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Thread: Request for Early Game Advice

  1. #1
    Laetus
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    Default Request for Early Game Advice

    I'm new to EBII and finding the early game (N/N) a struggle with just about every faction, and would like to solicit some advice from those of you with more experience.

    It's not that I'm being defeated, but rather that I'm simply not sure what kind of goals and pacing are appropriate. In Rome I and Medieval II (and most of its mods) I tend to expand by 1-3 territories within the first 20 turns and then turtle up for a good amount of time while I upgrade my settlements so I can fund better units and future expansion. For example, as England I'll consolidate my British holdings and then park an army near York to watch the Scots, another near Caen to watch the French, and then I build, build, build!

    I'm finding issues with my usual playstyle in EBII. The biggest obstacle is my treasury. Pretty much every faction I've tried so far starts out losing 1500+ per turn, and I'm not sure what's best to do about it. I want to construct buildings and slowly gain wealth, but it seems this is impossible without somehow conquering 2-3 settlements before my funds run out (which can be as little as a couple of turns). My difficulty with conquest is that most factions seem beset by at least one good-sized stack of rebels in addition to facing the prospect of defeating 3/4 stack garrisons in every rebel settlement. I'm not ashamed to say I'm a timid player and find this an overwhelming situation for turn 1.

    I watched part of a video let's play wherein the player was deep in the red until something like forty turns into the game. Is early-game debt just a fact of life in the EB mod series?

    It seems I have two choices.

    Choice one is to disband troops until I have positive cashflow, then invest in income-producing buildings until I can someday actually afford to field an army. Given that there are opportunities for generals to gain traits by hanging around for a while, this seems like it might actually be intended as an option, albeit a slow and potentially suicidal one.

    Choice two is to just pretend that being massively broke for years would somehow not cause my empire to collapse and then defeat multiple rebel stacks and somehow win sieges against several numerically-superior garrison forces without ever being able to afford reinforcements. And, in so doing, pray that my income eventually exceeds my expenses. With this choice I'm worried about instability (won't I need to park my army in a newly-conquered region to babysit public order for a number of turns?) and with the potential added costs of having to train yet more expensive troops to watch my expanded borders and deter war declarations.

    Which choice is best? Is there a third choice I'm not seeing? Can timid builders effectively play this mod, or is it solely for war-mongers?

    For example, today I started a campaign as Pergamon. I'm at turn 6 and one turn away from going into the red. So far I've defeated the rebel stack in my home province, defeated the stack hanging out up near Nikaea, and have with the arrival of spring laid siege to said settlement. The very next turn they sally forth to engage me, although I didn't have time to battle before I left for work today and will have to fight that battle later. The enemy force outnumbers be significantly, but given how few losses I suffered beating the rebel stacks I suspect I can probably slaughter them as they rush out of the gate.

    Am I going about things the right way? If so, what should I do next? I'm eager to snatch up Byzantium, but I read in another thread that I can't take proper control of it until I trigger reforms I can't get without taking an extremely-heavily-defended settlement from my Seleukid allies. Should I sit on two provinces a while? Go after Galatia? Join the Seleukids in fighting Ptolemy?

    Thanks for your input!

  2. #2
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    in both my Pergamon (H/H) and Pritanoi (VH/VH) games, the initial armies are more than enough to take a few settlements (in Pritanoi: +6 settlements), and already taking 1 (one) is enough to get you out of the red. (I don't mention the Hayasdan campaign as you start with a surplus).

    IMO, building new buildings is not a way to increase the income in EBII - in this mod you do it through conquering the new settlements. You build just by way, or to get public order, or to get better troops thanks to the governments. Also, the generals' traits giving +tax +trade are irrelevant (while in some mods they can double a settlement income esp. through lowering corruption by law - I haven't witnessed it in the EBII, but maybe this is a case for the large empires).

    I've played Pergamon in 2.3 and I had no problems with keeping Byzantion (this might have changed to 2.35) and Kabyle (very profitable settlement given its mines: it provides income for a full stack of good soldiers). Nikaia is also a very profitable settlement.

    If you're conquering settlements, you'll swim in money soon. In Pritanoi campaign I'd bought every building possible, I've kept a decent army, and yet my treasure would grow and grow.
    Last edited by Jurand of Cracow; February 19, 2019 at 12:27 AM.

