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[freeciv-ai] Document for newbie against the AI

[freeciv-ai] Document for newbie against the AI

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To: Freeciv AI List <freeciv-ai@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [freeciv-ai] Document for newbie against the AI
From: Jordi Negrevernis i Font <jorneg@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 04 May 2003 21:52:21 +0200

   This a preliminary version.

   Any comments?

How to beat the ai computer players

0. Introduction

    This document is intended to teach the first time users of the game. It does not explain how to play with the game, it only talks about strategies and describes the best ways to win the ai players. Well, or not falling miserably in the first turns...

    Also, it is advisable to read the manual on the server.

0.1 How to set up the server?

    For a solitaire game to see how is the game and the interface, just open two terminals and type in one terminal 'civserver' or 'ser' if you're in the source directory, then in the other terminal type 'civclient' or 'civ' and connect to the server. Then on the server console type 'start'. This will set up the server with only one player (you) and barbarians.

    For a game with other players just type 'set aifill 5' before typing 'start' at the server console. This will set up a game with you and 4 ai players.

    There is another option which is the 'generator' option. This chooses the type of world and the location of start positions in it. There are 5 type of generators. But if you want an easy beginning, is better to choose the 2 o 3 generator options. This will places each player in an own island isolated from the other players. To do so,  just type 'set generator 2' before typing 'start' on the server.

1. Ai Levels

    There are 3 types of ai levels: easy, medium and hard. In Freeciv 1.15.0 there will be a novice level to weak the ai code even more.

2. Expansion

    One of the key things in a game is the amount of terrain a civilisation has. More land means more population, more resources and more trade. So the first thing to do is to build as many settlers so you can and found new cities. And use this new cities to build more settlers. Do it until you find an enemy opponent. When you find an enemy civilisation you have to stop founding new cities near its territory, send the settlers to other land not owned.

    When you finish your expansion, you must let your cities grow. To do it, do not keep your cities building settlers, make them produce military units and send them to the borders of your nation. You can use them to fortify your cities or to attack your neighbours.

3. Governments

4. Terrain Improvement

5. War

5.1 Defense

    The ai defaults to war when it has the first contact with an enemy unit. So, the ai player will begin to build attack units since the first time it declares war on you. But before building attack units the ai will build barracks on its cities, so making the units more powerful.

    Then you must be able to neutralise this attacks. One of the things you can do, is placing your capital and border cities on hills or forests. That way you will benefit of the terrain bonuses and your defensive unit will survive to the ai attacks, and will become veteran.

    Also its important to place veteran defensive units in the border cities to make it difficult for the ai to win the attacks.So a way to stop the attacks of the ai is to build the veteran defensive units in the cities inland of your country and to send them to your frontier cities. Its very useful to use the resources of your production cities to fortify your border cities.

    Remember to replace frequently your obsolete defending units. You can upgrade them, or disband them in a city to use its production units to build an advanced unit in the next turn.
    Its very important to have the lastest researched defensive units in your border cities. The AI has omniscience and sees what you have in our cities. So, if the ai player sees that you have defensive units that can't win it will not attack that city and will search for another, hopefully of another player, and will leave you alone and in peace.

    Another thing that you can do is to build city walls in your border cities and your capital. Also, you can build city walls and fortify your wonder cities.
    Also, its a good thing to build barracks in border cities. In case of an emergency is a lot better to build a veteran unit.

    And good thing to do is sending attacking units to border cities to protect that cities and the inland ones. It's a way better to attack before being attacked.

    You can also build diplomats and send them to your border cities to protect them. I can also use them to bribe enemy units or incite revolts in enemy cities. Anyway, the easy ai will not build attack diplomats.

5.2 Attack

    To attack a city of another civilisation we have to use the latest technology units. And also this units must be veterans. That way your units are likely to survive and conquer the city.

    You can not conquer a city sending a unit alone to a city. This is useless. You must build an army with defensive and aggressive units, using the aggressive units to attack the cities and its defenders, and the defensive to defend the attacking units and later fortifying the occupied city. If you don't do this the ai will attack and liberate the city.

    Also, its good to know that the Horseman, Chariot, Knights, Dragoons, Cavalry and later Armor, are good to attack cities without city walls. This units are fast units and so are to kill enemy units that invade your terrain. To attack cities with walls your need strong units like Archer, Catapult, Cannon, Artillery and later Howitzer.
    In fact, you can check which unit type is best to build in the Work list Tab of the City Window. In the Info Column you have for each available item a short description of its properties (Attack, Defense, Moves). Just choose the best attack unit to build. If you have a unit with equal attack strength that another with more move points, just build the last.

    And of course, always attack the weakest civilisation with less technology. You can use diplomats to establish embassies in that civilisations to see if you can attack them.

5.3 Barbarians

    Barbarians can be turned off ( 'set barbarians 0' on the server console).

    If you leave huge masses of unexplored land or unsettled land, barbarians will appear. It appear in form of armies on ground tiles or in the sea - the sea raiders!!! -.

    They are an AI controlled player. But it's an special player. It only build aggressive units and send them to attack your cities without bodyguards. So, to liberate your fallen cities just build an army of fast attackers - Knights or Dragoons - and attack the cities. They almost never build defensive units, so its easy to reconquer a barbarian city.

6. Technology

    In the long term, you must be the first civilisation in the world in research. This is mandatory. Technology is the most important variable in the game. If you're the first civilisation with regard production but you are the last in technology you will end up killed. A huge army of warrior can't do anything against a veteran cavalry.

    The strategy in choosing the long term objectives for developing technology differ whether you are in an island or in a continent surrounded with enemies.

    When you're alone in an island you can research first attack technologies and them defensive technologies. You must research technologies to build naval units(Automobile, Combustion, Steel) and naval defenses.

    If you are in a continent with enemies, i'd better research defense and attack ground technologies. First the defensive ones.
If you are in the beginning of a game is recommended to research first 'Horsemen' And 'Bronze Working' to be able to build Horsemans and Phalanxs to resist the ai attacks. Later on you must research 'Iron Working' and 'The Well'.

7. Wonders

8. Happiness

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