Taking the Danes to glory in Medieval: Total War ================================================ Date: 26-8-2002 Author: Daevyll Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Contents: 0. Introduction 1. General 1.1 The Danes 1.2 Weaknesses 1.3 Strenghts 1.4 General Tips 2. Beginnings 2.1 Buildings 2.2 Troops 2.3 Diplomacy 2.4 Conquests 3. Expanding 3.1 Buildings 3.2 Troops 3.3 Diplomacy 3.4 Conquests 4. An Empire is taking shape 4.1 Buildings 4.2 Troops 4.3 Diplomacy 4.4 Conquests 5. Danelaw 5.1 Buildings 5.2 Troops 5.3 Diplomacy 5.4 Conquests 6. Last Words *** 0. Introduction This document describes how to take the Danish faction in Medieval: Total War to their deserved glory. It is not intended as an exhaustive move-by-move walkthrough, but rather as a guide to help you make the vitally important decisions you face at the start correctly. There may be other ways then I have trod to bring glory to Denmark, and if so I'd love to hear about them. Feel free to mail me at the above address with a description of what you did. I played the game on the 'Hard' difficulty setting, mostly since I'm somewhat of a Shogun veteran and wanted the tactical battles a bit more difficult than on 'Normal'. I started in the Early era. 1. General 1.1 The Danes The Danes start out very modestly, with just 1 province, Denmark. Denmark is a solid province, and it is the only landroute to Sweden and Norway besides. Vikings and Longboats are available to the Danes right from the start, and alhought eclipsed later on they provide good buildingblocks for your early military. 1.2 Weaknesses Your biggest weakness is the fact you have only 1 province, and a correspondingly low income and production base. You must reduce these two problems quickly if you are to have any hope of greatness. A weakness you will bump into later is your comparative lack of 'projected' power to the southern regions of the map, where the main plots are played out by the Papacy and the main catholic factions, Byzantium and the Islamic empires. You will barely be aware of what is going on there, let alone capable of intervention. This may result in the development of one or two southern superpowers, which will have massively superior resources to your northern empire. You want to keep the south divided if at all possible. Later on you can attempt to achieve this with your stealth units up to a point. 1.3 Strenghts Fortunately you have several strong points to offset your weaknesses. The best of these is the security of your home province. As long as you play the diplomatic game smartly (more on that later) you should have no trouble at all maintaining your rule in Scandinavia at least. This gives you a secure, albeit small, base of power. You also have no real hereditary enemies and can keep out of the way of the major powers while still expanding your holdings for a good while. Secondly you have one of the better troop types of the early era at your disposal from the start, Vikings. Vikings are strong attackers, and can see off peasants with ease. Militia's and Spearmen are also inferior to them in a direct confrontation. Make the most of this quickly, because it wont last. As Men-at-arms and Sergeants appear, not to mention lance-armed cavalry, the vikings will be outclassed. Lastly, you get a cheap ship to assert your (vital) naval dominance with, the Longboat. As your empire will be spread across the north part of the map, having control of the seas is paramount to victory. 1.4 General Tips * Use the titles. They increase taxes and happiness, so give titles to any (loyal) general with good Acumen. * Sea power is vital. Make sure your fleet is equipped to dominate the seas. * Use watchtowers, spies etc to check the opposing army before attacking. * Stealth units can be as vital for expansion as armies, and to keep what you have. 2. Beginnings 2.1 Buildings First thing, build a watchtower in Denmark. After that go for a Shipyard as quickly as possible, and ignore everything else until you have it. 2.2 Troops Build a few Viking units to cover the losses you will suffer in Sweden and Norway, but dont overdo it. You dont need a defensive force just yet and you arent exactly rich so save the cash for now. 2.3 Conquest Take Sweden right away. It is quite lightly defended, and you should have no trouble taking it. I'd advise to bring the King along on this one, as his 20 knights will make a big difference in the battle. He is also the most experienced commander you have and at this point it is worth minimizing casualties over letting a general develop. After Sweden is yours, you might be tempted to immediately go for Norway. Resist the temptation. Norway has a very limited value, and is hard to keep in line. The expense of the troops stationed there to keep the province in line will reduce the profit of holding it to almost nothing, and you will inevitably suffer casualties while taking it. Just hang on to Denmark and Sweden for now. 2.4 Diplomacy Ally with the Holy Roman Empire as a first priority. They hold Saxony, which is the only province to threaten Denmark from the south. Cement this alliance with a few marriages if possible. Poland is also worth allying with, since they are one of the few nations which can contest your control over the baltic. Best to keep their attention focussed south and east and not to the north. An alliance with the Pope is always a good thing for any Catholic faction (except perhaps the Italians, but thats another guide ;P ). 3. Expanding 3.1 Buildings By now you should have your shipyard in Denmark. Follow this up with a Border Fort first thing, and then a merchant to shore up your meagre income. A Church will also be needed shortly. In Sweden build a mine for the same reason, followed by a Fort, Port and Merchant. 