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Topic Subject: Scythian starting strategy
posted 23 January 2009 09:34 EDT (US)   
After quite a few test runs I think I have devised a good strategy to start off as the Scythians. It's a rough guide, but it is still clear enough to understand what to do. Feel free to criticize it.

First off, I would initiate an operation. I call it ''Operation Steppes'', where I take over all settlements on the steppes (Campus Sakkae (Parthia) and Chersonesos (rebels)),in other words, I would unify the steppes under one banner . I would start this off by conquering Chersonesos with troops assembled from Campus Scythii and Tanais and, in the mean time send the spy into Thrace to gather information and raise his subterfuge.

I would also send the diplomat near Campus Alanni to Campus Sakae to negotiate trade rights with the Parthians, they accept that. The treaty would be short-lived but, since Scythia is in such a poor region, every coin counts which is why I would also advise to raise all taxes to very high, if possible, in all settlements. When the trade is established, the diplomat should go down the road leading to Asia Minor to negotiste peace with Parthians to when their settlement is taken.

Alright, back to Chersonesos, I think the fight won't be too difficult as it's garrison consists of hoplites and militia cavalry. When the seige is over and the settlement is your, I would take units with the most experince points and transfer them back to Campus Scythii. I wouldn't send them to Campus Alanni because it would take too long.

While marching to Chersonesos, Campus Alanni should churn out as many horse archers as your budget allows because the Parthians have a preety good garrison in Campus Sakae. I would gather all troops intended to capture Campus Sakae at the river crossing. You could use also some troops from Tanais to bolster the army. It is possible that some Parthian garrison troops leave the settlement, if so, I would advise crushing those units in order to weaken the garrison and then lay seige. With careful manouvering of troops you would surely get the settlement. When the settlement is yours, send the troops with the most experince points towards Campus Scythii.

That would be the end of Operation Steppes. After the taking of these two settlements, you might go after Vicus Venedae (rebels), with troops coming from Chersonesos and Campus Sakae, if it hasn't been conquered already by the Germans. If it has been conquered I would first build up the economy and army if you really wish to expand in the north, or aouth into Thrace. I still can't decide whether to then expand into Thrace or Germannia as both are easy to destroy but their neighbours might pose a problem.

During the expeditions, I would recruit a diplomat in Campus Scythii, who would go all around the weatern portion of the map asking for trade rights and map information. Also, whenever I get the first family member come of age I would send him with two horse archer units to build watchtowers along roads and hunt down rebel armies. I find that a general's bodyguard with two horse archers a strong enough army to counter rebel armies in Scythian starting lands. It also provides a great way in raising the family members command and experince. As for peace with Parthia, if you stick with the road you will almost certainly bump into a Partian diplomat. The Parthians would always accept ceasefire and the renewing of trade.

Well, what do you think? It is any good?
Replies:
posted 23 January 2009 09:52 EDT (US)     1 / 8  
One recommendation I'd like to make here is spend less time on moving troops around. Use only troops from Campus Alanni to take Campus Sakar. Moving troops from somewhere else to Campus Alanni takes ages so you can drive the Parthians from the steppes earlier. The Same goes for Chersonesos, which you will be able to take using only the troops from Tanais. The garrison there is pretty poor and you can easily destroy it with your horse archers.

This way Operation Steppes as you call it will be executed much quicker. After that I wouldn't bother expanding on the steppes anymore. There's just too little to gain there. Instead go south into Thrace and Greece where there's much more to be gained.

          Hussarknight
posted 23 January 2009 10:47 EDT (US)     2 / 8  
The steppes are hardly worth it. When I played the Scythians I basically gave up on Campus Alanni to concentrate on destroying Thrace. The Parthians won't attack you often after taking Campus Alanni and the place is not worth the money needed to keep it early on.
posted 23 January 2009 12:48 EDT (US)     3 / 8  
I know if I go to Greece I would get rich quickly but then won't I also be almost surrounded by powerful factions? I once fought Macedon and it threw thousands upon thousands of troops at me. Of course I won every battle but there were so many of them that I got really dissoriented in the end when I fanilly broke through their lines.

Romans aren't easy as well, It's quite hard to fight a battle with horse archer against Roman heavy infantry.

[This message has been edited by jurijb08 (edited 01-23-2009 @ 12:51 PM).]

posted 23 January 2009 13:03 EDT (US)     4 / 8  
Yeah I agree. The steppes economy is, well, grass. And more grass. I just tried going for Campus Sakae as soon as I could move the HA from Campus Alanni up there, but discovered that there are quite a few Persian HA up there, and it wasn't a cheap victory. The Parthians won't trouble you at all in this region I shouldn't think, so they're much better left alone until such time as you're strong enough to sweep them aside and the subsequent loss of trade won't be an issue. I don't bother with Vicus Venedae either. It looks quite a worthless place, and it's a handy buffer zone between you, and the Germans and Dacians.

