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Total War Heaven » Forums » Rome: Total War Discussion » Do you make much use of you surroundings in battle?
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Topic Subject:Do you make much use of you surroundings in battle?
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Oolon Colluphid
Legionary
posted 02 June 2008 11:42 EDT (US)         
You know, hide units in woods o long grass, put archers at high points, try and break up and enemy formation around rocks or buildings in the battlefield.

I ask, because I usually don't. I mean, I'll take a hill when it's there, especially when defending, but mostly I've found that the position of units in relation to eachother, your armies formation, is more important than anything else.

So usually, I just make my formation, phalanx in the middle, cavalry at he sides etc. and then look where to put it. Woods tend to be only a nuisance as I pretty much always have onagers in my armies. Long grass is invisible from a distance and makes my framerate 2 f/s when I zoom in. It's nice when a unit that can hide there happens to be there, but I'm not purposely putting them there.

Anyway, any more creative strategies out there?
AuthorReplies:
SubRosa
Legionary
posted 02 June 2008 11:53 EDT (US)     1 / 51       
I always endeavor use the ground to my advantage. I always go for the high ground to get my archers above theirs. In fact, I try to set things up on the strat map so that I will have the high ground when the battle starts.

I use woods to hide units, then draw the enemy to them so I can spring a trap on them. I had an astounding success at this early in my current Gaul campaign when I faced a Briton army that was no only larger than mine, but had three Light Chariots. Since I had no archers at all and only a single skirmisher, I was really worried. So I hid my Warbands in a treeline and put the skirmishers in the open in front of the. Then I used my Generals to lure the Chariots over to that area and took them back in the woods while my skirmishers attacked the Chariots. With 3 Chariots against one skirmisher, the Brits were aggressive, and charged at them. I pulled them back, and once the Chariots were close I sent all my Warbands charging out, with my Generals on either flank. I caught all three Chariot units and utterly destroyed them on my spears. After that the rest of the battle was simple.

Rocks I find can be very handy. If I am significantly outnumbered I will use them to anchor one end of my line, as it will take the other army time to get around them. That saved the day in my Carthage AAR when I fought the SPQR army outside of Rome. If you have Onagers it is also great to put them right behind rocks, as enemy troops cannot directly charge them.
Gallowglass
Legionary
posted 02 June 2008 11:58 EDT (US)     2 / 51       
You can also break the line of sight of enemy missiles, lead their cavalry into woodlands to minimise its effect (the same principle as leading light infantry into the open and other similar strategies), and you can also use bridges to surround and crush the enemy army as it crosses. There are millions of ways. Unfortunately, I can't often remember my best tricks, but if you have enough knowledge of battle tactics and an eye for terrain you should become quite familiar with using the land to your advantage.

EDIT: If I do remember my best strategies (I just designed them to play to the psychology of a human player, but they would definitely work against an AI that's got brains, or, technically, not got brains, as well) I'll make a thread for them and post them there (with pictures now I got the hang of photobucket).

------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

[This message has been edited by gallowglass (edited 06-02-2008 @ 12:00 PM).]

Legioner
Legionary
posted 02 June 2008 12:53 EDT (US)     3 / 51       
I don't think it gives me bonuses, but it sure is damn cool to charge with my cavalry down the hill.
Hussarknight
Seraph Emeritus
posted 02 June 2008 13:00 EDT (US)     4 / 51       
When I am defending, I always try to use the terrain to my advantage. Using a rock to cover my flank, getting my troops on top of hill, hiding a unit or two in woods to spring an ambush, everything that will aid the strengths of my troops and put my opponent at an disadvantage. High ground can be a very important factor. Troops on higher ground receive a combat bonus, and troops attacking uphill will often be more tired by the time they reach your own lines. Often they will break even before that.

The most important and decisive terrain feature are bridges. Especially when you have phalanxes, they allow you to defeat opponents that are much, much more powerful than you are. For an example, look at this battle from my Greek campaign:

As you can see, a V-phalanx at the end of a bridge will eat anything alive. And the best part is the AI never fails to get all its troops killed.

