so expensive that I NEVER nuke a target just for the sake of nuking it. I always make sure I have paratroops or armor standing by to move into the post-blast city. It’s a very cost-effective way of taking your objective.

There are two different strategies to employ when nuclear weapons are available. Your decision is driven solely by whether your opponent has them as well. If you are the only civilization on the planet with nukes, consider them as just another weapon – albeit a decisive one. They can be the bludgeon your ground forces need to drive their way through the enemy empires quickly at minimum cost to you. You no longer need to worry about attacking his walled cities head on. Just position a paratrooper or armored division at his door, drop a nuke, and walk in. Be sure to follow your armies with plenty of engineers to clean up the mess.

If, however, your enemy has nukes too, then the scenario changes. The AI is not timid about using them. The computer player doesn’t even care if he’s ready to occupy nuked cities before he drops a few on you.

Nuclear weapons in Civ 2, just as in the real world, change the "mass" equation. You must be concerned with stacking and grouping your forces. Keep your forces dispersed so that a nuke doesn’t destroy your entire army or navy, and as soon as you take a target city you need to buy an SDI system for that city or prepare to take a counter strike from his nukes. Preemptive nuclear strikes on any of his cities within range is a wise tactic in this case.

Mutually Assured Destruction in this manner is not very clean, nor is it usually very successful. In fact, nuclear weapons change the strategic landscape to such a degree that I will even delay researching the Manhattan Project if I have a large tech lead over the computer (if I have nukes, the computer can steal the research and build them too). From my own experience dealing with Civ 2 computer players that are armed with nukes, I would recommend never going beyond Limited War. It can be very suicidal and less than enjoyable. But, if you’re into that sort of macabre exercise, have fun.

1.2. The Impact of Technology

"You can’t say civilization don’t advance. For every war, they kill you a new way." – Will Rogers

"Obsolete weapons do not deter." – Margaret Thatcher

If you’ve played Civ2 at all, you already know about the Technology tree and the importance of having a good scientific program. If you get too far behind on research you will soon find yourself facing an enemy with overpowering advantages in combat. Even a mediocre strategist like the Civ 2 AI can win with such an advantage.

Of course, research does more than merely provide you with better guns. Many of the problems you’ll face in the game that detract from maintaining a large army – citizen unhappiness and food production – can be solved with research.

Your military efforts under a Democracy, for example, are much more successful if you have discovered some of the technologies along the Mysticism/Theology line. Wonders such as the Oracle, Michelangelo’s Chapel and J.S. Bach’s Cathedral enable you to run a militant Democracy or Republic without the sort of expense and distraction normally associated with those governments.

Economic advancements (Banking, Economics, and Industrialization) provide your empire with the sort of financial and production strength required to carry on a modern war. The Adam Smith Trading Company Wonder alone will save you loads of tax dollars in a large Civilization by paying all upkeep costs of city improvements that equal 1.

If your focus from the start is to build a powerful military with which to conquer the Civ2 world, your best Research strategy starts with Horseback Riding. Then Chivalry & Feudalism, Leadership & Gunpowder, then Tactics & Conscription. This line will take you to the point where Guerilla Warfare, Amphibious Warfare, Mobile Warfare and Machine Tools are all discoverable.

Other major discoveries I would stress include Fundamentalism (the ultimate war-making government) and Invention (Leonardo’s Workshop is essential, and Invention leads you to Democracy, Gunpowder, and the Steam Engine). If I’m in a dead heat with the other Civs, technologically, I always try to get to Invention first so as to steal a march on Leonardo’s Workshop. If I’m running behind other Civs (which isn’t unusual at higher levels like Deity), I don’t miss a chance to build the Great Library Wonder. It expires with the discovery of Electricity, but in the meantime it will provide you with a number of free advances.

So, we have another dilemna for the Civ 2 player. Do I spend heavily on research or do I invest in war? The answer is: without technology, you cannot win a war. And without production and trade you cannot acquire technology. I always put the growth of my Civilization first and foremost. You cannot engage in a war with the Civ 2 AI, given that both sides are reasonably well-matched, without experiencing setbacks and losses. You must be able to replace your casualties (production base) and you must be able to field units that are capable of winning (advanced technology). If you can do neither, then I strongly urge you to sue for peace and set about beefing up your civilization.

While it is certainly possible to win a war with the Civ 2 computer opponent without a technological edge (you are, after all, the one with the brains), I have had good results from playing the first half of the game with the sole objective of gaining an overwhelming research advantage over my rivals. You are capable of building a research program which the Civ 2 AI cannot hope to match!

Some key points to gaining a research advantage:

– Select city sites along or near coasts, or on rivers. Water adds trade arrows, which yield science.

– Enhance trade by constructing roads around your cities and building trade routes. More trade equals more science. Building Superhighways in a city also boosts trade, as does using Airports to establish your trade routes. The Collosus Wonder is a good early trade-enhancer in the city in which it is built.

– Libraries and Universities in each city add 50% each (100% cumulative) to science. The Research Lab adds another 50% if you don’t build the SETI program Wonder instead.

– Rush to build research wonders such as Isaac Newton’s College, Copernicus’ Observatory and the SETI project. If you pick a city that is on a coast and/or river where lots of trade will be generated, designate that as your "Science City". Build both Copernicus (a 50% science bonus in the city it is built), and later Isaac Newton (doubles science in the city it’s built) in your Science City. Their effects are cumulative, and will provide you with an immense boost in research. The SETI program Wonder, available after Computers, provides you another 50% boost for all your cities and obviates the need to build Research Labs in every city.

– Move citizens to "Einsteins" in well-developed cities. Each "Einstein"  generates a minimum of 3 science beakers. Be sure that the trade you’re losing by re-assigning the citizen does not exceed the science gained. Usually, this practice works best after the city is maxed out.

