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Thread: Utterly overwhelmed

  1. #1
    Double A's Avatar person man
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    Default Utterly overwhelmed

    I've been playing this series for over a decade and I have no idea what to do in this mod. EB was fun but I never truly got into it so I don't have much experience to draw on. It had a lot going on and I never really grasped all of it. This seems to be even more severe. I'm at a complete loss for how to play this mod.

    In no particular order, here are the things I'm flummoxed by:

    Every faction seems to have different requirements for leading armies. Rome and Carthage, at least, have traits that imply a FM should or shouldn't be leading (Carthage's is even more obvious since it nukes a general's command stat). On top of this, they also have elections. I don't know how I'm supposed to understand how these systems function, if they're just suggestions for roleplaying or Bad ThingsTM will happen if I use these generals to lead campaigns, and either way if defending with them is acceptable.

    All the units are incredibly alien. I'm not just talking about the names - while I can appreciate the work that went into all these authentic names they don't lend themselves well to me understand what they do on the battlefield - but the stats too. ~20 missile damage for melee infantry javelins and 13 for dedicated skirmishers seems to be standard. Won't this just absolutely mow down everything? How do I deal with this? Let leves and the like soak the javelins? How does a hoplite with 8 attack measure up to a hastati? Are toxotes with their 4 attack just completely useless against anyone with a shield or minimal armor? Even cretans, with 5 attack, sound trashy. I'll note now I haven't played a battle yet because I'm facing heaps of decision paralysis.

    There seem to be multiple government building chains? And some buildings seem to have a purpose that is not obvious. Also, some building chains trade out recruitable troops. I don't really know how to plan around all this.

    Rebels seem to be overwhelming. I understand that they're more akin to minor factions but some of them look like they could seriously kick my ass - looking at Syracuse in particular. How is their behavior governed so they don't annihilate everything? How am I supposed to handle them?

    The economy seems nuts. Units and buildings cost obscenely more than they do in any other mod I can think of except maybe Rusichi (it's been awhile) but their impact hasn't been scaled up to match. How do I account for this? Smash end turn without building anything until I have a sizable war chest, a new city, and fewer living soldiers in need of payment? Also, I can't seem to see predicted income changes in a city econ tab, which makes this difference even harder to take into account.

    Traits are just buck wild. I don't know what's important and what's fluff. Gens, aptitude, temperament, elected office, even biography all seem to apply I should be doing very specific things with FMs. I just can't figure out what, exactly, it all means when taken together.

    The timescale of this seems to be much more drawn out than vanilla. Marian reforms in 500-600 turns? I don't think I've ever made it past turn 150 in any TW game, averaging around 30 turns for short or unfinished campaigns and 80 for longer ones. Is this... really how people play this mod? How do you endure anything for that long? When I snowball past the point of challenge, I get bored and start a new game. But, if I could force myself to play that long, I can't see how I wouldn't have conquered the whole map by then.

    There's just so much I seem to have to know and read that it's really turning me off the idea of playing. I'm willing to put in some effort, but part of me is anxiously freaking out because this looks ridiculously demanding.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    I'll note now I haven't played a battle yet because I'm facing heaps of decision paralysis
    I'm willing to put in some effort
    Play the game and your problems will be resolved. If some aren't, then ask your question on the forum. Then play again now knowing better, rinse and repeat.

    Or if you want to put some effort, as you claim, read the PDF guide (I'm surprised you ignored that) or any of the pinned threads in this forum.

    Honestly if you get anxious like that at seeing long descriptions, then maybe don't bother, perhaps the mod isn't for you.

  3. #3
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    This is a detailed mod designed for a very long campaign. If you're not willing to put in at least 200 turns, it's probably going to be a frustrating waste of your time.

  4. #4
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    This guide may help you as well. But without interest in this period of history, you won't get much fun from playing, I suppose.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    The EB installation comes with a guide in its directory. Here you find the most important concepts explained, you see the offices, and the government trees. This should help you a lot and even I look regularly into the government trees to figure out what I want. It is sorted by general concepts and faction specific concepts, so you should find your way around quickly.

    As the others pointed out, the best thing to learn is to just play and go for trial and error. Traits are are sometimes very important (governing citites), sometimes not that important (generals, you can still put any general in the army and the personal skill of the player should overcome any negative modifiers the general might bring). Sometimes it´s roleplaying with only minor benefits (like the offices, or the ethnicity) and can be ignored if it seems too daunting. As a general tip: If you are not sure what something does look at the end of the building or trait description.

