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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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    It seems to depend on each agent. A spy has a chance to get the first two levels on his first action already, a priest will always get the servant of god and enemy of heretics traits on denouncing the his first and second heretic. Or at least it always happened that way for me. A merchant however, will not always get bean counter or bold barterer on the first or second try, respectively. Also the trait secure assets won't always happen if you successfully fend off a hostile take over.

    Assassins will get their first level after the first assassination, but for the later ones it gets more sketchy. In the end, though, it doesn't seem to matter much as spies and assassins will usually reach the end level at about the same time.

    Interestingly, one general got both the traits winning first and cruel and cunning after a single battle just a few turns ago. Hadn't seen that happen before.

    I've had one before, but never really noticed the increase in income that much. Of course, at some point I stop noticing these things as I have enough cash that I never have to worry about it anymore.

    Actually, the HRE can build jousting lists.

    In my game, I've got Toulouse and Thorn so far aside from Hamburg and Bern. I'm not really sure what to do with them, as both are relatively close to Hamburg and Bern, but on the other hand I should probably get a few more castles throughout my empire. Or at least, having ratios like what I had with the Moors for the HRE just seems wrong.

    I would've given Jerusalem to the papal states first, actually. Let them deal with the Mongols and such, as the HRE you really don't need it anyway.

    In my game, there hasn't been a single crusade yet, actually. Possibly I had something to do with that. Now that the pope respawned somewhere outside of my reach and I still haven't been able to track him down, he's finally managed to name a few extra cardinals. By now, I have enough votes on the college of cardinals that my vote will determine who becomes the next pope. Still, I fully expect that if a crusade is called next, it will be called against Rome rather than Middle Eastern settlement.

    It seems that due to the central starting position of the HRE, all the other catholic factions are severly stunted in their growth. There is basically no-one that has grown a lot, and looking at the world map, there is no way they could even have done that. Because my empire has spread through Europe like a cancerous growth, displacing all else.

    It also seems that other factions are having trouble keeping their royal family lines strong with new blood. I already mentioned my surprise at the destruction of the French when I killed their king but their kingdom was still a reasonable four settlements. I didn't expect them to be eradicated so easily anyway.

    Now - in just a single turn - I managed to do the same for Sicily and Hungary. Both still had 5 settlements left and both were destroyed when I assassinated their kings. Very unusual.

    Aside from regicide, I was busy strengthening my eastern border by taking Thorn, Krakow, Budapest and Ragusa. With that, I've significantly reduced the number of border towns I had on the eastern side of my empire. On the other side of my empire, I finally rounded up the last of the rebel settlements that France left behind. The whole of current day France is now mine also. I had already planned to take Caen from the English to reduce the number of border towns, but then they nominated themselves by attacking me first.

    However, they'd left Caen rather vulnerable by removing so many troops from it to attack me, so I sent an army from Paris to capitalise on the situation. Well, less an army and more whatever I could spare from the garrison, but whatever works, right?

    Rennes was in the hands of the Portugese, however, who have a rather oddly shaped kingdom at this point. They had Lisbon, Pamplona, Rennes, Caernarvon and York. The only two settlements actually connected to each other there are Caernarvon and York. Now they are minus Rennes, obviously.

    It seems this is the game for rapid expansion. If I just conquer the readily available settlements left behind by the Hungarians and Sicilians, I already have enough to reach the 45 settlements. I'm at 38 settlements now, but only at turn 46. I should reach the 45 settlements quite easily before turn 60, which makes me wonder if I'll ever even see the higher level units of the HRE much in action as I'm not sure if I'll even have a Huge City or citadel by that time.
     
  2. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    You have discovered the most efficient way of playing MTW, just bumrush the AI. The faster you expand the easier it is. I always RP some kind of realistic ruler.
     
  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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    The more settlements I have, the more settlements I deny the other factions, makes sense. Still, this is not a viable tactic for every faction. To name an extreme example, the Russians couldn't do this. Quite aside from the fact that every settlement is so far apart for them that it just costs a lot of time just to move from one place to the next, their early game units are weak, especially when compared to their immediate neighbours.

    In that respect it would be interesting to try the same tactic with the Milanese. They start with only two settlements, but these settlements already start out as minor cities (even though their populations are far below the population requirement for building the walls), meaning that you can go straight for the militia barracks that give you italian spear militia and even genoese crossbowmilitia. With these, you can basically handle any early game opponent, aside maybe from Venice. Although they do start with rather few units, meaning it will be a little while before you can actually get really started.

    I think I just decided which will be the next faction to play the game with...

