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Total War Series?

Discussion in 'Total War Series' started by Deathmage, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. Deathmage

    Deathmage Arrr! Veteran

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    Okay, I've always been a fan of historical-strategy typed games. Llately, the Nobunaga series just aren't cutting it anymore, and Civ requires boatloads of patience...so I'm turning to Total War. I'm most interested in Medieval II (the one thing that prevents me from getting it immediately is the fact that Florence isn't a playable faction), but I'd like some general info about the series as a whole.

    1) What is the gameplay like? Is it focused on battles, or is there a strong diplomatic/espionage/political aspect? Is it possible to win without even fighting?

    2) What are the battles like? How strategic and indepth is it?

    3) How historically accurate are these games? I don't really expect anything but as a History geek I'd probably run outside and buy it immediately if it's accurate :p

    4) What about mods? I've heard some very good things about certain mods (Broken Crescent, IIRC) - are they really mindblastingly good?

    5) I have two options: complete anthology ($99.99) or just Medieval II + Expansion ($29.99). What are the differences between each game, gameplay-wise? Would I even want to touch, for example, Medieval I, if I had Medieval II? What about the older Shogun and Rome, and That Other One that has escaped my mind for now?

    Thanks for everyone's help :)
     
  2. Barmy Army

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

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    The Total War series are amongst the best games you will ever play. You'll be hooked for hours and waste whole days on it.
     
  3. Cap'n CJ

    Cap'n CJ Arrr! Veteran

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    All of the above. The Total War games are really pretty damn epic, i've burned many hours away on them and will continue to do so :)
     
  4. 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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    Gameplay is turn based on the main map, but turns to real-time for the actual battles (though you can opt to automatically resolve battles). You can manage your cities and castles, decide what to build there and you'll have to figure out what size army your economy can sustain. Espionage and assassinations are optional things to do, but I use it all the time. I don't use diplomacy much, aside from the early trade agreements, which you need to give your economy an extra boost.

    I didn't know you could inherit land like what Barmy Army says, but fighting is more or less unavoidable as neighbouring factions will attack you at some point.

    Like Barmy said, they can be as strategic as you want or need them to be. Taking advantage of the terrain can turn a seemingly impossible battle into a merely challenging one. Splitting up your troops to flank your enemy will make battles significantly easier. The easiest way to win is to drain the enemy's morale so they rout, and there are many ways to achieve this.

    Also, the battles are a ton of fun.

    Don't really know. Can't say I've ever cared much for history. But there are several timed events that appear, some affecting your game, others not at all. Like receiving the message that man has invented a watch, or a paper press will not particularly influence your game, but the advent of the Mongol hordes or the invention of gunpowder will have a big impact on your game.

    Haven't really played any mods. I've had M2:TW for years now, but I still have many factions that I want to play through the game once.

    Expensive. You can find M2:TW + expansion for 10 Euros in the shops here. I haven't played any of the other Total War games so I can't really give any advice on that, but I'd definitely recommend getting at least M2:TW. I wanted to try Empire: TW, but unfortunately it requires online activation which is grounds enough for me not to buy the game. I've heard it was quite buggy also, but obviously have no hands-on experience with that.


    Just noticed that you were asking about the series as a whole, but as you may be aware by now, I've only played M2:TW and its expansion, so all above comments refer to that game alone.

    Just the length of the M2:TW topics should give you some idea of how much time you could spend on the game ;)
     
  5. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Totally agree - and Medieval 2: Total War even has expansions where you can play just on Britain, just the Crusades, just the Americas, and one other one that I cannot recall offhand (I guess I don't play that one much).

    Florence isn't a playable faction, but the good news is that it is an unowned territory, and you can reasonably get Florence if you are playing Milan (I think this faction is really under-rated - probably not a great pick for your first game but a fun starting point), Holy Roman Empire, Venice, and Sicily (which IMO is the MOST under-rated faction in the game).
     
