Making War in Civilization II
by Marc Fisher (Compuserve: 70711,3177,
"Attrition is not a strategy. It is, in fact, irrefutable proof of the
absence of any strategy. A commander who resorts to attrition admits
his failure to conceive of an alternative. He rejects warfare as an art
and accepts it on the most non-professional terms imaginable. He uses
blood in lieu of brains."
- Dave Palmer, historian and soldier
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
I. The Tools of War
1. Combat units
a. Ancient - Midieval
c. Modern - The Combat Triad
d. Nuclear weapons
2. The Impact of Technology
3. Weighing the Odds
II. Military Doctrine
1. War for a Purpose
2. Defensive War
3. Limited War
4. Total War
5. Operational Strategy
7. Dislocation & Disruption
8. Tempo & Preemption
10. Naval Operations
11. Special Operations
III. Politics and War
1. Cease fires and Treaties
2. On Machiavelli
3. Shorting out the Senate
4. Taunting Your Enemy
"There is only one purpose to which a whole society can be directed by
a deliberate plan. That purpose is war, and there is no other."
- Walter Lippman
I am an ardent Civ2 gamer, and I have a long-standing interest in
military history which has been brought to life by the Microprose game,
Civilization II. I came to realize that many profound works on the
subject of war and history can be applied to playing this wonderful
game. Herein is my first attempt at an analytical paper since my college
days. The difference (other than my advanced age) is that this seems to
have been a great deal more fun!
The first qualifier I must lay out, of course, is that the level of the
Civ2 war-planning AI is less than desirable. Mostly, it seems to be
pretty straightforward in terms of a "build unit;send unit to nearest
threat;attack" loop. You've probably already had good success fighting
the AI on its own terms.
So, then, here's the challenge: why stoop to the mindless logic of a
machine? You are the cognitive, intuitive human in this equation. You
should approach any war with a well-formulated strategy for victory and
for an advantageous position once peace breaks out. Unlike the AI, you
can plan ahead 10, 20, 50 game years or more. To allow yourself to slip
into shoddy strategy or aimless operational planning would be a waste.
It would be the hallmark of an amateur gamer.
The second qualifier involves the scope of this piece. You don't have
to have wars in Civ 2 (though they're hard to avoid). In fact, in most
cases you will have far greater success in the game if you focus on
peaceful building and research first, and cope with wars as they happen.
But this piece is not about how to build large cities with alot of happy
citizens. It's about war - how to fight it and how to win it.
Civilization II is a copyright of Microprose Software, Inc.
(Note: In the following document, I will use the terms "computer
player" and "AI" or "AI Civ" interchangeably. AI means "artificial
I. The Tools of War
"The best strategy is always to be very strong" - Clausewitz, On War
I've divided the available combat units in Civ2 into three categories
for simplicity. The ultimate warfighting style, using maneuver and
speed, is difficult to utilize before the player has modern units such
as armor, bombers, and battleships. Thus it is imperative to taylor your
war decisions to the tools you have available, as much as to your
In the following tables, "Att." means attack value. "Def." means
defense value. "HP" is the hit point total, and "FP" is the firepower
value of the unit.
1. Combat Units
Cost Move Att. Def. HP FP
Warrior 10 1 1 1 10 1
Pikemen 20 1 1 2* 10 1
Horsemen 20 2 2 1 10 1
Phalanx 20 1 1 2 10 1
Archers 30 1 3 2 10 1
Chariot 30 2 3 1 10 1
Knight 40 2 4 2 10 1
Elephant 40 2 4 1 10 1
Legion 40 1 4 2 10 1
Catapult 40 1 6 1 10 1
Crusaders 40 2 5 1 10 1
Trireme 40 5 0 3 30 1
I have always viewed the Ancient-era forces as mere stop-gaps in
defending myself until I can discover Gunpowder. The offensive
values of some of the above units are respectable, but their
defensive quality is abysmal.
Still, due to the overall condition of my civilization during
this era I find myself engaging in strategic Defensive War, more
often than not. To do that effectively, I rely on settlers
building permanent fortresses in key squares along my borders and
around my cities. Inside my cities, I use City Walls heavily to
enhance my defensive value until the advent of Gunpowder. With
such a structure to protect my forces, I can launch short raids
and local counterattacks to exact a heavy punishment upon any
invaders. Because of the low values of these units, Veteran
status can be a nice advantage. I try to build barracks in a few
cities, and after I discover Feudalism I build the Sun Tzu wonder
to give myself the benefits of Veteran status.
In my opinion, the kinds of units you can build at this stage of
the game do not allow sufficient maneuver and striking power to
engage in Total War on anything but the smallest maps.
Cost Move Att. Def. HP FP
Dragoons 50 2 5 2 20 1
Musketeers 30 1 3 3 20 1
Fanatics 20 1 4 4 20 1
Cannon 40 1 8 1 20 1
IronClad 60 4 4 4 30 1
Frigate 50 4 4 2 20 1
Not until you can build gunpowder-based units will you begin to
see any significant combat staying power in your military -
demonstrated by the Hit Point values above. The catch is that
your opponents are likely to discover Gunpowder at about the
same time you do, if not before. Note, too, that the Firepower
rating of these units is still low. That means that battles are
liable to be long and bloody - for both sides.
Dragoons, and later Cavalry, are usually the mainstays of my
offensive ground forces in the post-midieval era. I never use
these units on defense unless I have no other choice - they are
strictly for offense. Whenever I can, I always have musketeers
or riflemen (or fanatics) following up my cavalry closely, in
order to hold the ground they've siezed.
I'll mention the Galleon and Frigate here, though we'll delve
more deeply into naval strategy later. These two units are worth
building in numbers if you have alot of coastline or the enemy is
on the other side of an ocean. The frigate is the only combat
naval unit you'll get that can carry troops (2), and that's good
for sneak attacks behind enemy lines or for siezing ports where
his fleet is a-building. High marks for both these units until
On the flip side of that coin, I've never built many Ironclads.
By the time they're available, I'm researching Electricity and
will be building Destroyers instead.
c. Modern - the Combat Triad
Cost Move Att. Def. HP FP
Cavalry 60 2 8 3 20 1
Riflemen 40 1 5 4 20 1
Marines 60 1 8 5 20 1
Artillery 50 1 10 1 20 2
Howitzer 70 2 12 2 30 2
Alpine 50 1 5 5 20 1
Mech Inf. 50 3 6 6 30 1
Armor 80 3 10 5 30 1
Note that the pattern of higher cost/more power continues in
the above chart, but that now the units' defensive values are
catching up. Beware of good defensive units dug in on hills or
inside cities - you'll need an intelligent plan to eliminate or
bypass them, or your forces won't last long.
You begin to receive Modern units at about the time you reach
Electricity, Steel, and Combustion. Usually the first truly
modern unit you'll get is the Marine - an excellent combat unit
except for its low movement allowance. The two best uses for
Marines are Amphibious attack (directly off the ship onto the
target square) or as defensive forces in fortresses or cities.
They are not optimal for the kind of fast-moving mobile campaigns
that win large Civ2 wars.
The Alpine unit is an excellent choice in the modern era. They
have good attack/defense values, they're relatively inexpensive,
and their movement rate makes them better than cavalry when your
front line is in heavy terrain. There is no better endorsement of
the Alpine unit than the fact that the computer player builds
alot of them.