  3. #3
    Lusitanio's Avatar Semisalis
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    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    If you feel that it's very hard, you can try easier factions like Carthage in which you already have plenty of settlements and end every turn gaining a steady amount of money that allows you to keep your armies and even increase them. Rome is also pretty easy if you defeat the northern rebels.

    However, it seems to me that you're spending all your money in buildings and not developing your army to conquer regions. W

  4. #4

    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    Consolidation is the name of the game with the EBII early game. Remember the campaign is 1000 turns long and it very much appears to be designed to last you all the way through - my longest campaign so far is about 600 turns and I haven't given up on it yet! So the pacing will be much, much, MUCH slower than a standard TW game - sometimes you won't build more than a building or two across your whole empire for years, and recruiting a unit is (usually) a tangible investment.

    As for early game tips, some people like to disband excess units. I've always shied away from this since it's imo a waste of resources - generally I only disband units that are very understrength, and even then usually only in cities that can recruit them to represent survivors "coming home" or resettling.

    What I like to do with my initial armies is figure out which units are superfluous to my needs and then send them to soften up whatever rebel stacks I will expect to face over the coming years. Then I reform my realm - by either conquering or giving away or abandoning territories (sometimes a mixture of all three) until I have a reasonably contiguous and/or defensible empire. Then I slowly stabilise my economy, build up a decent offensive stack, and take things from there.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    Historically, construction was almost never a source of profit in the ancient world nor was it connected to revenue. Construction projects either: a) served to advertise the power of the ruler who built them, or b) served a Machiavellian purpose for enhancing a ruler's grip over a given region, city, or transit network. And in large empires which formed and managed to remain stable for a continuous period of time (e.g. Persia, Rome) there was a rare category c) improving the quality of civic life in large cities. But these latter category were basically pro bono and always with the ulterior motive of increasing the loyalty of the population. Consider this whenever you are considering what to build or whether or not to build something.

    Quite honestly, when I first started playing the mod a few years ago, I only played on M/M and pretty much every campaign of mine would eventually get bogged down around 15-20 settlements or so, and I would have to abandon the campaign. The reason was because my battlefield casualties were just too high, and my production couldn't sustain a rate of replenishment high enough to continue my wars successfully. I was in a situation where a stack would only last long enough to take a single settlement, and that would be all the use that I got from it. When I was finally able to 'crack the code' and get cheap enough wins in order to keep using my stacks for multiple battles and sieges in a row, well, then I could actually conquer an entire country in a single campaign, as one typically would historically. I found just as you did that the player cannot afford to be training units constantly. Although there may be other tactics you can implement to improve your situation, the most effective solution of all is to master the tricks of the battle map and up your efficiency so that you get more mileage out of fewer units.

    I can tell you one trick in this regard which is very simple and will boost your survival rate and your effectiveness on the battlefield right away. NEVER USE JUST ONE STACK FOR A CAMPAIGN! This is the fool's way, a folly no lesser than that of Minucius racing alone to the embrace of death against Hannibal Barca. Think of Caesar and his account of the wars in Gaul. Would you say that he had just one stack in his campaigns? Hardly - he had probably 4 or 5 in EB terms, with which he had a great flexibility to do things like besiege the enemy inside a settlement and then march off with his remaining forces to eliminate their field armies, coming back with the field armies next turn in order to slaughter the enemy garrison inside at a minimal cost. Or even as simple as bringing three forces together from different directions in battle against a single enemy one, mathematically increasing his work efficiency such that his own casualties plummeted while those of the barbarian enemy rose exponentially. Regardless of your approach on the battle map, this strategic design is sure to increase your survival rate and effectiveness.

