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Thread: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

  1. #81

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

    I asked in the Technical Support subforum and QuintusSertorius answered that in the campaign script, there's an ultimate fallback section that triggers the Polybian reforms no matter what by turn 254. It uses the Rebel turn FYI. If you don't want to wait that long, trigger a reemergent faction revolt in one of Rome's starting regions and wait at least one turn for the turn 200 AI trigger to activate. Then of course quash the reemerging Romans.

  2. #82

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

    Oh my god, I've peen posting white text for a while now.

  3. #83

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

    Note: I know Pergamon has been done to death, but I want to argue that their campaign is among the easiest in the game. Like, Qart-Hadast levels of easy.


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


    Army/unit:


    Hellenistic: The hellenistic core of Pergamon contains the usual: Machairaphoroi and Thureophoroi mid game, and Thorakitai late game. However, thanks to their geographic location, Pergamon can field two interesting and powerful elite Hellenistic units: West Anatolian Elite Infantry, and Hellenistic Champions. The former is available not just in west Anatolia, but also around the Black Sea, and have high attack power but deceptively low defense (their shield is only 4). The latter is an OBSCENELY powerful heavy infantry unit with heavy army and defense skill and a NASTY 10-attack armor-piercing sword (most ap units have an attack of only 7 or 8!). They even carry a hoplon shield, so they have much more defense than the West Anatolian Elite Infantry. Recruit the West Anatolians in droves, but not the Champions; sadly they won't be available after the Thorakitai Reforms. As for cavalry, the native Lydian Lancers excel at what they do: smashing enemy lines from behind. With decent combat stats and a morbid charge bonus of 21, they'll do the job right and only have to once. They're also available in all the southwestern Anatolian provinces, so expend them however your please.


    Pergamon also has access to Hellenistic Elite Cavalry - the Hetairoi. With a nasty charge bonus and high combat stats, they can rout enemy cavalry and smash into heavy infantry in the same battle, then come back home in time for dinner. The guide claims they're available after Pergamene Kingship, but they appear after 1 turn in-game. Nothing to complain about, moving on.


    Also worthy of mention are the Cretan Archers and Cretan Infantry available in Halicarnassos and Rhodes once you've built the 2nd level of hellenistic colonization. They'll swell your missile and assault infantry numbers greatly. Not too sure about the Cretain Infantry though - their shield is a measly 4. They still routed a unit of Classical Hoplites on the ramparts in my Epeiros campaign - take that FWIW.


    Galatian


    The Galatians looked at the Thureos shield and wondered "What if we made it... larger? Naawww, that can't possibly increase our effectiveness... or can it?" All the Galatian infantry units carry a large thureos shield with a shield value of 6. That means the Galatian Raiders, Galatian Retainers, and Galatian Colonists are much hardier than their exposed dingleberries suggest. Not only that, but ALL the Galatian regionals, including the Galatian Noble Cavalry, get an armor upgrade after the Thorakitai Reforms, with the noble cavalry and retainers benefiting from ANOTHER armor upgrade after the Celtic Twilight reforms. Sadly the armor upgrades end up covering the Galatians' exposed genitals... but you should still recruit them in large quantities - Pergamon (the city) can recruit 1 retainer, 1 noble cavalry, and 2 colonists after achieving Kingship. Think of them like investments that pay in back in armor instead of interest.


    Thracian


    In terms of availability and battlefield effectiveness, Thracian Colonists are the best in the game. Boasting high defenses and an armor upgrade post-Thorakitai, as well as an armor piercing sword, and available from level 2 hellenistic colonies in quite a few provinces across Alexander's former empire, they should comprise the bulk of your main line. Thracian Slingers are nice, too. Recruitable from Nikiaia, their dark blue tunics complement the Thracian Colonists white and blue color scheme quite well.


    Anatolian


    The Anatolian regionals are your standard levy trash. Sadly the infamous Cappodacian Lancers are not in the game yet, so you'll have to overlook the majority of Anatolian regionals. Still, a few ethnic groups are worthy of your attention. The Karian Warriors are seemingly mediocre swordsmen, but have 200 men in a unit as opposed to most medium infantry's 160. They'll do a fine job absorbing the weight of the enemy assault, and last longer than other units in long campaigns. Another warlike minority are the Isaurion Highlanders, an elite archer unit that rivals the Cretans. Sadly they're only available from a low-level government in Side. You'll have to choose between fielding these beauties and properly developing Side.


