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AoW1 General Discussion & Strategies
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Topic Subject: TC tricks part I
posted 10-25-01 01:59 AM EDT (US)   
I'm interested in discussing "tricks" against the AI in tactical combat - the more experienced players are out there, the more interesting the games will get...

I know there are numerous was the AI plays stupid, but the more you know the faster ou can finish e.g. the "monthly challenges"

So one first little contribution from myself....

1) The BAIT and LONG RANGE attack:
This works when you have one long range unit MORE than the AI.
a) The AI has 1 ship - you have 2
The AI will advance onto your ships and giving you first shots. But what if the AI ship is strong and one of yours wounded: Retreat the WOUNDED ships of yours just out of range and the AI will keep trying to get in shooting range whilst your other ships sinks it. This is also very useful to give experience points to the ship of your design.

b) A fire elemental - you have a ballista and hero
The elemental has ranged attack (middle). Position your hero just outside that range (9hex) and your "longe range unit" 4 hex apart from your hero. The elemental will stop at ranged distance enabling you to fire long range and your hero steps just 1 hex back to repeat the cycle.
this way the AI unit is slowly wasted without getting shots itself.

So far for now

[This message has been edited by waterfly (edited 10-26-2001 @ 12:58 PM).]

posted 10-25-01 03:05 AM EDT (US)     1 / 29  
c) At least 2 projectile units(centaur) against a dragon
Its kinda like the tactic in (b). Move the first centaur within medium range of the dragon while your second centaur is a few hexes behind the first, the dragon will move within short range, move your first centaur one hex back while your other centaur fires a shot.

d) long-range projectile units(ballista) against anything that's not super fast
The ballistas will fire one shot each, then retreat from the battle field. If the unit is fast, you need 2 ballistas, use one ballista to get within range while the other one stays near the border for a fast retreat, the first balista will never fire, it will retreat immediately.

e) Attacking from 2 different sides
.....will make the AI move first.

f) Split AI force
If you are facing an superior enemy, let low level units attack from multiples sides like in (e), then try moving your units so that the AI army will split its force, if it's not working, retreat and try again.

g) 1 archer and 1 demon against a leaper(works with other similar unit combos too)
Let your demon get damaged, the AI will make the demon first priority and ignore the archer. Move the demon around the archer or a building avoiding the get shoot by the leaper, the leaper will keep following the demon letting the archer fire upon the leaper without any problems. (in this case it will take a while though)

h) Attack an heavily fortified city with only one wallclimber/flier.
Move one archer near the city wall so it can target a unit inside, make sure it will not get killed by archers inside, the units inside will feel threatened and move outside to kill the archer, and after that proceed to your main army.

posted 10-25-01 03:52 AM EDT (US)     2 / 29  
1. When attacking a city, try to get a hex between you and your enemy. This will make the AI to move first.

2. When attacking a fortified city with archers inside that will not come out, and you have a hero with wall climbing, try this: Jump over the wall, let the archers take a shot at you, and then run out again. The archers will then run out after you, and you can kill them off with your super-units waiting outside (kind of a combination of Trashbargs g and h...).

posted 10-25-01 07:03 AM EDT (US)     3 / 29  
A less abusive tactic is screening your archers with a few cheap melee attackes, when attacking power melee units.

First, make sure that the ememy approaches you first, by attacking from two sides, or by taking a long rang unit with you. This isn't stricktly necesary, but it will make the tactic more effective.

Then line up your melee fighters in front of your archers, with a distance of two hexes between each fighter. And place your archers at a short distance behind those fighters.
The AI will then first try to move around your melee units to get to your archers, giving you an extra turn for your archers to pick them of.

When the enemy units finally comes in attack range of your archers, move your melee fighters next those hostiles, one unit for each enemy, but do not attack them. The AI will then first attack those melee units, and your archers will get an extra chance to fire at them.
Try to place your units so, that they do not get in eachothers line of fire.
With a little luck, a simple swordsman will survive even the first attack of a warlord or titan, because it's likely to be a round attack, so your archers will again get another chance.

Unlike some tactics against the AI, I consider this one to be fair, as it would even give a player some advantage against another human player.

