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Thread: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

  1. #61

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Saka- Blood boiling, rage inducing, blood vessel poppingly hard. This is not because it's mostly naturally difficult like for example, Parthia, where I was able after two decisive stack wipes was able to become master of Iran east the Zagros. No, the Saka campaign s you over with scripts at turn 30. I had just conquered the city of Baktria itself as well as Chach, the southern Tarim Basin and most of Baktria. Once I have finished off Baktria, I told myself, I would invade India and accomplish my main wish for the campaign. The scripting system had other ideas. To make a long story short, at turn 30 you get a massive rebellion in all of your lands and multiple rebel stacks spawn near your cities. The script description claims that defeating all these new rebel stacks would get rid of this sudden issue, however I later tested this and this was not the case. Even if you retake your now rebellious towns and exterminate the population, the magic public order debuff never goes away. Fun! If you want to play Nomadic indo-Iranian factions so badly, just save yourself the stress and play Parthia or the Sarmatians. If you really must play the Saka Rauka, play them in EB 1.

  2. #62
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Big_guy_4_you View Post
    Even if you retake your now rebellious towns and exterminate the population, the magic public order debuff never goes away.
    It does go away, it fades at the rate of 5% a turn.

  3. #63

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Pergamon campaign on h/m. medium / easy in the begining of the campaign. becomes very easy midgame although this probably depends what happens elsewhere in the world.

    I fought the rebel stacks and took bithynia to begin with. This gets you making money. I found paying off the galatians fine (would go periodically into debt when necessary). Then took byzantium (allied state) followed by sinope. By this time ptolmey had taken sardis. They declared war on me so we fought a short war. Once I defeated their two main armies in asia minor and took sardis after a lengthy seige they never attempted to reinforce so the rest was just a formality of long sieges (i try to avoid assulting to give the enemy time to gather armies).

    After this you have so much money nothing much matters. I bought the other selucid settlement in asia minor and took crete. Fought a long but non impactful war with carthage for it before giving up. By this point kh had conquered all of greece bar one of epioros's provinces which was under siege. They then declared war on me. Selucids use this opportunity to betray me and declare war. I fight a naval war in the east with selucids and fight definsively in asia minor. Mean while I take most of greece slowly from kh. Once I had defeated greece I took the fight to the selucids and stalemated in iraq. It was a long way from my supply lines and bringing enough troops with generals attached required more logistics than I could be bothered with.

    From this point on keeping money below 50000 was the main challenge. I have a huge amount of artillery as money sinks.

    Rest of world update. Selucids are grey death. Simultaneously fought me, loads of stacks, hayastan, parthia, saba and takashi. Takashi admitedly were being beaten up by baktria but the rest only survived because I kept beating so many stacks and occaisonally
    gifting provinces. (I also gave money as tribute but have no idea what impact this had.) Once I made peace Parthia were fairly quickly destroyed. horded within 50 turns despite having taken 5 selucid starting provinces at the point I made peace (so were on 9 provinces I think). Rome is interesting. Have taken corsica but otherwise expanded north and west. Have been fighting it out in gaul gaining and losing provinces for the past 150 turns. Very nicely ballanced there. The pritonii have just been kicked out of western europe from a high point of 4 porvinces. Carthage has gone from almost all of iberia to only one province there but is solid in africa. KH have scilcily and ocaisionly nab sardinia or southern italy from rome/ carthage respectively. boi have done nothing and the rest of the north have expanded slowly / ocaisionally fought inconclusive wars.

    The galatian raids were fun affordable (just about) to pay off in the beginning and easy later on. This meant manpower was never significantly affected. There were fun and interesting but not too difficult.

  4. #64

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Version 3.5


    Pontos (H/H), 500 Turns


    Philhellene. Any player of Europa Barbarorum II will see this word from Africa to India. A character trait, an administrative approach, an empty declaration. It has many meanings to many peoples, but for none does it have more meaning than it does for the Pharnakides of Pontos. They are defined by the word, whether it's as a regional kingdom or as a grand empire. This makes Pontos a unique faction as the only non-Hellenic faction that can recruit directly from Poleis (you cannot create or upgrade them) and use Hellenic Colonists as Military Garrisons. Yet you are not a Hellenic Basileus of a Hellenic people, you are ruler of many peoples. You must embrace this role, or rest among the vanquished.


    Early Game Difficulty: Challenging-Very Challenging


    Late Game Difficulty: Easy



    Army/Units
    : As Basileus Pontou, you have unique mechanics and an inclination towards army diversity that will bear fruit later. For the beginning, you have more weaknesses than strengths, and arguably you never truly shake free of some of them.

    There's an old saying, "He who tries to defend everything, defends nothing." The same principle can be applied to the armies of Pontos, it tries to be strong in every area. Galatians and Hellenes for infantry, Anatolians for lights and cavalry, with the old Persian elite for a cherry on top. In early practice, you don't start with access to the Galatian Elite Infantry or Hellenic Hoplitai, and your Persian elite are extremely limited. Outside of the Aswar i Kwheshawandan, you don't really have anything that your enemies don't have before you build up, and they will often have superior numbers. Especially in Galatia. In my playthrough this made my main tactic is concentrating my competent infantry to hold on the left, overloading all my cavalry onto the right (these wings are switched if flanking from my right is non-viable,) using the light cavalry to tie down the enemy cavalry, scattering the cavalry with my Aswar, and rolling the enemy from there. This did often come at a cost to my left wing, even if the infantry I left there came out well against repeat charges, they weren't mobile enough to prevent getting flanked.


    The best balance between bolstering your forces and conquering manageable land is to go for Sinope and Trapezous along the Black Sea coast. They aren't particularly wealthy, but they can grant you additional heavy infantry that you sorely lack. Conquering Nikaia and Byzantion would make you a target to the Hellenic powers, including Pergamon. Conquering Ani-Kamah and Kappadokia brings you into conflict with Hayastan. You won't upset anybody else by conquering Galatia, but it is a hotbed of rebellion and if the attention of numerous Eleutheroi stacks in the region weren't on you before, they will be once you mobilize against the region. Sinope is the more optimal of the two as you don't even have to build an additional government, you can recruit Hoplitai and Peltastai Logades from the Polis. Expanding along the Caucasus can grant you interesting regionals, but you need the reform governments in order to access the elite Caucasian Axemen and Caucasian Lancers.


    Once you begin empire-building in earnest, western Anatolia is a prime target. Mainly because of it's wealth, but your pre-reform governments also get the most valuable regionals to bolster your forces. A Strategiai in Phrygia and Sardis allows you to add 4 units (2 for each province) of Hippomachoi to your army, a valuable addition of heavy cavalry. You also reap extensive benefits from being able to recruit directly from Hellenic Poleis and Military Colonies, not needing to spend a single Mnai to lay additional infrastructure, it also adds extensive amounts of heavy infantry to your forces. If you are particularly skilled with the cheese, you might even want to hold off expanding in certain areas until the Hellenic powers can upgrade the local Polis, as you cannot upgrade or create Poleis yourself. Only at the Metropolis level can some Polis provide the elite Hyperaspistai infantry.


    Once you've acquired a decent sized empire including Galatia, Pontos Euxinos, Phrygia, and Lydia you will start to feel the benefits of Pontos' approach to rule. The regionals from these lands provide the units you need to begin shaping the army of Pontos to it's ideal form. And the Thureos reforms also benefit you greatly, in adding to your pool of heavy (if not outstandingly so) infantry. However, you will not be able to reach your full potential without hitting the reforms. By the point where you've conquered these lands, you should have extensive territory and multiple battles with Hellenic powers under your belt. There's only one place left to go, the Bosporos. If you've come this far, the Bosporitai should pose no challenge. Horse archers might throw you for a loop if you don't come with extensive cavalry, but other than that the only thing to watch out for is the formidable Bosporitai Logades. Of course, you can add both to your armies after you've won.


    Once you've risen to universal recognition in the greater oikumene, you will receive one hell of a cherry on top of your current establishment. Once you've built Basilike Patris, then you'll receive a convincing imitation-Hellenic roster. You can recruit Agema Phalangitai, Aswar i Kweshawandan as a substitute for Hetairoi and Hippeis Thessalikoi/Klerouchikon Agema (and it's superior as it's a 2 unit pool as opposed to 2 separate pools, meaning the Aswar have faster replenishment,) 1 unit of Hyperaspistai or Thorakitai Epilektoi as a substitute for Hypaspistai, and 1 unit of Bosporitai Logades as a substitute for Peltastai Makedones. Unfortunately the Pontic Basilike Patris does not seem to allow for an extra two Phalangitai recruitment like the mainstream Hellenic version. Your roster still isn't perfect, however. If you examine the elite infantry recruitment, you'll note that you have less elite infantry available than the equivalent Hellenic administration. Also, given your proximity to the East, you'll likely me made aware of your lack of Cataphracts.