    But yeah, this mod requires patience and lots of reading. In the beginning money will be a problem and there are two main ways out of it: Conquer or disband and consolidate. Mines are your friend and you don´t have to build anything. Remember, it was hailed as a lifetime achievement when a ruler build one (!) public building in his lifetime such as a temple, market or infrastructure.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    There's an attached pdf manual in the mod's install folder that covers some of the faction-specific stuff like the traits and elections, give that a read if you want more info.

    But, in broad strokes, the game is based around fairly slow-burn long-term narrative play. Expect to sink a few weeks or months into a single campaign. You'll have much more fun if you take your time, read up on stuff as you go (actually reading the unit/building/region descriptions is one of my favourite things to do in this mod, but then I enjoy reading history), and most important of all, accept setbacks and don't ragequit because you feel like you messed up.

    This isn't legendary-difficulty Warhammer 2 where you need to figure out an optimal way to play and the joy comes from "beating" the game. You can make bad decisions in EBII and still have a rewarding campaign if you can weave those bad decisions (and their negative consequences) into your campaign's story - e.g. the loss of an important city may push your faction out of a particular part of the map or dry up recruitment of a particular unit type but choosing to react to this in a narrative way (like, say, slowly changing your army compositions or taking on more mercenaries to fill the gap caused by the loss of that region) makes the experience enjoyable even though you did something "wrong".

    Hope that helps with decision paralysis - also, if you don't know what to do, ask yourself what your character (general, faction leader, local city governor) would do, try and do that, accept the consequences, and try and learn from them. E.g. for recruitment buildings, for the hellenistic factions there's a choice between colonisation (which will change local culture and give you quality faction troops, but it takes ages, is expensive, limited, and can cause unrest in the short-term and in specific regions) and recruiting local troops (which will not change the region to your local culture but give you a wealth of local "auxiliaries" and long-term public order problems, potentially). Which one should you build? Well, read about the region, what its relationship to various empires was, what troops might be available, and what kind of person the governor or faction leader is (tolerant of local cultures or a hellenistic chauvinist?), and then decide based on that.

    Thinking about the game in this "narrative" way is hugely fun for certain people. If that doesn't sound appealing at all then you might potentially struggle with the mod.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    You mention that you haven't fought any battles yet, this is the starting place for you to figure out the game. Your questions regarding the unit stats will be answered by this experience - I'll just mention briefly that units tend to have slightly higher hitpoints and armor values in EBII so you have a situation where elite units are killing their enemies at a decent clip while less trained soldiers provide good bodies for the battle line but have to put in more effort in order to get good kills. If you feel lost trying to find a good metric of comparison between units in EBII you'll want to use the defense stats (armor and defense skill) as these are integral to the combat mechanics and correspond directly to the units' effectiveness on the battle map.

    Once you are actually fighting battles, you will either develop the skills you need to feel less threatened by the other rebel armies or you will find that you need to turn the difficulty down, no shame in this as the director of the mod (Quintus) infamously plays on a low difficult setting. Your conquests in the game will be your main source of money, which will put a different perspective on the price of units and buildings to make purchases more feasible. To understand what the government system does, you should read the player's guide which Jurand posted.

    Good luck

  8. #8
    z3n's Avatar State of Mind
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    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    About archers, they are less deadly to armoured units and always have been.

    During the crusades for example there were armoured soldiers walking around looking like pin cushions because the arrows could not pierce their surcoats and armor. Generally movies and popular media portray armor as being unimportant but in EBII a fair amount of importance is placed on it. Javelins were more effective versus armor due to their weight and size but still not the greatest vs shields.

    As for the duration of the campaign, the Marian reforms aren't really a big deal. If you dont like waiting that long you can change the turn minimum yourself in the campaign script, it would be a little ahistorical but perhaps more fun for you.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    Quote Originally Posted by Double A View Post
    All the units are incredibly alien. I'm not just talking about the names - while I can appreciate the work that went into all these authentic names they don't lend themselves well to me understand what they do on the battlefield - but the stats too. ~20 missile damage for melee infantry javelins and 13 for dedicated skirmishers seems to be standard. Won't this just absolutely mow down everything? How do I deal with this? Let leves and the like soak the javelins? How does a hoplite with 8 attack measure up to a hastati? Are toxotes with their 4 attack just completely useless against anyone with a shield or minimal armor? Even cretans, with 5 attack, sound trashy. I'll note now I haven't played a battle yet because I'm facing heaps of decision paralysis.

    There seem to be multiple government building chains? And some buildings seem to have a purpose that is not obvious. Also, some building chains trade out recruitable troops. I don't really know how to plan around all this.

