Medieval: Total War In-Battle Tips version 1.3 by Vlada Peric (Gallavant) Contents: ========= 1. Copyright 2. Contact 3. Introduction 4. Version History And Date 5. Tips 6. Sea Tips 7. Contributed Info 8. Credits 1. Copyright ============ This FAQ is copyright (c) 2002-04 Vlada Peric (Gallavant). It's for personal and private use only. It may not be reprinted in part or in whole, or reproduced in any way or in any form (written or otherwise). This document is free, and thus cannot be used in any commercial transaction. You must get my express written consent to reference, alter or post FAQ. This FAQ can be found at: - www.gamefaqs.com - www.neoseeker.com If you find it anywhere else please tell me. 2. Contact ========== If you have any contributions and suggestions for this FAQ you may contact me at email@example.com. Make sure to put "Medieval: Total War"or something similar in the subject or the e-mail might be ignored because of my spam filters. I'm no longer playing the game, so I can't answer any questions you might send me. 3. Version History ================== 1.0 03.10.2002. - First release containing mostly contributed info. 1.1 07.11.2002. - Some minor contributions - Some minor corrections 1.2 23.06.2004. - Major re-format of the guide 1.3 25.07.2004. - Added more contributed info 4. Introduction =============== This FAQ is meant to serve as an in-battle guide. It should contain unit tips and battle strategy. Currently it is chiefly from contributed info but that will change soon. UPDATE: It seems that very little people play the game so there is little new info in this update. Since the introduction of hit counters on GameFAQs, I have seen that this is by far the most viewed FAQ of mine online, so I decided to re-format it. Note that I am no longer playing the game, so I probably wont be able to answer any questions you might have. Model of a tip: tip. name of the contributor (if none than I myself have contributed) 5. Tips ======= The following are the tips I have collected (and written) in no particular order. - Use sword infantry against spearmen/pikeman. - Use heavy cavalry against heavy infantry. - Use spearman/pikeman against cavalry. - Assault castles only if you need the province really quickly (It wastes men). zach34 - Watch the weather: If you have archers/gunpowder units wait for good weather; if the enemy has them attack immediately (and if you are defending pray ;) - When on the defensive, always hide units in trees. - A peasant unit charging downhill into cavalry units can do an awful lot of damage. And the price difference means even if they're wiped out, they'll have inflicted enough damage. Newbreed - Use cavalry archers to lure enemy units out of formation and then attack while they're scattered. Usually you'll flank some units. Newbreed - When you have more units, advance in line formation to the enemy. Charge your cavalry into the centre of the enemy formation. When units move to flank your cavalry, flank them with you own infantry. Eventually your cavalry will rout the central units. Then you can spread out and destroy the other halves of the army. Newbreed - When badly outnumbered with no retreat, charge every unit but your strongest and your general's unit at the enemy. Then hunt down the general with your strongest unit. If you kill him, the enemy might rout. Newbreed - Never attack across a bridge. Newbreed - A good formation is to have a line of missile troops in front of your lines, followed by a main line of infantry and some cavalry to the rear. Your missile troops will decimate the enemy's archers and lure the enemy cavalry into a charge against the infantry. Any units which pursue your skirmishing archers can be hit in the flanks by your cavalry. If the enemy breaks and runs, reform your the troops into the original formation. You'll find that enemy forces will rally, attack again and suffer heavier losses and morale will even drop to the point where being ordered to charge against your missile troops will rout them. Once your arrows are spent use your cavalry to chase them off the field. Newbreed - Never pursue a fleeing enemy, let them rally, gather the reinforcements and attack again. Most of the enemy's units will flee if forced to fight for very long and they'll panic the reinforcements as well. Newbreed - Be careful charging naphtha throwers, it's much better to use missile troops to cut them down. Newbreed - Always. Always. Have at least 2 units of reinforcements when attacking. This means that you should always attack with at least a 200 man advantage. Never attack if you have equal numbers except if it's an emergency. psycho1001 - The Wedge Formation is devastating for breaking enemy formations, especially if they are heavily armored and SUPER EFFECTIVE if your troops have a high charge (Clansmen!!!!!). Just make sure you don't have your General unit do Wedge, because the unit's leader is always at the tip, and he will die in one hit and your entire army will lose major morale. IcedMetal - In defense always start above your opponent. - In attack move troops around as necessary to make sure your opponent gets