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Barbarian Invasion Discussion
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Topic Subject: Franks conquer the world. Maybe.
posted 12 March 2012 12:48 EDT (US)   
Franks conquer the world. Maybe.

There's some screenshots at

About a week ago, started a campaign as the Franks. Actually, I started several one after the other as for various reasons (e.g., I suck) my empires kept collapsing. Was trying to find the right balance between enough money to settle after hording and enough time to gain 20 provinces before 476AD.

My beginning strategy was simple: move all units to Viscus Franki and disassemble. My 2 initial warlords kept public order enough and easily beat back the first roman attack which is only about 600 men. Indeed, since I didn't care if I lost, I charged the warlords into melee and easily routed the romans. I built spies, assassins, and diplomats in prep for hording. Eventually my family members drained the treasury and it was time to horde. I gathered about 75k in gold prior to settling in Avicarium, a good choice for a capital since it had huge walls.

Still, by 461AD I only had 8 provinces, and getting 12 more in 15 years looked impossible. That is, until the appearnance of Horsa, an epic Christian leader who quickly became a legendary general. In 15 years he swept through Italy, the Balkans, ending up at the gates of Constantinople itself. My final two cities conquered (taking me to 20) were Salon and Augusta Vindelicorum, the little town north of Mediolanum where the Vandals had settled (their only city). Victory! in 475AD.

Horsa got the Frankish Warlord title, so why stop there? Though a Christian, he left pagan towns alone, so aside from Rome and Tarraco my cities were Pagan. Horsa continued his conquests, mostly with an all-cavalry army (Raiders, Noble Cavalry, and lots of mercenary horse archers). By 485AD Horsa was like a god. He died in 494AD. The Frankish Warlord title died with him, it would be 300 years before the title was given again.

Wanting a challenge, I enforced Horsa's final will: 1) to convert all Frankish towns to Jesus, 2) make Rome the capital, & 3) destroy all the Roman-built military buidings. All to be enforced by sword and fire if necessary (and it was). Revolts were widespread but by 498AD Christianity was established throughout my empire.

Using vast cavalry armies heavy with mercenary horse archers, it took more than a century to conquer the steppes. My brilliant general Ostina is shown here annihilating the horded Burgundians in a single turn in 609AD, mopping up the survivors on the next turn.

During all this, I had started building little forts, which I called Orders, consisting of a Paladin and a Priest unit. My cities were teeming poopholes, and after getting tired of losing veteran troops to the near-constant plagues and riots, I moved them into the forts as well. Cities were garrisoned with a Paladin and a priest, with the remaining slots filled with cheap peasants. I try to keep the Castrum, the sewers, and the Abbey running but my economy still sucks so I can't keep up with repairs on most of the structures. As a result the old cities of Germany are musty and derelict, lending a Dark Ages mood to the whole thing. It doesn't really matter, as I am using mostly Paladins as well as vast amounts of mercenary troops (Alan Nobles, Vandal Lancers, and Alan and Samaritan Horse Archers). Meanwhile, sons came in to Rome, were given better armor and weapons, and sent off to be dukes of the provinces.

The Order forts, now also containing the remants of the once-proud Frankish infantry, also perform a valuable function. Revolts are common (especially in Cordoba, which revolts every 10 years or so like clockwork -- you'd think they'd learn, considering the constant exterminations). I immediately besiege these with the pushed-out garrisons (a paladin, a priest, and lots of peasants) along with units from nearby Order forts. I wait a few turns till I get 2-1 or so and auto-resolve. With the cash boost I repair or build up economy structures.

Strangely, though I took Constantinople quite soon after the official game end, the ERE's response was tepid until I took over the last Roxolani town. I've been fighting them on the steppes. Compared to the Franks, the ERE is right out of science fiction. I've peaked and all their cities -- with one or two exceptions -- have huge walls and are likely fully built up. It's right before 800, and I've taken Kotais, it was fully built up. The ERE forces are full of 1st cohorts and their superheavy cavalry. Interestingly, the WRE survives on one city - Caralis.

Fun parts about playing in the dark ages with the Franks:
1) They can build both onagers and ballistas, the latter are quite fun in defending cities and softening up rebels.
2) Once you convert to christianity, the abbey supplies pretty much all of your military needs.
3) Decrepit cities, full of damaged structures, teeming with people and poop, with frequent plagues and rebellions, add to the dark ages ambiance.
4) Lots of small battles, many involving just a Paladin and some remaining infantry, and maybe a ballista or two along. Always something for the Paladins to do. Plus, the Paladins present a reserve force for your 'and Rohan will answer!' moments.
5) Shield wall!

Sucky parts:
1) The economy really sucks. The only time you get a chance to build or repair something is when getting the cash bonus from extermination - enemy cities or your own. Most of my Med ports are endlessly blockaded by the ERE, and there's vast fleets of pirates. My own attempts to build a navy have been mixed - a force of 10 ships supporting my invasion of Sicily (my only sea invasion so far), was reduced to one ship on the way back to Rome by multiple ERE fleets.
posted 12 March 2012 15:01 EDT (US)     1 / 1  
A very epic tale! An army comprised solely of Mercenary Horse Archers, that's something I'd never seen before! If you really like commanding these mounted bowmen, perhaps you will consider one of the horse archer factions for your next campaign?

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