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Thread: Effective and [somewhat] historically accurate army compositions?

  1. #1

    Default Effective and [somewhat] historically accurate army compositions?

    One thing I love doing in this game is trying to use “realistic” or “historically accurate” army compositions. I have to balance that, however, against the need to actually win battles. So I am willing to compromise to a certain extent. What are some of your preferred army compositions? What do you find effective?

    I’ll start by discussing my current Roman campaign, because I am rather dissatisfied with my Marian legions.

    Starting Roman legion:
    1 General
    1 Supply Wagon
    4 Hastati / Allied Hastati
    4 Principes / Allied Principes
    2 Triarii / Allied Heavy Spears
    4 Equites / Allied Cavalry
    4 Velites / javelin troops

    I find this composition is generally effective. It’s not great, but it works. I’ll be honest, I win my battles on the campaign map. I’m usually able to bring more troops than the AI. I isolate him whenever possible to maximize winning battles with minimal casualties. I know it probably has too much cavalry for purists, but that's one concession I had to make to get an army that was effective. This composition gets much stronger after the Polybian reforms. As I campaign further afield, I also allow myself to make it even stronger my replacing two of my javelin troops with long range missile troops, such as Cretan archers, Balearic slingers, etc.

    I have more difficulty, however, with my Marian armies. I expected them to be more effective. But in my current campaigns against the Lusitani and Kartli, I am having some real troubles. I’m taking much heavier casualties than I expect, despite having experienced troops with gold weapons, armor, and horses.

    This is my Marian composition:
    1 General
    1 Supply wagon
    1 First Cohort (3 gold chevrons)
    9 Legionaries (3 gold chevrons)
    4 Ala Hispanorum (2 bronze chevrons)
    2 Scorpions
    2 Romanized Balearic Slingers (2 bronze chevrons)

    Three or four times now, I have used one of these against a half stack of Lusitani. Each time I have taken 20-30% casualties. The enemy has attacked me very vigorously each time. The hostile cavalry appears superior to my own. I tested with auto resolve and got similar results. Why?

    So, my opinion is that the Scorpions are my problem. I have noticed that the AI is much more aggressive against this composition than my earlier army. They charge in very vigorously. While I still win, it’s a knife fight (in a knife fight, one person dies in the street, the other dies in the ambulance). I tested this out by adding a couple of ballista to my early army and had similar results. It makes sense to me: the AI should not just sit there and let my artillery destroy him. With that vigorous enemy attack, the Scorpions don’t have time to get many kills. I think I will have to replace them with two long range archer units (very useful and flexible units).

    Other interesting observations from this army composition: the AI hates the First Cohort. It always attracts a lot of missiles. As does the baggage train and the General (and all for the same reason).

    Thoughts? Compositions for other factions?
    Last edited by Olmsted; January 26, 2020 at 04:47 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Effective and [somewhat] historically accurate army compositions?

    Your armies are pretty good historically. You could shave off one cavalry and the baggage train in favor of two more hastani and as you say replace two velites with archers/slingers the polybian army. In the Marian army, then main thing missing are auxiliary legions. You can swap 4 of your legionaries for auxiliaries (2 spear and two sword) and then again swap a cavalry and baggage train for two archers, then lastly swap one scorpion for another infantry (maybe veteran legionary).

    A few other thoughts: are you playing with the new battle pack? Cavalry are a bit less important and - perhaps more importantly - a bit less self sufficient. So the best way to manage cavalry conflicts is by using your cab to catch and then bring in infantry support. As for your scorpions, you are correct in how they make the AI behave. But with stronger flanks and more long-range support, you should be able to withstand their rush. Baggage trains are only necessary when you’re in Germany or Arabia (etc). For most of your campaign, they aren’t necessary. And indeed, the lack of a baggage train was one of the critical elements of both Marius and Caesar’s successes, so you would be playing more historically.

    I might circle back later with some non-Roman historical (and successful) army builds.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Effective and [somewhat] historically accurate army compositions?

    If you want historical accuracy then use the 41 units mod.
    Camillian and polybian armies:
    1 triarii
    2 principes
    4 hastati
    2 equites
    4 allied cav
    2 allied triarii
    4 allied principes
    8 allied hastati.


    Roman legions brought with them one or two allied legions from their client states, and marian legion just threw more cohorts if they needed a bigger army.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Effective and [somewhat] historically accurate army compositions?

    Uh... no. This army has socii at a 2:1 ratio to Romans. It was a pretty neat 1:1 ratio in the Polybian era. And while it varied a lot through most of a imperial history, there’s no way it hit 2:1 until the 4th century c.e.