as little help from height as possible. - Missile troops are often better for defense (where they are battle winning) than attack (where they are expensive cavalry fodder). - Cavalry can be very effective for trashing your opponent's siege weapons. nat46 - Know at least roughly what is coming at you. If you rout the first army, and try and follow it off the field, sometimes reinforcements turn up and really ruin your day. Trying to ride down every last router is fun, but not always necessary. Winning comes first, causing 10 times more casualties than suffered. nat46 - If you are playing as the Egyptians make use of the Bedouin camel warrior. They are cheap and can be trained in any desert province with a fort. - Cavalry's greatest effectiveness lies in its potential to wreak great devastation upon the enemy. I've seen a group of 15-20 Royal Knights catch a large enemy infantry unit in the flank and absolutely go through it like a hot knife through butter. Furthermore, two other enemy infantry units that were adjacent to the targeted formation - both were engaged in melee combat as well - wavered and broke when this happened, and in their turn were badly mauled by my units they were engaged with. El Cid 58 - Regarding Spanish Jinetes, once I've chosen them, I bring the mouse over a target unit until the bow and arrow appear - they then engage the target unit, and if the target unit maneuvers towards them, they automatically withdraw in order to keep distance between them (authors note: this can apply to all ranged units). El Cid 58 - When available always build the pavise version of a unit (pavise crossbowman and pavise arbalesters) it has the same cost and building time but increased protection while reloading. - On defense sometimes it will be possible to set your units for an ambush. Use this wisely since attacking from three sides is much more effective that attacking from one of even two sides. - Viking, Clansman and Gallowglass units have strong charges. Use this to your advantage. - When fighting on the dessert, make sure you have a quick fight (if your faction is a non-Muslim faction). The heat on the dessert will make your troops get tired faster, especially heavy-armored troops. They get roasted inside their metal plate. What can deflect blade cannot deflect the wrath of nature. However, this can be an advantage if you are playing the Muslim factions. irja - Most of the cavalry also have strong and irresistible charges. - Valor can play a great part in a battle. Just remember that each unit has its own valor. So when combining two units with 2 valor and 2 with 4 valor on the screen it may say that the units have 3 valor. But that is untrue because there are still two units with 2 valor and two units with 4 valor. - Generals command attribute also affects combat (mostly moral). - Catholic countries have strong heavy infantry, while the Muslim countries have good axe-wielding infantry and excellent cavalry (especially horse archers). - Axe-wielding troops usually have bonuses against armored troops. - In battle keep an eye on the kill ratio. It shows the percentage of the troops you have killed. - Some units (Gothic Knights) can dismount. This can be done by right- clicking on the unit and choosing dismount. The ability can be beneficial when the enemy has many spearman/pikeman and when there are a lot of woods in the area (cavalry are bad in woods). Any other case and it isn't worth it. - Even if you are attacking a province, you are generally far better off if you can goad the enemy into attacking you. In many cases if the computer has more units than you, or something close to a 50-50 split, you can get the computer to attack you. cj_ramone - In early to mid game, the computer will usually build a lot of weak units instead of a smaller numbers of stronger units. If the ratio of attacker to defender is not too far out of whack, a smaller army with better morale and a better caliber of troops will defeat an opposing force of up to twice as many troops. You have to have enough QUANTITY to build your infantry line, but beyond that the QUALITY and MORALE of the troops is far more important than the number of units. cj_ramone - It is far easier to maintain a proper infantry screen with archers behind the main battle line when you are defending. It is also generally easier to respond to an opponent and exploit their mistakes rather than winning a careful battle of maneuver on the attack. The exception to this rule is when your army has a 2 to 1 or greater advantage. In these cases you can have such an advantage in total units that you can easily flank the enemy and hit their key units from 2 or more sides at once. cj_ramone - Serpentine are good only for killing PEOPLE don't use them for sieges. Roachey - Make spearman at least 3 lines deep and pikeman at least 5 lines deep. Roachey - Use light cavalry to destroy siege weapons and their crew. Roachey - When horse archers are just picking your men off from all angles and all you have is infantry stretch your whole army as thin as possible and march to the other side of the map. The horse archers will then