    Mercenary


    Pergamon's core area is situated between two bountiful mercenary pools - the Aegean and the Anatolian ones. In Pergamon itself and a few other Greek city-states in Anatolia, you can recruit the fabled Thessalian Cavalry, which are almost as strong as your Hellenistic Elite Cavalry. Also available are large supplies of Cretan Archers and Infantry, as well as Thracian Fast Horsemen and Thracian Peltasts. As an aside, Thracian Peltasts are overrated. Despite their high combat stats, their "hidden" mass attribute is very low. As a result, cavalry will literally bulldoze them, while proper heavy infantry will gain an unnoticeable but substantial advantage against them. This applies to all heavy skirmishers such as Umbro-Picenian Warriors and Illyrian Peltasts. Anyways, in the Anatolian pool, you'll find more of the crappy Anatolian regionals, but among the garbage are even more Cretan Archers, Thracian Peltasts, and Thracian Cavalry. Be sure to take advantage of these valuable sell-swords before your enemies do!


    Campaign:


    Early game:


    Your initial situation seemingly looks about on-par with that of other factions - one settlement, a decent half-stack, and enemies all around you. However, your position is much better than it seems: your rival - I mean ally the Seleucids are content to camping their full stack near Ipsos while the Ptolemies neglect their footholds in Halicarnassus and Ephesus. Meanwhile the Makedonians waste their time throwing stack after stack against Byzantion, and the other Balkan Hellenistic factions are too busy murderizing each other.


    The popular consensus is to avoid war with other factions and instead take Nikaia and then Sinope. This is shooting yourself in the face with a shotgun - those provinces are piss-poor initially and also immediately opens you up to war with Pontos. Instead, poke the sleeping bears that are the Seleucids and Ptolemaics.


    Immediately swing your main army back and defeat the rebel forces near Pergamon, then hire all the good mercenaries. I recommend Thessalian Cavalry, Cretain Infantry, Cretan Archers, and Thracian Peltasts at the very least, followed by whatever other troops you fancy. Next few turns take the two Ptolemaic settlements ASAP. That means no starving-out the defenders - assault them ASAP. Next, take Sardis, but not before formally breaking the alliance with the Seleucids with your diplomat. This will lessen the blow to your reputation. Once you've taken Sardis, you'll be making a chunky profit per turn, enough to support a larger army and modest building options. Try recruiting the Thracian Colonists and Lydian Lancers to bolster your forces for the showdown at Ipsus, where the Seleucid stack is moping around.


    Once you've conquered Ipsus, your claims to Anatolia should be solidified in all but name.


    Kingship:


    There are two avenues towards gaining complete legitamacy as Basileus: either wait for rebel stacks to spawn in Galatia and defeat them, then defeating a final invasion at Pergamon, or simply push the Seleucids out of Anatolia (including Tarsos) and wait until the Thureophoroi Reforms. The former is too difficult to accomplish, while the latter is simpler and fits within your overall plans nicely.


    In many scenaiors the Ptolemies will have taken Tarsos from the Seleucids by the Thureophoroi Reforms, saving you the hassle of controlling that troublesome province yourself. If not, then right after the Thureophoroi Reforms occur send in a punitive expedition to conquer Tarsos, hold it until the Kingship Reform activates, then sack it and move back into your territory. Congratulations, you're the Basileus of Anatolia and everyone hates you!


    From now the game becomes waaaaay too easy. Sardis, Pergamon, and Nikaia are situated on immensely rich mines while the Aegean Sea offers lucrative trade routes. Your economy can easily support 2 stacks - one for defense and one for "liberating" foreign nations. You can expand along the conventional routes, or roleplay as a maritime imperialistic power that cherrypicks rich or tactically important settlements from other nations.


    Anatolian Expansion:


    Pontos is severely crippled by endless rebel stacks from the hemorrhoid known as Galatia. Put them out of its misery. Their army composition is pathetic - waves upon waves of crap-tier Anatolians supported by the occasional Galatianised Spearmen or Hellenistic Native Phalanx. It's keeping their capital of Amaseia under control that's the challenge; fail to do so, and Pontos may reemerge in modern day Iran, making satisfying your victory conditions a PITA. Build an allied gov ASAP. Only when you've built up public order there should you plan long-term and build up hellenistic colonization and poleis.


    Hellas Expansion:


    Want to break the game and acquire endless colony points? Campaign clockwise from Rhodos to Athens, acquiring at the very least 2 Hellenistic Metropoleis and also a boatload of sea trade income. You can station an army of cheap slingers and spearmen in Korinthos and Athens, and start enjoying never having to worry about colony points ever again. In fact, conquer the entirety of Hellas. Every single city-state there can build a Hellenistic Metropoleis at the start of the game provided that they are upgraded to a City and have a Market. Soon you'll be drowning in colony points and start queueing and dequeueing hellenistic colony buildings just for and giggles.


