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    Default Early Campaign Conquest Guide

    Find my other stuff here.

    There is a snowball effect in RTW that results from early expansion. The more you conquer, the more powerful you become and the more units you can recruit, allowing you to expand even faster. With this in mind, I'm putting together this faction guide where I've said what each faction should be aiming for to increase the velocity of expansion and reduce the number of turns taken to complete the objectives of the Imperial Campaign.

    The number of turns it takes to finish the campaign differs for each faction. Greece for instance can be done relatively quickly, while other factions like TSE cannot hope to have the same explosive potential. These differences can be attributed to a number of factors;

    • The types of units available. Phalanx units can make for easy kills with few casualties. Iberian Infantry and Round Shields, not so much.
    • The geographical location of the faction. Scythia for instance can expand in fewer directions than Macedon, which increases time spent travelling for the 50 provinces + Rome.
    • The settlements it starts with. Gaul starts with seven that are spread out, Armenia has two together.
    • The opponents that the faction encounters. TSE have to deal with Egypt, Pontus, Armenia and Parthia which all excel at mounted missile units, something that TSE's roster cannot answer readily. Germania on the other hand can easily take on any of the barbarian factions with its Spear Warbands.


    Disclaimer: I haven't played a fast campaign for each faction, but I have played this game a lot and have a good idea about how campaigns work. My advice is geared towards having settings of vh/vh difficulty, large scale and no battle time limits.

    Armenia
    The build tree:
    You have Horse Archers available at 2000 pop. so that's good. With these you should be able to dominate most factions in the field. Most settlements should be able to constantly recruit HAs as soon as you've got public order under control.

    At 6000 pop., two good units become available. First up and most important are Heavy Spearmen. These guys are the key unit for sieges in Armenia's early campaign. You also get Cataphract Archers at this level. While they're not as useful as melee Cataphracts, they can still be useful if you don't mind paying their high recruitment cost. Archers are also available, though with HAs you might find that you don't need them.

    At 12,000 pop. you can recruit Armenian Legionaries and Cataphracts. To be honest, you don't really need these units. In the early game, most units have low armour values, so your HAs will be quite effective. Don't pause and wait for these units, because if your opponents upgrade their units too, you'll have lost momentum and the HAs lose some of their value over time. Still, they can be nice

    Don't try for 24,000 pop. There simply isn't anything worthwhile up there

    Location:
    You'll be wanting to expand south and west first. Doing this quickly allows you to get to Greece which will bring in all the wealth you'll ever need. Lands to the north are worthless, and you can conquer these any time. The Parthian lands aren't great either, but taking them might be beneficial if you want to seal off the mountains to the north so that you don't need an army to protect your starting area.

    Opponents:
    After quickly taking Phraaspa, you will come into contact with Parthia, Pontus, TSE and Scythia. Out of these the only faction that has stronger units than you at the start is Scythia. Scythia doesn't send many armies in my experience, but you have two simple options to deal with this if you're having trouble. Firstly, Cantabrian Circle. It'll dramatically reduce the number of casualties you sustain from arrows. Secondly, Cataphract Archers. These become available at 6000 pop. and with populations of 5000 and 4500 respectively, Artaxarta and Kotais should be able to produce these in no time. Leave a governor in one and enslave a reasonably-sized city (not Phraaspa!), then move him to the other settlement and do the same again.

    TSE armies that are comprised of Militia Hoplites and Peltasts will fall very quickly to your armies, probably the easiest faction in the game to come up against, as long as you attack them before they recruit lots of elephants and chariots, because then you might want to bring some archers. Pontus can be a worry at the start, but if you bring enough HAs you shouldn't have too much of a problem. There are a couple of starting units to watch out for. Parthia starts with Cataphracts and Pontus with Pontic Heavy Cav. You might want to tire the Cataphracts out by having them chase your HAs and then swamp them with Eastern Infantry to rout them.

    I'd fight a two front war as Armenia. One army moves through Asia Minor and into Greece, while the other pushes southwards though TSE and onwards to Egypt. Early Macedonian armies will quickly fall to arrows, but the Greek units all have large shields, so some flanking is in order.

    A little tip: units like to chase what's shooting at them. Alternate shooting and not shooting to have the enemy unit turn back away whenever it turns to face you. Works well for those though phalanx units that you need to attack from behind.
    Britannia
    The build tree:
    Warbands are fairly strong units once their warcry goes off. Unfortunately, the other factions you come into immediate contact with have either got Warbands themselves, or something stronger.

    Upgrade to a Warlord's Hold at 2000 pop. and you get access to some great units, more than necessary to conquer the world. These are, in order of use; Head Hurlers, British Light Chariots and Swordsmen.

