Medieval: Total War Unofficial Strategy Guide v 1.0 By: Lap Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 10/28/02 ============================================= Table of Contents ----------------- 1. Introduction 2. Starting off 3. Getting Your Bearings 4. What now? 5. Water, Navies, and Trade 6. Diplomacy 7. Keeping the Peace (or keeping those peasants in line) 8. Vices and Virtues 9. Strategic Agents 10. Crusades and Jihads 11. The Church 12. The Inn 13. Sieging 14. Auto-Calcing 15. Advanced Strategies 16. Battles | |- Charging 17. Faction Suggestions (Early Age) 18. Legal Stuff Introduction ------------ Medieval: Total War is a game of infinite replayability and there is no way to make a definitive walkthrough. Therefore, this guide does not contain a walkthrough in any form. What is does contain is hints, tips, and strategy. This guide does not list the units or buildings because if you bought M:TW then you should already have this. Starting Off ------------ Once you have completed all the tutorials you should then try going for the full blown campaign. I suggest not worrying about the difficulty you select right now as that can be changed. Starting in the early period is recommended because it is not so frantic and you won't have 100 different unit thrown at you in the beginning. Now comes the first hard decision you will have to make; who to be? There is no real "best" group to be although some are clearly more powerfull than others. Since this is your first time you should make sure to read all the decriptions for each group since they include almost every pro and con of your group. For the first game try and choose a group that has a difficulty of easy or normal. Once you have decided then go back to the main menu and NOW decide your difficulty. If you are a Shogun veteran you might as well play at a combined difficulty of normal or above or you may quickly get bored. When I say combined difficulty I mean that if your group has a difficulty of easy and you pick a game difficulty of hard then you have a combined difficulty of normal. Please take note that the ai does not get smarter past normal, they just cheat and get more money. New players should have a combined difficulty of easy or normal. Now you can really get started in building an empire (NOTE: The next few chapters assume you have choosen Early Period although they can be helpful on any age). Getting Your Bearings --------------------- The first thing you do once you are actually in the campaign map is to take a look around. You probably won't be able to see much but that won't be for long. Right-click and examine all the territories you can see. Take note of how much income they have, resources, trade goods, terrain, other specialties and buildings there. Try to make a basic idea of which areas you think are most important for you to defend or conquer. It is a good idea to incorporate allies into your plan right from the start. Just make sure not to become to dependent on a certain ally since you may not even be able to get him to ally with you or he could backstab you later. On to getting buildings. What Now? --------- Your first thought is probably "what to build?". What you decide to build is all dependent on what kind of strategy you are going to use as well as the group you choose. Take a good long look at the fold out tech tree that came with the game since this will be very useful the entire game. Now is a good time to put together a basic strategy. Here are some you should think about: The Diplomat- This strategy involves using an almost complete defensive plan that incorporates a slew of strategic agents. This is a good decision if you are bad at the real time battles, just want something different, or if caution is just your nature. The diplomats will concentrate on building up most of their starting provinces since it is not likely that they will be conquering much. Diplomats are preferably Christians with starting points that have convienient trade options available to them (for example the Italians) as this will allow them to make a lot of money while maintaining friendly relations with most nations (this also helps with trading). Diplomats must use spies, emissaries, inquisitors, and assasins to be successfull. Making sure the enemy has few good generals as well as figuring out which side to take in wars will definatly be a high priority for the Diplomat. Bribing enemy armies and launching crusades will become the norm as the Diplomat. Pros: If you can balance your enemies and allies while at the same time manipulating the computers actions and units you can win the game using a satisfying "invisible hand" method. Few provinces means it's easier to guard and defense is always easier than attack. Cons: Not very expansive and you can easily get demoralized if you keep looking at the quick expansionist strategies the computer uses sometimes. Can seem weakier later in the game and this strategy is usually only meant to be kept until half way through the game (expert players can follow this method out the whole game if they are good). The Moderate- Seriously not much to say about type of player. They are the average player and most people will end up becoming them. They use a little of everything and have no actually strong point. Good in all areas. Pros and Cons: None The Warlord- Everyone knows the warlord and whether you love or hate him he is here to stay. The warlords concentrate on war and war alone. All efforts focus on more troops and maintaining a minimium defense of all conquered territories. The warlord can quickly crush an entire faction but he can be brought down just as easy. Pros: Most players that are good commanders love being able to do cool real time battles. Can quickly gain the upperhand and their King's usually have a higher influence. Cons: Because of the speed at which warlords expand at they are exceptionally vulnerable to have their empire crumble in just a few years. If the AI was a little more intelligent the amount of