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Thread: What's your favorite "royal army" to build, and what is the lore/history behind it?

  1. #1

    Default What's your favorite "royal army" to build, and what is the lore/history behind it?

    So you've cleared out a nice little kingdom for yourself, and have already built economic structures. Your position is stable, so it's now time to invest into future conquests and raise a royal army. What is your army composition? The pros/cons tactically and strategically? What will history remember that royal army for? Glorious conquests, or embarrassing defeats? I'll start with my Eastern Mediterranean Pergamese Empire.

    1x General (led by the king or the Diadokhos)
    3x Lydian Lancers (a massive expeditionary mounted corps consisting of wealthy Anatolian Hellenes seeking glory and conquest)
    1x Anatolian Medium Cavalry (nobles from native anatolian tribes riding on the coattails of the EMPE army)
    1x Anatolian Light Cavalry (retainers of said anatolian nobles)
    1x Indian Elephants (a little something procured from liberating Antiochea from the Nabataeans. Horrifyingly expensive to maintain, horrifyingly effective at terrifying the enemy)

    3x West Anatolian Elite Infantry (the foot counterpart to the mounted corps. Capable of both skirmishing and CQC)
    1x Cretan Infantry (some elite Cretan infantry were given land in Halicarnassus in exchange for their elegant swordplay)
    2x Karian Infantry (a warlike native people hired for their savagery in combat)
    2x Thureophoroi (an experimental unit of settlers from Pergamon who are tasked with guarding the flanks)

    2x Anatolian Tribesmen (a select corps of skirmishers selected from various Anatolian camp-followers)

    1x Cretan Archer (more settler Cretans from Halicarnassus)
    1x Hellenistic Slinger (what few Rhodians that decided to join the EMPE army were diluted by slingers from other Hellenistic city-states)
    1x Isaurion Highlanders (a native people from Pamphylia. Great pains were taken to allow autonomy in Side, granting the EMPE army a powerful missile presence at the cost of limited Hellenistic development)

    Pros: the entire army can be trained and retrained in 5 settlements in Southwest Anatolia: Pergamon, Sardis, Ephesos, Halicarnassus, and Side. These regions are situated close to many theaters of war, allowing for easy replenishment and swift deployments. Its massive cavalry arm and elephants will crush the opposition's flanks easily. Meanwhile its missile troops comprised of the legendary Cretans and Rhodians can assassinate the enemy general.

    Cons: Except for the Thureophoroi, all heavy infantry units carry small shields that our military scientists deemed unsuitable for withstanding ranged bombardment. Said military scientists were promptly fired and replaced with Persian yes-men. This time according to them, the EMPE army is woefully unprepared for facing armies featuring the cataphracts of the east. Except again for the Thureophoroi, all the line infantry carry swords and have already fared poorly against the cavalry of the Anatolians and Greeks. So just imagine how the catapracts, supported by light cavalry to ward off our elephants, and heavy infantry and missile troops to distract ours, would destroy our precious Lydian nobles. The Persians advisors then recommended against campaigning against the empires of Pontus and Hayastan, so we fired them and replaced them with some Nabataean slaves. Those slaves then insufferably bragged about how the lancers of their people would crush our frontlines while their mounted archers would riddle the poorly-shielded line infantry, distract our cavalry, and panic our beasts of the east. So we used those slaves for Lithobolos practice. Nothing can beat the EMPE army. Nothing. There are no cons.

    History: The EMPE was founded after the conquest of Ephesos, Halicarnassus, and Sardis decimated the Pergamene's expensive mercenary army. A new source of manpower was needed - the martially-minded Hellenes of the Ionian coast were a prime candidate. Thus the Lydian Lancers and West Anatolian Elite Infantry corps were established, drawing in numerous Hellenes with the high pay and promised of future loot. These valuable men acted as the solid core to the wearied mercenary forces. The EMPE army then engaged the Seleucids in the Showdown at Ipsos, where it destroyed both the defending army and the relieving army. The Ptolemies, seeking to reclaim the Ionian coast, sent a punitive expedition led by Ptolemy's golden child. The EMPE destroyed that too, and liberated the Pamphylians while they were at it. It was then that the battered remnants of the Thracian, Thessalian, and Cretan mecenaries were given their much-deserved Kleuruch in Halicarnassus. Some of the Cretans mercenaries decided to return as full-time professional troops, bringing along their eager brethren as well. Meanwhile the Karians took notice of their new overlords and pledged their swords in exchange for an opportunity at glory. As the EMPE swelled, bolstered by the Cretans and Karians, even the native Anatolians too decided to enlist. Nobles from various tribes formed their own light screening force, along with their mounted and foot retainers as well.

