Title: Thrace campaign, thoughts and experiences
Author: Genius of the Restoration



Thrace Campaign This thread will follow my RTW vanilla campaign for Thrace on VH/VH.

Iíve started a campaign for Thrace and thought I'd share it with you. Toern and I initially had hoped to do a swap campaign but we couldnít get it to work, so back to the normal mode it is. I can upload the save if anyone wants to try and play it.

Thrace. The game tells me it has a ďGood choice of hoplite phalanxes and barbarian close-combat specialists but limited cavalryĒ. Almost right, CA, almost right. It technically only has one hoplite phalanx unit, the Militia Hoplites, the Phalanx Pikemen is actually a pike phalanx unit.


An overview of the units.

The only real advantage Thrace has over other factions in its unit recruitment is its mixture of barbarian and phalanx infantry. Other aspects of the army arenít anything special.


Infantry.

Militia Hoplites
The first phalanx unit. These fellas have poor morale and no armour, but luckily have the large shield (5).

Uses: Against most barbarian infantry it is strong enough, but never let a missile unit attack it from the right or behind because they have zero defence against it.

Falxmen
The first barbarian unit available. With 13 attack, 5 charge, fast moving, good morale and the warcry ability, these guys will destroy most units they engage. Just make sure they go around the phalanx, not into it. Like the Militia Hoplites though, defence vs. missiles is a problem. With 3 armour and no shield, these guys donít stand a chance if the enemy has brought 6 archers.

Uses: Use for flanking duties while Militia Hoplites hold the line. Good for hammer and anvil strikes.

Phalanx Pikemen
A step up from the Militia Hoplites. These guys should be the bulk of a Thracian army. With 6 armour and a small shield (2) though, they arenít very missile resistant. Their frontal arc defence is the same as the Militia Hoplites, which isnít great.

Uses: This is your best phalanx. Itís more delicate than the phalanxes of other factions, so donít send it off against Royal Pikes or Armoured Hoplites without support. Make getting these guys your priority.

Bastarnae
This is an interesting unit. It appears to be the upgrade of the Falxmen, but all is not well in Bastarnae-ville. Like their Falx-wielding brethren, the Bastarnae has low armour, two actually. But they have a shield! Only the small one though, so itís not really a great deal more protection. They also lose out to the Falxmen in the defence skill category, having two while the Falxmen have 7. This means they are more susceptible to sustaining wounds in close-combat. To help them they have two hitpoints. They are also fast moving and have good morale. The only other difference between them is that the Bastarnae donít have the warcry ability.

Uses: Honestly, I prefer the Falxmen. Theyíre cheaper, a lot less of a hassle to retrain, and do more damage on the charge thanks to the +10 attack of the warcry. These guys would be better when coming out of a siege tower or from ladders, but I donít use those enough to justify taking Bastarnae instead.

If a unit of Bastarnae is captaining your army, it gets the rally ability (at least in custom battles). Not sure how effective it is though. Iíd still prefer warcry


Cavalry.

Militia Cavalry
These units flank the enemy and throw javelins at them. They are blessed with the wonderful benefits of missile cavalry, but are the worst species that genus has on offer. They can fight close-combat better than early horse archers.

Uses: Useful at the beginning of the campaign because there arenít too many units with high armour values. They become redundant later when they canít cause any casualties. Use against ze Germans.

Greek Cavalry
Ah, the worst cavalry in the game. With an amazing 6 attack and 5 charge, these Greeks clearly have no idea that a cavalry unit is supposed to punish enemies they charge into.

Uses: Next to none. Militia Cavalry have more uses, so stick with those. Maybe if youíve got all the upgrading buildings built you could run a couple, but honestly, just use your generals, theyíre the best cavalry youíve got.


Ranged.

Peltasts
Throw these guys in front of your phalanx to throw their own javelins at the enemy before they reach you.

Uses: Also good for chariots and elephants, so keep a couple handy if that sort of thing is what you want to be prepared for. Archers are more useful though, so swap when you get the chance. Once they run out of ammo send them around to sit behind or on the flank of a unit engaged with your phalanx as merely by being there it will cause a morale hit.

Archers
Your basic archer. No more, no less.

Uses: Firing into the backs and sides of enemies, flaming elephants and chariots, targeting low armour units.

Onagers
Use these guys when the target is a fair bit away so you donít kill your own units.

Uses: Flaming shots for units, normal for buildings. I aim for the middle of the enemy army, because the shots never go where you want them to anyway and this way thereís a higher likelihood that theyíll actually hit something.


My recommended standard armies for stacks 14 units strong:

Early (2000 pop)
5 Militia Hoplites, 3 Falxmen, 4 Militia Cavalry, 2 Peltasts.

Middle (6000 pop)
6 Phalanx Pikemen, 3 Falxmen, 2 Militia Cavalry, 3 Archers.

Late (12,000 pop)
7 Phalanx Pikemen, 3 Falxmen, 1 Militia Cavalry, 3 Archers.

All armies should include 1 Generals Bodyguard for a shock cavalry unit.


An overview of the building browser.

Thrace has reasonable building tree. It has the Hellenic benefits of being able to construct Paved Roads, Dockyards, Academies and the high-level smiths. It pays for this by being severely shortchanged on temples though. You have two choices. Dionysus, who provides happiness (up to 60%) or Ares, the god of war. Unlike other war shrines, Ares gives no bonus to experience or weapons but only gives a morale bonus. At Pantheion level, this is +4. Whoopee. The result of such mediocre temples is that youíll often want to keep the ones that you find in captured settlements. This isnít particularly problematic because Greek culture (of which Thrace is a part) is fairly widespread in your region.


