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Thread: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

  1. #101

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

    Koinon Hellenon

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

    Army/unit

    KH has only one unique unit: the Epilektoi Hoplitai... and that's all they need. Epilektoi Hoplitai as mentioned by other posters are FAR too available after you've fully completed the KH reforms and built the top level government everywhere. With TWO per settlement you can pump out enough to form entire battle lines of elites. Imagine having phalanxes of Hypaspistai at your disposal.

    You should also be aware of the Hoplitai Lakonikai which are available to any Hellenistic faction after the Spartan Agiad Reforms, a reform that the human KH player can trigger more easily. That unit is somehow even weaker than standard Hoplitai, with less armor and morale. "Upholders of ancient spartan military tradition" my butt. Still, they have a cool looking skin and are a rare treasure for the roleplayer.

    At the beginning of the campaign you have very little cavalry, so a traditional hammer-and-anvil tactic is much more difficult to accomplish. Adopt a Battle of Marathon tactical doctrine and have a spread out and bare-minimum center with stronger flanks comprised of the rest of your infantry and all your cavalry. Use the flank infantry to challenge the opposing cavalry while your Kretikoi Toxotai assassinate the enemy general. Meanwhile, your meagre cavalry should be able to launch carefully timed rear attacks. Your Classical Hoplites are very tough for "generic" infantry, and will grind down the opposition regardless of what happens.

    Campaign

    At the start of the campaign KH is in a state of disarray. Two fleets have desperately sailed to Alexandria and Pantikapaion in a plea for aid, but it fell on deaf ears. Move those failed emissaries back to friendly docks to be scuttled, save for one ship from the fleet at Alexandria. A huge party of KH nobles are scattered around Athens. Move them all as well as some Epilektoi Hoplitai to Sparta to help repel Pyrrhus. Your faction leader is in Crete with a small crack team of elite troops. Bolster their numbers with even more mercenaries, which MUST include some Thessalian Cavalry, and beseige Knossos.

    You must win the siege battle at Sparta whether it's against Pyrrhus and his royal army or one of his generals leading a mob of crap troops. In either case the surviving army would piss off towards Aetolia, leaving only the Makedonians as your foe. Once Crete has been pacified, use your lone fleet of Triremes from Alexandria to transport the FL and his elite squadron to Sparta. Congratulations, you now command a full stack of nothing but infantry and a bunch of Thessalians (and that weird FM with an Hippeis bodyguard). Conquer Korinthos to acquire your second Metropoleis, and after the devastation heals you should be making a small profit.

    As leader of the emergent fellowship of Greeks, you have two reforms to complete: the KH reforms, and the Agiad reforms. The pdf guide explains how to achieve the former much better than I can, while the latter is accomplished through builting level 4 farms in Sparta, which requires a City level of development. Things to note about the KH reform process: Don't try to snag Syracuse or challenge Pergamon for your 3rd Metropoleis - conquer the City-level Thermon or Pella instead and build a Market followed by a Metropoleis instead. Or wait for Sparta or Rhodes to develop. Also, when building the unique buildings for some of the steps, DO NOT dequeue them once queued. The script would break and you'd have to wait till turn 400 for the fallback to occur.

    With a fully reformed KH you can finally train that 1 General 19 Epilektoi Hoplitai stack you've been dreaming of. Put off finishing off Epeiros or Makedonia as QS suggests if you want a more formidable final boss. In that case, your avenues of expansion include Asia Minor and Sicily. The former is immensely rich and provides fantastic heavy infantry and cavalry, while the latter requires much more investment to maintain due to Carthaginian presence, but offers a diverse selection of western Mediterranean mercenaries.

    You should rectify your cavalry shortage by hiring Thessalikoi Hippeis and Raskumezenai before the other Hellas factions do, as well as hog all the Cretans you can for elite light infantry and missile infantry. This will result in a more well-balanced force than that homogenous monstrosity.

  2. #102

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

    I played QUITE a bit with KH, so I have a few things to add.

    On the order of appearance:

    Epilektoi Hoplitai are, indeed, ludicrously available elites. While a BP can get you 5 elite infantry though, you will, as mentioned, get at most 2 EH out of every top level government. However, unlike Successors, you are not restricted regarding where you build this top settlement, so potentially, every one of the 26(?) ish poleis on the map + whatever the successors build can become a potential source of these fine men. However, while comparable to Hypaspists, they are still slightly inferior. Strategically speaking, though, doesn't matter.

    Hoplitai Lakonikoi are mediocre, yes, but they stand between the light levy hoplites and the more armored generic hoplite, with decent numbers. A pool of 3 (+3 with a CAD) is something you would be wise to not ignore, specially with KH. Indeed, I noticed their recruitment is actually a bit weaker than other Hellenes, specially as I think they can't access Idiotike Ge. However, their native government can be set up ANYWHERE, so if you liked playing Epeiros just to put up a bunch of Local Colonies in Italy to rack up locals, know KH can do the same. Mostly.

    Your cavalry situation is not great, but it should be manageable. You can get a Hippeis out of any poleis, 3 make a decent hammer. If you start running out of them, you can use mercenaries, that are very useful. The pool of Thessalians seems to max out at 2 with a replenishment of 0.6 to 0.9, which is pretty decent. I am not sure how that translates in turns, but I can guarantee between your local Hippeis and the merc Thessalians, you won't really need to tap into anything else. Of course, you get plentful hippoakontistai, but I refuse to use them.

    My campaign is usually using my two fleets (I keep them) to organize my army, and let Sparta go. I find that Epeiros will often fight harshly for Corinth and lose some good men there, often keeping even Pyrrho with a small garrison. Easy picking, I just siege down every settlement after that. Just be careful to not rush Epeiros while they are still organized in a stack in the south -- let them take the lands and divide their forces -- and the Macedonians in the north -- let them move that doomstack somewhere else and do some conquering instead of wasting your forces.

    So, all said and done, considering that KH even got a recruitment disadvantage compared to the successors, how do they make up for it? Money. Poleis generate Trade Bonus, your governors have many traits that improve trade income and general governance, and after all the reforms, you unlock A BUNCH of offices that aren't even covered in the guide. Use that money to pick whatever non-hellenic settlement and pump it up into a recruitment camp to supplement your mediocre native recruitment.

  3. #103

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoebopp View Post
    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.
    Thanks. Good note on Rome's historical use of non-Italic soldiers.

    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.
    How about a Zeroth Reich? The Sweboz AI is pretty good at building a European empire...albeit something that would look nothing like Rome.

    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?
    I have had Gonatas lose an eye, and replace his moniker with Monophthalmos...

  4. #104

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

    In most of my games in between turns 200-250 rome ends up beeing quite powerfull and are big in western europe, although I agree it'd be nice if they where a bit more "mare nostrum" focused in terms of CAI. I would have loved for my Pontic and parthian empire to fight a strong Rome which is encroaching on Greece/anatolia while having strong presence in terms of military might and settlement presence in western medditeranea for them to focus on the east or the opposite would carthage be the winner of the duel.

  5. #105

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

    Rome is doing well, especially after hitting their reforms, but I even had them conquering Ireland and Scandinavia whilst KH still had Athens...

    Raging farmers and shopkeepers, and their Epilektoi Invasion, are a different issue, though.
    Last edited by Satapatiš; June 09, 2020 at 09:28 AM.
    Furthermore, I believe that Rome must be destroyed.


