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Total War Discussion

Discussion in 'Total War Series' started by JSBB, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    I just checked, and while Berdiche axemen can be upgraded twice and their second upgrade is partial plate, they still get only 11 armor. You can get another 3 points of armor from the experience system (until they have golden chevrons), but that's about it. They start with 9/17 DR/AR, and can get +2 to armor from armor upgrades, +1 from the sword's smith guild and +3 to both from experience. That's a maximum of 14/21 DR/AR. Still not that great, plus the +3 is actually very difficult to attain because your units keep dying and losing experience because of that.

    Dismounted knights usually have something around 21/13 DR/AR base, which can be similarly maxed to 25/17. The base stats vary from unit to unit, but it's pretty much the same ball park.

    Dismounted boyar sons have something like 15/11 base and can get a max of 19/15, I believe. They do have the armour piercing trait, though, so their AR is actually a bit better than shown here against the heavily armoured heavy infantry of other factions.

    I did forget about the Kazaks, but I didn't edit it in my response mostly because they're still not really a match. They can kite effectively, but at least the hungarian nobles have the same range but much better armour so the kazaks can't even get close to going toe to toe with them.

    The same goes for the boyar sons, which have to do with 14/9 against the 17/11 of the polish nobles (both of them have javelins). Of course you can still win a battle with these units, but better be prepared for quite heavy losses if you don't have the numerical advantage.

    While this is true, if you manage to take Tblisi early on, it can be quite near citadel level already by the time the Mongols arrive, at which point even they will have a very hard time taking your castle. That is of course assuming that they'll even go for it and won't ignore it completely while they move into your territories.

    It seems they've gone the same route in my game too - they appeared near Yerevan, razed Tblisi, then Yerevan. Kind of lost track of where they went after that, though. They don't appear to have attacked any other cities yet.

    I usually have a more normal ratio like 1:6-7 castles to cities, but yeah, there's not much point in keeping that many castles for the Moors. Although with the caravan trade upgrades, they do generate a quite decent income.

    For the Russians castles are absolutely necessary, because while the infantry from the castles are not that great, the militia is even worse. And of course for the cavalry which is pretty much the bomb. Tsar's Guard and Dvors are very powerfull and there's not much in the game that can stand up to them, especially once they gather some upgrades and experience.

    The only thing is that the Tsar's Guard don't have a very powerful charge, so the effect of them charging a line of infantry is actually somewhat less than that of any Chivalric Knight type cavalry (Tsar's Guards have 5, while chivalric knights usually have 8).

    The Dismounted Dvor also make for quite decent archer units, who, interestingly, have the same armour and melee stats as the dismounted boyar sons do. I've played with the idea to just make an army with only dismounted dvor as infantry, but they lack the armour piercing trait so are slightly worse against heavy infantry. And aestethically I prefer to have separate archer and infantry units ;)
     
  2. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    OK, my guide sucks the big one. Not only does it have the stats wrong, it says that you get an additional two armor for each upgrade, and that berdiche axemen can get three such upgrades, which is why I added +6 to the (wrongly) listed base armor. That said, the weapon and armor upgrades are almost surely worth the cost for your primary armies if you don't have to travel half way across the map to get them.

    They actually worked out for me quite well. While the Hungarian nobles are better than Kazaks, and Polish nobles are better than Boyar Sons, you never have to fight both at once as they belong to different factions. The Hungarians completely lack any type of mounted javelin unit at all. And I found that they were best used in attacking advancing infantry units as compared to mounted missile units. The Polish were a bit trickier, as they DO have Lithuanian Horse Archers. However, the Polish thought it was a good idea to send large numbers of them to seige my cities, which is a sure way to lose a lot of any mounted missile unit. (They are among the best units on an open field, but among the worst for taking cities.)

    That said, in my current game, the Hungarians are eliminated, and the Poles are down to I think two settlements. I'm not even at war with them anymore - they have ceased to be a threat. Besides... I have a lot larger problem right now...

    I think I'm hosed. The Mongols sacked, but did not occupy, Tblisi and Yerevan. They then moved south, so I went in and took Tblisi and Yerevan. After the sacking the Mongols laid down on them, neither settlement is anywhere near the ability to upgrade to a castle (less than 1000 population in both), let alone a fortress or citadel.

    I thought I was safe. But then the Mongols turned their armies around and headed north around the Black Sea. I have no idea where they are headed at this point. Thier current heading suggests they aren't heading towards Sarkel (the settlement northwest of Tblisi), but that doesn't tell me where they ARE going. Maybe Kiev? Moscow? Caffe? Isai? Hylach? I don't know. In the greater scheme of things, it probably doesn't matter. I'm easy pickings. I'm quite depressed at this point.

    Engaging them on the open field is definitely out of the question. They travel in packs, so there's no way I can bring up an army and even attempt to engage one of their full stacks. I'll have to take on two - if not three - at once. Which means I'm holding up in one of my settlements, and it's not going to go well. I have no unit that can hope to compete with their heavy cavalry archers. My best strategy at this point may be to let them take what they will, and only offer token defenses at my settlements, letting them punch themselves out whiel I regroup. I have Sarkel, and Sofia, both of which can be used as rallying points for attacks into Turkey.

    It largely doesn't matter which way they go for you. As the Moors, you won't be getting over to Jersualem until pretty late in the game, at which point, you could compete with the Mongols. In fact, you may have more to worry about from elephants than heavy horse archers. I have to admit that's one area of the game that I have the least experience wiht - the Mongols show up early enough that it's inevitable that you'll fight them. But the Timurids show up so late that they usually don't have time to get to Jerusalem before you do. I've fought them just for the sake of fighting them, and they seem really tough, but I've never fought them in a prolonged campaign.
     
  3. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Oh I wouldn't suggest anything else. I always upgrade my units as much as I can, especially those in the conquering armies.

    I think the Mongols and Timurids have something like a few fixed targets to go after, depending on which point they spawn. Like if they spawn in the south, near Baghdad, they will almost certainly raze Baghdad and quite possibly also the town next to it, but in the end will usually make for Jerusalem next and settle down there too.

    I don't know how set these routes are, but I do remember that in previous games if they appeared in Yerevan, they tended to settle down in Kiev. I would prefer it if they didn't, though, as that would mean I would meet with them sooner than I had intended. Not that it really matters at this point, as I already have access to the best units I might get - excepting the gun powder units.

    Anyway, there is a way to attack the Mongols, one stack at a time. You just need to have a general with the trait Night Fighter, which allows you to fight at night. And if you attack at night, reinforcements can't join the fight, so it's just one army against the other. Of course, it would probably be best if you could still retreat some ways away from the group or you would most likely be attacked the next turn (or perhaps not, who knows with these guys). Actually, I'm not sure if you could retreat afterwards, or that you'd be locked in that red area around the remaining armies.

    But that would mean you would need a very strong army yourself, preferably with Dvor cavalry and Tsar's Guard units and I'm not sure if you could build these units already. Probably not, I'd guess.

    Alternatively, you could send out a couple of spies and assassins and try to eradicate them that way. Unfortunately, both their big armies and the (usually) high command rating would make it very difficult to effectively assassinate them. You'd certainly need to abuse Power Word: Reload a lot.

    Anyway, I'm sure you actually know these things already so I don't know why I just pointed them out to you. One thing you might not know, though, is that when abusing reloading to assassinate someone (or do any other action with an agent of yours, actually) is that if it doesn't work the first time you can reload to try again to a hopefully better effect, but if it fails again, all the other reloads will have the same result until you change something, like moving an army or doing an action with another agent.