HAVE to fight you hand to hand. AdamOfScouseland - Dismounting cavalry can change then tide of a battle especially when your army is mainly heavy cavalry and your enemy has mainly spearmen. This is also the only way to get feudal foot knights, gothic foot knights and also chivalric foot knights. Some of the best foot on the game. AdamOfScouseland - The computers AI can often be very arrogant especially when they outnumber you heavily you can play on this, by using you smaller force more wisely. The enemy will usually charge for the middle of your army causing a bottle neck in their army which you can hit from all sides. AdamOfScouseland - Usually you can never get naptha throwers close enough to the enemy to use them effectively, I once saw someone use this tactic to devastating effect on the internet to one of my allies. What you do it get a steep hill and have something like spearmen or something else that can hold the enemy back awhile with your napthas just behind them, now when the enemy approaches your spreamen the napthas range is greater and they throw over your spearmen and destroy entire units in no time. AdamOfScouseland - Use the terrain. Hills are the most obvious of this, but don't underestimate forests. If you can conceal your men well, the enemy will often run down the timer searching for you. This gives you a better chance of holding them for the 30 mins that the defender must hold to win. Also, it gives an all-infantry defense a way to defeat a mainly archer attacking force. Hide some men in the forest, and put a large, visible force outside. March the large force into the forest, baiting the archers closer to your concealed men. I think you know what to do then ;) That Annoying Noob - Never underestimate the power of cheap, low-class units. A unit of Byzantine Infantry, or Almohad Urban Militia, or even Vikings can be absolutely devastating on the enemy. Just because they may be low-tech and seem like no problem for your Gothic Foot Knights doesn't mean they are; while they may not pose an attack/defense-breaking threat, they are still a force to be reckoned with. That Annoying Noob - First of all, unless playing as the English, you should never have more than 4 archers on the field at a time. As the English, 6 units of longbowmen could be a good idea. JustFramer 6. Sea Tips =========== Just a few tips about sea strategy. - When building trade routes use cheap and fast ships. This will help because if at war with someone that attacks your ships your fast ships will usually be able to outmaneuver them. - If you have a really profitable trade rout and fear an enemy may cut it have at least 2-3 strong ships in every sea square of the way. - If you see enemy amassing ships in some sea squares near you go to war quickly and destroy the ships. Sometimes they will even "forget" they are at war and in a few turns they will be neutral. Just don't repeat the tactics several times without break, that time they will not forget about the war. - If you want a strong navy be sure to build many ports. These decrease support cost. - The captains of fleets also have the command ability. 7. Contributed Info =================== These are the larger contributions that are too big for a single tip or are connected. First, do get better acquainted with the battle rules. In it, you'll find things like how to create groups (helpful because you can protect a missile unit - "archers" - with a good infantry unit, like "feudal sergeants", for example). A group also allows you to simplify your movement of forces from 32 mouse-clicks (16 to find your units, plus 16 to actually click on them so you can give them an order) to a smaller and more manageable number. One hint on groups - when combining units, keep infantry with infantry; cavalry with cavalry... combined arms in this game isn't like world war two, where the (fast-moving) armor would slow down in order to keep the supporting infantry close by <<which would apply in a set-piece battle... penetration/exploitation in the enemy rear requires speed, but - in Medieval: TW - the battle is the thing; operational/strategic maneuvers aren't played out in the battle>> -- if you combine cavalry and infantry in groups, then issue movement orders, the cavalry will arrive there first and leave the infantry behind, thus disrupting your reasoning for combining them into a group in the first place! Perhaps when you are the defender (and it is assumed that your tactical maneuvers will be relatively minor adjustments), such combinations can work, but not when you are on the attack. Second, when fighting the battle, use the Pause key ( P ) frequently!!! You can view the dispositions without rush, even give orders to adjust your deployment... but it gives you a better chance to learn what's going on. When you've gotten comfortable with using the group command, you will naturally see how important mutual support between your units is. In this game, mutual support means you have an infantry contingent (unit or units as described above) upon which you anchor the focus of your line - shock/maneuver elements, such as cavalry - though seemingly