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Topic Subject:New BI strategy article: Defending against hordes
Hussarknight
Seraph Emeritus
posted 03 September 2008 11:42 EDT (US)         
RTWH keeps expanding it's library of strategy articles: another new article has been produced and is now ready to help all warlords of the world who struggle to defend their empire from the mighty Hordes from the Steppes.

Yes, you guessed it: this latest addition to our collection of strategy articles teaches you the basics of defending your empire against the Huns, Vandals and other hordes. The article, written by myself, deals with chosing the right battlefields, armies and battle strategy. Wait no longer, go and read the article here. You can leave comments on the article in this thread.

          Hussarknight
AuthorReplies:
Apoptosis
Legionary
posted 03 September 2008 12:29 EDT (US)     1 / 14       
Great article. I'd add the following suggestions (some have been suggested by others before, but I'll repeat them here):

1. Placing a few single units of peasants between the advancing horde and the army on the bridge can buy you time to fortify your position. The hordes will waste a few turns chasing peasants before engaging your army. This can be done in place of spies if you are tight on cash.

2. Use assassins on the family members. Hordes don't carry many spies or assassins with them, eliminate any first and then use assassins to weed out weaker family members. The single stroke of a knife can be more effective than extra troops in the field!

3. Use seige engines! Specifically carriage ballista can wreak havoc on tightly bunched units crossing the river. Just be sure to keep them out of range from the horse archers before the horde begins to cross! Other seige engines, such as onagers, can work and allow you to attack safely out of range of the horse archers prior to the assult. But you won't do the sort of damage you can obtain with carriage ballista. I keep the siege equipment to the flanks so they don't do something stupid like flame your own troops.

Other seige equipment (e.g. scorpions, ballista, and repeating ballista) can not compare to carriage ballista. The former units provide only two attackers in the unit while the latter provides TWELVE, that's 6x the firepower with much increased mobility. No comparision. If you can train them, get carriage ballista. I use as many as three per army to devistating effect. If horse archers swim across you'll need to prevent them from getting to your siege equipment: a general, heavy calvary unit, or infantry unit in reserve can fulfill this role.

4. Time your counter attack! If you hit it just right you'll bottle up the hordes and achieve 10:1 kill ratios in your favor or better. Strike to soon and their horse archers may pick you apart. Strike too late and they will overrun your units.

Hope this helps and good luck!
Andalus
Legionary
posted 03 September 2008 12:53 EDT (US)     2 / 14       
Another good guide. Concise but thorough. After all, fighting the hordes is mainly a matter of following those principles you have outlined, and, most importantly, flexibility.

Might I also add something?

If you build a fort directly behind a bridge, then if the horde army defeats you, your men will fall back into it. Though one can hold off many armies on a bridge, by the time you get to the forth or fifth one, your own units are usually depleted.

If you realise you cannot hope to win the battle, do not press retreat, as your men will bypass the fort. Instead, enter battle, place your men by the red line, and withdraw immediately. They will go to the fort, thus holding the hordes off a little longer. Sometimes the hordes will even wander off again, allowing you to re-stock your army.

To prevent the fort being abandoned, put any cavalry other than Generals in to garrison it, then have them join as reinforcements. They will have plenty of time to reach the battle before they are needed.

[This message has been edited by Andalus (edited 09-03-2008 @ 12:57 PM).]

Apoptosis
Legionary
posted 03 September 2008 13:16 EDT (US)     3 / 14       
To prevent the fort being abandoned, put any cavalry other than Generals in to garrison it, then have them join as reinforcements. They will have plenty of time to reach the battle before they are needed.
To clarify, just non-general calvary. Keep all infantry out of the fort or they will slow the calvary's arrival (a simple point but one I messed up on more then one occassion).

Also, If you need to defend a river crossing that is too far away from a city to retrain troops quickly, a fort is a good place to stack reserves, providing a stepping stone between the defended bridge and your city to replace troops lost in combat.
impspy
Legionary
posted 03 September 2008 14:40 EDT (US)     4 / 14       
Very good article.

5/5

"He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword..." Matt 26,52b
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Gallowglass
Legionary
posted 03 September 2008 15:35 EDT (US)     5 / 14       

Time to repay the Huns...



...this guide is now their destruction. A literary Dalek to all steppe warriors

------m------m------
(o o)
(~)

Monkey beats bunny. Please put Monkey in your signature to prevent the rise of bunny.
m0n|<3yz r 2 pwn n00b
Bulba Khan
Legionary
(id: stormer)
posted 03 September 2008 15:40 EDT (US)     6 / 14       
Good guide, What's a Dalek
because it rhymes with my first name malek

I feel the same way I did after playing Stronghold 2 for about 15 minutes, like it was my birthday and all my friends had wheeled a giant birthday cake into the room, and I was filled with hopes dreams and desires when suddenly out of the cake pops out not a beautiful buxom maid, but a cranky old hobo that just shanks me then takes $60 dollars out of my pocket and walks away saying "deal, with it".
Gallowglass
Legionary
posted 03 September 2008 16:35 EDT (US)     7 / 14       

It doesn't

It's from Dr Who, the weird monsters that look like upside-down bottom halves of toilets with studs and lasers for eyes who say 'Exterminate'

------m------m------
(o o)
(~)

Monkey beats bunny. Please put Monkey in your signature to prevent the rise of bunny.
m0n|<3yz r 2 pwn n00b
Gaius Colinius
Seraph Emeritus
posted 03 September 2008 20:44 EDT (US)     8 / 14       
Nice one HK. Hordes are the defining feature of BI and you either love them or hate them. It can be a lot of fun to send a chain reaction of hordes through Europe but it can also be very frustrating to take a final city only for the faction to pack up and settle somewhere else.

