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Topic Subject:Of Celts
ShieldWall
Legionary
posted 16 October 2007 05:24 EDT (US)         
I've been experimenting with my first serious Gaul and Britannia campaigns with mixed results. I had trouble with the Britons, I couldn't get my head around this idea of fighting a battle with no cavalry. Chariots do a certain amount in that regard but they don't seem as effective against routers and they're nigh on impossible to control inside a town. And I got fed up with chasing down fleeing Germans, only for them to decide to fight to the death, turn on my general, and do to him what we know all too well a phalanx does to chariots... So, not a happy experience with my native Britons.

Gaul on the other hand felt much better, but I am wondering about the nature of druids. In both games I was at war with the Germans, and with the Britons, despite having chariots handy to intimidate them a little, I found it extremely difficult to kill off those spear warbands - and who wouldn't because they're wonderful. One of my own warbands commits suicide on their pikes to hold them in place while swordsmen and woad warriors attack them in behind. Even so they took a damn long time to break, by which time I'd suffered heavy losses.

However I didn't have any druids in these battles. With Gaul though I had more or less the same units, technologically the same and theoretically weaker too with no woads to deliver a hammer blow or chariots to intimidate. Yet all of a sudden it was a different story, the Germans broke very quickly when they hit my warbands, and I don't take many losses. The only difference I can think of is that this time I had a unit of druids chanting along. Presumably they don't intimidate the enemy, but make my own men fight harder. Has anyone quantified how much harder? I believe war cries are worth +10 to an attack, what score for a chanting Druid I wonder? It must be something considerable to have made this much difference.
AuthorReplies:
Smackus Maximus
Legionary
posted 16 October 2007 06:46 EDT (US)     1 / 15       
As far as I know Druids function so as to raise morale - making your troops far less likely to rout under pressure. War cry give +10 attack for 30 seconds (as long as it is active).

Biggest problems with barbarian factions are that they have poor roads and that conquered settlements have very poor public order as you cannot replace town centres of existing cities and large cities, as you have nothing bigger to build over it.
Hussarknight
Seraph Emeritus
posted 16 October 2007 10:20 EDT (US)     2 / 15       
Druids have the druid attribute in export_descr_unit.text. That is what I think gives friendly warriors near them a bonus, but the file doesn't say what the druid attribute does.

          Hussarknight
loose_the_arrows
Legionary
posted 16 October 2007 10:36 EDT (US)     3 / 15       
The Phalanx is slow and your slingers can tear into them pretty hard....you fire a few volleys into the rear of a phalanx unit and you won't have to worry about the German line holding to long. As Briton I never used chariots except of course for my general...I just didn't like them, instead I used merc cav.

"Men... must have corrupted nature a little, for they were not born wolves, and they have become wolves. God did not give them twenty-four-pounder cannons or bayonets, and they have made bayonets and cannons to destroy each other."
- Voltaire, Candide, Chapter 4
SubRosa
Legionary
posted 16 October 2007 11:57 EDT (US)     4 / 15       
I have been playing a Briton campaign for a little while now (well, I was until I installed LOTOR-TW last night), and I had no problem steam-rolling Germania and Gaul, and Spain when I left off. The trick is to put at least 3 or 4 light chariots in each army. They tear the lightly armoured barbarian factions to shreds. My battles were typically all but over before my infantry, who were often the minority of my armies, made contact.

This was my first time playing a chariot faction. I admit it had a very steep learning curve, and I lost several generals early on as I was learning the ropes. The light chariots you can use the same as you would horse archers. The heavy chariots (including generals) are a lot different. You have to always keep them moving. Typically instead of clicking on the enemy unit I want them to attack, I click on the ground behind them, and keep on doing so after going into melee. The idea being to move through the enemy unit rather than stop and fight it out. They tear infantry up (as long as you not charging them head on and un-prepped by missiles) and just vaporize cavalry.

The only hard part has been the sieges. As you have seen the chariots are impossible to control inside settlements, especially if you play on Huge as I do. I keep the generals and light chariots far back in those, and use mercenary cavalry for quick charges inside the walls, while my infantry does the lion's share of the work.

[This message has been edited by SubRosa (edited 10-16-2007 @ 11:58 AM).]

ShieldWall
Legionary
posted 16 October 2007 13:07 EDT (US)     5 / 15       
Yeah I'm getting the steep learning curve thing with chariots... they're quite an alien concept to me, so I think I will have to do as you did and suffer a lot of dead British nobility until I can figure out how they're used. But I have noticed that they seem essential to fighting as the Britons, fast chariot archers that very little can catch up with, and heavies that tear cavalry to shreds. Nice!

My impression is that druids do help morale, but from my admittedly limited trials it is clear that there is a big difference to fighting with them than fighting without. As the Britons without druids I'd be trying to tear up a spear warband that refused to break, and their morale seemed quite good until the inevitable happened and my numbers overwhelmed them. As Gaul though, before the Germans even start to fight they're registering "Shaken". The difference being I'd lose about 50+ Britons to rout a single warband, but only about 10 Gauls. More experiments I think.

