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Basic Civ2 Strategies


  • Basic Civ2 Strategies

    Empire Building

    Expansionist Philosophy

    Empire building is an expansionist's mainstay weapon, but also its main vulnerability. Rule number one: If you are planning on surviving in the upper levels(King and above), do NOT forget about your core cities. No matter how many small cities you have, or large your empire spans, every empire must have a core of cities to build the "big ones", such as wonders, spaceship parts, etc... Theoretically, your core cities should be your innermost and least vulnerable, but it often turns out that you barely scrape by building one when the terrain suits you. But, in the stray chance that luck falls upon you, you should base your empire on a simple model: Inner cities are the core, quality ones. Middle rim cities make the expensive military units, like a navy, or cheap city improvements, like libraries. Outer fringe cities should trot cheap little cannon fodder, to throw in a relentless tide toward your opposition. As outer cities become middle, middle become core, and the cycle continues. If you are an expansionist at heart, but run out of room early, you can build up a massive military and have a lot of fun taking over the AI's hard-built cities!

    Isolationist Philosophy

    Isolationists tend to ignore empire building because of the very nature of the phrase. This can be a mistake! Remember, you can have a decent-sized nation and still remain isolated; remember China. Work on making all your cities just perfect, and on building up a huge military and large technology base while you sit around. I prefer to think of it as waiting to pounce, as there is little more satisfying than having a tiny enemy army stroll into your defenses, get chewed up, and in the process divulge the approximate location your next fleet should head if you have the whim.

    Militarist Philosophy

    The goal of a military empire-builder should be, not to waste precious turns on building all your own cities, but to sally forth and capture everyone else's. A nice thing about this strategy is that you can concentrate on "only" a few goals. Another is that it only gets easier; take down one AI and there's one less grabbing for a piece of the pie. Also, needless to say, you have more cities. I'm not going to take the time to explain the military strategy to you, you should check that out in the Military Strategy - Militarist chapter.

    Technologist Philosophy

    A technologist interested in empire building can gain one distinct advantage in the technology tree; exploration undoubtedly increases your advancement base. Not only does an empire-based economy inevitably have a foundation in trade, and therefore science, but captured enemy cities and goody huts can give you a base of the "must have" technologies and allow you to concentrate on the bigger and better. I have a few pieces of advice for an empirical scientist. One: it is a common habit of scientists to ignore the so-called military-only technologies, those that only lead to better units. These are viewed as a kind of "dead end" on the technology tree. Don't. The backbone of a successful empire civ is its military, and while it is not vital to have a large quantity of units, you might as well make them a few centuries ahead of the times. It'll make your job a lot easier. For more info on this line of reasoning, check out Domestic Policy - Technologist.

    Domestic Policy

    Expansionist Philosophy

    Somewhat like isolationism and empire building, expansionists tend to think that dosmetics "doesn't apply to them", because of the very nature of their ideas. While you might succeed thinking this on the lower levels of difficulty, get up into the real world and you could get a nasty shock. As stated earlier, an empire's size is its strength and vulnerability. The strength is obvious, but what most people tend to overlook is just how long it takes to move from one side of your massive civ to the other. If an advancing army breaks through your perimeter defenses, your thirty tanks or ten stealth bombers two continents away aren't going to do you much good. Solution: the good old Department of Transportation. Build roads & rails. That way, if the AI you broke seven peace treaties with, and your Great Wall just expired, comes storming up to your front door, you can muster some sort of defense even if it means pulling a few other cities garrisons away. See also: Military Strategy - Expansionist.

    Isolationist Philosophy

    For isolationists, internal policy is what keeps them in the running. They get most of their revenue, trade, and science from inside their own civilization, so consequently have more time to spend on this vital section of their planning. Build roads and rails everywhere. Not only do they help in defense, but they boost the all-important trade flow. Always have a number of settlers or engineers on reserve, especially in the modern eras, just in case of the stray nuclear meltdown or detonation. The roads can also help with transportation, obviously, carrying the settlers or engineers to disaster areas. One of the engineers vital strengths is the ability to virtually transform any terrain type to one more favorable. This is an incredible strength, but one that is most often left unused in more fast-paced strategies because it is very time consuming. If used properly by an isolationist, though, engineers can place a city anywhere and change even the most rugged terrain into farmland. Use engineers and settlers to "perfect" your home continent, too, weeding out the occasional swamp patch. I've made continents, when I've been lucky, that, using a huge engineer corps, don't have a single bare patch.

