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Medieval 2 Strategy Discussion
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Topic Subject: Tips for improving at battles?
posted 09 April 2013 20:50 EDT (US)   
Hi all I've been lurking in the forums a while, reading the guides and things, and really enjoyng many of the articles. I'm something of a noob when it comes to this game, despite having owned it for several years, as this pesky thing we call life keeps getting in the way of my gaming time, so I'm an on-again off-again player, with nothing in the way of innate awesome gamer skill. Consequently, I do play on the easiest level for battle and campaign.

Now, my various campaigns are all rocking along nicely, due to having a relatively decent grasp of all the different factors (politics, religion, economy), a basic grasp of what units to start focussing on training, and some obsessive micro-management. My trouble is the battles. I absolutely suck at them. I do try my hand at them now and again, but even so, I lose about 4 times as many men as I do when I auto-resolve. I'm slowly learning and doing some practice battles outside of my campaign, but boy oh boy, I suck. I would really appreciate some helpful tips on how to improve, any articles to try, or some practice scenarios that might help.
posted 10 April 2013 04:56 EDT (US)     1 / 7  
Welcome! I hope you enjoy your visit The ai is predictable in a few key ways. First, it'll always open with a cavalry charge if possible- bear this in mind and put spearmen towards the centre, and leave any archers behind them. Second, once cavalry become still, they become very easy to bring down. Experiment on flanking cavalry with a counter cavalry charge with spears following straight after. Pull your cavalry out again, settle them (something that is very important to get a decent charge on) and charge them in from the side.You've now got control of your flanks. Now, in the centre your spears are being assaulted by heavy infantry. Keep some choice ones of your own behind your lines so you can shore up the line when needed, but also run some around the side-sometimes the effect of dismounted knights crashing into the side is just as effective as the cavalry. In a real pinch, archers firing from the sides will also work wonders.To encourage the enemy to run set your cavalry on easy targets such as scattered crossbows, they'll rout quickly and lower nearby enemy morale. Your general can join but I tend to keep him near the fighting to give morale bonuses and counter any real nasty units.Finally, the flanks start to crumble. Don't let your flanking infantry run off with them, but roll up the line to the next unit up. As long as you've held elsewhere you should become an unstoppable wave! And that is when you charge cavalry into the centre to finish them off.Try that, see how useful that is- I think the most important bit is the rolling up the flanks.

And I shall go Softly into the Night Taking my Dreams As will You
posted 14 April 2013 20:45 EDT (US)     2 / 7  
Thank you very much! I've yet to try a field battle - most of mine have been beseiging a castle (which I am *terrible* at and will happily accept similar advise for!). I'll try a couple of field battles in my lunch break. Could you give me a suggestion of what troops I should give myself and the enemy?

My campaign itself is rolling along nicely. I've eliminated Scotland, France and Milan, I'm allied with Spain and the Papal States and fighting Denmark, HRE and Venice. Oh, and Egypt, but since I've withdrawn from the Middle East for now they aren't really on the radar. Someone else has eliminated Scicily. The HRE are down to one, possibly two provinces, as near as I can tell. Denmark has Stockholm and some kind of foothold in Russia, but I'm not sure how large since Poland is refusing to give me map information at any price.
Venice is my main worry right now - the city of Venice itself is so hard to attack due to that one single bridge, and it's stocked full of pavise crossbowman and a couple of Dismounted Feudal Knights. (Any tips on what I should field against them? I have a siegeworks in Milan and Bologna, but I'm having to ship in decent infantry and archers from Innesbruck, Dijon and Metz).
Unfortunately, the Venetians are also a stronger naval power than me, though I'm building mine up, and they hold their usual coastal and island provinces in addition to Acre and another Middle-Eastern province (currently being besieged by someone else).
My economy is absolutely booming, which is just as well because I'm maintaining a bunch of full stacks. (I'm England, by the way).
Scuse my little ramble.
posted 15 April 2013 06:25 EDT (US)     3 / 7  
Siege battles as attacker can be a lot harder than other types, assuming the AI puts up a reasonable showing - conversely it's possible to hold the walls against superior enemy armies when autoresolve would have handed them a clear victory (autoresolved sieges are a lot easier on the main game than on the Kingdoms expansion or mods based on it).

