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Total War Heaven » Forums » Rome: Total War Discussion » Bridge defense again
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Topic Subject:Bridge defense again
LloydBrown
Legionary
posted 20 October 2007 22:13 EDT (US)         
I've been taking a beating from enemy artillery lately. I've taken Thaspus from the Scipii, and they took Carthage just after (still playing Seleucids here). So I have a nearly-full stack of very experienced troops holding the bridge. I have Levy pikemen fending off arcani!

However, they're sticking it to me with the ballistae. Sure, they're killing some of their own men, but my elite units (snicker) are getting wrecked by those things. They're much more accurate than onagers, but I can't deal with them until I chop up all their infantry units. Any suggestions?

Okay, we've discussed the V formation at the bridge before, but I've had enemy troops break through. Nothing disastrous mind you, but they are pushing my guys back. I'm thinking my V is too sharp and should be much flatter. Also, exactly where do you guys place your units for bridge defense?
AuthorReplies:
General Emu
Legionary
posted 20 October 2007 22:27 EDT (US)     1 / 18       
I have NEVER had a V shape formation fail me on a bridge battle. I have tested out various types of V's in custom battles, and, IMO, I think a V that makes a right angle (90') is just right. Maybe just a little bit smaller. The only thing you have to make sure is that the men on the bottom edge of the V are touching a little, this makes the spears impossible to break through in my experience. If the enemy are still breaking through then what you can do is a get a really skinny column of a third phalanx unit (like around 10 by whatever) and stick them in phalanx formation of the bottom point of the V.


One more thing,
Maybe I have just never noticed, but does the Scipii even get the arcani? I could be remembering this wrong, but aren't the arcani the black armored ones with the cape?

[This message has been edited by General Emu (edited 10-20-2007 @ 10:29 PM).]

LloydBrown
Legionary
posted 20 October 2007 22:54 EDT (US)     2 / 18       
It was the Blue Romans. Red is Julii, Green is Brutii, and Blue is Scipii, right?

They're not on the Scipii build list, though. Maybe they were Senate rewards or something. I dunno.

My formations did overlap a little. There shouldn't have been any way out.
Krymzon74
Legionary
posted 21 October 2007 00:24 EDT (US)     3 / 18       
The V formation doesn't work too well when using small or normal unit sizes. There's just not enough men to hold back the tide.

The Scipii do get arcani from temples of Saturn. Julii through temples of Jupitor, Brutii from temples of Mars.
General Emu
Legionary
posted 21 October 2007 01:10 EDT (US)     4 / 18       
Scipii......Really?@!?!?

So they get not only the upgraded boats, but the arcani as well. Guess even now I am still learning about RTW, and perhaps I will have to play the Scipii when if I play RTW again.

Can someone else please verify that the Scipii do get arcani. Sorry Krymzon74, its' not that I don't believe you, I just would like to hear it from others as well.
Hussarknight
Seraph Emeritus
posted 21 October 2007 08:16 EDT (US)     5 / 18       
However, they're sticking it to me with the ballistae. Sure, they're killing some of their own men, but my elite units (snicker) are getting wrecked by those things. They're much more accurate than onagers, but I can't deal with them until I chop up all their infantry units. Any suggestions?
Take Carthage.
Can someone else please verify that the Scipii do get arcani. Sorry Krymzon74, its' not that I don't believe you, I just would like to hear it from others as well.
All Roman houses get Arcani. They just need different temples to get them.

          Hussarknight
LloydBrown
Legionary
posted 21 October 2007 09:52 EDT (US)     6 / 18       
Take Carthage.

Hah. I will when I can.

This army is the single army I've sent across Africa for the sole purpose of harassing the Scipii and prevent them from reinforcing the rest of the Romans elsewhere, and it's done an amazing job so far against the numerically superior enemy. I feel like Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley. Now that I've parked here, I'm getting ungodly kill ratios against the Romans on this bridge, but I won't maintain it if I attack them. Carthage still has too many defenders for me to take right now.

All in good time.

Fortunately, Thapsus is close enough that I can send a unit or two to retrain each turn. That's been working wonders for me, too. I have multiple units with gold chevrons now, and they're staying at full unit strength.

I paid more careful attention to where I placed my phalanxes last night, and I had a perfect angle and overlap. The Romans fell like wheat and never broke through. I've also begun turning off the "fire at will" from the two units of archers I have to minimize friendly fire (instead aiming them at the rear units in the bunch on the bridge).

[This message has been edited by LloydBrown (edited 10-21-2007 @ 09:54 AM).]

Chalupa Batman
Centurion
(id: ccsantos)
posted 22 October 2007 01:22 EDT (US)     7 / 18       
I never used a "V" in front of a bridge entrance. I just placed phalanx units overlapping each other to cover the circumfrance of the bridge's entrance. You can slaughter a whole opposing army almost invisibly...
I mean, the enemy runs into my spear wall, but doesn't really. They fall dead before they hit the pikes...its such a good glitch to use on bridge battles.

As-Salaam-Alaikum
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 22 October 2007 02:31 EDT (US)     8 / 18       
Hauil, Gallant Lord Lloyd of the Brown!

We have had many a bridge-battle using hoppylites during our time commanding the Sons of Seleucus. We have discovered to our wonder that the V formation, whilst sometimes working wonders, has its weaknesses.

We prefer the U formation. We set several bands of hoppylites side by side, then set another slanting on the flank of each side. Around this U (to include the sides) we place every coward bearing a bow we have, with horseborne behind those to chase down fleeing cowards and to put the fear of the gods into our own cowards so that they may not falter and flee.