    After you complete the Pontic reform, you'll receive an interesting toy to play with from your Hypobasileia and Basilike Patris, the Scythed Chariot. While the Seleukids receive this item as well, it seems like Pontos is the faction with the most affinity for this tool. It is an interesting substitute for the Cataphract. On an individual basis it is more durable than even those horsemen, but they suffer several drawbacks in terms of maneuverability and raw damage output. Though Scythed Chariots can disrupt formations better than any other unit save for Elephants, they are far less maneuverable and quick than any cavalry, including Cataphracts. In case the enemy decides to redeploy and you want to catch them in motion, it's unlikely that Scythed Chariots will be able to attack from an optimal angle or even catch them properly. High ground also takes the proverbial wind out of the Scythed Chariot's sails.


    It's a bit of a shame that at the point you unlock the Pontos reform, you will likely have gotten a solid grasp on Pontic tactics and the new additions are essentially a cherry on top, even if they are an effective cherry. Few armies at this point will pose a real threat to you, as you'd have a large amount of Hellenic heavy infantry from Poleis and colonies (including the famous Spartans, if you choose to hold on to Sparte) combined a wide range of cavalry from Asia Minor and the Bosporos.


    Campaign: Of all the Anatolian Triumvirate, Pergamon, Pontos, and Hayastan, our middle child here has the most difficult starting position and has the greatest struggle to hit their reform. Both Pergamon and Hayastan have superior income thanks to positioning. The Anatolian coast along the Ionian Sea is a much richer area than the Black Sea coast, thus Pergamon can get richer faster. Hayastan proper rakes in good income before you invest in mines, and their lack of a need to defend from multiple fronts makes for extensive military savings. The other two are even better off on a military basis, Pergamon has access to elites from the word go and Hayastan's Cataphracts give them a massive edge against Eleutheroi. To make this a trio of misfortune, the other two are also better off on an administrative basis as well. Pergamon starts off with their highest level government, and can probably develop Pergamon itself to the highest level without hitting reforms. Hayastan's reforms are easier to hit as they don't have to bother creating a navy to conquer the prerequisite territory (or take a ridiculous detour,) and at an early stage can build Caucasian Tribal Kingdoms that provide both good recruitment and public order bonuses. A government that can do both of these isn't available for Pontos at all until their reform.


    With all this in mind, I decided to take my approach to the Pontic campaign slowly. I didn't take too many risks. I built up my treasury over time, stayed away from the borders of rival powers, and left my fresh recruits as healthy garrisons in my current territories to keep secure. It probably took me over two hundred turns to get the Pontos reform. I do think some measure of luck happened to me in my Pontos playthrough, without it I'd label my campaign as closer to Very Challenging as opposed to Challenging. My caution was rooted in my previous experience with Hard difficulty campaigns. In those AI factions could expand quite rapidly, much faster than they would in Medium difficulty. Yet I was largely left in peace until I had a hundred or so turns to develop, so I did not face much challenge from the AI factions compared to my battles with Eleutheroi. Hayastan in particular was rather passive, letting me have Kappadokia and two thirds of the Caucasus mountain range. After an initial war they seemed to expand east into Parthia instead.


    One of the greatest accomplishments of EBII is making reading about ancient administration fun. And pre-reform Pontos is quite interesting with a variety of governments that each various benefits and drawbacks, though it is disappointing that your core administration starts with the basic Strategiai. These governments are generally split into two paths, military governments that provide recruitment of quality soldiers at the expense of public order, and governments that promote public order but only allow you to recruit mediocre units from them. Also keeping in mind your mediocre income that will suffer from raiding armies from nearby provinces, and Galatia especially, you will need to craft a careful, long term strategy in order to prosper.


    The Philhellenism of the Pontos faction extends beyond it's armies. There is also a series of scripts where Pontos funds and undertakes several diplomatic missions to Hellas. After several dozen turns, and a dozen thousand Mnai spent, you have a grand prize of...an Alliance with Koinon Hellenon. That in my playthrough they ended up betraying me anyway. At least one of my Pontic kings ended up being my first and only Olympic winner.

    As said before, you can also create Hellenistic Military Colonies. Be careful that the resulting increase in Hellenistic Culture doesn't jeopardize the stability of your provinces.


    Once you've finished consuming the independent cities of Anatolia and have beaten down your rival powers, the fun really begins. The reform gives you the Satrapeia and Hypobasileia governments that are just an improvement in every way over your previous governments. Well, they might be more expensive. They provide extensive recruitment, improved possibilities for construction, and public order bonuses. You ought to be careful with the placement of Hypobasileia however, only Pharnakid governors are allowed to rule in provinces with this option installed. It at this point that you can hit your peak on an administrative and military basis.

  5. #65

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Version 3.5 & 3.0


    Boioi (H/H), 900+ Turns


    The Keltoi are a people who, unfortunately, have had most of the memory of their ancient heritage determined by their enemies. Fortunately for the Boioi, of all the peoples in Europa the Romani call "Barbari", they are the easiest to ride from the pages of Romani histories and carve your own design upon the ancient world. Though you share many weaknesses with your fellow Keltoi, expensive non-Allied recruitment and weak beginning roster, the seeds you sow as the Boioi will give rise to much stronger fruit than those sown by your peers. The Boioi colony system is their unique feature, and under a player that can manage their finances it can quickly unlock potential that turns the Boioi campaign into the easiest of all Keltoi campaigns. Those who also understand the Druit and Kingetos system will also have much better characters than other nations. Once your roots are firmly planted, only the greatest of storms can tear you down.


    Early Game Difficulty: Very Challenging (Challenging if you're not on a difficulty where the AI can besiege you)

    Mid Game Difficulty: Challenging

    Late Game Difficulty: Very Challenging / Easy (This is essentially dependent on whether Roma is still around by the Late Game. If they aren't, then the Late Game will be fairly easy. I'll explain the former in the Campaign section, and the latter in the in the Army/Units section.)



    Army/Units: For all the bravado surrounding the Keltoi, a clever mind is needed to give them bite to match their barz. The faction has a serious lack of armor that will last unless you come across some specific strategems to solve it, or you take the long way and play for at least a hundred (in game) years until the Keltic Twilight reform triggers. There are saving graces to this, your armies will be cheaper in general, and once you get your economy going it will be easier to garrison your cities. Unless you're playing the Getai or have horrible luck, factions with a surplus of heavy infantry won't be trying to wipe you out for some time. Keltoi also don't have notably better morale across the board compared to civilized peoples. So only a truly experienced warrior can dream of plundering Roma or Delphi from an early stage. Though the composition of your army and that of your enemies will vary over time, one thing is consistent: your best hand will be your elite units, especially the Eporeda Donnoi.


    The Eporeda Donnoi are a contender for one of the best units in the game. There may be units that have a more powerful charge, there may be units that are faster, and there may be units that have ranged abilities along with strong melee capabilities. The Eporeda Donnoi need none of these. They are an excellent blend of speed, strength, and power that crush a vulnerable flank, grind down lesser foes in a melee, and get to critical positions in good time. Without them, your host may lack the striking power to scatter the enemy, for frankly Keltoi light cavalry is quite mediocre. Epatoi Londoi may have their moments of glory, it's fairly easy to get them gilded chevrons with their speed and availability, but in the heat of battle the best use for them is to use their numbers to flank and tie up the enemy cavalry. Yet don't expect the Epatoi to score a victory when all is even, in all aspects they are mediocre. Certain horse archers like the Alans have more power to their bows than the Epatoi do with their javelins, and naturally the Alans also have more arrows than the Epatoi have javelins. Furthermore, the Epatoi have clashed with Hippakontistai, bringing Thureos and spear to a knife and buckler fight, and still lost.