Steel Monkey
posted 10-26-01 04:02 AM EDT (US)     4 / 29  
Hehe, nice tricks.
Trashbarg: I didnt know your G option - i would have guessed leapers being "smart"...
C) doesnt work with lv1 archers because the dragon attacks them in melee, but probably centaurs are avoided because of their melee strength.

Magog: i didnt "get" your 1. trick - what do you mean?

JAT: I do a similar style, but with archers close up behind melees or even 2 rows of archers and 1 melees on each flank to take on the remainders....
CanT the melee troops be obstacles for the archers otherwise?

The only trick That is "unfair" IMO is leaving the battlefield in between - the others are exploiting the rules of the game....

Another one (though rarely usable):
i) the Flying Circle
on some maps (like MoG playing halflings) you have access to a numbers of flyers. If you can assemble 6 or 5 of them you have a "killer stack" against lots of the existing AI and independent stacks.
Choose one ranged unit as the killer (one archer or 1lv hero will do fine). Back this up with the flying units (ballon, eagles, eagle riders...). In combat surround your ranged one with the flyers and you have all the time to finish the other stack even if it were 32 warlords.

OF COURSE: the AI stack has to lack "real" ranged capability - a few archers can be taken down by your flyers before you make your circle...

Now, IF you can even give your range unit "water walking" or an equivalent (item), you rule the oceans and can free all nodes easily (frogs, serpents, elementals are all "melee")

This one is great to develop weak heroes...

posted 10-26-01 04:48 AM EDT (US)     5 / 29  
Magog's 1. trick: If the city is larger than one hex, attack a city hex that is not occupied by the enemy. This will make their troups come running towards you.
posted 10-26-01 05:10 AM EDT (US)     6 / 29  
OK, #1 again then... Check this picture out :

Halflings=AI, Gobbos=You.

When you attack like this, the AI will move its troops without you having to move yours first.

Apparently TopCities doesn't allow direct linking. Cut and past this link into your browswer to see the pic:

[This message has been edited by Angel Draco (edited 10-30-2001 @ 11:38 PM).]

posted 10-26-01 05:16 AM EDT (US)     7 / 29  
>>JAT: I do a similar style, but with archers close up behind melees or even 2 rows of archers and 1 melees on each
flank to take on the remainders....
CanT the melee troops be obstacles for the archers otherwise?<<

Actually placing the archers right behind the swordsmen is something I also sometimes do, but only when I think the AI will not, or won't manage to, move it's troopers near the first and/or last melee units. When that happens, your archers cannot fire upon the enemy, as the melees on the flanks are standing in the way for those archers standing at the centre: the angle is too great.

My way, your fighters can sometimes still stand in the way of a target, but there's always a few other targets around that can be hit. I must add, that I often consider a 20% hit on one of my own, a clear shot; hell, I always get away with it.
And finally, I have found that the AI is then more inclined to move it's units around your front line instead of attacking your melees directly, which it will sometimes still do, eventhough the distance between the archers and it's own units is actually greater.
This way, if the line is long enough, your archers can have an extra shot at them.

Steel Monkey
posted 10-26-01 05:55 AM EDT (US)     8 / 29  
Hmmm, there's more to it, but it would be easier to draw it, then to decribe it. Here goes:

I like to place my fighter with 2 hexes in between them, so at intervals of 3 hexes. You then won't get a staight line and if you work this out, you'll notice that any archer standing directly behind a swordsman can still be reached without a retaliation.
The line cannot be breached without a fight, but you'll see that any archers standing anywhere adjacent to a swordsman, becomes a part of that line instead of being shielded by it.
A nice side effect of this is, that your whole will be less vulnerable to bombers and round attacks, and to area effect spells aswell.

When you place your archers directly behind your fighters, you'll be forced to place your fighters at a 2 hex interval. This produces a neat straight line, but the small distances allow your opponent to use bombers and round attacks to damage two units instead of just one. Spells like decease cloud will even get some archers.
You'll also need more fighters for every archer.

Finally, also notice how the interval between the archers must also be 2 hex that when you put them directly behind the fighters. My way, you can also choose to put all your archers at the centre, which does have some advantages: firstly, the distance between the archers and your enemies again becomes a bit longer. Secondly, archers at the centre can fire at enemies anywhere along the defensive line, archers at the flanks cannot always reach the other end. And thirdly, the AI forces very often begin by moving toward the centre of your defense and will spread up later when they come closer. Archers at the centre can fire earlier than those at the flanks. This becomes important when you plan on sending a lot of archers and fighters, and the defensive lines would otherwise become too long.