    There's actually a lot more to be told about the way the game's random number generator works, but I'll save it for now, unless you want to hear it, of course.

    I must admit that I've never actually fought a prolonged campaign against either of them. I usually either assassinated them out of existence before that, or just got the 45 regions, took Jerusalem and then called it a day.

    Even now I probably won't ever need to. I've already got 38 settlements and it would be child's play to get another 6 settlements, then send an army to Jerusalem and call it a day. And at the current rate I could probably even do it before the Mongols have settled down properly, or at least before the black plague hits, as I'm only at turn 87.

    I probably won't do that, though. I'll just let the Mongols settle and then see how tough they really are once they settle down.

    There actually is a separate thread, but since the discussion started here, it stayed here too ;) And the MW2 thread is quite old too, so it's hard to find in the archives here.
     
  4. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    That would suck. It would cut my empire in half.

    I actually thought of that, but dismissed it for the very reason you stated. In theory, I could defeat one full stack of Mongol units if I had a full stack too. (You can typically out-play the computer AI, even if they have superior units.) But there's no way I'm walking out of that battle without a seriously depleted army. Say I lose 1/3 of my men in the battle. I couldn't survive another attack from the remaining armies.

    No, I'm hosed.

    I did not know that. Admittedly, I hardly ever use Powerword: Reload anyway. The only time I do it is on the odd occassion that something has like a 95% chance of success, and it fails. And while I realize that 95% chance means it fails once every 20 attempts, I look at 95% chance and see 100%.

    Well, given that I didn't know that, there's probably other things I'm also unaware of. I'd certainly be willing to listen.
     
  5. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    This is actually relevant for pretty much anything involving chance, like negotiating something with your diplomat, spies, assassins, denouncing heretics with priests, doing a financial take over with your merchants, random disasters (floods, earthquakes), and even placement of the Mongols and Timurids. I believe it also works for the chance of spies opening gates in a settlement you're besieging, but never really retried that particular thing. You can even delay the coming of the black plague with a few turns with this trick. It will come in the end regardless, though.

    How it works is that something happens that you don't like, like your assassin failing or the Mongols appearing in Yerevan instead of Baghdad. You reload. If the thing happens again in a way you don't want, you need to do something to reset the random number generator. This can be anything from moving an agent or army around or even doing a battle. For good measure I usually do something like a battle or make an agent perform an action other than just moving it around. A general planting a watch tower also works, for instance. I'm not sure if doing more than just moving around is strictly necessary, but I am sure that this at least works.

    Then you save the game again and try again. If it fails again, you can reload again and try again. If it still fails, you again need to do something to reset the random number generator. Rinse and repeat.

    This is the basics, and I have used it many times if I wanted to kill a particularly hard to kill generals. One other thing seems to be that if you seem to fail consistently at something that has for instance a 40% chance of succeeding, there is a good chance that other actions with the same or lower chance of success will also fail with other agents. I'm not sure what governs this precisely but I've had cases where a spy died performing something that had a 95% chance and subsequently all other spies and assassins I tried to do something with also died while doing it. And doing something else to reset it again seemed to work in those cases also.

    I've not actually tried this, but it could be that this would work for auto-resolving battles as well. Anyway, that's a last resort and not what I would recommend doing here.

    The only options I see for you here is to send around three spies and three assassins their way and try your luck in assassinating all of their family members before they do too much damage. The idea here is to try to assassinate a family member first, then if it you need to reset the number again, use a spy on some random target, then try again with the assassin. Rinse and repeat until you succeed with all three of them. If you don't find any target that works, try your luck on a captain so you can at least train your assassins skill.

    The problem here is of course that generals in big armies are harder to kill and with higher command rating they're also harder to kill. This usually results in Mongol generals getting on average around 15% success rate. So a lot of reload abuse is required, as you might imagine. Which is frankly quite boring. Even so, I've done it many times and succeeded, so you can too.

    Another problem is that the armies of Mongols you see now might not be all of them as they do tend to spawn in waves, so this might require you to seek out any late arrivals and send a welcome party their way too, while in the mean time making sure that any new generals that might appear in their first group are quickly removed.

    Another option would be to reload a save game from before the Mongols appeared (if you have any, of course) and then luck manipulate it until they appear in Baghdad. It's what I did in my game with the Russians, because I really didn't want to deal with them at that point in the game.
     
  6. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Pwned by the Mongols. I have no saved games from before they arrived, otherwise I would have used your reload trick. While I have reservations about abusing powerload reload on assassinations and the like, I think it would be OK to have the Mongols start near Bagdhad. (Although to be fair, they actually DID come through Russia.) I stopped playing the game. It's not even fun when you have no chance of winning. I may try my hand at the Danes again. That was the first faction I tried when I picked this game back up, but only played the first few rounds.

    Statistically, the Danes units aren't much different than any other units. Aesthetically, they kick ass. I like the Viking Raiders and Huscarls use axes instead of swords, and their unique unit is the Norse Axeman, a superbly balanced unit with 14 in both attack and defense. The sword staff militia unit also looks like it may be good for something other than the public order boost. You may actually like to have that unit defending your cities. (I know that they won't be available early on. I think just about every faction starts with town militia in the first level settlement, and then spear militia in the second.)

    Not much to speak of with missile weapons. Norse Archers aren't bad in the early going, but there's not much else to be had from later units. I suppse the Crossbowmen will have armor piercing ability, and eventually they will get mounted crossbowmen. And they have a decent overall cavalry selection as well, including cavalry militia, which combined with the sword staff militia could, in theory, prove to be a half-decent cheap city defense. And don't they have the Norse War Clerics (maybe have the name wrong, but isn't there a late, kick-ass heavy cavalry unit?)
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  7. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I hit the trifecta in the first few rounds as the Danes. I managed to get Hamburg, Stettin, and Magdenburg all under my control. They are all castles, but they certainly won't all grow up to be citadels. No point in that. Although I haven't - for whatever reason - converted them yet.

    Then I went a little further east and grabbed Riga and Helsinki, came back and finally took Stockholm and Oslo. In the past, the Scandanavian settlements were typically my first targets, but the AI takes a while to get to them, so it makes sense for them to be a second-phase expansion. Take everything you can that's close to you first, and then look to other opportunities.

    On cue, the Germans attacked Hamburg, so it's on now. I was a little smarter with my alliances this time as well, after reading some stuff on the internet on how the AI operates. It turns out that even though about half of all the settlements at the start of the game are in rebel hands, the AI of the different factions consider certian settlements to be "thiers". Not "thiers" as in taking that settlement is considered a declaration of war, but "thiers" as in they have first dibs at taking it. Once you take such a rebel settlement, it is inevitable that the faction that considered it "thiers" will eventually declare war on you. (Although they take all the other rebel settlements on their list before going after you, so if it's early in the game, you have time. In the case of Russia, which has a huge list that's spread out everywhere, you can take a settlement they consider thiers (like Helsinki) and not come into open conflict with them until mid-game.)

    To the point at hand, the HRE also has an extensive list of settlements they consider thiers, and both Hamburg and Magdenburg are on it. Stettin, strangely, is not. The Danes have IMO, a rather strange list. You'll run into conflict with the Danes if you take Oslo or Stockholm, which makes sense, but also Antwerp. So Hamburg isn't on the Danes list, even though you'd have to march an army past Hamburg (or throw them on a boat) to get to Antwerp.