    Rebels seem to be overwhelming. I understand that they're more akin to minor factions but some of them look like they could seriously kick my ass - looking at Syracuse in particular. How is their behavior governed so they don't annihilate everything? How am I supposed to handle them?

    The economy seems nuts. Units and buildings cost obscenely more than they do in any other mod I can think of except maybe Rusichi (it's been awhile) but their impact hasn't been scaled up to match. How do I account for this? Smash end turn without building anything until I have a sizable war chest, a new city, and fewer living soldiers in need of payment? Also, I can't seem to see predicted income changes in a city econ tab, which makes this difference even harder to take into account.

    Traits are just buck wild. I don't know what's important and what's fluff. Gens, aptitude, temperament, elected office, even biography all seem to apply I should be doing very specific things with FMs. I just can't figure out what, exactly, it all means when taken together.

    The timescale of this seems to be much more drawn out than vanilla. Marian reforms in 500-600 turns? I don't think I've ever made it past turn 150 in any TW game, averaging around 30 turns for short or unfinished campaigns and 80 for longer ones. Is this... really how people play this mod? How do you endure anything for that long? When I snowball past the point of challenge, I get bored and start a new game. But, if I could force myself to play that long, I can't see how I wouldn't have conquered the whole map by then.

    There's just so much I seem to have to know and read that it's really turning me off the idea of playing. I'm willing to put in some effort, but part of me is anxiously freaking out because this looks ridiculously demanding.
    It's worth at least reading the beginning of unit card where you have English name of unit, as well as detailed stats that you can see through recruitment viewer that's in EBII mod folder. It'll give you some sense about what the unit actually does. For example, most heavy infantry pack javelins which can be quite powerful, like Roman pila, but they have low range and only 2 ammo per soldier. Regular skirmishers have around 5 ammo, while archers have 25, horse archers 40 and slingers 32.
    Speaking of ranged units, they can be trickier to use properly than is usual in TW games. Historically, in this period they had mostly support role, and this is reflected in game. They're usually cheap but cost-effective, but you need to micromanage them a bit. Don't waste ammo shooting the enemy from the front, maneuver them to get a good shot at sides or rear of the enemy and they can turn the tide of battle. And even when they expend their ammo, they are cheap bodies to throw at the side or rear of enemy unit that's on the brink of routing, and they move faster than heavy infantry, so they can pursue the routers. Overall, the battle dynamics are different than what you're used to, often you'll get the near stalemate of clashing infantry lines, and it will be up to the supporting light troops to find and exploit the breaking point which will start the chain rout.

    Overall the campaign pacing is slower. It will take time to build economy and army. For example, most elite troops take 24 turns to replenish a single unit from depleted pool, far cry from vanilla. Artillery takes even longer. You won't get away with elite spam either-most of your field armies will be made up largely from a mid-level quality troops. There will be times when your turns will consist of just moving a few agents around and building. Going to war is much more about preparation, planning and decisive action than the usual slugfest of TW, and replenishing troops in newly conquered territories is often nearly impossible, so you won't snowball much. You will see that even after turn 100 there will be some rebel settlements, and it will take far more than 200 turns to conquer most of the map. Fortunately, they're not much aggressive, at VH they might attack if they border a weak settlement, they'll move to do a bit raiding, but not much. Most of the early game in fact constitutes of stabilizing your faction as you usually start with oversized army but weak economy, the trick is spending your early army creating a better economy through conquest.

    Many traits are fluff for roleplaying and historical immersion, like gens. Some others, you need to look at mouseover description to get English name and description. Roman elections are I think second most complex trait system in EBII (Carthaginian is first I think), but you get description in EBII guide as well as in two places ingame. Worth reading, it's not as bad as it looks at first glance...just stuff every new family member into Rome for a while to get basic education, then move them out to be in the field (not necessarily leading armies, all they need is to spend some turns outside settlements...good for padding you cavalry force), and move those eglible for office into Rome for winter, you'll get notification when they gain the eglible for whatever trait. After you get a decent sized empire, you can pretty much ignore the elections anyway for most of the time, you don't really need your generals to have imperium as long as you don't autoresolve, care for all the mess with triumphs or are preparing for Marian reforms which need specific trait for elected official. By the time you've conquered Iberia and Carthage, you can easily get away with just stuffing every new FM into Rome until their late 20's for education, then distributing them according to their strengths.

    The government system and reforms are the biggest reason why you should read the guide. Don't worry about the length, most pages are diagrams that present various factions' governments in comprehensive form. Just read the beginning to get a sense of how allied governments work and then your faction's specifics.

