Original thread: A Hungarian Guide made by Kallum
A Hungarian Guide made by Kallum :Total War
The Heirs of the Huns
So here I am again writing my second guide. After the unexpected successes of my first guide I’ve decided to write another one based on another favourite faction of mine: The Hungarians. I’ve been around here for almost two years and everywhere I go read that most people don’t play the Hungarians or don’t like them, I was stunned when I read that as I personally think that the Hungarian campaign, if played correctly, can be one of the most difficult and therefore the most enjoyable campaign(behind the Russians and Byzantines) of the game.
Just as in my last guide I’ll try to tell you how I play the Hungarians and with luck try to convert some of you to try them as well with a different eye
Table of Contents:
Starting position in Game
The Hungarian army
- my Early Army
- My High Army
- My late Army
- First turns
- First targets and their use
- Diplomacy (your allies and enemies)
- Strategies for later on
Starting position of the Hungarian Empire
As you can see the Hungarians start out with two fairly developed cities: A castle in the form of Bran and a large town in the form of Budapest. They also have 4 medium sized stacks, a princes, the legendary general Istvan, a cardinal and a spy. You are surrounded by the potentially very strong Holy Roman Empire in the west, the Poles in the North, the Byzantines in the south and the Venetians are near you as well. In the east you are backed by the Black Sea and the first means of expansion primarily exist out of the rebel settlements in the east and south.
The Hungarian Army
The Hungarian army is in the beginning a typical eastern styled army with strong mounted archers and with poor infantry, later on their army evolves to a more western styled army and they get the availability of knights and heavy shock infantry. If you have read my Russian guide then you know that I fight via a MLS(multiple line system). This system is based on the early Roman Legionary system with some adjustments so it works like I want it to work.
I work with three main infantry lines: The first line usually spears to decrease the number of casualties from enemy charges, the second line consists out of heavy shock infantry, I use this second line to flank the all ready engaged enemy infantry. The third line consists logically out of archers to pummel the enemy as they close in or to provide support for my engaging infantry. Besides these three main lines I have the rest of the army composed out of cavalry, preferably mounted archers supported by heavy knights. The heavy knights are used to close the final at the rear when the second line has outflanked the enemy infantry.
The Early Hungarian army
You can compare the early Hungarian army in a way with the early army of the Russians, they both get a “strong” spear unit and they both have to rely on the mounted archers. Just like every eastern European faction they get very crappy militia units. In Western Europe and especially Italy you can get around with these guys for quite some time, in Eastern Europe not. But the great bonus that the Hungarians have above the Russians is that they start with a castle in Bran, which can very quickly be upgraded so that you can get more reliable soldiers.
Your infantry department consists out of slav levies, pavise spearmen, the infamous spear militia and the Croat axemen. Now dump the slav levies and the spear militia and you are left with two units you can use quite nicely. Though in the very early beginning of the game you won’t have access to the axemen and pavise spearmen but that doesn’t matter, you’ll get them soon enough.
In terms of cavalry you have the Magyar mounted archers. These guys come in handy but they aren’t top notch. Don’t expect to defeat the strong mounted archers of the Byzantines with these guys! You won’t get heavy cavalry other then your general’s bodyguard but these guys are formidable and very reliable to beat other heavy cavalry regiments of your enemies.
The missile infantry you get are of course the peasant archers who are handy in the beginning but must be replaced as soon as possible. The first replacement you get are the Bosnian archers who aren’t perfect either but are better.
Early army composition:
4 Croat Axemen, 4 Pavise Spearmen/ 8 spear militia, 4 peasant archers/4 bosnian archers, 6 Magyar cavalry units and one general.
As you can see I’ve left one slot open, this slot is for a mercenary unit or a siege weapon like a ballista.
The High Hungarian Army
The High Hungarian army is immediately a lot stronger then your early Hungarian army. With the addition of Dismounted feudal knights you get a very strong and very reliable heavy infantry unit, these guys take over my entire infantry section as soon as I get them. They are strong enough to sustain against a heavy charge and can hold their own in a prolonged melee battle.