    Head Hurlers make everything so much easier. You longer have to worry about Germania's Spear Warbands that destroy your own early infantry. A couple of volleys from Head Hurlers will see them off quickly. They're especially helpful in large quantities against Rome. A few chariot archer units can be used to defeat whole stacks of enemies, and will make short work of Gaul and Spain, neither of which have missile abilities to counter them in the early game. Swordsmen increase the morale of your infantry to a more acceptable level, though they aren't as necessary as the other two units that come around at this level.

    6000 pop. allows Chosen Swords, which will ruin anything they come up against except the very best units from other factions. You have an advantage in that you can enslave populations of big settlements like those of the Julii and start producing them very quickly. And they only take one turn to recruit. Solid gold. Heavy Chariots are good too, but you probably have strong enough chariots in your generals that have five hit points.

    Location:
    Stuck in the corner of the map, you've got a couple of ways of expanding on the continent. I'd go through Gaul towards Spain first while you wait for those Head Hurlers that will make any German stack with their slow-moving Spear Warbands an easy target. Tara is good to get, but you can perhaps ignore it for the first ten or so turns until your armies on the continent are moving along nicely. There's always a temptation to grab the rebel settlements first, but it's often not the best move because they: usually have a lower population, don't recruit armies to send against you, and rebels don't appear in them, so if you leave them you wont run into more rebels than you need to. Better to focus on your actual enemies first.

    Opponents:
    Gaul and Germania are the factions you'll encounter first. Gaul is a pushover, with far too many territories and not enough troops or troops of high enough quality for you to worry about. Without any good answers to chariots, Gaul will fall easily. Germania is a bit harder. Spear Warbands are an exceptionally strong early unit and will ruin your chariots if they turn their spears on them. They can severely hurt your Warbands and Swords even when you sandwich them. Head Hurlers make this opponent much easier. Future opponents are Spain, which is even weaker than Gaul, Dacia which is similar to Britannia but not as strong, and Rome.

    A little tip: If your chariots stop moving and don't respond to your commands tell them to attack an enemy unit. Once they begin moving you can control them normally again. There's nothing worse than seeing your chariots freeze on the spot while a Spear Warband creeps ever onwards.
    Carthage
    The build tree:
    Carthage has the second most pathetic build tree after Spain. Your archery ranges can't produce archers, but only basic skirmishers and slingers. Your cav stables start by being able to recruit the second worst in the game after Greek Cav. Finally, your barracks allows you to recruit the second worst infantry unit after Eastern Infantry. Sounds fun doesn't it?

    2000 pop. gives you access to Iberian Infantry, skirmishers and Round Shields. Your advantage in these early days is that the units are dirt cheap, so you can recruit lots of them, which is a good thing because they're all pretty rubbishy. If you had to make an army at this level of population, spam Round Shields and maybe a couple of Iberian Infantry. Get to the next stage ASAP.

    6000 pop. gives you access to Libyan Spears, Long Shields and Elephants. While the Libyan's look nice, the fact that they're armed with a spear and not a sword means they aren't really suited to fighting in the main battle line against other infantry. I'm thinking particularly of Rome here. They also have low attack, so don't expect them to do very much. Better than Iberian Inf though, so if you really want them, go for it. If you can hold out to the next level though, don't bother building this barracks upgrade. Long Shields are significantly better than Round Shields, so use them instead. A unit of Elephants is good to have with you for a couple of reasons. They will make a mess of any cav unit, even bodyguards, so use them for general removal without having to lose units, because nothing else you've got can take generals down with the exception of your own. The second use for elephants is that they allow you to attack a settlement with palisade or wooden walls without building siege equipment because they can attack them. Unlike siege equipment, elephants don't slow you down on the campaign map and count as cavalry, allowing a cav force to move very quickly and take settlements with only wooden walls.

    12,000 pop. is where it's at for Carthage. In a strange twist of fate, or designer stupidity, you have your only two phalanx units appear at this level. The Sacred Band, which is a terrific unit, comes along with the Poeni Infantry, which is okay. What makes this amusing though, is that there's little reason you'd want to go for the Poeni Infantry. Sure they may only take one turn to train instead of two and be easier to retrain from a barracks. Sacred Band's on the other hand, require an Awesome Temple of Baal, whose upgrades cost less in denarii and turns required to complete, and increase public order by 40% to boot. Honestly, I'd just skip the barracks upgrades entirely and beeline up the temple tree to build these monsters. You can also get War Elephants at this level, but I find them overkill, especially early in the game.

    24,000 pop. is okay, because you get Sacred Band Cav, but you probably don't need it. Just use plenty of Long Shields and Sacred Bands. Missiles are for losers. Unless you can hire some Balearics.

