The German Scare Square

By Cheesewiz

One of very first strategies that came to be in the online world of Rome:Total War was using the screeching women with the spear warband phalanx. I've always been a fan of the phalanx, as obvious by any strategy I come up with, so I designed a nifty little plan of using a box of spear warband surrounding a group of Screeching Women. One Problem: This didn't work. Archers ate it alive, and so I trashed the idea. However, in recents days I have revisited this idea and modified it, and to my great surprise I found a way to minimize the effect of archers against the box, by reducing it's size, and giving support units outside of the box. This is an extremely effective strategy, and causes enemy routs before the enemy can even attack you. Thus, the German Scare Square Strategy has been born.

Part One: Setup

The Germans have some of the most unique units in the entire game. On top of Screeching Women, they also can call upon Berserkers, the Armour-Piercing chosen axemen, and the powerful chosen archers. So it's only logical to compose a powerhouse composite army from them. However, since specialized units alone aren't much good, throwing in some spear warband and Cavalry is the next step.

I recommend your army consist of 6 divisions of Spear Warband. These are very basic units, yet their ability to form a phalanx is very key. Their stats aren't the best, with an attack of 9 and a defence of 11; however, combined with what else we will use, they will more than perfect for the job. Next, you will need to purchase 4 divisions of screeching women. In my personal opinion, their stats aren't very important. The key is the screech.

The next unit we will select is 2 divisions of chosen axemen. These guys have an attack of 18(!), and defence of 6, and a hefty charge bonus of 9. One important part about Chosen Axemen is that they are effective against armour. This in itself is great because it allows you to hack through more heavily armed units with ease. The next divisions we will choose are two Chosen Archers. These guys are solid archer units that can also effectively fight hand to hand.

Now we need to get two divisions of Cavalry. For denarii reasons, I usually get one division of Gothic Cavalry, and one division of Noble Cavalry. These are going to be mainly limitted use, so it's not too critical that they be grand units. Now, what German army would be complete without a division of Berserkers? In fact, we will use two divisions. These units are not just solid, they are down-right beastly. They have an attack of 19(!), a charge bonus of 8, and a defence of 5. They also strike fear into nearby units. Now, these stats alone make them excellent; however, what makes them truly dangerous on the battlefield is that they have 3 hit points. That means they can take three times the hits, give out three times the pain, and strike three times the fear into the enemy.

I like making one of my screeching women as my general, because they are very secure for the entire fight. You want to arrange your army into a formation with the 6 warbands making a 3 sided square around the Screechers, with the cavalry on the distant flanks, the axemen on the close flanks, the archers out in front, and the berserkers on the sides of the warbands, ready to jump into the battle. Here is how it should look:

Part Two: Setting the Stage for Slaughter

One of the main keys for this strategy is to let your opponent come at you. This is because your three-side formation cannot move effectively, and must remain in the same position it started in. Also, so that the square is secure, you must keep your axemen and berserkers where they are. That leaves your archers and you cavalry. The first thing you want to do is to move your archers into an attack position. Let them open fire. When the enemy couter-attacks them, they will probably use archers that will out number yours. That's ok, drop your archers to behind the main line, or try to find a hole to charge your cavalry at the opposing archers. However, as long as you can, use the Chosen Archers to kill off opposing archers. The only way to defeat this plan is with archers, and if the enemy uses his arrows on your archers and cavalry, that's great by us.

Part Three: When Spear Meets the Soldier

At this point the enemy has little choice but to just outright attack you. You should have already turned on your Screechers special ability, and had your berserkers taunting. This will freighten the enemy troops before they even reach your spears, and some will likely rout within seconds of attacking your spear warband. Next you have a few options, and you must choose what you do based on how the enemy reacts. If they charge your flanks, use your cavalry, axemen, and berserkers to assault any incoming troops. If they go for the heart of the square, you have to converge on the center with the axemen, are who some of the best troops to flank with in the game due to the armour piercing ability. They can literally cut through the enemy, and between that, the spears, and the women, they will certainly rout.




Part Four: Finish Them

Now that any melee troops have routed, you should release your secret weapon. The screeching women aren't just good for yelling, they are excellent for chasing down enemy troops. Order them to stop screeching, and to attack any other enemy troops routing or still left intact. More that likely they will simply cut through the enemy, and destroy anything that remains of the force. Your screechers will actually number around a fifth of your total army size, so they will constitute a colossal late game force. Next, order your spear warbands to get out of phalanx mode, and charge any remaining enemy troops. This will totally crush the remaining enemy.

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