When attacking using the terrain can be harder. Hiding units in woods often doesn't have much effect, because they are to far from the enemy to ambush them properly. High ground is easier to get, and I always go for it if I can. If my opponent has got the high ground, I always spend some time moving my troops so I'm attacking up the most gentle slope. That minimizes my disadvantage.

          Hussarknight
ShieldWall
Legionary
posted 02 June 2008 13:23 EDT (US)     5 / 51       
I generally do use the ground to my advantage, though I rarely bother about hiding and springing ambushes. I have been known though to hide some gothic cavalry in trees, wait for the army to pass, and then leap upon their onagers in the rear. Also a general who was ambushed by rebels - I had some Illyrian mercenaries in trees while the general rode around, skirmishing with the rebels and tiring them out. Then he led them next to the Illyrians who threw all their javelins and charged. Instant rout. And if a lone general is ambushed, similarly I get him to run about and exhaust the attackers, then, having caught his breath, form his bodyguard into a narrow column on top of a hill and charge them when they reach the steepest point. Your losses will be much less this way, and his will be more.

If you have a barbarian army then woods give you a combat bonus, though I tend to avoid them as I find any advantage I have here is nullified by the fact that I can't see a f@&king thing! An advantage is all well and good when you don't even notice that your left wing is being hammered by something you didn't know was there. Also archers struggle to hit things when there's trees and branches in the way.

So I like hill tops with an unobstructed view, and if you have swordsmen or axes, this is a great position to charge down.

One thing I always do is check that the archers have a good field of fire. You can put them on a hill but, as they're shooting at targets below, they can end up shooting your front line in the back of the head once the enemy gets close. The trick is to make sure that they're on slightly higher ground to your front rank, this way they can fire at almost point blank range and your infantry will be safe. Check this by zooming down to their eye level and noting the position of the terrain immediately above the heads of your front line. Zoom out and you will see precisely how close the enemy can come before you have to cease fire. By moving the army a little bit here and there around the hill before the battle starts, you can find these marginally higher patches and so increase the field of fire considerably.
Pizzadude
Legionary
posted 02 June 2008 13:36 EDT (US)     6 / 51       
I always try to get high ground for my archers, and it works pretty good. I hide some of my troops in grass/woods, but not very often as it doesn't give me much advantage. Never saw the V-shaped phalanx formation though. But it should eat anything like you said.

Also, I tend to use these terrain advantages mostly against human players and not so much against the AI.
Gallowglass
Legionary
posted 02 June 2008 13:42 EDT (US)     7 / 51       
I think uphill and downhill and such do give you bonuses. Try charging a phalanx uphill, then downhill

------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
CaesarVincens
Legionary
posted 02 June 2008 14:00 EDT (US)     8 / 51       
When two units fight on a hill the uphill unit gets massive bonuses (I'm not sure if the amount of slope affects this or not though). Needless to say I always try to get on the uphill side of a fight.

Archers of course also get a huge bonus for being higher than their targets, range included.

Veni, Vidi, well... you know.

Extended Cultures, A modification of RTW.

Si hoc legere posses, Latinam linguam scis.
ɪf ju kŠn ɹid ­ɪs, ju noʊ liŋgwɪstɪks.
mikecz
Legionary
posted 02 June 2008 15:13 EDT (US)     9 / 51       
If you have any advantage at all as far as the before-battle odds, the enemy will commonly set up on the highest ground near a back corner. If I have any cavalry at all (usually), I really try to squeeze at least some of my cav units (ESPECIALLY if they are skirmish cav) in between the main enemy formation & the corner or highest ground. Double bonus is having the higher ground for range & almost surely when the enemy routes they will try to go out that back corner. Again, I am of the "no survivors!" school wrt running down routers.