    Sidequests:


    Ephesos begins the game with enough Hellenistic Polities to build a Hellenistic Metropoleis. Prepare to upgrade it ASAP by building a Market and grooming for it to hit City-level.


    Colony Expansion:


    Want a challenge? Owing to its central location, Pergamon can expand through sea to novel areas, like Chernossos, or Histrie, or Alexandria, or even Syracuse. Each of these potential overseas colonies offer something valuable to your empire: Chernossos can train Bosporan Archers, Elite Skirmishers, and Horse-Archers, Scythian Nobles, and Sarmatian Retinue, Histrie offers Thracian and Skythian troops, Alexandria provides yet another Hellenistic Metropoleis and advanced infrastructure as well as a level 2 settler colony for you to abuse, and Syracuse offers a Hellenistic Metropoleis (surprise surprise) and a unique western Mediterranean mercenary pool. Check out the Iberian Medium Swordsmen available after around turn 140!


    Sure the Pergamon campaign is surprisingly easy but it has just enough versatility to introduce challenges however and whenever you want.

  4. #84

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

    Worth noting that Pergamon does not have Agema, but they do have Heitaroi cavalry, and get Galatian foot and mounted Retainers later on, on their BPs. Furthermore I say Lydian Lancers are pretty important for any Hellenistic faction because you will suffer of a constant shortage of good medium cavalry, being left with Hippeis and Xystophoroi for the most part. These guys are crazy armored and very good men overall. So I'd say while your top elite tier suffers a little compared to other successors, you make up for it on the pre-elite and top professionals.

  5. #85

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

    Eh, no harm in posting your own experiences here. Especially since EBII is a work in progress. Once Epeiros' Basilike Patris is removed, it'll seriously change the balance of the faction. Depending on what you have to do to get it, it might shift Epeiros from the easiest of the Hellas Triskeliion to the hardest.

    Also gave that Pyrrhos Does Roma plan a try. You *can* get Pyrrhos to Italy in time to rescue Taras, if you're willing to lose a few men cutting through an Aitolian stack to move up the coast. Jury's out on whether it's worth it, I tried it because you should never litter your elephants. They died being put out of their misery after going berserk...just as nature intended.

  6. #86

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

    I don't know if it's really fun to blitz the Rome early. Won't be much of an epic bloodbath if everyone's fighting mostly with basics. It makes for better screenshots to have at least 3 Agema Phalangitai clashing with large maniples.
    Furthermore, I believe that Rome must be destroyed.


  7. #87

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

    There's fun to be had, though it's more like a race against the debt to make sure the Romans can't just take you apart once you've exhausted yourself.

    I do ultimately prefer that building up an Epeirote dominion over Hellas, Illyria, and Sikilia. Then throwing all those people, with Pyrrhos, his Agema, and even siege engines at the Romani. Ending the campaign with a second, and final Sack of Roma.

  8. #88
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Turning Latium into a protectorate is more fun.

  9. #89

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

    Version 3.5


    SENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS (H/H), 650 Turns


    Ask many fans of Roman history who Roma's greatest enemy was, and many replies would be "itself." Here, that holds true. On the battlefield, with fresh Legiones, there are very few things you need to fear. Most of the challenge of the faction comes from the Strategic Map, and the task of expanding the Imperium Romanum. Despite being one of the easiest factions in the game, Roma has a fairly complex campaign system with elections, factional governments with poor recruitment outside of Italia, and reforms dependent on military battles and civic development. The lack of recruitment from factional governments is by far the greatest obstacle, and it is a very interesting one that forces strategic and logistical thinking in a way few campaigns would. Nonetheless, the worst losses a player will suffer is the loss of expeditionary forces and outer provinces. It is possible to lose Italia to invasion, but frankly that should only happen to someone who has no idea what they are doing. As a Grizzled Total War player I have only this to say: Veni, Vidi, Vici.


