No announcement yet.

Civilization 5: Military Strategy and Tactics


  • Civilization 5: Military Strategy and Tactics


    Basic Military Strategy
    Managing and Conducting a War
    Basic Military Units
    Basic Military Tactics
    Advanced Military Tactics
    Aerial Combat
    Naval Combat

    The Civ 5 AI isn't brilliant, but it's smart enough to tear you apart if you play badly. A victorious player plans both strategy -- the long term goals and methods of a war -- and tactics -- the methods used to achieve these goals. The strategy and tactics used in the different Eras are discussed below.

    Basic Military Strategies

    The ultimate strategic consideration of a war is a clear understanding of its purpose. If you know what you want to get out of war, you have a finite measure for determining whether you are winning or losing. Below are a few reasons to go to war and ways to tell you've won.

    War for Territory

    Wars in Civilization usually start over real estate, or more precisely the population growth that good real estate allows. When a rival notices that your Victory Points are a threat to theirs, they'll come after you in an attempt to grab some land and Cities, re-balancing the supremacy equation in their own favor. Likewise, nothing is likely to provoke you to war so much as the sight of a prosperous, productive and under-defended foreign City on your borders.

    Wars for territory end when you've grabbed all the land you want. Territorial Wars often become Total Wars because it is often expedient to finish off an enemy while he is weak, a condition that usually plays itself out when you're ahead in a territorial battle. However, when you've got other problems or enemies on your mind and you've already grabbed some defensible, productive land, you may consider a War for Territory won any time you feel like quitting.

    War for Profit

    Like the buccaneers of old, sometimes it's worth a little violence to refill the coffers. Captured Cities and plundered Improvements yield Gold, and Civilizations desperate for peace offer rich bribes of tribute and Resources. A War for Profit is a simple equation in value: did the maintenance and Production on the Units expended add up to more or less than the benefits gained? When fighting a War for Profit, keep your Units alive to fight another day, take everything you can get your hands on and quit while you're ahead.

    City-State War

    City-States sometimes send you to war against rival Cities. These mercenary missions grant great Influence bonuses with one City-State while simultaneously allowing you to seize the Resources of another. There's a very definite goal and little political complexity involved in these conquest missions, making them desirable in most situations.

    You may also find yourself fighting on behalf of an Allied City-State against a rival civilization. The motivation for this may transcend any moral or treaty compulsion. City-States can be valuable sources of Culture, Units, Food and trade, and loosing these benefits to a foreign power is tantamount to loosing one of your own Cities. Generally speaking it is best to make the protection of such a City-State a sub-goal to a larger strategy of Territorial, Profitable or Total War.

    Phony War

    Phony War is a war you fight to appease the call of another civilization. There are times when conspirators may call on you to join in a war you're not all that interested in helping out with. If geography plays into your hands, you may find yourself able to profit from war without ever getting heavily involved. Assuming there are allied lands between you and your new foe, send a couple of Units to the front and have them hang around in a safe, opportunistic location near a besieged enemy City. If your AI allies are near victory, dash in and capture the weakened real estate. Mission accomplished. Now make peace.

    Total War

    Total War is the movement to obliterate a rival from play, replacing his power base with your own. It is a part of most Civilization games at some point and the heart of a Domination Victory.

    Total War is not necessarily perpetual. It can be broken into stages of Territorial War as expediency requires. But it is often best to commit to Total War hook, line and sinker, destroying an enemy's Units without pause or mercy, claiming or razing Cities, capturing his Capital and mopping up leftover colonies.

    Total War is expensive, but accomplished with intelligent planning and economic management it can turn a long term profit and expand your power base, making future conflicts more cost-efficient and increasing your Research, Gold and Citizen output.

    Defensive War

    Defensive War is a war you got thrown into without being ready for. It is a fight for survival. Defensive Wars are often initiated by alliances of jealous kingdoms simultaneously declaring hostilities against you.

    When a Defensive War begins, abandon all precepts of peace. Stop building anything without immediate Military merit. Buy as many Units as you can with Gold, build Forts instead of Farms and prepare for a quick opening fight.

    Defensive Wars usually begin under the walls of your own Cities. Don't let your citadels get surrounded. Move forces outside the Cities and maneuver for flanking advantages. Punch your attacker in the nose. Use your Cities as healing stations and artillery platforms for your field Units. Break the momentum of the enemy's first assault, heal up, and if necessary beat off the second wave and heal again.

