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Is war the BEST strategy?

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  • Is war the BEST strategy?

    In most of the games that I have played, I pretty much have to go to war for almost the entire length of the game, so as to keep up with the AI conquest.

    In one particular game, I had an early war and conquered my neighbor, and quickly conquered most of my continent. As a result, I thought that I was doing ok. When I eventually made contact with all civs and got their maps, I realize that a civ on another continent had conquered his entire continent and was 5 times bigger than me. So, I felt like I had to conquer the rest of my continent so as to remain competitive. In another game I was in a similar situation, and I decided to stop conquests and focus on science. The leading civ continued his conquest, and became so strong that a space victory was hopeless for me. So basically, I have to fight to remain competitive.

    Why is the game so often just one long war from beginning to end? Is war really the only best strategy?
    'There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.'"
    G'Kar - from Babylon 5 episode "Z'ha'dum"

  • #2
    The answer is yes. Sad but true, war is the best strategy. It's not the only one, but the easiest and most efficient. It is possible to get an early advantage by peaceful means, but one or more early oscillating wars will get that advantage easier and safer.

    Regarding your game, it was probably not necessary to conquer your continent in order to remain competitive. Size is not all, due to corruption. You can have half the territory, but produce the same.

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    • #3
      War is the most efficient way to play simply because the AI is so bad at it. You can beat an army twice your size using basic tactics, and the game is pretty much over when you get an equal-size army with an eye on conquest.

      All you really need to be competitive is a first ring of cities around your palace and FP. Normally you have to take out a civ in order to fit that in, but you don't have to wipe out everyone.

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      • #4
        My strat is simple, give in to the AI until you get enough swords/knights, etc together then attack. I have found that the AI will only demand something from you (if they are close to you) if they are prepared to lauch an attack.
        Citizen of the Apolyton team in the ISDG
        Currently known as Senor Rubris in the PTW DG team

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        • #5
          I used to dread war with larger/more advanced AI civs, darting glances at my border, wondering when they would strike, meanwhile building frantically and furiously in what I perceived as windows of peacetime availability.
          But I've learned to welcome AI incursions. DaveMcW is right: effective military tactics will almost always hamstring and weaken the AI. The windows of opportunity, against your larger, more powerful, more advanced AI rivals, are the wars, not the stretches of peace.
          Not that warmongering is the only strategy for advancement and growth. It has to be complimented by efficient building and deft trading. Nevertheless, at the higher levels of play (for me, emperor), in which the AI's build and research faster, selective warring creates invaluable opportunities for advantage. Switching to wartime production seems to upset, unbalance, and upends AI growth and development.
          Not that you have to do all of the fighting. Bring in some allies: spread the chaos around, drag everyone into turmoil.
          aka, Unique Unit
          Wielder of Weapons of Mass Distraction

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          • #6
            re thread title: yes.
            "I've lived too long with pain. I won't know who I am without it. We have to leave this place, I am almost happy here."
            - Ender, from Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

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            • #7
              Selective wars with particular objectives : yes

              War to grab valuable cities or strategic resources (having regard to distance corruption) is very useful but if the war drags on too long or is too costly another peacefully developing AI civ may surpass you. Get in quick and take what is useful and keep your reputation pristine.

              Be very careful about who you attack. If you hurt someone bad then make sure you permanently and severely weaken him by taking his cities and/or his resources because he will want revenge. (OTH If you are dragged into someone elses war you could sit back and do nothing so you can fully repair relations later). Always have some friends to help you, you may need them. (If you do this you might get so big you no longer need friends).

              Indiscriminate wars : no way in hell

              Attacking willy nilly is a really good way to get everyone to gang up and take you apart. Wiping a civilisation out also seems to make it more likely someone else will come after you (you could let your enemy keep one last worthless city out in the tundra )

              War can be the best strategy. OTH War can be the worst strategy. Depends upon how and why you make war, and when and with whom and upon the diplomatic context of your wars.

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              • #8
                If you have a good UU, say the Chinese Rider, I would argue that you "must" go to war at least 3 times, at least on Emperor/Deity:

                1) At the very beginning - rush archers, while the AI is building.
                2) After you have got replacable parts, and your opponent has not yet got Motorized Transportation, since the AI only uses Artillery defensively.
                3) When your UU gives you an advantage.