more important in the sense that they can engage more quickly, achieve more spectacular results, etc... - Really can't hold and defend the decisive sector of your battle line. They can charge, or counter-charge the enemy, but when it comes down to it, when they get tired/exhausted, they lose all formation cohesion - become "spent" - to use a better descriptor. Infantry is the Queen of Battle in this period, but you must know how to use (and conserve...) it. So, getting back to the mutual-support thing, divide your infantry into 2 or 3 groups, consider the first infantry group to be your strongest, and upon which you will hinge the focus of your action. It should be of good morale, large, and capable of withstanding cavalry charges as well as mixing with enemy infantry assault groups. A combination of swordsmen and spearmen/pikeman is good for this. The second infantry group should be considered a ready-reaction force, which (because it's still infantry, and therefore slow-moving) should contain medium to long range missile troops (archers, longbow men, etc) - because despite their limited march speed, should not (if you've deployed them wisely within easy support of your main elements...) have to conduct a major shift in position; instead, make a minor and sufficient-enough position adjustment so that you may bring to bear their missile weaponry upon the enemy. The 3rd infantry group is part of your reserve - when you can, make them your best morale troops - not only will their fresh and rested state (relative to the - by then... - tired enemy be a huge advantage, but their superior morale can be the difference between simply beating your enemy and crushing them - or saving the remnants of your army!!!). Size of this group doesn't matter so much - the commitment of these reserves depends much on the timing you exercise... whether you commit them to decisively break an opponent on his last gasp to completely break them, or inversely throw them into the breach to hold the surging enemy and give your panicked line troops time to recoup/retreat - you'll be glad you have them! CAVALRY--- The potential of Cavalry is illustrated by its shock combat ability, and amplified by its maneuver ability. Once the Cavalry unit is committed to combat, though, these same strengths become weaknesses - the horses are tired and need time to recuperate, and the combat power of the unit is correspondingly degraded. How then, to use your cavalry to best effect? NOT ALL CAVALRY IS EQUAL Know the abilities of your various cavalry types. There are light units - fast and agile - suitable for screening, skirmishing, harassing, pursuit (of broken enemies) and sometimes useful in assault/charge (Spanish Jinetes). There are units with Missile combat capabilities (Jinetes again, and the Byzantine Cataphracts) who can engage enemy forces from afar w/out fear of taking losses (be careful of engaging infantry missile troops with your mounted archers, though - the horse-borne troops will suffer the worse in the exchange). Medium and Heavy Cavalry (Sergeants to Royal Knights/Ghulam Bodyguards) are your maximum shock units (let's call them "Battle Cavalry" - as they can take their place in the first line in battle, unlike the light-horse which generally cannot). As long as you have fresh Battle Cavalry ready to commit to the "place d' decision" - your enemies ability to maneuver decisively against you will always be threatened. Likewise, if the enemy has fresh Battle Cavalry at his disposal (and you have none!!!), your army's general state of health is never completely assured. Though the Battle Cavalry can (and will, most being of the impetuous sort) bludgeon their way through the frontal defenses of most formed infantry units, their best use is to charge through the flanks or rears of enemy infantry, or to counter-charge the enemy Battle Cavalry. POTENTIAL AND MANUEVER Fresh Cavalry (of all types, subject to limitations imposed by their combat abilities and inherent strengths) always represent a threat to the enemy. Sometimes (as you get better at it, this becomes the norm of your conduct upon the battlefield) a simple maneuver where your fresh cavalry demonstrates against an exposed enemy flank can affect how that sector of the battlefield develops - as long as you have the POTENTIAL CAPABILITY to throw fresh Cavalry against an enemy flank or rear, that enemy unit's morale will suffer. If they are already engaged by your other units, so much the better - they will break that much quicker. Use maneuver, therefore, to create local threats that the enemy cannot ignore. Try this out the next time you fight a battle: Press the enemy with other units in such a way as to have that enemy unit commit itself to that melee - then quickly charge and impact upon it's flank/rear, and when your cavalry impacts, count a few (3-5) seconds (letting them whet their Steel!), and just as quickly pull them out of the charge. Observe how the enemy unit's cohesion melts - it was, after all, pressed to its front by your own infantry, and fully committed to fighting them off. To then be caught in the flank/rear by your