    But basically, if I wasn't playing the HRE at the moment, but any other catholic faction, I would most likely have taken it a lot slower, simply to try to keep somewhat in the pope's good graces.

    /edit
    Speaking of faction still on the to-do list, I was just looking at the units for the French and noticed that they have actually excellent archery units. They have the Scots Guard which can be build from a huge city's walls, which have actually better stats than retinue longbowmen (17/12 DR/AR, 9 missile vs 14/11, 8 missile), including the armour piercing trait. Not only that, they have the Aventuriers, which are almost a match for genoese crossbowmen (15/11, 14 missile vs 16/8, 14 missile).

    They are mostly known for their cavalry, but the French archery units are topnotch. They have many high level cavalry units, but they are mostly redundant, with many units with comparable stats. From citadel walls you can build noble knights, from the first citadel stables upgrade you can also build chivalric knights with the same stats (17/13 DR/AR, 8 charge), and from the final stables upgrade, they can build the Lancers. Who have, counter-intuitively, less stats than the noble/chivalric knights (16/13, 8 charge).
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011
  4. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    Same with Gothic Knights, I have already built a bunch but they are inferior to both Teutonic Knights and Imperial Knights the only difference being that they have the armour piercing trait. Apparently this is so good that any unit with it is considered as good or better than cheaper units with better stats by CA.
     
  5. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    How would you play the Russians? I tried once, and got fed up of it taking so long just to move troops around. I thought at one point, just pack up my armies and sail to say, Britain, and set up camp there... but then you'd be quite far behind.
     
  6. Cap'n CJ

    Cap'n CJ Arrr! Veteran

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    The key to playing well as the Russians is to use cavalry, a lot. Have so much that you can break spear infantry by pulling them around and sneaking in behind them. Horse armies move much faster on the campaign map and you can do some serious damage in a short space of time.

    I found the biggest challenge was actually locating the settlements in the sometimes vast provinces.
     
  7. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Beat you to it. Finished Spain over the weekend, right before the arrival of the Timurids, and started the Milanese. If anything, Spain was too easy. Not only did I control about 50 settlements at the time I took Jerusalem, I never even got slowed down by anything. While I don't have any desire to do this at the moment, I would say that Spain's location is optimal if you actually wanted to take over every settlement on the map.

    That was not the goal in my game, but at the time I finished, I already had taken over the entire western half of the map, including all of modern day Britain. I didn't control Scandinavian settlements, but I did have all of modern day Germany, and some of modern day Poland. The war with the Hungarians allowed me to advance as far as Sofia. I also had all of the African settlements at the time I finished.

    So I think I could have taken the entire map seeing as how I had about 80 or so turns left. Obviously, if that had been my goal, I wouldn't have lollygagged around in central Europe for so long - I basically called off the dogs in Europe once I had more than enough settlements to win. The Timurids would have been to only hurdle remaining.

    They aren't totally redundant as some of them can be constructed in cities. That's the key actually - you need very few citadels at the higher levels, because you can build decent units in cities. Of course you have your standard mailed/feudal/chivalric knights that can only be constructed in castles, but the Gendarmes are city built, as are the Scots Guard. Noble Knights are also city based, and at 13/17 are definitely top end cavalry, although the cost is outrageous (930 florins to recruit, 320 support). Chivalric Knights and Aventurier would be optimal for your unit selection as far as conquering armies are concerned, but you could do a lot worse than Scots Guard and Gendarmes.

    You're exactly correct - they are worthless in the early going - you're much better with Imperial and Teutonic Knights then. But by mid game when most of what you encounter is armored, they are the way to go. Anything with the good against armor trait halves the defense of armored units.

    As CJ points out, you need to make heavy use of cavalry, not only to speed your movement, but also because pretty much everything else Russia can build early on is rubbish. By mid-game, you get access to decent infantry (Berdiche Axemen and Dismounted Boyar Sons), and their main missile unit is the Dismounted Dvor, which are actually quite good. But in the early game, their cavalry - missile cavalry specifically - is where it's at.

    I tried the Russians not that long ago and I didn't have a problem with early expansion. The key is to prioritize. As a minimum, you want to grab Riga, Vilnius, and Kiev, although it's certainly possible to do better. The settlements further east can be taken at your leisure. They are all rebel and none of them are particularly well defended, so you can send a half-ass army out east and take them all with minimal losses. Your only competition out there is the Turks, and I've never seen them advance further than Tblisi, even well into the game.

    The only downside with the Russians is if the Mongols go north when they arrive. That will totally ruin your day. And at the time of their arrival, there isn't much you can do to stop them.