  6. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    Total War rocks your socks. It is more or less as complicated and time consuming as Civ though so if you do not have the patience for Civ I wonder if you have it for the Total War games. I would recommend that you get M:TW2 or even Rome: TW as they are the ones I have enjoyed the most. They are quite similar but in different time periods and Medieval2 is slightly more polished. It mostly comes down to what era of history you like the most, the ancient times or medieval times.

    I find them to be as historically accurate as you can get in a strategic and tactical computer game and as others have said immense amounts of fun.

    Empire: Total War was a let down. I bought a new computer partly to run that game and even then it bogged down and even crashed in the end game. I also didnt like that all factions had pretty much the same units. All in all I must say that Empire was a big let down. I have played one campaign and have felt no urge to return while I recently reinstalled Medieval 2 despite having played several campaigns with pretty much all factions in the game. Florence might not exist as a faction but both Milan and Venice does so I think the North Italian city states got fair representation.
     
  7. 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 would be the Teutonic campaign. I love the Teutonic order, they have some really kickass units. The Britannia campaign does things a bit differently than the normal game and I enjoyed it very much as well.

    I myself don't have quite as much patience for the Civ games as for the Total War games, mostly because Civ doesn't offer you a reason to keep playing. Total War offers a campaign with set objectives which keep me coming back to the game, whereas Civ lacks an overarching sense of direction - each game is basically just a big sandbox which doesn't really offer me an incentive to come back to the game once I finish a map. But that could be just me, I suppose.
     
  8. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    I tend to play my Total War games as sandboxes as well though. Find the objectives quite boring and mostly just like building and creating impressive empires and fight interesting battles. I even tend to roleplay for myself when playing Total War.
     
  9. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    The Medieval Total War games are lots of fun. I got my 1st taste with Shogun, Total War. I loved that game from the 1st moment I played it. Still my favorite, though the engine is the weakest of them all. But Kensai rule!
     
  10. Dave the Magic Turtle Gems: 16/31
    Latest gem: Shandon


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    I just picked up Medieval 2 TW off steam for like 3 quid, but my computer is having issues of locking up and crashing...so I can't really play it yet :( the 4 hours I got to play though were good fun :)
     
  11. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    I just took out Medieval 2 TW out for another spin last night. I am doing the long campaign on medium difficulty as the English. I definitely like the English and the Scots the best, simply based on geography. You get to go one on one and secure a decent number of territories early in the game, and even better you can have merchants on all the resources too, as for some reason while the other factions send merchants all over the place, they never seem to sail them across the English Channel. So you usually have a very good economy to fund expansion as well. The only decision that really enters into my thinking is whether I want the really cool looking Scot infantry, or the uber-cool English longbowmen. (Both factions have "weak cavalry" as their weakness, but all of your royal family and generals come with extra tough heavy cavalry, and all of them have the exact same stats regardless of faction played, so there's really no faction that has "weak cavalry".)

    This game was a little wierd in that Portugal landed an army near Dublin (WTF?), and tried to take Dublin from me on like the 10th turn of the game. What would possess the AI to sail all the way to Dublin (passing other rebel controlled territories on the west coast of France I might add) eludes me. They placed Dublin under siege for a single turn, and then a Portugese princess walked up to one of my cities on the mainland and offered a cease fire the very next turn. Again, WTF? The Portugese army then reboarded the ships, went around the northwest corner of France, and I never seen them in the 30 or 40 turns since, for the final WTF of that entire sequence of events.

    Right now, I control all of Great Britain (and Ireland, although that's just one territory), the entire north coast of France, Antwerp, Paris, and whatever the territory immediately west of Paris is called (can't think of the name offhand). France got itself excommunicated fairly early in the game, and it turns out that they have just three terrotories left, as evidently Spain and Milan also took away a couple territories from them while they were on the outs with the Pope.