    Location:
    Fortunately for you, Carthage is spread out with sea between all but two of it's settlements. This gives you great trade potential, so be sure to upgrade those ports. Make sure you use your elephant unit that you start with in Sicily to great effect. Numidia might be best left ignored for a while, leaving you to focus on more profitable areas. Take Sicily first, trying to stop the Julii from taking Sardinia if you can. You can ship reinforcements from Carthage there if you need to.

    Opponents:
    Scipii is the big enemy you run into first. They can be taken down with a lot of cavalry though because they often don't bring enough of it themselves. Don't bother with skirmishers, or even Iberian Infantry against them (except the ones you start with obviously) because they do nothing against Roman armour and will die horribly in a pila barrage respectively. Swarm a couple of units with cav and cause a rout.

    Greece shouldn't be too bad. They've only got one city and rarely send support in my experience. Maybe take them out after the Scipii.

    Spain starts off the same as you, so hire those mercenaries to give yourself the advantage. Also try to dictate where the battles take place and get yourself another settlement in the peninsular when you can, though you'll need to make sure you don't lose your own base in the meantime. Time for some watchtowers I'd say.

    Numidia is annoying for you because their jav cav is excellent and will tear your poor Round Shields apart. Maybe leave it until you get the heavier Long Shields and some elephants which will make short work of them. It's probably not really worth the hassle until then to be honest.

    A little tip: With it's high starting population, naturally high growth and Baal temple upgraded to the second level, Carthage is in a great position to quickly reach 12,000 pop. with some efficient slaving. You can be recruiting Sacred Bands fifteen turns in easily.
    Dacia
    The build tree:
    When I was first getting to know RTW some years ago, the first thing I noticed about Dacia was that they had no unique units. I interpreted this lack of unique units as meaning that Dacia were a terrible faction because they have no unit that another can't have, meaning everything they field could be done by someone else. This isn't the case at all though. As I played, I came to realise that unique units aren't what makes or breaks a faction, but combinations of units. TSE has no unique units (effectively, since their legions and pikes are the same as those of other factions), but what makes them great are the combinations available.

    As a barbarian-styled faction, Dacia's build tree tops out at 6,000 pop., and my general advice for these faction is never construct buildings that increase your population growth. You can grow your population much faster through slaving. Dacia is a fairly decent faction overall with no huge weaknesses. Infantry is strong throughout, archers are some of the best and only the cav selection leaves you wanting more. Dacia is one of those factions that should use a combination of all three arms of warfare to engage their enemies.

    At town level population, Dacia has access to the Warband unit. Warbands are fairly solid and go great once they get their warcry off, though they have fairly low morale, so don't leave them isolated away from a general if you can't help it.

    At 2000 pop. you become the joint master of the foot archers with the armoured Archer Warband. As well as Archer Warbands, you gain access to Barbarian Cav, Warhounds, Naked Fanatics and Falxmen. Falxmen are an efficient weapon, though they don't take a beating very well, so make sure you get them engaged with the enemy without getting them killed by missiles and cav charges before they get there. I'd preferably use them for flanking once you get the next level infantry tbh, but make no mistake, they hit hard. Barbarian Cav are fairly strong for a light cav unit and should dominate the early cav of your southerly Hellenistic neighbours in a one-on-one. Warhounds can be part of your army, but don't abuse them; one or two units at max is all that you should need. I've never found a good use for Naked Fanatics. Despite being theoretically designed to be good for flanking, Falxmen do the job much better and allow you to build a more useful temple instead (the bonus from the temple of Hebeleysis is only morale, not experience). That they take two turns to recruit and need this specific temple to retrain just makes them more redundant.

    At 6000 pop. your strong forces get stronger with Chosen Swords to replace your Warbands, Chosen Archers to replace/complement your Archer Warbands depending on your preference and Barbarian Cav being outdone by their Noble variant. You only have medium cav though, so it is your biggest weakness. Try to field more archers and infantry than you might with other factions, though it's not a glaring problem so you mightn't have to adapt to Dacia much at all.

    Location:
    Dacia has fairly poor lands, and the lands immediately surrounding it aren't great either. Taking out Thrace should be a priority that would give you access to sea trade. If you head south towards Greece you will find everything much easier, as the enemies you find there can mostly be taken out with your arrows, the settlements have high population allowing you to recruit top-tier units and of course, controlling Greece will give you heaps of money. Don't expand to the north except late in the game once you've already got the proverbial ball that is conquest rolling.

    Opponents:
    Thrace is the first issue you'll have to deal with. At the start of the game you've got access to first and second level units. Thrace has weak cav, so take Barbarian Cav against them and press this advantage. You should have no trouble rolling over them. Cav with a unit or two of Archer Warbands should be enough really.
    Scythia is more dangerous. Armies of their HAs can appear and seriously hurt if they catch you on the plains. Try to stop them at a bridge or use the Warhounds to catch them so they stop skirmishing as described in the Germania part of the guide. To stop the HAs at the bridge, use Warbands and Chosen Swords when they become available, and stack up heaps of Archer Warbands and Chosen Archers in loose formation. Should do the trick.

