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Thread: Politeia tōn Hrōmaiōn (info and units)

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    jurcek1987's Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Politeia tōn Hrōmaiōn (info and units)


    A thread to discuss everyone's favourite faction, Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn, also known as Eastern Roman Empire (ERE) or Byzantine Empire. I really cannot bring myself to play any other faction for a lengthy period of time. The knowledge that I will inevitably have to fight my beloved Eastern Romans is just to much to bear .

    FACTION INTRO

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    (Early Era)

    Basileus Iōannēs II Komnēnos



    During the latter half of the 11th century, the Roman Empire reached the lowest point in its entire history. After the death of Basil II in 1025, the Empire was ruled by a series of incompetent rulers which led to the deterioration in the Empire's political and military affairs. Successive civil wars, invasions and general corruption gravely weakened the once powerful Empire. The deteriorating situation was brought to a head by two military disasters at opposite ends of the Empire. In Italy, the key stronghold of Bari fell to the Normans, followed by their invasion of western Greece. A more telling blow falls near the town of Manzikert, in the Armenian borderlands, when in 1071 the Seljuk Turks routed a large Roman army and captured the Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes. In the aftermath of the defeat, the Roman political scene was thrown into disarray and there was no effective response to further Seljuk incursions into Roman territory. Over the next ten years virtually all of Asia Minor, the heartland of the Empire, was overrun by the Seljuks, who established a capital for their new Sultanate of Rum (Turkish for "Rome") at Nikaia.
    When Alexios I Komnēnos came to the throne in 1081, the glories of the Empire seemed long gone. The frontiers were collapsing and enemies on every side threatened to overwhelm what was left. The first years of his reign were marked by improvised and not always successful attempts to deal with the Normans, who were as much a threat to the Empire in the West as the Seljuks were in the East. He also had to deal with Pecheneg raiders on the Empire’s north-western frontier and with internal plots against his rule. Alexios suffered several defeats before he was able to strike back with success. By the early 1090s his position was secure and the Empire's precarious position was stabilised. Asia Minor, though, was still firmly under Turkish control and Alexios lacked the necessary military resources to attempt a reconquest. He appealed to the West for aid and the result was the First Crusade launched in 1095. The crusade was initially a notable success for Alexios, as it allowed his forces to recover much of western Asia Minor, but overall the Crusaders represent a dangerous and unstable addition to the politics of the eastern Mediterranean.
    After Alexios' death in 1118, his eldest son Iōannēs II Komnēnos ascended to the Imperial throne. An exceptionally pious and moral ruler with great personal courage, he is highly respected and honoured by his subjects. He is also an excellent strategist who continues his father's policies, determined to undo the damage his empire had suffered following the battle of Manzikert. Early in his reign he decisively defeated the Pechenegs, Hungarians and Serbs in the Balkans and now the ambitious Emperor is already setting his sights on reconquest of Asia Minor. But the overall situation remains uneasy, the Serbs and the Hungarians are only subdued, not defeated. The Normans still pose a threat to western Greece and there is still the issue of the Turks to deal with. The only way to permanently secure the Empire's vulnerable Anatolian holdings is to destroy Sultanate of Rum, the self-styled "Turkish Roman Empire", whose continued existence causes no small amount of embarrassment to the Roman prestige. In order to fully achieve his goals, Iōannēs II will need to demonstrate extraordinary diplomatic, administrative and military skills.
    Fortunately, he has the finest military machine in the known world at his disposal. The bulk of the East Roman army is made up of well-trained professional infantry and the less-experienced provincial militia, supplemented by various mercenary companies, including the fearsome Varangian Guard. However, the pride of the Roman army truly lies in their cavalry – few in numbers but powerful heavy cavalry regiments of elite Imperial Tagmata, capable of breaking any enemy formation.