    As is typical of my games, I turn nearly all of my castles into cities. I own about a dozen territories, and the only castles I have are Caen and Nottingham. Nottingham serves the entire British Isles, while Caen produces all the units for the mainland. About the only compalint I have is Caen is growing very slowly, and so the best units I can currently construct can only be built in Nottingham, as it's a higher level castle than the one at Caen. That's an inevitable part of TW though - as you get access to better and better units, you have to disband older units or you get killed with the upkeep costs. It's actually fairly convenient if the Pope calls a Crusade just when you were getting ready to replace your units - you just send them off on that fool's errand.
     
  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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    I hadn't noticed this before, but as it turns out, an unexpected visitor seems to have appeared on the British isles in my game too. Not the Portugese this time, but rather the Spanish. I haven't set foot on the British isles yet (I'm playing as Russia), but I just noticed that my map does show that Caernarvon is owned by the Spanish. It isn't anymore, though, as it appears that the English have reconquered it.

    In a surprise turn of events, it turns out that the Papal States have managed to expand beyond present day Italy. I've never seen them do this before, but apparently they've taken the two Northeastern most settlements in North Africa (Algiers and whatcha-me-callit-ville). At least this way I won't have to worry about a Pope appearing just outside my city gates once I conquer Rome.

    I was also mildly surprised when the Papal States attacked Bologna - I'd thought they'd be more passive - but was even more surprised when the army that I'd sent on it's way to Rome suddenly disappeared between turns. Did they incur divine punishment and were wiped from the face of the Earth by god's wrath? Once I noticed, I thought at first that they might've turned rebel, but I could find no trace of a rebel army in its stead and if I'm not mistaken the game should have informed me of such a thing happening too, with one of those 'Traitor to our people' messages. I was pretty annoyed about it too, as it had been a good size army with some fairly experienced units as well.

    I agree that the AI can be fairly wonky from time to time. For instance, last night I got an offer from the Venetians for them to become my allies for the very, very low price of 30k+ gold. WTF? They've got only two regions left (one, now that the Mongols have taken a region from them), and they demand such an outrageous sum from the single biggest faction on the map for the privilege of helping them out? For that kind of money, I'd expect them to at least a settlement in return.

    Though I've already got 45 settlements, I'm not planning to conquer Jerusalem yet, which would be my last requirement for a victory. I could easily have conquered the Middle East, but I deliberately stopped after I had conquered Tbilisi. That way, I could let the Mongols appear near Baghdad and settle down, instead of having to take them head on. I plan on waiting until the Timurids appear (also manipulating the game to have them appear around Baghdad) and have them take on the Mongols before I throw myself into the fray. For that same reason I've also stopped at Nicea; let the Turks act as a buffer between me and the Mongols.

    Of the afore mentioned 45 settlements, I've got only 4 castles. Where with other factions I might mingle some militia units in an army, the Russians don't have any militia units that I feel could add anything to an army - like for instance pikemen - so I do have to rely heavily on those few castles for unit production and maintenance. Still, I don't feel that having more castles could add much to the Russian war machine. This is mostly because a castle only becomes truly a unit production / maintenance centre once it has reached Citadel status, for the very powerful Tsar Guards and Dvor Cavalry.

    The problem here is, of course, that castles grow so very slowly, so it takes a very long time for them to grow far enough for them to be able to become a citadel. So I usually just end up converting most castles that I conquer, simply because they're too small to become useful while they're still anywhere near a frontline.

    It's somewhat ironic that the best unit (and argueably the only useful unit) that you are able to build in cities, the Cossack Musketeer, does not require anything beyond the huge city walls, making anything beyond the Militia Drill Square mostly pointless to build. I still usually build the next stage, though, for the Berdiche Axemen. It's not that they're very powerful, not even when compared to similarly unimpressive heavy infantry units from the castles, but they do add a little variety to my armies, and thus are added merely to cater to my aestethic appeal. The next stage of militia training buildings is completely useless, though. It adds only the Arquebussier, which is vastly inferior to the Cossack Musketeer.