    When you first start out, playing as a one-province minor, recruit every unit possible for you and create a full stack of troops. Any additional troops you can get, incorporate them into a smaller baggage train that follows adjacent to your main stack. This is the best you can do for now. With this one stack, you should hope to get between 2 and 3 rebel settlements before your exhaust your strength - one which you can take at a pretty low cost due to your full size, a second one which you can get pretty cheaply if you break the enemy right, and a third which you can seize when your superior tactics unhorse and topple the enemy. Of course, you have to account for any field battles which may arise, but conquering even 1 settlement will bring your income at least close to break even, and you should be able to get a 2nd one which will put you in the green.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Beckitz View Post
    Construction projects either: a) served to advertise the power of the ruler who built them, or b) served a Machiavellian purpose for enhancing a ruler's grip over a given region, city, or transit network. And in large empires which formed and managed to remain stable for a continuous period of time (e.g. Persia, Rome) there was a rare category c) improving the quality of civic life in large cities. But these latter category were basically pro bono and always with the ulterior motive of increasing the loyalty of the population.
    I do not see anything wrong in your utilitarian explanation of the motives per se, but I feel that we are missing one central human motivation. I am referring to people's inclination to produce and construct things that they feel are needed and decent to have. As someone originating from Finland, I could not see myself starting a civilization anywhere without constructing saunas, ice hockey stadiums, municipally owned healthcare centers and schools with free meals in the cafeteria, and government-operated monopoly liquor stores with prices so exorbitant that they make your alcohol abuse feel like a classy activity. Because that is the understanding of a decent human existence that I grew up with.

    But seriously, I feel that the fact that Romans, for instance, constructed temples to gods, roads, schools, and baths (where none existed and were not sought after) may just as well have been because of their understanding of how things ought to work. How to build a respectable society. Your gameplay advice seems good and I have nothing to add to that.

  7. #7
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Septentrionalis View Post
    I could not see myself starting a civilization anywhere without constructing saunas, ice hockey stadiums, municipally owned healthcare centers and schools with free meals in the cafeteria, and government-operated monopoly liquor stores with prices so exorbitant that they make your alcohol abuse feel like a classy activity.
    you've forgotten a ski jump hill! (invite the Polish team then, we'll be happy to win there unless a new Nykannen shows up)

  8. #8

    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    you've forgotten a ski jump hill! (invite the Polish team then, we'll be happy to win there unless a new Nykannen shows up)
    Nice one, JoC! I guess all the gods would frown upon the province of Fennia Nova if no ski jumping hill was inaugurated. Nykänen dying two weeks ago certainly sparked up many public discussions about what is decent and what is not (PM me if you are interested in that). At any rate, I would welcome our Polish friends to compete and show us that constant dedication is the only way to succeed continuously; there is no virtue in hanging on to past legends alone.

  9. #9
    Laetus
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    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    Thanks for all the advice!

    I guess I need to stop thinking I'm playing a Total War game and instead understand that I'm playing something else that simply uses the TW engine. For me, filling my settlements with bigger and fancier buildings has always been the most enjoyable part of the game. I love starting small and tailoring my empire, with a loving touch, into something grand that I'm 100% responsible for (and for me, the settlement buildings directly influence how "grand" things appear). For that reason I seldom if ever play as large factions. In a good thousand hours of Medieval II I've never once played beyond turn 1 or 2 as the HRE, or the Byzantines. I've never played as a large successor kingdom in EBI / II or the Rome games. I find it overwhelming to be suddenly faced with managing a bunch of settlements and generals I wasn't responsible for obtaining. This means playing as Carthage or another rich empire isn't on the table, for me. Minor factions it is.

    I guess I'll have to get used to playing this as more of a war game than a builder. It's quite possible EBII just isn't my cup of tea, in spite of how much I enjoy and appreciate the amount of history contained within for me to read. I'll pick a campaign and just go all-out with troops and expansion and see if I can create a situation where I can comfortably build my cities. If so, it might be more my thing.

  10. #10
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Pattonius View Post
    I guess I need to stop thinking I'm playing a Total War game and instead understand that I'm playing something else that simply uses the TW engine. For me, filling my settlements with bigger and fancier buildings has always been the most enjoyable part of the game. I love starting small and tailoring my empire, with a loving touch, into something grand that I'm 100% responsible for (and for me, the settlement buildings directly influence how "grand" things appear). For that reason I seldom if ever play as large factions. In a good thousand hours of Medieval II I've never once played beyond turn 1 or 2 as the HRE, or the Byzantines. I've never played as a large successor kingdom in EBI / II or the Rome games. I find it overwhelming to be suddenly faced with managing a bunch of settlements and generals I wasn't responsible for obtaining. This means playing as Carthage or another rich empire isn't on the table, for me. Minor factions it is.

    I guess I'll have to get used to playing this as more of a war game than a builder. It's quite possible EBII just isn't my cup of tea, in spite of how much I enjoy and appreciate the amount of history contained within for me to read. I'll pick a campaign and just go all-out with troops and expansion and see if I can create a situation where I can comfortably build my cities. If so, it might be more my thing.
    I fully share your sentiments.