I've used siege towers & battering rams for anchoring some infantry units' defenses. I often build 2 or 3 rams for wood-walled town assaults & if the enemy sallies out they're always right next to each other when the battle starts, making a pretty good barrier against frontal cavalry charges. It's spooky, but I've taken my javelin throwers out of skirmish & circled around the abandoned rams long enough to actually kill off an elephant unit. I'm REALLY disappointed siege towers on "fire at will" don't shoot at the enemy when they sally out ;(

I'll use anything for cover or a barrier - a few trees or those boulders that are common on the eastern plains. I fight a lot of battles with only 5 to 10 unit armies, so small differences can well be the difference between victory & defeat.
Tzar469
Legionary
posted 02 June 2008 20:43 EDT (US)     10 / 51       
I don't because I don't have time to set up my army. In most battles I fight, the nearest useful rocks/ridges/hills are outside my area of deployment, or are generally facing the wrong way. If I'm defending, the AI will throw itself upon my spears, which defeats the whole point of an ambush. If I'm attacking, ambushes are useless as well because hidden units don't chase routers.
SrJamesTyrrel
Legionary
posted 02 June 2008 23:34 EDT (US)     11 / 51       
the plains in this game are nearly devoid of any features but high ground, and the gargantuan buildings and trees add little strategy even so.

still, positioning on a hill is very important, as well as making sure that your archers are on your left flank (once they are shooting the enemy from his right flank, shields don't count!) and making sure that your general is behind the part of the line that can take the most punishment (i tend to make this the right flank and fight in the counter-clockwise fashion like they did in history).

rocks and orchards are great if you have a small army that you don't plan on losing (feeling from such positions is not an option).

if you don't care about honesty and need to need to need to get your back against something good, you can always cheat with the red line, set your men up to guard the corner. easy fleeing. Still isn't even as cheap as the more phalanx-in-the-doorway or camp on every bridge tactics.

if you WANT to play a game where the lay of the land is of utmost importance, play the first MTW - it's still the best in the series for pure tactics imo (MTW2 does nicely as well but suffers from still putting too much emphasis on glitz.)

I forgive RTW for being the transition to 3d and therefore necessitating a lot of sacrifice.
jimUK
Legionary
posted 03 June 2008 04:44 EDT (US)     12 / 51       
I'll only use my surroundings if i'm rediculously outnumbered, otherwise i can hold the enemy line with my spearman while my horses flank and rout them, works every time
Hussarknight
Seraph Emeritus
posted 03 June 2008 07:54 EDT (US)     13 / 51       
I'm REALLY disappointed siege towers on "fire at will" don't shoot at the enemy when they sally out ;(
They always do fire at the enemy for me. You'll have to equip them to a unit and put them on fire-at-will. Then wait for the enemy to come and die.

          Hussarknight
Oolon Colluphid
Legionary
posted 03 June 2008 13:03 EDT (US)     14 / 51       
I'll only use my surroundings if i'm rediculously outnumbered, otherwise i can hold the enemy line with my spearman while my horses flank and rout them, works every time
Right, my point exactly.
I'm REALLY disappointed siege towers on "fire at will" don't shoot at the enemy when they sally out ;(
I'm really disappointed at the Siege tower's fire at will mode anyway. I only recently found out about it on this side and then tried it. It were the smaller wooden towers, matching a Stone Wall, but still, they only killed about three early legionaires before running out of ammo, it was pathetic.
Germanic God
Legionary
posted 03 June 2008 15:16 EDT (US)     15 / 51       
i wish siege towers came with a small archer detachment on the tops of them...this way even when the tower hits the wall, you can still shot down



and to answer the main question, i use what is presented to me, if theres long grass i take it if not what ever i can mess up the army just the same
DrFuzzy
Legionary
posted 03 June 2008 16:46 EDT (US)     16 / 51       
The only time I hide units in long grass is when I have Arcani or slingers. I don't feel like javelin skirmishers are powerful enough to warrant breaking up my battle line.

Time to fight! Time to die! Time to win!
mikecz
Legionary
posted 03 June 2008 19:37 EDT (US)     17 / 51       
I'm REALLY disappointed siege towers on "fire at will" don't shoot at the enemy when they sally out ;(

They always do fire at the enemy for me. You'll have to equip them to a unit and put them on fire-at-will. Then wait for the enemy to come and die.

