Ancient Multiplayer Strategy (Warlords 2.08)
Before reading this it would be a good idea to ready Gogf’s MP article found here- http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=176505
In this article I will outline general strategy for playing MP. Most online MP is played with ancient starts. The game types are about evenly split b/w FFA (free for all) and teamer gamer (often 3v3, 4v4, or 5v5). FFA are played on all types of maps (often pangea though), where as teamers are almost exclusively played on Inland Sea or Team Battleground (here after TBG) maps (the strategy in this article will be generally geared towards team games, but will be broadly applicable to FFA too).
A lot can be determined about a player’s skill (and sometimes game plan) before the game even starts-in the Staging Room. This determination is made by the player’s choice of civ. I will give a run down of the traits. Remember that traits work in combination with each other.
-Expansionist- this is the trait in MP for the simply fact that you can make workers quicker. Improving tiles is the key to civ and with expansionist you can do it faster. Fast granaries are also nice (you will need one in every city for super slaving of units). For those that play mostly SP games you will be shocked by how many more workers you need in MP. The benefits of cheaper workers are that you can improve tiles faster and can afford to assign more workers to road building. A dense network of roads is vital in MP-especially those roads leading to the front.
-Aggressive- this is a strong MP trait b/c you will need a barracks in every city and they are cheaper for Agg. civs. The other reason to choose an agg. civ is the ready made combat 1 promotion, that allows you to open up the specialized promotions (shock, medic, and cover). This is important for bringing that extra umph to the fight. The other reason that Agg. is strong in MP is your starting warrior has the odds versus the non-Agg. civs’ starting warriors, thus you can prevent those warriors from scouting your lands right in the beginning and that is an advantage.
-Spiritual- this is good b/c of the no Anarchy. An MP games rarely lasts longer than 100-150 turns and you will switch civics to at least slavery and probably hereditary rule, bureaucracy, and a religion. This means that by being a Spi. civ you can avoid those turns of anarchy. The other benefit of Spiritual is that if you want to you can go to Org. Religion or Caste System. Going Caste System for 10 turns to make a great artists and then culture bombing a border city is a huge advantage on that front, however this strat comes with a large penalty for non-Spi. civs (or non-Philo civs).
-Financial- this a good MP trait b/c almost all of your commerce will be generated by cottages. In fact getting a cottage or two up early is often the difference of a turn or two in getting Iron working or construction before your opponents. In a game that runs longer, this will be the difference between getting Macemen tens of turns before your opponents. Fin. confers a large advantage in MP civ.
-Creative-free border pops are good and cheap libraries are nice too (neither of these can make or break a game though). The inherent culture of Creative civs also provides a cultural defense for your cities (probably just one city on the border will be threatened though) that is extremely useful in gaining line of sight in MP (to spot incoming stacks of units) in the early game. In the early game it also provides a cultural defense, but this will be rendered moot by Construction. As the game progresses creative is less and less helpful in MP civ.
-Philosophical- you won’t get to Universities in an ancient MP game so don’t count on that. The +100 Great person birth is good because you can get through the tech tree faster by lightbulbing techs, but in 2.08 the strongest lightbulb paths have been moderated. However the Philosophical/Spiritual synergy is very nice.
-Charismatic- +1 happiness (and +1 for Monument) is nice in the early going, but by the time you get to Monarchy this will become obsolete as you will be stockpiling units anyway, so happiness should not be an issue once in Hereditary Rule. The -25% for promotions is nice, but this really only really comes into play on a large scale with the 3rd promotion and the game is unlikely to reach civics that will let you start units with the necessary xp points.
-Industrious- cheap forges and cheap wonders. In MP there are very few wonders worth getting and often times it is better to just put those shields into workers, units, settlers.
-Organized- Cheaper civics, but you won’t be running many high cost civics so…. Cheap courthouses and lighthouse, blah. You won’t need these really and they certainly won’t provide much advantage over your opponents.
-Imperialistic- You won’t build many settlers in MP normally. Most maps are made small so that the “expansion” phase of the game is short. Thus you will normally only build a handful of settlers, however it is nice to get that first settler out quickly. The +100 Great General is nice, but again won’t break a game. You will either have a super unit or your units from one city will get an extra promo.
-Protective- My least favorite. Cheap walls, just be creative, it is pretty much the same thing, but better. Your game won’t make it to castles (also useless). The drill 1 city garrison 1 archers are at first glance appealing and ideal for MP, but the game will not be won or lost by archers so forget about it. In any event catapults will chew up these protective archers almost a well as regular archers.
Unique Units worth mentioning
-Impi- replace spearmen, but have 2 movement. They can chase raiding mounted units and are nice because you have 2 move unit to harass your enemy with even if you don’t have horses.
