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I never use them, unless I am planning to attack a Citadel, Fortress, or Huge City -- and sometimes if I am trying to quickly take a settlement before the pope orders me to stop else excommunicate.
I know a lot of people use the artillery in the field, its very good when you're defending a bridge, but otherwise I'd rather use the space that Arty takes up -- and bring more cav, archer, or infantry.
Artillery is too slow, and wayyy too vulnerable -- the enemy will always try to attack your artillery, so you have to keep troops to guard it, and then all it takes is for an enemy unit of cav, or light infantry to run up and attack forcing you to send your guarding troops to engage and most certainly the arty won't be able to fire at anything -- and you'll have to keep reclicking them so they 'use' the arty not try to fight with daggers. Other times, if you're not careful arty will be firing while your own men are in the melee and you kill some of your own men ie braveheart "beg your pardon, m'lord, won't we hit our own troops?" .. "Yessss, but we'll hit there's as well, we have reserves... attack"
Spending the money on more cavalry is a far better choice than using arty.
I'm not sure I'd agree with that, at least as far as gunpowder's concerned. The mortar is easy to protect while it does it's thing as it fires in an arc, not directly. If your artillery crews are getting killed, trying different placement and micro will solve this. I tend to have it behind my lines as I prefer ones that don't need a direct line of sight, but Serpantines are fantastic for chewing up blocks of infantry, if you place your line, but draw the units up "narrower" but leave them in the same spot so as to create gaps, you can put your artillery in those gaps and keep firing until the last moment. When the enemy comes, you simply reform your line to cover them and move them back a little if necessary. They're really no harder to protect than most missile infantry. And if you're outflanked in such a manner as to place your artillery in danger, that flank needs attention wether you have artillery there or not.
Euroba Barbarorum convert
I've been doing some artillery work: Serpentines consistently score more kills than ALL the other type cannons i open field battles. I make an artillery "division" of 3 serpentines and one heavier cannon, The Serpentines have a longer range too. The heavier cannon is for attacking forts, one is enough to knock out 2 towers, the gate and a chunk of wall. Don't deploy in the center of the battle Field, back up into a corner, with the best field of fire you can get and blast away! Switch the heavy cannon to exploding shot when they get close. Use ALL you ammo. I don't invest much in siege buildings so I don't use them much, but I do love the story about killing the Pope with a rotten cow! 90% of casualties in WW2 were from arty.
Bassilisk, great against walls and troops, better range and power.
I got a related question. I tend to carry artillery with my armies all the time, so...how many unit slots do I need to carry enough artillery to cut safe path through all defense levels of citadel in one battle? I've only recently started, so I don't have that kind of experience yet...when I first got my trebuchets, I carried three to first siege, and after witnessing devastation they did to large city, I wonder if three slots are too much.
the very presence of artillery forces your opponent to spread his army out rather than having them in dense compact formations and just by that your other trops can take advantage of that artillery is quite inaccuate so just aim in the middle of infantry so it kills something even if it wasnt what you were aiming at.
Well, I was actually wondering if I should use less slots, not more, since so far three artillery pieces were overkill.
Thing is, I've never actually assaulted citadel or huge city (got M2 just a few days ago), so I don't know what will I need.
One advantage of artillery against the AI is that the AI is dumb, so you could just shoot them with artillery and they're pretty likely to just stand there getting killed for a while, rather than charging or moving out of range. It's not a very satisfying way of winning, since it's basically bug exploitation, but it's handy if you are trying not to take a lot of casualties.
The biggest disadvantage, IMHO, is how much it slows your movement in the strategic map.
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