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  • Strategies against Barbarian Attacks

    Strategies against Barbarian Attacks

    When researching this topic a bit I found quite a few facts allready known, but the knowledge is spread at sometimes difficult to find places and it seems there is no summary under a strategic point of view. Also some questions seem to be open and I hope experienced players can add to this. A good strategy to defend against early barbarian uprisings obviously is of highest importance in Early Landing Games, where every defense unit that has to be build is a considerable delay to the ultimate goal and were quite often hopeful starts are destroyed by a single attack. Unless pointed out otherwise I will refer to deity level and 2.42. Differences of levels have been discussed here: http://www.apolyton.net/forums/Forum1/HTML/001911.html
    A little treasury for everyone interested: The Barbarian Paper by William Keenan http://www.apolyton.net/coc/guides/barbtechs.shtml

    1. Defense with warriors

    Warriors have a good chance to survive archer attacks in the early game. The defender in the first (and only) city can not loose, as is well known in OCC games. Defenders in cities 2 - ? have a defense bonus of appr. + 100% and seem likely to get a veteran status when surviving an attack. If 2 archers attack the same round a warrior in a city with some terrain defense bonus (e.g. river) is likely to survive, a warrior on a city on plain or grassland is likely to loose the second attack. A warrior outside a city has no defense bonus. It is therefore no advantage to fortify a warrior outside on a forest or to move it on a hill if it cannot be fortified in time. It also has to be noted, that there seems to be a recovery of a surviving defender inside a city in the same turn. IIRC this was discussed in a thread somewhere. Sometimes a warrior exploring outside can distract one of the barbarian units. A barbarian unit will go after a unit if it is closer than the next city.

    2. Offense against archers

    It is well known that the defense value of a barbarian archer is 1, not 2 as for regular archers. Any offensive unit can easily defeat them. A warrior or a phalanx have a chance to win.

    3. Defense with diplomats

    The most common defense in ELGs (see Solos Early Landing Guide 2.2.7) is to bribe one barbarian unit with a diplomat. The bribed unit can defeat the other barbarian unit the same turn. This does not work of cause if the barbarian units are stacked or if the single unit is not in reach of the unit that shares the tile with the barbarian leader, a very difficult situation. If there is any defending unit at hand it can sometimes be sacrificed leaving the city, holding back the closest barbarian unit one turn.
    The amount needed to bribe a barbarian unit is (shields neccessary to build the unit)*2+1

    4. Piracy

    Barbarian vessels appear at turn 16 for the first time. If the sea arround the seaside cities has been explored allready they often can be seen several turns before landing. If the landing fields arround the closest city are blocked by any units (like caravans), the barbarian vessel will stay in front of the city for centuries until it disappears or the own defense has been build up to allow a landing. William Keenan points out that attack vessels will attack ground units, too. I cannot confirm that, as I have blocked frigates before. This may be related to the civ version. Barbarian attack vessels (including triremes) attack other ships, though. Once unloaded the barbarian vessel disappears the next turn and is not a threat to other ships any more.

    5. Paying tribute

    At some occasions the best defense may be to move the defending unit outside. If the city is undefended and the barbarians can conquer it on the same turn, the barbarians ask for tribute under certain conditions. Once payed they disappear. According to Cullivan the conditions are:

    a) The minimum demand is 50, but it varies in accordance with the following equation:

    city size * 25

    Thus the Barbarians will demand at least 50 gold from a size 1 city, 50 gold from a size 2 city, 75 gold from a size 3 city, 100 gold from a size 4 city, etc.

    b) If your treasury has more than twice the minimum (and it doesn't matter how much more), the Barbarians will demand half. If you have an odd amount of gold, the Barbarian demand is rounded down. So if your treasury has 203 gold, they'll ask for 101.

    c) If your treasury has less than the minimum (49, 74, 99, etc), there is no demand, just conquest.

    http://cullivan.com/civ/tips.html

    If the chances to defend an important city are bad, and you have the usual early demand of 50g, this may well be worth paying. This also means that it is better to spend any money above 100g before the attack, as the barbarians would just ask for more.


