Dacian Unit Guide

By Gallowglass

Introduction:

The barbarian faction Dacia has one of the most balanced unit rosters in the game. Archers, heavy infantry, shock infantry, light and medium cavalry with onagers, ballistas, all play a part in their armies, and the fact that they have no unique units is sadly used to judge this faction, often overlooked, as a whole. One of my more interesting, innovative campaigns was with Dacia. Here I will give you a detailed guide to the uses and faults of their key units. They may not be unique, but the way they work together truly is.

Infantry:

Falxmen: The falx is a brutal weapon, agile in the hands of an expert, and able to cleave armour like water. It is no surprise, then, that for Dacia this unit of strong soldiers armed with such a frightening weapon is crucial to their battle successes. Historically Romans adapted their armour to combat the prowess of this weapon and its wielders. But in the game they have no such opportunity.

The falxmen are tough, hardy, reliable, and versatile, able to hack through most infantry, light and heavy, act as flank troops in the same way as Germanic night raiders, or a supporting second line for a weaker first line. The Roman infantry are armoured, disciplined, and may be a match for a poorly-judged falx assault. However, the barbarian tribes to Dacia's north and west have no access to armour which can be compared to that of the Romans, at least not for their common units. They are also not as well equipped with their axes to face a strong charge, and will not gain the upper hand in melee for a long time of fighting.

However, as effective as falxmen are, they need support from other units or to be the support of other units in certain situations, both for their own benefit.

They are vulnerable to intense missile fire and heavy cavalry charges, although they can hold their own against light cavalry for a while and will give a good account of themselves.

Missile:

Archer Warband: The bow is one of the oldest weapons and nowhere near as advanced as the falx or other weapons of the era. But combine it's strengths with those of the spear-falx charge and you will soon come to hear the retreat cries of the best the enemy can throw at you.

The biggest advantage as far as logistics is concerned is that archer warbands can be trained in one turn, and are available at the first level of construction for archery buildings. Dacia has access to chosen archers, of course, but these should be used sparingly in comparison with warbands.

Archers are, of course, vulnerable to cavalry, and need to be protected. Personally I prefer with Dacia to have the archers behind falxmen at the flanks and the core of the army as other infantry and mercenaries, with chosen archers as the last line of the army save for artillery, but conventional tactics also work here. Archers, if lacking in infantry, or for more of a concentrated assault, can be used with ballistas whilst onagers provide more inaccurate fire if needed.


Chosen Archers: These units are as useful as the falxmen as they can shoot like the elite archers they are and also they can engage in melee, hence my use of them as the third line of my army whilst archer warbands are at the flanks. There is little wrong with this unit, besides its cost. This is indeed its only limitation. It means that, with Dacia's economy, especially before you take Greece and secure your position so you are not fighting endless wars with Germania, Thrace, Scythia, and possibly the powerful Hellenic factions, you will need to use them sparingly, a significant blow to your hopes of conquest. But a blow that can be minimized by utilizing all of these soldier's abilities and using them in combination with other units.

Cavalry:

Barbarian Cavalry: Light cavalry, easily accessible and rather cheap, for riding down archers, ambushes, riding down artillery, and chasing routing soldiers. Not often good for engaging other cavalry or infantry for that matter, at least not from the front without heavy cavalry or infantry support. But they can chase the horse archers of Scythia whilst your heavier cavalry does the killing and defends them in the chase, or works with them if your micromanagement can handle it.


Barbarian Noble Cavalry: This is more medium cavalry than heavy. It is generally not good against tackling other heavy cavalry head-on. But it is exceptional at flanking and assaulting sword-armed infantry and sweeping missile troops off the map. It can also work with light cavalry to pin down the horse archers of Scythia, or to contain routers, or to flank an enemy whilst your infantry attacks.

Conclusion:

I appreciate this guide was not thorough, with only a few units explained, but that is all that is needed to make a great general of a Dacia player, and should have got you thinking about a faction between the Hellenic factions, Bastarnae warriors, and the berserkers of Germania without any special features. I hope you'll see that a lack of special features does not mean a lack of special opportunities.

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