Strategies for playing Athens?

A mix of deep gameplay and rich historical flavor, Aggressors: Ancient Rome lets you relive history as the ruler of one of the mighty civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean. Choose one of twenty available factions and conquer the world.
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Solaristics
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Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by Solaristics » Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:39 am

I’ve had a few starts trying to play Athens with the following outcomes:

- my first outing I managed to get a Federation with Sparta but after a while I was attacked on several fronts by the Ptolomies, Carthage, Rome and some smaller players simultaneously and after a while decided to restart as it was my first game and was still learning so had made quite a few errors early on.

- 2nd and 3rd games Ptolomies federated with Sparta very early and attacked not long after with my two northern neighbours dog piling so decided to restart as had no real chance at that point as it was only the first 5 turns.

- 4th attempt decided to just keep building peltasts to try and get some military heft quickly to deter aggression. Had a confed with Sparta so starting moving my forces north to go after one of the small neighbours to increase my territory. Might have been a coincidence, but once I started redeploying north Sparta joined a Federation with the Ptolomies and they attacked. Dog piling followed.

Any suggestions?

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by pavelk » Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:40 am

Hello Solaristics,
there is a series playing as Sparta (on hard) here:
Gameplay I.
Gameplay II.
Gameplay III.
I would personally recommend to not learn the game with such a faction (it is not the easiest start) but anyway, good luck:)

Solaristics
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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by Solaristics » Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:48 am

Thanks for the reply, I’ll take a look (although, as you know, Sparta have a significantly stronger starting position, or so it seems to me).

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by pavelk » Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:25 am

Ahh, sorry I mixed it up. Yes, thats true, it is definitely not easy playing as Athens:)

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by Solaristics » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:45 pm

After playing a few more starts I decided that Athens was a bit like playing Byzantium in EU4: Avoiding being strangled at birth needs some RNG to go your way early. My biggest issue was Ptolemies declaring war early after a federation with Sparta so I decided to put the Ptolemies AI on noob to make it less aggressive and leave everything else at default for the Med scenario. I then built as many peltasts as I could reasonable afford while optimizing my meager resources (and building the only city possible at Delos).

Rapidly pushing up my military heft seemed to have deterred aggressors and I was just able to support this large army with my resources but the trade off being my population suffered because of the military build and low fertility support. Ptolemies again federated with Sparta but my relative military strength was pretty good so no attack came. Interestingly, a few turns later the federation was broken but not sure why.

I kept checking my relatively military strength against other nations and kept building more peltasts to maintain my relative position while beelining for hoplite tech while avoiding all wars, which would have collapsed my fragile position.

Very slowly I was able to expand diplomatic relations with Sparta, Ptolemies and some other nations and eventually got mutual defence with Sparta, Ptolemies and Rome. Others offered brothers-in-arms and federations but they were all scrubs or would drag me into massive wars.

The mutual defence pacts upgraded to brothers and eventually Sparta accepted a federation with me. They were looking pretty tattered as they have been in a long war with the red northern neighbour of mine (can't remember the name). So, I'm now getting ready to consolidate Sparta's northern holdings and upgrade all my peltasts to hoplites and then make everyone pay for letting me live!

Does anyone know how the AI calculates power? Does it take into account unit training buffs?

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by GiveWarAchance » Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:00 am

Solaristics, you are a diplomatic powerhouse, but I implore you to consider the wise words from Napoleon, "To be nice is a vice. Beware making too many friends lest you have no enemies left to war with."

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by pavelk » Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:06 am

Solaristics wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:45 pm
Does anyone know how the AI calculates power? Does it take into account unit training buffs?
If you are talking about that "power" indicators - no, it doesn't take into consideration improvements and neither it's current health. The information is a rough estimate and that is by design because the other players cannot know exactly how another player is strong (just rumours).

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by Solaristics » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:34 am

GiveWarAchance wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:00 am
Solaristics, you are a diplomatic powerhouse, but I implore you to consider the wise words from Napoleon, "To be nice is a vice. Beware making too many friends lest you have no enemies left to war with."
Thanks for the advice, but like Napoleon found in Europe, enemies are not hard to come by in this game!

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by Solaristics » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:37 am

pavelk wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:06 am
Solaristics wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:45 pm
Does anyone know how the AI calculates power? Does it take into account unit training buffs?
If you are talking about that "power" indicators - no, it doesn't take into consideration improvements and neither it's current health. The information is a rough estimate and that is by design because the other players cannot know exactly how another player is strong (just rumours).
Thanks, that's what I assumed, and why I was just pumping out untrained peltasts mostly rather than increasing army quality (which I can focus on now).

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by GiveWarAchance » Tue Feb 26, 2019 4:00 am

Solaristics, please continue your saga. Let us hear how your fortunes fare.