    There is certainly more to add to this. Some open questions I haven´t found an answer yet: where is the (city?)limit for the early city defense bonus? Is there a higher probability of getting a veteran during this time? What exactly is this defense factor? I would research it, but may be someone has allready the answer.

    Any comments welcome

    Zenon

  • #2
    Your statements are in accordance with my experience, apart from William Keenan's statement that barb vessels may attack ground units.
    I have stopped hundreds of barb triremes along the coast with zero or low defense units such as diplomats, caravans or settlers.
    I agree that warriors usually become vets after having destroyed a barb archer, but I haven't studied that more thoroughly.
    Aux bords mystérieux du monde occidental

    Comment


    • #3
      My own experience confirms most of the points above.

      I've found that barb appearances are mostly likely on Odeo years, and confirm the new pirate ship for sure every 16 turns.

      Luring attacking barbs away from a valuable city with a more expendable unit is a great tactic, too, if there is enough surrounding terrain to entice detours.

      A benefit of early Monarchy in EL games, is that warriors can control happiness as well as provide protection at the time of the game when cities are the most vulnerable.

      Another thing I have noticed is that barbarians are most likely to appear next to the cities closest to unexplored tiles, and are much less likely to appear in well explored areas having high traffic. I fairly useless helper near unexplored terrain a safe distance away from the SSC and more important cities can be used as a distraction.

      Barb ships always attack other ships, but seldom go after land units, so the idea of lining the coast with units such as caravans to prevent access is a good one.

      Barb cities are very cheap to bribe, and make great instant colonies or helpers. This means if one of your own smaller cities having no improvements is being attacked, it may be better to give it up and bribe it back later on when it's convenient for adding another city. In the meantime, it will spawn cheap, bribable units, and may also be used for roaded or railed trade route bonuses. Our possesiveness, when it comes to keeping what "belongs" to us, is an emotion and may not be the most useful guide for basing our decisions while playing a game.

      Comment


      • #4
        1. I am uncertain about a "defense bonus" for Warriors in cities vs Barb attack. I would say that the likelyhood of Vet status is no more than any other successful defense combat. There does seem to be a higher healing rate when a unit already fortified in a city is attacked and survives, something like 40% or so, but this may not be unique to Barbs, rather a general case of city healing any combat damage if the unit has not moved. There seems to be faster healing the nearer you are to one of your own cities. If adjacent to both a "diversionary" unit and a city, the Barb will attack the city. Barbs "seem" to get a "target" at the time they spawn, and it is not necessarily the nearest unit or city. I saw a Barb pass completely by my capital on its way to another city. Most barb ground movement seems to be in a straight line, modified by ocean/lake borders.
        2. "Offensive" meaning unit with 2 or more Attack value. Those with 1 have a 50% chance of winning. If fortified, stay put and sweat it out.
        3. Liability of "Diplomat Defense" is that it is money-losing, rather than gaining. The Barb Leader always stacks with the closest Barb unit, so bribing the other one and attacking the first loses the Barb Leader ransom. 65-85 gold needs to be reserved solely for Barb bribes; a better use of that gold may be to build a Phalanx and some connecting roads. Keep the Phalanx in a central city, move and fortifiy when Barbs first spotted; the fortified Phalanx will almost always beat two Archers, likely becoming vet in the process. The goal is to force the Barb Leader's accompanying unit to die on the walls, so that the Barb Leader can be ransomed.
        4. I think land spawning of Barbs also starts around the 16th turn (the Solo cycle). You will see them anywhere you have been the "last unit visited", which includes any maps you have traded for or setting the Reveal Map in Cheat or Scenario mode. Once another civs unit moves next to or through a tile you will not see them until you view that tile again with one of your own units. Note that Triremes, Caravels, and Frigates may carry many more Barb units than their "official" capacity. I have seen six Knights come off a Caravel.
        5. A variation on the tribute idea is to let the Barbs have the city, then bribe it back next turn. Early in the game it will be VERY cheap, and you often get the conquering Barb unit in the bargain. I bought a size 1 city with Archer for 39 gold once, less than the price of the Archer.
        6. The type of Barb unit may give you an indication of the highest level of military tech any civ has discovered, so if you see Knights, Crusaders, or Legion Barbs you can be assured some other civ has discovered that tech, even if you have not.
        7. I believe the game randomly sets "spawning grounds" where Barbs reappear frequently during the course of a game. In my most recent game, I never saw any spawn near me, but another civ was plagued by them from 2000BC to 500AD.
        8. There was some hypothesizing elsewhere that the Barb city will either: repeat build the last military unit the city built before capture, or repeat built the same military unit as captured the city. Worth investigating.
        9. Something about Barb Farms and Barb Traps: location, improvements to the city (build a Barracks!) before letting it be taken, frequency of unit production, etc.
        10. Barbs can discover technology from Barb Cities! But I have not found a way to trade for it...
        11. Barbs stop after discovery of Mobile Warfare.