In the cavalry department you get your first heavy cavalry battalion and they aren’t least either. Feudal knights are top notch cavalry, can be used till the end of the game and have very few downfalls. The only problem you have now is to choose whether or not you use more of these guys or more of the Hungarian nobles who you get to. The Hungarian nobles are very able mounted archers and also better then the Magyar cavalry. These guys act as my personal police force in my battles against rebels. And stay in my army till the end of the game.
In the missile infantry department you can also notice a strong improvement in the form of pavise crossbow militia and the regular crossbowmen. I prefer the first as they can be kept freely in your cities and they have a higher defence rate and missile damage rate.
Medium army composition:
8 dismounted feudal knights, 4 pavise crossbow militia, 3 Hungarian nobles, 3 Feudal Knights and one general.
Again one slot is open for a mercenary unit or a siege weapon. Sometimes I fill this slot with an extra cavalry unit.
The tactics used with this army differs almost nothing with the early army except perhaps the role of the heavy cavalry. Dismounted feudal knights can hold against heavy charges but not as well as spearmen. Here the cavalry comes in to play. Besides their natural role of a flanking force I also tend to use them as a distraction for the enemy cavalry parts. Together with the Hungarian nobles I shred the enemy cavalry to pieces before I launch my rear charge with my own heavy cavalry. This way I’m certain that my infantry can be used for another battle rather then seeing the nearest recruitment depot for a quick retrain.
The Late Hungarian Army
The High Hungarian army is in my opinion the finest army of the eastern European world. They have a strongly balanced cavalry department with a strong infantry unit to act as an anvil. Together with the invention of gunpowder, you have access to one of the most strongest ranged units in the game. Along with the addition of cannons as basilisks and serpentines nothing can stop you.
In the cavalry department you now have access to the strongest cavalry of your arsenal: the Royal Banderium, the chivalric knights and the Hussars. There is no difference between the Royal Banderium or the chivalric knights, but I prefer the Royal Banderium because they look better.
Hussars are light cavalry who can be very handy to take on fleeing enemy cavalry regiments and that cowardly general that you see running every now and then. Plus they can be a key weapon against the Mongol and Timurids. I always have a hard time deciding what my cavalry part of my late army looks like because I always stick to my standard slots for cavalry and infantry, so I look at my enemy to base my cavalry on that.
In the infantry department you get your finest addition: the dismounted chivalric knights, they are way better then the Berdiche Axemen and can hold their own against Venetian infantry. There is nothing that they can’t beat but that doesn’t say that they are invincible.
The missile infantry part of the army is reinforced with Arquebusiers. You don’t get a uber missile unit like the dismounted Dvor cavalry of the Russians so with these guys you are on your top. I don’t really like them as they have that crappy fire by rank rule which makes them useless in my opinion. I rarely use them but if I do use them I combine them with pavise crossbow militia.
Late Army composition
For your European adversaries:
8 dismounted chivalric knights, 3 pavise crossbow militia, 3 Royal Banderium, 3 Hungarian Nobles, 2 serpentines and one general.
For your Eastern styled enemies(aka lots of mounted archers)
8 dismounted chivalric knights, 3 pavise crossbow militia, 3 hussars, 3 hungarian nobles, 2 serpentines and one general.
This time no slot is free for a mercenary unit or a siege engine as I’ve added the extremely useful serpentines to my army, for those of you who don’t know them use them once and you understand why I put them in my army. These guys wreck through enemy battle formations as a knife through butter. I don’t think that I have to explain the use of heavy cavalry against Europe and the use of light cavalry against Asia right?
The cavalry for the Asian conquests is primarily to attack the enemy cavalry. Your own infantry beats the Asian infantry without many problems, though be aware of the Hashashim of the Muslim factions, they can be a tough nut to crack.
