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    Poland Guide by haishou

    Version: 2.0 | Updated: 10/30/03 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Medieval: Total War
    More specifically . . . Playing Poland: Underdogs to the end !
    (Insert spectacular ASCII drawing here, I'm no good at it, but if anyone
    wants to help me out here, please email me, I'll be ever so grateful ;-) )
    0) Legal Stuff (quite short, I promise)
    1) Version update info
    2) intro
    3) So you want to play Poland
    4) Why they are NOT THAT BAD
    5) Strategy: playing Poland
    6) Other general tips, strategies and such, not exclusively used by Poland.
    7) Unit roster
    8) About me 
    9) My email address (heutekenteut@hotmail.com)
    10)The ultimate medieval joke
    and finally
    11) Thank you
    0) Legal stuff
    I worked hard on this. Please respect that.
    Basically, my email address is at the end of this file (and hidden at
    various places) and I will respond to everyone who asks me something.
    Whatever the question. 
    If you find things in this FAQ which you would like to use yourself 
    (in an FAQ of your own, on a website, in a magazine, whatever, where-ever),
    just ask me, I AM known as a decent human being, so don't be afraid ;-)
    I WILL normally grant authorization to use this, 
    as long as the text remains unaltered and I get full credit.
    If you do find someone using this text without permission, 
    please let me know, I will mobilize my polish retainer armies
    and get medieval on the offender's behind ! So there.
    (This was my first "Medieval" joke, many more to come and often even sadder).
    currently, this file should only be found at: 
    1) Version info
    Version 0.30: sunday evening (and night), 17 august 2003
    The very first version, I put the legal stuff and that part about myself 
    (which I presume nobody reads anyways, but hey)
    as well as the intro and the first pros of the Polish nation, both in
    strategy and fun terms. I also came up with the Ultimate Medieval Joke . . . 
    though you need a special kind of humour like mine to really appreciate 
    its fine subtleties. I am currently at 24,6 KB !!
    Version 0.75: monday evening (and again, night), 18 august 2003
    I solved the matter of later starting kings. I also put the text in the
    correct format, put the first part of the unit roster here, as well as the
    first part of my general hints and tips. Also the major part of the Poland
    walkthrough. And finally, wrote yet another chapter on the polish retainers.
    (I really love these guys). A tremendous 44 KB . . .
    Version 1.00: Tuesday evening (Yes, I turned in EARLY !!), 19 august 2003
    Put the light cavalry in the troop roster. Finished the Poland walkthrough
    for the early periods. Some minor text editing and a bit more on the general
    tips and strategies. This is the version first sent to Gamefaqs.
    My puter calls it 58KB and quits . . .
    Version 2.00: Right up until mid october 2003, Everything is now complete
    except for the unit comparison roster. I just don't know what to do with
    this part . . .
    2) Intro
    This FAQ is dedicated to what may very well be the BEST strategic game ever,
    Medieval: Total war. This game is different from RTS games (warcraft,
    age of empires, and the likes) in 2 very important ways;
    First, the 'empire building' part of the game is not REAL TIME, meaning
    that you can spend hours at it and as long as you do not "end" the turn,
    nothing will happen, the enemies politely (in real medieval-like fashion
    I suppose ?) wait for you. So bye bye to the strategy of speedcrazedly
    building peasants and structures etc. (Which tend to be the winning factors
    in RTS).
    Second, during the battles (which ARE real time), your armies are really
    based upon units, rather than individual figures (which may or may not
    "symbolize" a unit). This makes tactical thinking much more important, as
    now you can really Flank enemies, lure them into nifty traps, etc. etc.
    In this game, battles are not won by the best army per se . . . they are won
    by the best tactician/strategist.
    If you order the battles right, you can expect some GREAT victories.
    (I once depleted an army of about a 1000 soldiers with only 400 ones myself.
    At the end I had killed 862 men of the enemy and had lost no more than 10
    of my own).
    However, it is also completely different from empire building games
    (civilization, orion, . . .), due to the fact that the heart of the game
    really are the battles, not the cities/countries/planets/whatever.
    Medieval had a predecessor, called Shogun. This was in many ways the same
    game, but in just as many ways totally different.
    In short, medieval is far more 'sophisticated'. There are MUCH more units,
    many more countries to choose from, army generals really have
    personalities, . . . It is much more "replayable".
    However, Shogun was of course set in Japan and so much much cooler.
    And on a final note, strategically speaking, the map was also better.
    If you are considering buying either one of these games, I would recommend
    Medieval, unless you really like Japan.
    Specifically, this FAQ was written for how (and why !) to play as Poland.
    They are generally considered to be the hardest nation to play (as well as
    the least interesting). I totally disagree, however, and believe that
    not only are they one of the BEST factions in the entire game, moreover,
    they are challenging and fun as well.
    Look at it this way. The Germans may have a far stronger empire than the
    Polish king, but they have perhaps the most boring territory and definitely
    the most boring troop roster.
    Poland offers a challenge, and also the means to see this through.
    Seasoned players of Medieval will likely find little of interest here
    (unless of course they wish to join in the big discussion I hope to start
    regarding the use of Poland), but maybe they will still find section 7
    Starting players may find the Polish way to glory . . . not ideal for their
    first time through (try the Spanish, the Almohads or the Egyptians instead)
    Intermediate players (much like myself, I guess), will probably find this
    a fun challenge and possibly quite different from what they already know.
    Any way, whichever you are, ENJOY !!
    3) So you want to play the Polish ?
    And right you are too.
    Let's take a look at their situation. Starting place, troop roster, that
    sorta stuff. At this time, we are not interested in their pros and cons,
    we simply want to look at their "fun factor".
    The starting place of every nation could very well be the most important
    factor in deciding how that nation "plays".
    For example, the Germans have a large empire to start with, but are entirely
    surrounded by fellow catholics. This makes expansion VERY hard, because
    you'll constantly be excommunicated, and in the beginning, this can be a
    deathblow. Especially seeing that the German empire is very sensitive to
    internal tremors. This makes them quite boring (though also challenging,
    of course), because you spend the first part of the game consollidating, or
    sending crusades (and thus creating a very colonial empire).
    The english and the french have, more or less, the same problems.
    Furthermore, they also have (more or less) exactly the same troop roster.
    In fact, only the English have troops which may give them a higher fun factor
    (gallowglasses, billmen, longbows, hobilars,  . . .).
    The Byzantines and the Muslim factions, on the other hand, have a nicer
    starting position, and have many unique troops. But a lot of these unique
    units have no real use at all, seeing that there are other troops which will
    fulfill the same role, better. So, sadly, not many GOOD troops and anyways,
    they all are rather "first period" ones, becoming outclassed later on.
    Muslim factions also do not have princesses and hence are diplomatically not
    that able (also because catholics will sometimes break the alliances no matter
    what, just to crusade), and their troops are often "desert based" (But HEY,
    we already OWN the desert . . . it's the lush mainland we want !!)
    The Russians would have been fun, but are only playable in the later periods,
    by which time their troops are on the border of obsoletion.
    The Japanese are not really present in Europe at this time and anyway, if you
    really want to play them, there's another total war out there just for you !
    The Americans are still in their human sacrificing period, or are quite
    happy hunting buffalos on the eternal plains, so they should be left alone 
    (for now . . . could this be the next game ? America: total war ?)
    And don't even dare suggest playing the Aussies, bexause they didn't even
    exist at that time yet. (although some boomerang armed aboriginees could be a
    great asset to any army, with didgeridoos to guide them to battle !)
    The spanish offer a nice mix of unique (or almost unique) troops and a
    starting position with possibilities, as do the Danes.
    The Italians are also fun, because they are TOTALLY different.