Uh, that figures, I guess. When the enemy sallies out, I pretty much immediately "drop" the siege equipment to try to gain a little mobility. So you're saying if I had left a unit "attached" to the tower (& have it on fire at will) it will actually shoot at the oncoming sallying forces? Gotta try that!
Oolon Colluphid
Legionary
posted 03 June 2008 22:06 EDT (US)     18 / 51       
The only time I hide units in long grass is when I have Arcani or slingers.
Arcani don't need long grass, they can hide anywhere.
SrJamesTyrrel
Legionary
posted 03 June 2008 22:17 EDT (US)     19 / 51       
send scythed chariots in a huge arc to kill the general full minutes before the real battle starts. who cares if they rout or die or even run amok - they're behind the enemy, half a mile away, and easy to retrain. even the best cavalry gets it's legs cut out.


also, militia cavalry up the ass, let them chase enemy missiles until the cows come home. worse comes to worse you lose a couple of $6 horses


my version i basically made naptha throwers from MTW1 for parthians and selucids (just took the pants off to make them more iron-age and gave them area launching ability), they are good at scattering phalangites and the computer actually knows how to use them! they always go straight for my toughest spears right before the charge >.<. I could put the code and models up when i'm not so tired if anyone wants.

train up your slingers if you like playing tactically - the bullets are better than arrows because they get more hits and the need to use missiles as skirmish troops adds historical flavor. good slingers get damage points in the mid-teens, too, so there's no lack of firepower.

all seige equipment's gotta be manned to do anything, not like regular towers :/
jimUK
Legionary
posted 04 June 2008 08:10 EDT (US)     20 / 51       
i wouldnt mind a try of those naptha throwers :P

I find slingers irritating, because unlike archers and peltasts, they won't shoot over your troops, and instead shoot in your troops back so you lose alot of soldiers. Peltasts are far better imo as they can get 20+ attack and can shoot over your men. Indian longbow men work too
CaesarVincens
Legionary
posted 04 June 2008 11:00 EDT (US)     21 / 51       
You need to run the slingers around to the flanks. A good volley or two on the right flank, or better into the enemies' backs, will cause many casualties for them.

Veni, Vidi, well... you know.

Extended Cultures, A modification of RTW.

Si hoc legere posses, Latinam linguam scis.
ɪf ju kŠn ɹid ­ɪs, ju noʊ liŋgwɪstɪks.
mikecz
Legionary
posted 04 June 2008 11:50 EDT (US)     22 / 51       
You have to fiddle around with slingers a lot more than archers or peltasts but a non-archers faction, like Carthage, really teaches you to use them. They have way more ammo than peltasts & given a little terrain advantage, will cream archers & peltasts 1 on 1.
Krymzon74
Legionary
posted 06 June 2008 22:28 EDT (US)     23 / 51       
The terrain of the battlefield is the first thing I look at before deploying my troops. I will also try to guess where the two armies will meet and how best to align my men on that spot of ground. Once the battle begins I will try to fight on the best terrain I can find. If you're careful you can actually get the ai to march themselves off a hill while you march to the top of it. It's all about how you approach them.

Getting the terrain on your side for unit vs unit mismatches however is the absolute best way to kill an enemy unit. A downhill cavalry charge into the back of an infantry unit is an instant rout every time. Showering phalanx troops from their right side or backs with missiles from a hilltop is scary effective. Getting an enemy cavalry unit to run through the woods into one of your phalanxes will rout/kill them before you can blink. I also recently pulled off a "surprise attack" on the flank of a Roman line. I charged my men from hiding directly into the side and back of the Roman right flank. Half their army was already running away when the berserkers tore into the first unit of legionares! That'll teach them to trod through my woods.
SubRosa
Legionary
posted 06 June 2008 22:53 EDT (US)     24 / 51       
Bones40
Legionary
posted 07 June 2008 16:11 EDT (US)     25 / 51       
You have to fiddle around with slingers a lot more than archers or peltasts but a non-archers faction, like Carthage, really teaches you to use them. They have way more ammo than peltasts & given a little terrain advantage, will cream archers & peltasts 1 on 1.
I agree completely. Slingers are deadly once you learn how to use them against the enemy rather then killing your own troops. They are my preferred recruit-able missile troops.
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