    Early Game Difficulty (Camillian\10 Regions): Easy

    Mid Game Difficulty (Polybian\20+ Regions): Challenging

    Late Game Difficulty (Marian Reforms\50 Regions): Trivial


    Army/Units: To the surprise of none, the armies at the disposal of the SPQR are some of the finest in the game, if not the finest. On a tactical basis, their greatest failing is that they are not perfect at everything, and to someone who understands EBII it does not take much effort to correct that. Your heavy infantry are naturally among the finest in the game, true to history your cavalry are also competent, and even your skirmishers are better at melee than several of their counterparts. However, there is a recurring theme of your units having high competence across the board but not being the elite of the elite. Milites can at least break even with most armored heavy infantry, and given the higher armor and shields will break most of an enemy line without an upset. However, not even the Pedites Extraordinarii are equal on an individual basis to the Agema or the Keltoi elite such as Arkoi and Rompaianai. The Equites Romani best most skirmisher cavalry and with the right government and colony options come in equal numbers, but will need numbers and tactics to beat the Eporeda Donnoi. One aspect in which SPQR is indisputably weak is the long range game. From Italia itself the only unit you can recruit that can shoot beyond javelin range is the Scorpio (and maybe a handful of slingers and toxotai.)

    In this particular playthrough, Hellas was unified quickly under Epeiros and naturally gathered a formidable army. When war broke out, I sought a triumph and saw their Basileus leading the bulk of his Agema in Illyria. I sent my Nobilis (having been appointed Consvl) to bring him back to Roma, dead or alive. I had brought an equal amount of soldiers, thinking it would an easy victory thanks to their only cavalry being their FMs. I had underestimated the Epeirotes. While the cavalry battle went better than I expected, the Equites Romani trounced their Molosson Agema, I had overlooked the effects of a high concentration of Agema troops. Despite the loss of their general, the high concentration of elites kept the bulk of their army in decent spirits. The ensuing battle was a grueling mulcher that had several maniples put to flight, my cavalry were devastated despite being able to charge the enemy's rear several times. It's clear that I had just barely scraped by, though I was a bit careless in allowing their elite infantry to carry out some flanking maneuvers of their own. If I was working with most other armies, that misstep likely would have forced me to concede Illyria.


    That having been said, the armies of the SPQR do have a genuine drawback...their expense. Despite being less powerful than a lochos of Hypaspistai, a maniple of Principes is just as expensive. Considering that you'll likely need a fleet to efficiently transit your forces and FMs from Italia, as well as wrest the seas from great naval powers such as the Diadochi and Qarthadastim, even Italia's formidable income will suffer under the military expenditures you will need. Combine this with the less than stellar management skills of Romani FMs and the difficulty in spreading Romani culture, and keeping yourself out of the red as you expand is one of the challenges of an SPQR campaign.

    As you cannot recruit Roman units outside of Italia, you can expect to mix your forces with local Socii and mercenaries. These can be used to turn around what few shortcomings exist in the Legiones. Eporeda Donnoi, Arkoi, and Gaisatoi can be recruited from Northern Italy and can fulfill auxiliary roles in your armies. As you progress through your reforms, you will begin to run out of skirmishing cavalry in Italia, so the Socii can be tuned to deliver on that front as well.

    (It's important to note here that you can drag the portraits of units to another unit of the same type to merge them. This will help prevent a player from getting their Legiones bloated with understrength units.)

    While playing as the Romans, I experimented a fair bit with what I shall call "deep formations." This is essentially just the historical Duplex or Triplex Acies. It is a testament to just how easy the Romani campaign is when I can literally march a well formed Quincunx into an enemy formation, and win without doing anything more often than not. The multiple lines are often enough to ensure the AI's flanking attacks aren't fatal. When spaced properly, the second line will engage in melee and prevent your first line from being ground down after volleying their pila. The third line, or the furthest flanks of your second are the ones that you should command to guard your flanks or deliver the finishing blow.

    The Romani also excel in sieges. With the qualities of their heavy infantry, and emphasis on swords, you'll find milites are far more useful than many other styles of infantry. When defending, their Pila can be a great boon when they come across deadly but lightly armored units like Peltastai Makedones or Rompaianai. You can kill dozens of men from such a unit from a few volleys. This campaign likely holds my greatest record for Heroic Victories gained from siege defenses.

    Another minor failing of the Romans is that their preference for swords also means that the milites do not cut down cavalry as easily as Thorakitai or Hoplitai might. You may face surprising losses from cavalry charges, especially if they're allowed to hammer & anvil or wheel & charge. However, as they are still heavily armored and disciplined soldiers, you can expect any cavalry that cannot withdraw to suffer heavy losses of their own.

    Once the Marian Reforms are locked in...well, you can guess what happens. Every advantage the Romans have, gets better. Cohors aren't even much more expensive than Principe Maniples. You might want to try and manipulate one of the factions into mass producing Agema or Arkoi just so you can have a semblance of challenge in the late game.




