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Total War Heaven » Forums » Rome: Total War Discussion » Is there any use of archers?
Topic Subject:Is there any use of archers?
posted 20 June 2009 04:43 EDT (US)         
Ok im playing RTW 2years and in all that time Im asking my self why do I build archers skirmishers because i noticed if there's not at least 2-3 archer units shooting at one target without armor then and only then i see the effect of archers.So isn't it better to build 3 infantry or cavalry units then 3 archer units?They would probably kill more enemies!

Muammar Al Gaddafi
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posted 20 June 2009 04:55 EDT (US)     1 / 17       
think of it as softening the enemy before the main battle, would you rather fight 60 enemies or 70?
posted 20 June 2009 05:07 EDT (US)     2 / 17       
But still One hastati troop would kill more enemies then an archer unit.

Muammar Al Gaddafi
" I cannot recognise either the Palestinian state or the Israeli state. The Palestinians are idiots and the Israelis are idiots. "
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posted 20 June 2009 05:35 EDT (US)     3 / 17       
Tsk, tsk.

Archers>spearmen. Spearmen>cavalry. Cavalry>archers.

I thought everyone knew that.

Of course, as with every "rule" on warfare, there are exceptions. Cataphracts charging into Militia Hoplites usually win, for example. And then there are factors such as fatigue, morale, numbers, etc. But as a general rule, archers beat spearmen. And I have seen them beat cavalry too.

Archers do require careful handling, and attention. If you leave them to their own devices, it is likely that they will decimate the opposing infantry, but a well-timed cavalry charge that you overlooked can be devastating. But use them well, supported by the other elements of your army, and they will do you wonders.

Some factions, like the Britons, are desparately short of missile units. Their best is head hurlers, who are almost outranged by pila, so they're not much use as skirmishers. But a faction like Gaul; their only truly good unit is their Forester Warbands, their archers. Fast-moving, well supplied with ammunition, and with a relatively good position in melee combat. I have seen them stop a cataphract charge- other factors did come into play there as well, but you get my point.

Also, to continue using the Gauls as an example, it is much harder to get two chosen swordsmen to fight one enemy than it is to get one chosen swordsmen and one forester warband. The archers stand behind, firing over the heads of their friends at the enemy. It has a similar effect to having a local superiority; more opposition to a single enemy.

The last great things about archers are that they don't take casualties, and they can keep fighting. They don't go into melee, so they don't lose men, if you use them right. And they don't tire from drawing their bow at all, compared to the rate at which legionary cohorts tire from charging at their opponent, then struggling to lift their sword each time. They can just keep shooting, long after their opponents are exhausted, and running away, unencumbered by armour. Once their pursuers are completely exhausted and you are out of ammo, attack them in melee. In most cases, the enemy will rout on contact.

THAT is the use of archers. I hope you have a greater appreciation now of how to balance you armies.

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vampiric canniba
posted 20 June 2009 05:35 EDT (US)     4 / 17       
Fire arrows sap morale.

EDIT: Edorix, you must've posted 20 seconds before me. AND your post makes mine look dull and uninteresting. Damn.

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[This message has been edited by vampiric canniba (edited 06-20-2009 @ 05:37 AM).]

Seraph Emeritus
posted 20 June 2009 07:09 EDT (US)     5 / 17       
Always try to let archers fire into the back or right side of enemy units. They aren't protected by their shields from these directions so your archers will be a lot more effective. Also give them some time to do their job. They aren't the fastest killers, but give them enough time and they will make a serious dent in the opposing force.

You can also use temples to make your archers more powerful. Some temples, such as Abnoba (Gauls) and Artemis (Macedon) upgrade missile weapons which gives them +1 attack. If you capture such a temple it can be a good idea to keep it and train or retrain all your archers there.

posted 20 June 2009 12:27 EDT (US)     6 / 17       
Using archers to support flank and rear attacks is especially devastating.
Tittus Labienus
posted 20 June 2009 12:31 EDT (US)     7 / 17       
Archers are the counter to horse archers for nations that don't get horse archers.

Imperator Romano
posted 20 June 2009 12:51 EDT (US)     8 / 17       
How important were archers in ancient history? Very. It's the same story in the game, if used properly, archers can be very effective during battle.

I've had countless enemy units rout before even hitting my front lines because archers kept raining fire arrows at them (which lowers their morale). If you face an enemy with heavy armour then position your archers to the side protected by at least cavalry or another unit.