    And Poland has it all:
    A Kick ass troop roster (I'll explain later), a starting position which has
    a) (much) stronger neighbours and b) (much) weaker ones
    and the option of going for trade as well.
    And finally, their generals are so goddamn cool. I don't think there is ONE
    other faction which gets so many drunken bastards (and these things don't
    often do that much damage anyway, but it's soooo groovy)
    Add to that names which you will never be able to pronounce and a nifty
    nation flag . . . why even consider other countries ?
    (As Gilbert and Sullivan would have it: 
    "For he himself has said it
                                      (Nobody understood but apparently, he did)
    And it's really to his credit:
    That he is a Polish drunken weirdo
                                      (that he is a Polish drunken weirdo)
    But in spite of all temptations,
    to belong to other nations.
    He remains a Polish drunken weirdo.
    With a name like wladyszlaw, a stupid face and a brown beardo.
    Sing turalurali.")
    My point of view is this:
    Most fun:  Italy, Poland, Spain
    Also fun:  Denmark (a lot like Poland, but not as nice), Byzantine empire
    Average:   England, Egypt, Turkey, Almohad Empire
    lacking:   Russia
    Not fun:   France, German empire
    Of course, choose whatever you want, but I just want to point out that 
    Poland has a starting position which offers much more choice and possibility
    than many others.
    4) Why they are not THAT BAD
    Of course, their starting position is not as good as that of the German empire
    (any period) or the Muslim factions and the Byzantine empire (mainly early
    period). But I DO think it is better than the French and the English and
    possibly even the Danish, Spanish, Italian, . . .
    Here's why:
    This, by the way, is even more true in "glorious achievement" mode, because
    most of your points are then scored through conquest.
    The German empire is large, poland is small. But the germans are stuck,
    while Poland has room. Meaning, that if we play our cards right, we could soon
    have an empire as large, but with more experienced troops/generals.
    (I continuously compare poland to germany, because the germans are your
    biggest threat.)
    Now, here comes a bit of a giant revelation (drums please) . . .
    . . . the Germans are your ONLY threat.
    (Okay, apart from the Hungarians, but they're not that dangerous)
    So, if you manage to cement an alliance with the Germans somewhere in your
    first turns (and you really should try this), all those areas to your east 
    could become easy meat, seeing as there are no other pretenders for them
    (at first).
    Even if you don't get the alliance, just keep your home territorry (Silezia
    and Poland) defended and you'll do fine. The Germans will never attack you 
    unless you are more or less actually inviting them in.
    (Hey Gunther, look at my lush unprotected lands. Oh, and I just went and got
    excommunicated a while ago too).
    This is because if they attack you, they risk being excommunicated (and they
    are a strong empire, but VERY sensitive to internal struggle).
    So whatever you do, DO NOT ANGER THE POPE (if you do this, every catholic
    faction will -under the claim of righteousness- try to eat up your territory).
    Keep your areas defended in a slightly better than average way and you'll do
    fine. In fact, your vulnerability can very well be your greatest strength
    (Damn I'm sounding Taoistic now), because neither the Germans nor the
    Hungarians will see YOU as a threat (and right they are too), so they are
    going to spend their attention elsewhere.
    Watch out for the Hungarians, they will probably not attack you (for the same
    reasons, fellow catholics, you're no threat, you do have defended area),
    but they might steal away your precious "eastern pickings".
    (Same goes for Byzantines, who also will be much more dangerous because they
    are orthodox. You do have a while before you meet them though, so don't sweat
    it . . . just yet)
    The Germans will likely spend most of their time making a more stable empire
    (and often failing in this too, boo hiss) and in fact, are only an annoyance
    factor as they will sometimes send crusades through your countries. Always let
    these pass, and swallow the pill.
    The Hungarians can very easily be cut off, if you take some areas to the south
    and will henceforth turn their attentions to the Byzantine empire (which makes
    doubly blessed, I guess, since they can keep one of your next pretenders at
    If at any time either one of them DOES attack you, defend as best as you can
    and DO NOT RETALIATE immediately. Wait for them to be excommunicated before
    reclaiming your area (or stealing some of theirs).
    But as I said, this should not happen.
    (On a same note, have you noticed that the Germans almost never take the Danes
    out ? Even though they could very easily. It's the same thing, they can't risk
    the Popes' wrath and Denmark is pretty harmless anyway).
    If either one of them at some point gets excommunicated (Germany sometimes
    gets involved in the English/French dilemma), be wary.
    For now, they have nothing to lose anymore and they will look at your areas
    for possible defense flaws.
    So let's summarize this first part:
    -You have only 2 enemies, both are catholic and will tend to ignore you
    -You have the country with the most possible "territory to gain"
    -Your starting regions are rich and quite loyal (yet another defense factor)
    -You might receive money from the pope in christianizing the lands around you
    (small potatoes, but still)
    -Your king will gain A LOT OF INFLUENCE very fast, which in turn should get
    you a lot of alliances which will defend you even more.
    -You do start kinda weak . . . and if your army suffers one defeat it might
    very well cost you the game, as you have no economical reserve to make another
    Now here's 2 more territorial reasons why Poland isn't that bad:
    First off, during the second part of the game, you will have to face some very
    large empires in the southern areas.
    Either the Byzantines, the Egyptians (not that likely though), the Almohads or
    the Turks, will start dominating the southern part of Europe pretty seriously.
    Here's the good news: by the time you encounter these, most of their troops
    will be verging on obsoletion, whereas you should be on the brink of making a
    huge class change
    (upgrading to chivalric knights and the better spearmen and such).
    The Spanish on the other hand, have to fight the Almohads pretty soon, at a
    time when these are still at striking maximum.
    Even better, the Muslim factions will have many unit types which are desert
    homed, meaning you have the advantage when fighting them in the (south)eastern
    European regions. Just think about it, camels in the carpathian forests ?
    Should not be that hard. I remember, however, playing the Spanish and trying 
    to invade the Almohad empire . . . man, fighting in the desert.
    Northern countries have this in their favour, no matter what !
    Second, the first two areas you should (probably) try to conquer will be
    Pommerania (mainly for cutting of the Germans only possible means of 
    expansion) and Prussia (hey, it's right next to it, so just grab it along !).
    These 2 countries have 3 trade goods between them and can hence make a solid
    base for a wealthy naval economy. Especially because the Baltic sea has an
    awful amount of regions adjacent to it. So with only a very small amount of
    ships, you will still generate a hefty trade income, especially when later on,
    you add Lithuania (Did I ever tell you that I can speak this language ?
    As galiu kalbeti lietuviu kalbu) and Livonia (and later pretty much the entire
    region including Sweden).
    So, would you still say that Poland is weak ?
    You WOULD ????? Damn you're hard to please !
    Well, okay, I'll even give you more reasons, this time regarding the troop
    roster. Poland has only 1 unique unit (the Polish retainer) and they do not
    get many of the final knights/infantry that the other catholic factions get
    (no nifty lancers sob sob, hell, no gothic knights either and their chivalric
    knight are really only average compared to the French ones. No order knights
    non plus and on and on).
    So basically, their troop roster sucks, right ?
    Not quite . . .
    You see, they only have one UNIQUE unit, but they have quite a few coming
    close. A unit should never be seen as simply good/bad. It should always be
    related to the time by which they become available.
    For example, Gendarmes are quite strong units, but they become available SO
    LATE in the game, that there really is no point in making them, as because
    even chivalric knights will be more or less better.
    Lancers are the best unit in pure strength, but also, become available at
    such a late date that their impact on the game (hmm, must remember that word,
    Impact, it describes the matter pretty well) will never be that impressive.
    Take a look at my grand unit roster (section 7) and see which units I think
    are best overall (ie, which units will have the biggest impact) . . .
