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Monk
10-11-2009, 15:08
Ottoman Empire guides.

Please review the ToC (https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?t=113656) before posting new guides.

rvg
11-05-2009, 17:49
The Ottoman Empire is a unique faction that requires a unique gameplay approach, quite different from the rest.


1. Overview (Hard Campaign/Medium Battles).

a. Pros.
You have a vast empire (12 provinces), plenty of trading ports (enough to trade with everybody at once), and a reasonably secure hinterland that no European power can easily access. You have a technological lead with respect to artillery.

b. Cons.
Oh boy, where to start... Well, first of all almost everyone hates your guts. The Barbary States, a dependency of yours, are at war with pretty much the entire European continent, making it impossible to secure alliances. The Crimean Khan (your other vassal) is weak as a kitten and won't survive long without Ottoman Intervention. Your sorry excuse for line infantry known as Isarelys is pathetic. You have enemies on every side of your empire, a poor cash flow, a bunch of thieves running the government, and last but not least, The poorest capital city on the map. Yes, Rumelia is a dump.

2. A brief outline for survival and victory.

a. Consolidate and secure the borders (executed immediately within the first 5 turns)

b. Nibble away at Austria/Poland/Russia until they are no longer a threat (70-100 turns)

c. Push westward with your high tech armies, sweeping the Mediterranean in an all out assault (endgame 70-100 turns)


3. The First Turn

The first turn is of course the most important one, as it sets the tone and the pace for the entire game, thus I will discuss it in great detail.

a. Rearrange the government. The Ottoman campaign really made me yearn for an option to execute the cabinet members, but barring that, it is still possible to kick them all out and rearrange the candidates so that most ministers end up with 4 stars, which is tolerable.

b. Lower taxes and secure trade agreements. Your economy is in shambles and needs a boost, so switching taxes to low is a good idea. Most of your income early on will come from trade anyway. Speaking of trade, you have a unique opportunity to trade with the entire world because of the numbers of ports you have. Seize that opportunity. Trade with your friends, your enemies, their friends, vassals, anyone and everyone who's willing to sign a trade deal. Early on, trade is your lifeline.

c. Secure your eastern border. Persia hates your guts and so does Georgia. Not a fun thing to consider, especially since you'll have your hands full in the Balkan theater. Do the right thing and sell Armenia to Persia for 7000 gold, an alliance and a trade deal. Feel free to sweeten it with military access if needed. Congratulations, you've just gained some much needed early cash and completely secured your eastern flank. Persia won't bother you, and Georgia no longer shares a border with you. This means that from this point on until The Marathas chew through the Mughal Empire and attack Persia you do not have to keep a single soldier on your eastern flank. None. You have roughly 50 turns of peace in the East.

d. Sell Moldavia to the Crimean Khan. Moldavia is poor and you need cash (once again 7000). The Khan in turn gets the peace of mind in knowing that if Crimea falls, he won't be eliminated.

e. Prepare for war with Venice. The task here is twofold: Take Morea in a blitzkrieg and destroy the Venetian Navy. Taking Morea is usually no problem, but the Venetian Navy is rather tough. Furthermore, their navy if left alone will kill your trade. Nonetheless, it needs to be eliminated, so queue up about 5-6 Brigs in your Mediterranean ports, and all of them will be available the following turn. It might also be a good idea to train Desert warriors in Egypt, Palestine and Syria on the same turn. That way after the Brigs are ready, the Desert Warriors can board the ships go to to war in Europe. Venice will usually declare war on turn 2, so you need to be ready for a land and sea campaign right away. As an aside, it helps to move one ship into Black Sea so that you can easily send troops to Crimea if needed.

f. Start training Isarelys and Artillery in Istanbul, you will need plenty of both.