    Then move to attack. The best long-term defensive strategy is offense. Don't huddle in your Cities awaiting the enemy. Meet him with field forces in place, beat his armies either in your territory or on neutral ground, and then go after his Cities. Make him (or them) regret war. If confronted by an alliance, force one enemy to sue for peace, accept the proposal and swing around and crush the others. Then go back and finish the first guy off.

    You've won a Defensive War every turn you're still breathing.

    Managing and Conducting a War

    Experience, Promotion and Creating Great Generals

    Every time a Unit attack or defends it gains Experience Points. The only exception to this is when fighting Barbarians. There's a hard cap of 30 XP per Unit for Barbarian encounters. After reaching that number they no longer grant experience to an individual Unit.

    XP allows you to promote your Units, granting them special powers. Promotion also allows a Unit to heal instantly, which can become a tactical advantage when exploited properly.

    The XP you gain also fuels the development of Great Generals. The more you fight, the more great Generals are born in your civilization.


    Terrain effects the movement and combat value of Units. Woods, Jungle, Rivers and Hills slow you down. Roads speed you up.

    As long as men have warred with one another they have known that attacking uphill is more difficult than attacking on flat ground. Hills tire the offense out, slow movement and grant vision advantages to the defender, who can see farther due to his height while his enemy can see little due to the ridge line dominating his field of view. Civ5 simulates this reality by granting a large bonus to Units defending uphill. Units defending fords likewise gain the practicable advantages of defending against wading attackers.

    Never attack uphill or across a river unless you have no choice. The exception is when you hold a tremendous advantage in Technology, Experience, flanking and/or the presence of a Great General that evens the odds and allows for a likely Decisive Victory.

    Hills, Forests, Mountains and Jungle also block line of sight and direct fire. Archers can not shoot at Units they can't see! Remember this.


    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap265.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	85.7 KB
ID:	9313820
    Even a simple two-Unit front can provide a flanking bonus if the enemy front is wedged between them.

    When two Units border a single enemy, they gain a flanking advantage against him. This multiplier compounds the already important numerical advantage they enjoy.

    Of all the incentives Civ 5 offers for keeping your forces geographically tight, flanking is probably the greatest. Closely arranged Units gain a strong advantage just based on proximity as long as they carefully coordinate their advance.

    Flanking is especially important when attacking the center of an enemy concentration. Remember that a victorious infantry Units advance into the Tile their vanquished enemy formerly occupied. This will often leave a victorious Unit vulnerable to flanking and a fatal counter attack. It is often best to defend in the center rather than allowing such exposure through an attack. By doing so you* exploit the natural advantages of defense, weakening enemy attackers and then finishing them with fire from your ranged Units. Coordinate your infantry attacks on the wider flanks of the enemy position, where their victorious advances work to your advantage rather than against you.

    The Great General

    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap143.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	76.4 KB
ID:	9313821
    Don't put your Great General at undo risk.

    Civ 5 does not boast a complicated command and control structure. The main simulation of C&C is the Great General, who must remain within 2 Tiles of a Unit to effect it's combat value.

    The Great General is a non-combat Unit and can be destroyed by a single attack. He should rarely be exposed to danger, commanding from a well-defended position to the rear and center of your army. He need not necessarily be stacked with a Military Unit so long as overlapping Zones of Control prevent an enemy from reaching him.

    Fog of War

    Anything outside you Units' limited range of sight is obscured by the Fog of War. While passing through Tiles once reveals them on the map, any changes following a Unit's exit from the area are unrevealed until someone gets close enough again to see what's going on.

    Your Units have a default visibility of only a few Tiles, though the Americans enjoy longer sight and some Units can be promoted to see farther. This visibility is further obscured by Forest, Jungle, Hills and Mountains, all of which block what's on the other side of them. Climbing on top of a Hill grants clearer vision.

    Fog of War sometimes forces you to break army cohesion in order to scout an area. When waling in enemy territory, keep the balance between intelligence (your need to know what's going on around you) and concentration in mind. When in doubt, move more slowly and keep close together. Spreading out blindly is an easy way to lose a Unit in hostile lands.