    . . . Know what ? Quite a lot of these are POLISH troops (more or less).
    Take woodsmen, for instance. A weak unit, but FAR BETTER than peasants
    (and probably militia and even early spearmen) and cheap as spit and available
    from the very beginning. PLUS, they have the invaluable "irresistable charge"
    attribute. And by the time they will slowly start to fade, they get a small
    reboost when you capture Lithuania (famed for it's woodsmen . . . and it's
    very difficult language, grrr).
    And guess what, Poland is just about going to be the only country using them.
    (If you play as the Almohads and you ever end up in Lithuania, they should not
    really be a useful unit anymore).
    To a lesser degree, the same comment goes for Steppe cavalry and Lithuanian
    cavalry, (both available to one or two other nations, and both will require
    a bit of bonquering before you get your hands on them, meaning they will
    already be past their highest power period - - - - but both will remain
    "useful" throughout the whole game. Especially the steppe cavalry).
    From the Baltic sea you could also make an expedition towards Scotland and/or
    Ireland, for Clansmen and Gallowglasses.
    And finally, we have the (imho) best unit in the game, which IS YOURS
    Ah, the Polish Retainers. Minor nobility (and always with names that cannot be
    pronounced and most likely a few drunkards among their leaders as well.)
        A small sidenote here.
        I initially played the unpatched version of medieval and as it turned out,
        this version allows you to build units whenever you have the building
        requirements. After the patch, you still have to wait for the right time,
        ie, polish retainers are considered high and late period units, so you
        CANNOT build them before 1205, patched version.
        This is completely stupid because their whole essence screams out "EARLY
        PERIOD" . . . I edited this as soon as I learned how to, but if you don't
        want to edit, then you should forget everything about the retainers and
        you should stick with royal knights in the beginning.
    I really don't understand why everyone considers them weak.
    They're goddamn brilliant !
    Just consider them.
    For starters, they are very available (insert your own bad sexual reference
    joke here). I mean, you could have them after only 5 (yes, that's right 5!!!)
    turns of playing in early period. This means that, for a significant time
    after you get Polish retainers, the only comparable cavalry will be mounted
    sergeants and royal knights. They are MUCH harder hitting (and better
    armoured, to boot) than the sergeants, as well as having higher morale and a
    better charge (which is what cavalry is all about !) so really the sergeants
    are no match. They are somewhat equal to the first royal knights (in fact,
    I still find them slightly better) but beat them easily because they're a 40
    men unit, versus the 20 men in the royals. Meaning that their charge is twice
    as effective (well, maybe not that, but close), they're twice as durable, etc.
    etc. And apart from that, they have more stamina too, so they're far better
    for "sweeping the field". (thanks to their lighter armour).
    Your initial armies should look something like this:
    One or two spearmen units, spread quite thin (in three ranks or so). These are
    your central block and will frontally charge your opponents. They will not
    kill much, but should remain pretty intact. One or two woodsmen units on each
    of their flanks. Woodsmen should not immediately get in the melee as they are
    poor fighters and have weak morale. But once your spearmen start fighting they
    can make a devastating flank charge and what's better, if the charge doesn't
    break your foe, they should still be okay just fighting (not like cavalry).
    Finally, one or two cavalry units at eacht of the wings (retainers or your
    king/heirs). Depending on the opposition, these should either annihilate the
    archers, peasants, etc. or final flank the melee. And, naturally, they'll be 
    sweeping the field for you.
    This is primarily an offensive strategy (which should be your early goal
    anyway), but works as a defensive one as well, in a pitch.
    Just let the enemy come to you, then do the same thing as above, only now
    versus a tired opponent !
    So for a final (sort of) summary:
    You have an EXCELLENT troop roster for conquest early on in the game, which is
    perfecty fitting with your early goals.
    Later on, you get all the same major upgrades as your fellow catholic factions
    (whereas muslims and orthodox...ians(?) tend to waver here) and it will only
    be at the final period when your army finally starts losing it.
    But if you're still struggling along with your first 2 regions at that point,
    well, you're not gonna make it no matter WHAT troops you have.
    This makes for one very important side note however.
    Although the territorry and the surroundings are almost identical for Poland
    in every period, the troop efficiency isn't. Therefore, if you play in the
    late period . . . you're in a bit of trouble, because your troop advantage
    will be pretty much gone even as the game starts.
    Early and even middle period should do fine and remember, even in the late
    period, you still have huge territorital advantages. (And hey, by that time,
    you will also have less trouble from crusades to the east).
    On a final note, your king (in any period) always starts with 3 command points
    and the mighty warrior virtue. And with quite a few heirs on the verge of
    maturity (Hey mom, my thingie started standing tall all of a sudden ???)
    This means that you can quite safely commit your king to battle (and after a
    couple of turns, some heirs too), and while 3 command points is nowhere near
    as magnificent or impressive as some of your contemporaries (the Byzantines
    have insanely good generals, for example), it will still make your armies much
    stronger than the rebels of these all important first pickings.
    Yet another plus when you want to conquer fast.
    So, if you STILL think Poland sucks . . . I'll have your guts for gharters and
    cut your tongue out (which could actually make pronouncing their damn names a
    tad-bit easier).
    Just kidding !
    Just to stress the use of the Polish Retainers even further, at the time you
    get Feudal Knights, you should still think twice about preferring these.
    Statistically, these may be slightly better than the retainers, but you have
    to consider the way you're going to use them as well.
    Heavy cavalry has three basic uses and two "if need be" uses:
    They are used primarily for charging flanks, charging non-spear related
    infantry and sweeping the field.
    And in a pitch, for fighting other heavy cavalry and hunting down horse
    In the primary uses, retainers are better at sweeping the field, just as good
    in charging and ALMOST as good in fighting with melee troops. (Both Feudals
    and Retainers will annihilate peasants etc. and only elite troops will do more
    damage to your retainers than to the feudals).
    In the secondary uses, retainers are better at hunting down horse archers, and
    feudal knights are better (by a wide margin) for fighting other heavy cavalry.
    So the retainers are slightly better, overal.
    Now, they are also cheaper and, as a deciding very important factor, they have
    much better stamina.
    So, if you use your heavy cavalry the way they should be used, retainers still
    beat the feudal knights.
    Chivalric knights are something else, of course . . .
    5) The Poland Way
    Basically, playing Poland is going to be the same (more or less) in glorious
    achievements mode as in warlord mode and early and middle period are also
    very compareable.
    Therefore, I will give 2 general strategy guides, one for the first periods
    and a final one for the (indeed) very difficult late period.
    .Early and High period
    Sit down, relax, have a cup of coffee. Now, take a deep breath . . . and
    repeat after me:
    John (your turn)
    Jean-Francois (your turn)
    Ludwig Von Beieren (your Turn)
    Juan Velazquez (your turn)
    Lesczek Wladiwlacszwlwlcszak.
    That's right, people, WE'RE playing POLAND here !
    Anyway, down to business.
    You have two starting areas, Poland and Silezia. At this stage, it is very
    important that we maximize their income, as they have to carry the burden of
    our overambitious army plans. This means that you should take out the two
    units with the highest accumen-leaders and give them the governor titles.
    Poland should have a governor with hopefully 4 accumen, and Silezia one with
    3. In case of a tie (say you have two generals with 3 accumen and one with 4),
    consider their happiness modifiers (if they have avarice vices or such or,
    more likely, if they have dread points), take the leader with the least
    happy-bonus as your governor (sounds strange, but you'll need the others later
    on). You should begin by building watchtowers in both your regions (if in
    early period), because they will provide you with invaluable information, but
    also (and at this stage even more importantly), they increase happiness.
    In High period, you have more choice and nothing as drastic, moneyraising
    structures are good, not building is also good, whatever.