    Campaign: If you're looking for a challenge, then the Campaign is where it's at, though you can come across a few scenarios where even Roma's top tier roster can be put to the test. This playthrough is different from many others in that I tried to follow the historical pattern of Roman expansion, as long as I don't lose a war for it. I also spent much less screen time on this campaign on a per-turn basis, and opted for long sieges and battles where I just let my deep formations do the work. Chances are a player seeking what is optimally mechanical will seize the Qarthadastim core and expand into Hellas as soon as possible. There are also no, or relatively light penalties to commanding armies without Imperium, I have even had a few FMs be acclaimed Imperators despite their illegal command. A more unscrupulous player may not care about Imperium and proceed as usual, which would speed up their campaign from the lack of micromanagement or need to swap out FMs.


    Now, the greatest limitation in the Romani campaign by far is the inability to recruit with factional governments outside of Italia...until the Marian reforms, which are several hundred turns away at a minimum. As a result, a Romani player will have to choose between inefficient income, or a city that cannot provide any military support. This is also not to mention that you cannot recruit Italian units outside of Italy until the Marian reforms, so keeping your Maniples properly staffed is another burden on your strategy and decision making process. The existence of Provincia and Imperium also alters the style of your gameplay. You have to play much more strategically, as unlike other powers, the Roman factional government recruitment is vastly more limited. You need to think ahead when expanding and defending, set up a defensive network with effective garrisons, and in troublesome areas establish a Provincia with a governor and a response army. In areas where you expect little conflict it may be more prudent to establish a Civitas Libera so one of your FMs can gain governing experience. Creating proper Alliances are also a great way to secure a front and relieve yourself of the most urgent need of keeping a front manned.

    And governing experience will become important in the long run. Unless you wish to wait an extra hundred turns or so to complete the Marian Reforms, you will need to build five Huge Cities, and bring their agriculture to the highest (and most oppressive) level. While you can reliably get settlements to the level of Cities without much outstanding development, creating a Huge City is another matter entirely. You will need vast sums of money to build the infrastructure required, upgrading the agriculture, renovating the walls, and you will likely need to build food import buildings. Even further investment to keep the settlement under control as the cities become more unwieldy. In this case, swapping ancillaries (or retinue) that reduce famine and increases food production are necessary. This is done by looking at an FM's character portrait, left clicking and dragging on the portrait of the desired ancillary, and letting the button go on top of the portrait of the FM you want to give the ancillary to. This can only be done in FMs in the same army or city. You will also have to undertake actions that encourage traits that reduce famine. Education will provide the Philosopher and Builder traits, and low taxes will provide Benevolent Ruler traits.


    Whether or not unrest will be problem in Romani administration...can be a disturbingly random. Whether or not a Romani FM enjoys the games can provide up to +/- 3 Unrest. I've had times where much of the Imperium was unhappy, forcing me to increase garrisons with mercenaries or Socii. In a pinch I did have to placate the unrest by holding extensive games, thanks to the relatively...swift nature of this playthough, this often put my income in the negatives.


    Despite the lack of difficulty in many aspects, one can say that the Romani campaign is worth playing, especially for new players. With the strengths of the Romani army, battles are easy enough yet there is plenty of room to hone your skills and overcome true challenges. The player is also rewarded with a system of Triumphs and epithets. This campaign is one of the most complex, with an extensive election system and system of legal military command which emphasizes how important FM management can be. Reforms bring in new styles and new units keeps that can keep a campaign fresh, and there are features that ease campaign micromanagement such as Roman Ampitheatre. The Provincia system is also unique in encouraging strategic thinking by forcing a player to set up an efficient defensive scheme, though frankly there's no gameplay reason to upgrade beyond Military Occupation if you aren't going for an Allied Government or Provincia. The inability to recruit outside of Italia also encourages thinking about logistics, how much military effort you can sustain in a certain theater, and how quickly you can get reinforcements there. Though as a Roman you play with many blessings, it is only when you exercise the mos maiorum can you be acclaimed Imperator, and claim your Triumph.
    Last edited by BailianSteel; July 28, 2020 at 03:19 PM. Reason: Grammar, word choice, etc.

  10. #90

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

    Great insights! I just want to add that historically Rome during the Polybian military era relied on a substantial number of mercenaries. In-game this can be implemented by recruiting gobs of high quality mercenaries outside of Italia. Even better is the fact that mercenaries can be retrained in the M2TW engine unlike that of RTW. They are logistically equivalent to factional troops. As a result you could for example recreate the Roman army that fought against the Seleucids at Magnesia by hiring Thureopherontes Hippeis, Thureophoroi, and Thorakitai as your Aetolian allies when operating in Hellas/Asia Minor. You don't have to rely solely on Italian troops, although you could of course challenge yourself by keeping your army composition as "pure" as possible.