    I'd be remiss in neglecting the foot component of the Keltoi forces. Though usually not as important as their mounted counterparts, understaffing them has brought me a defeat on a few occasions, and the Sweboz have a peculiarity to their forces that make Boioi neglect of their infantry doubly unwise. Without using the Boioi Colonization mechanics to it's fullest, you can bet that the majority of your infantry will be cheap, unarmored units. Fortunately, your initial foes are all Keltoi in the same boat. They'll make for good training for the challenges to come, especially should you come to blows with the Gauls. Now the Boioi are set up in a way that they have two mortal foes, the Sweboz and the Romani. The nature of the threats they pose are very different, and fighting them comes with great risks and great rewards.


    Though you might expect the warlike Sweboz to become a problem sooner than the Romani, who were historically more absorbed in the Mediterranean. It is almost guaranteed that the player will fight the Romani first, unless you choose the path of caution. As you can expect, these will often be grueling ordeals. During my playthrough as the Romani, the only way Keltoi pose a threat is through numbers or by opening an inconvenient front. Romani infantry are better equipped on every level: shields, armor, and javelins. Even on a pound for pound basis, you can argue their cavalry is better. Equites Romani are a much more effective and powerful unit than Epatoi Londoi, even if they are more expensive, and they are much more numerous than Eporeda Donnoi. Leves and Velites are also better than Koxsalatoi, or at least they can put up a better fight. If you're to take them on, you need to have an ace up your sleeve. To be more precise, you need several elements working in your favor in the right way. One method was to draw the Romani deeper into the Alps, where their exhaustion from climbing up steep slopes to attack my forces worked wonders. I also used a variation of the Zulu Buffalo Horn tactic, where I'd hold my elites back and have my less armored units up front to soak up the first wave of pila, then rush the elites on the flanks and try to box the Roman center in.

    Fortunately, the Roman AI is not the best at allocating their resources, so after eliminating around 2 full stacks of soldiers, you should be able to claim Felsina and broker peace. Felsina is a modest gain at first, but given time and care it may well become the centerpiece of your empire. I will detail why in the Campaign section below.


    The Sweboz are much easier to deal with on the battle map, but given the peculiarities of the AI command and the faction, it may well be more of a challenge than Roma if they're allowed to grow. The Sweboz, under the command of AI, have something that means they don't have to watch their income like a player does. The resulting mixture is something like a mixture of locusts and fleas. When they build up, their tribal buildings give them a massive pool of soldiers to recruit. They can put out a ridiculous number of stacks and overwhelm any faction on the strategic map, as the weaknesses of the Sweboz faction are mitigated on autoresolved battles. A player that is working on a short timetable and prefers to spend most of their time on the strategic map rather than the battle map will want to nip the Sweboz in the bud before they can reach that point.

    However, the Sweboz roster is so much weaker than a Keltoi one that this can arguably work to your advantage. They are even more poorly equipped than the Keltoi are, with even their elite units often lacking helmets. Similarly they don't have cavalry as heavy as the Eporeda Donnoi, and thankfully since they prefer to establish their factional governments rather than go for allied governments, they won't be getting access anytime soon. One of my most memorable battles was when I wiped out over 4 full stacks worth of Sweboz warriors in a single battle, all with a relatively modest stack that had about 3 units of Eporeda Donnoi including bodyguard units. The Sweboz had only two or three units of cavalry.

    They do have something that can throw a Boioi player for a loop. The Halithoz, their bodyguard and elite unit is an elite infantry unit that will never retreat in any circumstance. As far as elite infantry go their killing power is actually rather mediocre, Hellenistic elite infantry would likely wipe the floor with them, but they can prove to be an annoyance. As the Halithoz will never flee, that means Sweboz generals will never flee as well. In order to strike a Sweboz army with a FM or Halithoz commander with commander morale penalties, you'll have to kill the general. If the general is of high caliber, which is quite possible, then killing him will be very annoying as the morale bonuses he provides may turn the battle into a slugfest regardless of your tactics. On a less obvious note, Halithoz also have the potential to do an annoying amount of damage to your Eporeda Donnoi. I generally deal with Halithoz by marking them out and sending my elite units to grind them down. Some units I designate as "elite breakers" like Rompaianai or Basternai Draugai are ideal for this purpose.


    Speaking of which, thanks to their colonization, the Boioi have an affinity for European regionals that most factions will probably lack. Unfortunately 3.5 has reduced the presence of Boioi colonies in Eastern Europe and Galatia, but the lands of the Belgae still offer a sizable harvest of fierce warriors. The Boioi might be the only playable faction that can access the Belgae swordsmen. Asanka, which is close to the Boioi capital Streuinta, offers access to Basternai Draugai. The lands near the Skordiskoi offer access to the Delmato-Pannonian cavalry, the Mandonai. They may not be as mighty as the Eporeda Donnoi, but they have usually impressed me when it comes time for steel to clash.


    Campaign: With the possible exception of the very late game, the hardest part of any Boioi playthrough is the beginning. Though you are better off than any of your fellow European "Barbarian" factions economically, you are still one of the more underdeveloped factions, at least you have a road between your two starting regions. At this point, you are surrounded by enemies in every direction. Around 4 stacks of enemies that can raid your territory, besiege undergarrisoned settlements, and reinforce any settlements you besiege. Then throw in the potential rogues that can pop up in your existing territories, and there's plenty of blood to shed before your faction can begin to prosper. On my first go with the Boioi my first target was the southwards Tauriskoi of Noreia, but on subsequent playthroughs I find that the easterly region of Asanka is an easier target. Noreia may be closer, but Asanka is the lowest tier of settlement so you can immediately assault it. The weaker garrison and near equal income makes it worth the detour. It also does not have a floating stack of enemies that can pincer your besieging forces (though under some strategies that is actually a benefit) or devastate the region once you've seized it. Asanka also provides a unique mix of Black Sea and Lugione units, while replenishing them is a pain, Basternai falxmen and Skythian archers are a worthy addition to your army. Though I believe the Basternai falxmen have been nerfed from their previous height of being as good as Rhompaianai, they are still effective at fighting armored elites and will come in handy against a variety of foes.


    The Boioi campaign is one of the very few campaigns where I make extensive use of Raiding, enough to get a few generals to "Legendary Raider" status. While it does make a good supplement to my unimpressive starting income, the main reason why I've raided more in the Boioi campaign than any other is the Pannonian plain. The vast plain of farmland relatively close to Streuinta provided excellent fodder for raiding, and once the floating stack was out of the way, it was fairly easy to systematically devastate the region and rake in thousands of mnai. That the Keltoi have a surplus in cheap light cavalry also helps. It also provided my forces something to do if I decided to put a hold on expansion to build infrastructure or replenish my forces.


    There are times when it seems like the AI, or the game, seems to have it out for me. And that the Roma faction seems to take Felsina earlier when you're playing as the Boioi than it does at...any other time, unless the Player decides to conquer Northern Italy first and foremost. Within the first hundred turns, you can expect to receive a call from your distant kin...and here we come to one of the biggest hurdles in the Boioi campaign, the Eternal City. Now, fortunately the Roman AI has yet reflect the absolute juggernaut they were historically, and choosing to ignore Felsina should be the last you see of Roma for a long time. But where's the fun in that? Still, the Romans will pose an impressive challenge and have decent resources for you to overcome. I'd recommend bringing at least a full stack, even if you don't need it to destroy Romani forces in the region. Through a mix of exploiting the terrain, clever tactics, and the power of the Eporeda Donnoi, I managed to reclaim Felsina as well as the lands of the Insubres and Veneti as well. Now, while it would have made perfect sense to further press my advantage and claim the much richer Italic cities, it would have taken time to reinforce the Italic front, and I don't believe conquering the Italian Socii along with keeping Felsina out of Roman hands was historically plausible. By Jupiter, keeping Felsina independent without creating some massive Confederation is stretching it by quite a bit.


    Though it isn't necessary to do so, Felsina and Northern Italy represents a vast amount of potential to Boioi players. Arguably, once a Boioi player stumbles upon the potential Felsina offers, it changes their entire playthrough. While it's likely they can experiment with Boioi colonies in other Keltoi lands, or the lands of the Sweboz and Lugiones, or Asanka, none of these offer the same potential a fully Colonized, Confederated, and Reformed Felsina do. The Keltic elite, nobles and retainers, are rare until the last, late reform of the Keltoi with a Confederated region bringing in 1 of each and 1 or two Eporeda Donnoi. With Felsina's initial colony, you can have 3 Boioi retainers. It is now much more plausible to rely on true heavy infantry as spearheads during assaults and as rivets holding your army together in the face of the well equipped Romani. Felsina is also an inherently richer province than your core provinces, and has access to the Mediterranean.