My first moves are to disband the foot archers in far flung garrisons and replace them with peasants. The two in Campus Scythii can be useful for a while though, so they live. I build roads and put the taxes as high as I can put them without causing a riot. The HA in Campus Alanni stay put, to fight off rebels and build their strength over time to keep Parthia and Armenia at a distance. The HA from Tanais immediately set out to lay siege to Chersonesos, the family member following on behind as soon as a peasant garrison can replace him so you've got some heavy cavalry to get rid of the Chersonesos HA unit.

I besiege Campus Getae immediately and conquer it the next turn. Thrace only have a garrison here of a family member, and 1 each of falxmen, peltasts and militia hoplites, which you can shoot to pieces easily. It's best to attack Thrace as soon as possible for two reasons. First your economy is rubbish and having Thrace will provide a good platform. Second your faction leader is old and won't last much longer, so best to make good use of his large bodyguard while you can.

As soon as you've captured Getae, reinforcements from Tylis should approach in the next turn. Attack them with your faction leader and HA. Then, with the foot archers following as soon as they can, another family member about to come of age in the next few turns, and if you can build another HA unit or two you should be well placed to take on Tylis. There's a lot of troops here, but your family members working in tandem will obliterate the Thracian cavalry, and horse archers can do what they do best on the infantry.

Once Thrace is out the way, you've got the foundations of an economy, and you're also on the Greek/Macedonian frontier, who have no answer at all to a horde of horse archers. Eat into their territory and Dacia too at your leisure, then there will be no stopping you.

Edit: Macedon do have a lot of units, but recruit a few more HA and you won't have difficulty killing them. Remember to shoot them up from all sides. And once you know how, the Romans are very easy to kill. It helps if you've got Noble Archers by this time, and it helps even more if they're all +3 experienced with a temple upgrade. So that gives you 14 points in melee (they're sword armed and can slug it out with infantry) and 12 in missiles. If I were a Roman, I'd soil myself. So you come to battle with the Romans with a full stack of Noble Archers with a general along to boost their abilities and provide a bit of cavalry support. What I do isn't particularly sophisticated - form the HA up in a long line but with 4-6 HA packed up behind each flank. This narrower formation makes them easy to manoeuvre. And manoeuvre you must, because you want to attack uphill of the Romans. If you attack down their volleys of pila will become something of a problem. But if you're uphill, they have to get so close to throw them that skirmish mode will take you out of harms way. So get uphill of them then fly down at their faces and pelt the living shit out of them with arrows. But firing arrows from the front will get you nowhere as their shields will prevent heavy casualties. This is where the 4-6 HA on each flank come in handy. They creep around the flanks of the Romans and gradually encircle them. Fired at from all sides, the Romans will move this way and that, and every way they turn someone somewhere will be shooting them in the back. You'll find that they won't take too much of this before the whole army routs. And even if they don't, the running will tire them, and once you're out of arrows, switch to swords and that will finish them off.

[This message has been edited by ShieldWall (edited 01-23-2009 @ 01:13 PM).]

posted 28 January 2009 06:33 EDT (US)     5 / 8  
I have been thinking about abandoning Campus Alanni. Are you sure about that? If I abandon Campus Alanni my rear would be completely exposed as I wouls lose the mountain belt to the south, which would act as a perfect barrier against invading armies and would provide Parthia a lot of space from which to attack me. Are you sure Parthia would leave me alone after getting Campus Alanni?
posted 28 January 2009 12:28 EDT (US)     6 / 8  
I wouldn't give up Campus Alanni, there's gold there so it must have some value. I don't think I've ever been attacked by Parthia here, though if you leave it vacant, someone may well take it and then feel strong enough to eat westward into your lands. From what I've seen of the AI's attempts to conquer Scythia with one faction or another, they do seem to go after Alanni and then west to Campus Sarmatae. It's an easy enough place to hold surely? Get yourself a strong force of horse archers and, well, the Steppes are completely flat and open - you couldn't ask for a better battlefield for them.

The mountain protection looks good on paper, but in reality it gives you no defence at all. Their armies simply walk through the pass and that's it. If you abandon Campus Alanni though, you'd find a fantastic defensive position in the form of that solitary bridge across the River Don to the west, which, besides another bridge further back (unlikely that they'll go for that) and the possibility of a seaborne invasion (even more unlikely) is the only way they can get at you. A good army of horse archers sat on this bridge, and maybe some axemen and foot archers, could seal your border shut here.
posted 30 January 2009 04:28 EDT (US)     7 / 8  
What about if I position armies at the passes? Invading armies cannot climb the mountains so the passes are the only way across.
posted 30 January 2009 05:28 EDT (US)     8 / 8  
That would be fine, but bridges can be better as they force armies to compress themselves into a tiny space - not a good place to be when surrounded by horse archers. Personally I wouldn't care about blocking a pass, I'd be happy for them to invade Campus Alanni's territory. It's a very long march for them, and you'll have plenty of time to stalk them with an army of horse archers and pick off any isolated groups.
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