Artillery suffers from the same weaknesses as its forebears, the
cannon and catapult - it is too slow to keep up with mobile
combat groups. The Howitzer rectifies this somewhat, though it
only appears late in the game after the discovery of Robotics. I
often prefer to use Bombers as my "mobile artillery", since they
have few limitations as far as keeping up with the front line.
Bombers arrive before Howitzers, and they too ignore city walls.
A word about Paratroops. I haven't built alot of these in most
of my games, mainly because the way I fight a war moves too
quickly for Paratroops to have an effective base from which to
launch their paradrop beyond the first turn or two of war. I
view them as special purpose units, whose best use may be in
isolating target cities by dropping them behind the objective.
They are also very effective as reinforcements in newly-conquered
cities, or as "blitz" elements exploiting a nuclear strike.
Cost Move Att. Def. HP FP
Submarine 60 3 10 2 30 2
Destroyer 60 6 4 4 30 1
Cruiser 80 5 6 6 30 2
Battleship 160 4 12 12 40 2
Carrier 160 5 9 1 40 2
AEGIS 120 5 8 8 30 2
"The Navy is a machine invented by geniuses, to be run by
idiots." - Herman Woulk, 'The Caine Mutiny'.
We've virtually ignored Naval units until now, and the main
reason for that is because the Frigate was the only real
seaborne combat unit available. But with the advent of the
above units, you have an opportunity to develop the second leg
of the Modern Combat Triad: Sea.
First, consider the fact that the computer opponent in Civ2 is
very limited in planning and executing long range grand
strategy (he has a hard time moving units farther than a fourth
of the map). He also tends to send his naval units about
without much escort, or else he clumps them tightly and presents
inviting targets for nuclear missiles.
You, on the other hand, can build invasion fleets of
transports escorted by battleships and aircraft carriers
that are capable of dominating the oceans of the world.
A tip for you Submariners: The sub's ability to carry missiles
makes it an extremely powerful bombardment and sea control
system. Just remember that, though your sub is invisible to the
enemy, he can still see your missiles! It's a level playing
field, though, and you can find his subs the same way. (Note:
this "feature" is actually a bug that may be fixed in future
versions of Civ 2. As of version 1.09, it remains a part of the
Naval strategy is expensive to implement, but it has the
potential of being the key element in fighting and winning a
Total War in Civ2. It is the ultimate in strategic mass, speed,
Cost Move Att. Def. HP FP
Helicopter 100 6 10 3 20 2
Fighter 60 10 4 2 20 2
Bomber 120 8 12 1 20 2
Cruise Msl. 40 12 20 0 10 3
Stlth Bmbr 160 12 14 3 20 2
Stlth Ftr. 80 14 8 3 20 2
"The third peculiarity of aerial warfare was that it was at
once enormously destructive and entirely indecisive." - H.G.
The final leg of the Modern Combat Triad: Air. The Stealth
Bomber and Cruise Missile may be the glamor units in
Civ2, but I've actually gotten more use out of a fleet of
Bombers and a few helicopters since they appear earlier in the
Air units (and this includes cruise missiles) provide you with
more than hitting power. They also allow you to quickly
gather updated intelligence about enemy dispositions and city
sizes when you overfly his territory.
When combined with naval force (especially when used with
carriers and submarines), air power gives you the final
ingredient you need to conduct a true lightning war against
your enemies due to its long range, flexible response and high
survivability. The only thing Air Power can't do is hold
ground, and thus it serves as a major support element for your
d. Nuclear Weapons
"What was gunpowder? Trivial. What was electricity?
Meaningless. This Atomic Bomb is the Second Coming in Wrath!"
- Winston Churchill, July, 1945
Although nukes aren't as devastating in Civ2 as in reality, they
still pack a big wallop. The fact that they don't leave a
massive crater at ground zero makes them emminently useful in
combat and opens up a whole new vista in war-fighting strategy.
The main thing to remember about nukes is that, while they
eliminate all units in a target city and surrounding squares,
they also reduce the city population and leave nasty pollution
lying around that can take years to clean up. I normally use
nukes on well-defended enemy cities that are strategic "keys"
(Occupy chokepoints, contain large buildups of enemy forces,
etc.). Smaller targets usually get pasted with cruise missiles
instead. Nukes are so expensive that I NEVER nuke a target just
for the sake of nuking it. I always make sure I have paratroops
or armor standing by to move into the post-blast city. It's a
very cost-effective way of taking your objective.
There are two different strategies to employ when nuclear
weapons are available. Your decision is driven solely by
whether your opponent has them as well. If you are the only
civilization on the planet with nukes, consider them as just
another weapon - albeit a decisive one. They can be the
bludgeon your ground forces need to drive their way through
the enemy empires quickly at minimum cost to you. You no
longer need to worry about attacking his walled cities head
on. Just position a paratrooper or armored division at his
door, drop a nuke, and walk in. Be sure to follow your armies
with plenty of engineers to clean up the mess.
If, however, your enemy has nukes too, then the scenario
changes. The AI is not timid about using them. The computer
player doesn't even care if he's ready to occupy nuked cities
before he drops a few on you.
Nuclear weapons in Civ 2, just as in the real world, change the
"mass" equation. You must be concerned with stacking and
grouping your forces. Keep your forces dispersed so that a nuke
doesn't destroy your entire army or navy, and as soon as you
take a target city you need to buy an SDI system for that city
or prepare to take a counter strike from his nukes. Preemptive
nuclear strikes on any of his cities within range is a wise
tactic in this case.
Mutually Assured Destruction in this manner is not very clean,
nor is it usually very successful. In fact, nuclear weapons
change the strategic landscape to such a degree that I will even
delay researching the Manhattan Project if I have a large tech
lead over the computer (if I have nukes, the computer can steal
the research and build them too). From my own experience dealing
with Civ 2 computer players that are armed with nukes, I would
recommend never going beyond Limited War. It can be very
suicidal and less than enjoyable. But, if you're into that sort
of macabre exercise, have fun.
2. The Impact of Technology
"You can't say civilization don't advance. For every war, they kill
you a new way." - Will Rogers
"Obsolete weapons do not deter." - Margaret Thatcher
If you've played Civ2 at all, you already know about the Technology tree
and the importance of having a good scientific program. If you get too
far behind on research you will soon find yourself facing an enemy with
overpowering advantages in combat. Even a mediocre strategist like the
Civ 2 AI can win with such an advantage.
Of course, research does more than merely provide you with better
guns. Many of the problems you'll face in the game that detract from
maintaining a large army - citizen unhappiness and food production -
can be solved with research.
Your military efforts under a Democracy, for example, are much more
successful if you have discovered some of the technologies along the
Mysticism/Theology line. Wonders such as the Oracle, Michelangelo's
Chapel and J.S. Bach's Cathedral enable you to run a militant
Democracy or Republic without the sort of expense and distraction
normally associated with those governments.
Economic advancements (Banking, Economics, and Industrialization)
provide your empire with the sort of financial and production strength
required to carry on a modern war. The Adam Smith Trading Company
Wonder alone will save you loads of tax dollars in a large
Civilization by paying all upkeep costs of city improvements that
If your focus from the start is to build a powerful military with which
to conquer the Civ2 world, your best Research strategy starts with
Horseback Riding. Then Chivalry & Feudalism, Leadership & Gunpowder,
then Tactics & Conscription. This line will take you to the point where
Guerilla Warfare, Amphibious Warfare, Mobile Warfare and Machine Tools
are all discoverable.