4. Unit Roster.

a. Trash
Muselims, Semenys, Bashibasuks. Garbage. Disband them all. The only reason to train a unit of Semenys is to park it in a port so that nobody can pull a surprise naval landing on you.

b. Irregulars and Reginal Troops.
Azzars are very good, but much more expensive to maintain in 1.5. Kurdish/Afghan Hillmen are even better, but only available in the Middle East. Desert warriors are rather crappy, but they come in a 120 man unit and are dirt cheap, which means that they are somewhat useful for massed firepower. Once again, they are only available in the Middle East and North Africa.
c. Isarelys.
In a straight shootout, these guys will lose to a European militia unit. Their only saving grace is that they get bayonets and that early on they're the only thing resembling line infantry at your disposal. In 1.5 their price has been adjusted to reflect their substandard performance. Once again, thse guys are unavailable outside of a few core Ottoman provinces.

d. Janissaries.
These come in a melee (Cemaat) and a gunpowder (Beylik) varieties. The Beyliks are a very nice upgrade over the Isarelys. They are great shots with good morale and reloading skill. Their weaknesses include a total lack of bayonets (no big deal) and a total lack of drill training ( a very big deal). Thus, prior to the Fire by Rank tech the Beyliks can easily outshoot their Western counterparts, but afterward they struggle.
The Cemaats are a real gem. While of a limited use in field battles, they make ideal fort defenders and fort takers. Just 8 cemaats can comfortably protect a fortified city from a full stack of line infantry/artillery. They are also very inexpensive. I usually make sure that all of my frontier cities are guarded by the Cemaats.

e. The Nizam Line Infantry. These guys are on par with the Europeans. Ottomans pay a premium to get these, but they really help.

f. Cavalry. Not much to say here, the Deli horsemen are good all around and very versatile, the Mamelukes lack the Delis' guns and cost more, and Sipahis while being excellent in melee come into play too late to be of any relevance. So, it's basically Deli or bust. The Camels and Camel gunners are okay: they do well vs cavalry but have trouble chasing routers.


g. Army composition. It's all about the artillery, more specifically, it is all about the dreaded Canister Shot. Having inferior infantry doesn't matter when your cannons can trash any opposing unit in a matter of seconds. Thus, every unit in your army exists to support and protect the artillery. I'd recommend at least 4 cannons per stack from the start, later to be augmented buy a couple of howitzers as well. A couple of horsemen and the rest all infantry.


5. Afterthoughts

1. Take Malta. Doing so will make you the master of the Mediterranean. No kidding.

2. Eventually, some European power will take out the Barbary States. Use this as an opportunity to ally with your friends (like the Swedes).

3. When upgrading economic buildings only focus on the Average ones or better. Ignore the poor and very poor ones, since those take forever to pay back on the investment.

4. Try to keep the Crimean Khan alive. He's a good trading partner.


Hope this helps and Good Luck!

Peasant Phill
12-15-2009, 22:43
rvg really put up a great guide, I'll try to expand on it with some ad hoc advice.

- As rvg said make as much trade agreements as early as possible. Not only is it good for your economy, trade partners are less likly to attack you. In time most major powers will be friendly if you keep trading and keep your expansion to a minimum.

- An advantage of your huge number of provinces is the sheer amount of buildings you can build. You can build 3 universities without problem in the first decade and win tech race hands down. Spread that knowledge around carefully and thoughtfully so you can keep potential superpowers busy for longer. I especially recommend helping Crimea and Sweden (keep the Russians busy and possibly the poles). The mughals will also need all the help they can get. This is a bit more tricky as they can be allied with Persia.

- Be aware that when you research bayonet techs, this only benefits your Israelis until you can train nizam infantry. The same goes for square formation and fire by rank. Because of this I felt that israelis could at least stand toe to toe with janissaries.

- Almost all the 'trash units' have there use IMO. I use Muslims as garrisson, Semenys and Bashibasuks (can move unseen) as cheap defenders. Cheap as these units are, it's easy to outnumber your opponents. Muslims may possibly be the worst unit in the game but it can keep an enemy unit occupied long enough for you to surround and annihilate the enemy unit. Just keep their morale in mind.