Given a large technological lead, waging war becomes an exercise in the obvious. Once you have armor and aircraft and he is still building musketeers, guard your advantage jealously and strike before he finds a way to draw even with you. Make it your goal to achieve total domination of the game before nuclear weapons are available.

Technology’s impact on the way you fight a war is fairly obvious, and we won’t belabor the issue any longer. I made a point earlier, in evaluating the different military eras, that the best war-making machine you can build is not available until the modern age. Technology’s impact at that point is more than merely firepower and hit points, though. Naval and air units impart new capabilities for intelligence and mobility that allow you to be true to the principles of maneuver, tempo, and preemption laid out in the US Army’s AirLand Battle doctrine. You can then truly take warfare into three dimensions.

1.3. Weighing the Odds

"Sir, my strategy is one against ten, my tactics ten against one." – Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington

We couldn’t discuss war-fighting strategy in Civ 2 without taking a look at unit values. Unlike real wars, in a game we have known probabilities to work with. Those probabilities are important – without a thorough knowledge of your instrument of war you cannot formulate an effective strategy.

It pays to review the tables I’ve listed in the previous section on Units. The attack and defense values of each unit are your first consideration, followed by the hit points and firepower of those units. Figure that the minimum number of rounds of combat will equal the hit point total of the weaker unit, divided by the firepower of the stronger unit.

The actual equation used to resolve each combat round is:

a / (a+d)


a = attacker’s attack rating

d = defender’s defense rating

The result is a fractional number (percentage). A random number is generated, and if the result is less than the percentage, the defender loses hit points equal to the attacker’s firepower rating. The reverse happens if the random number is higher – the defender’s firepower rating is subtracted from the attacker’s hit point rating.

I have discouraged frontal attacks on enemy units which are fortified in rough terrain or behind City Walls. Here’s some examples of what the defensive value would be for different units in such a situation:

(Note that "Fort" above indicates engineer-built permanent fortifications. Unit-dug temporary fortifications allow only a 50% defensive bonus.)

Observe the importance of Veteran status. Its 50% bonus on attack and defense converts a 5/4 rifleman into a 7/6 unit! While you can gain veteran status by building barracks or "blooding" your units, I try to build Sun Tzu’s Academy Wonder as soon as it is available. Barracks are still useful as "instant repair" facilities for damaged units, but that’s all you get for the 1-gold per turn upkeep cost. Since Barracks have to be rebuilt after Gunpowder is discovered, and again after Mobile Warfare, I’m reluctant to build alot of them until Sun Tzu expires.

Sun Tzu’s Academy will give your units extra punch in the early stages of the game when you’re most vulnerable. By the time it expires with Mobile Warfare, you should already have a sizable force of veterans.

In the above table, a single armor unit with an attack value of 10 would have a 23.2% chance of inflicting damage on a Veteran Mech Inf unit that is fortified on a mountain (total Def value= 33)! You will probably lose a minimum of 4 armored units before you eliminate the defender. Even the lowest total, that of a Phalanx fortified on a hill, leaves an Archer with a 33% chance of winning a round; a Knight fares little better at 40%.

Unless you decide to throw nukes or cruise missiles at such defenses, your very best strategy is to bypass them (we’ll discuss how to do this later). Move the front line past them and the fortified units will have to come out of their positions. Then they can be killed. Bashing your best units head-on against the bulwark is senseless unless you gain a major advantage by taking the position.

This brings us to the one time when you’re normally left with no choice but to attack head-on. That is when you are trying to take an important enemy city. If you have bombers or Howitzers that ignore city walls, build alot of them and use them. If you have diplomats or spies (and the cash) that can be used to bribe the city bloodlessly, so much the better. But if you have to attack, be prepared for heavy losses. Produce large numbers of reserves, and keep them moving to the front. You’ll need them.

Chapter 2. Military Doctrine

2.1. War for a Purpose.

"It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it." – Gen. Douglas MacArthur

If I convey nothing else to you in this paper, please remember this: Never go to war without knowing what you wish to achieve! If you do, you will achieve nothing (or less) at great cost to yourself, and you may risk losing the game. At the very least, you will be ridden with the shame that comes from knowing you weren’t much of a general.

Your decision as to war goals is often driven by the current state of your own civilization. A small, primitive Civ can hardly aspire to global dominance, but should be able to mount a credible defense of its borders. On the other hand, a large, vibrant Civ with massive production capacity should have no problems turning out 40-60 (or more!) modern combat units every turn or two. Such power is fully capable of launching a Total War that only ends in Total Victory.

Here are the three basic war types I have identified:

1. You might wish to do no more than defend yourself when a war is forced upon you by a surly neighbor. You can defend yourself from most computer attacks successfully without diverting a huge amount of time and production. This could include local, limited offensives to retake territory or preempt an enemy, or you may only need to establish outposts to keep enemies away from your cities.

2. The enemy is too large and powerful to completely conquer, or you have more peaceful priorities and don’t wish to sink all your city development into military force. In this case, you might decide on an offensive war with limited objectives. In many cases, this is the logical choice due to the vast resources required to conduct a prolonged conflict against a well-equipped enemy. Remember that you not only have to produce alot of units initially, but you have to produce replacements and defend yourself against other Civs. And every city building soldiers is a city that’s not building improvements or Wonders. Limited War is a compromise between Defensive and Total War.

3. The third option is Total War. If you’ve selected "Bloodlust" mode for your game, this is the inevitable choice – it’s only a matter of when. If you’re not using the Bloodlust option, I would not recommend starting a Total War if the game is well into the Modern era. The war will likely not end before someone’s starship reaches Alpha Centauri or time runs out, and all those resources invested in fighting are resources lost!