Other major discoveries I would stress include Fundamentalism (the
ultimate war-making government) and Invention (Leonardo's Workshop is
essential, and Invention leads you to Democracy, Gunpowder, and the
Steam Engine). If I'm in a dead heat with the other Civs,
technologically, I always try to get to Invention first so as to steal
a march on Leonardo's Workshop. If I'm running behind other Civs
(which isn't unusual at higher levels like Deity), I don't miss a
chance to build the Great Library Wonder. It expires with the
discovery of Electricity, but in the meantime it will provide you with
a number of free advances.
So, we have another dilemna for the Civ 2 player. Do I spend heavily on
research or do I invest in war? The answer is: without technology, you
cannot win a war. And without production and trade you cannot acquire
technology. I always put the growth of my Civilization first and
foremost. You cannot engage in a war with the Civ 2 AI, given that both
sides are reasonably well-matched, without experiencing setbacks and
losses. You must be able to replace your casualties (production base)
and you must be able to field units that are capable of winning
(advanced technology). If you can do neither, then I strongly urge you
to sue for peace and set about beefing up your civilization.
While it is certainly possible to win a war with the Civ 2 computer
opponent without a technological edge (you are, after all, the one
with the brains), I have had good results from playing the first half
of the game with the sole objective of gaining an overwhelming
research advantage over my rivals. You are capable of building a
research program which the Civ 2 AI cannot hope to match!
Some key points to gaining a research advantage:
- Select city sites along or near coasts, or on rivers. Water adds
trade arrows, which yield science.
- Enhance trade by constructing roads around your cities and building
trade routes. More trade equals more science. Building Superhighways
in a city also boosts trade, as does using Airports to establish your
trade routes. The Collosus Wonder is a good early trade-enhancer in
the city in which it is built.
- Libraries and Universities in each city add 50% each (100%
cumulative) to science. The Research Lab adds another 50% if you
don't build the SETI program Wonder instead.
- Rush to build research wonders such as Isaac Newton's College,
Copernicus' Observatory and the SETI project. If you pick a city that
is on a coast and/or river where lots of trade will be generated,
designate that as your "Science City". Build both Copernicus (a 50%
science bonus in the city it is built), and later Isaac Newton (doubles
science in the city it's built) in your Science City. Their effects are
cumulative, and will provide you with an immense boost in research.
The SETI program Wonder, available after Computers, provides you
another 50% boost for all your cities and obviates the need to build
Research Labs in every city.
- Move citizens to "Einsteins" in well-developed cities. Each
"Einstein" generates a minimum of 3 science beakers. Be sure that the
trade you're losing by re-assigning the citizen does not exceed the
science gained. Usually, this practice works best after the city is
Given a large technological lead, waging war becomes an exercise in the
obvious. Once you have armor and aircraft and he is still building
musketeers, guard your advantage jealously and strike before he finds a
way to draw even with you. Make it your goal to achieve total
domination of the game before nuclear weapons are available.
Technology's impact on the way you fight a war is fairly obvious, and we
won't belabor the issue any longer. I made a point earlier, in
evaluating the different military eras, that the best war-making machine
you can build is not available until the modern age. Technology's impact
at that point is more than merely firepower and hit points, though.
Naval and air units impart new capabilities for intelligence and
mobility that allow you to be true to the principles of maneuver, tempo,
and preemption laid out in the US Army's AirLand Battle doctrine. You
can then truly take warfare into three dimensions.
3. Weighing the Odds
"Sir, my strategy is one against ten, my tactics ten against one."
- Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington
We couldn't discuss war-fighting strategy in Civ 2 without taking a
look at unit values. Unlike real wars, in a game we have known
probabilities to work with. Those probabilities are important -
without a thorough knowledge of your instrument of war you cannot
formulate an effective strategy.
It pays to review the tables I've listed in the previous section on
Units. The attack and defense values of each unit are your first
consideration, followed by the hit points and firepower of those
units. Figure that the minimum number of rounds of combat will equal
the hit point total of the weaker unit, divided by the firepower of
the stronger unit.
The actual equation used to resolve each combat round is:
where: a = attacker's attack rating
d = defender's defense rating
The result is a fractional number (percentage). A random number is
generated, and if the result is less than the percentage, the defender
loses hit points equal to the attacker's firepower rating. The reverse
happens if the random number is higher - the defender's firepower rating
is subtracted from the attacker's hit point rating.
I have discouraged frontal attacks on enemy units which are fortified in
rough terrain or behind City Walls. Here's some examples of what the
defensive value would be for different units in such a situation:
Unit Def. Vets Fort or Mountain Hill
Phalanx 2 +1 +2 + 6 +2
Musketeer 3 +1 +3 + 9 +3
Rifleman 4 +2 +4 +12 +4
Mech Inf 6 +3 +6 +18 +6
(Note that "Fort" above indicates engineer-built permanent
fortifications. Unit-dug temporary fortifications allow only a 50%
Observe the importance of Veteran status. Its 50% bonus on attack and
defense converts a 5/4 rifleman into a 7/6 unit! While you can gain
veteran status by building barracks or "blooding" your units, I try to
build Sun Tzu's Academy Wonder as soon as it is available. Barracks are
still useful as "instant repair" facilities for damaged units, but
that's all you get for the 1-gold per turn upkeep cost. Since Barracks
have to be rebuilt after Gunpowder is discovered, and again after Mobile
Warfare, I'm reluctant to build alot of them until Sun Tzu expires.
Sun Tzu's Academy will give your units extra punch in the early stages
of the game when you're most vulnerable. By the time it expires with
Mobile Warfare, you should already have a sizable force of veterans.
In the above table, a single armor unit with an attack value of 10 would
have a 23.2% chance of inflicting damage on a Veteran Mech Inf unit that
is fortified on a mountain (total Def value= 33)! You will probably lose
a minimum of 4 armored units before you eliminate the defender. Even the
lowest total, that of a Phalanx fortified on a hill, leaves an Archer
with a 33% chance of winning a round; a Knight fares little better at
Unless you decide to throw nukes or cruise missiles at such defenses,
your very best strategy is to bypass them (we'll discuss how to do this
later). Move the front line past them and the fortified units will have
to come out of their positions. Then they can be killed. Bashing your
best units head-on against the bulwark is senseless unless you gain a
major advantage by taking the position.
This brings us to the one time when you're normally left with no choice
but to attack head-on. That is when you are trying to take an important
enemy city. If you have bombers or Howitzers that ignore city walls,
build alot of them and use them. If you have diplomats or spies (and
the cash) that can be used to bribe the city bloodlessly, so much the
better. But if you have to attack, be prepared for heavy losses.
Produce large numbers of reserves, and keep them moving to the front.
You'll need them.
II. Military Doctrine
1. War for a Purpose.
"It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it."
- Gen. Douglas MacArthur
If I convey nothing else to you in this paper, please remember this:
Never go to war without knowing what you wish to achieve! If you do,
you will achieve nothing (or less) at great cost to yourself, and you
may risk losing the game. At the very least, you will be ridden with
the shame that comes from knowing you weren't much of a general.