    There's also a few settlements that are on two factions' list, and it just so happens that the HRE has more of these than any other faction in the game. That's why it invariably seems like the HRE is hyper-aggressive in attacking both you and other factions. For example, Metz is on the list of both France and the HRE. That's why you see France and the HRE at war in just about every game. Similarly Bern is claimed by both the HRE and Milan. Even little Durazzo - which hold little strategic significance - is claimed by THREE factions: Venice, Sicily, and the Byzantines.

    The larger point of this extended explanation is that you can pick your fights early in the game by deciding which settlements you anex early on into your faction. You can also use it to wisely pick allies early on. The basic rule is you want allies that are unlikely to go to war with each other, and are likely to be at war with the faction you're at war with. So France was an obvious pick for me. Due to the existence of Metz, I'm sure the HRE and France will be at war. Milan would also have been an acceptable choice, but since they also have a decent chance of going to war with France, it's one or the other. Then I picked up Venice (because Florence is on the list of Milan, Venice, and HRE). Venice is likely to go to war with the HRE, and unlikely to run into France for a long time. Finally, because I have some concern about the Poles, I accepted an alliance offer from Russia. (Strangely, they offered this AFTER I took Helsinki. But like I said, the Russians have so many rebel settlements on their list that it takes a long time for them to take all of them before coming after you.)

    I also did some research on how factions vote for the Pope. Ideally, you want the Pope to be a former Cardinal of your faction, but if you cannot do that, you at least want to vote for the winning Cardinal for the relations boost, and because he gives you a little leeway in attacking other factions before he demands a halt to hostilities. Fortunately, with a little knowledge of the political climate of the time, you can correctly predict exactly how each Cardinal will vote. It's a heirarchical system, and it is as follows:

    1. If a faction has one of its Cardinals up for the Papal election, it will always vote for their Cardinal. These votes cannot be bribed either. So there's no way to get around this.

    2. If a faction does not have a Cardinal up for an election, it will vote for its ally's Cardinal if one such Cardinal exists. In the case of having alliances with two factions Cardinals up for a vote simultaneously, it will vote for whichever faction it has had an alliance with longer. You CAN bribe these votes away, but only if you are also allied with that faction.

    3. If there are are no alliances with any of the three Cardinals up for a vote, it will vote for the Cardinal from the faction which has the highest power rating who they are NOT at war with. This is why a lot of times you start winning all the Papal elections by mid-game. Chances are you already have a few Cardinals, and you're the most powerful faction at that point, so you get your votes, plus the votes of the Cardinals from all the factions that you aren't at war with. (Unless, of course one of the two previously listed criteria apply.) These votes can be bribed, provided you aren't at war with the faction you're trying to bribe votes from.

    4. In the unlikely event that a faction is at war with all 3 of the possible choices, it will still select the Cardinal from the faction with the highest power rating. These votes cannot be bribed. So it is possible to have a faction you are actively at war with vote for your Cardinal. But it will only do so if it's also at war with the other two possible choices.

    So once you know this, voting become easy. You just add up the votes for all the Cardinals, and you can determine if one is guaranteed to win, and whether the vote(s) you have will even matter. If your votes are irrelevant to the outcome, you may as well vote for the Cardinal that's going to win anyway for the relations boost, even if you're at war with that faction. There are times where you'll be the king-maker (OK, technically Pope-maker). This happens a lot more than you'd think. Owing to alliances, always voting for their Cardinal, and only a plurality (not a majority) required to win, a lot of times even one or two votes makes all the difference. For example, say two candidates have four guaranteed votes, and the third candidate has two. Unless you unwisely decide to vote for the candidate that has just two guaranteed votes, you get to pick the Pope.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  8. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    You would probably be able to survive somehow, but your empire would probably be set back a lot. And unfortunately, the Mongols have a strong tendency to exterminate populace wherever they go, basically ruining any chances of those cities being useful within a reasonable timespan. It would make for an interesting game, basically resetting your empire halfway through the game, but I generally don't like to lose so much.

    The Danes seem quite decent. They have the standard dismounted chivalric knight for heavily armoured infantry, along with some axemen which should be able to do some more damage. The Norse War Clerics have 19 DR, and as such are the only ones that can match the Tsar's Guard in terms of armour, but have only 10 AR, which is not that great. They do have the armour piercing trait, so should be quite ok against heavily armoured units. Unfortunately, they have a rather poor charge, so they'll have to rely on their armour rather than crush the enemy ranks with a devastating charge.

    I don't think the crossbowmen should be considered an upgrade from the Norse Archers. Both their attack ratings are quite poor and at least the Norse Archers have quite decent armor and would probably be able to stand their ground in a melee.

    I didn't know all that about factions being assigned to rebel settlements so that they'll be sure to attack some settlements. Not that it really matters to me, I usually don't bother with alliances because you'll inevitably be at war with everyone anyway. And being in an alliance doesn't seem to stop other factions from attacking you. And pretty quickly you'll be unstoppable anyway, so why bother.

    Haven't played with a catholic faction in a while, but I'll try to remember the points about pope elections when I play with one. Occasionally it might be useful to get excommunicated, though, so you can expand rapidly for a bit.

    I forgot, but is there a way to get out from being excommunicated except from your king dying?
     
  9. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I'd say it's more like a certainty than a tendancy. I cannot recall the Mongols ever taking one of my cities and NOT exterminating the populace. The fact they went after Kiev - my most productive city - also led to the decision to abandon that game.

    Because you can limit the number of factions you're at war with at the start of the game - nothing sucks more than having 3 different wars at turn 30 - and you can get whomever you're at war with to fight on multiple fronts. To use my current game as an example, the turn after the HRE attacked Hamburg, the French and Venitians declared war on the HRE. I know I'm carrying the burden of this war, but simply forcing some of the HRE troops to be sent elsewhere helps a bit.

    Sure, by the time you have 20 or so settlements under your control, you can afford to be in multiple wars. The strategy I'm advocating would be to limit the number of wars you fight early on. I'm not keen on being in mutiple wars for the first 50 or so turns.

    I'd hardly say that is advantageous considering all your settlements take an instant 30% happiness penalty. The pain of excommunication means you have to run lower tax rates in many of your cities (castles are usually OK even with the happiness penalty) so I'd say it's not worth it. That said, once you are excommunicated, you may as well go whole hog with it.

    If the Pope dies, and you voted for the new Pope, you're reconciled. AFAIK, those are the only two methods, and only one is foolproof.

    ---------- Added 19 hours, 0 minutes and 29 seconds later... ----------

    I upgraded Arhus to a large city last night, and once you build the next upgrade to town guard, you can build Norse War Clerics. I was stunned. I thought for sure they were going to be produced at castles. They are, quite possibly, the best unit any faction gets that can be produced at a city (although the Moors are in the conversation).

    Another thing I noticed about missile cavalry that I had previously overlooked: The Egyptian Malmuk is arguably the best missile cavalry in the game. They don't measure up to the Mongol heavy missile cavalry, but certainly the best of any unit that you can actually play.
     
  10. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    I see your point and depending on your faction (or: starting location) it would definitely be advantageous to be able to pick your fights, rather than have a lot forced on you.

    Quite aside from the necessity of having to defend multiple sides, it also hurts your coffers since you lose the trading agreements once you're at war with a faction.

    True, but sometimes it's annoying that you have an army all ready to go but nowhere to go because it will upset the pope if you start actually using it. You can use it to expand rapidly, taking several settlements in quick succession and then assassinate the pope to reconcile yourself (hopefully).

    That's pretty awesome. Better than the Christian Guards from the Moors, because you only get them from huge cities, which is quite a lot of turns later than you could build the town guard in a large city. I'd still say the Moors win, though, because the Hashashim can be build from a city almost straight away and can stand toe to toe with just about any late game infantry.

