Early game defense
I'm wondering what is a good defensive strategy if you're going for a cultural victory and you start the game out near a really aggressive AI civ like Rome or the Aztecs.
I'm playing as Egypt so I'm clearly going for a cultural victory with a focus on the tradition social policy track and wonder production. I'm playing on King difficulty and what will inevitably happen will be a declaration of war within the first 50-100 turns with an invading army of 15-20 units. I will usually then make a futile attempt to repel the invasion. I will either start to lose cities (which I have precious few of) or keep them at bay while spending all of my production creating units to be sacrificed to the meat grinder and in no way building wonders or cultural buildings
What am I supposed to do to deal with these incredibly aggressive AI players while still being able to pursue wonder and cultural building production?
more archers, and walls.
in a defensive war, your units shouldn't travel too far from the city's two hex blast radius.
eventually, the AI gives up after losing 5-6 units, even though it has plenty of units to spare, the computer likes the whole "maybe we're doing something wrong..retreat and heal!!" plan. sadly, they do just that: retreat, heal, and come back with more units.
so what are you to do? like MadDjinn says, spend those brief turns between battles training ranged units and positioning them on hills or other areas that enemy units can't get to easily. buying cheap warriors to defend those archers is a good plan, since archers cost more. its all a big chess game, and in the end, the AI will eventually toss the chess board at your face and denounce you for winning.
Archers as walls. If you can manage it, go for the Great Wall also, as this will give you a couple of cracks at every enemy unit before they can attack your city.
With Oligarchy you should be able to defend rather well with a garrisoned archer. You can garrison the archer, attack with your city defense, then un-garrison it and attack with the archer.
If you have an aggressive neighbor, consider building you empire in the other direction as young cities are particularly vulnerable. . It's hard to take your capital in the early going. It has a higher defense and heals faster than new cities. Having your capital as the first line of defense is not a bad idea in a Tradition game. If you can't resist a spot for a new city that is closer to your neighbors, build walls as early as possible and consider the terrain.
build barracks and armory ASAP. consider terrain around your city and use the point to upgrade your archers accordingly. set them on a spot that give them the best result.
Also look at where you position new cities that are likely to be attacked. If you are expecting an attack from a particular side, consider building a city immediately before a river so that units must either attack over a river or spend an additional movement point crossing the river.
Another tactic not mentioned is to try and build cities next to water, rivers reduce their attack and coastal cities can build triremes which can "hide" in a city and if you have an archer garrisoned there you'll essentially have a city with three attacks and you can always use it to decimate the AI's embarked units. Lakes are great for this since you don't have to sacrifice half your citie's tiles to crappy ocean tiles. It might seem silly to build ships in tiny lakes but they really can be a game changer for small empires on the defense. This works best with tradition since oligarchy will make it easier to afford the maintenance on your defensive ships. One last thing I forgot to mention is that if your city happens to be on a hill your ship in the city can fire as if it's a ranged unit on a hill meaning it can fire past forests and other hill tiles, kind of cheap, probably a workaround that the devs didn't think about.
Last edited by VicRatlhead51; 05-03-2012 at 06:57 AM.
Reason: remembered something.
Have you tried playing on the Bering Straight DLC map?
The mountains and hills make defense incredibly easy
Put your city on a hill next to a river. Rush the GWall. Archers.
BAM. Invincible city.
Unlike everyone else though, I recommend less archers. You can make do with 2 or 3. It's a more modest investment of gold or production, and - this is my favorite part - more exp towards individual units. Xbows with logistics, range, and indirect fire will give even riflemen and infantry pause. You can also use them as improvised siege weapons.
Last edited by Magic_Hotdog; 05-15-2012 at 05:44 PM.