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Thread: The Aura of the Orontids: A Hayastan AAR (EB 2.35)

  1. #1

    Default The Aura of the Orontids: A Hayastan AAR (EB 2.35)

    Since I got more requests to do a Hayastan AAR rather than a Koinon Hellenon one, I decided that I'll go with Hayastan first.

    I did a little write up on the historical background and an introduction to the Hayastan campaign in EB 2 to help new players who might feel overwhelmed if they haven't played Hayastan before (or EB 1 or 2 before). I also noted some differences between Hayastan in EB 1 and EB 2 here. I split this introduction from the main LP/AAR, which I will start uploading in a few days (or sooner, time permitting). I will also provide the text of the introductory section in spoilers below. If people find this sort of video introduction to the factions helpful, I will work on doing them for the other factions as well. Enjoy!

    I also want to do an AAR style write up that's a bit separate from the videos... If anyone remembers, many, many years ago I wrote a few AARs... Fun times! Here are links to those old ones in case anyone is interested in my poor battle and writing skills from over a decade ago.... I'd like to think my writing has evolved. real blasts from the past...

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Hayastan in EB 2: Background/Intro/Early Game Tips

    In this video we’ll start playing the Europa Barbarorum 2 campaign as Hayastan – Armenia, and give the historical and gameplay background necessary for new players to get a handle on how to play as Hayastan in terms of what the player needs to consider in both the campaign and in the battles. In the faction description here, we can see that Armenia is listed as being “nigh-impossible” in terms of its difficulty – the hardest difficulty in Europa Barbarorum a faction can have. However, in my opinion, this difficulty is more appropriate for Hayastan in the EB 1 campaign, since in EB 2 there are some important changes․ In EB 1, Hayastan starts with just one province, Hayastan, but in EB 2, the settlement of Samosata (the province of Tsopk, Sophene in Greek) has been added, which was founded by the Yervanduni Armenian king Shamush. This gives Armenia two settlements at the start rather than one, and drastically improves the economic situation of the kingdom at the start of the campaign. In EB 1, you basically had to conquer another settlement or two before being able to climb out of debt at the start of the campaign, but this is no longer the case. This really makes the starting situation of your kingdom more manageable.
    Another important change is the tribute script that you see here. The Yervanduni were kings of Armenia and were not satraps of the Seleucids, but often after periods of conflict they had to pay the Seleucids a sum of money in order to halt their invasions and placate them. The Yervanduni dynasts seem to have been quite content with their domains and did not really participate in that many offensive campaigns, as far as we know. Armenia was fairly rich and large, so it isn’t surprising that the Yervanduni weren’t so expansionist. They of course had their fair share of wars. Anyway, this tribute script basically allows you to pay the Seleucid Empire 3000 gold every year in exchange for peace with your southern neighbors. This basically secures your southern front and makes your early campaign much easier.

    However, the minor factions surrounding Armenia have been given a bit of a power boost to compensate for this. Armenia has several minor factions on its western, northern and eastern borders. To the west, we have the province of Armenia Minor or Lesser Armenia, with its capital at Ani-Kamakh. This was a relatively minor kingdom historically, and it doesn’t pose much of a threat here either. To the northwest, we have the province of Colchis, called Egrisi in EB 2, and it is a bit more important since it gives you sea access. Unlike in EB 1, there are no mountain passes through the Caucasus up north, so you won’t be facing invasions through there. This is a nice change, since most invasions from the north into Armenia were from the northeast, where there is a way to get through to the steppes in EB 2. To the north we have the province of Kartli, or Caucasian Iberia, with its capital at Mtskheta. Mtskheta is a nice place by the way, a nice relaxing tourist destination nowadays. This is one of the stronger neighbors you have here, and they also have an agreement with the Seleucids – if you attack the city of Mtskheta, you will incur the wrath of the Seleucids, so we will leave Kartli alone for now. To the northeast we have the province of Aghvank, with its capital at Kabalaka. Aghvank is the least developed of your neighbors and is the least well-defended, so it’s a good option for your first conquest. Finally, to the southeast, we have the province of Media Atropatene, which represents the historical kingdom of Media Atropatene. Media Atropatene is probably the strongest of these minor factions that border Armenia, so it’s also not really a good candidate to be your first conquest. It is doable though, if you split up the enemy forces effectively and draw them out.