    Allies tended to make up more of the light infantry and cavalry, so if you want to go with an asymmetrically balanced army in the Marian era you could leave all of your cav (except the general), all of your skirmishers, and a couple of infantry to your socii/allies/auxiliaries, while having only a couple of heavy infantry from them with the rest your core legions. But even then you ideally would incorporate a few auxiliary cohorts, because while we think of these soldiers as legionaries, they often served in cohorts of non-citizens levied from allied and/or settled tribes.
    Last edited by Ptolemaios Soter; January 27, 2020 at 08:07 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Effective and [somewhat] historically accurate army compositions?

    I should add that although I am only using the 20 units per army, each pre-Marian army has an allied counterpart with it.

    I love thinking about all this stuff. I find the ratios above are generally successful with other factions.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Effective and [somewhat] historically accurate army compositions?

    Barbarian army made of 80 units of militia spearmen across 4 stacks

  7. #7
    valerius karamanus's Avatar Libertus
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    Default Re: Effective and [somewhat] historically accurate army compositions?

    This but 80 nomadic horse archers. Works well and pretty historical if you stay away from walled cities.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Effective and [somewhat] historically accurate army compositions?

    I think the Alexander army composition works well in game for the successors. I would approximate it as:
    6 bronze shields (potentially swapping 2 for elite pikes)
    2 hoplites guarding the flanks of the phalanx
    2 spear units (levy spears or Thureos) guarding the flanks of the hoplites
    4 peltasts and/or other light infantry (2 in the front and 2 on the flanks)
    1-2 archers/slingers
    2-3 heavy cavalry
    2 light/javelin cavalry

    After thorax reforms, you can ditch the hoplites for heavy spears and some of the peltasts and even some pikes for heavy swords a la Seleucids.
    Last edited by Ptolemaios Soter; February 20, 2020 at 06:25 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Effective and [somewhat] historically accurate army compositions?

    ^^
    My Diadochi army is pretty similar:
    1 Genetal Hetairoi/Agema Cav
    6 Pikes (usually with 0,2 or all 6 elite pikes, depending on finances and pop tier required)
    2 Heavy infantry to anchor the phalanx (usually spears when campaigning in the east, swords in the west)
    2 Syrian/Creatan Archers or one of them and one Rhodian Slingers unit
    2 Peltast (highest shield/armor value possible)
    2 Heavy Cav
    2 Tarantines/Armenian armored HA
    1 Supply train

    That leaves me with 2 unit to adapt to the relevant campaign theater. Could be one elite/shock infantry + 1 elephant/chariot or another shock infantry unit, 2 slingers (anti-cav) or 2 more peltasts (for dealing with precursor heavy faction like the Germanics/Romans/Iberians or arrow-heavy like any Eastern one). Haven't tried artillery yet, but I think it makes you slower on the campaign map and I just cannot bring myself to do that.


    My Ruler and Successor armies get the best versions, barring too much units drawn from tier 1 pop, all the rest might get some inferior substitutions, say Thureos cav (3rd pop) instead of Tarantines (2nd pop), Barbarian heavy infantry (4th pop) instead of imperial ones (1st or 2nd pop), sometimes native Catas or Cappadocian Lancers instead of my own heavy Cav (1st or 2nd pop vs. 4th pop).


    p.s. Also, may I mention how Sparabaras and Elite Sparabaras are ridiculously overpowered and cost-effective, especially early game. I absolutely hate going against them. There is something very unbalanced about that unit's design.
    Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana...

  10. #10
    legate's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Effective and [somewhat] historically accurate army compositions?

    The population system sort of forces you to have a balanced and somewhat accurate army which I like.


  11. #11

    Default Re: Effective and [somewhat] historically accurate army compositions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iskandar View Post
    ^^

    p.s. Also, may I mention how Sparabaras and Elite Sparabaras are ridiculously overpowered and cost-effective, especially early game. I absolutely hate going against them. There is something very unbalanced about that unit's design.
    Horse archers of apocalypse. These units are there to slow down nomadic stomp. Bactria is a dead man walking and then only those guys left to forbid nomads from spreaing like cancer (player controlled or the AI) up Syria, Egypt and Anatolia.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Effective and [somewhat] historically accurate army compositions?

    Here's what I use for my Roman armies. Instead of making the Polybian alae counterparts to legions a seperate stack, I just integrate the "socii alae counterpart" into the single stack. As far as I understand, the alae that accompanied a legion didn't function seperately, on it's own, and basically always fought directly alongside the legion, so I do it all with one stack. These compositions and house rules are based off of what I know to be historically accurate, at least within game abstraction parameters. I use similar compositions with hellenic/diadochi armies as the ones other have mentioned in this thread.

