I have been studying this since the day that I purchased this game, and I feel that I have developed some pretty interesting theories on warfare. Of course, this pertains primarily to the Americans on a Huge Pangaea world.
War has many useful purposes in CIV3. The secret is knowing when to declare war, how to conduct war, and when to stop fighting and sue for peace. I know in CIV2 that war was conducted 9 out of 10 times until on civilization was in smoldering ruins. Its not quite the same with CIV3 (with the above criteria).
I’m afraid of war… what do I do?
Build up your military. Kissing butt doesn’t work for long, and your bound to encounter militaristic nations who love easy prey. The AI respects numbers, and hates frivolousness. The AI will definitely attack you if your military is low on numbers (aka. weak).
I have a military, how do I know if its good enough?
You have a few options here. You may contact your military advisor and he will tell you if you can support more units. You may also use embassies and spies to determine the strength of enemy cities.
Creating military units interferes with the growth of my cities!
If you don’t have enough military to stave off invaders, you very quickly lose your precious cities to a more powerful Civ. A side note on this. Make sure to have at least the following in cities before continuing development:
If you don’t want to be warmongers, keep those numbers in mind. It will deter other civs from attacking you. But be mindful of the fact that you will need to have many cities under this concept.
I want to conquer the world! How do I start?
The world was a big place. As the old saying goes "Rome wasn’t built in one day". You need to strategize, and determine your objective "prior" to mobilizing your military. As history has proven time and time again, a powerful military is nothing without a good strategy. Analyze the terrain, get world maps, territory maps, find out about the technology of the worlds civs, distinguish alliances, and form your own.
When attacking come up with an "end game" plan. Don’t let your anger or pride get you into a very prolonged campaign. While a Democracy has "war weariness", long wars will wear down ALL civs, regardless of your government.
If a civ is large, slice it up into acceptable slices. Conquer it piece by piece. Use physical boundaries (oceans and lakes preferably, then mountains) to create the pieces. Before you ever attack another kingdom, figure out how you will defend it once you have conquered it. Once you have conquered that slice, implement your defense plan, and then repeat. Soon you will have expanded your kingdom in a solid fashion. This is just one strategy.
Even if your goal really is annihilation, create a back up plan just in case you need to abandon your assault. You never know when an unexpected enemy is going to appear.
My military advisor says my military is strong compared to the rest. What now?
Pick an enemy (or the person pissing you off). Compare your technologies. Are you more advanced? If you are unsure, move one of your units up to one of their larger cities. If they have a defender such as spearman appear (and you have Knights), then you are probably superior.
Make sure your military units are as modern as possible, and if you are working on a technology that improves military (metallurgy, gunpowder) and almost there, wait for the advance, and then upgrade.
How do I prepare for war?
Mobilize your military along your enemies borders. During this time, set your inside cities to start producing Horsemen/Knights/Calvary. Cities closer to the edge of your kingdom, build primary defensive units (spearmen/pikemen/musketeers).
Keep your cities producing offensive and defensive units throughout the entire war. Resist the urge to change to Universities/Cathedrals unless you ABSOLUTELY must (due to moral).
Try and secure luxuries within your nation or trade for them. At this time make sure your "other" neighbors are either in on the attack (Military Alliance) or polite with you. THIS IS NECESSARY. When you go to war, your military strength will dwindle as units die besieging cities. Your neighbors will eventually take advantage of this so keep an eye on their attitude towards you.
Once you have your units assembled (recommended at least 4 horse-types, 6 offensive, and 2 defensive… and 4+ artillery doesn’t hurt either) move in for the attack. Take stock in the fact that each city you face will have AT LEAST 3 of its most modern defensive units.
Make sure to formally declare war before you attack. Saves you face value (you can do this while your units are outside of their cities).
Ok. I have taken my first city(ies) what now?
Keep those military units building!!! DO NOT STOP MILITARY PRODUCTION UNTIL A FORMAL TREATY IS SIGNED!!! Just because you have captured some of their cities, doesn’t mean they are going to just throw up the white flag and surrender. In fact, you can expect a MAJOR counter-offensive. That is why I recommended at LEAST 2 modern defensive units.
Once you have taken a city, make sure to move forward defensive units from your homeland cities that are producing defensive units. KEEP THEM STREAMING. If you cant wait, send in already produced defensive units, and replace them the units on the production line.
After a successful attack fortify your unit in the newly captured city, or keep them within the city, especially the skirmishing units (horsemen/knights/calvary). Attack any units that attempt to retake the city with skirmishing units, and then retreat into the city. This will weaken the incoming counter attack.
Don’t forget that you will lose offensive units in assaults. That’s normal. Just make sure your cities are producing replacements.
How do I stop the enemy counter-attack?
Depending on your end game strategy, this may be done in a number of ways. If you have met your goals, and the enemy is continuing his counter-offensive, destroying roads/rails inside your enemies borders may slow his units down as they approach your cities. This will give you the opportunity to used garrisoned cannons/catapults to bombard attacking units before they reach your city, and also give your skirmishing units a chance to attack those units with the advantage of the terrain improvements on your side of the border.
Using fast moving units you may wish to target valuable resources deep within enemy territory, and pillage roads leading to them. This will halt production of units reliant upon those resources until a road is re-established.
The third solution (and works well in conjunction with the above) is to bring another enemy against your enemy on a different front. This will force your victim to redirect its counter offensive efforts.
I have many useless enemy cities. What do I do?
If you have conquered the city, you have the options of using the city for its territory, defensive bonuses (if any), resources, luxuries, etc.. Or you may use it in additional ways.
The enemy cherishes his cities, and will always desire the return of lost cities. You may use this city as a bargaining chip at the peace table. You may also use this city to bring your enemy into war with other civs, by selling it to a third party. This will bring another civ into the mix, reward you, take a useless city off your hand, and bring another civ against your enemy.
I have been at war for a while, when do I stop?
If you are asking this question, then there is a reason for wanting to sue for peace. There are a number of reasons to stop a war. Here are a few:
- I have achieved my military objectives (mentioned above).
- This war isn’t going anywhere (stalemate).
- I am falling behind technologically.
- I have discovered a new technology that needs to be implemented.
- I’m getting whooped.
- My infrastructure is falling behind.
- I’m over extended and cant get troops out to the front lines fast enough.
If you have a clearly defined military strategy, you probably wont run into the problems 2,5,6 and 7. A clearly defined strategy/goal, will help guide your military arm, and put a definite end in sight. Simply declaring "I wanna wipe out the enemy" may be a bad mistake.
On a huge map, civs spread out. They have many hard to reach cities that take Medieval and Ancient units time to reach. The longer you are at war, the less you spend on civ improvements. Even though your enemy is being thoroughly punished, surrounding civs are growing technologically more advanced, and militarily more powerful.
I wanna end the war. How do I do it?
Make sure you have enough military to hold onto the cities you had before going to war. If you find yourself over extended, sue for peace and offer the captured cities back as a peace sign. In the mean time, pull back your military units to cities you want, and fortify your national boundaries. Don’t let pride to your head. It may not be the adversary you took the city from who may take it back. It could be a neighbor who notices your militarily weakened civ and decide to attack.
I hope these Q and A helped people who are having problems with war. These are things I have learned from my run at the game.