warlords would decrease dramaticly (further information on this will be explained later). Now that you have seen the three most basic strategies you must decide which general direction your leaning too. You should then build accordingly. Some generic tips about building: -Build up your most valuable places first. -Make each place build only 1-3 types of units. So one place should make only heavy calvary, the other siege engines, other ships, other archery, etc. -Build farm upgrades in every location that initally gives you more than 250 income (if you want you can put them in all your places but improving the farmland 20% of a place that only gives you 50 bucks only means an extra 2.5 flourins). -Build trading posts in places that have 2 or more tradable goods. -Try to establish a long term plan for provinces. Make sure that if your goal is to get gothic knights in a hundred years that you follow the tech tree from the start to save you time and money. -If a province makes a specfic regional only unit make sure that you make an effort to build the needed structures to build that unit. Regional units are always more powerfull than similar units of similiar costs. This is especially true with Switzerland. Take Switzerland as fast as possible since it contains the best spear units in the game. -If a province gives +1 valour to a specfic unit type it is only intelligent to have that place building that kind of unit instead of the next province over (there are some situational exceptions of course). -If you have faction or religion only units in your tech tree try and work towards them. These units, like regional units, are far more powerful than generic units of the same type. -Make sure that you don't have important provinces with idle build orders. Medieval: Total War has so many useful structures you can build almost the entire game. Water, Navies and Trade ----------------------- Another feature new to the Total War series is the more interactive use of the seas. Although this section may seem out of place this early in the game I really have to stress the fact that the seas are important. Also if you are a group with easy sea access you will want to try and set up trade as early as possible. Controlling the seas is now extremely important and only increases as the game goes on. The oceans allow you to get immense masses of wealth as well as the ability to transfer units across the map in one turn. Personnaly, I thought the MTW manual was very vague regarding trade and the sea so I will clarify. To begin your navy you are going to have to have at least one port. Once this is built you will also have to build a shipwright so you can start building a boat. You should build the cheapest boat possible and in three turns (yes it takes 3 turns to make a ship of any kind so remember that it can clog up army production in that territory). Now you have a near useless ship and almost nothing will come from it alone. The only ability a lone ship has is fighting other ships (this one is so weak that there isnt even a point) and to scout out coastal territories. What you need to do is make more ships. When you get your next ship move it out to the next sea territory. This creates a supply chain/trade route to any foriegn ports that are adjacent to the sea terriories. If you have a dock in a territory you can now transport units to any land territory adjecent to your chain of ships. This is incredibly useful when fighting across an ocean and if a lot of your places have docks than you can have an army than can move throughout your empire in one turn. Trading with ships is the primary use of a navy. To trade, set up a supply chain/trade route to a foriegn port as explained above. Next you need to build a trading post. Right-click the trading post you have to see how much money you are gaining from trade. This is dependent upon the amount of tradeable resources of the territories that are trading as well as the type of your trade building you have. The perfect trade route would involve many foriegn territories that have a lot of tradeable resources. You should try to make sure you have ports in territories that have 2 or more tradeable resources and that they have the highest type of trade building you can stand to have. Here is a list of things that you should check if your trade route isn't working: 1. Do you have a trading post in your territory? 2. Is there an unbroken line of ships to the foreign territory? 3. Do both your territory and theirs have a port? 4. Are there any enemy ships in any sea territory that your trade route is in? 5. Do both territories have tradeable resources? 6. Are you at war with the target nation? Ships of nations you are at war with break trade routes. You cannot trade past the point where the line is broken and you cannot transport troops past that point either. This can be devastating. Some nations may rely almost completly on income from trade and by placing a single ship in the trade route you can bankrupt them rather quickly. For example, I was playing as Italy with almost 2/3 of my income from trade and I had a large standing army. The Byzantines declared war one me and broke my trade routes. I was about 1500 short every turn and I was forced to choose between setting my troops on a rampage to pillage and kill themselves (so I wouldn't have to pay support) or trying to make peace with the Byzantines. It broke my empire in half. So you should also remember to have either very strong ships in your trade route or a few extra ships guard the routes. Making amphibious landings is a great way to catch the computer by suprise. Most of the time the computer keeps minimal forces inside its empire while most of thier forces are spent guarding their boarders. This is also usefull for quick in and out slash and burn attacks. This is especially fun as the Danes early in the game, using vikings to pillage everyones territories. You must remember that if you make a landing upon a territory could mean that you might have no way