cavalry, and not be able to face them. In summary, remember that Infantry is the Queen of the battlefield here. Though I've spent more discussion on the merits of cavalry, that is due to their greater abilities and potential - and also due to their more conspicuous weaknesses (when employed wastefully). Cavalry can be likened to a finely crafted sword which - because of its craftsmanship - takes time to forge and practice to learn how to use properly. It can also be likened to the Hammer which - when used in coordination with the Infantry's Anvil - can smash the enemy completely. El Cid Thanks to El Cid 58 for contributing everything from the top of the section to here. Now for some assaulting tactics by jeffsceu Bring arty during assaults on Castles. The minimum is four. Put one on each side of the castle walls together with supporting troops to keep the defenders distracted. Wait until all four walls are destroyed then use your arty either to level down the castle. Alternatively you could use the arty to soften the defenders first. When the castle is down or the defenders are sufficiently softened :D charge from 3 sides to pull the defenders out of formation and for the final side just start moving towards the defenders. When your walking attackers, reach about 1/2 or 3/4 of the way, withdraw your other 3 sides and you'll see the defenders rushing to defend the one side. Remember to start charging your walking attackers before withdrawing the other 3 sides. When the defenders are sufficiently confused. Charge your other 3 sides in again. A guaranteed success anytime with minimal losses. This tip assumes that you have the same number or more troops then the defender. And here is an alternate siege plan by Father Ribs You should concentrate your siege weapons on one side of the castle, the one with the gate. It's the whole concept of concentration of force...if you surround his castle; every one of his towers gets to fire at you. If you fire from the front of the castle, you only have to worry about half of the defensive turrets. If you screen your siege weapons with crummy infantry, you can bring them in pretty close...the defensive fire will be soaked up by the screening units, not by your precious trebuchet crews. I also use sieges as a way to get rid of outdated units...I don't shed any tears when my peasant units lose half their number to arrows and ballista while knocking a door down, while I would if it were my elite swordsmen doing the dying. And now some tactics to build up your generals by jeffsceu A sneaky tactic to build up your generals is to incite any kind of revolt in a neighboring faction's province whether by using spies/bishops/cardinals. Wait till your neighbor's province is besieged then charge in to the rescue. This tactic allows you to train both your spies/bishops/cardinals and also your troops. You also increase your standing with your neighbors. Never failed yet assuming you have numerical superiority or parity. Next are some tips about siege weapons by jeffsceu Get to know the minimum arty range especially for the heavy arty like the mangonel, culverin, demi-culverin, serpentine and etc. If you know their minimum range you can move your troops inside that range to avoid the artillery fire. For artillery that has no minimum range, you should attack it as soon as possible to cut down your casualties. If your are using arty remember to position it properly before attacking or defending, if you botch up by placing the arty in the wrong place i.e. a dip between two hills, you're in deep trouble as the arty shot will not clear the hills. If you really want to attack across a bridge use the following tactic by khaos83 NEVER FIGHT A BRIDGE BATTLE UNLESS YOU OUTNUMBER THE DEFENDING ENEMY 5 TO 1. Trust me on that. If not, bring some siege weapons along (about 5) and archers. At the start, place your arty near the bridge but out of range to the enemy archers and pepper the enemy camping near the bridge. Also remember you have archers, they are good. Pepper until you are satisfied or run out of ammo. Grab ANY chance of a loophole. E.g. the enemy moved a distance away from the bridge, so that u can safely move your troops across the bridge. Siege weapons range is monstrous. Even if the enemy charge at you when you are crossing, fall back and repeat. It will drain their energy and drain their morale. But be careful of their counter rush. They might just cross the bridge and catch you off guard. Another bridge-battle tactic by That Annoying Noob Attacking a bridge is the second most deadly type of attack in the game, after assaulting a castle. First off, if there are two bridges, send some cavalry to the second bridge to flank. As for the main or only bridge, never never EVER send cavalry to attack a bridge. They will get slaughtered because the enemy puts spear units on the bridge and archers behind. Take a large, armored infantry unit (such as Byzantine Infantry or Almohad Urban Militia), or a unit with a large charge bonus, and charge them across the bridge. This unit will probably take anywhere from 30 to 70% casualties, but they will almost