  6. #106

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

    Saka Rauka :

    Difficulty IMHO:
    Early: very challenging (hard and grindy full cav vs full cav) turn 0-(50 ;80)
    Middle: Challenging (can require multiple front warfare) turn 80-(150-200)
    Late: easy Turn 200 and onwards

    Introduction:

    The sakan campaign is usually considered to be one of the hardest campaigns out there. Indeed you are cornered in the top right section of the map, surrounded by full cavalry rebel stacks in the south and the west, as well as being relatively close to both Baktria (which boasts some very good cavalry) and two powerful nomadic factions (pahlava early and Sarmatia later once either them of you takes the Alan region). So in terms of campaign the difficulty « grading » is deserved however you will soon find out that you have some of the most powerful cavalry in the game and access to all type of it (light horse archer and medium horse archer as well as light medium and super heavy cavalry), in terms of infantry that depends on where you go after you unlock the first reform.

    Early campaign armies:

    • At least six tight formation horse archers
    • At least two light lancer for early battle raid on enemy light troops/ disorganised horse archers
    • Optionally 1-4 skirmisher cavalry for screening/generally taking losses form enemy horse archer or just harassing in front of infantry-based armies
    • 1 cataphracts in ONE of your 2 armies (just one as you can’t afford another early game)
    • Optionally a couple of elite/noble horse archer for their staying power
    • NO INFANTRY ever except if they are destined to join a town for garrison purpose : in campaign they will slow u down and given the movement buff your generals can have it’s a waste to have infantry in your armies (this comment also works in Sarmatian and pahlava campaign too



    How to handle such an army?


    • In front cavalry based factions : screen and occupy the attention of the enemy melee cavalry/elites with something while you attack the other part of his army in two steps (first group volley from HA to focus down and weaken them then charge with normal Horse archer and flank with whatever heavier cavalry that you have) it will be painful and you will take quite a bit of losses but you can’t do much more since you don’t have a mobility bonus
    • In front of infantry based option before we start keep in mind that horse archer if left on skirmish behaviour for some time will evolve over time into a long stretched low loss and even lower DMG formation in front of low movement units so try and micro them when possible even though it’s not a high priority this formation is vulnerable to high mobility cavalry charges too so beware it doesn’t need require intense micro to deal with just look into it from time to time
    • Now it’s a multiple step process:
      • cut off the legs (kill the enemy cavalry with HA or melee if you are far enough)
      • cut off the arms (kill the enemy range especially archers and slingers which can hurt you quite a bit,
      • chop the head (focus general if he is cavalry general otherwise see next step),
      • burn the fat off (finish the ammo of your units on the remaining troops which should be mostly melee infantry),
      • stretch the body, make sure that the infantry is not in a cohesive way by small charges from your light cavalry to disrupt cohesion and formation
      • pierce the body with a thousand lances (charge with light cavalry from front and flank and rear with medium/heavy/super heavy cavalry)



    For pure armies tactics, I usually keep the melee cav in reserve and leave my elite HA with my general in skirmish behaviour while I micro horse archers in a long column so that all of them shoot the enemy (picture a snake turning around rectangles) I found this to be extremely effective and can yield high damage versus enemy infantry and enemy lightly armoured cavalry since you will have short range high damage volley continuously it does require high micro (hence keeping melee cav in reserve and the rest in skirmish behaviour), this has the added bonus of allowing you take choose wherever you want to go and to keep map control as well as motivating small groups of enemy infantry to move out of formation to try catch you (it also works with javelin cavaly although I usually send them on skirmish tactics in front of the enemy in early harass to have more light melee cav soonish), keep the cataphracts in the back and use them if the enemy army is about to break as a whole or against isolated groups of troops (for cataphracts in full cav armies think of them as infantry in terms of movement speed and consider that if you want to use them for a long campaign without retraining they should charge twice or thrice in a battle although this is highly context dependant as they are extremely exposed once very tired/exhausted).


    Early game campaign: The problem with Saka early game I tend to find is cash. Indeed you will tend to find that your elite cav (royal horse archers and cataphracts) are quite costly to maintain and so I usually raid haomavarganu agu, chach shahr and tocharia, such raids often are enough for me to recruit another army; in the same manner you can migrate from rudhatarae early to get an extra stacks. With both armies I usually gather my forces and send one from Haomavarganu agu to attack Baktra from the north-east and another stack that attacks Samarkand in order to have a good pincer movement toward the capital of the Baktrians. Ignore oskobara (which you will take later and for which you don’t need a full stack) and send the two stacks towards Baktra once you have taken Samarkand, once you have the city either enslave or sack depending on the amount of troops you have left after the battle.
    From what I remember the battle for Baktra is quite challenging and by extension will yield high losses on your armies so do come prepared, once you have cut the head of the Yavana snake kill the body and take their settlements with small raiding armies.

    Middle point armies: I usually keep a similar army template as in early game with added median cav and east-Iranian cav and my horse archer are boosted with both alan troops as well as pahlavan HA. I avoid the dahae HA in my big stacks and usually just keep them around in small stacks for raiding purpose deep in enemy territory or to kill enemy small stacks as they are way less effective in both melee and quick range damage

    Infantry army for Indian campaign and harder terrain:

    • 5-6 units of good tight formation archer (I like east Iranian archer although pahlavan foot archers and sakan foot archers work two)
    • 6-7 Heavy infantry line holder (Iranian heavy infantry, Greek HI and the indo-hellenic troops further in the campaign)
    • 3-4 good medium cav (Baktrian cavalry as well as median cavalry work quite well IMHO)
    • a couple of generals to stay in garrison or to dispatch with indian mercenaries for tangent objectives for the Indian campaign efficient progress




    Army tactics: In this army defend the archer in India as such archers will be harder (I personally prefer them over their Indian variant) to find but you should be easily able to replenish such in army once your at the point in your campaign when you use such an army


    Middle point campaign: At that point you will have quite the revenue from the richest of the eastern satrapies and should be breaking even soon. Depending on how quickly you will have taken out the Baktrians you should have either been attacked by the Pahlava or be starting to eye their province to get to the first reform. At this point my advice is twofold, first take the northern Hindu Kush province and fortify it to withstand the impending Indian invasion (In most my game in the area as either the sakan or the pahlava they either go for Baktria or for the Iranian plateau if you strengthen the said province you might push them towards attacking the Seleucids first). This is the time to rush the pahlava, they have small amount of settlement (around 3 and even less if you cucked them from having Bukhara) and their military is not impressive compared to another nomadic army such as yours. In order to trigger the reform. I tend to leave my FL in Baktra to get good traits (even really good traits depending on the buildings that the Baktrians put there). Once Pahlava is taken care of I usually wait for the reform and brace myself for the upcoming rebellions. They tend to not stick around so long but just wait for them in order to have a good idea on which province you might lose to public order. Building the new government building in the core pahlavan territory should allow you to train/retrain your as well as the pahlavan best cavalry archers. By that point you be able to train irano-baktrian infantry base army to start campaigning in and around India. Leave FL or FH in Baktra (which should be your capital at this point except if you chose to push further into Iran). At this point you should aim for the second reform in order to do that take 8 settlement and leave your faction leader in Baktra if he isn’t settled anymore, if you don’t have enough authority and he is settled get him a full stack and start campaigning with him until he gets to 4+ authority (do note that the second reform doesn’t require specific regions so you can start leaving your lands in the east while maintaining at least 8 settlement and 4 Medium scale farming (4 large town iirc).