    Germania to the west is more difficult still. Their infantry is better than yours and they have the same cav units but they get better later on. The best advantage you can push is that you have access to archers before they do. Abuse this like nothing else. Germanic units generally have low defence versus missiles, so shoot them up. Make sure to get their Spear Warbands to turn around before you target them though, because from the front they're quite strong against them.

    Further south, watch out for Macedon's Light Lancers. Once you take them out, the rest of the Macedonian army should fall to your ranged superiority.

    A little tip:
    Falxmen are better than they seem. Their slashing weapons are more effective than their stats make them seem, so don't underestimate the carnage they can cause. They may not be armour-piercing, but their attacks are more effective than a normal unit's, it just doesn't show up on the unit card.
    Germania
    The build tree:

    The Germanic build tree is the most interesting out of the barbarian factions. You've got access to many different units, including some very hard hitters and plenty that reduce the morale of your enemies. You can get Screeching Women at this level too, but save your denarii for a better unit, besides, the temples to Freyja are rubbish. At their highest level they give you a 1.5% population boost (for what reason God only knows) and only keep this sub-par unit available. If you're still tempted to go after some of these you're probably going to want to destroy the shrine later to build the better shrines to Donar and Woden anyway, so don't bother.

    As a town, you have access to the standard and vastly unfair Spear Warband. You should produce these in all settlements at this level, all the time (except for peasants occasionally as needed). I'm not sure how much I can say about this unit. It is miles ahead of everything else you'll come into contact with in the early game, with quite high attack for a phalanx, equal to that of Armoured Hoplites, and benefits from the larger unit size that ordinary Warbands receive. If you can use phalanx units well, you'll dominate with Germania, as a handful of these units can take out entire factions.

    At the 2000 pop. level things start to get interesting. Five new units open up for you, three of which are useful. Warhounds are good for their morale penalty and especially good for hunting down HAs as the skirmish special ability doesn't work against them, making them an essential element for taking on Scythia. They may not win a protracted fight with the HAs but once they engage the HAs wont be in skirmish mode allowing your cav to charge in. They've also got a low upkeep and if you think Scythia is too hard to take down, they make a good garrison troop . Barbarian Cavalry is your first cav unit and the only one I'd build a Stable for. They're quite strong for a light cav, though be careful about hammer and anvil charges that send them into your Spear Warbands' waiting pointy bits. Skirmishers are a good unit for barbarians, much better than they are for most other faction, because they've got a decent attack of 9, so can be used to reasonable effect if they get behind the enemy or target an enemy with small or no shield. Unfortunately, most infantry you'll come across in the early game has a large shield, so round the back it has to be. The other units that become available are Axemen and Naked Fanatics, both of which are decent enough, but Spear Warbands are probably more useful to have as your standard infantry at this point. If you were going to use one, make it the Axemen because it's much easier to retrain requiring only a barracks rather than a Woden temple.

    Germania's final level is 6000, and this is where you get some of the best units available to barbarian factions. You gain access to Gothic Cav, a solid heavy cav choice, Beserkers that will tear your opponents units apart if you get them there in one piece, long range Chosen Archers, huge attack and armour-piercing Chosen Axes and if that wasn't enough you also get Night Raiders, another fear-inducing unit. This list requires a bit of explanation. Gothic Cav become available at this level, but so does the Barbarian Noble Cav unit. In my mind, there is no place for medium cav once heavy cav becomes available. Sure, you may need a specific temple upgrade to retrain them, but they're so much better that it's really a no-brainer. Beserkers are great units, no doubt about it, but like Chosen Axe, have no armour or shield, making them fall quickly to missiles, even with their two hitpoints, so you've got to use both of these units judiciously. Chosen Axes are good enough to replace your Spear Warbands, but I'd keep a couple of these units around in all stacks for dealing with generals painlessly. Chosen Archers are a great unit that you should take as soon as they become available because they make sieges that much easier. Night Raiders are an interesting choice. Like many Germanic units they take two turns to train, and like Naked Fanatics aren't really terrific units. You can take one or two units of these if you like, but there are much better units to recruit for the cost in denarii and turns. The building that allows you to recruit them is pretty useless too, costing 2400dn and 5 turns for 10% happiness. If you're playing fast you shouldn't need such a measly bonus, especially as your early settlements take so long to grow anyway.

