Author: Jojobobo
Title: How to Win with the Dwarves on VH/VH

How to Win with the Dwarves on VH/VH So after numerous attempts to win with the Dwarves on VH/VH, I finally did it. I thought Id present a guide with a few screenshots on how I managed it and why the strategies I used are sensible. I play vanilla 3.2 TA:TW, so I dont know how viable this strategy would be for submods. Enjoy!

Why The Dwarves?

To briefly surmise what made me want to play the Dwarves, I like how their infantry focus embodies their stoicism and bravery. Other factions have to rely on cavalry, archers and other tricks to win battles, but with the Dwarves they grit their teeth and fight man-to-man to the bitter end. They are honourable and hardy, and for me that is the perfect reason to make the Dwarves your faction of choice.

The Dwarvern Army and Battle Tips

Im not going to give you a breakdown of each unit here as its a bit pointless with a faction that relies predominantly on one unit type, but what I am going to tell you is how to use your units in an effective manner:

1) Deployment and General Tips - What youre going to want to do is have youre units with a shield up front to ward off arrows and units without to the sides of your army ready to flank. When the battle starts, actively micromanage and keep trying to flank your opponent (or in a siege, run a few units down a side street to flank the force in the city square). Missile units are also best used for flanking, either to cause a rout or if you can get them all the way around the rear an enemy unit won't have any shield defence there - do not try and use Iron Crossbows in a shoot-off as their inferior range means you will suffer a large number of casualties before you can pin-cushion your opponent. If you have some Dale Cavalry or Rhovanion Riders, have them off to a side and run them round the back of an enemy. Cavalry lives and dies on its charge bonus, so dont let them engage in infantry overly long but keep charging them in an out (be wary of archer units capable of staking as they can deploy them at will in this mod). Finally try to match up AP units to enemy units that are heavily armoured, if you think about what youre doing in a battle it always helps.

2) When Sieging Orc Settlements - Build more than one ram, and attack through more than one gate. In the deployment phase you should have access to two if not three gates in an Orc settlement at once, use this to your advantage to flank an enemy.

3) The Bum Rush - This technique is one Ive found to be eminently useful with the Dwarves. Essentially, as Dwarves are better armoured, once youve engaged in a fight instead of waiting forever to grind the enemy down and suffer many losses in the process you can tell your unit to run through the enemy instead. Once enough of your unit have permeated the enemies significantly, tell them to fight the unit again and watch them drop like flies as they count is some regards as flanking. Dont try this against AP units as youll suffer too much for it, but fortunately the OoG and the OotMM dont have too many of those.

4) Against Rhn In The Field - Youre going to want to use siege equipment to inflict as much damage as you can at a distance and to avoid their archers. Dale Cavalry is very useful to catch up with their archers, but as I said in (1) just be wary of their stakes. Also to re-iterate dont try and get in a shoot-off with Rhn in the field, you will die. Apart from that, the tactics discussed in (1) are pretty sound.

5) Try To Avoid Field Battles Where Possible - they are not the Dwarves forte, but using the tips I have already discussed you should be able to cope okay with them.

The Rationale Behind My Campaign Strategy

My downfall when playing the Dwarves previously was to pursue the OoG and the OotMM initially, which though you can kill them both, isnt half as sensible as going after Rhn first. Heres why:

1) Rhn Become Too Strong Mid-Game - Rhn becomes too difficult to take on after about a hundred turns, in part because theyre rich and in part because they use Lke-Nar Rim prolifically who shoot your poor dwarves to pieces. Also, the Lke-Flag Rim have AP so youre dwarves main advantage - that they are heavily armoured - is soured from the start. Finally the vegetation type of Rhns settlements is desert, meaning that even when you have built up culture in Rhn settlements the recruitment is painfully slow and troops from Azanulimbar-Dm and Erebor will always take too long to get there; effectively giving Rhn the upper hand in a war of attrition. Though you might take some of their settlements mid-game, I have found just to keep those settlements I needed to have a full garrison; and in previous playthroughs I couldnt expand, all I could do was desperately hold those settlements whilst my army garrison drank up my money.

2) Rhns Settlements Are A Cash-Cow - If you take own all the settlements around the Sea of Rhn (I know some of them are Dales typically, but more on that later) you are set financially for the rest of the game. I currently am making 15000 gold a turn after having every settlement make buildings, its all because I took the Sea of Rhn early.

3) The OoG Get Strong - This may sound like a bad thing, but if you organise a ceasefire then whats the problem? Theyll avoid you and eat into Eriador, effectively giving you a wider pool of settlements to take later to reach the 40 settlement quota required for victory. For example, in my campaign I took both Hobbiton and Annminas from the OoG; if Id have attacked the OoG from the off theres no way I could have taken those settlements without going to war with Eriador itself.