    Now, arguably I'm inflating Felsina's value based on the size of the stack they can recruit. The Keltoi retainers and Eporeda Donnoi recruitable elsewhere such as the lands of the Belgae (and Thraike pre 3.5) aren't bad at all. However Felsina can still do one thing that these places cannot, have characters serve as mercenaries for the Romani or Qarthadastim. This alone isn't a game changer, even if the extra Command and Influence is nice, but the kicker is that you can combine this with the Kingetos and Druidic (even the Geistlos) system in a way that saves time micromanaging and waging battles to create competent generals and administrators. Leaving aside the chance of failure squandering the character's usefulness, a Keltoi youth that goes abroad as a mercenary gets that experience counted towards his Kingetos training. Any character that completes a mercenary journey automatically becomes a Kingetos, even if they fail. At this point they should have at least a decade, maybe up to 15 years to reach Epas. If they are ethnic Boioi, then they will also be eligible for Boioi training, allowing you to craft offensive specialists without fighting a single battle. It is with this system that I am able to afford one of the (possibly ahistorical) hallmarks of my Keltoi playthroughs, an insistence for my ruling elite (Confederate Leaders and Faction Leaders) to excel in both Druit and Kingetos training.


    Once all my pieces are in place, armored and dedicated infantry from the colonies, Druits that can both instill Keltoi laws in distant lands and take to the field competently, Epas that are each the equal of Pyrrhos of Epeiros on the offensive and can administer to your settlements competently, and settlements encased in stone with paved roads running throughout; I had reached an unassailable height and no one could challenge me. Or so I thought. The Sweboz posed no challenge at this point, in fact enslaving them has added extensive funds to fuel recruitment and urban development. There was a point where I drove them to the Ukrainian Steppe, wherein they proceeded to create their tribal buildings in steppe lands, creating Sweboz armies supplemented by nomadic cavalry. That was the point where I lost my patience with the faction and channeled my vast resources to wipe them out. Yet while I was distracted with the Sweboz, I had failed to notice the Romani had enjoyed a vast surge of expansion. A storm was brewing that would give me one of the greatest struggles I'd have playing EBII.


    The Romani had achieved the Marian reforms, and have finally achieved the unstoppable status on the campaign map that they had historically. Each unit of milites had swollen to ridiculous size, around 200 for standard milites and evocatii. Their elite unit, the Prima Cohors, is even larger at 240 men. In the hands of the AI this is absolutely sadistic. They came to Felsina, a full stack of these cohors. Intrigued, I had accepted a siege defense, thinking this would be tough but doable. I was somewhat perplexed they went straight to Felsina rather than assault the more weakly defended Medilanon, but when I saw the cohors in action, I saw why. Just about every advantage the Romani had in the Army section, got worse in a Marian army. They destroyed the Kingetoi Uisuparanon, Italian Kelt swordsmen, and Noric Swordsment I had posted at the walls and gates in the main assault. I had Arkoi and Polybian Romani milites posted in the city as well, and as expected they did better. What really surprised me was how well the retainers did. In previous versions I had tested them against hoplites and found them to be quite inferior despite their higher cost, but here they were able to give a decent fight against this new foe. Still, the deck was too heavily stacked against me. I had attempted to pincer the Romani assault from the rear with units of Eporeda Donnoi and Epades Dessis, yet the enemy was too numerous. In the end, I had lost Felsina and was staring down prospects of losing the lands of the Belgae and northern Italy, allowing the Romani to pincer the core of my Confederation. The resulting war would take up a lot of space and I've written plenty, but the saga holds a special place in my memory.
    Last edited by BailianSteel; July 28, 2020 at 02:15 PM.

  6. #66

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Nice detailed analysys, but white font is terrible given the fair background. I had to had your text "selected" to be able to read it without my eyes going sore.

    We will either find a way, or make one.


  7. #67

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Note: The Nabatu Second Reforms are buggy as of 2.35, but will be fixed in 2.35a. Play at the risk of never achieving Hellenization

    Early game difficulty: nigh impossible
    Mid game difficulty: very challenging
    Late game difficulty: challenging


    Army/unit:

    Nomadic:
    At the start of the game you only have light shock cavalry, horse archers, and missile and light infantry. This SEVERELY limits your ability to combat the combined arms Hellenistic armies unless you ditch the infantry and create pure nomadic hordes of Nabataean Noble Lancers, Nabataean Horse Archers, and Bedouin Camelry. From here you can approach your two types of enemies - Hellenistic and Rebel Nomads - in two different ways.
    Against Hellenistic armies, allocate some of your horse archers to create a "baiting line" with skirmish mode on and fire-at-will off. They will distract the Hellenistic main line while your Noble Lancers and Camelry go to work. Have your two aforementioned workhorses wipe out enemy cavalry. The goal is not to outright overpower them, but to use the shock of your Noble Lancers and the fear from your Camelry to route them. In doing so your lightly armored cavalry won't suffer too many casualties. Once the Hellenistic cavalry (along with the general) is out of the picture, turn your attention towards your horse archers and start using them to isolate small pockets of infantry and shoot them in the back. Once their victims are depleted both in numbers and stamina, have your Noble Lancers route them with a mighty charge.
    Against the Rebel Nomads, which consist of huge amounts of Noble Lancers and assorted missile cavalry along with a smattering of light infantry, you're basically fighting a clone of your own nomadic horde. Do NOT attempt to chase down their missile cavalry. Instead, have your own missile cavalry assume loose formation and fire-at-will and form a long skirmishing line on your right flank (the AI always overload all their missile cavalry on their left flank). Meanwhile your Noble Lancers must kill the enemy general ASAP. Reserve a few of your own missile cavalry to bait their Noble Lancers aways. Avoid their light infantry. Once their general is killed their light infantry, being of low quality, will route, leaving you with shock cavalry and missile cavalry while they only have missile cavalry. Now engage in a wild goose chase against their missile cavalry. Chase small pockets of their demoralized missile cavalry into the corners of the map - they will route on contact especially against your Camelry.
    If you want a challenge, go ahead and craft a traditional combined arms army, with your infantry populated by Arabian Shortswordsmen, Arabian Spearmen, Bedouin Axemen, and whatever mercenaries you can snatch from the Ptolemies and Seleucids (Jewish Spearmen, Thureophoroi, Machairaphoroi, Mercenary Hellenistic Phalangites). Beating the Ptolemies and Seleucids at their own game is difficult but if accomplished is smugly satisfying.

    Settled:
    Now you can build and use Native Colonies in the former Persian Empire provinces, providing you with much needed heavy infantry and cavalry. The heavy infantry hail from the Mesopotamia region in the form of Akkadian Elite Infantry, which are basically slightly less armored and skilled hoplites, while the heavy cavalry are available from the Native Colony in Damascus as Median Cavalry, which are basically much more armored Nabataean Noble Lancers. Don't forget the highly cost-efficient Jewish Spearmen from modern-day Palestine. You can now assemble a respectable traditional army.

    Hellenistic:
    Your Faction Leader watched a Greek comedy once and now considers himself a cultured Philhellene, unlocking a slew of Hellenistic troops. You can now recruit even heavier infantry and cavalry, especially since the Thorakitai Reforms have taken place. There's Hellenistic Late Heavy Lancers, which have beefy defensive stats, Hellenistic Late Medium Cavalry, which are your typical medium skirmisher cavalry but with uncannily high morale, Hellenistic Late Light Cavalry, which... are kinda underwhelming, Machairaphoroi and Thureophoroi, decent swordsmen and spearmen, Thorakitai, highly armoured spearmen, and finally Nabataean Royal Guard, which may just be the most powerful swordsmen unit in the game - with 28 total defense and an armor piercing axe, they can beat any infantry in the game. But wait, there's more. Once the Thorakitai Reforms occur you can recruit Hellenistic Cataphracts in a few select provinces, with a few being Edessa, Ekbatana, and that starting Seleucid region at the Persian Gulf coast. Along with Elephants from the elephant stables at Antiochea, you now have every tactical unit type in the game. Mix and match troops to your heart's content.


