General combat strategy

Ever wondered why your opponents units seems to be an unstoppable force while your units are like puny tin soldiers? Here’s a few tactical tips that can give you the upper hand in battles.

Position, position, position. Place your units on hills, in jungles or forests to magnify your units defenses. Especially your ranged units can gain an advantage on hills, as they normally cannot fire through rough territory, but they can if they’re on a hill.

Always try to stay as aggressive as possible without exposing any weaknesses. Look for opportunities and take them. If his army is stronger than yours, fall back to fortified positions and try to hold ground. If your army is greater than his, take advantage and send him back into the stone age.

Image of crossbowmen on a hill firing at some unfortunate pikemen.
Ranged units can shoot through rough tiles when standing on a hill.

Rock, scissor, paper – unit bonuses against units

Produce units that counter your opponents units. This will give you a greater chance of success; you might prevail against units with overall stronger combat strength or you might effortlessly dominate your enemy.

Here’s a few guidelines for which units to produce:

  • Spearmen has a 100% combat bonus against mounted units. If you see your opponents focus on a horse army, counter him by producing spearmen.
  • If your enemy is mass producing spearmen or pikemen; start producing stronger melee units like swordmen and longswordmen.
  • If your opponent is focusing on a range army; produce cavalry so you can crush them before they get a chance to fire.
  • If your enemy has a ridiculously large amount of normal melee units; you could either meet him head on with the same unit composition or make some ranged units as well. In the latter case it’s imperative to position the ranged units correctly so they can “rain hell upon their foes”.

Fight.. as one!

There’s several effortless ways to gain additional combat bonuses against your enemy. You should always try to maximize these effects by combining them together. Here’s how you get maximum efficiency in battle:

Image of units flanking the enemy.
Each friendly unit next to the enemy gives you an additional +15% flanking bonus.
  • Surround your enemies. You get a flanking bonus of 15% for every friendly unit next to an enemy. If possible attack with your weakest units first or try to position them close to the enemy, then attack with the big guns.
  • Keep the great general as near as possible to the frontline. The presence of a great general gives every unit within 2 tiles a +25% combat bonus, so try to position the general as close as possible, but outside the danger zone.
    Notice that China’s great generals gives an astonishing +45% combat bonus, while the mighty Khan’s of Mongolia has a movement speed bonus and heal 2 health points per turn to nearby units.
  • Position your units on rough tiles (hills, jungle or forest) for an additional 25% defense.
  • Fortify units in the frontline if you don’t wish to initiate the attack. Then the enemy has a harder time breaching your lines. Units get a 25%-50% defense bonus for fortification.
  • Watch out for open terrain like plains, desert, grassland and tundra as units on these tiles will be penalized -33% defense.
  • Attacking across rivers gives -20% combat bonus to the attacker. Try to position yourself behind a river if you're on defense.
  • Conquer with honor. The social policy branch honor has multiple policies that boosts your combat efficiency. The discipline policy gives +15% combat bonus for adjacent units. The Warrior Code policy spawns a great general at your capital of which benefits I’ve mentioned above. Lastly I highly recommend adapting Military Tradition (double experience for military units). This policy is very handy and gives your army an additional layer of supremacy. Your units are able to last longer during fights because when they level up they can heal up to full health.
  • Upgrading units can give you additional attacking bonus against units on specific types of tiles. However, personally I like to save the upgrade for the full heal ability instead. It can make a ton of difference when attacking cities or anywhere you want to hold on to the initiative.

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