    CAMPAIGN DIFFICULTY

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Early Era: medium
    Late Era: very hard


    STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    (Early Era)
    Strengths
    • largest faction at the start (17 regions)
    • many developed settlements
    • filthy rich
    • extensive roster with many unique units including cataphracts, heavy axemen, horse archers and flamethrowers
    • powerful general's bodyguards
    • access to professional units from the start
    • heavily armoured units

    Weaknesses
    • disliked by its neighbours
    • potentially many fronts
    • frequent plagues
    • professional units are expensive and take long to recruit
    • mostly defensively oriented units (more armour at the expense of attack)
    • relies on expensive mercenaries for shock infantry and cavalry
    • centralised recruitment of elite units
    • very few late era units


    (Late Era)
    Strengths
    • decent economy
    • Greece is divided amongst many factions which can be exploited
    • if Greece can be reclaimed, the Empire can once again become a superpower
    • powerful general's bodyguards
    • extensive roster with potentially many unique units including cataphracts, heavy axemen, horse archers and flamethrowers
    • heavily armoured units

    Weaknesses
    • precarious starting position
    • only two regions at the start
    • at war with the much stronger Sultanate of Rum
    • not in a favourable position to reclaim lost territories
    • no access to professional units from the starting cities
    • professional units are expensive and take long to recruit
    • mostly defensively oriented units (more armour at the expense of attack)
    • relies on expensive mercenaries for shock infantry and cavalry
    • centralised recruitment of elite units
    • very few late era units




    UNIT GUIDE

    Infantry:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Contaratoi
    Basic info: light spearmen
    Requirements:
    level 1 city barracks, level 2 castle barracks
    Unit size (huge): 151
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:​ 775/340
    Turns to recruit: 1
    Description: Only useful as garrisons, or in emergency to add numbers to your armies. (My verdict: I only use them against weak enemies or if I have no other units, don't rely on them to hold the line, they break very quickly)

    Scoutatoi
    Basic info: medium spearmen/swordsmen
    Requirements:
    level 3 castle barracks (spearmen), level 4 (swordsmen)
    Unit size:
    202 (spearmen), 152 (swordsmen)
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    1896/962 (spearmen), 1392/714 (swordsmen)
    Turns to recruit: 3 (spearmen), 4 (swordsmen)
    Description:
    Workhorses of the Roman army and arguably the best pre-pike line infantry in the game. Their large unit size, availability, heavy armour, large shield and good morale makes the one of the most useful and widely used units in ERE campaigns. They also have 3 armour upgrades which enables them to remain competitive even when your neighbours start getting new toys. I usually use spearmen in my field armies and swordsmen on walls. (Verdict: the perfect anvil)

    Castrophilakae
    Basic info: heavy swordsmen
    Requirements:
    level 4 city barracks
    Unit size:
    152
    Recruitment cost/upkeep: 1640/762
    Turns to recruit: 4
    Description:
    Excellent swordsmen. (Verdict: More heavily armoured version of Scoutatoi swords)

    Alammanoi
    Basic info: heavy swordsmen
    Requirements:
    level 3 mercenary barracks, heavy mail event (1192-1212)
    Unit size:
    122
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    3527/389
    Turns to recruit: 2
    Description:
    Better attack and defense than Castrophilakae but lower morale and unit size. Being mercenaries they're expensive to recruit but cheap to maintain. (Verdict: Quality units. Their starting expense may be high, but they repay their cost over time)

    Saxon Huscarls
    Basic info: medium axemen
    Requirements:
    level 1 mercenary barracks, replaced by Varangian Guard after the heavy mail event (1192-1212)
    Unit size:
    123
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    2361/268
    Turns to recruit: 2
    Description:
    Very good shock troops with bonus against armour and cavalry. Because they lack a shield they're not so effective in head-on engagement. Best used at flanking or engaging from the rear. (Verdict: I use them to charge from the rear when the enemy infantry engages my main line. Also very effective against heavy cavalry, just don't let them be charged first)

    Varangian Guard

    Basic info: heavy axemen
    Requirements:
    level 3 city hall, heavy mail event (1192-1212), only available in regional capitals
    Unit size:
    122
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    3513/411
    Turns to recruit: 2
    Description:
    One of the coolest units in the game. They look badass and they're brutally effective, what more could you want? (Verdict: the rich man's Saxon huscarls)

    Spartharii tou Vasileos
    Basic info: elite swordsmen
    Requirements:
    scholae barracks, Constantinople, third latern council (1216)
    Unit size:
    92
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    1144/499
    Turns to recruit: 4
    Description:
    Dismounted Athanatoi, rare but very tough. But because of their their small unit size (92 men on huge) they perform poorly against the best high era dismounted knights and heavy infantry. (Verdict: very powerful, but more of a luxury unit)

    Menaulatoi

    Basic info: medium pikemen
    Requirements:
    level 5 city barracks, full plate event (1382-1402)
    Unit size:
    202
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    1966/1074
    Turns to recruit: 4
    Description:
    Pikemen with good armour but lower morale than other Roman professional infantry. They have slightly shorter pikes which means they're a bit less effective against cavalry than traditional pikemen but better against infantry. I can't give you much more info cos I only used them in a few custom battles where they performed admirably against some cutting edge units.