    Actually, the Malmuk Archers have the same stats as the Mongol Heavy Archers, but the Mongols always appear with lots of experience, which may explain them being a bit tougher. They both have 15/8 DR/AR, with also 8 for missiles and 4 for charge. The Mongol unit also has very good stamina as a trait instead of just good stamina for the Malmuk Archers

    Dvor Cavalry are actually better than both of them, with 16/11, 10 for missiles and also 4 for charge. In terms of stats, the Polish Nobles are actually slightly better with 17/11 and otherwise same stats as the Dvor Cavalry, but of course they only have javelins instead of bows.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  11. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Exactly. Like I said, it only matters in the early game. The other benefit is that while you want one early war, you'd rather that it was your opponent who starts it. They are more likely to get exommunicated.

    Speaking of which, it's payback time for the HRE. After getting repeatedly told by the Pope (from HRE) to stop attacking the HRE, I got my guy in to the top spot. In a show of usefulness of alliances, when the Papal election came about, I had two Cardinals, one of which was up for election. But France had one, and Venice had two, none of theirs was up for election, and they are both allied with me. So I was starting with 5 votes. The others on the ballot were HRE and Portugal. HRE had 2 votes, Portugal 1. So there are only 3 votes left, and since two were from Hugary who I have very good relations with, I won in a landslide. (I also picked up a vote from Milan that I wasn't counting on.)

    I thought so. Endgame unit at turn 40. Unfortunately, at the moment Arhus is my only large city, so that's the only place that can build them. They only have a short move to Hamburg for their sword upgrade too!
     
  12. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    It would also explain why the Danes also have a ton of Norse War Clerics in all their armies when you encounter them.

    I always have the greatest difficulty getting swordsmith guilds in my castles. In fact I don't think I've ever gotten one in the vanilla game, I've only ever conquered them. May have gotten one or two in the Kingdoms expansion, though.

    In my game with the Moors I've only just set foot on the British Isles, and when I could call another jihad, the viable options were Vienna and Edinburgh. Since I already had a full stack army on the British Isles and would still need to assemble my army near Vienna, as most of those units are still spread all over the Italian peninsula, I just decided to go for Edinburgh.

    The only difficulty I have here is that there Nottingham and York in between and I have a hard time just ignoring them. York is in the way though, and to go the long way around would take several turns extra, so I'll take it anyway, ferry in some militia units from the mainland and move on straight away without delay.

    /edit
    York is mine now, as is Edinburgh. I managed to conquer York, ferry in some militia units in the same turn, then move on to Edinburgh. Then the next turn I took Edinburgh, which was only garrisoned by the scottish king. Unfortunately I didn't have an assassin at hand, so had to take the city the hard way. Although I normally always fight battles myself, I've found that in these specific cases, it's usually better to autoresolve as it leads to fewer lost units.

    Interestingly, Inverness was also only occupied by the newly crowned king, their main army being on the way to try to take London from my hands, apparently. Having some movement points left, I managed to take Inverness in the same turn as Edinburgh (also autoresolve). And that being the last settlement of the Scottish, they are now obliterated. The only downside to all this is that I have two rather unhappy towns, which will hopefully settle down quickly so I can get on to conquering the remaining settlements here. Luckily the bonus from finishing the jihad helps keep order in line for now.

    On the mainland of Europe, I've started to move the Eastern front up a bit further to the East, with the end goal being to get a straight line down from Arhus to Innsbruck. The idea is to then expand into Scandinavia to get the trade starting in that area (the whole Northsea area is somewhat similar to the situation in Italy, where you can generate a lot of trade through the seafaring trade routes and thus start the money making machine).

    The crusade against Rome has finally failed when the last of the crusading armies met their end. I'm not even sure if there still is a pope, as he usually spawned right outside of Rome where I could easily assassinate him (although the next time I reloaded or when the turn ended there would be another pope again). Maybe he finally moved elsewhere.

    Curiously, many of the crusading armies consisted mainly of cheap units like peasants and town militia and a good part of them barely had any missile units at all. Basically, they're full stack armies, but hardly a threat at all.

    In a rather strange turn of events, it seems that the HRE has lost Jerusalem and Antioch (both of which it managed to take in previous crusades). The curiosity here is that it didn't lose them because another faction took the settlements from them, but that they turned rebel before that. Maybe the Egyptians sent many spies their way and they lost the cities due to revolts. On the other hand, I've seen AI controlled settlements turn rebel before without any outside interference. Like how somehow Iraklion had become rebel in a previous game and when I got there I found 1 witch and 2 heretics on the island.

    I would have suspected the Mongols of helping a hand there, but since the HRE isn't at war with the Mongols and hasn't been either, that seems rather unlikely. Not that the Mongols have appeared to have done anything after razing Tblisi and Yerevan. I wonder when and where they will finally settle down (we're at turn 92 now).

    I don't know if you know this, but there's a way to check which faction which settlements a faction holds other than doing so with a diplomat. The map information you get in the beginning of the game is usually quickly outdated, but serves a purpose beyond that too. Once an area has been explored on your world map, you can hover your mouse over it, right click, and then it will show an icon with the name of the area and a flag of which faction currently owns this area. That's how I knew the Mongols attacked and razed Tblisi and Yerevan and also how I discovered that the HRE lost their settlements in the Middle East.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011
  13. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Not to be depressing, but the Moors find it almost impossible to get a Swordsmith guild. There are only two things you can do to build points towards a swordsmith guild. The first is odd: each building in the armor series of castle upgrades gives a sizeable chunk of points. The other thing is training units that use swords. The only unit the Moors can train that builds points towards a swordsmith guild are the dismounted christian guard. So unless you are building a TON of them, don't expect to see a swordsmith guild. Also, remember that swordsmith guilds are castle only, so no matter how many sword-wielding units you train in a city, you won't be getting any points towards a swordsmith guild.

    I found a guide that shows what you need to build it each city to get points towards each guild. The author admits that certain factions like Russia find it almost impossible to get a swordsmith guild, because they don't have any sword-wielding units, and so must rely on the armor buildings to get points. While the points you get from each armor series of building gives a bigger bonus than training a sword-using unit, the problem is that there's only a few such buildings to construct in a castle. The bonus from training a sword-using unit is smaller, but there's very little limit on how many of them you can make. Here's the guide.

    The only time I ever try to take a city the hard way is when I'm clearly the superior force. Even if you use catapults and such to blow a bunch of holes in the wall and take out the towers, you're still going to be taking a lot more casaulties than you'd like. I usually just wait them out and let them attack me when they run out of turns - their forces get depleted every turn they are under seige anyway.

    In the case of autoresolve, I hardly ever use it. I do find that it is useful for taking out rebel forces. Most of the time, I fight the battles better than the autoresolve, but the autoresolve kicks butt against the rebels. They will win against a sizeable rebel force, and only lose a single-digit number of troops.

    You don't exterminate the populace in conquered towns that don't share your religion? That's standing operating procedure for me. (Which makes for a real pain in you're playing Russia or the Byzantines, and practically no one shares your religion.) Sure, it delays settlement level upgrades, but it beats having to garrison a full stack army to keep people in line.

    There is always a Pope. Whenever the Pope dies, the Catholic factions elect a new one at the end of the turn. Same thing with the death of a Cardinal (or when a cardinal gets elected Pope he's replaced at the end of the turn too). The only way I can imagine you can eliminate the Pope from the game is if you assassinated all of the Cardinals and the Pope on the same game turn - which sounds really tough to do.

