Advanced Tactics - Naval Maneuvers
Edited, and mostly written, by Bob Heeter. Last Revised 8-May-2001.
- Infantry and Scouts make great naval defense units, since their
strength rises to four, and they're cheap. Of course, SSG didn't like
this, so in the Deluxe version navies only have their
natural strength or 4, whichever is lower. However, since
the maximum strength of a naval unit is still 4, hordes of cheap
weaker units can still be very effective, unless the enemy has flyers.
Navies aren't affected by any bonuses, either. (Thanks to Derek Hiemforth
for pointing out the change in Deluxe.)
- If you launch your hero as a navy, and then attempt to pick him
(or her) up with an air unit, he/she will *not* be able to fly onto land.
- BUT - and this is great news - if you group a flying squadron with
a navy, the air units will move like the naval units. Thus, on open
sea, they will only need one movement point per square, rather than two.
This means you can use a few boats to dramatically extend the range of
air units flying over water. (But this isn't true for heroes with flying
items in Deluxe.)
- However: In the IBM version, a hero flying on an air unit who
fights with a naval group is converted to a boat. But this does not occur
in the Mac version.
- Also: In the Mac version, if a stack containing a mixture
of naval and air units fights a naval battle, the naval units will lose
ALL their movement points in the battle, and be unable to move afterwards.
- Corollary: Perhaps the best way to transport a hero by water is to have
him flying (with a bat or other air unit), and then to group him/her
with one or more navies. This is better than making the hero into a navy
at a port. (You sacrifice a little mobility, since your hero often has only
has 14-18 movement points, instead of the 20 that a navy has, but
you don't sacrifice movement points converting him to a boat. Nor
do you need to find another port to get your hero out of the water.
Also, your hero is not reduced to the naval unit strength of four.)
- A hero placed in a boat loses his hero bonuses (IBM version at least).
(Update: in all flavors of Warlords, navies do not give or receive any bonuses.)
- Naval units attacking units on land fight at their *land* combat
strength. This applies especially to naval attacks on cities, and to attacks
against units on bridges. Those scouts aren't much use for amphibious attacks,
though they make great boats.
- Even if a coastal city has been razed, you can still use it
as a port to convert naval units into ground units, and vice versa.
Thus, if you can send a naval force to raze an enemy city, you can
use it as a port, build more naval units, and pour troops into
the enemy rear through an undefended gateway. (Until your enemy
defends it, anyway.)
- You can also use bridges as ports.
- If you kill a hero over open water, any items he/she was carrying are
lost permanently. (The game even makes a special sound for this.) Note
that this only works in open water - killing a hero along a coastline
dumps his/her items on the shore! (But - to pick them up, you need a
hero in a boat or with a flyer in order to access the shore.)
- Navies move VERY fast. Rivers are actually highways - think of
them as roads.
- Corollary: Many players do not think of rivers as roads, but
instead as obstacles. They then leave rear coastal cities undefended,
thinking that no one can get to them easily.
- Corollary: If you can sneak even a few navies into your
enemy's rear areas (preferably without him or her noticing), you
can often raze a city or few, which is an incredibly amount of
damage considering that sometimes you only need a single scout in
- Corollary: Because (as noted above) razed cities can still be
used as ports (except in Mac-Deluxe), using navies to raze enemy
cities also gives you
gateways to send additional forces deep into his/her rear areas.
- Corollary: To prevent sneak naval attacks, you need to keep
track of *all* the enemy's units at all times, especially his/her
navies. The best way to do this is by looking at the map that
comes up in the Armies Report.
- Although naval units can attack units onshore in cities, they
cannot attack units which are onshore near port anchors.
- Corollary: This means that a great way to evade a pursuing navy
stack is to climb out of the water on a port - they can't attack you
at all. If they climb out of the water behind you, they lose all
their movement points for the turn (as you did), so you have another
turn to find help.
- Corollary: You can "blockade" a port against enemy boats by planting
a single unit in each of the land squares with access to the port anchor.
Units cannot attack through a port, for some reason. This is a great
use for cheap peon units.
- Sailing through cities: Navies can sail from a body of water
on one side of a city to a body of water on the other side. In Deluxe
this is trivial, but in classic warlords it works only if the whole move
through the city is executed at once using the movement tool, so that
the navy doesn't "stop" in the city.
- Commando Raids: A naval stack which attacks a city is allowed
to continue moving provided (a) it moves back into water, (b) it attacks,
or (c) [Deluxe only] it moves within the city. Thus, one could send navies
to attack a hostile city, attack a ground stack on a land square
next to the city, and then return to the water out of range of
retaliation. These "commando raids" can be devastating if an enemy doesn't
see the danger he is in.
The phrase "provided (b) it attacks" deserves expansion: as long as
there are more enemies adjacent to the unit, and it keeps winning, it
can *keep* attacking as far onto land as its *navy* movement allowance
In PC Classic things are even better:
You can also sail through cities into hills or
forest beyond, using up the movement left over from being a navy, saving
you considerable movement costs next turn, if the unit doesn't need to
remain in the city to defend it, without needing to attack anything!
(updated in 2001 with new info from Dirk Pellett.)
- Ferries: In Classic (not Deluxe), units can "board" navies at
any bridge space, move *as ground units* with the navies, and *remain* ground
units, offloading at another bridge. The units will stay as ground units
between turns as long as the ferry stops in shore terrain. (If they stop
over open water they may turn into navies on the next turn.)
- Super-Fast Navies: Putting a flying hero with a double movement
item on top of a navy gives the navy double movement the following turn -- and
40 paces on open water is a lot!
Note: In PC Classic, the hero "doubles" the movement by adding the unit's
normal movement, so a so-called double-speed lt. infantry navy only
moves at 32, not 40 (assuming standard army set). A dwarf navy
'doubled' by a hero moves at 28. (Btw, you can delete "flying" up
there: the hero 'doubles' the movement speed even if the hero is also
Another, sometimes better use of navies with double-speed heroes is to keep a "ferry line"
of navies available. The hero flies to the shore with a stack of seven
friends. One navy moves under it and takes it until the navy has one
movement point left, then only the navy moves away. Another takes its
place, and the hero continues on, moving its full double-speed at one/step
over the water. Really gets your hero/dragon/griffins moving!
Also Note: two heroes who *each* have speed items can *triple* their groups
speed in some cases!
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