    Skirmishers:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Akontistae
    Basic info: light javelinmen
    Requirements:
    level 1 castle barracks
    Unit size:
    122
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    499/207
    Turns to recruit: 2
    Description:
    Useless in melee, though their javelins are very deadly against heavy units. Don't send them to fight, keep them away from the action. I find them to be quite useful defending settlements, throwing their javelins against incoming ladders. Also they have the lowest upkeep of any ERE unit which makes them useful for garrison duty. (Verdict: I rarely send them to fight, I mostly use them to keep order in my inner cities and castles and Acritae in my armies and frontier castles)

    Acritae
    Basic info: medium javelinmen/infantry
    Requirements:
    level 2 castle barracks
    Unit size:
    121
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    705/324
    Turns to recruit: 3
    Description:
    They're the medieval Limitanei. It took awhile for me to see the value of this unit, I usually deploy them in the second line behind my Scoutatoi. They soften the enemy units before they charge your line and double as medium infantry (Verdict: very useful in defensive battles and sieges, good against anything except heavy infantry)

    Toxotae
    Basic info: light archers
    Requirements:
    level 2 city barracks, level 1 castle range
    Unit size:
    151
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    768/333
    Turns to recruit: 1
    Description:
    Surprisingly effective(though most archers are in this submod). Will be used heavily in early campaign. (Verdict: unsung heroes, they saved my ass countless times. Although I gradually replaced them with Mourtatoi in my field armies, they still saw plenty of action throughout my campaigns and they rarely let my down)

    Mourtatoi​
    Basic info: medium archers
    Requirements:
    level 2 castle range
    Unit size:
    122
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    456/364
    Turns to recruit: 2
    Description:
    Invaluable, especially against Muslim enemies who regularly deploy large quantities of those pesky horse archers. Probably the first thing I do when I begin an ERE campaign is start constructing practice ranges. Their excellent stats, low cost and most importantly their early availability (they only require a level 2 range) makes them in my opinion the best archer unit in the game (Verdict: key components of my armies, especially in the East)

    Gasmuli
    Basic info: heavy crossbowmen
    Requirements:
    level 4 city barracks, gunpowder event (1222-1242)
    Unit size:
    151
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    1620/626
    Turns to recruit: 2
    Description:
    excellent ranged unit with good stopping power, heavy armour and can lay sharpened stakes.

    Siphonatores
    Basic info: flame throwers
    Requirements:
    level 2 alchemy
    Unit size:
    40
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    1821/402
    Turns to recruit: 4
    Description:
    One of the most unique and devastating units in the game. One unit of Siphonatores can annihilate a besieging army in seconds. Cons: very small unit size, low ammo and short range. (Verdict: auto win in siege defense)


    Cavalry:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Stratiotae
    Basic info: medium cavalry
    Requirements:
    level 2 stables
    Unit size:
    82
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    3135/1477
    Turns to recruit: 3
    Description:
    Do not underestimate their importance, they may not be able to break heavy infantry formations, but they are extremely useful for killing enemy archers and skirmishers. (Verdict: I always have at least one unit of Stratiotae in my armies, just use them carefully)

    Mounted Acritae
    Basic info: medium javelin cavalry
    Requirements:
    level 1 stables
    Unit size:
    62
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    1862/776
    Turns to recruit: 4
    Description:
    Specialist bodyguard and heavy cavalry killers. Turn off fire at will and manually engage targets of opportunity. Also decent at chasing skirmishers (Verdict: useful but requires micro)

    Skythikon
    Basic info: light horse archers
    Requirements:
    level 1 mercenary barracks
    Unit size:
    62
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    4730/422
    Turns to recruit: 2
    Description:
    Any player who knows how to utilise horse archers effectively will find a use for them. But they are heavily outclassed by anything your eastern neighbours bring to the field. (Verdict: useless against Muslims but quite useful against any western faction apart from Hungarians)

    Cavalarii
    Basic info: medium horse archers
    Requirements:
    level 3 stables
    Unit size:
    62
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    2131/893
    Turns to recruit: 3
    Description:
    Longer range and much better stats than Skythikon but cannot compete with elite eastern HAs. (Verdict: the scourge of the Catholics)