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by Morbio » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:57 pm

I suggest not giving up when all looks bleak. I've been in that situation in a few games and my advice is to play defensive, build what units you can and fortify them in key places, resources, bottlenecks, etc. and continue to trade and try to make friends. If you can survive the dog-piling, even for a few turns, I've found that the pack can often turn on itself and then opportunities may arise. It's tough, but it's very satisfying if you can win after feeling doomed. Of course, there's still a good chance that the pack will eat you bit by bit, but that's the challenge to overcome! :)

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by pavelk » Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:28 pm

Morbio wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:57 pm
It's tough, but it's very satisfying if you can win after feeling doomed.
It is always great to find players who enjoy the struggle and finding the way out of it. I am the same:)

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by Solaristics » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:29 pm

GiveWarAchance wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 4:00 am
Solaristics, please continue your saga. Let us hear how your fortunes fare.
Well, so far I've been grinding north with the Athens-Sparta federation. I've met no significant resistance, which is a bit surprising, and I've captured everything in the Balkans below the horizontal gridline with Rome. Rome just offered a brothers-in-arms with me and it seems to be the only power that comes close to mine. I guess I'll keep that alliance until I capture everything in the east.

The game went from just trying to survive to being dominant in a very short time and it has taken the fun out of it a bit. I can't remember if there is an option to switch off federations as I think I'd like to do that in the future.

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by Solaristics » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:32 pm

Morbio wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:57 pm
I suggest not giving up when all looks bleak.
I generally agree - the unexpected come back against impossible odds are gaming gold. It was just that it was my first game and I'd made a lot of mistakes and I'd lost Athens and some other cities so I wanted to restart with better knowledge of the game.

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by pavelk » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:40 pm

Solaristics wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:29 pm
The game went from just trying to survive to being dominant in a very short time and it has taken the fun out of it a bit.
Don't worry, Aggressors gives and takes away as well. Rome might be friendly now because they are occupied elsewhere but that can change;)

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by GiveWarAchance » Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:33 am

Solaristics, you could pull a Brutus on Rome and stab them in the back. Then you will have all the fun you wanted plus more.
And you don't need to feel bad about doing it cause that is the standard protocol Rome follows with its allies.

And for your next game, make sure you don't set enemies on noob like Carthage cause you know how to handle them now. Maybe you can try hard level. That will be hard.

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by Solaristics » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:40 pm

I'm continuing to push north with my Athens-Sparta alliance and I'm not far from the north map edge along a wide front and I've met almost no resistance. I'm a bit surprised by this. I also noticed that the AI for those nations have lots of 1-size cities two squares apart. Lots, almost like a matrix of them. WAD? I noticed that the Romans were pushing east quite rapidly so I decided to prioritise capturing the land along their expanding border and then back fill east. They didn't like that (I assume) so they declared war which did not surprise me in the slightest and I'd already started to fortify the frontier before it happened - Roman perfidiousness can always be relied upon. I'm trying to rapidly complete my northern campaign so I can throw my forces west agains the Romans. I in fact tried to make peace with all the other factions I was at war with, all dwarfed by me, but none of them were having it. So I continue to steamroll them.

Pergamon offered federation so I took it as it gained me a size-7 city and I was already at war with their enemies. Opening up a front in Anatolia was unwelcome, and stretches my forces further and is difficult to reinforce, but I thought I'd grab the opportunity. Meanwhile Carthage and the Ptolemies entered a federation, but I'm currently at peace with them. I think it might settle into a 3 way contest now. Now that Carthage control them all the AI players are operating on default settings (Ptolemies were the only ones changed and that is overridden now I assume).

My initial concern was the game was going to enter into that tedious phase that all 4x games get to when you become too powerful and just rinse and repeat conquests. That has happened a bit with the northern neighbours but that phase will end soon. I will be interesting to see how fighting Roman turns out in that regard.

Probably not a good idea to bury a question in this thread, but how does city size work? That is, what is the connection between population numbers on the city screen, citizen numbers, and city size?

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by Morbio » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:07 pm

I'll let Pavel answer the question about city size and population, but the large amount of size 1 cities and no resistance goes hand in hand. I suspect they have depleted the populations building units and losing them, now there are no young men left to raise new armies. The 2 squares apart thing is what the AI tends to think is optimal, personally I tend to go for 3 squares apart so that each city of size 3 or 4 can have a nice 9 square source of food and resources... the 2 squares means there is an overlap and I think that is wasteful... but maybe the AI knows better :) Just bolster your border and play defensively and let the Romans bounce of your fortified units while you clear up eastwards.

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Re: Strategies for playing Athens?

Post by pavelk » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:28 am

Hello,
I can only agree with Morbio regarding the city size. The nation probably reached its limits and the war of attrition was lost.
Regarding AI strategies for building cities, this might be the answer you are looking for. In short, there is no "best" distance, it must be reconsidered for different strategies, situations and disposition.

Citizens is a resource you use and you can see it in the resource panel. Number of citizens is purely dependant on the number of cities and their sizes (number of citizens is actually a sum of all citizens in cities). The number of citizens living in each city is is non-linear to its size. City with size 1 has 2 citizens, size 2 has 4, size 3 has 8, and so on. Simiarly the production and consumption of cities depend on its size non-lineary.

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