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 53 minutes and 44 seconds later... ----------

    Oh yeah, the Milanese - henkie is right - you start with Milan and Genoa, and that's it. I claimed Florence, Dijon, Bern, and Ajaccio early on. I converted Ajaccio to a city after upgrading to castle. Having a castle on an island is suboptimal unless you don't mind ferrying units back and forth. So Bern is my only castle, and will probably remain so for quite a while. I'm already at war with the Venetians, and I took Venice. After beating back a siege of Milan, and immediately counter-attacked, and Venice was occupied by all of two crossbow units. No doubt the French will also attack in the not too distant future, although the HRE did offer an alliance, which I took. (They'll break it eventually, I just don't want to deal with them, France and Venice all at once.) I probably won't get another castle until I get to Toulouse or Ragusa, neither of which are going to be done in short order.
     
  8. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    Milan and Venice do not need any castles. You can basically take out any army with just Italian spear militia and pavise crossbow men. Such and army can actually stand as good against a mongol stack as any other I have tried it with and better than most. Add in some artillery and you will wonder why you ever used cavalry in the first place.
     
  9. 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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    The Lancers can't even claim that much, they do have the trait "very well armoured", but I dont really see the advantage of that when their defense rating is worse than that of the chivalric/noble knights, who have only "well armoured".

    Gothic knights don't have the AP trait, actually, they just have slightly worse armour. Not that it matters much, cavalry benefits most from a high charge rating. Dismounted gothic knights are just kind of ****, even with their AP trait. If you compare them to for instance venetian heavy infantry, they are far inferior. 16/16 vs 17/9 is just too much of a difference in attack rating.

    The beginning is slow, sure. As Aldeth suggests, prioritise for the western most rebel settlements, cutting off the Polish and Hungarians from snatching them before you. If you're quick, you can also get Tblisi before the Turks do and that is a good defensive point to catch any units coming north through there. Sarkel could serve as this as well, but starts with a much lower population and so will take a lot longer before reaching citadel level.

    If you can get past the slow beginning, you can speed things up considerably by moving straight into Europe.

    Don't forget that it's usually more beneficial in the long run to turn a settlement that's quite far from the 2000 population (say < 1600) into a castle first, upgrade the walls all the way and then turn it into a city again. That way they will grow faster in the long run, though it costs more money in the short term.


    Well, unless one of the factions somehow develops to become huge, any faction should give the same result. And even if one of the factions becomes huge, they usually still don't pose much of a threat because of their tendency to build mostly low level units.

    I didn't see any possibility for building noble knights in cities, and gendarmes are just not very good, even compared to feudal knights or something.

    As far as I know, France is the only faction that can field both very good longbowmen and very good crossbowmen. Scots guards are even better than retinue longbowmen, complete with the AP trait, even while the English longbowmen are widely considered one of the best units. On the other hand, Aventuriers can compete with even the genoese crossbowmen, which are the strongest crossbowmen as far as I know.


    While this is not untrue, it won't help you that much either. Rebels in your starting area will have the same units, and if the Polish or Hungarians decide to take one of your settlements from you, they can field much more powerful missile cavalry than you can until you get Dvor cavalry. And you can be sure that at least the Hungarians will make a grab for Kiev if you managed to take it before them. I'm pretty sure Kiev is on the list of settlements that they consider theirs, because they made for it every time.

    On the other hand, once you do get Dvor cavalry and tsars guards, the game is pretty much over already. You don't even need infantry at that point, even though dismounted Dvor are excellent archery units.

    If the Mongols do come via the northern route, you'd better just reload and see if you can't get them to appear in Baghdad instead, as they will own you. Which is historically accurate, but still annoying.

    That would've been my early start as well.

    I would never consider leaving Ajaccio or Cagliari as castles. Their use is in generating a lot of trade with the other cities in that region and for that you need the merchant warf building lines. There could be a citadel on there and I would still turn it into a city.

    /edit
    You use cavalry to round up routing enemies and to make them rout more quickly. At least, that's what I use them for. And both Milan and Venice can build quite decent cavalry from their cities.

    And while it's true they don't need castles, especially in the case of Venice it would be a shame to miss out on the Venetian heavy infantry and stradiots. Even for the Milanese the dismounted feudal knights would be a welcome addition in dealing with other infantry.
     