    Anyway, at the start here we have a few armies here, the most important of which is the royal army in the northeast commanded by your king, Yervand. I’m going to consolidate my forces here and launch my first attack on Caucasian Albania.

    One of the reasons Hayastan is such a good faction to play is its unit roster. Historically, Hayastan had a very flexible military at various points during the period of the Yervanduni dynasty and their successors, the Artaxiads, who usurped the throne from the Yervanduni around the turn of the 2nd century BC. Armenia and its neighboring provinces were very diverse in this period, with dozens of tribes living within its various regions. We know about the specifics of this from Xenophon, who in his Anabasis describes the tribes of Armenia he came into contact with during the famous retreat of the 10,000 Greeks from the heartland of the Achaemenid Empire. Of course, Armenia was under the same Yervanduni administration in Xenophon’s time period, so things had not really changed very much in 272 BC, the start of the EB 2 campaign. This diversity is very well represented in EB 2 in a few different ways, the most important of which being the unit roster. Armenia has access to Cappadocian spearmen, skirmishers, cavalry, and archers, Georgian and Colchisian heavy infantry, Armenian spearmen, horse archers, medium cavalry and very powerful cataphracts, Iranian cavalry, and a slew of other local troops as the campaign progresses.

    Another way EB 2 represents the diversity of Armenia in this period is in the government system. In EB 2 every faction has reforms that reflect the historical development or the hypothetical historical development of that faction. At the beginning of the game, Hayastan has the Caucasian tribal kingdom government building in its first two settlements. In order to trigger the next level of Armenia’s reforms, we have to construct this Caucasian tribal kingdom government in four additional settlements, which will trigger the reform into a more centralized Armenian kingdom. This basically reflects the period of Artashes I, who usurped royal power from the Yervanduni (though he did call himself a Yervanduni) and expanded the boundaries of Armenia to include all Armenian speakers. He also founded his new capital at Artashat and tried his best to centralize the kingdom. All of this paved the way for Armenia to become a powerful kingdom in its own right that could better trade blows with the big boys.

    The next level of the reforms takes you from being a regional kingdom to an empire. This process reflect the historical developments that took place in the first century BC, where Tigran II and his son, Artavazd II considered themselves kings of kings and the Armenian government became more imperial in nature, hitting its peak during the reign of Tigran in the first half of the first century. For this to trigger, we need to control 15 settlements, including Armavir, Antioch, Babylon, and Ekbatana. There is another level of reforms for the Armenian government, but we can go over that later. For now, let’s get started and concentrate on becoming a regional centralized kingdom, which will advance our government and give us the power to challenge the Seleucids for supremacy in the region and become an empire.

    First, I’m going to consolidate my forces in the northeast under King Yervand and take Aghvank, and then I will move against Armenia Minor and Kutaisi in the west.

    Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys my first AAR in over a decade.
    Under the patronage of John I Tzimisces

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Aura of the Orontids: A Hayastan AAR (EB 2.35)

    I always go for Trapezous first since it's richer and easier to take than Kutatisi or Media Atropatene. It also has good mercenary infantry in it's roster (Galatian and Thracian) and you can trade with the Bosporan kingdom.

    Pontus is supposed to take Trapezous but they always fail in taking it but that weakens Trapezou's garrison.

    Of the factions in this game, Armenia is the one I have played the most along with Pontus and the Seleukids. That's because I feel that the eastern part of the map is more fleshed out in terms of factions, scrips and units.

    I'm actually excited for 2.4 because it will flesh out the western part of the map a lot.

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Aura of the Orontids: A Hayastan AAR (EB 2.35)

    Great first post for a Hayastan AAR!