    Fog of War also makes it important to remember that moving Units positioned toward the front of an advance should take place earlier in a turn than moving Units positioned toward the rear, as the intelligence gained by your vanguard may help you position the rest of your army more effectively.

    Using the Map and the Strategic View

    The Strategic View is a toggle option that convert's Civ 5's lush 3D map into a simple 2D hex board. It strips the finish off Civilization 5 and reveals a much more raw and accurate picture of what's going on. The flat Strategic View map shrinks the size of each hex, allowing you to see things in a broader simultaneous scope. It displays vital terrain and LOS (Line of Sight) information clearly, and helps you take a step back from Civilization 5's immersion and look at the mechanics of what's happening.

    Every turn you are in an active conflict, take a peek at the strategic view before you move. It helps.

    Cost of War

    War should yield more than it costs. If the long-term benefits of war outweigh short term expenditures, then war is a viable tool of policy. Gaining useful cities with minimal losses is good war economy. Bogging down for 70 turns is not. If a war is costing you more effort and resources than it it gaining you, sue for peace.

    Many wars in Civ 5 will not be of your own choosing. Your rivals will sometimes launch attacks at moments you'd rather be building farms and vying diplomacy. That doesn't mean you shouldn't fight, however. When your choices are victory or extermination, the math is easy. Fight or die. And if you're going to fight, do it full tilt. Don't try to hold off an enemy until he gets tired of war while still advancing your cultural and infrastructure development toward peaceful ends. Throw everything you have into military production and take the war to your foe. Ultimately, it will cost you less.

    Basic Military Units

    Understanding Infantry

    Infantry reign supreme in defense. Waterloo proved that well-placed, fortified infantry hold an advantage over any frontal assault, a principle Civilization 5 supports. The percentage bonuses granted uphill fortified Units are impressive, especially when positioned in such a way that flanking bonuses cannot be brought to bear against them.

    This is not to say that infantry are useless in offense. Like Napoleon's Grand Column, a massed group of infantry concentrated on one point already weakened by artillery can achieve breakthroughs on fortified opposition. But also like the Grand Column, casualties will be high for the attacker. Also, Civilization makes no allowance for discipline and morale, two factors that made Napoleonic infantry attacks so potent. Ill-disciplined, terrified troops run from masses of bayonets inexorably marching toward them, but the AI has no such fears, which removes some potency from attacks.

    Defend whenever possible with infantry, preferably on good ground and from a fortified position. Then counter-attach when your weakened opponents are too exhausted to approach.

    When on the attack, move toward your enemy with massed artillery behind your infantry, and bombard the enemy front, forcing him to either retreat or attack you.

    Understanding Cavalry

    Cavalry are intelligence Units par-excellence. They move quickly enough to scout ahead of your main force and dart back fast enough after detecting an enemy to avoid annihilation, (or to nobly give their lives by drawing him into range of your foot-soldiers and artillery). They can defend your flanks in an advance and hover behind the lines to exploit break-throughs in the enemy line.

    Cavalry sometimes have enough movement to rush in, make an attack and back away from their enemy, which can be particularly useful when attacking a City on open ground. Companion Cavalry, for example, can sometimes dive into a City, launch an assault and move out of range of an opponent's ranged response.

    Cavalry are fast enough that they can sometimes get around an opponent's guard and tear his artillery to pieces.

    Do not send cavalry into frontal, unsupported assaults against entrenched or uphill infantry Units, especially Spearmen and Pikemen. That's a waste of good horses and men.

    Understanding Artillery

    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap263.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	79.1 KB
ID:	9313822
    The two-tile ranged artillery has fallen a little far behind here. The infantry should probably let it catch up.

    Of the three classic arms, artillery are the most dependent on support for survival. Pitted against an infantry or cavalry Unit they will die horribly, even after getting off the first shot. A proverb for artillery: where your cannon are, there your infantry shall be also.

    Many artillery units require a part of their move to set up before attacking. Carefully coordinate your artillery's movement to achieve the maximum number of shots over several turns. If advancing artillery into enemy artillery, try to give opposing gunners something else to shoot at while you set up.

    Fire with your artillery before attacking with your infantry and cavalry. This softens up the defenders, resulting in more casualties inflicted on the enemy and fewer on your attacking Units.