Once you’ve elected one of the three war options which fits your situation, decide where your units will be built and which units you will build. Set a general goal as to the size of force required to accomplish your objectives and be careful not to exceed it by too much (allow for replacement of casualties). Try to select building sites that are within reasonable marching distance from the front by road, railroad, or airlift. If you need to improve the road system to the front, do so quickly.

The other task you must perform is intelligence gathering. It is important to know where the enemy is strongest, where his weaknesses are, and which cities are vulnerable to assault. We’ll discuss your methods in this area momentarily, but you should be able to look at the terrain and the enemy empire and make a preliminary assessment of where you want your forces to focus their efforts. This last part is perhaps the MOST critical exercise you’ll perform when war breaks out. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there! 

Finally, keep in mind the guiding principle of all war-fighting strategy: massive force applied swiftly and unexpectedly at the enemy’s point of greatest weakness.


2.2. Defensive War

"A clever military leader will succeed in many cases in choosing defensive positions of such an offensive nature from the strategic point of view that the enemy is compelled to attack us in them." – Moltke

"The whole art of war consists in a well-reasoned and extremely circumspect defensive, followed by a rapid and audacious attack." – Napoleon

"Build city walls!!" – Civ 2 Military Advisor

The reasons for electing to pursue Defensive War are based on your game goals: (a) Your Civilization is still embryonic and you don’t have the economic foundation or research base to field a large army; (b) Your goal is not conquest, but growth and space exploration; (c) You are using Republic or Democracy, and a large field army will cause huge losses in both citizen unhappiness and shield production.

Defensive War is the simplest and least disruptive of the three choices. In a Defensive War, the Settler/Engineer unit becomes as important as artillery or cavalry.

Build enough Engineers to construct fortifications around your major cities – particularly those which are close to the enemy. If the forts are within 3 squares of the city, posting a defensive unit there does not cause unhappiness under Democracy. Your engineer (or Settler) units are also handy for building roads or railroads from your interior to the front (use Airports later in the game), to allow you to quickly move reinforcements to crisis points. During times of peace, I always have crews of engineers at work building roads/railroads – they not only add to the trade (and thus, science) your cities produce, they also enhance your military’s mobility.

"Outpost" forts serve an additional purpose even in peacetime. They give you warning and a chance to expel roving diplomats who are out to steal your research or sabotage your cities. I keep mine constantly manned along borders with other Civs. (Remember that Diplomats and Spies can ignore Zones of Control – your outposts won’t stop them unless they form a solid line. They only provide you warning.)

Build your forts in Hills or Mountains if possible. Hills double your units’ defensive value, and Mountains triple it. A rifleman entrenched in a Fortification on top of a mountain has a base defensive value of 20! If other units are stacked in the fortification with him, they are only eliminated one at a time, rather than as a stack. The enemy will burn up alot of attacking units trying to take your mountaintop redoubt. Lacking "high ground", even forests, jungles or swamp will suffice as they impart a 50% bonus to the defensive unit.

If you have the time and the Settler/Engineer units, consider building a "hedgehog" defense along threatened border areas- forts staggered or interlaced in depth so that even if an enemy breaks through one or two, he has to confront the next layer. This method is the most ideal for wearing down and defeating an invading army. The AI in Civ 2 is not smart enough to try an "end run" around your line of forts. He’ll bash his own head in on your impenetrable wall.

Of course, a Defensive War doesn’t mean you can’t take any initiative. If you see the enemy stacking weak defensive units in the open without benefit of fortifications, don’t hesitate to strike. If he’s not in fortifications you only need to destroy the top unit in order to eliminate the whole stack. You can also arrange your forts in such a way as to channel his units into a trap – at the right moment, launch an overwhelming attack from your surrounding forts and destroy his army.

The only thing I don’t do when I’m fighting a Defensive War is attack enemy cities. Doing so can be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. If I can sneak a diplomat in and bribe enemy units or an enemy city, then I leap at the chance. It’s a bloodless and efficient way to counterattack (though it does require a reserve of gold). I will also not hesitate to send mobile units (Cavalry or Armor) into his territory to pillage (Shift+P). Tear up his roads, railroads, and irrigation to set him back a few years. It worked for Sherman.


2.3. Limited War

"We are not at war with Egypt. We are in a state of armed conflict." – Anthony Eden

If you’ve defined your objectives, and they fall short of completely eliminating an enemy then Limited War is for you. In fact, most wars in Civ 2 are Limited, as they stop short of completely eliminating the opponent.

With Limited War, it is more important than ever to set objectives and focus on achieving them. Nothing is more wasteful than sending your armies helter-skelter against every enemy city, or throwing the cream of your elite veterans against the high walls of his biggest city. You are operating under a time limit in a Limited War. Identify your objective and sieze it quickly.

Choose objectives that are achievable! He will sue for peace just as readily if you take a Size 5 city as if you conquer a Size 20. And you will have expended fewer of your precious resources in achieving your goal.

Choose objectives that will make a difference! Wiping out half of his infantry isn’t going to change the course of the game, probably. But taking a city that guards a key strait or isthmus – or one that provides most of his scientific research – will definitely tilt the future odds in your favor.

Raids are a useful tactic in both Defensive and Limited War. Land a group of fast-moving cavalry or armor in a remote area of his empire to pillage terrain and destroy settler/engineer units. Avoid beseiging cities – your object here is simply to inflict pain and set your enemy back.

The ticklish part of Limited War isn’t how you fight it, it’s how and when you end it. If you’ve experienced unexpected success, you may weigh whether to expand the war and sieze further objectives. The computer player in Civ 2 is not the most organized opponent, nor is he quick to adapt to fluid situations. Your initial success may have caught him unprepared, but you won’t know unless you press your advantage.

This goes to playing style. I prefer a calculated risk-taking, aggressive strategy in war and it usually pays off against the computer. If you feel you’ve attained your objectives, then offer (or accept) a cease fire. Just don’t leave your "Schwarzkopf" standing idle on the outskirts of Babylon with a full armored corps dressed for war and no place to go!