Your decision as to war goals is often driven by the current state of
your own civilization. A small, primitive Civ can hardly aspire to
global dominance, but should be able to mount a credible defense of its
borders. On the other hand, a large, vibrant Civ with massive
production capacity should have no problems turning out 40-60 (or more!)
modern combat units every turn or two. Such power is fully capable of
launching a Total War that only ends in Total Victory.
Here are the three basic war types I have identified:
1. You might wish to do no more than defend yourself when a war is
forced upon you by a surly neighbor. You can defend yourself from
most computer attacks successfully without diverting a huge amount of
time and production. This could include local, limited offensives to
retake territory or preempt an enemy, or you may only need to
establish outposts to keep enemies away from your cities.
2. The enemy is too large and powerful to completely conquer, or you
have more peaceful priorities and don't wish to sink all your city
development into military force. In this case, you might decide on
an offensive war with limited objectives.
In many cases, this is the logical choice due to the vast resources
required to conduct a prolonged conflict against a well-equipped
enemy. Remember that you not only have to produce alot of units
initially, but you have to produce replacements and defend yourself
against other Civs. And every city building soldiers is a city
that's not building improvements or Wonders. Limited War is a
compromise between Defensive and Total War.
3. The third option is Total War. If you've selected "Bloodlust"
mode for your game, this is the inevitable choice - it's only a
matter of when. If you're not using the Bloodlust option, I would
not recommend starting a Total War if the game is well into the
Modern era. The war will likely not end before someone's starship
reaches Alpha Centauri or time runs out, and all those resources
invested in fighting are resources lost!
Once you've elected one of the three war options which fits your
situation, decide where your units will be built and which units you
will build. Set a general goal as to the size of force required to
accomplish your objectives and be careful not to exceed it by too much
(allow for replacement of casualties). Try to select building sites
that are within reasonable marching distance from the front by road,
railroad, or airlift. If you need to improve the road system to the
front, do so quickly.
The other task you must perform is intelligence gathering. It is
important to know where the enemy is strongest, where his weaknesses
are, and which cities are vulnerable to assault. We'll discuss your
methods in this area momentarily, but you should be able to look at the
terrain and the enemy empire and make a preliminary assessment of where
you want your forces to focus their efforts. This last part is perhaps
the MOST critical exercise you'll perform when war breaks out. If you
don't know where you're going, you'll never get there!
Finally, keep in mind the guiding principle of all war-fighting
strategy: massive force applied swiftly and unexpectedly at the enemy's
point of greatest weakness.
2. Defensive War
"A clever military leader will succeed in many cases in choosing
defensive positions of such an offensive nature from the strategic
point of view that the enemy is compelled to attack us in them."
"The whole art of war consists in a well-reasoned and extremely
circumspect defensive, followed by a rapid and audacious attack."
"Build city walls!!" - Civ 2 Military Advisor
The reasons for electing to pursue Defensive War are based on your
game goals: (a) Your Civilization is still embryonic and you don't
have the economic foundation or research base to field a large army;
(b) Your goal is not conquest, but growth and space exploration; (c)
You are using Republic or Democracy, and a large field army will
cause huge losses in both citizen unhappiness and shield production.
Defensive War is the simplest and least disruptive of the three
choices. In a Defensive War, the Settler/Engineer unit becomes as
important as artillery or cavalry.
Build enough Engineers to construct fortifications around your major
cities - particularly those which are close to the enemy. If the
forts are within 3 squares of the city, posting a defensive unit
there does not cause unhappiness under Democracy. Your engineer (or
Settler) units are also handy for building roads or railroads from
your interior to the front (use Airports later in the game), to
allow you to quickly move reinforcements to crisis points. During
times of peace, I always have crews of engineers at work building
roads/railroads - they not only add to the trade (and thus, science)
your cities produce, they also enhance your military's mobility.
"Outpost" forts serve an additional purpose even in peacetime. They
give you warning and a chance to expel roving diplomats who are out to
steal your research or sabotage your cities. I keep mine constantly
manned along borders with other Civs. (Remember that Diplomats and
Spies can ignore Zones of Control - your outposts won't stop them
unless they form a solid line. They only provide you warning.)
Build your forts in Hills or Mountains if possible. Hills double your
units' defensive value, and Mountains triple it. A rifleman
entrenched in a Fortification on top of a mountain has a base
defensive value of 20! If other units are stacked in the
fortification with him, they are only eliminated one at a time,
rather than as a stack. The enemy will burn up alot of attacking
units trying to take your mountaintop redoubt. Lacking "high
ground", even forests, jungles or swamp will suffice as they impart
a 50% bonus to the defensive unit.
If you have the time and the Settler/Engineer units, consider
building a "hedgehog" defense along threatened border areas- forts
staggered or interlaced in depth so that even if an enemy breaks
through one or two, he has to confront the next layer. This method
is the most ideal for wearing down and defeating an invading army.
The AI in Civ 2 is not smart enough to try an "end run" around your
line of forts. He'll bash his own head in on your impenetrable wall.
Of course, a Defensive War doesn't mean you can't take any initiative.
If you see the enemy stacking weak defensive units in the open
without benefit of fortifications, don't hesitate to strike. If he's
not in fortifications you only need to destroy the top unit in order
to eliminate the whole stack. You can also arrange your forts in such
a way as to channel his units into a trap - at the right moment,
launch an overwhelming attack from your surrounding forts and destroy
The only thing I don't do when I'm fighting a Defensive War is attack
enemy cities. Doing so can be prohibitively expensive and
time-consuming. If I can sneak a diplomat in and bribe enemy units or
an enemy city, then I leap at the chance. It's a bloodless and
efficient way to counterattack (though it does require a reserve of
gold). I will also not hesitate to send mobile units (Cavalry or
Armor) into his territory to pillage (Shift+P). Tear up his roads,
railroads, and irrigation to set him back a few years. It worked for
3. Limited War
"We are not at war with Egypt. We are in a state of armed
conflict." - Anthony Eden
If you've defined your objectives, and they fall short of completely
eliminating an enemy then Limited War is for you. In fact, most wars
in Civ 2 are Limited, as they stop short of completely eliminating
With Limited War, it is more important than ever to set objectives and
focus on achieving them. Nothing is more wasteful than sending your
armies helter-skelter against every enemy city, or throwing the cream
of your elite veterans against the high walls of his biggest city. You
are operating under a time limit in a Limited War. Identify your
objective and sieze it quickly.
Choose objectives that are achievable! He will sue for peace just as
readily if you take a Size 5 city as if you conquer a Size 20. And
you will have expended fewer of your precious resources in achieving
Choose objectives that will make a difference! Wiping out half of his
infantry isn't going to change the course of the game, probably. But
taking a city that guards a key strait or isthmus - or one that
provides most of his scientific research - will definitely tilt the
future odds in your favor.
Raids are a useful tactic in both Defensive and Limited War. Land a
group of fast-moving cavalry or armor in a remote area of his empire
to pillage terrain and destroy settler/engineer units. Avoid
beseiging cities - your object here is simply to inflict pain and set
your enemy back.
The ticklish part of Limited War isn't how you fight it, it's how and
when you end it. If you've experienced unexpected success, you may
weigh whether to expand the war and sieze further objectives. The
computer player in Civ 2 is not the most organized opponent, nor is he
quick to adapt to fluid situations. Your initial success may have
caught him unprepared, but you won't know unless you press your
This goes to playing style. I prefer a calculated risk-taking,
aggressive strategy in war and it usually pays off against the
computer. If you feel you've attained your objectives, then offer (or
accept) a cease fire. Just don't leave your "Schwarzkopf" standing
idle on the outskirts of Babylon with a full armored corps dressed for
war and no place to go!