    Latinikon
    Basic info: heavy cavalry
    Requirements:
    level 1 mercenary barracks
    Unit size:
    62
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    7120/751
    Turns to recruit: 2
    Description:
    Very good heavy cavalry though not as good as most western knights. Very costly to recruit but cheap to maintain. (Verdict: as with all mercenaries, expensive to recruit but cost-effective in the long run)

    Archontopoulai
    Basic info: heavy cavalry
    Requirements:
    foundling hospital
    Unit size:
    62
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    2967/1251
    Turns to recruit: 2
    Description:
    More expensive to maintain than Latinikon but much more cheaper to produce. They're more brawlers than chargers (low charge, heavy armour). (Verdict: a poor man's kataphraktoi)

    Pronoiarii
    Basic info: heavy cavalry
    Requirements:
    castle, gunpowder event (1222-1242)
    Unit size:
    62
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    2815/1329
    Turns to recruit: 2
    Description:
    ERE version of Feudal knights

    Athanatoi
    Basic info: generals bodyguard
    Requirements:
    fortress
    Unit size:
    22
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    555/428
    Turns to recruit: 2
    Description:
    You can no longer recklessly charge with them because they're not nearly as strong as in SS, which is a huge relief for the neighbouring factions. But even severely nerfed, they're still the toughest (early) generals bodyguards in the game.

    Kataphraktoi
    Basic info: super-heavy cavalry
    Requirements:
    scholae barracks
    Unit size:
    82
    Recruitment cost/upkeep:
    4382/1876
    Turns to recruit: 4
    Description:
    The greatest thing since sliced bread. They're best pre-full plate cavalry in game. With their heavy armour and maces they crush everything in their path, surely a frightening sight for all who oppose them. Though their power comes at a cost: they're so slow they can barely outrun infantry, they tire easily and their cost is exorbitant. (Verdict: Horsemen of the apocalypse)
    Last edited by Lifthrasir; July 22, 2017 at 01:28 PM. Reason: updated

  2. #2
    Lifthrasir's Avatar A Clockwork Orange
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Good one!!!
    I'm sure that some people will find it useful.
    Don't forget to update it if we make changes in the futur releases
    Under the patronage of Flinn, proud patron of Jadli, of the Imperial House of Hader


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  3. #3
    jurcek1987's Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Thanks, I intend to . I'll also write some tips and strategies when the new version comes out.

  4. #4
    Foederatus
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Good stuff!

    I always try to read on a faction before I play with it, so guides are always useful for me, and I'm sure many others will find this useful too.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    About Latinikon.. I find them very usefull for 'long run'. They cost lot, but upkeep is very low for heavy cavalry unit. So i put them few in critical cities.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    i like to use checkboard formations with 1st line being infantry in guard mode and 2nd line javelins, this way your javelins always have a good line of fire and most importantly it acts as a bait to enemy cavalry who will try to charge your javs and instead get bogged down in your inf, archers seem very effective indeed though at the end of the day it's still my general's bodyguard who ends up with 400+ kills and archers with 80-100+ (prisoners captured not counting ofc)

  7. #7
    Green Warrior's Avatar Libertus
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Jurcek, many thanks for the wonderful unit guide to what is also my favorite faction. Originally, I fell in love with the Byzzies while playing the first Medieval Total War. I became even more committed to them while playing M2TW because I didn't like having to deal with the Pope.

    Now in SSHIP, I'm find BtR to be even more fun than ever.

    Thanks again, Jurcek; and thanks to all who contributed to making SSHIP such a great sub-mod to Stainless Steel.
    THE GREEN WARRIOR

  8. #8
    jurcek1987's Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Achilles-91: Yes, their upkeep is low, but I rarely use them. It's nothing more than personal preference.

    Dekhatres: I use a similar formation only I try to refrain from using my GB too much, it's something I'm doing since SS because the AI cannot counter them very well and it's not very realistic to send your most valuable person in harm's way unless the situation is critical.

    Green Warrior: Thank you for your kind words but it's the creators of these wonderful units, the CBUR team,
    who deserve our gratitude. And of course the SSHIP team

    I love the ERE unit roster,
    they're like the best of both worlds. They combine the best elements of western (heavily armoured infantry and cavalry) and eastern (horse archers and composite bows) warfare. Though their units are mostly defensive (low attack high defense) apart from Varangians and their heavy cavalry. I seldom charge first during battle, I usually position my army on a slope and wait for the enemy to attack me (the best way to minimize your losses). The good old fashioned hammer and anvil tactic, simple but effective. My battle formation is also very straightforward: 1st line Scoutatoi spearmen deployed in a long line, then Acritae, 3rd line Mourtatoi, Axemen further back and Cavalry on the flanks. In the meantime I harass their advancing army with my horse archers.