    Concentrate your artillery. The effects of two or three ranged units on a single target are generally more beneficial than spreading your fire along a line.

    Whenever possible, create a static position with your infantry, mass artillery behind them, and blast away.

    Basic Military Tactics

    Staggered Positioning vs. Shoulder to Shoulder

    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap255.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	78.6 KB
ID:	9313823
    A shoulder-to-shoulder advance with artillery in the rear.

    While shoulder to shoulder positioning of your Units grants a greater concentration and benefits against flanking, a staggered formation creates overlapping Zones of Control and helps you deny mobility to the enemy. By carefully advancing staggered Units, it is possible to flank enemy forces as they advance piecemeal. This is especially useful if you encounter the front of a strung-out enemy column enfilade. By spreading your forces, you deny the enemy the ability to advance into new hexes and can move forward yourself to envelop his front.


    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap257.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	74.6 KB
ID:	9313824
    The blue units from the north threaten an enfilade attack.

    Enfilade refers to flanking fire. When you engage an enemy concentration from the long end of their line, you are taking him enfilade, maximizing any numerical advantage he enjoys, minimizing any numerical advantage he has over you, and positioning yourself for optimal flanking bonuses.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap261.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	81.9 KB
ID:	9313825
    The Aztec player quickly realigns his forces to counter.

    The flank of several lined up or staggered Units should be your point of attack whenever possible, as the mathematics of engagement favor you. You are, in effect, creating a situation where many of your Units can engage a few of the enemy's at a time. Attacking a flank is generally favorable to attacking the center of a line in most situations.


    Defilade fire refers to fire from the far side of a hill. Generally speaking, defilade does not function well in Civ 5, as there is no tactical allowance in the engine for its effects. There is one situation, however, where defilade is useful. Since hills entice the AI but slow movement, you can sometimes place a fortified infantry Unit on the far side of an empty hill with an artillery Unit stationed immediately behind the infantry. The enemy will move to the hilltop, but instead of attacking with infantry you pound him with your artillery, weakening him, provoking an assault on your fortified infantry and winning you the day.

    Exploiting Breakthroughs

    Whether you create a gap in the enemy center or manage to roll up his flank, a well timed cavalry charge can seal the deal on a large-scale engagement. While cavalry should not be deployed against fortified or uphill Units, a hole in the line often opens up exposure to reserves placed in less than optimal ground. Cavalry can charge through a three hex center gap or two hexes around a flank and catch these Units napping, seriously wounding if not outright destroying them. The damage from one or two such charges can shift the attrition ratio so much in your favor that you can order a general advance the next turn, blasting the survivors with artillery, moving your heavy hitting infantry forward, and mopping up survivors with your cavalry.

    This tactic comes into its own with Tanks, but we'll get to that later.

    Salients, Formations and Flanking

    Salients are bulges in a military front. They are a tactical nightmare, as they allow the troops surrounding them to maximize their field of fire while minimizing the attacker's range of response. Never, ever, ever form an outwardly curved front. You'll be overwhelmed by numbers and flanking bonuses almost every time. Instead, find ways to wrap yourself around the enemy, encircling his front in a half moon with reserves staggered behind, or at the worst case engage him over the broad front of a straight line.

    You'll sometimes form a mini-salient when your advancing troops take up possession of a Tile formerly occupied by a destroyed enemy Unit. If the enemy has reserves close enough behind the line to strike and on good enough ground to defend against a cavalry breakthrough, you could have trouble. When this happens, pull your exposed Unit back as soon as practicable practicable. If this is not possible, try to advance in support of the Unit, positioning in such a way that he and your other advancing Units are not exposed to flanking. You can also attack in a different part of the line in an attempt to spread the enemy reserves around and prevent a concentrated counter-attack, allowing you to pull battered but surviving Units back on your next turn and replace them in a cohesive defensive line with fresh new ones.

    Advanced Military Tactics

    Baiting Your Opponent

    The most consistently effective tactic in Civilization is baiting, placing yourself in a strategic position that grants tactical advantage. By putting your strongest defensive Units on good ground between where the enemy is and where he wants to be, you can force him to attack you, gaining the strategic advantage of offense combined with the tactical advantage of defense. Find a place between an enemy force and a City he wants to attack or is desperate to protect. Take up a position on high ground, (or even better, in Forts you've constructed) backed by artillery and covered by cavalry, and let him come to you. If you're between him and one of his Cities, make sure you position out of the city's gunnery range. Send some horses darting in to pillage his Improvements and watch his poor misguided troops throw themselves to the slaughter.