Many consider the campaign of the Hungarians to be dull or uninteresting. I can’t say that I agree with them. In my opinion this is one of those campaigns that give you thrills at times especially in the beginning when you face some very strong competition in the form of the HRE, Byzantines and certainly the Venetians. I’ve never had any troubles with the Poles but that doesn’t say that they are pushovers. You are in close proximity to Kiev and Asia minor so you will encounter the Mongols and Timurids if you play for long enough that is.
The first few turns
As you can see in the picture above I usually combine my two field armies with the armies in the city they are standing next to. With these large armies I usually blitz my way south and south west. The army near Budapest should go to Zagreb at all costs, whilst the army of Bran should go south.
First Targets and their Use
If you succeed in capturing Zagreb before the Venetians do then you have a very big advantage but also a enemy right from the start as the Venetians always seems very eager in taking that small city. Zagreb’s province has gold so a potential money maker is in the making. But as said be prepared to take on the Venetians. When you succeed they will come at you(they will come at you anyway sooner or later but in the beginning they have a strong advantage with their Italian spear militias).
The army of Bran led by the legendary Istvan should turn south. With these combined forces you should have no problems in capturing Bucharest which is a must. Bucharest will be your trade capital for the black sea. From here luxury goods from Asia Minor, Greece and the Caucasian mountains will flow to your lands. In my games Bucharest is always the top money maker until I get access to a wealthier dock like Iraklion on Crete.
When you have captured Bucharest there are two options for you: You could go north and conquer the small castle of Iasi, or you could go south and capture the small castle of Sofia. This is one of those rare occasions that I agree with AI. I tend to go south and blitz Sofia before the Byzantines can have it. Sofia is strategically the castle that will defend your entire southern border in the beginning of the game. It is the gate way through your core regions. When the Byzantines get it before you do they have a open road towards your heartlands.
That doesn’t say that Iasi isn’t a bad option either as it shields your northern approach against future attacks of the Russians, Poles and possibly Mongols and Timurids. But in my opinion Bran is perfectly able for this task as well. Another advantage of Sofia over Iasi is that it shields your going to be trade capital Bucharest.
When you are pushing southwards don’t forget to pump out some extra soldiers from Bran or use mercenaries. Sofia has a relatively large garrison and if you lose to much men at Bran then you might face some stout resistance. You’ll have to capture it the first try because when you don’t the Byzantines will most likely take it and then you have a problem as you’ve lost to much time to go north to conquer Iasi who at that time will probably have been captured by the Poles.
As Hungary you are surrounded by potential enemies and allies. As I’ve said in the above you are facing the poles in the north.
The HRE and the Venetians in the West
And the Byzantines in the south.
Now in all of my campaigns I always end up crossing my swords with the HRE and the Venetians. Based on my personal preferences I always send my princess towards the Byzantine city of Thessalonica to arrange a marriage alliance along with the luxurious trade rights. Trade rights with the Byzantines are a must in my opinion as they will earn you a lot of money over time. Plus alliance with the Byzantines means an ally against the Venetians. In my experiences the Byzantines rarely betray me so they are a useable ally, sending them some cash every now and then will stabilize and enhance your relations even further.
The Poles are another faction with whom I rarely cross swords with. I’ve no interest in the cold forests of the Baltic coast and in all of my games the poles don’t seem to have interest in expanding southwards. Trade rights is always good as it will always earn you a few dozen florins at least and an alliance with the Poles means an ally against the HRE. Just as with the Byzantines I’ve rarely seen the poles betray me but I’ve seen them blitzing all the way to the Caspian sea. So if you want those regions for yourself then I advice you to spy them every now and then with your agents to see what they are up to.
Of course when you are thinking of going all the way south towards Greece and it’s isles then you could ally yourselves with the Turks. They will come in to war with the Byzantines sooner or later and with a combined front the Byzantines will quickly prove to be unable to fight this entire threat of. Alliance with the Turks is not necessary but beginning and maintaining diplomatic relations with the Turks is advisable.