    I like the way you introduce this fantastic faction to new players. As my guide is completely outdated by now, your effort will help new players to get accustomed to leading the Yervanduni dynasty to glory.
    And it's a good read, too!

    I'll be following this one very closely.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Aura of the Orontids: A Hayastan AAR (EB 2.35)

    I always go for Trapezous first since it's richer and easier to take than Kutatisi or Media Atropatene. It also has good mercenary infantry in it's roster (Galatian and Thracian) and you can trade with the Bosporan kingdom.

    Pontus is supposed to take Trapezous but they always fail in taking it but that weakens Trapezou's garrison.
    You make a good point about Trapezous. It gives sea access and a couple of nice auxiliary infantry... I went for Kabalaka in this campaign though.

    I like the way you introduce this fantastic faction to new players. As my guide is completely outdated by now, your effort will help new players to get accustomed to leading the Yervanduni dynasty to glory.
    And it's a good read, too!
    Thanks a lot! I definitely hope it will help newer players out - EB can be intimidating. Hope you enjoy the AAR!

    Chapter 1: King Yervand's New Groove

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The ancient landscape was much different from our own. In our modern efforts to build and expand, we destroy and break apart. For the ancients, they saw history in front of them every day. When Cyrus II marched into Babylon, something that caught his eye was a large royal inscription of Ashurbanipal, king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire who had reigned a century before him. King Nabonidus of Babylon, during temple renovations, discovered ancient inscriptions of Ur-Nammu, who had reigned well over a thousand years before him.

    Hayastan was no different. Looking down upon the glorious Yervanduni capital, Armavir, was the formerly great Urartian fortress – Artgishtikhinili. The current capital, Armavir, had been constructed over the ruins of the Urartian settlement...

    King Yervand III gazed upon the hilltop where the remains of the Urartian fortress lay abandoned and destroyed by enemies long forgotten.

    Khaldian fools. Now they serve us, the Yervanduni. We are truly of noble stock – descendents of Darius I Achaemenid,” Yervand said to himself, “Who was Argishti? Truly, nobody will remember him. I’m glad my ancestors told Herodotus nothing about those barbaric Khaldians.”

    Yervand thought of his ancestors. Yervand, the founder of our house, bless his memory. The great Tigran Yervanduni, friend of Cyrus. The loyal and strong satraps. Yervand II, who fought bravely and effectively against the invading Macedonians.

    “Father, am I disturbing you?” said ShamushYervanduni, the crown prince.

    “No, my son. I was just thinking about our ancestors, and about how much better we are than those Khaldian kings from long ago,” said Yervand haughtily.”

    “Father, the Seleucid basileos wants his tribute early this year, or he will attack with his armies,” said Shamush, almost completely ignoring his father’s statement.

    “Son, I know that you don’t like this arrangement, but it’s the best thing for our people, for you. Surely you know that we are in no position to challenge the Seleucid Empire right now,” Yervand tersely replied.

    “Father, aren’t you tired of this? We are of noble stock. Our ancestors were great friends of the greatest king who ever lived, Cyrus II. Our people are strong. Don’t forget that it was our army that was successful during the disastrous battles against Alexandros. Even the Khaldians, look at the empire they were able to create to rival the great Semiramis of Assyria...”

    “Enough of this!” Yervand roared.

    “No, father, enough of your attitude! You know full well that the Macedonians treat us like second-rate has-been kings. Our infrastructure crumbles. Our roads are nonexistent. Tribalism rules and there is little order outside the walls of Armavir...”

    “But what about our new summer capital in Tsopk/Sophene, Shamshat/Samosata? I even named it after you...” interrupted Yervand weakly.

    “I don’t want a city named after me, father. I want our house to have its dignity back. Our country, Hayastan – it needs order. It needs a strong king to keep the tribes and upstart princes in line!” Shamush said optimistically. He had never been able to stand up to his father like this, but he felt he had no choice. “You know that if we don’t do something quickly, there may be an uprising. There are rumors that the Seleucids are looking to turn us into another mere satrapy of theirs...”