    Minding the big bear : the Seleucids are no big threat until around the turn 100 before attacking them check out if any of the eastern factions have been at war with them, if no one did then blitzkrieg them they most likely have little garrisons and little armies from Persia/media up until your common border otherwise they should have at least one or two mid-full stacks armies in either garrisons or armies so check it out. They can come with powerful stacks so be aware of them.

    Late game armies: depends on the AOR units of where you want to go/expend and which armies you felt comfortable with given that you soon have a large choice for recruitment.

    Late game campaign : At this point the world becomes your oyster and you can go where ever you want, I am reaching late campaign in my current campaign, I am at the moment migrating toward Egypt to get a presence there and fight the Mediterranean power I aim to maintain a strong faction government control over the levant and Egypt proper while letting the land between the two river up to the Baktrians lands to revolt and be hopeful taken by the potentially revolting pahlavan for them to create a strong Parthian empire (we’ll see) but you can settle strong government in India, Anatolia, even Europe if you are patient this depends on you, I love the Sakan roster and never really played in Egypt while I played in Iran to death with the Pahlavan hence my goal for Egypt roleplay wise I use a mixture of Yuezhi confederation push from the east and pahlavan pressure once they’ll start getting bigger as well as a getting pushed by Ashoka’s India out of India.

  7. #107

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

    Sauromatae

    Early game difficulty: challenging
    Medium game difficulty: challenging
    Late game difficulty: medium


    Army/unit:

    The Sauromatae, thanks to their geographic situation and extremely inclusive governments, can field the most diverse cavalry arm in the game. From Boii Noble Cavalry in Moisia to
    Sakan Cataphracts in multiple far-east provinces (more availability than the Sakans themselves!), these troops mean that you can live your roleplaying dream to the fullest.

    Sarmatian:

    The core Sarmatian troops, consisting of cavalry and infantry from the starting Sarmatian regions, are an excellent mix of medium horse archers and medium shock cavalry. Don't let their "medium" moniker fool you - these units excel at both grit-and-grind and decisive maneuvers. The medium horse archers consist of Aursan and Siraces Riders, which can actually beat most medium skirmisher cavalry in melee. The cream of the medium horse archer crop are the Sarmatian Noble Cavalry, which are the most disgusting unit in the game. 28 charge bonus, 10/15 stats, and command effect? Imagine Hetairoi with a recurve bow sidearm and an even nastier charge. There's also medium skirmisher cavalry in the Izwag Riders, though they become even less available after the Thureos Reform, and their short range javelins are somewhat incompatible with the nomadic style of warfare.

    Sarmatian Retinue and Roxolani Lancers make up the medium shock cavalry arm of Sarmatian armies. Sarmatian Retinue at first glance have the exact same stats as Boii/Gallic Noble Cavalry... but they lack shields and as a result are less hardy than they appear. They also have rather weak availability. Roxolani Lancers though hide no such faults: they are a sturdier Xystophoroi, but can only be recruited in the isolated Sarmatian starting capital. Tactically these two horsemen are useful in battle but strategically good luck finding logistically-feasible use for them after defeating the Bosphorans.

    In Skythiapolic, you can train Scythian Noble Cavalry and Scythian Horse Archers. While the latter is rather flimsy, the former is anything but. Boasting 8/18 combat stats, they can grind enemy bodyguards to a paste. Their weak charge though means you should only reserve them for general-slaying.

    Bosporan:

    Once the Sarmatians get the hang of governing settled cities, they can install Urban Land of the Sauromatae, which grant access to even more infantry troops. Pontic Hoplites are even stronger than Spartan Hoplites, while West Anatolian Elite Infantry make for powerful, if surprisingly vulnerable to missiles, assault infantry. Of course you cannot discount the Xystophoroi whose availability is situated on Crimean Peninsula, meaning that they can be efficiently shipped to Black Sea theaters of war, unlike a certain sturdier version of Xystophoroi...

    Wait until the Thorakitai Reforms and you can add Hellenic Late Heavy Lancers and Bosphoran Horse Archers to your fine collection. The lancers are a slightly weaker Boii/Gallic Noble Cavalry, but the horse archers, with their 12/12 combat stats, some of it owing to their shield value of 3, can actually fight Hetairoi to a standstill! Or riddle them with arrows a distance. Definitely worth the wait.

    Balkan:

    Once you've urbanized the northern Balkans, you can hire an amazing selection of both infantry and cavalry. Of note are the Tarabostes, a meaty heavy cavalry unit, Komatai Epilektoi, the barbarian equivalent of Peltastai Logades, and Boii Noble Cavalry, which somehow ended up in Moisia. The others are too numerous to list; check out EDB for the absolute buffet of troops you can train in the northern Balkans.

    Armenian:

    You should conquer the Causcaus for only reason only: access to Iranian Heavy Cavalry. Also, Caucasian Lancers post-Thorakitai Reforms. These two units can end battles by themselves with one thunderous charge. The hard part though is defeating the Armenians - they can train Armenian Cataphracts which blow even your cavalry out of the water. Succeed though and you can develop infrastructure in the Causcaus enough to act as a strong base of operations.

    Parthian:

    Okay, so the Armenians have cataphracts. Big deal, acquire your own by conquering Dahaean lands. You'll get Parthian Cataphracts and Dahae Horse Archers for your troubles. The cataphracts can be used against those of the Armenians while the latter are comparable to your own medium horse archers, but logistically closer to the frontlines.

    Sakan:

    Want to make the Sakans jealous? Conquer Alexandria-Eschate and the string of settlements northeast into the mountains, and you can train the entire panoply of Sakan troops where the Sakans themselves can't. That includes the Sakan cataphracts, whose unit cards literally look like mounted Robocops.


    Campaign:

    This may be the only campaign that gets harder the more you conquer. Taking the lands of one foe would just make you neighbors to two more. Regardless, you should destroy the Bosporans first to eliminate a dangerous foe and to stabilize your economy. From here you have massive freedom to expand wherever you like. The Getai are excellent targets - their skirmisher-basde army is EZ money for you nomadic hordes, and their capital is buffered by as many as two layers of rebel settlements from the nearest faction. You could also go west - there is a post called "Sauromatae to the West" or something like that and slaughter the infantry-based factions of Lugia and Sweboz for fun. Or, you could look south to Anatolia or the Causcaus for a challenge. Go east against the Parthians and Sakans to fight a mirror version of yourself. Your possibilities are endless, but with opportunities come enemies - just as you can intrude upon their lands, they can do so upon you, and hopefully not all at once! Choose wisely and decisively.