Up To Turn 40ish

Heres a simple breakdown of what I did early game (Im not going to give screenshots for this, if you want to know whereabouts settlements are for a rough guide hit and type in toggle_fow - I know its technically cheating but its always good to be acquainted with your surroundings as if I was playing regular M2:TW Id know exactly where to go and what to do with most factions from the off. I do this before I start a proper campaign, then start a new one to essentially keep it cheat free - thats messed up logic but I digress):

1) Take Lunelaith, Nenuial, Wormcove and Din's Halls - You can pull Thorin and your entire army out of Thorins Halls and make for Lunelaith as of turn 1, recruit some Miners there to keep the peace. Use Gimli and the entire army to take Nenuial as of turn 1, and recruit Warriors there (the recruitment will prevent a riot); and then Miners the subsequent turn and send the Warriors to meet Gimli. If you want to bolster Gimlis army after youve taken Lunelaith make sure to not send Thorins forces through the river crossing to the east of Lunelaith, a strong rebel army hides there. Instead go north past the northern river crossing and then east. Once you have taken Nenuial send Gimli back to Thorins Halls, his respect will encourage population growth, and make sure to maintain a deterrent garrison at Nenuial to stop the OoG getting funny ideas (Thorin and 6 full units is sufficient, you can send incomplete units back to Kibil Dum for retraining). I wouldnt try to take any other settlements in the area, just turtle with the western settlements after this point for now.

Meanwhile take two Miners out of Azanulimbar-Dm and make for Wormcove on turn 1 (dont take any more units out of there though as Rhn might take a fancy to you), and use Balin and the rest of the force from Erebor barring King Din to go and take Din's Halls (you can recruit Dale Cavalry on the way). Din's Halls takes 5 turns to siege out, so you can recruit more units at Erebor (or receive them from missions, youll usually get one in turn two to take Lunelaith) and send them to reinforce your army - I find if you have an army of 14 units they will surrender; also destroy the warg breeder if they have built one as it is of no use to you. Take Wrakyaburg and Framsburg if you feel like you can manage it whilst maintaining a deterrent garrison, if not watch those settlements using the spy near Erebor to keep yourself updated. I always build watchtowers along the north face of the Grey Mountains so I know well in advance if the OoG are getting aggressive - you can usually garrison Din's Halls sufficiently by recruiting units to stop an advancing army before it reaches you (as in dont attack them, theyll wander off if they dont fancy their chances at your settlement anymore).

2) Make Money Through Diplomacy - Hire a diplomat at Erebor on your first turn, and make sure to secure trade rights and an alliance with the Silvan Elves. After this send him across to negotiate a ceasefire with the OoG and the OotMM (after taking Din's Halls of course), which if you throw in trade rights you can get for over 10000 gold. Both the High Elves and Eriador will approach you and ask for trade rights after youve taken Lunelaith, make sure you make them pay for it too (look for a money sum that makes negotiations balanced). I would recommend leaving the diplomat that youve negotiated with the OoG and OotMM there, in case they try attack you and you have broker a ceasefire again.

3) Building Choices - I like to build a mining network at Azanulimbar-Dm on turn 1, just look at the money it will make you! Apart from that mines at Din's Halls are also good when you can afford them, and you will want to give both Erebor and Azanulimbar-Dm a military focus before taking on Rhn. I managed to get the majority of military buildings at Erebor and Azanulimbar-Dm before turn 40, feel free to tech up until that point after these initial steps and recruit armies at those settlements to ready for the assault.

After Turn 40 - Rhn

Now that youve built up at Erebor and Azanulimbar-Dm, youll want to make a start on Rhn:

1) Army Choices - I like to use a couple of siege engines (preferably catapults), two units of Dale Cavalry, 2-3 units of Iron Crossbows and the rest infantry. Having two full stacks made up like this with King Din leading one and Gloin the other should be more than enough to start with, as long as you keep sending more troops down from Erebor and Azanulimbar-Dm when you get them.

2) Diplomats - Set one diplomat up ready to talk to a Dale settlement and one next to a Rhn settlement (exchange map information before you go to war to make it easy to root out their settlements). This is important later.

3) What To Take And What To Do - First off see if Dorwinion is taken by Rhn, it probably shouldnt be this early in the game. If it is, set up in the fort across the river and wait until it has a low garrison, then swoop in and take it in a single turn with ease - leaving it with as small a garrison as possible needed to keep the peace. If not take Kugavod, and continue along the eastern seaboard. Rhomen has a garrison script, but Kelepar shouldnt pose you any problems - remember to destroy stables as you go. Now, rather than take Mistrand which is next along the coast, take first Mattaram then Burh Ermanarikis - neither of them have garrison scripts. After taking each, give them to Dale; and then take Mistrand.