    You can also bait by taking a similar position on neutral ground and pounding his forward forces with artillery unit he either advances, retreats or brings up his own guns. If he advances, cut him to ribbons. If he retreats, move up carefully, staying in position to repeat the baiting tactic. If he brings up his own guns, concentrate your fire on one flank, ruin it, get around him and roll up his artillery.


    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap266.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	77.3 KB
ID:	9313826
    The Jaguars are in great position to sweep the flank...

    It's not a retreat. It's an advance to the rear. While distasteful, there are times when pulling back is a good idea. If the odds against you are too stacked to defeat, it's better to get under the cover of a City's guns and fight in friendly territory where your Units heal faster.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap270.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	80.1 KB
ID:	9313827
    ...but following the attack the topmost Jaguar is wounded near an enemy City. Withraw him quickly to friendly territory for healing.

    Retreat mindful of enemy Zones of Control. Don't cross enemy fronts while pulling back or your Units will lose movement and be ground to a pulp by pursuers. Keep your infantry between your artillery and enemy Units, especially cavalry. If possible, send your own cavalry on a feint around the enemy flank to draw off attackers. If necessary, fortify a single expendable Unit on a hilltop or at a ford as a rearguard to slow the pursuit. Your brave men probably won't live through it, but they'll keep the rest of your army intact.


    Infantry Units eventually gain the power to embark, becoming temporary naval Units to cross water. These transport ship versions of the infantry Units are slow and extremely weak. They have no combat value at all against naval Units, reduced effectiveness against land Units through direct amphibious assault and they can easily be sunk by a single Barbarian Trireme or Caravel. Embarkation is best accomplished with some escort, or in a rush with the least important Units at the front and flanks of the formation. These weak Units may then be sacrificed in an emergency so that the rest of the convoy may escape.


    A Unit that does not move or attack in a turn heals a small amount of HP. This amount increases in friendly or Allied territory, and increases even more if the Unit is stationed inside a friendly City. Units in close proximity to Units with the Medic Promotion also gain HP more quickly.

    Regardless of location, the*Fortify until healed command is an indispensable tool of the Civilization commander. It allows injured Units to take a defensive posture while recovering their strength, and then return to offensive operations automatically following regeneration. The canny commander will employ it even in rear areas.

    Units may also heal when advancing an experience level, although doing so prevents them from gaining a special power through Promotion. These periods of automatic healing are among the most explorable advantages in Civilization. A careful general can time the casualty rate of his troops so that key Units will regain full strength when it is most needed, allowing an advance that might otherwise putter out to continue, or a defense which might be overwhelmed to return to full strength. Hovering over a Unit's status icon on the bottom left of the screen reveals the XP of the Unit and the number required to reach the next Promotion, and this should ALWAYS be checked when a Unit's future health is in question. More close battles against the AI are won by this than any other factor.

    Added to this is the fact that while promotions are made available at the beginning of a turn, a player need not accept them until the end of a turn. This means that a slightly or even significantly wounded Unit may be able to attack a second time, inflict and absorb more casualties, and still be returned to full health before an opponent's counter attack, maximizing the efficiency of your life gain. The battle estimation pop-up that gives the player a statistical probability of an engagement's outcome yields fairly accurate estimates of what to expect, allowing the player to exploit this tactic with minimal risk. This method is especially effective for Oda Nobunaga, as his wounded troops still attack at full strength, meaning that injured Japanese Units have an opportunity to inflict a strong measure of damage, be driven to the point of death, and then restore themselves to full health.

    Units heal faster in friendly territory. When facing a long campaign far from your homeland, consider sending a Settler with your army to found a war City. While the industrial output of the City will be negligible for some time, the Tiles around it will provide a safe haven for your weakened Units to repair. By building a Road from it toward your enemy, you can create a route to quickly rotate damaged Units out of combat and healed forces back to the front. The firepower of the City will also provide a little extra security in the event of a retreat.