back. If for example, you land your invasion force in Ireland you will not be able to transport that army back until you build a port in Ireland. Even if the place you are invading has a port when you invade it you shouldn't expect it to be there after your troops are done pillaging it. It is for this reason that you should expect your army to be a suicide army. If your army survives and establishes a foothold in the territory you attacked, or if they make it back to the Motherland saftly just consider it an added bonus. Control of the seas is important to all but some of the most landlocked nations of the world (like Poland). You should strive to get trade routes established with major trading ports (Constantinople, Antioch, and Venice are all places that can get over 1000 flourins a year JUST from properly established trade). Even if you don't have any good trade oppertunities having a few ships can be useful for either harrasing your enemies trade routes as well as transporting your troops. A few well placed ships can save your armies turns upon turns of movement. Bottomline; Do not underestimate the power of navies. Diplomacy --------- Diplomacy is definatly an aspect of the game that you can choose to persue to any extent you wish. How far you choose to pursue it usually depends on what you enjoy more. Do you enjoy trampling your opponents with a massive army or watching your opponents ex-allies crush them as they succumb to inner treachery? Both are equally satisfying and can radically alter the game. The emissary and princess are your two most basic units for establishing diplomatic ties. The princess is usually your best bet to getting an alliance or cease fire with a nation. This option is not always available since princesses are randomly created by your married king. It is also important to note that any muslim nation will not produce any princesses ever. If you do not have any princesses an emissary will do although they do not have as high of chance of having their offer accepted. Try to establish allies wherever you can. Whenever you go to war you should try and have it so that you are allied with every nation except the one that you are at war with. Fighting on two or more fronts because you angered too many nations is usually not a good idea. Before you go to war with anyone you should look at the diplomacy screen and figure out who the target nation is allied with. Starting a war with a nation could get your alliances canceled or you may have a few more people to fight. It's not uncommon to see over five of your allies bail out on their alliance with you after you attack someone. The computer usually goes with whatever ally has more influence and power but I have seen nations side with nations as small as the Aragonese even though i controlled half of Europe. In summary, diplomacy is a very simple concept that you can use how you please. Basiclly, just try to have a lot of allies backing you up and always make sure that anything you do diplomaticly should be to your benefit. Keeping the Peace (or keeping those peasants in line) ----------------------------------------------------- Rebellions, riots, and discord...You will become familiar with rebels and their incesent annoyances. Rebellions will be a constant the entire game. You should learn to use the shift key often (every turn actually) to make sure that none of your provinces will be attacked by rebels. If you are having a problem with high rebellion chances in your territories here are some tips to remedy the situation: -The easiest thing to do is lower taxes. This is the first thing you should do. -Produce cheap to make armies with a large unit size. Feudal sargents and spearmen are good units to quell a rebellious populace. The larger the unit size, the more they lower the chance of rebellion. -Look at the territories religious demographic. It is harder to control a population that worships Allah if you are a Christian kingdom. Put some priests of your religion there to lower the chance of rebellion. A church has the same effect. -Examine the govenor of the territory. If the govenor has some awful traits attached to him that lower happiness that could be why your subjects are so unruly. A govenor with low dread and/or low piety could be the reason for unhappiness. If your territory has a high level of zeal than piety is more important to the general than dread. Otherwise dread is the larger factor. If there is no govenor than find one with high piety or dread. All of your territories should have govenors as there is almost always no downside to having them. -Are you excommunicated? If you are Christian and you have displeased the pope you may have gotten excommunicated. You can easily tell if you are excommunicated by looking at any of your generals and looked at the crosses in piety. If they are broken you are excommunicated. Being excommunicated angers your subjects depending on how zealous they are. -Check out the vices of your king. Did he just get a vice that lowers happiness? This applies to every territory you have. There is very little you can do about this. -Is the province recently conquered? If it is then lower the taxes to very low and put some more troops on that province. The populace will slowly accept your rule. -Do none of the following seem to apply? The province may just be a naturally unruly place. This is especially true of Scotland and Portugual who can become very rebellious for no reason at all. Sometimes you may have to consider if the province is really worth keeping. Personnaly, sometimes I would just let the rebels have it. If you have to have a massive army kept on the territory at all times with very low taxes on the province you might actually be wasting money. The support of that army may actually outweigh the amount of money being produced by the province. I really have to stress using the shift key every turn. Provinces can become filled with unrest for almost no reason at all. The larger your empire gets the more rebellions