  10. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Except the Mongols and Timurids. The most gratifying play through experience I had was as the Danes when I went head-to-head with Mongols at the expense of the entire annihilation of the Byzantine Empire (we both did our part). While I much bigger from a geographical sense, the battle with the Mongols lasted close to 50 game turns, and I barely finished before the 240th turn. But if you dodge the Mongols (say they go north and you can avoid them entirely) - then it's very easy to get to 50 settlements on your way to victory.

    Plus, there's just no net benefit building your armies on a island and then always having to transport them by sea. The last thing you want to do is lose the army while it's on a boat, and that means erring on the side of being over-cautious, and spending a lot of money building lots of extra ships that you'd otherwise never build. Not only do you miss out on a lot of income by keeping them as castles, it actually costs you quite a bit more to operate them as compared to other castles.

    IMO, all nations have pretty good heavy cavalry - the general's body guard units are pretty much identical. Other than when I was going against the Mongols and fielding a 20 unit stack of all heavy cavalry, most of the cavalry I use are in the form of family members, with typically 2-3 generals per army.

    Oh yes, you have to train dismounted feudal knights. The quintessential example of medieval history - the knight in shining armor. They are omnipresent (I think every catholic faction can build them), are cheap to recruit, and you only need a castle to get them. You cannot skip the dismounted feudal knight.
     
  11. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    I have taken out mongol stacks with only stacks of Italian spear militia, crossbow men and a few ballista and catapults. When you can replenish almost everywhere you quickly end up with very high level units. Three gold chevroned upgraded Italian spear militia will stand up to any charge and gold pavise xbowmen will tear horsearchers to pieces.
     
  12. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    How does one get gold chevroned infantry units? I have had gold chevroned cavalry and gold chevroned missile units, but never gold chevroned infantry. Specifically, how do you get them to not take losses during combat so that when you retrain them the new recruits don't water down the experience?

    That said, you are much more skilled than I am in combat if you can take out Mongol full stacks without some cavalry of your own. Yes, you need missile units to counter the heavy archers, but there's typically quite a bit of Mongol Infantry (as in the unit that's literally called "Mongol Infantry" - I'm not using a generic term of an infantry unit that happens to be owned by the Mongols) in those armies as well. Those Mongol Infantry units should be more than a match for any spear unit you have (11/14 melee), and if they happen to have dismounted heavy lancers (14/16 melee) your spearmen wouldn't stand a chance. While Pavise Crossbowmen are the bomb, they do have a finite number of bolts - you couldn't possibly decimate the entire enemy force just using them unless you have something ridiculous like 15 units of them in your stack.

    And just to be precise - I'm talking about the armies that the Mongols spawn with. Once they settle down and start expanding, they build much tamer units. They field a boat load of spear militia and other stuff that the AI tends to build. It's their starting armies that are the real headache.

    Well, I'm now at war with the French and Venetians. The HRE betrayed me, but that war was brief. I took Bologna, and immediately afterwards, they sent a diplomat over to ask for a cease fire, which I gave with the condition that I receive Innsbruck. So two settlements for a war that lasted maybe 3 turns. The French laid siege to Dijon - I haven't fought the siege off yet, but I'm confident that my army should be able to get the job done. It's a half stack, and I have a few units of spear militia as well as some mailed knights inside. I'll have to check the unit composition before I decide whether or not to sally forth. Basically, if they have quite a few catapults and the like, I'll be sallying forth, and if not, I'll have them come to me.

    Incidentally, that's one of the few points of strategy where I seem to be an outlier. I think it is generally much easier to have the castle be under siege for one turn and then have the AI attack rather than sallying forth, except when they bring loads of artillery with them. Most of my garrisons consist of more infantry than anything, and I find that I take fewer losses if they come to me. Now it's silly if they have artillery and are going to blow a ton of holes in your walls and damage your buildings, but if it's just the standard ladders, siege towers, and battering rams, I'll gladly let them come at me.

    Finally, I will concede the point made by you guys who favor gratuitous use of assassins. I actually made a point of training up several of them and putting them to work. To my surprise I only had to train a grand total of six to get two that quickly became pretty good at what they did. The one I have is borderline exceptional. He started with the "Born to Kill" trait (+3). He now has the trait "Murderer" (another +3) from his several successful assassination attempts. He also picked up a retinue of "Young Accomplice" (+1) - "Nobody suspects a child of foul play, which is why they are so brutally effective at committing it." as well as a "Tracking Dog" (+2) - Able to follow trails that no human eye could possibly detect in the first place." So that's a hefty total of 9 skill points in assassination. And I already have the first level guild house for assassins, so the next crop I train up will be better than the current one.