    I'd never send obsolete units on a crusade, though. That'd be a waste of the free experience they're going to get after the crusade is completed. They can serve as militia, if they're militia units, of course, or otherwise can serve as a cheap garrison for castles in the interior of my empire/kingdom/whatever. Any that are still surplus to the requirements at that point just get disbanded.
     
  13. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Oh, I don't think they old units would be SUCCESSFUL in the crusade. I usually pick some general with poor stats (ideally someone who gets "the Fat" or "the Insane" moniker and is an alcoholic to boot!

    I restarted as the Scots, and I did, in fact get attacked by the Spanish. They repeatedly land a small army near Caernarvon, get pasted by my garrison, and try again a few turns later. My general there has so many traits that give bonuses to defending cities, simply because he has done so successfully so many times.

    I have eliminated the English completely, and taken the entire northern teir of territories all the way over to Arhus, in addition to a few to the immediate south. The next objective will be Paris, as that is now sticking out like a sore thumb into my empire. I'm at war with only the French and HRE. (Technically the Spanish too, but I don't think that really counts as a war.) I was initially allied with the French until they double-crossed me.

    I'm still no where near the 45 territority requirement. I'm guessing I have somewhere around 15-20 territories. The Mongols invaded in the South and took Jerusalem, and the Pope immediately called a crusade for that city. I did not partake. My standing with the Pope was high enough that the penalty was having my reputation with him go down - whatever.

    The crusading armies have yet to reach Jerusalem, but because they show you what takes place at a cruade location regardless of whether or not you are part of the Crusade, I'll get to see the fireworks anyway. My money is on the Mongols here.

    ---------- Added 21 hours, 31 minutes and 22 seconds later... ----------

    As an aside, how to you "induce" the Mongols to come either north or south? For me they seem to come south about 90% of the time, although I have seen them on the North occassionally (usually when I play Russia, Poland or Hungary it seems).
     
  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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    I wasn't suggesting that your crusading army should have been successful, but as long as someone is successful your units will get an experience bonus. In fact to actually be successful at this crusade yourself would be an epic achievement, considering that every other faction is closer to the target and would normally arrive there far before you even get close, especially if you wait as long as possible. Whatever kind of general is appended to such an army is mostly irrelevant. The only positive thing about it is a slight boost to your general's command rating, but the chivalry boost is usually counterproductive.

    I love high dread generals. My best general at the moment has maximised command, dread and loyalty and even his piety rating isn't half bad. Rarely does it take more than a single charge from my cavalry to rout any army with him in command. My newly appointed king turned from 2 chivalry stars to 2 dread stars in his first turn as ruler - I love my assassins and spies too - and is now comfortably at 8 or 9 dread stars. The new prince is quite a figure too, carrying the trait 'utterly insane', but still being one of my best generals and boasting a 9 star dread rating. I wonder how princes are choosen, though, it just seems to jump through the family tree at random.

    The Mongols did appear North at first in my game, but their placement can be manipulated in the same way you could manipulate the success of an assassin or spy. If at first you don't succeed, reload and try again. If that still fails, reload again, do something different (moving troops or agents around works), save and try again. If it fails again, reload and try again. If that fails, rinse and repeat.
    This works for attempts at spying, assassination, random events (storms, quakes, etc.), guild house allocations, counsil requests and Mongol & Timurid placement. It works for plague investations as well, though you can only delay the onset of the black death event, not avoid it completely. I think you can delay the appearance of the Mongols or Timurids by a few turns as well, though I've never tried very hard to get that to work.

    In my game, I haven't progressed much since my previous post, just fending off a few attacks, keeping my territories clean of the influence of priests and imams and consolidating my hold on Staufen, Metz and Bern, which I conquered in quick succession earlier. The army that vanished as it was moving towards Rome is now mostly replaced, so I'm set to conquer Rome and the rest of Italy in the coming turns.

    I'm further preparing to also take Iraklion, Antwerp and Oslo, though the latter is depending on what the currently beleaguering English army is going to do. Either way, I should be able to set those plans into motion over the next few turns.
     