  11. #91

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

    One of the greatest assets Gauls have are the gigantic mercenary pools of high quality troops with great refilling. Sadly for the Gauls, everyone can tap onto these pools. So do that and build full banner Gaul mercenary armies to complement your legions.

  12. #92

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

    Makedonia

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


    Army/unit:

    The Makedonians wield the typical combined-arms Hellenistic-style army: above average infantry, above average light infantry, above average missile infantry, above average heavy cavalry, and above average light cavalry. We are all familiar with the Thureophoroi and Hetairoi and the likes. Some special quirks about the Makedonian roster to note:

    The Makedonians retain the Hypaspitai post-Thorakitai reforms. This is great because you can deploy Hypaspitai as much as you want, having them rack up experience without having to make the heartbreaking decision of disbanding them at the reforms. By mid-late game you may have gold-experience Hypaspitai ready to chew up anything in their path.

    In addition, the Makedonian player is encouraged to expand north both for historical and gameplay reasons. As a result he/she will be able to recruit a diverse set of Thracian, Galatian, and Getai troops. Of note are the Rompaianai which, on top of boasting THE highest infantry attack in the game at 15, have the ap attribute. The Peltenai, an overrated but nonetheless still serviceable, are available in droves should you establish level 1 Foreign Military Garrisons all over Thracia. They are powerful skirmishers but still skirmishers at heart - use them to surprisingly good effect against infantry from the rear, but NEVER against cavalry. Galathraikes are stated to be highly sought-after, but their stats are weaker than that of the humble Bataroi... maybe they are sought-after as meatshields? Who knows. There's also the mighty Zibutai, which are THE most powerful jav cav in the game. Further north you can access the Tarabostes from a Closely Allied Oligarchy. They are THE beefiest non-cataphract cavalry in the game, becoming even fatter with their Thorakitai Reform armor upgrade. Or, should you establish a Closely Allied Democracy, you can train Komatai Epilektoi, which have the same sky-high attack power as Peltestai Makedones, but much lower defense. The Komatai available from either allied governments are fine, too, being more or less effective as Euzenoi in battlefield effectiveness.

    As strong as the Makedonian core roster is, and as specialized as its northern auxiliaries are, it's the Makedonian mercenary pools which really spice up its army. First is the Hellas/Ionian mercenary pool. Situated on a hotbed of international wars, these mercenaries include plentiful (2 units at max) Thessalikoi Hippeis, bountiful Kretikoi Toxotai, and more. Of course you're familiar with this mercenary pool. The Thracian and Bosphoran pools, though, are much more interesting. In Thracia, Epokorion, which are strong but timid cavalry, and Bataroi, which are decent sword infantry, are available. There's another unit of Skaplinai in addition to the one in Hellas/Ionia in case you desire even more of these slinger-axemen. Finally, should you feel like indulging in something exotic, there are Getikoi Hippotoxotai and Skuda Asparata available as horse archers, although their slow-and-grind style of warfare might be incompatible with the fast-and-decisive Hellenistic method. Even further north you will encounter cavalry that may rival even your Makedonian finest. Maragatae are strong medium cavalry while Roxolani Lancers are a more defensive Xystophoroi that remain even after the Thorakitai Reforms. Even more Skuda Asparata are available, and should you build a level 3 foreign military garrison in Histrie, you can access the mighty Skuda Azdata, the westernmost cataphract unit in the game.

    Sure, all these mercenaries would end up barbarianizing your precious Hellenistic armies. Don't let bigotry overshadow their versatility - just imagine a Hellenistic core of phalanx and heavy cavalry supported by Skythian horse archers and Skythian cataphracts, with elite Thracian light peltasts and cavalry and a special assault task force of Thracian falxmen and Galatian swordsmen. Outrageous.

    Campaign:

    Makedonia is in a ruinous state at the beginning of the campaign, as the starting popup (narrated by one of the saltiest characters in the game. Seriously, his tone is insufferable, he brownnoses you till he can't breath, and he calls Pyrrhus a bastard like 4 times) indicates. You've recently lost your ancestral capital of Pella to Pyrrhus and his Galatian garrison has damaged the mines and plundered the royal tombs. You only control Demetrius and Korinthos. You are surrounded by enemies.

    Yet, your army remains strong. Antigonus One-Eyed leads a near-full stack of high-quality troops ready to take Pella. Demetrius and Korinthos house strong garrisons.

