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Thread: Saka Rauka strategy

  1. #1

    Default Saka Rauka strategy

    I hadn't seen the Saka Rauka discussed as an EB 2 faction much and I feel that is a shame, as the combination of multiple factors makes them the most challenging faction to play, at least in the beginning. These factors involving nomadic troops being expensive, starting with 1 poor province with incredibly long travel times, and AI Baktria in fact being very strong and rich, capable of quickly recruiting many units which will surpass yours. Your expansion options are also terrible, you just need an infantry unit to take anything quickly, (and you do need to act quickly if you do not want to be saddled with the debt for 50 turns), and you have to choose between towns which will take a while to siege and in danger of Baktria, or poor camps, which also take a while to siege and are problematic to look after because of how huge the provinces are. Navigation around the area is especially hard if you haven't played around these parts before. Add to that the nerf to morale of cavalry units, and the garrison script in Bactria and I feel we've got pretty much the toughest challenge right off the bat EB 2 has to offer. Of course the M2TW AI is pretty dumb, which means you can still win, but even so I doubt I would want to find out if a rebel stack won't spawn somewhere you can't see them and retake a camp which doesn't even bring enough income to afford a proper garrison, or if Baktria won't grow rather monstrous during the time you were paying your debt off rather than quashing them.

    How I had dealt with this thus far personally was simply immediately slashing Baktria's throat by going right for their capital. This is, in fact, not an easy path. Depending on how fast you go and how much you are willing to take, your general's supply might become depleted. Bactria is likely to have a huge garrison inside if you arrive, and if it doesn't the garrison script will make so it does. Personally it took for me 13 turns to conquer their capital. I split my forces in two, with the main army of faction leader gunning straight for Bactria to siege it to starvation while the the other would have foot archers in it and take Chach. The FL arrived faster and his troops were starving by the time he could siege Bactria, which had a full stack in it. Baktrians decided to send a tiny army to attack and help relieve the siege. The following battle was incredibly bloody, and I feel it's safe to say that if not for AI being good at suiciding it's generals into one's troops, I had all the chances to lose, due to them already having a good general with high quality troops. But it is the quick taking of Marakanda, Chach, and Bactria by getting AI to sally out (not necessary for this strategy, but it helped, and it in fact felt I could still lose these battles if my own general kicked the bucket) which allowed me to feel any degree of safety, even though the debt by that time already reached -20000 which would take at least 5 turns to repay.

    I do believe there is a possibility of turning yourself into a horde which would make the start much easier, as hordes do not pay upkeep and your province is more trouble than it's worth. However, it would require either making it rebel, or tricking an enemy stack into capturing it. And it will not rebel if you just take all your troops out, you would have to demolish the government or even more. What are you guys' thoughts?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Saka Rauka strategy

    Honestly a long Saka campaign is one of the most satisfying experiences I've had in the game, it's very enjoyable transitioning from broke steppe raiders scrounging for every man and coin, trying to shatter entire enemy armies while taking almost no losses to ruling over an absurdly wealthy empire and crushing your enemies between heavy infantry and cataphracts while still being able to annoy them to death using those horse archers you can finally afford to lose. I usually go for uniting all the upper steppe provinces and getting rid off most of the big rebel stacks up there before I head south and take on Bactria, Pahlava, and the Seleucids, I usually try to get alliances/trade rights with at least the Pahlava, Seleucids, and the Sauromatae and have trade rights with the Bactrians. I find it helps to be sure there are no more large rebel stacks to defend against and that the combination of large provinces, trade rights, and safer travel pay off well in the long term (plus its a lot more satisfy to crush full Bactrian armies and I enjoy the realism aspects of being a invading steppe confederation). The huge debt does make the campaign a lot harder, but even after the nerf, a unit or two of cataphracts can still shatter an army in a single charge so I find it pretty balanced. I feel the hardest part of the campaign is trying to take on large armies of other steppe cavalry without taking more than a hundred or so losses, though you do end up with some incredible generals after those campaigns. I usually stick to besieging and starving my enemies out though, while the debt increases do hurt, by saving hundreds of men in every assault I can usually take an extra settlement or two without recruiting, and the large travel and high steppe culture times mean I can keep pretty minimal garrisons. The full set of steppe settlements from your homeland to the Alans gives you enough income to be break even and start recruiting a bit with trade. I also find it useful to sacrifice a settlement or two and to the Bactrians and let them try to keep the peace in a steppe culture settlement and deal with the resulting rebels. while I gobble up some richer provinces. After that I usually just crush the Bactrians province by province and then its usually smooth sailing from there.

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