        Solo, I dont think the Barbs are spawning more near cities that are next to black tiles; I think that is a mis-perception, because we are more likely to notice them as they approach from elsewhere in the black, and we are more suprised by them suddenly "jumping out" so close to our cities. I encourage you to play a few games with full map revealed from the start to see how they seem to spawn in certain areas. I do not know how we could build the Road/Rail link to a Barb city: wont the defenders kill our Settler/Engineer on sight? Barb cities may also prefer Shields over Food and Trade; sometime I mean to slip a few Spys into a test Barb city and see what they are doing.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Elephant
          1. ... Barbs "seem" to get a "target" at the time they spawn, and it is not necessarily the nearest unit or city. I saw a Barb pass completely by my capital on its way to another city.
          The "target" can change. In the current ELG a barb archer destroyed 2 cities and then left the map, only to return and capture a newly founded city.

          RJM at Sleepers
          Fill me with the old familiar juice

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Elephant
            Solo, I dont think the Barbs are spawning more near cities that are next to black tiles; I think that is a mis-perception, because we are more likely to notice them as they approach from elsewhere in the black, and we are more suprised by them suddenly "jumping out" so close to our cities. I encourage you to play a few games with full map revealed from the start to see how they seem to spawn in certain areas. I do not know how we could build the Road/Rail link to a Barb city: wont the defenders kill our Settler/Engineer on sight? Barb cities may also prefer Shields over Food and Trade; sometime I mean to slip a few Spys into a test Barb city and see what they are doing.
            I'm with Solo on this one. It may not change the probability of appearance but having no black squares around your cities sure helps as it gives you time to react to the threat.......which is of critical importance in empires that are lightly defended.

            Comment


            • #7
              With the exception of barb ships, barbs will only appear outside of a certain distance to a city. (not sure what it is but it's farther than three. If you leave a decent size area in the middle of your empire unsettled, it will be a barb spawning ground that you can turn into a money factory by killing kings.

              My question is barb targeting. Every now an then a barb will show up early in the game near a newly found city that you think is automatically toast, but then the barb (that was only two squares away,) moves off. Your nearest opponent is over 15 squares away, so I wonder just what the heck the new target is. Then after 5 or 10 turns, and after you've build the proper defense, it comes back and immolates itself against the city that it would have crushed a few turns before.
              It's almost as if all his overconfident, absolutist assertions were spoonfed to him by a trusted website or subreddit. Sheeple
              RIP Tony Bogey & Baron O

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by rah
                With the exception of barb ships, barbs will only appear outside of a certain distance to a city. (not sure what it is but it's farther than three. If you leave a decent size area in the middle of your empire unsettled, it will be a barb spawning ground that you can turn into a money factory by killing kings.

                My question is barb targeting. Every now an then a barb will show up early in the game near a newly found city that you think is automatically toast, but then the barb (that was only two squares away,) moves off. Your nearest opponent is over 15 squares away, so I wonder just what the heck the new target is. Then after 5 or 10 turns, and after you've build the proper defense, it comes back and immolates itself against the city that it would have crushed a few turns before.
                that my friend is called luck

                too many times i have seen barbs go in a diagonal direction through my empire and not touch a single city even though they are only ever 2-3 squares away from thse cities.

                it is odd when they show up then head off somewhere else...i always assume its another unit from a rival that they have their greedy eyes on?
                Boston Red Sox are 2004 World Series Champions!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Perhaps the reason I have observed barbs more often coming from unexplored tiles is because they can not spawn within a certain distance from cities as observed by rah. A lot of unexplored tiles around a city would increase the odds of having nearby "spawning" tiles.