    Also, you cannot eliminate the Papal States. Even if they have no settlements, they are typically gifted a settlement by a Catholic faction. So even if you took Rome, there's a good chance that there's a Papal States settlement somewhere on the map.

    I've noticed the same thing. They also tend to have units called "pilgrims", which are only available as mercenary units to crusading armies. They are cheap as hell - 30 florins and no upkeep. That's the good news. The bad news is that they're basically peasants.

    That is odd. I agree - the only way you typically see settlements turn rebel is if they revolt, or all the family members of a faction are killed.

    I did not know that - I always used the diplomats to do it.
     
  14. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    That's a very helpful link, thanks a lot for that. I see that the problem I have for getting the swordsmith's guild, is that I generally don't build a lot of units. Sure, I build militia up to the limit for each town, but if I have 3 full stack armies by end game, it's already a lot. Given that I mix units in each army too, that doesn't leave a lot of room for building many sword wielding units. I guess I could build lots of units and immediately dismiss them to build up the points.

    And usually I get offered a hospitaler guild or some such so I accept that first. But now that I've seen this list, I can plan to at least leave one castle open for a swordsmith's guild.

    At least for the Moors, if I conquer a castle that already has a swordsmith's guild, I can convert it to a city and still gain points for it by building urban militia.

    The funny thing is, I do get most other guilds, except the swordsmith's guild. And the alchemist's guild, but that's not that strange, I guess, considering that most cities will have a guild by the time you can even start gathering points for them.

    I really dislike doing this. It just keeps your army tied up for so long. Plus if you're a catholic faction, it's more likely that the pope will start complaining about it.

    True, occasionally you will take heavy losses, but there are ways to lessen it. For instance, if you have a spy in the settlement, there's a chance that they will open the gates for you. In this case the enemy units will be spread all over the city rather than gathered facing your army. If you're lucky, you can get into the city without being bothered at all, especially if you distribute your army around the three gates. At least if one of those parts can get in unaccosted, the AI will usually pull back the other units still on the wall to the city centre, freeing up the other gates as well.

    Even if the spy doesn't open the gates for you, as long as you have some siege weaponry you can usually get in without too many losses. There's not been too many cases where I couldn't take a city, even if the opposing army was much stronger than mine.

    Never tried to auto resolve a fight with rebels, though. I prefer to do those fights myself.

    It takes too long to rebuild any city to something useful if I do that, both in terms of extra building as well as in terms of population. I usually just sack a city. This kills off some of the population, which is usually enough to keep the unrest down. Of course it also helps to send a priest over to any area you want to take before actually going there yourself.

    I know the pope is re-elected every time you killed one, although I figured that they would run out of cardinals at some point. Hard to ignore the respawning pope every single turn. This actually happened when I played with the Venetians too, though I managed to get the pope ousted from Rome then by loading lots of spies into it.

    I didn't notice any other faction gifting any settlement to the pope, though maybe the HRE did that with Jerusalem and Antioch but the papal states lost them because it didn't have any garrison to keep the unrest down. I did notice that the financial ranking of the papal states is continuously growing, though. Don't know where they're getting their funds from.
     
  15. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    All the Muslim factions have problems getting swordsmith guilds. But they do get an advantage in gaining horse breeder's guilds. Perhaps it's a balance issue? You see, the problem for most of the Christian factions is that the horse breeder's guild is restricted to cities, and since most factions can't make cavalry units in cities, it's nearly impossible to get one, and largely useless even if you do. The Muslim factions can all produce cavalry units from cities.

    The alchemist's guild is probably the least useful guild in the game. Cannons and the like do plenty of damage the way they are. Now if the guild provided an accuracy upgrade, that would be a different story.

    The problem isn't getting though the gates - it's the fights in the narrow streets on the way to city center. Especially annoying if the defending army has any artillery. I don't know how the computer does it, but it is the master of firing catapult stones directly over their troops head and into your troops. I've lost more generals than I care to remember to flaming rocks.

    Sacking a city MAXIMIZES the unrest. If you occupy the city, you're OK if they are the same religion as you. In fact, if your power rating is higher than the faction you took the city from, there will actually be a happiness bonus.

    If you sack a city, you get the most gold, but the citizens are pissed off at you, and you get a sizable happiness penalty. IMO, this is the worst option if you plan on holding the settlement. (There have been times I've sacked a settlement, pulled my units out, let the enemy retake it, and then sack it again.)

    That would be nearly impossible. There are 11 Cardinals in the College of Cardinals, and the new Pope will appoint new Cardinals. They'll never run out of priests for new Cardinals. Like I said, the only way they would run out of Cardinals is if you killed the Pope and all the Cardinals off in a single turn.

    That's not impossible to accomplish, but pretty damn impractical. Even with gratuitous use of powerword: reload, you'd still need to A) Locate all the Cardinals (a feat in itself) and B) have 12 highly skilled assassins at the ready to do the work.

    My game with the Danes is highly unusual. Gunpowder has just been invented, and I'm the proud owner of 23 settlements. I have all the Scandanavian settlements, most of the HRE settlements (they still have Bologne - more on that later), and a good chunk of the Venetian settlements that were owned by the Hungarians at the time I took them, as well as the settlements in modern day Greece.

    Two unusual things happened in this game. First the Papal States are KICKING ASS. They are 4th in total score, behind me, the Mongols, and France. They went to war with Milan - and eliminated Milan. The Papal States own Rome, Florance, Milan, Venice, Genoa, Bern, Marsailles to name a few - basically everything in modern day Italy, southern Germany, and southern France. Oh, and they were the conquering army in two crusades in Jerusalem and Antioch, so I'm getting excommunicated sooner or later. They have about 10 settlements.

    The other is the Mongols - not them showing up, but their behavior. First of all, they wandered aimlessly for about 20 turns. Then there was a Jihad called for Constantinople. They joined, and took Constantinople, and I found this out because I was at war with the Byzantines, and much to my surprise, the round I showed up to lay seige to Constantinople, I saw the Mongols had beat me to the punch. Since I was in the territory when they conquered it that round, I got an instant "relations: very poor", as I had two full stack armies (the other was headed for Nicea) in their territority.

    But I figured, no big deal, I'll back off - they are certainly going to expand eastward into Turkey, so I'll just go after Egypt. That sounded like a good idea until the round after they took Constantinople they sent 4 full stack armies westward in different directions and decalred war on Hungary. Uh-oh.

    Now, a smarter man in this position would have said, "sucks to be Hungary" and continued his capaign against the Byzantines, just going by boat instead of by land. A smarter man would have said, this giant doesn't seem intent on conquering you at the moment - there's no need to rattle his cage. A smarter man would have said, let them spend a few rounds pummeling the Hungarians and after they take a few settlements and spread out their forces, they'll be more managable.

    And then there's me. Aldeth decided, for some reason, that the best plan was to attack one of the full stack armies that was kinda sorta headed in the general direction of Thessalonica (sp?) and might have been considering attacking me there. It was one of my full stack armies, and while I won the day, it cost me two family members, and about half of that total army, which is now limping back to Corinth for retraining.

    Inexplicably, I decided to piss off the Mongol Hoard by saying f-you and the game unbalancing horses you rode in on. So now that I brought this fight onto myself, and after reacquainting myself to the types of units the Mongols have, I need to figure out how to deal with them. First of all, the Mongols seem to have five basic unit types in each full stack, with multiple units of each. They have way more than five units they can build, it just seems like their forward armies only include these because all five have the unusual attribute of no upkeep cost(!). They are as follows:

    1.) Dismouted archers - very capable - I'd say second to England in skill - but archers none the less. Heavy cavalry fodder.