    Campaign:
    At the start of the campaign you own 1 nomadic camp, 1 medium army, and two scattered scouting forces. Not a very good outlook, but with smart moves and a few Heroic Victories, you can carve yourself a sustainable little kingdom. First, immediately merge your scouting forces and all the cavalry (including the family member) from Rekem into your medium army, recruit as much cavalry as you can in 1 turn, hire some Bedouin Camelry and Nabataean Horse Archer mercenaries, and have the resulting horde besiege Dedan. This will cause the roving stack nearby to attack you, which presents an opportunity to both wipe them out and take Dedan in 1 turn. You will have to fight a nail-biting battle, since the roving stack has more cavalry than you and the garrison stack has more infantry. Once you've taken Dedan have your spy scour the area Southwest of Dedan - there should be another roving stack there. Destroy it. Now, take your two highest-loyalty FMs, merge them, and have them raid a tile with Low Fertility or higher in the border between Dedan and the province Southeast of it. This will instantly provide an extra +800 in income, an absolutely essential boost. Next, once you've cleared your two provinces of rebels, move your stack North towards Bostra. There will be a LARGE stack of nothing but cavalry in the way, and you'll have to win a Heroic Victory against them. Once you've done so, besiege and starve-out Bostra. If you're a baller, besiege Bostra immediately to fight not only the garrison force but also the cavalry horde. Once you've taken Bostra, you've completed the early game. Disband as much cavalry as you're comfortable with and build up your economy. This includes only building positive-income buildings, converting Rekem to a Settlement, and building mines in Rekem and Dedan.
    Your next step depends on what your neighbors are up to. The Ptolemies and Seleucids are locked in a bitter struggle over Syria while the Sabaeans are consolidating their claims over south Arabia, and will creep North into your sphere of influence once they've taken the nomadic camp Southeast of Dedan. Your situation at this point is precarious. If the Seleucids are losing the Syrian Wars, have your main army intrude into the Syrian mercenary pool and recruit whatever troops you need (Thessalian Cavalry are prized for their general-killing abilities), and besiege and take Antiochea. If the Ptolemies are losing... also snipe Antiochea. You can't afford to allow the Seleucids to stabilize their claim over Syria and set their sights on your kingdom. If the two powers are in the balance, then take advantage of the opportunity to wipe out the Sabaeans. In this case, recruit a tiny fleet, put a full-stack army in it, and sail to that province at the southernmost tip of Arabia. From there conquer all 5 settlements as QUICKLY as possible.
    The Sabaean forces consist of nothing but light infantry and archer-spearmen. Your Noble Lancers will easily route the light infantry with a single charge, but the archer-spearmen are tougher. Concentrate all your horse archer fire on the Sabaean unroutable generals, even ordering a few Noble Lancer charges if necessary. Navigating your cavalry into position to do so should be easy - the Sabaeans can only recruit cavalry from the scarce Bedouin Camelry pool.
    In any case, you should eventually control all of Syria from Rekem in the South to Tadmur and Antiochea in the North. Continue building up your settlements. Now, for the Nabataean First Reforms. To have your Faction Leader acquire the Settled trait, impose a state religion on your empire. Smash all temples that aren't dedicated to Qos and build temples of Qos. Putting a FM in a settlement worshipping Qos will slowly steer them towards a settled lifestyle. Meanwhile, set all taxes to low in Bostra, Rekem, and Dedan, and build population growth buildings ASAP. The reforms will occur once your Faction Leader is Settled and Bostra, Rekem, and Dedan have Level 4 Farms.
    With better government options and troops now that the Nabataean First Reforms have taken place, center your campaign strategy around achieving the Nabataean Second Reforms. The most important component to it is acquiring 3 Hellenistic Poleis/Metropoleis. There are two settlements that fit that criteria at the start of the game that are within feasible range - Antiochea and Alexandria. The third settlement will boil down to luck. Either the AI builds a Hellenistic Poleis in Seleucia or Memphis, or they don't and you'll have no choice but to carve a path towards Pergamon or Sinope, the two other closest settlements starting with a Hellenistic Poleis or above. The longer you wait, the more likely the AI will have built that building. Or, you could have a spy monitor Seleucia and Memphis for signs of Hellenization. As for turning your Faction Leader into a Philhellene, first make sure he is Vigorous and Optimistic. He must also not be Xenophobic or Hates Greeks. If your Faction Leader fails to meet these criteria, find a suitable heir that does, and Epstein the Faction Leader. What, too harsh? Do you want the reforms or not? Anyways, once your Faction Leader is disposed towards Philhellene, simply leave him in a settlement that counts towards the Poleis requirement and ensure that public order is above or equal to 85% (yellow face or above). In a few turns he'll become Philhellene. Finally, build level 5 markets in at least 3 settlements. This requires a Large City.
    Assuming that you choose to conquer Memphis or Seleucia, you will have built yourself a sizeable empire from the Nile Delta in the West to the Persian Gulf in the East. Your army composition is strong and your position sound. From here you can do whatever the hell you want.

  8. #68

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Note: The Sabaean campaign is a turtler's dream. Play if you like periods of peaceful growth and slow expansion, with only 1 theatre of war at a time.

    Early game difficulty: challenging
    Mid game difficulty: challenging
    Late game difficulty: easy


    Army/unit:
    The Sabaean roster is one of a kind. Your core consists of archer-spearmen with way-above defense for their type. Unique units warrant unique tactics.

    Arabian (Early game):

    At the elite core of your army you have Sabaean Noble Infantry and Sabaean Royal Infantry. These appear to be archers at first glance, but closer examination reveals that they pack a secondary spear and a beefy 18 total defense. They are also completely different on a strategic level - Nobles have a massive area of recruitment post-reform, while Royals can only be recruited in Southern Arabia. As a result, unless you're a heavy roleplayer, you're better off ditching the Royals and only designating the Nobles as your elite guard. Imagine shipping your Royals back to Southern Arabia for retraining after each campaign. Not fun.

    For your mainstay you have the Arabian Tribal Lowlanders and Arabian Tribal Highlanders. The Lowlanders are pure archers with very similar stats to Cretan Archers, but a massive area of recruitment post-reform. The Highlanders are medium axemen, but due to their low mass rating cannot withstand a cavalry charge. Keep this in mind. These two units will comprise the bulk of your army. With decent stats and extreme strategic availability, they will not disappoint.

    There's also Bedouin Camelry available as mercenaries. They are also the only cavalry available early-game. Since you won't be facing much cavalry either, the Camelry's horse-scaring bonus is useless. Still, simply possessing enough cavalry to ride down routers is valuable enough.

    Finally, you have various levy troops. They aren't really worth recruiting unless you're a roleplayer. Sabaean Citizen Militia are useful for garrisoning due to their large numbers. Sabaean Communal Levies... not so much.

    Your early battle strategy against fellow South Arabians emulates Napoleon-era tactics: two sides of missile troops riddling each other with projectiles. Have your Nobles/Royals assume loose formation and in the first line. They have the highest army and can take a beating. Next, have your Lowlanders form the second line. Keep your valuable Bedouin Camelry at the flanks. Finally, have your Highlanders in reserve. They should only be expended in urban combat. Once the enemy is in range, have ALL of your missile troops turn their general into a pincushion. This should take approximately .1 seconds. With their general dead, the enemy's Nobles/Royals/Highlanders/Lowlanders will become significantly easier to rout. Now exchange fire with them only as long as it takes to get them Wavering or Steady ('_'). Once they're panicking, have all your infantry charge while simultaneously ordering your Camelry to strike the enemy from the flanks.

    Against North Arabians with their hordes of shock cavalry and horse archers, you'll need different tactics. Put all your Lowlanders on your right flank in loose formation and fire-at-will facing the AI's right flank of missile cavalry. Meanwhile on your left flank arrange your Nobles/Royals in tight formation. Have them absorb the Nabataean Noble Lancer's deadly charge while your small band of Camelry make calculated flank charges against the bogged-down lancers. In the meantime have any uncommitted archers target the enemy general. This kind of battle is much more of a slugfest than against Southern Arabians. Be prepared to suffer significant casualties.

    Nabataean (Option A for expansion):

    Conquering Nabataean lands provides you with much needed cavalry. You get even larger supplies of Bedouin Camelry, but the real kicker are the Nabataean Noble Lancers, and Nabataean Horse Archers. The lancers have a monstrous charge and morale aura, but are too lightly armored to waste on CQC. The horse archers have shorter range than the Camelry, but are much faster and have more ammo.

    These fine additions to your collection seem great, but they introduce conflicting tactical doctrines into your armies. The Noble Lancers are geared towards being the hammer in a traditional hammer-and-anvil approach to battle, but your Nobles/Royals, while decently bulky, lack the raw staying power to act as the anvil against Hellenistic armies. Meanwhile the horse archers represent the nomadic way of fighting. They need plenty of time shooting into the backs of their foes to be effective, time that your Nobles/Royals cannot buy. In the end, it's up to you to decide whether to integrate Nabataean troops into your army, but keep this caveat in mind.