  9. #9

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Very nice, I always love reading well written guides and I'm looking forward to reading any more you come out with. I've always been put off playing the Byzantines because I always think that it will be too easy because they start so powerful, but maybe I'll give them a whirl.

    Tempted to write one myself for my current favourite faction Novgorod, think I'll need to play them a bit more first though!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    I think that sship could add more unique units for ERE and improve some treats as scoutotai spearmen dont have shieldwall for example,or that constantinopolis was a jihad target...what aspects would you like improve for ERE?(units,buildings,traits...)
    THE MORE YOU SWEAT NOW,
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Quote Originally Posted by j.a.luna View Post
    I think that sship could add more unique units for ERE and improve some treats as scoutotai spearmen dont have shieldwall for example,or that constantinopolis was a jihad target...what aspects would you like improve for ERE?(units,buildings,traits...)
    And I think that the "team sship" we must first make a balance , to remove / replace the ugly icons many units ( especially the Crusaders ) and fix bugs , and then only gradually add new units .

  12. #12

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    imo ERE has already plenty of unique units and from my experience shield wall is one of the most useless things ever

    i think ERE should have more internal conflicts, maybe more rebelious generals or just overall high instability

  13. #13
    jurcek1987's Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dekhatres View Post
    imo ERE has already plenty of unique units and from my experience shield wall is one of the most useless things ever

    i think ERE should have more internal conflicts, maybe more rebelious generals or just overall high instability
    Agreed on all counts. In SS my Scoutatoi performed worse in shield wall than in regular formation and they weren't flanked. Regarding the internal instability, it's been discussed before and iirc it isn't possible to accurately represent the difficulties of managing a large multi ethnic empire (like ERE or HRE) because of the engine limitations. Though SSHIP does a much better job at this than other mods. Former enemy capitals and core regions are very difficult sometimes impossible to hold, and some ERE regions like Tarnovo and Niš have a permanent unrest.

    Regarding the ERE roster, yes it would have been great to have some new units but in order to do so you would have to remove units from the EDU. The ERE already got so much love compared to some other factions so it would not have been fair. Maybe if someone could create a ERE dedicated submod. I've already put some thought into this but I'm no good at making stuff like this, I can only do text editing. I plan to create a little script that will change the name of captured regions and settlements to Greek when the new version comes out and write a new more accurate faction description.

  14. #14
    jurcek1987's Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    To Lifthrasir: I made a new faction intro for the Romans (see updated OP). The old vanilla one is terrible. Feel free to change anything you dislike

  15. #15
    Lifthrasir's Avatar A Clockwork Orange
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Nice one. I think it should be ok (only 2 or 3 things I'd like to check). My only comment is about the expansion: you only advise the player to expand through Anatolia. What if the player decide to get ride of the Serbs and Sicily first?
    Under the patronage of Flinn, proud patron of Jadli, of the Imperial House of Hader


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  16. #16
    jurcek1987's Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Like I said feel free to change it, I only wrote that because the real Ioannes tried to recapture Asia Minor in 1130s

  17. #17

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jurcek1987 View Post
    Like I said feel free to change it, I only wrote that because the real Ioannes tried to recapture Asia Minor in 1130s
    Are there any mercs worth picking up with the Byzantines? As in my first war against the Turks I noticed that there was a Alani merc cav unit that looked reasonably decent so I hired a few into my army,as light clavary is always useful, I've found.

  18. #18
    Tighes_Hood's Avatar Libertus
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    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Great description for my favorite faction of all time. Nice work!

  19. #19

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael11 View Post
    Are there any mercs worth picking up with the Byzantines?
    To the west, there are Slav Mercenaries who are basically better contaratoi with +1 more attack/def skill for half the upkeep cost. You can use them for cheap garrison.
    BTW. They have 7 shield value and are shown carrying kite shields in unit info card but have small round bucklers in battle... which is probably a bug.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Basileia tōn Rōmaiōn faction thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jurcek1987 View Post
    Like I said feel free to change it, I only wrote that because the real Ioannes tried to recapture Asia Minor in 1130s
    also makes more sense imo because there's soooooo much wealth in the east, silver, silk, the wealth flows throught the land

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