    Immediately besiege Pella while hiring ALL the missile troops (Kretikoi Toxotai, Skaplinai, and Skuda Drubata as mercenaries, and Sphendonatai from your city) in Korinthos. Use your fleet to rescue that "flashy" general from Attike and deposit him in Demetrias, then disband the entire fleet. Conquer Pella, and leave a garrison there strong enough to defend against the scripted raids. Oh, the raids. They come from 3 sources: Dardania, Thracia, and Byzantion. Each raid stack is only around 6 units and easy to defeat. They still bog down a sizable chunk of your forces though, and should you choose not to deal with them swiftly, they'll end up devastating Pella and may even besiege it! End the raids by capturing their respective source regions. Then Pella will be besieged by a Ptolemaic full stack. Yeah, the campaign script is that brutal. But you shouldn't attempt to go down this path yet.

    You need to achieve the Kingship reforms ASAP. This will unlock better government options, including the top level ones that will allow you to train Hetairoi as well as retrain your depleted Hypaspitai and Peltestai Makedones. First, swing your army south to deal with the upstart Hellas. Conquer Athens and Sparta. The Epirotes meanwhile may make the monumentally stupid move of trying to return to Ambrakia through Aetolia. In this case Sparta may still be owned by the Koinon and garrisoned by a skeleton force. Either way your battles to take those two cities will be decisive, but doing so will stabilize your economy. The next goal is to consolidate your forces for a showdown against Pyrrhus. Remember all those missile troops you grabbed and stored in Korinthos? You'll need them to assassinate either Pyrrhus or the elephants during that battle. Once Pyrrhus is dead, leave Aetolia and Dyrrachium free as buffer zones against the remainder of Epeiros. Build Gift Estates, Strategic Fortifications, level 2 ports, and a Coastal Patrols in Pella (try repairing the mines first though). Congratulations, you've rebuilt Makedonia and are now the rightful king!

    You now have an economy strong enough to field a full stack as well as garrison each city decently with free-upkeep Classical Hoplites and missile troops. You have two sources of colonists from Korinthos and Athenai, with another soon from Pella once you've built a level 3 market and a Hellenistic Metropolis. Your position is strong and sound, but enemies still loom in the distance. This whole time your garrison in Pella had to put up with constant raids. Unless you want to deal with having to fight dozens of meaningless battles against micro-stacks near Pella for the rest of the campaign, expand north and east to subdue the raiders. The moment you've subdued all 3 sources of raiders, recall your army to Pella, as the pretender king funded by the Ptolemaics just landed near the coast. Destroy his sorry ass, and your rulership will be unquestioned. You can now develop your northern Thraikian and Getai provinces to train those vaunted auxiliaries.

    Overall, the Makedonian campaign is quite turbulent at the beginning, especially for new players unaware of the brutal campaign script. Once you've conquered the entirety of the Balkans, though, the campaign becomes more relaxing and you can expand as you please. The victory conditions require conquering 40 regions and eliminating KH, Epeiros, Getai, Pergamon, Pontus, and the Ptolemaics. Will you recreate seize Anatolia from your Seleucid "allies?" Would you take on Rome and achieve what Pyrrhus couldn't? Or would you deal with those proxy war-funding Ptolemaics and yank the yellow weed out all the way to the Ethiopian roots?

  13. #93

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

    I only wish the AI-led Rome was better at, well, being Rome...


    All this time you've spent building and polishing your Iranic empire only to discover that by the 1st century BC the Republic still didn't made it to Macedon, let alone to Syria.
    Furthermore, I believe that Rome must be destroyed.


  14. #94

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Satapatiš View Post
    I only wish the AI-led Rome was better at, well, being Rome...


    All this time you've spent building and polishing your Iranic empire only to discover that by the 1st century BC the Republic still didn't made it to Macedon, let alone to Syria.
    You can blame the Cisalpine Boii, Ligurians, Insubres, and Venetia for that. Should they ward off even a single Roman attack on their capitals, they'll trigger a series of experience-bloating rematches that make them stronger and stronger until AI Roman armies can no longer defeat them save for an astronomically unlikely fluke. And when the Romans do conquer them, the insane unrest will cause rebellion and even civil revolt, beginning the cycle anew. Even if this quagmire is averted and Rome subdues and romanize Cisalpine Gaul, she'll end up expanding northwest and obsessing over conquering Gaul. The easternmost I've ever seen Rome expand is just them snatching up Dyrrhachium and then leaving behind a skeleton garrison. If you want to encourage the Romans to expand east, perhaps take a page out of RTR8's book and add a landbridge between Taras and Ambrakia? It's really strange to look at but it'll at least allow for an interesting Roman final boss if you're playing as an eastern faction.

  15. #95
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Has Antigonos Gonatas lost one eye in the meantime? Or is the EBII resurrecting a dead man?