If you wish to stop the war completely, go for the Peace Treaty and return to your research or starship construction. Above all, stick to your goals in Limited War or face the risk of unwanted expansion into a Total War before you’re prepared.


2.4. Total War

"The will to conquer is the first condition of victory." – Marshal Ferdinand Foch "There are not fifty ways of fighting, there is only one way: to be the conqueror." – Andre Malraux

The name says it. If you’ve decided that your goal is the complete elimination of a computer civ (or civs), then mobilize your entire economy for War. Hopefully your own Civ has reached a healthy state where it can support a large field army & navy, and you have enough cities (strategic depth) that the loss of one or two will not cripple your efforts. If these cases apply, determine not to accept cease fires or treaties. Petition your allies to join your side. Give no quarter until your enemy is obliterated. Push your tanks down his throat and ignore his whimpers.

From many games’ experience, I have learned to never embark on a Total War while in a Democracy. Democracy is for growth, not war. Monarchy or Communism are marginally better for fighting, but if you’ve reached the level of research that allows Fundamentalism I highly recommend it as your official War Fighting Government. There is never any unhappiness and your cities can build up to 10 units each without paying support (a limit I’ve never hit if I have at least 30-50 cities). Fundamentalism allows you to build the very cheap Fanatic unit, which never requires support regardless of numbers. You will sacrifice some research progress, but I’ve been able to reach acceptable discovery rates by reducing my luxuries to zero and lowering my taxes to a minimum in order to raise science. Because all those temples, coloseums and cathedrals you built under Democracy now generate additional revenue ("tithes"), you should be swimming in cash very soon. With enough tithes, you may not even need any taxes! Use the cash as a war chest to rush-buy new units, erect city walls where they’re needed, and bribe enemy cities away from your opponent.

A personal note: In version 1.07 of Civ 2, Fundamentalism was altered so that, in addition to the 50% science penalty, there was also a 50% cap on science investment. In my opinion, this is a needless double penalty. As of version 1.08/1.09, you can alter the file RULES.TXT to change either/both the science penalty or the cap. I raised the science cap from 50 to 80% to match the default limit on Fundamentalist tax rates, and it works well without unbalancing the game. Lowering the penalty would have a more dramatic effect, but it’s too close to cheating for my tastes. Suit yourself.


2.5. Operational Strategy

"Operational: the planning level of war that constructs campaigns and major operations in order to accomplish the theater goals articulated at the strategic planning level." – Robert Leonhard, Art of Maneuver

"Our strategy to go after this army is very, very simple. First we are going to cut it off. And then we are going to kill it." – Gen. Colin Powell, January, 1992

Operationally, I fight both Limited and Total Wars in much the same manner, their differences having to do with war goals rather than troop coordination. I lead with a large force of Cavalry or Armor (supported by battleships or cruisers if on a coast) – my maneuver units. Their task is to isolate the battlefield and prevent enemy reinforcements from reaching the front. I push them around, through, over, and behind the objective. They also serve to deny resources to the target city – he can’t get shields out of a square that holds one of your units. Furthermore, if there’s a cease fire your troops can stay put and continue to starve him out!

If the enemy has alot of manned forts in your way, do NOT try to destroy his entrenched positions if you have a choice. They are obstacles, not objectives! Include diplomats, spies, or Partisans along with your maneuver forces. These units can ignore zones of control. Since a unit can always enter a square that contains a friendly unit, slip the diplomat or Partisan into a ZOC and then send the Cavalry or Armor into the same square. You can actually infiltrate your tanks past his forts, which is much smarter than attacking them head-on. If they leave their forts to attack, kill them and occupy their forts.

The infiltration tactic can also work by building "daisy chains" of units, always moving from one friendly-occupied square to the next until you’ve surrounded your objective. Just remember that if your unit is stacked with another unit it cannot move directly to an empty square that is in an enemy ZOC.

In Limited War, chances are good that a peace treaty will leave him with units inside your city limits. If they’re caught in ZOCs, he’ll have no choice but to disband them – they’re lost and you haven’t fired a shot at them! Remember this if you’re considering a peace treaty – you could lose units, as well, if they have no way to move.

Closely following my maneuver element is my main attack force. These will usually be musketeers or riflemen with cannon or artillery. Because they have good attack values, I may also include some armor or cavalry with this force if I have the numbers. While foot infantry has a lower attack value, such units are also cheaper with better defensive values, and to take most walled cities you need numbers before quality. I prefer to have Bombers available, if they’ve been discovered, or even Cruise Missiles. Bombers ignore City Walls, thus reducing the base defensive value of the enemy by 2/3. Using waves of bombers will make the job of your ground pounders much easier.

Once you’ve cut off the city from both resources and reinforcements, then subjected it to bombardment, the final taking of your objective will be a cakewalk.

2.6. Disruption and Dislocation

 "Hannibal… like other Great Captains, chose to face the most hazardous conditions rather than the certainty of meeting his opponents in positions of their own choosing." – B.H. Liddel Hart, Strategy (1954)

 "Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend, march swiftly to places where you are not expected." – Sun Tzu

In his landmark book, "The Art of Maneuver", Robert Leonhard identifies disruption and dislocation of enemy plans as two key elements in AirLand Battle, the US Army’s modern war-fighting doctrine:

"Dislocation is the art of rendering the enemy’s strength irrelevant. Instead of having to fight the hostile force on its own terms, the friendly force avoids any combat in which the enemy can bring his might to bear."

You can "positionally" dislocate the enemy, either physically removing him from a decisive point or moving the point of decision away from the enemy force. You can "functionally" dislocate the enemy by playing to your own strengths and to his weaknesses.