  8. #108

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

    Kimmeros Bosphoros


    Early game difficulty: very challenging
    Medium game difficulty: medium
    Late game difficulty: medium


    Army/unit:

    Hellenistic:

    Bosphoros, as a hellenistic faction, relies heavily on the Hellenistic Poleis and Hellenistic Colonization buildings for recruitment. It also lacks development in both at the start of the campaign. With only a Hellenistic Poleis in Pantikapaion and a Minor Hellenistic Poleis in Chersonesos (both with rather low Hellenistic Polities culture), you won't have much in the way of Hellenistic troops and colony points. Still, Bosphoros enjoys a few key advantages over other Hellenistic factions. First, it can recruit the frankly overpowered Thureophoerontes Hippotoxotai after the Thureos Reforms (!). This horse archer unit is strong enough to fight Hetairoi to a standstill, or massacre them from a distance. Bosphoros can also recruit Xystophoroi almost everywhere with more advanced factional governments. Right off the bat KB can field an army of deadly shock cavalry and all-purpose horse archers. But wait, after the Thorakitai Reforms, things get even better! KB will be able to recruit Thureopherontes Toxotai, which are THE beefiest archer unit in the game. It can also recruit Bosphoritai Logades from both Crimean settlements, up to 3 from each! The Logades in particular compete with the Natraya Malkay for the title of deadliest sword infantry unit in the game. While the Nabataean Royal Guards have that armor-piercing axe, the Bosphoran Elite Skirmishers have a nasty sword attack of 11 (the Nabataean elites need to face enemies with at least an armor value of 8 in order to match the Bosphorans!) and a disgusting javelin attack of 20. It pays off to wait until the Thorakitai Reforms as KB.

    Nomadic:

    The Crimean Greeks cohabit the peninsula with the Maoitians, who provide the ONLY skirmisher infantry in the game with heavy javelins. The cavalry they muster though is mediocre... moving on. Should you expand north or east you'll be able to recruit the Sarmatian units that I've previously detailed under the Sarmatian faction review. Skythiapolis, though, stands out for being able to provide 3 (yes, 3) units of Skuda Azdata as long as you keep the nomadic herds building and build a Subject Clan. This unit is an absolute tank with defenses close to matching that of cataphracts. Did I mention the 8 units of Skuda Asparata? You'll never run out of horse archers - feel free to throw your Scythian Riders at the Sarmatian Noble Cavalry killbots until they've reached their kill limits.


    Campaign:

    The EBII designed the Bosphoros campaign specifically to make it butt clenchingly hard. First off, your starting main army is poised to take Painardis, but following through with this attack plan is a recipe for disaster. Painardis is horribly underdeveloped, packed with unrest, and wiping out its garrison leaves it vulnerable to Sarmatian incursion from the east. You should instead spend a few agonizing turns marching your army west to take over Chersonesos. Before you do so, do make sure you recruit Spendonatai, Toxotai, and both units of nomadic archers. Use all those ranged troops to make taking Chersonesos a piece of cake - use the Pincushion-and-Anvil strategy to bloodlessly wipe out the defenders.

    As soon as you've taken over Chersonesos the inhabitants send messengers to the surrounding Scythian tribes requesting them to to ruin your day. You'll have to waste a few more turns hunting them all down. Make sure to locate the one hiding in the border between Chersonesos and Pantikapaion. Once you're finished though you can finally set your sights on the main prize: Scythiapolis. Even if the Sarmatians conquer it, you can still starve out the defenders to avoid fighting against nomads - cavalry in general have very little sway in auto-resolves. Upon conquering Scythiapolis, garrison it with hordes of Proto-Slav Spearmen and Scythian Foot Archers. Wait for the devastation to subside and congratulations, you've achieved Leukonide Stabilization for the second time!

    There is a ghost from the past though ready to haunt you. On turn 40, a large stack led by your cousin besieges Pantikapaion. For this reason you must not disband the remnants of your starting army. Only when you've destroyed all threats to your rule can you downsize your standing army and start building up. Convert Skythiapolis to a settlement, building mines there, and you're good to go.

    The Bosphoros mid-game is not as difficult as that of the Sarmatians who are beset by enemies from all sides. Your northern flank is secured by the Slavic garrison in Scythiapolis, your eastern flank by the defenders of Painardis (if the roving stack decides to join their garrisoned brethren, the settlement becomes impossible for the Sarmatians to conquer), and your southern flank by the Pontic sea. Go southwest and take over Getia and Thracia. They contain bountiful mines which will bloat your income, as well as serve as a launching pad for your invasion of Asia Minor. Why not Hellas? Well, Hellas is not considered part of the KB sphere of influence, so your government options there are limited. If you really need those colonization points, then do invade Hellas.

    Upon defeating Pergamon , you should rule the Western half of the Pontic sea. You now have scores of Hellenic settlements to raise superior troops, and booming sea trade. Continue working towards your campaign objectives, saving the Sarmatians for last. Trekking through their vast lands and fighting grind-y nomadic battles will be a fitting final boss.

  9. #109

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

    In the early game it's better to take Paniardis, destroy rebel army in the province and then move your army toward Skythiapolis, take it and secure the province. From my experience, before Sarmatian attack you still have at least five-six or even more turn to put garrison in Paniardis and Skythiapolis, which is quite easy with the Nomadic government. Then gather a big army, maybe hire some infantry clean up Crimea from the rebels and besiege Khersonesos. After you captured most of the North Pontic region you can develop Skythiapolis and Paniardis, have enormous income and prepare to expand the kingdom. I guess it's better to take few core Sarmatian provinces establish piece with them and then take Sinope and expend in Asia Minor.

  10. #110

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Paerisades View Post
    In the early game it's better to take Paniardis, destroy rebel army in the province and then move your army toward Skythiapolis, take it and secure the province. From my experience, before Sarmatian attack you still have at least five-six or even more turn to put garrison in Paniardis and Skythiapolis, which is quite easy with the Nomadic government. Then gather a big army, maybe hire some infantry clean up Crimea from the rebels and besiege Khersonesos. After you captured most of the North Pontic region you can develop Skythiapolis and Paniardis, have enormous income and prepare to expand the kingdom. I guess it's better to take few core Sarmatian provinces establish piece with them and then take Sinope and expend in Asia Minor.
    Well... who am I to disagree with an actual king of Bosphorus? You know best, Paerisades

  11. #111

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

    Hayastan

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


    Army/unit:

    Caucasus:

    Your two unique units, the Armenian Cataphract and the Armenian Royal Guard, are simply amazing. The former is a bulldozer that can wipe out half a unit of prepared hoplites with a charge, while the former is a combined Hypaspist-stopper and archer combo pack. They are available from several regions as well in the lower Caucasus after the Kingdom Reforms, too. Your core Armenian troops are rounded out by the Armenian spearmen, which are below Classical Hoplites in defense and general attack, but about equal in anti-cavalry ability.

    As Hayastan, you also have the added bonus of being able to recruit Aorsi Riders from Foreign Military Garrisons (Hellenistic factions cannot!). These horse archers can actually outfight the ubiquitous Iranian Medium Cavalry, or deliver a hail of arrows from a distance. Well worth the cost. There's also the Sarmatian Retinue, a capable medium cavalry unit.

    The upper Caucasus troops consist of North-Western Unpronouncable Caucasian Infantry (even more deadly than Thracian Colonists), Kartveli Warriors (low-mass swordsmen...) Colchis Spearmen (same as Classical Hoplites, except with discipline issues), and Chaldian Warriors (a phalanx highly vulnerable to missiles due to lack of shields). Despite packing so much diversity in a small geographic area, these units however suffer from severe logistical issues. Retraining them requires marching them deep into the Caucasus. No amount of paved roads or even highways can make this less of a hassle. They are logistically feasible though if you plan on campaigning in the Pontic Sea. In that case, shipping these troops by boat works fine.