become a problem. Provinces that you have held for the entire game may start to act up and if kept unchecked they can bring your empire to its knees. Your expansion is usually not actually halted by the enemy but the rebels. Say you attack a neighboring province with 1000 men. You lose 400 or so in the battle for the territory. Depending on the territories previous loyalty and your religion you may find that even with very low taxes that place may still have a high chance of rebellion. Now you are essentially stuck in that territory. If you move the army out of the province you are likely to have a loyalist uprising in that territory. Speaking of loyalist rebellions, here is a list of the different kinds of rebellions: Peasant Uprising-This is the weakest of the different kinds of uprisings. An army of peasants that is easily dispatched by a force, usually less than half their number. These occur when one of your usually loyal territories is taxed too much. Religious Uprising-These can actually be a problem. They are created when the province becomes disloyal do to the religious neglect in that province. These armies contain a multitude of units. Bandits-These are about as dangerous as the religious uprisings. They only occur when there is no castle or less than 100 units in the province. Loyalist Uprising-These are by far the most dangerous uprisings. They can contain generals of almost any power and troops to match. This isn't really why they are that powerful. It's more the fact that your enemy has control of this army. So if you are defending a province and a loyalist rebellion occurs while you are being attacked, the computer now has a larger force to fight against you. The worst possible scenario you can get yourself into with these things is if you leave a territory unguarded, or if you are retreating from that province back to a safer one, odds are a Loyalist rebellion will spring up and the computer might have even more of a force than they had when you first attacked. Luckily, loyalist rebellions only happen in the most previously loyal of conquered territories. When you actually defeat a rebellion you are given three options: 1. Kill/Enslave them all - Lowers chance of rebellion but may give the king some bad traits 2. Kill/Enslave the ringleaders - Kind of a neutral thing. 3. Release them all - Can give your king a mercy trait that adds happiness. NOTE: While not really rebellions faction reapperances are actually more dangerous than Loyalist uprisings. These happen when randomly after a faction has been eliminated. A lost heir will appear and about 3 large armies will attack three or so of your provinces. These always appear in a place where the faction occupied. These reappearance become brutal later in the game when there is so many eliminated factions and you have a larger area to protect. Vices and Virtues ----------------- One of the most unique things about MTW is the introduction of the vices and virtues system wherein generals, govenors, and royalty gain traits depending upon their actions. This system is very important to pay attention to as it can make or break your empire in multiple ways. Right-clicking on any leader will bring up information on them. The different traits can all be explained just by moving your mouse over the trait. You will want to take note of the following: Loyalty: This is probably the least important trait. This trait is almost always near or at full and if it is not just assign that person a land title. Unless you are frequently losing or are a very weak country, your generals should all have relatively high loyalty. While I consider this trait relatively low on your priority list it should be put to the top if any of your leaders has a low amount of loyalty. This is because leaders with low loyalty are very dangerous. Not only can they defect from your rule but if enough of your leaders are disloyal a civil war with start (I believe a leader of royal blood must also be disloyal for this to occur but don't risk it at all). The civil wars will take roughly half of your territories and pit them against the remaining territories. This is devastating even though you are allowed to choose which side you favor in the rebellion. A civil war will basicly stop you from doing anything until you get your land restored. During this time computers like to "liberate" your rebelious territory. You've got a few options if you want to raise the loyalty of your nobles. -Give them a land or office title (Try to distribute all of your titles). -If you have an extra princess lying around getting old and fat you might as well have her marry one of the generals (although you must remember that this gives the noble royal status). -If all else fails, have an emissary strip the noble of his title and give the title to a more qualified candidate. Piety: Piety has only two real functions. One is to make it harder for the noble to be tried by an inquisition and two is to make zealous territories happy. Try to have high piety nobles govenoring highly zealous territories. Dread: This is the most important in keeping your territories in line. High dread means the people fear and respect the govenor and they will rebel less (if you want proof, take a place that has a high chance of rebellion and assign it a govenor with high dread). A very easy way to get some dread is to slaughter prisoners in battle for no reason (gotta love the sound that button makes). Command: This is very important in battle. Each command increases the valor of everyone in that army. Command is a key fator in every battle and it is taken into consideration a lot when you auto-calc a battle. You can easily gain command by having generals win battles. Acumen: This is right up there with command on the importance scale. For the most part you should have a few good generals and everyone else should be nerdy acumen heavy govenors. Also try and make your good generals govenors of the lesser territories unless they have high acumen. Whenever you have a