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Thread: Settlement central square and morale of defending units

  1. #1

    Default Settlement central square and morale of defending units

    My issue may be more related to Medieval II than EBII, but since I am not interested in any other TW game besides EBII for now, I'll ask here. Are there any others who find that the central square mechanic ruins the enjoyment of settlement battles? I mean when the defending army routs, such as during a sally, they all make it to the central marketplace and regain morale and become superior to the winning party's exhausted troops? To me that is a major source of grief.

    I just started a new Sweboz campaign and carelessly ended up getting sallied by a superior force. I played the battle really meticulously and ended up causing a rout at a time when my in-battle casualties were only 15%. Once I had pursued the enemy to the center, I started losing troops in a final battle that would take ages. The losses were 15-76% initially. Then 16-76%, 17-76%, etc. In previous campaigns, I have learned that one way to prevent that outcome is to try to smuggle units such as cavalry to the defending army's flank within the city and finish them along their escape route. But that is not possible all the time, and it's kind of gamey and artificial. I use huge unit size like most (I believe), so maneuvering within the settlements is quite difficult.

    Is there any way to negate that effect technically or any other way to play the battle in a way that would make more sense? Or do I have to start auto-resolving settlement battles although they are some of the most gratifying moments in a tough campaign? I do understand that there is a real-life morale effect for "last stand" defenders, which is why military leaders have advocated allowing the enemy an escape route since the classical antiquity. But what we see in the game is not really believable.

    I welcome all discussion; both rants about the game mechanic without a solution and opinions defending the mechanic. If you have any input, please comment.
    Last edited by Septentrionalis; November 25, 2020 at 03:07 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Settlement central square and morale of defending units

    There have been some famous last stands in antiquity, and generally when siege culminated in successful assault, defenders were rarely shown any mercy...so it's not that unbelievable.

    In any case...never play with battle timer on, EBII battles are too slow for that. Use that time. Move your troops to positions to surround the square rather than attacking from one direction, give them time to rest, and if the square is large enough, try to flank some of defending units...they might not break, but when flanked they're still easier to cut down.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Settlement central square and morale of defending units

    Concerning siege offense - you can pick off the AI defenders before they entrench themselves in the square. You need to surround the enemy unit and rout it. You just need to be slow and meticulous about it - yeah I know it's not fun for everyone at all times. That being said, I actually like to trap the AI in the square. There's something really good in hammering those annoying enemy skirmishers with fresh heavy infantry...

    Concerning siege defense - my experience tells me that the walls are essentially broken for the player. They don't give the defenders the advantage they should. If you're defending, almost the entire AI army will just blob on a tiny section of the wall and it will cause a rout on your side with sheer numbers. Locked morale is bad, but seeing your army rout for no good reason is worse. What I do is offer token resistance on the wall (with light troops) and await the main force of the enemy at the city center. Also, I try to be on the offensive to prevent siege defense scenarios in the first place.
    Last edited by Rad; November 25, 2020 at 11:30 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Settlement central square and morale of defending units

    Quote Originally Posted by Sar1n View Post
    There have been some famous last stands in antiquity, and generally when siege culminated in successful assault, defenders were rarely shown any mercy...so it's not that unbelievable.
    I am not sure that I follow what you mean. I mean the game gives them buffs so that they are extremely hard to kill even though they just panicked and had a general rout. And now they keep causing casualties to the winning party. That is unbelieveable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sar1n View Post
    In any case...never play with battle timer on, EBII battles are too slow for that. Use that time. Move your troops to positions to surround the square rather than attacking from one direction, give them time to rest, and if the square is large enough, try to flank some of defending units...they might not break, but when flanked they're still easier to cut down.
    That is great advice. I do play without the timer, but I never considered that I should carefully handle the square battle. I guess I could pull my troops and regroup them around the square using the x6 time factor so it doesn't take all evening.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Settlement central square and morale of defending units