    However powerful the EMPE is, the Attalid dynasty was still not officially recognized as a major power by international players. The Kingdom of Bithynia and the city-state of Rhodos remain economic competitors, the Galatians continue to demand regular tribute, and the Seleucids still lay claim to Anatolia despite their presence being reduced to their stronghold at Tarsos. Meanwhile the conquest of Antiochea by the burgeoning Nabataeans presents an interesting opportunity to gain fame at the international stage. Thus, with a bloated backlog of tasks, the EMPE set out to make Pergamon an empire. First, in a mighty battle against the Bithynian garrison and relief force, the EMPE scored a strategic victory. It then swung south to forcibly acquire the other economic powerhouse of the day in Rhodos. With the Hellespont and the eastern entry to the Aegean Sea secured, Pergamon enjoyed economic supremacy. After being replenished, the now-experienced EMPE conquered the remaining Seleucid army in Anatolia at Tarsos, facing deadly scythed chariots in the process. EMPE scouts then sighted the Nabataean satrapy of Antiochea as well as discovered the recent conquest of Galatia by their Pontic allies. One opportunity to claim legitimacy lays straight ahead in Antiochea, the other stolen by the Pergamene's so-called ally. However, an insidious and diplomatic solution was proposed by the EMPE's black-ops Cretan corps. In exchange for a hefty sum of 50,000 mnai, the Pontic kingdom agreed to allow the EMPE to overpower the small Ankryan garrison in Galatia without triggering prolonged war. The Cretans used their reputation to enlist some of the newfangled Thureophoroi as well as old-fasioned Mercenary Hoplites, and conquered Ankrya. The second part of the blockbuster deal was to rewrite history to credit the Pergamenes as the subduers of Galatia. Fortunately news of the Pontic initial conquest of Galatia haven't reached far, and the alternative facts of the Pergamenes began to spread. The Attalid dynasty was recognized as legitimate by the Greeks and Anatolians, but not yet to the powerhouses of the Seleucids and Ptolemies. Thus the EMPE army trekked to Antiochea and punished the Nabataeans for their mismanagement of the historic city. With Antiochea liberated and restored to its former glory, and its elephants secured, the EMPE army helped Pergamon become an empire, recognized by all the great powers of the day.

    In the meantime the Galatians have diffused their military know-how among the Hellenes. In particular, the previously disgraced military advisors again offered themselves to the Attalid court, this time promising an innovation to "transform Hellenic martial power as we know it". Rehired, the advisors trained a special versatile unit dubbed the Thureophoroi, named after the Galatian thureos shield. This unit was incorporated into the EMPE, replacing the remnants of the Hemithorakitai Peltophoroi. The Thureophoroi's CQC prowess, skirmishing ability, and mobility immediately showed, and the advisors were cleared of their wrongdoing of giving actual constructive criticism to the EMPE army. Back to political matters, with the benefits of legitimacy comes the (mostly uniform) compliance of natives. For example, an advanced form of governance was established in Side and its Isaurion natives joined the EMPE army. However, a small rebellion of Pamphylians, who were terrified of the prospect of being oppressed by the Attalids just like the Ptolemaics did, threatened to overwhelm the region. It is here the this chapter of the EMPE army concludes - only the distraction at Pamphylia blocks the EMPE army from setting its sights on the rest of the ancient Mediterranean.

  2. #2

    Default Re: What's your favorite "royal army" to build, and what is the lore/history behind it?

    The Genuosian model army, or what the then-humble Akarnian governor of the Greece, Illyria and Thracia used when the faction leader and the faction heir were gallivanting around the Italy (and later Asia Minor) with their main army.