    Egyptian (Option B for expansion):

    Should you expand into Ptolemaic lands starting from Ethiopia going North into Egypt, you'll encounter a much more diverse and comprehensive selection of units. First, in Ethiopia, you can recruit Ethiopian Axemen and Ethiopian Spearmen, as well as African Bush Elephants. The Ethiopians have surprisingly solid combat stats despite being unarmored, while the Elephants bring heavy shock tactics to the table. Going north into Egypt you'll be able to acquire the Machimoi class of troops. They all suck. The mercenary pool in Egypt, though, is full of Hellenistic wonder. Cretan Archers, Thessalian Cavalry, Mercenary Hellenistic Phalangites, Thureophoroi, Machairaphoroi, Thorakitai... they will augment your army in every way possible. You can even access the Libyan mercenary pool in the westernmost southern nile province, which sports the Libyan Late Spearmen. Capturing these Ptolemaic holdings is beneficial, but doing so is difficult, since you would be facing Hellenistic combined-arms armies with your archer-spearmen rabble.

    Your best bet is conquering the Ethiopian provinces before the Ptolemies do and either establish allied governments or wait for the reforms to establish factional governments so that you can recruit African Bush Elephants. In addition, recruiting a unit of Thessalian Cavalry will greatly improve your odds. Whatever the case, you must be the attacker in battles against the Ptolemies. The reason is that your arrows are your most valuable asset. Force the Ptolemies on the defensive, and you'll have plenty of time to slaughter their troops with your archers. However, should you be the one to assume the defense, you'll have little time to unleash your arrows.

    Whether you defend or attack, you should employ the following layout: Royals/Nobles in the front with Lowlanders in the second line. The Lowlanders should exclusively target the general while the Royals/Nobles either join in or target enemy missile troops. What cavalry you have should bait the more numerous cavalry around, or lure them into the waiting arms of your Highlanders. Remember, they have low mass, so they'll suffer disproportionately high casualties against cavalry. Make sure to support them!


    Campaign:

    The initial popup at the beginning of the campaign introduces you to the Southern Arabian system of mutual aid. Attack one settlement and a substantial army spawns near another one and besieges your starting capital. For this reason you should immediately recruit as many Sabaean Archers and Southern Arabian Lowlanders as possible in Mauryab. In your main army, hire a unit of Bedouin Camelry. Besiege the settlement to the southeast of Mauryab. An army may spawn and attack Mauryab, in which case use the classic town square bottleneck tactic to slaughter a numerically superior foe. Once the enemy army has breached your walls and start heading towards the town square, block them off with as few melee units as possible right in front of the town square. Have your missile troops scattered in the roads perpendicular to the main road leading into the town square, and rain hell upon the enemy. Once you've expended your arrows, the enemy general dead, and his remaining troops Exhausted, have your general and all the spare troops you can muster take the route around the main road and attack the enemy blob from behind. This always routs them within seconds, and your flankers will probably gain an experience chevron or two from massacring the fleeing survivors.

    After conquering the first province, move on to the one at the Southernmost tip of Arabia. There is a small roving stack patrolling it. If you're lucky, it'll be south of the province, allowing you a clear path to besiege it and fight a siege relief battle to take the city in one turn. Next, conquer the easternmost province. The nomad camp guarded by a massive cavalry stack should be last.

    Once you're secured Southern Arabia, build up your economy. Build mines in the nomad camp ASAP. For the reform, it is IMPERATIVE that you do not leave a FM governing Tadmur. He would increase the Eastern Tribal culture there, which must be below 30% for the reforms to trigger. Accelerate the decrease of Eastern Tribal by constructing an allied government in Tadmur, and build population growth buildings first. Once Tadmur has constructed level 3 walls and reached the 29% threshold (wait until 28% to be safe), and you own 6 provinces which requires you to conquer a settlement outside of Southern Arabia, demolish the allied government and install a factional Bondsmen of the King government. Place a family member in Tadmur and the reforms should trigger next turn. You can now build Royal Court in all Southern Arabian provinces, which increases your Sabaean Royal Infantry and Sabaean Noble Infantry recruitment pool.

    You must also garrison the nomadic camp Northwest of Mauryab with a full stack of Sabaean Archers and Sabaean Communal Levies to repel any Nabataean invasion attempts. Given that the nomadic camp is represented by a friggin castle in-game, and the Nabataean armies are lightly armored, you should be able to win Heroic Victory after Heroic Victory.

    Now you have 3 avenues for expansion: Egypt, Nabataea, and India. India is predominantly Urbanised Tribal culture, so holding a settlement there would generate massive unrest. Nabataea presents endless horders of horse archers and shock cavalry, which will grind your armies to a paste. This leaves Egypt as the most attractive option, with its rich provinces (Diopolis Megapolis can net you 5k a turn when properly developed) and diverse mercenaries. Conquer Ethiopia fast, achieve the reforms, acquire elephants and Thessalians, and you're good to go against the Ptolemies. Once you've conquered egypt up to Alexandria, your economy should be strong enough to support multiple armies, and you can take down the Nabataeans. Once you do so you can disband the garrison army in that nomadic province. Populate Alexandria and Memphis with Galatian Raiders and Cretan Archers (and whatever archers you can find), and you now have a single front: Syria. With the Ptolemies and Nabataeans out of the picture, only the hulking Seleucid beast lies in your path to victory.

  9. #69

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Taksashila


    Note: The Taksashila Military Reform may be bugged. Play at the risk of never acquiring Indian Lancers and decent quantities of Indo-Hellenic troops


    Early game difficulty: Easy
    Mid game difficult: Medium
    Late game difficulty: Challenging


    Army/unit:


    Indian:


    The Indian core units comprise of light swordsmen, medium macemen, missile troops, and shock chariots and elephants. The Indians may have been portrayed as naked maniacs by popular media such as Oliver Stone's Alexander, but Europa Barbarorum II puts some respect (and armor) on the Indians. As a result, the Indians have actual medium infantry in the form of Indian Macemen. They have the same armor and shield as pre-reform Gallic Swordsmen, and brandish a nasty armor-piercing mace, so expect decent results from them. The Indian Swordsmen... not so much.


    In terms of mobile troops the Indians are lacking in native cavalry - only Indian Light Cavalry are available at the beginning. Their offensive stats are surprisingly high, making them fine chargers, but their flimsy defense and morale makes them ill-suited for prolonged combat. However, it's in the shock cavalry where the Indians truly shine. Boasting widespread recruitment pools of Elephants (and later on Cataphract Elephants!) and Chariots (sadly unavailable after the military reforms), the Indians can win battle solely through generating fear.


    Once you've achieved the military reforms, you lose chariots but gain access to Indian Lancers. They're basically a slightly superior version of Saka Riders... but can be recruited in a huge area with factional governments. Use them for their strategic availability, hate them for their poor tactical performance.


    Indo-Hellenic:


    Once you've conquered that province directly west of Taksashila, you can install a factional government there and gain access to Indo-Hellenic Hoplites and Indp-Hellenic Medium Infantry. The former is even more heavily armored than Classical Hoplites, while the latter is utter dogshit, with their horribly low mass allowing cavalry to plow right throw them. They are plentiful though - you only need either a factional government in a few select provinces, or level 1 Yahvanah Guilds in Indo-Hellenic provinces to recruit loads of them.


    Achieve the military reforms and you can build higher levels of Yahvanah guilds, which net you a larger supply of Indo-Hellenic Hoplites and Indo-Hellenic Cavalry, which are a slightly superior version of Indian Lancers, but with a javelin sidearm instead of a sword.


    IIRC, Yahvanah Guilds can be established in any Hellenic province, making these Indo-Hellenic troops not only high-quality, but also high-availability. They should be the mainstay of your armies, since they can be retrained anywhere in Alexander's former empire.


    Sakan:


    If you want some of the best cavalry in 272BC, conquer Alexandria-Eschate, Homarvargaru Aku, or Chach. There you can hire Sakan Nobles, which have a monstrous 8(!) missile attack, a nasty armor-piercing axe, and the third highest total defense for a cavalry unit at 17. You can get 2 per city once you've established a Viceroyalty government. There's also Saka Horse Archers if you're happy with just having mobile missiles, and the aforementioned Sakan Riders, which carry the ignominious distinction of being the only melee cavalry unit with Unreliable. Also worthy of mention are the Sakan Archers, which have a missile attack of 7, and Sakan Axemen, which are decent light infantry.