certainly break a whole in the enemy line. After that, send all your troops across and mop up, because the enemy will usually use 3, sometimes up to 5 units to defend a bridge, and you can often butcher these whole units with your initial attack. cj_ramone tells about Foot Archers and Foot Crossbows These two types of missle troups should be used differently. Archers have an impressive rate of fire and can cause a lot of damage quickly. They also run out of ammunition quickly. Do not let your archers choose their own targets or engage in opportunity fire. Your archers can be key in breaking your opponents' best troops. Reserving their fire can also maximize their impact at critical times during the battle. Foot Crossbows are quite different. They have such a slow rate of fire that it becomes difficult to expend all of their ammunition during even the longest battles. Foot crossbows can cause casualties, disrupt enemy formations (they reform when taking significant casualties), and break the morale of troops who are under fire yet cannot get into attack range. I use foot archers in critical situations in battle or to eliminate the most important enemy units. I use foot crossbows to provide a constant fire to disrupt enemy formations and morale. jimythejap explains balancing armies and battle tactics A balanced army will win you battles. As cool as using 16 gothic knights are, or as much as you want to think that 8 units of gallows will ruin everything in their way, think again. A well balanced army will win you more more battles and do it consistantly. Of course each faction has its own 'balance', and it depends if you are attacking or defending, but the gyst of it is the same. Catholics are genericlly the same, you should go into battle with 3-4 chiv sergants, 3-4 chiv men at arms (or swordsmen of some variety), 4 archers, and the rest in cav, either horse archers or heavy cav, or whatever you can get your hands on. Byzantines should have a backbone of around 6 byzantine infrantry, 4or so archers, a couple of Varangian Guard if you can manage it, and the rest in cav. Try not to have too many kataphraktoi, unless they are your general; they are slow and not that effective. Byzantine cav are excellent cav units. As for russians, well they don't have many units full stop. but best is probably about 6 halberders, 4-6 arblasters, and the rest in boyars and steppe cav. When defending, obviously have more archers, because defending they have greater use. When attacking, it can be argued that subbing archers for horse archers, cav, swordsmen ect can give you greater benefit. Its up to the user for their personal preference. I like bringing arhcers on offense, others may prefer more people swinging a sword Now, if we look at the armies above, they have the capacity to perform the 2 main battle tactics that you will use in Medieval: Total War. The 1st one is, pin the main enemy line with your spearmen (or byz inf/halbders) while your cav and swordsmen flank and your archers rain from above. The 2nd one is the defensive semi circle, where you have your arhcers in the middle, and troops in a semi circle around them. These are your tactics in 90% of battles. Although you may not be a good general, with a balanced army, you'll have all the tools available. AdamOfScouseland shares his views on mercenaries Mercenaries are usually undervalued because of there price and the abudance of poorer quality troops. However in a pinch merc's can be vital to your defence or attack, sending an army of 600 merc's into an enemy territory to soften up or push back enemy forces before your more valuable troops move in. Afterwards you can disband the merc's, it beats sending in your best who get carved up after barely winning the battle. In defence the number of archers, arabs, and horse archers you can get from merc's can be irreplacable, many a time I've been saved by a quick injection of foreign merc's. Don't rely on them heavily, I have around 5/10% of my army as merc's. JustFramer talks about archers When it comes down to it, there are three types of foot archers: Archers, Crossbowmen, and Pavise Crossbowmen. Archers: Fire quickly, run out of ammo quickly, weaker in melee, arrows have trouble against armor. Whenever possible, stick to special types of archers (Trebizond, Desert, and LONGBOWMEN!). Crossbows: Fire slower, bolts punch through armor, wear armor which protect them from archers and melee. Arbalesters have a longer range, do more damage, and fire slower than basic crossbowmen. Pavise crossbows are identical to their normal couterparts, save two differences. They move slower, but they carry large shields. Now, for how to actually use these units. Defending: While defending, you should put your archers in two groups. The first group should stand a good distance out infront of your army. Pavise crossbowmen are best here, but regular crossbows will also work. They should be in loose formation, told to hold formation and hold position, and three or four ranks deep. They, along with all archers, should be told *not* to fire at will. They should be as far in front as possible while