  15. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Yeah, I've noticed that too. I'd even go so far as to say that dread is over-powered. A general with a 10 in dread seems to often cause a domino effect rout (where you route the end unit in a line, and then the rest rout in sequence within seconds thereafter).

    I believe that having a 10 chivalry general could also be very good, except for the fact that it is much more difficult to get a 10 in chivalry than it is to get a 10 in dread. The only thing I don't like about getting a high dread is I rarely want to exterminate the populace of a city, because it can take SO LONG to recover from it. Sacking the city is almost never worth it if you have any plans on holding the city, and if you simply occupy the city, it can hurt your dread rating.

    I've noticed this too. In the early going, when the family tree is small, it seems to follow an oderly progression, but after that, it is actually quite rare for the oldest son of the current king to be the heir.

    Oh, yeah, I knew the Powerword: Reload trick. It's not something I employ often. I only do it when something ridiculous happens, like a high-value agent gets killed doing something that he has a 95% chance of success. It happened to me last night when my cardinal died to a 2-star witch. Utterly ridiculous and unacceptable, especially considering that I now have four Cardinals, and so even if I don't have one of them up for the next papal election, there's a really good chance that my votes will determine who wins.

    That's the other thing I've noticed - how much leeway the pope gives you, and how much he allows you to attck other factions seems heavily dependent on whether or not you voted for him. Picking the "wrong guy" during a papal election can take your relations with the Papal States from good to poor instantaneously.

    In my current game, I'm going to have to do some castle shuffling. I just took Staufen, which was a fortress with all of the buildings you can build at that level already constructed. Even better, it had the population to be upgraded to a citadel (even though the HRE had not yet done so). I had fortresses in Hamburg and Metz, both of which are now totally irrelevant as neither has the population to qualify for citadel status for quite some time. Staufen will be the first citadel I have this game. I wish I had known Staufen was that far in its progression, as I would have converted Metz and Hamburg to cities long ago.

    I am not as much of a limited castle guy as you are. You mentioned in a previous post that you typically only have about 4 castles when you hit your 45 territory mark, meaning you're running about a 10-1 city to castle ratio. While I have many times the number of cities as I do castles, I would guess that my ratio is about 6-1, because even fortresses will allow me to retrain a good portion of my troops in an army. (Although a lot of times I retrain my troops, and THEN switch it to a city.)

    What I need next is to get a castle on a territory with sea access. Now that I have my empire in order, I actually will partake in the next crusade the pope calls. The trick to beating everyone else to the crusade location is to arrive via sea. Ships with a crusading army on board get the same movement bonus as does the army, and can travel quite far in a single turn. You can easily beat factions much closer to the crusade destination as you are if you travel by sea.

    The one thing that I have never done is the Americas. I have never sent an army to the Americas in any of my games, and I have never played the Americas version of the campaign sets. I just have never seen the need to do so. By the time the Americas become available I usually have my 45 territories, and so a trip the Americas seems superfulous. I wouldn't even know what the Aztec units looks like if it were not for playing a couple of historic battles.
     
  16. Barmy Army

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

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    Going to the Americas is a pain in the bum.
     
  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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    It depends on which faction you play, I'd say. I'm playing as the Russians, and because basically any city I take has another religion, I will usually sack the city. I agree with you that exterminating the populace of a city is hardly ever a good idea, but just occupying it will usually result in that city rebelling, so sacking is a good middle ground and is neutral with respect to dread / chivalry. Sometimes it may cost you a building or two, but for conquering cities with another religion, it is the best option, I think.

    If I'm conquering a city with the same religion, I will usually just occupy it, as this saves time in the long run. The penalty of doing so to your dread rating usually amounts to no more than 3 points in chivalry extra, so I don't think the penalty is too great.

    I love this about the Russians. I don't have to worry about my standing with the pope when planning out my plan of attack, nor do I have to worry about a crusade being called against me. Sure, I don't have the benefit of free xp through crusades / jihads, but that's a small price to pay.