    Out of the Germanic units, Beserkers, Gothic Cav, Night Raiders, Naked Fanatics and Warhounds all take two turns to recruit. This is coupled with the fact that they, except for the Warhounds, require a specific shrine to recruit them. In my mind, you can't build these units fast enough, and so I'd argue that your main units should be Spear Warbands, Chosen Axes and Chosen Archers, because you can churn armies of these out in a hurry. You can upgrade the shrines because the experience bonus is nice, but don't feel like you need to wait the time it takes to recruit an army composed of high-turn cost units, when the units that come from the barracks, archery range and stables will get the job done.

    Location:
    Germania's starting settlements border six rebel provinces and three factions, Britannia, Gaul and Dacia. This provides ample opportunity for early expansion. Your area is quite poor, but Britannia is in easy reach, so securing that valuable sea trade route should really propel you forward. Expand south to take the Roman lands as soon as viable because they'll already have 6000 pop. which will allow you to recruit Chosen Axes and Archers in great numbers which are far better than what they can bring against you. If you take the Julii starting settlements early, you can steamroll the rest of the Romans with little effort.

    Opponents:
    You will come across Britannia, Gaul and Dacia first. Spear Warbands make these enemies fairly straightforward. Make sure you've got enough cav for Dacia as they get archers early. Scythia are more challenging, but a viable tactic against HAs is for your Warhounds catch them while your Spear Warbands soak up their missiles. Once the Warhounds catch them, have your Barbarian Cav engage them too. I probably wouldn't go venturing into Scythian territory though, you've got better places to expand to. You'll soon come into conflict with Rome, but once again Spear Warbands and Barbarian Cav should be able to take them down with no problems. Spear Warbands really are absurdly strong in the early game.

    A little tip: Spear Warbands, like other barbarians, are good at hiding in forests and can be used to surprise enemies. This is especially good for Spear Warbands. You can't hide while in phalanx mode, but when you're not in phalanx mode you'll be hidden. A good tactic is to lure a general or other cav or chariot unit into the phalanx. Try to make them give chase to a cav unit or ranged unit and run behind the hidden Spear Warband. When the charging cav is close enough, tell your unit to drop their spears and observe a handy impaling.
    Numidia
    The build tree:
    Numidia has a unique build tree that places a strong emphasis on ranged combat. It doesn't have any extra military units available at 24,000 pop. and only one new unit available at 12,000 pop., so this is really the highest you should go for. Numidia isn't an overtly powerful faction, so you must use it thoughtfully.

    As a small town before you reach 2000 pop., Numidia is unique in that it's most basic unit is a skirmisher. These units aren't that good, but hey, at least they're not peasants. They are most useful at the beginning of the game, but quickly become obsolete.

    Once you get to 2000 pop. you have access to Archers, placing your faction in that elite group that can recruit archer units at this level that also includes Dacia and Scythia. This is an enormous advantage. You also have your first infantry unit available, Desert Infantry. These are fairly solid spear-armed infantry, with decent defence even if their attack is lacking. Good for taking down cavalry, but use the legionaries you get later for a battle line. Most important on this level though is your ability to recruit Numidian Cavalry. This unit is amazing. You thought Militia Cav and Pontic Light Cav could be used to great effect right? The Numidian javcav has nine missile attack. Nine! To make this clear, it's 50% more than Militia Cav and is as if the Militia Cav had been upgraded with gold attack. It's huge for a first level cav unit. Armies with plenty of these guys can wipe the floor against all early infantry no problems.

    At 6000 pop. the only military building really worth constructing is the stables upgrade. The archer upgrades from here on only give you Slingers (you've already got Archers and don't need these mostly inferior units) and finally Onagers, so you can leave it out. The barracks upgrade gives your Desert Infantry one bonus experience point, which is nice I suppose but not necessary. The Stables on the other hand give you two units that you'll be using a lot: Long Shield Cav and Camel Riders. You may have found that your Numidian Cav get chased by other light cav and lose in combat against them. Your solution to that are the Camel Riders. Camel mounts really turn the balance in your favour and can even help you take down tougher mounted units like heavy cav. Long Shields are used for charges that they can do more effectively than Camel Riders. Take a mix of both, though be prepared to ship more camels across from Africa as your campaign progresses because you need the camel resource to recruit them.

    12,000 pop. gives you your final good unit, the Numidian Legionaries. Despite being your strongest infantry, these guys are merely imitation Principes. Not that they're bad, just don't expect too much of them. While they're a step up from the Desert Infantry that Numidia has access to earlier, they're not such a big advantage that you should go too far out of your way to get them. Certainly don't wait for them before you attack with this faction. The strength of the Numidian army lies in it's early and strong cavalry, archers and infantry. At the earliest population levels, Numidia is unmatched in terms of the strength of the variety of units it can field IMO. This advantage is quickly stripped away however, so go on the attack from the first summer.