    Anatolian:

    The Anatolian natives supply an entire panoply of light troops. Anatolian Spearmen (levy crap with 200 men per unit), Anatolian Tribesmen (better than levy skirmishers, but inferior to the likes of Thracian Peltasts), Anatolian Archers (they have long-range missiles, which is all that matters), Anatolian Light Cavalry (despite their terrible melee stats they do sport a ap axe...), and Anatolian Medium Cavalry (basically Iranian Medium Cavalry but with javelins and a less powerful charge). From all over Anatolia and the Caucasus though you can recruit Galatianised Spearmen, a crappy but logistically convenient spearmen unit. They won't be stopping the heavy horsemen of the East, but you can crank out dozens of units to replace losses. In Anatolia-only with the highest level of Foreign Military Garrisons you can recruit Galatianised Swordsmen. Historically these guys fed the ego of the Romans due to their Roman-like equipment. You can use them to alternatively bruise Roman egos by having these swordsmen in your frontlines.

    Iranian:

    Iranian Medium Cavalry might just be the most widely available unit in the entire game. Move over Euzonoi, IMC are recruitable from as far West as Anatolia to as East as India, and does NOT require colony points whether you choose to build factional governments or military garrisons. They have mediocre melee stats, but their charge and their speed make them a versatile addition to any far-campaigning army. Iranian Archer-Spearmen (both the West and East variants) have surprisingly poor melee stats... and an even more surprisingly deadly ability to kill family members by reflecting their charge. Seriously, I've lost multiple FMs by ordering them to charge Iranian Archer-Spearmen. Maybe you can do the same. Iranian Axemen are a light infantry unit. Due to the archer and cavalry-heavy nature of eastern warfare, these light infantry are pretty much useless. Too slow to skirmish, too weak to withstand cavalry charges and infantry engagements - don't use them. Iranian Javelin Cavalry round out the Iranian cast. Imagine Anatolian Light Cavalry but without shields. You now have reasonable expectations for IJC.

    There's also the Akkadian Elite Infantry. While they're slightly weaker than Classical Hoplites, they have a very high mass of 1.1 allowing them to take MUCH fewer casualties from a cataphract charge than say, Thureophoroi. They are also recruitable from almost everywhere in modern-day Iran and Iraq with foreign military garrisons. Last but not least are the Median Cavalry. These are similar to the Akkadians - extremely available and very useful thanks to their decent melee stats and punishing charge.

    Hellenistic:

    After achieving the Kingdom Reforms you can establish Philhellenic Satrapies which emulate the recruitment of Hellenistic Poleis. You might want to establish this form of government in Sinope, Edessa, and Antiochea, giving you access to Classical Hoplites, West Anatolian Elite Infantry, Cretan Archers, and all those Thureos troops. They will be your secondary source of heavy troops, after your precious Armenian Royal Guard and Akkadian Elite Infantry, of course

    Mercenary:

    If you want Northwestern Causcasian Infantry without the logistical nightmare, recruit the mercenary equivalent of them from the Caucasus outskirts.


    Campaign:

    EBI listed Hayastan's campaign as nigh-impossible, and rightfully so. In EBII, though, Hayastan's campaign is MUCH easier - at least initially. With their starting capital now blessed with EXTREMELY bountiful mines and a second starting settlement, Hayastan's economic situation vastly improves. Even better (or worse, a mixed blessing if you may) is the Seleucid Tribute script. Pay 3000 mnai every winter, and don't attack Seleucid allies, and you'll have your Southern and Eastern borders secured. Oh yeah, and your Northern borders? No longer threatened by the Sauromatae. The only way into the Caucasus is through the Caspian shores, which is guarded by a rebel garrison at Kabalaka. This leaves you a relaxed strategic situation to carve out a nice little kingdom.

    Begin by achieving the Kingdom Reforms. Conquer surrounding rebel regions (except for the Kartvelian one - the Seleucids maintain their independence). Beware though that two of the regions required for the Kingdom Reforms - Gazaka and the Egrisi region - have regularly spawning rebel armies. They might spawn armies that'll take back your skeleton-garrisoned settlements. In addition, Ani-Kmnah, while it doesn't involve the Troublesome Regions script, is situated right next to the hellzone that is Kappodacia, and may be re-conquered by one of its roving stacks. Finally, there is the problem of Pontos. You should wipe them out early and capture their capital of Amaseia and the neighboring Sinope for several reasons. First, Pontos is surrounded by extremely well-guarded rebel regions - taking their settlements won't expose you to hostile non-Seleucid factions. Second, Amaseia and Sinope are rich settlements with excellent recruitment potential. Finally, do you really want an expansionist power on the western flanks of your empire? In any case, you MUST carve your way to Amaseia by conquering Trapezous first AND stabilizing its public order. Otherwise, once you've eliminated Pontos, it'll re-emerge due to Trapezous having the big mad under rebel rule. Save Kabalaka for last, and once you own 7 settlements and 4 Caucasian Tribal Kingdoms, you'll unlock much better government options!

    From here you can either rebel against your Seleucid overlords due to your newfound power, or deviously achieve the Imperial Reforms. Do the former if you want a real challenge - a multi-front war is what you'll get. Do the latter if you're a completionist. I'll cover the latter first, since you can achieve it simply by buying settlements from the Seleucids (BUY, not bribe). Why does this work? The cost for buying a settlement from a faction appears to be calculated by a faction's size and the settlement's value. More valuable settlements fetch a higher price, and larger factions are more okay with selling a small part of their empires. The Seleucids are a prime candidate for this calculus. Each settlement would cost 10k-15k mnai - easily achievable by downsizing your standing army thanks to your secure borders. Buy up Antiochea (be prepared for extreme public order malus, have your faction leader ready to maintain order), Babylon, and Ekbatana to fulfill the Hellenistic settlements portion of the reforms. You might as well buy up Edessa, Arbela, Seleucia, and Tarsos both for geopolitical reasons and to fulfill the 15 settlements requirement. Once you've finessed the Seleucids out of their heartlands, the Imperial Reforms roll in, changing your culture to the much more manageable Eastern Imperial and unlocking the Ancestral Homelands and Imperial Seat buildings. Even better, now that you own all of Iran, Iraq, and Armenia, you only have two theaters of expansion - West and East, instead of three in West, East, and South.

    So you're an imperial power now, but you're still paying 3000 mnai every winter? A paltry amount by now, but still unbecoming of the King of Asia. Refuse it twice to trigger the rebellion script. The Seleucids will spawn a sizable but low-quality army near Shamushat, as well as one near Armavir courtesy of those Kartvelians that you've allowed to live until now. Destroy those armies, conquer the Kartvelian region ASAP to stop them from pumping troops into your capital, and win a few battles against the Seleucids. Refuse their offer of "forgiveness" (seriously? You should be the one forgiving the Seleucids for being forced to kick their ass), and you're now independent! This comes with two benefits: first, you no longer have to pay the measly 3000 per winter tribute. Second, your faction leader now has, in addition to the existing king of Hayastan trait, an additional king of Asia trait. This will boost his stats through the roof!

    After three reforms you now rule a pan-Asian empire. You can fulfill your victory conditions by campaigning east to root out the remnants of Seleucid power and wipe out the Parthians. And hey, if you fck up by allowing Pontos to re-emerge in that one Sakan settlement no one dares to touch, you can now enjoy the pleasure of conquering your way to the edge of the map.