Napoleon used positional dislocation in his concept of the "central position". His most successful battles began with him positioned between two separated enemy forces. He used speed to quickly defeat one, then turn and deal with the other. He not only prevented the unification of his enemy, but managed to focus 100% of his force against 50% of the enemy’s at any one time.

The Germans used positional dislocation when they advanced through the Ardennes in 1940, dislocating the French Maginot Line rather than shedding their own blood in futile direct attacks on the defensive works.

The perfect use of "functional" dislocation in Civ2 is the construction of forts along key avenues of approach. The Civ2 computer player will stop to attack these forts, spending his offensive momentum, rather than pushing on towards your cities. On the defensive, in prepared positions in favorable terrain, the advantage is all yours. You have dislocated the enemy’s strength.

Offensively, by concentrating your strongest force quickly and unexpectedly against the enemy’s weakest point, you are practising dislocation. It requires a knowledge of enemy dispositions (intelligence) and it requires maneuver – placing your forces in the most advantageous position before accepting battle.

This precludes "secondary" objectives which split your force and bleed power away from the focal point of your attack. Focus everything you can on your main objective, which should be his weakest defensive point away from the line of direct advance.

Disruption, a related concept, is the practice of defeating the enemy by attacking his center of gravity (or critical vulnerability). You want to avoid having to destroy the enemy’s entire army by direct attack when you can create opportunities to render it impotent by attacking its Achilles Heel. In the game of Civ 2, the enemy’s center of gravity will always be his cities. His "critical vulnerability", then, will always be those cities which are left poorly defended.

I’ll use one of my own recent games to demonstrate this concept. I had spent most of the game at peace with the neighboring Romans. Our empires were connected by a narrow land bridge between two lakes which was easy to guard with forts. Meanwhile, I became embroiled in a war with the Sioux who occupied the territory next to the Romans. I had nearly conquered all of the Sioux lands when the Romans decided I was a threat and launched a sneak attack.

No one ever accused the Civ2 AI of being a military genius, and the Romans didn’t disappoint. They launched Knights and musketeers at my line of fortifications – using the direct method to attack. I marshalled what units I could spare from the conquered Sioux territory, and sent them around one of the inland lakes into the Roman rear. In the space of 3-4 turns, I found most of the inner Roman cities to be poorly defended (their troops were dying in front of my border forts, far away) and succeeded in reducing their empire by nearly half in short order. Even after a cease fire was declared, my units remained within his city radii to disrupt production and growth.

I had functionally dislocated the Romans first by erecting the strong defensive line in rugged terrain – their attack broke down against my forts.

My movement into the Roman rear used positional dislocation by creating a point of decision – the soft belly of his cities – away from the location of his strongest forces. It was nearly bloodless for me, and ended with the enemy’s empire disrupted and in ruins.  


2.7. Tempo and Preemption

"When the strike of a hawk breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing." – Sun Tzu

"I can always make it a rule to get there first with the most men." – Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest

AirLand Battle doctrine also stresses the preemption of enemy objectives. The word "preemption" comes from the Latin "praeemere", to ‘buy beforehand’. In military terms, this relates to siezing an opportunity before the enemy does.

Preemptive attacks emphasize speed rather than caution. They strive to snatch a victory impolitely before the game has properly begun. Preemption is inherently unfair and ungentlemanly. The Civ2 AI may have problems with the concepts of dislocation and disruption, but it does practice Preemption.

A critical prerequisite to using preemption wisely is a knowledge of the enemy situation (intelligence). The border between risky and foolhardy is perilously thin. While the window of opportunity for this sort of strategem may be small, you must have good intelligence in order to know when that window is open!

In Civ2, "sneak attacks" are one form of preemption. While they can cost you a reputation hit, that may or may not be important to you. There are times when the final conquest of your biggest rival and antagonist is more important than the shininess of your reputation. If you have the Eiffel Tower Wonder, you can soften the blow to your reputation somewhat.

Computer civilizations in Civ2 make extensive use of sneak attacks, especially at higher levels of difficulty. Be aware of this and don’t be afraid of using it yourself.

Preemption can be more subtle, as well. Building a large transport fleet for your Marines and constructing Airports in major cities to allow swift movement of reserves are both instruments which allow you to preempt the enemy by imparting superior strategic mobility. You can also build railroads inside of his territory during temporary cease fires. Once the cease fire expires, use the railroads to give your forces unlimited movement right into the bowels of his empire.

Preemption is tied intimately to tempo, of course. As any chess player will tell you, tempo is the pace of the game such that the opponent has no time to execute his plan. The player with tempo constantly forces the opponent to react defensively to a series of attacks, threats, and feints, all the while advancing his own plan.

Your first step in siezing the tempo is to never declare war at the end of your own turn. This gives the AI a full turn to take the initiative and force you onto the defensive. If you’re going to start a war, start it at the very beginning of your own turn. You then can dictate the opening moves, and the AI will be forced to respond.

The Civ2 computer player is glaringly weak when responding to quick tempo. It does not cope well with fast-moving battle lines and quickly changing situations. If you have deployed a mobile force of sufficient strength, use them to maintain your tempo. Threaten multiple points with one thrust to force your enemy’s defenses to spread thin. Force the pace when it’s to your advantage, even if your units must attack at less than full strength. Once you lose tempo, the enemy will regroup and his resistance will stiffen. Then, your ultimate victory will be much costlier.

My own experience in games where I’ve maintained a fast tempo has proven its value to me. The computer will produce new units from his cities as fast as possible, but send them out to battle piecemeal. I will have my mobile forces arrayed next to his cities and along his railroads, and his attacks will threaten one or two of my units at most. If the computer player knew how to form reserves or defend in depth, he would be a much tougher opponent. He doesn’t, so take advantage of the weakness. You don’t score points for being well mannered.