Then why would I still sometimes use the straight variant? Well, especially when i've brought long range shooters like ballistas, I want to minimize the chances of hitting my own troops. Because at these long ranges, the usual angle of attack becomes smaller and less of a concearn.

I then use combinations of 2 and 3 hex intervals. To make things more complex: I also make use of impassable obstacles like trees, to extend my line and even keep a fighter or two in reserve in case of breach.

I realise all this sounds like an awful lot of trouble to save a few more units and to do a little more damage, but there it is: sometimes I feel the need to be a perfectionist. .... And sometimes it goes wrong, when I have something in mind that is simply _too_ neat.

Steel Monkey
posted 10-26-01 05:56 AM EDT (US)     9 / 29  
scary, eh?
posted 10-26-01 06:57 AM EDT (US)     10 / 29  
hehe, Thanks for explaining ....
in Shadows of Destiny playing elves you get LOTS of practise of your TC-skills against warlords and stuff ..
posted 10-27-01 04:22 AM EDT (US)     11 / 29  
AI Leader or Hero with Death Spheres:

Most likely, on the first turn, he'll cast Terror. So when you attack, don't move. He'll cast Terror. Retreat. Repeat, until the AI spellcaster(s) are out of channeling points.

posted 10-30-01 03:46 AM EDT (US)     12 / 29  
This is a sort of a TC trick, but also a "so that's how it's done!" thing.

I've slowly come to realise that incarnates in FC were posessing things then posessing again while still in a shell. But I didn't see how to do this in TC.

Then I realised the indication of being posessed was highlighted - so I clicked on that and lo and behold was able to posess away to my heart's content.

Frogman Incarnate King will no doubt think this is as stupid as the boat question, and maybe it is, but I just thought I'd share it in case anyone else is "in the same boat" as me.

posted 10-30-01 11:32 AM EDT (US)     13 / 29  
Do you hate to move all your troops around a dungeon? I never do. Usually I take a fast mover or even better a flyer if possible. Move your field of vision ahead 2 hexes and then retreat. If nothing comes at you, move your explorer to the farthest point he got to and go to the next turn to get fresh movement. Repeat the process till you find something and then retreat to your main forces that are waiting as the fool rushes into them. If a strong slow melee unit is coming at you like a warlord, you can count the hexes he will move and be sure that you are 8 hexes away with your range units. That way you are sure to get two rounds of shots at him. Bring some flyers and you can trap units like syrons and pummel them with archers or a ranged hero with no risk at all.

This way you attack one enemy at a time, your main forces are always ready for a hasty retreat in case you find something you can't handle, you only risk one unit, and you don't have to slog your whole army around. This is especially useful in the early game when your heroes are still vulnerable and you really need to get some items or release some prisoners.

Yes unicorn, I would have thought it was common knowledge. Incarnates are probably the trickiest units to play and experience with them sure makes a difference. There's just a few units I would leave an incarnate in, a hero, a level 4 unit, or a wallcrusher. Anything else you possess you should get out of before the end of combat.

[This message has been edited by Frogman (edited 10-30-2001 @ 11:39 AM).]

posted 12-10-01 07:23 AM EDT (US)     14 / 29  
Recently I had the opportunity to discover how powerful a ballista/(hero) combination is for exploring crypts/castle ruins... (all type of dungeons providing long range for your weapon).
With a "long range weapon" you can manage to have the ballista shoot twice (4 javelins) before your hero has to go melee. That way you can nicely dispose of dangerous 3lv units...
You simply have to look for a space that provides a good line of fire and as Frogman mentioned lure the AI units into that line of fire.

Of course you usually dont wait for a slow ballista to come, but if they are around they are awesome. You can probably clear most dungeons with a ballista and a unit with good defense and speed (elephant might do or a rider)!

posted 12-10-01 09:31 AM EDT (US)     15 / 29  
Heres one that works great with a catapult and two ballistae against units in a walled city.