    Quote Originally Posted by Rad View Post
    Concerning siege offense - you can pick off the AI defenders before they entrench themselves in the square. You need to surround the enemy unit and rout it. You just need to be slow and meticulous about it - yeah I know it's not fun for everyone at all times. That being said, I actually like to trap the AI in the square. There's something really good in hammering those annoying enemy skirmishers with fresh heavy infantry...
    Yeah, that is kind of what I meant but I used the wrong word "flank". I meant "rear". If the way to the square is full of my troops, the routing enemy does not survive the rout.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rad View Post
    Concerning siege defense - my experience tells me that the walls are essentially broken for the player. They don't give the defenders the advantage they should. If you're defending, almost the entire AI army will just blob on a tiny section of the wall and it will cause a rout on your side with sheer numbers. Locked morale is bad, but seeing your army rout for no good reason is worse. What I do is offer token resistance on the wall (with light troops) and await the main force of the enemy at the city center. Also, I try to be on the offensive to prevent siege defense scenarios in the first place.
    That is very useful advice and especially useful now as I have started playing with a weaker faction. My experience with Rome is that I rarely have to defend a siege so I haven't learned so much about it.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Settlement central square and morale of defending units

    The best thing you should do is avoid the fight at the square at all costs. Try to send some troops to the square while you assault the city so that they can kill the small numbers that arrive there (if its cavalary they can even kill them before getting to the square. Save up ammo for your skirmishers as the battle at the square is the best way to use those remaining missiles, since the enemy infantry is all concentrated in one place and will fight to the death.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Settlement central square and morale of defending units

    As an attacker I always starve the enemy out and then if it's too big a battle to autoresolve I'll relentlessly pursue the defenders to minimize troops that make it to the square. If I'm defending and it's not feasible for me to sally I'll shamelessly sit my entire army on the square rather than deal with the broken pathfinding. Siege battles are imo the worst part of the RTW and M2 engines and one of the things I do prefer in the newer games.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Settlement central square and morale of defending units

    Quote Originally Posted by Lusitanio View Post
    The best thing you should do is avoid the fight at the square at all costs. Try to send some troops to the square while you assault the city so that they can kill the small numbers that arrive there (if its cavalary they can even kill them before getting to the square. Save up ammo for your skirmishers as the battle at the square is the best way to use those remaining missiles, since the enemy infantry is all concentrated in one place and will fight to the death.
    Good advice. The former is what I already try to do but cannot in all circumstances. The missile thing I never thought of but will put to use immediately

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronp View Post
    As an attacker I always starve the enemy out and then if it's too big a battle to autoresolve I'll relentlessly pursue the defenders to minimize troops that make it to the square. If I'm defending and it's not feasible for me to sally I'll shamelessly sit my entire army on the square rather than deal with the broken pathfinding. Siege battles are imo the worst part of the RTW and M2 engines and one of the things I do prefer in the newer games.
    Useful advice, aaronp! Pursuing as much as I can is what I do already, but I should have patience and try that starving technique more. Having one's own army in the center is really gamey, but then again, we are trying to negate bad design decisions so why the heck not. I'll give it a try!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Settlement central square and morale of defending units

    https://www.twcenter.net/forums/show...s-Art-of-Siege

    Personally, I don't think Total War has ever done sieges well. It took until 3K to add entirely cosmetic siege camps! Only game I played where it's managed to pull off the back-and-forth, multi layered nature of a siege is the Stronghold games.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Settlement central square and morale of defending units

    Even after considering all the feedback, I still feel that these kinds of inexplicable buffs that force players to come up with gamey workarounds should be avoided in game design. The very real defender's advantage, that can be significant especially in modern but relatively low-tech infantry engagements, could be implemented in another way. Such as giving the defender a general morale advantage instead of allowing them a source of infinite morale reset in a town square.
    == El Burrito Senoro ==

  11. #11

    Default Re: Settlement central square and morale of defending units

    Use the hammer-and-pincushion tactic. Have both a frontline of your best troops and a flanking force of long ranged troops when engaging the final defenders. Your elite soldiers will engage the enemy while your ranged men riddle them from the sides and behind. All the while you should deploy only one of your assault forces at a time and rotate them out to keep them fresh while the enemy remnants get more and more exhausted. This is assuming of course that you didn't expend all your arrows and slingstones during the initial wall assaults...

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