2.8. Intelligence

"He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious." – Sun Tzu

It is difficult, even foolish, to set objectives for a Limited or Total War without having any idea of the enemy’s dispositions. Intel in Civ 2 is fairly simple, so I’ll touch on a few suggestions.

Your best source of strategic, diplomatic, and technological information comes from embassies. Diplomats and spies perform many functions, but perhaps one of their more effective ones is the simple, non-warlike act of opening an embassy. I try to open embassies with all other Civs early in my games – just move a diplomat into one of his cities and select the "open embassy" option. Once this is done, you can use the "Check Intelligence" button on your Foreign Advisor window (F3) to see what that nation is researching, what they’ve discovered, what their relations are with other countries, and even see a list of their cities.

Don’t forget that your map of enemy territory is only as current as the date your last unit wandered through a square. You may still show a city as Size 3, but perhaps it’s grown to Size 12 since then and added forts and roads. You need current information.

A good source of information can be gained by landing explorers, diplomats or spies on his coasts and sending them roaming through his empire – especially before war breaks out. But you don’t have to build diplomats/spies. You can also update your map of his city sizes and terrain layout with something as innocent as a trade caravan or freight unit. He won’t perceive caravans as threats, so you won’t heighten tensions by scouting a little.

Caravans can’t "Investigate City" like diplomats/spies can, however. If you have your sights set on a couple of his larger cities, be sure to sneak a spy in first to count defenders. It’s worth the cost of losing the unit.

During combat, don’t focus on what is happening at the front to the exclusion of everything else. Use fast units (bombers are perfect for this) to scout his territory. Naval units should patrol your shores as well as his, keeping an eye out for sneak attacks. If you’re engaging in a little "deep battle" by launching cruise missiles into his rear, try to send your missiles on little detour jaunts – they can "see" as well as a bomber, and update your map for you.


2.9. Naval Operations

 "A man-of-war is the best ambassador." – Oliver Cromwell

Just as in the Real World, he who controls the seas of a Civ 2 map also controls the land. And once you’ve reached the modern era you will also have the types of units at your disposal that will allow you to exert control over the waves, the air, and the land around the seas.

You cannot aspire to build a powerful navy unless your Civ has been nurtured into producing lots of shields and lots of tax money. Navies are very expensive, and if you’re in a Democracy they can also cause unhappiness. Navies are useless unless they’re sailing the seas that they’re trying to control, so don’t keep them home. Do what you need to do to quell unhappiness (including moving people out of the fields into the Elvis business or changing to Fundamentalism). Navies are your key to Civ 2 victory.

My favorite naval unit is the Aegis Cruiser. Since its defensive value is doubled against air attacks, it makes a nice escort for transports. It can also spot subs, which makes it essential to the survival of your carriers.

Battleships are the epitome of mass and speed in one unit. If your amphibious force has a couple of battlewagons in company, they come in handy for bombarding enemy units & cities along the coast, to help soften up objectives or isolate the battlefield. No other sea unit has the Battleship’s attack and defense value without missiles.

No unit has the power of a fully-loaded Aircraft Carrier. From the moment you have Fighters, up until you can post Stealth Bombers or Cruise Missiles on the carrier, this is one mean, mobile destruction machine. It’s also vulnerable to cruise missile and submarine attacks, so always escort it heavily. It’s wise to avoid enemy-held land areas if you can. They tend to hide hordes of cruise missiles. You have alot invested in the unit – protect it.

Naval strategy in Civ 2 doesn’t differ much from real naval strategy. Priority One is to eliminate the opposition’s fleets. Priority Two is to project the power of the navy onto enemy shores via your carriers and troop transports. Remember, too, that the mere presence of your fleet off an enemy’s coast can force him to react, drawing defensive forces away from other areas. This is a useful method of weakening the point of your true objective.

You acquire naval superiority by massing your fleet, by locating the enemy through aggressive scouting, and by engaging him swiftly and decisively. The aircraft carrier allows you to scout an amazing amount of map with your bombers – finding the enemy before he finds you. He who sees the enemy first, can shoot first and thus have the highest chance of success.

If your enemy has the larger fleet, you’ll need to rely on having the better intelligence if you want to beat him. Scout, scout, scout! Try to concentrate your whole fleet against only a part of his, and defeat him in detail. Locate his major ports, where his ships build, and take them by land assault or Marine amphibious attack. If you cut him off from reinforcement, all that is left is to wear him down.


2.10. Special Operations

"Who dares, wins." – Motto of the British Special Air Service regiment.

It’s not always necessary to spill blood to conquer your enemies. In Civ 2, there are more ways than one to skin a Khan. Most of them revolve around the Diplomat & Spy units.

If your enemy is not in a Democracy (which is not bribable), I highly recommend bribery and inciting revolts. It costs gold, to be sure, but you will spend the gold on fresh troops anyway. This way, you always get some gold back in plunder of a city and you also receive control of any enemy units that are in the bribed square (or city). If you grab a city, you can also gain tech the enemy has which you don’t.

I have won wars in Civ 2 against powerful opponents by building nothing more than a few diplomats and turning them loose on the enemy’s shore. Diplomats are very cheap (120 gold), and each one is capable of capturing an entire city for you. Imagine formations of diplomats descending on your enemies! Not even Mongol hordes can match the horror inspired by these powerful units!

The richer the enemy, the closer the city is to his capital and the bigger the city, the more it will cost you to incite a revolt. Cities in disorder cost half price, as do cities without any units present. Spies can get you an even better bargain at 84% of regular price, and veteran spies can do the trick for a mere pittance: 67% of the cost at which diplomats incite revolts.