    Alternatively, you can rebel against the Seleucids before you become imperial, and fight a challenging but satisfying multi-front war. If you sniff candles for fun, rebel before you even become a kingdom by immediately refusing tribute, provoking Edessa, or violating Kartvelian independence right off the bat. Now you get to face the Seleucid war machine with a paltry army of Anatolians and a bunch of horse archers. If you do it dm me proof and I'll refer you to a therapist

  12. #112

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoebopp View Post
    If you sniff candles for fun, rebel before you even become a kingdom by immediately refusing tribute, provoking Edessa, or violating Kartvelian independence right off the bat. Now you get to face the Seleucid war machine with a paltry army of Anatolians and a bunch of horse archers. If you do it dm me proof and I'll refer you to a therapist
    sounds like a plan, very tempted to follow this in my next campaign. or i may wait until the elderly FL dies and then roleplay the revolt of the new king.
    good guide, thanks

  13. #113
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    @Shoebopp: nice guide. It shows how much attention Hayasdan brings (iirc, it enjoys the highest number of guides on EBII, and on EBI it was the most interesting faction: underdog with the most innovative reform path).
    I've got two questions:
    1. why do you think mid-game difficulty is very challenging? I can't see difficulties in your description...
    2. don't you think that buying settlements is a bit cheesy way for glory? (I mean: isn't it an exploit of the engine?)

  14. #114

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarkiss View Post
    sounds like a plan, very tempted to follow this in my next campaign. or i may wait until the elderly FL dies and then roleplay the revolt of the new king.
    good guide, thanks
    Ooooh, do chronicle your exploits in an AAR. Call it Operation Unthinkable after Winston Churchill's idea to betray the hulking behemoth that was the USSR right after WWII

  15. #115

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    @Shoebopp: nice guide. It shows how much attention Hayasdan brings (iirc, it enjoys the highest number of guides on EBII, and on EBI it was the most interesting faction: underdog with the most innovative reform path).
    I've got two questions:
    1. why do you think mid-game difficulty is very challenging? I can't see difficulties in your description...
    2. don't you think that buying settlements is a bit cheesy way for glory? (I mean: isn't it an exploit of the engine?)
    1. That was the difficulty if you decide to rebel after achieving the Kingdom Reforms. If you just sit back and relax, buying settlement after settlement, then it becomes easy or medium (your western or southern flanks may be threatened if the Ptolemies or Nabataeans respectively start carving their way into Seleucid territory)
    2. I guess haha. The alternative is to ignite war right after becoming a kingdom. Then, as I outlined in the guide, you'd have to fight a multi-front war against the Seleucid war machine. And oml is it a multi-front war. Every one of your cities need to be garrisoned or have a nomadic-style army nearby. Every turn is packed with action as the Seleucids divert their vast military forces into the Caucasus mountains. It's stressful as hell and will stretch your resources and strategic skill to the breaking point. I went through this in my first Hayastan campaign and I think I deserve to play a second one with a more relaxed experience. It's cheesy this way, but I don't like stress

  16. #116
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Faction difficulty ratings (your help is needed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoebopp View Post
    1. That was the difficulty if you decide to rebel after achieving the Kingdom Reforms. If you just sit back and relax, buying settlement after settlement, then it becomes easy or medium (your western or southern flanks may be threatened if the Ptolemies or Nabataeans respectively start carving their way into Seleucid territory)
    2. I guess haha. The alternative is to ignite war right after becoming a kingdom. Then, as I outlined in the guide, you'd have to fight a multi-front war against the Seleucid war machine. And oml is it a multi-front war. Every one of your cities need to be garrisoned or have a nomadic-style army nearby. Every turn is packed with action as the Seleucids divert their vast military forces into the Caucasus mountains. It's stressful as hell and will stretch your resources and strategic skill to the breaking point. I went through this in my first Hayastan campaign and I think I deserve to play a second one with a more relaxed experience. It's cheesy this way, but I don't like stress
    What about another option? Expansion around the Pontus Euxinus?

  17. #117

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    What about another option? Expansion around the Pontus Euxinus?
    That's a great idea for gaining access to interesting troops, but it's something players might've already done with a Pontos campaign. Also, Bosphoros has a habit of clustering up to 4 full stacks around their starting capital. Fighting those will completely ruin your best army... but the reward is the opportunity to build a level 3 foreign military colony in Pantikapaion and get Scythian Noble Cavalry and Sarmatian Retinue.

  18. #118

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

    Ptolemaioi


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

    Amy/units:

    The Ptolemies historically suffered from a lack of Hellenistic manpower, forcing them to resort to extensively recruiting from the Machimoi. You wouldn't know this from EBII's Ptolemies though - they begin the game with Alexandreia pumping out colonists and several Hellenistic Military Colony buildings established around the empire.

    Hellenistic:

    Of note is the fact that Damascos and Edessa, both of which are within striking distance of your initial settlements, can recruit Hellenistic Cataphracts with a level 3 Foreign Military Garrison. These are the best chargers a Hellenistic faction could acquire. Beware their surprisingly low morale of 5 though - these men are professionals, not elites

    Settlers:

    From factional governments and military colonies, the Ptolemies can recruit Galatian Colonists, Thracian Colonists, and Ptolemaic Settler Guard Cavalry. All three are above-average infantry and cavalry, and boast good AOR. Galatian Colonists are available in both the Nile Delta and western Anatolia, Thracian Colonists are available in key settlements around the former Achaemenid Empire, and the Settler Guards are available in the Nile Delta and Antiochea. They should form the core of your army. You may also consider the Cretan Archers and Cretan Infantry as "settlers" - they are available from level 2 military colonies after all, and round out your army by providing assault infantry and superb archery. There's also a historical colony of Thessalians in Antioch available with a level 3 military colony, and Thracian Fast Cavalry in Memphis with also a level 3 military colony. Both add flavor and utility to your army.

    African:

    You really shouldn't rely on the Machimoi, Libyans, or Ethiopians. While the Ethiopian Spearmen and Ethiopian Axemen at least have passable combat stats, and the non-towered African Elephants are a cheap alternative to shock cavalry, all suffer from poor geographic availability, and are a hassle to maintain. Add the Machimoi Phalangites unhappiness script, and you're better off sticking with Hellenistic and settler units.

    There is one unit that may be worth its logistical difficulties. The Libyan Late Spearmen can be trained in both Libyan regions with Foreign Military Garrisons or hired as mercenaries. These are slightly superior alternatives to Thureophoroi.

    Campaign:

    The Ptolemies begin the game in a precarious situation. Let's list off their early struggles:

    1. Ptolemy Philadelphos has NO street cred at all. He begins the campaign with 2 authority, meaning that every general or captain is guaranteed to rebel shortly after leaving a settlement.
    2. Ptolemy Philadelphos has a really crappy PTO policy. He can only be absent from Alexandreia for 18 turns before a revolt in Diospolis-Megale occurs and unrest elsewhere along the Nnile River reaches a peak. Either have him stay put in Alexandreia and remain impotent, or have him rack up street cred but leave Egypt vulnerable to rebellion.
    3. You're bleeding -4000 mnai per turn

    You can solve all 3 early struggles with some careful opening moves. Begin by ordering your two eastern Mediterranean navies to wipe out the inferior Seleucid fleet. Then build up a strong garrison in Diopolis-Megale that can stop the scripted revolt army. Next, make the decision to attack either Anatolia or Syria. You should only have 1 active army led by Ptolemy Philadelphos and thus theater of war after all - any more will surely defect in a turn or two. In either case disband all excess troops (especially the Phalangitai/Mistrophoroi Phalangitai. You should be reforming your army to use less phalangites anyways) and use your navies to ship troops to your desired theater. Make sure that Ptolemy Philadelphos is leading the army. Meanwhile recruit a unit of Lithobolos. The reason for this is that in the early game Pergamon (in Anatolia) and Antiochea (in Syria) are often barely garrisoned, and can be easily taken with siege engine cheese. Once you've captured either Antiochea or Pergamon, disband your entire navy and you will have 2 sources of colonists, and a stable economy. Thus concludes the tumultuous but still rather manageable early game.