    Militarist Philosophy

    If you are a militarist, "internal" should imply "defense". You cannot stage(at least for very long) a successful offensive campaign without having a viable defense to be able to fall back upon. You internal military strategy will not be discussed here, look at Military Strategy - Militarist, but there are several constants in civ design that should be followed. First, like all other philosophies, a consistent road network is vital. Having an excellent defensive system in half your country doeasn't do you any good, as there are various laws of nature that require the next major invasion to be launched at where you are least prepared. Build your cities on the best terrain you can find; don't worry about finding defensible city locations. You can build and man fortresses in those locations. If you are in mountainous terrain, so much the better. Build your roads on top of the mountains, if you can spare the time. This should insure that your units are safe when on the move. If you really are feeling rich, you can intersperse a network of roads, rails, and fortresses on the tops of peaks. Voila! The Great Wall, Maginot Line, and superhighway in one! There is another thing to do when stuck in bad terrain: build airfields where it wouldn't be profitable to build a city. Airfields are often overlooked, but they can be invaluable.

    Technologist Philosophy

    You would think there is little to say about the internal workings of a technologist's civ, but there is enough. One of the most frustrating things for a player who is centuries ahead in technology is to have someone capture a city and steal a key advancement. Because of this, a player who could have this happen to them should take some of the militarist's advice to heart. You should also build a lot of roads, increasing trade, and the obvious city improvements. A city improvement that is often overlooked for an advancer are city walls. They are cheap and you'll be glad you built them later on. The bulk of a technologist's internal affairs should stem from isolationist and militarist ideals.

    Military Strategy

    War is not a life: it is a situation, One which may neither be ignored nor accepted.

    Expansionist Philosophy

    The battle cry of an expansionist should be "Strength in Numbers." While an archer vs. a defended city doesn't have the best chances, twenty archers are slightly more formidable. My favorite is the elephant & catapult arrangement. A huge number of elephants attack the city over the course of several turns, forcing the defenders to hole up in the citiy. The slow catapults then plod in and finish them off. Of course, the strategy changes slightly over the advances in technology, but it still remains useful for a long time. The main drawback to the strength-in-numbers strategy is that large stacks present very easy targets; kill one, and they all die. This is one of the reasons for using elephants, or another two-moving unit: they can lurk just outside the boundary squares of the city, staying just out of reach of the big guns like catapults that are inside the besieged city. My choice of units are just that, a mobile, fast unit such as a knight, and a lumbering juggernaut such as the catapult or cannon. Keep your army mobile! As I said before, the big numbers lead to big stacks, which leads to big deaths. Another concept you should also take advantage of is to use an enemy's forts against him. The AIs are obsessed with forts. They build three times as many as they can man, and if you inhabit them your stacks don't die all at once. A disadvantage to a big army is that it takes a lot of ships to transport over water. Don't forget this, it doesn't do you a lot of good to have a massive army that has to be carried to another continent in one trireme! Obviously, galleons and transports make the best cargo carriers. If you do have a lot of transports, though, it is an impressive sight to see. Eight transports with eight units each, pulling up to the shore and disgorging their cargo. Think of the shock value! You should also read Military Strategies - Militarist.

    Isolationist Philosophy

    Isolationists do not have an impenetrable wall around themselves, they just minimize outside contact; they are also seen as juicy targets for invasion, having no allies. Therefore an isolationist must have a military, in fact probably the second strongest of the four philosophies. The military of an isolationist is mostly used for defense, so the unit types vary depending on the size of the civilization. A big nation should have several "response forces" comprised only of mobile units. If an enemy invades, these forces rush to the spot and delay or drive off the invaders. Once you are into the modern era, you should have several air force divisions, but one centralized army(preferrably stationed in a city with SDI!) using the rail system. A smaller nation should have a fortress line, with fortresses manned by heavy units like archers and cannons standing sentry on the borders. This defense simply waits for the invaders to walk into it. One of the vulnerabilities of an "isolated" nation is that all the cities are large, and therefore vital. An isolationist leader cannot afford to lose cities. Because of this, be wary of spies! You might as well have a spy of your own to do counterespionage(reduces enemy's chances) in a few major cities. While being in an "bribery-immune" government might help, you still don't want to take the risk of your city walls or SDI Defense failing. SDI's are another vital city improvement that you should have in each of your cities. The AI's could care less if the world melts down because of a few measly nuclear missiles. Look in the next chapter for more info on nuclear war.