    I'm also a builder and I enjoy building up a faction from one settlement to many (I'm losing my dedication between 15 and 20 settlements ;-), with many buildings that fulfill meaningful roles (ie making a difference if constructed or not).
    I also play for history - to learn historical geography (now, after playing Thrones of Britannia, I know the British geography quite well) and history (after playing Pritanoi in EBII I can understand why it's claimed that there were no Celtic invasions of Britain, how were the hill-forts like Maidunum like, or that the Romans were shocked by the Celtic customs of collecting skulls).
    I also play for role-playing: developing characters with traits that are meaningful (ie have an impact) for my game (it's why I don't like faction starting with many characters, like Ptolemaioi or Seleukids).
    But I also play for exciting and challenging battles: those I may lose (it's why I usually go for Very Hard difficulty and I'm deliberately leaving units behind to make the odds worse). These should not be stand-alone battles but should have an impact on the campaign. Eg. due to the performance in the battle I'd like my generals to get traits that are useful for further battles (+morale, +command, +HP) and also for the management of the cities (+Confidence etc. - actually in the Medieval 2 vanilla settings the Dread was a useful option: your generals could have evolved either into those Chivalrous ones (better growth and better public order) or the Dreaded ones (better public order and better in battles)), or for keeping the faction together (Loyalty/Authority).

    The EBII fulfills my dreams only partly, even though it's a part bigger than in most of the other mods. The facet of the game you're looking for: building up the cities, is tainted by the design of economy in the EBII: the cities are not "tall", ie: more buildings gives you just a bit more money. The result is: you need to play "wide" - expand territorially, take new settlements. What may stop your conquests are: 1) the public order problems (the issue the EBII team devoted enormous attention to: additional unrest, difficult regions, foreign cultures, lack of political reforms for some factions etc.), 2.) lack of good troops (but you're constrained not by money, but by recruitment pools).
    Buildings are not irrelevant: eg: Pritanoi need to get Large Tribal Community to be able to recruit better units (Agrokunes, Ambaktoi, Arioi, Saguorina), so they need to build up towns into large towns, so they need to build farms and markets. However, money-wise, they're of lesser relevance.
    Last edited by Jurand of Cracow; February 20, 2019 at 03:39 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    One additional tip for maintaining a positive cash flow is to check carefully what the buildings do. Every new construction has at least one downside. For example: A market might increase your revenue, but decreases public order; a temple increases public order (among other benefits), but it will costs you to run the temple. Read the descriptions of the buildings to get an idea what they offer you. You can´t just build every building everywhere as that might result in unrest or loss of money. Rather focus on certain, crucial buildings. For additional help I always open the detailed statistics window of the city where unrest, income, growth and culture is shown. Whenever you build something it will show you the (prospected) impact in transparent. There you might see that the quarterly cost of strategic fortifications are around 100 per turn, but the prospected gain in trade is higher. Thus, it lets you balance things much more nicely.

    Some additional thoughts:
    - mines are big early investments, but they pay of quickly as they provide a flat income bonus (sometimes as high as 2000 per turn). Again, check the building description for income
    - governours can be crucial. Check for traits with bonus on tax, mining, trade, growth, or reduction of building costs. That might make a big difference if placed in the correct towns. Be aware however, that negative traits (corrupt, intolerant and others) and ethnicity also play a role. Additionally, it can be beneficial to keep them in towns for a longer time, as they will get attuned to their duties and perform better in governing
    - Some units can be garrisoned in a town for free. Most often those are the ones who are described as levies in the unit card
    - only very few factions can from the beginning afford the have standing armies. Often you´ll find yourself in the need to disband once a war is over
    - Don´t think of the "rebels" as rebels. The simulate independent states who can´t fill their own factions slot. This explains their strength

  12. #12

    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    Something to bear in mind is that there is a difference between "buildings" (in the Medieval 2 engine) and "construction" (in the historical sense). Lots of things in the building tree represent political reforms (like certain branches of the agricultural buildings tree) or state-funded activities like road garrisons - a fully "built-up" settlement will absolutely be the linchpin of your economy (and military, too, for the recruitment pools) because of the "buildings" in it. Whenever I play a Baktrian campaign, for example, a well-developed Baktra is the absolute backbone of my empire, full of glorious temples and well-funded and organised state programs for security, agriculture, education, etc.

