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Medieval 2 Strategy Discussion
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Topic Subject: Some early-game HRE help for a beginner
posted 13 May 2013 16:56 EDT (US)   
Hi, I'm new to Medieval 2, and still fairly new to the Total War series. I picked up Rome like two months ago and played 3-4 long campaigns-- up to medium/medium level.

I thought I'd check out Medieval 2 for a change and after playing and winning the Battle of Agincourt for a start I went for a HRE campaign-- easy/easy, it's my first one after all.

I quite like the campaign, but after snatching up the rebel settlements around me I'm kind of lost as to what to do.

The pope doesn't seem to like me attacking people, and no one will do me the favor and attack me instead. Maybe that's a problem with the easy difficulty-- enemies being too docile--, but right now it just means I don't really know what to do.

It's I think Turn 16ish? and I've picked up Hamburg, Stettin, Magdeburg, Prague, Florence, Bern, Dijon, Metz, and I'm going to get Brussels in a turn or two. The Scots picked up Antwerp.

I also decapitated the Danes in a quick strike and took Aarhus and eliminated them-- they had just their king sitting in there with their armies being far away, that was just too good to pass up. Which also leaves Oslo and Stockholm free for the taking.

But after that I'm surrounded by other nations who don't seem to want to attack me. That's something I'm totally unfamiliar with from Rome where basically almost everyone is at war with each other all the time.

Now, I don't actually *mind* roleplaying a Pax Germanica-style Medieval World where no one fights with each other, but it's not quite what I expected. Or are things going to inevitably heat up? Right now the only war on the entire map is Venice-Byzantium, and they're not even actually fighting much.
posted 17 May 2013 06:49 EDT (US)     1 / 5  
I wouldn't worry too much at 16 turns, things tend to get more aggressive especially once you're at the top of the rankings (everyone dislikes the 'tall poppy' apparently).

That said, if the 'easy' campaign setting is keeping people too friendly towards you then there are things you can do to annoy them:

ruining your reputation
There's a guide by El Bandito on playing as a gentleman, and getting a strong reputation, which will make people more prone to liking and trusting you. You can go the opposite route:
- kill prisoners
- exterminate settlements (especially if you've just encouraged one of your own to rebel and retaken it)
- attack an ally

winding up specific factions
Without trying to dig yourself in a hole generally (I left out 'get excommunicated' from the above on that basis, that and it's probably not a 'reputation' issue) you could annoy a faction (and its allies) by:
- having alliances / trade agreements with its enemies
- parking your armies on their lands
- making '(very) demanding' diplomatic offers

Alternatively you can make yourself look a good target without ruining your relationship - e.g. have negligible garrisons in border settlements.

If your worry is more about getting the pope to stop his whining, you can focus on getting your relationship with his faction higher (e.g. gifting money, training priests). HRE starts with fairly poor papal relations so things will get better if you're careful.

Manipulating diplomacy can be quite interesting, when it works, such as trying to form power blocks - choose a likely group of factions to ally with and hope they ally with each other too (allies tend to like allies' allies, if that makes any sense, so it might happen) and that some other factions ally against you. For example, if you ally with France don't ally with Milan or any of Milan's allies.
posted 19 May 2013 11:38 EDT (US)     2 / 5  
Yeah, things did heat up eventually, people backstabbing me left and right. I'm in the middle of the Mongol Invasions now...which would be more frightening if they actually did anything.

I'm trailing their horde with several assassins and picking them off one by one, but every time they reach a city they kind of decide to turn around and move to the next one, everything at a snail-like pace. I'm guessing that I have a chance to assassinate all of them before they ever even fight anyone from an already established faction.
posted 20 May 2013 06:59 EDT (US)     3 / 5  
Easy easy is really only meant for players just starting total war. If you already played a bit of rome, you should be fine playing medium/medium or perhaps even hard/medium. On hard difficulty the ai will always attack, even if they are your allies. Besides that, medieval 2 is incredible easy, easier than rome even.

