The Macedonian V-Phalanx

By Cheesewiz

Ever since its release, several key strategies have emerged to guide gamers on their path to victory. Players quickly learn to flank, use archers to their maximum advantage, and to master the art of the phalanx. So I felt it best to create a basic strategy that combines some of the best advantages from lessons learned on the battlefield. After considering all of this I made the Maceonian V-Phalanx. Although rather simple in concept, it allows you to be very flexable, while still packing a tremendous force when nessecary.

Part One: Unit Selection

Macedon has some key advantages in troop selection; they have powerful hoplites like the Greeks, strong cavalry like Pontus and Armenia, and powerful Cretian Archers as well. This is a huge advantage because it allows you to have a composite army that can ultimately get you out of nearly any situation. Obviously, as you can see from the name of the strategy, the Phalanx is the key. It isn't the key because it has the most action, it is the key because it is for finishing off your oponent. This might not seem logical to some veteran players, but I assure you that all will be revealed. Macedon's best Pikemen are royal pikemen, and since they are reasonably cheap at only 690 Denarii, well within our 10000 denarii limit. They have an attack of 9, and charge bonus of 7, and a defence of 17. These stats are quite excellent, and fit perfectly for our overall strategy. Not to mention that there are 1.5 times as many men in a Macedonian division compared to a Greek one. Your army should consist of 6 divisions of Royal Pikemen.

The second unit we should consider is cavalry, and what would be better than Alexander's very own Companion Cavalry. I consider these lovely troops to be Cataphracts that can actually run. They have an attack of 10, and Charge bonus of 16(!), and a defence of 17, while only costing 760 Denarii. Essentially that makes these troops the perfect archer killing and shock troops. Literally, when a player sees these things charging at high speed very early in the game, it can make them throw their strategy out the window and panic. Once again, this is perfect for our plan later. You'll want to get 4 units of Companions.

The third, and quite possibly most surprising part of our plan is the Cretian Archers, not because they are weak, but because it's hard to understand just how many kills these things can rack up. They will likely cause the majority of the casualities, and will likely be completely wiped out in the process; however, they pack a collosal punch. They come into the game as the supreme archer, with an attack of 6, and a pierce attack of 11(!), while having a defence of 5. They only cost 550 denarii, and are well worth it, considering how they are probably 3-4 times more effective than an standard archer. Why, you may ask? Range. The range of a Cretian is insane. Usually they can begin stiking the enemy within minutes of their advance, making them an asset to any defencive strategy. You will want 5 divisions of Cretians in your army, and you should give one of them a weapons upgrade with the remaining 70 Denarii.

Also you want to make sure that your general division is a Royal Pikemen. This is because they will likely be your only remaining units by the end of the fight.

Part Two: Battlefield Set Up

When setting up prior to the battle you need to observe a few things. First off, this is a defencive strategy, so you must find the best possible terrain. Ideally, you should place yourself on top of a hill, so the enemy will be tired by the time they reach you, your archers will be at maximum range, and your Companions can charge down the hill at a high rate of speed. You want to arrange your phalani in a V formation at your best possible strategic position. The V should be made of two diagonal sides of 3 divisions, with you general devision being near the Vertice. Next, you need to split your companions in to two groups of two divisions. Place them on each flank of your troops, preferably in a wooded area so they will be hidden. It is always to your advantage to appear to be weak. Wether hidden or not, your oppenent will know about your companions very soon. Thirdly, you want to put your archers in front of your V-line. In a straight line if possible, but not to the point of exposing them too much. The will be raining death to your enemies soon enough. Here is a basic looking set up:

Part Three: Hit Them Hard, Hit Them Early

In the way that we have deployed our forces, we are perfectly set for a defencive stand. However, in the game of war one cannot truely be defensive for long. So, my idea, let him make the first mistake, then capitalize immediately and ruthlessly. Since you archers have a longer range, he must advance first, or lose countless men. When set up like this your oppenent has three options: A. Attack quickly with cavalry; B. Assault you with skirmishers and archers; C. move all of his forces within range. Option A isn't really a good plan, because if he tries to charge into you position with just his cavalry force, he's going to lose a large chunk of them due to archer fire on a concentrated target, secondly he is going to face your cavalry counter charging from both flanks. Either way, option A quite frankly will not work. Option C is practically suicide. Your archers will totally crush any infantry trying to get to you, and if he does an all out charge all the way into your lines, your Fresh Phalani will make mince meat out of them. Therefore, option C is even worse than A and will cause him to lose in the first 5 minutes. Basically, B is his only real choice. No matter what happens his archers will not have better range than yours (even if he also uses Cretains he will break even). So, his men will take a few initial causuaties, but nothing too serious. However, your cretians are absolutely critical to your strategy, so you cannot afford to lose many of them. The answer is to charge your Companions. Your Cretans will inflict some early damage upon them, and your Companions will crush them. However, if the opposing archers attempt to fight back, let them, even if you have some routing of the cavalry, they have already served their purpose. (Just a side note here, if you opponent has seige, send a group of Companions to attack them from the side, it will probably wipe them out completely, and disable to the seige.) Send your remianing Cavalry to attack anything nearby. Now, with their archers decimated you have to use yours to maximum effect.

Part Four: Death From Above

Without moving them much, let your archers get into range of the opposing units, and open fire. A few things can happen here, they might do a cav charge, which is ok by us. One of the great things about a Cretain is that they fight reasonably well against Cavalry, also, your Cretes will totally outnumber them, and likely cause a rout. I've been able to even rout bodyguards with them. This will make your opponent have only his infantry, a broken cavalry division, and a half-hearted group of archers recovering from their rout. Your oppenent must now advance, he has no other options. Without your cavalry, they will try to advance as quickly as possible on your archers to get them to skirmish away. It is rather likely that you may rout a few of a infantry divisions attacking you, but more than likely you will have to move your archers. However, make sure of one thing, move them to the sides, not behind your V-Phalanx.

Part Five: Comando Cretians

Throughout this entire battle, your Phalani have been setting there doing nothing, other that taking the occasional arrow fire, but nothing much. More than likely the opposing troops will be lower in number, tired, and probably a bit scared. However, our troops are not as strong as some other infantry available. So this is where the fun begins, if possible move your archers to a wooded area. More than likely they have used all of the ammo, so now they will be out suicide attackers. As your oppent tries to march on you, have your cretans ambush any archers trying to come up the hill. It will be a slaughter. Cretans are excellent hand-to-hand fighters, and the opposing archers will already have been worn down. If no archers are present, have them attack infantry trying to move up the hill. Yes, they will die, but it really doesn't matter. They have served their purpose.

Part Six: Sweet, Sweet, Sweet Victory

Now all that remains are some battered enemy forces, and your Elite Royal Pikemen. Let them charge you. Since you are in that V formation, you have one goal, surround, flank, and destroy. Hopefully they will charge into the pit of that V, making your job very easy, but in case they don't, be ready to move you men in and out of Phalanx formation so they can flank. However, be cautious, Phalanx is your best formation for most fighting here. It will take time, but the opposing troops will rout. If someone attacks the wing of the V, advance the back Phalani to flank their side. If you are hit from the back, swing the front troops back. You should not lose once you are at this point. Your troops are simply better at this point. With that being said, you have won the battle, and hopefully earned some respect as the great general you have become. After all, if Alexander could master the Macedonians, you could too, right?