    And don't worry too much about being overwhelmed. Most of the stuff will come naturally as you play, and discovering it is part of the fun.
    Last edited by Sar1n; February 27, 2020 at 03:08 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    Think of it like this: All the reasons you listed that make this mod a bit daunting are also precisely what make it the GOAT. Keep at it you'll find your bearings in no time.

  11. #11
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar I am your sovereign now
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    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    Quote Originally Posted by z3n View Post
    As for the duration of the campaign, the Marian reforms aren't really a big deal.
    I agree with your post except for this one statement here, which I find to be downright puzzling.

    Do you mean he can have plenty of fun with Camillan and Polybian units? That's one thing and another thing entirely to say the Marian reforms are inconsequential. They are enormously consequential, not just for the introduction of shiny new Marian-era Roman legionary units, skirmishers and cavalry, but also because the Roman player finally gets to recruit native Latin Roman units in the directly governed provinces (i.e. those built by the player outside Italy that lack the installment of a tributary state, allied oligarchy or democracy). To be honest, this is one of the major stumbling blocks for the Roman player as opposed to any generic Hellenistic faction that can just recruit Greek units throughout the Mediterranean all the way to ancient France and Spain by building colonial infrastructure and new poleis. In that regard the various Hellenistic factions have a huge advantage over the Romans.

  12. #12
    z3n's Avatar State of Mind
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    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    I meant that he can change the script if he wants the Marian units faster, as I recall it isnt a complex change it may even just be changing one number.

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  13. #13

    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    Sounds like you're trying to understand the system inside and out before playing. If the paralysis is overwhelming I'd suggest ending turns, letting the dice roll, and experiment.

    Rome and Carthage are some of the most complex factions in the game, and that includes their process of conquest. There are many factions that don't need to fulfill complex objectives to build an empire. Such as the mainland Celtic and Iberian tribes, as well as Egypt and Seleukeia. Don't worry about Rebels. If you're not playing on Hard, they won't attack unless you've built watchtowers or are sending weak units through their territory. Even on Hard where they can besiege ungarrisoned settlements, there won't be any hostile empire building unlike with the other factions.

    Agreed about the timescale of EBII being longer than other TW games, though I've had plenty of vanilla TW campaigns that went past 200 turns, and I'd argue campaign victories in Rome 2 and Attila take longer than EBII reforms. There are many factions you can get good mileage out of without completing the reforms, including Carthage.

    You can get a rough estimate of usefulness and function of many units by looking at their unit cards. If they look expensively attired and well armoured, it's safe to assume they're elite or at least professional and will perform well. If they look like you just picked some dudes off a farm, they'll perform accordingly. The rock-papers-scissors style from Shogun 2 isn't present here. Tactics, flanking, and caliber of soldier are far more important.

    Yes, you shouldn't build anything until until you have a steady income of a thousand or two, or you have good defenses and aren't planning anything for a while. I wouldn't say it's that different from recent vanilla Total Wars. Sure, you need to put out more money, but you don't need to deal with those tedious tech trees.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    Furthermore, only Carthage and Rome really have these crippling requirements for being generals, but it is a tradeoff. Carthage's war-leader will give a generous Command, Confidence and even Mobility boost, at the price that it will be difficult (but not impossible) to active in the early stages of conflicts and that you will have to keep a bunch of general hopefuls mocking in the capital until they get elected and be able to lead an army to the conflict. Have in mind, though, that non-generals will pretty much always have 0 Command, they can still achieve fairly decent Confidence with their troops, so while risky, it is not an instant loss to engage with non-sanctioned armies.

    Edit: Regarding Rome, I am not really too familiar with their system, just started with them. However, they seem to be able to eventually gather a fairly impressive number of permanent generals comparing to Carthage, so careful management of the career of your FMs will reward you with great governors (due to all the added influence) and generals when you need them.

    Other factions have a war-leader trait, but no actual penalties for using other FMs as generals, so, ultimately, whatever.
    Last edited by RodriguesSting; February 28, 2020 at 02:18 PM.

  15. #15
    Lusitanio's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    Carthage is actually quite easy to understand. For making war, you have the main and secondary Generals and the normal generals that don't have any bonus (in fact, they have some penalties), so it's useful to use the elected Generals for war. However, the Governors don't get any penalties so you can always use them to defend the territory without any maulus.

    For my submod, I actually added some more maulus which makes things far worse but there will be other things compensating.