You may ask why bother giving away settlements? Firstly it means you can sustain your attack, as you are freed from the responsibility of devoting some of your army as a garrison for settlements that don't hold a great deal of importance to you. It also means that in order to retake their capital Rhn have got to get through these settlements first, giving you some much needed breathing room. Dale will start sending down units straight away, antagonising any Rhn units it meets and making your job all the easier. As soon as Dale's newly gifted settlements fall retake them and give them back to Dale (using spies to keep an eye on each and keep some units in the fort at Burh Ermanarikis), or more preferably trade them for Dorwinion or Uldonavan so you can own the entire Rhn sea. As with the OoG and the OotMM, you can keep making Rhn pay for costly ceasefires every time you take back a city that they have taken from Dale.

When you think you can manage it, take the remainder of Rhns most easterly settlements (I never bothered with Oibamari or Ammu Khand) and trade the ones you dont want for choicer Dale settlements - making sure you definitely trade them Tirith Thoron and Rhovanost so you now have no borders with Mordor (who normally own Thoronburg). Keep retaking settlements Rhn takes back off Dale, and then wait for them to build up culture and for the situation to stabilise. Once youre ready and feel happy Dale can adequately rebuff Rhn (you will have bolstered their economy through this process), send the majority of you armies back to Erebor - leaving Gloin in case Rhn get out of hand.

Below is a picture of my situation at the end of the game. Unfortunately I havent been paying attention to the Sea of Rhn area in the last 10 turns or so and as you can see theyve taken Mattaram off Dale! Still as I mentioned, this has only occurred very recently and should be quite easy to retake (I can now hire Axemen and Iron Crossbows at Mistrand for example).

4) Elsewhere In Middle Earth - Start building up military infrastructure in the Blue Mountains, so you can soon start harassing the OoG (with Gimli at Thorins Halls, you should have been able to upgrade it by now). Recruit generals to bolster these armies too, as youll still only be able to build Warriors at best but now have money to spare on costly generals. Build a town hall at Thorins Halls and make sure you get a diplomat and negotiate an alliance with the High Elves as at one point in my game they marched a full stack army to Lunelaith! They didnt actually attack me, but they seemed to be strongly considering it. Swap map information with Eriador, effectively revealing which settlements have been taken by the OoG and the OotMM so you know where youre going in the near future; and start getting alliances, trade rights and military access with other good factions.


By now you should be able to take out the OoG and the OotMM in a fairly straight forward manner, using armies from Erebor plus Din's Halls and the Blue Mountains respectively. Still here are my last few tips:

1) Take Ex-Eriador Settlements - As I mentioned earlier, part of what is good about leaving OoG be is that they really antagonise Eriador. Use your Blue Mountain armies to take as many settlements that used to be owned by Eriador as possible, as if you dont and went for Carn Dm instead Eriador will seize the opportunity that you could have taken.

2) Take Framsburg - Once youve taken it leave it with a good garrison (four full-ish units), and then move on to Gundabad, Litash, Carn Dm and Gram with your Erebor/Din's Halls army. You can use Framsburg to demand a ceasefire from OotMM, who should from then on leave you alone whilst you finish off the OoG. Dont forget to change your capital at some point to one of these settlements, if only so when you get a mission that offers you three of your best units theyre sent more or less to your front lines.

3) Onto The OotMM - Once the OoG is dead spread slowly and methodically down the Misty Mountains, but not before waiting until your culture is sufficient so you can replenish your units at ex-OoG settlements assuring that your assault never fizzles out. With your superior units, you shouldnt really face any major problems - and once you get to Moria youll find the Balrog isnt as scary as youd imagine hed be.

4) The Final Few Settlements To Make You Up To 40 - Now there are two options here: either start a war with Isengard from Khazad-dm (or maybe Mordor if you take Cirith Ungol and then combine armies from there and the Sea of Rhn to make for the Black Gate), or you can just buy settlements. If you have military access which you should have been able to sort with all the good factions by this point simply walk a small garrisoning army to a settlement youve got your eye on, offer the faction 20000-40000 gold (depending on the size, etc.) and it should be yours. Youll be making about 15000 gold even whilst building in every single settlement, so it quickly mounts up. I did this whilst I was finishing off the OotMM, making my number 40 settlement that finished off the campaign Moria rather fittingly.

5) Victory!

So there you have it, I hope youve enjoyed the guide and I hope with it you can manage to win with the Dwarves too. I might make more of these in the future if I manage to win with another faction, but for now this is all youre getting!