I've just started shogun 2 and find it much more challenging, though I don't like the setting in japan as much. The differences between the clans are also very small compared to the differences between factions and cultures in m2tw and rtw.

M2tw and rtw ai are just so very very predictable and foolish in battle. Once you learn their patterns, they will never really surprise you.
posted 20 May 2013 19:10 EDT (US)     4 / 5  
Basic things are:

-Take in account you start with your economy underdeveloped, you need infrastructure for food and commerce to get money, build farms, roads, markets and ports (build trading post first to avoid bad traits in your governors). If you are going to manage your taxes, in these early turns try to switch between very high taxes to get the money you need and low taxes to let the population expand, this last thing is VERY important, money is not the only thing to take in account, infrastructure for economy is needed but you need develop military too, and that requires a quickly develop in the size of population. Managing taxes sometimes requires skill to not kill your pop, so maybe you want let the AI manage it.

-Try to decide between your generals who are the best governors and who are the best army leaders, governors tend to be the chivalric ones, they help to develop population basically, and that's what you need for the core cities. Your warrior generals need to be dreaded, that's the best stat when going for expansion and invasion because they break the morale of your opponent, the governors with chivalry in the cities on the other side will help to defend it better because his troops will fight longer, probably to death because soldiers will die for him.

-Reduce your initial upkeep, Holy Roman Empire starts with lots of soldiers, you will have 2 choices, or expand very quickly so the upkeep doesn't kill you, or reduce the upkeep disbanding your armies and develop a little bit your economy before start the expansion.

-Choose also where you want to expand, you can take some rebel settlements that are in both sides, west and east, and in the north there is hamburg too for an excellent position to prevent the danes expanding to you. Remember you have 4 potential fronts to start a war with, and that's dangerous. Try to make peace and maintain good relationships with the neighbors you don't want attack, and swiftly take advantage of the Papal relations, if you see one neighbor being excomunicated, declare a war on him and take the more settlements while he still is .

-Either way you decide to expand, if by a blitzkrieg attack on rebel settlements or by taking few turns to get your economy activated, once you manage to take some of those settlements you will find yourself making lots of money if developing and expanding correctly, Holy Roman Empire was the first time I won this game so many years ago because in a very few turns I managed to get TONS of money with the early cities. And their armies are very simple (Although boring too) but that makes you decide quicker how to create your armies, you can take both militia and castle units since they are very similar to reinforce your armies. Although their roster is very repetitive, HRE has a very interesting units. But I found myself ending the game way before I was able to use them LOL.

Mmmm I have very bad memory, there are some more things you could use.. I edit it later when I remember.
posted 21 May 2013 05:47 EDT (US)     5 / 5  
Yeah, I figure I'd do my next campaign on medium-medium or medium campaign-hard battle.

I don't actually want to go above medium campaign difficulty because I like my historical games with some realism-- everyone ganging up on your faction is just not how it would work.

I think my preferred AI would be one that diplomatically behaved as in "easy" but that plays much more aggressively when you actually do have a war.

As for my campaign, I'm totally in control and could end the game at any turn if I cared to, although I don't, yet. The Mongols are still aimlessly wandering around Asia and I've assassinated eight of their generals, five left to go. I'm starting to think that once they're down to 2-3 generals maybe I should start to aggressively engage them in battle and take out their last generals in battles, regardless of whether I win the overall thing. I'm sending 3 1/2 stacks of units towards them for that purpose, which is pissing of the Hungarians because I have to cross their territory, but I can't really change that.

I'm in control of Germany, the cities in Northern Italy, England, Scandinavia, Russia, Poland, the Balkan except for Hungary's stuff (modern Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary), most of Asia Minor and starting to expand towards the Holy Land.

I'll probably also take Western France from the English within the next turns, but gift it to France who have been my loyal allies throughout the game.
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