If you wish to stop the war completely, go for the Peace Treaty and
return to your research or starship construction. Above all, stick to
your goals in Limited War or face the risk of unwanted expansion into
a Total War before you're prepared.
4. Total War
"The will to conquer is the first condition of victory."
- Marshal Ferdinand Foch
"There are not fifty ways of fighting, there is only one way: to be
the conqueror." - Andre Malraux
The name says it. If you've decided that your goal is the complete
elimination of a computer civ (or civs), then mobilize your entire
economy for War. Hopefully your own Civ has reached a healthy state
where it can support a large field army & navy, and you have enough
cities (strategic depth) that the loss of one or two will not cripple
your efforts. If these cases apply, determine not to accept cease
fires or treaties. Petition your allies to join your side. Give no
quarter until your enemy is obliterated. Push your tanks down his
throat and ignore his whimpers.
From many games' experience, I have learned to never embark on a Total
War while in a Democracy. Democracy is for growth, not war. Monarchy
or Communism are marginally better for fighting, but if you've reached
the level of research that allows Fundamentalism I highly recommend it
as your official War Fighting Government. There is never any
unhappiness and your cities can build up to 10 units each without
paying support (a limit I've never hit if I have at least 30-50
cities). Fundamentalism allows you to build the very cheap Fanatic
unit, which never requires support regardless of numbers. You will
sacrifice some research progress, but I've been able to reach
acceptable discovery rates by reducing my luxuries to zero and
lowering my taxes to a minimum in order to raise science. Because
all those temples, coloseums and cathedrals you built under
Democracy now generate additional revenue ("tithes"), you should be
swimming in cash very soon. With enough tithes, you may not even
need any taxes! Use the cash as a war chest to rush-buy new units,
erect city walls where they're needed, and bribe enemy cities away
from your opponent.
A personal note: In version 1.07 of Civ 2, Fundamentalism was altered
so that, in addition to the 50% science penalty, there was also a 50%
cap on science investment. In my opinion, this is a needless double
penalty. As of version 1.08/1.09, you can alter the file RULES.TXT to
change either/both the science penalty or the cap. I raised the
science cap from 50 to 80% to match the default limit on
Fundamentalist tax rates, and it works well without unbalancing the
game. Lowering the penalty would have a more dramatic effect, but
it's too close to cheating for my tastes. Suit yourself.
5. Operational Strategy
"Operational: the planning level of war that constructs campaigns and
major operations in order to accomplish the theater goals articulated
at the strategic planning level."
- Robert Leonhard, Art of Maneuver
"Our strategy to go after this army is very, very simple. First we are
going to cut it off. And then we are going to kill it."
- Gen. Colin Powell, January, 1992
Operationally, I fight both Limited and Total Wars in much the same
manner, their differences having to do with war goals rather than
troop coordination. I lead with a large force of Cavalry or Armor
(supported by battleships or cruisers if on a coast) - my maneuver
units. Their task is to isolate the battlefield and prevent enemy
reinforcements from reaching the front. I push them around,
through, over, and behind the objective. They also serve to deny
resources to the target city - he can't get shields out of a square
that holds one of your units. Furthermore, if there's a cease fire
your troops can stay put and continue to starve him out!
If the enemy has alot of manned forts in your way, do NOT try to
destroy his entrenched positions if you have a choice. They are
obstacles, not objectives! Include diplomats, spies, or Partisans
along with your maneuver forces. These units can ignore zones of
control. Since a unit can always enter a square that contains a
friendly unit, slip the diplomat or Partisan into a ZOC and then send
the Cavalry or Armor into the same square. You can actually infiltrate
your tanks past his forts, which is much smarter than attacking them
head-on. If they leave their forts to attack, kill them and occupy
The infiltration tactic can also work by building "daisy chains" of
units, always moving from one friendly-occupied square to the next
until you've surrounded your objective. Just remember that if your
unit is stacked with another unit it cannot move directly to an
empty square that is in an enemy ZOC.
In Limited War, chances are good that a peace treaty will leave him
with units inside your city limits. If they're caught in ZOCs, he'll
have no choice but to disband them - they're lost and you haven't
fired a shot at them! Remember this if you're considering a peace
treaty - you could lose units, as well, if they have no way to move.
Closely following my maneuver element is my main attack force. These
will usually be musketeers or riflemen with cannon or artillery.
Because they have good attack values, I may also include some armor or
cavalry with this force if I have the numbers. While foot infantry
has a lower attack value, such units are also cheaper with better
defensive values, and to take most walled cities you need numbers
before quality. I prefer to have Bombers available, if they've been
discovered, or even Cruise Missiles. Bombers ignore City Walls, thus
reducing the base defensive value of the enemy by 2/3. Using waves of
bombers will make the job of your ground pounders much easier.
Once you've cut off the city from both resources and reinforcements,
then subjected it to bombardment, the final taking of your objective
will be a cakewalk.
6. Disruption and Dislocation
"Hannibal... like other Great Captains, chose to face the most
hazardous conditions rather than the certainty of meeting his
opponents in positions of their own choosing." - B.H. Liddel Hart,
"Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend, march swiftly
to places where you are not expected." - Sun Tzu
In his landmark book, "The Art of Maneuver", Robert Leonhard
identifies disruption and dislocation of enemy plans as two key
elements in AirLand Battle, the US Army's modern war-fighting
"Dislocation is the art of rendering the enemy's strength irrelevant.
Instead of having to fight the hostile force on its own terms, the
friendly force avoids any combat in which the enemy can bring his
might to bear."
You can "positionally" dislocate the enemy, either physically removing
him from a decisive point or moving the point of decision away from
the enemy force. You can "functionally" dislocate the enemy by
playing to your own strengths and to his weaknesses.
Napoleon used positional dislocation in his concept of the "central
position". His most successful battles began with him positioned
between two separated enemy forces. He used speed to quickly defeat
one, then turn and deal with the other. He not only prevented the
unification of his enemy, but managed to focus 100% of his force
against 50% of the enemy's at any one time.
The Germans used positional dislocation when they advanced through the
Ardennes in 1940, dislocating the French Maginot Line rather than
shedding their own blood in futile direct attacks on the defensive
The perfect use of "functional" dislocation in Civ2 is the
construction of forts along key avenues of approach. The Civ2
computer player will stop to attack these forts, spending his
offensive momentum, rather than pushing on towards your cities. On the
defensive, in prepared positions in favorable terrain, the advantage
is all yours. You have dislocated the enemy's strength.
Offensively, by concentrating your strongest force quickly and
unexpectedly against the enemy's weakest point, you are practising
dislocation. It requires a knowledge of enemy dispositions
(intelligence) and it requires maneuver - placing your forces in the
most advantageous position before accepting battle.
This precludes "secondary" objectives which split your force and bleed
power away from the focal point of your attack. Focus everything you
can on your main objective, which should be his weakest defensive
point away from the line of direct advance.
