These strategies are poorly tested against human players, and I've never fought a modern war against humans. In
fact, I rarely make it to the modern age at all. When playing against the AI, it gets boring to nuke Musketeers. When playing against humans, it gets annyoing to lose every single battle thanks to my Pentium-60 with 14.4Kbps
cellphone connection. Perhaps you guys could play these strategies, and tell me of any flaws or factual errors? I will then re-release this strategy guide with your suggestions included.
Freeciv Strategy Guide (for version 1.14.99-devel and past versions, but probably applicable to 1.15.0 unless they change the AI significantly)
Most people like to play "smallpox", meaning they plaster everything with little cities packed as closely together as possible. This does give certain advantages of population growth and ample free squares which the cities are built on, but it sacrifices much of the game's richness because temples will probably be the only city improvements of any practical use. Because of this, I don't smallpox. This will
surely hurt me in a game full of human smallpoxers, both because smallpox is hard to beat and because all the looters on the planet will drool over my glorious cities.
Feng Shui, the ancient art of placement:
Build on special resources when you can. Make sure your cities' areas of influence don't overlap too much, but also make sure any unreachable gaps include only a few less-useful squares. Instead of mixing all types of resources, plan out your placements so you have some super-trade cities and some super-industry cities (each with enough food for a large population, of course). This will allow for more efficient construction of improvements later. The first cities in a new land should be high on food and decent on production, so they can pump out settlers.
As a general rule, build coastal cities on defense-bonus squares (forest, jungle, swamp, river, hills, mountains) or on grassland, which can later be transformed to hills. Avoid building cities next to the best defense terrain (hills, mountains, river+other defense terrain). This is especially important for coastal cities, because you'll have a very hard time evicting unwelcome guests who land next to you.
There are a few special rules for placement of your first few cities. The best spot for your capitol is on a wheat/river square with two whales nearby. It will quickly grow to size 2, at which point it will produce 4 science and 5 production. You can even buy a library and get 6 science. Other ways to get 4 base science in your capitol are to build on wine with another wine nearby or build on gold with any river or sea nearby. These options give you the 4 science immediately, but they are less desirable because your capitol will grow too slowly to produce settlers.
As for other early cities, building on wheat gives you rapid growth, which is especially important when you're trying to pump out settlers. Building on grass/river or plains/river gives you 2 trade. If there's a special trade resource nearby you will get 4 trade, lose one to corruption, convert one to gold, and still have 2 left for science instead of just one. Don't build too far from your capitol or you lose science to corruption (have to check the algorithm for this-
anybody know it offhand?).
Give your homeland the names of your civilization's late cities, and give your far-flung cities the names of your civilization's early cities. If human enemies only glimpse a few cities, they might be confused.
Build on any isthmus you find. Your ships can cross through from one side of the continent to the other, as if there were a Panama canal. You also block the movement of rivals who share your continent, so it
is a good way to seal people off.
Must-have: Marco Polo's Embassy or Great Library, Michelangelo's Chapel, J.S. Bach's Cathedral
Very good: Adam Smith's Trading Co., Hoover Dam, Darwin's Voyage, Magellan's Expedition, SETI Program
Very good under some conditions, but might be rather useless: Leonardo's Workshop, Shakespeare's Theatre or Women's Suffrage, United Nations
Good if you have an amazing trade city: Colossus, Copernicus's Observatory, Isaac Newton's College. Build all three (plus trade routes and improvements) to amplify each other.
Worth taking from someone else: Cure for Cancer, Pyramids
Bring a few engineers and plenty of spies on any campaign. Spies can scout, investigate cities, sabotage well-defended units, and move through enemy lines, allowing other units to move in after them. Bring extra defensive units to hold cities as you burn through your enemy. Stack strong offense units with strong defense units, creating defense/offense teams (DOTs). These teams work best when the offense unit is faster than the defense unit, because then you can scout ahead one square and attack some enemies but the team won't lose any speed. Attack cities with multiple offense units, so the defender won't have time to recover or rebuild. Attack cities from the best defense terrain you can reach. When moving next to a city, send in the defense units first, in case you get autoattacked. Lone diplomats should approach a city cautiously, always ending their turn away from the city and preferrably outside the city's view.
Battlefield spies can run all over an enemy's road or rail network, investigating cities for weaknesses. They can also help the main army come in by keeping one square ahead of it. When the army moves onto the spy's square, it ignores the enemy's zones of control. Air cover also gives ground units this movement advantage. Air cover even prevents Partisans from swarming out of a city, so if somebody can field Partisans, put air units temporarily over all the city's squares as you sack it.
If a weak-defense unit accidentally ends its turn near a dangerous enemy unit or a garrisoned city, you can usually use the goto command to retreat to a safe place. If a unit meets an enemy while already under goto, you won't have time to save it. For this reason, don't use goto for general marching orders in enemy territory.
Barracks make sense in late-game industrial cities and in
mid-game cities which you know will be involved in a long campaign. Early-game units should earn their stars with blood.