-Skirmisher- the ultimate Ancient defensive unit, it is available at a cheap tech (archery) and is resources less. Also excellent at “choking” an opponent.
-War Chariots-cheap 5strg. 2 move unit with the chariot bonus v. axemen.
-Fast Worker- these are very interesting units, consider that they don’t get penalized for moving into a forest to chop it. Now on Epic speed that advantage is mitigated by the length of the game, but on quick speed (most MP games are quick speed) the lost turn a regular worker has for moving to a forest is much bigger, thus the advantage of the fast worker is greater.
-Immortals-a cheap 2 move unit that has the chariot bonus v. axemen, but also gets a bonus versus archery units. A quick rush of these can end a game.
-Jaguar- resource less and with the woodsman II promotion has the ability to move rapidly through enemy territory and to put a very nice “choke” on an opponent.
-Hwacha- replace catapult, but have +50% v. melee units. This unit can devastate cities.
-Praetorians- 8 strg. unit that can take city raider promotions.
-Phalanx- replace spearmen, but are 5strg. and have an extra hill defense.
-Cho-Ko-Nu- replace crossbowmen. They cause collateral damage. Rather expensive though.
-Numidian Cavalry-get a +50% versus melee, which is nice, however they are only strg. 5 and are penalized 10% for attacking cities.
-Quechua- nice because you can prevent an archer “choke” or break one rather cheaply.
Wonders- In MP new players often build more wonders than are needed and build unnecessary. Here are the only ones you should even consider.
-Hanging Gardens- +1 pop in all cities is huge, this wonder can break a game if the game is team game since all your teammates will get the extra pop too- this is a map dependent wonder- you and your teamates have combined 25+ cities it is clearly a better wonder than you and your teammates have only 9+ cities
-Oracle- won’t likely break a game, but is nice for grabbing 3 different techs. Metal Casting is popular grab, but focuses on a longer term strat.- that of going for Machinery (this the most expensive tech too). Monarchy is also a nice grab b/c it allows for increased city size with Hereditary rule (longer term it is on the way to Feudalism). And Code of Laws this is good for the Spi. and/or Phil. civs b/c they can make a great artist for bombing the front using Caste System. Oracle will also eventually provide a Great Prophet that can be used to lightbulb Theology which opens up Theocracy for the extra promotion. Watch out though- if this wonder has still not been built, and you see the other team adopting hereditary rule be careful that they are not going to grab Feudalism with the Oracle- that will put your team at a serious disadvantage.
Stonehenge- this also won’t break a game open, but is nice for popping your borders. It’s usefulness increases with the number of cities that you (or team will have). If you or each person on your team has a limited amount of space, these early hammers are often better spent on workers/units/settlers.
Strong Tech Path(s)-in this section I ignore the first line of techs, assuming you already have them (which is of course civ/team dependent)
Oracle Tech path- this puts you a number of turns to construction behind a team taking the purely military tech path
->Bronze W.->Animal H.->Archery->Pottery->Iron W.->Meditation->Priesthood-> Masonry->Writing->Mathematics->Construction
Pure Military Tech Path (my favored)
->Bronze W.-> Animal H. -> Archery->Pottery->Iron W.->Writing->Mathematics-> Construction
Chokes- This is where you put units into your enemies territory with the idea of preventing your opponent from improving his/her tiles. Chokes are best when put on a forested hill tile, but (depending on the unit/promotions) can be put on any defensive ground. The standard choke is an archer choke on a forested hill tile. Chokes are most effective when you have more than one unit on that defensive tile. This is because if you have an archer on a forested tile and I attack with an archer and lose, but do enough damage to attack and win with a second archer then you and I have merely traded units (and hammers), but now I have a promoted unit. Multiple units in a choke can prevent you from merely trading units as previously described. A few particularly nasty types of chokes can be done with Skirmishers, Jaguars, and guerrilla promoted archers (protective archers to a lesser degree).
Breaking a Choke- The key to breaking a choke is to not panic. Do NOT start throwing units at it, this only promotes the unit or has you trading 40 hammers worth of units for 20 hammers worth of units (a losing proposition). Since chokes are often done by archers they can sometimes (depending on the type of terrain and defense bonus) be broken by cover promoted swordsmen or axes (this option is really only available to Agg. civs though). The other way to break a choke is just to wait on Construction and catapults and then use catapults and collateral damage to get rid it. If you find yourself being choked, you have to work around it. Don’t let them deny you all the tiles, only let a choke deny you the tile(s) that the units are actually on. To do this you will need a few units to accompany your workers, but do that, just make sure that you have enough units defend your workers. To prevent chokes the first thing that you need to do with your worker(s) is chop forests (especially those on hills).Discuss this article on the forum