Line the catapult up so that it just reaches the wall on hurl boulder. Put the two ballistae in a line in front of it. Your three units should now be in a line. Make sure that there is an enemy unit "in line" with your forces inside the wall.

Use the catapult to knock a hole in the wall, this may take several turns. Once there is a hole, your ballistae will be able to fire on the unit. That gives you 4 shots which should be enough for all but the tough level 3s, so don't target one of them first. Once you kill the unit you will notice that the ai does not leave the city because your units are not yet in range and you are not threatening any of the surviving units.

Now move your "line" to the next unit, knock a new hole in the wall, kill the unit with a ballista. Repeat as necessary.

This can work with a catapult and one ballista, but if you don't kill the unit, the forces will leave the city and you will have to escape and try again.

posted 12-10-01 12:37 PM EDT (US)     16 / 29  
I just discovered a litle trick for conquering a walled city full of ranged defenders. I used two Red Dragons to kill an eight-stack of Djinns. The same concept should work with any reasonably-fast flier or wall climber against a group of ranged defenders in a walled city.

On the first turn, all of the defenders will rush the wall to get into firing position. They will all make a nice little line, so that each defender can fire at you as you approach. Avoid their fire (by staying out of range) and circle around to the side. If you attack one end of the firing line, only two defenders will be able to shoot at you: the defender on the end, and the one next to him. All of the other defenders will have to move (and not shoot), because the AI will not risk hitting its own troops with "friendly fire".

After your attack and before the mass hordes can shoot you, retreat out of range and circle back toward the "front" of the AI's original position. The surviving defenders will re-form into the neat firing line. Start the attack again! Lather, rinse, repeat....

Take him by the hand
Make him understand
The world on you depends
Our life will never end
posted 12-11-01 02:10 AM EDT (US)     17 / 29  
Yes, I think the most basic concept for early hero development is to hit where you draw the least fire - using all terrain obstacles and enemy troops to diminuish the backfire. To be able to do that effectivly you need wallclimbing of course and 36 movement at least - better even some more.
With that you can often TRY a battle you are not sure winning. Often you are able to "attract cavalry" and run away being followed by the cavalry and you get one turn where you fight the cavalry unit without archers being in range. If the fight goes well you can continue the battle, if not, retreat....

To attack archers when cavalry is alive is always a risk in early hero development - when both are lucky your hero might be dead..

posted 12-11-01 02:18 AM EDT (US)     18 / 29  
This is a trick I used in the ongoing slugfest finals. With it i was able to conquer a 2hex on my 2nd turn already.
I have an eagle (with enchant weapon) and a 3lv hero without wallclimb or ranged attack but with spellcastI.

2 defenders - one of them ranged (priest I think). I cannot be sure to take out the ranged defender with my eagle attack. If my eagle gets hit by backfire it is likely to be too risky to attack the infantry afterwards.

I used my hero to "catch" the backfire, placing him next to the wall in a position to "fake" a threat. It worked. The hero took the backfire, the eagle stayed healthy and took out the priest on the second attack and the infantry thereafter.
I think this should work only if you have spellcast and mana left, so the AI mistakes the hero for a worthy target!

posted 12-12-01 07:29 AM EDT (US)     19 / 29  
I also think that last trick depends on what spells you have...


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posted 12-12-01 07:54 AM EDT (US)     20 / 29  
I dont think so Jerk, because I really had none offensive spells available - so my hero could have provided no threat but still took the hits instead of the eagle. Thats what amazed me myself. But it might have been that the water spell "ooze" threatened the stupid AI

[This message has been edited by waterfly (edited 12-12-2001 @ 07:57 AM).]

posted 12-18-01 11:10 AM EDT (US)     21 / 29  
A trick to beat an AI's flamethrower and a few other melee units with a flyer.

Move your flyer up and attack a melee unit from a direction that the flamethrower will hit its own units if it tries to flame you. The flamethrower will then move a hex to attack your flyer safely. Then, attack from a different direction and repeat. Occasionally, the AI still will flamethrower you and its own unit. In that case, the results could be good. I once had the Ai burn to death its own while using this trick. If your flyer is weak, retreat and attack the next turn.

posted 01-29-02 12:50 PM EDT (US)     22 / 29  
Just an Update, because meanwhile I learned that the first trick I mentioned can be varied under various different circumstances.
In an ongoing TheFeud-map 2x2 game I used the wounded giant to give all experience points to my hero with archers skill.
The giant was running around in circles, while all the troops where chasing it in trying to finish him, and meanwhile the hero killed them one by one using archery.