    Give all your special titles of office to your governors (if in high).
    Remember, in early period, you should try and build at least a royal palace in
    Poland early on, as it gives the title of chamberlain (and +2 accumen for your
    Your strategic agents should also set out (you should have one princess and
    one emmissary), with the goals of allying the Hungarian king and the Holy
    Roman Emperor. I would use the princess for the Germans and the emmissary for
    the Hungarians, 'cuz cute little princesses have more chance of succes and
    that black country next to you looks really threatening.
    Depending on the difficulty you play, a lot of things can happen. On easy, the
    Roman emperor often comes asking for an alliance HIMSELF at the beginning of
    turn 2, but you can't rely on that at higher levels.
    Anyway, still in the first turn, we should start to consider our first army.
    It is going to be VERY important to take Pommerania, because this would
    effectively block the Germans from expansion to the east. You should have an
    army of: 2 spearmen units, 2-4 charge infantry units (woodsmen, for instance)
    and 1-2 knights (the king and maybe an heir if you should have one to spare by
    the time you invade. Probably not, but it IS possible). Try to assemble this
    army from what you have, and work towards it in Poland in the training menu
    for the next few turns. 
    This is actually one of the reasons why the high period is still very playable
    with Poland. You start with many more units and should be able to invade these
    first areas much sooner.
    If you feel in any way up to it, try to invade Pommerania on your very first
    turn . . . and definitely do not wait for longer than 3 turns.
    If you play in High period. you SHOULD invade the first turn, no way around
    In early period, middle short building strategies for Silezia would be border
    fort, an inn (a backup army) and farmland, whereas Poland should be the major
    developer, with at least a horse breeder (retainers), a border fort, a royal
    palace, a bit of farmland, a church, the SETI program, a zoo, etc etc.
    In high period, building structures is at first not that important, though do
    make sure that there are border forts everywhere and depending on the
    difficulty, you should try and build one church at least, too.
    The next important moment is when you capture Pommerania and/or Prussia.
    These regions are amongst the most "naturally rebellious" in the whole game.
    (Though Portugal takes the crown, and Lithuania is also worse)
    Better still, they are very pagan and so will not like your catholic oppression
    one bit. This is where you give titles of goverment to the unit leaders which
    will increase happiness THE MOST. Not the most economically inclined. Remember,
    every 2 points of dread will increase happiness by 10.
    Build border forts here ASAP and watch them vigoriously at first.
    After some years, catholicism will get more following and the people will start
    to get used to your rule, (and with your border forts also increasing loyalty)
    maybe then you should strip your dreadful governors of their titles and favour
    more sissi ones (high accumen) . . . though be cautious.
    You should play your first turns with these guidelines.
    Let's rejoin at the beginning of say, turn 5.
    There's many possible scenarios even this soon in the game (Poland is an EARLY
    game nation, you win or lose in your first 50 turns), try to place your game
    in one of the following:
    Ideal: You have captured at least Pommerania (possibly Prussia as well), you
    are allied to both the Hungarians and the Germans, you have Polish retainers,
    a few heirs and a bit of money left. 7/7
    Good: You have not the 7/7 score but come close (4/7 or such) and have no
    negative points either.
    Decent: You have only 1 or 2 out of the 7 objectives, but no negative events
    showed either.
    Average: You have not scored any objectives, but nothing bad has happened
    either, or some objectives were made, but some things screwed up.
    Below average: Generally speaking, more things screwed up than went right.
    Bad: Uh-oh. A lot of bad things seemed to have happened, and nothing went
    right. . . .
    The bad things that could happen are:
    TERRIBLE: The Germans have been excommunicated (my, they sure took an
    energetic start), and may have even already declared war on you.
    VERY BAD: Same as above, but with the Hungarians.
    VERY BAD: You tried to invade Pommerania, but lost the battle (and most of
    you army)
    BAD: Same as above, but with Prussia (after already taking Pommerania).
    BAD: You're already sans money (playing at expert, I guess)
    BE WARY: You have not yet made an alliance with the hungarians/germans.
    TYPICAL: Your mother has yelled "dinner's ready" and you had to abandon
             the game 
    NOT THAT LIKELY: You had to go to jail and were not allowed to pass start
    Whatever the way your turns went, you SHOULD try to eventually get to the
    ideal despcription.
    Don't worry if some things went wrong, they only cost you time, and even at
    expert and in High period, you should at least have A LITTLE TIME yet.
    If you're outta money and/or troops, then time really is the point and you
    should still get to that ideal situation (but maybe after 5 or 10 more turns)
    However, two things that can really make you suffer (though they should be
    quite rare) are the excommunications and/or wars of/with Germany/Hungary.
    If you are at war with either of these countries, or if they have been
    churchbanned (excommunicated, that is) then you should -temporarily- forget
    the aforementioned ideal situation.
    Your first concern now should be defense.
    Rest assured that you can still break the game though.
    After all, the Hungarians can only attack you in one place and are not even
    that strong and the Germans are not up to long wars (they are a very unstable
    empire). As long as you make sure you COULD defend against an invasion of
    either of them, you probably won't have to.
    And whether it's the Germans or the Hungarians (what, you already managed to
    piss off BOTH ?????), they are not up to prolonged wars.
    This happened to me once:
    (I believe it was on normal, in the high period)
    The Germans attacked Silezia on the second turn (I abandoned the province
    as there was no hope of winning) but I then had quite a lot of troops in Poland
    and also, they now had to "integrate" silezia in their empire.
    They lacked troops for this and I soon saw the German armies at the borders
    with Poland . . . dissipate. At turn 6, I took Pommerania.
    Silezia rebelled at turn 8 and became neutral and I retook it some turns after
    that (and actually I shouldn't have, it's strategically not a very good region
    but I suppose it was a matter of pride).
    In another game, the Germans (always those Germans) beat me to Pommerania, but
    I simply took Prussia and so still cut them off. This was not an ideal
    situation, but was still more than good enough.
    Anyway, no matter how long it takes, the first part of the Polish road to
    glory in the first periods should end when:
    You have cut off the Germans from their only way to conquering more land.
    You have your regions defended (in this way: when allied, with small armies
    consisting of the governor and maybe one or two other units. When not allied,
    larger warbands, say three or four units and when at war, at least six units
    per region. And in that case, it may very well be worth it to just abandon
    Keep Poland AT ALL COST
    You have Polish retainers
    You have a standing army compareable to the one mentioned above.
    (2 spearmen, 4 woodsmen, 2 retainers, or the upgrades in high).
    Well, once you have these conditions, you enter the second part of your
    road to glory:
    Now, it is time to distribute all those rebellious regions between the "real"
    players. Four factions show interest:
    Russia (Princes of Novgorod)
    Byzantine Empire.
    The Hungarians can be cut off by taking Moldavia, but even if you don't,
    chances are they will not expand too much.
    The Russians are not that dangerous either, they will definitely beat you to
    Livonia and probably Lithuania, but these regions are even more rebellious than
    the ones YOU took, so they might not even hold on to them and will not be able
    to take much more, anyway.
    They are much stronger in the high period, but this gets cancelled because of
    the golden horde invasion.
    The Byzantine empire can also be cut off when taking Moldavia, but will still
    expand in the far east (china ? -no, Volga Bulgaria and the Khazar) and most
    specifically, by crossing the Black sea towards the Crim peninsula.
    Your king will gain a lot of influence from taking these new regions and from
    making alliances with other regions (you should have started receiving offers
    in this direction by now, always accept unless new alliances will make old
    ones disappear) and so you should now be considered strong enough to make your
    reputation your biggest actual defense factor.
    Whence every rebellious region is added to an empire, it is time to integrate.