Having a completely trustworthy human ally will greatly improve your chances. You can build huge cities which trade with each other, generating huge wealth. Your combined research strength is more than double, both because of the trade and because each player can carry
fewer techs, thus reducing the 10-point research penalty from each tech held. If you share a continent, you can get Republic much sooner (although your caravan down payments will be reduced). One player can build tech wonders while the other builds war wonders and conquers
mutual enemies. It can be a glorious partnership- until you have to slaughter each other when you become world-dominating superpowers. But at least in an evenly matched game you will each have a nearly 50% chance of winning instead of a 1/n chance.
PLAY STRAGEGY, STAGE 1: GET REPUBLIC (4000BC-2000BC)
The goal here is to research Republic ASAP. Don't even get any military techs- just hang on with diplomats and maybe a few warriors or mercenaries. If you're using techlevel=2 and you start with ceremonial burial/alphabet, then Monarchy is probably the quickest way to Republic. Just hope you don't start out with any relatively useless techs like Pottery and Masonry, because then it will take you longer to get Republic.
see section on city placement strategy. City placement is most important in the early game, so take a few turns to explore. Just be sure you've settled down by turn 5.
Settlers everywhere, except maybe a library in a city producing 4 science. That's a good way to make early use of 100 gold from a hut. At this stage, never build terrain improvements- just build cities.
None in rear-guard cities; mercenaries and maybe warriors and explorers on the fronteir if the need is immininent. Increase your paranoia if your world has huts (and thus mercenaries) or your neighbors are very close.
War might be useful if you have Horseback Riding and can go on an early rampage to sack undefended cities. I believe this strategy is worth the risk only if you have mercenaries or you got Horseback Riding by accident. You might get Code of Laws and a free city, or you might
get techs which don't lead to Republic. Since each new tech increases the cost of all other techs by 10, such techs are "poison". Besides, you'll probably just piss people off and get a bunch of allies set against you, with little to show for it. The early stages of Freeciv favor the defenders, so war is not the best use of resources.
If you have neighbors nearby you might want build diplomats and bribe some cities. The act of bribery might not start a war, and to build diplomats you only need to research writing, which is on the way to Republic. Bribe early, and you increase your chance of getting Code of
Laws, which is also on the way to Republic. You can even give your own cities to AIs, then bribe them back with a prepositioned diplomat! A size-1 city will be cheap and won't even lose any population in the exchange. With size-2 cities you can steal with a diplomat and sack
with an army. This is a fast way to get both technologies and enemies. Don't ever buy a city in negotiations with a human player, because it is guaranteed to be bait in a trap.
In general, Make peace with your stronger neighbors, but don't sign any alliances because you might get sucked into wars or be forced to break treaties (which permanently lowers your trustworthiness).
STAGE 2: BUILD A WONDER (2000BC-1500BC)
After your revolution to Republic, your research rate will probably triple. Your first goal should be Trade. This allows you to build your wonder and you'll also get Bronze Working along the way, which will help you shore up your rather bad defenses. Depending on how long this stage lasts, try to get Banking, Monotheism and Medicine.
If you already have Ceremonial Burial, get Banking after Philosophy because the sooner you research Philosophy, the greater your chance of getting the free tech which comes from being the first player to research Philosophy. Definitely be sure you get Banking, because you
will need it to get Democracy quickly.
Should have at least 5 cities by now. Keep building more, as long as they don't interfere with your wonder. Scout out a site for your Holy Citadel, which will eventually host your palace and all non-obsoleteable wonders which benefit your entire civilization. Obviously, this city should be extremely well defended. It will eventually have city walls, barracks, SAMs, an airport, nuke defense, and a bunch
of spies and military units, with some military units based in other cities so as to fend off a seige. For now, all you have to do is survey. The best site is far inland on a lone mountain. You can also build it on grassland/river, knowing you will later transform the terrain to hills. You will have to build hill fortresses along the river and along any access roads. When the wonders are complete, you'll pillage all roads near your Holy Citadel. It's probably too
much trouble to kill anyone who gets close, but wouldn't it be nice to keep the location top-secret?
either Marco Polo's Embassy (if there are many AIs) or the Great Library. Most cities (including the wonder city) will actually build slushfund settlers before you get Trade, then build caravans right up until you have enough to build the wonder entirely from caravans. This is fast, efficient, and stealthy! Try to time your caravans so no straggler holds up completion of your wonder. No need to build this
wonder in your Holy Citadel, since it will eventually become obsolete.
Build some phalanxes now that you have Bronze Working. If at war, keep a couple horsemen on your frontiers to kill approaching units. A city with two units in a defense/ offense team (DOT) will protect a city from raids. Two DOTs will protect a city from an AI hurling everything at it. Keep diplomats and DOTs in all cities near human players. If you're near a human player, use your horsemen to kill
diplomats trying to sneak into your blind spots.
Same as last stage, but now you're after different techs.
Try to get Ceremonial Burial, Horseback Riding, Bronze Working, and maybe even Mysticism from your neighbors. Keep track of who fielded Horsemen. You can establish an embassy or try to bribe their cities (which risks risks war and curse tech, but can also be quite rewarding).
To be continued...