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  • Tank-Fishing

    There are many ways to fight effectively, but I finally found a good use for extremely outdated units (warriors, bowmen, and especially the hordes of Legionaries that I have lying around in the industrial era as I play the Romans). Maybe others have noticed it, too, but if no one has yet taken credit for it, then I'd like to call it Heliodorus' Tank-Fishing.

    In ages where your tanks are fighting enemy tanks, you may encounter some noteworthy difficulties with your lack of mobility in your enemy's territory, and his extreme mobility defending in it. The enemy AI can visciously counterattack vulnerable wounded units, or nearby cities in your own Civ. Tank-fishing is a modestly successful decoying tactic that can be used to lure the enemy's strongest attacking units into vulnerable positions, thus limiting their effectiveness in protecting themselves or attacking you.

    It is based around my observation that the enemy likes to fight first in places where he is likely to win a combat engagement. The enemy AI seems extremely concerned with his own force protection, and with reducing your total number of units, especially offensive units.

    The enemy will target tanks that are damaged, cavalry stacked alone, and other potent offensive weapons that defend poorly. The AI will also attempt first to destroy them in his territory, and then in no-man's land, and then possibly within a square or two of his border within your territory.

    In experimenting, I kept several longbowmen and legionaries around into the tank age - austencibly to use against older AI swordsmen and such when I encountered them, rather than using tanks to dispatch them (and I also use older units as garrisons on occasion - plus I have a general problem disbanding my loyal legionaries, even if they are virtually worthless - they are the Roman UU after all).

    What I noticed was that the AI visciously targeted these older units BEFORE he targeted my tanks (but not wounded tanks, which were always highest priority, seemingly, for the AI). Often the AI would move one of HIS tanks to engage one of my bowmen or legions. Using this prioritization against the AI, I started leaving a good number of these obsolete units near the rear of my attacking forces, especially near my border (either one square away, or in no man's land), and especially near places where artillery would be able to engage the square after the AI attacked it.

    By doing this, I lured strong enemy AI units (always tanks, it seemed, never bombers or cruise missiles, which he had) out of positions that suited him, and into positions that suited me. He squandered his mobility in his own territory to attack far away from my lead element (far being a relative term), and he granted me mobility to counterattack by moving into or close to areas where I gained railroad benefits to counterattack.

    I invariably lost my obsolete unit (I don't seem to get those screwy combat results some mention), but the enemy tank was left without movement capabilities to withdraw, and on the following turn, my reserve tanks, or tanks moving toward the front, would eliminate the enemy tank and continue on it's way (often I would soften it up first with artillery, which is slow on the offensive in enemy territory: MOD NOTE - Self-Propelled Arty, movement 2, requires oil, rubber). Also, this preserved the momentum of my offensive force, keeping them from being harassed by enemy tanks.

    Note that damaged offensive tanks still are a priority for the enemy AI, and one should protect them (and all tank stacks) with Infantry or better yet Mechanized Infantry. But if the AI is faced with a choice of attacking a strong defender and a weak one, it seems to always favor the weak one.

    I see a negative to this being the financial waste of keeping obsolete units in one's pool. Personally, that wasn't too much of an issue for me, as I never had all that many (30-40 obsolete legions and bowmen, and a warrior or three). I hope you find this useful in your late-game tank wars!
    I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. - Helen Keller

  • #2

    What you've described is a variant of the "worker shield." The worker shield works in a similar fashion, except that you use workers instead of old units. Workers are captured, no killed, and easily recaptured. The AI will go out of its way, pratically ignoring all else, to capture workers. You can thus lure his best units onto poor defensive terrain and take them out. I have stopped doing it because, IMHO, it's a tad bit cheesy. Your way is less cheesy, as it does involve paying the upkeep on legionaries for a few millenia.

    grog want tank...Grog Want Tank... GROG WANT TANK!

    The trick isn't to break some eggs to make an omelette, it's convincing the eggs to break themselves in order to aspire to omelettehood.


    • #3
      Actually, workers DO get killed, post patch. Or rather, the AI is now relatively fond of disbanding any of your workers it catches, instead of leaving them alive for you to possibly recapture. It doesn't seem to do this if the workers are of his nationality (i.e. you captured them from him on some earlier turn).

      - Gus


      • #4
        Originally posted by gus_smedstad
        Actually, workers DO get killed, post patch. Or rather, the AI is now relatively fond of disbanding any of your workers it catches, instead of leaving them alive for you to possibly recapture. It doesn't seem to do this if the workers are of his nationality (i.e. you captured them from him on some earlier turn).

        - Gus
        I've noticed that the AI seems to disband your workers mostly when it has little chance of keeping them. When it can return the workers to safety the same turn it will keep them, but when it captures them in your territory, where it is especially vulnerable to counterattack, it will disband them. I've noticed this behavior both before and after the patch.


        • #5
          Another thing, along similar lines, it is good to attack with cheap mobile units(jaguar warriors are best for this) until all the artillery in a fort of city have used their free shots, and only then use your strong attackers(after bombarding offensively of course!) to take the position. This requires mobile units, because you don't want to give it free promotions and possibly leaders.

          That must be why they left option to build obsolete units, for cannon fodder.