    Location:
    Numidia's lands are quite poor and spread out. Try to get an expedition out to take Tingi ASAP and build ports for wealth to help alleviate this situation. Improve you roads first though, because there's nothing worse than travelling when you're trying to conquer quickly. The Egyptians usually go for Siwa early, but you can keep it and build a stables there to produce javcav. The Carthaginian cities in Africa make great victims for sacking if your economy starts to falter. Once they're taken you should expand into the Mediterranean and continuously recruit your cheap but versatile troops into multiple armies.

    Opponents:
    Of the two initial opponents, Carthage should not be a worry because of the weakness of their early roster. The only thing to watch out for are the elephants that they start with because they may be withdrawn to Africa from Sicily. Lucky for you Numidia can produce Archers so early isn't it? A balanced army with javcav, archers and some occasional infantry to take out generals and other cav until Camel Riders appear should eliminate the Carthaginian threat.

    Egypt is trickier. Their initial hoplites have zero armour, so your archers and javcav should be able to deal with them. The only unit that you have to be wary of are their chariot units and generals. While the game says that skirmishers are effective against chariots, there are much better ways to deal with them than throwing skirmishers at them. Ideally, you want to stop the chariots moving so your infantry can cut them down. To do this, use javcav or archers to lure them to charge, only to have your Desert Infantry get in the way and fight it out.

    A little tip: I can't emphasise enough that Numidia requires you to know how to use different aspects of your army effectively. Numidia doesn't have hoplites, strong legions or horse archers that allow you to be lazy, though Numidian Cavalry can be a super-unit, but they are fragile. If you can't use javcav well, don't try this campaign yet. Maybe try a Pontic campaign first so that you've got stronger units to fall back on if your javcav skills aren't quite up to it. This is one of the hardest campaigns in vanilla RTW.
    Pontus
    The build tree:
    I dislike the build tree of Pontus, it gives you everything you need too early leaving nothing for later. Your units start off slowly and progress to excellent quickly and then slightly better later. Pontus has fairly good infantry and access to basic archers which is nice. What really seals the deal though is the Pontic mounted potential which is really amazing.

    As a large town of 2000 pop. you essentially have two good units available to you: Scythed Chariots and Pontic Light Cav. These guys are basically a good javcav. Pontic Cav are fast and good for skirmishing, though they don't stand up for long in a fight. Use them wisely. The Eastern Infantry and Hillmen you can recruit are useful in trapping enemy HAs if you can figure out how to catch them. Maybe hide your infantry in forest and use your cav to drive the HAs into it. Scythed Chariots do the job better though.

    6000 pop. gives you so many options for battle tactics it's absurd. You now have access to decent infantry, archers, light and heavy skirmishing cav, chariots and chariot archers. What does it all mean though? There are a multitude of different ways to field a Pontic army, but I think that Pontus' strongest suit at this level is it's skirmishing. An army of Pontic Light and Heavy Cav with Chariot Archers and maybe a Scythed Chariot for those pesky generals will ruin everything in the game with the exception maybe of very late game Rome, though increasing the number of chariots would do that no worries. If you really wanted infantry though, you've got Pikes.

    12,000 pop. gives you Cappadocian Cav and Bronze Shields, but really, you don't need them. Sure having Cappadocians as super-heavy cav helps, but don't go out of your way for them, you should be able to rule the world easily from the previous level. 24,000 is entirely superfluous.

    Location:
    Your two settlements are about a turns march away from each other, so you start off in a very compact area. The good thing is that you've got plenty of directions to expand in. I'd simultaneously secure Asia Minor and send units into Greece while attacking south and north up to the Scythian border.

    Opponents:
    Armenia and Parthia should be practically identical early on, the only difference being the Parthian Cataphracts, but never fear because you've got javcav! Just run them around. Chariots are an easy counter to HA if you've got two of them, just force them to where you want them and let the massacre begin. TSE will spam Militia Hoplites and Peltasts, so be nasty and send the javcav after them, it shouldn't take long.

    You'll run into the Greek Cities and Thrace before too long, both of which are too infantry-focussed to deal with your superior cav. Ensure you take chariots against Macedon though, because those Light Lancers that can come in groups of 5+ will hurt if they catch your javcav.