    At first it was rather humble:

    1 x Strategos Agema
    1 x Hippeis Thessalikoi
    2 x Raskumenezai

    8x Illyroi Thureophoroi

    3x Spendonetai (or 3x Asanai, whatever was there to scratch off the bottom of the barrel)
    3x Illyroi Peltastai

    Eventually it developed into:

    1 x Strategos Agema
    2 x Hippeis Thessalikoi
    2 x Raskumenezai

    8x Illyroi Thureophoroi

    3x Spendonetai
    4x Illyroi Peltastai (or 2x Machairophoroi + 2x Peltenai for a deluxe variant)

    After Genuos's ascension to the leadership the main army was reformed into following this model with a higher quality troops:

    1x Strategos Agema
    2x Aspiditai Hippeis
    2x Thureopherontes Hippeis

    7x Italoi Thorakitai (also know as the Cohors Sociorum)
    2x Machairophoroi (optionally two of those mail-clad Italoi Machairophoroi)

    3x Spendonetai
    3x Euzonoi/Leginu/Peltenai/Promachoi

    Simple as it was, it was also perfectly suited to Genuos's limited martial knowledge best summed up as "spears to be pointed with the iron-tipped end at the enemy, the center stands in place and the wings can unfold!"

    The initial Illyrian-based one was simply a solution to the need of a second larger army when the main one was already taking money with their fancy Hellenic troops. It never had to fight quality opponents. The final Italian-based one proved to be more flexible than the high-tier phalanxes whilst still being less expensive to keep and able to hold their own against the heavy hitters. It doesn't have any particular strong points, but also no clear weaknesses. Even things like elephants can be met with the concentrated javelin love when nearly all units have something to throw at the enemy. The only real problem is that it requires fast flanking because the main line holders don't do great at killing their enemies in a timely manner.

    Then there's the added inconvenience of having to ship the units to and from Italy. I'm still looking into what troops could take the role further East. Hellenic thureos troops don't come in large recrutation pools and with the free upkeep.
    Last edited by Satapatiš; Yesterday at 04:18 PM.
    Furthermore, I believe that Rome must be destroyed.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What's your favorite "royal army" to build, and what is the lore/history behind it?

    Interesting army composition! The Cohors Soci - I mean Italoi Thureophoroi are supremely underrated. With their meaty shield beefing up their effective defense to 21, huge numbers, and deadly pilum turned javelin tsunami thanks to said numbers, they can help any Hellenic madman achieve Mediterranean supremacy. Genuos must be cackling like a madman armed with these playthings.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What's your favorite "royal army" to build, and what is the lore/history behind it?

    They tend to lose their momentum after the initial javelin charge and the slow grind with the 0 lethality spears begins. Pontos fared against them the best because their AI loves their pantodapoi phalangitai which tends to turn the battles into slow standouts between the two lines (Ptolemaioi prefered higher quality troops which means their lines were shorter with fewer phalanxes... Much to their demise.). But the Cohors Sociorum can run whilst keeping their defenses and a fully unfolded line of those huge units makes for a really long front. AI often stops trying to flank something this wide. Then it does things like trying to break through somewhere near to the flank. OR they try flanking, but they're intercepted by the unfolding wings. Then their fancy Iranian cataphracts end bogged down in the numbers of the troops they were trying to charge. Then they end cut down by the whatever cavalry or AP flankers I've got.

    Fun thing was, this army was ambushed in the Cisalpine not unlike Pyrrhus was ambushed in Liburnia on my play. Except the Pyrrhic army paid for the victory with the life of their king because them phalanxes being so slow, but the Cohors only had to turn around and run for a while.

    The cost for a single unit is brutal. Granted, them being Polybian units, by the time one can recruit them they'll have the money.

    But you don't have to pay for keeping them.

    No disbanding. No loss of experience.

    The army core recruited by Genuos for grinding down the Cisalpine troublemakers saw the Egyptian war with him. Then they were sent back for retraining. Then Deinarchos took them with him against the Celtiberians. Then they were sent home again. Then they went to Syria and finished the Ptolemaic Kingdom with Deinarchos, then they were used for territorial disagreements with Pontos then they finally were sent to Italy.

    By the time they were reaching their fifties, veterans serving in those would be filthy rich people.
    Last edited by Satapatiš; Today at 09:55 AM.
    Furthermore, I believe that Rome must be destroyed.

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