  16. #96

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    Has Antigonos Gonatas lost one eye in the meantime? Or is the EBII resurrecting a dead man?
    My bad, I mixed up the two

  17. #97
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    This was a joke prompted by your detailed, high-quality entry in a very Europa Barbarorum tradition :-)

  18. #98

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoebopp View Post
    You can blame the Cisalpine Boii, Ligurians, Insubres, and Venetia for that. Should they ward off even a single Roman attack on their capitals, they'll trigger a series of experience-bloating rematches that make them stronger and stronger until AI Roman armies can no longer defeat them save for an astronomically unlikely fluke. And when the Romans do conquer them, the insane unrest will cause rebellion and even civil revolt, beginning the cycle anew. Even if this quagmire is averted and Rome subdues and romanize Cisalpine Gaul, she'll end up expanding northwest and obsessing over conquering Gaul. The easternmost I've ever seen Rome expand is just them snatching up Dyrrhachium and then leaving behind a skeleton garrison. If you want to encourage the Romans to expand east, perhaps take a page out of RTR8's book and add a landbridge between Taras and Ambrakia? It's really strange to look at but it'll at least allow for an interesting Roman final boss if you're playing as an eastern faction.
    Adding landbridges to Sicily and Greece probably is what I'll do on my next Parthian playthrough. Along with toning down a few independent cities around the Italy. Then maybe the Republic will stop being so obsessive about the Cisalpine.


    SPQR completely ignoring Apeirotan-held Rhegion and Qarthadastim-controlled Taras because they prefer the bloody murder on Insumbres was a bit much in my Epeiros campaign...
    Furthermore, I believe that Rome must be destroyed.


  19. #99

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    This was a joke prompted by your detailed, high-quality entry in a very Europa Barbarorum tradition :-)
    So that's where that trait comes from. Nice. BTW gotta finish that guide.

    Anyway, Galathraikes are quite handy for the non-Barbarian player because they are very cheap through the campaign and are pretty competent overall. While there's no need to go over their offensive stats (mediocre but existent javelins, competent melee attack, satisfactory charge), they got a pretty decent shield, and while their armor is mediocre (specially for non-barbarians), have in mind they still got 9 Defensive Skill. Armor is better than Defensive Skill overall, but on the start of an engagement, I believe both are roughly on par, so that 9 skill takes their 2 armor (and 5 shield) far. Have in mind though, as they get fatigued, Defensive Skill (and Attack) quickly start going down, and while Barbarian warriors tend to have decent stamina, specially with Experience, they will still eventually get tired and will start dying on droves, but until that happens, they will do some pain to the target even upfront. If you are really serious about massed charges and exploiting every gap with your cavalry, these defensive weaknesses will be hardly felt.

    Finally, I heard that Macedonians get some great range on their Laarchia government, basically everything Alexander conquered. So if you really want easy-to-set-up native governments that aren't Alliances, with LOTS of local troops, they will be your guys. I would have to check their files to make sure about that though.

  20. #100

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

    Quote Originally Posted by RodriguesSting View Post
    So that's where that trait comes from. Nice. BTW gotta finish that guide.

    Anyway, Galathraikes are quite handy for the non-Barbarian player because they are very cheap through the campaign and are pretty competent overall. While there's no need to go over their offensive stats (mediocre but existent javelins, competent melee attack, satisfactory charge), they got a pretty decent shield, and while their armor is mediocre (specially for non-barbarians), have in mind they still got 9 Defensive Skill. Armor is better than Defensive Skill overall, but on the start of an engagement, I believe both are roughly on par, so that 9 skill takes their 2 armor (and 5 shield) far. Have in mind though, as they get fatigued, Defensive Skill (and Attack) quickly start going down, and while Barbarian warriors tend to have decent stamina, specially with Experience, they will still eventually get tired and will start dying on droves, but until that happens, they will do some pain to the target even upfront. If you are really serious about massed charges and exploiting every gap with your cavalry, these defensive weaknesses will be hardly felt.

    Finally, I heard that Macedonians get some great range on their Laarchia government, basically everything Alexander conquered. So if you really want easy-to-set-up native governments that aren't Alliances, with LOTS of local troops, they will be your guys. I would have to check their files to make sure about that though.
    You made me realize how entitled I am regarding the quality of units I allow in my army. I consider any unit less powerful than Classical Hoplites to be trash. I guess I should loosen up a bit and start having fun with army compositions instead of always building the most overpowered armies of antiquity. Not sure how to incorporate the massive array of Thracian and Gallic troops into a Makedonian army though. There's only unit 20 slots

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