I'm also trying to decide what would be the best way to fight as Britons, bearing in mind that I'm an infantryman at heart and prefer to slug it out with swords. I was thinking a general, 2 heavy and 2 light chariots, 2 head hurlers, 8 warbands and 7 mixed chosen swords and woad warriors, with these behind a line of warbands, who take the initial punch and screen enemy cavalry, and either attack through them or around their flanks. Depends on your fighting style I guess, but I prefer to let the enemy come to me, absorb their first blow and then counter attack with something big and nasty.
BastWorshiper
Sensei
posted 16 October 2007 14:14 EDT (US)     6 / 15       
SubRosa has it right as far as charging the ground behind your intended target. This is by far the best way to use heavy chariots. (It works the same with routers. Run your chariots past the routers, then charge back through them. Also, if you move around between the routers and the borderline, they will often turn back into your pursuing infantry.) However, the only heavy chariots you really need in your armies are your generals. I use heavy chariots only against cav-heavy armies, which you rarely meet in Europe.

Druids definitely help morale and you can get them as Briton with the highest-tier temple of Brigantia (I think).

In my experience it is best to fight like a barbarian as the the Britons. My Briton units didn't so much absorb the first blow as fall to it; so I try to hit the enemy before they hit me. I kept lines of mixed swordsmen and spearmen. I use head hurlers like peltasts, allowing them to get a few shots as the enemy approaches (if I'm stuck playing defense) or using them on the flanks for a few volleys and a charge. Head hurlers are pretty good in melee. Remember, though, that head hurlers and woad warriors are both very lightly armored; so don't let them be the target of arrow fire. They'll go down quickly. Notice I said, if I'm STUCK playing defense. I find it most effective (especially against the 'civilized' cultures) to get as close as I can, warcry and charge. And try to charge downhill; it is amazing how much difference it makes.
SubRosa
Legionary
posted 16 October 2007 18:13 EDT (US)     7 / 15       
Head-hurlers! I forgot about those. They have a very short range and not much ammo, but my goodness do they pack a wallop with those heads! As much as I hate the idea of wasting a perfectly good decapitated head, I must admit they are worth it. I use them the same was Bast Worshipper, placing them in front of my infantry to soften up the enemy before the final charge. Or in a city fight I have them ring the square to shoot up the defenders, hopefully drawing them out to fight outside the square where they will rout.

Likewise, I have yet to recruit heavy chariots. I just use my family members. It is an old habit from playing barbarian factions to use generals for my heavy cavalry. It saves money and they regenerate, plus they are the most powerful mounted troops you can get in the early game. If some of them die, well, we can always procreate a little more to make up for it right?
ShieldWall
Legionary
posted 17 October 2007 05:36 EDT (US)     8 / 15       
Once head hurlers have hurled their heads, there ought to be a command for them to run forward and pick them up again, thus replenishing their ammunition. Can't really do that with pila (which historically bent on hitting the ground) or arrows as you'd probably break the shafts trying to pull them out of someone's corpse, but I doubt the Britons were too fussy concerning any wear and tear on their severed heads. I have very little time for short-range missile troops because of their lack of ammunition, but many is the time I've been on the receiving end of a battering of severed heads, and boy are they lethal. So I want some. And you can't deny they're funny.

With generals I am usually very aggressive with them on any faction, especially in the early game when good cavalry is hard to come by. Chariots seem a bit risk though as they're easier to kill, but I have not been doing an attack by clicking on the ground beyond, so presumably that will help.

Yeah I think a more offensive approach to battles is more appropriate - I've spent too long on phalanx warfare, all I can think to do is put a ring of men on a hill and wait. But certainly with hard hitting troops and war cries, it does make more sense to stand on that hill until the enemy are half way up it, then charge like men possessed. Catch the enemy on a slope and still moving - not good.
Selifator
Legionary
posted 17 October 2007 07:35 EDT (US)     9 / 15       
Head hurlers wouldn't pick up new heads from the ground simply because they didn't exist. Heads were trophies to be shown in the village, not used as a weapon.

You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.

Chauvinism is not a particularly nice trait at the best of times but can be suicidal when the person your talking too can have you executed on a whim.

Facebook, anyone?
Smackus Maximus
Legionary
posted 17 October 2007 09:07 EDT (US)     10 / 15       
Head hurlers are one of the few units featured in the game that didn't actually exist. Urban cohorts are totally different to their actual function, in so far as they were not elite of all Roman infantry. I would have my doubts over Bull Warriors, and I don't think flaming pigs were used often, though they may have been used vs elephants in a couple of battles.

[This message has been edited by Smackus Maximus (edited 10-17-2007 @ 09:07 AM).]

