#1 04.02.2016 05:27:57

ACGlasier
Player
Posts: 2

war strategy

What's everybody's strategy when it comes to waging war? I was just recently slaughtered in a battle, probably because I'm not used to this one-unit-per-tile limitation (which I don't mind, actually makes it interesting). My technique -- protecting a catapult with a spear, surrounding it with archers and spears -- I was surprised to have pretty easily ambushed. How do you chaps wage wars? How many units is ideal? How many of what type of unit? What sorts of formations? Any other secrets? Teach me the way! smile

Last edited by ACGlasier (04.02.2016 06:48:02)

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#2 04.02.2016 12:30:55

wieder
Administrator
Posts: 700

Re: war strategy

It all depends on what you need to do. In the early game a very popular strategy is using horses to strike deep inside enemy territory with a goal of simply destroying a city or two. This is a very good strategy unless your enemy knows what to expect and prepares for it. Using horses to attack a city with walls is usually suicide but attacking a city on plains and without walls will do the trick for you. For a defensing nation building phalanx units for the cities is a very good idea. They have double defense strength of a warrior and cost just 50% more. This is of course LT36 specific setting.

Once the first cities have been found and the enemy has, probably, a reasonable amount of units,  it becomes really interesting. As I said on the game chat it always depends on the situation but here is some basic stuff.

a) have the element of surprise. There is no need for your enemy to see your units out in the open unless there is no other way you could attack
b) use enough troops in one location. It's no use to attack two or more cities one time unless you are absolutely sure you can take both. Maybe in the mid/mate game but usually not in the early game
c) Zones of Control (ZoC) is ypur friend. Study how to block your enemy from reaching the vulnerable units or cities.
d) and maybe the most important thing. Diplomacy. make some private chats with your neighbors and agree about a Non Aggressive Pact (NAP, usually for some limited time like 20-40 turns) covering your back. Maybe eventually ally with someone. The veteran players are usually careful about the reputation and backstabbing is not that common. Saying hi! to your neighbor is a good idea smile

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#3 04.02.2016 14:33:09

Drew
Player
Posts: 26

Re: war strategy

Also, if you haven't already, learn how to use the war calculator: http://longturn.org/warcalc/

Help->Combat in the Freeciv menu already explains it pretty well, but someone please correct me if I have anything wrong here:
To calculate the attack and defense strengths:
- Multiply the base attack/defense by the veteran level multiplier
- (Defense strength only) multiply by the terrain modifier (forest/swamp/jungle give a 1.25x bonus, hills give 1.5x, mountains give 2x, and river adds 0.25 to the base terrain multiplier, i.e. hills river is 1.75x... I think)
- (Defense strength only) if the defending unit is in a city, multiply it's defense strength by 1.5, if the city is size 8 or above, multiply it by 2 instead (or is it 1.5x1.5? or was this only in the LT35 ruleset?) if the city has city walls, multiply it by 2
- Sometimes the firepower needs to be modified, i.e. a catapult attacking a city gets its firepower doubled.

So for example, green archers have an attack of 3, and if you suspect your enemy has green warriors defending a city with city walls, that defense is (1 base defense)x(1.5 city bonus)x(2 city walls) = 3, so you have a 50/50 shot.
If the defending unit is a veteran phalanx instead, its defense is (2 base defense)x(1.5 veteran)x(1.5 city bonus)x(2 city walls) = 9, and your chance of success is now less than 1%.  However, a green catapult attacking this phalanx, according to the war calculator, will have a 60% chance of success, due to its firepower being doubled.

Try to put yourself in your opponent's shoes to predict what kind of units they might have and how they might react to your moves.  For a really big attack/siege, it is sometimes worth using a diplomat to investigate the city first, to see what units are inside and allow you to predict much better your chances of success.

One last piece of advice: build your cities on terrain that gives you a defensive bonus!  Hills and forest/river tiles are usually best, as well as of course the elusive hills/river tile.  If you have a city on grassland/plains that you are worried will be attacked you can always use a worker to mine the tile to turn it into forest and give your units that extra 1.25 bonus! (at the expense of food)

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#4 21.03.2016 20:04:12

bamskamp
Player
Posts: 28

Re: war strategy

wieder wrote:

d) and maybe the most important thing. Diplomacy. make some private chats with your neighbors and agree about a Non Aggressive Pact (NAP, usually for some limited time like 20-40 turns) covering your back. Maybe eventually ally with someone. The veteran players are usually careful about the reputation and backstabbing is not that common. Saying hi! to your neighbor is a good idea smile

To me, this is the most interesting part of the game.  And I'm horrible at it smile .  There are certainly some strong feelings as to how this 'should' be done, but I think the differences are actually quite small and unite around a common theme: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  If you can't join 'em, organize enough others to try to beat 'em."

Some players abhor the concept of the so-called 'wolfpack' strategy.  As far as I understand it, this is usually a term applied to an alliance of nations that unite under a singular purpose to defeat a common enemy.  In all the games I've played, I recall two games that emerged due to successful applications of this strategy - LT30, where there was a large coalition of alliances that defeated the clear front-running alliance.  If I remember correctly, this was tried again in LT32 under the auspices of "The Church" - and while the outcome of the game would certainly have changed without the actions of that group (a success of sorts, in taking down the front-runner), they did not succeed in officially 'winning' the game.  I don't think it always has to be in response to a common threat, as perhaps those that take part in a 'super-alliance' merely do so to join a rolling stone that propels the aggregated momentum of the group towards an inevitable win.

Despite measures taken to limit this behavior (i.e., maximum alliance sizes have been hard-coded into winning conditions), this pejorative term is still applied to groups that are smaller than this max size.  I don't know the magical formula. If others have different definitions of this term, it would be enlightening to hear them - I admit a bit of confusion as to how it is applied.

I've noticed another important strategy for some veteran players is to immediately gobble up weaker nations early in the game if there are clear differences in playing ability.  This may not seem 'noob' friendly, but it can't be denied that it teaches a hard lesson on what it may take to survive in an LT game, with the risk that it may cause a beginning player to lose interest in future games.

For newer players, I think it is most fun to be a part of a team with a few veterans that can show them the ropes.  I think it has the greatest potential of recruiting/retaining new players in the LT community.

I don't see any way around the 'kill-the-winner' or 'join-the-winner' aspect of the game, I don't think there is anything unusual to be said about players wishing to de-throne a clear front runner in order to have a chance at winning.  I don't think it disappears even in the diplomatic clarity of a 'team game' - it just becomes the negotiation of alliances of teams doing the same thing.

Despite the obsession over reputations in this game, I sometimes wonder what 'honor' is being protected.  Sure, outright lying is usually sniffed out early and would certainly be the most damaging to one's reputation... but unorthodox interpretations of NAPs might be a 'grey' area which may or may not destroy one's chances of allying in future games.

I'm certainly not skilled enough to win this game in the absence of diplomacy - perhaps there was one player (who is no longer playing) that possibly could have. So leaving lone-wolf strategies aside, is joining a group early on to meet a perceived greater threat any less honorable than waiting to join the side of a super-alliance after that group clearly becomes the front-runner?  I admit I've done variations of both in different games. Neither times did they grant me a victory, and perhaps my reputation has suffered in the eyes of different players in each case smile .

In any game, players of my skill level are often lucky to get to the point where these questions even matter... but I'm interested to hear what some of the more established players have to say about this, or whether my definitions disagree with theirs.

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