    “A satrapy of Macedonian fools! NEVER!” the king bellowed.

    “What do you want to do then, father?” Shamush inquired.

    “Son, I am sorry for my tone. You are right. I am almost an old man, and I have few accomplishments to my name. The tribes run rampant and few pay their taxes. Our country is rich in resources, but impious nobles enrich themselves. If this keeps up, we will simply be another page in those Greek history books. We cannot continue to look to the past for glory and wisdom. We have to do these things ourselves – we have to be strong. The Seleucids pillage our kingdom for their own benefit... We will oblige them for now, but I have a plan to challenge these enemies of justice...” Yervand trailed off.

    “What is your plan father?” Shamush wondered aloud.

    “My son, I have to take the royal army and go. You must stay and protect the capital. Those pesky Kartvelians to the north have always looked upon our capital with jealousy, wanting to expand their pitiful domain. You must not let them take it. I will go to Caucasian Albania, to Aghvank/Aluank. The tribes there are weak and we will be able to subdue them and take the main settlement there, Kabalaka. The Seleucids have no arrangement with them, so no one shall oppose us there. Following that, we will crush the remaining nobles of the region and return to Armavir, where we will plan our next move.”

    “Father, I am so glad you have your groove back.”

    “Me too, son, me too...” Yervand said, smiling.

    The Armenian king looked out over the village of Kabalaka. It was the only real settlement in the area and it had a charm to it. What was not so charming was the large army that had gathered in the town to defend it. Yervand knew that there were rumors of another Albanian army on the way, and that the Armenian king must be swift in his assault. It had been awhile since he had fought in such an engagement.

    “Horse archers! Move to the right side of town. You must distract them and take out as many of them as you can with your arrows. The enemy does not have any cavalry, so there is no threat to you. Khaldians! Charge right into the center of town in formation and distract their melee troops in the front while I charge them from behind. Colchian infantry and Cappadocian spearmen – charge from the left and right,” Yervand ordered.

    “Milord, but this attack pattern will expose the Khaldians to severe casualties! They won't last that long against the Georgian heavy infantry!” said the royal attendant.

    “I may not like the Khaldians, but with their pikes they are perfect for street combat. Don’t worry, attendant!” said Yervand.

    The battle was fierce and bloody. King Yervand had been right – the Khaldians admirably held their ground against a thousand troops that were better equipped. The enemy lost hundreds of soldiers to the Khaldian attack on the main street of town, while the Khaldian unit only lost a few dozen. King Yervand’s cataphract’s charge in the rear eliminated the enemy javelin units that had been pelted from behind by arrows from the Armenian horse archers, and the Colchian infantry charge from the left flank had been especially devastating. Kabalaka’s defenses completely collapsed.

    “I’m sorry I doubted you sir,” said the attendant.

    “I’m sorry too.” replied Yervand.

    Yervand was overjoyed by the success of the assault, but he knew that this was just the first step on the road to increasing his royal power. The Albanians surely had an army lying in wait to catch the Armenians off-guard, and rumor had it the Georgians had a large raiding party somewhere to the north of Armenia.

    “Attendant! Order my Cappadocian medium and javelin cavalry to return to Armavir quickly so that we can consolidate our forces quickly.”

    However, the king had made a miscalculation.

    “Milord, horrible news from Armavir. The Cappadocians made it back to the capital, but they have taken a good number of casualties and are badly bloodied. Forces of the Kingdom of Kartli are to blame – they were lying in wait in the forest,” said the attendent gloomily.

    Yervand sat silently. He had been elated just a few days earlier. He thought of the casualties, the unnecessary casualties caused by his folly. He was trying to show that Yervanduni Armenia was the strongest kingdom in the region, that only he could unite the small kingdoms in the area and challenge the Seleucids, freeing his people from Macedonian tyranny... But how could he do that, when he could not even order a detachment back to his capital without them getting ambushed? On top of all of this, the Albanian forces were approaching, threatening Kabalaka and the garrison within.