ShieldWall
Legionary
posted 17 October 2007 11:00 EDT (US)     11 / 15       
Oh certainly, they are fantasy in terms of history, and I find it hard to believe that simply throwing a head at someone would have a far greater chance of doing damage than a volley of javelins or arrows would. Historically, the main British missile weapon was the sling, the special pits dug for them in the ramparts of British hill forts like Maiden Castle and Old Oswestry are testament to this.

There are several inaccuracies in the game as to historical units. As you say Urban Cohorts would not be used like that, you'd only very rarely see Praetorians in a fight, and I don't think either Legionary or Praetorian cavalry existed. Still, they're all good fun.
ShieldWall
Legionary
posted 20 October 2007 12:03 EDT (US)     12 / 15       
A travelling bard sends thee news of the progress of the forces of Britannia as they advance triumphantly across the big island to the south, leaving in their wake a trail of foreign dead whose souls are doomed to serve our brave warriors in the next world.

At our last council we expressed our unfamiliarity with the horse-drawn cart, but since then we have grown to worship them. We drink to their success on the eve of battle, our druids empower them by throwing rare herbs as they pass, while our bards have taken to composing appalling poetry of the "yonder glorious hay-cutter" variety. As you advised, noble warriors, we found no use for big carts, for their smaller kin are but a little less deadly in a fight, they have the advantage of being easier to repair on a campaign in distant lands that have poor knowledge of the work of smiths, and the bowmen they bear wonderfully harass an already intimidated enemy. Verily it is beautiful to see men running in terror as thine carts weave amongst them, slicing them in two with their bladed wheels as passengers cast sharp darts in all directions.

Of our armies, we have found it best suits us to equip them thusly: a fine warlord with an unpronouncable name, 2 hurlers of heads for the amusement they offer, 3 small wagons, and no less than 13 picked sword warbands. We had considered cheap spear-armed warbands and lesser swordsmen, but our financiers assured us that these excellent men were easily affordable, and they have proved their worth in every battle we have so far fought.

But what of the last component of our army? We could not bear to travel anywhere without those singers of Ynys Mon. We are now convinced that they are a decisive part of any British army, for they so inspire our warriors as to make them more aggressive fighters. And we are further assured that our foes do soil themselves as the druids call upon the strength of the Gods and Ancestors, not through fear of the priests themselves, but at the sudden increased strength of our warriors by their singing. And who would not dye their trousers brown when their enemy unleashes a war cry that deafens the ear? Perhaps an increased level of difficulty would avail our foes a little more, for these are the only battles we have fought where the left wing of a powerful army of Julie's House sandal-wearing olive bathers turned and ran before even coming to blows with our warriors. They had walked long and were a little tired, the chariots scared them, but we have fought many battles with our Germanic kin when exhaustion and an army of Crazed Ones awaiting their presence did not encourage such a display of shame. May their glorious ancestors urinate on their corpses as they pass to the Other World.

Yet when the enemy does stand and fully intend to fight despite our increasingly silly attempts at intimidation (as if strange wagons, weirdos singing and men throwing severed heads was not enough), we have found the battle unfolds like none other we have experienced. Truly, we believe that "battle" is an inappropriate term, for once our men charge the oncoming foe, any concept of tactical positioning vanishes with the morning mist, we do not fight battles but mass brawls. I am accustomed to carefully positioning phalanx warbands, setting ambushes with axemen and bringing cavalry to the fore as an enemy's spirit appears to dive. Yet here the only sensible tactic is simply "cry havoc and charge".

Still our warriors must be performing admirably for their losses have been but few and they are even as we speak bearing down on marbled Rome, now scarcely defended as their northern warhost, the cream of their fighting strength, some four or five legions to our reckoning but the dead are not easy to count, have all been cut to shreds by a single army of ours, several destroyed at one stroke.

[This message has been edited by ShieldWall (edited 10-20-2007 @ 12:08 PM).]

Frostspider
Legionary
posted 21 October 2007 21:43 EDT (US)     13 / 15       
Weren't the heads covered in quicklime, forgive me if I'm wrong, but doesn't quicklime burn exposed skin.

Frostspider

If a Man has an income of 20 Pounds, and spends 19 pound, 19 shillings 6 pence, he will be happy.
If that same man spent 20 pounds, he will be Miserable.
Charles Dickens.

HRE ARR (defunct)
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 22 October 2007 02:37 EDT (US)     14 / 15       
Well said, Lord Shieldwall!

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ShieldWall
Legionary
posted 22 October 2007 05:37 EDT (US)     15 / 15       
Hail Cold Arachnid of the Southern World. What you say is true, the heads are coated in lime for the purposes of burning and blinding thine foe. Devastating, but ultimately amusing weapons.

Greetings Lord Terikel now of the Windswept Plains. News of thy phraseology has spread to distant lands and has been well adopted. Our fond hope is that one day all may converse in this fashion!
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