    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap243.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	84.6 KB
ID:	9313828
    A proper City encirclement, with infantry at the front, artillery on the high ground at the rear, and a Great General in position to bolster all Units.

    Cities are tough nuts to crack. The self-heal, have a default ranged attack, produce defenders in mid-battle and have high combat strength in defense.

    A City can be softened up by occupying and pillaging the Tiles that feed it, and by pounding it with concentrated artillery. Infantry Units should be fortified around the City's borders, preferably with a Medic-promoted infantryman in the center, and rotated with reserves as they sustain casualties.

    Unless you have Amphibious-promoted Units, don't attack a City by sea. The disadvantages and danger of ranged fire from the City are simply too great.

    If a siege isn't progressing toward at least a stalemate, pillage, back out and try again later. It's better than losing your Units to attrition or relief, and the damage you do to a City heals quickly.

    Assaulting Cities

    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap245.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	84.5 KB
ID:	9313829
    Open the siege with a bombardment.

    Infantry should usually only assault a City under Safe Attack conditions. Costly Attacks should only be ordered when a City is likely to fall the same turn.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap248.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	84.7 KB
ID:	9313830
    Fortified Unites wait until a Safe Attack presents itself.

    If a City is located on flat ground, some cavalry can attack effectively while exposing themselves to fire only every other turn by darting in from out of range, attacking and running out of range again.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap253.jpg
Views:	2
Size:	84.8 KB
ID:	9313831
    Costly Attacks should be avoided until the City is on its knees, but they're an OK way to finish off a siege.

    Scorched Earth

    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap169.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	68.7 KB
ID:	9313832
    All Cities can launch artillery bombardments.

    If you don't mind sending Workers to fix up afterward, or if you're planning on razing a captured City, your Units can pillage the Improved Tiles surrounding it. This both weakens the City and yields Gold, especially from Trading Posts.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap170.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	76.0 KB
ID:	9313833
    This City's intrinsic bombardment ability is supplemented by a Cannon.

    Defending Sieges and Ranged City Defenses

    The best way to defend a City is to make sure the enemy never gets close enough to attack it. If the AI had the audacity to get three or four Units into range of one of your Cities, they are probably gong to take it unless you relieve it quickly.

    Buy a powerful Infantry or Artillery Unit with Gold and place it in the City immediately if you know it will soon be besieged, and use it to blast or counter-attack Units assaulting your City. Concentrate all ranged fire on a single, vulnerable Unit. Don't spread your attacks around.

    Get relief forces on the move and use them to threaten the enemy infantry and cavalry. Without infantry or cavalry, your enemy can't occupy the City. If he does manage to get inside, destroy any undefended artillery outside and then take the City back quickly before defenses are rebuilt.

    Use the power of friendly ground to your advantage. Remember that when you fight on your home turf you heal faster than the enemy. This helps put the math of attrition in your favor.


    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap178.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	80.4 KB
ID:	9313834
    Tanks rush ahead to the front.

    Late-Industrial and Modern Era conventional warfare adds several dimensions to combat and alters tactics considerably. The traditional arms of infantry and artillery remain intact, but cavalry is transformed into armor (tanks) and air cavalry (helicopters) both of which deploy under conditions significantly different than traditional horse soldiers. Also added to the equation are airborne light infantry, mechanized infantry, aircraft, surface-to-surface missiles, anti-aircraft and anti-tank assets.

    Tanks alter the balance of power in ground warfare from favoring the defense to favoring the offense. Tanks are fast, can move after firing, punch hard and are resistant to attrition. They transform cavalry from a support arm to the primary offensive tool of field combat.

    Tanks are mobile enough to attack flanks but also have the movement to exploit gaps in enemy lines thanks to their shoot-and-scoot movement attribute. While still vulnerable to tactical flanking, they are quick enough to avoid being surrounded by most Units if properly commanded. The main flanking danger to tanks is other tanks.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap179.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	71.0 KB
ID:	9313835
    In open country, Tanks are unstoppable death-bringers.

    When battling tanks with tanks, remember the wisdom of the Cobra Kai: "Strike first! Strike Hard! No mercy, sir!" The tank that shoots first laughs last.

    Tanks exist to attack. Even when conducting a defensive campaign, tanks function best when they defend by attacking. An armor commander should always be aggressive, outmaneuvering vulnerable Units and destroying them.

