Here is a preview of a field battle, heavy western roster of Jerusalem full of good armour versus the more flexible and mobile roster of the Islam opponent.
note: unit stats are different from vanilla. I have brought western armies more back in line and done other stuff to enhance the AI performance overall (as per bigger image, wider perspective). Egypt troops are inferior in armour (especially archers) and not so amazing in melee, but they have their advantages in other areas, such as horse archers. Ignore the unit costs, they don't reflect the relative unit strength. Both armies are about balanced. The mod used is KGCM version 4.2, with our personal tweaks.
Overview of the situation:
- the player is defending, with his troops in loose formation in order to reduce the casualties from the enemy fire
- the player has the height advantage and is basically 'sitting on his ass', peppering the approaching enemy, keeping his less numerous heavy cavalry for emergency or interception duties
Player fortified, enemy advancing
The AI send in their archers to draw my fire, absorb some arrows and then shoot back. At the same time, their horse archers are peppering from the flanks. The unfortunate Nubians taste the greek fire, too. At this point I had a small advantage of the casualty ratio.
Since the AI send their archers too far from main line (something to improve upon, but nothing is perfect I guess), so I decided to use my heavy cavalry and charge them.
The AI reacted pretty fast, it withdrew it's archers, it used their heavy cavalry few times to charge my own archers and crossbowmen as well as advanced with their infantry line till the final clash. I have ordered spearmen to engage incoming charging cavalry, but too late. This resulted in casualties much higher than I wanted, and possibly cost me a battle as well.
At this moment, casualties were about the same. The AI did some mistakes, but so it capitalised on my mistakes as well. Felt pretty much like chess with timed moves, I had barely the time to realise what's going on, make a decision and then be forced to focus on completely different aspect of battle.
Their melee infantry and heavy cavalry started deadly flanking dance, while their missile troops were still fooling around and shooting at me, changing their positions depending on where their own infantry troops were, to maximise effectiveness of fire.
Tip: Watch the minimap for the placement of the troop blocks, to realise how they were encircling me.
Wider perspective - early stage flanking dance:
In the ensuing chaos, I didn't even notice when THIS happened.
Mass rout, which ensued later, was pretty much an end of the battle. Still, before that happened ...
Horse archers positioning themselves intelligently, to shoot exactly where I was vulnerable and not engaged, in order to avoid friendly fire as well.
And before the said rout ensued ... the enemy general running around my army, just to strike me from the back!
The AI responsiveness overall, as well as very efficient infantry and cavalry flanking, pretty much leaved no room for simply deploying the troops on higher ground as sole guarantee of beating the enemy. They climbed up the hill, brought the fight to me, fought it on my terms and beat me.
Well, the sad story could have only one kind of an ending. The sad ending.
On this day, it was not the soldiers which failed the general. It was not the enemy, which, after all, didn't employ malfunctioning or inefficient tactics, but has shown some talent on the field of battle. It was the general itself, which has failed his soldiers and amused his enemy.
Our AI isn't perfect. It may do some stupid stuff, just like a human does. Perhaps even more often, because it's incapable of abstract thinking (just like any AI). You will win your battles. You might even win them often, but ... the way you play, will change. The times of simply sitting there and watching the AI incapable of bringing the fight to you, not dealing any serious casualties have pretty much ended. You will win your battles, but you will have to show soundness of mind and passion for the fight. Disregarding your enemy and playing like a peasant girl will ensue a sad defeat. Plus, there are other surprises awaiting you ... should you disregard your enemy, like I did. Give your best and expect AI's best, give your worst and expect defeat.