    A little tip: Pontic Phalanx Pikes are different from other Phalanx Pikemen in that they have the size of a hoplite phalanx (40 men on normal scale as opposed to 60 men for other sarissa-wielding pikes). They're cheaper to recruit and upgrade as a result, but they've got one little bonus that gives them the edge in the Eastern environment: a 5 def shield rather than the 2 def one carried by other pikemen (with the exception of the Macedonian Royal Pikes). What does this mean? Your Phalanx Pikes are much more resistant to missiles than other pikes. In fact, their larger shield actually makes them resist missiles better than their upgrade, the Bronze Shields, and equal to that of Royal Pikes so it might be worth have a couple free to absorb those enemy missiles.
    Spain
    The build tree:
    In my opinion, Spain has the worst build tree in RTW. Your units start off pathetically weak for even the first tier, stay on this level for the second tier, and only gain a little bit of muscle in the third and final tier. On the positive side, this can be a fun campaign because you are always at a disadvantage unit-wise in the early stages. As a “barbarian” faction you can only reach the third construction tier at 6000 pop., though this isn't really fair, because unlike other barbarian factions you get access to the Punic line of units, depriving you of the solid early Warband infantry.
    As a town, your settlements have access to Town Watch as you most basic infantry. This is the worst unit in the game at this level. Even Eastern Infantry is better.

    You may think that the next level of pop. will save you, but think again! You get some useful units at this level that can win territory for you if you know what you're doing on the battle map. In a one-on-one they may not be very strong, but combined arms can get the job done, even when the units are poor. You get Iberian Infantry. A step up from Town Watch, though not by much. You also get access to Skirmishers as your basic ranged unit. You get Round Shield Cav though, so it's not all bad. These cav are weak but cheap, so can be recruited en masse for the best effect. Through one of your temples you can get Naked Fanatics, which I would consider using for Spain. Given that they take two turns to recruit though, I'm still not sure about whether it would be worth it. Still, an army with II/NFs, a couple of Skirmishers and heaps of cav should be able to conquer well into enemy lands, as long as you do it before they get some good stacks roaming around, in which case you'll need to increase the size of your own.

    At 6000 pop. you've reached the pinnacle of Spanish greatness. Unfortunately, it's not that great . You can recruit Slingers and Long Shield Cav and can finally get some decent infantry in Scutarii, but you also gain access to your unique unit, the Bull Warriors.

    I've had some debates in the past about which should be recruited. In my opinion, Bull Warriors should be recruited in as many settlements as you can afford and have reached the top tier of production. Their superior stats should make them last better than Scutarii. There are a couple of negative outcomes of this though. One of the chief problems is that Bull Warriors require a Sacred Circle of Esus. This prevents you from building the Epona temple tree that grants units +3exp when recruited or retrained there. These are pretty much the only two shrines you should be building as Teutatis is inferior to Epona and Abnoba is largely worthless except in a single settlement to upgrade the missile attack of Slingers or Skirmishers. Put the Abnoba temple on the way towards the war so any ranged units you produce can stop off there on the way for the extra attack. Bull Warriors also take two turns to recruit, giving you one unit instead of two, but their power makes up for this in my opinion. Another disadvantage is that if your top-tier settlements are recruiting Bull Warriors, you can't recruit the other top-tier units, Long Shield Cav and Slingers. I wouldn't worry about the slingers, they're not great, though they can be vastly improved using two temples. Long Shield Cav are much stronger than Round Shields though.

    My suggested solution to the problems of what to recruit for a typical Spanish army would be to take Bull Warriors in all settlements once they hit 6000 pop. In all other settlements you can crank out Skirmishers with temple bonuses for 10 attack, and Round Shields with two experience. These should see you through. Once you've got enough high-pop cities, you could keep two for Abnoba and Epona temples respectively so that you can train high-end troops there if you want. You could also skip Barracks upgrades altogether. Simply rely on NFs and Bull Warriors to do all your infantry fighting. The buildings are cheaper this way too.

    Location:
    Unfortunately, Spain is off on the side of the map. This makes it harder to expand aggressively. You are located on the sea however, so use that to your advantage and expand by taking other settlements along the Mediterranean. Gaul and desert Numidia are less appealing, but you can go there, just probably leave it until you've got a strong foothold in the Mediterranean. You'll find everything much easier once you take up to Rome because you'll have plenty on money and plenty of Bull Warriors being produced from top-tier cities.

    Opponents:
    You have two opponents on your little peninsular; Gaul and Carthage. Carthage shouldn't be any trouble at all, just make sure you buy the mercenaries before they do. Your units are similar, so just mob them with superior numbers. Gaul's units are tougher. Take plenty of Round Shields with you against them. And try not to fight them on the town square because they will really hurt you. In fact, try not to fight large battles in settlements against them at all. Moving into Gaul in a limited manner sticking mostly to the sea is a good idea to increase your trade income, and it takes a while before their units advance to a level that should be worrying, and by that time you should have Bull Warriors which win anyway. Numidia is another early opponent you should be going for. Try to take Tingi early on as the short distance between it's port and Cordoba's nets high cash. Unlike Gaul, you want to fight in settlements against Numidia to stop the havoc caused by their javcav. Their other early troops are also not that much better when used by the AI who seem to like to spam jav units instead of something useful. You will also come across the Julii early on, often with an invasion coming through Osca, so be prepared for that. The best was to stop the invasions is to take one of their Italian cities, so that's a good target to aim for 10 or so turns into the game.
    Thrace
    The build tree: Thrace is unique because its troops are a mix of Barbarian and Hellenic culture. As Thrace, you have access to Phalanx units as well as the formidable Falxmen. Your units top out at 12,000 and even then, the units you get at this level aren't great, so go on the attack as early as possible because your units will lose their effectiveness if you wait. Unfortunately, while your infantry may be varied, you pay the price in terms of cav and archers, both of which are poor.