    Basically, start with lowest taxes, take governors preferably with many dread
    points, build as many structures as possible (hence giving your governors
    happy traits) and try to enlighten (endarken?) the pagans towards catholicism.
    The next goal to tackle will be the defeat of the Russian empire. If you
    managed to take at least some regions during the previous period, this should
    not be TOO hard. Their armies are not that strong (boyars can be a pain in the
    neck in early period though) and they have a lot of trouble just keeping their
    empire from rebelling.
    Just strike them at the best strategic regions (if you can bonquer Lithuania
    and thereby make this the only region bordering their empire, you're three
    quarters won already) and enjoy the battles, they WILL be tough. But entirely
    possible, if you play right.
    In High period, this part of the game will have exactly the same goals,
    but different means to this end, as in early eriod.
    You see, when the rebel-regions are divided, it is quite likely that the
    Russians took more than you did, and that they have a larger empire.
    Now, you just have to wait . . . until the Golden horde invades.
    When this happens, it is a matter of choosing the right time, and place.
    You could declare war both on the Mongols or the Russians.
    For example, I had (in a game I played once) during part 1 of the game,
    added Pommerania, Prussia and Volhynia to my empire. The Russians had all
    the rest . . . temporarily creating the largest empire on the map !!
    But the golden horde attacked and took some regions. The Russians struck back
    and REtook some regions. then the Horde took a bit back. They were fighting
    it out amongst themselves, and I let them.
    However, after a while it seemed the Horde was losing steam . . . so I knew
    it was time to act !
    The Horde tried to invade Moldavia (attacked it a couple of times in a row)
    and I decided that, if they took it, I would start the war with them (seemed
    really nice, taking Moldavia from them was more or less like taking it from
    the Russians, but with the Horde acting as my diplomatic scandal buffer, thus
    enabling to steal some Russian regions without actually angering them !).
    If they failed to take it, I would start the war with the Russians.
    They failed, and so I invaded Moldavia and defeated the Russians there.
    The entire southern border was now Russian free (the Horde was still there, but
    I was still at peace with them, and like I said, they were running out of
    steam), and my army in Prussia invaded Lithuania, making this a one region,
    defend the whole empire strategic place (Lithuania was now the only place were
    a LARGE army had to stand, as it was the only region bordering the Russian
    empire . . . or what was left of it).
    Their entire empire fell soon afterwards (I took 4 more turns to do it).
    Thereafter, taking out the horde was like impressing women . . .
    . . . not that hard.
    You see, in the end, part two of your Road to glory will be pretty much the
    same, but achieved in different ways depending when you started.
    After they go down, it is once again time to "improve the empire" and this time
    the Baltic coast will be your objective. Taking the last rebellious regions
    here (Sweden etc.) will pave you the way for a GIGANTIC economy.
    You are of course still not at war with any catholic faction, right ?
    Now, build ports and merchants in all baltic regions and make a ship-trade
    route all around the western part of the map.
    And the money kept rolling in . . .
    Up until this point, you only needed (and were able to sustain) ONE army for
    conquest (taking one region at a time), and your defense was based mostly on
    ethereal factors (alliances, influence, the pope, etc.). And when you WERE
    attacked, you probably opted for the abandoning province strategy (NEVER fight
    a losing battle).
    Now, the money gained through trade with your fellow catholics, will make you
    able to REALLY defend your regions, and to make additional armies.
    Now you should engage in a major war against the Byzantine empire.
    This will be your final trial, but may well be the hardest yet.
    For starters, there is almost no strategic conquering to be made, as most of
    their regions will be connected through the Black Sea.
    If you capture Georgia, do not make the mistake of considering the Khazar
    safe. They can still invade it by sea.
    Just make sure that you START the war with enough armies !
    Another major factor in this war is that of the Muslims.
    It is quite possible that the Byzantine empire will already be much weakened
    by the Egyptians or the Turks. If so, much the merrier.
    If not, this can still happen after you have your first victories, because now
    the Byzantines will effectively be between hammer and sickle (Or was that
    something else ?).
    Depending on this, the war versus the Byzantines might be easier, but the
    following war against the Muslims might be harder.
    Well, whatever the case, expect during this part of your game to have to crush
    one more "equally powerful" empire.
    After this, you can proceed to capture the entire east and then the Muslim
    Your empire is now so large that nothing will be able to stop you anymore.
    Congratulations !
    .Late Period
    Boy this one's tough.
    There's a few extra complications at the beginning of this period. For
    starters, all those precious little provinces without guidance . . . weelll,
    there's a whole horde of horselovers there, now.
    Even worse, the Germans start this period with Pommerania and Prussia already
    added to their empire. So instead of you making plans of how to cut THEM off,
    they've only went and did that same thing to you.
    The Russian empire is also stronger in this period, even if they have less
    So what to do ?
    Well, you're gonna have to play this one like the Germans have to play all
    the time . . . patient.
    You cannot afford to choose.
    You have to be aware of the options, but you have to let fate (lit. events)
    decide which of these options to take.
    This means that your initial strategy should be 100% defensive.
    Train a DEFENSIVE army, and rest assured you'll need one, even if it means
    you can't afford building upgrades anymore. Tough luck, but in this period
    upgrading buildings isn't even THAT important anymore, anyway, so never worry.
    So during your first 5-10 turns, you just remain seated and defend.
    More likely than not, something major will have happened somewhere during even
    this short a period, and after that has happened, THEN it's time to act !
    For example, the Germans might have invaded you. If so, you could strike back
    and take Pommerania and Prussia from them. Even if you get excommunicated, at
    this time chances are you won't see too much damage from that.
    Or maybe the Horde has acted.
    Did they try to steal your kingdom ? Here's your chance, show them the true
    terror of Polish names. Remember, the Horde can never restock on Mongol
    cavalry units, so they are really not that dangerous if you fight them
    the right way.
    Well, in any way, if you really did defend your countries well, chances are
    nobody attacked you (that's the advantage of having only 2 regions, it means
    only having to DEFEND 2 regions as well !). But SOMEBODY will still have been
    attacked. And THAT's what you have to look for.
    If the Horde attacked the Russians, then you should grab a piece of the pie as
    well (you could invade Finland by sea, for example).
    If they attacked, but horridly lost, then you can take it out on them.
    Etc. Etc.
    It's like this: There's 5 factions in your game at this moment (Germany,
    Hungary, Russia, the Horde and Poland), and you're the weakest of them all.
    However, you're still much stronger (especially if you concentrated on defense)
    than any which one of your opponents that takes a blow.
    So just wait for that blow to fall . . . and then take out the struck one.
    Now comes the good news, however.
    If you manage to survive your first 20 turns, you're already halfway won. Even
    if you still only have 3 or 4 regions.
    That's because 2 provinces is a fragility, but 4 provinces is an empire.
    The difference between 2 and 4 provinces is much greater than the difference
    between 4 and, say, 16 provinces.
    So if you manage to stay alive in this first part, and if you succeed in making
    a profit from a rival's downfall, then the rest of the game is pretty much the
    same as in the other periods.
    Remain cautioned, for as I already said, at this time many of the most advanced
    troops become available, and you lack these.
    6) General tips, strategy
    Strategy <-> tactics.
    Strategy is the art of long term planning, of making plans and of finding ways
    to ensure their succes. Sun Tzu was a strategist, and the best strategical
    proverbs ever come from his 'The Art of War'.
    Only ever fight battles which you are SURE TO WIN.
    Having "a decent chance to win the battle", simply means DO NOT FIGHT IT.
    Wait, and build, until you are 100% sure you WILL win.
    Also (his most famous saying, perhaps), know the enemy and know yourself.
    Know your own troops, their strenghts, which units they can take out and which
    they have to fear etc.
    And KNOW your ENEMY.