    2.) Heavy Lancers - impressive name, but their stats are an exact match for Templar, Hospitallers, et al. So they're knights with a different name. Again, I've dealt with these before.

    3.) General Bodyguards - pretty much the same as other bodyguard units.

    So far, no problem. But then they throw in these two - typically about 4 or 5 of each:

    4.) Mongol Infantry - missile unit and heavy infantry unit combined. Without upgrades, they have a bow with a 9AR, a sword with a 12AR, and a defense of 14. Very versatile. If I could make these units, I'd have little need of much else in my army.

    5.) Mongol Heavy Archers - yikes. The defense of 15 makes these almost unfair. They can kite anything, and even if you wanted to trade arrow volleys with them, you better have a lot of archers, because with a 15 in defense, they're going to hit you more than you hit them. The only missile unit I've found that can take them are the English Retinue Longbowmen. (I'm sure Sherwood archers would work too, but it's not easy to get a Woodsmen Guild, and even if you could, the slow recruitment rate would make it difficult to have the build of your missile units from this source.)

    I got nothing that can deal with Mongol Heavy Archers. According to my lying units guide, the Danes can produce Mounted Crossbowmen, but unless you need a citadel and the last stable upgrade to train them, they don't have such a unit. Besides the only citadel I have is the just upgraded one in Hamburg - hardly a practical location.

    So I'm thinking the best unit composition would be something that can best deal with everything else they have, and saving the heavy archers for last in the battle. After some consideration I feel the best unit for this job is heavy archers. Lots of it. Like a full stack army consisting of various types of heavy cavalry. They are also my best option for the heavy archers, as if you attack them from multiple directions, they can't kite you... Thoughts?
     
  16. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    I don't really see the big advantage they would be gaining by getting the horse breeder's guilds. Sure, extra experience for cavalry is always nice, but it's easy enough to get xp for cavalry by chasing routing units so it's hardly necessary. And the muslim factions don't get the hospitaler/teutonic/templar knight chapters in their castles either.

    I agree that it's less than useful, if only because you already get a damage upgrade if you build the academies. So the guild seems rather redundant.

    I don't see the problem? Just plug the streets with your troops and let them come. Then, when they're fully engaged, attack them in the back with your cavalry that you send around and round them up when they rout. Alternatively, once you win the walls, stay near the gate with your melee units and send your archers up on the walls, then let your archers wittle them away while they approach you.

    Even if they don't come to you and just stay on the city square, you can lure them out by pelting them with arrows. You can even let your catapults deal with them by positioning them right behind your infantry.

    On dealing with their siege weaponry, quite often you'll notice that they send out their siege units all across the city and if you're quick, your cavalry can intercept them before they get to the city square. They hardly ever manage to get a shot off at me, as I make sure I close in on them as soon as I can.

    Strange. In my experience, sacking usually gives at least better results than just occupying it. Of course exterminating gives even better results, but that makes the settlement far less useful to me.

    More than that, if you even reload once after assassinating the pope, a new pope will already be elected. I'm still not so sure about the cardinals, as I distinctly remember having less than 11 cardinals at certain points in previous games.

    That is quite unusual. They did become huge one time in a game with the Venetians where I ousted them from Rome, then, to get the pope from constantly spawning right next to Rome and obstructing troop movement there, gifted them Jerusalem which I'd taken in a previous crusade. They went on to become positively huge in that area. It helped of course that I'd already exterminated the Mongols before that, but still.

    Well, that might not have been exactly the smartest thing to do, but do you actually have a settlement bordering on Constantinople? If you don't, chances are still good that the Hungarians will have to bear the brunt of their initial attack.

    As for their units, yes their initial armies have only their best units. They can produce other units, but they are pretty much ****. As I've said before, their units are good, but not that overwhelmingly powerful. The only thing might be that they get their best units earlier than most other factions.

    Dismounted Heavy Archers: 12/9 DR/AR, 9 missile. Not that special when compared to many other archer units.

    Mongol Heavy Lancers: 14/13 DR/AR, 6 charge. Comparable to feudal knights, inferior to chivalric knight/knight's hospitalers.

    Khan's Guard: 17/13 DR/AR, 8 charge. Most chivalric knight units or similar have actually 16/13 DR/AR, but the Danes have chivalric knights exactly on par with these units. The Polish Knights are also the same.

    Mongol Infantry: 16/11 DR/AR, 9 missile. Quite good, but nothing earth shattering. Your Norse Archers have to do with 16/11, 7 missile, so I wouldn't start an extended arrow exchange, but it's not nearly as bad as attacking, say, Genoese Crossbowmilitia with Moorish Desert Archers.
    For reference, Dismounted Dvor have 15/11, but 11 missile, Byzantine Guard Archers have 16/11, 9 missile also, but have better traits. Genoese Crossbowmen will make mincemeat out of Mongol Infantry with their 16/8, 14(!) missile. Genoese Crossbow militia won't do quite that well, but is also nothing to sneeze at with 15/6, 12 missile. Retinue Longbowmen are better in melee than the Milanese crossbowmen, but worse at missiles - 14/11, 8 missile. They do have the armour piercing trait, like the crossbowmen, so they're still pretty good. The stakes they can plant form an effective defense against the Mongol cavalry too, of course.

    And that's without even considering the gunpowder units that are becoming available.

    Mongol Heavy Archers: 15/8 DR/AR, 8 missile. I've looked at in a bit more detail in a previous post also:
    Additionally, Vardariotai have 17/10, 9 missile.

    In summary, if you really want to fear someone, fear a late game, high end army from the Russians. I've got some silver chevroned Dvor Cavalry and Tsar's Guard in my game, with all armour and weapons upgrades, and they sport a rather frightening 20/13, 10 missile for the Dvor Cavalry and a 22/17 for the Tsar's Guard. The Mongols are mostly scary because they group together and because they have a lot of experience on each unit.

    I should really finish that game with the Russians some time. I stopped playing it mostly because the black plague happened and that means sitting tight for a while, which is rather boring. In that game, the Mongols settled in Jerusalem and have taken the place of where Egypt normally sits. And I've moved around the Middle East, moving into Europe instead.

    Though I must admit that by the time they arrive, not many factions will have an answer to their raw power. In my game, though, they've been mucking about for 30 turns and we're approaching the 100 turns. In fact, you must have passed this mark by now if you already have gunpowder. By then, you should be able to produce the late game units already and the Mongols should stop being that big of a threat - once they disperse somewhat.

    And your guide is not lying about the Mounted Crossbowmen, but they don't come from stables, you can build them from the final archery range buildings. At least it works that way for most other factions that have Mounted Crossbowmen. They seem rather feeble to square off against Mongol Heavy Archers, though.

    I've found that the best way of dealing with mounted archers is usually to either shoot at them with archery units on foot or to hope that your heavy cavalry can close in with them. The former option works in my experience, regardless of what the stat differences say. The horses make for a big and relatively easy target and even without that, the foot soldiers simply have more people per unit so can shoot more per time unit than the mounted archers can.

    On the latter option - you're quite well positioned there with your Norse War Clerics, who should be able to handle any cavalry the Mongols have, especially if you've managed to upgrade them and if they have some experience under their belt. The difficult thing here is of course to be able to close in with the mounted archers.

