The Let's Play Archive

Civilization 4

by Zoolooman

Part 12

I've started on the next update. As you know, updates with wars tend to be a lot larger, and the update may therefore take a bit longer to finish. In fact, I may not be able to finish the update tonight, in which case I'll save it to a text file and finish it tomorrow.

But before I work on the update, I'm going to tell you about choosing the right moment for war.

The rule is: Get the maximum advantage you can, get that advantage as early as possible, press that advantage as fast as you can, and press it where it will do the most damage.

Getting the maximum advantage you can.

You can do four things to get a strong advantage.

1. You can have better technology.
2. You can have more units.
3. You can have superior production.
4. You can have more experience.

The first and third things are accomplished almost entirely through your tech choices and your city specializations. The second thing is accomplished by making a production city and then producing only the necessary infrastructure in that city, so that you can put most of your hammers towards building military units.

How do you accomplish things one through three? I'll cover that later.

The fourth is accomplished by building a barracks and selecting wartime civics like Vassalage and/or Theocracy.

Getting that advantage as early as possible.

Choose a certain military unit (or units), and tech towards that unit while ignoring anything that doesn't increase your ability to tech towards that unit. Oftentimes you'll have that unit centuries before anyone is prepared to fight it.

Press that advantage.

Once you have a military unit, produce only as much of that unit as you need and then go on the attack. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that your opponent will build a response. Of course, if you have some way to prove that there is time to wait, then build up some extra units in order to reduce the time necessary to conquer your enemy.

Press it where it will do the most damage.

Crack the biggest cities and pillage key military resources at the very outset of war. Otherwise, you may find yourself pouring troops (and production) into a drawn out meatgrinder.

How I'm warring against China...

If you've been following this thread, you've seen how I've built up a technological advantage: my great scientists have founded academies; I've built cottages all around Moscow, Delhi, Port Kavkaz, and Bombay; and I've selected wonders, technologies, and infrastructures that encourage research. Consequently, I've researched Guilds several hundred years before everyone else, so I can bulid knights when nobody else has a proper defense against them.

You've also seen that my cities are thoroughly specialized. For example, Grozny produces 25 hammers a turn, which means that I finish a knight every 4 turns. If I build a Heroic Epic in this city, I'll produce a Knight every 2 turns.

Finally, and most important of all, I know how long I have before China can field a proper defense against knights. Pikemen, the anti-knight units, are acquired with Engineering. Look at Engineering's place on the tech tree:

While it is a relatively accessible technology (since almost everyone gets construction by 600AD), Engineering is nevertheless hard to reach quickly because it requires Machinery, which lies behind the expensive Metal Casting technology. Now that I'm producing Knights, it is likely that Mao has begun to tech towards Engineering and Pikemen, but it isn't likely that he'll build them before I conquer his nation.

Let's see where Mao sits on the tech tree!

Oh no! In general, Mao is technologically backwards, which implies that he produces many many fewer beakers than I produce. However, he wants Guilds from me, which tells me that he already has Machinery, and could be well on his way to producing Engineering!

This is the power of streamlined teching. Yes, his army is shit. Yes, he isn't even on my level of research speed. However, he's on the doorstep of the technology which will counter my advantage!

Obviously, the time to attack is now. Since Engineering would take my civilization 7 turns to complete, I suspect that I have at least that many turns before China has researched Engineering, and at least 3 to 4 turns after that before he produces his first pikeman. This gives me a tremendous window of ten turns to crush his primary production cities before he'll be able to stop my knights.

I'm going to spend 3 of those turns of advantage on finishing another pair of knights. I'm also going to move my longbows into proper position. Then I'm going to attack Shanghai and Beijing, two of his three greatest commerce cities, and I'm going to take them before he finishes Engineering. This should slow his research level immensely, potentially pushing the counter unit out of his reach for the rest of the war.

However, I'll also plan for the possibility that he'll finish Engineering and produce pikemen before I've dealt him fatal damage. After my third wave of knights is completed, I'm going to build Macemen with the City Raider upgrade. If Mao spends his production on Pikemen, I should be able to simply mush his pikes with city raider maces.

But Zooloo! What about his Cho-Ko-Nu? Mao has finished machinery, which means that he is already capable of producing the counter to macemen.

That's alright, I say. Right now I'm researching Education in order to speed up my teching. After that, I'm nabbing Gunpowder and Chemistry. Chemistry gives me grenadiers, which are a little better than knights, and absolutely fantastic for City Raiding. Since grenadiers normally do not recieve the city raider promotion, my city raider macemen will simply upgrade. Then China will die.