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Rome: Total War Discussion
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Total War Heaven » Forums » Rome: Total War Discussion » Battle Tactics?
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Topic Subject:Battle Tactics?
Sophiaclease
Legionary
posted 03 June 2009 17:01 EDT (US)         
Hello,

I'm getting schooled on the battlefield. I must be doing something wrong.

Could someone please link me to, or go over some of the basics?

I put my Triarii out in front, and have them attack - yet they don't seem to be all that effective. I get flooded by the enemy and then everything get's pretty sad and ugly.

I actually end up winning most times, yet I lose most of my troops. If the numbers are just slightly stacked on the other side, I loose the battle.

Thank you.

[This message has been edited by Sophiaclease (edited 06-03-2009 @ 05:07 PM).]

AuthorReplies:
Bones40
Legionary
posted 03 June 2009 19:50 EDT (US)     1 / 19       
Triarii were traditionally used as the last line, but aside from that there's a few simple concepts to keep in mind.

Try to stretch your front line to be as long as the enemies. As a Roman faction, your troops don't have much charge damage but they are very good at holding a line. Use your hastati/principe as your frontline and make sure and use their pila up before engaging. If you are on the defensive, make sure they are on fire at will so they pepper the approaching army before it closes.

Use reserve infantry or cavalry to flank at least one side of the line. When it folds, send everything you have on that side at the next unit in line and so on. You will cause a chain route.

Whenever possible without overextending yourself, try to kill the enemy commander as early as possible. The enemy troops will route a lot faster after their commander is dead or fleeing.

Make good use of velites, skirmishing in front of the enemy lines until they are close to closing with yours and then send them behind your line then to a flank to pepper the enemy with missiles from the side.

Morale is very important. Missiles, being outnumbered, being flanked and not being in proximity with their general all lower a unit's morale and makes them route easier.

Keep in mind that missiles to extra damage when coming from behind or the the right (the side without a shield).

Play some practice battles and you will get the hang of how to maneuver your troops. Others will be along shortly for a lot more tips, I'm sure. Soon you will be complaining at how easy it is to win battles.
Sophiaclease
Legionary
posted 04 June 2009 02:52 EDT (US)     2 / 19       
Thank you!
bobandirus
Legionary
posted 04 June 2009 06:51 EDT (US)     3 / 19       
On moralle, I find that flameing missiles are a VERY good way to sap morralle, especially against horses. You only need 2 or 3 units of archers per stack for this, but it is very effective.
Temur
HG Alumnus
(id: Gaiseric)
posted 04 June 2009 07:25 EDT (US)     4 / 19       
Don't use triarii to attack. They are much better at defence. In general, units armed with swords do more damage when attacking than units armed with spears.

"War does not decide who is right... only who is left." -Bertrand Russell
Legionary_994
Legionary
posted 04 June 2009 07:52 EDT (US)     5 / 19       
Put your light troops on the flanks of your army to allow the centre to be held by heavier troops. Hire mercs if you have to for a front line of cannon fodder. Let the enemy tire themselves out fighting some worthless mercs and then send in the pila throwing infantry and finish them off with a cavalry charge from the rear. Also, try to kill as many as you can after they route, the less you let live, the less you have to deal with in future battles.

"I think the lesson here is: It doesn't matter where you're from, as long as we're all the same religion." - Peter Griffin

Danish Dreams
Andalus
Legionary
posted 04 June 2009 09:59 EDT (US)     6 / 19       
In general, units armed with swords do more damage when attacking than units armed with spears.
Yes, spear-armed units have a bonus against cavalry, and a penalty against infantry, and are as a rule better defensively. I find their best use is to position them (ahistorically) on the flanks, where they may either defend/counter-attack against enemy cavalry attaepting to flank you, or if there are no cavalry threats, to swing round like a trapdoor to attack the flank of the enemy battle line.
Temur
HG Alumnus
(id: Gaiseric)
posted 04 June 2009 11:40 EDT (US)     7 / 19       
I find their best use is to position them (ahistorically) on the flanks, where they may either defend/counter-attack against enemy cavalry attaepting to flank you
But that is the job of your cavalry.

I use them generally to absorb enemy charges or to pin enemy units in place.

"War does not decide who is right... only who is left." -Bertrand Russell
SaikotikGunman
Legionary
posted 04 June 2009 11:43 EDT (US)     8 / 19       
Ditto on using spears at the flanks for dealing with cavalry. I love watching walls of spears swing around the back of enemy attacks, too.
Hussarknight
Seraph Emeritus
posted 04 June 2009 12:11 EDT (US)     9 / 19       
The first our articles on our battle strategy page give valuable hints on strategy.

          Hussarknight
Sophiaclease
Legionary
posted 04 June 2009 22:40 EDT (US)     10 / 19       
Thank you everybody.

Edorix
High King of Britain
posted 05 June 2009 11:14 EDT (US)     11 / 19       
But that is the job of your cavalry.
Yes, but pre-Roman forces are short of cavalry; only equites, generals and cavalry auxilia. So until the marian reforms, it is a good idea to have spearmen on your flanks. Obviously, after the marian reforms you can use legionary cavalry etc.