    The reason the midgame and endgame are still decently challenging is that your victory conditions are quite ambitious. You must eliminate Pergamon and Pontos by securing all of Anatolia, and wipe out your hated rival the Antigonids in Hellas. Of course there is the elephant in the room: the vast Seleucid empire. Rooting them out all the way to their eastern frontiers will be more of a chore than a monumental feat. It may be easier once you're earning gobs of cash to negotiate a ceasefire with the Seleucids and then purchase their land one settlement at a time. All the while your "allies" the Nabataeans eye Syria and Egypt. An even more chronic threat looms from southern Arabia...

    And now, for "sidequests":

    - The Ptolemies have the unique distinction of being within striking distance of 2 Hellenistic Metropoleis in Pergamon and Antiochea along with starting with their own. Once you've taken control of them you can establish military colonies wherever you want. Let's not forget that Ephesos starts out with at least 69% Hellenistic Polities and Salamis is not that far behind. You will easily be granted 5 colony points every 16 turns by the midgame. As a result, your historical manpower problems are all but erased in this alternative universe.

    - The Great Desert Wars. Playing as Qart-Hadast or Ptolemaioi in EBI, you are probably uncomfortably familiar with the AI counterpart sending vast hordes across the Libyan deserts. You can avoid this thanks to the marginally improved M2TW diplomacy system. If the Carthaginians take Kyrene, triggering a war, you can arrange an easy ceasefire as long as you act fast. Upon doing so they'll lose interest in Ammon. Heck, you can even bribe them into an alliance, thus solidifying the security of your western flank.

    - Grooming your FH: Having constant unrest and sporadic rebellions in Egypt can get rather old. You can avert this by achieving a cycle of your Faction Heir doing all the heavy lifting and gaining all the street cred so that upon becoming Faction Leader, he'll start out with passable authority and can chill out in Alexandreia while the new Faction Heir follows in his footsteps.

    - The Iranian Purchase: Should you ever arrange a ceasefire with the Seleucids, consider spending your excess income on purchasing Seleucid settlements in the Iranian Plateau. Then you could focus on securing Anatolia or destroying the Antigonids in Hellas, all the while insidiously destroying the Seleucids.

  19. #119

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

    Getai (Getai needs love)


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


    Army/unit:

    The Getai and surrounding regions can field literally EVERY type of unit in the game, save for novel shock units such as Elephants or Scythed Chariots. This means you can tailor your battle experience to any army composition you want, making the Getai campaign one of the most replayable ones out there.

    Dacian:

    The Dacian Light Phalanx provides a bulky and numerous line-infantry with their 1.1 mass and passable defenses. The Dacian Noble Cavalry provides a bulky heavy cavalry with mediocre offensive stats. Both of these core units become even meatier with the Thorakitai Reforms armor upgrade. For skirmishing you have a diverse array of light infantry and cavalry. Dacian Skirmishers are foot skirmishers literally superior to Hellenistic Medium Skirmishers in every way, plus packing an ap sidearm. The elite variant is a glass cannon: with a smaller-than-average shield value of 4 but a massive attack of 12, they'll slice up any unit from behind. Dacian Light Cavalry have your average 8-11ish light cavalry stats with a morale of 3, while Dacian Horse Archers have non existence melee combat stats but provide essential mounted archery. Finally, you have Dacian Falxmen, a frighten_foot shock unit with a blistering 12 ap primary attack. Already the Dacian roster fills out every tactical role, but you can supplement this core with even more troops

    Thracian:

    Dacian Skirmishers may be completely superior to Hellenistic Medium Skirmishers in every way, but then Thracian Peltasts enter the chat. With the same defense as Classical Hoplites and a punishing ap sidearm, along with the highest foot skirmisher mass in the game at 1.0, they can hold the line, carve into the enemy's rear, soak up missiles - pretty much anything short of stopping a cavalry charge. There's also Thracian Horsemen and Thracian Fast Horsemen, the former of which are literally a javelin-less version of the latter. Science has yet to explain this. Thracian Noble Cavalry, though, are the deadliest javelin cavalry in the game. With a sky-high defense of 15 and a decent charge, they break tactical roles completely. Thracian Slingers and Thracian Spearmen form a good garrison squad - useful for packing Kabula full of cheap yet effective defense troops.

    Hellenistic:

    The Greek colony of Histrie provides Classical Hoplites, which blow your Dacian Light Phalanx out of the water. Then there's Pontic Hoplites, which are even more superior. Also worthy of mention is that your factional government provides Thorakitai at Nikaia - quite a pleasant surprise. Heavy infantry galore!

    Celtic:

    The Galatians have settled in Zikedeva and the region of Landa Skordiskon as well. From there you can procure heavy infantry and cavalry in the form of Eastern Celtic Swordsmen, Boii Retainers, and Boii Noble Cavalry. There's also the ubiquitous Gallo-Thracian Swordsmen, but beware their paltry stats and .95 mass.

    Illryian:

    The Getai are one of the few factions to field Elite Slinger-Axemen from factional governments. These beauties have a deadly sling attack of 10 while sporting a 7 attack ap sidearm. Also, they're defense is 18, same as Thracian Peltasts and Classical Hoplites. Their only downside? The exorbitant fees they demand for their service. Worth it. Along the Adriatic coastline you can find the entire Illyrian roster. Illyrian Peltasts are a worthy replacement of the Thracian variant for more western theaters of war. Of note are the Illyrian Heavy Swordsmen only available from allied governments. They're comparable to Thracian Colonists, but have horrid availability. Maybe they'll find use in a prolonged Adriatic invasion of Rome?

    Nomadic:

    The Greek town of Histrie has had close contact with Scythians. Conquering it means inheriting such bonds, and provides you with Scythian Noble Cavalry, a quasi-cataphract monster... with surprisingly laughable offensive stats. You wouldn't say that to their faces though. You can also recruit Scythian Riders in droves, forming a sizable mounted archery force if you'd like. Additionally, should you allow for mercenaries, hire Roxolani Lancers and Sarmatian Retinue for your medium cavalry needs. The former has a charge of 21 - the highest you'll find in the Getai sphere of influence, while the latter is, well, average.

    Germanic:

    The Basternai Companions scare the crap out of nearby infantry with their wicked 10 ap swords, while the Basternai Cavalry are slightly more well armored than Thracian Horsemen. Good stuff. Both gain an armor upgrade after their Celtic cousin's Celtic Twilight reforms.


    Campaign:

    Your starting faction leader is the youngest in the game at only 20 years old. That is a roleplayer's dream - the "main character" of your campaign will stay alive till the Thorakitai Reforms, achieving untold glory and conquest... or he'll get pincushioned by Scythians during their early scripted raids (more on that later). Anyways, you start with a decent army, with buffer states all around you ripe for conquest. You have to deal with a few roving stacks and a bit of devastation, but overall as long as you spend your initial treasury on extra troops and conquer Zikediva, Sarmetsguma, and the Landa Scordiskon region, and finally Histrie, you can easily carve out a nice little Getic Kingdom.