high income territory like Constantinople or Venice you should strive to get find a general with the most acumen you can find. You should even go to the extent of looking within army stacks. Meaning that you should check out your army stacks and then look inside them, right clicking each unit on the bottom to see if theres some general you haven't noticed that is brimming with potential. Having a few more acumen on a general in a key region can mean around 500 extra flourins a turn in a place that may have only produced 750 before. The Other Stuff: There are tons of traits that can be listed at the bottom of the nobles information window. These are really what you have to watch out for. They are only really dangerous because a lot of the traits are gained randomly and the changes they cause can be quite dramatic. Here are a few of the more common/important ones: NOTE: All X's mean there are many words that are just used as different degrees for this trait. Secret X - There are many secret traits that your leaders can have. Only spies can uncover them. Until they are uncovered they really have no effect. X Builder- You get the "X Builder" title depending on how much you build. This is usually given to the king and means more happiness. Hesitant- This one is as annoying as it is uncommon. Any time you say "Call off the attack" in the attack method menu you have a chance of getting this trait. Hesitant gives you -2 morale. Skilled/Expert Defender/Attacker- These traits all give you either a +1 or +2 bonus to command when attacking or defending. You get these traits by doing a good job defending or attacking. Skilled/Expert Last Stand- This is one of my favorites. These traits give you a bonus to command when you are outnumbered by more than 2 to 1. It's quite a status symbol. Questionable Courage/Coward- These traits are devestating. What could be worse than when you are losing battles than having your generals become worse? If you retreat you will most likely get a coward related trait that effects morale. X Leader-These are excellent as they give a massive bonus in combat. Make people with any of these traits your generals. X Warrior- Usually a bonus to health and valor. Gained by the general's unit performing well in combat. Not So Bold- When your generals sits back for too many battles you get this negative trait. Gluttony- When the taxes in a province are high the govenor may get this negative trait. There are so many more traits but most of them are acquired ranodmly and most of them are fully explained just by passing over the trait with the mouse. The main things you need to do are to check all your major generals to make sure they are combat worthy. One of the most important things to look for is that the general doesn't have many (or any) low morale modifiers. You could have a general with 8 command but if he has -6 morale your better off with a 1 command general. Nothing is worse than when you go into battle with a huge well equipped army and right when you are about to close in for the kill your soldiers see (Not even start to fight but just SEE) an enemy unit they all high-tail it out of there. Also take note that all of your king's territory affecting traits effect all of your territories. This can mean immense benefits for your kingdom but it also a double edged sword. Say for example that your king has a trait that gives a territory 10% agricultural bonus. This bonus applies to all territories! It is best used for the +10 happiness modifiers since you will have far less rebellions, Unfortunatly, this can destroy your entire empire. Let's say you have +20 happiness on your king and you are a fairly large empire. Now let's imagine that you have just conquered a few territories and you are just barely keeping them from rebellion. Then your king dies. Suddenly you lose that +20 happiness bonus and half your provinces, even ones that didn't seema threat before are rebelling like mad. This is why it's usually a good idea to start reinforcing all your territories when your king begins to reach old age. You never know when your king will die. *Through rebellion comes peace* - This is a little trick you can use to make your entire kingdom happier. If you have a rebellion on your hands (or you can just make one by being a bastard to the people) you can then eliminate the rebellion and when you are given the choice of what to do choose to let them all go. This usually gives your king the trait Occassional Mercy +10 or Frequent Mercy +20 and -2 dread. This bonus applies to all your territories so I suggest that each one of your kings get Occassional Mercy. Strategic Agents ---------------- All strategic agents are useful scouts. So if they aren't doing anything have them moving around. Remember that strategic agents can also use a dock to travel to any other dock in the world. Emissary- Used for making alliances or cease fires. They can also be dropped on your own nobles to strip them of their title (This is useful for when say, your govenor of Constantinople just got a trait that saps half the cash from his territory). Remember that striping a noble of his title will result in a reduction in loyalty. Emissaries can also bribe generals to your side. Assassin- Ah, who doesn't love a cold blooded killer for hire? With these deliverers of death you can try and assasinate any strategic agent save a jihad or crusade depending on the valor of your unit and the valor/rank of the target. Spy- Spies are your best source of information and they are especially useful for finding out how powerful enemy generals are. They can also uncover hidden traits. Spies can attempt to bribe gate guards to open castle doors. C. Bishop/O. Priest/Alim- These are all religious men that increase the percentage of people beliving in a certain religion. Remember to use these to quell religious rebellions by changing the religion to yours. It is also usually a good idea to put some of your priests in a territory you are planning on conquering so that it's easier to