EDORIX
~ ancient briton ~

/\
/|||| ||||\

*tegos, -esos, noun, neuter. house.
Sophiaclease
Legionary
posted 05 June 2009 18:56 EDT (US)     12 / 19       
When I flank my enemy, I presume this is a two step process? First I have to position myself behind or along side, then order them to attack? There is no quick way to tell my troops to to simply flank on their own?
Legionary_994
Legionary
posted 05 June 2009 19:39 EDT (US)     13 / 19       
If you order them to move into position and while they're doing it hold in the shift key while you order them to attack they'll carry out the second order after they've finished with the first.

"I think the lesson here is: It doesn't matter where you're from, as long as we're all the same religion." - Peter Griffin

Danish Dreams
Hussarknight
Seraph Emeritus
posted 06 June 2009 03:41 EDT (US)     14 / 19       
No, there's no automatic flanking order. You have to manually move your unit(s) around the side and order them to charge. Like Legionary said, you can use Shift to set waypoints, but keep in mind they'll finish the first order completely (i.e. they'll deploy into neat rows and columns) before obeying the second, so it takes longer.

          Hussarknight
Medifro
Legionary
posted 06 June 2009 04:44 EDT (US)     15 / 19       
Yes, but pre-Roman forces are short of cavalry; only equites, generals and cavalry auxilia. So until the marian reforms, it is a good idea to have spearmen on your flanks. Obviously, after the marian reforms you can use legionary cavalry etc.
The problem with Romans is just when you get your hands on Triarii, you hit the marian reform in couple of turns.

That kinda limits their use. They're exceptional spearmen but you get a very small time to produce them.
Andalus
Legionary
posted 06 June 2009 09:30 EDT (US)     16 / 19       
But that is the job of your cavalry.
I use light infantry or spearmen to attack the flanks, and cavalry to attack the rear. Alternatively, spearmen will engage the enemy cavalry, then the cavalry will outflank the flankers and break them.
Yes, but pre-Roman forces are short of cavalry; only equites, generals and cavalry auxilia.
However, these are surprising effectves against most troops you come up against in the early game. Used well, Equites and Cavalry Auxilia can be very powerful.

As for generals... well, I thought generals in Med 1 were overpowerd, until I played RTW. And I thought generals in RTW were overpowered ntil I played Med 2....
The problem with Romans is just when you get your hands on Triarii, you hit the marian reform in couple of turns.

That kinda limits their use. They're exceptional spearmen but you get a very small time to produce them.
This is true, which is why I make it my aim to churn them out in huge quantities as soon as I can, and I can then use them in place of Auxilia for some time. You also do get them as rewards for Senate missions occasionally, which can be useful in bolstering Hastati/Principes armies.

Incidentally, by terms of comparison Triarii have more or less the exact same stats as ELC. Except that they have hastae, rather than pila and gladius.

[This message has been edited by Andalus (edited 06-06-2009 @ 09:31 AM).]

vampiric canniba
Legionary
posted 06 June 2009 18:11 EDT (US)     17 / 19       
I'm sure that Andalus is happy that generals are less useful against guns in ETW.

you like something both hardcore and whack
2009 RLT & ETWH Craziest Forummer Award!
I had to remove the excessive numbers of smilies I used la VampiricCannibal so as not to inconvenience low bandwidth users too much... - Edorix
Ichon
Legionary
posted 08 June 2009 18:02 EDT (US)     18 / 19       
Triarii when playing Romans early in the game should be preserved to use vs cavalry, or in emergency situations to pin phalanx type units though they should be disengaged once the phalanx is flanked.

A good use if on one flank with roman general slightly off to the side in front. This will often draw enemy cavalry general out and you use your general to lure closer to Triarii which can take out heavy cav from the side or rear exceptionally quickly. If the Triarii are charged directly they usually will win but take losses which in the early game can't be replaced.

I usually leave the few Triarii I receive as Senate rewards spread in multiple armies to guard at least one flank in each army. Then load cavalry and missiles on the other flank and let hasteri take the middle. Fighting chariots use archer to kill and peasants to lure and take charge, don't waste Triarii on it.
Drakedeath
Legionary
posted 08 June 2009 20:39 EDT (US)     19 / 19       
I always keep several units of cavalry at the flank with all of my infantry at the center. My archers will usually start behind my melee infantry, and my skirmishers will start out in front. When the enemy gets too close, the skirmishers fall back behind the line, but the archers keep firing. When the infantry engage, I use my cavalry and wipe out enemy cavalry units, provided it's lighter than mine, and sometimes sweep to the back and take out the general. I'll then detach single units of cavalry to take out skirmishers and archers, and then the rest slam straight into the back of the enemy's infantry while they're bogged down with my infantry.

Sadly, this is barely effective with pre-Marius Rome unless you have several generals or suitable mercenaries. In your current case, I recommend using your hastati to hold the enemy in place while your princepes swing around the flanks to deliver a killing blow to the rear. You can also flip it around so the princepes bog them down with the hastati going around. Either way works; princepes are extremely steadfast, and hastati can hold their own against most infantry.
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