    If you attack an army which you do not know the contents from . . . you made a
    flawed decision. You might get lucky and win, but you might also discover that
    the army is your supreme nemesis.
    I learned this the hard way. I had a mixed army (of my infamous center block
    variety) and attacked and army which I could not identify, except for the fact
    that I had more troops and a better general. So I thought, "hey, why not".
    Turns out, the enemy has an army of ONLY horse archers. My entire infantry was
    useless, and both my retainer and royal knights units were only fast enough to
    "keep 'em running", not to actually catch them.
    The fact that he had more cavalry and that his units had much more stamina
    (they had no armour), meant I never got to grips with them the entire battle,
    and they just "skirmish-shot" me down.
    If I had known the constitution of this nemesis army, I would have taken along
    either some archers myself (to fire it out), or some steppe cavalry (I often
    call this unit the racecar).
    A mediocre general could be a great tactician, and still be mediocre.
    A great strategist WILL BE a great general, no matter how tactically able he
    is or isn't.
    I will further divide strategy into the empire building part, and the army
    building part.
    .Empire building
    You would really love to make an invincible army and then conquer 20 regions
    with it . . . but that's just not gonna happen.
    Every new area, conquered into your empire, will need to be consollidated,
    before you can capture new land.
    This makes it very important to capture territory in a defendable way.
    Here are some examples, which will help clarify:
    Suppose you have three regions all bordering the same enemy region (with no
    other borders) and a fourth which borders two different enemy regions.
    At this moment, you have four regions, and all have to be defended. If you
    attack from the one bordering two enemy regions, you could win a region . . .
    and then you'd have five regions, of which at least four would still need to
    be defended (and probably all five).
    Now if you attack from one of the other regions, you would still have five in
    total . . . but now only two bordering the enemy.
    This means, even if economically speaking, this last region would be totally
    useless, it would still be far more valuable than the other options, whatever
    their wealth.
    Hell, I would still prefer the strategic region if it actually had a negative
    tax income. Simply because the adding (and keeping) of this one region enables
    you to fully "economically" develop three others.
    Now of course, later on, you will want to take these richer countries as well.
    And you CAN, but now you have to make sure your armies are large enough to
    take (and hold) more than one region in one strike.
    You should ALWAYS conquer regions with a strategic "Defense policy" plan in
    On a side note, this is why the map in Shogun was better, it offered far more
    possibilities for strategic conquering.
    Take the Almohads, as an example.
    Many players believe that you should take on the Spanish (and Aragonese) ASAP,
    because once they create a more stable empire and start "unlocking" their more
    powerful units, they become VERY powerful.
    I totally disagree.
    You have Cordoba, which is a one region, protect the entire empire situation.
    If you develop a strong defense here, you will never have to fear these
    catholics. Moreover, they will have to fear you, because they will constantly
    need to defend their (many) borders against that one massive army of yours.
    Now, let's say you sorta neglected this side of the border for a while (we all
    get that after a coupla hundred turns of playing) and suddenly, a huge spanish
    army invades Cordoba.
    What to do now ?
    Well, let's Sun Tzu once more.
    Do you KNOW the enemy army ? If so, and if you seriously think you can win
    (abandoning the province is a sure loss situation so you might be willing to
    take a "small" risk here), then by all means, defend.
    If however, there is reasonable doubt on your winning (either because you have
    no idea about their army buildup, or because you know they're better) . . .
    abandon the province.
    DO NOT fight losing battles. Your general may very well take up a coward
    trait, you will lose troops and you will gain nothing.
    So the Spanish have taken Cordoba (the reconquista begins), and your army is
    now, STILL INTACT, in Granada.
    What to do next.
    You now have a new problem, because from Cordoba, the Spanish could take
    either Morocco or Granada, meaning you have TWO regions (whereas the Spanish
    now have a one region protect all situation) to defend now.
    So split you army ? Certainly not !
    You should pull back more than 90% to Morocco, because this is another one
    region, defend the whole empire situation. Just leave a few reserve troops in
    Granada (just so you don't become too inviting) and pull the rest back.
    Now, two things could happen. If the loyalty in Cordoba was heavy towards you,
    the Spanish may very well not even be able to take Granada, needing all their
    power to integrate Cordoba. If they do, however, no sweat, you lost another
    (small) region but now they even need more time/power/attention to integrate
    their new additions. And now once again, you have the map advantage. (You
    have one border, they have two).
    Meanwhile, you still have a very strong army in Morocco, should once again be
    untakeable (for a while) and SHOULD begin upgrading your forces here. It is
    quite likely that you can take both countries back within a few years.
    And even though you will have lost a bit of power over the whole, the Spanish
    should by now be once again at their very starting point, and will likely
    never recover.
    At the other front now.
    Seeing that you did not invest in a major war at the beginning of the game to
    take the entire Iberian peninsula, you should be able to seriously challenge
    the might of the Egyptians on the other front.
    And theirs is a power with mixed blessings.
    For starters, the very first province you will take from them, is Egypt itself.
    Furthermore, Egypt and Sinai after that, (good for keeping the pressure from
    Egypt, allowing it to develop more economically) are still one region defend
    all situations. So as soon as you have an army able to take them, there is no
    reason whatsoever not to.
    Another example, let's say we are playing Egypt now.
    Which countries to wage war with ?
    The Byzantine war would mean you have an impossible amount of border-war
    regions to defend, as does the Turkish one.
    The Almohad war would not give you a lot of wealth (weak regions), but it IS
    far easier. You can just push their army back.
    And aside from the un-wealth of the new regions . . . it is still the best
    way to release the pressure on Egypt (and through this, you could develop
    THIS region economically, so there's your money)
    I hope you understand through these examples my idea of strategic bonquering.
    .Army building
    There are 2 parts to an army. The most obvious one is the units, the troops,
    the soldiers, the cannon fodder, the regiments, the whatchamacallits.
    I've given a description of all individual units in the next chapter, and
    a strategic summary on all "types" of units as well, so if you want to know
    whether you should add say, men at arms or spearmen, then that's where to
    Contrary to popular belief, an army DOES NOT HAVE TO BE BALANCED.
    Including 2 or 3 units from every kind is a good way to make an army that
    will always perform reasonably, especially against the unknown (but by now
    you should already know that if you're fighting the unknown, you're a bad
    strategist), but such armies will NEVER perform great.
    It's far better to specialize your armies, create task forces, and then use
    them on the armies you know are weak against them.
    Fighting against lotsa archers ? Take cavalry.
    The opponent seems to like spearmen ? It's heavy infantry you want.
    And when the opponent likes things balanced ?
    Even better, for it will be YOUR unbalanced army that dictates the flow of
    the battle. Let's say you've an army of heavy infantry and heavy cavalry.
    The only units your cav need fear, are spearmen, but that's exactly why
    you have the infantry. Then, these guys' only weakness are archers, and
    that's why you have cavalry. Now in his balanced army, he'll probably have
    no more than 3 or 4 (max) of each of these units. You could have up to
    8 cavalry and infantry units each. So, put simply, he'll never have enough
    spearmen to chase all your cavalry units, neither will he have sufficient
    archers to make a dent in your heavy infantry block.
    And all his other units will just walk lost and lonely, as their arch-
    enemies are not on your roster.
    Being Balanced means being mediocre in every field.
    The second part on army building is the general. This individual is hugely
    important, he can easily increase or decrease the army's effectiveness
    by 75% or so, so it is very worthwhile to "invest" your time in him.
    First off, for every 2 points of command he has, ALL units in the army get
    a +1 valour bonus. Second, all units in his surroundings get a major
    morale boost. Third, vices and virtues that affect morale, affect the
    WHOLE army, so a general with a +6 morale bonus, means that the entire
    army will fight to the last man. Sadly though, the opposite is also true.