    As soon as Mechanized Infantry is available, bring it to bear alongside Tanks. Mech Infantry provides a defensive balance to modern formations. It also covers for the armored corps' vulnerability to City defenses. Tanks suffer somewhat in City assault and should be used sparingly in the role. Mech Infantry greatly assist tanks by assuming this role on the battlefield.

    Tanks should not be exposed to anti-Tank guns except when in a favorable position for Decisive Victory against them. AT Guns that manage to get the jump on Tanks will cut them apart.

    Your own AT assets include AT Guns and Helicopters. AT Guns exist to deny armor mobility into certain areas. Supported by infantry and tanks, they create zones where unfriendly tanks find it difficult to exist. They are not actually likely to kill many tanks unless the enemy is stupid enough to advance into range, but they do allow you to control the flow of battle, funneling enemy advances where you wish them to go. AT Guns are also useful in methodical advances by mixed forces, moving with friendly Tanks on the flank and infantry/AA/artillery in the center. *

    Helicopters are Tank killers of the first order. They exist to hunt down and eliminate armored assets. Your tanks should advance under an AA curtain whenever possible, as Helicopters can stop an armored advance cold.

    Aerial Combat

    Aircraft must have a base of operations. They base in either Cities or on Aircraft Carriers and must begin and end their turn aboard the same. An air Unit may rebase* in a new City or Carrier at will, but this movement consumes their Turn.

    Since aircraft may only sweep, bomb or intercept once a turn, stacking aircraft is an important offensive and defensive consideration.


    The only effective defense against air power are Fighter/Jet Fighter interception and ground-based anti-aircraft positions. Fighters and Jet Fighters can be set to intercept any other aircraft entering their airspace. Such Units will automatically attack any Fighter or Bomber which comes near before the Bomber has a chance to strike ground assets. Interception can in turn be countered by Fighter sweeps.

    Fighters can only intercept one attacker every turn. Stacked fighters increase the aerial supremacy of defensive forces in an area by allowing multiple interceptions on the same turn.

    Tactical Bombing

    Tactical Bombing is the destruction of individual ground Units by Bombers. As long as the Units attacked are not located under an AA umbrella, Tactical Bombing is a low-risk way to eliminate even the toughest ground forces. Ordinary ground assets may fire at Bombers, but they are rarely a real threat to a healthy Bomber Unit.

    Strategic Bombing

    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap212.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	57.5 KB
ID:	9313836
    A Bomber softens up a City as ground forces crouch, ready to strike.

    Strategic Bombing is the reduction of Cities by Bombing. It is a higher-risk, higher-reward strategy than tactical bombing. The risk comes from the likelihood of intercepting Fighters being based in the City, while the reward comes from the Bomber's ability to flatten a City's defenses quickly, allowing your besiegers to simply walk in.

    Strategic bombing should be preceded by Fighter sweeps to clear airspace of interceptors.

    Missile Attack

    Guided Missiles are a relatively cheap way to damage enemy Units or Cities within ten hexes of your own Cities or cruisers. They deal a stiff amount of damage and are a nice way to soften up a position for infantry/armor assault. Guided Missiles are expendable weapons. They operate like less powerful, cheaper Nuclear Missiles. They lack the blast radius of Nuclear Weapons but also leave no Fallout.

    Guided Missiles are also covered in the Naval Combat section.

    AA Assets

    Click image for larger version

Name:	MWSnap190.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	79.4 KB
ID:	9313837
    Like Han Solo, anti-aircraft weapons shoot first.

    Anti-aircraft Units launch or fire as interception weapons when other air Units move into range. They operate automatically when enemy air Units attack nearby them. Any troop concentration in the Modern Era should be escorted by AA or SAMs.

    Nuclear Weapons

    Nuclear weapons are extraordinarily expensive to develop. They require investment in the Manhattan Project, improved sources of Uranium and their own individual development cycles for each deployment. That said, Atomic Bombs and Nuclear Missiles are City-wreckers of the first order, reducing every great metropolises to useless glowing hovels. Nukes are also a useful tactical weapon against massed ground Units. Assuming a successful strike, a Nuclear Weapon will weaken or destroy any cluster of defenders.

