Civilization Wiki

Evaluating Warfare in Civ5 BNW[]

There have been a plethora of writers who have spent a lot of time addressing this topic; my goal is to simply give the foundation for more advanced warfare play. When starting a war in Civ5 you must determine these following factors:

  1. The strength of your forces. Determine the quality, quantity, and diversity of your units before engaging the enemy. Strive to be accurate in your assessment; if you lie to yourself you will not hurt the enemy.
  2. The strength of your enemy. Does the enemy have superior technological advancements? Do they have superior numbers? What is their troop composition?
  3. The purpose of the fight. Find the goal of your war. The most common objectives are as follows; territorial, monetary, defensive, supporting an ally, and total war. Always know before the fight begins the objective of the war. This helps us understand if we are “winning” the fight.
  4. The terrain. This is a large factor to consider. This affects the troop composition you will need, the tactics you can use, and the speed of the fight. A war of maneuver and flanking will be impossible in dense forest; best leave behind horse archers and cavalry. On the contrary, if it is in the open plains then a fast, shock force would be optimal for destroying the enemies forces.
  5. The economies of the two nations. If you are strapped for cash and he is bathing in gold, it is best to keep the conflict as short and small as possible. The longer the battle wages, the less likely you will be able to support the extended operations. Conversely, if you have more money than IQ points then time may not be a huge concern. The strength of your economy solely determines the war you can fight and plays a large part in who will emerge victorious.
  6. Who has the burden of attack? If you are the aggressor you must scout out enemy positions and choke points in advance. Make sure siege units are ready to take on enemy cities; a critical delay at the gates of the foreign capital will likely cause the destruction of your besieging force. If you are on the defensive and have time to plan, force the enemy to attack fortified positions, make them attack uphill as well. Natural choke points should also be used.

A fair and accurate assessment of the previous bullet points will lead to a greater knowledge of the conflict to come. And with that knowledge it becomes even easier to crush your enemies!

Next up we examine the goals of fighting pitched battles in large battlefields. There are many ways to engage an enemy, but there are only a few that will prove effective enough to win that engagement. One of the biggest tactical flaws many people commit in Civ5 BNW is that they spread out their forces. Millennia of warfare has taught military commanders that a concentrated force at the opponent's weakest point proves devastating to the enemy and can rip a whole through their lines of defenses. Another important tactic to consider is the mobility of your force. Without maneuver combat cannot exist. Try keeping a mobile reserve to exploit the gap that your concentrated force gave you. The above pointers only apply when on the offensive. The defensive war does not take brilliance, just vigilance and manpower. The need for rapid cavalry and tanks is lessened and a greater emphasis is put into strong, frontline infantry units that are capable of holding the line.

What have we learned? A mobile force that is concentrated on the enemy's weak point will prove devastating. Exploiting gaps that your initial assault created is vital to maintaining momentum. Another tactical flaw that many commanders frequently make is that they spread out ranged units’ firepower. Keep it concentrated! It is far better to completely destroy a quarter of the foe's units than to give quarter damage to all of unit's! Tight formations amassed at the point of conflict are necessary for an effective offensive war. This said, later on in the game when atomic weapons become available, amassed forces can be easily decimated in one fell swoop.

The biggest single advantage I have witnessed players forfeit is the use of information. According to Sun Tzu, all war is based on deception, that and the gathering of intelligence of enemy positions. It is crucial to scout the enemy forces and at the very least to know the terrain and routes of attack, supply, and defense. With this knowledge, a canny commander can sneak a small, fast unit behind enemy lines and ambush relief forces as well as ruining infrastructure and trade routes, bringing his economy to a half while your treasury is cushioned.

Some other map specific strategies are as follows:

  • A Pincer Attack - This splits your own force into two parts. The first group attacks a gap in the enemy lines and draws in enemy reserves. This corps will be called Group A. Its objective is not to destroy the enemy. Its goal is to distract the enemy and keep them occupied. Group B is the army that will defeat the enemy in detail. It will come around the flank or rear and strike deep into enemy territory. Do not waste time on trivial things, press the attack as far as possible with Group B while driving Group B into the enemies’ many force. Surround the enemy and defeat them in detail. This works best in larger maps where the ability to maneuver is optimized.
  • Hunnish Withdrawal - The Hun's were masters at this tactic. The key is to keep the strength of your force hidden at all times. Do not parade your army in front of the enemies’ borders. Instead, attack with a small, fast cavalry force. Try to score a few initial victories. When the inevitable counterattack comes, retreat! The rest of your army should be spread out in a half circle; your cavalry force should lead the enemy into the middle of the trap. When about half of the enemy force is in the trap sound that assault. Attack enemy flanks and occupy hills. This will force the enemy to engage you on two fronts. The center of your half circle should have been fortified on readily defendable position; the position where the enemy occupies should be flat and devoid of cover. Ranged fire and your enveloping flanks will easily pick off the amassed enemy with no room for movement. Often you will destroy nearly the entire counterattacking force, if you do not defeat them oftentimes the morale of the enemy commander will break and he will run for safety. Pursue and finish them off!
  • Attack by Defense - This strategy is classic Robert E. Lee. Lee valued the defensive bonus all soldiers get while being entrenched, Civ5 BNW allows you to do the same. Lee would rush forth and grab high ground that often had a stream enveloping part of it. This position should be enemy ground that must be retaken by the enemy; such positions could be strategic resources, roads, and trade routes. Once you occupy the ground, dig in and wait for the enemy to try and recapture the terrain. If you chose the ground well it will only take a small force to hold off the enemy. You could use the remaining portion of your army to encircle the enemy, attack enemy cities, or sabotage supply lanes. All of these options force the enemy to either abandon your original force near locations that are vital to their war effort or leave a marauding foreign army to demolish important cities.

Reading military history will give you invaluable insight into different scenarios, tactics, and battles you might face. With that knowledge in hand, you gain a tactical advantage over the enemy. Good luck, commander!

By: Gandhi's Follower

Note: I would greatly appreciate it if anyone who uses the source would kindly cite the source as well. The fifteen minutes spent writing this need to be recognized.