    So how do you train this general ?
    Well, acquiring command points is quite easy. Most factions have quite
    a lot of units which quite often even START with 2 or 3 points, but even
    if you don't, all it takes is a few victories to get you there. After
    that, it becomes increasingly harder to earn new points, but there's
    still some ways to increase. First, chances are that after a few
    victories, your general will gain a command increase virtue (skilled
    defender, eg). Second, there's quite a few titles of office that increase
    command. Marshall, admiral, . . . as special titles. And some provincial
    titles give command points as well (Trebizond and Constantinople give
    2 !). 9 is the ultimate maximum of command points, so with all the
    titles, the virtues and whatnot, it shouldn't be too hard to create a
    general that has a good command bonus. (anything between 6 and 9).
    That's why you shouldn't use your heirs with high command, but morale
    Because, these morale bonusses/handicaps, are what really matters.
    A general with only 2 stars (command points) but a morale bonus, is a
    far better choice than one with 8 stars but a morale handicap.
    You could always stick some titles on the 2 star and he'd be 6 stars
    without even trying. And STILL with a morale boost.
    Hence the conclusion, ALWAYS look out for unit leaders that have morale
    bonusses. These are the guys you want to train up.
    Good/Great/Legendary leader
    Brave beyond belief
    Gentle Knight
    Most Honest
    These are all great virtues.
    Even the captured/tortured/traumatized vices could be (sometimes) a good
    trade-off. You lose some command points, but you get a morale boost.
    And you can never loose that boost, but you COULD regain the command
    points !
    7) Troop Roster
    I have pondered an awful lot on what to do here.
    In between writing this update and the creating of the original,
    I've learnt a lot about medieval.
    Most important, I've discovered the actual statistics of the units.
    Up until that point, I knew a unit had irresistable charge, and I
    knew that this meant it had a better charge than a unit that had, say strong
    charge. But I did not know the exact relative difference (this is not a 
    paradox, I promise !). Now I know, and it is not all as easy as I thought
    it would be. For example, irresistable charge could mean a charge bonus of
    8 (never mind compared to what) for some units, but 7 for others.
    Furthermore, attributes seemed to behave differently for different KIND of
    units, cavalry vs infantry most importantly.
    Also, I still stand with my theory of there being only 8 units (see below),
    but I'm very troubled with the skirmishing class. Some units behave in
    multiple roles, as archer/heavy infantry unit for instance. For some units
    this means that they suck at both, whereas other units are only twice as
    effective thanks to their dual role. Turcoman foot soldiers are an example
    of the former, while Boyars are THE example of the latter.
    This all led me to the conclusion that instead of placing every unit in
    a single class, they should be considered with their ability in each of the
    classes. So I would say, Feudal knights, 100% heavy cavalry. Boyars, 70%
    heavy cavalry, 70% horse archer (and hence with a total of 140, meaning that
    their real use is more than feudal knights, or something like that).
    This would allow the disbanding of the skirmish class, as it would now be
    implied in each individual description.
    It's a lot of work though (especially when I want to make it accurate to
    the actual statistics, not the attributes) and I haven't finished with it
    just yet. So for now, I'll leave this section as it was, and this will now
    be the final goal for this faq.
    Lancers are a very different unit from, say, kataphraktoi, but both fall in
    the same category and really should (with different tactics) be used for the
    same purpose.
    I recognize 8 different kinds of unit. These are:
    Heavy cavalry
    Light cavalry
    Horse archers
    Blocking infantry
    Fighting infantry
    Missile troops
    Engines (I deliberately not term them Siege, as you should never fight sieges
             anyway and besides, they can be quite useful in ordinary battle).
    .Heavy Cavalry
    The best units in all, but also very vulnerable. Armies made up entirely out
    of heavy cavalry are VERY expensive and fragile, so don't do it. Just don't.
    You should use them either for charging the flanks of the melee, for killing
    off the weaker parts of the enemy (at turbo speed too) (I'm talking peasants,
    archers and basically anything with low morale here), for sweeping the field
    (though light cavalry is better) and, in a pitch, for hunting down horse
    archers (though light cavalry is MUCH better). The last two really depend on
    their heaviness.
    NEVER use them to charge spearmentroops (you knew that didn't you ? If you
    don't, you're probably French), unless in the flank and with a good chance
    of breaking them.
    Also, never use them to fight other heavy cavalry, UNLESS you have no
    alternative for these opponents whatsoever (in which case you made a really
    terrible army, I migh add). This is because they are small sized units and do
    so much damage that both heavy cavalry units will soon be depleted, resulting
    in a loss-loss situation (and hence, a win situation for all factions not in
    the current battle)
    1- Armenian heavy cavalry
    They are pretty much the same as the Polish retainers, and hence make very
    good cavalry throughout the majority of the game. They are fast enough, have
    the irresistable charge and have a lot of stamina.
    2- Boyars
    Would be great if you could play them in the early periods.
    However, totally outclassed in the late period (severely lacking in charge,
    attack, speed and only good in morale).
    Their biggest impact is when you fight AGAINST them as princes of Novgorod.
     MAJOR UPDATE. These boyar boys are ALWAYS great. You just tend to
     underestimate them. Even if they are not as great at the end than at the
     beginning, this only shows how INCREDIBLY strong they are at the very
     start of the game !
    3- Byzantine Cavalry
    Disciplined, but apart from that, pure rubbish. The Byzantines get a little
    salvation from the kataphraktoi though.
    4- Chivalric
    Possibly the best "overall" knight unit in the game. Much better than feudal
    knights and only slightly worse than lancers. They have good attributes in all
    the factors (charge, morale, attack, defense) but lack stamina
    Good though.
    5- Feudal knights
    For many nations, the first knights available, and therefore, useful at that
    time. Decent on the defense, and good on all offensive attributes.
    6- Gendarmes
    These bull-buggerers are totally worthless. They may very well be your last
    unit to become available, and would have been only mediocre had they been the
    7- Ghulam Cavalry
    Just below average, I guess. And totally outclassed later on. Would have been
    better if you could get them earlier, or if they'd been just that bit tougher
    in the fighting itself.
    8- Ghulam Bodyguards
    Much like the royal knights, these knights get a few upgrades during the game.
    This means they remain pretty well matched, but there's only 20 of them.
    Oh well, if you don't train them then at least you'll get quite a bit for free
    with your heirs.
    9- Gothic Knights
    Interesting, to say the least. They have NO CHARGE BONUS (the very hallmark of
    the heavy cavalry), but are very good fighters and have an armour piercing 
    (smashing ?) bonus !
    This makes them useful in many roles. They could take out other heavy cavalry,
    or you could even look at them as mobile heavy infantry.
    The fact that they appear very late though, dampens the possibilities - a lot
    10- Kataphraktoi
    The slowest and most heavily armoured of all the knights . . . but of course
    still faster than infantry. They lose a bit of versatility through this.
    (they are useless in chasing action and pretty bad flankers too) However, they
    do make the best unit in the entire game for that other role: taking out the
    not-spear related infantry parts of the opponent.
    I personally prefer versatility, but when used properly, these are quite good,
    and are soon available (mainly thanks to your royal virility).
    11- Kwarazmian
    TECHNICALLY speaking, totally worthless. They are not bad, but are hard as
    hell to add to your troop roster. HOWEVER, they do quite regularly appear as
    mercenary units, and make excellent troops throughout the early game this way.
    12- Lancers
    Pretty much the Ultimate heavy cavalry ? But of course, very late appearing
    so not very major partplaying.