control once you conquer it. C. Cardinal/O. Bishop/Imarn- These are improved religious men. Inquisitor- Used to raise the zeal in whatever province the inquisitor is in. After around 60% zeal or so the province will become out of control and many people will die. Think of putting one in an enemies place for fun. NOTE: Catholic priests and bishops will reduce the effect of Inquesitors if they are in the same province. Inquisitors can also be dropped on nobles to try them for hearsey. The chance of success depends on the valor of the inquisitor and the piety of the target. Grand Inquisitor- Improved Inquisitors. Crusades and Jihads ------------------- Crusades and jihads can be your best friend or worst enemy. Crusades are available only to Catholic factions and Jihads are available only to muslims. Sorry Orthodox factions, you guys get the shaft. Anyways crusades are only used when attacking provinces and jihads are used for reclaiming conquered provinces (AKA a sort of defense). Both crusades and jihads are dependent on zeal. Without a good amount of zeal the crusade or jihad will be weak and/or fail. Crusades and jihads are very useful early in the game and continually become weaker as the game progresses. This is due to the advancement of technology and the decline of the church. Zeal is usually always on the decline so it is best to use the crusades and jihads as fast as possible. All you need to do is buid a jihad or crusade, select an appropriate target and thats pretty much it. Crusades that pass through Christian lands gain followers depending on the province's zeal. They will even take troops from your enemies and add them to you. By doing this you can essentially have yor enemies fight for you. Leaders do have the option of not letting the crusade pass, in which case a fight will ensue. This rarely happens though. Crusades also produce unique units. These can be fanatics, order foot soldiers, teutonic sargeants, Knights of Santiago, teutonic knights, knights hospitaller, and knights templar. All except the fanatics and order foot soldiers are among the best calvary in the game. The order foot soldiers can also give you an edge. These units, if used quickly in the beginning of the game can annhilate enemies. Another great thing about crusades and jihads is that you can effectivly use them to have an entire army cross one of your allies territories. You can drop any army you want into the crusade (although they cannot leave until the crusade is over). I personnally love being the Spanish and sending a crusade that contains all my armies through France, Germany, and Italy on it's way to take Constantinople. If the Pope calls for a crusade and you send a crusade to whatever the Pope asks you to do you won't have to pay him to start the crusade. You can also not start cursades if you are excommunicated. Many of the following also applies to jihads. Pros of crusades: Can cross other nations you don't want to go to war with and at the same time you can steal their troops. Very powerful units are produced from crusades. Cons of crusades: Takes four years to make. Can't be done if excommunicated. Costs a lot of money and cannot change it's destination territory. Becomes useless late in game. The Church ---------- The Papacy is annoying as hell. They are natives of Rome and will reappear every so often if you conquer them. The Pope will excommunicate you if you fight Christians and me call for crusades against you. The Pope may occasionally send you money if you are an extrememly good with "spreading gods word". I would only take on the papacy if you feel you have absolutly no need for crusades. If the papacy is destroyed so are all excommunications. You can also build your own churchs too increase faith. Constructing cathedrals will amplify the effect and give you money from it. The Inn ------- The inn is a great tool. It allows you to attract mercenary units of any kind. If you have a wealth of money I would suggest building a couple of these. The support costs for the units are immense but inns can provide entire armies in case of emergencies. Mercenaries cannot become govenors or be resupplied. Remember to disband excess mercenary units if you are getting low on cash. Sieging ------- Whenever you siege a castle the easiest way to win it is to just sit there. The easiest way to defend against a siege is to just sit there and hope for reinforcements. Exciting, huh? The only time you should ever attack a castle is if it is a key territory and you need it right then and there. I would still only recommend doing this if right-clicking on the castle reveals that you still have over 3 years before the castle falls. Only sally forth from the castle if you have far more units than your opponent. Remeber if you siege to have plenty of siege weapons. Auto-Calcing ------------ There comes a time when battle become repetitive (especially in noncrucial battles versus rebels and such). When this time comes it means that it is time for the auto-calc (or letting the computer resolve the battle for you). Generally the computer will almost always do worse for you than a skilled player so I would advise against using this all the time. Auto-calc works well if you have a lot of command/valor/morale and a mixed force. The computer DOES take into account the combination of units you have so don't think just by making 1000 peasants that the computer will favor your 1000 peasants vs 500 well trained troops. If you auto-calc a siege try to have at least some siege weapons. Advanced Strategies ------------------- If you are losing in the big picture the easiest thing to do is defend and wait for an attack. As a human you should be able to defend against over 3x your number. After you crush an invasion counterattack the weakend force and take some territory in the process. Slash and Burn- This is one of my favorite strategies since it solves so many problems. This straegy involves taking everything you have (save garrisons for stopping rebels) and spreading