Portugal Details (M2TW Faction)
Portugal are one of the factions in Medieval II: Total War that can be unlocked by either defeating them individually during the campaign or by winning a campaign overall. They can also be made playable by modding.
For obvious reasons they start the game adjacent to Spain and the Moors on the Iberian Peninsula, possessing Lisbon and Pamplona. Their unit roster is initially quite weak, but by the endgame they are one of the strongest nations on the map, able to field elite pikeman, conquistadors and musketeers.
The Portuguese face a poor level of infantry until the late game. With a lack of early melee units you may be forced to use large numbers of spear militia to hold your line in battle. Unlike many other European factions who already possess decent infantry by the middle of the campaign, Dismounted Feudal Knights are a godsend for Portugal. When you first upgrade to a fortress you'll experience a massive shift upwards in your hand-to-hand fighting ability.
A citadel allows Dismounted Portuguese Knights, who fare better against cavalry than DFKs, but are not as capable against other infantry units. From cities you can also train pike and swordsmen militia, who can help to increase the quality of your free upkeep garrisons. Late on you also get Aventuros, the best pikemen in the game, able to hold a defensive position against most infantry and virtually all cavalry.
Finally, in the New World you can train the awesome Dismounted Conquistadors. With 3 higher attack and 1 higher defence than DFKs, and an upkeep of just 150 per turn, they will chew through almost any other infantry for a low cost. Late game armies with a combination of adventuros and Dis. Conquistadors are a hard nut to crack for any enemy.
As with their infantry, the Portuguese can field increasingly superior missile units throughout the game. At the start of the campaign you get peasant archers and crossbowmen. The armour-piercing bonus received by crossbows makes these units superior to regular bowmen. In cities you can train crossbow militia for a decent free-upkeep missile unit. From developed castles the Portuguese get Pavise Crossbowmen, far superior to peasant crossbows thanks to their shields and long range capability.
As an Iberian faction you shouldn't discount the short range missiles you get early in the game. Lusitanian javelins are capable but not able to compete for long in hand-to-hand fighting. For this you need Almughavars, an excellent mid-game unit. They can be kept behind your main force to hurl their javelins at the enemy, but should your infantry start to falter they won't be afraid to join in close combat.
However, it is only with the discovery of gunpowder that the Portuguese start to truly excel in the missile department. Hand gunners are not advised, as the morale penalty they inflict on the enemy is countered by their tiny range, but after these guys come Portuguese Arquebusiers. Compared to ordinary Arqs they have slightly higher accuracy and are much better in combat. On top of this you are also one of only 4 factions to get musketeers, with their high damage and massive range, so be ready for gunpowder!
Portugal's cavalry is relatively strong at the start of the game, thanks to the deadly Jinetes. These horsemen are javelin throwers, enabling them to reach enemies at range with armour-piercing attacks before charging in with their swords. Despite being primarily a missile unit, they are almost as effective in a melee as Mailed Knights, with only slightly lower attack but a better defence.
The Portuguese heavy cavalry is fairly poor due to the limited availability of the best units. After the regular Mailed and Feudal Knights, you get Portuguese Knights, who are strong but not as good as Chivalrics. Your best option probably comes in the form of the Knights of Santiago, recruitable after building their guild within your lands. This guild seems to be quite a hard one to get, but it is well worth it thanks to the cavalry it makes available. Statistically they are equal to the Chivalrics and crusader knights. From the New World you can recruit Conquistadors, who would be among the game's best cavalry were it not for their poor charge bonus of just 6.
The pre-gunpowder Portuguese artillery is of course the same as other factions, but after gunpowder's discovery it is quite strong. Following the fairly standard Bombard, Grand Bombard and Ribault, you get the Culverin, stronger against walls than early Bombards and with longer range than the "Cannon". This selection alone would be only a decent artillery corps, but the icing on the cake is the Basilisk, probably the best all round cannon in the game.
Along with their rivals the Spanish, Portugal has the best navy in the game. This is thanks to the Caravel, the earliest ocean-going vessel, and the Grande Carrack, usually able to defeat enemy Carracks.
 Campaign Strategy
There are two main strategies that players tend to employ as Portugal in the early game:
- 1: Take Pamplona, ally with the Spanish and go for the Moors, before turning back at some point to try and take control of the whole Iberian Peninsula - This method keeps you on the good side of the Pope for a while, and will likely earn you rich land in North Africa, but is risky, as you will always be open to Spanish attack on your homeland.
- 2: Knock out the Spanish as soon as possible - A competent commander should be able to quickly take Toledo, probably with the help of some mercenaries, then move on to occupy Leon. After this you can take nearby rebel settlements and regroup before the inevitable war with the Moors. This strategy is probably better for stronger players, as if you leave the Spanish alone Toledo soon becomes a fortress, and they will probably take Valencia. As long as you can quickly wipe them off the map the Pope will not be too bothered, and you will hold two advanced cities (Leon and Lisbon) and a fast-growing castle (Toledo) very early on in the campaign.
By the time you have secured control of Iberia and Western North Africa, you will probably have come under attack from another rival - usually the French or Sicilians. From this point, it is up to you to expand as you wish.
 Faction summary
Excellent naval power in the late game and somewhat so in the early period. Access to unique and powerful units in the high and late periods such as the Adventurier. Strong spear units and heavy infantry. Excellent unique cavalry and access to the Knights of Santiago. Easy access to the America's when they become available. Strong potential ally against the Moors in Spain. Can establish rich trade easily later on.
Less professional armies than the Europeans. Somewhat lacking in melee infantry as the early units are javelin based. Armies composed of more militia than most other factions. Has to fight for dominance over the Iberian Peninsula and against the hardy Moors. Also prone to aggression from Europeans to the north and northwest, namely France. Starts with only two regions under it's control which are cut off from each other by Spain.
The Portugese position is an interesting one. It is a strong position but relatively insecure at the same time. The big task for Portugal will be to unite the Iberian Peninsula under one flag and to push out the Moors or destroy them completely. Expansion is fairly straightforward with the best avenues being into Africa or into Europe. To be successful the Portugese will have to consolidate it's position in Iberia and ratify a policy of strong expansion in one direction. A cunning leader will have to decide whether he can tolerate another Catholic faction that is dividing his empire in half or an Islamic faction encroaching on the Peninsula. For Portugal to truly become a sovereign nation, both rivals will have to be eliminated and then attention turned to either the French or the Italians.
 Strategy Guides
- Portugal Faction Guide on Org.