If bribery isn’t possible, acquaint yourself with the other abilities of the spy. Spies can plant nuclear weapons, poison water supplies, and sabotage city production in addition to bribing the enemy. If you’re engaged in a Limited War and have neither the forces nor the gold to try conquering or bribing, try throwing waves of spies at a city. If you can coordinate this kind of espionage with roving troops that are pillaging the city radius, you can bring an enemy city to its knees without mounting a full-scale attack on his walls.

Chapter 3. Politics and War

"War is the continuation of politics, intermixed with other means." – Clausewitz

While there may be some debate as to the efficacy or meaning of Clausewitz’ statement, there can be no doubt that nations have won wars yet lost the peace. The same can happen to you in Civ 2 unless you meld both political goals and military goals to achieve the same end.

3.1. Cease Fires and Treaties

"Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last." – Charles de Gaulle

I urged you to never go to war without knowing your purpose, and I urge the same thing in considering peace. My blanket rule in Civ 2 is: "If he’s down, don’t let him up", but I leaven that precept with conditions. Above all, I try to be flexible without losing sight of my general aims.

A computer nation will usually only offer a cease fire if it perceives that it is overmatched and losing. You’ve no doubt noticed that once you’ve taken a city of his, he tends to get cold feet about the whole idea of fighting. In a way, a cease fire offer is a good signal to you that you have the advantage. Whether you press that advantage or not should already be determined by your war goals before the first shot is fired.

Cease fire offers are also a method for the computer player to catch his breath and regroup before renewing hostilities. Just because he wants to stop shooting doesn’t mean he wants to make friends. You can estimate his reasons by observing his personality and his attitude towards you, beginning long before the war started. Aggressive AI civs will remain that way, even after a cease fire is declared. Watch your back – chances are he’ll launch a sneak attack in a few turns.

AI Civs that have had good relations with you, on the other hand, may have been pushed into the war by allies. Or their attitude shifted because you became significantly larger and more powerful than they. These problems can be partly set right, if you wish, by offering tributes of technology or gold and signing a permanent peace treaty. If you want to preserve the diplomatic element of the game after you’ve become the Number One Civ on the map, I recommend building the Eiffel Tower Wonder and the United Nations. Both are extremely helpful in keeping the peace, especially after you become big enough to inspire jealousy and fear.

Unless the AI is so desperate as to offer a handsome reward in gold for a cease fire, I rarely accept its offer before my armies have taken their objectives. Under Democracy or Republic, of course, you may not have a choice if the Senate is being meddlesome.

Regarding alliances: I take a pragmatic attitude. If I began the game with the goal of conquering my neighbors, then there’s little point in joining alliances. In fact, such mechanisms only stand in your way if you intend to keep your reputation intact. It’s hard to goad a nation into war if you have a peace treaty – it’s nearly impossible if you’re allies. Use some foresight and know your own directions before entering into such contracts.

3.2. On Machiavelli

"A real diplomat is one who can cut his neighbor’s throat without having his neighbor notice it." – Trygve Lie

 "He lied, I knew he lied and he knew I lied. That was diplomacy." – Adm. William Kimball

Civ 2 isn’t just building cities and fighting wars. In history, some of the more dramatic turning points have come as a result of the interaction of cultures, the agreements (or disagreements) that result, and the cementing of long-term alliances.

The 16th-century Venetian Niccolo Machiavelli contended that politics are, by their nature, amoral. Thus, any means (however unscrupulous) are justifiable in achieving political power. His thinking would be viewed today as either immoral or cynically accurate.

In Civ 2, you have no moral constraints placed upon you if you choose to follow Machiavelli’s philosophy. For the most part, this will mean playing one computer Civ against another; of making alliances of convenience and using those alliances to strengthen yourself while you weaken your ally. You can actually pay your friends to fight your wars for you! If you don’t do these things you’re missing one of the real pleasures of playing Civ 2. You’re also missing a gold mine of unrealized power.

My own diplomatic philosophy in Civ 2 is to align myself with the weakest Civs, even giving them free tech to win them over. My first objective in any political or military campaign is to eliminate my closest competition, and gaining the trust of my enemy’s enemies is a large step in that direction. At some point later in the game, if I’m playing for conquest, even my former allies become fair game.

Be sure to check the Foreign Advisor window (F3) frequently, and monitor other nation’s attitudes. Also, gaining embassies with other nations (just run a diplomat into their city and select it as an option) gives you a wealth of important information about who your enemy is fighting, and who he’s friendly with. Use this information to your own advantage. If you can stir up trouble between the other Civs while staying out of it yourself, so much the better. Being devious can be fun!

Once you’ve become significantly larger and more powerful than the other civilizations, they will tend to band together to "contain your aggression". This is how the AI tries to balance the game. The best way to deal with this is to anticipate it. Use the early and middle portions of the game when most Civs are fairly equal to establish a favorable political climate and to weaken your opponents. If you’ve become so powerful that the outcome is no longer in doubt, then diplomacy is moot. Chuck your reputation and go on the rampage.


3.3. Shorting Out the Senate

"Augustus and Charlemagne, those great restorers, had no faith in democracy; they could not subject their trained and considered judgements, their far-reaching plans and policies, to carping criticism and inconclusive debate by the corruptible delegates of popular simplicity." – Will & Ariel Durant, The Story of Civilization

I doubt that there’s anything as frustrating as mounting a major offensive deep into enemy territory, then just when you have your victim on his back ready to kill he offers a cease fire which your Senate forces you to accept. It’s enough to make you want to drive a battalion of M-1s right into the Senate chambers.

I have had Senates back me, however. On a few memorable occasions, my enemy has been a particularly nasty and distrustful sort. He’s launched a number of sneak attacks against me during the game until I finally launched a large Limited War to reduce his Civ to its component bricks. When he asked for a cease fire and I refused, my Senate supported my decision. I then made short work of the antagonist. (Note that, usually, if you accept a cease fire your Senate will always force you to also accept a peace treaty.)