to any province you can take. The entire goal is not to gain land. The goal is to destroy your enemies buildings and kill troops. This strategy usually results in a huge cash influx. You can then use this to support massive armies. I am occasionally force into using this strategy when my empire gets enormous. When you are going bankrupt this is the ultimate solution to your support costs because A. It will kill a lot of your men (no more support) as well as the enemies. B. You get tons of cash pillaging C. The enemy will be set back many years because of all the stuff you destroy. You might also actually get to keep one or two of the territories you take too. The only con to this are that you could keep the generic level of technology down (not that you might care but...). You can use this on a broad scale if you want. All you have to do is keep a central production area (Constantinople for example) and keep the rest of the world in ruin. This insures you will have the best units. This strategy is great fun as the vikings. Scorched Earth- This is useful for retreating. When you know the province you are looking at will get miserably crushed next turn. All you have to do is sell all the buildings in the territory and withdrawl all your troops to a larger force or more defensible territory. Your enemy will probably have to face rebels too (just make sure you don't move all your troops away if you know there may be a loyalist rebellion if you leave. Wealth Beyond Measure- Feasibly only obtainable as Italy, Egypt, or Constantinople since you need a lot of money to pull this one off. This one involes merely defending every major sea port and ruling the seas. Each major dock territory can make over 1000 flourins a turn. You can just buy armies through mercenaries or bribery. For the Glory of God- This strategy is better known as "Crusades Everywhere!". This works very well with the zealous Spanish. All you have to do is continually make crusades as soon as possible and load them up with everything you can find. Strike quick and fast. The Wall- This strategy is very popular and can be used by any nation. All it involves is keeping all your troops on the borders and minimal troops behind it. The advantage is that you are very hard to be invaded but things like rebels and reappearing factions can cripple you in no time. The Moving Wall- This strategy works best if you have many high tech units. All you have to do is only attack weak territories and really only play a defensive game. You just pick a lot of high tech defensive units and slowly advance, never attacking a large force. This works so well because defenders always have an advantage. Heir Elimination- The goal is not to conquer and entire faction but to make it disappear completly by killing all the heirs. Assasins, inquisitors, and army kill squads all become focused on hunting down every last heir. This is a very risky but fun strategy. All forces in battle should focus on killing the heirs/kings. Zerg- Everyone loves getting Zerg rushed! This strategy involves tons and tons of cheap units thrown everywhere. Vikings, Scottish Highlanders, Steppe Calvary, Woodsmen, Milita Sargeants...pretty much anything that is cheap to make. Just continually produce these units and win with sheer numbers. This strategy works well in conjunction with the Slash and Burn strategy. Rebellions are also easy to prevent since you have so many units to use for garrison. Battles ------- Eventually you will have to take the field of battle (and if you don't you shouldn't play MTW). This is a whole different game here and mastering it can be hard. You'll learn to love it after you watch your own home grown army crush your enemies. Commanding battles yourself should always mean a better kill ratio but the downside is that battles take time. I definatly don't suggest actually commanding every battle that happens since that would take forever. Anyways here is a list of tips for battle that you should keep in mind: NOTE: This is really meant for singleplayer. Humans are smarter and less predicatable so they may see through some of these tricks and such. -Always keep a balanced force. MTW is like any real time strategy in that it uses a kind of rock-paper-scissors system. (You need spearmen to kill calvary, calvary to kill bowman, etc.). -Fear is contagious. Routing units scare nearby allied troops. -Do not have a king in a territory that will have a battle since the king will always become the general even if he has only 1 command compared to another general in the same territory with 9. -Do not charge troops until the last minute since it saves energy. -Select all your units if there is a mass rout and see if it is possible to rally any of them. -When on defense take the highest ground possible. -When on defense you have to choose whether or not to be close to the edge of the map or far away. I usually suggest being close to the edge since it makes enemies have to walk a very long way so they get tired. They also will have to walk through routing units. My troops also get more rest too. The downside to this is that if your units rout close to the map edge you have almost no chance of rallying them. -If a unit is out of ammo or become useless for some reason (fatigue, casualties, etc.) don't be afraid to right-click them and hit "Withdraw from Battle". Unlike rout, this won't scare your own units and you can still use this unit later on in the campaign. -Don't be afraid to use large group formations. Experiment with them and conclude on how they are best used (PCGamer's December 2002 issue has a great section on the use of group formations). -Use the strength of your army. (If you have tons of archers try to have them use all their ammo before you attack with the rest). -Units suffer penalties the more tired they are and the more surronded they are. -Flanking is your best friend. You can even defeat a group of pikemen with calvary if you charge from the back for side. -Calvary is key since mobility is key to