-Love Gaius
TWH Seraph, TWH Grand Zinquisitor & Crazy Gaius the Banstick Kid

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SubRosa
Legionary
posted 03 September 2008 22:07 EDT (US)     9 / 14       
Well written Hussar. The only thing I can think to add to it would be Night Attacks. If you have a general who can do them, you can go on the offensive against hordes. Only armies with a general who has the Night Fighter trait can enter a battle as reinforcements. So attacking at night can turn a battle against 3 full stacks of enemy units into an attack against just one. Then afterward you can attack the next army, and so on.

The trick is to look over the enemy armies with spies first to see which of their stacks have Night Fighters. Use assassins to kill them. Failing that, make those armies the first you attack. That way there are no Night Fighters in the reinforcement stacks.
Hussarknight
Seraph Emeritus
posted 04 September 2008 02:54 EDT (US)     10 / 14       
Thanks for the comments everyone. I appreciate your additions. I am thinking of adding a link to this thread to the article so people can read them. As I want to keep the article about the basics I don't think I'll include them in the article itself tough.

          Hussarknight
Apoptosis
Legionary
posted 11 September 2008 16:42 EDT (US)     11 / 14       
Some other suggestions:

Defending the bridges is a great defense but it is a static tactic that depends on the hordes breaking against your forces. If you choose the wrong bridge or can't defend all the crossings they'll just bypass your defenses.

1. Go on the offensive and Ambush! Especially hordes with a lot of infantry (i.e. Vandals and Huns). Hopefully, you've already been able to take out lesser family members with assassins. Using a general that is a good ambusher along with some heavy calvary (I'm using WRE) to wear down the hordes before they get to you. Make a fort in their expected line of travel, even with just one unit in it, and set your ambush by it. The fort will slow them down and when they attempt to bypass it, they trigger your ambush. In the battle concentrate on one end of the column and wipe out the horse archers. Then either retreat (end battle) or fall back out of the infantries range, circle around them and take out isolated horse archer units. After that, if you still have enough muscle you can effectively wear out the infantry (make them walk after you), then when they get worn out encircle them and charge en mass, to rout the whole army.

I had 6 calvary units (1 general, 3 heavy, 2 light) against a whole stack of slavs (no general and only 4 missle calvary). I managed destroyed the entire army with minimal damage to self. Another battle I had 1 general, 3 heavy calvary, and 2 horse archers and still managed a 5:1 kill ratio in my favor, and in that instance I stayed in the fight longer than I should have.

2. Scorch the earth. Sell off all the buildings in the cities in their path that you can't save (i.e. wrong side of the river crossing). Less money for them and there is a decent chance they'll just pass it by.
Hussarknight
Seraph Emeritus
posted 12 September 2008 09:09 EDT (US)     12 / 14       
About the scorched earth tactic, I have to admit I haven't tested it, but I expect that it will have little effect against hordes because the chances of them settling in those towns aren't too big. They get less money, but it's their soldiers that threaten you, not their money.

          Hussarknight
Apoptosis
Legionary
posted 12 September 2008 17:25 EDT (US)     13 / 14       
The scortched earth tactic is indirect.

1. You get cash that they won't get in pillaging. You can use that as an instant infusion either to stabilize other cities that are causing you problems or to train those extra troops you'll want against the hordes. Why give them the cash that's yours?

2. They don't get the extra cash, which they could (theoretically) use to buy mercs.

3. They may bypass the city and you can hold onto it. Even if they don't the rebels in the wake will be that much weaker so ultimately you can retake the city more easilly.

I would only recommend this for smaller cities in eastern Germany that are on the wrong side of the rivers. If it's a large city I'd fight to hold it.

Final note, maybe leave a small church in it. It will cause headaches for nearby pagan cities as the opposing religions cause unrest.
Hussarknight
Seraph Emeritus
posted 13 September 2008 03:23 EDT (US)     14 / 14       
Yes, but you can also destroy the buildings only if the settlement is besieged by the hordes. That way you will still be able to use them if the horde bypasses it, and if they do attack it you'll still get the money from the buildings when you destroy them. The AI doesn't seem to go after more developed provinces first, so I expect razing all buildings in a town doesn't increase the chance of a horde bypassing it.

The scorched earth tactic has it's positive effects, but I think the effects are too small to make the difference. Even if the hordes get less money they still have powerful armies. The few mercenary units that they can hire aren't going to make the difference in the war. When facing five (or more) full stack armies I'm not really worried about those five extra mercenary units.

In conclusion I'd still not burn my cities before the hordes arrive. Only if they attack one of my settlements I will sack some of the buildings there, the ones that produce the most powerful rebel units. I'd prefer leaving the economic buildings, because it's faster to repair them all when you take the town back then to build completely new ones. Sure, it gives me less money, but when the hordes arrive I usually will have a strong enough economy to be able to afford that.

          Hussarknight

[This message has been edited by Hussarknight (edited 09-13-2008 @ 03:27 AM).]

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