    If you do make it to the point where they appear (and are still in struggle
    to gain the upper hand), they should definitely be your choice, as they have
    the best stats for all of the cavalry related factors, charge, morale, attack,
    defense, armour)
    13- Mamluk
    Remember the Gothic knights ? These are their Muslim counterparts, with two
    differences. One, they become available MUCH MUCH faster. Two, they are
    nowhere near as good fighters.
    So how to use them ? I'm just not sure. They could (as the game puts it) give
    heavier cavalry a nasty surprise, but will usually just be cut down before
    that. Maybe they would work on the kataphraktoi ? After all, these combine the
    heaviest armour with the worst actual attacking power. I'll have to try that,
    one day.
    14- Ottoman Sipahi
    The Turks have so many different troops in the beginning, and to me, these
    boys more or less drown in the competition. Armenian heavy cavalry is much
    better, and maybe even the mamluks. These two are also even faster to get.
    15- Polish Retainers . . . before the patch
    Now we're cooking with charcoal. Technically just as good as the Armenian
    heavy cavalry, but I still find them superior, simply because they fit better
    with the Polish way to play. The Armenians will have to fight against
    kataphraktoi (Byzantines) and/or a lot of different spearmen (Egyptians).
    The Retainers will generally fight troops which allow them to deploy their
    advantages best.
    16- Prolonial Allaigon
    A bit more versatile than the kataphraktoi, and hence a good addition in your
    Byzantine armies for providing the other roles of heavy cavalry (sweeping,
    flanking, . . .). However, they do need some work before you get them, and
    they still are too heavy orientated. It would have been great if the
    Kataphraktoi could have been combined with more "medium" like cavalry.
    17- Royal knights
    See Ghulam bodyguards. Basically, I like them when I get them from heirs (also
    because this usually means they have a good valour to start with), but will
    rarely buy them myself.
    18- Sipahi of the Porte
    Above average, but much too late emerging to play a crucial role, especially
    seeing that the Turks have better alternatives.
    Best heavy cavalry:
    Polish Retainers (Most versatile and very soon available, unless patched)
    Good all round:
    Armenian heavy cavalry
    Chivalric knights
    (Feudal knights)
    Have their uses:
    Ghulam bodyguards (heirs)
    Royal knights (heirs, do note that horses perform better on plains than in
                   desert, so royals are probably still better than ghulams)
    Kataphraktoi (VERY heavy cavalry)
    Kwarazmian (early mercenaries)
    (Mamluk) (Maybe)
    (Prolonial Allagion) (Sort of supplements Kataphraktoi)
    Probably emerge too late:
    Gothic knights
    Bad or worse:
    Byzantine cavalry
    Ghulam cavalry
    Ottoman sipahi
    Sipahi of the Porte
    .Light cavalry
    My personal favourite troop type. They are the units to complement your
    heavy cavalry. They have three uses: Chasing Horse Archers (in this
    they are the only ones with decent chance of succes), sweeping the field
    (expect enormous amounts of prisoners, joy joy) and (sometimes) charging
    the melee flanks.
    1- Bedouin Camel Warriors
    Easy to get and with a good charge. They frighten horses but this is a
    dubious blessing as it suggests using them to take on fully armoured
    knights ? I think not, but good nevertheless.
    2- Hobilars
    Pretty much exactly the same as Bedouins, but hard-soil based and better
    smelling. Again, quite good.
    3- Lithuanian Cavalry
    Pointless. As with many other units, they have very unrealistical
    requirements re training facilities, becoming available about one
    hundred years after they would have been useful . . .
    4- Mounted Sergeants
    Not available from the very beginning, but soon after.
    They have one major advantage to other light cavalry . . . they have the
    irresistable charge attribute. Very good light cavalry.
    5- Saharan Cavalry
    Also very good. they have a weaker charge strength but they are FAST.
    Definitely not to be used as flankers, but far better for chasing down
    horse archers !
    6- Spanish Jinettes
    Much like the Saharan cavalry, FAST cavalry with bad charge bonus.
    More hardy though, which makes up for this. Their javelins add even more
    to the fun. Very good light cavalry . . . but too expensive ?
    7- Steppe Cavalry
    The prime time heroes. FAST, as the Jinettes and the Saharans, but also
    with a very good CHARGE. Cheap too. The best.
    Steppe Cavalry
    Berber Camels
    Mounted Sergeants
    Have their uses:
    Jinettes (good but expensive as light cavalry)
    Saharan Cavalry (Chasers)
    Lithuanian Cavalry
    .Horse Archers
    To be added later
    .Blocking Infantry
    To be added later
    .Fighting infantry
    To be added later
    .missile troops
    To be added later
    To be added later
    To be added later
    8) About me
    Hello, my name is Jef, though I am known on the web as Haishou.
    (Are you actually reading this ? Gee, I never knew I was that interesting
    ;-D THANKS)
    I live in Belgium, more specifically, Flanders which is arguably the BEST 
    region on the whole medieval map !!
    Our "flemish" national holiday is still on the 11th of july, and is based 
    upon a glorious victory of an army made up of peasants against the French 
    oppressors, in 1302. The peasants used the well known spike wall tactic and 
    the french, with an army of mainly knights, . . . charged home, if you know
    what I mean . . .
    (if you ever see Braveheart again, the Scottsmen were NOT the first ones to 
    use this tactic, we were)
    I guess you could say we had one of those 'peasant rebellions' you get when
    demanding too much taxes. HAH, that should teach those oppressing frenchmen.
    Actually, a few months after that victory, the French returned and this time, 
    they kicked OUR ass big time, so the battle really had no historical 
    importance whatsoever (apart from demographical, of course), but there you
    go, every nation needs some sort of symbol of greatness, I guess.
    Anyway, I consider myself an 'above average' medieval player, 
    I Looooooove the final fantasy series, and when not on the PC, I am a 
    somewhat decent musician.
    I am still single and anybody (any female, that is) interested can email me.
    But if you're here for that reason . . . hmmm, then, you might very well be 
    even weirder than I am !!!
    (I always love it when one of my generals acquires the "strange" vice, 
    these are always the ones I make my most important men of office).
    "Your habit of talking to people who aren't there has definitely made your 
    men frown at you"
    Kick Ass !!
    9) My email address
    I already mentioned it elsewhere (and will do so once more later on) just to
    really show how much I would appreciate your suggestions, comments, help, etc.
    I'd even appreciate email pointing me to spelling mitsakes !
    (And yes, that one WAS intentional)
    Write me, please !!
    10) The Ultimate medieval joke
    Okay, the moment you've all been waiting for.
    I made this joke up myself and a lot of you are not going to like it,
    but that's just my humour I guess
    (Hey, I AM the guy who thinks "strange" is the coolest trait a general can
    have, with "dead drunk" being a close second . . . and legendary leader a
    distant third)
    q: What works best vs INFANTry ?
    a: ADULTery !
    11) And finally, thank you
    Fair's fair.
    I had almost lost interest in this game, when I accidently discovered the
    forum on gamefaqs. The people there really helped me out, both in terms of
    motivation, as in gamehelp itself. They are,
    MistofRuin. Ah, my eyes still go moist at the thought of him.
        Especially thanks for the editing help !
    Nordlaender. Now that you have the game reinstalled, will you continue your
        naval faq ?
    Jimmythejap. After talking about reinstalling for years, he finally did, and
        then turned into a sad little boring tod. ;-p
    Shakaka36. Who, after his exams, hopes to graduate as prime buttsucker for
        Mist. And, I wrote your name right !
    Unseen1unknown, who hung his robe and cross. (I really can't describe him any
        better than that.)
    Limond. The underdog. But I still like you, kid !
    And the others.
    And of course, thank you creative assembly and activision for making this game
    And the people of gamefaqs.com . . . it was them who got me into this FAQ-ing
    business anyway.
    (Ah, I "used to" have a social life)

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