    It's not that I planned it out like this, but if I conquer a castle, I don't even consider keeping it. A fortress I might consider, if its population is above 7000 at least and if the location is good. I've only conquered a single citadel up to now, and that one was too far out of the way to be of any use (Corinth), so I turned it into a city as well.

    You've probably figured this yourself as well, but, considering your current location, I'd go for Toulouse. Any other castle would be too far away for a long time to come (Sofia, Corinth, Palermo, possibly either of those islands off the coast of italy as well), or not have a port on the right side of the continent.

    Like Barms says, it's too much of a bother, generally speaking. Normally, by the time you gain access to those territories (i.e., are able to build Carracks), you'll have either already conquered enough territories, or will be able to do so before you've conquered any significant number of cities in the Americas. It takes around 10 turns to even get there, not counting the time you'll need to build up a fleet and gather an army (or two). Conquering each town there will take a while, because, even if you exterminate the populace, the city might still rebel if you leave too small a garrison.

    Another reason to go there might be for the extra cash that these cities might generate once you build a mine in them, but if could afford to build the fleet and armies needed to go there, chances are that you won't need the extra cash.

    If you do decide to go there, if only for no other reason than because you hadn't done so before, there's a few things you might want to know.
    First, it is probably best to go West from Ireland. I tried to go West from Lisbon once, but ended up in a sort of void, with just a single village a fair bit to the south and I then found that I couldn't even land on the Mexican part of the continent (which was a fair bit to the North again), but had to circle all the way around to the north to land an army there. If you go West from Ireland, you should end up in just about the right spot.
    Second, there aren't any castles in the new world, meaning that you'll either have to convert a town (and then wait a long time for it to grow to a useful size) in order to retrain your troops, or you have to be Milan or Venice and take an army consisting of mostly militia units over.
     
  18. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    I agree, that occupying the city that has a different religion is asking for problems. You usually have to keep your entire army garrisoned in the city for several turns just to maintain order. As I'm playing the Scots, and most of my enemies are fellow Catholics, I typically occupy the city. The main benefit of extirminating the populace is that the conquered peoples can be ruled over easily. It just takes so long to recover the lost population.

    Even with the islamic factions, it's not bad, because they lack a figurehead like the pope. There is no figure that will get in your way if you chose to attack another islamic faction, and besides, no matter which muslim faction you play there is usually no shortage of non-muslim factions to go to war with. The biggest downer to playing someone like the Egyptians is that you can have a crusade called against you. Aside from the obvious bad part about having hoards of armies coming at you, it also busts up all your trade agreements.

    I have never played a full game as the Russians, but I have played as the Byzantines, which is pretty much the same thing with regards to the Pope issue. The Byzantines are a very challenging faction to play. In fact, I'd say all of the factions in that region are tricky - the Turks, Hungarians, and even Venetians, even though they are consider one of the big 5. IMO, Venice is the most difficult of the starting five factions. Outside of the starting 5, I'd say Milan and Sicily are probably the easiest to play.

    Yeah, Toulouse is my primary option, although the Pope has ordered me to stand down against the French for the next 7 turns. The other thing that makes Toulouse and excellent suggestion is that it starts the game with a high population, and is most likely already a Citadel. If I'm playing any of the Italian factions, I always take those two little islands off the coast of Italy, but I never keep them as castles. They're way too small to be of any use militarily, and at least they generate some income if you turn them into cities.

    Good to know. I knew to geography was way off, but I did not realize it was THAT bad.
     
  19. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    I'm trying a game with the Turks - they get early gunpowder units - quite fun.
     
  20. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    My current game, although one I havent played in a while is with with the turks. They are fun. Horse Archers rip apart any western army but the mongols were a bit tricky. In my game I am basically just trying to turn the entire Western world green for the fun of it as that has more or less been Europe's biggest nighmare for the last 700 years or so. ;)
     
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