still being able to run back behind your lines if the enemy starts to charge. When the enemy marches toward you (make sure to keep turning your formation and forcing them to come at you head on), pick out good targets, and order your archers to fire on them. Good targets include: Generals, closely packed units, horse archers if you have alot of slow troops, anti-armor troops if you have alot of armored troops, spear troops if you have alot of cavalry, etc... Try not to shoot at a unit once it gets below half strength. Eventually, the enemy will get close enough to force your crossbowmen to retreat behind your lines. The second group of archers should preferably be archers, but crossbowmen will work if needed. Avoid arbalesters for this job. They should stand off to the flanks, behind your lines. They should hold position and formation, and should not fire at will. They can fire a few volleys as the enemy gets close, but their main function is to fire at the enemy troops that have already engaged your forces. Once the infantry are in pitched battle, have these archers focus their fire on a single unit (preferably one that has already been badly hurt by your crossbows) near the middle of the fray. This works best if your nearby units are armored, and even better if enemy nearby units aren't. Because the archers are off to the sides, they will hit the enemy troops in their sides, bypassing their shields. Your troops will take friendly fire casualities, though not many as armor defends well from arrows. But their troops will have been softened up by your crossbowmen earlier on When a unit is being actively fired on by archers, their morale takes a hit, even if the arrows aren't causing many casualties. This will normally cause that unit, and nearby enemy units to rout much earlier than they would have. This will allow you to easily get troops to the enemy's flanks and rear, and will typically cause their army as a whole to rout. Attacking: Using archers on attack is very similar. March your army towards the enemy, and use your first archer group to annoy them and lure them into attacking you. By doing this, you can bait an enemy into breaking formation and leaving their defensive position. Use arbalesters here for their range. Your second group should be used in the same manner. Dunemouse disscusses huge battles I want to talk about protracted battles with massive amounts of troops. At some point in the game you're going to be fighting a battle that makes you want to turn the timer off. A fight is a thing that goes on to the finish. Ok, so say you have 3 waves of reinforcements, and the enemy has comperable numbers. Since there are so many troops, let's imagine 30% of them are crack troops of your highest end production, and the rest of the guys are fillers. Well, eventually the battle is going to swing one way or the other. Someone is eventually going to rout. Whether it is you or the enemy depends on you. Now, most people are going to chase the enemy down pell-mell with some cavalry or such. This is a good idea, but you may have noticed that enemy troops don't run in a straight line. So, you can use this. Use two cavalry units to shepard fleeing enemy units into ambushes. If there are forests on the map you can hide ambush parties in them and shepard fleeing units towards these forest locations. Or, you can set up ambushes while the enemy flees and have them ready for the enemy's second wave of attack. I've won the initial battle very quickly many times only to give up the field in defeat later. The enemy usually sends his best troops first, but what happens when he doesn't? Also, a hidden ambush party can give you the extra time you need to assemble reinforcements. They can provide a distraction or simply fill a unit spot on field so you don't lose from routed troops. Cavalry can be hidden just as well as any other unit. I strongly recommend that ambush parties do not contain archers, unless you're prepared to dedicate a unit of footsoldiers to cover them. Foot units with the Fast attribute are great for this. Kerns and scotsman make great ambush parties, so long as they don't run out onto the plains and get slaughtered by cavalry. Remember to pay attention to the terrain the unit is best suited to. When the enemy is disorganized is the time you take to lay new plans and reasses the situation. Sometimes it is better to let a fleeing unit rally so that you can destroy it utterly in the next wave. Also, letting an enemy unit rally rather than flee allows you to control the rate at which enemy reinforcements show up, and can cause the enemy to send help to a doomed unit, weakening his main force. 8. Credits ========== Thanks to Newbreed, IcedMetal, psycho1001, zach34, nat46 and Roachey for the various tips they have contributed. Thanks to El Cid 58 for very long info about cavalry and grouping. Thanks to jeffsceu, Father Ribs, khaos83, cj_ramone, jimythejap, AdamOfScouseland, That Annoying Noob, JustFramer and Dunemouse for contributing some more advanced tactics. This FAQ is copyright (c) 2002-2004 Vlada Peric.
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