If we have any engines of war (usually we do not, but who knows the winds of war perfectly?) we place them to the left of our U so that they may rain fire, death, destruction, and large rocks upon our foes as they fidget uselessy trying to get onto the wooden span.

This is our way, and in our experiences, making the U allows more fools to enter the cauldron and thus makes the annihilation of our foe the more complete.

|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII

[This message has been edited by Terikel706 (edited 10-22-2007 @ 10:44 AM).]

Smackus Maximus
Legionary
posted 22 October 2007 03:52 EDT (US)     9 / 18       
I like using a cresent formation, similar to the moon on the Carthage banner, it allows more of the enemy to pile into the space over the river where they get surrounded and quickly killed off.

Good ranged archers, such as Cretans, are excellent too - a few units behind your spears will be able to reach opposing troops across the river, and torment them into a crossing even if they don't want to.

I like to have a couple of units of skirmishers to for chasing the routers. Skirmishers are faster than all teh other troops and extermely effective at killing routing troops.
Rex Illyrici
Legionary
posted 22 October 2007 04:02 EDT (US)     10 / 18       
Put your troops on both sides of the exit from the bridge so you can attack the enemy from both sides.
BastWorshiper
Sensei
posted 22 October 2007 09:27 EDT (US)     11 / 18       
I used to use an open-top box formation (the U?) with a pair of phalanxes on top of each other at the bottom of the box. With a phalanx on each side and the doubled phalanx a little ways from the bridge, the enemy would be able to get off of the bridge and be attacked from the front and each side. You can practically defend a bridge with four phalanx units.
Now I leave the top and the left side of the box open. On the left I place my missile units; so they have an unobstructed line of fire. If I don't have phalanx units, this is my standard setup.
loose_the_arrows
Legionary
posted 22 October 2007 10:04 EDT (US)     12 / 18       
I generall use the "U" or bowl shape when defending a bridge for some of the same reasons others have mentioned plus it doesn't expose the sides of my phalanx to enemy archers on the other side of the river near as much.

"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
LloydBrown
Legionary
posted 22 October 2007 12:07 EDT (US)     13 / 18       
I'll experiment with a couple of different formations.

In any case, I apparently killed everything the Scipii could make and finally marched on Carthage. Luckily, they had been so busy they hadn't taken any land from my Numidian puppets, so that was their last possession in Africa.

I sacked Rome for the win a turn or two later, so it's all good.
Hussarknight
Seraph Emeritus
posted 22 October 2007 13:29 EDT (US)     14 / 18       
I generall use the "U" or bowl shape when defending a bridge for some of the same reasons others have mentioned plus it doesn't expose the sides of my phalanx to enemy archers on the other side of the river near as much.
Wouldn't a V-shape be better when the enemy has archers? A U-shape makes it easier for archers to shoot into the side of the unit.

          Hussarknight
Chalupa Batman
Centurion
(id: ccsantos)
posted 22 October 2007 14:16 EDT (US)     15 / 18       
If you overlap your phalanx units at the end of the bridge enemy archers won't matter as much when the enemy sends its general/captain at you.

As-Salaam-Alaikum
loose_the_arrows
Legionary
posted 22 October 2007 16:24 EDT (US)     16 / 18       
@HussarKnight

I guess it really depends on the degree of which they are turned and where the archers are because your going to expose a side of your phalanx to fire anyways but i find I don't expose it nearly as much with the bowl or maybe it just seems that way in my head...I never tested it.

"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
Chalupa Batman
Centurion
(id: ccsantos)
posted 22 October 2007 16:58 EDT (US)     17 / 18       
Its hard to explain a strat, so I saved some pictures from a long time ago when all I would play is RTW

People might forget a great use for javelin throwers:
[JPEG, (208.37 KB)]

Matching up with 7 to 30 odds:

[JPEG, (281.27 KB)]

The overlapping of phalanxes I described earlier:
[JPEG, (285.61 KB)]

The general hurls himself to his own quick death:
[JPEG, (271.59 KB)]

[JPEG, (284.33 KB)]

Enemy catapults hardly deter anything:
[JPEG, (313.54 KB)]

[JPEG, (361.23 KB)]

The enemy route and I chase:
[JPEG, (277.61 KB)]
[JPEG, (315.82 KB)]

I hope pictures made it easier to understand rather than a bunch of commas and periods to do the explanation for me

As-Salaam-Alaikum
ammerghad
Legionary
posted 22 October 2007 17:28 EDT (US)     18 / 18       
For bridge battles, I've always just packed about 3/4 of my heavy infantry units into the space of one. The other 1/4 I overlap in an area just behind them....after battle is joined I charge them in for the extra momentum needed. Also, (unless I'm fighting phalanx units) because horses can impact bodies more, I charge my general and any heavy cavalry after sending in the second wave of infantry. Archers are placed to the side of the bridge to knock out any artillery they may have before focusing on the enemy infantry, and I almost always have at least one balista just in case I find myself against a weak-walled city.

Using this methodology I've never lost a bridge battle...towards the end of my campaign I boasted four heroic victories agaisnt the julii as they tried to invade my italian peninsula...without receiving reinforcements. It was great becasue that particular bridge map had the ford on one side that the enemy never used...after battle was joined, I used my barbarian merc and legionary cavs to run around behind the enemy just before they broke, reducing armies of thousands to less than a dozen of the very first who fleed (i.e. the remnant of the general's bodyguard, typically).

Concerning the Scipii...I just beat the game with them, and with an Awesome Temple or higher they can indeed recruit Arcani....though I've found very little use for the unit. Tough fighters, but not enough of them to do much against anything but underlings. And the Scipii also get the mighty Decere, the juggernaut of the Seas, with a Neptune Pantheon.
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