Disruption, a related concept, is the practice of defeating the enemy
by attacking his center of gravity (or critical vulnerability). You
want to avoid having to destroy the enemy's entire army by direct
attack when you can create opportunities to render it impotent by
attacking its Achilles Heel. In the game of Civ 2, the enemy's center
of gravity will always be his cities. His "critical vulnerability",
then, will always be those cities which are left poorly defended.
I'll use one of my own recent games to demonstrate this concept. I
had spent most of the game at peace with the neighboring Romans. Our
empires were connected by a narrow land bridge between two lakes which
was easy to guard with forts. Meanwhile, I became embroiled in a war
with the Sioux who occupied the territory next to the Romans. I had
nearly conquered all of the Sioux lands when the Romans decided I was
a threat and launched a sneak attack.
No one ever accused the Civ2 AI of being a military genius, and the
Romans didn't disappoint. They launched Knights and musketeers at my
line of fortifications - using the direct method to attack. I
marshalled what units I could spare from the conquered Sioux
territory, and sent them around one of the inland lakes into the Roman
rear. In the space of 3-4 turns, I found most of the inner Roman
cities to be poorly defended (their troops were dying in front of my
border forts, far away) and succeeded in reducing their empire by
nearly half in short order. Even after a cease fire was declared, my
units remained within his city radii to disrupt production and growth.
I had functionally dislocated the Romans first by erecting the strong
defensive line in rugged terrain - their attack broke down against my
My movement into the Roman rear used positional dislocation by
creating a point of decision - the soft belly of his cities - away
from the location of his strongest forces. It was nearly bloodless
for me, and ended with the enemy's empire disrupted and in ruins.
7. Tempo and Preemption
"When the strike of a hawk breaks the body of its prey, it is because
of timing." - Sun Tzu
"I can always make it a rule to get there first with the most men."
- Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest
AirLand Battle doctrine also stresses the preemption of enemy
objectives. The word "preemption" comes from the Latin "praeemere",
to 'buy beforehand'. In military terms, this relates to siezing an
opportunity before the enemy does.
Preemptive attacks emphasize speed rather than caution. They strive
to snatch a victory impolitely before the game has properly begun.
Preemption is inherently unfair and ungentlemanly. The Civ2 AI may
have problems with the concepts of dislocation and disruption, but it
does practice Preemption.
A critical prerequisite to using preemption wisely is a knowledge of
the enemy situation (intelligence). The border between risky and
foolhardy is perilously thin. While the window of opportunity for
this sort of strategem may be small, you must have good intelligence
in order to know when that window is open!
In Civ2, "sneak attacks" are one form of preemption. While they can
cost you a reputation hit, that may or may not be important to you.
There are times when the final conquest of your biggest rival and
antagonist is more important than the shininess of your reputation. If
you have the Eiffel Tower Wonder, you can soften the blow to your
Computer civilizations in Civ2 make extensive use of sneak attacks,
especially at higher levels of difficulty. Be aware of this and
don't be afraid of using it yourself.
Preemption can be more subtle, as well. Building a large transport
fleet for your Marines and constructing Airports in major cities to
allow swift movement of reserves are both instruments which allow you
to preempt the enemy by imparting superior strategic mobility. You
can also build railroads inside of his territory during temporary
cease fires. Once the cease fire expires, use the railroads to give
your forces unlimited movement right into the bowels of his empire.
Preemption is tied intimately to tempo, of course. As any chess
player will tell you, tempo is the pace of the game such that the
opponent has no time to execute his plan. The player with tempo
constantly forces the opponent to react defensively to a series of
attacks, threats, and feints, all the while advancing his own plan.
Your first step in siezing the tempo is to never declare war at the
end of your own turn. This gives the AI a full turn to take the
initiative and force you onto the defensive. If you're going to
start a war, start it at the very beginning of your own turn. You
then can dictate the opening moves, and the AI will be forced to
The Civ2 computer player is glaringly weak when responding to quick
tempo. It does not cope well with fast-moving battle lines and
quickly changing situations. If you have deployed a mobile force
of sufficient strength, use them to maintain your tempo. Threaten
multiple points with one thrust to force your enemy's defenses to
spread thin. Force the pace when it's to your advantage, even if
your units must attack at less than full strength. Once you lose
tempo, the enemy will regroup and his resistance will stiffen. Then,
your ultimate victory will be much costlier.
My own experience in games where I've maintained a fast tempo has
proven its value to me. The computer will produce new units from his
cities as fast as possible, but send them out to battle piecemeal. I
will have my mobile forces arrayed next to his cities and along his
railroads, and his attacks will threaten one or two of my units at
most. If the computer player knew how to form reserves or defend in
depth, he would be a much tougher opponent. He doesn't, so take
advantage of the weakness. You don't score points for being well
"He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be
victorious." - Sun Tzu
It is difficult, even foolish, to set objectives for a Limited or
Total War without having any idea of the enemy's dispositions. Intel
in Civ 2 is fairly simple, so I'll touch on a few suggestions.
Your best source of strategic, diplomatic, and technological
information comes from embassies. Diplomats and spies perform many
functions, but perhaps one of their more effective ones is the
simple, non-warlike act of opening an embassy. I try to open
embassies with all other Civs early in my games - just move a diplomat
into one of his cities and select the "open embassy" option. Once this
is done, you can use the "Check Intelligence" button on your Foreign
Advisor window (F3) to see what that nation is researching, what
they've discovered, what their relations are with other countries, and
even see a list of their cities.
Don't forget that your map of enemy territory is only as current as
the date your last unit wandered through a square. You may still show
a city as Size 3, but perhaps it's grown to Size 12 since then and
added forts and roads. You need current information.
A good source of information can be gained by landing explorers,
diplomats or spies on his coasts and sending them roaming through his
empire - especially before war breaks out. But you don't have to
build diplomats/spies. You can also update your map of his city sizes
and terrain layout with something as innocent as a trade caravan or
freight unit. He won't perceive caravans as threats, so you won't
heighten tensions by scouting a little.
Caravans can't "Investigate City" like diplomats/spies can, however.
If you have your sights set on a couple of his larger cities, be sure
to sneak a spy in first to count defenders. It's worth the cost of
losing the unit.
During combat, don't focus on what is happening at the front to the
exclusion of everything else. Use fast units (bombers are perfect for
this) to scout his territory. Naval units should patrol your shores
as well as his, keeping an eye out for sneak attacks. If you're
engaging in a little "deep battle" by launching cruise missiles into
his rear, try to send your missiles on little detour jaunts - they can
"see" as well as a bomber, and update your map for you.
9. Naval Operations
"A man-of-war is the best ambassador." - Oliver Cromwell
Just as in the Real World, he who controls the seas of a Civ 2 map
also controls the land. And once you've reached the modern era you
will also have the types of units at your disposal that will allow you
to exert control over the waves, the air, and the land around the
You cannot aspire to build a powerful navy unless your Civ has been
nurtured into producing lots of shields and lots of tax money. Navies
are very expensive, and if you're in a Democracy they can also cause
unhappiness. Navies are useless unless they're sailing the seas that
they're trying to control, so don't keep them home. Do what you need
to do to quell unhappiness (including moving people out of the fields
into the Elvis business or changing to Fundamentalism). Navies are
your key to Civ 2 victory.
My favorite naval unit is the Aegis Cruiser. Since its defensive
value is doubled against air attacks, it makes a nice escort for
transports. It can also spot subs, which makes it essential to the
survival of your carriers.