    For me personally, OP, EBII is much more of an empire builder than a wargame - it's just that there isn't always an immediate "this building will pay for itself in x turns" aspect to construction that you might get in say Warhammer:TW. Building stuff is a long-term process that represents social and economic (and political, in the case of colonisation and governments and reforms) changes as well as just, you know, new buildings, so it takes time and can be somewhat opaque ("+1 Trade Goods"? I guess that's good ).

  13. #13

    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    I am by no means an experienced player, but I tested some factions here and there (mostly Barbarians, but more recently Pergamon), and I believe your goal should be to seek your least developed neighbor provinces with the least amount of defenses. Just use your spy and look around for some place that doesn't have a full stack in the garrison and go siege it. I prefer to wait until the defender sally out, as a mean to preserve my army for as long as possible (and to a lesser degree, not having to repair the walls), because that way I can fight with a big advantage. Your army is probably good for two, three, even four fights like that, so try to know where you are attacking early on, because most provinces have roaming armies that can be fairly big and bite away the long term capacity of your starting forces.

    After taking a few settlements you may want to consider disbanding some or most of your forces to build up some wealth and start some projects here and there. I do that mostly with Barbarian factions because I can get decent units on the fly whenever I need them. Build up some war chest and pick a winter to recruit a full stack out of your three or four settlements, because after installing a government in there, they are now useful to provide troops on demand. The quality will probably be lesser than your starting army (specially if you disbanded elite or professional units that you couldn't retrain in your capital), but you can use them for a settlement or two and disband them, and after a year or two you can recruit the army back with no problem at all.

    Think, historically, as the temporary levy that happened before the advent of paid professional armies. You're not supposed to be walking around with a full stack of hoplites like it's nobody's business, you're not Alexander. Although the mod (probably for balancing reasons) don't seem to add disbanded units back to your recruitment pool, units that max out at 3 or 4 replenish fast enough for you to raise them on demand. Use that to conserve your treasury until you can afford a permanent army.
    Last edited by RodriguesSting; February 20, 2019 at 10:13 AM.

  14. #14
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    Two additional thoughts:
    - The temples: building them in your “own” lands is waste of money. You pay for them, but you don’t need them as the unrest would never require them. They might be needed for other reasons (see Pritanoi Petty Kingdom requirements) but I guess only rarely. This is sooo unhistorical.
    - I miss building mines in the EBI style. 40 turns! It required so much preparation that the city building could be frozen for 40 turns. But the reward was very big as well: it could finance a good half-stack. This was something. (ok, 20 in EBII is not bad either ;-) and also finances many units)

    Quote Originally Posted by RodriguesSting View Post
    After taking a few settlements you may want to consider disbanding some or most of your forces to build up some wealth and start some projects here and there
    In my experience, the costs of the upkeep in the EBII is so low that it doesn't make much sense to disband any units. Your forces just melt away during taking the settlements - eg. if you take 4 settlements with loses like 15-30%, you'll end up with a third of your initial army, which is often the minimum one needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baharr View Post
    Something to bear in mind is that there is a difference between "buildings" (in the Medieval 2 engine) and "construction" (in the historical sense). Lots of things in the building tree represent political reforms (like certain branches of the agricultural buildings tree) or state-funded activities like road garrisons
    This is exactly what I wanted to answer to the Beckitz entry.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    My starts (always as Barbaroi-type factions) involve: a bit RP-awkward infrastructure culling e.g. demolishing -income buildings that offer no current bonus like the waystations garrison tree when you have no trade, or religious sites when you have no need for their happiness/law boni, then consolidating some nearby settlements to give a positive income projection. After that, I do as you like to do and turtle with just 3-4 settlements in a defensible spot, and then while I turtle, I send off a stack of battle-hardened arrow-resistant units to trawl the shores of the mediterranean and sack any little-defended cities. Getting 35k in a turn from this can afford some a swath of important buildings to be instantly paid for: ports, roads, government sites, mines.. and allows for some extra troops to be levied to defend the little region at home. Basically playing like a small viking settlement going to challenge Antiochea or Alexandria with your elite troops vs. their levies. And it's nice to read the flavor text of all their buildings before you demolish them. Sail away, back home to refuel or on to another settlement if you're feeling lucky.