    Camillan Army
    1 General Unit
    2 Accesni
    1 Leves
    4 Hastati
    4 Principes
    2 Triarii
    2 Rorarii
    1 Equites
    1 Socii Extraordinarii
    2 Aux Cav

    Polybian Army
    1 General Unit
    2 Velites
    1 Aux/AoR Skirmishers
    2 Hastati
    2 Samnitici Hastati
    2 Principes
    2 Principes Samnitici
    1 Triarii
    1 Pedites Extraordinarii
    2 Rorarii
    1 Equites
    1 Socii Equites
    1 Equites Extraordinarii
    1 Aux Cavalry

    -The Camillan Army should fight in phalanx formations and not maniples.
    -The Polybian Army should generally fight with manipular tactics.
    -These are not standing forces and should be disbanded if not actively campaigning/defending...however, historically the Republic was almost constantly at war, so maybe you won't get any significant periods of peace to disband these armies.
    -Aux units should only be from the Peninsula until the start of the 2nd Punic War (218BC).
    -Cavalry general bodyguards should only be used by a character of Consul rank or higher, anyone lower than Consul leading an army should use the available infantry bodyguard. If Consuls are leading "two legions", it is two stacks, the second of which should ideally be eld by a character of Praetor rank.
    -If you need a supply train, I'll let you be the judge what you replace with it.


    Marian/Imperial
    1 General Unit
    1 Eagle Cohort
    9 Cohorts
    1 Antesignani
    1 Equites Legionis
    1 Scorpio
    2 Aux Cav
    2 Aux Skirmishers
    2 Aux Spear Infantry/Evocati/Supply Train/Skirmishers/Aux Cav/Heavy Siege Equipment

    -After the Marian Reforms, no AoR units from the peninsula are to be recruited. Citizen Aux units from the Italia province can be recruited in emergencies.
    -Marian auxiliaries are not a standing force and are disbanded when not actively campaigning; Imperial auxiliaries are standing forces which are never disbanded.
    -I keep Aux barracks in the Italia province even after the Marian reforms, because that allows for the ability to recruit emergency citizen Auxiliaries.
    -Praetorian stacks should consist of Praetorian cohorts, cavalry, and evocati. A scorpio will be included, and any other cavalry and skirmishers should be auxiliaries. One Praetorian legion should be the emperor's personal army and the other should remain in Latium to defend the city of Rome.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Effective and [somewhat] historically accurate army compositions?

    I don't use a copy paste setup for each Roman army, but it's mostly:

    Camillan/Polybian:
    1 general, infantry for siege armies, cav for field armies (when available :p)
    5 elite/hoplite units, so 2-3 triarii, 0-1 AOR Apulian extraordinarii (I slightly buffed their stats), 0-2 AOR hoplites/phalangites
    4-6 principes, usually 50/50 allied and Roman, 4 at the start of the game, to conserve plebian citizens.
    2 additional lighter infantry, usually 50/50 hastati, or some of the merc/AOR light shock infantry
    2-3 cavalry, a mix of AOR and Roman ones, 3 for a field army, 2 for for a siege army
    2-5 ranged units, for field armies: 2-3 skirmishers 1-3 archers/slingers depending on my artillery and presence of a baggage train // for siege armies 1-5 slingers/archers(/skirmishers) depending on my artillery and presence of a baggage train
    0-3 artillery 1 ballistae/scorpio for field armies, 2 ballistae and 1 scorpio for siege armies
    0-1 Baggage train

    Marian/Imperial:

    1 general, infantry for siege armies, cav for field armies (when available :p)
    1 Eagle Cohort
    3-4 Evocati cohorts (I have a game rule to only have 4 veterans as non-bodyguards, including a non-bodyguard Praetorian unit)
    0-1 Praetorian cohort (I have a game rule to only deploy one as non-bodyguard)
    4 regular cohorts
    2 Aux spear/sword infantry
    2-3 cavalry, ideally Aux/AOR ones, 3 for a field army, 2 for for a siege army
    2-5 ranged units, for field armies: 2-3 skirmishers 1-3 archers/slingers depending on my artillery and presence of a baggage train // for siege armies 1-5 slingers/archers(/skirmishers) depending on my artillery and presence of a baggage train
    0-3 artillery 1 ballistae/scorpio for field armies, 2 ballistae and 1 scorpio for siege armies
    0-1 Baggage train

    I don't use special rules for my evocati cohorts, but I do use my AOR veteran units from my UMCenturions Ancient Empires Legions patch, so those have to be recruited in their AOR, and are limited in number. UMC also has AOR recruited legio's, so I encourage myself to build both main and aux barracks in all 'plausible' provinces.
    Last edited by Dardo21; March 09, 2020 at 11:24 AM.

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