    With a core of Indians supported by Indo-Hellenic heavies and Sakan cavalry, your army can assume any tactical battleplan, be it traditional or nomadic.


    Campaign:


    Pre-Independence:


    Get rid of the elephants. You can win the early battles without them. Besiege the settlement east of Taksashila and fight the siege relief battle. Next, aim for the settlement a little ways South of Taksashila. By then you will have 3 settlements and your Mauryan masters are growing a little annoyed by your burgeoning influence. You can now either build up your economy despite the annual tribute, or immediately round out your army and challenge the Mauryans for independence. Do NOT take those two coastal Indian settlements or the Indo-Hellenic one west of Taksashila... yet.


    Independence:


    Once you've either refused the annual tribute twice or own 4 or more settlements, the Mauryan Empire will begin sending punitive expeditions against you. Move your main army back to the area between Takshashila and the settlement to the east. The first punitive expedition will be a half stack that you can easily crush. The second will consist of two full stacks and will arrive a few turns after you defeat the first. Once you've defeated all three stacks, the Mauryans will recognize Taksashila as an independent nation. You will then be able to build Mauryan Urban Governments in core Indian provinces, which unlocks the mighty Cataphract Elephants! Also there's the Semi-Autonomous Viceroyalty, which provides decent numbers of native troops. Remember the double Sakan Nobles? Yeah, you want that.


    As a sidequest, garrison the Indian province in the middle of India and the western coastal one with a full stack of Indian Levy Spearmen and Indian Longbowmen each. The Seleucids may make attempts on these provinces.


    Military Reform:


    Your next goal should be to gather battlefield data in order for the Indians to reform their military. What better data than to observe heavy cavalry in action? You will need to witness at least 5 battles with barded cavalry, and fight 5 LARGE battles against the Saka. Or you could wipe them out entirely. Booth would still count. Begin by initiating war with the Baktrians and begin fighting their armies. Make sure their armies contain Baktrian Medium Cavalry - despite having "Medium" in their name their horses sport heavy barding and count towards the barded requirement. While doing this you must also carefully pick which direction to attack first, which depends on how much the Baktrians have expanded. If they've expanded northeast into Hamaga-whatever Agu and Chach, wait near Oxiane for any lingering Baktrian armies to return south and defeat them. By then the Baktrian settlements northeast would no longer be a concern for the time being. Proceed west and take the immensely rich province of Baktria. In my campaign it produced over 10,000 mnai per turn! Once Baktria is yours, the Baktrians would be crippled and start turtling in their remaining province. Garrison Baktria and leave Alexandriea-Eschate free for the time being - it blocks the mountain pass into your two northeastern settlements and spawns terriying numbers of Sakan Cataphracts and Sakan Nobles which keep the Sakans, Parthians, and Baktrians at bay. Take this opportunity to secure your northeastern flank by conquering those two settlements. They also hold the strategic importance of being recruitment centers for prized Sakan units.


    With your holdings safe for the time being, complete your data archives by observing the Sakans doing Sakan things. There is a long mountain pass between Alexandria-Eschate and Sakansthane. Have your faction leader lead a stack, as well as a smaller stack for reinforcements, against the Sakans. Depending on how much you enjoy being shot up by Sakan horse archers, you can either completely destroy them as quickly as possible, or defeat-release-defeat their armies to reach the required 5 large battles. Once you've collected enough data your Indian data scientists will realize that fielding cavalry with an armor rating above 1 would greatly improve their effectiveness.


    Late Game:


    By then only the Parthians and Seleucids remain a threat. Using your vast finances bribe the Seleucids into accepting a temporary alliance. This buys just enough time to eliminate the Parthians. Once you've stabilized Parthia as well as acquired the sturdy Dahae Horse Archers, initiate Operation Barbarossa and start eating into the Seleucid beast. Remember to use Indo-Hellenic troops as much as possible.

  10. #70

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    The difficulty of playing Pontos is entirely proportional to the amount of watch towers you build around your settlements to redirect marauding Gallatian and Capadocian stacks. With enough you may even prevent them from sieging your settlements altogether, and who knows, may even be able to play a full game without having to move to Western Anatolia ASAP.

  11. #71

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Great guides @Shoebopp. Maybe you could do one for the Aravaci for when the 2.35A drops?

    Had to leave my current game on hold because I felt them a bit "unfinished".

  12. #72

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Sure thing. The Arevaci were a pretty fun faction with their herds and toxic masculinity mechanics. As for their incompletion, roleplaying wise they're good enough. Their unit roster though will be overhauled in 2.35a. Check out the EBII Facebook page for previews

  13. #73

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jervaj View Post
    Nice detailed analysys, but white font is terrible given the fair background. I had to had your text "selected" to be able to read it without my eyes going sore.
    Oops. I'm using Dark Reader to reduce eye strain myself, it kept me from noticing my font was white.

  14. #74

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoebopp View Post
    Their unit roster though will be overhauled in 2.35a. Check out the EBII Facebook page for previews
    Already did, and they look awesome, as always.

    My caveat has more to do with their government buildings. IMHO, they are way convoluted compared with other factions, more streamlined and intuitive to use.

  15. #75

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Epeiros, but you destroy Rome in 20 turns. We've all played Epeiros conventionally by taking the Peloponnese then working our way north. Try instead to play to Pyrrhus's mercurial nature and have him swing his army back to Rome for round three.

    Early game difficulty: very challenging
    Mid game difficulty: medium
    Late game difficulty: easy


    Army/unit:

    By conquering all of Italy and establishing plenty of Supervised Native Administrations there, you can recruit gobs of Hastati and Leigof Safnolom with a few Principes from Rome to make up the bulk of your main line. Despite being superseded by the superior Polybian Hastati and Principes, and the more numerous Cohors Sociorum by 222 BC, these hardy Italic peoples will hold the line with their above average armor and shield and decent morale. However, the Italic cavalry is rather underwhelming. The Hippeis Tarentinoi, usually not available to the conventional Epirote player until much later, is good defensively but has shaky morale. The Equites Sabelli and Equites Romani are second rate skirmisher and medium cavalry, respectively. Don't expect them to compare to your glorious Hellenistic cavalry, but that's where the challenge and fun is!

    Of course, by forsaking Pyrrhus's Hellas invasion plan, you'll also be ditching most of the Hellenistic troops you've come to enjoy. Ambrakia starts with a Hellenic Poleis and Foreign Military Settlers, so it'll provide lots of Peltestai Makedones, Hypaspitai, and Molosson Agema, and by 257 BC Thureophoroi, Machairaphoroi, and Euzenoi. HOWEVER, this is all contingent on your preserving ownership of Ambrakia. With your attention focused on Italia the Makedonians or KH may swoop in and snatch Ambrakia, destroying your Dynastic Administration in the process. You can't rebuild it immediately after reconquering Ambrakia either - it requires the lvl 2 foreign military settlers building as well as a City, both of which are beyond your means in the early game. So either be prepared to only use Italic troops, or invest in lots of missile troops and cheap infantry to defend Ambrakia and retain the ability to train good Hellenistic troops.

    Don't forget the Illyrians! As a nation with close ties to these warlike peoples, Epeiros can recruit from Illyria Illyrioi Hoplitai and Illyrioi Thureophoroi, both of which are subpar. It's in the Illyrioi Hippeis and Illyrioi Peltestai, however, where the Illyrians shine: the former is an above-average defensively skirmisher cavalry unit while the latter is one of the heaviest skirmisher infantry units in the game.

    Finally, should you decide to flex on your recently assimilated Roman subjects, conquer Cisalpine Gaul to access their juicy troops. By establishing Allied Governments to preserve public order, you can also obtain Kondamantes, Eporedoi Donnoi Erkunion (After between turns 60 and 88), Ekupeta, Fenetes Enogenneis, Cladivetai, Lancetai, and even Qala'im Balearim! Be warned though that the Cisalpine Gauls are not a submissive people: keeping that region under control is difficult even with Allied Governments in place. Should you pursue the ultimate administrative challenge, try installing factional governments and hellenize those unwashed barbarians.