    Militarist Philosophy

    Attack is the best defense. Sometimes.

    Ideas from here carry over to other philosophies, so you might as well read this chapter anyway. Well, you're a leader with dreams for military glory. How do you build the armed forces of your new-found country? Good question. It depends on what planet you're on, and your personal preference. If the planet has a lot of water, a superior navy is your abvious goal. It can allow you to expand out from your one island. It can stop other players from doing so. It can finally crack that coastal city that your army couldn't. If you make it wrong, it can also be your biggest mistake. The mistake many players make is simple; they fall for the flashy ships, and literally forget about the true workhorses. While submarines look great, they really aren't. Sure, one or two are good to have around just in case you need to sneak in and launch your load of missiles, but more than that and they just become a pain. They die easily(the computer has a knack for guessing which square your sub's on), and don't have the firepower to deal with the real threats, like battleships or AEGIS cruisers, if they run out of missiles. Another example is the good old battleship. Again, keep one around. It is the ultimate coastal city killer, but for the price of one battleship you can build two better-defended AEGIS cruisers. Your medeival navy should be made up of(surprise!) frigates. If you have Leonardo's Workshop, you should build a few galleons, but otherwise only build them when you need them. Don't get hung up on suddenly having ironclads, you should just wait for electricity and steel. The only exception is if you are getting slaughtered on the high seas. But an excellent navy doesn't do you much good if you are on a land-locked world. There are two items that would-be general trip on: mobility and terrain. Your units must be mobile! A bunch of slow units are just sitting ducks, but fast ones can attack first. Build knights and crusaders instead of catapults and legions. Legion are useful on defense, but that's about all. AIs are obsessed with legions, but don't follow that trait. The other item is terrain. Beginners and computers alike tend to pay little attention to terrain except when it apllies to movement, but that is a huge mistake. Don't literally make a line of units leading up to their death, trying to knock off a phalanx atop Everest. Use situations like that to your advantage, by making your phalanx the one on top of Everest first, and the computer the one throwing corpses up at you. The air is an area that only comes into play in the later stages of the game, and is thereofore somtimes forgotten. It can be very valuable to the player who controls it; try and make that player yourself. Helicopters can be useful, if you use them in places where there are few enemy fighters, for two reasons. They can capture cities, unlike the other air units, and they can fly almost indefinitely, even landing on water! One dreaded unit has sprung out of the air, though, that is very often misused; the nuclear missile. MAD(Mutual Assured Destruction) is very tempting to try, but don't unless you do the following:

    1.Have lots of cities. 2.Build SDI in every one. 3.Build lots of missiles. 4.Obtain a complete map. 5.Shoot far. 6.Shoot fast. 7.Shoot first. 8.Destroy every one of thier cities and every one of their airports. 9.Have a lot of stupid, brave engineers in boats ready to clean up the mess you just made. 10.Hope that none of their cities have SDI. 11.Hope a lot that none of their cities have SDI. 12.Repeat steps 1-11 for every civilization on the planet, or you and your country will be promptly turned into a rather pitiful pile of slightly iradescent radioactive dust.

    Cruise missiles can also be very useful in defense of conventional warfare.

    Technologist Philosophy

    The technologist's military should be almost opposite to the expansionist's, unless you are a playing a cross between the two. The expansionist's is made up of large numbers of mediocre units, and the technologist's is made up of small numbers of excellent units. Again, the military depends on the world. If you find yourself on a water-based world, go for the caravels. Triremes can't even compare to caravels, which are also invaluable for exploration. If you don't need a navy, there are several land-based units that can, in comparison to slightly lesser technology, can give you a decisive edge. One type is pikemen. The civs of the middle ages become obsessed with mounted units, but these nasty fellows can render those useless against your cities. Another is the knight. The main problem with the line of mounts, chariot through crusader, is their defense; one. The knight is essentially a legion with speed. They are useful in the attack and defense. Don't think crusaders are better because they have more attack, they aren't. In the air, the advantages are obvious. Get there first, and it's bombers against cavalry. Happy target practice!
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