Things that make siege attacks easier:
- spies opening the gates, no ram needed and the enemy starts scattered around the settlement, potential for you to charge in through the gates and miss off a slaughter on the walls
- use artillery to knock holes in the walls, if done quickly enough you can sometimes take a lot of defenders down too
- use multiple units with ladders to get up unopposed, works best if you outnumber the enemy (walk or run a unit around to a gap, either they climb unmolested or the enemy moves and in doing so frees up another section of the wall), at the least you can keep the enemy archers running rather than shooting
- practice with siege towers and ladders to get used to each, ladders allow the units to run making them quicker and more flexible but the men come off one by one at the top of each ladder; siege towers give more protection (if they don't burn down) but your units might still take losses while walking behind.
- gates can be easier than walls (watch for pitch in Kingdoms)
- once inside (or from the walls) missile superiority can help you, especially if you kill the enemy archers at the wall. Units can't rout from the main square so the enemy will fight to the last - but if you surround them with archers / ballistas then you can save your men (and any enemy units venturing out to try and attack your archers can be persuaded to run back to the square).
- don't rely on effective cavalry inside the walls, charging is difficult in narrow streets
- if all else fails, just wait rather than attacking - either they sally and you can fight them outside the walls or they don't and you eventually take the settlement that way.

I might, subject to time and whether I remember, post a custom battle setup and one or more saved replays to give an example. The download section hasn't been happy for a while, but you can still download any of the old replays on there, not sure if there are any siege battles.
Hmm, looks to be just field battles - still you might find them interesting.
posted 15 April 2013 11:13 EDT (US)     4 / 7  
he download section hasn't been happy for a while,
We're getting it fixed, finally. HG techies have managed to regain FTP access so I put our downloads access problem forward as something for them to fix

And I shall go Softly into the Night Taking my Dreams As will You
posted 15 April 2013 13:16 EDT (US)     5 / 7  
Thanks EoJ - glad it's making progress

Queen, articles wise, there's one here for siege equipment which you might find interesting. If you make a breakthrough that significantly improves your battle performance then please feel free to put your thoughts up on the articles forum and people can help you finalise it (if needed) before we post it up on the main website.
posted 15 April 2013 18:30 EDT (US)     6 / 7  
The world discovered gunpowder and I built lots of bombards. That helped a lot. I don't think I could have taken Venice without them.

I did a couple of practice battles the other day based on battles fought in game (where I was the superior force, because there is no way I am ready to take on a big fat castle packed full of better, more numerous soldiers than I have) and I do seem to be improving slightly. Previously, on the advice of people I know who have plenty of real life (if somewhat modern) battle experience, I had concentrated all my forces on the front wall so that they could mutually support each other. This time, I went with my gut and sent one ladder unit of spearmen to the left wall, supported by archers, one to the right wall, and one to the front wall by the gate, which I was also attacking with my ram. It was a Polish wooden castle defended by two archer militia and a spear militia. I was Russian and had two archer militia, two spear militia, two woodsmen, a unit of kazahks and my general. Yes, I massively outmatched them, but that's what happened in my Russian campaign.

The good thing was, they could only defend the wall in two spots. They focussed on my left spear militia and the ladders at the front wall, meaning my rammers and those coming over the right were unmolested. I took the gate very quickly and destroyed one of their AM units, then took those troops down into the square with my Kazhaks, leaving my left unit to destroy the archer militia on their wall (in retropspect, I think I should have sent another unit to help them, because I lost more men than I would like, even though I set the peasants to routing...right into my general's unit).

Swamprat - nice to meet another ratter! Thank you very much for your tips - I shall do some more battles today to try and use them.
What is roughly the expected ratio of men lost to men killed when seiging?
posted 15 April 2013 18:41 EDT (US)     7 / 7  
In theory sieges are supposed to be nasty in terms of casualties- that's what they were in real life, after all. In practice? Expect at least a third of your force if it's even quality. Most of the casualties will come in the initial "get on the wall" stage- once you get the gate open, which should of course be your priority, then you can rush everyone in (mind out for oil as Swampy said) and take out the guys on the ground, and if needs be flank the guys on the wall with reinforcements. You'll need to lure the enemy of the plaza, too- if there's five or six units that refuse to budge then you're going to have a very bad day.

And I shall go Softly into the Night Taking my Dreams As will You
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