- Building further on the previous post, training huge but affordable armies to guard your borders will keep your neighbours from declaring war and in turn keep your trade agreements in effect.

- In defence huge low quality armies may be enough, however, you should always use a high quality army on the offence. The low morale of some units can really be a pain when they have to attack at a disadvantage.

- And of course cannons, cannons and cannons. These will save you countless casaulties as long as you'r not fighting a running battle.

Seamus Fermanagh
05-04-2010, 01:17
RVG makes some good points, though I disagree in places.

Fort Defense:

Cermaat Sworders are great for defending walls, breaches, or for defending the flag. If you like to use entrenchments around the flag, however, you need to have one Semenys or Cermaat sword for each Israely -- they won't dig. If I am not going 1-1 with the swords to muskets, I buy Semenys to dig the entrenchments or put up abatis and then run them up to shoot from the walls or from interior buidlings.

Canister Artillery should always be part of your fort defense, at least anywhere you expect heavy attack groups.

Fort Attack:

Artillery to open the Door. Heavy guns and/or Organ guns do a nice job here. Organ guns tear stuff up, but can't move, so you cannot use them to cannister the breach prior to the assault. A mix is best.

Cermaat sword is among the best going over the walls and holds its own with anyone going in a breach or at the flag. You'll use these blokes even after your fielding Nizam/Beylik armies.

Field Defense:

Organ Guns rule the battlefield, though you need a pair to really hammer. Their area attack will wipe enemy artillery units and horse units out in the area you criss-cross with both gun units -- sometimes literally.

Your Israelys lose gun duels unless you can contrive advantages for them, but melee pretty well. Sworders melee very well, especially with the enemy coming to you. The other infantries do better, but the lack of rank firing and digging gets in the way.

Field Attack:

This goes as you'd expect. Artillery and blade until you get the later infantry.

Seamus Fermanagh
05-08-2010, 18:50
Tried on VH/M and got my head handed to me. I ended up unable to trade, unable to hold the Balkans, fighting in Istanbul with a half stack, in Persia/Armenia/Azer with a half stack and defending Cairo with a third stack. I was unable to build anything and often found myself winning every battle but unable to replace enough casualties to fight well the next time. Crazy.

Re-started on M/M and doing much better. Still pick up enemies quickly, but not necessarily irrationally so. I built/cobbled together from garrison a half stack in the Balkans and left Austria alone. Gave away Moldavia to the Plains indians. Venice attacked and Morea was taken. Venetian invasion fleets every 5-8 years are hunted by my pair of frigates and sold for cash. Focused on the East and took out Georgia (kept), Dagestan (plains indians), Azer (kept), Persia (kept), and Baluch (gave to Afghanistand as Persia had thereby died). Had to defend Cairo against Churchill, but managed to do so with weaker troops and a little good timing.

This has allowed me quiet time to build and grow infrastructure and up tech. Flare-ups occurred, but were all single and didn't require three-front conflict. A few more years and I'll take it back to them!


Note: The Moldavian force had to move quickly at the outset. The Muselim went to the Balkan army. The other units were sent through the Crimea to:Don Vosko, Astrakhan, Ubi, Kazan, Omi, and Archangelsk. This anabasis was accomplished with only two battles and mostly with surrenders. I gave away the provinces to all sorts of people: Bavaria, Portugal, Prussia, Hannover, Mysore, and finally Maratha. Having balkanized the whole thing, I then let my units get bounced back to Georgia to join (near the end) the Persian conquerors. This was a very effective spoiler tactic and has half neutered Russia. Russia's subsequent attack of Moldavia and instant declaration against me lost them Kiev to the Prussians, Moldavia to the Mughals and the Crimea to Venice (with whom I am at war. I left my army in the province and will keep smashing venetians until the Khanate reforms).