Somehow my hero in this game now is 2 levels ahead of anybody else

posted 10-15-04 00:29 AM EDT (US)     23 / 29  
I first learned how ludicrous the AI can be when my elven scout was jumped by seven humans. (I would have avoided them if I had realised the independents could be so mean. )

As I now know, the best option in these situations is usually surrender - so naturally, I started to run around the edge. Stubborn perversity or pointless stupidity? - a little of both, but the cavalry was beginning to pull away from the rest of the bad guys chasing me when it fell off of the map. (Alright, the "neutral" guys.)

Despite the fact that this cut into my potential experience for the battle by two points, I decided it was a positive development. So I kept going, and after a while the cleric fell off, followed by both of the archers and one of the swordsmen. After that I turned around and took out the other two swordsmen - battle drawn. (I may have had a medal or an enchanted weapon or something.)

The other time this happened was when my Avenger got into trouble with a swarm of Incarnates. He backed into a corner of the map; three of them attacked, the rest tried to surround him, and guess what?

On a related topic, the AI doesn't need to be this pathetic; even a newbie like me can think of several obvious improvements. But if there were any way to splice them in, surely someone would have suggested it long ago? With practice like this, when I come up against my first carbon-based opponent, I'll just be so much meat rotting in the sun.

The softest brain needs the hardest SKULL
posted 10-15-04 03:21 PM EDT (US)     24 / 29  
You can play with classic turns against yourself.

Another trick for naval battles (ships against ships that is):

you: 1 miliary ship, 1 transport ship
enemy: 1 military ship

It's quite simple. To start of you position your transport in front of your warship to provide cover. The enmy will move it's warship to get a free shoot. Shoot it and move the transport to provide cover again.

Once the enemy warship comes close enough it's good to move the transport and position it in front of the enemy warship rather than in front of your own. That way the enemy warship only moves 1 or 2 hexes each round.

Lord Dragatus, 30th member of BTOOIC, The One Who Killed the Cow.
posted 10-15-04 11:38 PM EDT (US)     25 / 29  
If you have water spheres, you can throw in a frog or two as well. But having 2 ships will give you a great advantage, even 2 dragon ships against a galleon.

===================================== Alphax =====================================
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posted 10-16-04 01:11 PM EDT (US)     26 / 29  
This sounds a lot like "The Non-User's Guide to Dragon Strategy" fused with "Nicey Cheat!". I want royalties!
posted 09-14-14 04:25 AM EDT (US)     27 / 29  
It's not a really trick, just a feature but can be useful. Heroes can switch their items during TC. For example, if you have axe with 2 dmg, but without magic strike and 1 dmg sword with magic strike and at this turn you need to kill wraith, just open your inventory and choose proper weapon.
posted 09-15-14 07:55 PM EDT (US)     28 / 29  
You can also drop those items on the ground in TC, and then pick them up with other heroes all while fighting.

I once cheesed a dragon with my out-matched hero because my hero had 40+ movement, haste, and archery. I'd run away, let the dragon come into range, peck at it with archery, let it come closer, then run far away and repeat. It took FOREVER, but I was on the defense in this scenario, so it was that or die.

Also, I like to clump archers in packs of 3 when fighting fast-moving flanking enemies. This way they can cover each other with no obstruction.
posted 05-25-18 01:51 AM EDT (US)     29 / 29  
1) If you have to fight a lone dragon and all you have is a giant or catapult and some ranged unit (archery, spell casting or the like) which is fast enough to outrun the dragon, you're probably fine. The dragon chases the archer running in circles around the giant, who keeps hurling boulders. After some time, the dragon gets bouldered to death.
The AI seems to have stiff priorities (always attack Archery before Hurl boulder) and doesn't remember its previous moves.

2) I'm not sure if this is mentioned anywhere: Charm can be removed from a unit by killing the charmer.

[This message has been edited by Mirek (edited 06-26-2018 @ 02:37 PM).]

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