                  I agree that certain tiles seem to be used for spawning barbs, but one question I do have is how can one observe whether these are unexplored or not when playing with the whole map revealed?

                  Diplomats do not cost any shields for support, which is why I use them for defense when playing under Republic or Democracy. If I see barbs approaching a city and have enough time, I will often build a temporary defender, too, let them attack, and then go after the leader. Often, a barb attacker can be bribed and used this way, too.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yeah... nothing better when you have diplo handy, and the lead barb seperates himself from the King. You get to bribe the unit, and get the money back while making a profit
                    "If black people robbed you, I'd not consider it prejudice for you to be angry at black people in general" - Ben Kenobi
                    Lessons in Christianity.

                    Keep on Civin'
                    RIP Tony Bogey & Baron O

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      When we played GOTM25 over at CFC the whole map was revealed from the start, which had the effect of letting you see the Barbs when they first spawn, then track them across the oceans (I liked zooming out (the "Rah zoom"?) to watch the full-screen action). You are right, that does not tell us if there is any greater likelyhood of spawning in black tiles near cities, but just watching them I rarely saw them spawn near a civ; they usually spawned far at sea, then moved pretty deliberately toward the coast of one civ or the other. I suspect they get a "target" or a direction to head when they spawn, then it is modified only after reaching their original target.

                      Viewing accessible tiles near your cities is a vital first defense; you get "early warning" of barb approaches, and you may or may not prevent spawning closer to yourself. I was suprised to see how you did not explore the western end of the island in EL#3; I am still nervous with the EL strategy of defenseless cities and minimal exploration.

                      I tend to use most of my gold for partial rush buying, so dip defense could just as well be camel defense (although dips move 2...); the problem with rushbuying a defender is that it takes another turn to fortify him. My strategy has been to make a single Phalanx early on, keep him fortified in the SSC or capital, and connect roads to nearby cities to move him there if he can get fortified before the Barb arrives. If not, evacuate the city, let them take it, and buy it back next turn. If the Barb is seen far enough away, get the Phalanx to a Hill or Mtn in its path, kill the Archer and go after the Leader.

                      I have not used Barb trolling in EL games thus far, but sending a Dip or Horse on a ship with a caravan was a favorite strategy in "normal" games. Many hut-popping strats are laid aside...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Elephant,

                        Good points.

                        In EL #3, I was actually hoping the barbs would take the northern helper on the west side of the island to allow the profitable RR connection. The fact that they did not appear "out of the dark" as I hoped and believed, lends less credence to this theory. Being on the bottom of the map limited the number of nearby "spawning" tiles, making the barb threat at home much lower during this game.

                        If a city can spare an extra shield, I will often make a phalanx to use in conjunction with my diplomat. I found this to be necessary for a helper on the fringe in EL #4 that was being attacked by barbs on a continuous basis during part of my game.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I notice a continuous attack on the Russians in EL#3 after I had gotten their map from Marco Polo contact; wonder if that was a land tile spawning ground problem. Rah's suggestion is worth trying, but leads to either a circle city formation (bad for early corruption) or a partially filled continent, inviting other civs to settle later. Then again, that might not be so bad...

                          Still don't understand how you would make the RR link to a Barb city, nor have I ever seen a Barb city grow above size 5 after capture. They seem to emphasize shields, so their trade would be lousy. If you have a game where you used the TR to a Barb city I'd love to look at a SAV.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yes, Rah's idea, or a variation of it, is well worth implementing in El games.

                            I had a RR connection for a while in my large map game when one of my helpers was captured by the barbs. The RR connections were already in place, and the bonuses were still much higher than for other AI cities. I will look for a save illustrating this if i still have one.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yes, I found the save, but the connection in this case was made via a station. Even with low barb trade, look inside my SSC and see how much higher the Viborg routes are, at 30 arrows each vs. 22 for another AI city with better trade.
                              Attached Files

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