Battleships are the epitome of mass and speed in one unit. If your
amphibious force has a couple of battlewagons in company, they come in
handy for bombarding enemy units & cities along the coast, to help
soften up objectives or isolate the battlefield. No other sea unit
has the Battleship's attack and defense value without missiles.
No unit has the power of a fully-loaded Aircraft Carrier. From the
moment you have Fighters, up until you can post Stealth Bombers or
Cruise Missiles on the carrier, this is one mean, mobile destruction
machine. It's also vulnerable to cruise missile and submarine attacks,
so always escort it heavily. It's wise to avoid enemy-held land areas
if you can. They tend to hide hordes of cruise missiles. You have
alot invested in the unit - protect it.
Naval strategy in Civ 2 doesn't differ much from real naval strategy.
Priority One is to eliminate the opposition's fleets. Priority Two is
to project the power of the navy onto enemy shores via your carriers
and troop transports. Remember, too, that the mere presence of your
fleet off an enemy's coast can force him to react, drawing defensive
forces away from other areas. This is a useful method of weakening
the point of your true objective.
You acquire naval superiority by massing your fleet, by locating the
enemy through aggressive scouting, and by engaging him swiftly and
decisively. The aircraft carrier allows you to scout an amazing
amount of map with your bombers - finding the enemy before he finds
you. He who sees the enemy first, can shoot first and thus have the
highest chance of success.
If your enemy has the larger fleet, you'll need to rely on having the
better intelligence if you want to beat him. Scout, scout, scout! Try
to concentrate your whole fleet against only a part of his, and defeat
him in detail. Locate his major ports, where his ships build, and take
them by land assault or Marine amphibious attack. If you cut him off
from reinforcement, all that is left is to wear him down.
10. Special Operations
"Who dares, wins." - Motto of the British Special Air Service
It's not always necessary to spill blood to conquer your enemies. In
Civ 2, there are more ways than one to skin a Khan. Most of them
revolve around the Diplomat & Spy units.
If your enemy is not in a Democracy (which is not bribable), I highly
recommend bribery and inciting revolts. It costs gold, to be sure,
but you will spend the gold on fresh troops anyway. This way, you
always get some gold back in plunder of a city and you also receive
control of any enemy units that are in the bribed square (or city).
If you grab a city, you can also gain tech the enemy has which you
I have won wars in Civ 2 against powerful opponents by building
nothing more than a few diplomats and turning them loose on the
enemy's shore. Diplomats are very cheap (120 gold), and each one is
capable of capturing an entire city for you. Imagine formations of
diplomats descending on your enemies! Not even Mongol hordes can
match the horror inspired by these powerful units!
The richer the enemy, the closer the city is to his capital and the
bigger the city, the more it will cost you to incite a revolt.
Cities in disorder cost half price, as do cities without any units
present. Spies can get you an even better bargain at 84% of regular
price, and veteran spies can do the trick for a mere pittance: 67%
of the cost at which diplomats incite revolts.
If bribery isn't possible, acquaint yourself with the other
abilities of the spy. Spies can plant nuclear weapons, poison water
supplies, and sabotage city production in addition to bribing the
enemy. If you're engaged in a Limited War and have neither the
forces nor the gold to try conquering or bribing, try throwing waves
of spies at a city. If you can coordinate this kind of espionage
with roving troops that are pillaging the city radius, you can bring
an enemy city to its knees without mounting a full-scale attack on
III. Politics and War
"War is the continuation of politics, intermixed with other means."
While there may be some debate as to the efficacy or meaning of
Clausewitz' statement, there can be no doubt that nations have won wars
yet lost the peace. The same can happen to you in Civ 2 unless you meld
both political goals and military goals to achieve the same end.
1. Cease Fires and Treaties
"Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last."
- Charles de Gaulle
I urged you to never go to war without knowing your purpose, and I
urge the same thing in considering peace. My blanket rule in Civ 2 is:
"If he's down, don't let him up", but I leaven that precept with
conditions. Above all, I try to be flexible without losing sight of
my general aims.
A computer nation will usually only offer a cease fire if it perceives
that it is overmatched and losing. You've no doubt noticed that once
you've taken a city of his, he tends to get cold feet about the whole
idea of fighting. In a way, a cease fire offer is a good signal to
you that you have the advantage. Whether you press that advantage or
not should already be determined by your war goals before the first
shot is fired.
Cease fire offers are also a method for the computer player to catch
his breath and regroup before renewing hostilities. Just because he
wants to stop shooting doesn't mean he wants to make friends. You can
estimate his reasons by observing his personality and his attitude
towards you, beginning long before the war started. Aggressive AI
civs will remain that way, even after a cease fire is declared. Watch
your back - chances are he'll launch a sneak attack in a few turns.
AI Civs that have had good relations with you, on the other hand, may
have been pushed into the war by allies. Or their attitude shifted
because you became significantly larger and more powerful than they.
These problems can be partly set right, if you wish, by offering
tributes of technology or gold and signing a permanent peace treaty.
If you want to preserve the diplomatic element of the game after
you've become the Number One Civ on the map, I recommend building the
Eiffel Tower Wonder and the United Nations. Both are extremely
helpful in keeping the peace, especially after you become big enough
to inspire jealousy and fear.
Unless the AI is so desperate as to offer a handsome reward in gold
for a cease fire, I rarely accept its offer before my armies have
taken their objectives. Under Democracy or Republic, of course, you
may not have a choice if the Senate is being meddlesome.
Regarding alliances: I take a pragmatic attitude. If I began the game
with the goal of conquering my neighbors, then there's little point in
joining alliances. In fact, such mechanisms only stand in your way if
you intend to keep your reputation intact. It's hard to goad a nation
into war if you have a peace treaty - it's nearly impossible if you're
allies. Use some foresight and know your own directions before
entering into such contracts.
2. On Machiavelli
"A real diplomat is one who can cut his neighbor's throat without
having his neighbor notice it." - Trygve Lie
"He lied, I knew he lied and he knew I lied. That was diplomacy."
- Adm. William Kimball
Civ 2 isn't just building cities and fighting wars. In history, some
of the more dramatic turning points have come as a result of the
interaction of cultures, the agreements (or disagreements) that
result, and the cementing of long-term alliances.
The 16th-century Venetian Niccolo Machiavelli contended that politics
are, by their nature, amoral. Thus, any means (however unscrupulous)
are justifiable in achieving political power. His thinking would be
viewed today as either immoral or cynically accurate.
In Civ 2, you have no moral constraints placed upon you if you choose
to follow Machiavelli's philosophy. For the most part, this will
mean playing one computer Civ against another; of making alliances
of convenience and using those alliances to strengthen yourself
while you weaken your ally. You can actually pay your friends to
fight your wars for you! If you don't do these things you're missing
one of the real pleasures of playing Civ 2. You're also missing a
gold mine of unrealized power.
My own diplomatic philosophy in Civ 2 is to align myself with the
weakest Civs, even giving them free tech to win them over. My first
objective in any political or military campaign is to eliminate my
closest competition, and gaining the trust of my enemy's enemies is a
large step in that direction. At some point later in the game, if I'm
playing for conquest, even my former allies become fair game.
Be sure to check the Foreign Advisor window (F3) frequently, and
monitor other nation's attitudes. Also, gaining embassies with other
nations (just run a diplomat into their city and select it as an
option) gives you a wealth of important information about who your
enemy is fighting, and who he's friendly with. Use this
information to your own advantage. If you can stir up trouble between
the other Civs while staying out of it yourself, so much the better.