  16. #16
    Double A's Avatar person man
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    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    Aright, I read the guides and fought the Apuli army with Mesalla's force. Javelins were significantly less lethal than I imagined, even the 20 attack ones. I can dig this.

    I think I'd rather try someone without complex offices, though. Barbarians with the mercenary system look pretty interesting, as do the Sarmatians and their raiding. How do horse archers measure up in this?
    Last edited by Double A; February 28, 2020 at 09:23 PM.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    Quote Originally Posted by Double A View Post
    I think I'd rather try someone without complex offices, though. Barbarians with the mercenary system look pretty interesting, as do the Sarmatians and their raiding. How do horse archers measure up in this?
    You'll need to pull some kiting and micromanaging to get most of them, but they can be quite powerful if you manage to make them consistently attack enemy rear.

    Or if you want something real simple, go with Makedonia or Epiros. After the initial three-way slugfest in Greece, they're quite straightforward, the biggest problem you'll face are colony points and requirements and when to switch in hellenic centers from factional to allied government (you should do that after you build advanced infrastructure and proper colony level) to avoid the order penalties turning city rebel. No big mess with traits either, just stuff all new FMs in Athens or Sparta, depending on whether they're physically good enough to go through Agoge, and you're set.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    A faction I could recommend to a beginner is Pergamon. It looks more daunting than it is. It has no complicated office system, is placed in a wealthy region, has a good starting army to quickly gain a few territories, access to a great selection of hellenic and regional troops, and has some automatic and non-automatic reforms that are not far off. I always found it easier to start with a small faction to learn the management as you slowly grow and can start playing with a limited number of characters and territories. My advice for Pergamon is to join your Seleucid overlord/ally in driving the Ptolomai out of your region. Your starting army should be enough to capture their two cities in your neighbourhood. This and the rebel towns to the north should give you a nice and wealthy (mines!) powerbase from where you can learn the management and plan your next steps.

    Edit: The major things that you might struggle with like the Galatian rebels, the Seleucid Empire next to you, and the Hellenic colonies are easier to understand than other mechanics and you should be able to quickly get a grasp.
    Last edited by Humbug_Total; February 29, 2020 at 04:17 AM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    In my opinion, microing skirmishers to shoot the back of your enemies is only worth it if you have a very small battlefield (not in the size of the terrain, but small number of troops involved) and nothing else to micro.

    Yes, even javelins, even the soliferrum (strongest javelin in the game) will not do impressive damage from the front against line troops, but against these, their role is really to just harass, and even the worst archer can do that. The line infantry in question will immediately start running after the skirmishers, who are not only faster, but (usually) also have better stamina, thus tiring out the enemy much faster than themselves. That (expensive, possibly keystone) unit will be removed from the battle wile chasing your (cheap, throwaway) skirmisher. This is how TW skirmishers were conceived, ever since Sword of Samurai's real time battles.

    Now, who they can do a lot of damage are light troops (other skirmishers, barbarian core), cavalry (who will immediately charge them, and if you positioned your skirmishers as a screen in front of your main line, this means this cavalry threw away the opportunity for a flank attack and are now well within reach of your heavy infantry), and are good on forcing the enemy to attack you (they won't take gladly being pelted by slingshots or arrows, and will eventually move out of their position to attack, even when in defensive), giving you stamina and possibly terrain advantage.

    Skirmisher cavalry, horse archers, and light cavalry with javelins can be used more proactively, but just by virtue of being cavalry you will want to micro them. Javelins threw on the backs of enemy elite infantry (say, bodyguards) will make the engagement much quicker, out-damaging a charge and melee in the same timeframe. As cavalry have the mobility (and lower numbers) to position themselves much better than their dismounted counterparts, go ham.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Utterly overwhelmed

    Missiles don't do so great at killing enemy units in EB II, unless you get a sizable force of 6 or more archer units at which point the concentrated firepower starts to become enough to wipe out one unit at a time. But because ammo is limited, it still has to serve in a supporting role to a full army of melee units. If you're using horse archer armies, hit and run tactics with charge attacks will be essential to defeating the enemy. This type of army takes a lot of micromanagement to target missiles at the right enemies while using repeated cavalry charges to cause routs and whittle down their numbers. On the other hand, you'll find missiles really useful as a weapon against the enemy morale. Pretty much all missile attacks cause a morale penalty to the unit being fired on. You can use archers and javelin volleys strategically against units that you think are at risk of routing to push them over the edge and assist your melee units on the battle line. This will wind up being an integral part of using a horse archer army because victory requires that you rout the enemy units using heavy cavalry charges against units frightened by your missiles.

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