    Of course, this is terribly risky, as a single unit of Pontomores(sp) or Liburnes(sp) or whatever rowboats the Germanics have can be knocked out pretty quickly by the larger fleets set out by the Diadochoi factions, or Rome or Carthage. And your best general and an elite army can be vanished in an instant. Or an aggressive AI can overwhelm your levies back home and crush your seat of power, also, in an instant. (Both of which have happened in my campaigns.. ). High risk high reward gameplay!

    I've had fun with a Sueboz campaign, getting a couple of settlements in northern Germania to get myself in the positive then immediately casting off to sack some city around Carthage. Proto-Vikings. My most recent was with the Boioi; Noricum(sp) I believe has a port despite being fairly far from the coast, and you can cast off there to go sack Antiocheia or wherever looks fun. Celtovikings. In retrospect, this may be the only way I know how to play this mod.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    In my experience, the costs of the upkeep in the EBII is so low that it doesn't make much sense to disband any units. Your forces just melt away during taking the settlements - eg. if you take 4 settlements with loses like 15-30%, you'll end up with a third of your initial army, which is often the minimum one needs.
    Most units upkeep costs seem to be around 1/5 of their recruitment costs. It's pretty straightfoward: if you don't plan on using that unit for 5 or 6 turns, you will be making money by disbanding it and then recruiting it when you do need. Sure, built up experience can be very useful, but not for all units. You don't need your skirmish screen or archers to be experienced, but that medium cavalry unit? Keep it and reinforce it.

    Also, on temples, worth mentioning that governors can get good traits from them. I remember getting a retinue from a farming temple, a priest that would increase my farming production by +2. That's enough to pay for a maximum level farming temple and then some. Also both farming and fertility temples give extra population growth, which can be useful for factions to get the highest settlement level. Battle gives experience, which can be handy if you already got something that also gives (1 experience is great because of the extra attack point, but 2 and 3 give only morale AFAIK. 4 and 7 should also improve attack. You should look for these breaking points in the chevrons. Huh, kinda reminds me of Master of Magic now...), and the Governor temple speeds up building (and presumably gives good traits, but didn't get anything out of them quite yet, maybe soon).

  17. #17

    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Pattonius View Post
    For example, today I started a campaign as Pergamon. I'm at turn 6 and one turn away from going into the red. So far I've defeated the rebel stack in my home province, defeated the stack hanging out up near Nikaea, and have with the arrival of spring laid siege to said settlement. The very next turn they sally forth to engage me, although I didn't have time to battle before I left for work today and will have to fight that battle later. The enemy force outnumbers be significantly, but given how few losses I suffered beating the rebel stacks I suspect I can probably slaughter them as they rush out of the gate.

    Am I going about things the right way? If so, what should I do next? I'm eager to snatch up Byzantium, but I read in another thread that I can't take proper control of it until I trigger reforms I can't get without taking an extremely-heavily-defended settlement from my Seleukid allies. Should I sit on two provinces a while? Go after Galatia? Join the Seleukids in fighting Ptolemy?

    Thanks for your input!
    I would argue that yes, you are going about things more or less the right way. There's usually about 1-4 troublesome eleutheroi stacks (depending on faction) that need to be dealt with at campaign start, and normally you can clean these up in about 2-5 turns. Going for a settlement next is a good plan, and having them sally out is even better, you can get far less costly victories in a sally than in an assault if you play your cards right.

    The hammer-and-anvil tactic is extremely strong in this mod, and you're in a great position as Pergamon to utilize it. Casualty rate in infantry combat is normally very slow, and so there's a lot of time to win significant engagements with cavalry while the infantry duke it out. Ideally, if you can prioritise destroying enemy cavalry (attack with a 2-1 unit ratio (per-engagement, not battle-wide) and ensure full-width lance charges happen with positioning) then you can often kill their general unit, and even if not, it gives you free reign to attack their archers and skirmishers. By the time you've cleaned up (and usually there will be one or two infantry units running around trying to pin your cavalry, watch out for them) exhaustion will have kicked in for the infantry. Identify the weakest, lowest morale unit and hit them with consistent cavalry charges, backing them up after making contact to charge again. This will very likely cause a route, which you can clean up with any unit of cavalry while you cascade that route further, eventually routing even elite troops (though they can be stubborn). This is what makes sallies potentially really beneficial, as your cavalry can mop up insane numbers as they try to flee through the gate back to the town square.