Being devious can be fun!
Once you've become significantly larger and more powerful than the
other civilizations, they will tend to band together to "contain your
aggression". This is how the AI tries to balance the game. The best
way to deal with this is to anticipate it. Use the early and middle
portions of the game when most Civs are fairly equal to establish a
favorable political climate and to weaken your opponents. If you've
become so powerful that the outcome is no longer in doubt, then
diplomacy is moot. Chuck your reputation and go on the rampage.
3. Shorting Out the Senate
"Augustus and Charlemagne, those great restorers, had no faith in
democracy; they could not subject their trained and considered
judgements, their far-reaching plans and policies, to carping
criticism and inconclusive debate by the corruptible delegates of
- Will & Ariel Durant, The Story of Civilization
I doubt that there's anything as frustrating as mounting a major
offensive deep into enemy territory, then just when you have your
victim on his back ready to kill he offers a cease fire which your
Senate forces you to accept. It's enough to make you want to drive a
battalion of M-1s right into the Senate chambers.
I have had Senates back me, however. On a few memorable occasions, my
enemy has been a particularly nasty and distrustful sort. He's
launched a number of sneak attacks against me during the game until I
finally launched a large Limited War to reduce his Civ to its
component bricks. When he asked for a cease fire and I refused, my
Senate supported my decision. I then made short work of the
antagonist. (Note that, usually, if you accept a cease fire your
Senate will always force you to also accept a peace treaty.)
Sadly, the circumstances where this happens are few. The first thing
I do before starting or joining a Total War is to dump the current
Republic/Democracy form of government. I can fight a Defensive War
under Republic/Democracy without trouble because I begin the war
willing to accept any peace proposal - my war objective was simply to
survive. It's a little more difficult in Limited War, but still
do-able. But anytime I'm planning a Total War, I do not hesitate to
stage a Revolution and move to Fundamentalism. It is, bar none, the
most powerful war-fighting government in the game. War is what it is
for. You will have no Senate to worry about, little if any support to
pay, and no unhappiness to hinder you. The infusion of cash
Fundamentalism gives you from tithes will also enable you to
crash-build units, city walls, SDI systems, airports, or whatever else
you may need on the spot.
If you can't manage Fundamentalism, then I would urge you to pursue
the United Nations Wonder as soon as you can. It will allow you to
override your Senate 50% of the time and force enemies to accept peace
if you offer. The U.N. may be your best answer to the Senate, short
If you're sly enough, you may be able to goad your opponent into
taking the reputation hit, thus strengthening your hand with the
Senate. It can be done.
4. Taunting Your Enemy
"Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!"
- John Cleese, Monty Python's "Search for the Holy Grail"
"Nuts!" - Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, Bastogne, Dec. 22, 1944
So you're tired of that neighboring Civ getting in your way and
taking all the best city sites? You want to eliminate him, but you
don't want to be the one who breaks the peace treaty? Have you
tried goading him into war? Here's some tips.
The computer AI goes to war for specific reasons. Those reasons all
boil down to Attitude. Every computer civ has an Attitude rating
towards you, the human player. It starts with a random setting
adjusted for personality, and then fluctuates during the game
according to events. The scale extends from 0 ("Worshipful") to 100
or more (Enraged). The attitude rating is affected primarily by a
comparison of the individual computer's Civ to yours.
- AI leaders with peaceful personalities tend to like you more.
- You gain attitude points if you trade knowledge or pay tribute.
- AI leaders are friendlier if they're ahead of you in technology.
- AI Civs like you better if you have fewer military units than they
- If you are significantly smaller than the computer Civ, it tends not
to respect you and is likely to pick on you.
- If you are significantly larger than the computer Civ, it will
respect your power (and have a better attitude).
- If you have nuclear weapons, the computer Civ is less likely to pick
a fight with you.
- If you have launched your spaceship to Alpha Centauri, all the
computer Civs will band together and attempt to interfere with your
efforts by capturing your capital city and destroying the ship.
I can tell in the Foreign Advisor (F3) window whether I have a
chance of inciting an opponent into breaking a peace treaty or cease
fire. If the Civ's attitude is "Uncooperative" or worse, I normally
only have to post some troops inside a city radius of his (until he
protests), demand gold "for my patience", and/or insist that he
withdraw his troops from my territory (even if he has none). If I do
this often enough he becomes very testy and is likely to launch a
sneak attack. Then he takes the reputation hit rather than me, and if
I'm in a Republic or Democracy my Senate is more likely to support my
refusals of a cease fire.
Depending on geography, you can also push your opponent into
initiating war by building a city very close to one of his, then
fortifying it and planting a large number of troops inside. The
computer deems that a direct threat, and cannot force you to pull back
A more subtle method is to make friends with a Civ he is at war with.
Give them some technology and sign a peace treaty or alliance.
(Before you do this, however, be sure you've opened embassies with
both Civs.) Your future enemy will probably come calling on you to
cancel your treaty with his enemies. Your refusal will not sit well,
and you have the option of bribing your friend into declaring war on
"Cease firing, but if any enemy planes appear, shoot them down in a
friendly fashion." - Adm. William Halsey
I am neither George Patton nor Clausewitz. I play games for fun, and
I like to write for fun. This little thesis is the result.
The allure of Civilization II is in the imagination of the player, and
to having a vivid imagination I plead guilty. I have changed the
rules and the icons of the game to suit my own particular tastes and
spent hours on electronic boards discussing the game while I'm not
playing it. I've even been known to dream about it.
Is it addictive? To a history buff and a gamer, it's more dangerous
than heroin. Luckily, the only detriments to my health will come from
lack of sleep, excessive eye strain, and diminished job performance.
Thanks for reading this. Now go play some Civ 2. Disrupt, dislocate,
and preempt! Be imaginative! Most of all, enjoy!
Sid Meier's Civilization II - the Official Strategy Guide
- Prima Publishing, 1996
The Art of Maneuver (Maneuver Warfare Theory and AirLand Battle)
- Robert R. Leonhard, Presidio Press, 1991
Strategy - B.H. Liddel Hart, Meridian Books, 1954, 1967
How To Make War - James Dunnigan, Quill-William Morrow, 1988
A History of Warfare - John Keegan, Vintage Books, 1994
The Face of Battle - John Keegan, Viking Penguin, 1976
The Encyclopedia of Military History
- R.E. Dupuy and T.N. Dupuy, Harper and Row, 1977
The Prince - Niccolo Machiavelli, 1513, trans. by N.H. Thompson,
Prometheus Books 1986
On War - Karl Von Clausewitz, London 1908
The Art of War - Sun Tzu, trans. by Samuel B. Griffith,
Oxford Univ. Press 1963
Summary of the Art of War
- Antoine H. Jomini, Military Service Publishing Co, 1958
The Devil's Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion of Europe
- James Chambers, Atheneum Publishing, 1979
Military History of the Western World - J.F.C. Fuller
The Conduct of War, 1789-1961 - J.F.C. Fuller, Da Capo Press, 1992
US Army Field Manual 100-5, "Operations", 1986
The Influence of Sea Power Upon History - A.T. Mahan, London 1965
The Story of Civilization - Will & Ariel Durant, MJF Books, 1975