    The price of such power is the ruination caused by Fallout, which taints the area around a City. While cleanup is possible, at the phase in Civilization 5 when Nuclear Weapons typically emerge it is rarely practical. Cities attacked by Nuclear Weapons are best razed following occupation, and the eradicated land shunned.

    Naval Combat

    Naval Units are sea-mobile artillery platforms. All modes of nautical attack are ranged, either through gunnery, torpedoes, aircraft or missiles.

    First strike capability is essential to naval success. Much like a Tank battle, the seaborne attacker who gets in the first lick has the last laugh.

    Destroyers are essential in this. They're blazing fast and should be used to scout the waters ahead of, behind, and around your main fleet assets, moving at the beginning of your Turn. They are expendable, disposable Units with weak attack power and little durability. If your Destroyers are doing their jobs right, then they're likely dying a lot. They exist to find the enemy and draw his fire so that you can position your heavies for counter-strikes on an opponent's main assets, especially his Carriers.

    Bombers and Missiles are a fleet's main weapons. After your Destroyers find the enemy, sweep the air around any hostile Carriers with Fighters and then obliterate enemy flattops, Battleships, Cruisers and any visible Submarines at long range with Aircraft and Missiles.

    Your own Submarines are best used in blockade and patrol of nautical passages, as their limited speed makes them unsuitable for most fleet actions. They are also useful for sneaky Missile attacks on enemy metropolises and Units outside the range of your own Cities.

    Naval vs. Air

    Naval Units are Bomber-bait. Take the lesson of the Repulse and Prince of Wales to heart: even the mightiest Battleships stand no chance against concentrated air attack. You must escort any ship of the line with interceptor-equipped Carriers if you want it to have a chance of surviving. Your Battleship's counter-fire may take down some enemy Bombers, but not before they sink your expensive new battlewagon. Separate your big guns from your Carriers at your own risk.

    Coastal Bombardment

    Missiles and Bombers can be used to strike at inland targets, but are either one-shot weapons or run the risk of interception. Battleships, on the other hand, can pound most positions into bonemeal and are tough enough to absorb a lot of counter-fire, so long as they have protection from air assets and submarines.

    When bombarding Cities while are Units near the coast, stay at the edge of enemy firing range. Patrol the surrounding waters with Destroyers and keep a Fighter-filled Carrier anchored out of land-based artillery range as protection against air strikes. Don't waste your Destroyers by moving them in close enough to score hits with their own guns. They're fragile and their own firepower is negligible.

    Battleships have the ability to launch sustained bombardments, Guided Missiles provide Cruisers and Submarines with a selective punch, and Bombers make a Carrier near-equal to a City as a base of destructive power, but none of these weapons approaches the destructive potential of Atomic Bombs and Nuclear Missiles fired from ships. There are very few places on any world map inaccessible to a Carrier, Cruiser or Sub-based nuclear weapon, and the destructive potential of several of these fired in tandem is incomparable to any other attack available in Civilization 5. The only really effective countermeasure against this tactic is destroying the fleet before it can launch, but unless you plot your naval campaign badly and mismanage your escorts, that's not likely to happen to you. Go forth and destroy.

    Amphibious Assault

    Amphibious assault in a pain. It requires placing embarked ground Units at risk, a gloomy prospect as these are easily the slowest, most vulnerable military assets in Civilization 5. If there's any way to get an an enemy that doesn't require amphibious assault, prioritize the alternative approach.

    If you absolutely have to launch a beachfront attack, do it right. Pour naval fire into the enemy position until it's in the red. Cram as many tough naval Units into nearby waters as you can to draw fire. Use only embarked Units with Amphibious abilities, and make sure the assault job can be accomplished in one turn, as an embarked Unit has little chance of surviving two tuns in unfriendly waters.

    Protecting the Embarked

    Embarked Units are like lame sheep made of tissue paper. They exist to be devoured. Whenever significant ground forces travel the seas they should be accompanied and screened by fast escorts scouting in all cardinal directions around the convoy. Escorts should move first to make sure the way is clear of marauders, then the troop ships should sprint in a direct B-line for safe soil.

    Though it seems an ignoble role for a mighty Carrier, you will do well to escort all troop convoys with flattops after the emergence of aircraft. Bombers love a milk run, and troop ships put up no resistance at all.
      Posting comments is disabled.

    Article Tags


    Latest Articles