    The Danes also have the strong staff and halberd wielding units, which, while curiously lacking the bonus against cavalry trait, should still be able to do quite well against any cavalry charge from the cavalry units that do not have ranged attacks, which can be usefull to back up your Norse Archers. Unfortunately the Danes don't get anything like musketeers, who would've been very good with their long range missiles. Arquebusiers are not that bad, but lack the range and so are likely to be outranged by other Mongol units.

    If they do come to your cities, make sure you have some catapult units in those cities. Catapults have the convenient trait that you can safely position them behind your infantry and still pelt missiles at the enemy units. Very helpful here also that you can (re)train Norse War Clerics in your cities, so you will be able to retrain your units between attacks.

    It's cheesy, but sallying forth and then putting the hurt on them is much easier than facing them out in the open. And even if you fail at routing them completely, at least you can make sure that you get their siege units so they will have to rely on getting ladders to the wall, in which case you have a huge advantage.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  17. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Then it goes from impractical to being nearly a statistical impossibility. Even with highly trained assassins, you're not going to get a chance of success much beyond 50%. So with 12 assassinations, your odds of being successful all 12 times will be 1 in 2^12 - which is 1 in 4096 attempts if my math is right.

    You may be right with the Cardinals. There's supposed to be 11, but it seems like the Pope doesn't automatically assign new Cardinals as soon as one dies. Perhaps a priest needs a minimum piety rating to get selected as a Cardinal, and there can be fewer than 11 Cardinals if no such priest exists.

    Thessalonica (sorry I think I butchered the spelling) borders Contantinople. It's the city usually owned by the Byzantines just north of Corinth, and a bit southeast of Sophia. I only played for a little while last night. I lost my second full stack army, including my king, to a full stack army of Mongols. I had six siege units in that army, and that killed me - not nearly enough mobility to deal with what I was up against. The next turn, they laid seige to Thessalonica. So I literally bought myself some time. I'm at game turn 135, and the Black Plague just hit, so I sent a diplomat over to talk to them, and for the low, low price of just 20,000 florins, I got them to agree to a cease fire. So I'm safe - for now.

    I am also busily building my armies. I want four full stacks for the invasion, and I'm not sure if I'm going after Constantinople, or if I'm better off hopscothing my way around it and taking the southern Turkish settlements. I know you don't agree with my strategy of laying seige and waiting out the city, but it doesn't take that long if you have three or four full stack armies working on it. With one fleet, you just drop off an army and they lay seige to the settlement. You go back and get another army, and you drop them off at another settlement. By the time you do this three or four times, the first army takes the city. You pick them up, and drop them off at another settlement. You end up adding a settlement every two or three game turns.

    You are right that the Danes do get mounted crossbowmen - and it's the last archery range, not the stable that allows their training - that was my mistake and why I wasn't seeing them. After I got them from Hamburg, I prioritized my buildings in Ragusa, and now they can make them as well. Corinth is a fortress, so they can't make them yet, although Feudal and Chivalric Knights are going to be the main parts of these armies anyway. They aren't good enough to go toe-to-toe with the Mongol Archers, which is why I'm planning on at least a 1.5 to 1 ratio in my armies. Most of the Mongol armies have 3 or 4 units of the mounted heavy archers, meaning I need at least 6 mounted crossbowmen in my armies to deal with them. The rest will be an assortment of heavy cavalry.

    Other than artillery pieces like bombards, the only gunpowder unit I can construct are hand gunners, which are worthless.

    What I need is them to come after a fortress or a citadel. I've never fended off a full stack Mongol army in a city, but with a second (or ideally third) layer of defense, it's not a big deal. I agree that catapults can be positioned directly behind infantry, and they represent a great improvement over the ballista, but I prefer the trebuchet. Trebuchets also fire over infantry, but they can also fire over city and castle walls. Mortars can also to this, although not all factions have access to that unit. I'm not sure if the walls of a citadel are too high for the trebucet to fire over, because having to defend a citadel is a rather rare event.

    The larger point is that I can take out an entire full stack army of Mongols if I'm in a fortress or citadel. You just need a couple of sacrificial units to do it. The first thing to understand is that the Mongols always seige cities with rocket launchers and other long range artillery, so these settlements are one of the very few where I recommend construction of ballista, or preferably cannon towers. Regular arrow towers are adequate for most seiges, but not in this case as they can destroy your towers and walls out of range. Cannon towers fix this. What I do is I place most of my forces in the inner most courtyard. I leave one or two units at the outer walls. They won't stop the advance, but they will allow the towers to fire while the Mongols are trying to get through.

    The genius part of the plan is that in a citadel, as soon as they get through the second wall, they are in range of the cannon towers in the third layer. And that's where the carnage begins. The Mongols only lose about 10% of their army at the outer walls - significant enough that you don't want to just concede it. They'll lose about another 10%-20% getting through the second wall. Since it takes them so long just to position their artillary to begin pounding the third wall, they waste another 30%-40% of their troops trying to take it, and even if they get in, they usually have less than a third of their initial troop count.
     
  18. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


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    I just finished the Space Marine game. Apart from trying a bit too hard to humanize the Smurfs. No, lady, if "he"'s hurting because he just soloed a chaos lord's retinue, wrestled him to death while falling from a huge tower, and broke something that could fuel an entire industrial complex, that doesn't make him human. In fact, any of the above would make him about as superhuman as anything in the setting. Geez.

    Anyway, as an inquisition fan, I'm mostly okay with how the =][= was portrayed, though I could have expected more. I wish they'd make a game about them, though - superhumans are kinda boring.

    Back to M2TW:

    As for the Danes, the clerics seemed decent enough, although I'm not sure if they are that much better than other knights - remember, the danes aren't doing all that well in that regard. They make having cities as opposed to castles a bit better, but I'd probably have a few castles around. Actually the last game I tried was with the danes (though I mostly autoplayed combats) - I wanted to check if I can get the entire northern coast, and so far it's not going too bad - I took the coastal provinces of Poland and Russia, the low countries, and started a fight with England. For some reason, though, the scots (my allies) are really keen to try to take Antwerp away from me. They have pushed the English pretty hard, but shouldn't they try to get London first? Not to mention they are betraying me out of the blue and common allies side with me.

    So far, I consider the Danes so-so. You have decent general infantry from the castles, and while your spearmen are quite meh eventually the polearm infantry from the towns (obudshaer or whatever) can be quite decent. Your cavalry is acceptable, with the added bonus of getting good cavalry from the towns (the war clerics) which iirc only the Italian factions can match. The archers are quite lackluster, though - the norse archers are somewhat better in melee, but have no long range missiles, and the crossbow militia is about as weak as they come (iirc some countries have militias that are better armored); your musket units are nothing to write home about either. The special buildings... the admiralty is fine, but the library/academy in castles is a waste. Why would you want to raise diplomats and spies from castles, anyway? You have a great position for trade and a good fleet.

    BTW, with the moors I'd probably keep a few castles for the camel gunners, especially in landlocked areas where you don't have much trade. The barracks are quite a joke though - 3 consecutive upgrades get you 3 nearly identical spearmen. Really?
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2011
  19. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    My math arrives at the same answer (not that that is any guarantee - statistics is not my strong point). In the end, though, the pope will stop respawning once you exterminate all other catholic faction ;)

    No, your spelling is quite correct here. But your empire has a strange layout then, assuming that Sofia and such is still held by the Hungarians. IF you have more settlements nearby (aside from Corinth), like Durazzo, you may have to be content to lose a few settlements before you can stop them, but at least it's more or less at the perifery of your empire. And hope they go for easily defensible settlements like Corinth or Ragusa, so they can break themselves on your walls. Unfortunately, you can't build ballista towers in castles until you reach citadel level too, but I understand from your comments that at least Ragusa is already a citadel.