When I think of enemies that you encounter as Hungary then Venice and the HRE are the first that I can think of. Venice are like the Nazis of the second world war. Searching for lebensraum in the Slavic lands. I find them a trouble as their infantry especially in the beginning outclasses your own. Especially with their early heavy cavalry(the mailed knights f.e.) they can be a true headache in field battles. Their weakness is that they are very spread out and just as you they face many potential enemies, once they are cut of from Zagreb and you are able to halt their advance in to the Slavic lands then taking Ragusa is a priority. When Ragusa falls they no longer have access to their knights and then their Italian spear militia is a lot less imposing.
Along with the Venetians you will very likely face the HRE as a opponent as well. Their empire is vast and they can throw a lot of soldiers at you because of this. Their soldiers come in quantity but also in quality. When they come alone at you then be prepared for a hard fight against multiple stacks consisting out of armoured sergeants and such. Luckily for you a large empire also brings a large number of enemies so they will probably to much spend to pay all of their attention to you. When this happens you can very easily sneak attack some settlements from them like Vienna. But be prepared to fight against the finest of the reich as in most of my Hungarian games they seem addicted to Budapest.
Strategies for later on
In my opinion there are three ways you can go by as Hungarian lord.
1st way going west: After you have consolidated Sofia, Bucharest and Zagreb turn your attention towards the that big black blob in the centre of Europe and take it down. Don’t go all the way north leave some for the Poles, Danes and French, you won’t want to go at war with them do you. From there go south, and capture the Italian peninsula. Leave Rome alone as you don’t want every catholic church on your tail. But take Venice and Milan. When you’ve done that consolidate your holdings. Build up your armies and upgrade your cities and castles. Take some time off and wait for a chance to meddle in already existing conflict between your neighbours. By this time you are so powerful that all of your enemies are just a walk in the park. Though I would remind you of the devastating power of the Mongol and Timurid hordes. You don’t have a proper weapon against them and you need all of your tactical skill to defeat their armies.
2nd way: going South: Basically this means that after you’ve conquered Sofia, Bucharest and Zagreb you are turning further south and take what’s left of the former Roman Empire. They have a very strong mix of cavalry with strong infantry and if they have build like I do then prepare to face the earliest heavy infantry possible in the game. After you have taken Greece then I would urge you to make the jump to the heel of Italy and from there go north whilst you are attacking out of Zagreb from the north. With this you’ll have a nice pincer move and the Italian states will be chocked by your powerful hold. When Italy and Greece are firmly under your control you are again powerful enough to be feared rather to fear and you can expand in every way you like(please HRE)
3rd way going north: Basically this is very simple, you just expand north and ignore the riches of the south. You take Poland on first who shouldn’t be to hard. With the regions of Poland there should be enough rebel cities near you to take. When you’ve done that you should be the most powerful nation in the area and again you can expand in every way you like. Though I personally don’t like expanding in this way as the area north of Hungary is poor and underdeveloped. I rather prefer a buffer state as Poland to take on any threats from the north like the Russians, Danes and HRE, while I work my through the first or second way.
Now I see you think: Why the hell didn't he named the battlefield assassins anywhere in this guide(they are the special unit of the Hungarians) well I can answer that question very easily for you. I'm a Napoleonic thinker, and thus I believe in the quantity of troops. Dismounted knights are formidable on their own and if my calculations are correct battlefield assasins have double hit points but halve the number of men. So technically they present one full battalion of knights, why throw away 60 men if you can get the same quality in a battalion of 120 men. On top of that battlefield assasins can't be retrained everywhere you want where as knights can be retrained in any of your highly advanced castles.
I hope you enjoyed reading my guide and learned something from it or felt the need to immediately begin playing the Hungarians. If the latter has occurred I feel that my mission is a success
Last edited by Acco; August 03, 2009 at 05:18 PM.
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