                IMO, ignoring these obvious advantages often proves fatal.

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                • #9
                  Re: Is war the BEST strategy?

                  Originally posted by The diplomat
                  In most of the games that I have played, I pretty much have to go to war for almost the entire length of the game, so as to keep up with the AI conquest.
                  Is war necessary? Of course. Do you have be in a state-of-war for the entire game? No.

                  For though the lion and the antelope happen to live in the same forest, the antelope still has time to grow up.

                  African Proverbs
                  http://www.zachriel.com/gotm12/

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                  • #10
                    Of course the antelope becomes a steak within 30 turns
                    I will never understand why some people on Apolyton find you so clever. You're predictable, mundane, and a google-whore and the most observant of us all know this. Your battles of "wits" rely on obscurity and whenever you fail to find something sufficiently obscure, like this, you just act like a 5 year old. Congratulations, molly.

                    Asher on molly bloom

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                    • #11
                      War is only needed even on Emperor level when you can't get enough high quality terraign (especally RIVERS) peacefully.

                      In my last 2 Emepror level games I've goten enough river tiles peacefully during REX to make ancient era and middle age war unneccessary. (Well 2 games ago I technically had a middle age war with a Rider, but the war consisted of the Aztecs from the other landmass dropping 1 Swordmen onto my territory, declaring war when I told them to leave and killing it with a Rider which trigured the GA.

                      In the modern era, war is needed if it turns out there's no Alluminum in your territory and you need to acquire it. (That turned out to be the case in my current game, so I got the AI to declare war on me via demanding they take their ships out of my coastal waters and annexed a spare Uranium, Bach's, 3 Gems, Alliumum, Sistine's Chapel, a 3rd coal, and a useless spare Saltpeter into my territory before War Werrious was getting problemic and so I then declared peace in exchange for receciving 59 gold per turn for the next 20 turns, along with all the cash they had on hand along with an update on the WM.) I razed their capital which contained the Pyraimds + Great Wall + Oracle, along with several Small Wonders and a Culture rating around 7400 just before signing the treaty.
                      1st C3DG Term 7 Science Advisor 1st C3DG Term 8 Domestic Minister
                      Templar Science Minister
                      AI: I sure wish Jon would hurry up and complete his turn, he's been at it for over 1,200,000 milliseconds now.

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                      • #12
                        I say absolutely no! I am getting the living hell beat out of me trying to fight wars. I get behind on tech and end up having all kinds of problems. It depends on the game if war is the best strategy or not. I have played some of my best games fighting short limited wars and trying to stay diplomatic terms with the other nations. I guess if you really plan a war and do it right...build up alot of military know where to attack and which units to use and how to attack. Also you want to find out if they are allied or have MPP with other nations. War can get really ugly and cost you your game if you are not careful. It happens to me all the time.
                        -PrinceBimz-

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                        • #13
                          Is war the BEST strategy?

                          Yes. But it's not the most fun way to play .

                          Catt

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                          • #14
                            I say no to the thread title.

                            It might be the most effective, but to me "best" entails more than 2-tiles between cities with zero improvements but hordes and hordes of units.

                            Yeah, I know that's oversimplifying. Sue me. I'm still new to warmongering, but I still try to war as little as possible while still warring effectively.
                            "Just once, do me a favor, don't play Gray, don't even play Dark... I want to see Center-of-a-Black-Hole Side!!! " - Theseus nee rpodos

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                            • #15
                              In many situations, yes. But there are so many variables in CivIII that a simple yes or no to that question seems inadequate.

                              Map settings, difficulty, civ choice (if you're militaristic, for instance, not fighting is essentially wasting one of your traits)... these things all matter.

                              If you're playing as the Americans on a map that gives you lots of room to expand, you had better have some very good reasons for going to war early, because you've got the best REX civ in the game and room to expand peacefully (total lack of a key resource, like iron, is a good reason. Another would be an aggressive AI neighbor with a dangerous UU if you let them live... like Rome).

                              Still, if you gain an advantage from peaceful expansion and development, at some point it behooves you to turn that advantage (whether it manifests itself as a production advantage, technological advantage or both) into a military advantage and use it to beat on somebody.

                              -Arrian
                              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.

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