    I would wait a bit myself, see which way the Mongols are going to expand, before starting a remote war with the Turkish, possibly ending up with the Mongols cutting you empire in half.

    It seems to me that waiting out sieges is still taking a lot of time - won't you get unrest if you leave so quickly after conquering a city? And unless you move in some militia units from a nearby city, you'll have to wait a while until you get enough militia to keep the town in order when your army moves on - as it does take a while before militia production gets up to speed in newly conquered cities. And it seems that maintaining that many armies costs a lot in upkeep when you can do the same with less or smaller armies.

    Although with your method at least your empire will still grow at a steady enough pace, and I suppose keeping the pope happy is a more limiting factor in growing your empire if you're a catholic faction. In my game with the Moors, though, I'm up to 43 settlements at turn 98. This rapid expansion is in part thanks to the fact that I don't have to pay attention to anyone while expanding, but also because the distances in Western Europe are much smaller in between settlements. Unlike how it is for the Russians, for instance, with whom I had a lot less settlements at this point in the game.

    It depends on how you want to use them. If you sally forth, you'll want catapults because they can at least get outside the city walls, while trebuchets are always stuck behind the city walls. I'm pretty sure trebuchets can launch over huge city and citadel walls without problems. I love mortars myself, but haven't played a faction that can build them in a while.

    The problem with cannon towers on your city/citadel walls is that their angle under which they can shoot something is quite narrow, so once they get too close, your cannon towers are pretty much useless. Ballista towers can shoot closer by, but still not as close by as arrow towers. If you have plenty of archery units, this still doesn't necessarily have to be a problem, though. Especially if you have them use fire arrows, it shouldn't be too hard to make the attacking army rout after a while.

    I am keeping a few castles around, but it's mostly for laughs and giggles. The spearmen are really, really redundant and for the most part I just ignore them. Insultingly, they don't even get the bonus to fighting cavalry, except for the dismounted arab cavalry and lamtuna spearmen, and for the former you don't even need the barracks. Basically, you don't need castles for any units, excepting maybe the camel gunners, but you don't get access to those until quite late into the game. And even those won't form a large part of my armies simply because their use is still kind of limited. Would be nice to have them once I go up against the Mongols, though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2011
  20. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    The Danes are decidedly NOT so-so. They are freakin' awesome! Most of their troops fight with axes, maces, or halberds - hell, even many of their cavalry units fight with axes or maces. You can't put a price on that type of stylin'. (Which, btw, is also why I like the Scots - and their zweihanders are really cool too.)

    It does and they do. After finishing off the HRE, I took Ragusa and a couple other in the area, the Hungarians offered me a cease fire and Durazzo for free, and after that I turned my attention to the Byzantines. I'm getting slightly worried about getting to 45 settlements by the end of the game. The Mongols have greatly slowed my conquest. 30 turns ago I had 22 settlements, I got up to 25, and I'm currently sitting at 23.

    Funny you should mention that, because that's exactly what I decided as well last night. I decided to take on the Mongols from two fronts. So step one was sending an army over to take Smyrna. When I got there, the Byzantine army was a strange one. It was a full stack alright, but it had a general and everything else was trebucets and bombards. I was like Oooooookay... dubiouis strategy. Cavalry - Charge!

    So I have Smyrna, which is only a fortress, and it's not even a particularly well-developed one. I'm going to have to be content with Feudal Knights there (not that Feudal Knights are THAT much worse than Chivalric Knights).

    Predictably the Mongols broke the cease fire. Prior to that, in pondering my empire, I concluded that I had two highly defensible settlements (Corinth and Ragusa) and two hopelessly defensible settlements (Durrazo and Thessalonica). They're both little cities, neither of them can produce more than spearmen, and it didn't make sense to ship in tons of high priced units from neighboring settlements to defend them. The Mongols quickly took both.

    But now, it's ON. The ceasefire bought me enough time to muster my armies - which is all I really wanted. After taking Smyrna, I moved a full stack army towards Nicea. (Sorry Byzantines, it's nothing personal, but the Mongols have full-stack armies in your territory, and I'd rather fight them here than wait for them to start laying seige to my castles.) A second army was building in Corinth when Thessalonica fell, and a third army was moving out from Ragusa by ship.

    In a somewhat unexpected move, the Mongols laid seige to Durrazo and Corinth on the same turn. That was unfortunate. My third army was already around to the eastern side of Greece, and I was working on my next army in Ragusa. I was planning on conceding Durrazo anyway, but now the decision was taken from me. So be it. I landed my army next to Corinth, and prepared to try my all-cavalry strategy for the first time.

    Now, I did have a full garrison in Corinth, but since my army was full, those re-enforcements wouldn't be allowed on the battlefield until I started losing my units. Turned out they were unnecessary. Six mounted crossbowmen, and an assortment of War Clerics, Chivalric Knights, Feudal Knights, and Body Guards were more than enough to easily dispatch the Mongols there. After the battle, I merged units, sent any units that needed retraining into Corinth and replaced them with units I already had trained in Corinth, and immediately went north towards Thessalonica.

    Confident in my new strategy, I sent a full heavy-cavalry stack through Nicea, and engaged two Mongol full stacks between Nicea and Constantinople. Now technically, this was a loss, but I'm calling it a moral victory. My army routed when my general got killed, but three of the four family members survived, and I had eliminated 90% of the enemy forces on the battlefield by the time my army finanlly routed (we had over 80% lost at that point). We had a 2:1 kill ratio. I do not consider this a failure of my all-heavy cavalry strategy. Quite the opposite in fact. Normally an army taking on two Mongol full-stacks is a slaughter. To suffer a "close defeat", having three out of four family members survive, and re-enforcement on the way from Smyrna, I'm calling this a win.

    There you go again - advocating the path of wisdom and discretion. I'm more of a, "Bring it, be-atches!" type guy.

    So even with the loss of Thessalonica and Durrazo, I'm not in a terrible position. Ragusa just got offered the second level swordsmith guild, so they are as ready as they can be if the Mongols head north from Durazzo to engage them there. Even if they don't, as soon as I upgrade all of my units weapons, we're heading south if they don't come north first. Corinth is probably better prepared for an assault than Ragusa. That's because I had actually built up some infantry there after Thessalonica fell. Yes, I do like the all heavy cavalry strategy on the open battlefield, but infantry is more cost effective and efficient for city defense. We're as ready as we're ever going to be. Of course Smyrna is building up a full stack Fuedal Knight army to go after Constantinople. I'm taking this fight to the Mongols, and I'm doing it on three fronts.

    Not when you exterminate the populace...

    The Pope is currently from my faction, and considering the composition of the college of Cardinals, it will remain so for the foreseeable future. I have seven sitting Cardinals in the College. So I would have to actually vote against myself to not got my guy elected. I've reached the point in the game where I'm building Cathedrals, and whenever you do that, any preist in the town gets the "bishop" modifier, giving him a piety boost, greatly increasing his chance of being named a Cardinal. Also, one of the benefits of taking over a city that isn't Catholic is you train a priest, and he gets a huge boost to piety for converting the population - they often get picked for Cardinals too, and get "the Missionary" after their name.

    That's very impressive. You're adding a settlement every couple of turns at that pace! I know you like calling jihads, but most of those cannot be jihad requests, as once you do a jihad you have to wait several turns before calling another one.

    Oh, and the Timurids just showed up... great. This seems like they're early as near as I can tell, but whatever. They arrived in Sarkel, and I'm definitely rooting for the northern path.
     
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