The first five years of the campaign.

Turn one saw my faction leader, Sautes leave his army with a single unit of Militia Cavalry to besiege Byzantium. Iíd hoped that by doing so, the AI would think they could win and sally. My two settlements built roads. And I sent an army to take Bylazora and another to meet up with Sautes and the Militia Cavalry on the way to Thessalonica. The Rebel Sithones sallied and were defeated as I took the square and locked them out of the city.






After an uneventful second turn of moving troops and selling trade rights and map information, Summer began in earnest with a large Rebel army appearing next to my capital. Led by a unit of Bastarnae, the combat odds balanced even, but without any cavalry, they really had no hope. A clear victory for my disinherited family member, who got a Shieldbearer and the Untouched by Fear trait for his troubles, which just goes to show how useful Rebels are for training your generals.






By the end of the year, Bylazora had fallen and Sautes was besieging the Macedonian capital of Thessalonica. After a hard fought battle, the troops rested to retrain and waited for the new faction heir, Byzas to join his father. Before the campaign south could be continued though, the city was besieged by vengeful Macedonians. A sizable army had gathered including many Light Lancers and the two Macedonian Cavalry. The Macedonian reinforcements never showed up though (much to my disappointment) so Sautes only had one army to butcher.




Father and son also went on a Summer Holiday in 267 and ran into some Macedonians, together taking care of another 346 of the faction faithful. Following this battle, Macedon would only have Corinth with a garrison of three units left, so was pretty much done.



Having defeated Macedon, I turned my attention to the Greeks in Winter of 267. Fighting on horseback, Sautes led an army of Militia Cavalry to attack a Greek stack that was heading for Thermon. Desperate not to let them inside because of the pain of fighting a phalanx in the city, and because I was upset that they recruited the Rhodian Slingers before I could, I dumped the infantry who slowed the army down and just made it to attack the Greek stack.





After this victory, a spy uncovered some Greeks hiding in forest outside Corinth, but unluckily for them I could see that they were waiting in ambush at the bottom of a big hill, so I attacked from that direction. The result was a wipeout.




When the Greeks had the opportunity to respond they sallied forth from Sparta to attack the army that had just laid siege to it. My units were beneath strength, but superior tactics and patience won the day. This battle was actually a bit tricky and took about half an hour to complete.




Desperately attacking the Spartans:



Still going:



and at last, done:




The result of the (other, less well-known) Seige of Sparta




The Greeks also landed an army in an attempt to stop Sautes and his army from reaching Thermon, but were defeated again as my Militia Cavalry swept down from the hill to throw javelins into their ill-protected backs.



The Brutii foolishly besieged Thessalonica and so we are now about to have a brawl, but unfortunately Sautes and most of my Militia Cavalry are on the other side of Greece having taken Apollonia from the Brutii last turn. Nevertheless, this will be a good battle.



I'll update this soon. Comments are welcome as always. Also, does anyone know how to have the enemy army details appear in on the scroll when you're about to fight? I've seen it done, but I'm not sure how to do it, it'd save on the screenshots.

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I bought a brand new copy of Rome with Barbarian Invasion this week because I lent my copy of BI awayafter hardly playing it and because it was such a bargain. Problem is, now I canít get back into this save game for some reason. Every time I try, I get a ctd with no error message, so it looks like this campaign is over. Iíve got one (very short) final update on it though.

My battle against the Brutii invaders went well and saw their forces melt away under the fury of the Thracian hoplite and cavalry combination. The fools didnít attack me even though they were in range, but tried to go for Thessalonica so I gained a hill advantage by choosing which direction to attack from.




This turn also saw me fight it out with a Dacian army after taking their two starting settlements. This is a lesson on the easiest way to get Heroic Victories and Famous Battle markers; attack Warbands with cavalry. Honestly, why would the auto-resolve people seriously think they stood a chance?





Next turn and the Brutii were finally destroyed as Sautes attacked and conquered Croton on the Italian mainland. This is him turning into a beast. He actually survived the entirety of the campaign up until it stopped working, which is lucky because I had no other generals in Italy.




I also have another bone with the Bastarnae. Why is it that the Bastarnae that the Thracians get cannot warcry while the mercenary ones can? Seriously CA!



During this bridge battle the Dacian Faction Leader and Heir charged across the bridge into the Bastarnae Mercenaries who were holding my side while javelins flew in to the crowded bridge. Here you can see my two generals have moved up to reinforce the Bastarnae. Youíll notice that Iíve put them in Guard Mode because this way they wont break ranks. This is useful because generals are always positioned on the far left of its unit. By turning Guard Mode on, I ensured that the vital generals wouldnít die because they were out of range of the fighting. The bodyguards can die all they like, theyíll be replaced free of charge anyway. You can see the two generals with their fancy hats in the centre of the screen.





As soon as their general fell, I charged two units of Militia Cavalry into the other side of the bridge causing a rout with nowhere to go. The result was the ending of any Dacian hopes for survival.



In the Winter of 263 Sautes brought the fight to the Scipii on route to Capua. Unfortunately for them their two armies were following the advice of one of the quotes of Rome and marching divided. This meant I could attack their armies one at a time. The trick was to attack the bigger army first because they wouldnít retreat to the other army because they thought they could take out Sautesí army.






Capua was then open to attack, but first along came the SPQR stack! This was going to be a grand battle, but unfortunately the campaign finished before I could fight it.


Hope this has been enjoyable, short-lived though it was. Maybe you learned something, maybe you didn't. I learned about barbarians and hoplites and the annoying crashing of save files. Iíve never played a campaign in BI before, so that might be my next venture.