    “Call my son! Tonight, we ride together against Kartli!”

    The evening battle with Kartli was wet and muddy. The enemy was hiding deep in the forest, forcing Yervand to draw them out with the Armenian cavalry. Though the Georgians had a unit of very strong Iranian-style half-cataphracts, they were no match for the Armenian king who charged down the hill at them. The rout was especially brutal, and Kartli’s raiding party was no more.

    “Father, I am glad we rode together tonight,” said Shamush, who took down several warriors himself during the melee.

    “Son, I am so proud of you. You will be a good shepherd of our people. You always think about them, about protecting them from the extortion of tyrants. We must fight, we must keep fighting,” said Yervand.

    The Caucasian Albanians had gathered outside Kabalaka, but they were unaware that the town had been left unattended while the Armenian king had gone to deal with the Kartli forces. This gave Yervand ample time to charge at them with the whole army while they were dumbstruck at the whole situation. The casualties were many, and the Caucasian Albanian forces melted away...

    The king returned to the capital in order for the army to lick its wounds and prepare for the next campaign. This was just the first step on the road to restoring royal authority over Armenia. The time of petty noblemen squabbling over power and money was going to end, but the king needed more successes to truly centralize his kingdom.

    King Yervand III peered out over the walls of Armavir and looked upon the fortress of Argishtikhinili.

    “Your descendants, the Khaldians, I must admit they fight well, Argishti. They will always fight for this land, for the king of this land. I will show you that I too can challenge the imperial menace to the south, I too can be a great king like no Yervanduni has ever been!”

    Last edited by Drtad; August 06, 2020 at 04:48 PM.
    Under the patronage of John I Tzimisces

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Aura of the Orontids: A Hayastan AAR (EB 2.35)

    Hi everyone, sorry for the delays in getting the second episode out! Had lots of work and side projects to get done... But here is part 2!

    In this episode, the king dies in a stupid way, a Khaldian pikeman fights a whole army for 20 minutes, a new king is crowned, and 2 provinces are captured.
    Under the patronage of John I Tzimisces

  6. #6

    Default Re: The Aura of the Orontids: A Hayastan AAR (EB 2.35)

    Episode 3 is up! Sorry for the comparatively poor audio quality, had some technical issues.

    In this episode, we don't get the reforms we want due to a surprise attack on our western border!

    Sorry I haven't had time to do write ups alongside these, things have been hectic...
    Under the patronage of John I Tzimisces

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Aura of the Orontids: A Hayastan AAR (EB 2.35)

    Here is episode 4 (sorry again for the mediocre audio - it is fixed in the next ep. I had actually recorded eps 3 and 4 with the wrong microphone enabled...). After several trials and tribulations, including a surprise Parthian attack and the most annoying battle in history in the fog that had Carrhae potential, the first tier of the reforms have been completed!

    Under the patronage of John I Tzimisces

  8. #8
    Lusitanio's Avatar Content Staff
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    Jan 2018

    Default Re: The Aura of the Orontids: A Hayastan AAR (EB 2.35)

    Watch out to not get your army overextended and busy in multiple fronts. I saw you wanted to attacked the Seleucids but first you should destroy the enemies near your frontiers.

    Really foggy battle indeed

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Aura of the Orontids: A Hayastan AAR (EB 2.35)

    Oh yeah that battle was such a pain. xD

    Not planning on attacking the Seleucids - definitely want to build up a bit more first, grow the capital into a minor city and construct the upgraded government buildings to get access to better units. Then I'll go for Mtskheta and trigger the war with the Seleucids...
    Under the patronage of John I Tzimisces

  10. #10

    Default Re: The Aura of the Orontids: A Hayastan AAR (EB 2.35)

    Here is episode 5! Audio is back to normal here. In this episode, Pontus sues for peace, we invade Cappadocia, and the Nabataean threat grows...

    Under the patronage of John I Tzimisces

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