    Also, I don't think I've had a faction leader this awesome this early in the game ever. He was the heir to the king I started the game with. (The king for Milan - the "Doge" technically - is already in his 50s at the start of the game, so you don't get him for very long. His son has 10 stars in command, 10 skulls in dread, and 9 fists in authority. (Piety not so great at 3.) I could greatly speed up the time to get to the second level of assassins guild if I stuck him in a city, but you can't park a 10 command, 10 dread general in a city to be the governor.
     
  13. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    Well, there is a huge difference between experienced spearmen and inexperienced ones. That said I must admit that I have tried to isolate lone stacks, hopefully weaker stacks and liberally abused the passivity of the AI in combat. If you attack you can basically waltz up to the AI army, unload everything you have and if you have half a stack of pavise and 2-3 siege engines it can be quite a lot and the AI just stands there and take it. When the AI finally charge or you are out of ammo they are so weakened and demoralised that your on paper inferiour troops will take them out. Biggest problem is usually their super generals. I try to wait until their first batch of generals have died of old age before I take on mongols or timurids. I have also noticed that in my current version of hte game hte AI is much more active and does not stand still and take missile fire as nicely as previously.
     
  14. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    Assassins are so over-powered in this game, it's basically cheese. Once you have one or two high level assassins, you can basically just remove factions without lifting a sword. Marry your princesses off to neighbouring factions, assassinate their family members and inherit their lands. Or, just eliminate them so their lands turn rebel, then take them at your leisure without incurring the wrath of the pope. I tend not to use them because they are too powerful.
     
  15. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    Oh and I do not think your experience get diluted if you just retrain? At least I have not experienced it, it gets diluted if you join two units together but I am pretty sure I have retrained units with only a few soldiers left with massive xp to full strenght massive xp units
     
  16. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    That's exactly what I'm saying - when you retrain units they lose XPs if they have suffered casualties. The only time they don't is if you are retraining for a weapon or armor upgrade. Can anyone else confirm this? I'm pretty sure it's exactly the opposite of what joacqin is saying.
     
  17. 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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    A unit may lose xp when some soldiers die. It seems to be the case that specific soldiers get specific kills and so if they die they lose that xp. But this only seems to be the case in battle and only limited to experience they gain within that battle. If you start with a unit with two chevrons, they will end with at least two chevrons, regardless of how many soldiers were killed in that unit.

    In my games with the Moors I had a spear militia down to only two soldiers. There were no other spear militia in that army, so they didn't merge with another unit and retained the two chevrons they had started the fight with. When I retrained them to their full complement of 150, they still had those chevrons.

    Also, the reason you don't ever get golden chevronned infantry is probably because you don't use them enough. Have an army with dismounted feudal knights and have to deal with some spear militia? You could let your archers deal with them from a safe distance, or just let your heavy infantry deal with it. Same for spear units and cavalry.

    Or you could play an islamic faction, and call jihads every ten turns. And train Hashashim, because they are just awesome and will gain experience very quickly.

    Oh and don't retrain your units after every fight. They gain experience more quickly if there's less soldiers in a unit. That's part of the reason why Hashashim gain experience so quickly.
     
  18. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    That's probably true on the first point. I use infantry as a complementary part of armies. Their primary use is as a meat shield to keep the enemy away from my cavalry and missile units. And I almost always retrain my army after every fight. But seriously, I don't think I've ever seen more than a silver chevron on any infantry unit. You'd think out of sheer luck I'd have got some with gold chevrons.
     
  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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    Play with an islamic faction and build some Hashashim. And let them fight some other infantry in sieges or some such. They'll have golden chevrons in no time (relatively speaking, of course).

    Just finished my game with the HRE. I invaded the British isles, took some more from the Polish, and took over some rebel settlements that Hungary and Sicily left behind. 45 settlements at turn 51. I must admit that by the end I did rush it a bit to see how fast I could finish the game. I may go back to this game at some later point so I can at least try out the end game units, maybe try my luck against the Mongols and possibly the Timurids if I don't own the entire world by then.

    Speaking of which, I should also some time return to my game with the Russians. In that game the Mongols basically displaced the Egyptians, so it should be interesting to pitch the high end Russian units against the Mongols. Or Timurids, who should probably appear relatively soon in that game too.

    But for now I'm going to try the Milanese and see how they will do with their very strong early game units. They start with far fewer units than the HRE, though, so rapid expansion will probably be mostly limited by this.
     
  20. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    Have any of you ever done anything daft, like play as the Egyptians or Turkish, and just rush your armies onto boats then go settle on the other side of the map? If so, how did it work out?
     
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