    As a town, you can recruit Militia Hoplites, standard hoplites with large shields but no armour. Keep them facing incoming missiles at all costs.

    Once you get to 2000 pop. you get access to your natural-born flankers, Falxmen. While Falxmen can form a battle line when you want them to (Dacia operates well with them acting like this), with Thrace, you'll probably want your phalanx units to be the main infantry with Falxmen to assist by attacking at the wings. Cavalry-wise, you get access to Militia Cav, a rather poor skirmishing cav unit. Use these guys by all means, since bad cav is still greatly preferable to no cav at all, but don't expect too much from them. If you can use jav cav well you can get reasonably good mileage out of them. Peltasts also become available, but aren't particularly useful and I'd build the other units and wait for Archers.

    By 6000 pop. you've reached your prime. Militia Hoplites are exchanged for Phalanx Pikes which should still work in conjunction with Falxmen. Importantly, Archers are now available, giving your forces some ranged abilities. The other unit you get is Greek Cav, a hopelessly mediocre cav unit that you shouldn't take at any cost. Stick with Militia Cav and use General's Bodyguards for the shock cavalry role.

    12,000 pop. is a bit excessive. The Bastarnae and Onagers are the only new units that become available, and neither are necessary. I'm going to copy some text from another guide I wrote a year ago about the Bastarnae, an interesting unit to be sure.

    This is an interesting unit. It appears to be the upgrade of the Falxmen, but all is not well in Bastarnae-ville. Like their Falx-wielding brethren, the Bastarnae has low armour, two actually. But they have a shield! Only the small one though, so it’s not really a great deal more protection. They also lose out to the Falxmen in the defence skill category, having two while the Falxmen have 7. This means they are more susceptible to sustaining wounds in close-combat, but to help them with this they have two hitpoints. They are also fast moving. The only other difference between them is that the Bastarnae don’t have the warcry ability, reducing their offensive abilities. Honestly, I prefer the Falxmen. They’re cheaper, a lot less of a hassle to retrain, and do more damage on the charge thanks to the +10 attack of the warcry. Bastarnae would be better when coming out of a siege tower or from ladders directly into the enemy on the walls, but this doesn't happen often enough to justify taking Bastarnae instead.

    Location:
    Located on the coast of the Black Sea, Thrace borders Dacia, Scythia and Macedon is just over the mountains. Thracian lands are reasonable, but you are within striking distance of Greece and your position on the sea makes the establishment of overseas trade an easily achievable target. Capturing Byzantium and moving into Asia Minor would be a good goal that you strive for at the same time as moving into Greece.

    Opponents:
    Dacia will likely be one of your first rivals. Your phalanx units should be able to take them out with no problems. Scythia is more difficult because their HAs hurt. You also don't have any units that can stand up to missiles very well. Take plenty of Archers and hold the northern bridge while you focus expanding elsewhere. Scythia can wait. The threat of Macedon lies in their phalanxes and Light Lancers. Defeating them should be easy enough as long as you bring Falxmen, which will turn the tide to help your phalanxes that are otherwise on par with those of Macedon. Your weak cav wont stand up against the Light Lancers, and they can really hurt your Bodyguards, so use phalanxes to take these down, which necessitates you taking a more defensive stance than you would otherwise.

    A little tip:
    Bastarnae really are an interesting unit. If you have an army without a general but a unit of Bastarnae, the Bastarnae will captain the army. As well as this, they will gain a new ability. Normal Bastarnae don't have a special ability, but when one becomes your captain, they gain the Rally ability similar to that of a General. Having said that, I'm not sure how powerful the ability is and what level command it acts with, but it's worth keeping in mind in case you recruit Bastarnae.

    edit: The reason for this has been explained by proxynator on page five of this thread. The reason Bastarnae gain this ability is because they don't have a special ability when they become captains. Apparently, any unit without a special ability that becomes a captain unit gains the rally ability.


    I'll update this as I go, hopefully you'll find it helpful in some way. Comments and suggestions always welcome. The order to come: Gaul, Julii.
    Last edited by Genius of the Restoration; February 10, 2014 at 01:10 AM.

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