3.2 Troops Start churning out Longboats in Denmark, you need at least two. A few extra units of Vikings wouldnt go amiss either, depending on how many Heirs (and thus units of knights) you have to support. Watch that income! 3.3 Conquest Mop up Norway, and install a strong governor there (preferably one that increases happiness). Then use your ships to land an army in Finland. Make sure the army is up to the task, as there will be no retreat if you fail! Finland is also a low-income province, but more easily kept under control. It is also largely Pagan, so move some Bishops there once you have them. With a bit of luck the Church will grant you money for expanding it's religion, which you sorely need. With Finland and Norway your empire now covers 4 provinces, which are not threatened by any outside powers. This is a good time to halt for a bit and build your economy. Minimize your expenses by disbanding any units that are too small or too weak (like peasants) to do any good, and select governors with strong acumen to rule your provinces. 3.4 Diplomacy An alliance with the English will be useful for the next stage, but keep in mind this will probably mean you end up facing the French sooner or later. Keep all other alliances. 4. An Empire is taking shape 4.1 Buildings An inn in Finland will be useful, and Denmark should be developing it's stealth units at this point. A Tavern and Brothel will need to be built, and you will ofcourse need to upgrade your Keep to do so. Sweden should concentrate on a particular type of troop development in the meantime, I favor Siege weaponry myself as it will come in very useful in England later on. 4.2 Troops More Longboats will be required in this phase, so dont skimp on building them. You can build boats much cheaper than your rivals, so take advantage of this. Vikings supported by Royal Knights are still adequate for now, perhaps a few big blocks of Spearmen to take the cavalry attacks in the not-too-distant future. 4.3 Conquest This is where the real choices start. Latvia might look tempting at the moment, but it isnt. It is a bitch to keep under control, and would suck far too much resources out of your empire to succesfully hold. You can prepare the way for taking Latvia later by sending in a few Bishops, to convert the region to christianity. This will make it a bit easier to hold on to in the future. If the polish haven't taken Prussia yet, this is a decent option as long as you remain allied to the Polish. If you were to go to war with the Polish, it would probably prove too expensive to hang on to for long. My favoured path of expansion is to take Scotland however. The Highlanders are fierce fighters, but so are your Vikings. If well-led, your Vikings should see off the Scots. Make sure you bring a large force though, because it will be required to keep the province under control the first few years. Build a Keep there and it will be your second home province, able to either support the war at sea or expand into English territory later. From Scotland, go to Ireland. It should also fall with ease to your troops, and is not too difficult to keep under control. The Irish special troops are worth having, so you might want to invest in facilities there if your economy can take it. 4.4 Diplomacy Gauge the war between France and England that is almost certainly raging. If the French are winning, help the English. If the English are winning help the French. Your objective is to keep both parties fighting each other and not you, so use covert means where possible, such as using spies to forment rebellion and assassins to kill strong generals. Also send some spies south to check on the Iberian situation; make sure the Almohads arent steamrollering into europe, if they are use the same methods as mentioned above. A few good-old Viking raids to destroy infrastructure can be useful as well if your navy will strech that far. You will probably need to write off whatever units you send though, so dont send any heirs or exceptional generals. Mercenaries are ideal here. 5. Danelaw 5.1 Buildings Continue building facilities that will give you access to more advanced units. Cavalry will be needed to expand your territories, as will Siege weaponry. A monastery will give you yet another useful Stealth unit to wage your covert wars in the south, and upgraded Merchants will fund your empire nicely. 5.2 Troops You will need strong regiments by now, your Vikings are nearing the ned of their usefullness. Cavalry units supplemented by Irish specialist units and some Siege artillery work well. Crossbowmen are excellent on defense, and your Vikings can still be usefull running Provinces if they have good Generals leading them (they should by now). Equally the trusty longboats should be getting support from more advanced ships by now, or you risk losing naval superiority, and by extension the game. 5.3 Conquest Latvia should be ripe for the taking by now, so take it. Make sure the loyalty of the population is sufficient, then take Lithuania and, if you feel confident, Novgorod. In the west you might expand to Northumbria if at war with whatever power holds it at that time (English or French), and Friesland is also ripe for the taking. Be wary of Flanders though, as it is the gateway to England through Wessex and will be sure to attract more attention than you would like. If you feel adventurous Aquitane is also not an impossibility. 5.4 Diplomacy Keep up the diplomatic course you were sailing before, but make sure you stay allied to the Holy Roman Empire, either French or English, and probably the Polish. And as always the Papacy is a good friend to have. 6. Last Words From here on you are on your own, as it gets too complicated to predict any sure course. Evaluate your surroundings and act accordingly. Try not to let superpowers emerge, and remember that you are still small fry compared to the Byzantines, Almohads and Holy Empire. Act accordingly, and use Stealth units extensively. Good luck!