    Anyway, all that aside, I'd be similar to you in that I like to play an empire building game (with my own roleplay additions). After you've captured your second or third settlement, you should be in a good position to have a reasonable roster of low-ish quality infantry and some cavalry (the anvil doesn't need to be high quality if you play the hammer right, believe me). That can normally be financially sustainable, and you can scale up and down should you desire peace and growth or war and conquest. Have fun with building things up! If you want to play a satisfying empire building game, consider trying a faction like Numidia or Pontos. When reformed, Numidia can turn the desert camps into full cities and build a highway network across North Africa, very fun! And Pontos' reforms allow you to turn almost any region into a strong economic powerhouse with significant regional recruitment, which makes for a great time with all the unit diversity this mod has. Hope this helps!

  18. #18

    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    Worth remembering that some major greek colonies will have a garrison script, which includes Nikaea. In my Pergamon games it is the last rebel province I try to conquer. I recommend you going for Bizantion, Sinop, Taurica, Krete, and maybe snatch Rhodes away from the Greeks. Early aggression against Ptolomaioi and Seleucids might be dangerous, but the two Ptolomaioi cities closest to Pergamon (Ephesos and Elikarnasos I think?) have very high unrest and semi-reliably rebel against them. Either have a fleet near your army to snatch away these as soon as possible or use your spy and assassin to quicken the process. Have in mind that will put you on their list though.

  19. #19
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    I've watched the Legend of TW review and I'd say it's not so negative. He gives EBII it's due, according to his narrow-minded approach to the game and lack of appreciation of the historicity of the music.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cryoshakespeare View Post
    The hammer-and-anvil tactic is extremely strong in this mod, and you're in a great position as Pergamon to utilize it. Casualty rate in infantry combat is normally very slow, and so there's a lot of time to win significant engagements with cavalry while the infantry duke it out. Ideally, if you can prioritise destroying enemy cavalry (attack with a 2-1 unit ratio (per-engagement, not battle-wide) and ensure full-width lance charges happen with positioning) then you can often kill their general unit, and even if not, it gives you free reign to attack their archers and skirmishers. By the time you've cleaned up (and usually there will be one or two infantry units running around trying to pin your cavalry, watch out for them) exhaustion will have kicked in for the infantry. Identify the weakest, lowest morale unit and hit them with consistent cavalry charges, backing them up after making contact to charge again. This will very likely cause a route
    This is what actually worries me in the EBII battle system: H&A is an extremely (and in a sense the only) tactics. There's little risk that your main line breaks down soon so you've got plenty of time to go around the backs of the AI (the BAI is unfortunately not able to prevent it - it blobs but doesn't keep reserves). In another system (like SSHIP) there's little time for you to get to around the enemy lines so you need to care for the main line and sometimes concentration of force in one place of the line may be beneficial (guys going around the lines will be short of time: they can get there after the main line routs - this is even more pronounced when the charge value matters) while in the EBII it's an inferior tactics - you just move around the flanks every time.

    Quote Originally Posted by RodriguesSting View Post
    .. Pergamon... I recommend you going for Bizantion, Sinop, Taurica, Krete, and maybe snatch Rhodes away from the Greeks.
    Kabyle, Kabyle! Mines bring pure silver!

    Quote Originally Posted by RodriguesSting View Post
    Most units upkeep costs seem to be around 1/5 of their recruitment costs. It's pretty straightfoward: if you don't plan on using that unit for 5 or 6 turns, you will be making money by disbanding it and then recruiting it when you do need.
    I think the time-horizons for such assessment should be longer. The problem is the availability of the decent troops: it's what holds me back in my games, not money (and I play VH). For a few factions it may be true but for most disbanding medium-to-good troops that fill recruitment pools in like 10+ turns is an inferior option. It's different in than in other mods (sorry to repeat it, but I hope my experience from the other mods may be valuable for the EBII): in the SSHIP a unit of heavy feudal cavalry costs like 1,2k both upkeep and recruitment, these are numerous (in practice, in each province you have "Local council" building that brings feudals), and they're expensive (a good city brings 2.0-2.5k income - so one city may support only 2 units of heavy cavalry - for the EBII it's like 8) - as a result after each campaign you're better off t disband them. But it's not the case in the EBII - I never disband, good troops just melt away during fight.
    Last edited by Jurand of Cracow; February 21, 2019 at 03:46 PM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Request for Early Game Advice

    FORTH EORLINGAS!
    That is my advice for the early game if you are a player who needs to ask such questions.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

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