On a hill, or mountain, archers can devastate an entire army, especially cretan archers. And then if you're the Romans, by the time they get close to pilum range, you can finish off who's remaining. They're effective if used right.
posted 20 June 2009 23:02 EDT (US)     9 / 17       
If you use fire arrows, you can rout elephants before they get anywhere near your lines. All factions benefit from archers, even the Romans (which hate them, apparently). They are used to wear down the morale of the enemy. Troop kills isnt everything you know...

If your looking for extra firepower though, go for onagers. Innacurate yes, but lucky hits can take out plenty of guys at once. Even the heavily armored ones. Try it =).
posted 21 June 2009 01:58 EDT (US)     10 / 17       
I once won an entire small battle with nothing but archers, and I was out numbered about 2 to 1. Took a while but, I killed them all, and I didn't suffer a single loss, lol. For me it's the spearmen I don't seem to have alot of use for.
posted 21 June 2009 10:54 EDT (US)     11 / 17       
Spearmen(Warbands, auxillia) seem to be one of the only low tier units that can actually beat a general's bodyguard by themselves. I've seen generals charge into the front of armored hoplites and win, but I've never seen a general beat a spear warband by himself. They get a major bonus against cavalry.

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[This message has been edited by JrvUnleashed (edited 06-21-2009 @ 10:55 AM).]

Lanky Lancer
posted 21 June 2009 11:25 EDT (US)     12 / 17       
I'd have to say, it depends on difficulty. Hard and Very Hard give a (iirc) +4 and +7 attack bonus and defence skill bonus to the AI, that can make a big difference. I've killed generals with hoplites and militia hoplites, and seen generals break my pike formations on higher difficulty. Once when trying to get rid of a bad general, i charged a bodyguard straight into a spearman squad. Wiped it off the map. This may have been BI though...
Anyway both spearmen (such as Auxilia) and Hoplites get a +8 bonus against cavalry, its the same.

Actually on topic...
Archers are great if you can get them around the side. Sure, if your infantry are advancing, and so it theirs, they only have a few moments to get some arrows off, and these are into the front, shielded and armoured side so dont kill that many. Try manoeuvring them around the side or back. Archers into the back of a Melee is great, especially at close-ish ranges. If your on the defencive and they're coming to you, ideally uphill, you can cause some serious damage that way.

[This message has been edited by Lanky Lancer (edited 06-21-2009 @ 11:29 AM).]

posted 21 June 2009 15:58 EDT (US)     13 / 17       
Skirmishers and archers have an advantage over professional soldiers on rough terrain if you can keep them away from hand-to-hand combat, but on flat terrain you can use them to flank or go around the enemy and fire on their engaged lines from the rear. Or ambush your enemy in woodland, or keep a few units distracted.
So isn't it better to build 3 infantry or cavalry units then 3 archer units?They would probably kill more enemies!
Depends how you use them. However, archers will slaughter opponents before they reach you. Other infantry and cavalry can only act when your opponent is nearby, and therefore they must also be nearby to retaliate, which means that, while they may kill more enemies, they will also lose more soldiers.

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posted 21 June 2009 17:29 EDT (US)     14 / 17       
Archers - especially when massed and using fire arrows - are also effective at routing elephants.

Also, once archers are out of arrows, you can use their secondary attack to pin an enemy so you can do hammer and anvil strikes if you have cavalry left. I've routed phalanx squads using this technique and it's funny to watch archers attacking armed phalanxes with their little knives!

Frontal attacks by archers on armoured infantry is useless, but from the sides and rear, their fire is effective. Like American Express, I never leave home without at least 3 - 4 archer units.
posted 22 June 2009 02:03 EDT (US)     15 / 17       
archers are my favourite units in rtw and like em because well what everyone else said...

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posted 22 June 2009 05:04 EDT (US)     16 / 17       
Like everyone has said, fire arrows are brilliant morralle suckers. Just re-inforcing a point.
posted 22 June 2009 05:58 EDT (US)     17 / 17       
Whilst many people here have said that archers are most effective when shooting into the right flank or rear, it is difficult to achieve this without some micromanagement and clever maneouvering. That is why many people prefer horse archers as there speed allows them to take better shots but also to escape when a troublesome enemy unit approaches.

However, foot archers do have one important feature which horse archers don't have: fire arrows. Against Carthage, Seleucids or anyone who has elephants, flaming arrows are one of the only methods to rout an elephant unit quickly and consistently.

To put things simply: against elephant heavy armies, foot archers>horse archers, but any other time I choose horse archers.

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