Forums: Index > Playing Freeciv > (Newbie) Losing cities to AI

Long time veteran of Civ1,Civ2,Civ4 here, but new to Freeciv.

I can't manage to get a good game going!

I installed FreeCiv 2.1.9. on Ubuntu 9.10 using package manager.

First slight problem, can't choose Civ2 ruleset, when trying out the excellent big European map.

Ok, let's try playing with the default ruleset against 13 novice AI players.

I start out with 3 settlers, 3 explorers, sent out my explorers to explore, build my 3 cities.

Build 1 warrior in each city, then start building workers and settlers to expand. What happens around year 2000BC?

One by one my cities get taken over with no notice!

Ok, I see there were diplomacy windows, which I didn't notice last time...

Let's try this again.

This time I make agreements with each AI as I encounter them, I have cease fire with all of them, and some of them I conclude peace treaties BUT... the time I get to around 2000BC, my cities again get conquered(by those shifty Australians with whom I had a cease fire no less)! This time each city had a fortified archer inside..

Ok, maybe some AI are aggressive and will attack even when there is a cease fire, that's fine..

but how can I monitor whether an attack is imminent? I didn't even see the units fighting...

Think about City Walls and Barracks.
AI moves very quickly at start of turn, so you might not see the fight. If AI captures your city, then you have no vision there. This is why you have Messages tab. (The tab appears at start of every turn, or you can press F9 to see the tab, or you can click "Messages" in "Reports" menu to see the tab.) With default message options, you have messages for "Unit: Defender Destroyed", "Unit: Defender Survived" and "City: Captured/Destroyed" so you know what happens if someone attacks you. I read messages at beginning of all my turns.
A cease-fire expires after exactly 16 turns. You can use "Nations" tab (press F3, or "Nations" in "Reports" menu) to check other players. In my current game, the "Dipl.State" with Algeria is "Cease-fire (2)", so the cease-fire will end after I click "Turn Done" two more times. My empire has 112 cities and plenty of Battleships, and I rule most of the world, so I plan to invade Algeria after 2 turns. The Australians might have attacked you at 16 or more turns after you agreed the cease-fire treaty.
Freeciv allows no fighting during cease-fire; but a treaty is only paper, and players can shred paper. If you want to attack during cease-fire, you can visit "Nations" tab, click a player, click "Diplomacy" and click "Cancel treaty". (Read Diplomacy page for details.) Other players can cancel treaties, but AI players in Freeciv 2.1.9 never seem to cancel cease-fire treaties.
You want to better defend your city. Study the Combat page! There is no benefit to fortify a unit in a city. This is because "Land unit fortified or in city" has the same ×1.5 defense bonus. Your fortified Archers are already in a city, so they already have the bonus, and they are no better than non-fortified archers in the same city. I like to sentry my units in a city. Sentried units will ask for orders if they see any approaching enemy units. Enemy units like Horsemen or Chariots might move too fast for this.
If you want to attack an enemy unit, then select your attacking unit and middle-click the enemy unit. You will see the percentage for successful attack. I attack if the attack percentage is high. The defense percentage can change if you move your unit to a square with a different defense bonus.
Build City Walls. These provide a huge ×3 defense bonus to units in a city! Watch as the AI waste units by attacking your walled city. The effect of City Walls is dramatic. Read "City Walls, number one in city defense." in other Freeciv forum. City Walls protect against land units, not sea units, so City Walls are useless if AI attacks your coastal cities with Ironclads. If my city is too far from the enemy, or already has adequate defense, than City Walls are only waste of production; in my current game, very few of my cities have City Walls. (My empire has 112 cities, but I have walls for only 24 cities.) Too many City Walls are better than too few.
Build Barracks. Cities with Barracks can build veteran units and heal units faster, but Barracks are expensive and they go obsolete, so I rarely build Barracks. You might pick a city with high production, build Barracks, build veteran units and move those units to other cities.
If AI conquers your cities, then learn to use Diplomat units to incite revolts in your former cities. Unless the AI is a Democracy, the cost of revolt might be cheap. Diplomats are most effective if the AI knows much more technology than you. --Kernigh 02:40, November 18, 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for great tips Kernigh! I've gotten better, hope the tips help others too. I've always liked using diplomats to take over cities and units.