    Campaign:

    Release those elephants into the wild to terrify the natives. Build a Trireme in Ambrakia. Merge your Peloponnese strike force into one army under Pyrrhus and have him standby on the northwestern tip of Achaea. Have your general in Tarantum recruit all the infantry available, including the Leigof. Also, recruit a Hastati. In Pella, disband all the troops but one unit and smash and loot everything of value. Order the general in Pella to escape to Ambrakia. He is currently playing host to a Physician who is well versed in the arts of necromancy. You'll need that. A rebel army will attack him en-route. This is where fortune comes into play. Auto-resolve and claim your defeat for the best chances of keeping him alive.

    Next turn a scripted Roman army will besiege Tarantum. Sail your fleet to rescue Pyrrhus and sail him towards Tarantum. You might attempt to position your fleet in such a way so that Pyrrhus can repel the Roman invasion on this turn, but it's not possible. That's what those mercenaries are for. They will allow you to win a Heroic Victory when the Romans assault the city. Assuming that the general in Pella made it to Ambrakia, move the Physician to Pyrrhus ASAP while all of this is going on. Have your Diplomat in Carthago sue to peace in exchange for 2500 mnai. You might be able to squeeze more money out of those greedy Carthaginians.

    Now you are poised to blitz Rome. Chip away at their empire in this order: Luceria, Capua, Roma, Arretium, and Ariminium. Now, I know that Pyrrhus was (for the most part) a nice guy. However, you MUST Enslave each Roman settlement that you conquer. They are too populous and rowdy, and apparently their Greek-inspired culture clashes too heavily with your Greek culture. Pyrrhus will have probably acquired a thousand-yard stare by the end of the Italic conquests, decreasing his hitpoints by yet another point. Combined with Given to Ill Health, he'll have 3 less hitpoints than average. This guy gonna die soon. Whenever you feel like it have his son Ptolemaios take over the army.

    In the meantime, depending on whether you want to keep Ambrakia or not, invest in its defenses. Train as many troops as you can there, even delaying building infrastructure in Italy to do so.

    Once you've secured Italia and accomplished in 5 years what Pyrrhus historically couldn't in also 5 years, you will have secured a strong position. Your next step should be securing a source of settlers. Not only would that allow you to accumulate enough colonists to reestablish a Dynastic Administration in Ambrakia should you be forced to retake it, but also you can start Hellenizing the Romans using Hellenistic Poleis and Foreign Military Settler buildings. Syracuse with its Hellenistic Metropoleis is the most feasible option, but it will cause you to intrude upon the Carthaginian sphere of influence. Conquer it anyways, and garrison it with as many Haploi Hoplitai, Hoplitai, Sphendonatai, and Toxotai as possible.

    Assuming you still own Ambrakia at this point, grow it to a City level, build Markets, and finally build a second Hellenistic Metropolis there. You now have a gargantuan supply of troops from Italia, Hellenistic elites from Ambrakia, a nice supply of colonists, and a sound economic and strategic position. You can either finish what Pyrrhus has started and wipe out the Makedonians and "liberate" Hellas, or do the impossible and destroy the Carthaginians. "What a wrestling ground we are leaving, my friends, for the Carthaginians and the Romans". More like grave.

  16. #76

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Absolutely appalled. I don't know what's more baffling, that you had to do a migration campaign with a faction that isn't Pontos, or that you willingly did so despite the option to not. But hey, as non-conventional as it is, at least Epiros is built to take more advantage of Italy than the usual, so it was bound to eventually happen that some mad lad would actually change the order of their campaign.

    I would just like to add, though, that all the Illyrian roster is quite useful. Their hoplites are quite well armored and competent for assault infantry (not as good as Italics, but sure beats Thureophoroi), and their Phalangites are... well, Phalangites. With good armor and large shields to boot, beating other non-hellenics for all I know, except for the shorter pikes. But they still work, they will still push back your enemies, are are sorta ludicrously common, with good recruitment pools AND mercenary pools. When you can make an army of them so easily, I'd SERIOUSLY recommend probbing the unit a bit more until you find an use for them. A inspiring unit would be strongly recommended for the backline, though.
    Last edited by RodriguesSting; May 26, 2020 at 08:38 PM.

  17. #77

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by RodriguesSting View Post
    Absolutely appalled. I don't know what's more baffling, that you had to do a migration campaign with a faction that isn't Pontos, or that you willingly did so despite the option to not. But hey, as non-conventional as it is, at least Epiros is built to take more advantage of Italy than the usual, so it was bound to eventually happen that some mad lad would actually change the order of their campaign.
    Pontos migration campaign? Now I'm curious. Could you do a faction difficulty rating for migration Pontos? I would imagine that it's on a level above nigh-impossible - we can call it literally-and-metaphorically-impossible . Seriously though, Pontos starts with a very weak army that can barely conquer the eastern Black Sea settlements, let alone the nomad armies of the north, or hellenistic powerhouses of the west and south. Where would the player migrate to?

  18. #78

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    out of interest do your troop options in italy change with the polybian reforms and if so are you preventing this by blitzing rome early? Would it be worth leaving them in the north to get the polybian reform?

  19. #79

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoebopp View Post
    Pontos migration campaign? Now I'm curious. Could you do a faction difficulty rating for migration Pontos? I would imagine that it's on a level above nigh-impossible - we can call it literally-and-metaphorically-impossible . Seriously though, Pontos starts with a very weak army that can barely conquer the eastern Black Sea settlements, let alone the nomad armies of the north, or hellenistic powerhouses of the west and south. Where would the player migrate to?

    I really don't want to tell how it goes, because I don't want to mess with your expectations and I am VERY interested to see how you will rate them, if you do. But I will tell you what to do.

    You are migrating to *Western* Anatolia.

    If you congregate all your forces and generals at the start of the game in a stack, there will be only one unit left. Leave it to garrison your capital. Optionally, you can also build few watch-towers around the settlement, I recommend at least 3.

    Pick your stack and move it through Galatia into Seleucid territory, making your way roughly towards Sardis. If Ptolemai took it, as you are already at war with them, just take it for yourself. Otherwise, move to Ephesus. Your goal, at the start, is to seize all Pto holdings in Anatolia. That is at the very least three settlements (Ephesus, Helikarnassos, and Side), possibly Side (if they captured it, unlikely if you double timed your march westwards) and Tarsus (if it rebelled). Every settlement you take, you must enslave the populace, otherwise holding it will be impossible due to bad cultural compatibility.

    You must be quick, because it is only a matter of time until the roving doomstacks move from either Sinope or Armenia into your sole settlement (your capital) and siege it. Usually that takes between 3 and 5 seasons to happen, so there's a chance you can get Mithridartes out (least you built the watchtowers, then it is guaranteed you can) by moving him south to Seleukid territory (put your spy on him to reduce the odds of him deserting), and then congregating with your main army. By that point, you probably already at least took Ephesus, and made it your new capital, but early on, every general bodyguard unit helps in the battlefield. The stacks will probably have already sieged your capital out (they don't like assaulting for some reason), so destroying all the buildings inside for extra cash is an option (but not necessary, you *WILL* have to take it back, and furthermore, with the watchtowers, you may just never lose it).

    After taking taking the Pto settlements, you can either expand into the Seleukid holdings, or Pergamon. The Seleukids have a full stack in Western Anatolia, and Pergamon got their capital there, thus, garrison script. I find Pergamon an easier prey, because after the initial attack I can just wipe them out, while the Seleukids will make for a prolonged war, so I'd rather buy their alliance (8000 to 9000 minai, works for every faction, more or less guarantees a non-aggression pact) and buy their holdings later, or try to make them rebel with spies and assassins. Alternatively you can just turtle, disband the leftovers of your tribal army, buy alliances with both, and build an early economy and fleet to take on Greece, but I recommend foccusing on Anatolia.

    After that, your campaign should resume normally. That all should be done, roughly, by turn 25.

    Give it a try.

    Edit: Standard settings. Hard Campaign, Normal Battle.
    Last edited by RodriguesSting; May 27, 2020 at 08:34 AM.

  20. #80

    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Italian polities clashing heavily with the Greek polities culture is fine. It kinda represents that those people wanted freedom instead of merely exchanging a Latin overlord to a Hellenic one.

    But I'm playing Apeiros trying to be as nice as was Pyrrhus so andrapodismos's not an option. This choice slows everything down.


    One way or another, the early game is blitzing. You either blitz Antigonids and KH or you blitz Rome. Whilst Pyrrhus is still alive. Or you die early.
    Last edited by Satapatiš; May 27, 2020 at 09:26 AM.
    Furthermore, I believe that Rome must be destroyed.


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