Sadly, the circumstances where this happens are few. The first thing I do before starting or joining a Total War is to dump the current Republic/Democracy form of government. I can fight a Defensive War under Republic/Democracy without trouble because I begin the war willing to accept any peace proposal – my war objective was simply to survive. It’s a little more difficult in Limited War, but still do-able. But anytime I’m planning a Total War, I do not hesitate to stage a Revolution and move to Fundamentalism. It is, bar none, the most powerful war-fighting government in the game. War is what it is for. You will have no Senate to worry about, little if any support to pay, and no unhappiness to hinder you. The infusion of cash Fundamentalism gives you from tithes will also enable you to crash-build units, city walls, SDI systems, airports, or whatever else you may need on the spot.

If you can’t manage Fundamentalism, then I would urge you to pursue the United Nations Wonder as soon as you can. It will allow you to override your Senate 50% of the time and force enemies to accept peace if you offer. The U.N. may be your best answer to the Senate, short of Fundamentalism.

If you’re sly enough, you may be able to goad your opponent into taking the reputation hit, thus strengthening your hand with the Senate. It can be done.


3.4. Taunting Your Enemy

 "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!" – John Cleese, Monty Python’s "Search for the Holy Grail"

"Nuts!" – Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, Bastogne, Dec. 22, 1944

So you’re tired of that neighboring Civ getting in your way and taking all the best city sites? You want to eliminate him, but you don’t want to be the one who breaks the peace treaty? Have you tried goading him into war? Here’s some tips.

The computer AI goes to war for specific reasons. Those reasons all boil down to Attitude. Every computer civ has an Attitude rating towards you, the human player. It starts with a random setting adjusted for personality, and then fluctuates during the game according to events. The scale extends from 0 ("Worshipful") to 100 or more (Enraged). The attitude rating is affected primarily by a comparison of the individual computer’s Civ to yours.

– AI leaders with peaceful personalities tend to like you more.

– You gain attitude points if you trade knowledge or pay tribute.

– AI leaders are friendlier if they’re ahead of you in technology.

– AI Civs like you better if you have fewer military units than they do.

– If you are significantly smaller than the computer Civ, it tends not to respect you and is likely to pick on you.

– If you are significantly larger than the computer Civ, it will respect your power (and have a better attitude).

– If you have nuclear weapons, the computer Civ is less likely to pick a fight with you.

– If you have launched your spaceship to Alpha Centauri, all the computer Civs will band together and attempt to interfere with your efforts by capturing your capital city and destroying the ship.

I can tell in the Foreign Advisor (F3) window whether I have a chance of inciting an opponent into breaking a peace treaty or cease fire. If the Civ’s attitude is "Uncooperative" or worse, I normally only have to post some troops inside a city radius of his (until he protests), demand gold "for my patience", and/or insist that he withdraw his troops from my territory (even if he has none). If I do this often enough he becomes very testy and is likely to launch a sneak attack. Then he takes the reputation hit rather than me, and if I’m in a Republic or Democracy my Senate is more likely to support my refusals of a cease fire.

Depending on geography, you can also push your opponent into initiating war by building a city very close to one of his, then fortifying it and planting a large number of troops inside. The computer deems that a direct threat, and cannot force you to pull back diplomatically.

A more subtle method is to make friends with a Civ he is at war with. Give them some technology and sign a peace treaty or alliance. (Before you do this, however, be sure you’ve opened embassies with both Civs.) Your future enemy will probably come calling on you to cancel your treaty with his enemies. Your refusal will not sit well, and you have the option of bribing your friend into declaring war on the troublemaker.

Chapter 4. Conclusion

 "Cease firing, but if any enemy planes appear, shoot them down in a friendly fashion." – Adm. William Halsey

I am neither George Patton nor Clausewitz. I play games for fun, and I like to write for fun. This little thesis is the result.

The allure of Civilization II is in the imagination of the player, and to having a vivid imagination I plead guilty. I have changed the rules and the icons of the game to suit my own particular tastes and spent hours on electronic boards discussing the game while I’m not playing it. I’ve even been known to dream about it.

Is it addictive? To a history buff and a gamer, it’s more dangerous than heroin. Luckily, the only detriments to my health will come from lack of sleep, excessive eye strain, and diminished job performance.

Thanks for reading this. Now go play some Civ 2. Disrupt, dislocate, and preempt! Be imaginative! Most of all, enjoy!


Sid Meier’s Civilization II – the Official Strategy Guide – Prima Publishing, 1996

The Art of Maneuver (Maneuver Warfare Theory and AirLand Battle) – Robert R. Leonhard, Presidio Press, 1991

Strategy – B.H. Liddel Hart, Meridian Books, 1954, 1967

How To Make War – James Dunnigan, Quill-William Morrow, 1988

A History of Warfare – John Keegan, Vintage Books, 1994

The Face of Battle – John Keegan, Viking Penguin, 1976

The Encyclopedia of Military History – R.E. Dupuy and T.N. Dupuy, Harper and Row, 1977

The Prince – Niccolo Machiavelli, 1513, trans. by N.H. Thompson, Prometheus Books 1986

On War – Karl Von Clausewitz, London 1908

The Art of War – Sun Tzu, trans. by Samuel B. Griffith, Oxford Univ. Press 1963

Summary of the Art of War – Antoine H. Jomini, Military Service Publishing Co, 1958

The Devil’s Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion of Europe – James Chambers, Atheneum Publishing, 1979

Military History of the Western World – J.F.C. Fuller

The Conduct of War, 1789-1961 – J.F.C. Fuller, Da Capo Press, 1992

US Army Field Manual 100-5, "Operations", 1986

The Influence of Sea Power Upon History – A.T. Mahan, London 1965

The Story of Civilization – Will & Ariel Durant, MJF Books, 1975