winning battles. -Make sure a siege weapon has enough crew to fire before you put it into battle. -if a battle is so close that you are running low on guys don't feel bad about charging units with missle units (although it is usually best to do this against other weak units like missle units. -Try and sneak around a horse or two to take out siege weapons. -Ballistas suck. -Be wary of turning your guys around while they are fighting. Getting attacked from behind may cause them to route. -Guard your missle units. -Bridge battles are the hardest battles in the game. Make sure you have at least 3x as many guys if attacking. -Hashinin can give the enemy quite a suprise. -Siege weapons aren't just for castles ;). -Kill enemy generals since they'll take a morale hit. -Use trees to conceal troops. -USe trees to protect from calvary and arrows. -If a multifaction battle starts let the enemy either come to you or fight it out between themselves, then sweep in for the kill. -Be a sore loser. Kill prisoners if your going to lose. -Swap reinforcements until you find the best combination for the start of the battle. -Peasants and units with low valor/morale can actually be harmful to your armies. Be wary of using them since they rout easily. This can cause the fear to spread to your good troops. -Use the weather to your advantage. If you are attacking a group of many archers/gunpowder units attack in rain. -Try not to send your general to the front. -Use wedge formations and charges to break enemy formations. -If a unit works best in deep formations keep them in deep formations. -If the battle contains more than just two factions than let the other two fight it out while you hide in the corner. Then come in for the kill when they are both near death. -Press 'P' so you can pause the game and give orders better. -If the enemy has a lot of anti-calvary you should dismount your calvary. -Don't underestimate the power of weapons that cause fear. Even if your siege weapon only kills a few guys it is still scaring the enemy. -Don't underestimate short range units like Spanish Jinets and Naptha Throwers. These units can destroy waves of men. The key to their success is to put them on hold position and turn off the skrimish mode so they don't run away and interrupt their loading every time the enemy takes a step. -Don't overload on artillery. -When placiong a siege weapon notice where that siege weapon is able to fire since it cannot be moved once the battle commences. -When attacking a castle you have two options. One is too surrond the castle and the other is to focus on one part. The advantage to surronding is that you confuse the enemy but you get hit by all of the towers in the caslte. The focus method is more predicatable but you are only hit by half the castles towers. Charging ........ Choosing to charge after a fleeing enemy is a risky thing to do. This is because it tires your troops and it could possibly be a trap. The adavantages are that you will kill many more people, most likely prevent them from rallying, and also your troops/calvary will probably gain valor. Even if you don't think the computer is clever doesn't mean that it can't spring a trap on you. The computer may be able to rally its troops around and crush yours. It is even worse if you chase all their troops to the end of the map only to find that they have tons of reinforcements popping in. Your troops will be ripe for the pickings after they just exhausted themselves with all that chasing. Generally don't charge unless you know the computer has no more units in reserve. Faction Suggestions (Early Age) ------------------------------- Almohads- Somewhat easy. Make use of their special unit sas soon as possible. The only real decision you have to make is whether to attack Egypt or Spain. Byzantines- Fairly easy. Focus on one front, work towards kataphraktoi, while building byzantine infantry, spearmen, archers, and naptha throwers. Try to start trading early on. Danes- Oddly enough the Danes are ranked amongst the best factions by many players. The danes are moderatly hard and they should concentrate on capturing Norway and terrorizing the North Sea. You could also try to find a weakness in the Germans or try taking Russia. Egypt- Egypt is the easiest of the Muslim factions. Egypt is an excellent territory, they can easily trade, and tehy have a few good unique units. Focus on capturing the coastal provinces to the east such as Antioch. Trade there is great. English- Most newbies decide to play as English their first time. England is rather complext for a beginner so I would not recommend it for the first try. They are trapped by France though they do have excellent unique and province only units. French- The French are relativly easy. They are great at crusading and are only rivaled by Germany in the knight department. I would suggest crusading for a while until you no longer care about being excommunicated. Take Switzerland ASAP since the pikemen and halberdiers are excellent. Germany- The strategy here...pure and utter war. kill anyone you want and work towards the high level knights. Take Switzerland ASAP. Germany is the only country that can fight a war on all fronts with relative ease. Italy- One of my personal favorites. Italy should specialize in trade and become a monetary powerhouse. Whether or not you choose to get rid of the Papacy is up to you. I recommend a mix of The Moving Wall with Wealth Beyond Measure with a heavy emphasis on Italian Infantry. Polish- These are the real underdogs of the early age. They are surronded adn have no special units of any use. I would suggest taking over Russia or Byzantines first. Spanish- Crusades are the name of the game here. Take out the Almohads or the Byzantines and build a lot of Spanish Jinets since they are very versatile. Turkish- Competing with the Polish for the worst faction of the time. The turks have some ok unique units but other than that they have no other advantages. 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