    There's also the peculiar Histrie Raids script. Every Spring there's a good chance a small or medium Scythian army spawns near Histire. As long as Histrie is free, they'll pay you 3000 mnai every year if you've defeated a raiding Scythian warband that year, or only 750 should you tell them to suck it up. After 5 raids have occurred and you've conquered Histrie a mega-stack of horse archers and skirmishers led by a unit of Scythian Nobles will spawn. Once you've punished all the Scythian raiders the script ends, and you can finally enjoy a period of peace. SIKE, THAT'S THE WRONG NUMBER.

    Outside of your buffer buddies are expansionist powers. The Makedonians and Pergamenes have a nasty habit of clawing their way north into your dominion through either Dardania or Kabula. The Romans usually invade Nesakton and may even campaign east. The Sauromatae and Bosporans may make attempts on Olbia. Then there's the Boii to the northwest. Wherever you choose to expand, know that you only have a limited amount of time to absorb one rival faction before another one arrives at the gates. Whatever you do, DO NOT provoke the Sauromatae. Their nomadic style armies are far better than the one you can field, and should you try to face them with a non-nomadic army you'll be left in the dust with an arrow through your skull. Conquer Olbia if you must but stop there and garrison it with as many Classical Hoplites and Dacian Archers as you can.

    Your sphere of influence, which is the area where you can establish higher levels of factional governments, spans Dacia, Thraicia, Scythia, Illyria, the Hellespont, Germania, and, strangely enough, Gallia. Just know that Scythia, Hellespont, Germania, and Gallia have horribly incompatible cultures, so expand there will take considerable resources.

  20. #120

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

    Pahlava (their reforms were fixed in 2.35!!!)


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


    Army/unit:


    Nomadic:


    Parthian Horse-Archers are your typical faction-specific horse-archers - weak and only suitable for bombarding your civilized neighbors from afar. Dahae Horse-Archers are much more capable in CQC and can launch decent charges. Parthian Cataphracts, though, can flatten literally any non-phalangite infantry in the game. Just know that for some reason only their first charge per battle wrecks the enemy - all subsequent charges seem neutered by comparison.


    North of Daha Dahyu are the lands of the Alantai. From there you can recruit Alan Riders, which have a passable morale of 3 (much better than those of the shaky Parthian and Dahaean Horse-Archers), and a sword sidearm. In Alantai proper though you can access Alan Nobles, which have a devastation charge and arrow attack. The only problem? That settlement borders the Sauromatae and Sakans. Should you really crave these local hires be prepared to invest time and effort in keeping that settlement.


    The Sakan settlements are a ripe source of troops. In fact, you have better recruitment in Sakan settlements (including the string of settlements in the mountains north of Baktria) than the Sakans do themselves! Most notably you can train Sakan Cataphracts anywhere there while the Sakans themselves are confined to their homelands. You've got the best heavy horse archers in the game in Sakan Noble Riders, the worst medium cavalry unit in the game in Sakan Riders (morale of only 2!) more faction-specific Sakan Horse Archers, and an array of Sakan foot and mounted skirmishers.


    Your factional governments can also access Sauromatian troops as well, though their lands are quite distant...


    Eastern:


    Post-reforms you can access Iranian Heavy Cavalry from Parthian Satrapies and Partian Royal Satrapies in large numbers. These are heavy hitters, with a charge barely below that of your vaunted Parthian Cataphracts - and a much less lethal attack. But really, even the Iranians' attack of 10 pales in comparison to that of the Parthians' monstrous 15. Iranian Medium Cavalry have similar CQC stats as the Dahaean Horse-Archers, but pack the power-charge attribute. Iranian Javelin Cavalry are among the worst (but also cheapest!) skirmisher cavalry in the game. Iranian Spearmen are numerous but have a woeful mass of 0.9. They'll literally lose half their number from a single frontal Armenian Cataphract charge, for example. Iranian Axemen would be rather good light infantry in more western theaters of war, but in the east where heavy cavalry and horse archers reign supreme, they suck. Iranian Javelinmen are pitiful at what they're tailored to do: rain javelins, except they have a missile attack of 9. Finally, there's the East and West Iranian Archer-spearmen. In addition to being questionable uses of unit slots, they, despite their low mass, are surprisingly good cavalry killers. Surpringly, because while they'll die in droves, they can still inflict enough casualties against opportunistic cavalrymen for your own cavalry to swoop in and deliver the coup de grace.


    Indian:


    Have a Suren governor in Parthia to unlock the Indo-Parthian Satrapy. Now you can not only recruit Parthian Cataphracts and Parthian Horse-Archers close to the eastern edges of the map, but also access all those Indian troops I've already introduced in my Taksashilan review. Of course, it's worth mentioning again the Indian Elephants, even though they're less effective against the eastern archer-heavy martial style.


    Hellenistic:


    Your armies initially lack heavy infantry, but with the advent of Philhellenic Satrapies you can simulate Hellenistic Poleis recruitment. More importantly though with level 3 foreign military colonies in several key eastern settlements you can train Hellenistic Cataphracts. That brings the different types of cataphract units you can train to 3. Your imperialistic death squads can now satisfy diversity quotas.


    Campaign:


    You are a Dahaean tribal confederacy, but not for long. Conquer Asaak immediately through a siege assault to trigger the settling-down process. Make sure to ONLY OCCUPY Asaak. Asaak is the limiting factor in the 4 city-level requirements across Asaak, Heck-town, Rhagea, and Ekbatana. If you reduce its population, then no matter how quickly you develop the other three, you'll still have to painstakingly wait for Asaak to grow.


    Next conquer Heck-town. Zandrakata, Aspadana, Europos, Ekbatana, and Apamaia. You may encounter the Seleucid faction heir with his doomstack on the way. In this case you'll have to either pray to the gods that he defects to the rebels (which is actually rather likely) or regroup back into your core settlements, bulk up your army with more cavalry and all the family members you can muster, and defeat it in a decisive battle.


    Once you've conquered the Iranian Plateau (get Sousa and Persepolis as well if you'd like), the Seleucids will give up hope in their eastern satrapies and sue for peace. Tell them to shove their peace up their butts and pay a 3000 mnai indemnity first. Reestablish trade rights, build up mines, and you now own a profitable and stable kingdom. Now for the reforms.


    You need to develop Asaak, Heck-town, Rhaegea, and Ekbatana to city-level and build level 4 farms in each. Rhaegea and Asaak can build pastoral herds, which skyrockets their population growth, while Ekbatana starts off as a city. It's Heck-town which is problematic - maxing out its population growth infrastructure - including the fertility temple - will still leave it at 0% population growth at about 5750 population. You need an Arsakid (other clan ethnicities would cause severe unrest) governor in Heck-town so that he'll acquire some population-boosting traits. You have a 16 year old Arsakid FM at the beginning - he'll make a fine candidate for grooming Heck-town.


    Once you've achieved the Imperial Reforms you unlock MUCH better construction options and the Eastern Imperial culture. From here you can expand wherever you wish, but be warned: the far eastern theatres of war are easy to imbalance. Eliminating one faction would require that you eliminate the other, now unopposed, faction, lest you wish to fight nonstop defensive campaigns. For this reason I advise you eliminate Hayastan and the western half of the Seleucid empires first before finishing off the Baktrians.

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